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plays by Cody Henderson

Cody Henderson: Full-Length Plays


It’s something like the 1950s and Donald Peterson’s perfect lawn is groomed to win a blue ribbon at the neighborhood parade -- but in the night it turns brown. This means war against his strange and foreign neighbor whose anti-American lawn is all dandelion and clover. And what’s worse, his baton-twirling daughter’s legs are getting far too long for her short-shorts, and she is much too interested in her fiancé’s elephant tusk. Can he make his daughter and restless wife stand by his side like good patriots? Or will their spirits roam from the safety of the suburbs into the dangers of their own hearts?

Character Breakdown: 4M, 3F

Set/Technical: An extraordinary lawn.
Running Time: 2 hours with intermission

Production History:

Redwood Curtain, Eureka, Ca, February 2011


"An astounding, nerve-rattling assault on our values, our way of life, our America. With “The Lawn” as symbol for our self-worth, Mr. Henderson twists, jolts and otherwise finds ways to speed us on an astounding rollercoaster ride that leaves us richly rewarded, exhausted and exhilarated...and, if we’re of a mind, reflective in a way that makes us the better for this experience."

Casa Magazine Santa Barbara, Alex Henteloff

"(Henderson) created one of those deliciously unexpected and defiantly quirky-but-poignant plots—brought to vivid life by paradoxical characters—that defies concrete, artistic description. The situations and people manage, somehow, to be both bizarre, but uncomfortably, recognizably, 'ordinary.'"

Times-Standard (Eureka, Ca), Beti Trauth


2007 Ojai Playwrights Conference (Writer in Residence)

Ensemble Studio Theatre (L.A.)



The Authentic and Historical Account of the INFAMOUS CRIMES and ADVENTURES of Burke & Hare; Involving Vile Acts of GRAVE ROBBING, MURDER, and SEX; Including Detailed Scenes of the Insidious and Lecherous Teachings of the Scandalous Dr. Robert Knox and Helen McDougal; A Lyrical Tragi-Comic True-to-Life Drama in Verse With Spectacular Fights and Stunts! Performed by Skilled and Able Players in Five Exciting Acts

Character Breakdown: 5M, 1F

Set/Technical: The play begins and ends as an interactive kitsch side-show/haunted house -- so whatever the "Authentic Reproduction of an 1820s Edinburgh Inn" looks like is the set for the body of the play.
Running Time: 2 hours


L.A. Weekly Award nomination, "Best New Play"

Backstage West GARLAND AWARD nomination for playwriting

Production History:

The Ghost Road Co./Powerhouse Theatre, Santa Monica, California


"Carrots For Hare is one of the best pieces of theatre I've seen in Los Angeles... a beautifully written script... something so eerily satisfying that I'm still enjoying it."

Backstage West

"Delivered in clever verse, Cody Henderson's ghoulish tale is...absorbing, fantastical and disconcerting."

L.A. Weekly


California Institute of the Arts




After his wife leaves him, beloved high school biology teacher, Andrew Goodspeed, suffers a mild heart attack. In an effort to make sense of his disillusionment, Andrew devises a new course for his students: a study of the science of love. Sharon, Andrew’s best student, is convinced that she is incapable of love. She manipulates the experiment, her teachers, and her peers to prove this theory. But she and Andrew begin to wonder: can true love be proved by observable physiological data? Against his better judgment, Andrew allows Sharon to guide the experiment down a more intimate track, putting his job and his reputation in jeopardy.

WONDERLUST explores the mysteries of love, and our expectations of it, in contemporary American culture. Should it be dissected and studied? Should it be chalked up to faith? Or is it best left a thing of wonder?

Character Breakdown: 3M, 1F

Set/Technical: A school desk. A teacher's desk.
Running Time: 2 hours with intermission

Production History:

Theatre of NOTE, Hollywood, Ca, Summer 2011


The Blank Theatre Co.

Cypress College New Play Festival



Kerri is losing her best friend, Cynthia. And her boyfriend, and her job. Because the terrible things that aren’t happening to her, but are happening in Los Angeles, in the Country, in the World, in the Universe...are too much to take. Her biggest problem is, as Cynthia says, "When you ask people how they're doing, you really mean it."

Character Breakdown: 3M, 2F

Set/Technical: A miniature, idilic Los Angeles and mountains.
Running Time: 70 min., no intermission

Production History:

Lions Share Productions at Theatre of NOTE



Bingo Bingham has made a living spinning products and political candidates. But when his father dies and he inherits his Alzheimer’s-suffering mother, when his daughter, Miranda, leaves college to be with the dangerous conspiracy theorist, Todd, and when his disengaged wife, Annie, has lost faith in him, he begins to spin his own life. Using his polished arsenal of nostalgia, fear, and desire, Bingo tries to manufacture happiness for himself and those he loves. A shocking, terrifying, and funny story about psychological persuasion, manipulation, and loneliness in a world spun out of orbit.

Character Breakdown: 2M, 3F

Set/Technical: A house in the San Fernando valley.
Running Time: 90 minutes with intermission


Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum Writer's Workshop

Cypress College New Play Festival



A $ingle dollar-bill inadvertently connect$ 8 people through time and $pace: Teenagers invent games of love and $ex in a fallout shelter on the eve of the 1962 Cuban Mi$$ile cri$i$. A Ukrainian-American couple struggle through a day of work at their Napa health $pa the morning after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear di$a$ter. And three American turistas in 2004 Havana see themselves anew through the eye$ of Cuban$.

Character Breakdown: 3M, 5F

Set/Technical: An empty stage with pneumatic tubing. A video monitor.
Running Time: 2 hours with intermission


O.C. Weekly Award, "Best New Play"

L.A. Weekly Award nomination, "Best New Play"

Production History:

The Theatre @ Boston Court, Pasadena, California


"Though the Cold War plays in each tale, the real interest comes from watching Henderson's authentically detailed characters reevaluating their own American dreams against the dream represented by George Washington's appraising mug."

L.A. Weekly

"Henderson pieced together this story with a puzzle-master's skill. Unique and constantly engaging... It's clear that Henderson possesses considerable talent."

O.C. Weekly

"Cody Henderson's "Cold/Tender" [is] a piercing, affecting new work about Americans, their privilege, and their disengagement from the world."
>Full Review


New York Stage and Film

A.S.K. Theatre Projects

Cypress College New Play Festival



Cody Henderson: Ten-Minute Plays


A man miraculously survives a skydive after his parachute fails. With a new lease on life, his newfound vim doesn't seem to penetrate the woman interviewing him. He begins to wonder if he's immortal -- or already dead.

Character Breakdown: 1M, 1F

Set/Technical: 2 chairs. Maybe a table.

Production History:

The Rogue Theatre Festival, Fresno, California



A woman takes a cruise to mourn her drowned son. On this surreal journey, the people around her become the half-ghosts and imaginings of the moments when she couldn't save him.

Character Breakdown: 2M, 2F

Set/Technical: The deck of a ship in the middle of a dark, foggy sea.

Production History:

NoHo Arts Center Ensemble