Our Instructors

Winter 2020

Will Dunne
“Scene Shop” Sampler
(Thurs) (Sat)
“Scene Shop” Play Development
(Thurs) (Sat)

Resident Playwright Will Dunne is an author, playwright, and teacher. His bestseller THE DRAMATIC WRITER’S COMPANION, published by the University of Chicago Press, was translated into Polish by PWN in Warsaw. Other books from the Press include CHARACTER, SCENE, AND STORY and THE ARCHITECTURE OF STORY. All three are being translated into Chinese by Ginkgo Books in Beijing. His plays have been presented worldwide in three languages. Special honors include three selections by the O’Neill for the U.S. National Playwrights Conference, a Charles MacArthur Fellowship for comedy, four Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, two DramaLogue Playwriting Awards, and Best-of-Year mention from the San Francisco Examiner. He has twice been a finalist for the Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville. In Chicago, THE ROPER, produced by The Den Theatre, was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work. Other local productions include: THE ASCENSION OF CARLOTTA and LOVE AND DROWNING at 16th Street Theatre; HOW I BECAME AN INTERESTING PERSON at Chicago Dramatists; THE DEATH AND LIFE OF JOHN SMITH at Concordia College; DEEP GARDENS at Second City; and short plays in four Cut to the Chase Festivals at The Artistic Home. Mr. Dunne has conducted more than 2,000 dramatic writing workshops and served as a dramaturg at the O’Neill under the Artistic Direction of Lloyd Richards.

Cheryl Coons
Secret Life of the American Musical

Cheryl Coons is a playwright/lyricist, and has co-written more than a dozen musicals which have received professional productions, including River’s End  (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Original Script and Score, Theatre for the American Musical Award, NAMT and NYMF), At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award for Best New Work), Sylvia’s Read Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), Female Problems (After Dark Award for Best Music) and Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theatre International. Her work has been developed and showcased at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Music Theatre Conference, the National Alliance of Musical Theater’s Festival of New Works, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF).  Projects she’s written have twice been selected for the ASCAP Workshop in Los Angeles and Chicago. Her original novelty songs have been featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and NPR’s Morning Edition. She is the Chicago Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild.

Mary Ruth Clarke
Writing Comedy for the Small Screen
Screenwriting for Playwrights

Mary Ruth Clarke is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. She co-wrote and starred in the original low-budget Meet the Parents and adapted it into the blockbuster Meet the Parents, starring Robert De Niro, for which she shares Story credit with Greg Glienna. The original Meet the Parents was chosen by critic Dave Kerr as his favorite home-grown Chicago movie and was featured at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s grand opening. She also shares Characters Creation credit with Greg for Meet The Fockers and Little Fockers. She has written many plays, and some have found their way to productions.

Emilio Williams
So You Want to Be A Writer
Ten Minute Plays

Emilio Williams is an award-winning writer and educator. His critically-acclaimed plays have been produced in Argentina, Estonia, France, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. As an international communications expert and journalist, he has worked for CNN, the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago. He has been a visiting artist at the University of Portland, Georgia State University, Mary Washington University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he is currently teaching creative writing.

Kristiana Rae Colón
Writing Plays that Matter

Kristiana Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, and Executive Director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She recently debuted her first hip-hop one-act Lack on Lack in Victory Gardens Theater’s 2014 Ignition Festival of New Works. Her play Octagon is the winner of Arizona Theater Company’s 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater’s Dionysos Festival of New Work. In February and March 2013, she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, she opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf in Chicago while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere in London at the Arcola Theater. Her play Tilikum received the 2019 Jeff Award for Best New Play.  She also appeared on Season 5 of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Kristiana has taught English, Humanities, and Creative Writing at North Park University, Chicago State University, Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, and Malcolm X College, as well as served as a teaching artist for a number of nonprofit arts organizations including Young Chicago Authors, Gallery 37, and the Poetry Center. She believes in the power of art as a catalyst for social progress.

Kristin Idaszak
Staging Science: Writing the Science Play

Kristin Idaszak is a Chicago-based playwright and performance maker. Her play, Second Skin, received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. Her play, Fugue for Particle Accelerator,  received its world premiere at 20% Theatre Company Chicago. Her work has also been developed through residencies at the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Stage Left Theatre, and the Qualcomm Institute at Calit2 in San Diego. Kristin has co-created collaborative original work that has been seen at the WoW Festival at La Jolla Playhouse and the Blurred Borders Festival, an international showcase of contemporary dance theatre. She has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work and has received two honorable mentions on the Kilroys’ List. She was the 2015 Kennedy Center Fellow at the Sundance Theatre Lab. She has received two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships. Currently, Kristin is working on a commission for EST/the Sloan Foundation. She is the Shank Playwright in Residence at the Goodman Theatre and is a member of the 2017-2018 Goodman Playwrights Unit. Previously, Kristin served as Associate Artistic Director/Literary Manager of Caffeine Theatre and Associate Artistic Director of Collaboraction. MFA: University of California, San Diego. BFA: The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Douglas Post
Developing a Play-in-Progress

Douglas Post‘s plays, which include BloodshotCynical WeathersDrowning SorrowsEarth and Sky and Murder in Green Meadows, and musicals, which include God and CountryThe Real Life Story of Johnny de Facto and The Wind in the Willows, have been produced in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, England, Wales, Germany, Austria, Russia and China. He has also been commissioned to write screenplays for Warner Bros. and NBC, teleplays for WMAQ-TV, and several radio adaptations of his scripts. On three occasions, he has been selected to develop his work at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and once at the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. He has received the L. Arnold Weissberger Playwriting Award, the Midwestern Playwrights Festival Award, the Cunningham Commission Award, the Blue Ink Playwriting Award and three Playwriting Fellowship Awards from the Illinois Arts Council, and has been nominated for two Jeff Awards and an Emmy Award. Mr. Post lives in Chicago where he is a founding member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble, teaches at Chicago Dramatists and serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Arlene Malinowski
The Sound & Fury: Solo Show & Storytelling Development

Arlene Malinowski’s work is dedicated to the exploration of disability in our culture, and her solo plays are an artistic extension of the social justice work she’s been committed to for the last twenty-five years.  As a solo artist her plays have been produced, at Victory Gardens, 16th Street Theater, Minneapolis Arts Center, Chicago Street Theater, and UCLA among others.  As an actress, Arlene has been seen at the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, and the New Colony, among many other venues.  Arlene’s solo work has been honored with an LA Theater Ovations Award, LA Garland Award and LA Weekly Award, and she is a recipient 3Arts/UIC Department of Disability and the Arts Fellowship. 

Jens Rasmussen
Culture Bending

Jens Rasmussen is a Bechdel Project Co-Founder, award-winning actor, movement consultant, and director. He’s worked at theatres across the country, such as the Folger and Studio in DC, Milwaukee Rep, Cleveland Public, Clarence Brown, and KY, WI VA, NC Shakespeare Festivals. In New York City, he’s worked at 59E59, La MaMa, HERE, Working Theater, Women’s Project, New Georges, terraNOVA, Pan Asian Rep, New Dramatists, and others. He specializes in devised work such as American Dreams, which is currently building out a 2020 Election Tour. 

J. Sebastian Fabal
Crafting the Musical Theatre Song