Jay Scheib (born October 6, 1969) is an American stage director, playwright and artist, noted for his contemporary productions of both classical and new plays and operas. Scheib is a Professor for Music and Theater Arts and director of the Program in Theater Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he teaches performance media, motion theater, media and methods, and introduction to directing. Scheib has been a regular guest professor at the Mozarteum Institute für Regie und Schauspiel in Salzburg, Austria, where he conducts an annual "viewpoints and composition" studio.
Scheib was born in Shenandoah, Iowa and attended the University of Minnesota. In 1997 he entered Columbia University School of the Arts from where he later received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater Directing. He began his career in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a 1991 production of Antonin Artaud's Le Jet du Sang followed by a commission from the International Festival of Free Theaters in Szeged, Hungary where Scheib was to premiere The Seasonal. He went on to co-found The American Theater Institute, which eventually became The Arcade Studio. Productions here included: The Kingdom, The Suicide, Poems for the Theater, The Device Machine, Lendra // Revolute, John Day, Galileo Sidereal, Witkacy's The Madman and the Nun, Heiner Müller's Mommsen's Block, The Battle (Die Schlacht), Prolegomenon, and Pickaxe.
Scheib's work as a theater and opera director has been seen in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Norway, Finland, Turkey, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. Known for his sometimes controversial contemporary stagings, he has won numerous awards including the 2012 Obie Award for Best Director, and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Richard Sherwood Award from the Mark Taper Forum, The National Endowment for the Arts / Theater Communications Group Program for Directors, and the Edgerton Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2009 Scheib was named by American Theater Magazine as one of the 25 Artists who will shape the next 25 years of American Theater.
Scheib's opera and musical theatrical works include Addicted to Bad Ideas, the post-punk "lieder abend" about the life and times of Peter Lorre with The World/Inferno Friendship Society. The production premiered at the Philadelphia Festival of Live Arts and went on to tour numerous venues and festivals including the Luminato Festival in Toronto, The Urban Festival, Helsinki, Spoleto Festival, USA, Under the Radar Festival / New York Public Theater, Peak Performances, and the Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in Groningen, Netherlands. He also directed Evan Ziporyn's opera A House in Bali at Cal Performances, Berkeley CA, Cutler Majestic Theater, Boston and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York in fall 2010 featuring contemporary music ensemble Bang on a Can and Gamelan Salukat led by Dewa Ketut Alit. Scheib has also staged the world premiere of Irena Popovich's Mozart Luster Lustik at the Sava Center in Belgrade, carried out the libretto direction and media design for The Making of Americans at the Walker Art Center based on the novel by Gertrude Stein and staged the five part Novaflot opera saga Kommander Kobayashi composed by Moritz Eggert, Aleksandra Gryka, Ricardas Kabelis, Juha Koskinen and Helmut Oehring, and conducted by Jonathan Kaell at the Saarbrücken Staatstheater in Germany.
Scheib's theatrical productions include Brecht's Puntila und sein Knecht Matti at the Theater Augsburg in Germany; Tolstoy's The Power of Darkness at the Trafo House of Contemporary Art in Budapest, Daniel Veronese's Women Dreamt Horses at Performance Space 122, Vallejo Gantner Artistic Director, Chuck Mee's Iphigenia at the Norwegian Theater Institute, Lothar Trolle's Fernsehen 3 and Ein Vormittag in der Freiheit at the Volksbühne am Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin.
Also known for his adaptations of novels, films, and non-theatrical events, Scheib's staged adaptations include: Bellona, Destroyer of Cities adapted from Samuel R. Delany's novel, Dhalgren at The Kitchen in New York,Samuel R. Delany and Jay Scheib discuss Bellona, Destroyer of Cities with Ashley Crawford, World of Wires (2012) adapted from the science fiction film World on a Wire, Untitled Mars (This Title May Change) adapted from Lassewitz, Dick, Lem and the activities of the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah which premiered at Performance Space 122 in New York. His live-cinema adaptation of Antonioni's works This Place is a Desert was first performed as a workshop with the Kretakor Ensemble in Budapest then followed by a studio presentation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before its world premiere at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and its subsequent sold-out run at the Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar Festival. Other adaptations include Margarethhamlet, which premiered in Berlin and All Good Everything Good after Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well which premiered in Bologna at Raum. Both Shakespeare adaptations were choreograped for a solo performer on guitar and were presented with Margareth Kammerer.
The New York City Opera presented the opera, Powder Her Face, by Thomas Adès, in February 2013 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a production directed by Jay Scheib.
Scheib was married July 4, 2015 to visual artist, opera director, performer, and frequent collaborator Laine Andra Rettmer.
Jay Scheib and Laine Rettmer currently serve as joint Housemasters of Senior Haus, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology dormitory located on the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
They split their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York where they maintain a studio in Bedstuy.
- Helen Shaw, "Martian to a different drummer", Time Out (New York), Issue 655 : April 16–22, 2008
- Sherwood Award Recipients
- American Theater Magazine, "AT25: An Eye on the Future", April 2009
- New York Times "World Inferno / Addicted to Bad Ideas"
- Reviewed in Blender, by Tyler Gray
- "Answers - The Most Trusted Place for Answering Life's Questions". Answers.com.
- jayscheib.com, "Addicted to Bad Ideas"
- Grewitsch, Matthew, "Celebrating A Gift From Bali: Delicious Confusion", New York Times, October 8, 2010
- Joshua Kosman, "'House in Bali' creative yet distant", San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2009
- Siegel, Marcia B., "A House in Bali Evan Ziporyn's tenuous idyll", Boston Phoenix, October 12, 2010
- Steve Smith, "Moved by Music of the Tropics, A Composer Moves to Them", New York Times, October 15, 2010
- "Die Schauspieler auch groß auf einer Leinwand", Augsburger Allgemeine
- Theater Augsburg. "Ensemble - Schauspiel". augsburg.de.
- Volksbühne, "Spielzeit 2001/2002"
- "Jay Scheib's Bellona at the Kitchen", Culturebot
- Review of Bellona Destroyer of Cities, New York Times, April 7, 2010
- Brantley, Ben (January 17, 2012). "Worlds Within Worlds Within Worlds. And a Duane Reade.". New York Times.
- Performance Space 122, "Untitled Mars (This Title May Change)"
- A Duchess Who Made Blue Blood Curdle, The New York Times