ALICE EVE COHEN, writer and solo theatre artist

photographer: Eliana Cohen-Orth

photographer: Kevin S. Moul

Janet Charles Photography

photographer: Steve Moors

Biography

Alice Eve Cohen is a writer and solo theatre artist. Her first memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking /​ Penguin)— a darkly comic story about her unexpected pregnancy and the terrifying odyssey that ensued—won the Elle's Lettres Grand Prix for Nonfiction; it was selected as one of Oprah Magazine’s 25 Best Books of Summer and Salon's Best Books of the Year. Her solo play adaptation of the book has been produced at the Kitchen Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, and other venues. Her memoir, The Year My Mother Came Back was published by Algonquin Books; audiobook (read by the author) published by Highbridge/​Recorded Books. What I Thought I Knew and Other Plays by Alice Eve Cohen was published by NoPassport Press. Cohen has written for Nickelodeon, CTW, and CBS, and has toured her solo shows and plays to theatres, festivals and schools, nationally and internationally. Her handbook for parents about arts in education has been published in nine languages, and she has written for various print and online publications. Her children's novel was published by Simon & Schuster, and she is currently working on a YA novel. The recipient of fellowships and grants from the NYS Council on the Arts and the NEA, she received the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award Honorable Mention. She's a VCCA fellow (Virginia Center for Creative Arts) and artist in residence at Voice & Vision's Envision Retreat. She has been writer-in-residence at University of Michigan, at Frank McCourt high school for writing and journalism, and at schools and universities around the country. Alice has a BA from Princeton University and an MFA from The New School. She teaches playwriting and creative writing at The New School and lives with her family in New York City.

(Short bio)
Alice Eve Cohen is an award-winning writer and solo theatre artist, whose work has been presented at theatres around the country and internationally. Her memoir, What I Thought I Knew won the Elle’s Literary Grand Prize, and was a selection of Oprah Magazine’s 25 Best Books of Summer. Her books are published by Penguin, Algonquin, and Simon & Schuster, and she has written for many print and online publications. She teaches creative writing and playwriting at The New School

(the long version)
Alice Eve Cohen (www.AliceEveCohen.com) is an award-winning writer and solo theatre artist, whose work has been presented at theatres and festivals on four continents. Her first memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking/​Penguin)— a darkly comic story about her unexpected pregnancy and the terrifying odyssey that ensued—won the Elle’s Literary Grand Prix for Nonfiction, Oprah Magazine’s 25 Best Books of Summer, and Salon's Best Books of the Year. Her stage adaptation of What I Thought I Knew premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre, and was produced by The Kitchen Theatre. It was nominated for two Broadway World Awards and received an honorable mention from the 2015 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award, which called it “challenging, beautiful, and defiantly funny." Her solo play Thin Walls—“a little show, but with such a big, embracing heart”- The Guardian—was produced in 2015 by The Kitchen Theatre, and has toured widely.

Cohen has written children’s television for Nickelodeon, Nick Junior, CTW, and CBS. Her second memoir, The Year My Mother Came Back, was published in 2015 by Algonquin Books; the audiobook, read by the author, was published by Highbridge. What I Thought I Knew and Other Plays, a collection of four of Cohen’s solo plays, was published by NoPassport Press. Other publications include a children’s novel, The Tale of the Souvenir Shop (Simon & Schuster), and an excerpt from her play Philomela’s Tapestry, in Monologues by Women for Women (Heinemann), and an essay in an anthology of writers on the subject of Home. She is currently writing a novel.

Her solo shows and plays include: What I Thought I Knew, Thin Walls, Oklahoma Samovar, Hannah and the Hollow Challah, Philomela’s Tapestry, Without Heroes, Jessica’s Cervix, The Play that Knows What You Want, The Parrot, The Balinese Frog Prince, Book of Truth, Book of Lies, Goliath on 74th Street vs. the Woman Who Loved Vegetables, The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter, The Animator. Her works have been presented by many venues, including Dance Theatre Workshop, Cherry Lane Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop’s “Just Add Water” and “O Solo Mio” Festivals, The New Georges, The Kitchen Theatre, HERE Arts Center, 78th Street Theatre Lab, The Women’s Project & Productions, Theatre for the New City, La Mama, Franklin Furnace, Bayview Women’s Prison, Albuquerque’s KiMo Theatre, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Hudson Opera House, Manhattan Punch Line, Proctors Theatre, National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Syracuse Civic Center, Artscape, Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, LA Women’s Theatre Festival, Barnard College, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, University of Michigan, University of Baltimore, Fordham, Purchase College, Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theatre, Annenberg Center, Rochester Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Galway Theatre Festival, Jerusalem’s Theatre Bama, Trinidad’s Astor Theatre, and Oslo Theatre Festival, among others.

Cohen received two fellowships in playwriting and literature from the NY State Council on the Arts, and was awarded project support for her plays from the NEA, NYSCA, ASCAP, Ms. Foundation, Meet the Composer, and Poets and Writers. She was honored with the Jane Chambers Honorable Mention for feminist plays, a Dance Theatre Workshop First Night Award, two Broadway World nominations, and a special Emmy Award citation. She has enjoyed arts residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Voice & Vision Theatre’s Envision Retreat. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Authors Guild, and a New York Theatre Workshop “Usual Suspect.”

As a teaching artist, she has led performance and writing workshops, for children and adults, at schools in all five boroughs of New York City, in sixty New Orleans elementary schools, and nationwide. Her writing about arts in education has been published in nine languages, and she has been a writer-in-residence at the University of Michigan and at the Frank McCourt High School for Writing and Journalism.

Cohen fell in love with theatre in college, where she studied with members of the original Open Theatre and co-founded a Jewish theatre company with fellow students. When she graduated, she performed in and music directed Joseph Chaikin’s seminal production of The Dybbuk at The Public Theatre in 1977, and acted in and wrote music for several productions of The Talking Band. Cohen was a member of the band, Music for Homemade Instruments (a composer’s collective that makes instruments from found objects) and she composed scores for many plays and films. With Anne Hammel, she co-founded Practical Cats Theatre, which produced thirty experimental performance works combining theatre, dance, music, and film.

Cohen has a BA in Anthropology and Theatre from Princeton University and an MFA from The New School. She teaches creative writing and playwriting at The New School, where she has been on the faculty since 1999. Alice lives with her family in NYC.

Selected Works: Memoir; Solo Theater; Reviews and Articles; Teaching

Memoir
“A wry, magical memoir about the transcendent power of mother-daughter love.” —Elle "The Year My Mother Came Back is a perfect book." Abigail Thomas, bestselling author of A Three Dog Life
“Everything we love in a book -- profound, honest, hilarious, humane, surprising." Anne Lamott, Salon BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR" "Her darkly hilarious memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking), is an unexpected bundle of joy.” Oprah Magazine
Solo Theatre
Jane Chambers Award 2015 Honorable Mention. “A sold-out hit at the All For One Theatre Festival...Cohen’s performance is a constant, joyous amazement.” —Director, AFO Theatre Festival “So vivid, so immediate, so complex, so full of compassion, so brutally honest… This is what theater can be. All in one body—speaking, moving, falling still—and an audience, echoing each change.”—Tompkins Weekly, Ithaca, NY.
One building. A city in upheaval. A solo play about twelve lives colliding. "Gripping" New York Times “A little show, but with such a big, embracing heart.”
–The Guardian, London
“Spellbinding…Our audiences were enraptured.”DTW, Family Matters “It was probably the funniest show I have ever seen!”—Daniel, age 7
TEACHING
“She is a remarkable teacher. She helped me to find my artistic voice, and her course had a major impact on my life and my career.” —James Scruggs, playwright, performance artist.
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