Jennie Webb is an independent Los Angeles writer and playwright, currently in residence at Rogue Machine Theatre (where her dark retail comedy Yard Sale Signs premiered) and Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum (where she runs workshops and “Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights“). Her plays, including Currency, Remodeling Plans, Unclaimed Assets, GreenHouse, On Tuesday, It’s Not About Race and Buying a House, have been produced in LA (most recently by Inkwell Theater, Santa Monica Rep and Green Light Productions), on stages across the country and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has been a part of The Playwright Center’s PlayLabs, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Little Black Dress INK Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festivals, the Virginia Avenue Project, 365 Women a Year, National Winter Playwrights Retreat, The Road Theatre Company (Summer Playwrights Festival & WORD at the Road), Moving Arts MADlab and Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series with plays including The Complete Story of the War, Rebecca on the Bus, Color Separation, Crazy Bitch, Jilt and Footprint; her work is published by Heinemann Press and ICWP. She is currently a member of the Playwrights Union, EST/LA Playwrights Unit, PlayGround-LA Writer’s Pool and the Dramatists Guild. She is the recipient of a Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award and is co-founder and editor-at-large of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI).
A graduate of USC’s School of Drama, Jennie started her career as a stand-up comedienne and improv artist. She wrote material as half of the female stand-up duo “Frisk and Webb,” and later performed sketch and improvisational comedy in night-clubs and theaters as the only woman in the politically-inspired trio “Rabble Without a Cause.” She later worked with a group of women writer/performers to develop original material as part of a deal with Paramount Studios.
In 1987 Jennie co-founded The Rough Theater, a non-profit theater company which actively produced new works through the mid-nineties. She updated and adapted the company’s first production, LA Book of the Dead, and co-wrote its successful follow-up, Killing Miss America. Killing Miss America has subsequently been produced a number of times at theaters in and around Los Angeles. For the LA Open Festival in 1990, the company joined other Los Angeles artists to form the performance collective “Urbanites Evolve!,” workshopping a street-theater one-act version of her play GreenHouse at an abandoned mortar shell bunker in San Pedro, estate ruins in Hollywood, and late-night off-Hollywood Boulevard. Subsequent readings of GreenHouse were sponsored by Theatricum Botanicum and A.S.K. Theater Projects.
In 2000 Jennie renewed her focus on her playwriting. From 2000-2002 her plays were chosen as winners in the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) new play competitions, and in 2001 her her play Unclaimed Assets premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and The Complete Story of the War was selected by The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis for development in their PlayLabs. Shortly thereafter Jennie received a commission from Theatricum Botanicum and wrote the one-act Tilting, which was developed through readings and workshops from 2002-2003. In 2003 she was commissioned to write short radio plays broadcast on KPFK-FM. Her work has since been produced, published and supported by theaters and organizations across the country.
For a number of years Jennie also reviewed theater—most recently for Backstage and on air for KCRW-FM, Southern California’s premier NPR affiliate, as well as plays by women during the Hollywood Fringe Festival. She is the author of articles, essays and criticism appearing in the Los Angeles Times, United Parenting Publications, TheaterMania.com and other publications, and served as the LA correspondent for a NY-based stage trade, TheatreScope. She was a guest columnist for an alternative Southern California weekly, and had popular columns in print publications entitled “The Jennie Webb Site” and “Girlfriend’s Guide to the Universe.”
Since co-founding the LA Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI) in 2010, she is an active voice in the gender parity movement.
Jennie has appeared as a guest on public radio programs to discuss local arts events and issues and lectures at the university level. Jennie has taught Shakespeare text analysis courses, playwriting classes for children & teens and improvisational comedy with The Harvey Lembeck Professional Comedy Workshop. She currently serves as a professional dramaturg and runs dramaturgy workshops for playwrights.
Asked to describe her own works a playwright, Jennie uses the term “domestic absurdism.” She writes complex characters for strong women actors and believes in tackling difficult subject matter through darkly comic choices. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and housecats Molly and Mick.