Women Playwrights of Diversity: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Jane T. Peterson; Suzanne Bennett | Go to book overview

SUSAN MILLER
(1944- )

BIOGRAPHY

Miller grew up in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, received her BA from Penn State University, and earned an MA in English literature from Bucknell University. She has sustained a career writing for stage, television, and film since the early 1970s, first on the West Coast and then in New York City. Theatres that have produced her work include the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the New York Public Theatre, and the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She has written for the television shows "thirtysomething," "L.A. Law," and "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill." In her autobiographical one-person play, My Left Breast, Miller says, "I am a one-breasted, menopausal, Jewish, bisexual, lesbian Mom and I am the topic of our times." Miller's life experiences, chronicled in her largely autobiographical plays, range from an examination of the ending of a marriage in Cross Country to her bout with breast cancer. Miller admits: "In My Left Breast, like in Cross Country, I've become a character, and what has happened in my life seems to resonate with broader implications" ( Scasserra, 81). Miller teaches dramatic writing at New York University and directs the Legacy Project at the Public Theater, a writing project for people with life-threatening illnesses.


PLAY DESCRIPTIONS

Miller's central character in her plays is a contemporary woman who, informed by a 1970s feminist outlook, struggles with her sense of identity and sexuality. Frankly confessional in tone, the plays use distortions in time and devices such as a chorus of voices in an otherwise realistic style. In Confessions of a Female Disorder her protagonist, Ronnie, is confused by her feelings for

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