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Kevin Kling Biography
Humorist and playwright, Kevin Kling describes his zodiac sign as “Minnesota with Iowa rising...” While many of his reference points are specific to the upper Midwest, his childhood stories and topical observations touch upon universal human experiences, with plenty of absurdity and irony in the mix. He is a talented writer with the ability to capture the complexities of a moment in just a few words. As he explains it, “I have a small command of the English language so I try to make each word a hero.”
Kling grew up in Osseo, a Minneapolis suburb, and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1979 with a bachelor of arts degree in theater. His storytelling started when a friend from the now defunct Brass Tacks Theatre asked him to perform his stories. Since then, he has been awarded numerous arts grants and fellowships. The National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Bush Foundation, The Jerome Foundation and others have recognized Kling’s artistry.
Kling built his reputation in the Twin Cities during the 1990s with his groundbreaking plays “21A” and “Fear and Loving in Minneapolis.” He toured a one-man show of “Home and Away” across the U.S. in the early part of that decade. While his writing and performing continue unabated, he has become best known for his regular story-telling contributions to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”
Kling has performed his one person play “21A” (based on a South Minneapolis bus route) in Sweden; Louisville Ky.; New York; Sydney and Perth, Australia; Edinburgh, Scotland; and in the Czech Republic. His “Lloyd’s Prayer” was performed in a workshop at the Sundance Institute. His autobiographical piece “Home and Away” has been seen at the Seattle Rep, The Goodman Theater, The Jungle Theater, Second Stage (off Broadway), the Denver Center Theater and the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. “Fear and Loving in Minneapolis,” another autobiographical play, has been staged for the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and ACT in Seattle. Kling is a proud member of the performance trio, “Bad Jazz.” He describes the band ’s lively performances as “three men playing to the best of their abilities.”
Currently, Kling is working on compiling a book of short stories, and continues to write plays and stories in a rigorous fashion. He has taught and work shopped as a guest resident at numerous schools, colleges, and festivals around the globe including Gustavus Adolphhus, St. Olaf College, and most recently at Virginia Commonwealth University, and was recently invited to perform at the acclaimed National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee this past October.
Plays by Kevin Kling: 21A, Home and Away, Fear and Loving in Minneapolis, Lloyd’s Prayer (premiered at The Actor’s Theater of Louisville), The Ice Fishing Play (premiered at The Actor’s Theater of Louisville), The Seven Dwarves (written for Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis), Auguste Modern: The Life of a Marketing Analyst Born With the Face of a Clown as Told by the Right Side of His Brain (premiered at Quicksilver Theater), Gulliver: A Swift Journey (written for Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis), The Education of Walter Kauffmann (commissioned by the Public Theater in New York, premiered at the Denver Center Theater, and the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen), Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log, Mississippi Panorama (premiered at the Children’s Theater in Minneapolis), Thief of Man and Gravity vs. Levity.
Adaptations by Kevin Kling: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (for the Children’s Theater in Minneapolis), Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (for the Seattle Children’s Theater with Michael Bogdonov) and The Venetian Twins (premiered at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis)
Grants/Awards won by Kevin Kling: Heideman Award, Best short play, 21A (1986), Bush Fellowship (1988), NEA Grant (1989), McKnight Fellowships (1990, 1999), Jerome Grant (1993), Whiting Literary Award (1993) and Minnesota State Arts Board Grant (1996)
Taken from Kevin Kling’s web site, www.kevinkling.com.