Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts.
He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 for Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and then, in 2018, for Describe the Night. Other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The North Pool, The Lake Effect, Archduke and Mr. Wolf.
Rajiv’s New York productions have been seen at Cherry Lane, Second Stage, The Vineyard and the Atlantic Theatre. Regional world premieres have launched at Center Theatre Group in LA, the Alley Theatre in Houston, TheatreWorks Palo Alto, South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA, and the Dallas Theatre Center.
Rajiv is a board member of the Lark Play Development Program in New York City. As both playwright and board member, Rajiv has travelled with the Lark around the world, fostering artistic partnerships and translation exchange programs.
His plays have been translated into several languages, with productions in recent years in Russia, Iran, South Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, Turkey, Romania, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Brazil and Mexico. He is the book writer and co-lyricist for the upcoming musical Fly based on Peter Pan and directed by Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller. He also wrote the libretto for the opera Shalimar the Clown, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie, with a score by Jack Perla. Shalimar premiered at the Opera Company of St. Louis in 2016.
In television, Rajiv wrote for seasons 4 and 5 of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie. He is a writer on the upcoming Apple TV series Little America. In film, Rajiv has co-written with Scott Rothman the films Draft Day (starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner; directed by Ivan Reitman), which topped the Black List in 2012 and Army of One (starring Nicolas Cage; directed by Larry Charles).
Rajiv won the 2008 Paula Vogel Award from the Vineyard Theatre, the 2009 Kesselring Fellowship, and the 2010 Whiting Award in Drama. He has been awarded artistic grants from United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
He is a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and in 2016 was elected into his high school’s Hall of Fame. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his MFA from New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts.
Rajiv is company member of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, where his newest play, King James, will have its premiere in June of 2020. Rajiv served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.