STEPHANIE FLEISCHMANN is a playwright and librettist whose texts serve as blueprints for intricate three-dimensional sonic and visual worlds. She has been called a “neo Emily Dickinson” (Backstage) and “a writer who can conjure something between a dreamy road movie and a theatrical coming-of-age tale, and who can piece these elements together in the style of a jagged ballad for guitar” (Chicago Sun Times). Her “lyrical monologues” (The New York Times), “smart” opera libretti (Opera News), plays and music-theater works have been performed internationally and across the U.S.
Opera libretti include: The Long Walk, music by Jeremy Howard Beck, commissioned by American Lyric Theater (premiere: Opera Saratoga, July 2015; Utah Opera, March 2017; Pittsburgh Opera, January 2018); After the Storm, music by David Hanlon, commissioned by Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco (premiere: May 2016); In a Grove, with composer Christopher Cerrone, Mahogany Opera Group, ICA London, Mass MoCA; The Property, music by Wlad Marhulets, commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited (premiere: February 2015); Boundless, a video opera serial with composer Avner Dorman for HGOco. Upcoming: Poppaea, with composer Michael Hersch for Wien Modern (2020), The Pigeon Keeper, with composer David Hanlon for Santa Fe Opera’s Opera for All Voices, Arkhipov, with composer Peter Knell (Jacaranda), and Barrel of Laughs, Vale of Tears, with composer Julia Adolphe (National Sawdust) and untitled opera about homelessness for HGOco with Jeremy Howard Beck. Fleischmann’s texts and songs have been set by composers Olga Neuwirth (Aldeburgh, Basel, Berlin, Vienna), Brendan Connelly, Sxip Shirey, Theo Popov, Jeff Smith, and Elspeth Brooke.
Music-theater works include Niagara, with composer Bobby Previte and director Daniel Fish; Red Fly/Blue Bottle (Latitude 14: Here Arts Center, NYC; EMPAC, Troy, NY; Noorderzon Festival, the NL; developed in collaboration with Mallory Catlett), The Secret Lives of Coats (Red Eye Theater, Minneapolis; Whitman College, WA; the Playwrights Center/Playlabs), music for both by Christina Campanella; The Sweetest Life, music by Saskia Lane, developed in collaboration with Melissa Kievman and Julian Crouch (New Victory LabWorks; Vineyard Theatre; BRIC lab); The Hotel Carter, music by Jenny Giering. Plays include: Sound House, Eloise & Ray, Tally Ho, The Street of Useful Things, What the Moon Saw, The World Speed Carnival, and more. Her work has also been developed or presented at venues including Exit Festival (France), Roundhouse Studio (London), Synchronicity (Atlanta), Son of Semele (LA), Roadworks (Chicago), the Hollywood Bowl, the Ojai Festival, Empty Space, Act II, Asolo Rep; and in NYC at New Georges, Soho Rep, Mabou Mines/Suite, Theater for One, the Knitting Factory, Prelude, and the Public.
Additional collaborations include lyrics and dramaturgy for Melissa Kievman & Brian Mertes’ Chekhov at Lake Lucille (including the film The Seagull—lyrics/story producer) and text/dramaturgy for Andy Dawson’s The Russian Doctor, a devised performance inspired by Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island, (Birmingham Rep, Bristol Old Vic, Winchester Theatre Royal, UK; Mass MoCA, US) and lyrics/dramaturgy/co-devising with Brian Mertes at Juilliard (The Greeks, Parts 2 & 3; The Americans).
Fleischmann is a recipient of a 2018 Virginia B. Toulmin grant, a 2017 Venturous Capital Fund grant, a 2017 NYSCA Individual Artist Commission, a 2014–15 Howard Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting, a grant from Arts Council England (for Tally Ho/NYLon Projects), two NYSCA Individual Artist Commissions, an NEA Opera/Music-Theater commission, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, a Tennessee Williams Fellowship, and the Frederick Loewe and Whitfield Cook Awards, as well as residencies at Macdowell, Hedgebrook, HARP, among others. Her work has been supported by the MAP Fund, Opera America, New Music USA, the Greenwall Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Fund, the Tobin Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, the Copeland Fund, LMCC Swingspace & NY State Music Fund. She is a former American Lyric Theater Resident artist and Playwrights Center Core Writer, an alumna of New Dramatists, and was a 2015–16 New Georges Audrey Residency recipient.
She received her MFA from Brooklyn College, where she studied with Mac Wellman. She has taught at Sewanee, Bard, and Skidmore Colleges. Her plays are published by: Play, a Journal of Plays; Playscripts.com; and Smith and Krauss.