Steven Dietz

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Steven Dietz (born 23 June 1958, Denver, Colorado) is an American playwright whose thirty-plus plays have been widely produced in the U.S. and internationally. With the notable exception of "Fiction",[1] produced Off-Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre Company in 2004, the vast majority of Dietz's plays are produced in American regional theaters. In 2010, Dietz was once again named one of the most produced playwrights in America (excluding Shakespeare), placing eighth on the list of the Top Ten Most Produced Playwrights in America, tied with Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee for number of productions.[2] Dietz was awarded the 2011-12 Ingram New Works Fellowship (following previous winners David Auburn and John Patrick Shanley) by the Tennessee Repertory Theatre.[3] Recent premieres include the black comedy, "Rancho Mirage",[4] and the thriller, "On Clover Road".[5][6] Both of these plays received "rolling world premieres" through the National New Play Network.[7]

Life and career[edit]

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Dietz graduated in 1980 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Colorado, after which he moved to Minneapolis and began his career as a director of new plays at The Playwrights' Center and other local theaters. During these years he also formed a small theatre company (Quicksilver Stage) and began to write plays of his own. A commission from ACT Theatre to write "God's Country" brought him to Seattle, Washington in 1988, and he lived and worked in Seattle from 1991 to 2006. He now divides his time between Seattle and Austin, Texas where he teaches playwriting and directing at the University of Texas at Austin.[8]

He is the recipient of the PEN U.S.A. Award in Drama (for Lonely Planet, perhaps his most widely-performed work); the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award (Fiction and Still Life With Iris); the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Award (The Rememberer); the Yomiuri Shinbun Award for his adaptation of Shusaku Endo's Silence; and the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery for his adaptation of William Gillette's and Arthur Conan Doyle's 1899 play Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. Dietz is also a two-time finalist for the prestigious Steinberg New Play Award (for "Last of the Boys" and "Becky's New Car"), given by the American Theatre Critics Association.

Dietz's plays range from the political ("Last of the Boys",[9] "God's Country", "Halcyon Days", "Lonely Planet") to the comedic ("Becky's New Car", "More Fun than Bowling", "Over the Moon"). Many of them, (e.g. "Trust", "Private Eyes", "Fiction", "Rancho Mirage") have as a central theme the effects of personal betrayal and deception. Seattle's ACT Theatre alone premiered/produced 11 plays by Dietz during Kurt Beattie's tenure as the company's artistic director. In his final season at ACT Beattie directed the premiere of Dietz's Bloomsday, which critic Thomas May described as "a time-chord that pits recrimination against the yearning for resolution." [10] The majority of the plays are published (in acting editions) by either Dramatists Play Service (New York), or Samuel French, Inc., (New York). An anthology of Dietz's work for young audiences was published by UT Press in 2015.[11] Many of the short plays are also anthologized.

Dietz's work as a director has been seen at many of America's leading regional theatres. He has directed premiere productions of new plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre (Chicago), ACT Theatre (Seattle), San Jose Repertory Theatre, City Theatre (Pittsburgh), Westside Arts (Off-Broadway), and the Sundance Institute, among many others. He was a resident director for ten years at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, where he also served as Artistic Director of Midwest PlayLabs.

Dietz's articles on new play development—most first seen in American Theatre Magazine[12]—have been widely discussed and re-printed.

Original plays (by year of first production)[edit]

  1. Brothers and Sisters (1981)
  2. Railroad Tales (1983)
  3. Random Acts (1983)
  4. Wanderlust (1984)
  5. More Fun Than Bowling (1986)
  6. Painting It Red (1986) (music by Gary Rue and Leslie Ball)
  7. Burning Desire (1987) (short play)
  8. Foolin' Around with Infinity (1987)
  9. Ten November (1987) (music by Eric Bain Peltoniemi[13])
  10. God's Country (1988)
  11. Happenstance (1989) (music by Eric Bain Peltoniemi)
  12. After You (1990) (short play)
  13. Halcyon Days (1991)
  14. To The Nines (1991) (short play)
  15. Trust (1992)
  16. Lonely Planet (1993)
  17. Handing Down the Names (1994)
  18. The Nina Variations (1996) (variations on the last scene of Chekhov's The Seagull)
  19. Private Eyes (1996)
  20. Still Life with Iris (1997)
  21. Rocket Man (1998)
  22. Fiction[14] (2002)
  23. Left to Right (2002) (short)
  24. Inventing van Gogh (2004)
  25. Last of the Boys[15] (2004)
  26. The Spot (2004) (short)
  27. September Call-Up (2006) (short)
  28. Yankee Tavern (2007)[16][11]
  29. Shooting Star(2008)[17]
  30. Becky's New Car (2008)[18][19]
  31. Rancho Mirage (2012)[20]
  32. On Clover Road (2015)[21]

Plays adapted from other sources[edit]

  1. The Rememberer (1994) (from the unpublished memoirs of Joyce Simmons Cheeka)
  2. Silence (1995) (from Shusaku Endo's novel)
  3. Dracula (1996) (from Bram Stoker)
  4. Force of Nature (1999) (after Elective Affinities by Goethe)
  5. Go, Dog. Go! (2003) (from P.D. Eastman) - a musical adaptation co-written with his wife, Allison Gregory.
  6. Over The Moon (2003) (after "The Small Bachelor" by P.G. Wodehouse)[12]
  7. Paragon Springs[22] (2004) (from "An Enemy of the People" by Ibsen)
  8. Honus and Me[23] (2005) (from Dan Gutman)
  9. Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure[24] (2006) (from William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle)
  10. Jackie and Me (from Dan Gutman) [13]
  11. 360 (round dance) [14] (from Arthur Schnitzler's 1900 play, "Reigen", or "La Ronde"La Ronde (play))


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ [5]
  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ [7]
  8. ^ U. Texas faculty profiles
  9. ^ Interact Theatre, interview with Steven Dietz
  10. ^ Thomas May (2015-09-24). "Time Keeps on Shifting: Bloomsday at ACT". memeteria. Retrieved 2015-09-26. 
  11. ^ [8]
  12. ^ (1) "Doom Eager: Writing What We Need to Know", (2) "Developed to Death", (3) "An Audience Manifesto" American Theatre9.n9(Jan 1993):9(1).Expanded , and (4) "A Modest Proposal: On Training Directors for the New Century." American Theatre Magazine archives
  13. ^ Eric Peltoniemi website
  14. ^ Roundabout Theatre Company interview
  15. ^ Steppenwolf Theatre, interview
  16. ^ Palm Beach Arts Paper review of Yankee Tavern
  17. ^ review at Austin Chronicle, March 20, 2009
  18. ^ Variety review of Becky's New Car, Oct. 27, 2008
  19. ^ review of Becky's New Car at
  20. ^ [9]
  21. ^ [10]
  22. ^ Review of Paragon Springs, reviewed by Tom Williams,, 2/16/2004
  23. ^ Seattle P.I. Friday, March 31, 2006 'Honus and Me' brings the prolific playwright Dietz full circle in Seattle
  24. ^ St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN) - June 11, 2008 - CASE CLOSED: "SHERLOCK HOLMES" IS BRILLIANT ($ to purchase from archive)