Warren Leight is an award-winning showrunner and playwright. Warren was showrunner and Executive Producer of the NBC drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2011 - 2016 (Imagen, NAACP and PRISM Awards). Previously, he was showrunner and Executive Producer of HBO's Peabody Award-winning In Treatment, the FX drama Lights Out, and the Edgar-winning Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Warren's play "Side Man" won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play, and was a 1999 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Other plays include "No Foreigners Beyond This Point" (Drama Desk nomination), "Home Front", "Fame Takes a Holiday," "Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine" (ATCA nomination) and "The Loop." He wrote the book to the musical "Mayor" (Drama Desk nomination) and co-wrote the book to "Leap of Faith"(Drama Desk nomination). Two collections of one-acts, "Dark, No Sugar," and "Stray Cats," have been published by DPS. Warren has written many plays for The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway.
He also wrote and directed the romantic comedy "The Night We Never Met," and co-wrote the documentary "Before the Nickelodeon" (New York Film Festival).
Warren is a former President of The Writer's Guild of America, East, and is a current member of the Dramatists Guild council.
Set in 1953 and traveling to 1985, this lovely and poignant memory play unfolds through the eyes of Clifford, the only son of Gene, a jazz trumpet player, and Terry, an alcoholic mother. Alternating between their New York City apartment and a smoke-filled music club, Clifford narrates the story of his broken family and the decline of jazz as popular entertainment. Clifford recalls the key moments in his life, such as the day when he, fresh out of college, picked up his first unemployment check and was congratulated by Gene and his band mates. Gene's music career on the big band circuit ultimately crumbles with the advent of Elvis and rock-n-roll. Terry begs him to get a nine-to-five job to support the family, but Gene refuses to enter the "straight world" of regular paychecks, mortgages and security. For Gene, who knows jazz better than his own son, music is not just a job; it's his life. Their marriage slowly dissolves and young Clifford is witness to it all. As things worsen, Clifford assumes the role of parent and throws the hopeless Gene out of his mother's apartment. When an adult Clifford visits Gene in a rundown jazz club after years of separation, he requests that the old man play his mother's favorite song, the old standard "Why was I Born?" Clifford then asks, "Dad, why was I born?" It becomes Clifford's last, heart-breaking plea for his father's love.
Winner of the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play.
Paula and Andrew, two twenty-something Americans, arrive in China right after the Cultural Revolution, when the country is just starting to open up to foreigners. Paula has come to teach English and Andrew has come to spend a semester close to Paula. Their naiveté is astounding as they blunder into the heavily socialist and guarded community of the school. They are spied on by everyone, obliquely threatened, mystified by local customs, and generally fish out of water. Ultimately, Andrew returns to the States, but Paula decides to stay, despite her seeming distaste for their surroundings.
Leight separates the bitter from the sweet in his collection of one acts. THE FINAL INTERROGATION OF CEAUSESCU'S DOG. Ceausescu's dog is interrogated shortly after the Romanian revolution. MR. MORTON WAITS FOR HIS BUS. An anxious rookie cop babysits a corpse in a studio walk-up on a fourth of July weekend. UNITED. A young woman meets her brother's new boyfriend who turns out to be her ex-boyfriend. HAPPY FOR YOU. Five "friends" watch the Oscars on a night their "friend" has been nominated. NINE-TEN. A pool of prospective jurors grumble about their plight on the day before 9/11. FEAR NETWORK NEWS. "You give us five minutes, we'll scare the bejeezus out of you!" PAY-PER-KILL. A killer's execution is televised on pay-per-view TV. JUDAIC PARK. Steven Spielberg pitches Schindler's List to Hollywood executives. WHAT I DID WRONG. A single woman obsesses about the mistakes she made that ended her relationship with a jerk. NORM-ANON. At last there's a support group for adult children of normal parents. THE MORNING AFTER. The TV game clock is "automatically put on hold" when a dating-game contestant alleges abuse. LOVE OF THE GAME. A star baseball player teaches his son that how you play the game is not nearly so important as winning. AMICI, ASCOLTATE. A son's imminent departure for Iraq prompts his father to examine the fate of men in his family when sent to war.
In the 1950s, twin brothers Martin and Daniel Glimmer, along with Eddie Shine, briefly formed the "Glow-in-the-dark" trumpet section of Glimmer, Glimmer & Shine. In 1955, on the seeming brink of success, Daniel Glimmer abruptly quit the music business and cut off all contact with his brother, Martin. Thirty-five years later, Martin's protégé, Jordan Shine (Eddie's son), meets Delia Glimmer at a wedding in Greenwich, Connecticut. She is Daniel's daughter, works for her parents' very successful garment business, yet knows nothing of his past, nor even of her Uncle Martin's existence. Jordan brings Delia to meet her uncle, and she is shocked to find him in failing health and living in the squalor of a five-story walkup. When Martin falls into a coma, she confronts her father and asks him to help. He refuses but finally relents on the condition Delia stay away from Jordan. Delia and Jordan begin their romance shortly thereafter. Martin recovers but is physically unable to return to his walkup. Delia and Jordan shame Daniel into loaning Martin his corporate pied-à-terre. Daniel makes no effort to hide his disdain for Martin and his life. When Daniel learns of the budding romance, he squashes it by revealing to Jordan that Delia is engaged to someone else. She flees to Martin for answers to the emerging questions about her family. Martin, his health in steep decline, decides to tell Delia the truth. She is stunned to learn how, thirty-five years later, the aftershocks of choices made and secrets long buried reverberate not just for Marty and Danny but for Jordan and herself.
FAME TAKES A HOLIDAY tells the story of the High Heeled Women, a four-girl cabaret act, on the two worst nights of their show biz lives (including one in New Jersey). Onstage, the High Heeled Women perform a tight knit, madcap comedy revue with songs and sketches; backstage, they struggle desperately to keep their act together. By play's end, the High Heeled Women have lost everything, including their clothing, but they have learned the true meaning of success.
Some guys are leaders, some guys are joiners, some guys are Stray Cats. This collection of musically influenced monologues portrays nine "cats" as they hit bottom, paint themselves into a corner, or reach a moment of transcendence. The nine lives include: ALONE, BUT NOT LONELY: Tom "shares" at a twelve-step support group on Valentine's day. THE POEM WRITER, who after having a little too much to drink, delivers a bitter, funny, self-loathing, self-aggrandizing speech to the Poem Writers Guild. AN LA AGENT TALKS ABOUT LOVE, or more accurately about power and abandonment—love Hollywood-style. GOOD-BYE, JACK: A kid works the drive-thru window at Jack-in-the-Box. The night they take the clown away he realizes he's "just another little drive-thru guy in orange and brown, alone on the graveyard shift." JOCKO THE CLOWN, backstage in a moment of crisis, suffers from extreme "mime block." OL' GATOR is an aging TV weatherman who has been kicked off the air for politically incorrect statements. His farewell apology skids into a near breakdown. DIARY OF A VOYEUR chronicles a writer, who instead of meeting his deadlines, spends months obsessing and writing about a couple in a window across his courtyard. THE NIGHT ALI LOST: A lifelong men's room attendant at the Roseland Ballroom relates with grace his point of view of the Big Band era, racism and bodily functions. JAGUAR JESUS: A young man listens to a street saxophone player. The two trade riffs, each "stroking the night, blazing out of control."