Benjamin Vaughan Marshall

Librettist Playwright

I was born of mixed raced heritage in Newark NJ. People frequently mistake me for some race or religion, eager to pin their labels, hopes and sometimes their hatreds on me. After earning a BA from Kean University and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, I worked as a journalist and musician. Then I taught English in Middle Eastern countries for five years. Living abroad gave me a different perspective about the meaning of success in the USA as well as the opportunity to be mistaken for even more identities.   Currently, I am a professor of English at Middlesex College in New Jersey with a side gig of teaching playwriting at Wagner College in Staten Island.


Full lengths (selected): Beasts and Cakes - First annual Metzler new play festival, Houston TX; Incident at Willow Creek- Stanley Drama Award 2018 and Bauer -Boucher Award 2018;   Henry's Bridge-Out on the Edge Festival; Carlos and Lavonne-Second prize Theodore Ward prize for African American Playwrights; other plays include: Five Husbands;   Galilee House;   Piscataway; A Goat on the Balcony; The Red Train;  Snow.

One Acts (selected): Absolutions and Paradise; Benedictions on the Escape;  Boom Box; Corn Bread with Raisins and Almonds; Elephants on the Vanishing Point; Extended Play; Purchasing Power,  White Gloves - First Annual L.B. Williams Festival, New Circle Theatre.

Publications include: Extended Play   in The Best new Ten Minute Plays of 2021 (Applause Books)  Best Men's Monologues 2020(Smith and Krauss)

Awards,  Fellowships Residencies  and  Education (Selected)

Victor Bumbalo/ Robert Chesley Foundation Fellowship.  Residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation at Taos, NM.  2016

New Jersey State Council on the Arts 2018-2019, Fellowship Grant for Playwriting, also awarded in 1987-88, 1992-93, 2003-2004 and 2012-2013

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship for Study at Virginia Center for Creative Arts. May 2000 and May/June 2002) Also  2009

National Playwrights Conference at Cape May    May 2014, 2015, and 2019 with Shawn Fisher, Cusi Cram, Steven Dietz, Halley Feiffer, Joshua Harmon, Amy Herzog, David Ives, Ken Ludwig, William Mastrosimone,  Jeff Talbot and others.

Tuscan Writers Conference with August Wilson , Tuscan AZ

Kennedy Center Summer Institute, Washington D.C. 2010 and 2011 with Gary Garrison, Jocelyn Clark, Kate Snodgrass  

Theodore Ward in Playwriting, Second prize, Columbia College, Chicago, 

National Endowment for the Humanities, Study of African American Achievement in Performing Arts at the Dance Institute at Duke University, Durham NC 

MFA  Creative Writing Poetry, University of Massachusetts, Amherst;  Studied playwriting at Hunter University,  NYC;  BA English and Speech and Theatre,  Kean University.


Playwright Benjamin Marshall’s piece takes on a mouthful in terms of personal history and feelings that require a decent amount of exposition.  Yet in Corn Bread with Raisins and Almonds he demonstrates an adept ability to handle emotional complexity. Steven McKnight DC Theatre Scene

A tender and loving portrait of individuals learning to come to terms with their respective tragedies.’  6/23/14 (about Corn Bread with Raisins and Almonds)

‘The most poignant work of the evening was Ben Marshall’s Absolutions & Paradise, which forced us to look at Life’s renunciations, specifically at the ravages of Alzheimer’s and its impact on a family.         Sally Freidman, The Ticket, 2001