Douglas Jones has written and seen produced more than forty plays and screenplays. BBC’s Bernard Mayes cited Jones’s “ability to write in ways which are appealing to the general population without condescension, and focus on the essentials without sugaring the pill.” A Richmond News-Leader critic said Jones’s work for young audiences “has a fascination with the infinite expressiveness and flexibility of the English language that rivals Sesame Street.” And J. Christie noted that Jones’s plays combine “the rhythms of Gilbert and Sullivan, references and rhymes from countless familiar tales, and a bit of the late Jim Henson’s gift for finding the inner voices of children.”
Jones’s full-length musical, Bojangles, premiered as the centerpiece of Barksdale Theatre’s 40th anniversary season in 1993. He collaborated with composer Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, Applause) and Academy Award-winning lyricist Sammy Cahn. Variety praised the play for its “remarkable book that not only limns the title character, warts and all, but also renders the racist world that shaped him.” Carole Kass called it “a solid, sensitive script… tender and vitriolic, romantic and racist, acerbic and biting.” The play sold at 97% capacity for its eleven-week run.
In 1994, Barksdale Theatre commissioned and premiered Jones’s adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. A Richmond Times-Dispatch critic said the play is “edge-of-your-seat exciting and gives rise to considerable theatrical power. The early scenes in Jones’s script unfold with the efficiency and clarity we associate with Masterpiece Theatre. But the production moves into realms that television cannot hope to duplicate.” The Free Lance Star agreed: “[the] scenes are cemented by sheer anticipation, each of the next, until the final terrifying moments.” National Public Radio critic John Porter said “I can’t think of a better way to spend an autumn evening than watching new life breathed into the grand-daddy of all ghost stories.” The Dramatic Publishing Company published the play in 2000.
Jones’s seven-year project Songs from Bedlam premiered in 2003. Backstage declared it “a triumph… Jones’s script translates into pure electric poetry.” Style Weekly said “Jones makes the audience sympathize with the afflicted through poetic and often beautiful monologues.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch praised the play for its “richly metaphorical language [and] soaring, searing poetry.” And D.C.’s Studio Theatre said the play “achieves a rare and magnificent balance between brutal reality and sublime fantasy.” Songs from Bedlam won first place in the 2004 Virginia Theatre Association’s One-Act Festival.
Recent projects include a one-act play Frankenstein Lives!, which aired on Virginia’s PBS stations, and four films commissioned by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation for its 400th Anniversary (currently playing at the Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center).
Jones holds degrees with honors from the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia. He received a playwriting grant from the Virginia Commission For The Arts in 2006, the Martha Hill Newell Playwriting Grant in 2015, and the Emyl Jenkins Award (for “an outstanding individual who promotes writing and writing education”) in 2016. He has taught at the University of Virginia, the UVA Center for Continuing Education, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Visual Arts Center, the Henrico Center for the Arts, New Voices for the Theatre, SPARC and the Virginia Opera. He has published plays, monologues, short stories, and an article on James Hogg’s Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild and The Authors League of America. He lives in Richmond with his wife Harriett Traylor and daughter Emma.