Bess Wohl’s plays include Small Mouth Sounds (featured in top ten lists in The New York Times, The Guardian, New York Post, and others, currently on a national tour), American Hero, Barcelona (multiple Ovation Award nominations), Touched, In, Cats Talk Back and Pretty Filthy, in collaboration with Michael Friedman and The Civilians (Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Musical). Her newest play, Continuity, was recently developed at Chicago’s Goodman Theater as part of the New Stages festival.
She also writes for film and television and her film, Irreplaceable You, premiered on Netflix in February of 2018, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Christopher Walken, Kate McKinnon and Steve Coogan. She won an Athena Award for her original screenplay, Virginia and her screenplay, IN, was included on Hollywood’s Black List of best scripts. She has developed original television projects for HBO, ABC, USA, FOX and others.
Her plays have been produced or developed at theaters in New York and around the country, including Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ars Nova, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theater, People’s Light and Theatre Company, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Vineyard Arts Project, The Pioneer Theatre, The Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Northlight Theater, TheaterWorks New Works Fesitval, Ojai Playwright’s Conference, the Cape Cod Theatre Project, PlayPenn and the New York International Fringe Festival (Award for Best Overall Production).
In 2015, Bess won the Sam Norkin special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater.” Other awards include the John Gassner Outer Critics Circle Award. She currently holds new play commissions from Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Club, Second Stage, The Williamstown Theatre Festival and Hartford Stage. She is a MacDowell fellow, an associate artist with the New York based investigative theater troupe, The Civilians, and an alumna of Ars Nova’s Play Group.
In her previous life as an actress, Bess appeared onstage in New York and regionally, and in numerous films and TV shows where she has given birth, solved crimes, committed crimes, been wrongly accused, and come back from the dead.
She is a graduate of Harvard and the Yale School of Drama.