Playwrights Writing for Television: Success or Compromise?

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Playwrights Writing for Television: Success or Compromise?

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May 20, 2013
May 20, 2013
Segal Theatre

Sheila Callaghan, Itamar Moses, Diana Son, Matt Schatz
Photos courtesy of the artists

With Sheila Callaghan, Itamar Moses,  Matt Schatz and Diana Son. Moderated by Catherine Sheehy (Yale)
A panel of New York playwrights who write for television examine whether their work is enhanced or compromised by working in both worlds. New York has always provided a steady stream of talent for the television industry. The recent growth of TV writing away from Los Angeles and the success of long-form TV series on networks like HBO have expanded opportunities for successful writers. Like actors, these writers move in both worlds – but how do they manage it? Catherine Sheehy (Chair of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama and Resident Dramaturg at Yale Rep), will moderate the discussion, featuring writers Sheila Callaghan (That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play/United States of Tara, Shameless) Diana Son (Stop Kiss/Southland, Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Itamar Moses (Bach at Leipzig/Boardwalk Empire, Men of a Certain Age), and Matt Schatz (Oh, Gastronomy!/House of Zuck)

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Sheila Callaghan‘s plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright’s Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, Woolly Mammoth, and Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, among others. Sheila is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the prestigious Whiting Award. Her plays have been produced internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. These include SCAB, CRAWL FADE TO WHITE, CRUMBLE (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), WE ARE NOT THESE HANDS, DEAD CITY, LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING, KATE CRACKERNUTS, THAT PRETTY PRETTY; OR, THE RAPE PLAY, FEVER/DREAM, EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH, ROADKILL CONFIDENTIAL, and WOMEN LAUGHING ALONE WITH SALAD. She is published with Playscripts.com and Samuel French, and several of her collected works are published with Counterpoint Press. She has taught playwriting at Columbia University, The University of Rochester, The College of New Jersey, Florida State University, and Spalding University. Sheila is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb and a member of the Obie winning playwright’s organization 13P. Sheila is also a resident of New Dramatists. In 2010, Callaghan was profiled by Marie Claire as one of “18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World.” She was also named one of Variety magazine’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch” of 2010.

Itamar Moses is the author of the full-length plays Outrage, Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us, Yellowjackets, Back Back Back, and Completeness, the musicals Nobody Loves You (with Gaby Alter), and Fortress of Solitude (with Michael Friedman and Daniel Aukin), and the evening of short plays Love/Stories (Or But You Will Get Used to It). His work has appeared Off-Broadway and elsewhere in New York, at regional theatres across the country and in Canada, and is published by Faber & Faber and Samuel French. He has received new play commissions from The McCarter Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Wilma Theater, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, and The Goodman Theatre. On television, Itamar has written for both TNT’s Men of a Certain Age and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Itamar holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU and has taught playwriting at Yale and NYU. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, MCC Playwrights Coalition, and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. He was born in Berkeley, CA and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Matt Schatz won the 2012 Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre for Love Trapezoid (Astoria Performing Arts Center Workshop). His musicals and plays include The Tallest Building in the World (Luna Stage), Oh, Gastronomy! (Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival), Georama (Great River Shakespeare Festival Workshop) and Dunkfest ‘88 (Page 73 Reading). Matt has received three commissions from EST/Sloan, and has been a finalist for the Fred Ebb Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre Songwriting (with collaborator Dina Pruzhansky) and the Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship. Matt is developing his TV pilot about a corrupt rabbi (recently purchased by Fox Television Studios) as well as a number of other projects for the stage and the screen.

Diana Son is the author of the plays Stop Kiss, Satellites, BOY, R.A.W. (‘Cause I’m a Woman) and others. Stop Kiss and Satellites premiered at the Public Theater in NYC. Stop Kiss won the GLAAD Media Award for Best New York Production and Diana won the Berilla Kerr Award for playwriting. Stop Kiss has been produced at hundreds of theatres regionally and abroad. Diana has been a writer/producer for the TV series Do No HarmNYC- 22Blue BloodsSouthlandLaw & Order: Criminal Intent, and The West Wing. She has also written a number of TV pilots for CBS and A&E. She is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, East; the Dramatists Guild; Women in Theatre and is an alumnus of New Dramatists. She currently runs the Playwriting Fellows program at the Dramatists Guild. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 3 sons.

Catherine Sheehy is the Chair of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama and Resident Dramaturg at Yale Rep. Her most recent Yale Rep dramaturgy credits include Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s In a Year with 13 Moons directed by Robert Woodruff and The Winter’s Tale directed by Liz Diamond. Her adaptations include Pride and Prejudice, The King Stag (with Evan and Mike Yionoulis) and Everyman. Her essays have appeared in The Village Voice, Playbill, Theater Three, and Parnassus. She is a former associate editor of American Theatre magazine and a former editor of Theater magazine.  She received her doctorate from Yale School of Drama in 1999 for her dissertation: If You Care to Blast for It: Excavating the Lost Comic Masterpieces of the American Canon.

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