Amy Freed
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Amy Freed
Amy Freed
Born1958 (age 61–62)
Mick LaSalle

Amy Freed (born 1958) is an American playwright.[1] Her play Freedomland was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.


Early life

Freed was born in Manhattan and grew up in The Bronx, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Westchester County, New York. Her father, Richard, was an architect. Her mother is the actor, acting teacher and director Margaret Loft.[2]

She earned a degree in acting at Southern Methodist University. She spent several years in New York and then attended the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco, receiving an M.F.A.[3] While at ACT she wrote a play rather than a thesis for her degree. That play, Still Warm, is loosely based on the TV newswoman Jessica Savitch, and "became a precocious playwriting debut when it was produced at the Climate Theatre in 1991."[4]


Freed was nominated as a finalist in the drama category of the 1998 Pulitzer Prizes for her play Freedomland.[5][6]Freedomland was produced Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, running from December 16, 1998 to January 3, 1999. Directed by Howard Shalwitz, the cast featured Veanne Cox, Jeffrey Donovan, and Heather Goldenhersh.[7] The "darkly satiric comedy" premiered at the South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California, in November 1997. The title is based on the "name of a Wild West theme park in the Bronx, where Freed grew up."[8]

Her play The Psychic Life of Savages won the New York Arts Club's $10,000 Joseph Kesselring Award. The play ran at Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D. C. opening in April 1995. Lloyd Rose, reviewing for The Washington Post, called the play an "exultantly mean, painfully affecting comedy."[9] That production won a 1995 Charles McArthur Award for outstanding new play.[8] The play also ran at the Wilma Theater, Philadelphia in May 1998. Regarding this play, Freed "calls herself, 'an examiner of pathologies.'"[10]

She wrote The Beard of Avon which was commissioned and premiered by South Coast Repertory, opening in May 2001.[11] The play was produced Off-Broadway by the New York Theatre Workshop,[3] running from November 18, 2003 to December 21, 2003. Directed by Doug Hughes, the cast included Tim Blake Nelson as Wiliam Shakspere [sic], Mark Harelik as Edward De Vere, Mary Louise Wilson as Queen Elizabeth and Kate Jennings Grant as Anne Hathaway.[12]

Her play Safe in Hell, another South Coast Repertory commission, received its premiere production in April 2004.[13] The play received its East Coast premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in November 2005.[14] The play is "the story of real-life father and son Puritan preachers Cotton and Increase Mather. The comedy delves into the story behind the witch hunt."[13]

You, Nero premiered at South Coast Repertory in 2009 and focuses on "the effect Nero had on the theater scene in ancient Rome..."[15] The play was produced at the Arena Stage in 2011.[16]

The Monster-Builder premiered at Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland, Oregon, in February 2014. Called a "wonderfully wild and witty play" by Richard Wattenberg, it focuses on a master architect, Gregor Zubrowski, whose "single-minded pursuit of professional glory has stripped him of his humanity."[17]

She wrote Hell to Pay, one of twenty works commissioned by the Berkeley Rep as part of The Food Project. She gave a lecture on the play in February 2014 at Stanford.[18]

Her work has been produced at New York Theatre Workshop, Seattle Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Goodman Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and other theaters around the US.[2]

She currently teaches acting and playwriting at Stanford University.

Honors and awards

She has been the recipient of the Joseph Kesselring Prize,[8] the Charles MacArthur Award[8] and is a several times winner of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.

Freed received the South Coast Repertory (SCR) 2009 Steinberg Commission, which involved a grant from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust to write a play for SCR.[19]

She was one of five playwrights in the Arena Stage, Washington DC, new program "American Voices New Play Institute", starting in 2010 for three years.[20]


She is married to San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle.[3]

Selected plays


  1. ^ "Amy Freed"
  2. ^ a b Hurwitt, Robert. "Amy Freed rebuilds an Ibsen play into 'The Monster-Builder'" San Francisco Chronicle, November 2, 2015
  3. ^ a b c Niederkorn, William S. "Profile of Amy Freed" The New York Times, November 16, 2003
  4. ^ Winn, Steven. "Bard or 'Beard'? / Playwright Amy Freed has fun with Shakespeare's life", January 8, 2002
  5. ^ "Pulitzer Prize Drama", accessed November 9, 2015
  6. ^ a b c "Drama's Amy Freed a Pulitzer finalist" Stanford Report, April 15, 1998
  7. ^ "Freedomland Off-Broadway", accessed January 1, 2016
  8. ^ a b c d Simonson, Robert and Lefkowitz, David. "Playwrights Horizons Ventures To Freed's 'Freedomland' Nov. 27" Playbill, November 26, 1998
  9. ^ Rose, Lloyd. "The Dead Poets Society" Washingtion Post, April 25, 1995
  10. ^ Lefkowitz, David. "Last Chance: Esterman Cast Among Freed Savages in PA, to June 7" Playbill, June 6, 1998
  11. ^ Ehren, Christine. "Freed's 'Beard of Avon' Grows June 1-July 1 at South Coast Rep" Playbill, June 1, 2001
  12. ^ "The Beard of Avon Off-Broadway" Archived 2012-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, accessed November 9, 2015
  13. ^ a b c Hernandez, Ernio. "Salem Witches Hunted in World Premiere of 'Safe in Hell' in CA, Starting April 2" Playbill, April 2, 2004
  14. ^ Rizzo, Frank. "Review. 'Safe in Hell'" Variety, November 22, 2005
  15. ^ Freed, Amy. "Amy Freed on what's funny and how to get there" Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2009
  16. ^ Gilbert, Sophie. "A Conversation With Amy Freed" Washingtonian, December 5, 2011
  17. ^ Wattenberg, Richard. "Theater Review", February 3, 2014
  18. ^ "Lecture: Amy Freed on her new play, Hell to Pay", accessed November 9, 2015
  19. ^ "Freed Working on a New Play", October 15, 2009
  20. ^ Marks, Peter and Trescott, Jacqueline. "Arena Stage gives playwrights higher billing by putting them on payroll" Washington Post, June 10, 2010
  21. ^ a b "Listing. Climate Theatre, San Francisco" Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 9, 1993, p. 56
  22. ^
  23. ^ Verini, Bill. "Review: 'Restoration Comedy' Old Globe Theatre" Variety, March 15, 2007
  24. ^ "'You, Nero' Listing, 2009" Archived August 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2014-09-03. Retrieved .

See also

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