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Tracey Scott Wilson

Tracey Scott Wilson

American playwright
Tracey Scott Wilson
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American playwright
Is Writer Playwright
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature
Gender female
Birth 2 October 1966, Newark
Age 54 years
Peoplepill ID tracey-scott-wilson
The details


Tracey Scott Wilson (born October 2, 1966) is an American playwright and TV writer whose works have been produced nationally and internationally. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1989 with a BA in English and from Temple University with an MA in English Literature in 1993.


Born October 2, 1966, in Newark, New Jersey, Wilson began writing fiction after graduating from Temple University. Finding herself unable to finish a novel, she decided to take a playwriting class. "I didn't see much theater as a kid, so I had no expectations....It just took me over." Wilson soon realized that she had found her métier and wrote a number of short plays. At the encouragement of her mentor, playwright Chiori Miyagawa, Wilson applied for and won a New York Theatre Workshop fellowship in 1998.

Wilson’s work has received readings at New York Theatre Workshop, Second Stage Theatre, The Public Theater, the Williamstown Theatre Festival and Soho Theatre Writers' Centre in London. Awards and residencies include two Van Lier fellowships from the New York Theatre Workshop, a residency at the Sundance Institute Playwright’s Retreat at Ucross and the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the 2001 Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, the 2003 AT&T Onstage Award, a 2004 Whiting Award, the 2004 Kesselring Prize, the 2007 L. Arnold Weissberger Award and the 2007 Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship. In 2009, she was the writer-in-residence at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. On February 29, 2014, the Joyce Foundation announced that Wilson was one of the recipients of its 2014 Joyce Awards. With her prize, Wilson will work intimately with a community in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and write a new play, Prep. Prep will debut at the Pillsbury House Theater during the theater's 2015 season.

Wilson's productions include Order My Steps for Cornerstone Theater Company’s Black Faith/AIDS project in Los Angeles; Exhibit #9, which was produced in New York City by New Perspectives Theatre Company and Theatre Outrageous; Leader of the People, produced at New Georges; Buzzer at Pillsbury House Theatre; two 10-minute plays produced at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and a 10-minute play produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Wilson's first major Manhattan production was in 2003 with The Story at the Public Theater. The Good Negro was produced at The Public and then at the Goodman Theater in 2010. Wilson's Buzzer was produced as part of the Goodman's 2013-14 season and was added to the Public Theater's 2014-15 season in October 2014. The Story and The Good Negro have been published by Dramatists Play Service.

She has taught and guest lectured at Brown University, Yale University, Rutgers University and New York University.

Wilson is also a TV writer. Her episode of NBC's Do No Harm aired on August 18, 2013, and she is currently staffed on FX's The Americans, for which she was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award in 2015.


  • Exhibit #9, New Perspectives Theatre/Theatre Outrageous, New York (1999)
  • Leader of the People, New Georges, New York (1999)
  • Order My Steps, Cornerstone Theater, Los Angeles (2003)
  • The Story, The Public Theater (2003) (Published as The Story. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. 2004. ISBN 978-0-8222-1998-9. )
  • Neon Mirage, New York International Fringe Festival (2006)
  • The Good Negro, The Public Theater (2009) (Published as The Good Negro. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. 2010. ISBN 978-0-8222-2380-1. )
  • Buzzer, The Public Theater (2015)


  • Adrien-Alice Hansel, Julie Felise Dubiner, eds. (2008). "Paradise". Humana Festival: The Complete Plays. Playscripts, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9709046-1-4. 


The Story

"At times, whether one "likes" a play matters less than the way in which it resonates in the imagination long after the drama has unfolded, the sets have been struck, and life has returned to what it is, or might be. After seeing Tracey Scott Wilson’s "The Story" (at the Public), I was so taken by the stark poeticism of her dramatic form that I couldn’t tell whether my high was based on admiration for the play as a whole or for Wilson’s literary ear in particular."

The Good Negro

"In hindsight the ultimate triumph of the civil rights movement seems inevitable, the bright sun of enlightenment inevitably burning through clouds of ignorance and injustice. Ms. Wilson reminds us how precarious it seemed at the time, as each day brought new evidence of human fear and cruelty and weakness. The play does not diminish the actors in the struggle by exploring its psychic costs; on the contrary, to see them as troubled, sometime troublesome human beings makes their achievement shine ever brighter."


"The effects of urban gentrification have oft been noted. Bodegas transformed into latte dispensaries. Skyrocketing rents that force out longtime neighborhood dwellers. In the skillful play "Buzzer," by Tracey Scott Wilson, which opened at the Public Theater on Wednesday, the issue is examined from a more intimate point of view, as the relationship between an interracial couple comes under unexpected strain when they move to the urban frontier."

"This admirably complex and wholly unflinching play has otherwise been seen only in Minneapolis to date — and I'd bet, given its intensity, veracity and cast size, it will be on or off Broadway in short order. It's one of a group of new plays pondering the souls and psyches of high-achieving black professionals. It's also part of a similar clutch of recent dramas that have explored race in terms of property and neighborhood. But "Buzzer," which puts you in mind of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal," is not only far sexier and more entertaining than most such plays, it is anything but predictable or politically correct.

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