Robert Schenkkan was born in Chapel Hill, N. Carolina but grew up in Austin, Texas. As a Plan II Honors student he received a B.A. in Drama from the University of Texas at Austin (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, and Friars’ Society) and an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts (Acting) from Cornell University.
Robert is the author of ten full-length plays. The Kentucky Cycle was the result of several years of development, starting in NYC at New Dramatists and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. The two part epic was later work shopped at the Mark Taper Forum, EST-LA, the Long Wharf Theatre, and the Sundance Institute. The complete “cycle” was awarded the largest grant ever given by the Fund for New American Plays and had its world premier in 1991 at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle (Liz Huddle, producer) where it set box office records. In 1992, it was the centerpiece of the Mark Taper forum’s 25th Anniversary Season. There it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the first time in the history of the award that a play was so honored which had not first been presented in NYC. It also won both the PEN Centre West and the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Play. In 1993 it appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and opened on Broadway in November of that year where it was nominated for a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards.
Lewis and Clark Reach The Euphrates had its world premier at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in December 2005. By The Rivers Of Babylon first appeared at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in February, 2005. The Marrige Of Miss Hollywood And King Neptune had its world premier at the University of Texas at Austin in November 2005. Handler premiered at the Actors Express Theatre. Heaven On Earth premiered off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre and won the Julie Harris/Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Award, and was a participant in the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Final Passages premiered at the Studio Arena theatre. Tachinoki (Critic’s Choice, LA Weekly) premiered at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles.
He has two plays for children. The Devil and Daniel Webster premiered at the Seattle Ch ildren’s Theatre in February 2006. The Dream Thief had its premier at Milwaukee’s First Stage and is published by Dramatic Publishing. Robert has written numerous ONE-ACTS which are collected together and published by Dramatists Play Service as Conversations With The Spanish Lady. Among them is The Survivalist which premiered at ATL’s Humana festival, went on to the EST Marathon in NYC, Canada’s DuMaurier Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival where it won the “Best of the Fringe” award.
Robert’s film work includes: The Quiet American directed by Phillip Noyce. For television he wrote the miniseries Crazy Horse (TNT), Spartacus (USA NETWORk) and The Andromena Strain He has written films for Sidney Pollack, Oliver Stone, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, and Kevin Costner among others. He is currently writing a film, The Rules, for Dreamworks, and is a writer/producer for Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks and HBO’s epic miniseries, The Pacific.
Robert is the recipient of grants from New York State, the California Arts Council, and the Vogelstein and the Arthur foundations. He is a New Dramatists alumnus and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the National Theatre Conference. He lives in Seattle with his wife, the author, Maria Dhavana Headley (www.theyearofyes.com), and his two children, Sarah Victoria and Joshua McHenry.