Constance Congdon

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Constance Congdon
BornRock Rapids, Iowa
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Notable worksTales of the Lost Formicans
No Mercy
One Day Earlier
Facing Forward
Dog Opera
Losing Father's Body
Native American
A Mother
Moontel Six
The Automata Pietà
Notable awardsGuggenheim Fellowship
Lilly Award
Legacy Playwrights Initiative Award
Arnold Weissberger Award
Berilla Kerr Award
The Helen Merrill Award

Constance S. Congdon (born 1944) is an American playwright and librettist. She has won grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation,[1] and is the recipient of a 2019 Lilly Award, which recognizes extraordinary women in theatre. In 2021 she was honored with the Legacy Playwrights Initiative Award by the Dramatists Guild Foundation, for her sustained achievement, enduring excellence and influence on the American theater. Congdon was described by Tony Kushner as "one of the best playwrights our country, and our language, has produced."[2]

The scope of Congdon's plays has been described as "epic." Her first play had 30 scenes and 57 characters, and her 2001 play Casanova covered 73 years in 19 scenes set between Paris and Venice.[3][4]

Her most well-known plays and adaptations include: Tales of the Lost Formicans, Casanova, Lips, Losing Father's Body, The Misanthrope, A Mother, No Mercy, The Servant of Two Masters, Tartuffe and Paradise Street. [5] She has written a number of opera libretti and seven plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis.[6][7] Her playwriting career includes an adaptation of Maxim Gorky's A Mother with Olympia Dukakis in the lead role.[8]

Congdon was born in Rock Rapids, Iowa. Her first play, Gilgamesh, was produced in 1977. Congdon received her M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1982.[9] She taught playwriting at Amherst College from 1993 to 2018 as its Playwright-in-Residence.[10]

Now retired from academia, Congdon continues to write from her home. Current projects include a novel and works of poetry.


  1. ^ "Playwright's Center Profile". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  2. ^ Kushner, Tony (1999). Tales of the Lost Formicans (Introduction). New York: Samuel French Company. ISBN 9780881450910. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Bomb Magazine Interview". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  4. ^ "A Mother". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  5. ^ "Broadway Play Publishing". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  6. ^ "Samuel French". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  7. ^ Arkatov, Janet (November 7, 1989). "Present, Future Collide in Congdon's 'Lost Formicans' : Stage: Her play, which is coming to the Matrix, is of single mothers, aliens and disillusioned youth". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  8. ^ "A Mother". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  9. ^ Duke, Katherine (2015). "My Life: Constance Congdon | Amherst College". Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  10. ^ Fisher, James (2015). "Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater: 1930-2010". ISBN 9780810879508. Retrieved 2015-08-22.

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