top of page


Richard Hellesen is the author of a number of plays for adults and children.  Among the former

            are Kingdom (premiered at the Denver Center Theatre Company; recipient of the Barrie

            Stavis Playwriting Award from the National Theatre Conference, and a finalist in the

            PEN USA West 2000 Literary Awards); Once In Arden (originally produced by South

            Coast Repertory, and the recipient of a Julie Harris Playwriting Award from the Beverly

            Hills Theatre Guild); Moonshadow (six regional theatre productions; awarded the Dennis

            McIntyre Playwriting Award by the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays); an

            adaptation of Frank Norris’ The Octopus (semi-finalist, 2011 O’Neill National

            Playwrights Conference); and four plays for Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, where he

            is an Associate Artist: the full-length Necessary Sacrifices, commissioned and premiered

            in 2012, and the one-acts One Destiny, The Road From Appomattox, and Investigation:

            Detective McDevitt. Also for Ford’s, he co-wrote the adaptation of the Frank Wildhorn

            musical Freedom’s Song, which premiered in March 2015, and was privileged to write the

            script for Now He Belongs to the Ages, the event commemorating the 150th anniversary of the

            Lincoln assassination.   With the late composer David De Berry he wrote the book for the

            musical A Cappella (premiered at the Sacramento Theatre Company), and a widely-produced

            musical adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  His two-dozen produced short plays

            include five finalists for the Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award:  Four One-

            Hundredths, Layin’ Off the Lizard-BoyEthnic Cleansing, Teardown, and A Speedy And Public Trial,

            all produced at City Theatre in Miami (among others). His one-act Dos Corazones received a

            Theatre Los Angeles Ovation Award writing nomination, and appears in “Best Ten-Minute

            Plays 2012”, published by Smith & Kraus.  Two additional full-length plays, Compelled and All

            She Wrote, are currently in progress.


            Mr. Hellesen’s plays for young audiences include a version of The Twelve Dancing

            Princesses (published by Samuel French), The Emperor’s New Clothes (People’s Light &

            Theatre Company), and an adaptation of Esther Forbes’ novel Johnny Tremain (B Street

            Theatre, Sacramento).  With Grammy-winning composer Michael Silversher he has

            written a musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (part of

            South Coast Repertory’s inaugural Family Series in 2004, with a revised version playing

            at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland in 2011), as well as eleven Educational

            Touring musicals for SCR, three of which--Face 2 Face, My Mom’s Dad, and Birds of A

            Feather--were subsequently produced at the Sundance Children’s Theatre in Utah.  Face

            2 Face and another tour show, The Pride of Weedpatch Camp, were selected as workshop

            study plays by the Lincoln Center Institute’s Rural Arts Education program in 2006 and

            2007, through the William Inge Center for the Arts in Independence, Kansas.  Along with

            composer/lyricist Joy Sikorski, their musical adaptation of Lois Lowry’s young adult novel

            Gathering Blue premiered in summer 2017 at the Gretna Theatre in Pennsylvania.


            A member of the Dramatists Guild, Mr. Hellesen was an invited attendee at the Theatre

            Communications Group National Conferences in 2005 and 2007, a guest panelist at the

            William Inge Theatre Festival in 2003, and playwright-in-residence at the Inge Center in 2009

            and 2012.  Additionally, he assists with one-on-one dramaturgy for the Playwrights Center in

            Minneapolis, and has worked in the literary departments of several theatres, including

            Berkeley Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, and B Street Theatre in Sacramento,

            where he makes his home.

Read an interview, by Adam Szymkowicz

bottom of page