Asking For It

Asking For It
written and performed by Joanna Rush
directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett

Seventeen-year-old Bernie O’Connell runs away from home on the same night that her father kicks her out. It’s not like Bernie will die if she doesn’t become a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, but when she blows the big audition due to 10 extra pounds and ends up sleeping with the hippies on the lower level of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, death starts to look inviting.

Dieting and desperate, she accepts a job from a helpful stranger that leads to a violent assault for which nothing in her Catholic school (abstinence only) sex education could have prepared her. Shaken to the core, she drops the weight, becomes a Rockette, and puddle-jumps her way through the primordial gunge of American culture en route to a spiritual awakening and the discovery of what she should really be asking for.

Asking for It is a fiercely funny tale about a spirited dancer who kicks her way from oblivion to enlightenment. Rush takes her larger-than-life experience and filters it through the prism of humor. She portrays a colorful cast of characters ranging from uptight clerics to sexy chorines, to growing boys of all ages. Asking for It leaves audiences – male and female, of all ages – invigorated and inspired.


“A consummate artist, Joanna Rush journeys through her life experience with tremendous insight, incredible dramatic scope and humor. So much is revealed that one has to sit and take stock of themselves … A brave work.”

Malika Lee Whitney, WBAI

“Finding the truth of one’s life in a culture of lies … a powerful piece”
BBC Radio 4

“This is how theater should connect to people”
Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize winning critic.

“With passion and wit, Joanna Rush lets us know the pain of being the hot girl in town. A must see lesson on sexism.”
Eduardo Machado, Playwright, Artistic Director of Intar Theatre

“Joanna Rush can be considered the ultimate performer/playwright. She writes, acts and dances … a delight … a fresh, wholesome sense of humor that is often missing Off as well as on Broadway.… A big hit!”
Dan Miller, WVOX, AM


Joanna Rush (Performer/Playwright)

Asking For It (solo play) at Lincoln Center, developed at the NY Society for Ethical Culture, The Kirk Theater on Theater Row, Stocker Arts Center in Ohio, Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwright’s Horizons, Becket Arts Center, and in the New York International Theater Festival, The Yard Arts Center, Martha’s Vineyard., Gloucester Stage, Newburyport Actors Studio She was chosen to perform sections of the play for “International Women’s Day” sponsored by the United Nations Counsel on the Empowerment of Women” and the Hunger Project. Home Sweet Homeland , Lynne Taylor- Corbett (director) was work-shopped at Stocker Arts Center, Ohio, this past season. Screenplays: Irish Whiskey (co-author, “Best Screenplay” winner at the Temecula Valley Film Festival,) Mothers Day, a historical drama.

Also an Actor, Broadway: Pousse Café, Shirley MacLaine at the Palace. A Chorus Line (Shubert Theater, Los Angeles.) Off-Broadway: Daughters, Inside Out, Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral, Broadway Scandals of 1928, Options Regional: Beyond Therapy, Fifth of July, Freedomland, Little Mahagony, Great White Hope, Women Who Steal (WHAT), concert versions of Two by Two, and Minnie’s Boys at Jewish Rep. Film: The Luckiest Man in the World, Sunburn, On the Cliffs (winner Best Short Comedy 2004, Ohio Ind. Film Festival) Saying Goodbye, TV: Shannon, Archie Bunker’s Place, A Killing Affair, Cagney & Lacey, and the pilot Straight no Chaser as the inappropriate mother of Bronson Pinchot.

Proud member of Actors Equity Association, The Dramatists Guild, Screen Actors Guild, Actors Fund, Board member of the Rockette Alumnae Association.

Lynne Taylor-Corbett (Director)

Lynne Taylor-Corbett (Society of Directors and Choreographers) directed Swing! on Broadway for which she received two Tony nominations and a Drama Desk nomination. Off Broadway she directed My Vaudeville Man and Wanda’s World, receiving Lucille Lortel nominations for both shows. She has choreographed for major films, such as the original Footloose, and dance companies including American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the New York City Ballet for which she mounted a new production of The Seven Deadly Sins with Patti LuPone in the Lotte Lenya role. She is also the principal guest choreographer for the Carolina Ballet. Currently, she is writing a musical with her son, actor Shaun Taylor-Corbett, set on the Blackfeet Reservation called Distant Thunder. The show was chosen by Native Voices to be part of the 2012 Writer’s Retreat, a development that culminates in a reading at The Autry in L.A. Ms. Taylor-Corbett’s passion for Joanna Rush’s Asking For It began many years ago when they were introduced by a mutual friend. She heard one of the monologues and became devoted to partnering with Ms. Rush to develop the show, which has become her proudest achievement.

Additional Credits

Written and Performed by Joanna Rush
Directed by
Lynne Taylor-Corbett
(Blowing Bubbles in the Bathtub) Walter Willison & Jeffrey Silverman
(Love Unzipped) Joachim Horsley
Additional Arrangements
Jeffrey Silverman
Jonathan Brody

Lighting Design/Video Design Brant Thomas Murray
Set Design
Dean Taucher
Sound Design
Joachim Horsley
Assistant Stage Manager
/Sound Jennifer Corbett
Costume Designer Keili Camille Murray
Vocal Coach
Jocelyn Rasmussen
Fabric Art
Katharine Houk
Graphic Design
Daniel Pelavin

Photos in Green of Joanna Rush: John Ricard
Lynne Taylor-Corbett headshot: Paul Kolnik


If you would like more information about bringing Asking For It to your school or venue, please contact Michael Wolk at or call (212) 398-7180.

Artist Website

Asking For It