Frank J. Avella



Frank J. Avella is the recipient of a 2018 Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship. 


His play, LURED, about the Russia persecution of gays, was a semifinalist for the 2018 O’Neill Playwrights Conference and was accepted into the OnStage! American Theater Festival in Rome, Italy (January 2019). In 2016, the play was accepted into the Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City (NYC) and had 6 sold-out performances. LURED was featured in the 36thAnnual William Inge Theater Festival in 2017. The work was also 2017 Cimientos IATI Theater Playwright semifinalist. Frank has been awarded a 2018 Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Grant for LURED.


Frank received a 2015 Fellowship Award from the NJ State Council on the Arts for his play, CONSENT (teen version titled: #bullied), which confronts bullying and homophobia. The play was also awarded the 2016 Helene Wurlitzer Residency Grant & Bumbalo/Chesley Foundation Playwright Award. CONSENT was a 2012 semifinalist for the O’Neill, a finalist for the 2015 New Works of Merit Playwriting Award, a semifinalist for the 2016 Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival, a semifinalist for the 2018 Hidden River Arts Playwriting Awardand was workshopped at the Celebration Theatre in L.A., in October 2012. In 2013, CONSENT was selected for staged readings at the Identity Theater and Urban Stages in NYC. #bullied, the alt-version, received honorable mention in the Stage Play category of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition (2016) and had staged readings at Abingdon Theatre Company and the Leslie-Lohman Museum (2016). 


CONSENT was selected for the 27th Annual Fullerton College Playwrights Festival, January 2017. The play was selected from over 500 submissions from all over the world.


VATICAN FALLS, a play set against the backdrop of the Catholic sex abuse scandal, was selected for the 2017 Planet Connections Festivity and Frank was nominated for Outstanding Playwriting. VAT was a semifinalist for the 2014 Newborn Festival and received Special Mention at the 2013 O’Neill. The play has had numerous staged readings and workshops in New York, Cincinnati and Rome, Italy. IL VATICANO CADE, the Italian translation, was scheduled to World Premiere in Rome on May 10, 2011 at Teatro Vascello but was cancelled the night before opening amidst great controversy and claims of death threats. The play has now had 5 world premiere cancelations in 3 different countries in the last several years.


His latest play, FOR MAMMA was chosen for a Scratch Night at TNC in 2017 and was featured in 2017 Healing Voices Onstage: Caregivers Stories presented by Writers Theater of NJ. 


Frank has written 19 full-length plays; 10 have been produced (7 in NYC). ORVILLE STATION, was one of three finalists for the 2014 NJ Playwrights Contest, a finalist for the 2015 12 Years Theater New Play Podcast Series (Pittsburgh) and a finalist (final round) for the 2014 Kitchen Dog Theatre New Works Festival (Dallas) and has been presented in Los Angeles at the Echo Theater and in NYC at the Dramatists Guild via the Friday Night Footlights Series. ORVILLE has been published in the UK by Lazy Bee Scripts:


Frank has also written FOR MAMMA, NEMESIS, THE MAD ONES, LESS THAN 2 DEGREES, the Hollywood satire, SCREW THE COW as well as many one-acts & screenplays including a short titled MULTITASKING. He adapted both his plays SCREW THE COW and UNHINGING for the screen and penned an original screenplay, 3 OF 10.


The screen version of CONSENT, adapted by Frank, is about to be optioned by an independent film company.


Frank wrote the book for BLUEBIRDS IN MY BELFRY, a musical about Hollywood star Betty Hutton, that bowed in Sanford, NC in January 2008 and sold out every performance. 




Upon reviewing IRIS in 2005, the Cincinnati Post wrote: “Avella’s plays tend to send earthquakes through his audience's comfort zones.” Cincinnati Newswire: “IRIS is a powerful look at what we call a family, and what ethics govern what is considered acceptable in a private sexual relationship.” 


Frank proudly served on the Advisory Board and Festival Committee for In Scena!, the first and second annual Italian Theater Festival in NYC in 2013 and 2014 and 2017.


Frank did his grad work at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  He is a current member of the Playground Experiment, the Italian American Writers Association and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.