Rogelio Martinez is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been workshopped and produced in theaters across the country and abroad. His newest play, Blind Date, was produced this season at the Goodman Theater under the direction of Robert Falls. The play starred Tony Award winning actress Deanna Dunagan as Nancy Reagan. Blind Date was awarded an Egerton Award. This is the second time his work has received such an award. Blind Date was also awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation.
Mr. Martinez is a recipient of a 20017 Guggenheim Fellowship. Martinez is also the winner of a Princess Grace Award and a Mid-Career Fellowship at the Lark Theater Company. In the past he has received grants and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, NEA/ TCG, and the James Hammerstein Award among others. He is currently writing a play about the AIDS crisis and punk rock set in the Cuba of the early 1990s. The play was commissioned by ShadowCatcher Productions.
As an advocate of the arts and an educator, Martinez has spoken before the Albany State legislature. He has worked with and mentored writers of all ages. Over the last twenty years, Martinez has taught at various institutions including Columbia University, City College of New York, Montclair State University, Rutgers University, and Goddard College. In the summer of 2016, Martinez travelled to Portugal where he taught a two week writing workshop. Martinez has translated the work of both Mexican and Cuban playwrights, and his work has been translated into Romanian.
MFA in Playwriting, Columbia University School of the Arts
BA in English and Textual Studies; Television, Radio, and Film / English and Textual Studies, Syracuse University
Areas of Expertise
- Dramatic Writing
Ping Pong (Public Studio at the Public Theater) 2015
Wanamaker’s Pursuit (Arden Theater Co.) 2011
When Tang Met Laika (Denver Center) 2010
All Eyes And Ears (INTAR at Theater Row) 2008
Fizz (Besch Solinger Productions at the Ohio Theatre SOHO; New Theater Miami) 2007
Displaced (Marin Theater Company) 2006
Learning Curve (Besch Solinger Productions) 2005
Union City, New Jersey, Where Are you? (Ensemble Studio Theater) 2002
Arrivals and Departures (Oye Repertory. Miami) 2002
Arrivals and Departures (Summer Play Festival at Theater Row) 2001
In 1980, I arrived in this country from Cuba. As I was leaving the boat, I was given a can of Coca-Cola. I tried to open it but I couldn’t figure out how to work the tab. Around me, dehydrated Cubans were all trying to figure out how to open these cans. That vision stayed with me for years. Twenty-five years later I wrote a play called Fizz about Roberto Goizueta, the head of Coke during the New Coke disaster and a Cuban immigrant himself. I realized that to tell Roberto’s story I didn’t have to look far. Roberto’s story is my story. It’s the story of finding your piece of the American dream and not being able to completely understand it or experience it.
Writing a play or a film is a way of giving shape to your past — those memories that refuse to go away. For me, writing begins with connecting to your past, to who you were. I love writing exercises because they help you discover your obsessions and interests. Whenever I found myself lost in the writing of Fizz, I’d connect to the way the ten year old boy in me saw the irrational world that I had suddenly become part of. I found that my view of that world was not at all different from the way Roberto saw the world during the lowest point in his life.
Having lived a life with its share of randomness, I encourage writers to introduce a little more randomness into their work. I help them infuse their work with energy, a sense of play and naughtiness. I encourage writers to make decisions and not to brood. I am a big believer in the bold theatrical moment — the angel crashing through the ceiling, the frogs falling from the sky, or a group of Italian men following Monica Vitti around a plaza. Ultimately, I respond to writers who have a great curiosity about life and who approach the work with questions rather than answers.