Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson Portrait


Richard Nelson’s plays include THE GABRIELS (Trilogy: HUNGRY, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT, WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE) (Public Theater 2016); the four-play series, THE APPLE FAMILY (THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY, REGULAR SINGING (Nominated for Outstanding Play in Drama Desk Awards 2014)Public Theater 2010-2013;, NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS (Lincoln Center Theater 2013), FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE (Hampstead Theatre 2012), HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST, (Huntington Theater, 2008), CONVERSATIONS AT TUSCULUM (Public Theater, 2008), FRANK’S HOME (Goodman Chicago, Playwrights Horizons 2007), RODNEY'S WIFE (Playwrights Horizons, 2004), WHERE I COME FROM  (National Theatre Connections), MADAME MELVILLE  (which ran in the West End starring Macaulay Culkin and Irene Jacob and opened in May 2001 off-Broadway); GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (winner of Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2000), KENNETH'S FIRST PLAY (with Colin Chambers, RSC), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (at the RSC and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York), NEW ENGLAND (RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), MISHA'S PARTY (with Alexander Gelman, RSC and Williamstown Theater Festival), TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony nomination for Best Play,  RSC and Broadway), COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JAPAN (RSC Barbican), SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy; RSC, Lincoln Center and Broadway), LEFT, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST (Hampstead), PRINCIPIA SCRIPTORAE (winner of Time Out Award, RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, AN AMERICAN COMEDY, BAL, CONJURING AN EVENT, RIP VAN WINKLE, JUNGLE COUP, THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, THE VIENNA NOTES (Obie Award).

His musicals include JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD (starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown; Playwrights Horizons, Belasco Theatre, Broadway, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Kennedy Center, Washington; for which he received a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Musical Book), CHESS (the book for the Broadway musical), PARADISE FOUND  (dir: Harold Prince and Susan Strohman), MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon; Playwrights Horizons), UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PLAYER PIANO (with Peter Golub).

His translations and adaptations include TYNAN starring Corin Redgrave (with Colin Chambers, RSC and West End), LOLITA with Brian Cox (National), Molnar’s THE GUARDSMAN  (Kennedy Center), Carriere’s THE CONTROVERSY (Public Theater), Fo’s ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Broadway), Strindberg’s THE FATHER with Frank Langella (Broadway) and MISS JULIE (Yale Rep), Beaumarchais’ THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (the Guthrie and Broadway); Molier’e DON JUAN, Ibsen’s WILD DUCK and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE,  Pirandello’s ENRICO IV, Goldoni’s IL CAMPIELLO, Erdmann’s THE SUICIDE.

With the esteemed translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he was co-translated Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Gogol’s THE INSPECTOR, Turgenev’s A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY and Bulgakov’s DON QUIXOTE.     

Films: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON staring Bill Murray and Laura Linney (Dir: Roger Michell), ETHAN FROME, starring Liam Neeson (Dir: John Madden); SENSIBILITY AND SENSE staring Elaine Stritch and Jean Simmons (Dir: David Jones). Television: THE END OF A SENTENCE with Edward Herrmann (Dir: David Jones).


Book: MAKING PLAYS, The Writer-Director Relationship in the Theatre Today (with David Jones), STRICTLY DISHONORABLE AND OTHER LOST PLAYS (editor).

As director: productions of his own plays, adaptations and translations on Broadway, the West End, the National, The RSC, the Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, the Ahmanson, the Kennedy Center, the Lortel, the Huntington, American Conservatory Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Alley Theater.

Richard has been awarded the PEN/Laura Pels “Master Playwright Award” and is an Honorary Associate Artist of the RSC. He has also received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Rockefeller Grants for playwriting and two National Endowment for the Arts writing fellowships, including the first two-year grant given, an ABC Playwriting Award in 1986, a Lila Wallace Award, and has been an Obie Award winner twice. He has worked as Literary Manager of the BAM Company, was Dramaturg of the Guthrie Theatre and Associate Director of the Goodman Theatre