Oren Safdie attended the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University before turning his attention to playwriting. After receiving his MFA – also from Columbia – he was awarded a Woolrich Fellowship, which he used to launch The West End Gate Theatre.
He first became a playwright-in-residence at La MaMa back in 1996, when he produced the first ever Canadian Theatre Festival in New York.
More recently he helmed the Malibu Stage Co. where his off-Broadway / London hit PRIVATE JOKES, PUBLIC PLACES first debuted. (The Wall Street Journal listed it as one of the top six new plays reviewed last decade). His next play, THE LAST WORD…, also moved off-Broadway, starring two-time Emmy Award Winner Daniel J. Travanti (“Hill Street Blues”).
Other productions include UNSEAMLY, FALSE SOLUTION, CHECKS & BALANCES, THE BILBAO EFFECT, WEST BANK, UK, JEWS & JESUS, FIDDLER SUB-TERRAIN, BROKEN PLACES, and LA COMPAGNIE, which he developed into a ½-hour pilot for Castle Rock/CBS.
As a screenwriter, Oren scripted the film YOU CAN THANK ME LATER starring Ellen Burstyn, Amanda Plummer, Mary McDonnell and Genevieve Bujold, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Newport Film Festival, and the Israeli film BITTERSWEET, which played the Jerusalem and Montreal World Film Festivals.
Oren has also written for Metropolis, Dwell, The Forward, Canadian Jewish News, Arutz Sheva, Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, The Algemeiner, and The New Republic.
Playwrights Canada Press, Original Publishing, and Dramatists Play Service have published his plays, and he is the recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, CALQ, The John Golden Foundation, and The Graham Foundation.
Up next, he’s just completed a new musical comedy (with long-time writing partner, Ronnie Cohen) called LUNCH HOUR.
Oren is also a Professor at the University of Miami where he teaches Playwriting and Play Analysis.