Aaron Posner

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Aaron Posner is an American playwright and theatre director. He was co-founder of the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia. He has directed over 250 productions at major regional theatre companies across the country. He has won many awards including five Helen Hayes Awards, two Barrymore Awards, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the John Gassner Prize, a Bay Area Theatre Award, an Eliot Norton Award, and many more.


Born in Madison, Wisconsin, and raised in Eugene, Oregon,[1] Posner is married to actress Erin Weaver and has one daughter.

Posner has adapted novels as plays, and later created new variations of classic plays, including some by Shakespeare and Chekhov. Among Posner's best-known adaptions are The Chosen (1999), based on Chaim Potok's 1967 novel of the same name, and My Name Is Asher Lev (2009), based on Potok's 1972 novel of the same name.

With composer James Sugg, Posner created A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage: A Mark Twain Musical (2006), adapted from a recently discovered short story of the same name by Mark Twain that was published in 2001. Posner wrote the book and lyrics. The work was premiered in Wilmington, Delaware in a co-production of the Round House Theatre and the Delaware Theater Company.[2][3]

Posner's variation of Anton Chekhov's 1896 play The Seagull, under the title of Stupid Fucking Bird, was premiered in 2013 by the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. It was a very different type of work, his own answer to Chekhov, rather than a classical adaptation. He has said that writing this work made him feel fully like a playwright.[3] The play has since been produced by theatre companies and universities in the United States (US) and elsewhere.

Posner has adapted Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters as well. His Life Sucks: Or the Present Ridiculous (2015) was premiered by Theater J in Washington, DC.[4] No Sisters (2017), which was premiered by the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, ran as a companion play to their production of Three Sisters.[5]

Posner has also re-imagined Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in a variation called District Merchants: An Uneasy Comedy (2016). It is set in Washington, DC, during the Reconstruction era, after the end of the Civil War. Exploring relations between Jewish and African-American businessmen and other residents in the city, including people of color free before the war and newly emancipated freedmen, it premiered at the Folger Shakespeare Library on May 31, 2016.[6]


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