Susan Kathryn Hefti

Susan Kathryn Hefti

A NYSCA-NYFA Artist Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting and a published poet, Susan Kathryn Hefti’s plays have been developed or presented at Lark Play Development Center; New York Theatre Workshop; The Playwrights Center; Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; Rattlestick Playwrights Theater; The William Inge Theatre Festival New Play Lab; The Bechdel Group; Capital Stage Company; The Harold Clurman Playwrights...
A NYSCA-NYFA Artist Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting and a published poet, Susan Kathryn Hefti’s plays have been developed or presented at Lark Play Development Center; New York Theatre Workshop; The Playwrights Center; Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; Rattlestick Playwrights Theater; The William Inge Theatre Festival New Play Lab; The Bechdel Group; Capital Stage Company; The Harold Clurman Playwrights Division, Stella Adler Studio; The Bridge Initiative; St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery Theatre; Long Beach Playhouse Theatre; North Park Vaudeville Theatre; Topanga Actors Company; The Hidden Theatre Company & Wonderbox UK in London and in Paris at Théâtre Mélo d'Amelie & La Comédie Bastille.

Selected from 2,542 application submissions, Susan Kathryn Hefti was named NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting 2019-2020.

Hefti's new full-length play, QUEEN OF THE BONACKERS, has been selected for the 2023 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and was previously honored as a Princess Grace Award Semifinalist 2021; Creede Repertory Theatre Headwaters New Play Festival Semifinalist 2021; Barrington Stage Company's Burman New Play Award Semifinalist 2020; ScreenCraft Stage Play Competition Quarterfinalist 2023; Landing Theatre Company's New American Voices Playwriting Festival Semifinalist 2020; Campfire Theatre Festival Finalist 2020; Selected to open The Bechdel Group’s 2019 Fall Workshop Reading Series in NYC; Flux Theatre EMERGE UK Longlist 2019 and Relative Theatrics' Playwrights Voiced Festival of New Works Quarterfinalist 2019. In the spring of 2019, QUEEN OF THE BONACKERS enjoyed a Playwrights Center (PWC) Members Session Play Reading. 

Selected for the William Inge Theatre Festival's 2017 New Play Lab, a 30-minute extract of Susan's new full-length play, ACTIAS LUNA: On the Origin of Madness, was read as part of the festival. ACTIAS LUNA was also named Bechdel Group Finalist 2017 and Athena Project Festival Semifinalist 2017.

Invited to participate in the Write for Women Campaign, Susan's newest short play SAVING LISA, or Un Bateau de Sauvetage pour La Joconde enjoyed a reading by The Bechdel Group at the Drama League in 2018.

Chosen for The Hidden Theatre Company's New Writing event in the U.K., Susan's new short-play EXTINCTION, or the Swan Song received a staged reading in London in 2017. EXTINCTION was also Shortlisted for the Fizzy Sherbet Play Festival in London and named Finalist for the international literary magazine The Dionysian.

Hefti’s short play exploring slavery, climate change and the role of women in the global community, ON THE UNDERGROUND, or The Penguin Play, was selected by Wonderbox UK to be staged at SPACE on The Isles of Dogs as part of the theatre’s 2018 centennial celebration of UK Women achieving the Right to Vote. Also in 2018, North Park Vaudeville Theatre mounted a production of The Penguin Play and Topanga Actors Company produced a staged reading of the play, both in CA. Smith & Kraus included The Penguin Play in its Theatre Brut Anthology of Short Plays (2018).

Susan’s full-length play, THE POWER PLAY, or Smart Bombs & Other Sexy Toys (Playwrights Revolution Selection, Colonial Players Promising Playwright Award Semi-Finalist), received two Roundtable Readings at the Lark Play Development Center in NYC. Chosen for Capital Stage Company's annual New Works Festival, PLAYWRIGHTS REVOLUTION, the play received a staged reading in California. THE POWER PLAY also enjoyed a workshop reading, directed by Reg Douglas, at New York Theatre Workshop in NYC.

AMERICAN DAMES, or Waiting for Dolley (Harold Clurman Playwright-in-Residence Finalist; Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival Finalist; & Beverly Hills Theatre Guild's Julie Harris Playwright Award Semi-Finalist) enjoyed readings at both the Stella Adler Studio's Harold Clurman Playwrights Division’s New Play Reading Festival in NYC and at the Long Beach Playhouse Theatre’s New Works Festival in Long Beach, California.

Inspired by the tragic death of one of her Yale students, KEEPIN' COOL was selected Princess Grace Award Semi-Finalist.

Susan's play OFF THE BENCH, or The Schedule, received a reading at the Lark Play Development Center in NYC.

Selected from more than 1,600 submissions, Susan's very first attempt at writing a script for TV - an original TV Pilot entitled AMUSE BOUCHE - was named Quarterfinalist for the Screencraft Pilot Launch Competition.

Pre-WGA, Susan is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild; The Playwrights Center; New Play Exchange; London Playwrights Workshop; The Black List and Fractured Atlas.

A native New Yorker, Susan began working as a child actor and model at the age of three and has recently resumed the craft.

A proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Susan is currently serving her Union as a Strike Captain in NYC.

A PEN American Center Writers Grant recipient, Susan is busy working on a new full-length play, an original TV Pilot and writing poetry.

While still in graduate school, Hefti began her professional writing career as a journalist specializing in Environmental News. In addition to researching, writing and producing environmental investigative news stories throughout New England, Susan also created, wrote, produced & hosted her own environmental news radio show called EcoTalk on WROR in Boston. As a TV Writer/Producer, Hefti helped to launch the nation's first-ever half-hour environmental news magazine on Boston's Channel-56 TV. While working as a reporter, Susan has also taught environmental studies courses at various Universities, including Brown & Yale.

Active in historic preservation, pretty much her whole life, Susan was happy to put her reporting skills to work on this important topic, when invited to write a regular column - a column she dubbed, The Preservation Diaries - for The Clyde Fitch Report.

Inspired by a staged reading of Susan’s one-act history play, A DEFIANT SOUL, Hefti was commissioned by the City of NY to research, write and curate the narrative for the related history exhibit on the 1657 document protesting religious intolerance in New Amsterdam.

Designed to travel around the country, Hefti entitled the history exhibit, The Flushing Remonstrance: Who Shall Plead For Us? Following its NYC debut, the exhibit enjoyed an encore, extending again due to popular demand, and was most recently on display near Philadelphia.

An active member of her community, Susan has contributed her time and energy to countless civic projects. As a First Responder at Ground Zero, Susan helped to open up St. Paul's Chapel (arriving even before St. Paul's historic graveyard was cordoned off as a crime scene), where she, and her fellow First Responders, set up a generator and organized the Chapel as a Hub from which Susan and the other First Responders delivered supplies to their fellow First Responders working on The Pile.

Following the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan, Susan organized, co-chaired and hosted an Auction to benefit the restoration of the largest collection of paintings housed at the historic Fraunces Tavern Museum on Pearl Street.

Susan also organized and co-chaired a Benefit at the Yale Club, the proceeds of which helped to underwrite the development of a school curriculum on the history of New Amsterdam developed by the N-Y Historical Society's Department of Education.

Susan founded and chairs the 93rd Street Beautification Association, a preservation effort advocating for the landmarking of the Marx Brothers' childhood home and the historic block - a stretch of road known informally as Marx Brothers Place - on which the Marx Brothers' childhood home currently sits unprotected from the prospect of demolition and development.

Susan's historic preservation effort to protect Marx Brothers Place has garnered the active support of the Historic Districts Council (HDC), the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), Harpo Marx's son, Bill Marx, and Woody Allen.

Plays

  • QUEEN OF THE BONACKERS (National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist 2024; Seven Devils Playwrights Conference 2023; Princess Grace Award Semifinalist; Barrington Stage Co New Play Award Semifinalist; New American Voices Playwriting Semifinalist)
    When their entire way of life is threatened by a depleted fishing stock and an overheated real estate market on steroids, an ancient community of East End denizens discovers the true meaning of family, roots and loyalty while learning what it really means to be a Bonacker.
  • ACTIAS LUNA: On the Origin of Madness (William Inge Theatre Festival New Play Lab Selection, The Bechdel Group Finalist, Athena Project Festival Semifinalist)
    A well-respected lepidopterist at the American Museum of Natural History is forced to come face to face with memories of a childhood steeped in alcoholism, suicide attempts and mental illness - traumas she thought long buried - when her sister - an accomplished painter and mother of two - is found wandering the streets, her mind as riddled with gaps as the out-of-season tights she wears.

    A...
    A well-respected lepidopterist at the American Museum of Natural History is forced to come face to face with memories of a childhood steeped in alcoholism, suicide attempts and mental illness - traumas she thought long buried - when her sister - an accomplished painter and mother of two - is found wandering the streets, her mind as riddled with gaps as the out-of-season tights she wears.

    A disorienting journey down the rabbit hole of mental illness, Actias Luna: On the Origin of Madness raises the proverbial question of nature versus nurture, while exploring the complicated and enduring bond between sisters.
  • THE POWER PLAY, or Smart Bombs & Other Sexy Toys (Playwrights Revolution Selection; Colonial Players Promising Playwright Award Semi-Finalist)
    The political turns personal in THE POWER PLAY, or Smart Bombs & Other Sexy Toys, a coming of age story about four graduate students navigating the politics of race, sex, gender, power, seduction and betrayal in the context of U.S. military policies: Threading the personal through the eye of a pointedly political needle, the play wrestles with moral questions evoked by the increased reliance on unmanned...
    The political turns personal in THE POWER PLAY, or Smart Bombs & Other Sexy Toys, a coming of age story about four graduate students navigating the politics of race, sex, gender, power, seduction and betrayal in the context of U.S. military policies: Threading the personal through the eye of a pointedly political needle, the play wrestles with moral questions evoked by the increased reliance on unmanned drone strikes, the targeted assassination of the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and the 2009 troop surge into Afghanistan.
  • AMERICAN DAMES, or Waiting for Dolley (Harold Clurman Playwright-in-Residence Finalist; Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival Finalist; & Beverly Hills Theatre Guild's Julie Harris Playwright Award Semi-Finalist)
    The 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks prompts an existential crisis for Abigail, Martha, Betsy and Molly as they are suddenly forced to come face to face with the dramatic shift in America’s social, cultural and political landscape when one of their own goes missing and is feared dead.

    Piercing the boundaries of history, the Founding Mothers explore the essence of what it means to...
    The 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks prompts an existential crisis for Abigail, Martha, Betsy and Molly as they are suddenly forced to come face to face with the dramatic shift in America’s social, cultural and political landscape when one of their own goes missing and is feared dead.

    Piercing the boundaries of history, the Founding Mothers explore the essence of what it means to be an American in the 21st century, while intersecting with historic events from America's past.

    A historical satire dressed as a political comedy of manners, American Dames, or Waiting for Dolley charges head first into dramatically volatile issues ranging from immigration to patriotism, to how we protect ourselves in the ever-changing world, while still honoring the ideals and values that made America the nation of promise and freedom for all around the globe.
  • SAVING LISA, or Un Bateau de Sauvetage pour La Joconde (The Bechdel Group 24-Hour Play Challenge)
    Paris is on high alert as The River Seine swells in one of the most dramatic rainstorms the ancient city has ever seen. Breaching its banks, a torrent of cold and putrid water is unleashed from the fabled river, causing massive flooding and mandatory evacuations throughout the City of Lights. Refusing to abate, the furious river floods The Tuileries Garden and surrounds The Louvre like an environmental...
    Paris is on high alert as The River Seine swells in one of the most dramatic rainstorms the ancient city has ever seen. Breaching its banks, a torrent of cold and putrid water is unleashed from the fabled river, causing massive flooding and mandatory evacuations throughout the City of Lights. Refusing to abate, the furious river floods The Tuileries Garden and surrounds The Louvre like an environmental rebellion, threatening to wipe out millennia of human artistic and cultural history. When news stations announce that the flooding has reached the museum, two American women in Paris decide it's time to take action.
  • F**K SAM SHEPARD, SAM SHEPARD IS DEAD, LONG LIVE SAM SHEPARD (Bridge Initiative Bechdel Test Festival Semifinalist; Hidden Theatre Company Reading, Covent Garden, London)
    When Audrey, a famous Hollywood TV actress, offers to house-sit her father's apartment, her little sister, an Off-Broadway stage actress named Babe, unleashes a torrent of objections to America's blind loyalty to the patriarchy, while being subjected to an overly aggressive pedicure.

    Exploring themes of ambition, art, misogyny, gender politics, celebrity and sibling rivalry, F**k Sam...
    When Audrey, a famous Hollywood TV actress, offers to house-sit her father's apartment, her little sister, an Off-Broadway stage actress named Babe, unleashes a torrent of objections to America's blind loyalty to the patriarchy, while being subjected to an overly aggressive pedicure.

    Exploring themes of ambition, art, misogyny, gender politics, celebrity and sibling rivalry, F**k Sam Shepard - a theatrical response to Shepard’s explicit prohibition against “gender-reversed” Casting in True West - is a play about two sisters trying to survive as working actresses without killing each other in the process.
  • ON THE UNDERGROUND, or The Penguin Play (Wonderbox UK’s 2018 Centennial Celebration of UK Women achieving the Right to Vote; North Park Vaudeville Production CA; Topanga Actors Company; Smith & Kraus Anthology of Short Plays 2018 Theatre Brut)
    To escape the record-setting heat one August day, a Black-footed African penguin boards the London Underground at Regents Park.
  • EXTINCTION, or The Swan Song (Hidden Theatre Company Staged Reading, London UK; The Dionysian International Literary Magazine Finalist; Fizzy Sherbet Play Festival Shortlist UK)
    Along his annual winter migration route - from the Siberian Tundra to England - a Bewick's Swan is interrupted by a woman in a flying machine determined to study him while in flight. Selected for The Hidden Theatre Company's New Writing Event in the U.K., Extinction received a staged reading in London in 2017. This ten-minute play has also been short-listed for the Fizzy Sherbet Play Festival in...
    Along his annual winter migration route - from the Siberian Tundra to England - a Bewick's Swan is interrupted by a woman in a flying machine determined to study him while in flight. Selected for The Hidden Theatre Company's New Writing Event in the U.K., Extinction received a staged reading in London in 2017. This ten-minute play has also been short-listed for the Fizzy Sherbet Play Festival in London and named Finalist for the international literary magazine The Dionysian.
  • DON'T FENCE ME IN, or The Quantum Physics of George's Dog Run
    When three dogs collide at George's Dog Run in Washington Square Park - Greenwich Village NYC - the fur flies over the political correctness of archaic canine mating rituals and the mysteries of quantum physics.