From Theatre Teacher to Top Playwright

Zach Dulli Archive

Discover how Don Zolidis became the most-produced playwright in American Schools.
By Zach Dulli, The Scene

In the heart of American educational theater, one name echoes with remarkable reverence: Don Zolidis. As the most produced playwright in America, Don’s story is not just a playwright’s success but a journey that has inspired and shaped the landscape of school theater across the nation and beyond.

Originally from Wisconsin, Zolidis received his bachelor’s in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and an MFA in Playwriting from the Actor’s Studio Program at the New School University. After graduation, but before becoming a household name with theater programs everywhere, Don began his career as a high school and middle school theatre teacher. His time as a theatre educator not only shaped his writing but also embedded a deep understanding of youth in his work.

In the ensuing decades, Don’s success as a playwright is almost unmatched. His portfolio, boasting well over 125 published plays, resonates with a rare universality. His plays have been performed well over 30,000 times, with performances taking place in all 50 US States, every Canadian province, and 67 other countries. Each performance is a testament to Don’s ability to connect with young audiences through humor, empathy, and a profound understanding of their world.

Zolidis’s literary talents extend beyond the stage. His foray into the world of young adult literature saw him penning “The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig (A Love Story),” published by Disney-Hyperion in 2018. This was followed by “War and Speech,” published in 2020 by Little Brown. Both novels, like his plays, delve into the complexities of adolescent life with wit and sensitivity.

The accolades and honors Don has received are numerous, including the Princess Grace Award and multiple Edgerton New Play awards. His plays have found homes in places like the Purple Rose Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Victory Theatre, and others. Each venue has witnessed the unique Zolidis touch – a blend of humor, poignancy, and an engaging narrative style that speaks directly to the heart of young audiences.

Beyond the statistics and accolades lies the true impact of Zolidis’s work. His plays have become a rite of passage for many young actors, a source of inspiration for teachers, and a beacon of creativity and expression in educational settings. In an age where the arts often struggle for recognition in schools, his work stands as a powerful reminder of the vital role theater plays in education – fostering empathy, creativity, and a shared sense of community.

Zolidis’s legacy is woven into the fabric of American educational theater. Through his plays and novels, he has touched countless lives, sparking a love for theater and storytelling in a new generation. His journey from a classroom teacher to one of the most celebrated playwrights in schools is a narrative of passion, dedication, and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of theater. It’s a story that continues to unfold, one stage, one classroom, one young performer at a time.

Visit to check out the latest titles from Don Zolidis.

Don Zolidis will be our February guest for The Scene Premium’s special Live Webinar Series. To register to attend or ask a question in advance, log into your Scene Premium account and click on the webinar page. To learn more about becoming a Scene Premium subscriber (just $1.99 a month), visit to learn more.

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