Playwright J.B. Heaps Tells His Own Story
Playwright J. B Heaps is one of the six winners of the 2021 Phillips’ Mill Emerging Playwright Competition. At the age of 71, after a long and successful career in television, Heaps is delighted to be honored among “emerging” playwrights. The retired New Yorker is now able to spend much of his time perfecting his craft and realizing a lifelong passion.
Heaps describes writing as something he does every day, along with another popular activity among writers: “I spend equal time procrastinating and writing,” he says. He also loves going to and writing for black box theater. “In smaller space theaters especially, the audience is such an important part of the collective consciousness,” he adds. “When I am writing a play, I come up with a premise and some kind of location that is not overly extravagant.”
This approach is apparent in his play, “Go Gently Into the Night,” which will be read, along with five other short plays, during a special online presentation of the Phillips’ Mill Community Association on Saturday, June 12th, at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.
5 Fun, Fascinating and Totally Random Facts about J.B. Heaps
1. He won Five Emmy Awards. Heaps covered boxing as the executive producer of Showtime Sports, winning five national Emmy Awards for his work.
2. He was in the movie “Lord of the Flies.” Remember the kids running along the beach in the original 1963 film? One of them was a young J.B. Heaps.
3. He likes plays about writing - and writers. One of his earlier works, “Private Disclosures” was not so loosely based around the mystery of “Answered Prayers,” an unfinished novel by Truman Capote exposing the scandalous lives of New York City socialites.
4. He likes Tall Women. Three of them, to be exact. Heaps considers Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women,” with Dame Maggie Smith in the lead role, among the best he’s ever seen.
5. He has no patience for plotting out plots. When describing his writing process, he is not ashamed to point out that he lets things happen organically. “I have no idea where a plot will take me,” he says. He most admires writers, like Neil Simon, whose storylines develop organically.