Skin Deep (Lonoff)

by  Jon Lonoff

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  2m, 2f

"Warm-hearted comedy... A winning play, with enough good-humored laughs and sentiment to keep you smiling from beginning to end." -

A large, lovable, lonely-heart, named Maureen Mulligan, gives romance one last shot on a blind-date with sweet awkward Joseph Spinelli.

Read more +

Skin Deep (Lonoff)

by  Jon Lonoff

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 2f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Romantic Comedy
  • Accolades


    50 productions worldwide
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

In Skin Deep, a large, lovable, lonely-heart, named Maureen Mulligan, gives romance one last shot on a blind-date with sweet awkward Joseph Spinelli; she's learned to pepper her speech with jokes to hide insecurities about her weight and appearance, while he's almost dangerously forthright, saying everything that comes to his mind. They both know they're perfect for each other, and in time they come to admit it. They were set up on the date by Maureen's sister Sheila and her husband Squire, who are having problems of their own: Sheila undergoes a non-stop series of cosmetic surgeries to hang onto the attractive and much-desired Squire, who may or may not have long ago held designs on Maureen, who introduced him to Sheila. With Maureen particularly vulnerable to both hurting and being hurt, the time is ripe for all these unspoken issues to bubble to the surface.

Read more +



"Warm-hearted comedy... the laughter was literally show-stopping. A winning play, with enough good-humored laughs and sentiment to keep you smiling from beginning to end." -

"It's a little Paddy Chayefsky, a lot Neil Simon and a quick-witted, intelligent voyage into the not-so-tranquil seas of middle-aged love and dating. The dialogue is crackling and hilarious; the plot simple but well-turned; the characters endearing and quirky; and lurking beneath the merriment is so much heartache that you'll stand up and cheer when the unlikely couple makes it to the inevitable final clinch." -

"In a country obsessed with weight, plastic surgery, dating, and infidelity, it is little wonder that a playwright has come along to tackle all of these sticky subjects in a new satirical comedy called Skin Deep. This particular production has the virtue of having vital components on firm ground. The crowd delighted in every one-liner the night I attended." -

"Laugh out loud hysterical." -

" ... an adorable relationship story chock full of quick repartee, one-liners, and pungent words of wisdom. Neil Simonish in tone and text, Lonoff takes his characters steps further, from caricatures to real people." - Majestic Theater (MA), (Shera Cohen)

"Warm, fuzzy Valentine laughs ... This is kinder, gentler comedy that still manages to be hysterically funny, and to leave an audience feeling just that much better than when they walked in."  Rainbow Dinner Theatre (PA), CentralPA.BroadwayWorld.Com (Marakay Rogers)

“… a wonderfully happy, bouncy comedy…delightful theatre treat…” - Carpenter Square Theatre (OK), Postcards from the Web (Brent Weber)

“The laughs are plentiful, winning the cast a standing ovation… a sparkling brand new comedy” - Granite Theatre (RI), The Theater Mirror, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

“…a genuinely funny comedy…with characters that the audience can really care about .” - Lake George Dinner Theatre (NY), Lake George Chronicle

“… funny and affirming, a clever boulevard comedy, full of warm comedy and one-liners." - Lake Theatre (NY), The Sunday Gazette Lake George (Matthew G. Moross)

"Compared with comedy, dying is easy, the old adage goes. “Skin Deep,” had its audience quaking with laughter, which is not something you or I could make happen. “Skin Deep” is well-crafted, well-executed comedy." - Lake Theatre (NY), Lake George Mirror, Anthony Hall.

“… filled with laugh-out-loud humor … clever one-liners, many of which reach deeper into the heart.” - Old Academy Players (PA),

“… a funny and often touching portrayal of the woes of middle-aged dating.” - Poway Community Theatre (CA), Pomerado News

“… a delightful gem of a play.” - Stage West (OR), Newport News Times

“4 out of 4 stars. The only drawback: a few of the funny lines were too hard to hear over the raucous laughter.” - Volcano Theatre (CA), Ledger-Dispatch

"SKIN DEEP is poignant, hilarious, a must-see.  Although playwright Jon Lonoff's brilliant, bittersweet script is unapologetically sentimental, it's also unfailingly astute -- never backing off from being painfully honest when it comes to just how much insecurity about one's physical appearance impacts life... His believable, poignant, imperfect characters and their individual attitudes about themselves always ring true and hit you right in the heart. However, in the midst of feeling sorry for their emotional plights, you'll find yourself helplessly laughing out loud." Redwood Curtain Theatre (CA)  TriCity Weekly (Beti Webb Trauth)

" … this zany, family-friendly, warm-hearted romantic comedy takes place in an unkempt apartment of an outer borough of New York City… don’t be fooled by the title. Beneath the surface of Sheila’s Botox injected and surgically enhanced beauty, Maureen’s hysterical oneliners about her eating habits, lovable Joe’s unfiltered candor, and the handsome Squire’s overt flirtatious manner, lays a mixture of true emotions, that go far beyond skin-deep." Lindale Community Theater (TX) TriCity Lindale News and Times (Judy Azar LeBlanc)

“One of those 'feel good' performances. Filled with plenty of laughs and excitement, you will not want to miss it.  This just HAS to be one of the most clever comedies ever written, and the cast performs it with brilliance.  The best thing about it all is that it is so BELIEVABLE!  It is easy to drift away, forgetting your surroundings … almost feeling like you are watching a real interaction between just two regular people.”  Derby Dinner Playhouse (IN) Destination Diaries (Angela Ash)

"If Tennessee Williams had written "The Glass Menagerie" as a slap-ass comedy it might have come out like Jon Lonoff's play "Skin Deep ... it is a true laff-riot as they used to say in promotional copy back in New York in the 1970s."  Town Players of Pittsfield (MA) Berkshire Bright Focus (J. Peter Bergman)

"... excellent script choice for this Valentine season.  The laughs just never stopped coming, from the opening scene to the finale …comedic take on the joys and woes of the perpetually lovelorn ..." Theatre Rocks! (TX)  Ennis Daily News (Kelly Kovar) 

"Remember the awkwardness of a blind date? Playwright Jon Lonoff does. And he’s written a doozy in his comedy, “Skin Deep,” for a couple of gun-shy, middle-aged never-been-marrieds ... this is an enjoyably frothy comedy with a bit of grit underneath." Scripps Ranch Theater (CA) Times of San Diego (Pat Launer)

"Skin Deep ... proves that love comes in all shapes and sizes ... in this clever romantic comedy.  Lonoff has written a wonderfully quirky and hilarious modern love story in an exceptionally witty and unexpected style." The Old Opera House Theatre Company (WV) DC Metro Theater Arts (Johnna Leary)

"Jon Lonoff’s comedy/drama is delightful ... as real as theater gets ... so human, so warm, so amusing."  Curtain Call Theatre (NY)  The Daily Gazette (Paul LaMar)


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
  • Church / Religious Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    Autumn, New York City.  A few years ago.   The action takes place in the unkempt apartment of unkempt Maureen Mulligan in unkempt Forest Hills with an occasional phone call from: a basement in a restaurant in Bensonhurst; a health club near Wall Street; and a plastic surgeon’s office on the upper East Side.

  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus


2m, 2f

MAUREEN MULLIGAN - a large, earthy, attractive, lovable lonely heart; she lives in Forest Hills, Queens, is a devout Catholic and works as a dental hygienist
SHEILA WHITING (neé Mulligan) - Maureen’s very beautiful sister, fashionable, flamboyant and full of advice; she grew up with Maureen and six more brothers and sisters in Queens and went on to marry old Connecticut money and move to New York’s Upper East Side; she wants what she presumes is genuinely best for everyone.
SQUIRE WHITING, JR. - a handsome “government relations” lawyer in a prestigious 'white shoe' law firm; full of charm and self-mocking humor.
JOE SPINELLI - an endearing, lonely guy from Bensonhurst

See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


Available Services



Jon Lonoff

Jon Lonoff's writing credits range from an adaptation of Aesop’s Fables for marionettes to a training film for Sunoco gas station attendants. His theatrical and film writing has included The Garbage Cantata (with Barry Keating), a musical about recycling, commissioned and produced by Riverbarge Productions, published b ...

View full profile

2003, The Main Stage, WorkShop Theater Company New York City.

Now Playing

Community Experiences