Ken LaZebnik

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ken LaZebnik
Born November 11, 1954
Levittown, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Macalester College[1]
Occupation Writer - Books, T.V., Film, Stage
Relatives Brothers Rob and Philip LaZebnik, TV and Screen writers

Ken LaZebnik (original czech surname Lazebník) (born November 11, 1954) is an American writer, best known for his work in television, film, and theatre. His work has appeared in films such as A Prairie Home Companion and in television shows Touched by an Angel and Star Trek:Enterprise.[2] LaZebnik's screenplay On the Spectrum earned him a Steinberg Award from the American Theatre Critics Association.[2]

LaZebnik is the founder and director of the Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting program at Stephens College, a low residency program based in Hollywood.[3] He is also the author of the 2014 book Hollywood Digs: An Archeology of Shadows, a collection of essays about personal encounters with Hollywood history.[4]


Television and film[edit]

LaZebnik has an extensive career writing for film and television. For eight years he wrote for Touched By An Angel, an American supernatural drama series distributed by CBS. He is also credited with writing three specials for the PBS In Concert at the White House series. Additional television credits include being a contributing writer for Army Wives, Providence, Star Trek: Enterprise, and the Hallmark Channel series When Calls the Heart.[5][6][7]

LaZebnik was the writer for Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage a Lionsgate film released in 2008 which starred Peter O'Toole and Marcia Gay Harden. He also has a shared story credit with Garrison Keillor on the film A Prairie Home Companion, directed by Robert Altman.[8][9]


LaZebnik's work also include eleven plays produced throughout the United States. He has written two plays on the subject of baseball, both of which were commissioned by the Mixed Blood Theatre Company and directed by its artistic director Jack Reuler. The first play, Calvinisms, was a one-man show about former Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith.[10] The second, League of Nations, is a fictional story set in a bullpen in the midst of a multi-cultural divide.[11]

LaZebnik has written three plays dealing with autism which have had runs at the Mixed Blood Theatre Company.[1] His play On the Spectrum premiered at the theatre and was awarded a Steinberg Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association.[2] It later had a successful run in Los Angeles at the Fountain Theatre.[12] Theory of The Mind was commissioned for young audiences by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and has also been produced in Minnesota, Hawaii and Michigan.[13][14] Vestibular Sense was LaZebnik's first play written with a theme and characters centered around autism.

LaZebnik's most recent work, Rachel Calof, was chosen to be performed at the 2015 United Solo Festival in New York City. Rachel Calof is a one-woman show adapted from the memoir of a Jewish homesteader in North Dakota and stars Kate Fuglei.[15]

Other works include African Jazz, The Garden of Joy, Harlem Renaissance Revue, Sink Eating and Black Magic which he co-wrote with Jack Reuler and Bob DeFlores.[16][17]

Books and journals[edit]

In 1981, LaZebnik founded The Minneapolis Review of Baseball, a quarterly journal of writing on baseball.[18] It featured baseball fiction, poetry, history, and editorials on the game.[18] Authors who wrote for the magazine included Garrison Keillor, Sen. Eugene McCarthy, Steve Lehman, and Bart Schneider. An anthology was published in 1989: The Best of the Minneapolis Review of Baseball.[19] LaZebnik and Steve Lehman also collaborated on a children's baseball ABC book, A Is For At Bat. LaZebnik has written about baseball for The New York Times, Manhattan, inc., and City Pages.

LaZebnik's latest book is Hollywood Digs: An Archaeology of Shadows, published by Kelly's Cove Press in 2014.[20] It is a collection of essays about personal encounters with shards of Hollywood history, including profiles of stuntman/actor Jock Mahoney, the real-life "Gidget," writer Melville Shavelson, and essays on pieces of Hollywood history, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's tenancy on the San Fernando Valley estate of film butler Edward Everett Horton.[4][20]


LaZebnik is the founder and director of the Master of Fine Arts in TV and Screenwriting program at Stephens College, a low residency program based in Hollywood.[21] The program is geared more towards women, but is open to both men and women.[21] Students are paired with a mentor in screenwriting for both television and film, with a goal of boosting the number of women who work in the film industry.[21] The program sends students to Jim Henson Company Studios for 10 days each semester.[3] Partial funding for the program came from Alex Trebek, a friend of LaZebnik, who endowed a chair in the program for screenwriting.[3] Prior to Stephens, LaZebnik worked as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University since 2010.[2]

Published works[edit]

Select film and television credits

Year Movie/TV Show Role Notes
2014 When Calls the Heart Writer Two episodes in 2014 ("The Dance" & "A Telling Silence")[2]
2014 Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike Self Documentary about the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike.[22]
2012 Army Wives Writer Episode Casualties[23]
2008 Christmas Cottage Writer Also known as Thomas Kinkade's The Christmas Cottage[20]
2006 A Prairie Home Companion Writer 2006 film directed by Robert Altman[24]
2004-2005 Star Trek: Enterprise Writer & Producer Writer of episodes Daedalus & Borderland. Supervising producer on 11 episodes.
1994-2003 Touched by an Angel Writer & Producer Writer of multiple episodes.[25] Consulting producer on numerous episodes from 1996 to 2003.
2001 In Performance at the White House Writer Writer[26]
2000-2001 Providence Writer & Producer Wrote episodes The Gun & The Good Doctor. Supervising producer of 10 episodes.
1994 The Commish Writer Episode Born in the USA
1994 The Jackie Thomas Show Writer Episode The Player

Select theatre credits

Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Garden of Joy Writer A play with music about the Harlem Renaissance[27]
2011 Rachel Calof Writer One-woman show adapted from the memoir of a Jewish homesteader in North Dakota.[28]
2011 On The Spectrum Writer Premiered at the Mixed Blood Theatre and earned a Steinberg Citation[12]
2009 Theory of the Mind Writer Commissioned for young audiences by the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
2006 Vestibular Sense Writer First play written by LaZebnik with autism theme. Premiered at Mixed Blood Theatre.[29]
2002 League of Nations Writer Writer[16]
2000 Sink Eating Writer Comedy about Summer Stock. Premiered at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles.[30]
1988 Calvanism Writer One-man show about former Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith[10]
1983 Harlem Renaissance Revue Writer Writer[17]
1982 Black Magic Writer
1979 African Jazz Writer


Year Title Publisher ISBN Notes
2014 Hollywood Digs: An Archaeology of Shadows Kelly's Cove Press 9780989166447 Collection of essays about personal encounters with shards of Hollywood history.[4]
1989 "A" Is for at Bat: A Baseball Primer Culpepper Press 9780929636009 Co-author with Steve Lehman, illustrated by Andy Nelson


  1. ^ a b Preston, Rohan (10 November 2011). "Three-play festival explores stories about disabled". Minnesota Star Tribune. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Irick, Whitney (2 February 2014). "LaZebnik closes the book on Payson". Pepperdine University Graphic. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Jeopardy! host Trebek boosts Stephens College program". Fox Now. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Malibu Author Digs for Hollywood's Shadows". Malibu Times. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Gustafson, Amy Carlson (7 December 2007). "Minnesotans and the writers' strike: views from the line". Twin Cities. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Free, Alex (28 December 2013). "Ken LaZebnik's mission to transform Payson Library". Pepperdine University Graphic. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "When Calls The Heart Production Blog-Episode 5: The Dance". Hallmark Channel. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Meisel, Myron (25 March 2013). "On the Spectrum: Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Baumgarten, Marjorie (9 June 2006). "A Prairie Home Companion". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Dawidoff, Nicholas (14 November 1988). "On Stage With Calvin Griffith". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 7 August 2015. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Mixed Blood Theatre's Story Focuses on Asperger's Syndrome". The Wave. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Joss, Laurel (24 October 2013). "Three plays put the spotlight on Autism". Autism Daily Newscast. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Theory of the Mind". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Theory of Mind coming to N.Ky. stages". Cincinnati Inquirer. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Review: Minnesota Jewish Theatre's Rachel Calof is a lesson in day-to-day heroism". Minnesota Star Tribune. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Pincus-Roth, Zachary (27 March 2007). "Ken LaZebnik Winds ATCA's Osborn New Play Award". Playbill. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "History and awards". Mixed Blood Theatre. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Our First at Bat (or a Brief History of EFQ)". Elysian Fields Quarterly. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Writing About Baseball Heaven: Elysian Fields". National Public Radio. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c Andelman, Bob (5 May 2014). "Historian Ken LaZebnik Knows Where to Find Hollywood Skeletons!". M Media. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c Ross, Torie (14 November 2014). "Q&A with Ken LaZebnik of Stephens College". Columbia Business Times. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "The Interviewees". Pencils Down! official website. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  23. ^ Jost, Ashley (8 October 2014). "Stephens College announces new graduate programs in medicine, entertainment". Columbia Tribune Daily. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  24. ^ "Autism and romance mix in live-via-Internet 'On the Spectrum'". Los Angeles Times Blog. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  25. ^ Loethen, Kyle (28 October 2014). "Show my your Missouri inspired movie or television pilot script". Missourinet. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  26. ^ "The Singer and the Song: In Performance at the White House 1999". Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  27. ^ "The Garden of Joy". Theatre in Chicago. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  28. ^ Glitz, Michael (22 October 2011). "FringeFest NYC #2 - Leonard Cohen, Shakespeare, Russian Jews and More". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  29. ^ Huyck, Ed (21 August 2013). "Rachel Calof Shines with Virtuoso Performances". City Pages. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  30. ^ "New Comedy About Summer Stock Opens September 16 at Matrix Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 

External links[edit]