Lauren Gunderson

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Lauren Gunderson (born February 5, 1982) is an American playwright, born in Atlanta. She currently lives in San Francisco.

Life and career[edit]

Gunderson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Emory University in 2004, and her Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2009, where she was also a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.[1]

She writes about women in science and history,[2] and comedies based on Shakespeare.[3]

She is married to virologist Nathan Wolfe.[4]

Theatrical credits[edit]

Gunderson is one of the top 20 most-produced playwrights in the country,[5] and was America's most produced living playwright in 2016 and 2017.[6][7]

Gunderson was awarded the Lanford Wilson award in 2016.[8]

Her play I and You was the winner of the 2014 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award,[9] and a finalist for the 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.[10] Forward Theater, located in Madison, Wisconsin, will stage I and You from November 2–19, 2017.[11] Artists Repertory Theatre, located in Portland, Oregon, will stage I and You from May 20 to June 17, 2018.[12]

Gunderson's play Exit, Pursued By A Bear has been performed around the country, winning Best Comedy in Austin, Texas.[13]

Gunderson has made several of plays available for activist purposes.[14] The Taming, an all-female political farce which premiered at Crowded Fire Theater Company in 2013,[15] was free to produce on the night of the 2016 inauguration. In April 2018, she created a national campaign of theater activism with royalty-free readings of her play Natural Shocks to address domestic violence and gun violence against women.[16]

Her play Émilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, about the real-life 18th-century physicist Émilie du Châtelet was commissioned and developed at South Coast Repertory as part of their 2008 Pacific Playwrights Festival directed by Kate Whorisky. It was produced the following year directed by David Emmes. On 25 January 2011, it opened in West Seattle, at Arts West Theater. It is published by Samuel French, Inc. (2010).[17] Émilie received its European and British premiere in Oxford, UK during February 2014.[18]

Fire Work was developed at The O'Neill National Playwrights Conference at Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Center in 2009.[19]

Gunderson's play Leap, about a young Isaac Newton, was produced by Theatre Emory in 2004, directed by Megan Monaghan.[20]

Her play Parts They Call Deep won the 2002 Young Playwrights National Playwriting Competition and was produced Off-Broadway by Young Playwrights Inc. as part of the young Playwrights Festival at the Cherry Lane Theater. "Parts They Call Deep" and Background won her the Essential Theatre Prize in 2000 and 2004.[21] Background, about physicist Ralph Alpher, was published by Isotope: A Literary Journal of Nature and Science Writing (2009, issue 7.2).[22]

The San Francisco Playhouse commissioned Gunderson's 2014 play Bauer about the artists Rudolf Bauer and Hilla von Rebay.

Gunderson's play Ada and the Memory Engine, about the relationship between Lady Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, inventor of the analytical engine, a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, was produced by the Central Works Theater of Berkeley, California, in 2015.[23][24]


  • 2001 Parts They Call Deep
  • 2004 Leap
  • 2005 Background
  • 2005 Eye Of The Beheld
  • 2010 Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight
  • 2011 The Amazing Adventures Of Dr. Wonderful And Her Dog!
  • 2011 Rock Creek: Southern Gothic
  • 2012 Exit, Pursued By A Bear
  • 2012 We Are Denmark
  • 2013 By And By
  • 2013 Toil & Trouble
  • 2014 I And You
  • 2014 Fire Work
  • 2015 Ada And The Memory Engine
  • 2015 Bauer
  • 2015 Silent Sky
  • 2015 The Taming
  • 2017 The Book Of Will
  • 2017 Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley
  • 2017 The Revolutionists


  1. ^ "Graduate Fellowship – Lauren Gunderson". New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Jones, Chad (October 2013). "Heart and Mind". American Theatre Magazine. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Brown, Joel (October 11, 2013). "Abuser, pursued by a comedy". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  4. ^ Hamlin, Jesse (October 13, 2013). "Playwright at a prolific stage of her career". San Francisco Chroncile. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  5. ^ "The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2015--16 Season". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  6. ^ "Most Produced Playwrights". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  7. ^ "The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2017-18 Season". AMERICAN THEATRE. 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  8. ^ Viagas, Robert (January 15, 2016). "Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Recipients of 2016 Dramatists Guild Awards". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  9. ^ "American Theatre Critics Association - ATCA Home - Gunderson's "I and You" wins 2014 Steinberg/ATCA Award, citations to Demos-Brown and Zimmerman". Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  10. ^ "Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalists Include Theresa Rebeck, Lauren Gunderson and More". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  11. ^ "Forward Theater presents I AND YOU"
  12. ^ "2017/18 Season"
  13. ^ "Exit, Pursued by a Bear". Playscripts, Inc. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  14. ^ Inc., Marcus Promotions,. "A Conversation with Lauren Gunderson on the Power of Theater Activism". Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  15. ^ Desk, BWW News. "World Premiere of Lauren Gunderson's THE TAMING Plays Crowded Fire Theater, Now thru 10/26". Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  16. ^ "Kathy Najimy Will Star in Benefit Reading of Lauren Gunderson's Natural Shocks | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  17. ^ Lauren Gunderson. "Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight". Samuel French. Retrieved 2014-03-24.
  18. ^ Mike Taylor (2014-01-31), ElevenOne Theatre presents Émilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight,, retrieved February 27, 2015
  19. ^ Eugene O'Neill Theater
  20. ^ "Emory University News Release - leap". 2003-11-26. Retrieved 2014-03-24.
  21. ^ "Atlanta's Essential Theatre New Play Festival & Playwright Competition". Retrieved 2014-03-24.
  22. ^ Isotope Issue 7.1
  23. ^ "2015 Season – Ada and the Memory Engine". Central Works – The new-play theater. 2015. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  24. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (October 18, 2015). "Count on sex life of poet's math-whiz daughter for notable theater". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-02-15.

External links[edit]