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Faculty Focus Bruce Graham

October 15, 2010

Photograph of Bruce Graham accepting his Barrymore Award Bruce Graham went to his first play and his first funeral on the same day. That could explain a lot about the career of the Screenwriting & Playwriting Professor whose play Any Given Monday just won a 2010 Barrymore Award for Best New Play. Graham returned to acting after a 25 year hiatus to portray Lenny, a man who isn’t having a good Monday. Two of his least favorite football teams are on TV, his daughter is having a crisis of faith, and his wife left him for a guy who builds Wal-Marts. Like many of his other plays, including his one man show,The Philly FanAny Given Monday is enormously entertaining and a relatable morality play delivered without preachiness.

Graham has written over a dozen plays, including Something Intangible which won seven 2009 Barrymore Awards including Best New Play. He has also written for television and movies and was a two time winner of the Edgerton Foundation Award for Best New Play. He is the co-author of the book, The Collaborative Playwright, a how-to guide on writing plays in which he shares his own experiences, successes and failures. He has plenty of experiences to choose from as he started writing plays in high school and had excellent training working as a stand-up comedian through college.

Graham tries to not spend all of his time in the theatre, so when he can, he likes to escape to Maryland to “Stare at water. Watch sports or old movies. Kayak. Stuff like that.” He would like to write the book of a musical, which he says is about the only thing he hasn’t done besides writing a children’s show. But Bruce admits, he may be too dark for the younger set. Graham’s easy going sense of humor shines through when asked if he has any advice for students, “Observe people.  Don't hang out with writers.  Don't read reviews.  Accept the fact you're gonna write stuff that stinks sometimes. Don't TALK about writing - do it!”