A podcast by playwrights for playwrights, and everybody else

Podcast 024: The Eternal Vigilance of Josh Irving Gershick

Tori and Mabelle talk with Joshua about his development of “Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America.” He shares the sacred duty of oral history storytelling, including transparency and honor, focusing on a theme, and preserving the voice of the subject. Other subjects include: the importance of a playwright’s mission statement, artistic generosity, and Josh’s continued drive to uplift the stories of every day queer folk.

Show Notes

Writing prompt (courtesy of Joshua Irving Gershick)
Interview and write. The first step is a bit of advice: Just do it! Put your pants in the chair and do it. Second step: Approach someone you know and ask them to tell you a story about an event. Interview them for 20 minutes, transcribe your conversation and then craft a monologue. Look for your hook (the beginning), the middle and the satisfying end.

Connect with Josh on Instagram @joshgershick, Twitter @SexyGayAgenda and New Play Exchange.

Learn more about Barbara Stanwyck on IMDB.

Josh’s full bio:

Josh Irving Gershick is a playwright, author, journalist, filmmaker & teacher. 

His plays include Bluebonnet Court, winner in 2007 of the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, an NAACP Award for Theatre Excellence, and a multiple L.A. Weekly and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation nominee. In 2008, the San Diego Union-Tribune named Bluebonnet Court (co-pro by Moxie Theatre and Diversionary Theatre) among the top 10 plays of the season. 

In 2009, Gershick was commissioned by Diversionary Theatre (and funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation) to write a theatrical version of his award-winning book Gay Old Girls. His play Coming Attractions was produced by San Diego’s Moxie Theatre in June 2012. 

His latest works are Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America and the radio comedy Assisted Living. Dear ONE was commissioned in 2012 by the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC to honor its 60th anniversary. The play has had staged readings at the USC ONE Archive (2012); the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (2013), the Los Angeles Library Foundation’s ALOUD Series, Mark Taper Auditorium, LA Central Library (2014); the West Hollywood Festival of the Arts (2015); and at Pasadena’s award-winning A Noise Within Theatre (2019).

Gershick’s short film Door Prize, which he wrote and directed, has screened at more than 125 film festivals worldwide and was winner of the Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival’s Alfred C. Kinsey Award, honoring film that furthers understanding of gender or sexuality. The film also was named Best GenderBender Short at the Hamburg International Queer Film Festival; Best Female Short at FilmOut: The San Diego Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; and Best Short at the Kansas City Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The film is used nationally by The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other non-profits to promote the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The film stars indie-icon Beth Grant.

Gershick wrote the narration for the 2006 documentary film Tweakers, chronicling the methamphetamine epidemic in the LGBTQ community; and his comedy Rozzie & Harriet (co-written with Marion Levine) was a finalist at the 1999 Outfest Screenwriting Competition, celebrating outstanding queer-themed screenplays and their writers. 
Gershick is the author of two acclaimed oral histories, Gay Old Girls, winner of the 1998 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for LGBT Nonfiction, a 1998 American Library Association Book of the Year Nominee, and a 1999 Lambda Literary Award Finalist; and Secret Service: Untold Stories of Lesbians in the Military, winner of the 2005 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for LGBT Nonfiction. Secret Service was a C-SPAN Book TV featured book; and an NPR Summer Reading Pick. His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Best Lesbian Love Stories 2003 and Best Lesbian Love Stories 2004 (Alyson Books).  
He is a former reporter for Newsweek, The Advocate and other newspapers and periodicals, and served as the frontline media liaison for the University of Southern California, the West’s largest private research university, for more than a decade. Gershick has taught graduate and undergraduate writing at USC, Pasadena City College, Glendale Community College and Austin Community College. 
A U.S. Army veteran and graduate of the Defense Information School, Gershick holds an MFA from the USC School of Dramatic Arts; a Master of Professional Writing (MPW) from the USC Dornsife College; and is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Intensive in Documentary Filmmaking. 
He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a regular contributor to The Dramatist magazine.