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Jeffrey Sweet (born May 3, 1950) is an American writer, journalist, songwriter and theatre historian. Sweet's father was James Sweet, a science writer for the University of Chicago who aided Supreme Court chief justice Earl Warren in drafting two anti-McCarthy speeches; his mother is violinist Vivian Sweet.

Sweet has been a playwright, screenwriter, lyricist, critic, journalist, teacher, theatre historian, and sometime songwriter and director. He is a resident member of Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater, where thirteen of his plays—including Flyovers, The Action Against Sol Schumann, The Value of Names, Berlin '45, With and Without, Court-Martial at Fort Devens, and Bluff have been produced. His most recent play, Class Dismissed, opened there in March, 2009 under the direction of artistic director Dennis Zacek.[1]

His involvement with musical theatre includes writing the book to a musical version of Murray Schisgal's play Luv with lyrics by Susan Birkenhead and music by Howard Marren. Originally produced off-Broadway under the title Love, it won Outer Critics Circle prizes for best book and best score. It was subsequently revived off-Broadway at the York Theatre in New York, directed by Patricia Birch, under the title What About Luv? and was later produced in London and Tokyo. He also collaborated with Melissa Manchester on a musical called I Sent a Letter to My Love based on the novel by Bernice Rubens. Sweet is also the author of Something Wonderful Right Away (an oral history of Chicago's The Second City troupe), The Dramatist's Toolkit and Solving Your Script (two texts on dramatic writing).

Sweet's plays fall into two groups—those inspired by historical-political subjects and those springing from more personal impulses. The most produced of the former is The Value of Names, a story set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the blacklist. In it, a young actress finds herself facing the prospect of working with the director who named her father to HUAC during the McCarthy era. Since its 1983 premiere at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Names has been revived a number of times in the past few years, most notably in a series of productions starring Jack Klugman (the most recent at the Falcon Theatre was nominated for "best play" in the Ovation Awards of Los Angeles; it was a remounting of the 2006 production directed by James Glossman at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ). Other actors who have played in it include Howard Morris, Ed Asner, Garry Marshall, Hector Elizondo, Shelley Berman, Byrne Piven, Warren Mitchell, Allen Swift, Robin Groves, Helen Hunt, Sally Murphy and Larry Block.

Flyovers, which premiered at Victory Gardens in 1998, represents a more personal project. The story of a film critic who returns to the small town in Ohio where he grew up and encounters threats he thought he left behind years ago, the play anticipated the confrontation between red state and blue state cultures. The original production, directed by Dennis Zacek, starred William Petersen, Amy Morton, Marc Vann and Linda Reiter. Gary Cole and Teddi Sidall took over for Petersen and Morton when the run was extended. The play won a Joseph Jefferson Award for its script, and it was recently published in Victory Gardens Theater Presents Seven New Plays From the Playwrights Ensemble, an anthology from Northwestern University Press. A showcase production in New York in 2009, produced by Artistic New Directions, 78th Street Theatre Lab and Jeff Landsmann, starred Richard Kind, Michele Pawk, Kevin Geer and Donna Bullock. Northwestern University Press also published an anthology containing nine of his scripts in under the title The Value of Names and Other Plays by Jeffrey Sweet; Chicago Tribune theatre critic emeritus Richard Christiansen wrote the foreword.

Sweet has also written for other media, including hundreds of hours of television as well as radio adaptations of some of his plays. His work for the soap opera One Life to Live resulted in a Writers Guild of America Award for writing for a daytime serial in 1992 and an Emmy nomination. Under the title of "creative consultant," he also co-wrote the adaptation of Hugh Whitemore's Pack of Lies for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. The script, officially credited to the pseudonym Ralph Gallup, was nominated for an Emmy, and the show won a Peabody Award.

Sweet serves as a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild, is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, and is an alumnus of New Dramatists. He contributes a regular column to the magazine, Dramatics.


  1. ^ Weiss, Hedy (1 April 2009). "1960s turbulence at Victory Gardens' 'Class'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 

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320850 videos foundNext > 


Cover by Jeffrey Sweet

scene from Cover by Jeffrey Sweet. Adrien Cirou and Sassan.

Jeffrey Sweet: You Only Shoot the Ones You Love

Playwright and Second City historian Jeffrey Sweet in excerpts from his one-man show at Ensemble Studio Theatre, "You Only Shoot the Ones You Love." Video production by Cynthia ...

Reva & Jeffrey - "Sweet Child"

A Reva, Jeffrey and Colin O'Neill MV.

Howard Jeffrey: Sweet Seductive Screams

(c) 2008 QVQ Publishing Words and Music Howard Jeffrey.

Jeffrey Sweet's "You Only Shoot the Ones You Love:" Russians

A scene about Russians from Jeffrey Sweet's one-man show "You Only Shoot the Ones You Love," playing at FringeNYC 2011. To learn more, please visit ...

Dave's Gone By Interview (5/28/06) -- JEFFREY SWEET

Dave Lefkowitz interviews playwright and theater critic Jeffrey Sweet Topics include: playwriting, theater, Flyovers, The Value of Names Segment originally aired May 28, 2006, as part of the...

Creepy Jeffrey's "Sweet Egyptian Helmet"

With the violence unfolding in Egypt, perhaps you've seen some of the makeshift helmets that folks have put together to prevent themselves from being pelted by rocks. "Sweet Egyptian Helmets"...

jeffrey en rutger (jeffrey's sweet sixteen) lol

jeffrey en rutger en jeffrey knalt egt met zijn kop tegen de garage.

Wayne Jeffrey Sweet Caroline

Wayne Jeffrey live Aug 1 2008 @ Daniel O'connell's Pub.

320850 videos foundNext > 

222 news items

cleveland.com (blog)

cleveland.com (blog)
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:33:45 -0700

Book Festival Rocky River Public Library presents the Book Festival at Don Umerley Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The festival will feature 50 fiction, non-fiction, children's and teen authors, poets and book ...
Broadway World
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:07:30 -0700

Linda Setzer (Barbara) appeared opposite John Astin in Jeffrey Sweet's "Bluff" at NY's Shadowland Theatre, Balitmore's Merrick Barn,and BoarsHead Theatre in Michigan. Recently, she played Margaret in Terrence McNally's "A Perfect Ganesh" at Luna ...
WorkCompCentral (subscription)
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:07:30 -0700

... is a sign of his commitment to fix the Board, you will have the opportunity to make substantive and positive changes as was done in the early years of the Pataki administration under the aegis of Chairman Robert Snashall and Vice Chairman Jeffrey ...
The Mercury
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 12:03:45 -0800

One of the hits of 2011's New York Fringe (reprised in their Encore series), a 75-minute yarn about how the Cossacks almost killed Jeffrey Sweet's grandmother and what that has to do with a generation of Jews bringing teeth and cojones (look it up) to ...


Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:37:30 -0700

Lorain County Community College. Stocker Center for the Arts, 1005 N. Abbe Road, Elyria. 440-366-4040 or stockerartscenter.com. Jeffrey Sweet's "American Enterprise." 8 p.m. Thursday. 04/23/15 Through Saturday, April 25. $9; $8, senior citizens and ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Fri, 30 May 2014 13:18:01 -0700

In "The O'Neill," his history of the O'Neill Theater Center, a Connecticut performing-arts complex named for the playwright, who grew up nearby, Jeffrey Sweet tells the story of professional experimenters who have never relinquished the idea of giving ...

PR Web (press release)

PR Web (press release)
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:30:00 -0700

CIF18 will pay tribute to this ground-breaking ensemble with a special performance of Jeffrey Sweet's You Only Shoot The One's You Love—a one-man show on wisdom gained through his working with groundbreaking comic legends, like Del Close, Elaine ...

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Free Press
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:46:50 -0700

The developer of the new Red Wings arena is expected to resume discussions with the Detroit City Council today about construction of the arena amid concerns from some elected officials about where downtown visitors will park. A parking garage to be ...

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