Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Brendan Pelsue

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: Lambertville, NJ
MacDowell Fellowships: 2023

Brendan Pelsue is a playwright, librettist, and translator whose work has been produced in New York and regionally. Recent projects include a new translation and adaptation of Molière’s Don Juan at Westport Country Playhouse, and Read to Me at Portland Stage, which won the 2019 Clauder Prize. He is currently working on One Thousand Years of Sacred Music and Two Americans, a chamber opera, for Theater Emory, as well as a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities for The Alliance.

His play Wellesley Girl premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Hagoromo, a dance-opera for which he wrote the libretto, appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Pocantico Center, and was first-round ballot nominee for a Grammy Award. Commissions include South Coast Repertory, American Opera Projects, Westport Country Playhouse, and the Actors Theatre of Louisville. He was a 2017 artist-in-residence at Château de la Napoule, France, where he produced the podcast "We Are Not These People."

Originally from Newburyport, MA, he received his M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama and his B.A. from Brown University, where he received the Weston Prize in playwriting. He teaches at Rutgers University.

At MacDowell, Brendan began a new play based on the Admissions and Policy Committee of the Seattle Artificial Kidney in Seattle, which in the 1960s chose patients for a new kind of chronic dialysis treatment based on what it believed to be their "social worth."


Irving Fine

Brendan Pelsue worked in the Irving Fine studio.

Youngstown Studio was given to MacDowell by friends of Miss Myra McKeown in Youngstown, OH, where she promoted both art and music. It was renamed Irving Fine Studio in 1972 in honor of Irving Fine, a distinguished composer, conductor, and teacher who was a MacDowell Fellow during the 1940s and 1950s. The simple interior of the studio…

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