Joanne Hoersch

Joanne Hoersch received her BA in drama from Emerson College. She went on to study fiction at Columbia University where she was the recipient of a W oolrich Fellowship for creative writing. During this time, she was also a grantee in fiction from the NJ State Council on the Arts for her story, Josie Going Places and a semi-finalist in the Heekin Foundation’s national short story contest.

As an actress, she co-founded the Bandit Company, and had leading roles in Sam Shepard’s Action, and Angel City, as well as John Pielmeier’s Haunted Lives. In 1987, she appeared on Broadway in the original production of Larry Shue’s The Nerd.

When she sat down to write plays, she finally realized that her twin passions for drama and fiction could be combined in playwriting. For Jackson is Gone, her first play, she received a 2012 grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts. It was selected for a roundtable reading at the Lark Theatre in New York and a 2015 mainstage production by Hudson Theatre Works.

Her second play Starring Elizabeth was read at Playwrights’ Theatre of New Jersey in
2014. She is the lyricist for the musical version of Starring Elizabeth, which is being done in collaboration with composer Donald Stark.

Her current projects are a one-act play, Bunnies, based on her experiences as a Playboy Bunny in New York, and Shelley, a full length drama about the life of the Romantic poet Percy Shelley. The initial draft of Shelley received a roundtable reading at the Lark Theatre in 2014.

Publications

Publications
CRESCENT REVIEW 1996
(Short Story-“Riding the Range of Cyberspace”)
BAYBERRY REVIEW 2000
(Short Story-“Ponce Ponce”)
SHAKESPEARE’S MONKEES 2005
(Poem-“Axis Mundi”)
HUDSON REPORTER (Journalism- various local news) 2012-present

Play Readings and Productions
LARK THEATRE, NYC 2012
Roundtable reading of “Jackson Is Gone”
LARK THEATRE, NYC 2013
Roundtable reading of “Shelley”
HUDSON THEATRE WORKS Playworks series, Weehawken, NJ 2013
Selected play “Starring Elizabeth”
NJ PLAYWRIGHTS’ THEATRE READING SERIES, Madison, NJ 2014
Selected Play “Starring Elizabeth”
HUDSON THEATRE WORKS Playworks series, Weehawken, NJ 2015
Selected play “Bunnies”
HUDSON THEATRE WORKS, Fall 2015 mainstage production, Weehawken, NJ 2015
Selected play “Jackson Is Gone

Honors and Awards
HEEKIN FOUNDATION NATIONAL SHORT STORY CONTEST
Semi-Finalist 1993
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, Woolrich Fellowship 1993
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, Short Story Competition 1993
First Prize
NEW JERSEY STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS 1996
Artist Fellowship In Fiction
NEW JERSEY STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS 2012
Artist Fellowship in Playwriting (Jackson is Gone)
GLIMMERTRAIN, National Short Story Contest 2014
Honorable Mention

Education
EMERSON COLLEGE, BA, English
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, Creative Writing Certificate Program
THE NEW SCHOOL, MFA Fiction

Project Description

Working Title: “Bunnies.” As of now, this is a one-act play which takes place over the course of a single night, in the dressing room of the NY Playboy Club. Three Bunnies are at the end of their night shift, and begin a conversation that covers a wide range of subjects, including the discomfort of wearing 3 ½” spiked heels while waiting on tables for eight hours, their impatience with demanding customers, union representation, and most of all, job security. A co-worker, who remains off stage, is going to be fired because she is 36 years old and her body is now in “violation” of Playboy rules.

The play takes place in 1973, a time in the US when feminism was a rising political force and the traditional views of women are being vehemently debated. A bastion of “woman as object” like the Playboy Club was a pressure cooker for the coming together of all of these conflicting ideas.

I would like to expand “Bunnies” into a full length play, by deepening the characters, especially the youngest one “Kekkie,” who comes on the scene late in the play and is a total innocent. Bunny Margo, who is about to be fired, is never seen and never heard, until the end when she is heard crying in the locker room. I don’t know if I want to bring her onstage, but I’d like to try it and see what happens. It could highlight the still prevalent attitudes towards older women. ­­­­­

But it is the different characters of these women that I find the most intriguing. Bonita is African-American, beautiful, who is using her salary to put herself through college. Janice has a dark temperament with a cutting sense of humor.  She is working class and fatalistic. Lottie has found refuge in psychology and become the union rep. for the Bunnies.  I don’t know if it’s possible to overwrite a character, but I’d like to take each of them further and then see what happens on the page.