About Ed Wilson

For over 40 years Ed Wilson’s book The Theatre Experience, through 14 editions, has been the most widely used college theatre textbook in the U. S.  Focusing on what occurs when someone goes to the theatre, Ed has tapped into the joy, the enlightenment, the sheer fun of attending a theatre event. Now, with his memoir Magic Time he takes us into the rich, varied and, in some cases, remarkable events he has experienced during his life both inside and outside the theatre. Ed attended Vanderbilt University, the University of Edinburgh, and the Yale Drama School, where he received an MFA and the first DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) degree awarded by Yale. He has taught theatre at Vanderbilt, Yale, and, for nearly 40 years, at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University. In addition, he has produced plays on and off Broadway and served one season as the resident director of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, as well as another at the Theatre-By-the-Sea in Rhode Island.


He was the Assistant to the Producer of the Broadway play Big Fish, Little Fish directed by John Gielgud and starring Jason Robards, as well as the film Lord of the Flies directed by Peter Brook. On Broadway, he co-produced Agatha Sue, I Love You directed by George Abbott. He also produced a feature film, The Nashville Sound portions of which were acquired by Ken Burns for his 2019 documentary on country music. He was the moderator and producer of Spotlight, a television interview series on CUNY-TV and PBS (1989-93), consisting of ninety-one half-hour interviews with all the outstanding actors, actresses, playwrights, directors and producers of the day. Broadcast originally on 200 PBS stations in the United States, it is available today on YouTube.


For twenty-three years he was the theatre critic of the Wall Street Journal. A long-time member of the New York Drama Critics Circle, he was president of the Circle for several terms. He has been on the board of the John Golden Fund for nearly 50 years and served a term as President of the Theatre Development Fund (TDF), whose Board he was on for twenty-three years. He served a number of times on the Tony Nominating Committee as well as the Pulitzer Prize Drama Jury for which he several times served as Chair. The 14th edition of his pioneer book, The Theater Experience, the 10th edition of his text Theatre: The Lively Art (co-authored with Alvin Goldfarb), and the 7th edition of his theatre history text, Living Theatre (written with Goldfarb), have all appeared recently. He is also the editor of the book Shaw on Shakespeare as well as the author of a murder mystery, The Patron Murders. His memoir, Magic Time, is an enlightening and entertaining account of his life chronicling the theatre and his frequent encounters and associations with the most outstanding actors, directors, playwrights and producers of the 20th century. Told with Wilson’s incisive style and gift for humor, Magic Time will be published in the spring of 2020 by Smith and Kraus.

© 2019 by Edwin Wilson.