Steve Cosson

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Steve Cosson
Born1968 (age 51–52)
EducationDartmouth College (BA)
University of California, San Diego (MFA)
Fulbright Scholar, Colombia[1]
OccupationDirector, writer
Known forFounding Artistic Director of The Civilians, many collaborations with Michael Friedman
Notable work
This Beautiful City
(I Am) Nobody's Lunch
Gone Missing

Steven Cosson (born August 1968)[2] is a writer and director specializing in the creation of new theater work inspired by real life. He is the founding Artistic Director of the New York-based investigative theater company The Civilians.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Cosson was born in the Washington, D.C. area.[2] He received his BA from Dartmouth College and holds an MFA in directing from the University of California San Diego, where he studied under director and Joint Stock member Les Waters.[4]


Cosson led The Civilians as the first theater company in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[5] He wrote the first major American play about climate change, The Great Immensity, which generated significant controversy from Republicans in Congress and right-wing media,[6] and was featured as a TED Talk at the main TED conference in 2012.[7]

Cosson collaborated repeatedly with composer Michael Friedman on works with The Civilians and other companies, until Friedman's death in 2017. Other notable accomplishments include developing and directing Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, named the 4th Best American Play of the past 25 Years by The New York Times.[8]

Recent[when?] credits include:

With The Civilians:

Cosson has also directed The Civilians’ work at A.R.T., Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, HBO's Aspen Comedy Festival, The Museum of Modern Art; London's Gate Theatre, and the Soho Theatre, among many others.

As a freelance director of new plays, musicals, and classics, Cosson's other directing credits include Ethel's Documerica (BAM Next Wave Festival); Dael Orlandersmith's Stoop Stories; Spring Awakening (Olney Theatre Center); Bus Stop (Kansas City Repertory Theatre); Anne Washburn’s A Devil at Noon (Humana Festival of New American Plays); Michael Friedman's Adventures in Reality (Lincoln Center Theater), and the U.S. premiere of Attempts on Her Life; and new plays at theaters including Hartford Stage, Soho Rep, O’Neill Conference, New Harmony Project, and others.[3]

His plays have been published by Oberon Books in the UK, Dramatists Play Service, and an anthology of his plays with The Civilians was published by Playscripts, Inc.[3]


  • 2018 The Abombinables, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 2016 The Undertaking
  • 2016 Rimbaud in New York, various composers
  • 2015 The End and the Beginning
  • 2014 The Great Immensity, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 2012 Paris Commune with Michael Friedman
  • 2010 In The Footprint, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 2009 This Beautiful City, with Jim Lewis, interviews by the company, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 2006 (I Am) Nobody's Lunch, interviews by company, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 2003 Gone Missing, interviews by the company, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 2001 Canard, Canard, Goose? head writer, company-devised, music/lyrics by Michael Friedman
  • 1998 Fingered


  1. ^ "Steven Cosson," The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage website. Accessed Oct. 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Tallmer, Jerry. "A jewel in the lost and found department," iVillager (July 12, 2007).
  3. ^ a b c Cosson bio, The Civilians website. Accessed Oct. 27, 2019.
  4. ^ Zinoman, Jason. "They Feel A Homeland Security Song Coming On," The New York Times. January 29, 2006.
  5. ^ "The Civilians' Museum as Musical". Interview Magazine. 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  6. ^ Tran, Diep (2017-06-05). "How a 'Climate Change Musical' Became a Right-Wing Punching Bag". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  7. ^ "A musical about climate change: The Civilians at TED2012". TED Blog. 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  8. ^ Times, The New York (2018-05-31). "Watch Now: Excerpts From the 25 Best New American Plays". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  9. ^ "New CTC musical 'Abominables' blows whistle, sweetly, on youth sports". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  10. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2016-09-25). "Review: In 'The Undertaking,' Considering the End With Some Laughter". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  11. ^ Jones, Chris (January 26, 2016). "Review: 'Another Word for Beauty' about pageant in a Colombian prison". Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  12. ^ "John Ashbery's Rimbaud". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  13. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2015-03-01). "'Pretty Filthy,' a Behind-the-Scenes Musical about Pornography Stars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  14. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2014-11-23). "'The Belle of Amherst': Joely Richardson as Dickinson". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  15. ^ "The Princeton Atelier and Princeton Environmental Institute present The Great Immensity". Archived from the original on 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  16. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "In a Transformed City, Falling in and Out of Grace," The New York Times. Feb 23, 2009.
  17. ^ Portlock, Sarah. "Agit Prop," Brooklyn Paper (November 26, 2008).
  18. ^ Estvanik, Nicole. "What Do You Believe?" American Theatre Magazine. Dec 1, 2004.

External links[edit]