- Anton Chekhov
Widely considered one of the world's greatest writers, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born on January 29, 1860, in Taganrog, Russia. In 1879 he entered the University of Moscow to study medicine and graduated in 1884. He kept a strict writing schedule and continued to practice medicine for the rest of his life. In addition to his numerous short stories, many considered masterpieces of the form, Chekhov wrote over a dozen plays, among them the classics of Western dramatic literature UNCLE VANYA, THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THE THREE SISTERS, and THE SEAGULL.
- Wendy Wasserstein
Wendy Wasserstein's play THE HEIDI CHRONICLES won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and earned her a grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. For THE SISTERS ROSENSWEIG she received the 1993 Outer Critics Circle Award, a Tony Award nomination, and the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre. Other plays include OLD MONEY and AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER and THIRD (Lincoln Center); UNCOMMON WOMEN AND OTHERS (Phoenix Theater); ISN'T IT ROMANTIC (Playwrights Horizons); a musical, MIAMI (with Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman); WAITING FOR PHILIP GLASS, included in LOVE'S FIRE (The Acting Company). Wasserstein's screenplays include The Object of My Affection, produced as a major motion picture starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. For PBS Great Performances she wrote Kiss, Kiss Darling; Drive, She Said; and adaptations of John Cheever's The Sorrows of Gin and her own UNCOMMON WOMEN AND OTHERS. She adapted THE HEIDI CHRONICLES for TNT (1996 Emmy Award nomination for Best Television Movie) and AN AMERICAN DAUGHTER for Lifetime Television. Her adaptation of The Nutcracker was performed at The American Ballet Theatre at The Met, and her adaptation of The Merry Widow premiered at San Francisco Opera. She was the librettist for the original opera Festival of Regrets: Central Park, which had runs at Glimmerglass Opera and New York City Opera. She wrote Pamela's First Musical, a children's book, which adapted with Cy Coleman into a musical which premiered in Spring 2006. Her other books include the essay collections Shiksa Goddess and Bachelor Girls. She contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Woman, and Harper's Bazaar, among many other publications. She was the recipient of an NEA Grant, Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She served on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, on the Board of the British American Arts Association, School of American Ballet, WNET/Thirteen, and The Educational Foundation of America. She taught at Columbia University, New York University, Juilliard School, and Princeton University, and held an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Holyoke College. Wasserstein was born in Brooklyn and raised in Manhattan. She was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the Yale School of Drama.
- David Mamet
David Mamet is the author of the plays: ROMANCE, BOSTON MARRIAGE, FAUSTUS, OLEANNA, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award), AMERICAN BUFFALO, THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, A LIFE IN THE THEATRE, SPEED-THE-PLOW, EDMOND, LAKEBOAT, THE WATER ENGINE, THE WOODS, SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO, REUNION and THE CRYPTOGRAM (1995 Obie Award). His translations and adaptations include: FAUSTUS and RED RIVER by Pierre Laville; and THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THREE SISTERS and UNCLE VANYA by Anton Chekov. His films include: The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables, House of Games (writer/director), Oleanna (writer/director), Homicide (writer/director), The Spanish Prisoner (writer/director), Heist (writer/director) and Spartan (writer/director). Mr. Mamet is also the author of: Warm and Cold, a book for children with drawings by Donald Sultan, and two other children's books, Passover and The Duck and the Goat; Writing in Restaurants, Some Freaks, and Make-Believe Town, three volumes of essays; The Hero Pony and The China Man, a book of poems; Three Children's Plays, On Directing Film, The Cabin, and the novels The Village, The Old Religion and Wilson. His most recent books include the acting books, True & False and Three Uses of the Knife. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS was awarded the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play in 2005, and his latest plays NOVEMBER and RACE as well as a revival of OLEANNA have recently appeared on Broadway.
- María Irene Fornés
Fornés was born on May 14, 1930, in Havana, Cuba, to Carlos Luis and Carmen Hismenia Fornés. After her father died in 1945, she moved with her mother and sister to the United States, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951. From 1954 to 1957, Fornés lived in Paris, studying to become a painter. However, after attending a French production of Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT, Fornés decided to devote her creative energies toward playwriting. Upon returning to the United States, she worked for three years as a textile designer in New York City. THE WIDOW, Fornés's first professionally produced play, was staged in 1961. Fornés acted as the director for many of her subsequent works, including THERE! YOU DIED (1963; later retitled TANGO PALACE, 1964), THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF 3: A SKIT IN VAUDEVILLE (1965), and MOLLY'S DREAM (1968), among others. In 1973 she founded the New York Theatre Strategy, which was devoted to the production of stylistically innovative theatrical works. Fornés has held teaching and advisory positions at several universities and theatrical festivals, such as the Theatre for the New City, the Padua Hills Festival, and the INTAR (International Arts Relations) program in New York City. She received eight Obie awards — in such categories as distinguished playwriting and direction and best new play — for PROMENADE (1965), THE SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF 3, FEFU AND HER FRIENDS, THE DANUBE (1982), MUD, SARITA (1984), THE CONDUCT OF LIFE, and ABINGDON SQUARE (1987). Fornés received numerous other awards and grants for her oeuvre, including Rockefeller Foundation Grants in 1971 and 1984, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972, National Endowments for the Arts grants in 1974, 1984, and 1985, an American Academy and Institute of Letters and Arts Award in Literature in 1986, and a Playwrights U.S.A. Award in 1986. She also produced several original translations and adaptations of such plays as Federico Garcia Lorca's BLOOD WEDDING (1980), Pedro Calderón de la Barca's LIFE IS A DREAM (1981), Virgilio Piñera's COLD AIR (1985), and Anton Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA (1987). She died in New York City on October 30, 2018.
- Michael Weller
Michael Weller was born in New York City in 1943 and resides in Brooklyn. He is best known for his plays MOONCHILDREN (1971), LOOSE ENDS (1979), and SPOILS OF WAR (1988). MOONCHILDREN earned Weller the 1972 Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright. Weller is one of the founders of the Cherry Lane Theatre's Mentor Project.
- Samm-Art Williams
Samm-Art Williams is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, and producer. As a playwright, Williams has written HOME, WELCOME TO BLACK RIVER, FRIENDS, and other plays produced in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities. HOME received a Tony nomination as Best Broadway Play, the Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk nomination, the NAACP Image Award, and the North Carolina Governor's Award. For the screen, Samm-Art Williams has written Solomon Northup's Odyssey (PBS), John Henry (Showtime), Badges (CBS), and episodes for Cagney and Lacey, The New Mike Hammer, Miami Vice, and other programs. He has been nominated for two Emmy Awards. As an actor, he performed in Blood Simple, Huckleberry Finn, and other feature films. His television acting credits include Women of Brewster Place, Race to the Pole, Search for Tomorrow, and other productions. In addition to his writing and acting credits, he served as Executive Producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Good News, and other television productions. He has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Playwriting, and other awards for his writing.
- John Guare
John Guare received the Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his plays THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, RICH AND FAMOUS, MARCO POLO SINGS A SOLO, LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, and BOSOMS AND NEGLECT. THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as Best American Play of 1971, received four Tony awards in its triumphant revival in 1986 at Lincoln Center. He wrote the lyrics and won a Tony for his book of TWO GENTLEMAN OF VERONA, produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, which also won the Tony for Best Musical of 1972. He collaborated with Milos Forman on the screenplay of the Czech director's first American film, "Taking Off," which won the jury prize at the Cannes festival in 1971. His screenplay for Louis Malle's "Atlantic City" won the New York, Los Angeles, and National Film Critics Circle Award as well as an Oscar nomination. His series of plays on nineteenth century America, WOMEN AND WATER, GARDENIA, and LYDIE BREEZE, have been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., London, and Australia. Yale Repertory produced MOON OVER MIAMI in their 1988 – 1989 season. SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION won the 1990 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, the Hull Warriner Award, and the Obie Award, and is published by Vintage/Random House. In London, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION opened at the Royal Court Theatre and transferred to the West End and was nominated for two Olivier Awards. SIX DEGREES has been produced in Australia, South Africa, Istanbul, Japan, Germany, Sweden, and Israel. The film version of the play, directed by Fred Schepisi, was released in December 1993. Mr. Guare's play FOUR BABOONS ADORING THE SUN, directed by Sir Peter Hall and produced by Lincoln Center at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1992, was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Play, and is published by Random House/Vintage. Mr. Guare is a council member of the Dramatists Guild, the organization representing more than seven thousand playwrights, lyricists, and composers in America and Great Britain. He is co-editor of The Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. In 1989, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters elected him a member.
- Spalding Gray
Spalding Gray was born in Rhode Island on June 5, 1941. He began as an actor in summer theatre and in time became a major influence in New York City's avant-garde theatre with the Wooster Group. It was here that he began to perform and write monologues. These hilarious, yet often sad stories of his personal life made him famous. The best known is SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA. Spalding also appeared in about 50 movies, and made occasional TV appearances, from Charlie Rose to The Nanny. But he first and foremost thought of himself as an author. He died in an apparent suicide in 2004.