Arthur Yorinks has written and directed for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio and is the author of over thirty-five acclaimed and award-winning books, including "Hey, Al," a children's book which earned the Caldecott Medal in 1987.
After veering off his path of becoming a classical pianist in his teens (studying under former Juilliard professor Robert Bedford) Yorinks has spent over four decades working in the performing arts, writing and directing numerous plays including So, Sue Me which premiered at The Kennedy Center and It's Alive, premiering at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York. Yorinks was Philip Glass’s librettist for the operas The Juniper Tree and The Fall of the House of Usher, both of which have been performed all over the world.
Compelled by the use of sound in the theater, Yorinks has, for almost twenty years, experimented with the relationship between audio and live performance. In 2002 he formalized that passion into a company devoted to exploring, evolving, and redefining audio theater. Since then, Yorinks has written and directed over 35 original audio plays performed live in several series he established at The Kennedy Center, The Henry Street Playhouse, The Jacob Burns Film Center, and The New Victory Theater in New York City as well as other venues across the country. This audio work has been broadcast nationwide on XM Satellite Radio. Yorinks is at the forefront of a quest to redefine audio theater and create and produce what he has coined a new theater of sound for the 21st century—-theater work where the core of the dramatic narrative comes primarily from the use of sound—-as both a live theatrical experience as well as a recorded and broadcast medium. Yorinks has directed the radio works of Tom Stoppard, adapted and directed for radio Garson Kanin's The Rat Race, Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Gogol's The Portrait, Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and many other works of literature. His multimedia audio theater work, The Invisible Man was commissioned by WNYC Radio and premiered at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York. Recently, Yorinks wrote an original radio play adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. The play, starring Phylicia Rashad and Roslyn Ruff, was performed live in New York City and was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Yorinks directed the radio broadcast which premiered on September 14, 2012 on WNYC Radio. Yorinks's current project is a play cycle entitled American Song in which he is writing 13 original plays covering the landscape of America from the 1890s to the present. It is being developed by The Flea Theater in New York City.
In the field of dance, among the several dance companies he collaborated with, Yorinks helped create a full-length dance/theater piece entitled A Selection with the renowned dance company Pilobolus. Over the years, his eclectic and wide ranging career has brought him into projects with celebrated artists from Andre Serban to Bill Irwin to the legendary film maker Michael Powell along with many others.
Among his over 35 published works for adults and children, his writings have been hailed as “one of the most distinctive prose styles in children’s literature.” Through his over thirty-four years of picture-book making, he has collaborated with such famed artists as Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Mort Drucker, David Small, and Richard Egielski. The New York Times once hailed Yorinks’s body of work as “some of the best humor to appear since Woody Allen was writing for The New Yorker...” His books include Louis the Fish, Oh, Brother, The Miami Giant, Company's Coming, Harry and Lulu, It Happened in Pinsk, and many others. His book, Mommy?, was a New York Times bestseller in 2006. Recently, Yorinks reunited with his long-time collaborator Richard Egielski for two new picture books -- What A Trip! published by Scholastic and Homework published by Walker Books.
Yorinks, along with originating a new theater of sound in collaboration with WNYC Radio's The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, where he is a consulting adviser, devotes his time to the Yorinks Theater Group, and writing and directing.