The Drama Book Shop is thrilled to host Sarah Ruhl and Kathleen Chalfant in celebration of the publication of Ruhl's play For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday.
About Sarah Ruhl
Her plays include Stage Kiss, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee for best new play), The Clean House (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2005; The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, 2004); Passion Play, (Pen American award, The Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center); Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Helen Hayes award); Melancholy Play (a musical with Todd Almond); Eurydice; Orlando, Demeter in the City (NAACP nomination), Late: a cowboy song, Three Sisters, Dear Elizabeth, The Oldest Boy and most recently, and For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday and How To Transcend a Happy Marriage. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, Off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, with premieres often at Yale Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and have been translated into over twelve languages.
Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. An alum of 13P and of New Dramatists, she won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and most recently, the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.. She was the recipient of the PEN Center Award for a mid-career playwright, the Whiting Writers award, the Feminist Press’ Forty under Forty award, and a Lilly Award. She proudly served on the executive council of the Dramatist’s Guild for three years, and she is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama. Her book of essays on the theater and motherhood, 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, was a Times Notable Book of the Year. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Kathleen Chalfant began working as a Production Coordinator at Playwrights Horizons in the mid-1970s, beginning with Demons: A Possession by Robert Karmon. She made her Off-Broadway acting debut in Cowboy Pictures in June 1974 and has since appeared in over three dozen Off-Broadway productions. In 2015, she appeared in the Women’s Project Theater production of Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl and as Rose Kennedy in the Nora’s Playhouse production of Rose by Laurence Leamer.
Chalfant was nominated for the 1993 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role – Play) in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She earned the Outer Circle Critics, Drama Desk, Obie and Lucille Lortel awards for her performance as Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit in 1998; she shaved her head for the role. During her work with Wit, she incorporated her experiences dealing with terminal cancer of her half-brother, Alan Palmer, who died in 1998.
For her 2003 performance in Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Chalfant won a second Obie award. In 2009, Chalfant performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film utilizing dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.
Chalfant has played recurring roles in a number of television series including House of Cards, Law & Order, Rescue Me, and The Guardian. Her roles in feature films have included Isn’t It Delicious and Kinsey. Chalfant currently plays Margaret Butler in The Affairon Showtime.
She has spoken widely about the role of art and artists in advocating for civil rights and social justice issues, and “theater as a platform for social change.” She has been hosted by the Center for Constitutional Rights, as part of the Guantanamo Lawyers Panel and was among a group of artists endorsing a cultural boycott of Israel to advocate for Palestinian rights. The group noted the precedent of cultural boycott in apartheid-era South Africa.