Kevin R. Free
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Kevin R. Free
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Kevin R. Free is a writer/performer whose work has been showcased on the Moth Mainstage (“Heart of Darkness,” 2012), Dana Rossi’s The Soundtrack Series, Kathleen Warnock’s Drunken! Careening! Writers! (2012). He is the 2014 Recipient of the Doric A. Wilson Independent Playwright Award from the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. His full-length plays are Face Value (Henry Street Settlement Playwright’s Project Grant, 2000; Mill Mountain Theatre New Play Festival Finalist, 2003); (Not) Just a Day Like Any Other (written & performed with Christopher Borg, Jeffrey Cranor, and Eevin Hartsough; recipient, 2009 NY IT Award for Outstanding Ensemble); and A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People (Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist 2013; New Black Fest Fellow 2012), You Are in An Open Field (written & performed with Eevin Hartsough, Marta Rainer, Carl Riehl, and Adam Smith), and Night of the Living N-Word!!. His ten-minute plays include It’s a Wonderful Fantastic Life, …in which Bishop Eddie Long loses a battle with his demons… (Sticky at the Bowery Poetry Club, JACK) and PORTAL, or Metaphorical Tricycle (The Fire This Time Festival), and Turn This Motha Out (with Prayer) (48 Hours in Harlem, inspired by Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”). He is an alumnus of the New York Neo-Futurists, with whom he wrote and performed regularly in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes) between 2007 and 2011. His work has been published by Commonplace Books (“What it Means To Be A Grown Up: The Complete and Definitive Answer”) and at www.indietheaternow.com. In 2010, He was named one of NYTheatre.com’s 15 people of the year, because of his “outstanding, noteworthy contributions to the New York theatre scene,” was a Fellow of The New Black Fest, and is the Producing Artistic Director of The Fire This Time Festival, a showcase of new works by early-career playwrights of color.
As a director, Mr. Free assisted Martha Banta on Barbara’s Blue Kitchen in readings in Florida and NYC, and went on as Assistant Director in the show’s Off-Broadway run. Most recently, He directed Tracey Conyer Lee’s brilliant THE FIRST TIME in the National Black Theatre’s Keep Soul Alive Reading Series. He directed Adrienne Dawes’s Am I White at Blackboard Plays Reading Series, Tracey Conyer Lee’s Poor Posturing for The Fire This Time Festival, and Michelle T. Johnson's Wiccans in the 'hood for the Midwinter Madness Festival in 2013. Passionate about the solo show format, he also developed and directed Elizabeth Stewart’s Racist is My Middle Name for the Estrogenius Festival (2010), and Tracey Conyer Lee’s Standing Up: Bathroom Talk and Other Stuff We Learn From Dad (2010). The former Education Director at Queens Theatre in the Park, Mr. Free has also directed several productions performed or written by young people, including several plays in Writopia Lab’s Bestival of New Plays, Starlight EXpress, The Wiz, The Robber Bridegroom, Godspell, Barnum, The Big Bad Musical, Dear Edwina and A Year with Frog and Toad.
As an actor, Mr. Free has appeared on national television in commercials and on NBC’s Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU. New York audiences have seen Mr. Free Off-Broadway most recently in The Fantasticks, the longest running musical in history, as Bellomy. Other Off-Broadway roles include Memphis in From My Hometown both for Amas Musical Theatre and at the Gramercy Theatre, for which he was nominated for an Audelco Award; The York Theatre in Taking A Chance On Love, and as Bubber Brown in The New Federal Theatre’s acclaimed The Conjure Man Dies, and as one of the ninjas in Happy Sunshine Kung Fu Flower at the Zipper. Some of his favorite roles in regional theatre include Albert/Kevin in Clybourne Park at Portland Center Stage; Tonton Julian in Once On This Island (Paper Mill Playhouse); Dromio of Ephesus in The Boys from Syracuse (CENTERSTAGE); Nemur in Chasing Nicolette (Prince Music Theatre); Flick in Violet (Arden Theatre, Barrymore Award Nominee - Best Supporting Actor in a Musical), and Belize in Angels in America (Charlotte Repertory).
Once a regular contributor the NPR show “News & Notes,“ Mr. Free’s voice can now be heard on the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale, as Kevin, the voice of Desert Bluffs. He was a singer on the World Premiere Recording of the musical Avenue X and is the narrator over 100 audio books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Known World (AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award, 2004) and Say You’re One of Them (Oprah’s Book Club) and Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles (Audie Award Finalist, Audiobook of the Year 2011).