COONEY is a screenwriter, playwright, novelist,
lyricist -- and educator -- based in Los
Angeles. In 2010, he was awarded the
prestigious Charlotte Chorpenning Cup by the American Alliance for Theater and
Education for his distinguished body of work for young audiences. In 2009,
NOBODY'S PERFECT, his youth musical based on the novel co-written with actress
Marlee Matlin, received a national tour through the Kennedy Center.
IMAGINE ME, a musical, was produced at South Coast Rep in 2008. His play, THE FINAL TOUR,
was developed at the Sundance Theatre Labs 2003 with director Moises Kaufmann.
His musicals, THE VERY PERSISTENT GAPPERS OF FRIP and THE LEGEND OF ALEX, premiered at the Mark Taper Forum’s P.L.A.Y.
and toured Los Angeles County. THE
BELOVED DEARLY was produced by Lincoln Center Institute in a production directed
by Elizabeth Swados.
As a playwright, Cooney has been
produced at the Kennedy Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati
Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, Dance Theater Workshop, the
International Very Special Arts Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,
among others. He has been awarded
grants, commissions and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts,
the MacDowell Colony, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the
Lila Wallace Readers Digest Fund, A.S.K. Theatre Projects and the Ruth Simon
Cooney has written screenplays for
SONY Pictures and Nickelodeon and television scripts for the Disney Channel and
the Discovery Channel.
His most recent screenplay, HEROES FOR GHOSTS, concerns an early AIDS activist.
He has also published several works
of children’s literature including, THE BELOVED DEARLY, adapted as a novel for
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2002 and released as an audio
book by Full Cast Audio, I KNOW WHO LIKES YOU, and NOBODY'S PERFECT and LEADING
LADIES (co-written with actress Marlee Matlin.) He is presently working on HUGO & FRITZ
and a novel adaptation of his play BATTLEDRUM.
Cooney is also extremely active as a
community-based artist in educational outreach programs.
He is currently writing songs with elementary school students as a part
of VOICES WITHIN for the Master Chorale of Los Angeles, writing plays with high
school students in THE GRAFFITI PROJECT for Florida Stage and visiting
classrooms as a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project.
As a performance artist, Cooney was a
finalist for the CalArts/Alpert Foundation's 1998 Award for Excellence in the
Theater. He recently premiered SO A
LAWYER, A PRIEST AND AN ATHEIST WALK INTO A BAR, a triple bill evening with John
McGivern and Rob Nash at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, sponsored by the
Suitcase Fund of the National Performance Network.
Last February, Cooney premiered another full-length solo-work, AN EYE FOR
AN EYE, at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida
– recreating a famous murder trial as a 1950’s television variety show.
In LAND O’LEISURE, a solo piece about Florida tourism, Cooney appeared
onstage with a live alligator. His
signature piece, DANCING LIKE MY FATHER, was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe
Festival. TOM & SALLY, a
performance work built with Karen Stephens about Thomas Jefferson and Sally
Hemmings, toured extensively throughout the United States through the National
He attended the University of
Virginia, the University of Florida and Trinity Rep Conservatory.
He serves on the board of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA and Blue Planet
Writers Room. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. He is also a member
of the California Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association and the Rhode
Island Bar Association.