Wendy Kout

Wendy Kout

Wendy Kout writes and produces for stage, screen and print.

Wendy was commissioned by CenterStage of Rochester, NY, to write a one hour, docu-drama about the Holocaust Survivors who immigrated there. Survivors is now performed in over twenty middle schools, high schools, colleges and the CenterStage Theatre in New York. The play is suitable for middle school age and older and explores hatred...
Wendy Kout writes and produces for stage, screen and print.

Wendy was commissioned by CenterStage of Rochester, NY, to write a one hour, docu-drama about the Holocaust Survivors who immigrated there. Survivors is now performed in over twenty middle schools, high schools, colleges and the CenterStage Theatre in New York. The play is suitable for middle school age and older and explores hatred, the capacity to survive and thrive, and serves as a call to consciousness for our challenging present.

We Are the Levinsons had its acclaimed world premiere at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company in St. Paul from April 22, 2017 to May 14, 2017. The play won BroadwayWorld Regional Awards - BEST PLAY and BEST ENSEMBLE IN A PLAY. The first international production will be spring 2019 in Victoria, B.C., produced by Bema Productions. The third production will be spring 2020 in St. Louis, Missouri, produced by The New Jewish Theatre.

Wendy’s first play, Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Helen Gahagan Douglas, co-written with Michele Willens, was a 2006 O’Neill Conference Finalist and had fundraising readings throughout the US, for Nation Magazine, People for the American Way and National Women’s Law Center. It was also nominated for the Weissberger Award and was a finalist in the 2013 Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Playwriting Contest. Casts starred Christine Lahti, Wendie Malick, James Naughton, Charles Shaughnessy, and Patrick Breen.

Wendy’s second play, Naked in Encino, was solo written. Naked had its official world premiere December 2014 at the CenterStage Theater in Rochester, New York. It was also produced in Denver by And Toto too Theatre Company, where the play won four Marlowe awards for outstanding theatre in Colorado, including BEST NEW PLAY, COMEDY and BEST PRODUCTION, COMEDY.

My Town, Wendy's third play, had its third staged reading at The Road Theatre, February 5, 2018 and is now ready for a world premiere.

Dorfman in Love, Wendy’s indie feature was produced by Leonard Hill Films and stars Elliott Gould, Sara Rue and Haaz Sleiman. Theatrical distribution and exclusive premiere run on DirecTV video-on-demand was launched March 22, 2013. The film won Best Feature at the Hollywood International Film Festival, the Marbella International Film Festival in Spain, Miami Jewish Film Festival and Best Comedy at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. Dorfman in Love was also chosen by Cinequest Film Festival, USA Film Festival, Waterfront Film Festival, Naples International Film Festival, Ojai Film Festival, and the following Jewish Film Festivals: Seattle, Silicon Valley, Fresno, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Phoenix, Berkshires, Buffalo, Denver, Charlotte, Maine, Palm Beach, Rochester, Sedona, Washington D.C., North Virginia, Vancouver, Vienna, Australia, Argentina, U.K. and Jerusalem. Wendy also wrote and developed film projects for Laura Ziskin, Barbra Streisand, John Hughes, Universal, Columbia, Tristar and Disney.

In television, Wendy created and was the Executive Producer of the cult ABC show, “Anything But Love”, staring Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis. Wendy also wrote and developed projects for Paul Reiser, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, ABC, CBS, NBC and Lifetime.

In print, Wendy's essay "Family Recipe" is included in "SisterWriterEaters", an anthology by women writers about their relationship with food. Published by Griffith Moon, spring 2017.

Wendy serves on the Board of Directors of Skylight Theatre Company in Los Angeles, on the Board of Directors of Alliance For Jewish Theatre, and on the Honorary Committee for the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Home is Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California and on the road with her favorite male writer, Dennis Koenig. Literary Manager: Will Levine 323 933 2224

Plays

  • We Are the Levinsons
    Rosie, a daughter with mother issues, surprises her parents with a trip home. And life surprises Rosie with losing her mother, moving in with her grieving father, hiring a live-in, transgender caregiver, and dealing with her own daughter’s mother issues. Sanity, survival and humor are tested and love is deepened in this three generation family and chosen family comedy/drama.
  • NAKED IN ENCINO
    Five diverse women gather at a self-help seminar to question life, death and liposuction. Hell and humor erupt, secrets shock and though no pat answers are provided, there is solace in sisterhood.
  • MY TOWN
    My Town is a modern, tragi-comic re-imagining of the beloved American play, Our Town. Good bye Sweet Grover’s Corners. Hello smug and smoggy Los Angeles. The Gibbs are now the Jewish Golds living in posh Brentwood with stoner son Josh as our anti-hero. In the less chic but more affordable, San Fernando Valley, the Webbs are now a Black, widowed, alcoholic Mom with daughter, who’s an aspiring screenwriter and...
    My Town is a modern, tragi-comic re-imagining of the beloved American play, Our Town. Good bye Sweet Grover’s Corners. Hello smug and smoggy Los Angeles. The Gibbs are now the Jewish Golds living in posh Brentwood with stoner son Josh as our anti-hero. In the less chic but more affordable, San Fernando Valley, the Webbs are now a Black, widowed, alcoholic Mom with daughter, who’s an aspiring screenwriter and our anti-heroine, Emily. The Stage Manager/Narrator is now her witty literary manager.

    My Town has the same three act structure as Our Town, and the same chronological exploration of home, family, rituals, values, love, marriage, and death. But this modern 90 minute, no intermission, cast of eight version focuses on Josh and Emily’s struggle for a loving relationship while they battle conflicts of class, race, religion, gender, activism and apathy. This modern version also employs projections (to convey location, texts and hashtags) and audio cues (to convey cell phones ringing) to indicate technological changes over time.

    But one does not have to know Our Town to appreciate this contemporary tale. My Town stands on its own as an entertainment with surprising turns from comedy to drama to tragedy… and to the triumph of love and laughter over death.
  • DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR HELEN GAHAGAN DOUGLAS - co-written with Michele Willens
    Historians say that politics as we know it changed as a result of a California Senate race in 1950. That’s when a young Richard Nixon falsely accused his opponent, the beautiful, three term liberal congresswoman and ex-Broadway and opera star, Helen Gahagan Douglas, of being a Communist. Nixon earned the name “Tricky Dick,” Helen was dubbed the “Pink Lady.” He ascended to the Presidency… until Watergate. She...
    Historians say that politics as we know it changed as a result of a California Senate race in 1950. That’s when a young Richard Nixon falsely accused his opponent, the beautiful, three term liberal congresswoman and ex-Broadway and opera star, Helen Gahagan Douglas, of being a Communist. Nixon earned the name “Tricky Dick,” Helen was dubbed the “Pink Lady.” He ascended to the Presidency… until Watergate. She was forgotten… until now.

    This four actor (one plays multiple roles) play, set in Hollywood and Washington D.C., builds to that dirty, dramatic race while telling the cautionary personal tale of Helen, a flawed and remarkable heroine. It also gives us the compelling love story of the entertainment world’s first true activist couple.

    As the play begins, we follow Helen’s early life as a pampered, entitled Republican, through her meteoric entertainment career, her love affair and marriage to the dashing and Democratic Melvyn Douglas. Until Nixon becomes a major political player, he is the narrator, a comic and ominous Iago. Helen’s social conscience and passion for liberal ideals are ignited when she personally encounters the migrant workers of the West. Melvyn becomes a reluctant movie star, (sparring with the likes of Hedda Hopper and Louis B Mayer) then heads to war, leaving Helen alone with their two children. Needing a new career challenge, she is elected to the House where she meets the seductive LBJ and becomes a prescient proponent of women’s and civil rights, cancer research, non proliferation. Her second term brings in one Richard Nixon. The two spar on almost every issue, including the coming menace of McCarthyism. Although Helen’s marriage is threatened with the decision, she and Nixon…two equally ambitious people…eventually declare for the U.S. Senate.

    We then follow that infamous race where outrageous campaign tactics are used against Helen and where her integrity, political career and marriage are tested. Nixon emerges here as a formidable foe and victor.

    The play is dramatic and comedic, historical and frighteningly resonate. Fifty-nine years later, a woman Senator ran for President, a hockey mom has run for Vice President and a Black man who took the high road, has become President. But the questions haven’t changed and the parallels are frightening. What cost ambition? Can one’s ideals survive the quest for power or the political game? When does compromise become corruption? Will slander and fear tactics win the race? Richard Nixon was in vogue with FROST/NIXON. DON’T BLAME ME gives us the man as he’s rising, not falling. It also gives us a contest that with a different ending, may have rewritten much of the history of the last half century. Looking to the past, we see our present and ask the final question. Will we ever learn?
  • Ten Minutes that Changed the Country - Co-written with Michele Willens
    A ten minute history of resistance and protest told through the famous, infamous and unknown citizens who shaped our nation. An educational and inspiring reminder that to sustain democracy, we must participate in democracy.
  • SURVIVORS
    Inspired by the lives and testimonies of ten Holocaust survivors, this call-to-to consciousness one hour play tells the chronological history of the Holocaust through the personal prism of experience. Commissioned by CenterStage Theatre and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester, NY., this easy-to-produce cautionary tale is for middle school ages and older, school settings, professional stages or any...
    Inspired by the lives and testimonies of ten Holocaust survivors, this call-to-to consciousness one hour play tells the chronological history of the Holocaust through the personal prism of experience. Commissioned by CenterStage Theatre and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester, NY., this easy-to-produce cautionary tale is for middle school ages and older, school settings, professional stages or any venue. Combining history lessons with life lessons, a young cast of six guides the audience through the terrible past where hatred was normalized. The audience is both uplifted by the survivors' triumphs and inspired to action against present and future hatred. Never forget. Never again. Never is now.