Kenneth Prestininzi is a proud resident playwright at New Dramatists (New York City) where he recently workshopped his two person musical about Tennessee and Rose Williams, Tom Visits Rose One Last Time (Tishman Creativity Fund).
CURRENT AND NEW WORK: His play Impure Thoughts (Without Apology), inspired by the life story of Sor Juana, was read in June at Repertorio Español, directed by Jose Zayas as part of the MetLife Nuestras Voces new play festival. He has received a commission from Trinity Rep and has workshopped Madonna of the Autoshop and Franz Kafla presents: The Great Amerikanerin Vanishing Act with its company. His play Birth Breath Bride Elizabeth was selected by P. Carl and ArtsEmerson for inclusion in Boston’s Next Wave festival 2013 and also invited by the Boston Mayor’s office’s First Nights festival, December 31, 2014. Under the direction of his long time collaborator Kate Hendrickson, he has launched four new plays: Cookie Play, Chaste, Amerikafka and Beholder, at Trap Door Theater in Chicago. Beholder won a Joseph Jefferson award for playwriting. His play Ugmo and Eenie Go Down the Ruski Hole received unanimous praise when performed in Boston, June 2014 with Sleeping Weazel and was restaged at Dixon Place, October 2015. His short play Archive was featured in the Playground “Race Matters” festival, September, 2015 at Berkeley Rep.
His plays have been seen in Brighton, Boston, Chicago, Edinburgh, Kalamazoo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Philadelphia, Prague, Providence, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. New York City’s Frank Theatre Company produced his play, Love in the Seventh Kingdom of Wrath. He is a maker and teacher of devised theater and his play Touch Me, devised with Joseph Chaikin was published by TCG. Ken’s musicals and plays performed in the San Francisco include: Ariadne, Burger Girl Jingle, Gaveston, The Hole, Kept, Presto Pronto, Soblonski and an adaptation of Peer Gynt. Los Angeles: Alien Ambition, Mine and Patty Cake.
In his younger years, Ken studied with Maria Irene Fornes in Mexico and San Francisco. He has received theatre awards from ACTF, California Arts Council, Christina Crawford, Djerassi Program, Gerbode Foundation, Goethe Institute, LEF, Millay Arts Colony, National Endowment of the Humanities, Rockerfeller Foundation and the San Francisco Cultural Equity Office. Ken is an associate artist with Sleeping Weazel. He is the former Artistic Director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre and Chair(Acting) and Associate Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama 2008-2013.
Ken is a sought after dramaturg and director of new work. He was the artistic director of West Coast Playwrights in San Francisco where he directed and produced new play workshops and readings led by Joseph Chaikin, Marie Irene Fornes, Julie Hebert, Tony Kushner and others. He became the Artistic Director of Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep where he directed first productions by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (boom), Greg Moss (Reunion and Indian Summer) and Andy Bragen (In Spite of the Devil) and produced new plays by Marcus Gardley, Jennifer Haley, Stephen Karam and Steven Levenson.
Recently, Ken directed the rolling premiere of Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians at Southern Rep and Z Space and Nachtrieb’s T.I.C. for Z Space. He directed the premieres of two plays by Charlotte Meehan, Sweet Disaster in Providence and 27 Tips for Banishing the Blues in Boston. He has directed many new play workshops at New Dramatists, including new plays by Eugenie Chan, Mia Chung, Barbara Hammond and others. While at Brown, he directed new plays by their MFA playwrights: Quiara Alegría Hudes, Dan LeFranc, Jennifer Haley and Molly Rice.
Ken has been a guest artist and resident director at Emerson Stages, Brown and Connecticut College where he has directed Drunken City by Adam Boch, Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill, El Grito del Bronx by Migdalia Cruz, James Joyce is Dead and So Is Paris: The Lucia Joyce Cabaret by Pig Iron and Deborah Stein, Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Hot ‘n’ Throbing by Paula Vogel. Ken has also directed his own original plays professionally: Birth Breath Bride Elizabeth (Next Wave Festival, Boston), Ugmo and Eenie Go Down the Ruski Hole (Boston, NYC), Love in the Seventh Kingdom of Wrath (NYC).
He has taught at ACT of San Francisco, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Brown University, Charles University (Prague), Cornell University, International Literary Arts (Mexico), Intersection for the Arts, Northwestern University, University of Iowa and West Coast Playwrights. He is also a long time teacher of the devised theater and began writing for specific ensembles with Joseph Chaikin.
He has received theatre awards from ACTF, California Arts Council, Christina Crawford, Djerassi Program, Gerbode Foundation, Goethe Institute, LEF, Millay Arts Colony, National Endowment of the Humanities, Rockefeller Foundation and the San Francisco Cultural Equity Office.
Ken is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Connecticut College, where he directs and teaches acting, playwriting and dramatic literature. He is the former Artistic Director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre and an associate artist with Sleeping Weazel. He was the Chair(Acting) and Associate Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama 2008-2013.