Leah's Writings

Leah's Writings - The Leah Ryan Fund

IowaThe Iowa Theatre Gallery serves many purposes but its most important is to remind students that others who stood where they now stand have gone on to make important contributions in our field. The Gallery also stands as a monument to our department’s long and rich tradition. Leah Ryan is an important part of that tradition.  

Leah’s writings, including plays, essays, letters, and other works have found a home at the Iowa Women’s Archive.  The Iowa Women’s Archives holds more than 1200 manuscript collections that chronicle the lives and work of Iowa women, their families, and their communities. These personal papers and organizational records date from the nineteenth century to the present. Together with oral histories, they document the activities of Iowa women throughout the state and beyond its borders. The Iowa Women’s Archives is open to the public.



Commission, Epic Theater Center,

Winner of the Smith College Social Justice Award

The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov

Commission, Gorilla Repertory Theater, NYC, 1998

Performed Washington Square Park, NYC, 1998


“Chekhov Updated: ‘Got a Problem with That? Anita Gates, The New York Times, 8/28/1998

Hello, Meatman – Loosely adapted from the short story “Murder” by Anton Chekov

Chekhov NOW, The Connelly Theater, NYC, 2000

Mother Courage and her children Bertolt Brecht

Commission, Gorilla Repertory Theater, NYC 1998

The Overcoat

Sutton Amateur Dramatic Club, NYC, 2003

Pigeon, an adaption of Anton Chekhov’s the Seagull

The Seagull, Anton Chekov, 1994

Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA

NYU English and Dramatic Literature Organization, 2002

Vassar College and New York Film and Stage Powerhouse Apprentice Company

Uncle Vanya

New York University English and Dramatic Literature Organization, 2002

Untitled Play based on part of the Cupid and Psyche myth, 1996


Denis Johnson Playwriting Award, first and second prizes, 1993.

Best play or musical written by an undergraduate at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith colleges or the University of Massachusetts.

Outstanding Teaching Award, 1997-1998, University of Iowa Council on Teaching

Jill Commins MacLean Prize, 1993

To a drama major for outstanding dramatic achievements with a comic touch in writing acting or dance.

2013 Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance Armenian Star Award (posthumous)


Crystalville, USA, 4-Part Series in the Valley Optimist (Northampton, MA), January – February 1994

Porn, Perkins Press, March 1991

Brendan’s Car, Perkins Press, Late Summer Issue, 1991

Fumes (excerpted from The Other One, a novel in progress)


Short Order, feature length

Goucher College, Department of Theater, 2001

Hudson Valley Film Festival, 1999


Punk Planet

Contributing columnist with monthly column, 1995 – 2005, fiction editor

Perkins Press

Founding member of the Collective and regular contributor, 1991- 1995


“Urban Renewal in Asbury Park:  When the Boos romanticized the Jersey Shore for America, did he start a process that pushed out the poor?” Punk Planet January/February 90, 2006, pp. 74-77.

“Equal Opportunity Condoms,” Perkins Press, February 1993

“A Kind of Education,” (under the pseudonym Franny Smith) Sojourner: The Women’s Forum, October 1991

“An Evening of Original One-Acts (As opposed to what?   An evening of Two Acts?),” The Proscenium, April 1991

“The Jesus Thing: What’s it About?”  The Proscenium, December 1990


“Stomach Trouble,” Perkins Press, February 1995

“Birds,” Pioneer Valley Forum, March 1994

“Crystalville, USA,” 4-Part Series in the Valley Optimist (Northampton, MA), January – February 1994

“The Wedding Dress,” Perkins Press, Fall 1994

“Convalescence,” Perkins Press, Summer 1992

“Porn”, Perkins Press, March 1991

“Brendan’s Car,” Perkins Press, Late Summer Issue, 1991


Interview with Billy Bragg, Perkins Press, March 1992

“Overcoming the B-Word:  A Conversation with Rich Stearns and Judy Hyman of the Horse Flies,” Perkins Press, May 1991

Interview with Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, with Will Georgiades, Perkins Press, March 1991

“Weaving Rituals:  An Interview with E.M. Broner,” Valley Women’s Voice, December 1983, p. 6.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, New York Post, September 9, 2007

The Ministry of Special Cases, Nathan Englander, New York Post, May 6, 2007

Michael Tolliver Lives, Amistead Maupin, New York Post, June 17, 2007

The Mistress’s Daughter, by A.M. Homes, New York Post, April 8, 2007

Excerpt from play

Aggravated Bureaucracy Syndrome, Perkins Press, November 1992


Special Price for You, Okay

Performed by Kate Rigg, Brave New World:  American Theater Response to 9/11, Town Hall, NYC, September 11, 2002

Reviewed in NY Times.

Birth of a nASIAN, co-written with Kate Rigg

Out North, Anchorage, Alaska, 2006

New World Theater, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005

Mark Taper Forum Asian American Theater Workshop, NYC, 2004

La Mama etc., NYC, 2003

MACLA (Movimiento de Arts y Culture Latino Americans), San Jose, CA, 2005

Consolidated Works, Seattle

Just Say Blow Me, Commission, co-written with Susan Mele (performer)

Theater Project, Baltimore, 2001

Seattle Fringe Festival, 1998

EXIT Theater, San Francisco, 1998

Trap Door Theater, Chicago, 1999

How to be a Post-Modern Slut


New City, Chicago, April 29, 1999

Roxi Starr in 3D, written with Susan Mele

Rose’s Turn, NYC, 2003


Aggravated Bureaucracy Syndrome

Holyoke Community College Drama Club, 1994

Holyoke Community College, 1989


Co-produced with the Turnip Theater, NYC, 1999

Lark Theater, New York, No date

University of Iowa Theater, 1997


“’Bleach’ Blends Tragedy, Comedy,” by Mose Hayward, Daily Iowan, October 9, 1997


Holyoke Community College, 1989


Hyde Park Theater, Austin, TX, 2005

Wildflower Productions, NYC

Ensemble Studio Theater, NYC, 2005


Powerhouse Theater and Vassar, New York Film and Stage Company

Smith College Theater, 1990

Hallie Flanagan Studio Theater, Smith College, 1992

Proscenium, Hallie Flannagan Studio Theater, Smith College, 1991

Dead Brother Joe

Maipayne Productions at Urbus Orbis, Chicago, 1992

Smith College Theater, 1990

Holyoke Community College, 1989


Reader: Chicago Free Weekly, Stephanie Shaw


Producers Club, NYC, 1998

Expanded Arts, NYC, 1998

Mai Payne Productions, San Francisco Fringe Festival, 1997

Yale Cabaret, NYC, 1996

21st Century Playwrights Festival, Springfest ’96, National Arts Club, NYC

The Red Room, NYC


The Echo Theater Company, LA, 2004

Prospect Theater Company, NYC, 2008

Grade Eight from Outer Space

Playwrights Week, Lark Theater, NYC, 1999

NADA, NYC, 1997

Iowa Writers Workshop (workshop), 1996

Maipayne Productions at Urbus Orbis, Chicago, 1992


“Leah Ryan’s Full Circle Leads her Back to HCC,” HC Connection, March 2001, p. 1.

I’ll Be There

Turnip Theater, NYC, 1997

Riverside Theater, Iowa City, 1996

New Century Theater, Northampton, MA, 1994

Holyoke Community College Drama Club, 1994

The Jesus Thing

Printers Devil Play Bonanza, (workshop), Seattle, 1996

Offstage Theater, London, 1993

Urbis Orbis Theater, Chicago, 1992

Powerhouse Theater/New York Stage and Film at Vassar College

Smith College Theater, Hallie Flannigan Theater, Smith College, 1990

Gypsy Road Company, NYC

Maipayne Productions at Urbus Orbis, Chicago, 1992             


Puff! December 1966, pp. 11-12         

New City: The Chicago Weekly, “Dead Brother Joe & The Jesus Thing,” July 16, 1992

“’The Jesus Thing’ What’s it About?” The Proscenium, December 1990, p. 2.

Miss Information

Skidmore College, 1994

A Party of Four

New Century Theater, Northampton, MA, 1994          

Radio Radio

Holyoke Community College Players, 1994

Dixon Place, NYC, 1996

Raised by Lesbians

NY Fringe Festival, 2008

Green Highway Theater, Chicago, 2000-2001

Subterranean Theater Company, Austin, 2001

Hangar Theater, Ithaca, NY, 2000

New Century Theater, Northampton, MA, 2000

Famous Door Theater, Chicago, 1999

Cornelia Street Café, NYC, 1998

Production Workshop, Iowa Playwrights Festival, 1998

Freaks Local, NYC


“A Writer’s Homecoming,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 6, 2000, pp. 1, 11

Worcester Phoenix, July 2000

“’Raised by Lesbians’ Explores Teen-age Male Psyche.” Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 12, 2000, p. C2


Iowa Playwrights Festival, 1997

The Wedding Dress

Expanded Arts, NYC, 1998

Turnip Theater, 1995

New Century Theater, Northampton, MA 1994

Holyoke Community College Drama Club, 1994

Where I’m Headed      

20th Century Playwrights Festival, Theater Row Theater, NYC, 1996, Reviewed in The New York Times, 1/31, 1996

21st Century Playwrights in Repertory, Theater Row Theater, NYC, 1995

New Century Theater, Northampton, MA 1995

Wordbridge Playwrights Laboratory, Eckerd College, 1994

Mai Payne Productions, Northampton, MA, 1994

Bailiwick Repertory, Director’s Festival, Chicago, 1993

The Wire

Linda Gross Theater at the Atlantic Theater, NYC, 2009

Smith College, Northampton, MA, 2008

Calling Luis (A short play)


Life is Like a Box of Death

Human Tiger: A Story of Geronimo

Can I Run, 1995

Untitled play based on part of Cupid and Psyche myth, 1996



For Here or to Go: Life in the Service Industry. Garrett Country Press, 2005, 195 pp.

Autobiographical Writing

400 Words: Autobiographies, Katherine Sharp, ed., 2005, pp. 80-81.

_________: Compulsions, Katherine Sharp, ed., 2006, pp. 54-5.

“Temp Time Frame,” The Best of Temp Slave, Jeff Kelly, ed., pp. 129-132.


“Cigarette” (from Bleach), Even More Monologues from Women by Women, Tori Haring-Smith, ed., 2001, pp. 123-4.


Pigeon, Playscripts, Inc. 2002


“Grandpa’s Rugs,” Ararat:  A Quarterly.  Autumn 1995, p. 54.

“Things That Stay,” Affilia Journal of Women and Social Work, Fall 1995, pp. 353-4.

Short Stories

“The Only One,” The Touch:  What you Don’t Know Can Kill You . . ., Patrick Merla, ed., 2000, pp. 195-212.

“Office,” [SIC], 1995, pp. 21-22.

“Birds,” Pioneer Valley Forum, March 1994, p. 27.

“Brendan’s Car,” Perkins Press, Late Summer Issue, 1991

“Porn,” The Siren, Spring 1992, pp. 9-16.

“Vermin,” The Amherst Review.  1990, p. 56-7.

“Why Don’t You Go,” Tarah, Spring 1989, pp. 18-20.

 “Other People Live Here,” The Green Age Literary Review, 1988, pp. 40-7.


“Temp Time Frame:  Observations on the Biz World by a Temp Receptionist,” Temp Slave, Issue 10, p. 24.


The Cherry Tree, Arthur Episode, 2007

The Great MacGrady, Arthur Episode, 2008, with Peter Hirsch


Violation Fez, 7 issues, 1995