Tori Keenan-Zelt

Tori Keenan-Zelt

Tori writes curiosity-chasing plays that sniff out in-between spaces in big theatre to change the world. Many of them decide to be comedies.

Originally and proudly from Pittsburgh, she lives in NYC and grows plays around the country. Recent works include How the Baby Died (Bay Area Playwrights Fest, Ingram New Works), Seph (Araca Project, Princess Grace Finalist, Fresh Ground Pepper), Air Space (...
Tori writes curiosity-chasing plays that sniff out in-between spaces in big theatre to change the world. Many of them decide to be comedies.

Originally and proudly from Pittsburgh, she lives in NYC and grows plays around the country. Recent works include How the Baby Died (Bay Area Playwrights Fest, Ingram New Works), Seph (Araca Project, Princess Grace Finalist, Fresh Ground Pepper), Air Space (Kilroys Top 5, Ingram New Works), Truth/Dare (Project Y, Best Ensemble Pittsburgh Fringe, Nashville Top 10), How to Be a Widow (Ellie Award), Egypt Play (InterAct Finalist, Playwrights Center Mentorship), Episode #121: Catfight! (Yale Cabaret), and others.

Having written for Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy Award-winning PBS education series, Tori has been named an Emmy Nominee, Kilroys Lister, Jerome Finalist, 3-Time Princess Grace Finalist, 2-Time O’Neill Semifinalist, Playwrights of New York Nominee, and some other things. She is affiliated with The Lark, The Playwrights Center, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre Playwrights Unit, Fresh Ground Pepper, & the Dramatists Guild. Some of her short plays are published by Next Stage Press. AB, Harvard. MFA, NYU Tisch Asia (Singapore).

Plays

  • How the Baby Died
    When the hapless, unemployed actress Stace opts out of her marriage, she becomes (rather suddenly) a live-in nanny for her best friend, his husband, and their newborn baby. But then she gets the chance of a lifetime: an audition for a French Horror Theater. Hilarity, mayhem and Grand Guignol hijinks ensue with the only prop available. Baby, it gets bloody. A darkly visceral, absurdly comic play about parenting...
    When the hapless, unemployed actress Stace opts out of her marriage, she becomes (rather suddenly) a live-in nanny for her best friend, his husband, and their newborn baby. But then she gets the chance of a lifetime: an audition for a French Horror Theater. Hilarity, mayhem and Grand Guignol hijinks ensue with the only prop available. Baby, it gets bloody. A darkly visceral, absurdly comic play about parenting, pregnancy, abortion, and women's physical self-agency.
  • Truth/Dare
    At 13, Ursa, Hannah, Linney, and Maeve live in their own world of basements, secrets, and backyard ghosts — until the last sleepover of the summer. High school looms, with the promise and threat of reinvention, and the group fractures when shifting beliefs and identities collide in a traumatic accident that none of them can explain. Four years later, questions and accusations fly as the survivors revisit the...
    At 13, Ursa, Hannah, Linney, and Maeve live in their own world of basements, secrets, and backyard ghosts — until the last sleepover of the summer. High school looms, with the promise and threat of reinvention, and the group fractures when shifting beliefs and identities collide in a traumatic accident that none of them can explain. Four years later, questions and accusations fly as the survivors revisit the scene of the “crime” and try to understand what happened, what has been lost, and who they are now.
  • Seph
    In this contemporary reimagining of the Persephone myth, a teenage goddess straddles her divorced parents’ realities until she meets a human girl and must define her own power to remake a ruined world.

    SEPH is a new play by Tori Keenan-Zelt, featuring original music written by Nashville musician Anna Haas.

    Originally developed in Fresh Ground Pepper’s BRB Retreat and PlayGround PlayGroup
  • Air Space
    As Glory and Kyle try to flip a falling-down house in an abandoned neighborhood, they discover that the evicted owners have been living secretly in a hollowed-out wall. A surreal comedy about what happens when a new generation tries to build something from the broken pieces another generation hasn't given up yet.
  • How to Be a Widow
    As the Civil War draws to a close, cholera and Gettysburg have claimed the lives of two husbands. In this wickedly funny play, two young women grapple with the freedom and power of their new widowhood. If they had the chance to have their husbands back, would they take it?
  • How to Fly
    Kenley is a goldfish who was adopted by birds. When his mother decides she'd rather be an ice dancer than teach him how to fly, he must learn to navigate the world on his own. He meets a cat. 
  • [nbd]
    In conversation with MUCH ADO, [nbd] plays with strength, sex, and Xena to ask whether well-matched love can survive a world ruled by high school, hockey, and social media selves.
  • Egypt Play, or The Misses Blake on a Holiday Jihad
    Set in a fantastical version of 1880s Egypt, EGYPT PLAY is a dark comedy (with puppets) that probes a British widow's quest to throw off her oppressive life through tourism and asks how an individual can get her hands on freedom without swallowing others’.
  • Cat Fight: A Live Taping of Batman, Episode #121, 1968
    A satirical re-imagining of the 1960s Batman television series.

    ATTENTION BAT FANS! You’re invited to a live taping of the derring dos of the Dynamic Duo! On this week's episode: As the graceful gals of our fair city prepare to compete in the hallowed Lady Gotham scholarship competition, felonious feline fugitive Catwoman sinks her claws into a plan that could unravel the whole ball of...
    A satirical re-imagining of the 1960s Batman television series.

    ATTENTION BAT FANS! You’re invited to a live taping of the derring dos of the Dynamic Duo! On this week's episode: As the graceful gals of our fair city prepare to compete in the hallowed Lady Gotham scholarship competition, felonious feline fugitive Catwoman sinks her claws into a plan that could unravel the whole ball of string. Can Batman and Robin make this cat stray, or will mischief and mayhem purr-vail? Tune in to find out. Same Bat-time. Same Bat-channel.
  • Times Square Tango
    An almost silent play for actors who have movement, clowning, and/or mime. When Sara, a jaded and broken young woman, is forced to compete with a clown for her piece of sidewalk, she finds herself becoming unexpectedly drawn into an impromptu street performance that will begin to transform her.
  • Everything You Were Looking For
    A musical without music. Work becomes play becomes rage when three store clerks hear “Welcome to Walgreens” one time too many.