Hazelwood Jr. High

by  Rob Urbinati

Full Length Play, Drama  /  6f

"In this fierce, disturbing lament for the death of childhood, the characters hardly change - but the audience does... We move from open laughter to uncomfortable giggling to deep, dark silence... Urbinati creates a mental jungle in which vampires and cuddly toys, Pentecostal visions and Kmart are tangled together....This is deft and morally serious writing, never exploitative and ultimately full of pity. Everywhere, there is the kind of precision and care that such a subject demands." - New York Daily News

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Hazelwood Jr. High

by  Rob Urbinati

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

At first, Hazelwood Jr. High is like any other middle school – cliques and crushes, dances and detention. But when a new girl unwittingly steps into a "love triangle," a revenge plot is hatched, and events spin out of control, escalating into a shocking and unimaginable climax. Based on a true story.
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Reviews

REVIEWS:

"In this fierce, disturbing lament for the death of childhood, the characters hardly change - but the audience does... We move from open laughter to uncomfortable giggling to deep, dark silence... Urbinati creates a mental jungle in which vampires and cuddly toys, Pentecostal visions and Kmart are tangled together....This is deft and morally serious writing, never exploitative and ultimately full of pity. Everywhere, there is the kind of precision and care that such a subject demands." - New York Daily News

"Mr. Urbinati's script is based on court testimony and psychological and police reports. Even in the era of Jeffrey Dahlmer and Susan Smith, the story holds its own grotesquerie; you can see why Mr. Urbinati was hooked by it. It takes the absolutely ordinary subject of teenage rivalry and revenge pranks, gives it an exotic lesbian twist and then pushes it to the outer limits of sociopathic behavior. Mr. Elliott, Mr. Urbinati and the cast do nicely in conveying the solemn earnestness of young love and social warfare." - The New York Times

"Hazelwood Jr. High is a blistering piece of drama that's conceived and presented in cinematic terms. Its multiple scenes and locations flow into each other without a break, building a considerable I can't believe I'm watching this steam as Urbinati's story veers from puppydog lesbian romance toward brutal slaughter. The horror of it all is seriocomically underscored by the typical banalities of teen existence while songs by Mariah Carey and 1990's girl groups pulse through the air. If you go, better hang on tight -- it's a wicked midnight ride with the rising generation, and definitely not a show for the squeamish." - New Jersey Star Ledger

"Mr. Urbinati has written this in a combination of documentary and dramatic style, effectively capturing the banality, the provincialism and the simple mindedness of the girls and their cruelty. While he makes some gestures in the direction of psychological explanation, the overall effect -- undoubtedly intentional -- is the frightful ordinariness of these teenagers. Even as they stumble toward savagery, they play their boom boxes, eat at McDonald's, hang out at the mall and gossip about social life." - New York Law Journal 

"A bruising, memorable experience, Hazelwood Jr. High is fascinating and pitch black...Urbinati’s play is a journey into the darkness right under the surface of middle American life....Those open to the experience will find a memorable, worthwhile experience." - Theatre Is Easy 

"The feelings that the play left me with was comparable to how I felt after I first saw one of my favorite plays of all time – The Laramie Project... Potential theatergoers should be advised that the play contains intense moments. Still, I personally believe this play tells a very powerful story, and touches on issues – some of which don’t get talked about enough – that are just as relevant to young people today as they were in the 1990s." - OnStage

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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1990s
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: Hazelwood Jr. High takes place in southern Indiana in 1992. The play consists of many short scenes in a variety of locations, and should move briskly from scene to scene.  The settings can be realistic or suggested. The play can be produced elaborately, as it was in The New Group premiere, or simply, as it has been done at various colleges.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

6f

SHANDA - a cute 12 year-old who wants to fit in
AMANDA - 14, a romantic tomboy
MELINDA - 15, pretty, with a swagger that hides her fears
HOPE - 15, easy-going, from a poor family
TONI - 15, insecure, from a well-to-do family
LAURIE - 16, troubled, with an evangelist mother

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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Roles for Teens

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Authors

Rob Urbinati

Rob Urbinati is a freelance playwright, screenwriter, book author and theater director based in New York City. He is also director of new play development at Queens Theatre. Background and education Rob was born in Framingham, Massachusetts and currently resides in New York City[1]. He received a BA from the Universi ...

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Hazelwood Jr. High was originally produced by The New Group (Scott Elliott, Artistic Director) in a "site-specific" production at I.S. 70 in New York City, February 20 - March 21, under the direction of Scott Elliott.

A version of Hazelwood Jr. High with a less violent ending is now available for production. The changes that can be made in the script to accommodate this Alternate Ending appear in an Appendix to the published version.

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