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Obie Award Winner David Cale Stars in New Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency
Monday, October 4, 2021


Meet Obie Award-winning playwright and performer David Cale when The Community Library throws a reception for its latest Hemingway writer-in-residence this evening.

The Library will hold an outdoor reception for Cale from 4:30 to 6 p.m. today—Monday, Oct. 4--in the Library’s Cimino Plaza outside the Children’s Library.

Cale will share selected images that were featured at his recent solo photography exhibition, “The Smiling Squirrels of Tompkins Square Park” during the reception. Cale snapped the cute close-up pictures of squirrels munching on almonds that he offered them during brief walks during the pandemic. He premiered the exhibition this year at The Wild Project Gallery in New York City and it will be on display in the Library’s Treehouse throughout the month of October.

Cale is a native of England who says he moved to New York in 1979 after failing secondary school and a quest to become a rock star.

He described the move in his play “We’re only Alive for a Short Amount of Time,” which chronicles some violent and traumatic experiences in his youth and received the 2019 Jeff Award for Best New Musical, a 2020 Obie Award and a 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award.

He got his start writing plays by writing song lyrics that he read at poetry readings, eventually developing them into monologues. He made his solo stage debut in New York with “The Redthroats,” playing a semi-autobiographical character named Stephen Weird. The play not only won a Bessie Award but was featured on HBO.

Other plays include “Deep in a Dream of You,” which won another Bessie Award and was hailed by the New York Times as “a significant breakthrough.” His play “Somebody Else’s House” was a character study of people who fall between the cracks. And “Lillian, about a London woman who has an affair with a younger man, won an Obie Award Special Citation.

His most recent works include “Harry Clark,” for which he received the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show.

Other plays include the musical “Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky,” which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off Broadway Musical;  “Palomino,” about an Irish immigrant working as a carriage driver in Central Park, and “The History of Kisses.”

Cale’s acting experiences, include “The Slaughter Rule,” a movie about a young man who’s recruited to quarterback a six-man team. He also has performed on Broadway in “The Threepenny Opera” and in the off-Broadway plays “The Total Bent” and “Mouth to Mouth.”

The Library will host Cale for a month in a studio apartment at the historic Ernest and Mary Hemingway House and 12-acre Preserve in Ketchum. While there, Cale will work on a new work about the transformative relationship between a reclusive Idaho artist and a New York City woman who discovers his work.

Cale will also read the role of Sandra, the star of his newest solo play, at a work-in-progress preview at The Argyros on Oct. 29. The play revolves around a Brooklyn café owner who flies to Puerto Vallarta to track down a friend who has gone missing, only to find herself in a highly charged love affair and increasingly dangerous territory. Admission is free and tickets may be reserved through The Argyros at

The play is scheduled to premiere Off Broadway in Spring 2022.

Cale is the first playwright to take part in a new Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency, a special initiative within the Library’s Hemingway writer-in-residence program. It’s being presented in association with The Argyros Performing Arts Center and Sawtooth Productions, which was founded by Ketchum play director Jonathan Kane in 2015 as a collaboration between theater artists living and working in New York City and Sun Valley.

The residency is a new approach to supporting playwrights and the development of new work. The initiative will be offered annually to an individual playwright who receives a $10,000 commission to foster a single project from idea to new work over the course of a year.

After Cale leaves Ketchum, he will continue to develop his work with support from the Library, Sawtooth Productions and the initiative’s Artistic Director John Baker, a New York City-based new play dramaturg and producer. He will then return to Idaho to participate in a developmental workshop of the commission with local and national theatre artists, culminating with a public reading of the play at The Argyros.

“With the Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency, we are combining local and national resources to galvanize positive change that will have an impact on artists, the Wood River Valley community, and the national theatre landscape,” said Baker. “I’m so incredibly thrilled to welcome David Cale—an artist whose work is surreal, vivid, dark, and funny—as the inaugural resident. I’ve known and admired David and his work for years, and I cannot wait for the Wood River Valley to get to know him and vice versa.”


The Library’s Executive Director Jenny Emery Davidson said she believes central Idaho can provide an “incredible creative outpost” for playwrights to explore new terrain in their work.

“The spectacular natural setting, the solitude that is possible here within a supportive environment, and the historic setting of Ernest Hemingway’s final home all can contribute to a fertile writing environment,” she said. “And we believe that having a playwright here will energize our community in ways that are unique to theater.”

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