Constance Congdon

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Constance Congdon
BornRock Rapids, Iowa
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Notable worksTales of the Last Formicans
Facing Forward
Notable awardsGuggenheim Fellowship

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. She 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 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]

She is the recipient of a 2019 Lilly Award, which recognizes extraordinary women in theatre.


  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. ^ "Historical Dictionary of Contemporary American Theater: 1930-2010". 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-22.

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