Biographical Playwriting Highlights
for Cynthia L. Cooper (Cindy Cooper)
Cynthia L. Cooper (Cindy) writes a range of long and short plays, united by a passion for provocative themes, stylized staging and a mixture of comedy and drama. Her plays have been produced in many theatres and venues across the U.S., Canada and in Europe.
With wide-ranging success before audiences of all ages, How She Played the Game
, tells the stories of six sports women and was produced off-Broadway by The Women's Project, by Primary Stages, and in theaters in more than 80 other locations including Reno, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Montreal, Helsinki and Budapest. It was excerpted on a Lifetime TV spot and included in five anthologies, one of which is Women Heroes.
A version for elementary students, Go, Girl, Go
has been received enthusiastically in schools.
Cooper's plays touch a range of subjects. A new full-length play, Second Sight
weaves together multiple mysteries as a woman journalist and FBI agent turn to Gerard Croiset, the "Mozart of psychics." Strange Light,
produced at Wings in NY, Bailiwick in Chicago, in Philadelphia and Buffalo, involves a woman who struggles with light and dark, studying the history of illumination at the same time that she tries to capture information from her mother's failing memory and hold together her relationship. Of the play, critic Stewart Benedict wrote, "Cooper is a graceful and skilled writer."
Silence Not, A Love Story
published by Gihon River Press, immerses audiences in the courage and danger of a Jewish woman and Catholic man who raise their voices against the rise of the Nazis, and survive to tell about it. "Powerful, poignant and penetrating," wrote Michael Berenbaum of American Jewish University. The play opened at Center Stage Theatre in Jerusalem in April 2010 and has had readings at The Anne Frank Center USA, Wellstone Center (MN), Anne Simley Theater (Hamline Univ.), Geraldine Page Center for the Arts, Poconos Playhouse. It was a finalist in the ForeWord independent press for best drama and a finalist for the Original Playwright Series, Shawnee Playhouse. The Outermost House,
performed by Marvin Einhorn at the Cape Cod National Seashore, Primary Stages, Portland OR, and elsewhere, is the elegiac story of author Henry Beston, as he counteracts the trauma of war with the meditation of nature.
Sisters of Sisters
about the alternately charged and warm relationships between sisters, was a winner of the Hutchinson Festival of New Plays, and produced in New York, Kansas and Minnesota. Her drama, Slow Burn
, a finalist in five playwriting awards for its tale of entanglement between two teen boys and an elderly neighbor, was produced at Wings in New York under the direction of Michael Warren Powell. Comrades in the Kama Sutra Zone
, (formerly titled 'Strange Bedfellows') describes how a single issue - pornography - enters and then takes over the campaign of a woman politician. Produced by the Women's Theater Project in Minnesota, which commissioned it, it was a finalist at the O'Neill Theatre Conference, and presented at West Coast Playwrights Festival. Walls
was a semi-finalist at the O'Neill Theatre Festival in 2006. Words of Choice,
a compilation of several writers created by Cooper, has toured to over 60 locations and 20 states, and is published in "Front Lines: Political Plays be American Women." A second compilation began touring in 2008.
Cooper's one-act plays have won particular praise for their richness and compactability. Many present unconventional characters in complex situations. Sentences and Words
, published in a volume released by the Women's Project and Productions in New York, at the University of Washington and other schools, finds two women grappling with the death penalty and rejecting it, despite personal involvement with the crime. In Works of Art
, winner of the First Prize for Playwriting at Pen & Brush and other awards, a woman sculptor interviews women for an elusive position, but is drawn only to the candidate who can recite poetry. Beyond Stone
tells how the father of a firefighter and a woman artist, both at a loss for words after a devastating fire, connect through art. Others are powerful stories of a woman who runs a shelter for women (The Dwelling Place
, a winner of the Malibu International Short Play contest), a television reporter who reaches for black humor instead of dealing with her breast cancer (Mountain
, a finalist at Louisville), witches who clear a workspace of negativity (Accounting
) and a DNA scientist determined to prevent the desecration of Elvis (Saving Grace
, published in Elvis Monologues.
Another series of plays deliver uplifting images to young people -- the life of the inventor of the Braille system of reading for the blind (Louis Braille
), nontraditional career options (Reachin'
, published by Holt); ways to counter prejudice (High-Five
). A new play in 2005, Sor Juana
tells the true story of a young Mexican woman in the 17th century with a burning desire to learn, and who becomes a visionary poet and writer.
Cooper was twice awarded a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, where she began her work as a playwright. In Minneapolis, she planned and directed a Women's Playwriting Conference.
She was presented a special citation in Providence, RI for Outstanding achievements as a playwright ... devoted to exploring the issues and challenges that mean the most to women,
and presented with the Anne E. Fisher Champion of Choice Award for her work on women's rights. Cooper makes her home in New York City, and is actively working on several theater projects.
For more biographical info, click About here or at the top of page.
Playwriting awards and grants include:
~Jerome Fellowship,Playright-in-Residence, Playwrights Center of Minneapolis (2 times)
~First Prize, Playwriting, Pen & Brush:Works of Art
~Winner, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival: Fox and Hounds
~Winner, Playwriting, White Bear Arts Council, MN: Fox and Hounds
~First Prize, Playwriting, Barn Theatre, NJ: Fox and Hounds
~Winner, Hutchinson Festival of New Plays: Sisters of Sisters
~Finalist National Children's Theatre Festival: Louis Braille
~Finalist, POW Festival: Sisters of Sisters
~Winner, Malibu's Second International Festival of One-Act Plays:The Dwelling Place
~Winner, Nantucket Short Play Festival: Works of Art
~Winner, Camino Real Playhouse Show-Off! 2005 International Short Play Contest: Sentences and Words
~Winner, Theatre of Western Springs, IL, Summer Shorts: Sentences and Words
~Finalist, O'Neill Theatre Program 2006: Walls
~Second Prize, Pen and Brush Playwriting Contest 2003, New York: The Dwelling Place
~Runner-up, Drury One-Act Contest: Works of Art
~Finalist, O'Neill Theatre Program: Strange Bedfellows (Comrades in the Kama Sutra Zone)
~Finalist, Louisville One-Act Contest: Mountain
~Finalist, Source Theatre: Slow Burn
~Finalist, Original Playwriting Award, Aspen Theater Conference: Slow Burn
~Finalist, Western Illinois University Playwriting Competition: Slow Burn
~Finalist, Robert J. Picerking Award for Playwriting Excellence: Slow Burn
~Finalist, Biennial Promising Playwright Contest, Colonial Players: Slow Burn
~Finalist, Out on the Edge Playwrights Festival:A Date At Last
~Finalist, Best Book, Performing Arts Division, ForeWord:Silence Not, A Love Story, published by Gihon River Press
~Finalist, Original Playwright Award, Shawnee Playhouse: SILENCE NOT, A Love Story
~Runner-Up, Pulse Theatre Festival, New York: Second Sight
~Semi-Finalist, East-West Players FDG/CBS New Plays Program: Slow Burn
~Semi-Finalist, Lee Korf Playwriting Prize, The Original Theatre Works: All That Is Green
~Semi-Finalist, Trustus Festival Playwriting Contest: 24 Hours in the Life of the Belted Sandfish
~Semi-Finalist, Two-Headed Challenge, Playwrights Center
~Governor's Award Program, NJ: To How She Played the Game in Recognition of Althea Gibson, Women's Theatre of New Jersey
~Citizen Citation, City of Providence, RI 2006: Outstanding achievements as a playwright and journalist
~2009 Anne E. Fisher Champion of Choice Award, NARAL Pro-Choice America
~Northwest Area Foundation, Co-Labs Grant
~The Field, Individual Artist Grant Program, Artists' Value-Pak
~BMI Musical Theater Workshop (book)
~New York Foundation for the Arts, Teaching Grant, Damas Gracias
~Writing Grant, Storytalers
~Ragdale Writers' Retreat, Ill., Resident Artist
~Playwright in Residence, University of Alabama
White Bear Lake Theater
The Outermost Project
Women's Theater of NJ
Women's Theatre Project, MN
MN Department of Education
~Writer's Voice, West Side Y
~Damas Gracias (New York Foundation for the Arts Grant)
~Schools: New Jersey, Minneapolis, Wisconsin, Alabama, New York, Maryland
~Workshops, Words of Choice
~Women at Wings, Co-Producer (past)
~Women's Playwriting Conference, Mpls., Director (past)
~Interim Management Coordinator, Playwrights' Center, Mpls. (past)
~Artistic Directorate, Playwrights' Center, Mpls.(past)
~Producer, Actors on Stage, Coffeehouse Extempore, Mpls.(past))
~Producer, Women's Sampler, WARM Galleries, Minnesota
~Producer, Women With Bite, New York
~Producer, After Shakes, a benefit for the Mayor's Earthquake Relief Fund, Eureka Theatre, San Francisco
~Producer, Founder, Words of Choice
~Chair, Founder, Collaboration Award, NY Professional Women in the Arts & Media
~Dramatists Guild Women's Initiative, Co-Convener (to 5/2011)
~Playwrights' Center of Minnesota, Jerome Fellow, two-time; Interim director; Artistic directorate (past)
~Board Member, 2001-2006 New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts & Media
~League of Professional Theater Women
~Author's Guild, Member
~New York Newswomen's League, Member
~Theater Communications Guild
~Women's Project and Productions
~Wings Theatre, Member
~Immigrant Theatre Project, NY, Advisory Board
~Circle East, member
~Wright On! Playwrights
~BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, participant (past)
THEATER ARTICLES AUTHORED
~Women, Words of Choice and the WiredArtsFest
To the Problems Presented by the NYSCA Report on the Women in Theatre, Arts Wire 2002
~Reviews, New York Law Journal
~Review, Literature in Performance
~Sarah Jones:Bridge and Tunnel, Ford Foundation Magazine
~Articles, Newsletter, NY Coalition of Professional Women in Arts & Media; Women's Project & Productions; Words of Choice
~Why I Write
Blog30, League of Professional Theatre Women
~Works by Women
~Playwrights' Political Visions, THE DRAMATIST
(Dramatists Guild of America) by Alexis Greene, Jan/Feb 2007; also, League of Professional Theatre Women Magazine.
~Choice Arts,Women Artists, Profile by Sarah Browning
, January 2006.
~Drama Over Diatribe,
by Ann Farmer, Women's eNews.
Also See WHERE I'VE BEEN
Cynthia L. Cooper
446 W. 47th St.
New York, NY 10036