Joan Cushing, a former elementary school teacher and cabaret performer, is best known for her political satirical revue Mrs. Foggybottom & Friends, which opened in 1986 at New Playwrights Theatre, and moved to the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., where it ran for 10 hit years, and four years on the road, including performances at Dont Tell Mama and The Triad in NYC. Also in New York, she performed her solo nightclub act Lady Sings the News! at the Ballroom, filling in for Blossom Dearie, appeared in Gary Trudeaus Tanner for President series on HBO, directed by Robert Altman, and studied musical theatre writing at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop with Lehman Engel and Maury Yeston.
Her adult musicals include Flush! (1999 Washington Theatre Festival, H.D. Lewis Award) and Tussaud (Winner, 2001 Washington Theatre Festival), writing for the annual Hexagon political revue (since 1976), and The Crystal Palace Revue in Aspen, Colorado. Cushing also penned a political satirical column in Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill: The World According to Mrs. Foggybottom, a high society bat she created to skewer the sacred cows of Washington.
More recently, she has adapted 13 popular children's books as musicals, receiving over 350 productions and 2 national tours: Miss Nelson Is Missing!, winner of the 2003 Natl Childrens Theatre Festival; Junie B. Jones & a Little Monkey Business!; Miss Nelson Has a Field Day!; Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood (2007 NY Musical Theatre Festival); Heidi (w playwright Martha King De Silva); all commissioned by Imagination Stage, Lawrence, commissioned by Gabrielino High School; and Brave Irene, commissioned by Adventure Theatre. Other theatres which have produced her work include Seattle Childrens Theatre, Childsplay Theatre, Omaha Theatre Co., Children's Theatre of Charlotte, Dallas Childrens Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, North Shore Music Theatre, South Coast Repertory, First Stage Milwaukee, Walnut Street Theatre, Stage One Louisville, Nashville Children's Theatre, Oregon Children's Theatre, Manhattan Children's Theatre, and California Theatre Center. According to TYA Magazine, she is the most produced playwright in children's theatre and Miss Nelson Is Missing! is the most produced play.
In 2002 she worked with Young Playwrights Theatre to help turn their play Pieces of Life, written by local middle school students, into a musical, which was performed at the Kennedy Center and toured the D.C. schools. She was also commissioned by Oak Crest High School to write a musical for 100 girls using Broadway songs, Belles Are Ringing!
Recent works include a brand new script for Tussaud, based on the deliciously gruesome and dark tale of Madame Tussaud; The Christmas Doll, 2007 National Youth Theatre Award for Outstanding Play/Musical, adapted from the book by Elvira Woodruff, world premiere, Childrens Theatre of Charlotte; Lizzie Bright & the Buckminster Boy, adapted from the book by Gary D. Schmidt, New Play Series, First Stage Milwauke; and Ramanas Garden based on true stories of children in an orphanage in N. India (with Kathy Carroll). Several new commissions received productions this season: Imagination Stage - George & Martha, Tons of Fun (adapted from the book by James Marshall), Oregon Children's Theatre - Diary of a Worm, a Spider & a Fly (adapted from the books by Doreen Cronin). Upcoming: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - adapted from the book by Laura Numeroff, commissioned by Roanoke Children's Theatre; Rumpelstiltskin, the musical w playwright Martha King De Silva, commissioned by Imagination Stage; and Breast In Show with playwright Lisa Hayes - opens October 15 at J.C.C. Theatre, Rockville, MD. Ms. Cushing lives in the Nation's Capital with her husband Paul Buchbinder. When not evacuating for hurricanes, their 19 year old son Ben, a gifted writer and musician in his own right, attends Loyola University in New Orleans. Cushing is represented by the Susan Gurman Agency. See Profile on Facebook.com.
The Dramatists Guild
Theatre Communications Group
ASSITEJ (International Children's Theatre Association)
AATE (Association of American Theatre Educators)
The Playwrights Forum
Diary of a Worm, a Spider & a Fly
2011 Pamta Theatre Nominations (Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards) Sarah Mishler for Outstanding Choreography
2009 Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Resident Production, Theatre for Young Audiences, Imagination Stage
2009 Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Musical (Tara Giordano as Heidi), Imagination Stage
The Christmas Doll
2007 National Youth Theatre Award for Outstanding Play/Musical
2007 Creative Loafing Nomination for Best Original Show
2007-8 Metrolina Theatre Nomination for Outstanding Original Musical
2007-8 Metrolina Theatre Nomination for Outstanding Musical Composition
2007-8 Metrolina Theatre Nomination for Outstanding Production
(All above, Children's Theatre of Charlotte production)
Finalist, 2008 New York Musical Theatre Festival, Next Link Selection
2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival, Next Link Selection
Honorable Mention, Best in Script, 2007 New York Musical Theatre Awards for Excellence
2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, University of Gloucestershire Playhouse Theatre (UK)
2010 Jay Stanley Marquee Awards Nomination for Best Costumes & Best Set Design - Adam Alonso
2010 Jay Stanley Marquee Awards Nomination for Best Lighting Design - Jeffrey M. Davis
2010 Jay Stanley Marquee Awards Nomination for Best Choreography - Michael Bobbit
2010 Jay Stanley Marquee Awards Nomination for Best Musical Director - Ron Beringham
2010 Jay Stanley Marquee Awards Nomination for Leading Actor in a Musical - Scott Sauber as Claude
2010 Big Easy Music Theatre Awards Nominaion for Best Costumes - Adam Alonso
(Jay Stanley and Big Easy Nominations for J.P.A.S. production in New Orleans)
Junie B. Jones & a Little Monkey Business!
2007 Creative Loafing Award, 8 Nominations, including Best Musical, Children's Theatre of Charlotte
2006 Leon Rabin Award, 7 Nominations, including Outstanding Production, Dallas Children's Theatre
2004 Helen Hayes Nomination for Best Supporting Actress/Imagination Stage (Toni Rae Brotons as Princess Lucille)
Miss Nelson Is Missing!
2003 National Children's Theatre Festival Award, Best New Musical
2005 Creative Loafing Nomination for Best Musical, Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Miss Nelson Has a Field Day!
Finalist, 2005 National Childrens Theatre Festival
Winner, 2001 Washington Theatre Festival
Pat Sheehy New Play Fund Award
H.D. Lewis Award for Playwright Development, 1999 Washington Theatre Festival
2006 Distinguished Alumni Award (Academy of the Holy Cross)
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