The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Barbara Dana

Barbara Dana

Actress, Playwright
Born on Saturday, December 28, 1940

Interviewed on: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #33
"The life of the theatre is Off-Broadway."
Barbara Dana Highlights
Video Length: 5 minutes, 38 seconds
Barbara Dana Interview
Video Length: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Barbara Dana is an actress and playwright. When she was 17, she made her Off-Broadway debut in Arthur Laurents' A CLEARING IN THE WOODS (1959). Other Off-Broadway acting credits include: SECOND CITY: A VIEW FROM UNDER THE BRIDGE (1964), EH? (1966), ROOM SERVICE (1970/1986), and JOAN OF LORRAINE (1974). Her playwriting credits include: WAR IN PARAMUS (2005) and WHAT KEEPS US GOING (2008). Both of these were produced at HB Playwrights. WAR IN PARAMUS was produced by Abingdon Theatre Company (2005) and was published in the anthology “New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2006.”

Dana was born in New York City. In third grade, she began writing stories about a group of animal friends, titled “Fatso and his Friends,” for the school newspaper. Since then, she has become an award-winning author. Some of her works are: “Rutgers and the Water-Snouts,” “Zucchini,” “Necessary Parties,” “Young Joan,” and “A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson.” She won the Washington Irving Children's Book Choice Award, Maude Hart Lovelace Award, and the Land of Enchantment Children's Book Choice Award for “Zucchini.” “Necessary Parties” was an American Library Association Best Book. In addition to Off-Broadway, she has worked in film, television, on Broadway, and in regional theatre. Dana’s film credits include: Popi (1969), The In-Laws (1979), Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981, her script), and Raising Flagg (2006). Her television credits include: “The United States Steel Hour,” “An Enemy of the People,” “Sesame Street,” “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” “A Matter of Principle,” and “Law & Order.” Her Broadway credits include: Enter Laughing (1963), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1964, also national tour), and Where’s Daddy? (1966). She was previously married to Alan Arkin and they raised three sons: Anthony, Matthew, and Adam.

Mentioned in Interview

Uta Hagan, Claudia Frank, Austin Pendleton, Arthur Laurents, Gene Saks, Alan Arkin, Ted Mann, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Wilson, Paul Libin, William Inge, Harold Clurman, Eileen Heckert, Julie Harris, Circle in the Square, Sheridan Square Playhouse, Roundabout Theatre Company, Union Square Theatre