The Issue
by Jennifer Crittenden

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The Issue is a darkly comic look at how fear influences our behavior, our choices and yes, even who will be named sexiest man alive.




Jennifer Crittenden started her career writing monologue jokes for David Letterman. From there she went on to write for The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Arrested Development and VEEP. An Emmy-winning writer, Jen has also won two Humanitas Prizes and a Writers Guild Award. Also some People’s Choices but no one cares about those. In theater, she and Gabrielle Allan wrote The Pirate La Dee Da for The Atlantic Theater Company, a New York Times Critic’s pick and winner of the Off Broadway Alliance Award for best family show.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

I started writing at a time in my life when I was really struggling with questions of morality, personal responsibility and basically what we owe to each other as humans. It was in third grade and I can tell you that my work was not nuanced.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

I began The Issue during the Writer’s Guild Strike. Every day on the picket lines there was talk about the negotiations, or the lack thereof, and speculation about what it all meant. I thought it would be fun to write about bargaining and leverage. Instead, I ended up writing about fear.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

I hope today is productive…


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

I have a lot to learn about plays and playwriting. My influences have mainly come from movies and TV: Jim Brooks, Elaine May, David Letterman, Merrill Markoe, Nora Ephron.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I have to look at my hands to know which way is left and which is right.


What are some of your favorite plays?

There are erudite answers I could give but the truth is seeing A Chorus Line changed my life.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

I am currently working on a musical about some regency-era women who travel to London for an abortion. It’s a raunchy reproductive rights comedy. Gabrielle Allan and I wrote the book, Amanda Green wrote the lyrics and Curtis Moore is the composer.

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