JOHN JILER is a writer of both drama and prose. He was the recipient of both the Richard Rodgers Award and the Kleban Librettists' Award for his musical AVENUE X, which played in New York at Playwrights' Horizons and in some fifty cities around the world. He was a runner-up for the Weissberger Prize for his first full-length play SOUR SPRINGS. His work has been seen coast to coast, from the Eugene O'Neill National Playwright's Conference to the Kennedy Center to Seattle Rep and many places in between. His most recent book, Sleeping With The Mayor, was named a New York Times' "Most Notable Book." His first, Dark Wind, was called by the Village Voice "a classic." As a journalist he has also written for the NY Times, The Nation, and the Village Voice, where the stories that led to AVENUE X and Sleeping With The Mayor first appeared. Among his current theatrical projects are BIG RED SUN a World War Two era story with composer Georgia Stitt, recently seen at the NAMT Festival and shortly to appear at the York Theatre; CHANNEL, a new play at the Labyrinth Theatre’s Barn Series; and SIROCCO, ink still wet. His first one-man show, EXPLICIT VOWS, was seen at both Playwrights Horizons and the Flea Theatre; his new one, RIPE, also workshopped at Playwrights Horizons, was performed at Theatre For The New City and hailed by the New York Times as "classic." In his former life as an actor he appeared at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Hartford Stage Company, and Chicago's Body Politic, where he won the Chicago Drama Critic's Best Actor Award.
AVENUE X, the original a cappella musical, began Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons and went on to over 50 award-winning productions around the world, earning 13 of Philadelphia's Barrymore Awards, including Best Musical at the Wilma Theatre. STANDUP SHAKESPEARE was directed by Mike Nichols and produced Off-Broadway by the Shuberts, presented twice by the Folger Shakespeare Library, toured the US and Canada, and was at the Culture Project in 2005 starring Alfred Molina, F. Murray Abraham and Alice Ripley. A CHAMBER CHRISTMAS CAROL, an adaptation of Dickens for five actors and five musicians, premiered at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York in 2010, and featured Dominic Chianese (of The Sopranos) as Scrooge. A GOOD MAN, a new musical about a Mississippi tenant farmer, was produced in Europe by The Vienna Chamber Opera, and at the Eugene O’Neill in June 2011. In 2010 he composed music for PALESTINE, by Najla Said (daughter of Edward Said) at New York Theatre Workshop. Over 75 original scores for the Actor’s Studio, the Acting Company, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Kennedy Center, ACT Seattle, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Great Lakes Festival, and Theater for a New Audience, to name a few. He was the composer-in-residence of Buffalo's popular Shakespeare In Delaware Park for fifteen seasons, where he created some 35 original musicals and adaptations. He is considered "one of the leading composers of music for Shakespeare in the world" according to the Washington Post and The NY Times.
Avenue X is what musicals are all about. Panoramic, rich, a musical feast. Bursting with the kind of talent, wit and energy that separates the living theater from entertainment that comes in a can.—Vincent Canby, New York Times