Playwright Edward Albee has defined modern American theatre with five decades of provocative, controversial and brilliant plays. A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, The New Yorker called him “the greatest living playwright.”
Albee is perhaps best known for his 1962 drama, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It won both the Tony and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and is widely considered a classic of American contemporary theatre.
Albee’s groundbreaking plays explore the most intimate aspects of our society. His first play, The Zoo Story, opened in 1959 and tells the story of a drifter who acts out his own murder with the unwitting aid of an upper-middle-class editor. The play effectively gave birth to American absurdist drama, and Albee was immediately hailed as the leader of a new theatrical movement.
A Delicate Balance, Seascape, The Death of Bessie Smith, and Three Tall Women are just a few titles that illustrate Albee's passion for examining features of our lives we might not always recognize. In his lectures Albee describes the power of the arts as a catalyst for change. He believes that art should be dangerous - it should reveal all our shortcomings and complacency - inspiring us to live more fully. "The job of the arts, " says Albee, "is to hold a mirror up to us and say: "Look, this is how you really are. If you don't like it, change."
His play, The Goat or Who is Sylvia, won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play. Albee has also won Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Albee had three plays produced in New York during the 2007-2008 season: Peter and Jerry with Bill Pullman; a revival of his one-act plays, The American Dream and The Sandbox; and Occupant about Louise Nevelson. His play, Me, Myself and I, opened at the McCarter Theater in January 2008, and made its off-Broadway debut in the fall of 2010.
In 2011 the Arena Stage Festival at The Mead Center for American Theater honored Albee with 26 staged readings of every play he has produced since the late 1950s, as well as their annual American Artist Award. Albee was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal for Lifetime Achievement. A 2012 revival of The Lady from Dubuque was the opening play at the new off-Broadway Signature Theater.
“Witty and intelligent...Edward Albee's passionate defense of the arts spurred a standing ovation.”
-University of Missouri - Columbia