David Johnston, playwright and librettist

Photo by Stephen Mosher

David Johnston is an award-winning playwright, librettist and screenwriter. His plays have been performed and read at the New Group, Moving Arts, the Neighborhood Playhouse, HB Playwrights Foundation and Ensemble Studio Theatre. New York productions with Blue Coyote Theater Group include Coney, Conversations on Russian Literature, a new adaptation of The Oresteia (Time Out Best of 2007); Busted Jesus Comix (GLAAD nominee 2005, London, Los Angeles, DC Cap Fringe, Prague); A Bush Carol, or George Dubya and the Xmas of Evil, and Effie Jean in Tahiti (both with music and lyrics by Stephen Speights); Regional credits include The George Place (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater). Mr. Johnston works frequently with director Kevin Newbury. Their collaborations include Candy and Dorothy (GLAAD winner 2006, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, Unexpected Stage, In the Now Productions), The Eumenides, and the award-winning short film Monsura is Waiting (Best Fantasy Film – Mexico International Film Festival, Best Cult Short – Queen City Film Festival). Publications include Saturday with Martin (Short Plays to Long Remember, TnT), The Eumenides (Playing With Canons, New York Theatre Experience, Inc.), Leaving Tangier (Samuel French), A Number on the Roman Calendar (Applause Theater Books), A Funeral Home in Brooklyn, and A Lesson (Smith & Kraus). Playwriting awards include Theater Oxford, Playwright Residency at the University of Cincinnati, a Berrilla Kerr Foundation Grant, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation. He wrote the libretto for the chamber opera, Why Is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me?: A Love Story (American Lyric Theatre, composed by Jeffrey Dennis Smith, premiered July 2018, Urban Arias) and Daughters of the Bloody Duke, commissioned by Washington National Opera for the American Opera Initiative at the Kennedy Center, composed by Jake Runestad. Mr. Johnston was graduated from the College of William and Mary and completed the Professional Workshop at Circle in the Square. He is a member of Actors Equity, Dramatists Guild, BMI Librettists Workshop, ASCAP, the Actors Studio’s Playwright/Director’s Workshop, and Charles Maryan’s Playwrights/Directors Workshop. He is an alumni artist of American Lyric Theatre. Recent projects include a new opera for Houston Grand Opera, Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers with composer Kamala Sankaram and Mercy Street, an opera adaptation of the Anne Sexton play, with composer Drew Hemenger.  Since 2012, David has been the Executive Director of Exploring the Metropolis, Inc., the only NYC-based nonprofit focused exclusively on workspace issues for performing artists, organizations and facilities.