Urban’s plays include A Guide for the Homesick, The Remains, Sense of an Ending, The Correspondent, A Future Perfect, The Awake, and The Happy Sad. His plays have been produced by Huntington Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Theatre503 (London), The Amoralists Theater Company, Stage Traffic (London), First Floor Theater (Chicago), 59E59 Theatres, SpeakEasy Stage Company, The Summer Play Festival at The Public, and Studio 42. He has developed new plays at Playwrights Horizons, Huntington Theater Company, Theatre @ Boston Court, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Donmar Warehouse (London) and The Civilians R&D Group.
A Guide for the Homesick at Huntington
Recent productions: In October 2017, A Guide for the Homesick received its world premiere at the Huntington Theater Company in Boston (directed by Colman Domingo). It won numerous accolades including the Independent Reviewers of New England’s Award for Best New Script. The play was then produced in London at Trafalgar Studios on the West End in October 2018, directed by Jonathan O’Boyle. In May 2018, The Remains received its world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC (directed by Artistic Director David Muse). Critics called it “meticulously crafted” (Washington Post) and “a landmark play” (DC Metro Theater Arts). The production was nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards including the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical. In February 2017, Nibbler was produced by The Amoralists and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York, receiving strong notices in the New York Times and the Huffington Post.
The Remains at Studio Theater
New theater projects: The Immortals, a drama about academia and the cellular afterlife of Henrietta Lacks; Danger and Opportunity, a comedy about a married gay couple who decide to start a family with an ex-girlfriend; and Inappropriate Sexual Relations, a narrative podcast that dramatizes an anonymous book of postmodern erotica found in a bookstore in Ithaca, NY. This spring, The Immortals will be workshopped at the Theater at W97 through a Fay Chandler Faculty Creativity Seed Grant from the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), with additional support from the DeFlorez Fund for Comedy.
Awards include the Weissberger Playwriting Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, Huntington Theater Playwriting Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowships, Headlands Artist Residency, Djerassi Artist Residency, Dramatist Guild Fellowship, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship. Ken is a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists and an Affiliated Writer at the Playwrights’ Center.
He wrote the screenplay for feature-film adaptation of The Happy Sad, which screened internationally at over 25 film festivals, and is now available on iTunes, Hulu and Amazon. His TV pilot The Art of Listening was optioned by ITV Studios and David Oyelowo’s production company Yoruba Saxon.
His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, and they have been featured in numerous monologue anthologies.
The Awake at First Floor
His band Occurrence released their new album Everyone Knows the Disaster is Coming last June. The Southern Sounding called the album “a wiry brew of warbling electronics, fiery post-punk swagger and subtly mutated pop arrangements.” Their 2016 release The Past Will Last Forever received strong reviews with critics calling it “a formidable electro-space-post-punk beast” and “the near perfect synthesis between the universe of David Lynch and industrial music.” In 2017, the band released a holiday single “The Time of Year.” Notes from Left of the Dial called the song “an acerbic counterpoint to the glut of holiday music” from a band that “explores intimacy and circuital beauty in a way that few other artists could manage,” while the Boston Globe opined, “Something tells us Urban’s downbeat take on the holidays won’t be a hit.” The band’s catalog is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp.
Occurrence at Rockwood Music Hall, NYC
Before coming to MIT, Urban taught at Harvard University, Princeton University, Tufts University, Davidson College and Rutgers University.
BA, Bucknell University; Ph.D, Rutgers University.