The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

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

Charles Mee

Charles Mee

Playwright, Author
Born on Thursday, September 15, 1938

Interviewed on: Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Location: His Home
Interviewed by: Sally Plass
Interview #54
"I do think the theatre is the ultimate human art form...and the more airs, and variations, and subtleties, and stuff we can throw into that, the smarter and better we'll be."
Charles Mee Highlights
Video Length: 5 minutes, 30 seconds
Charles Mee
Video Length: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Charles "Chuck" Mee’s plays often incorporate music, dance, and ensemble performance. Martha Clarke, Anne Bogart, Annie Hamburger, Tina Landau, Robert Woodruff, Signature Theatre, and NYSF/The Public Theater are a few of the directors and groups for whom he has written.  He is the Playwright-in-Residence with SITI Company and was the Playwright-in-Residence for the 2007-2008 Signature Theatre season. For his outstanding contributions to the theatrical world, Mee has become a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fisher Award from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and two OBIE Awards for VIENNA: LUSTHAUS (1986) and BIG LOVE (2002).

Mee was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1938. As a high school athlete, he contracted polio at the age of fourteen. A professor encouraged him to focus on his intellect. After graduating from Harvard University in 1960, Mee moved to Greenwich Village and became a part of the Off-Off-Broadway scene. His plays were performed at La MaMa, Caffe Cino, and Theatre Genesis.  He was the editor of “Horizon: A Magazine of the Arts” and wrote books concerning pivotal events in American and European history. Mee returned to playwriting in 1985. In 1996, Mee became the first playwright to make his body of work freely available on the internet by creating ‘the (re)making project,’ a website offering full scripts of his work.

Mentioned in Interview

Alan Peshkin, Eric Bentley, Gordon Rogoff, Andre Gregory, Michael Kahn, James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Archibald Macleish, Roger Chapman, Arthur Kopit, Joseph Chaikin, Anne Bogart, , Tina Landau, Will Bond, JoAnne Akalaitis, Robert Woodruff, Joseph Papp, Martha Clark, Lyn Austin, Jim Nicola, David Schweitzer, Kathleen Chalfant, Pina Bausch, Annie Hamburger, Mabou Mines, La MaMa E.T.C., Caffe Cino, Writers’ Stage Company, Theatre Genesis, SITI Company, Signature Theatre, Theatre at St. Clement’s, En Garde Arts, NYSF/The Public, New York Theatre Workshop, FIRST LOVE, BIG LOVE, BELLE EPOQUE, WINTERTIME, QUEENS BOULEVARD, TROJAN WOMEN, IPHIGENIA, INVESTIGATION OF A MURDER IN EL SALVADOR, THE IMPERIALISTS AT THE CLUB CAVE CANEM, ORESTES