Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Eliza Bent

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: Evanston, IL
MacDowell Fellowships: 2013, 2023

Writer and performer Eliza Bent is the love-grandchild of Lily Tomlin, Pee Wee Herman, and Mr. Peanut. Bent is a Bay Area Playwrights Finalist and a New Georges affiliated artist and a senior editor at American Theatre magazine. Bent has a B.A. in philosophy and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Brooklyn College, and is currently on faculty at Northwestern University's Radio TV & Film department.

Bent has been in residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm, New Georges, Target Margin Institute, Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, Casa Zia Lina, and Pilot Balloon.

As an actor Bent has performed in pint-sized New York theatres, regionally in Omaha and Louisville, and toured internationally with the Obie-award winning ensemble Half Straddle. Bent’s shows have been developed, workshopped, and produced at the Abrons Arts Center, JACK, the New Ohio, the Atlantic Theatre, the Bushwick Starr, and New York Theatre Workshop’s Next Door Series among other venues.

Some of Bentertainments include the solo works Karen, I Said (described by the New York Times as a “wicked satire”), Toilet Fire (a Time Out New York Critic’s Pick), and Aloha, Aloha, or When I Was Queen; plays like Indeed, friend!, On a Clear Day I Can See to Elba, and The Hotel Colors; adaptations like The Beyonce, and She of the Voice; and hybrid affairs such as Real Talk / Kip Talk, Pen Pals Meet and Blue Wizard / Black Wizard.

While at MacDowell in 2013, Bent worked on the script and libretto for Blue Wizard/Black Wizard, a philosophically inspired music battle to be staged as a sporting event at the Incubator Arts Project in New York. In 2023, Bent worked on completing a draft of a book, Year Rounders, and worked on Penguin in Your Ear, a performance piece that will premiere at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn.



Eliza Bent worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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