Biography of Ken Ludwig

An internationally acclaimed playwright, Ken Ludwig has had a number of hits on Broadway, in the West End of London and throughout the world, including Crazy For You, Lend Me A Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo, Twentieth Century, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Leading Ladies, Be My Baby, and Shakespeare in Hollywood, which was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Crazy For You won the Tony Award for Best Musical. He has also received the coveted Laurence Olivier Award from the London Society of West End Theatres, as well as two Helen Hayes Awards and two Tony Award nominations.

Crazy For You ran for four years at the Shubert Theater in New York, won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Los Angeles Critics Circle and Helen Hayes Awards as Best Musical of the Year, as well as the Olivier Award for Best Musical in London, and was broadcast nationwide on the PBS television series “Great Performances.”

Lend Me A Tenor, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, has proved to be one of the most popular comedies of the past two decades. In London it was nominated for the Olivier Award as Comedy of the Year. On Broadway it was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Play, and won two Tonys, four Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards. It has been translated into sixteen languages and produced in over twenty-five countries around the world.

Moon Over Buffalo marked Carol Burnett’s triumphant return to Broadway after 30 years, where she starred opposite Philip Bosco. Subsequent Broadway casts included Lynn Redgrave and Robert Goulet, and it was nominated for two Tony Awards. In London it played at the legendary Old Vic starring Joan Collins and Frank Langella.

Twentieth Century, his adaptation of the Hecht-MacArthur comedy, played to sold-out audiences on Broadway in 2004, where it was produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company and starred Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer appeared on Broadway during the 2001-02 season, and a one-hour children’s version had a triumphant run at the Kennedy Center, which also toured it around the country for two years.

Shakespeare in Hollywood was commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company. It had its first production in the fall of 2003 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and won the Helen Hayes Award as Best Play of the Year.

A new play, Leading Ladies, premiered at the Alley Theatre in Houston in the fall of 2004 under the author’s direction and is now headed for Broadway.

Another new play, Be My Baby opened the 2005-2006 season at the Alley Theatre starring Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter, directed by John Rando.

Mr. Ludwig was honored to be asked by the Estate of Thornton Wilder to complete Mr. Wilder’s adaptation of The Beaux’ Stratagem, a new version of the Restoration comedy by George Farquhar. The play will receive its world premiere production November 7 to December 31, 2006 at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C under the direction of Michael Kahn and will be published by TCG.

Mr. Ludwig’s most recent play is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Mr. Ludwig directed a reading of the play to open the Kennedy Center’s 2005-2006 theatre season, and the world premiere of the play is now scheduled for April 2007 at The Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas in a production to be designed by Eugene Lee and Howell Binkley and directed by Gregory Boyd.

Mr. Ludwig has been commissioned by The Bristol Old Vic in London to write an adaptation of The Three Musketeers for an 8-week run during the theatre’s 2006 Christmas season.

Mr. Ludwig's most recent project is a stage adaptation of the George and Ira Gershwin film An American in Paris, which he is working on now.

Other plays include Sullivan & Gilbert (a co-production of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Arts Centre of Canada, voted Best Play of 1988 by the Ottawa critics); a new adaptation of Where’s Charley? for the Kennedy Center; the Off-Broadway hit Divine Fire; and a mystery, Postmortem. For television, he co-wrote the 1990 Kennedy Center Honors for CBS (Emmy Award nomination), and a television pilot for Carol Channing. For film he wrote Lend Me A Tenor for Columbia Pictures and All Shook Up for Touchstone Pictures and director Frank Oz.

Recently, Mr. Ludwig has begun directing. In 2004, he directed the world premiere of Leading Ladies at the Alley Theatre in Houston starring Brent Barrett and Erin Dilly; and he has directed readings of Shakespeare in Hollywood and Treasure Island at the Kennedy Center.

Awards include the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. He is a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, an Honorary Trustee of the Shakespeare Guild, and has served on the New Play Committees of the National Endowment for the Arts and the American College Theater Festival, where he annually chooses and presents the Mark Twain Award for outstanding comic performance. He has lectured on drama at various universities around the country.

He graduated from Haverford College (B.A.), Harvard Law School (J.D.) and Cambridge University (LL.B.). He studied Shakespeare with Ralph Sargent, and musical theater at Harvard with Leonard Bernstein. He practiced law for several years with the firm of Steptoe & Johnson, where he remains Of Counsel. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from York College of Pennsylvania. He is married to Adrienne George and has two young children.

June 2006


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