The Playwrights

Carrie Robbins

Carrie Robbins, Designer, Playwright: has spent the majority of her work-life designing costumes on Broadway and Off, here and abroad. She’s particularly known for the quality of her character drawing. In March 2011 she became the 2nd costume designer ever to be honored with a monograph on her design work (Published by USITT/Broadway Press; available at or DramaBookshop, NYC). In May 2012, she was given the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award presented by TDF/Costume Collection for Excellence in Costume Design”.  In 2008-09 Robbins curated  an exhibit at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts, “CURTAIN CALL, Celebrating  100 years of Design by Women for Live Performance”, and has written over half the accompanying catalog (from 1949 to 2009), still available at the Library’s desk.

Robbins was Master Teacher of Costume Design at the Tisch School of the Arts for many years & is extremely proud of the huge successes of her many graduates.  Besides several having been nominated for & won the existing major costume awards (Tony, Oscar, Emmy), half-dozen have won the Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and more than 20 hold positions teaching costume in major universities across the country.

RD Robbins MD [Dick], (Surgeon, Writer), graduate of Harvard  (Literature/History/Biology major) and NYU/Bellevue, retired from his long surgical practice to return to his first love, writing.  In 2+ years, at least 75 of his stories were published in respected journals of the Small Literary Press here, and in English-speaking countries around the world [Canada, England, Hong Kong.]  He was asked to read his work aloud for prestigious literary magazines (NYC and Boston). Four stories were nominated for the PushCart Prize, for excellence in short story writing. But Dr. Robbins only knew of the first. Barely three years into his ‘new’ career, he was diagnosed with a swift, painful, and to date un-curable cancer. He died soon after.

A great raconteur, Dick told unforgettable stories of his daily adventures in the hospital from the moment he walked into Bellevue.  And I often found the stories funnier, more horrific, more endearing, more shattering, more life-affirming, more compelling, than much of what I was working on in my professional life as a costume designer in the theater.  After he died, I began to think about some of his major themes and favorite characters.  He wrote, I felt, from a singular vantage point.

I thought perhaps I might find a way to turn his narrative into dialogue. I knew little about short stories; but I knew something about plays.

This idea formed the genesis of Carrie Robbins, Designer-cum-Playwright, a role I never intended to play.

It took much trial and error, countless applications to fill out, opinions to solicit, rejections to file away in order to find my way.  Actor friends pitched in and the characters started to come alive. Benny & Bella, our favorite indigents.  The “half-done” transsexual in Rikers.  The resolute old jeweler with the strong taste for freedom.  Each year more and more stories became plays and were chosen for readings.

 Some highlights from the Robbins/Robbins team:

In 2009:  Abingdon Theatre, West 36th Street, chose THE DEATH & LIFE OF DR. CUTTER for its “First Readings Series”.

In 2011-12:  League of Professional Theatre Women chose THE DRAGON QUARTET as part of its 30th year anniversary celebration.

In 2012-13:  La MaMa (oldest off-off-Broadway theater in NYC at 51 years) chose THE DIAMOND EATER for its “Concert Reading Series”.

In 2013: TACT (The Actors Company Theatre, Wall Street Journal’s 2012 “Company of the Year”) chose SAWBONES for part of its newTACTics New Play Festival.

All Actors & Stage Managers appear courtesy of Actors equity Association.

This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE, HERE’s curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.

The Director is a member of the STAGE DIRECTORS AND CHOREOGRAPHERS SOCIETY, a national theatrical labor union.

These plays have been chosen for fiscal sponsorship by FRACTURED ATLAS, a national non-profit artist service organization providing a range of support for the independent arts community.

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