The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

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

Tina Howe

Tina Howe

Born on Sunday, November 21, 1937

Interviewed on: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #78
"When asked: ‘Which are you first, a woman or writer?’ I used to respond, ‘A writer.’ But since most of my plays are about female experience, now the answer is clearly, ‘A woman.’ "
Tina Howe Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 21 Seconds
Tina Howe Interview Part One
Video Length: 1 Hour, 12 Minutes
Tina Howe Interview Part Two
Video Length: 1 Hour, 6 Minutes

Tina Howe is an award-winning playwright whose extensive career Off-Broadway spans four decades. Two of her plays were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama -- PAINTING CHURCHES in 1983 and PRIDE’S CROSSING in 1997, which also won the 1998 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Notable highlights of her Off-Broadway career include: THE NEST (1970), MUSEUM (1978), THE ART OF DINING (1979), PAINTING CHURCHES (1982), APPROACHING ZANZIBAR (1989), COASTAL DISTURBANCES (1987), which was nominated for a Tony Award, ONE SHOE OFF (1993), BIRTH AND AFTER BIRTH (2006), and CHASING MANET (2009). Howe also did new translations of Eugene Ionesco’s THE BALD SOPRANO and THE LESSON (2004). Her works have been seen at The Public Theater, Second Stage, Lincoln Center, The Atlantic, and Primary Stages, among other theaters.

Howe was born into a literary Bostonian family, but was raised in New York City. Her father, Quincy Howe, broadcast the evening news on CBS radio when she was a little girl. Her first play, Closing Time (about the end of the world), was done at Sarah Lawrence College in her senior year. Among her many awards are an OBIE, a Rockefeller, a Guggenheim, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award, a William Inge Award, and, most recently, a Master American Dramatist Award from PEN. Howe has taught playwriting all across the country; she recently retired from Hunter College, where she taught for 25 years, and she also the Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA in Playwriting in 2010. She is proud to have served on the council of the Dramatists Guild of America for just as long.

Mentioned in Interview

Wilfred Leach, Joseph Papp, Larry Arrick, Howard Rosenstone, Dianne Wiest, Roger Stevens, A.J. Antoon, Marian Seldes, Carole Rothman, Martha Clarke, Jayne Alexander, The Mercury Theater, NYSF/The Public, Second Stage, Primary Stages, Signature Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, THE NEST, MUSEUM, THE ART OF DINING, PAINTING CHURCHES, COASTAL DISTURBANCES, APPROACHING ZANZIBAR, ONE SHOE OFF, PRIDE’S CROSSING, BIRTH AND AFTER BIRTH, CHASING MANET, CHERI, CAPACITY FIVE