The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

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

Paul Zimet

Paul Zimet

Founder of The Talking Band, Actor, Director, Playwright

Interviewed on: Friday, October 23, 2015
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Julia Katz
Interview #53
"I think it's probably the only time in my life...I knew that this is some historical moment...that something new was happening here. So we felt very privileged and be a part of that."
Paul Zimet Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 21 Seconds
Paul Zimet Interview
Video Length: 1 Hour, 58 Minutes

Paul Zimet was born and raised in New York City, where he attended the High School of Music and Art. He studied comparative literature at Columbia University and medicine at Harvard Medical School. After producing plays at the medical school and Harvard College, he decided to pursue theatre full-time. He directed plays at Judson Poets Theater and other venues in New York City and taught elementary school science. In 1967, he joined Joseph Chaikin’s Open Theater, where he performed in AMERICA HURRAH (1966), THE SERPENT (1970), TERMINAL (1970), THE MUTATION SHOW (1973), and NIGHTWALK (1973). He received three OBIE awards while with The Open Theater and The Winter Project.

Zimet then went on to found The Talking Band theatre company with some other former members of the Open Theater. He received an OBIE award for his direction of PAINTED SNAKE IN A PAINTED CHAIR (2003). Other productions of note include: HOT LUNCH APOSTLES (1983), BETTY AND THE BLENDERS (1987), and THE GOLDEN TOAD (2015). Zimet has taught at Princeton, Williams, NYU, and Fordham and is Associate Professor Emeritus in Theatre at Smith College. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists.

Mentioned in Interview

James Earl Jones, Dustin Hoffman, Eric Bentley, Harry Mann, John Lithgow, Moni Yakim, Al Carmines, Maria Irene Fornes, Peter Feldman, Joseph Chaikin, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Kristin Linklater, Clyde A. Morgan, Jerzy Grotowski, Ryszard Cieslak, Tina Shepard, Charles Stanley, Elizabeth Swados, Andre Gregory, Richard Slater, Ellen Stewart, Jed Wheeler, Taylor Mac, Jack Ferver, Machine Dazzle, Anne Bogart, Joseph Papp, JoAnne Akalaitis, Sam Shepard, Will Patton, Ronnie Gilbert, Shami Chaikin, Mark Nelson, The Weavers, The Talking Band, Columbia Players, The Open Theater, Big Dance, Target Margin Theater, New Dramatists, Manhattan Theatre Club, Old Ohio Theatre, Dixon Place, The Wooster Group, Theater for the New City, Mabou Mines, The Winter Project, PS 122, La MaMa E.T.C., The Living Theatre, NO PLAYS NO POETRY, THE SERPENT, AMERICA HURRAH, PEDRO PARAMO, HOT LUNCH APOSTLES, BETTY AND THE BLENDERS, PAINTED SNAKE IN A PAINTED CHAIR, THE PERIPHERALS, PARTY TIME, THE GOLDEN TOAD, FOOL FOR LOVE