Stagecraft: Joseph Dougherty, Playwright of “Chester Bailey”

The Stagecraft podcast is hosted by Jan Simpson. It is a series of interviews with playwrights (and musical book writers) of shows opening on Broadway and off-Broadway.


Guest: Joseph Dougherty, Playwright of “Chester Bailey”

JOSEPH DOUGHERTY (Playwright) earned Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his play Digby produced by Manhattan Theatre Club. He wrote the libretto for the Tony-winning musical My Favorite Year presented at Lincoln Center. An Emmy and Humanitas Prize winner for his work on thirtysomething, he has written Emmy-winning movies for HBO and has contributed as a writer and director to several television series including Judging Amy, Once and Again and Pretty Little Liars. His play Chester Bailey was selected as Outstanding World Premiere Play by the TBA Awards when it was presented at A.C.T. in San Francisco. He is the author of A Screenwriter’s Companion: Instruction, Opinion, Encouragement, and his novel The First Cylinder will be published in 2023.

Reed Birney and Ephraim Birney in the 2022 production of CHESTER BAILEY at Irish Rep Photo by Carol Rosegg

CHESTER BAILEY By Joseph Dougherty
A New York Premiere on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage

The Irish Repertory Theatre
132 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011

Directed by Ron Lagomarsino

Starring Reed Birney and Ephraim Birney


In a stateside hospital at the close of World War II, a young man recovers from catastrophic injuries. Or so the doctors have told him. But Chester Bailey denies what’s happened to him has actually happened, which is how he comes under the care of Dr. Philip Cotton. Older, wounded in his own ways, Cotton is charged with leading Chester back to reality. The journey is not what either man expected. Chester Bailey stars real-life father and son, Tony Award winner Reed Birney (The Humans, “House of Cards”) and Ephraim Birney (“Gotham,” “The Americans”), as doctor and patient, and is directed by Ron Lagomarsino (Driving Miss Daisy, “Picket Fences”).

Chester Bailey will feature scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Toni Leslie-James, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brendan Aanes. April Ann Kline serves as the Production Stage Manager. Casting is by Pat McCorkle.

For a transcript of this episode, please email [email protected] and include the episode name.

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Broadway & Me
Jan Simpson is a theater journalist who writes the blog Broadway& Me and hosts the BroadwayRadio podcasts Stagecraft and All The Drama. She has twice served as a Pulitzer Prize juror.

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