Lee Breuer

Lee Breuer (born 1937) is an American playwright, theater director, academic, educator, film maker, poet and lyricist.


Breuer is a founding co-artistic director of Mabou Mines Theater Company in New York City, which he began in 1970 with colleagues Philip Glass, Ruth Maleczech, JoAnne Akalaitis, David Warrilow, and Frederick Neumann.

Breuer's most recent work La Divina Caricatura: Part I The Shaggy Dog was co-produced by Mabou Mines. His previous Mabou Mines production include Red Beads created in collaboration with puppeteer Basil Twist and composer Ushio Torikai. Of the September 2005 New York City premiere, the New York Times critic wrote "...theater as sorcery; it is a crossroads where artistic traditions meet to invent a marvelous common language. It is a fairy tale, a puppet play and a chamber opera… amazing work."

Mabou Mines Dollhouse, a deconstruction of the Ibsen classic, won 2004 Obie Awards for Best Director and Best Performance. The production toured nationally and internationally to more than 30 cities on 5 continents. Breuer directed high definition video adaptation of stage production for Arte television France, which was aired throughout Europe.

Much of Breuer's previous work with Mabou Mines premiered at The Public Theater (NYC) under the patronage of the late Joseph Papp, and at the La Mama Experimental Theater Club under the patronage of Ellen Stewart. These include his Obie-winning adaptation of three works by Samuel Beckett: Play, Come and Go and The Lost Ones.

He authored/directed Mabou Mines' trilogy, Animations, including The B Beaver, The Red Horse and The Shaggy Dog Animation, which was awarded the Obie for Best Play in 1978. In 1980 Breuer received two Obies for writing and direction of his play, A Prelude to a Death in Venice. He also wrote and directed An Epidog, the winner of the President's Commission Kennedy Center-American Express Award for Best New Work.

The Gospel at Colonus

Breuer's best-known work is The Gospel at Colonus, a Pentecostal Gospel rendering of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, created with composer Bob Telson and starring Morgan Freeman and Clarence Fountain. It premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's "Next Wave Festival". It was later performed on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in 1988 for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. The production received numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination (1988), the Obie for Best Musical (1984), and an Emmy.

The Gospel at Colonus would go on to performances worldwide (Paris, Spoleto, Edinburgh, Moscow, Barcelona, London, Avignon). It was recreated for the 70th Anniversary of New York's legendary Apollo Theater for two weeks in the fall of 2004 starring Charles S. Dutton and Jevetta Steele.


In 1981, with Ruth Maleczech, Lee Breuer directed The Tempest for Joseph Papp's Shakespeare in the Park, starring Raul Julia. Breuer and Maleczech's daughter Clove Galilee played "Young Miranda" in the production.[1]

Breuer's music-theater collaborations as author and director with Bob Telson include Sister Suzie Cinema, which premiered at The Public Theater and was televised on the PBS series, "Alive from Off Center".

Lee Breuer has directed 13 Obie Award winning productions over a period of more than 40 years including: David Warrilow in The Lost Ones (1974); Bill Raymond in A Prelude to Death in Venice (1979); Ruth Maleczech in Hajj (1986); Yoshida Tamamatsu in The Warrior Ant (1990); Ruth Maleczech, Isabel Monk, Karen Kandel and Greg Mehrten in Mabou Mines Lear (1991); Karen Kandel in Peter and Wendy (1997); and Maude Mitchell in Mabou Mines Dollhouse (2004). His involvement outside of the U.S. includes directing Yi Sang Counts to Thirteen by Sung Rno, which had its debut in South Korea at the Seoul Theater Festival 2000.[2]

Lee taught an acting workshop in New Delhi, India during the summer of 2011 where he wrote and directed a workshop production of La Divina Caricatura. Divina is a Bunraku pop-opera that uses puppetry and draws from the traditional format of Indian epics such as the Mahabharata.[3]

2013 LA DIVINA CARICATURA, La MaMa etc. (Producers: Mabou Mines; piece by piece productions; Dovetail Productions; St. Ann's Warehouse; La MaMa)

2013 SHALOM SHANGHAI. Shanghai Theatre Festival.

2013 GLASS GUIGNOL: The Brother and Sister Play. A Williams' Workshop, Weselyan University (Mabou Mines)

2012 GLASS GUIGNOL: The Brother and Sister Play. A Williams' Workshop, Sundance Theatre Lab Mass Moca (Mabou Mines)

2012 SEX IN A COMA. HERE Arts Center, NYC

2012 SECRETS OF A HOLY FATHER, Afterglow Festival, Provincetown, Mass.

2011 GLASS GUIGNOL – A Williams' Workshop, Provincetown Williams Festival, Mass. (Mabou Mines)

2011 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE Majestic Theater, Boston (Mabou Mines)

2011 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. (Mabou Mines)

2011 PETER AND WENDY, The New Victory, NYC (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin Producer)

2011 GOSPEL AT COLONUS, Spoleto USA (Dovetail Productions)

2011 CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS, Rainbow Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia

2011 ANTIGONE (In Greek), Athens

2011 UN TRAMWAY NOMMÉ DÉSIR (Streetcar Named Desire), Paris (Comédie Française)

2010 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, Minneapolis,USA, The Edinburgh Festival, Scotland (Dovetail Productions)

2010 CURSE OF THE STARVING CLASS (In Russian) Saratov, Russia

2010 OPERA OF STONES (In Portuguese) São Paulo, Brazil

2009 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, St Ann’s Warehouse, NYC, Moscow, Russia (Mabou Mines)

2009 YI SANG COUNTS TO THIRTEEN, (in Korean) Seoul


2009 PETER AND WENDY, The Edinburgh Festival, Scotland (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, Producer)

2008 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, Athens (Dovetail Productions)

2008 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, Bogata, Seoul, Athens(Mabou Mines)

2007 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, Toronto, Rome, Singapore, Edinburgh, Wrolclaw, Madrid (Mabou Mines)

2007 PETER AND WENDY, Washington DC (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, Producer)

2007 A PRELUDE TO A DEATH IN VENICE, Kilkenny, Ireland (Mabou Mines)

2006 CHOEPHORAE, Patras, Greece (Micocci Productions & Lee Breuer, in assoc. with PrimeArt, S.A., Producers)

2006 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, Israel, Hong Kong, Brisbane, Madrid, Los Angeles (Mabou Mines)

2006 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, Vienna (Dovetail Productions)

2005 RED BEADS, New York University Skirball Center (Mabou Mines)

2005 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, Charleston, SC (Spoleto USA Festival), Stuttgart, Paris, Strasbourg, Lyons, Minneapolis, Columbus, Chicago (Mabou Mines)

2004 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, New York City Apollo Theatre (Dovetail Productions)

2003 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, International Ibsen Festival, Oslo, Norway, (Mabou Mines with Lisa Harris, producer)

2003 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE, St Ann's Warehouse (Mabou Mines with Lisa Harris, producer)

2003 TWO LITTLE INDIANS (Frank), HERE (Lisa Harris, producer)

2002 RED BEADS, (opera-Breuer/Story by Polina Klimovitskaya), Mass MoCA (Mabou Mines - work in progress)

2002 MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE (adapted by Breuer/Mitchell) NY Theatre Workshop (Scheuer/NYTW - work in progress)

2002 THE CHOEPHORAE (Aeschylus, adapted by Breuer/Andritsanou), ITI Convention, Athens, Greece with Armadillo Theater Group (Armadillo Theater Group - work in progress)

2002 PETER AND WENDY (Barrie, adapted by Lorwin), New Victory Theater (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, producer)

2002 ECCO PORCO (Breuer), Performance Space 122 (Mabou Mines)

2001 ANIMAL MAGNETISM (O'Reilly), Festival Divaldo, Pilsen, Czech Republic (Mabou Mines)

2001 ECCO PORCO PART I (Breuer), Performance Space 122 (Mabou Mines)

2001 HAJJ (Breuer), Seoul Theater Festival, Korea (Mabou Mines)

2000 HAJJ (Breuer), Maly Theater, St. Petersburg, Russia (Mabou Mines)

2000 ANIMAL MAGNETISM (O'Reilly) Arts at St. Ann's (Mabou Mines)

1999 PETER AND WENDY (Barrie, adapted by Lorwin), Dublin Theater Festival, Ireland (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, producer)

1998 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS, Moscow (Sharon Levy, Producer)

1997 PETER AND WENDY (Barrie, adapted by Lorwin), New Victory Theater (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, Producer)

1996 THE RED HORSE ANIMATION (Breuer, reconstruction) Brazil (Mabou Mines)

1996 POOTANAH MOKSHA (Mohn) Brazil Festival of the Arts, Brazil

1996 PETER AND WENDY (Barrie, adapted by Lorwin), Public Theater (Henson International Puppet Festival)(Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, Producer)

1996 PETER AND WENDY (Barrie, adapted by Lorwin), Spoleto Festival USA (Mabou Mines- Liza Lorwin, producer)

1995 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), A Contemporary Theater, Seattle (Sharon Levy, producer)

1995 AN EPIDOG (Breuer), HERE (Mabou Mines)

1992 THE MAHABHARANTA (Breuer), Ontological Theater (Mabou Mines)

1991 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), ACT, San Francisco (Dodgers)

1991 THE QUANTUM (Breuer) - The Grey Art Gallery (NYU), New York, NY

1990 MABOU MINES LEAR (Shakespeare, adapted by Breuer)(Mabou Mines)

1990 B BEAVER ANIMATION (Breuer, reconstruction), Public Theater, NYSF-Papp (Mabou Mines)

1989 THE WARRIOR ANT (Breuer/Telson) Brooklyn Academy of Music-Next Wave Festival (Liza Lorwin, producer); Spoleto Festival; American Music Theater Festival

1988 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (Broadway) (Dodgers)

1988 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Cleveland Playhouse (Broadway preview) (Dodgers)

1987 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis (Liza Lorwin, producer)

1986 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Alliance Theater, Atlanta (Liza Lorwin)

1986 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Chatelet Theater in Paris, France; Spoleto Festival, Italy; Barcelona Festival, Spain (Mel Howard, producer)

1986 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Annenberg Center for The American Musical Theater Festival, Philadelphia

1986 THE WARRIOR ANT (Breuer/Telson), Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (Liza Lorwin, producer)

1986 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), PBS Great Performances (Liza Lorwin, producer)

1986 PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE/HAJJ REVIVAL (Breuer), Dance Theater Workshop (Mabou Mines)

1985 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), The Mark Taper Forum/L.A. Music Center (Liza Lorwin, producer)

1984 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Arena Theater, Washington D.C. (Liza Lorwin, producer)

1983 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS (Sophocles, adapted by Breuer/Telson), Brooklyn Academy of Music - Next Wave Festival (Liza Lorwin, producer)

1983 HAJJ (Breuer), Public Theater, NYSF-Papp (Mabou Mines)

1982 HAJJ (Breuer), Public Theater, NYSF-Papp (Mabou Mines); The Performing Garage (Mabou Mines); The American Film Institute National Video Festival - Washington and Los Angeles (Mabou Mines)

1981 THE TEMPEST (Shakespeare), Delacorte Theater, NYSF-Papp

1980 SISTER SUZIE CINEMA (opera - Breuer/Telson), Public Theater, NYSF-Papp (Mabou Mines- Breuer/Telson Producers)

1980 A PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE (Breuer), Public Theater, NYSF-Papp (Mabou Mines)

1980 LULU (Wedekind), American Repertory Theater

1978 THE SHAGGY DOG ANIMATION (Breuer), Public Theater, NYSF- Papp (Mabou Mines)

1976 THE LOST ONES (revised), Public Theater, NYSF (Mabou Mines)

1975 THE SAINT AND THE FOOTBALL PLAYERS (Thibeau, revised), Connecticut Dance Festival (The Bunch, Inc Production)

1975 THE LOST ONES (Beckett, adapted by Breuer), Theater for a New City (Mabou Mines)

1974 B BEAVER ANIMATION (Breuer, revised), Museum of Modern Art (Mabou Mines)

1974 THE SAINT AND THE FOOTBALL PLAYERS (Thibeau, choreography by Breuer), Walker Art Center (Mabou Mines)

1974 SEND/RECEIVE/SEND (Sonnier), The Kitchen (Mabou Mines)

1973 MUSIC FOR VOICES VIDEO (Glass), The Kitchen

1972 THE ARC WELDING PIECE (Highstein), Paula Cooper Gallery (Performance Art)(Mabou Mines)

1972 B BEAVER ANIMATION (Breuer), Loeb Student Center, NYU (Mabou Mines)

1971 RED HORSE ANIMATION (Breuer, revised), Whitney Museum (Mabou Mines)

1971 COME AND GO (Beckett), Brooklyn Bridge Festival (Mabou Mines- Alanna Heiss, producer)

1970 RED HOUSE ANIMATION (Breuer), Guggenheim Museum (Mabou Mines)

1970 PLAY (Beckett, revised), La Mama ETC (Mabou Mines)

1968 MESSINKOFF DIALOGUES (Brecht), Traverse Theater, Edinburgh

1967 PLAY (Beckett), American Cultural Center, Paris

1967 MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN (Brecht), Paris Studio Theater

1964 EVENTS & COMMEDIA SONGS (Breuer/Spener), San Francisco Mime Troupe

1964 COMPOSITION FOR ACTORS (Breuer), San Francisco Tape Music Center

1964 THE RUN (Breuer), San Francisco Tape Music Center 1964 LULU (Wedekind), The Playhouse

1964 THE ALLEGATION (Ferlinghetti), San Francisco Poetry Project

1963 THE MAIDS (Genet), ACT, San Francisco, with Anna Halprin of Dancers' Workshop, Ronnie Davis of San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Ken Dewey

1963 THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA (Lorca), San Francisco Actors' Workshop

1963 THE UNDERPANTS (Sternheim), San Francisco Actors' Workshop

1962 HAPPY DAYS (Beckett), San Francisco Actors' Workshop

1959 THE LINE (Breuer), Theater 3K7,UCLA

1958 A PLAY (Breuer), Theater 3K7,UCLA

1957 THE WOOD COMPLAINS (Breuer), Theater 3K7,UCLA

Awards, et al

2011 Named USA Ford Fellow in Theater Arts by United States Artists

2011 Elliot Norton award for " Best Touring Production" Mabou Mines DollHouse

2008 Honored by the Cairo International Experimental Theatre Festival

2008 XI Festival Iberoamericana de Teatro de Bogota 2007

2008 Herald Archangel Award, Edinburgh Festival

2007 Edwin Booth Award presented to the Artistic Directors of Mabou Mines by the Doctoral Theatre Students Association at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

2006 Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, Ministry of Culture of France

2004 OBIE Award for 'Direction' for MABOU MINES DOLLHOUSE

1997 OBIE Award for 'Best Production' to PETER AND WENDY

1994 Fund for New American Plays Award, Best American Play, for THE EPIDOG (Breuer)

1986 OBIE Award for 'Sustained Achievement' to Mabou Mines

1985 National Institute for Music Theater Award 'Outstanding Achievement' to GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1985 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Concept to GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1985 Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for Best Direction and Text to GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1985 National Black Programming Award for Best Production Communicating Excellence to Black Audiences to GOSPEL AT COLONUS 1985 National Institute of Music Theater's Award for the Advancement of Music Theater

1984 OBIE Award for 'Best Musical' to GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1984 National Gospel Association Award 'Outstanding Production' to GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1984 Brandeis University Creative Arts Awards Citation in Theatre Arts to Mabou Mines for 'extraordinary artistic achievement,' re: script for HAJJ (Breuer)

1983 National ASCAP Popular Song Award for GOSPEL AT COLONUS lyrics

1983 United Gospel Association Award for Best Production to GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1983 American Theater Wing Joseph Maharam Award 'Consistently Excellent Collaborative Design'

1981 Villager Downtown Theatre Award to Mabou Mines for Outstanding Season

1980 OBIE Award to Lee Breuer for his script and direction of A PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE.

1980 San Francisco Critics' Circle Award: Best Touring Production to A PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE

1980 Villager Downtown Theatre Award for 'Best Musical' to SISTER SUZIE CINEMA

1979 Los Angeles Dramalogue Critics' Award to Lee Breuer (Direction) for THE LOST ONES

1978 OBIE Award for Best Play to Lee Breuer for THE SHAGGY DOG ANIMATION

1978 Villager Downtown Theatre Award to THE SHAGGY DOG ANIMATION

1978 Soho News Award for Best Ensemble to THE SHAGGY DOG ANIMATION

1974 OBIE Award for 'General Excellence' to Mabou Mines

1958-9 UCLA 'Best Play' Award to A PLAY and THE LINE

1958 Samuel French Award to A PLAY

NOMINATIONS: 1988 Tony Nomination for Best Book - GOSPEL AT COLONUS (officially declined)

1988 Pulitzer Prize Nomination for Best Play - GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1987 NAACP Image Award Nomination - GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1986 Grammy Award Nomination for Best Theatrical Album - GOSPEL AT COLONUS

1986 Emmy Award Nomination for Best Direction (with Tod Browning) - GOSPEL AT COLONUS

In 1998, Breuer, was awarded an honorary degree from California Institute of the Arts.


2011 USA Ford Fellow in Theater Arts by United States Artists

2006 Bunting Fellowship - Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA

2003 Fulbright Fellowship - Greece

2001 Asian Cultural Council - Thailand, Study 2000 Asian Cultural Council - Seoul, Korea, Workshop

1997-2001 John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship

1995 Asian Cultural Council - China, Teaching at Dramatic Institute in Beijing

1993 Japan-United States Friendship Commission - Japan, Research and Tour Planning

1992 Asian Cultural Council - China

1992 Arts International - China, Teaching and Travel

1992 Arts International - Bali, Rehearsal and Travel

1990-91 CIES Counsel for International Exchange of Scholars - North and South India

1985 Rockefeller Foundation Playwriting Fellowship

1984 McKnight Foundation Playwriting Fellowship

1983 Japan-United States Friendship Commission Exchange Fellowship

1982 National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship

1979 Rockefeller Foundation Playwriting Fellowship

1978 Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS) Fellowship

1978 National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship

1977 Guggenheim Fellowship


2011 Towsen University, Baltimore Maryland, Development workshop

2011 Duke University, North Carolina, Development workshop

2010 Master Classes, Moscow and St. Petersburg

2010 National Theatre of Scotland, Glasgow

2009 National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh

2009 Guest Faculty Shanghai University

2006 Guest Lecturer University of Thessaloniki

2004-06 Guest teaching, Yale University School of Drama, Brown University

1986-89 Co-Chair of Directing Department, Yale University School of Drama

1995-99 Professor of Theater, Stanford University 1995-99 Associate Professor

1994 UC Santa Cruz

1992-93 Associate Professor, Arizona State University West

1977-80 Associate Professor, Yale University School of Drama

1981 Harvard University Extension (Writers & Directors Seminar)

1981 Experimental Wing, New York University



2009 PORCO MORTO,TDR, Winter

2002 La Divina Caricatura, a novel. Green Integer Series, Sun and Moon Press, San Francisco, CA.

1998 B BEAVER ANIMATION in From the Other Side of the Century Collection. Sun & Moon Press, San Francisco, CA.

1992 'Spin' Magazine USIS, South Indian Theater (Kudiatum)

1992 THE WARRIOR ANT, an art book illustrated by Swan Weil. Vincent Fitzgerald Press.

1989 THE GOSPEL AT COLONUS. Theatre Communications Group Press, New York, NY.

1988 THE WARRIOR ANT in 'Yale Theater Magazine.' New Haven, CT.

1987 Sister Suzie Cinema: Collected Poems and Performances 1976-1986. Theatre Communications Group Press, New York, NY.

1987 'An Ant in Hell' in 'Yale Theater Magazine.' New Haven, CT. Spring, 1987.

1986 'The Theater is Alive and Well and Living in Women' in 'The Village Voice.' New York, NY

1984 HAJJ in Wordplays 3. Performing Arts Journal Publications, New York, NY

1983 HAJJ in 'Performing Arts Journal'. New York, NY.

1982 A PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE in New Plays USA 1. Theatre Communications Group Press, New York, NY.

1982 'Patalogue Magazine.' Italy. A PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE, winner of Patalogue Magazine Award

1981 A PRELUDE TO DEATH IN VENICE. Theatre Communications Group Press, New York, NY.

1978 Animations. Performing Arts Journal, New York, NY. (Includes performance texts of THE RED HORSE ANIMATION, THE B. BEAVER ANIMATION and THE SHAGGY DOG ANIMATION)

1977 THE RED HORSE ANIMATION in Theater of Images. Drama Book Specialists, New York, NY

1977 'How We Work' in 'Performing Arts Journal,' New York, NY.

1976 'A Comic of THE RED HORSE ANIMATION' published privately

1961 'In the City' short fiction. San Francisco Review

1959 'The Wall' short fiction. Westwinds Magazine.

Personal life

Lee Breuer was born February 6, 1937 to Joseph Bloomingthale Breuer and Sara Etta Leopold. He has five children: Clove Galilee and Lute Breuer with Ruth Maleczech, Alex Klimovitsky with Polina Klimovitskaya, Joseph Lorwin with Liza Lorwin and Wah Mohn with Leslie Mohn; and two granddaughters, Bella and Ruma the children of his son Lute and Martha Elliot. Since 1999, he has lived in Brooklyn with his partner Maude Mitchell, whom he married in 2015. He has taught and directed on six continents.


  1. The Tempest with Raul Julia: review, nytimes.com, July 10, 1981; accessed April 30, 2016.
  2. Seoul Theater Festival 2000, horsetrade.info; accessed April 30, 2016.
  3. Madness and Martyrdom in La Divina Caricatura Lee Breuer with Kyoung H. Park, brooklynrail.org, December 2012; accessed April 30, 2016.
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