Rob Handel

Alumni Playwright

2008 -- 2015

Rob Handel has collaborated as a playwright or librettist with 13P, New York Stage and Film, Long Wharf, SPF, Target Margin, Rorschach Theatre (D.C.), Just Theater/Shotgun Players (Berkeley), Theatre Battery (Kent, WA), Theatre Vertigo (Portland, OR), City Lights (San Jose), Curious Theatre (Denver), Theater Ninjas (Cleveland), Half Moon (Poughkeepsie), 99 Stock (San Francisco), Actors Studio Drama School, Manhattan School of Music, NYU Steinhardt School of Music, Opera on Tap at Barbès, North American New Opera Workshop, Ithaca College Opera Workshop, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh.

Residencies include The Civilians R&D Group, Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Soho Rep, Portland Center Stage, Todd Mountain Theater Project, American Lyric Theatre, and a 'pataphysics retreat.

With composer Kamala Sankaram: the space age bachelor pad exotica cabaret BOMBAY RICKEY in the Prototype festival at HERE, and the techno-noir opera THE PRIVACY SHOW as an Opera America showcase. Rob's comic science fiction opera THE ARTWORK OF THE FUTURE, with composer Eric Moe, has been developed at New Dramatists, where Rob was a resident playwright from 2008-2015. Honors include the Helen Merrill Award and the Whitfield Cook Award, and his plays are published by Samuel French.

Rob heads the dramatic writing program at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and serves on the board of the MacDowell Colony. He studied at Williams College and with Paula Vogel at Brown University. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, poet Joy Katz, and their son.

ND Activity
  • Composer-Librettist Studio

    Composer-Librettist Studio

    Our annual Composer-Librettist Studio focuses simultaneously on music-theatre development and the principles of collaboration, teaming five writers with five composers and five performers to develop brand-new works of musical theatre. At the end of the Studio, each playwright has worked with each composer and 25 new music-theatre pieces have been created by the group.

  • Whitfield Cook Award

    Whitfield Cook Award

    The Whitfield Cook Award goes to one New Dramatists playwright each year for an unproduced, unpublished play deemed worthiest by an outside panel of judges. The purpose of the award is to provide financial assistance to New Dramatists resident playwrights to encourage and reward their talents in the art of playwriting.

Playwright Buzz

May 12, 2015

The Privacy Show at Civilians R&D Group's Findings series

The Privacy Show is part of The Civilians R&D Group's Findings series, May 19 at 2pm. A collaboration with composer Kamala Sankaram, The Privacy Show has also received an Opera America Discovery Grant.

July 16, 2014

Millicent Scowlworthy in San Francisco

Millicent Scowlworthy runs August 8-30 in San Francisco in a new production by 99 Stock.

June 12, 2014

Enchantress, a short opera

Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, must choose between her passionate marriage and the chance to collaborate with the eccentric mathematician Charles Babbage. A scientific romance about the birth of the first computer program, Enchantress by composer Kamala Sankaram and myself will be heard at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia space at Symphony Space on Monday at 7pm. Do you think Leonard Nimoy is there every night? Wouldn't that be amazing?

April 15, 2014

tiny operas here and there

Ten-minute operas I wrote with composers Gilda Lyons and Daron Hagen were performed by Opera on Tap at Barbès and at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

January 13, 2014

Rob Handel reading in Pittsburgh

Poet Joy Katz and playwright Rob Handel will read in conjunction with the exhibition "Behind Our Scenes" on January 19, 3-5pm at SPACE Gallery, 812 Liberty Ave. Joy and Rob met at the MacDowell Colony in 1999 and have been married since 2005, but have never read together before. So, um, there's that.

December 17, 2013

A Maze in NPR's Bay Area top ten

A Maze in WQED's list of top ten Bay Area theatre experiences. The show reopens in Berkeley on February 14. Link

July 9, 2013

A MAZE in Berkeley

A MAZE has its West Coast premiere July 12 - August 4 at Just Theater in Berkeley. Weird long comic books, etc.

June 25, 2013

Oaxaca to Arkville

Following a long stay in Oaxaca, Mexico, heading to Arkville, New York for an exploratory residency with Ken Rus Schmoll and some other suspicious characters at the fabulous Todd Mountain Theater Project.

October 8, 2012

13P, a love story

The romantic tale of 13P, and why it ended, is here:

July 22, 2012

Five articles about 13P

There's been a gratifying outpouring of press discussing the end of 13P, why it was needed, and what we may have achieved.

Thoughtful analysis and interviews in Time Out New York:

Lovely piece in the Brooklyn Rail by playwright Ben Gassman:

New York Times full-page article, sidebar, and photo gallery:

Contact Info

Rob Handel
School of Drama
Carnegie Mellon University
Purnell Center for the Arts
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Rob Handel's Calendar



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