playwright, professor, actor, director
CALEEN SINNETTE JENNINGS is an actor, director, playwright, artist/ educator, and a founding member of The Welders, a D.C. Playwrights’ Collective. Dramatic Publishing Company has published eight of her plays, and her work has appeared in seven play anthologies. She is currently writing the book for a new musical on the life of famous black contralto Marian Anderson, and a Power Play Commission from Arena Stage on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her recent commission from Arena Stage was a monologue for My Body/No Choice. Her play Queens Girl in the World ran Off Broadway in April, 2022, having also been produced at Theatre J, Everyman Theatre, Clackamas Repertory Theatre and Hangar Theatre. Parts 2 and 3 of the Queens Girl Trilogy, Queens Girl in Africa, and Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains have been produced at Mosaic Theatre and Everyman Theatre respectively. Arena Stage commissioned her to write monologues for two pandemic-related Zoom plays: May 22, 2020 and The 51st State and she also wrote the final episode for Round House Theatre’s zoom series, Homebound. She was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to write a stage adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ novel, Darius & Twig, which was produced at the Kennedy Center Family Theatre and did a national tour in 2017. Caleen has received five nominations for outstanding new play from the Helen Hayes Awards, as well as play writing awards from the Kennedy Center and The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. She is Professor Emerita of Theatre in the Department of Performing Arts at American University in Washington, D.C. where she taught theatre for 31 years. During her tenure, she received American University’s inaugural Excellence in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award and A.U.’s highest. Her faculty honor – the Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award. Caleen is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She is currently a senior consultant to the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. She has been a faculty member of the Folger’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute since 1994 and she was Project Manager on an NEH grant to the Folger entitled Crosstalk: D.C. Reflects on Identity and Difference. Jennings has her B.A. in Drama from Bennington College, and her M.F.A. in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.