Michele Raper Rittenhouse

Michele Raper Rittenhouse

Michèle Raper Rittenhouse is a Southern writer living in New York that writes strong female characters. She has had the opportunity to have her work presented in London, England at the Double X Festival through the North American Association of Actors, the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and worked with artists from all over the country and former directors, actors, and dramaturges from the O’Neill...
Michèle Raper Rittenhouse is a Southern writer living in New York that writes strong female characters. She has had the opportunity to have her work presented in London, England at the Double X Festival through the North American Association of Actors, the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and worked with artists from all over the country and former directors, actors, and dramaturges from the O’Neill Conference, and has participated in the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center under the artistic direction of Lloyd Richards, former dean of the Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. She has been a playwright in residence with the Abingdon Theatre Company in New York City and received the Witter Bynner Fellowship, a national award given to one playwright per year. As part of the residency, she was commissioned to write and have produced Off-Broadway a new play.

Other awards: New Century Writers, the Nat Horne New Playwrights Festival, and The Avy Award (4). She has been a finalist for; the Seven Devils (3), the O’Neill (4), Chesterfield Film Project (3), New Century Writers (2), Julie Harris Playwright Award, Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, Southwest Theatre Association, National New Play Contest, Louisville Theatre Center-One Act Play Competition, Christopher Wolk Playwriting Award.

Her plays have been presented at the following theatres: Lincoln Center-Bruno Walter Auditorium, Joseph Papp’s NY Public Theatre-Free at Three Series, Abingdon Theatre Company, Access Theatre Company, Nat Horne Theatre, and The Coast Playhouse – LA, Dougherty Art Center-Austin, Mary Moody Northen Theatre-Austin, Nomad Theatre-Boulder, New Jersey Institute of Technology-Newark, NJ, and Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Newark campuses. She has coordinated a playwrights’ forum at the Playwrights Horizon School.

She is the Director of Theatre Arts and Technology at NJIT in conjunction with the Rutgers-Newark and NJIT Joint Theatre Program where she has developed a major at NJIT in Theatre Arts and Technology. She works with undergraduate playwrights at RN and NJIT, develops her own plays with the Abingdon Theatre Company and the id Theatre Company’s ID-iots Playwrights group.

Plays

  • Daddy's Birthday Party
    From the Alice series of stand alone short plays: Alice has devised a plan with her departed mother's best friend to give Daddy a surprise birthday party BEFORE Daddy's unwanted girlfriend gets around to it. Frances Ann manages to push Alice to the heights of a great party plan, then manages to squeeze responsibility away from herself in case Alice's plan falls on its face.
  • Daddy's Wedding Party
    From the Alice play series: Three generations of weddings triggered from Daddy's second wedding. Alice is a woman/child and a victim of her illnesses. In this stand alone play, she gives up on trying to be the woman of the house as her story evolves backward through the matriarchal history of family wedding days.
  • No Human But One
    What can a chair really say? The musician might be able to help on that.
  • Café Unique!
    Stanley, a lonely butcher from the Bronx finally gets a date. Maureen is the perfect match according to InandOut.com. Or so he thinks until they cross the threshold of the Cafe Unique and encounter a Waiter that stubbornly sticks to the “unique” set of house rules. This brings out the worst and the best in what life could bring for Stanley and his hopes and dreams with Maureen.
  • Heartland
    Katherine, a professional woman in her middle years, has entered a family planning clinic to terminate her third pregnancy. She meets a person from her past that brings back unwanted memories from her childhood. These memories in turn cause Katherine’s two younger “selves” from her previous clinic visits to come to life. Her younger personae force her to relive the reasons for her first two terminations and...
    Katherine, a professional woman in her middle years, has entered a family planning clinic to terminate her third pregnancy. She meets a person from her past that brings back unwanted memories from her childhood. These memories in turn cause Katherine’s two younger “selves” from her previous clinic visits to come to life. Her younger personae force her to relive the reasons for her first two terminations and to look more closely at her present course of action.
  • A Place
    The play is about an older Caucasian woman who recounts an incident in her youth that changed her life and gave her insight on racism in Mississippi in the late sixties. Her voice is echoed through her younger self who lives the moment by moment event. The young girl finds bones buried in the ground deep in the woods and then befriends a young African American girl, and they go on an adventure to discover if...
    The play is about an older Caucasian woman who recounts an incident in her youth that changed her life and gave her insight on racism in Mississippi in the late sixties. Her voice is echoed through her younger self who lives the moment by moment event. The young girl finds bones buried in the ground deep in the woods and then befriends a young African American girl, and they go on an adventure to discover if they are the bones of the new friend's missing mother.
  • Angel on My Shoulder
    A soldier of fortune, Luke, returns to America to discover that he has a sixteen-year-old daughter, Sylvie. She has gotten involved with gangs and drugs in New York City. He takes her from her mother's funeral out into the woods for his version of rehab. While there he becomes trapped in his memories of the war torn African nation where he first met Angela, Sylvie's mother, and relives their...
    A soldier of fortune, Luke, returns to America to discover that he has a sixteen-year-old daughter, Sylvie. She has gotten involved with gangs and drugs in New York City. He takes her from her mother's funeral out into the woods for his version of rehab. While there he becomes trapped in his memories of the war torn African nation where he first met Angela, Sylvie's mother, and relives their impossible love affair as he is forced to face his own addition to killing.
  • In the Arms of Baby Jesus
    Scottie, a homeless Vietnam Vet is on the run after witnessing a drug crime. He needs cash to get out of town and finds refuge as a house cleaner with an elderly Italian lady who thinks she has a winning lottery ticket. His drug buddy wants him to trash the old lady and get the money so they can go out West to live the high life. The broken Scottie discovers he wants something far more than that.
  • Red Rover
    When her grandson, Robbie was reported M.I.A. in Vietnam, Miss May couldn’t ask the Lord for help as He and she weren't on speaking terms. So she relies on the passion of her granddaughter, Katie, to fulfill a little sister’s promise to take pictures of ocean waves. They are convinced that will bring Robbie back home...somehow. She helps Katie and her boyfriend, A.J. escape their parents and shoot off...
    When her grandson, Robbie was reported M.I.A. in Vietnam, Miss May couldn’t ask the Lord for help as He and she weren't on speaking terms. So she relies on the passion of her granddaughter, Katie, to fulfill a little sister’s promise to take pictures of ocean waves. They are convinced that will bring Robbie back home...somehow. She helps Katie and her boyfriend, A.J. escape their parents and shoot off to the Mississippi Coast to take those ‘miracle pictures.’ Unbeknownst to everyone, she sends the children into the tightening clutches of Hurricane Camille.
  • The Month of May
    The play takes place in Clover, Mississippi, 1919. The war to end all wars is over and May and June Clayton and their step cousin Dora anticipate pursuing their dreams in this new world despite the plans of the domineering Papa Finis. Unlike her sister and cousin, May has no interest in marrying. Her only desire is to own and run the family hardware store and then she meets John Marshall Delaney, a returning...
    The play takes place in Clover, Mississippi, 1919. The war to end all wars is over and May and June Clayton and their step cousin Dora anticipate pursuing their dreams in this new world despite the plans of the domineering Papa Finis. Unlike her sister and cousin, May has no interest in marrying. Her only desire is to own and run the family hardware store and then she meets John Marshall Delaney, a returning soldier. This war shattered man blindly starts off a series of events that changes the texture of Papa Finis' plans for the girls and molds the politics of their community for the next four decades.