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MA, MOONFLOWERS & ME: A Comedy for People Old Enough to Know Better. A Comedy for older actors. 4M (50s-75); 3F (40-80); 1F (17).

E.G.O.: THE PASSIONS OF EUGENE GLADSTONE O’NEILL. Drama with music. 2M, 2F, doubling.

THE CRASH AT CRUSH. Historic/romantic comedy with music. 6M (1 African-American), 2F, doubling.

THE SPLIT (w. Jack Gilhooley). Romantic comedy. 2M, 2 or 3F

DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL. Murder mystery. 3M, 4F, doubling


12 min.; 2M, 1F


LOTIONS & POTIONS. 4 F (2 teens, 1 elderly), 2M (1 teen, 1 elderly).

TOO BIG TO CRY. 5 M (4 teens); 4 F (3 teens); 1 M or F

“She has an ability to create strong and interesting plays.”
--Sue Lawless, Executive Board, SSDC

 “Her writing is inspiring, thought-provoking and original. She is a strong voice in the American theatre.”
--Steven Ditmyer, Director, Off The Page Reading Series,
National Actors Theatre, New York, NY

“Ms. Morello’s work is impressive, since she clearly is a talented writer with a strong flair for dramatic staging.”
--Carole Kleinberg, Artistic Director, Banyan Theater Company,
Sarasota, FL

 “I . . . appreciate her ability to write compelling and enticing scripts.”
--Tim Shane, Chief Executive Artistic Producer, Shane-Arts/Dallas Hub Theater,
Dallas, TX;

“I consider her a wonderful, imaginative writer of plays.”
--Marie J. Kilker, Ph.D., American Theatre Critics Association (International Committee); Administrative/
Professional & Adjunct Professor of Theatre, Retired

“Ms. Morello is a strong playwright with a distinct voice and important stories to tell.”
--James Ashford, Casting & Literary Coordinator, Florida Studio Theatre,
Sarasota, FL

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Jo Morello became a playwright in response to a challenge from her husband, playwright Jack Gilhooley. He believed she could combine her talent as a lifelong writer with her three-year experience as managing director of a summer stock theatre company to create new work for the stage. He was right: She won two national contests with her first attempt and has continued to produce winning scripts ever since.

She has also drawn on her playwriting knowledge to create feature articles in the media including “O’Neill, Lost and Found,” American Theatre magazine, December 2011, p. 14; “Before Breakfast: The Journey of a Minor Play, Eugene O’Neill Society Newsletter, November 2011, pp. 29-30; and “From the Ashes: Yale University to print more than half-century old play,” Syracuse Daily Orange, Syracuse University, November 2, 2011 (interviewed by contributing writer Andrew Muckell).

Jo’s plays have been winners or finalists of dozens of competitions including three individual Artist Fellowships and three Artist Enhancement Grants from Florida's Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs; the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center Young People's Drama Project; two Choate Rosemary Hall Discovery contests; and the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Children’s Theatre competition.

Among Jo’s plays are full-length dramas, comedies, plays with music, historical plays and one-act, intergenerational plays for families and young audiences. Her newest play, MA, MOONFLOWERS & ME, is subtitled “A Comedy For People Old Enough To Know Better.” Jo has written this family-friendly, full-length comedy primarily for mature actors and older audiences. She is also adapting this stage play for the screen.

Other recent dramatic activity includes the Dallas Hub Theater’s production of THE CRASH AT CRUSH, Jo’s historical play with music, and the selection of her murder mystery, DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL (then titled THE MARKHAM MYSTERY) by Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) for its 28th Annual SCRIPTFest.

Jo is a member of Dramatists Guild and the American Association of Community Theatres.

To contact Jo Morello, please click here.

Crash at Crush

“I’ve come 500 miles to see Mr. Crush,” Scott Joplin tells Willie Crush, the man he actually seeks.—THE CRASH AT CRUSH by Jo Morello, Dallas Hub Theater production 

Available Plays

Full-Length Plays

MA, MOONFLOWERS & ME: A Comedy For People Old Enough To Know Better

Full-length contemporary comedy in two acts, mainly for mature actors. 4M (50s-75); 3F (40-80); 1F (17). (Theater may add non-speaking roles as desired.) Set: porch; pools of light suggest various other locations.

Synopsis: It's summer and things are heating up in the small college town of Fairview. Al, in his early 60s, has finally decided to marry one-year-older Barbara after a 10-year courtship but there are complications: his long-missing first wife and especially Ruth, his feisty, 80-year-old mother, who blocks his every effort. Ruth has moved back in with her son after the death of her third husband. As long as she stays there, Al can't marry and move Barbara—Ruth's sworn enemy—into his home. Bill Hilton, 75, a family friend and Al's best friend, helps Al him in his struggle to ease out the unwilling Ruth. If only she would move into that lovely retirement home.... Things start to change when Tina, a spiky-haired, tattooed teen-ager, delivers two tiny moonflower plants.

Excerpt (.pdf)

Drama in two acts with (prerecorded) player piano music in the public domain. 2M, 2F, doubling. Suggested unit sets and costumes. Rights secured to words of Eugene O’Neill and Agnes Boulton O’Neill.

“E.G.O. is one of the strongest, most intriguing new plays I have read. ”

--Steven Ditmyer, New York, NY, Director of a staged reading with Broadway actors at the Neighborhood Playhouse. (Director, Off The Page Reading Series, National Actors Theatre; Director & Instructor, The Neighborhood Playhouse; Director & Instructor, American Academy of Dramatic Arts)

Synopsis: When he met widowed fiction writer Agnes Boulton, Eugene O’Neill was a 29-year-old alcoholic with an abandoned wife and son. Agnes left her daughter with her parents to marry him, but their desired aloneness was broken by two children of their own, Shane and Oona (later Mrs. Charlie Chaplin). During their marriage, O’Neill won two Pulitzer Prizes, wrote Strange Interlude for a third, and began his own interlude with actress Carlotta Monterey while sending his wife Agnes passionate proclamations of love. Gene and Carlotta gained worldwide tabloid attention with their clandestine, adulterous elopement to Europe and their tumultuous 25-year marriage. Although too ill to write during his last ten years, O’Neill completed 50 plays including LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, which was to remain sealed for 25 years and never, ever staged--but Carlotta had her own ideas.

Excerpt (pdf)

Development & Awards (pdf)

Romantic comedy/drama in two acts with (prerecorded) music. 6M (1 African-American), 2F, doubling. Simple set with authentic images of the actual 1896 wreck for projections.

 THE CRASH AT CRUSH is one of the most memorable and moving new plays I have read in recent years.” 

--Marion Castleberry, PhD, Director of staged reading at Waco Hippodrome, Waco, TX (Professor of Theatre Arts, Baylor University, Waco, TX;  Artistic Director of the Horton Foote American Playwrights Festival)

Synopsis: Willie Crush, passenger ticket agent of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (the Katy) watched train wrecks draw big crowds in minutes. Think how many would come--riding on the Katy--if they knew in advance! Why not stage a wreck? Willie chose two steam engines, found the perfect site outside Waco, hired photographers and even attracted young Scott Joplin, who composed “The Great Crush Collision March” to commemorate the Monster Crash. Pretty Katherine and 40,000 other attendees and cheered him on, but one old railroad engineer swore the boilers would burst. Although he warned, “Ye’ll have dead people all over the place,” Willie was unstoppable.

Cast photo, THE CRASH AT CRUSH. Dallas Hub Theater, TX

Awards, information and excerpt (pdf)
2008 Production Photos
Authentic 1896 Photos of "Crash at Crush"


Romantic comedy in two acts by Jack Gilhooley & Jo Morello. 2M, 2 or 3F. Contemporary, interiors, unit set.

"Don't laugh now ... you might miss something."

—East County Observer

Synopsis: Marie and Charlie Williamson had been riding high on their well-deserved reputation as America's primary playwriting team—until recently. Their second flop in a row has them blaming each other and even counting how many lines each one contributed to every play so they can properly split their royalties. Leslie Barnes, their tough-as-nails agent, is only too ready to save their faltering marriage (and her commission). On the other hand, Leslie sees a wide-open romantic path to unsuspecting Charlie if they split. In Leslie's best-case scenario, Marie and Charlie will score hits separately while she scores with Charlie. But Marie's and Charlie's separate late-night visits to a Country & Western bar upset Leslie's best-laid plans. Their encounters with Lola O'Gorman, an undercover cop, Rudy, a Brooklyn-based, pseudo-cowboy Lothario, lead to unprecedented havoc for the Williamsons.

Awards, information and excerpt (pdf)
Split, A Review



Murder mystery in two acts. 3M, 4F, doubling. Suggested sets.

Synopsis: Fort Myers commissioner Phil Markham orders Sheriff Reba Andrews and Deputy Sheriff Joe Roma to find the body of his second wife Diane, even though she is only a little late coming home. Markham insists his schizophrenic daughter Carla has killed her two-years-younger stepmother.

Off her medications, Carla has been hearing the voices of her father, mother, the CIA and others. Some are real; some order her to kill. Which is which? She telephones a series of death threats. Phil has hesitated to call the sheriff but now it may be too late.

Reba and Joe wonder whether one of Carla’s voices is a live person using her insanity as a cover for murder. Desperate to find her before she kills, they are soon searching for the whole family. Faced with a shifting array of motives and suspects—and a gruesome discovery—they use high and low technology to stop the potential killer.

Awards, information and excerpt (pdf)

Short Play

Short play set in a bar. Excerpted from E.G.O.:  THE PASSIONS OF EUGENE GLADSTONE O’NEILL by Jo Morello . 2 M, 1F. Running time: approx. 10 minutes

Synopsis: Pulp fiction writer Agnes Boulton awaits her friend in “The Hell Hole,” a seedy Greenwich Village bar. She sits alone—somewhat daring in 1917—as two hard-drinking brothers arrive. Both Eugene and Jamie O’Neill are intrigued by this fresh-faced country girl, but Gene elbows his older brother aside as he seeks to charm and win 24-year-old Aggie.

More information and excerpt (pdf)

One-Act Plays for Young Adults and Families

LOTIONS & POTIONS – Intergenerational, multi-award-winning play.

4 F (2 teens, 1 elderly), 2M (1 teen, 1 elderly). Suggested sets; Runs approx.50 minutes; can tour

Synopsis: Three high school students volunteer for the "More Than Skin Deep" program, providing make up and grooming for patients in a hospice. A special friendship develops between Jennifer, a shy 16 year old tagalong, and the very wise Mrs. Ryan, 90. The elderly woman helps Jennifer develop self confidence with a little help from her medium and a magic potion.
Winner, 1992 Young People's Drama Project, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
Winner, 1991 92 Individual Artist's Fellowship, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.
Winner, Discovery '90, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT
Second place, Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Play Competition for Children's Theatre, 1999

More information and excerpt (pdf)


Intergenerational play. 5 M (4 teens); 4 F (3 teens); 1 M or F. Suggested sets; Runs approx. 30 minutes; Can tour.

Synopsis: Jim, a high-school senior, is the only child of parents who have given him too much, and their pending divorce pulls their attention away from him. This sudden reversal requires him to develop self reliance but he is reluctant, even though many of his friends have been down the same path. Comedic scenes and sex role reversals lighten this drama, which also touches on sexism and alcoholism.

Awards, information and excerpt (pdf)