Shirley Kaplan, painter, director, and playwright has worked extensively in theatre within the United States and Europe. At an early age she received a grant to study in Paris at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and spent four years painting in Paris during the artistically active post war period of the 1950s. Returning to New York she exhibited at The Stable Gallery and began to work collaboratively. She is one of the co-founders of the OBIE-Award winning Paper Bag Players and she is the founder/director of Painters’ Theatre. She has painted images for many of her own plays including The Dream Box, Neon, and Floating Cathedral and has designed and painted projections for all of Ben Bagley’s Cole Porter shows . She is a longtime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre where has had numerous production of her work in the Marathon and where she directed first productions of Richard Greenberg, Eduardo Machado, and many others. She has written and directed plays at La Mama, UBU Repertory, Playwrights Horizons, All Seasons Theatre Group, The Zipper, and The Powerhouse. She was commissioned to create an original visual piece for Festival St. Archangelo in Italy with an ensemble of Italian performers. She is the founder and co-Director of Sarah Lawrence College Theatre Outreach program where she also was the Director of the Theatre Program from 1988 to 2006. She is now Faculty Emeritus. Recent projects include Sailors and Dreamers, a song cycle which was performed at The Merkin Concert Hall (lyrics by Kaplan, music by Chet Biscardi). Her new play The Unending Life of Ernst Mann had a staged reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre in 2019. She is currently working on rewrites and rehearsing with musicians and singers on Arthur Siegel’s music for A Connecticut Cowboy, a past Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Facebook: Shirley Kaplan
MORE ABOUT ME
The companies of Complicité and Ariane Mnouchkine have been inspiring. I feel most like myself when I see honest performances. When I'm stuck I think of the next steps and stay active. When I'm not doing theatre I read and I cook. I keep doing theatre because of the power of communication.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
A Connecticut Cowboy revival
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