Kenneth Prestininzi

Alumni Playwright

2012 -- 2019

Kenneth Prestininzi’s play IMPURE THOUGHTS (WITHOUT APOLOGY), inspired by the life story of Sor Juana, was read in June at Repertorio Español, directed by Jose Zayas as part of the MetLife Nuestras Voces new play festival. He is also currently working on his two person musical, TOM VISITS HIS SISTER ROSE ONE LAST TIME and has received a commission from Trinity Rep. His play COOKIE PLAY premiered at Trap Door Theater in Chicago in January 2015 under the direction of his long time collaborator Kate Hendrickson. COOKIE PLAY is his fourth collaboration with Trap Door Theater and Ms. Hendrickson. Other premiered plays at Trap Door are BEHOLDER, AMERIKAFKA and CHASTE. BEHOLDER received a Joseph Jefferson Award for best new play 2008-2009. His play UGMO AND EENIE GO DOWN THE RUSKI HOLE, produced by Sleeping Weazel, received unanimous praise when performed in Boston, June 2014 and was restaged at Dixon Place, October 2015. His short play ARCHIVE was a winning entry in the Playground “Race Matters” festival, September, 2015. READING IN BED, a previous short play with Playground (1998), was also presented at the Lincoln Park Center/HOME Theatre festival in New York City and turned into a short film by Sandor Weiner and presented at film festivals. Sleeping Weazel also produced his one-woman lecture play, BIRTH BREATH BRIDE ELIZABETH, which was featured at The Next Thing Festival in Boston in 2013 and was invited by the Boston Mayor's office to appear at FirstNights on December 31, 2014. His plays have been seen in Brighton, Boston, Chicago, Edinburgh, Kalamazoo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Philadelphia, Prague, Providence, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. New York City’s Frank Theatre Company recently produced his play, LOVE IN THE SEVENTH KINGDOM OF WRATH. Wearing multiple performance and theatre hats, Ken is also a director of new plays and has a long collaboration history with Charlotte Meehan, Greg Moss and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. He directed the premiere of Peter's play THE TOTALITARIANS in New Orleans and San Francisco. T.I.C. in San Francisco, and boom in its first workshop production at the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory where he was artistic director. He has also directed new plays by Andy Bragen, Jennifer Haley, Quiara Alegría Hudes, and Emily Young and revival productions of plays by Migdalia Cruz, Sarah Ruhl and Paula Vogel. He has received theatre awards from ACTF, California Arts Council, Christina Crawford, Djerassi Program, Gerbode Foundation, Goethe Institute, LEF, Millay Arts Colony, National Endowment of the Humanities, Rockefeller Foundation and the San Francisco Cultural Equity Office. Ken is the Theater CHair and an Associate Professor of Theatre at Connecticut College, where he directs and teaches acting, playwriting and dramatic literature. He is the former Artistic Director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre and an affiliated artist with Sleeping Weazel. He was the Chair(Acting) and Associate Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama 2008-2013. He has taught at ACT of San Francisco, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Brown University, Charles University (Prague), Cornell University, International Literary Arts (Mexico), Intersection for the Arts, Northwestern University, University of Iowa and West Coast Playwrights. He is also a long time teacher of the Creative Ensemble and began writing for specific ensembles with Joseph Chaikin and Tracy Ward with the play TOUCH ME in San Francisco. He has done dramaturgy for modern dance companies, been a resident artist at Perishable Theatre, and served as treasurer of Performance Studies international. In his younger years, Ken studied with Maria Irene Fornes in Mexico and San Francisco (West Coast Playwrights) and had the following musicals and plays performed in the San Francisco area: Ariadne, Burger Girl Jingle, Faustus on My Mind, Gaveston, The Hole, Kept, Presto Pronto, Soblonski and an adaptation of Peer Gynt. Los Angeles: Alien Ambition, Mine and Patty Cake.

ND Activity
  • Board of Directors

    Board of Directors

    Each fiscal year four current resident playwrights are appointed to the Board of Directors by the Writers' Executive Committee. The playwright board members enjoy full voting and decision-making powers minus the financial requirements of non-playwright directors. They provide a valuable and artist-centered perspective on the governance of New Dramatists.

Playwright Buzz

January 5, 2015

COOKIE PLAY premiere in Chicago

Trap Door Theatre of Chicago opens COOKIE PLAY January 8. Morning in America grows dark as Homeland Security invades the heartland, in this comic dystopian all-too-close world. January 8 – February 14, 2015. Directed by Kate Hendrickson. Featuring: Lyndsay Rose Kane, Chris Popio, Mike Steele, Gage Wallace, & Carl Wisniewski. In Cookie Play, a mother from the heartland, fearing her son may be the next Edward Snowden, agrees to hold him captive in her basement to save both son and country. What happens next upends everyone’s moral equilibrium in this twisted, offbeat satire.

December 26, 2014

New Year's Eve with Prestininzi's BIRTH BREATH BRIDE ELIZABETH

BIRTH BREATH BRIDE ELIZABETH, written and directed by Ken Prestininzi, and invited to the New Wave Festival 2013 by ArtsEmerson, has now been invited to the FirstNIght festival by the Boston Mayor's office, 2015. Stephanie Burlington-Daniels repeats her amazing performance as Mary Shelley-Breath, exploding precious ideas about brides, feminist icons and monsters as she croons Elvis Presley tunes. Cake is also featured. This is a Sleeping Weazel production.

January 26, 2013

The Next Thing: Prestininzi

Ken Prestininzi's lecture-play Birth Breath Bride Elizabeth is in The Next Thing Festival in Boston. ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, in association with The Center for the Theater Commons and The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, presents a combustible combination of theatre, film, music, workshops and live-streamed events. Completely housed in ArtsEmerson’s Paramount Center in downtown Boston, The Next Thing (TNT) Festival (FEB 15-24) creates an unprecedented opportunity to dive deep into the world of contemporary performance.

August 10, 2012

This month: Love in the Seventh Kingdom of Wrath

I'm ecstatic and proud to be collaborating with New York City's dynamic and new theatre company FRANK on my new play that explores the joy, anger, fear and sorrow in the life of Caravaggio: Love in the Seventh Kingdom of Wrath. In this bravado love story, the painter Caravaggio stumbles through prayer and barroom brawls confronting flesh, desire, and a threatening chorus of angels. FRANK's ensemble creates a dangerous, lustful world of images, song and movement for the play about an artist, his model, and their wrathful secrets.

Contact Info

Susan Gurman, Agent
Gurman Agency LLC
14 Penn Plaza, Suite 1703, New York, NY 10122-1701
Tel: 212 749 4618



Kenneth Prestininzi's Calendar