George C. Wolfe

Director, Artistic director, Theater administrator
Now firmly ensconced on Joseph Papp's throne at NYC's Public Theatre, black playwright-director-producer George C Wolfe grew up in the segregated city of Frankfort, Kentucky and received an early exposure to Gotham at ... Read more »
Born: 09/22/1954 in Frankfort, Kentucky, USA

Filmography

Actor (16)

Ramona and Beezus 2010 (Movie)

Casting Director (Actor)

Theater of War 2008 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Devil Wears Prada 2006 (Movie)

Paul (Actor)

Wrestling with Angels 2006 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Garden State 2004 (Movie)

Restaurant Manager (Actor)

Changing Stages 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

In the Life 1991 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Signature: George C. Wolfe 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Fresh Kill 1996 (Movie)

Cat Lover (Actor)

In the Wings: Angels in America on Broadway 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Jammin': Jelly Roll Morton on Broadway 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 47th Annual Tony Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Finding Christa 1992 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Story of a People: Expressions in Black 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The N-Word (TV Show)

Actor
Director (6)

You're Not You 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

Nights in Rodanthe 2008 (Movie)

(Director)

Fires in the Mirror 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Director

The Colored Museum 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Director

Elaine Stritch at Liberty (TV Show)

Director

Lackawanna Blues (TV Show)

Director
Producer (2)

The Supreme Court's Holy Battles 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Co-Producer

Marcel Proust: A Writer's Life (TV Show)

Producer
Writer (1)

Hunger Chic 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer
Other (2)

Ralph Ellison: An American Journey 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Advisor

Jessye Norman Sings For the Healing of AIDS 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Other

Biography

Now firmly ensconced on Joseph Papp's throne at NYC's Public Theatre, black playwright-director-producer George C Wolfe grew up in the segregated city of Frankfort, Kentucky and received an early exposure to Gotham at the tender age of 12, accompanying his mother while she was taking doctoral courses in education at New York University during the summer of 1967. He attended Broadway performances of "Hello, Dolly!" with Pearl Bailey and a revival of "West Side Story" which knocked him out and pointed him in the direction of his life's work. Escaping to California from Kentucky, he taught acting in addition to writing and directing for small theaters in the Los Angeles area before moving to NYC in 1979, eventually enrolling in the masters program in dramatic writing and musical theater at NYU. While at NYU, he started the play that would catch Papp's attention, "The Colored Museum". This stinging satire on black stereotypes opened to critical raves at the Public in 1986 although some within the black community were offended by the characters presented.

Relationships

Costello Wolfe

Father
Worked for the Department of Corrections in Frankfort, KY

Anna Wolfe

Mother
Was a principal at the elementary school that Wolfe attended in Frankfort, KY Died in December 1996 of heart disease

William Wolfe

Brother
Born in 1947 Was a kidney donor for Wolfe's transplant operation

EDUCATION

Kentucky State University

Frankfort , Kentucky
Attended for one year

Pomona College

Claremont , California 1976
Began writing plays while still an undergraduate

Frankfort High School

Frankfort , Kentucky 1972
Was president of the literary magazine, class vice president and editor of the school newspaper

New York University

New York , New York 1983
Earned his degree in dramatic writing and musical theater

Milestones

2011

Co-directed with Joel Grey, the revival of Larry Kramer’s "The Normal Heart"; earned a Tony nomination for Best Direction of a Play

2008

Directed a feature adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel, "Nights in Rodanthe"

2006

Directed a new translation of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children" at the Delacorte Theatre

2005

Directed first feature, an adaptation of Ruben Santiago-Hudson's play, "Lackawanna Blues," which aired on HBO

2004

Directed Tony Kushner's "Caroline, or Change"

2002

Directed "Elaine Stritch At Liberty" at the Neil Simon Theatre

2001

Directed the stage play, "Topdog/Underdog"

2000

Co-wrote (with Michael John LaChiusa) and directed the musical, "The Wild Party"

1998

Produced Arthur Miller's "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan" at the Public Theatre; show moved to Broadway in 2000

1997

Profiled in PBS documentary, "Signature: George C. Wolfe"

1996

Won a Tony for directing the musical, "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk"

1996

Helmed the NYSF production of "The Tempest," starring Patrick Stewart; also directed the Broadway production that same year

1995

Served as producer of Michael John LaChiusa's musical, "The Petrified Prince"

1994

Re-teamed with Anna Deveare Smith to stage her acclaimed, "Twilight: Los Angeles 1992"

1994

Helmed the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) production of Oliver Mayer's "Blade to the Heat"

1993

Directed an American Playhouse (PBS) adaptation of Anna Deveare Smith's play, "Fires in the Mirror"

1993

Assumed leadership of the Public Theatre; became first person in its history other than Joseph Papp to have the title of producer

1993

Became the first black director of a Broadway production that was not black-themed, Tony Kushner's "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches"

1993

Staged the second half of Kushner's play, "Angels in America: Perestroika"

1992

Directed a revised version of "Jelly's Last Jam" on Broadway; also directed the behind-the-scenes PBS special, "Jammin': Jelly Roll Morton on Broadway"

1991

Co-directed and adapted "The Colored Museum" for PBS' "Great Performances"

1991

Wrote the book and staged the musical "Jelly's Last Jam," about jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton at L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum

1989

Adapted "Spunk" from three stories by Zora Neale Hurston; was produced at L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum

1989

Wrote "Hunger Chic," a 30-minute comedy directed by Buck Henry; broadcast as part of the PBS anthology series, "Trying Times"

1986

Penned the off-Broadway play, "The Colored Museum," which opened at the Public Theatre's Susan Stein Shiva Theater; also wrote lyrics

1985

Wrote the book and lyrics for the off-Broadway musical, "Paradise!"

1978

Directed first play "Summer Suns/Tales of Night" at the Inner City Cultural Center

1978

Wrote the play, "Back Alley Tales," which was produced at the Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA

1977

Encouraged by C. Bernard Jackson, the executive director of the Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles, to stage one of his early projects, "Tribal Rites, or The Coming of the Great God-bird Nabuku to the Age of Horace Lee Lizer"

1975

Had first success as a playwright with "Up for Grabs" while still enrolled in college

Enrolled in summer theater program at Miami University in Oxford, OH

Taught at City College of New York and the Richard Allen Center for Cultural Art

Spent three years working at the Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA

Bonus Trivia

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In 1990, was named by Public Theatre founder Joseph Papp as one of its three resident directors along with David Greenspan and Michael Grief.

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In 1995, Wolfe was named a "living landmark" by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

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Wolfe was honored as a Library Lion by the New York Public Library in 1997.

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In 2009, Wolfe was selected by President Obama as a member of the President's Committee on Arts and the Humanities.

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