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What Playwrights say about Peter Ellenstein:

Richard BroadhurstWhen I was invited to the William Inge Theatre Festival, as a guest playwright, I knew very little of Peter or his work.  Of course I was no one of note, so I had NO idea what I was in for.  In spite of my relatively meager resume, Peter treated me with the utmost respect AND reignited my desire for playwrighting.  While I can't say I 'enjoy' criticism, Peter is ALWAYS insightful and I take ALL of his suggestions VERY seriously.  The man knows what he is doing AND what he is talking about.


Marcia Cebulska:  As a Producer/Artistic Director, Peter Ellenstein’s greatest strengths are his expansive ideas and the gigantic rolodex to make them happen.  He knows how to ask for anything he thinks of and he thinks of everything.  Peter is an innovator, an avid supporter of playwrights, and a champion of young talent.  He is a theatre person of vision, passion, contagious good humor, devotion, and energy.

Kuros Charney: Peter Ellenstein is a great nurturer of playwrights at all stages of their careers, and a visionary artistic director with an eye toward both creative excellence and the community he serves. Bringing a wealth of knowledge and passion to every one of his endeavors, be it directing a new play or spearheading vital arts-in-education programs, Peter is an invaluable resource for the American theatre.


Burgess Clark: I highly recommend Peter as a talented and accomplished director and administrator.  It's difficult for me not to gush when it comes to Peter, but in the past 10 years he has become not only one of my favorite colleagues, but is also one of my favorite people.  I consider Peter one of the most passionate, intelligent, honest, effective and entertaining colleagues that I have enjoyed in my 35-year career.


Philip Dawkins:  Peter is a go-getter.  If he wants it done, he doesn't rest until it's done.  One of the qualities that most impresses me about Peter is his persistence and (seemingly) tireless dedication to providing for the artists working under him.  He's an excellent administrator to have on your side, making sure you have everything you need ---often more-- to do your art.  It's not all artists who can both facilitate and make their own art.  Peter is one of those directors who can do both.


Robert L. Freedman: I have always found Peter to be reliable, sensitive, open to new ideas, and able to achieve consensus while making everyone feel included and vital to the project’s success.  While he is an excellent leader, he is very much a team player. He’s a genuinely nice, warm, and big hearted man, without a trace of guile. He is able to achieve so much without ever taking advantage of or hurting other people. Peter is a true mensch.


Richard Hellesen: My experiences with Mr. Ellenstein over the years have reminded me of the creative power that comes with a deep and lifelong love of the theatre. His combination of dedication to the advancement of the art, practical knowledge gained through years of experience in all areas of the theatre, and a passionate desire to share that dedication and knowledge with others, make him a tireless organizer, an enthusiastic teacher, and above all a talented theatre craftsman who would be an asset to any organization.


Chisa Hutchinson: The thing I really love about Peter Ellenstein, aside from the fact that he lets me call him Pellenstein, is that years after inviting me out to the Inge Center to be a resident, the man has kept in touch, called me every time he's in NYC, sent me alerts for jobs and opportunities that might interest me, offered congrats whenever there's an exciting development in my creative life, offered sympathy whenever there've been downturns, and invited me into total kinship with his family.  In short, he has been a great friend.  To playwrights in general, and to me specifically.


Julianne HomokayPeter Ellenstein is a force to be reckoned with.  His commitment to developing new plays for the American canon and his sheer passion for the art of theatre are unparalleled.  Working with him is a joy.


Lynne Kaufman:  Peter Ellenstein is an astute, experienced and enthusiastic supporter of new plays and playwrights.  He invited me to be playwright in residence at The William Inge Center in 2011 to develop my play ACID TEST: THE MANY INCARNATIONS OF RAM DASS.  He helped to shape the script with invaluable observations and suggestions. ACID TEST went on to productions in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Diego.


Adam Kraar Peter Ellenstein is a generous citizen of the theatre, and a multi-talented collaborator.  I had the privilege of working closely with him during two separate seasons (Fall 2004 and Spring 2008) at the Inge Center for the Arts.  As a director of a new play workshop of one of my plays, Peter was responsive to my concerns, and elicited strong performances from the actors.  The workshop (and Peter’s questions about the play) absolutely helped me advance the script, which was subsequently produced.  Peter’s infectious enthusiasm and big love for playwrights makes him a joy to have in the rehearsal room.


Melanie Marnich:  I first met Peter over ten years ago when I was a playwright-in-residence at The Inge House. What was true of him then remains true today. He's a theatre artist and producer of tremendous insight, generosity and enthusiasm. His dedication and energy help elevate the work of everyone around him. He's not just a great teacher of theater--but a life-long student of it. Because he loves it. This combination makes him a terrific advocate, leader and colleague. Someone who's a pleasure to work with and to be around.


Anne PhelanI have known Peter for for twelve years.  He has helped me with two plays of mine ("Geography" and "The Benders") .  He has unerring dramaturgical instincts, and is great at directing the play that the playwright has written (as opposed to an auteur director).  Peter is a delight to work with, and an unfailingly generous and loyal friend. He is incredibly helpful as a dramaturg in assisting me in finding the play that I want to write in a noncompetitive environment.


J.T. RogersUnder Peter Ellenstein's direction the William Inge Festival brought together great American theater artists from across the country to create a one-of-a-kind experience with the people of Independence, Kansas. I have never been part of a theater event--anywhere--where the audience was more invested in and passionate about the work they came to experience. That is what you call visionary artistic leadership.


David A. Rush:  I found my time at the Inge Center, and working with you on my play, GERMINOUS SEEDS, one of the most stimulating and helpful experiences.  Your dramaturgical advice was insightful and was important in my rewrites.


Evan Smith:  When I saw what he was accomplishing out in the wilds of Kansas, I thought "He's making the desert bloom."


Caridad Svich: Peter Ellenstein is one of the most passionate and caring people I know when it comes to new writing and playwrights. He is hard-working, thoughtful, and nurturing. He trusts artists to find their own path, and creates opportunities for artists to feel safe and able to take artistic risks especially during the development process. He is generous moreover and respectful and understands well that there is time for work and time to talk about and dream about making work, and that both are necessary to the creation of art.


Adam Szymkowics:  Peter is a skilled dramaturgical director. He is a pleasure to work with on new play development and a joy to have in the room. He is also an excellent talkback leader, making a sometimes frustrating prospect breezy yet highly useful.


Catherine TrieschmannPeter is an extraordinary theater producer. When he takes on a project, he imbues it with such ambition and vision, it takes on another life--a richer and more vivid existence for artists and audiences alike. His ability to connect artists with other artists who will complement and challenge one another is unmatched, and his commitment to equipping artists to do their best work under any circumstances is remarkable.


Alice Tuan:  Peter Ellenstein is a master of gathering all sorts of minds into a room and providing an organic environment for networking and social dynamics to happen.  Ellenstein is naturally curious and able to engage all typed if folks. He truly loves theater and is exactly the kind of social lubricant that makes theater scenes exciting and thus grow—


Ken Urban:  Spending a week at the Inge Theater Festival, under Peter's guidance, gave invaluable time to me and my director Stephen Brackett so we could develop my play THE CORRESPONDENT. Those conversations in Independence, KS guided us when we went into rehearsal for the New York premiere of the play, and I am grateful to Peter for the opportunity and the support of such a challenging play.





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