Cusi Cram

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Cusi Cram
Cram at the June 2015 Lilly Awards
Cram at the June 2015 Lilly Awards
Born (1967-09-22) September 22, 1967 (age 56)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, actress, model, director, educator
EducationBrown University (BA)
Juilliard School (GrDip)
Years active1980–present
SpousePeter Hirsch
ParentsLady Jeanne Campbell (mother)
RelativesKate Mailer (half-sister)
Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll (maternal grandfather)
Janet Gladys Aitken (maternal grandmother)
Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook (great-grandfather)

Cusi Cram (born September 22, 1967) is an American playwright, screenwriter, actress, model, director, educator, and advocate for women in the arts.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cusi Cram was born in Manhattan, New York,[2] on September 22, 1967,[3] to Lady Jeanne Campbell, daughter of Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll and Janet Gladys Aitken, and granddaughter of Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook; Lady Jeanne was married at the time to John Cram III, a descendant of railroad developer Jay Gould.[2] Her biological father, however, was Bolivian[4] and worked at the United Nations.[4][5] She identifies as Latina and has written extensively about her Latin roots in her plays.[6][7][8][9]

Cram's first foray into the world of theater came at age six when she played the role of Moth in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.[10] Campbell had previously been married to Norman Mailer, with whom she remained friends after their divorce.[2] Mailer's later wife Norris Church, a former actress and model, suggested that Cram try out modelling.[2] At age 13, she did, becoming the youngest model ever to sign with Wilhelmina Models, Church's former agency.[2] At the time, Cram attended the Chapin School in Manhattan.[2] Of her modeling days she has said, "And at the time—and I think times have changed a lot—[the look] was very blonde and blue eyed, so I was considered very, very ethnic looking ..."[5]


While working with Wilhelmina, Cram modeled for a variety of publications including Interview, Seventeen, Brides, and Young Miss.[2] While still 13, she joined the cast of the soap opera One Life to Live on ABC.[2] She originated the role of Cassie Callison,[11] a job that required her to leave the Chapin School for the Professional Children's School which allowed her time to both study and participate in filming.[2] She eventually transitioned from acting to playwriting during her twenties, graduated from Brown University in 1990, and landed a job writing for the animated PBS show Arthur.[4][12]

Cram worked in regional theaters in Massachusetts, California, and Colorado, and had some of her work produced Off-Off-Broadway.[13] Her work on Arthur inspired her 2009 play Dusty and the Big Bad World.[14] The Arthur spinoff Postcards from Buster was subject to a controversy that eventually involved United States Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings after an episode depicted a Vermont family with two lesbian mothers.[14] Dusty, which premiered at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, was a comic retelling of the controversy.[14] Cram's Off-Broadway debut also came in 2009 when her play A Lifetime Burning, based on the experiences of author Margaret Seltzer and the discovery of her partially fictitious memoir Love and Consequences, was produced at 59E59 Theaters by Primary Stages.[13]

Aside from Arthur, Cram has also written for the Cbeebies children's television series The Octonauts,[15] and contributed two episodes to the Showtime comedy-drama The Big C.[16] As of January 2014, she teaches playwriting as part of the joint Fordham University – Primary Stages Master of Fine Arts program.[17]

Production history[edit]

Title Date premiered Theater Notes Ref.
Landlocked November 11, 1999 Miranda Theatre [18]
The End of It All June 15, 2000 South Coast Repertory Part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival [19]
Normal March 1, 2003 Actors Theatre of Louisville One-act play, anthologized in Trepidation Nation [20]
Corduroy January 11, 2004 Theatreworks USA Musical, with book by Cram and music by Scott Davenport Richards

Based on the children's book of the same name by Don Freeman

Predator June 29, 2004 Echo Theater Company One-act play [22]
Fuente July 9, 2005 Barrington Stage Recipient of the 2004 Herrick Theater Foundation New Play Prize

Previewed beginning June 30

All the Bad Things February 15, 2006 The Public Theater Produced by LAByrinth Theater Company [25]
Lucy and the Conquest July 12, 2006 Williamstown Theatre Festival [26]
Dusty and the Big Bad World January 29, 2009 Denver Center Theater [14]
A Lifetime Burning August 11, 2009 59E59 Theaters Produced by Primary Stages [27]
Fuente Ovejuna: A Disloyal Adaptation November 11, 2011 Lewis Center for the Arts Based on Lope de Vega's Fuenteovejuna [28]
Radiance November 16, 2012 Bank Street Theater One-act play

Produced by LAByrinth Theater Company


Additionally, Cram's one-act West of Stupid was anthologized in The Best American Short Plays 2000-2001.[30] She has also performed two one-woman shows, Bolivia and Euripidames, at New Georges in New York City.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Cram lives with her husband, Peter Hirsch, also a writer on Arthur, in Greenwich Village, New York.[14][30]


  1. ^ "Cusi Cram". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Small, Michael (August 3, 1981). "At 13, Cusi Cram Doesn't Kid Around; Already a Cover Girl, Now She's Scrubbing Up for the Soaps". People. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  3. ^ Tallmer, Jerry (August 5–11, 2009). "Cusi Cram's fictional siblings spar, jab amid suspicions, sex". The Villager. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Simonson, Robert (August 14, 2009). "Cusi Cram's Lifetime of Learning". Playbill. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Myers, Victoria (Aug 4, 2014). "An Interview with Cusi Cram".
  6. ^ "Cusi Cram (@cusicram) | Twitter". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  7. ^ "Lucy and the Conquest". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  8. ^ "Fuente". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  9. ^ Cram, Cusi (2018). "Cusi Cram". In Uno, Roberta; Calhoun, Kristen Adele; Alvarez, Daniela; Khalil, Kassandra L. (eds.). Contemporary Plays by Women of Color: An Anthology (2nd ed.). Routledge. pp. 403–404. doi:10.4324/9781315641584-37. ISBN 978-1-315-64158-4.
  10. ^ "Up Close: Radiance Playwright Cusi Cram". Inside Labyrinth. LAByrinth Theater Company. August 31, 2012. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1985). Encyclopedia of Television Series, Pilots and Specials 1974-1984. New York City: New York Zoetrope. p. 308. ISBN 0918432618.
  12. ^ Goodman, Lawrence (September–October 2009). "Girl Interrupted". The Brown Alumni Magazine. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Cote, David (July 21, 2009). "Cusi Cram on A Lifetime Burning". Time Out New York. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d e Jones, Kenneth (January 29, 2009). "Controversial PBS Cartoon Is Focus of Denver World Premiere, Dusty". Playbill. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  15. ^ "Octonauts And The Amazon Adventure". Big Cartoon DataBase. 2013. Archived from the original on January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  16. ^ "Cusi Cram". Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  17. ^ "Cusi Cram". Faculty. Primary Stages. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  18. ^ McBride, Murdoch (November 15, 1999). "Miranda Theatre Runs Cusi Cram's Comedy, Landlocked, Thru Dec. 4". Playbill. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  19. ^ "Best Bets Thursday 6/15". Los Angeles Times. June 15, 2000. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  20. ^ "Normal by Cusi Cram". Playscripts, Inc. 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  21. ^ Rawson, Christopher (January 12, 2004). "Stage Review: 'Corduroy' is short and sweet". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  22. ^ Schreiber, Brad (June 30, 2004). "The Echo One Acts: 2004, Evening A". Backstage. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  23. ^ Sommer, Elyse (2005). "Fuente". Berkshires Review. CurtainUp. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  24. ^ "Cusi Cram". Literary. MCC Theater. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  25. ^ BWW News Desk (February 14, 2006). "LAB's All the Bad Things Begins Performances Tomorrow". Broadway World. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  26. ^ Sommer, Elyse (2006). "Lucy and the Conquest". Berkshires Review. CurtainUp. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  27. ^ Isherwood, Charles (August 12, 2009). "A Memoir So Compelling It Just Has to Be Phony". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  28. ^ "The Program in Theater announces the Fall Show... Fuente Ovejuna: A Disloyal Adaptation". Arts at Princeton. Princeton University. 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  29. ^ Thielman, Sam (November 20, 2012). "'Radiance' Drops a Bomb". Backstage. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  30. ^ a b c Glubke, Mark, ed. (2002). The Best American Short Plays 2000-2001. New York City: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 85. ISBN 1-55783-480-6.

External links[edit]