David Schechter is a multi-faceted theatre artist with a considerable scope and prolific achievement. His diverse body of work ranges from his direction and authorship of intimate one person shows (Drama Desk Award honored, Off Broadway success, Hannah Senesh, Alice Without, Paganini, Double Crossed, etc) to opera (The White Rose, Diary of One Who Vanished) and outdoor pageants (150 person Brooklyn Bridge Centennial celebration, Common Sky) to directing classics by Shakespeare, Moliere and Sondheim.
He is equally at home writing critically acclaimed screenplays for directors like Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci (Interview, Blind Date), as he is writing and/or directing original musicals for the Broadway and Off Broadway stage (Soul Doctor, The Jungle Book, Almost September, etc.) In addition, he has had a notable performing career. Overall, his work has followed a unique trajectory.
Growing up on New York's Lower East Side, David was inspired by the theatre from a young age. After seeing My Fair Lady on Broadway at age six, he sent the theatre pictures of himself costumed as both Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, along with a note offering to go on for either, should they call in sick. Next he developed a marionette act, becoming the youngest showman ever hired to perform at F.A.O. Schwartz. (Years later he used these skills in his work with "Lion King" director, Julie Taymor.)
Some years later, as a student at Bard College, (where he later taught and directed), he worked with some of the trail blazers of experimental theatre (The Living Theatre, The Open Theatre, The Performance Group). While still at Bard, he co-founded Via:Theatre (with Anne Bogart and Ossian Cameron) an experimental traveling theatre whose work ranged from radical street theatre across the U.S. and Canada, to a stint exploring the roots of theatre on the ancient threshing floors of Anafi, a primitive Greek island.
David was selected to join the founding class of the new NYU "Creation of Musical Theatre" graduate program, studying with such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents. He also studied and worked with some of the most innovative contemporary theatre artists, including Andre Serban, Elizabeth Swados, Julie Taymor and Peter Brook.
In the ensuing years, David has directed and/or co-written over 150 productions, including the original musicals: Soul Doctor (Off –Broadway at NYTW and Pre-Broadway tour), Hannah Senesh (Off-Broadway Drama Desk Award Nomination), Almost September (8 Bay Area Critic Circle Awards, 7 Dramalogue Awards, including Best Director), The Jungle Book (Broadway's New Victory Theater), A Letter to Harvey Milk (winner of 5 top jury awards at the New York Musical Theatre Fest.), Esmeralda (National Endowment for the Arts grant), Shlomo (Off-Broadway at the Folksbiene Theatre), Brechtspiel (commissioned by Lucille Lortel), A Talmud Tale (published by Ben Yehuda Press). He co-wrote and/or directed eight musicals for young audiences for Theatreworks/USA and Making Books Sing, four original musicals for The Clayton Opera House and his own one man show, Seen. He shared the Obie Award as a co-creator of Nightclub Cantata and contributed original material to the multiple Tony Award Nominated musical, Runaways. His adaptation of Isaac Bashevis Singer's story Gimpel The Fool (La Mama, ETC) was honored by the Nobel Laureate's personal endorsement.
Other regional directing credits include: Angels in America, A Little Night Music, Three Sisters, Our Country's Good, The Miser, Candida, Antigone, Marvin’s Room, A Midsummer Night's Dream. He directed the American premiere of Udo Zimmermann's opera The White Rose at Opera/Omaha. He directed East Towards Home for the Jewish American Museum in Philadelphia and Double Crossed for the U.S. Holocaust Museum. He directed and helped develop Finding North, commissioned by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
David was the Artist-in-Residence for 12 years with Roots and Branches Intergenerational Theater, co-creating an original theater piece each of those years. He co-founded the traveling experimental theare group, VIA THEATRE with Anne Bogart and Ossian Camerion.
As screenwriter, he co-wrote Steve Buscemi's film Interview (starring Buscemi and Sienna Miller, - 2007 Independent Spirit Award nod) and Stanley Tucci's film Blind Date (starring Tucci and Patricia Clarkson). His commissioned screenplays include Heart of a Dog (Vanessa Redgrave and Tim Roth attached), Mars, 1-900, School Daze: a reverie. He is the director of the documentary film Who Cares About Pal Frenak?
David’s acting credits include Runaways (Broadway), 3 Penny Opera (Broadway, starring Sting), Groundhog (title role - Manhattan Theatre Club), The Haggadah (The Public Theater) created by Liz Swados and Julie Taymor., Nightclub Cantata (shared OBIE award) Our Country’s Good (best supporting actor, St. Louis Dispatch), Temptation, Dispatches, Underfire, The Horation Alger Music Hall (all at The New York Shakespeare Festival, Public Theater). His film and TV appearances include Madonna’s Bad Girl Video on MTV, the films, Interview, Creating Karma and Golddigger, TV Shows: Law and Order, Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca and Julie Taymor’s Gift of the Magi on Nickelodeon.
He was honored with an article about him in the NY Times titled: New Face in the NY Theatre.