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Ed Schmidt

Photo by Thilo Beu

Playwright, Performer, Director, Producer, Genius

Ed Schmidt's plays have been rejected by some of the most and least venerable theater companies in America, including Arena Stage (“not right”), Manhattan Theater Club (“really don’t think it’s right”), Lincoln Center Theater (“don’t feel the play is right”), Roundabout Theatre Company (“don’t think the piece is quite right”), Alliance Theatre Company (“not for us”), Huntington Theatre Company (“isn’t right for us”), Ensemble Studio Theatre (“not right for us at this time”), Playwrights Preview Productions ("isn't for us at this time"), Williamstown Theater Festival (“don’t feel it is right for us at this time”), American Place (“do not feel that it is a play for us at this time”), Hudson Guild Theatre ("unable to use it at this time"), Crossroads (“at this time, we have no further interest in it”), Mill Mountain Theatre ("does not meet the production needs of the theatre at this time"), McCarter (“not appropriate to the needs of our theater”), Denver Center Theatre Company (“does not suit our needs at this time”), Los Angeles Theatre Center (“does not suit our needs at the present time”), Primary Stages ("isn't right for our present needs"), Lifeline Theatre ("not suitable for our season"), Dramatic Risks ("do not find your script suitable for our readings or productions"), Geffen Playhouse (“does not fit our production needs currently”), Oregon Shakespeare Festival (“does not suit our current artistic needs”), George Street Playhouse (“does not fulfill any of our current needs”), Victory Gardens (“does not fit into our plans for our current season”), Public Theater (“does not fit our programming”), One Act Theatre Co. ("does not fit into our long-range programming"), Northlight Theatre ("doesn't fit our current programming needs"), Guthrie Theater (“doesn’t fit into Joe Dowling’s plans right now”), Philadelphia Festival Theater (“will not be able to include it in our season”), Goodman Theatre (“will not be able to offer the play a home”), Long Wharf (“not a project that we are able to place in our upcoming season”), Mark Taper Forum (“not able to include the piece in any of our current programs”), Seattle Rep ("hasn't found a place in our production plans"), Manhattan Punch Line ("has not been scheduled for production"), South Coast Rep (“haven’t found a slot for it here”), Scholastic Productions ("nothing I can use"), Paper Mill Playhouse (“not the type of show that we are looking to produce”), Old Globe (“not the kind of work I respond to”), Playwrights Horizons (“too schematically drawn for our tastes”), Manhattan Class Company (“not interested in working with you”), Cleveland Play House (“unable to persuade the powers-that-be to choose it”), Zebra Crossing Theatre (“generally do not depict this type of behavior on stage”), Double Image Theatre ("unable to keep your script any longer since our office space is limited"), New Playwrights’ Theatre (“seeking liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code”), Immediate Theatre (“out of business”), and the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (“please refrain from calling the office about your scripts”).

The rare productions of Mr. Schmidt's plays have been dismissed by
the New York Sun ("Overdone!"), New York Magazine ("Overlong!"), the New York Times ("Self-pitying and overwrought!"), American Theatre Web ("Long-winded!"), Chicago Reader ("Insufferable!"), Wolff Entertainment Guide ("Cumbersome!"), Chicago Tribune ("Didactic!"), Seattle Weekly ("Mildly engaging!"), the New York Times again ("Not uninteresting!"), the L.A. Times ("Not completely convincing!"), the New York Times again ("Not very weighty!"), the Los Angeles Daily News ("Unsurprising!"), the Cleveland Jewish News ("Not great theater!"), the Sacramento Bee ("No masterpiece of writing!"), the New York Times a fourth time ("Mediocre, conventional!"), the Village Voice ("Bad writing!"), Time Out New York ("He's a failed playwright!"), the New York Observer ("I would be less than candid if I didn't admit to feeling tempted to slip out!"), WVOX radio ("Preaching to the converted!"), Time Out New York once more ("Has the general air of cable-access theater!"), Newsday ("Looks a lot like emptiness!”), the El Dorado County Reporter ("Children will not enjoy this play!"), TheaterMania ("Your belly is more satisfied than your mind!"), and KXJZ radio ("Be sure to visit the restroom on the way in!").

Mr. Schmidt has been variously described in the press as "of average height and slight build" (in Time Out New York, by Jason Zinoman, who is also of average height and slight build), as "sturdy and pleasant-looking" (in the New York Times, by Bruce Weber, who is also sturdy and pleasant-looking), as "an earnest-looking Martin Short" (in Show People, by Joel Stein, who is a sarcastic-looking Jonathan Safran Foer), and, most generously, as "a fairly ordinary-looking middle-aged white guy with thinning hair [and] a little bit of a gut" (in the New Yorker, by Hilton Als, who is a fairly ordinary-looking middle-aged black guy with a full head of hair and a lot more than a little bit of a gut).
He has been rejected by the agents Scott Hudson (“did not really work for me”), Richard Krawetz (“needs some more development”), Wiley Hausam (“not passionate enough about the script to become involved”), Peter Franklin (“did not have the kind of enthusiasm for the play which I would need in order to feel I’d be the best agent for it”), and Helen Merrill (actually, she wanted to represent me, but when she called to tell me so, I informed her that another agent had already agreed to sign me, so then she’s all “How dare you double-submit scripts!” and I go, “Whoa, lemme expl—” but she just starts whalin on me and I’m like, “Whatever,” and she freakin hangs up … all of which transpired, of course, before Ms. Merrill’s untimely death).
One of Mr. Schmidt's plays, "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting," is number 26 on the list of "52 Terrible Titles of Plays That Were Actually Produced and Published," compiled by Wendy MacLeod, whose play "The House of Yes" must have been number 53.
Mr. Schmidt tried his hand at television when he was hired as a writer on the History Channel's series, "The Men Who Built America." It was a nine-week job. Mr. Schmidt lasted three.
After graduating from Philips Exeter Academy (High Honors), Mr. Schmidt was rejected by Harvard University, though he probably wouldn’t have gone even if he had been accepted. After graduating from Williams College (don’t ask), Mr. Schmidt applied to the Yale School of Drama, was wait-listed, then, upon reapplication a year later, was rejected outright. 

Mr. Schmidt is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (double major: poultry and forcemeats). He is represented, seemingly out of pity, by Chris Till, of CAA.

Please note that none of Mr. Schmidt's work has been made possible, in part or in whole, by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, or the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, or of any corporate foundation or charitable institution, though it’s not for lack of trying, because despite Mr. Schmidt’s profound disappointment in the President's performance; his alarm over the Administration’s naively conciliatory tendencies; his outraged criticism of its inconsistent foreign policy; his unambivalent rejection of bourgeois values; his embarrassment over his nation’s cultural vacuity; his disgust with corporate America’s insatiable greed; and his principled outrage over institutionalized racism, sexism and homophobia … despite all of this, Mr. Schmidt firmly believes that he and other like-minded artists are entitled to the financial largess of the very politicians and businesspeople whom their art seeks to undermine, overthrow, and replace.

To contact Mr. Schmidt, email edwardtschmidt@yahoo.com.