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Shem Bitterman

Shem Bitterman is an alumnus of Julliard, where he studied acting, and of the University of Iowa where he earned an MFA in Dramatic Writing in 1985. Recent plays include: A Death in Colombia (Katselas Theatre Company, LA, 2011), Influence (Katselas, 2010; Best Play, Best Production, Best Ensemble nominations, LA Weekly Awards), The Stone Witch (runner-up, 2010 Stanley Award for Drama) Harm's Way (Circus Theatricals; winner, 2008 PEN USA Literary Award; runner-up, 2007 Smith Prize; published by Broadway Play Services), man.gov (Circus Theatricals, 2006; Best Play nomination, LA Weekly Awards), Sensitive Skin (The Elephant Theatre), The Circle (Circus Theatricals; 2005 PEN USA Literary Award Finalist; 2001 Best Playwright, SCA Fringe Festival). Under Mr. Bitterman's direction, The Job won the 1999 LA Times Critic’s Circle Award for Best New Play and was published by Samuel French and in Smith & Kraus's Best New Plays of 1998. Other plays include: Night-Side (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, starring Pamela Gien), Peephole (Geva, starring Josh Brolin; winner, Davie Award; subsequently made into a film directed by Mr. Bitterman), The Ramp (South Coast Rep; winner, California Playwright’s Competition), Beijing Legends (The Mark Taper Forum, the Pacific Jewish Theatre, Mixed Blood Versus America; winner, Fund For New American Plays), Self Storage (The Odyssey, subsequently made into the film Tinsletown starring Arye Gross), Ten Below (WPA Theatre, starring Kevin Conway and Anthony Edwards; winner, National Play Award and Lee Korf Playwriting Award), Iowa Boys (The Actor’s Studio; winner CBS/FDG New Plays Award). Feature films include: The Job (directed and produced by Mr. Bitterman; winner, Best Screenplay, The 2009 San Diego International Film Festival), Play Dead (co-authored and produced with director Jason Wiles, starring Fred Durst and Chris Klein), Full Count (co-authored and produced with Mr. Wiles), Out Of The Rain (directed by Gary Winick), Off The Lip (directed by Robert Mickelson), Open House (directed by Mr. Bitterman).  Mr. Bitterman has written for Warner Brothers, Disney, Dreamworks, and many other independent studios, and his plays have been developed at Sundance, Steppenwolf, Midwest Playlabs, The Taper’s New Works Festival, and elsewhere. Mr. Bitterman has also lectured on the entertainment field and taught screenwriting, playwriting, and acting from the California Prisons to Beijing. Mr. Bitterman heads the Playwrights Unit at the Katselas Theatre Company. This summer, Mr. Bitterman’s play, A Death In Colombia was performed at the Festival Transatlantyk in Poznan, Poland with Frances Fisher and Joe Regalbuto under his direction, and his recently completed a biopic Betty and Coretta, starring Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige, about the friendship between Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, and Coretta Scott King airs on Lifetime in January.


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