Shellen Lubin

Shellen Lubin

Shellen recently completed The Quality of Respect, her take on Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, the fables on which Merchant was based, and the life of the Ghetto Nuovo, the world's first Jewish ghetto. One of her newest plays, Wall Posters, was performed at SUNY Fredonia Spring 2016 with a student cast and is now being developed in the Playwright/Directors' Workshop of the Actors Studio....
Shellen recently completed The Quality of Respect, her take on Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, the fables on which Merchant was based, and the life of the Ghetto Nuovo, the world's first Jewish ghetto. One of her newest plays, Wall Posters, was performed at SUNY Fredonia Spring 2016 with a student cast and is now being developed in the Playwright/Directors' Workshop of the Actors Studio. Her play, Imperfect Flowers, originally written for Gretchen Cryer and Jimmy Wlcek, played to rave reviews in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of SNAP!Fest (“a night when acting and lights and music and a glorious script all come together into something bordering on magic,” Omaha World-Herald). The first act of the play, a one-act entitled Anthesis, also received raves in L.A. when it played at the West Coast Ensemble. Her first musical in NYC, Molly's Daughters, was commissioned by American Jewish Theatre. Other plays and musicals have been performed in productions and staged readings at the Public Theatre, Henry Street Settlement, Manhattan Class Company, Hubbard Hall, and many other venues.

As a director, Shellen has directed numerous plays, musicals, and cabaret acts in productions, workshops, and readings, including the 28th-32nd Annual Bistro Awards, Buck Naked by Gloria Bond Clunie for Ivoryton Playhouse's Women Playwrights Initiative, Loyalty by Brenda Foley for the Think Fast Festival in Maplewood, NJ, This Is Harriet's Play and Essie Finkelstein by Leah Kornfeld Friedman at 13th Street Repertory Theatre, Door Opens Walk Thru by Susan Merson at 13th Street Repertory Theatre, Between Pretty Places (a musical Ghost Story by Susan Merson with music and lyrics by Shellen Lubin and additional music by Matthew Gandolfo) at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, CA and at Here Arts Center in NYC, and The Sarah Play at the Davenport Theatre. She is currently in development with Leon's Dictionary by Stephanie Satie and Elsa Rael's Last Lady of Stuyvesant Town.

Shellen has been onstage—as both a singer/songwriter and an actor— for years, both in and out of New York City. She and her songs have been featured on radio (Woody’s Children on WQXR-FM, a one-hour special on WBAI-FM, and various shows on WABC, WOR, and WEVD-FM), cable television, and in Milos Forman's first American film, Taking Off. Mother/Child, her one-woman musical, was called by WBAI-FM: “a dynamite show about the joys, agonies, conflicts, and concerns of combining new parenthood, person-hood, and artist-hood.” Other performing credits include stage (most recently "The Flood" in The Vagina Monologues at Here Arts Center directed by Andrea Bertola), screen (including principal roles in the films Green Card and Taking Off), and television (currently developing the role of Luanne in Amanda Cole's High Falls).

As a vocal and acting coach, she teaches professionals for stage, screen, and recordings, and has taught and performed at a number of colleges and professional and private schools, most notably Bennington College, her alma mater, where she was a guest artist in the Black Music Division for Bill Dixon. She has coached actors in starring roles in theatre and on television, and for auditions in all media. As a teaching artist, she has not only developed and taught programs for schools, but worked as a consultant and professional developer for a number of institutions, including Teachers College, Marymount Manhattan College, Lincoln Center Institute, and Nashville Institute for the Arts.

Her philosophical musings on artistry as a means of understanding ourselves and living more deeply, truly, and meaningfully have been read by thousands in her weekly think piece, the “Monday Morning Quote” which goes out on the internet first thing each Monday to an ever-increasing list of subscribers. Her eloquence on these issues have also been read by many more in five cover pieces for Back Stage, the Performing Arts Weekly.

Shellen is a member of DG, BMI, SDC, and most performers’ unions, and is the Co-President of the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, VP of Programming of the League of Professional Theatre Women, and an elected member of the National Theatre Conference.

Plays

  • THE QUALITY OF RESPECT
    Loosely based on William Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, the fables on which Merchant was based, and the history of the Ghetto Nuovo in Venice, this 3-act play for 11 characters (3 women, 8 men, can be multi-cast) explores some of the issues raised by Shakespeare's play over the centuries, including the systemic prejudice against people from other religions and races, the poor, and women. The...
    Loosely based on William Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, the fables on which Merchant was based, and the history of the Ghetto Nuovo in Venice, this 3-act play for 11 characters (3 women, 8 men, can be multi-cast) explores some of the issues raised by Shakespeare's play over the centuries, including the systemic prejudice against people from other religions and races, the poor, and women. The play takes place in Venice in the late 1500s, both in and around Ghetto Nuovo, the first Jewish ghetto in the world, and the place from which the term "ghetto" derives. Primarily in iambic pentameter, the two plots of the casket test and the blood bond are woven together in a different way, leading to a different, yet equally unsettling, outcome.
  • IMPERFECT FLOWERS
    A 44-year old “displaced homemaker” in the 1980s in her first job befriends the 24-year old man who is a custodian at the school where she is teaching. They inspire irrevocable changes in each other’s lives, but with each other they hit a wall beyond which they cannot go. In the second act, a chance meeting four years later allows them to resolve some of the unfinished business between them. This is a two-act...
    A 44-year old “displaced homemaker” in the 1980s in her first job befriends the 24-year old man who is a custodian at the school where she is teaching. They inspire irrevocable changes in each other’s lives, but with each other they hit a wall beyond which they cannot go. In the second act, a chance meeting four years later allows them to resolve some of the unfinished business between them. This is a two-act play for two women and two men. Produced by the SNAP! Festival in Omaha, Nebraska to glowing reviews. Also had a workshop at Manhattan Class Company starring Gretchen Cryer and James (Jimmy) Wlcek (for whom the parts were originally written). Has also had a reading for Julia's Reading Room (League of Professional Theatre Women) with a half white half black cast.
  • WAITING
    This is an interpretation of the story from the bible of Jacob’s seven years of service to Laban for his beautiful daughter Rachel’s hand in marriage and the subsequent seven years of service after he is tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah, told from the perspective that Leah is the one with whom he shares a relationship of depth and understanding, although he is unable to recognize this as love.
  • WAR ORPHAN
    This dark comedy is about a loving, intimate, non-sexual friendship between a young gay man and a young straight woman who are both struggling to find a place in a world that is changing too quickly in some ways and too slowly in others. The play takes place in 1983 with flashbacks from 1961 through 1982. Through the flashbacks, hopping back and forth over the years, Susan struggles to come to terms with Jeff’s...
    This dark comedy is about a loving, intimate, non-sexual friendship between a young gay man and a young straight woman who are both struggling to find a place in a world that is changing too quickly in some ways and too slowly in others. The play takes place in 1983 with flashbacks from 1961 through 1982. Through the flashbacks, hopping back and forth over the years, Susan struggles to come to terms with Jeff’s death, with their relationship, and with the family that never really accepted him. The play is written in one act and runs about 75 minutes.
  • AFTER THE THIN MAN (Stella and Sylvia Seek Success)
    A short one-act play for two women, running about 20 minutes. Arriving back in New York after her stint in Hollywood feeling defeated and depressed, Stella Adler, in conversation/confrontation with her dear friend and colleague, Sylvia Gassel, decides to make a huge change in her life. Sylvia stays on the path of being a "character actress" in a world in which there are none. This piece was written...
    A short one-act play for two women, running about 20 minutes. Arriving back in New York after her stint in Hollywood feeling defeated and depressed, Stella Adler, in conversation/confrontation with her dear friend and colleague, Sylvia Gassel, decides to make a huge change in her life. Sylvia stays on the path of being a "character actress" in a world in which there are none. This piece was written for 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project.
  • ANTHESIS
    A one-hour play for one woman and one man taking place in the 1980s, exploring the relationship between a 44-year old “displaced homemaker” in her first job and the 24-year old man who is a custodian at the school where she is teaching. They inspire irrevocable changes in each other’s lives, but with each other they hit a wall beyond which they cannot go.This piece is also the first act of Lubin's two-act...
    A one-hour play for one woman and one man taking place in the 1980s, exploring the relationship between a 44-year old “displaced homemaker” in her first job and the 24-year old man who is a custodian at the school where she is teaching. They inspire irrevocable changes in each other’s lives, but with each other they hit a wall beyond which they cannot go.This piece is also the first act of Lubin's two-act play, IMPERFECT FLOWERS.
  • WALL POSTERS
    This play in one act runs about 60 minutes, for two women and one man, and takes place in that moment of time in the 1970s when the second wave of feminism was about to hit a brick wall and gay rights were just beginning to come out of the closet. An older brother and younger sister are forced to look at how they view womanhood with the dramatic, sassy input of Vera, the ghost of Jayne Mansfield. Performed in workshop at SUNY Fredonia.
  • A ONE WOMAN TRAVELING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ASSEMBLY PROGRAM
    This collection of two one-act plays and two monologues for one woman and four men is about a bright, dynamic, passionate 25-year old woman in 1974 going through some painful life lessons as she finishes up a one woman tour of elementary schools in the northeastern United States. Kayla begins on the road, talking to herself and the audience, in LOOKING FOR NEW HAVEN. In WRAPPING WIRES, we see her confrontation...
    This collection of two one-act plays and two monologues for one woman and four men is about a bright, dynamic, passionate 25-year old woman in 1974 going through some painful life lessons as she finishes up a one woman tour of elementary schools in the northeastern United States. Kayla begins on the road, talking to herself and the audience, in LOOKING FOR NEW HAVEN. In WRAPPING WIRES, we see her confrontation with two men who confound her: the boss of the company, who has to fire her, and the technical director of the company, who makes everything and everyone as comfortable and easy as she makes everything complex and difficult. In the second monologue piece, SEAFIRE, we see her on the phone with her boyfriend who is ending their relationship. In the last one-act, ORBITUNIA, stripped of everything, Kayla comes to terms with some of the things that have eluded her as she helps a high school boy make some serious life choices of his own. Written in residency at Cummington Community of the Arts.