Richard Caliban has worked as a director and playwright across the country and internationally. He was Artistic Director of critically acclaimed, award-winning Cucaracha Theatre where he wrote and directed many of his plays over fourteen seasons, including Homo Sapien Shuffle at the Public Theatre; Performance Piece #27 (also at the Vineyard Theatre and the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan); Famine Plays (also at the Yale Cabaret, Triplex Theatre and Theatre of NOTE in L.A.); Rodents & Radios (Best Play List 1990–Mel Gussow, New York Times); Budd (starring Adrienne Shelly); and A Vast Wreck (also at Theatre of NOTE in LA). Under Mr. Caliban’s directorship Cucaracha received an Obie for its achievements as an emerging company.
Caliban’ s MoM – A Rock Concert Musical won “Outstanding Musical” at the New York International Fringe Festival, and subsequently played at the Actors’ Playhouse, the Foothills Performing Arts Center, The Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (“Best Musical Comedy of the Year” —Daily Record), The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the Westbank Cafe, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, The Barrow Group Theatre and Geva Theatre Center. MoM was selected as one of the “15 Most Beloved Shows from the Fringe’s history” and will be featured in an upcoming documentary.
Caliban directed the Outer Critics Circle Award and Obie Award-winning production of Mac Wellman’s Crowbar at the Victory Theatre. He also directed Wellman’s The Sandalwood Box and Whirigig (in Hungarian) for the R.S. 9 Theatre in Budapest; as well as the premieres of the Obie Award winning Sincerity Forever at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and Second Hand Smoke at Primary Stages.
Caliban has had the pleasure of working with renowned playwrights: Jules Feiffer (Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award) on the revival of his Tony nominated play Knock Knock at the Vineyard Playhouse; and with Michael Weller (Loose Ends, Moonchildren) on a new play ¡Help!, at the School House Theatre.
Other notable productions include Will Scheffer’s (Big Love, HBO) Easter with Naked Angels — as well as the film version (Best Feature Film – Dances with Films Festival, L.A.); Odets’ Clash By Night (Best Play List 1998 — Mel Gussow, New York Times); and Elizabeth Hess’ Birthrite, which played in New York, Toronto; Edinburgh, Bath, Kiel, Berlin and Barcelona.
In Los Angeles, his one act play Gladiator was produced at Act One, and he was the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Grant from the Back Alley Theater for the production of his play Suburban Romance.
His play Howling in the Night was produced at the Edinburgh Fringe; and Caliban’s theatrical cabarets Teatro Slovak and Les Funky Bitches Fantastique have performed at Galapagos, HERE Art Center and dozens of music venues and clubs throughout New York. His new musicals, Surf City and the Girl from Ipanema received workshop productions at the National Theatre Conservatory.
Caliban has directed at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College; Halley Feiffer’s Easter Candy for the Young Playwrights Festival at the Cherry Lane; Jenny Lyn Bader’s Manhattan Casanova at Hudson Stage; Suzan Lori Parks’ House of Jones — 365 Days/Plays at Galapagos and the Public Theatre; the One Act Marathon at Ensemble Studio Theatre; a Da Camera production at the Bruno Walter Theatre, Lincoln Center; The Joyce Theatre; and several productions at La Mama.
As Artistic Director of Cucaracha Theatre Caliban produced over seventy five productions, including co-productions with the Public Theater, the Classic Stage Company and the Vineyard Theatre. The raucous late nite hits, Underground Soap and the Cucaracha Cabaret, ran for many years.
Caliban’s play, Rodents & Radios is published by Sun & Moon Press in an anthology that spans thirty years of experimental theater — FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY II: A NEW AMERICAN DRAMA 1960-1995; and Gladiator is published by Smith and Kraus in ACT ONE FESTIVAL ’95. His article: Towards A Radical Theatre was published by the Village Voice.
Caliban is a three time MacDowell Fellow and has been a Resident Artist at the RS9 Theatre in Budapest, Hungary; The Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; HERE Art Center; Galapagos Art Center; Brydcliff Arts Colony and the Millay Arts Colony. He has also been a New York State Council on the Arts Panelist for Playwriting.
He received his education at Bard College, the Yale School of Drama and the New York Film Academy.