Ed Schmidt's plays have been
rejected by some of the most and least venerable theater companies in America, including Arena Stage (“not right”),
Manhattan Theater Club (“really don’t think it’s right”), Lincoln Center Theater (“don’t
feel the play is right”), Roundabout Theatre Company (“don’t think the piece is quite right”), Alliance
Theatre Company (“not for us”), Huntington Theatre Company (“isn’t right for us”), Ensemble
Studio Theatre (“not right for us at this time”), Playwrights Preview Productions ("isn't for us at this
time"), Williamstown Theater Festival (“don’t feel it is right for us at this time”), American Place
(“do not feel that it is a play for us at this time”), Hudson Guild Theatre ("unable to use it at this time"),
Crossroads (“at this time, we have no further interest in it”), Mill Mountain Theatre ("does not meet the
production needs of the theatre at this time"), McCarter (“not appropriate to the needs of our theater”),
Denver Center Theatre Company (“does not suit our needs at this time”), Los Angeles Theatre Center (“does
not suit our needs at the present time”), Primary Stages ("isn't right for our present needs"), Lifeline Theatre
("not suitable for our season"), Dramatic Risks ("do not find your script suitable for our readings or productions"),
Geffen Playhouse (“does not fit our production needs currently”), Oregon Shakespeare Festival (“does not
suit our current artistic needs”), George Street Playhouse (“does not fulfill any of our current needs”),
Victory Gardens (“does not fit into our plans for our current season”), Public Theater (“does not fit our
programming”), One Act Theatre Co. ("does not fit into our long-range programming"), Northlight Theatre ("doesn't
fit our current programming needs"), Guthrie Theater (“doesn’t fit into Joe Dowling’s plans right now”),
Philadelphia Festival Theater (“will not be able to include it in our season”), Goodman Theatre (“will not
be able to offer the play a home”), Long Wharf (“not a project that we are able to place in our upcoming season”),
Mark Taper Forum (“not able to include the piece in any of our current programs”), Seattle Rep ("hasn't found
a place in our production plans"), Manhattan Punch Line ("has not been scheduled for production"), South Coast
Rep (“haven’t found a slot for it here”), Scholastic Productions ("nothing I can use"), Paper
Mill Playhouse (“not the type of show that we are looking to produce”), Old Globe (“not the kind of work
I respond to”), Playwrights Horizons (“too schematically drawn for our tastes”), Manhattan Class Company
(“not interested in working with you”), Cleveland Play House (“unable to persuade the powers-that-be to
choose it”), Zebra Crossing Theatre (“generally do not depict this type of behavior on stage”), Double Image
Theatre ("unable to keep your script any longer since our office space is limited"), New Playwrights’ Theatre
(“seeking liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code”), Immediate Theatre (“out of business”),
and the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (“please refrain from calling the office about your scripts”).
The rare productions of Mr. Schmidt's plays have been dismissed by the New York Sun ("Overdone!"), New York Magazine ("Overlong!"),
the New York Times ("Self-pitying and overwrought!"), American Theatre Web ("Long-winded!"), Chicago Reader ("Insufferable!"), Wolff Entertainment
Guide ("Cumbersome!"), Chicago Tribune ("Didactic!"), Seattle Weekly
("Mildly engaging!"), the New York
Times again ("Not uninteresting!"), the L.A. Times ("Not completely convincing!"),
the New York Times again ("Not very weighty!"), the Los Angeles
Daily News ("Unsurprising!"), the Cleveland Jewish News ("Not great theater!"), the Sacramento Bee ("No masterpiece of writing!"), the New York Times
a fourth time ("Mediocre, conventional!"), the Village Voice ("Bad writing!"), Time Out New York ("He's a failed playwright!"), the
New York Observer ("I would be less than candid if I didn't admit to feeling tempted to slip out!"), WVOX radio
("Preaching to the converted!"), Time Out New York once more ("Has the general air of cable-access theater!"),
Newsday ("Looks a lot like emptiness!”), the El Dorado County Reporter ("Children will not enjoy this play!"),
TheaterMania ("Your belly is more satisfied than your mind!"), and KXJZ radio ("Be sure to visit the restroom
on the way in!").
Mr. Schmidt has been variously described
in the press as "of average height and slight build" (in Time Out New York, by
Jason Zinoman, who is also of average height and slight build), as "sturdy and pleasant-looking" (in the New York Times, by Bruce Weber, who is slight and pleasant-looking),
as "an earnest-looking Martin Short" (in Show People, by Joel
Stein, who is an insincere-looking Jonathan Safran Foer), and, most generously, as
"a fairly ordinary-looking middle-aged white guy with thinning hair [and] a little
bit of a gut" (in the New Yorker, by Hilton Als, who is an extraordinary-looking middle-aged
black guy with a full head of hair and a lot more than a little bit of a gut).
He has been rejected by the agents Scott Hudson (“did not really work for me”), Richard Krawetz
(“needs some more development”), Wiley Hausam (“not passionate enough about the script to become involved”),
Peter Franklin (“did not have the kind of enthusiasm for the play which I would need in order to feel I’d be the
best agent for it”), and Helen Merrill (actually, she wanted to represent me, but when she called to tell me so, I informed
her that another agent had already agreed to sign me, so then she’s all “How dare you double-submit scripts!”
and I go, “Whoa, lemme expl—” but she just starts whalin on me and I’m like, “Whatever,”
and she freakin hangs up … all of which transpired, of course, before Ms. Merrill’s untimely death).
One of Mr. Schmidt's plays, "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting," is number 26
on the list of "52 Terrible Titles of Plays That Were Actually Produced and Published," compiled by Wendy MacLeod,
whose play "The House of Yes" must have been number 53.
Mr. Schmidt was recently hired as a writer on the History Channel's upcoming eight-hour series, The Men Who
Built America. It was a nine-week job. Mr. Schmidt lasted three weeks before he was asked to pack up his laptop and go.
After graduating from Philips Exeter Academy (High Honors),
Mr. Schmidt was rejected by Harvard University, though he probably wouldn’t have gone even if he had been accepted.
After graduating from Williams College (don’t ask), Mr. Schmidt applied to the Yale School of Drama, was wait-listed,
then, upon reapplication a year later, was rejected outright.
Mr. Schmidt is a graduate of the Culinary
Institute of America (double major: poultry and forcemeats). He is represented, seemingly out of pity, by Chris Till, of CAA.