jakub | May 27, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | The Subtext: Jonathan Spector’s Eureka Moments


Jonathan Spector.

Each month on The Subtext, Brian speaks with a playwright about life, writing, and whatever itches we are scratching. This month Brian is joined by Bay Area playwright Jonathan Spector.

Spector is a playwright based in Oakland, Calif., whose plays include Eureka Day (NYT Critics’ Pick), This Much I KnowBest AvailableSiesta Key, and What Comes NextGood. Better. Best. Bested. They have been produced and developed at theatres around the country and abroad, including Asolo Rep, Aurora Theatre, Colt Coeur, Syracuse Stage, Mosaic Theater, InterAct Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, Berkeley Rep’s Gound Floor, Portland Stage, Crowded Fire, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayPenn, New Harmony Project, SF PlayGround, State Theater of South Australia, and Just Theater, where he was the long-time co-artistic director.

Spector is a two-time winner of Aurora Theater’s Global Age Prize, as well as the Edgerton Award, Glickman Award, Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award, Theater Bay Area Award, and Rella Lossy Award. He is a core writer at Playwrights’ Center, and has been a MacDowell Fellow, a Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright, and received commissions from Roundabout Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theater Club, and Aurora Theater.

In his interview with Brian, Jonathan explains how he stumbled into theatre as an undergrad at New College of Florida and how that led him to first become a director, unaware that being a playwright was even possible. Directing took him to New York City, and later to the Bay Area. Somewhere along the way, he realized he had wanted to be a playwright all along, and he learned about writing by reading submissions for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Jonathan’s play Eureka Day, which dramatizes a debate among parents over vaccinations for their kids, has had three wildly successful productions in Berkeley, Calif., Off-Broadway, and at the Old Vic in London, featuring Helen Hunt and Mark McKinney. His play This Much I Know will be produced by London’s Hampstead Theatre in December 2023. 

This episode can also be found here.

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