David Adjmi

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David Adjmi
Born 1973/1974 (age 43–44)[1]
Nationality American
Education Sarah Lawrence College (1995)
University of Iowa (MFA 2001)
Juilliard School (2003)
Occupation Playwright

David Adjmi is an American playwright. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship,[2] a Whiting Award,[3] the inaugural Steinberg Playwright Award,[1] a Bush Artists Fellowship, and the Kesselring Fellowship for Drama.[4]


Adjmi grew up in a Syrian Jewish family in Midwood, Brooklyn[5] He is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College (1995),[6] the Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa (MFA 2001),[7] and the Juilliard School's American Playwrights Program (2003).[8] As of 2010, he resides in Brooklyn Heights.[9]


Adjmi's play The Evildoers was developed at the Sundance Institute and the Royal Court Theatre in London. It premiered in January 2008 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Variety called it "an anxiety attack of a play" and, of Adjmi, noted that he is "clearly a writer with a distinct voice, ambition and style."[10] His play Stunning opened a month later at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC where it was selected as one of the top ten plays of the year by The Washington Post and was published in American Theatre magazine. Stunning premiered in New York at Lincoln Center Theater in June 2009 where it played an extended run to sold-out houses. Adjmi's play Marie Antoinette was developed at the Goodman Theatre's New Stages Series and the Sundance Institute's Residency at the Public Theatre. It will premiere in a coproduction between the American Repertory Theater and Yale Repertory Theatre in Fall 2012. His play "3C" premieres at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in June 2012. His monologue Elective Affinities was commissioned by the Royal Court Theatre and later premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the United Kingdom.[11] In November, 2011 it received its U.S. Premiere at Soho Repertory Theatre, featuring Tony Award winning actress Zoe Caldwell, and directed by OBIE winner Sarah Benson. His play Marie Antoinette, which was presented at Yale Rep. in 2012 and received three Connecticut Critics Circle Awards including Best Play, opened the 2013-2014 season at Soho Rep. under the direction of Rebecca Taichman and with many members of the original cast. The New Yorker recently named Adjmi at one of the Top Ten in Culture for 2011, and described him as an artist who is part of "a new trend in the American theatre."[12]

Other plays include Strange Attractors, Caligula and the controversial hit 3C which put Adjmi in the center of a media firestorm and a legal battle with DLT Entertainment, the rights holders of the television series "Three's Company" which Adjmi satirized in his play. DLT issued a Cease and Desist to the playwright on Adjmi's opening night. In 2014, Adjmi sued for a declaratory judgment that he had not infringed DLT's copyright. On March 31, 2015, three years after its premiere, United States District Judge Loretta Preska ruled in a 56-page decision that the play deconstructed rather than repeated the sitcom, turning it into “a nightmarish version of itself” and was protected as a fair use.[13] 3C made Year's Best lists in Time Out New York, the New York Post and The Advocate.

Adjmi is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including the Helen Merrill Award, the Marian Seldes-Garson Kanin Fellowship, and McKnight and Jerome Fellowships from The Playwrights' Center. A collection of his work, Stunning and Other Plays, was published by Theatre Communications Group in 2011, and a second collection, 1789/1978, is forthcoming in 2015. Adjmi is currently at work on a memoir for HarperCollins entitled Save Us, Superman!


  • January 15, 2003: Strange Attractors (Empty Space Theatre, Seattle)
  • 2005: Elective Affinities (Royal Court Theatre, London, RSC/Stratford)
  • 2008: Caligula (Soho Rep Studio Series)
  • 2008: The Evildoers (Yale Rep)
  • 2008 & 2009: Stunning (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, DC and Lincoln Center Theater)[14]
  • 2011: Elective Affinities (Soho Repertory Theatre, NY)
  • 2012: 3C (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)
  • 2012: Marie Antoinette (American Repertory Theatre/Yale Repertory Theatre)
  • 2013: Marie Antoinette (Soho Repertory Theatre, NY)
  • 2015: Marie Antoinette (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago)[15]


  1. ^ a b Cohen, Patricia (September 17, 2009). "Trust Tussles Over Playwright Award Eligibility". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Fellows: David Adjmi". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved April 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ Jones, Kenneth (October 28, 2010). "Stunning Playwright David Adjmi Wins 2010 Whiting Award". Playbill.com. 
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew (February 13, 2009). "Joseph, Adjmi, Schwartz and McCraney to Receive Kesselring Awards". Playbill.com. 
  5. ^ New York Times: "Once a Boyhood Outsider, Now Reflecting on His Tribe" By FELICIA R. LEE June 16, 2009
  6. ^ "Alumni Awarded Prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships". Sarah Lawrence College. April 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Theatre Arts: Alumni". University of Iowa. Retrieved April 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Q&A With David Adjmi". Alumni News. The Juilliard School. October 2009. 
  9. ^ Kanfer, Julie (October 28, 2010). "Brooklyn Heights People: David Adjmi". Brooklyn Heights Blog. 
  10. ^ Rizzo, Frank (January 27, 2008). "Review: The Evildoers". Variety. 
  11. ^ Schreck, Heidi (October 2005). "In Dialogue: suffer little children: The Sturm und Drang of David Adjmi". The Brooklyn Rail. 
  12. ^ Als, Hilton (January 26, 2009). "By the Skin of Our Teeth". The New Yorker. 
  13. ^ Gardner, Eriq (March 31, 2015). "Judge Rules 'Three's Company' Parody Play to Be Fair Use". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. ^ "David Adjmi". Doollee.com. Retrieved April 18, 2012. 
  15. ^ https://www.steppenwolf.org/tickets--events/seasons/201415/marie-antoinette/

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