J. T. Rogers

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J. T. Rogers
Rogers speaks during an event at the International Peace Institute in 2017.
Rogers speaks during an event at the International Peace Institute in 2017.
EducationUniversity of North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA)
Notable worksBlood and Gifts, Oslo

J. T. Rogers is a multiple-award-winning, internationally recognized American playwright who lives in New York.[1] Rogers has written several plays including Oslo, Blood and Gifts, The Overwhelming, White People, and Madagascar.

In 2017, Rogers' Oslo won the Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work,[2] the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play,[3] the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play,[4] and the Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Play,.[5]

Rogers' work has been staged at theaters including London's Royal National Theatre,[6] New York's Lincoln Center Theater[7] and Roundabout Theater,[8] and Australia's Melbourne Theatre Company.

Rogers is now writing for television, including the upcoming HBO Max television series Tokyo Vice, starring Ansel Elgort and Ken Watanabe[9] and produced by Endeavor Content and HBO Max.[10][11][12] Rogers has also written for film, including a filmed version of his Tony Award-winning Oslo for HBO, directed by Bartlett Sher and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.[13][14][15]


Rogers attended Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri,[16] and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 1990, where he studied acting. He also received an honorary doctorate from UNCSA in 2009.[17] Rogers serves on the board of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund.


Rogers has indicated that his playwriting interests include: "stories... framed against great political rupture... [about people] who struggle with, and against... [unfolding] world events — and who are [permanently changed] through that struggle."[18][19]

Rogers is known for plays that deal with what he called "theater that engages the public realm" in his much-discussed[20] Laura Pels Keynote address to the New York theater community in 2008.

The speech was published as an essay in American Theatre magazine called "Writing Without Borders". His play The Overwhelming, in which an American family who arrive in Kigali, Rwanda, in early 1994, must confront life-and-death realities of the Rwandan genocide, had its world premiere at the Cottesloe Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London, in association with Out of Joint, in May 2006. It then toured throughout the UK and was performed on BBC radio. Its American premiere was at the Roundabout Theatre in September 2007.

For the play, Rogers received the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award at the 2007 William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas. The Overwhelming has since been done throughout the world, selected as a Top 10 Play of the Year by Time Magazine, Time Out New York and the Chicago Tribune, and nominated for Best Play of the Year by London's South Bank Show and Boston's Elliot Norton Awards.[21]

In 2009, Rogers was the sole American playwright along with 11 British authors to create The Great Game: Afghanistan for the Tricycle Theatre, London. The cycle of plays was a sensation,[22] garnering an Olivier nomination for all involved.

Rogers wrote the full-length play Blood and Gifts, which debuted at the Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatre, London, in September 2010, starring Lloyd Owen with direction by Howard Davies. The play premiered in the US Off-Broadway in October 2011 at the Lincoln Center Newhouse Theater, directed by Bartlett Sher.[23] Charles Isherwood, in his review in The New York Times, wrote that the play was "superb", with a "first rate production...the characters...really seem to be living in this turbulent history..."[24] The reviewer for The Guardian, Michael Billington, criticised the writer's "advantage of hindsight which lends much of the action a self-conscious irony" but otherwise praised him for a "complex, demanding play."[25] The play was nominated for the 2012 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play[26] and Outstanding Lead Actor, Jefferson Mays and the 2012 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Jefferson Mays.[27]

J. T. Rogers' play Madagascar is set in a hotel room overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome. It is about a mysterious disappearance that haunts the life of the play's three characters. It was commissioned by and had its world premiere at the Salt Lake Acting Company in November 2004.[28] The play received the American Theatre Critics Association's 2004 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award and the 2005 Pinter Review Prize for Drama, which included its first publication by the University of Tampa Press and a related public dramatic reading. It was also a finalist for the ATCA's Steinberg New Play Award and performed at the Summer Play Festival in New York City in July 2005. The play had its Australian premiere at the Melbourne Theatre Company in February 2010,[29] directed by Sam Strong.[30] The play had its European debut at London's Theatre 503 in May 2010, directed by Tom Littler and featuring Sorcha Cusack, Barry Stanton and Miranda Foster.[31]

Rogers's other plays include White People, which had its world première at the Philadelphia Theatre Company and then received the L.A. Drama Critics Circle and John Barrymore Award nominations for "Best Play of the Year". The revised play was produced by Starry Night Entertainment Off-Broadway in 2009, and has been seen at the English Theatre of Berlin. The play was seen in repertory with Madagascar at the Road Theatre in Los Angeles in 2010. His Seeing the Elephant was nominated for the Joseph Kesselring Prize for "Best New American Play", and his play Murmuring in a Dead Tongue was produced by Epic Rep, in New York City, where he is a company member, in its 2003–2004 season. In 2008, it was mounted as part of the inaugural DC Theater Alliance.

His works have been staged in the United States at Lincoln Center Theater,[32] Roundabout Theater Company,[33] in London at the Royal National Theatre[34] and on London's West End,[35] and across the world, including: Israel, Australia, South Korea,[36] Germany, Norway,[37] and Canada.[38] Rogers's plays are published by TCG Books and Nick Hern, and Dramatists Play Service in acting editions. His essays have appeared in The New York Times,[39] The Guardian,[40] New Statesman,[41] and American Theatre.[42]

Rogers has given speeches at London's JW3, in New York City at the Sayers & Doers[43] and House of Speakeasy[44] speakers series; and at Claremont McKenna College in Los Angeles. He has taught master classes at Yale University, Carnegie-Mellon University, New York University, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Rogers' 2016 political drama Oslo became his most successful work to date, including a highly acclaimed Broadway run.[45] Oslo premiered Off-Broadway at the Lincoln Center Newhouse Theatre to nearly universal acclaim.[46] Oslo transferred to the Lincoln Center Beaumont Theatre, a Broadway house, where it opened on April 13, 2017. Of the larger Broadway production, Ben Brantley of the New York Times wrote that "J. T. Rogers's Oslo, an against-the-odds story of international peacemaking, is undeniably a big play, as expansive and ambitious as any in recent Broadway history. So it is particularly gratifying to announce that it has been allowed to stretch to its full height in the thrilling production that opened on Thursday night, directed with a master's hand by Bartlett Sher."[45] Oslo's cast features Jennifer Ehle and Jefferson Mays, who also appeared in the Off-Broadway production.[47]

The Broadway production won seven awards for Best New Play, including the prestigious 2017 Tony Award for Best New Play. After Broadway, Oslo transferred to London for a September 2017 run at the Royal National Theater, followed by a three-month transfer to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's West End.[48]

Oslo currently enjoys a healthy career in repertory theater, having played in 2018 at Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction, Vermont; at the ACT Theater in Seattle, Washington (October and November 2018).[49]

Rogers was selected as one of ten playwrights in the United States to receive a NEA/TCG Theatre Residency for 2004–2005, through which he was playwright in residence at the Salt Lake Acting Company (Salt Lake City). In 2004 and 2008, Rogers was awarded playwriting fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His plays are published by Faber and Faber in the US and UK and in acting editions in the US through Dramatists Play Service and Playscripts. Rogers is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a resident playwright at New Dramatists. In 2012, he won a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for his work.[50]


  • Oslo (2016)
  • Blood and Gifts (2011)
  • The Overwhelming (2004)
  • Madagascar (2004)
  • Murmuring in a Dead Tongue (1998; 2003)
  • Seeing the Elephant
  • White People
  • Above the Beasts
  • Bob Comes to Life
  • Frankfurt
  • Penetrating Malaysia
  • Guy Talk
  • Lionel's Blue
  • Chicks 'N Beer
  • The Saddest Lines


Rogers wrote the screenplay for a filmed version of his Tony Award-winning play Oslo.[51] The film starred Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott and was directed by Tony-winner Bartlett Sher, who helmed the Broadway play. Steven Spielberg and Marc Platt served as executive producers alongside Rogers, Sher, and Cambra Overend.[14] It is a production of HBO and Endeavor Content.


Rogers wrote the television drama Tokyo Vice, based on the non-fiction book by Jake Adelstein. The eight-part series was produced for HBO Max and stars Ansel Elgort, playing Adelstein, an American journalist who embeds himself into the Tokyo Vice police squad to reveal corruption. The first episode was directed by Michael Mann.[11] The series also features Ken Watanabe,[52] Odessa Young, and Ella Rumpf.[53] It chronicles Jake's daily descent into the underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing and no one is what or who they seem.[54][55]

Rogers is currently writing a TV series for Netflix.[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Soloski, Alexis (November 16, 2011). "Mr. Rogers's Very Tough Neighborhood". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Obie Awards, "2017 Winners
  3. ^ "Lortel Awards Updating" broadwayworld.com, May 7, 2017
  4. ^ "Outer Critics Circle Awards 2017 Full List" Variety, 2017
  5. ^ " Variety, May 2017
  6. ^ "Blood and Gifts, National Theatre, review". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  7. ^ Brantley, Ben (2016-07-11). "Review: A Byzantine Path to Middle East Peace in 'Oslo'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  8. ^ Brantley, Ben (2007-10-24). "The Overwhelming - Theater - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (Sep 12, 2019). "'Tokyo Vice': Ken Watanabe To Star In HBO Max Drama Series". Retrieved Apr 13, 2021.
  10. ^ Rogers, J.T. (playwright), "Japan’s Wowow Joins ‘Tokyo Vice’ Alongside Endeavor and HBO Max", November 24, 2020, Variety (magazine) retrieved Nov. 24, 2020
  11. ^ a b Raup, Jordan (Nov 24, 2020). "Michael Mann Resumes Production on Tokyo Vice". Retrieved Apr 13, 2021.
  12. ^ "Japan's WOWOW Boards Michael Mann's 'Tokyo Vice' Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Nov 23, 2020. Retrieved Apr 13, 2021.
  13. ^ Rogers, J.T. (playwright), "Ruth Wilson & Andrew Scott Starring In HBO Movie ‘Oslo’; Spielberg Exec’ing Tony-Winning Play Adaptation", November 9, 2020, Deadline Hollywood retrieved Nov. 24, 2020
  14. ^ a b "Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott to Topline HBO Movie From Steven Spielberg". The Hollywood Reporter. Nov 9, 2020. Retrieved Apr 13, 2021.
  15. ^ McPhee, Ryan (Nov 9, 2020). "Andrew Scott and Ruth Wilson to Star in Movie Adaptation of Tony-Winning Oslo". Playbill. Retrieved Apr 13, 2021.
  16. ^ Bartle, Mitchell. "Rock Bridge graduate wins Tony award". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Playwright and alumnus J.T. Rogers wins Tony Award for "Oslo"". www.uncsa.edu. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  18. ^ Rose, Charlie (interviewer), with interviewees diplomat Terje Rød-Larsen, playwright J. T. Rogers, and director Bartlett Sher, with other segments, in Charlie Rose: The Week, May 5, 2017, (Video) as aired May 6, 2017, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), retrieved May 6, 2017
  19. ^ Rogers, J.T. (playwright), Theater: "'Oslo' and the Drama in Diplomacy", June 17, 2016, The New York Times retrieved May 6, 2017
  20. ^ "Laura Pels Keynote Address J.T. Rogers" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  21. ^ "The Overwhelming". New Dramatists.org. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  22. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Olivier-Nominated The Great Game: Afghanistan Arrives in New York". Playbill. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Reviews of Blood and Gifts". LCT.org. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  24. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Choosing Sides in Afghanistan: Spies Playing in the Great Game" The New York Times, November 21, 2011
  25. ^ Billington, Michael. "Theatre Review. 'Blood and Gifts' " The Guardian, September 15, 2010
  26. ^ "News Article". www.uncsa.edu. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  27. ^ Blood and Gifts lortel.org, retrieved March 23, 2017
  28. ^ Lincoln, Ivan M. " 'Madagascar': World premiere by Salt Lake Acting Company begins Tuesday" deseretnews.com, November 14, 2004
  29. ^ "Madagascar | Melbourne Theatre Company". Archived from the original on 2019-01-12.
  30. ^ Broadbent, Penelope. "Madagascar australianstage.com.au, February 19, 2010
  31. ^ Shenton, Mark. "JT Rogers' 'Madagascar' to Receive British Premiere at London's Theatre 503" Playbill, April 30, 2010.
  32. ^ "OSLO". Lincoln Center Theater.
  33. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (October 23, 2007). "J.T. Rogers' Rwanda-Set The Overwhelming Opens Off-Broadway Oct. 23". Playbill.
  34. ^ "Oslo | National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. 3 April 2017.
  35. ^ "Oslo at the Harold Pinter Theatre | National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. 3 April 2017.
  36. ^ "오슬로". www.ntck.or.kr.
  37. ^ "Oslo". Det Norske Teatret.
  38. ^ "Oslo". Studio 180 Theatre: 2019/20 Season.
  39. ^ Rogers, J. T. (June 17, 2016). "'Oslo' and the Drama in Diplomacy". The New York Times.
  40. ^ "The best political plays – picked by David Hare, James Graham and more". March 15, 2018 – via www.theguardian.com.
  41. ^ "Moral maze". www.newstatesman.com.
  42. ^ "What Can Theatre Do? A Post-Election Colloquy, Part 2". AMERICAN THEATRE. November 30, 2016.
  43. ^ @sayersdoers (9 April 2018). "New Yorkers. Globalistas. Missourians & Master Story Tellers: Did you see @TheTonyAwards winner #Oslo…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  44. ^ SpeakEasy, House of. "Seriously Questioning…J.T. Rogers | House of SpeakEasy NYC".
  45. ^ a b Brantley, Ben (13 April 2017). "Review: 'Oslo' Fills a Large Canvas in a Thrilling Production". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  46. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Off Broadway Review: ‘Oslo'" Variety, July 11, 2016
  47. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'Oslo' Begins on Broadway March 23" Playbill, March 23, 2017
  48. ^ "Oslo by J.T. Rogers transfers from New York to the Harold Pinter and National Theatre". 6 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  49. ^ "BWW Review: ACT Negotiates a Stunningly Solid Piece with OSLO". 9 October 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  50. ^ "J. T. Rogers Guggenheim Page". Gf.org.
  51. ^ "Marc Platt Boards Film Adaptation of Political Broadway Play 'Oslo' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 13 April 2017.
  52. ^ Thorne, Will (September 12, 2019). "Ken Watanabe Joins Ansel Elgort in 'Tokyo Vice' at HBO Max".
  53. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (February 19, 2020). "Odessa Young & Ella Rumpf Join 'Tokyo Vice' At HBO Max".
  54. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 6, 2019). "Ansel Elgort to Star in Drama Series 'Tokyo Vice' at WarnerMedia Streaming Service".
  55. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 6, 2019). "WarnerMedia Streamer Orders 'Tokyo Vice' Drama Series Starring Ansel Elgort From Endeavor Content".
  56. ^ "Playwright J T Rogers: "I'm constantly aware I know nothing." - The Jewish Chronicle". Archived from the original on 2019-02-12.

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