RUTH MARGRAFF has been called a leader in the American avant garde for her “audaciously original" (Moscow Times) use of lyric language that provides “layer after layer of richly textured emotion...and imminent danger” (Dallas Morning News). Critically acclaimed for writing martial arts operas DEADLY SHE-WOLF ASSASSIN AT ARMAGEDDAN and a VOICE OF THE DRAGON trilogy with the late composer Fred Ho for the Apollo, Guggenheim Museum, LaMama, Brooklyn Academy of Music and a commercially successful tour with Columbia Arts Management, Inc. to 33 cities in 2003 with support from ICM Artists and the World Music Institute. Ruth’s Night Wind from Afghanistan for the play SEVEN, began touring the world in 2008 introduced by designer Diane von Furstenberg, and in 2010 by Hillary Clinton with Meryl Streep at the Broadway Hudson Theater. SEVEN has been translated into more than 20 languages and performed in 32 countries.
Ruth’s recent writing includes:
TEMPTATION OF THE FRESH VOLUPTUOUS created for the 2017 Internacionalni Nišville Jazz Teatrski Festival (Serbia), Red Tape Theater and the Art Institute Ballroom (Chicago), Coe Marquis Series Sinclair Stage 2019 residency and performance (Iowa) to be released by MI Records;
MIRROR BUTTERFLY: a migrant liberation movement suite a jazz opera that unites the music and stories of climate refugees from Mexico, Syria, and West Africa. Performed by the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, an indigenous-jazz band led by Gizelxanath Rodriguez and Ben Barson with Samuel Okoh-Boateng featuring interviews with former Black Panther Mama C exiled in Tanzania, Wanlove a kubolor from Ghana, and Azize an activist working with Syrian Rojava and Mexican Zapatistas. Premiered as a work-in-progress New Hazlett Theater (Pittsburgh) Oct 11-12, 2018 directed by Cynthia Croot, conducted by Federico Garcia-De Castro, to open up Season 6 of the CSA (community supported art) series in dialogue with Indigenous People’s Day. The opera featured a 15-piece band multicultural jazz band, three choral singers, and 7 dancer-actors including one hip-hop/spoken word artist. It then went on to the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage November 23, 2018 (Washington DC); and has been developed by Nov 4, 2018 National Ensemble Theater conference plenary performance (Tucson); NPN showcase Dec 14-15, 2018 (Pittsburgh); at the 1st Mesopotamian Water Forum Apr 6-8, 2019 (Kurdistan, Iraq); and released on Innova Records at Red Rooster/Ginny's Supper Club (Harlem); on Aug 3, 2019. Excerpts have already been featured on howlround, the New Sounds playlist, on 91.3 WYEP Aug 27, 2019 with interview on the revolutionary responsibility of being an artist and partnership with the Yaqui Námakasia Radio, which receives all CD sales, and performed at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem on October 3, 2019 as part of the Jazz and Social Justice salon
untitled haiku for BELLA GAIA, a live holographic concert with NASA immersive imagery for Peaceboat's Ecoship 1000-seat Broadway theater NYC
Ruth’s VOYAGE: LA BESTIA was presented by the 2017 San Francisco International Arts Festival (San Francisco) music: Richard Marriott, vocals: I Made Subandi; Pamela Z (San Francisco); FANTASY ISLAND FOR DUMMIES (lowcut daydream too near, too near) premiering Sept 29-Nov 5, 2016 at Trap Door Theater (Chicago), following her acclaimed 2012 production of ANGER/FLY devised also with director Kate Hendrickson. Ruth’s libretto for FLIGHT: TORN LIKE A ROSE commissioned by choreographer Peggy Choy FLIGHT: TORN LIKE A ROSE for Peggy Choy Dance Co. Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts (NYC) Oct 20-22, 2019; H'Doubler Theater (Madison, Wisconsin) Oct 31-Nov 2, 2019; 2016 New York Live Arts Festival; 2015 Dumbo Dance Festival at Gelsey Kirkland Theater, Brooklyn (NYC); And WILD RICE: March 12, 2015 UWisconsin/Native Nations Summit on Environment and Health Fluno Center (Madison); October 10-12, 2014 Links Hall for Peggy Choy's River Mouth Ocean (Chicago). Her PASSION OF LEYLA received an NEA Artworks commission with San Jose Stage Company in 2016; Ruth performed as Hecuba for MOTHER OF SMOKE at Red Tape/Walkabout Theater Mar 23-Apr 15, 2017; wrote PREVIOUSLY BLUE a poetic summit on the mysteries of disaster resilience and beauty rooted in a search for deeper artistic, local, international and environmental sustainability. Dah Teatar August 21-22, 2015 (Belgrade, Serbia); 7 Stages August 28-30, 2015 (Atlanta, Georgia); Coe College Marquis Series, Dows Theatre September 5 & 8, 2015 (Cedar Rapids, Iowa); Links Hall September 11- 13, 2015 (Chicago, Illinois) supported by Ministarstvo kulture Republike Srbije; Trust for Mutual Understanding of New York; Theater Communications Group Global Connections; Hatch Fund initiative. An excerpt of PREVIOUSLY BLUE “Disaster’s Lover” was part of a climate change theatre action of worldwide performances in Nov-Dec 2015. In support of the United Nations 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and the U.S. assuming chair of the Arctic Council in April 2015, with a Kick Off event held on November 2, 2015 at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City curated by Theater Without Borders. Ruth’s LOCKET ARIAS were developed with Nautilus’ Rough Cut new opera series and Opera on Tap (Minneapolis/St. Paul); FLEUR DE LYS for the Union Stockyards Ballroom/Great Plains Theater (Omaha), THE ELEKTRA FUGUES 2016 Varna International Theater Festival with Peculiar Works Project (Bulgaria); WILD RICE and FLIGHT for choreographer Peggy Choy at UW/Native Nations Summit Fluno Center (Madison); ANNE UNDER PARIS SKIES for Jason Phelps' 2014 Feast of My Heart at Salvage Vanguard Theater (Austin); and a 2014 US/Russia playwrights' exchange curated by Ksenia Dragunskaya at Boyarskiye Palaty (Russia).
With Ruth’s Café Antarsia Ensemble she wrote THREE GRACES, WELLSPRING, JUDGES 19: BLACK LUNG EXHALING which toured 2014 Laguardia Performing Arts Center (NYC); 2013 Pivot Multi-Arts Festival at Berger Park mansion June 20-22, 2013 (Chicago) Internationally for 2013 Ardittos Metz Festival June 30, 2013: Πάρκο Λογγίνου/Longinus Park στο Μετς, July 3, 2013 Τετάρτη, πεζόδρομο Θεοτόκη στο Μετς/Pedestrian Mary Bazaar, July 6, 2013 στο Πάρκο Αγίας Τριάδας καφενείο "Λαμπηδόνα/Cafe Lambidona at Trinity Park interview with Στέλιος Αρτεμάκης for 24 Media Group (Athens, Greece); 2013 Pivot Multi-Arts Festival Berger Park Mansion, preview by Chicago Splash) (Chicago); 2012 Istanbul Ikametgah Kadikoy Festival/Halka Art Project (TURKEY), 2012 Performing Arts Forum (FRANCE); 2011 Ice Factory Festival (New York City), 2011 World Music Festival/Navy Pier (Chicago), 2010 Azerbaijani National Theater/International Mugham Center (AZERBAIJAN), 2009 Bibliotheca Alexandrina International Summer Festival and Cairo Jazz Club (EGYPT), 2008 Accidental Festival/Institute for Contemporary Arts (UK), 2008 Festivalul International de Teatru de la Sibiu, National Theater Cluj Euphorion Studio (ROMANIA); 2007 Toronto Junction Arts Festival (CANADA); 2007 Festivale des Concerts a l'Anglicane (Montreal, QUEBEC); 2006 PreGlej Na Glas!/Wax Factory (SLOVENIA); 2005 Brooklyn Academy of Music/BAMcafe’s “Women in Music” Series; 2005 Pøíští Vlna-Next Wave Festival (CZECH REP); 2005 Festivalul International de Teatru de la Sibiu Festival (ROMANIA); 2005 Karantena Performing Arts Festival (CROATIA); Artemovszk 38 Flagship/Danube River and Trafó-Kortars Muveszetek Haza (Budapest, HUNGARY); 2005 Culturemart at Here Arts Center (NYC); 2004 New York Gypsy Festival (NYC); 2003 Novaja Drama Festival/Moscow Art Theatre, Club B2 (RUSSIA); 2003 Rebetiko Music Festival/Melina Mercouri Hall (Isle of Hydra, GREECE); 2002 Bolshoi Zol/Moskva Contemporary American Series (Moscow, Russia); 2002 Perishable Theater Festival (Rhode Island); 2001 BELEF/Beogradski Letnji Festival (Belgrade, SERBIA), etc. Nationally: Joe’s Pub, Galapagos, BAM Café, Mehanata/ Bulgarian House of Gypsy, Prelude Festival/Martin Segal, Rockwood Music Hall, Culturemart/ Here, Hourglass/Century Ballroom, New Dramatists, Zebulon Café, Drom Gypsy Bar, Fat Baby Lounge, Mo Pitkins, Laguardia, Tribecca & St. Lawrence Performing Arts Centers; Chocolate Factory, Hellenic Festival, CB’s Gallery, PS122 (New York City); Viaduct/HotHouse, Trap Door, Chopin Theater, Red Tape, Victory Gardens, Chicago Cultural Institute, Uncommon Ground (Chicago), Club Dada, Kessler Theater, Trees, Jack’s Backyard, Barleyhouse Tavern, Undermain, All Good Café, La Grange, Granada Theater (Dallas, TX), Salvage Vanguard, Fronterafest, Antone’s Home of the Blues, Stubbs, Gypsy Lounge (Austin, TX); Hollins University, Studio Roanoke (Roanoke, Virginia); North American Cultural Laboratory Festival (Catskills, NY), Crossing Borders Live (Ithaca, NY), Gypsy Festival at Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca (Lodi, NY), House of Hamez (Rochester, NY), Soul Infusion (Sylva, North Carolina), Dilworth Playhouse (Charlotte, NC) Café Parizade Summer Concert Series (Durham, NC) Artomatic Arts Extravaganza (Washington DC), Iowa Playwrights Theater B (Iowa City), Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Ruth has received awards from Rockefeller, McKnight, Jerome, NEA, TCG, TMUNY, NYSCA, IAC, Fulbright foundations, and is also published by Innova Records, Dramatists Play Service, American Theatre, Theater Forum, Performing Arts Journal, Playscripts, Inc., Backstage Books, Autonomedia, New Village Press, NoPassport Press, Lexington Books/Roman & Littlefield. She is a member of Theater Without Borders, League of Professional Theater Women, Red Tape Theater, a New Dramatist and Playwrights’ Center alumna, a Chicago Dramatist playwright emeritus, and Professor of Playwriting/Writing as Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago www.RuthMargraff.com