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Cassandra Medley named one of four artists to receive prestigious

Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting

Celebrating my career in gratitude, and as a testament to yes, the triumphs, and also the disappointments. Endurance proves to be the greatest wisdom.

Thank you to the late Helen Merrill for creating this fund and The New York Community Trust for continuing to support playwrights.

Read the full press release from The New York Community Trust

Read about the award in American Theatre Magazine

CELL to be part of Keen Company's 2023-2024 season.

Nadia Guevara to make Off-Broadway Directorial Debut (9/27/23)

Performances will take place May 2-11 2024

Tickets available now!


Presented with an excellent opportunity to complete my latest script plus, enjoy and benefit from a terrific Director, Actors and Crew. Scenes from “MY SOUL IS NOT RESTED” reading at

The Afro-Atlantic Playwright Festival, Illusion Theater. October 2023 - Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Plays & Publications




Joyce is a 60-year-old African-American woman teaching fifth grade science in a small Midwestern town.  Passionately concerned about climate change, she travels to the 2015 world Climate Change Summit held in Paris, where she meets and falls in love with a professionally esteemed female climatologist,  specializing in global warming. Once back home in Ohio, Joyce discovers that her older brother, and grown son have been  offered the opportunity to lease out the family farm land to a corporate gas fracking company that would pollute the atmosphere.  Joyce's refusal to comply with her family's wishes, plus her decision to teach against fracking in her classroom, threatens the permanent loss of any contact with her brother, son, and young grandchildren. She is left on the brink of the most crucial choice of her life.

A...My Name is Alice (co-writer)

Published by Avon Books and Samuel French Inc., 1988.

One-act play MS. MAE produced as a segment of the musical, A...MY NAME IS ALICE, 1984-2001 (Switzerland & South Africa),
 1984-present (regional theatres nationwide).


Winner of the Outer Drama Critics Circle Award, 1984.

Cell (one act & full-length)

Published by Dramatists Play Service, 2012 & 2014.

Calaveras Theater Company, Dallas, TX

Molelo Theater, 2015 (San Diego, CA)

Drama League DirectorFest, 2015 (NYC)

Ensemble Studio Theater Marathon of One-Act Plays, 2011 (NYC)


Rene  opens her trailer door to her down-and-out sister Cerise,  and her niece Gwen.  Rene arranges for them both to join her as guards at the female, and children immigration detention center that provides the livelihood for most people in their small town.  At first, Gwen shows compassion for the detainees, refuses to sign off on the death-by-neglect of a sick Haitian infant,  and struggles to hold on to her humanity.  But the threat of losing her place in her family is too great.   Meanwhile, the stresses of the inhumane conditions of the detention center cost Aunt Rene her sanity.


Video interview about CELL >>

New York Times Review >>

Vanguard Culture Review >>

Listen to podcast production of “Cell” and interview: Playing On Air


Published by Broadway Play Publishing Co., 2011.

Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Act Plays, 2009 (NYC)


An African-American female veteran of the Iraq War returns home to Detroit with a mutilated face.


Video interview about DAUGHTER >>

Dearborn Heights

Published by Applause Books, Dramatists Play Service, and Smith & Kraus.

Vital Theatre Company, 2006 (NYC)

Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Act Plays, 1995 (NYC)

Act One Productions, 1995 (CA)

Vanderbilt University Theatre, 1988 (TN)


New York Times Review >>

In Silence, Where We Breath


Maiden Lane

Published by Faber and Faber, 2000.

Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon, 1999 (NYC)

Ma Rose

Published by Samuel French, 1990, and Applause Books

Indiana Repertory Theatre, 1996 (IN)

Theatre North, 1993 (OK)

Eureka Theatre, 1990 (CA)

The Women's Project and Productions, 1988 (NYC)

The Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Act Plays, 1986 (NYC)


Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Drama (1988)

Presented at the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony for Cassandra Medley at Ensemble Studio Theatre, with Ruby Dee and Mary Alice in the lead roles (2004)


New York Times Review >>


Published in Muleteeth Magazine, 1993, and 13th Moon Magazine, 1991.

Hamlet Theatre, 1995 (NYC)

Ms. Edie

Published in Literature the Evolving Canon, 1995.

Factory Theatre, 1994 (GA)

Noon Day Sun

Published by Broadway Play Publishing Co., 2006.

Sarah Lawrence College, 2016

Diverse Theatre Company, 2008 (Theatre Row, NYC)

Theatre Charlotte, 2001 (NC)

Theatrefest, 2001 (NJ)


Nominated for the 2008 "August Wilson Playwriting Award."

1947, Alabama. A young, very fair  skinned Negro woman boards  a train traveling up North and is coincidently given the chance to move to the whites only passenger   car. Thus begins her 10 years of living as a white woman, and indeed marrying a white man, who adores her. Ten years of bliss and then and one fateful night pet a public reception, she crosses path with the hotel janitor who happens to Black husband from the past, whom she never expected to travel North, let alone see  again in her life.  Worse still,  her pregnancy is confirmed: the very factor that possibly expose her disguise.   Her momentous decision  irreversibly changes her future forever.


Video Excerpt >>

Time Out NY Review >>

Pay Our Respects

Published by 52nd Street Project Collection of Children's Plays

The 52nd Street Project Children's Theatre, 1986 (NYC)


Published by Broadway Play Publishing Co., 2006.

Kuntu Rep, 2007 (PA)

Southern Rep. of New Orleans, 2007 (LA) 

Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2006 (NYC)

St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, 2006 (MO)

Magic Theatre, 2004 (San Francisco, CA).

Commission from the Alfred P. Sloane Foundation, 2004 (EST, NYC).

Winner of the 2006 Audelco "August Wilson Playwriting Award.

Featured in Science Friday and National Public Radio.


A young, female African-American bio geneticist is on the brink of a brilliant  career,  which now includes the opportunity  to appear in a televised science documentary about DNA genetics and the fallacy of racial identity as a scientific  theory. She has secretly rejected the bogus "scientific"philosophy that she was raised with by her loving parents: namely, the idea that black people are mentally, physically, creatively superior to all other people because of the content of the darker pigmentation in their skin.    When her loving mother pleads that she co-author a book on "black racial superiority," the secrets that she is hidden from her family threatened to be revealed,  including the existence of her white male lover, whom they would most definitely condemn.   Ultimately, she must choose between the absolute rejection of her family, and her devotion to her  scientific ideas and public reputation. 

New York Times Review >>

Listen to Interview on National Public Radio >> 

Listen to Radio Play on LA Theatre Works (2008) >>


Monologue excerpt published in Muleteeth Magazine, 1993.



Finalist for Minority Playwright's Festival, (Group Theatre, Seattle, WA).

Waking Women

Published by Antaeus, 1991.

People’s Light Theatre, 2005 (NYC)

Blackberries Productions Inc., Women's Shelters, 1991 (NYC)

Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Act Plays, 1987 (NYC)


New York Times Review  >>


Published by Broadway Play Publishing Co., 2011.


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Writers Gym

Creative writing coaching and feedback sessions are conducted by way of online video media  

(Skype/FaceTime/Google Chat)


Writers' Gym

“You canʼt wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” 

- Jack London 

"Cassandra Medley, teaching for the  "SPARC PROJECT" - Richmond, Virginia, 2017.

$65.00/half hour session
Manuscript reading:
for first 60 pages of reading draft material. $0.50 for each additional page. 
Manuscript Analysis Session:
$15.00/15 min. for additional session time

Have an idea for a play, screenplay, prose, or creative non-fiction piece you have always yearned to write, but never seem to get around to actually putting the words down? Do you have trouble returning to your writing project once your enthusiasm and confidence seem to melt away?

Award-winning playwright Cassandra Medley offers The Writers' Gym for aspiring and/or practicing writers.


My writing prompts will help guide you to initiate the fiction project you have always wanted to begin, or help you continue and finally complete the writing project you are in the process of creating.


Writers Gym's specialized writing exercises will be tailored to your own specific needs, and will help you transform your writers block into active, and consistent writing practice.

Cassandra Medley leads a playwriting course 

Find inspiration and guidance for developing and fleshing out distinctive, compelling characters. Explore, investigate, and gain access to your spontaneous ideas and visions so as to discover ever more forceful and persuasive story lines.

Start that writing project you are yearning to write, and follow through stages of exploration, development, revision, and completed draft!


"I've been writing for 30 years and have had many teachers, but Cass is the first one to really be able to help me find the things I'm looking for. Her intelligence, compassion and patience, coupled with a high-quality working experience has vastly improved how I write. She gets me to open up and do things that I wasn't able to do before. Consistent, reliable, insightful, if you need support in writing a difficult personal memoir, like I am writing, Cass should be your steady companion for the perilous journey." - Jay Gibson, memoir writer

“Cassandra Medley has successfully mentored university students both at Sarah Lawrence College, and for the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Drew University’s Playwriting Festival, which I produce.  I’ve observed the profound impact Cassandra has on student playwrights.  Her insights not only help refine, clarify, and elevate their plays, but also influence their grown as playwrights and theater artists.  Cassandra has been an asset to my work and the work of many others.”

-Jamie Richards,

 Director Drew University


Cassandra Medley is a playwright and teacher.


Her recently produced plays include: American Slavery Project (NYC), Cell (Molelo Theater, CA, and Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon 2011, NYC), Daughter (Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon 2009, NYC), Noon Day Sun (Diverse City Theatre Company, NYC), and Relativity, a commission from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC).


Ms. Medley has the received the 2004 “Going to the River Writers” Life Achievement Award, the 2002 Ensemble Studio Theatre 25th Anniversary Award for Theatre Excellence, the 2001 Theatrefest Regional Playwriting Award for Best Play, the 1995 New Professional Theatre Award, and the 1995 Marilyn Simpson Award. She was a 1989 finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award in Playwriting, and won the 1990 National Endowment for the Arts Playwright Award. She was the 1986 recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Grant and received a New York State Council on the Arts Grant in 1987.


She teaches playwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, has taught at New York University, and has also served as guest artist at Columbia University, the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop and Seattle University.


Ms. Medley worked as a staff writer for ABC Television on One Life to Live from 1995-97.


She is a playwright member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, New River Dramatists, and the Dramatists Guild.



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