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May Yoshioka in The Skin of Our Teeth
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Patrick Lawlor in Red (Photo: Doug Abdelnour)
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The Tempest

Owen Thompson is the Artistic Director of The Schoolhouse Theater, the oldest professional theatrical venue in Westchester County, New York. Schoolhouse recently completed its first post-Covid season: a triumphant slate of plays beginning with John Logan’s drama Red which Owen directed and which won nine 2023 Rockland/Westchester BroadwayWorld Awards including Best Play, Best Director, Best Performer, Best Supporting Performer, Best Designers, and Favorite Local Theater. The Schoolhouse 2023 season also included an evening of three delightful one-act plays by James Sheldon called 3-Way Stop, which received rave reviews and played to sold-out audiences, which Owen also directed. Most recently, Schoolhouse presented the World Premiere of Barbara Dana’s What Keeps Us Going (directed by Austin Pendleton and starring Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba), which broke Schoolhouse box office records. Coming up, Schoolhouse will present two twentieth-century masterpieces: Athol Fugard’s ‘Master Harold’…and the boys and Brian Friel's Faith Healer (starring Victor Slezak), both of which Owen is thrilled to be directing. Get your tickets at: www.theschoolhousetheater.org  

Owen's theatrical productions have been seen all over New York City and in regional theaters across America. He served as the Artistic Director of NYC’s acclaimed Protean Theatre Company, whose productions were lauded by the New York Times, The New York Post's Clive Barnes, TimeOut New York, the Village Voice, BackStage and several other prestigious publications. He also spent many years as Producing Director of The River Rep at the historic Ivoryton Playhouse in Essex, Connecticut. River Rep was a revitalizing force in professional Connecticut theater and presented over one hundred productions at Ivoryton, helping to save that historic theater from the wrecking ball and allowing it to continue to thrive well into the 21st century. Additionally, Owen developed many original works as literary manager and producer of new plays for Off-Broadway's illustrious TACT (The Actors Company Theatre).

Owen is also an educator and holds two post-graduate degrees in classical dramatic literature. He has taught in several institutions of higher learning, including Fordham University, Marymount Manhattan College, and CUNY’s New York City College of Technology as well as

in the New York City Public School system.

In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Owen co-created the popular Shakespeare podcast, The Bardcast: "It's Shakespeare, You Dick!" with the brilliant Lisa Ann Goldsmith which they continue to host. The Bardcast received the New York Shakespeare Award for Best Podcast of 2021 and has thousands of listeners around the world on every continent (except Antarctica). It can be heard on every major platform and at www.thebardcastyoudick.com

 

A long-time veteran of the New York theater scene, Owen has directed numerous NYC productions, including an immersive, multi-media tour-de-force of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest for the Secret Theatre at the Plaxall Art Gallery, which was nominated for a bevy of New York Innovative Theatre Awards including Outstanding Director. Owen grew up in a theatrical family as the child of Broadway actors Joan Shepard and Evan Thompson, and at the age of nineteen he founded The Facemakers, an avant-garde theater company that flourished in the downtown NYC arts scene of the 1980s and produced several celebrated shows including a notorious revival of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest starring the iconic Quentin Crisp as Lady Bracknell.

 

Owen also founded New York City’s Protean Theatre Company, for whom he produced and directed numerous productions including the critically acclaimed American Premiere of the previously lost Restoration Comedy The London Cuckolds, the Jacobean thriller The Revenger’s Tragedy, an evening of Shavian one-acts called George Bernard Shaw’s Fictitious History,  Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Molière’s outrageous farce The Doctor in Spite of Himself, for which he also wrote a much-praised modern adaptation

 

Other Off-Broadway directing credits include Tennessee Williams' mid-

century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Gabriel García Lorca's gorgeous poetic tragedy The House of Bernarda Alba for Brooklyn's storied Gallery Players, Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama How I Learned to Drive at Queens Theatre in the Park, Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid for TACT (The Actors Company Theatre), Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure for the Hip to Hip Theatre Company, Grass Island for the Abingdon Theatre Company, and the New York Premiere of James McLure’s Thanksgiving at the Cullum Theatre at the American Theatre of Actors, to name just a few.

 

As Producing Director of the River Rep Theatre Company, Owen produced or co-produced more than one hundred productions over the course of two decades, several of which he directed, including a smash hit revival of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, for which he received the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical. Other regional directing credits include Charles Ludlam’s The Mystery of Irma Vep at Connecticut’s Seven Angels Theatre, Peter Shaffer’s Lettice and Lovage starring Katharine Houghton, Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet at the North Carolina Civic Center, George Feydeau’s classic farce A Flea in Her Ear at the Ivoryton Playhouse, Larry Shue's The Nerd for the Sheboygan Theatre Company in Wisconsin, David Auburn’s Proof at the Meetinghouse Theatre in Maine, and Mark Edward Lang’s Lunt & Fontanne: the Celestials of Broadway at Classic Theatre of San Antonio in Texas.

 

In addition to directing, Owen has also produced many revivals in New York City, including the American Premiere of Christopher Hampton's When Did You Last See My Mother?,  Joseph Stein’s Enter Laughing, Clark Gestner’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano, Bock & Harnick’s She Loves Me, and a long list of plays by George Bernard Shaw including Great Catherine, The Man of Destiny, The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, Overruled, and Arms and the Man. He also produced several plays receiving their first New York appearances for The Actors Company Theatre.

 

Although he no longer appears onstage (unless asked very nicely), Owen enjoyed a lengthy career as an actor, performing major roles in dozens of productions in New York City and in regional theaters across America, playing in everything from Shakespeare to contemporary drama to musical comedy. Over a long span of time, his favorite roles have included both Jack and Algy in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, John Adams in 1776, and Sir John Falstaff in Shakespeare's Henry IV, pt.1 and pt. 2among others too numerous to name.

 

Owen lives in Manhattan with his beautiful and brilliant wife Leda Zukowski, their rescue cat Harry, and a family of squirrels whom they seem to have inadvertently adopted.

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