Liza wrote her first play, The Janitor, an impractical slasher/horror story dramatized for the stage, when she was just 12. Since then she has written over 30 full-lengths, 20 one-acts, and 40 short scripts. Her plays have been produced world-wide, winning honors from The Pinter Review Prize for Drama, Trustus Playwrights' Festival, Playwrights First, Great Platte Playwrights' Festival, the Lillian Hellman Prize for Drama, and the Sienna College International Playwriting Contest, among others. Her works have been produced at the Cherry Lane, the Women's Project, PS 122, and Manhattan Repertory Theatre (where she was Playwright in Residence), to name a humble few. Her works are widely published and consistently produced at colleges and theaters big and small all over the States.
For an extended playwriting bio, please read below.
When she was just nineteen, Liza Lentini’s surreal drama The C Zone was chosen as a Regional ACTF participant alongside John Russell’s Stupid Kids. That same year she received her first professional production in Boston ofThe Low Road to Phoenix, which was selected by the Boston Phoenix as one of their weekly must sees.
In 1994 Liza entered the MFA program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where she focused on historical/biographical drama and took away three Christian H. Moe Awards for the following plays: Little Switzerland, Woodhull, and Ninon & the School of Gallantry. In 2005 she was included in the most recent edition of the book Creating Historical Drama.
She has been Playwright in Residence with both Bowling Green State University (2002) and Silk Rd. Theatre Co. (1999), was a Playwriting Fellow with the Playwrights Theater of New York (1998) and received a commission from the Alliance of Downtown New York (1998) to write a play about 19th Century immigration. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, such as The Pinter Review Prize for Drama, Trusts Playwrights’ Festival, Playwrights First, Great Platte River Playwrights’ Festival, the Lillian Hellman Prize for Drama, and the Siena College International Playwriting Contest, among others. In 2007, Liza was chosen as Manhattan Repertory Theatre's Playwright in Residence.
Liza came to New York in 1997 and has worked with such companies as The Women’s Project and Productions, CAP 21, Expanded Arts, and The John Montgomery Theatre Company. In December of 1999, she was selected as a featured playwright in the Showbusiness Weekly Discovery Series, where they produced a reading of her play Roxy Font. In 2001 her absurdist comedy Psychotic & Weird (but enough about me) was produced at the Canal Café Theatre in London, where it was hailed by What’s On London as “surreal and sexy”. Over the years, her work has been staged regionally by such theaters as Chicago Dramatists, Camenae Ensemble, Stockyards Theatre Project, The Raven, and the Civic Theatres of Central Florida. In the spring of 2006, Rubicon Theatre Project produced the World Premiere of Brain Children, praised by the Chicago Reader as “convincing and funny...there are plenty of laughs in this flashback to the early 80’s encapsulating pivotal moments of preadolescent angst.”
New York City productions include, Psychotic & Weird (but enough about me) at the American Theatre of Actors,Life in Exodus at the Milagro Theatre, and an extended run of Drowning in Euphoria at Off-Broadway’s McGinn/Cazale Theatre, which Showbusiness Weekly called “poignant and haunting...almost musical.”
In 2007, Roxy Font was produced by Crazytown Productions and FringeNYC at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and was named one of the Top Five Fringe Shows by New York Magazine and also won a Fringe Award for Best Ensemble. (Daily Candy, Time Out New York, BroadwayBullet, Broadway World)
The Enthusiast was produced at New York City's P.S. 122 in the spring of 2008, and Liza had two plays produced in FringeNYC 2008: Thumbelina (FringeJR, New York Sun, NYTheatre.com, Backstage, EDGE) andWoodhull: A Play About the Woman Who Ran for President. (TimeOutNY) In June 2009, Manhattan Rep produced LIZAFEST!, a week-long tribute featuring 9 of her early works. Later that year Rubicon Theatre Project produced the World Premiere of Becoming Ingrid, which was hailed as “… a funny, smart and most cleverly plotted work that smoothly unfolds on several levels” by Chicagocritic.com.
From 2006-2010, Liza founded and managed Elephant Ensemble Theater, a charitable organization which toured New York City hospitals with educational, interactive plays Liza wrote herself.
Liza is a regular panelist and lecturer on women in the arts. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, as well as an undergrad degree in English Dramatic Literature from Wheaton College (Norton, Mass).
Read More About Liza
- Some Interesting People, October 2009
- The Examiner, June 2009
- Clyde Fitch Report, June 2009
- NewYorkCool.com, June 2008
- Bronx Family, June 2008
- MommyPoppins.com, May 2008