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Caleen Jennings

Professor
Department of Performing Arts

  • Caleen Sinnette Jennings is Professor of Theatre; since joining the faculty in 1989, she has directed for the main stage season and taught thirteen different courses in the theatre and general education programs. In 2003 she received American University’s Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award. She is a faculty member of the Folger Shakespeare Library's Teaching Shakespeare Institute. Dramatic Publishing Company has published her plays: "Elsewhere in Elsinore: The Unseen Women of Hamlet", "Inns & Outs"," Playing Juliet/Casting Othello", "Free Like Br’er Rabbit", "Sunday Dinner", "Chem Mystery", "A Lunch Line", and "Same But Different". "Uncovered" is published in the Lane/Shengold Anthology, "Shorter, Faster, Funnier" and her play, "Classy Ass" is published in five anthologies. She received a $10,000 grant from Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays and the Heideman Award from the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. She is a two-time Helen Hayes Award nominee.
  • Degrees

    MFA, Acting/Theatre, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
    BA, Drama, Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont
  • OFFICE

  • CAS - Performing Arts
  • Katzen Arts Center - 101A
  • Mon/Thur 2:30-5:30
  • CONTACT INFO

  • (202) 885-3430 (Office)
  • (202) 885-3439 (Fax)
  • Send email Profile UserID
  • FOR THE MEDIA

  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

       
  • Elsewhere in Elsinore: The Unseen Women of Hamlet, Dramatic Publishing Company, 2008
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  • Classyass in 35 in 10: 35 Ten Minute Plays, Kent R. Brown, editor, Dramatic Publishing Company, 2005
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  • Adult Tree in 10 x 10, Jeff Gottesfeld, editor, Dramatic Publishing Company, 2004
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  • Inns & Outs, Dramatic Publishing Company, 2000
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  • Free Like Br’er Rabbit, Dramatic Publishing Company, 2000
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  • Same But Different, New Plays Incorporated, 1999
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  • Playing Juliet/Casting Othello, Dramatic Publishing Company, 1999
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  • Sunday Dinner, Dramatic Publishing Company, 1993
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  • A Lunch Line: Contemporary Scenes for Contemporary Teens, New Plays Incorporated, 1989

Grants and Sponsored Research

       
  • Member, Sister Scholars Work Group, sponsored by Ford Foundation/University of Maryland, 1996-1998
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  • 2007 Washington Bach Consortium to write children’s play Bach in Time
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  • 2007  Norfolk Academy to write Through Our Eyes
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  • 2007  Round House Theatre’s Heyday Players to write Birthday Presence
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  • 2006  African Continuum Theatre Company/Ford Foundation, to write Cream Soda and Crème de Menthe
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  • 2002 Arena Stage to write D.C.: Darker Circles
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  • 2000 & 2001 The Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts to write Ascension and Working Wings
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  • 1994 Kennedy Center to write Walking the Winds for their Traveling Young Players company
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  • 1992 United States Treasure Department to write We Will Be Remembered
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  • 1989 Smithsonian Institution Discovery Theatre to write Rosa Parks: Speaking Out for deaf and hearing young audiences

Media Appearances

       
  • Interview with August Wilson (Kennedy Center Web Site).
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  • Respondent, Shakespeare in American Life radio documentary, aired on NPR, 2007
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  • “Follow Spot” in Blackstage column, Washington Post, 1/31/07
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  • “Double Debuts for Caleen Jennings”, Jane Horowitz, Washington Post, 5/18/04
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  • “Hearts: The Sum of Fate and Trust”, Dan Via, On Stage Column, Washington Post, 5/9/03
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  • “New Plays Get Voices at Arena”, The Washington Times, 3/23/02
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  • Discussant, Theatre in Washington Panel, Public Interest with Kojo Nnamdi, WAMU_FM, 2/5/01
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  • “Write on the Money: Playwright Jennings Among Grantees”, Washington Post, 10/12/99

Work In Progress

       
  • Fizz 6 – children’s play about physics
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  • Cream Soda and Crème de Menthe – one woman show
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  • Persimmon Street – 10 minute radio play for WPFW
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  • Not Enough Lifetimes – full length play

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

       
  • American University Scholar/Teacher of the Year, 2003
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  • Outstanding Teacher of Playwriting, Association of Theatre In Higher Education, Playwriting Forum, 2003
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  • Actor's Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award, for 10-minute play, Classyass, 2002
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  • Nomination for Helen Hayes - Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play, 2000, for Inns & Outs
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  • Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Award for Meritorious Directing, Rashomon, $10,000 grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, 1999, for Inns and Outs
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  • Nomination for Helen Hayes- Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play, 1999, for Playing Juliet/Casting Othello

Professional Presentations

       
  • Magic, Royalty and Inheritance: Wilson’s King Hedley II and Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, Black Theatre Network Conference, Orlando, FL, 2008
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  • Close Reading on Your Feet, National Council of Teachers of English National Conference, New York 2007
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  • Jitney, post show panel presentation, Ford’s Theatre, Washington, D.C. 2007
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  • Shakespeare and Libraries: Cultivating Relationships Between Libraries and Theatre, American Library Association National Conference, Washington, D.C. 2007
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  • Porous Shakespeare, The Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C. 2006
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  • Moderator/panelist for Kennedy Center live and distance learning events: Frost/Nixon (08), August Wilson’s 20th Century (07), Happy Days (07), Twelve Angry Men (06), Waiting for Godot (06), On Golden Pond (04), Medea (02), Copenhagen (02)

Films/Documentaries

       
  • Screen writer, The Thread, Hall International Partners, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 2007
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  • Screen writer, Edifice Wrecks, short film directed by Randall Blair, American University, 2004

Exhibitions/Performances

       
  • Cream Soda and Crème de Menthe, staged reading, Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, 2006
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  • Bess & Tess, H Street Playhouse, Washington, D.C., 2004
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  • Day Come, staged reading, National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2003
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  • Classyass, Actor's Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, 2002
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  • D.C.: Darker Circles, staged reading for Arena Stage, Downstairs at the Old Vat series, Washington, D.C.
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  • Inns & Outs, Source Theatre Company, Washington, D.C. 2000
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  • Free Like Br’er Rabbit, Kennedy Center One World Children’s Theatre Conference, 2000
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  • Playing Juliet/Casting Othello, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C. 1998
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  • Pecos Bill and The People Could Fly, part of Walking the Winds, Kennedy Center Traveling Players tour, 1994
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  • Harmattan, BACA Downtown Fringe Festival, New York, 1987

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Playwriting, acting, Shakespeare performance, African American theatre, children's theatre, voice and diction for theatre, presentation skills

Additional Information: Caleen Sinnette Jennings
, professor of theatre, is an expert on playwriting, African American performing arts, Shakespeare performance, and children's theatre. Since 1994 she has been a summer faculty member at the Folger Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute. Jennings is the author of more than 80 plays. A a recipient of the 2002 Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heidemann Award, Jennings also received a $10,000 award from the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays in 1999 and two Helen Hayes nominations for outstanding new play (1999, 2000). In addition, Jennings garnered for her productions two awards for meritorious achievement in directing from the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival. She was also American University's Scholar/Teacher of the Year in 2003 and in fall 2004 was a distinguished professor of English at Colgate University. Jennings has published numerous plays, including Same but Different, Playing Juliet/Casting Othello, Inns and Outs, and A Lunch Line. Her play Classyass appears in four theatre anthologies.

Her recent publications are "Uncovered" in a new anthology entitled Shorter, Faster, Funnier, Chem Mystery (a children's play); Elsewhere in Elsinore: The Unseen Women of Hamlet; and "Magic, Royalty, and Inheritance: Teaching Shakespeare's Hamlet and August Wilson's King Headley in the Same Classroom" in the journal Theatre Topics.

Jennings regularly engages her students by having them collaborate with her on creating new theatre projects. For more information, go towww.american.edu/research/success/jennings-collaboration-070109.cfm.

She was recently invited to sit on D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee's Blue Ribbon Commission to create a D.C. middle school devoted to the arts. For more information, go to
www.american.edu/cas/news/theatre-jennings-100702.cfm
 

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