Now (2019)

Libretto by John Grimmett
Music by Avner Dorman

Semi-Finalist, Just4Shorts Film & Screenplay Competition (Los Angeles, CA)
Opening Night Premiere, 2019 Houston QFest Film Festival

Worlds are turned upside down for two couples when a partner in each couple undergoes a gender transition. Based on true events, Now explores losing what you thought you had and gaining something you could never imagine. The film features Chelsea Helm, Joseph Leppak, and Lucia Lucas, who was hailed by NBC News as “the first known trans person to perform a principal role on the operatic stage in the U.S.”

Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) for its Star-Crossed: A Serial Web Opera series

With the popularity of the online series, we hope that Star-Cross’d speaks to younger viewers about opera in a fresh way.
— Houstonia Magazine, July 23, 2019


A play by John Grimmett

Eddy is no idiot -- if that's what you think. In this adaptation of Georg Büchner's Woyzeck, audiences are taken to the hot American south where inner violence works its way outward.



Libretto by John Grimmett
Music by Kenneth Froelich

On November 27, 1941, a group of patriots, brandishing hunting rifles, stopped traffic on U.S. Route 99 south of Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County in Northern California, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the state of Jefferson was in "patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon" after feeling abandoned by their state legislatures. The State of Jefferson registers the journey of Stanton Delaplane, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, who captures the story of the short-lived rebellion.

Commissioned by the Fresno State Opera Theatre, Fresno, CA.

23 DECEMBERS (2016)

A screenplay for actors by John Grimmett

As a young girl, Ella considered herself a motherless child when her mother abandons her after a week at grandma's house. Years later, Ella discovers a box in her father's closet which holds the secret as to why her mother left. Marked by Christmases and birthdays and ideas of perfect mothers, Ella sets out to find her... and to find herself.

Commissioned by the Red Door Theatre Company, Pasadena, TX.

John is the definition of artist in that he works for the joy of creation. He directs, acts, writes, composes, and designs all because he must.
— director Josh Jordan to the Houston Chronicle, September 26, 2016
Illustration by Laura Friedman.

Illustration by Laura Friedman.


Music and libretto by John Grimmett
Based on the story of the same name by Sally Coveleskie, Peter Goodrich and Laura Friedman

It's almost time for Ana's piano recital, but she is having a difficult time performing her music. She keeps forgetting the notes and the rhythms and everything. Even when she tries to concentrate, nothing comes out right. One day, Ana's piano comes alive... it's Henry the Steinway! With Henry's help, Ana prepares for her big day with confidence -- and manages to go on a few adventures with Henry and his friends! Re-imagined for the stage as an opera from a popular children's book series, this gentle story encourages children to use their imaginations and reach for the stars, no matter how far away they seem.


Libretto by John Grimmett
Music by Daniel Zajicek

During his visit to the beach, a man is pulled underwater in a strong undertow, and after twelve minutes without oxygen, he never regains consciousness. Nothing in the Nothingness is an operatic monologue that explores what it means to be alive and functioning in a vegetative state when consciousness is not possible.

The spookiest excerpt was “Nothing in the Nothingness.” Bass-baritone Nate Mattingly — one of the festival’s busiest singers — gave a performance that enhanced the excerpt’s sense of hopelessness, as did Zajicek’s music and Grimmett’s text.
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 5, 2017

RAIN DOWN THE RUIN (2013-2015)

Words by Jason Carlson (2015 Kleban Prize Finalist)
Music by John Grimmett

Rain Down The Ruin follows 17-year-old Cole McAllister and his mother, Misty, in a fight to keep what is left of their family intact after Cole’s father, Army Lieutenant William J. McAllister, commits suicide while on active duty in Afghanistan.

From "Rain Down The Ruin" (2014 CDP Production at New York University; videography by Micah Joel). 



Libretto by John Grimmett
Music by Charles Halka

And Jill Came Tumbling After was inspired by the idea of hikikomori – a phenomenon which describes adolescents and adults (particularly Japanese men) who isolate themselves in their rooms for many years at a time, usually as the result of feelings of failure and shame. In the opera, Jack and Jill have not seen each other in almost twelve years but recently have started writing to each other. Jill, having been pushed her whole life by her overbearing father, has a successful career as a businesswoman, but Jack, to the dismay of his mother, has confined himself to his room for over a decade. On the surface, both Jack and Jill appear to be happy with the paths they have chosen, but soon we discover the different forms of isolation and loneliness experienced by both characters.

Halka uses an impressionistic-influenced musical language. One innovation is that he pairs solo instruments with the characters. A solitary bassoon accompanies Jack and Jill sings with just a clarinet… an aria for the mother is quite lovely.
— TheaterJones, May 15, 2015
This year’s crop was hearteningly appealing — musically, if not always dramatically… By and large the music ranged from effective to downright appealing. This was a well-chosen crop of composers.
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 8, 2015


Libretto by John Grimmett
Music by Liam Wade

Ginger Taylor is, perhaps, the most famous actress on the Orpheum Circuit: her beauty and talent cause the hearts of even the most honorable men to beat a little faster.  When Mabel McGinley, a crazed housewife armed with a revolver, breaks into Ginger's dressing room and accuses her of having an extramarital affair with Mabel's husband, Seamus, Ginger attempts to disarm Mabel with the truth: this sort of thing happens to beautiful actresses all the time, and it is an attempt by the husband to test his wife's loyalty by seemingly having an affair in order to make her extremely jealous.  When Seamus suddenly emerges from Ginger's closet and explains himself, we must decide for ourselves what is the truth, what is a lie, and what is merely a "part of the act."

Shantelle Przybylo and Julia Mintzer in  Part of the Act . Photo by Scott Suchman/WNO.

Shantelle Przybylo and Julia Mintzer in Part of the Act. Photo by Scott Suchman/WNO.

Shantelle Przybylo, Julia Mintzer, and James Shaffran in  Part of the Act.  Photo by Scott Suchman/WNO.

Shantelle Przybylo, Julia Mintzer, and James Shaffran in Part of the Act. Photo by Scott Suchman/WNO.

Grimmett’s libretto gave Wade the chance to indulge in flighty coloratura writing, an established trope for suggesting feminine wiles.
— The Washington Post, November 20, 2012

ODETTE (2012)

Words by Jason Carlson
Music by John Grimmett

Odette is a music-theatre piece about a day in the life of a young female Haitian restavek, a child who is sent by her parents to work for another household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child.  In this heartbreaking story, Odette must learn how to mitigate her way through a world of manipulation and deceit in order to survive.



During the turn of the century, freak shows were just another attraction for the average carnival-goer. But for those on the other side of the footlights it was often their only means of survival. Come inside, if you dare, and witness an unlikely romance that blooms from the daily struggle of carnival life. Who knows, you too may find you have something freakish to contribute . . . 

Choreography - Meghann Bronson and Hiroki Ichinose
Scenic Design - Doss Freel
Costume Design - Ariel Pellman
Lighting Design - Jennifer Reiser
Original Composition - Marcus ScottMax Vernon, Tidtaya Sinutoke and John Grimmett



Based on a concept by josh jordan
Book by josh jordan
Music and Lyrics by John Grimmett

Sleeping Beauty: The Dream is a modern retelling of the classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of Briar Rose once she pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep, beginning her journey through a twisted dream world. She must find safety in a strange and dangerous place, being pursued by the evil spirit, Pride, and her wicked Thorns. In the waking world, the King and Queen grieve as they stand sentinel over their daughter's slumbering body for many years. Pursued by nagging thoughts of broken dreams and shattered promises, the Queen lives in a world of regret and sadness while the King remains vigilant and hopeful that one day a worthy prince will come. Assisted by the wise women (the “fairies”), memories, and younger versions of herself, Briar Rose must discover the truth behind her slumbering curse and stay away from Pride lest she fall asleep in the dream world and be forever lost to hope.



A play by John Grimmett

In 1984, the annual Lil’ Miss Lovelady Pageant is, perhaps, the most talked about event of the year in Lovelady, Texas: just ask Emma James, who has won the pageant the last five years. And everyone knows that Emma James (but more likely her crazy mother, Candy) will stop at nothing to retain the title and the crown, the town’s most coveted possession. The contest becomes complicated, however, when Mary Beth Vickers – Candy’s rival from high school ever since a tragic incident at their senior prom – decides to disguise her son, Bubba, as a girl to run against Emma in the pageant! Aided by her best friend, Brandine, Mary Beth sets out to cast Candy into the shades of disgrace and knock Emma off her throne through a series of unfortunately hysterical and gender-bending events. 


The show has a solid script that is anchored by a very funny and inspired performance by none other than the playwright. The story also took some risks with the material… there are some surprising moments of understanding: the theme that is at play here is being true to the person you really are and doing in life what you love to do.
—, June 13, 2011