Joan Cushing (1947-2024)

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Joan Cushing, a former elementary school teacher and cabaret performer, is best known for her political satirical revue MRS. FOGGYBOTTOM & FRIENDS! which ran for 10 hit years at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. In New York, she performed her solo nightclub act, LADY SINGS THE NEWS!, at The Ballroom, and appeared in Gary Trudeau’sTANNER FOR PRESIDENT! series on HBO, directed by Robert Altman,

More recently, Cushing has adapted 13 popular children’s books as musicals, receiving over 400 productions and 3 national tours: MISS NELSON IS MISSING, winner of the 2003 Nat’l Children’s Theatre Festival, MISS NELSON HAS A FIELD DAY, JUNIE B. JONES & A LITTLE  MONKEY BUSINESS, PETITE ROUGE: A CAJUN RED RIDING HOOD (2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival), HEIDI (with playwright Martha King de Silva), and GEORGE & MARTHA: TONS OF FUN, all commissioned by Imagination Stage, BRAVE IRENE, commissioned by Adventure Theatre, and DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER, & A FLY, commissioned by Oregon Children’s Theatre. According to TYA Magazine, “Cushing is the most produced playwright in children’s theatre.”

Joan’s adult musicals include TUSSAUD, with a brand new score, based on Madame Tussaud’s bloody pursuit of art, RAMANA’S GARDEN, with Kathy Carroll, taken from stories of children living in an orphanage in India, and BREAST IN SHOW (2014 Capital Fringe Festival), a musical constructed from interviews with breast cancer patients, with playwright Lisa Hayes, conceived by Eileen Mitchard. Her musical THE CHRISTMAS DOLL (2007 Nat’l Youth Theatre Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical), adapted from the book by Elvira Woodruff, and set in Dickensian London, received its world premiere at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (Dramatic Publishing), and her searing LIZZIE BRIGHT & THE BUCKMINSTER BOY, a racial play with church hymns, based on a true story by Gary D. Schmidt, was developed with Playwrights Theatre of NJ, Growing Stage, and First Stage Children’s Theatre/Milwaukee.

Upcoming projects include 3 new musicals:101 DALMATIONS (w Martha King de Silva) (Imagination Stage), LUCY ROSE: BUSY LIKE YOU CAN’T BELIEVE (Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse), and ELLA’S BIG CHANCE: A JAZZ AGE CINDERELLA set in roaring 20’s London (Children’s Theatre of Charlotte).

Cushing dedicates BREAST IN SHOW to the memory of her husband, Paul Buchbinder, who died of cancer.

Joan studied musical theatre writing at the BMI Musical Theater Workshop.
In Memorium