ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet C.J. Ehrlich

C.J. has been a semi-finalist in two previous ONSTAGE fests, and as a result, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know her.  Our opinion?  She kind of rocks!  This engaging and creative writer has been a huge supporter of the peer review process, and is a fab female playwright, so we’re so excited to have one of her plays in this year’s final line-up.  The Lilac Ticket is at once touching and humorous, and provides a genuine warm-hearted catharsis that has thus far made our audiences go “Awww!” We can’t wait to see it in performance!

CJ ETitle of Play:
The Lilac Ticket

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
First off, It’s a treat to read women’s work from around the country. This is the third year I’ve had plays in the festival and it’s exciting to see where they appear. Tiffany Antone is a rare dynamo of energy. She makes it fun (and inspirational) from start to finish.

Describe your writing space…
It’s a guest room/office with a view of a forest, much more cluttered with scripts and notebooks and books than I’d like. I’m constantly distracted by the squirrels who chase round the trees in front of me. Apparently it’s always nooky season in squirrel-land. Are they ever cousins? On the walls are framed posters from my productions, any postcard art that appeals to me, and a stern man demanding I Live My Life with Moxie. Also a poster of a frowning castle, from the Edinburgh Fest where I met my husband.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. We’d order the table d’hôte at the Algonquin Club in the 1930s, because why should they do all the time travel when they’re paying for dinner? I’d ask about the fights they had while collaborating on Dinner at Eight. Then I’d get George to hold forth on working with the Marx Brothers, and every other playwright of his ttime. For dessert we’d invite Sarah Ruhl and the woman who called herself “William Shakespeare”, but having given us all the slip for this long she’s probably a no-show. For dessert, strawberry mousse and Charlotte Russe.

Why do you write for theatre?
It’s a challenge like no other and it feels so good when you stop, and actually have something to share with the creative dreamers who breathe life into your script. But mostly I write plays because, of all the forms of pleasure I know, there is hands-down nothing like hearing an audience laugh at your lines.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
See when you say “of all time” I never have an adult answer; I immediately jump to the characters I’ve know for longest. We’ll pass over Jane Eyre and her irrepressible gloomy optimism and grit, to Jane in the Half Magic series. Jane was the eldest of four, a bit bossy even when she was wrong, and loved adventure, so had a childhood like mine, but with magic talismans. What’s cool about Jane is, when she gets a call-back in the later books, she’s grown up and traveling around the world, on safaris and climbing glaciers and such.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
The Jewish Women’s Theatre of LA is reprising their production of The Lilac Ticket in “Our Men Have Their Say” fest. And see It Skips a Generation, about three generations of Judaism and vaudeville, HERE.

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

The Cupcake Conspiracy is an audience-tested, sophisticated new comedy-farce, with strong roles for two women and two men, ideal for community theatres.

Terrorism is Easy. Marriage is Complicated.
When nebishy, newly-separated Max decides to put his toes in the dating waters behind his soon-to-be ex’s back, he finds himself up to his neck in a terrorist plot involving cupcakes. Really evil cupcakes. Meanwhile, his missed date, Suzie, hooks up with Alvin, a secret agent with so many identities even he can’t remember who he is. Max’s date with the sultry Natasha could be the best or worst night of his life, if he can stay ahead of her evil plot, avoid the G-Man hot on his trail, and most important, keep his wife from finding out!

More about C.J.:

C.J. Ehrlich is a NY-based writer/director whose award-winning works have enjoyed productions on five continents. Some favorites: Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Fest (Shrew Man vs. Shrewman), Grin Theatre, Liverpool (Room Circus, an LGBT bedroom farce), Ingenius NYC (The Red & Green Room). C.J.’s full-length comedy (with Philip J. Kaplan), THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY: “Terrorism is Easy. Marriage is Complicated” opened Rover Dramawerks (TX) 2015 Season. Published: Smith & Kraus’ annual Best Ten-Minute Plays anthologies: Noir in Second Class, The Ninth Circus of Hell, Intervention, 2+1=Murder; Applause’s Best American Short Plays of 2014-15 (The Lilac Ticket); Heuer (Home Sweet Homeland Security). C.J. is currently working on two new full-length comedies, The Maltese Babka and Us vs. Us. A proud member of the Dramatists Guild, C.J. lists among her greatest achievements teaching her sons the fine art of the spit take. www.CJ-Ehrlich.com.

Don’t miss C.J.’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

Curves Ahead -ART


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