sundays in the park with clay & cher
by SMJ

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When a horrible adult softball league displaces pigeons Clay and Cher from their favorite baseball field in Central Park, Cher comes up with a plan for taking their territory back. However, once emotions take over, it leads both of them to disaster.




SMJ (they/them) is a mixed-Latiné and non-binary playwright, educator and theatermaker originally from Mount Vernon, OH. They were a 2022-2023 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow. Currently, SMJ is creating work with Ars Nova, Latinx Playwrights Circle, The Orchard Project and The Road Theatre Company. Their work has been seen in various forms at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, Lincoln Center, National Queer Theater, Latiné Musical Theatre Lab, Carnegie Mellon University, Otterbein University, Wright State University, New York University, Art House Productions, Andy’s Summer Playhouse, The Workshop Theater, The 24 Hour Plays. SMJ has been a semifinalist for the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference (three times), Princess Grace Award at New Dramatists and Van Lier New Voices Fellowship, as well as a Finalist for the 2023 Parity Development Award, Write Out Loud Contest and the Doric Wilson Playwright Award. They’re a member of the Dramatists Guild and Ring of Keys.




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

I wrote my first play as a high school freshman to give the students in my hometown more opportunities to do community theater. Leaving college, I was drawn to creating opportunities and new worlds for actors.


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

I was lucky enough to be accepted into the CRY HAVOC PlayList Project where I wanted to write a play about pigeons in Central Park (more specifically, my wife & I’s favorite spot – Turtle Pond). I’m deeply fascinated by pigeons due to their history with my family and their history with humans in NYC.


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

Queer Investigator of Pop Culture


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

The Debate Society, Josh Wilder, Clare Barron, Jiehae Park, Alexis Sheer


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

I’m a mime of 17 years!


What are some of your favorite plays?

Buddy Cop 2 by The Debate Society
Marty and The Hands That Could by Josh Wilder
The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer
Peerless by Jiehae Park
GIANT SLALOM by Jess Honovich
Dance Nation by Clare Barron


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

i wish i was her(s) at The Road Theatre Company in LA on May 28th (Staged Reading)
Straight Icons at Ars Nova on June 5th (co-written with Anne-Marie Pietersma)
yo ho. at The Tank on June 21st (Staged Reading for Pridefest 2024)

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