Laura Maria Censabella

Laura Maria Censabella

Laura Maria Censabella’s Ensemble Studio Theatre and Alfred P. Sloan commissioned play Paradise was produced by Underground Railway/Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA in spring 2017 and co-produced by Passage Theatre/Luna Stage in fall 2017. She won the $10,000 ADAA William Saroyan Human Rights/Social Justice Playwriting Award for her play Carla Cooks The War, and her work has also been produced or...
Laura Maria Censabella’s Ensemble Studio Theatre and Alfred P. Sloan commissioned play Paradise was produced by Underground Railway/Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA in spring 2017 and co-produced by Passage Theatre/Luna Stage in fall 2017. She won the $10,000 ADAA William Saroyan Human Rights/Social Justice Playwriting Award for her play Carla Cooks The War, and her work has also been produced or workshopped by The Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, The Women's Project & Productions, The Working Theatre, Portland Stage, Gulfshore Playhouse, m2 productions, Interact Theatre in L.A., the American Living Room Series at The Ohio, the Athena Project, the Belmont Italian American Playhouse (which commissioned her play Some Girls), the Pacific Resident Theatre, The Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College, Wide Eyed Productions, and Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she is a member and runs the professional Playwrights Unit. Her one act play Interviewing Miss Davis was produced in Ensemble Studio Theatre’s One Act Marathon of Plays. Her children’s musical O’Sullivan Stew, written with composer-lyricist Frank Cuthbert, was commissioned and produced by Greene Arts Foundation, and an abridged version toured under the auspices of Urban Stages Outreach. Urban Stages then commissioned her musical The Last Pine Tree on Eagle Mountain, (also written with composer-lyricist Frank Cuthbert) which toured for three years.

Ms. Censabella has been awarded three grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts: two in playwriting for Abandoned in Queens and Carla Cooks The War (a/k/a Three Italian Women), and The Geri Ashur Award in Screenwriting for her original screenplay Truly Mary. Truly Mary was subsequently developed at The New Harmony Project with director Angelo Pizzo and producer Michael London. She has also been a two-time participant in the O'Neill Playwrights Conference for Abandoned in Queens and Jazz Wives Jazz Lives and has received writing fellowships from Yaddo, SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The New Harmony Project and the O’Neill. Her short play Posing was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and The Actual Footage won the Tennessee Chapbook Prize for Drama. Both plays are published in Poems & Plays (Numbers Five and Seven), as is her play Stones Fall, Birds Fly (Number Sixteen). Her play Interviewing Miss Davis is published in the St. Petersburg Review 4/5 and online by IndependentPlaywrights.com; her full length Carla Cooks The War is published online by Connotation Press, and her long one act Abandoned in Queens is published in The Best American Short Plays of 2012-2013 (Applause Books).

Ms. Censabella's teaching experience includes the New School for Drama (current, Distinguished University-Wide Teaching Award), Sarah Lawrence College, the Actors Studio Drama School, Columbia University's School of the Arts, Columbia College's Undergraduate Writing Program, City University's MFA Writing Program, The Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia.

She has written the short film adaptation Physics for HBO's Women: Breaking the Rules series, and for two years she wrote for daytime serial television, winning two Emmy Awards. Her half-hour independent film Last Call (directed by Robert Bailey and starring Jude Ciccolella and Dana Dewes) was an official selection in many festivals throughout the world, including the Avignon Film Festival, the Other Venice Film Festival, the Sedona International Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives’ New Works Series, and the Breckenridge Film Festival where it won the Best Short Drama Award. It is released by Cinequest on a compilation DVD entitled Second Sight: Cinequest Favorite Short Films, Volume II and is available on Netflix (search: Second Sight, Vol. 2).

She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America, East, and the League of Professional Theatre Women. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University, and is currently working on a new Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan commission on the pioneering breakthroughs in animal cognition of scientist Dr. Irene Pepperberg and her research subject, the grey parrot Alex.

Plays

  • Paradise
    Yasmeen Al-Hamadi is a Muslim, Yemeni-American senior at a struggling inner-city Bronx high school. Dr. Guy Royston is her disaffected science teacher, a former Evangelical with a mysterious past. An unlikely research team, together they embark on a neurological study, leading to stormy conflicts over love, faith and culture. An Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan commissioned play and finalist for the...
    Yasmeen Al-Hamadi is a Muslim, Yemeni-American senior at a struggling inner-city Bronx high school. Dr. Guy Royston is her disaffected science teacher, a former Evangelical with a mysterious past. An unlikely research team, together they embark on a neurological study, leading to stormy conflicts over love, faith and culture. An Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan commissioned play and finalist for the 2016 Saroyan/Paul Playwriting Prize for Human Rights.
  • Carla Cooks The War
    Carla worked with the partisans during World War II. Antonia, her daughter, survived the war with her. Olivia, Antonia's daughter, tries to survive them both. A non-traditional play about heroism, betrayals, the costs of surviving a war, gnocchi and the ephemeral nature of truth. Winner of the $10,000 William Saroyan Human Rights/Social Justice Award in Playwriting.
  • Interviewing Miss Davis
    It’s the mid 1980s in NYC, and Bette Davis--Miss Davis to you--has just recovered from a year of breast cancer and strokes. However, thanks to her beloved assistant Jacqueline, she is acting again and about to receive a Lifetime Achievement in Film. All goes south on the day she discovers Jacqueline is leaving her for good, and a new girl has the audacity to try to take her place. Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride...