William Mastrosimone

William Mastrosimone has worked in Hollywood feature films, network and cable television, and theatre, since 1980. He considers writing for young people a vital part of his life’s work. What follows attempts to capture some of the salient moments of his career.

William Mastrosimone

Career Chronology


DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST (play) directed by Jack Bettenbender, is produced at Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers, New Jersey). Receives 2nd Place American College Theatre Festival and The David Library of the American Revolution Award


THE WOOLGATHERER (play) makes professional debut, directed by Jack Bettenbender, with Peter Weller


EXTREMITIES (play) directed by Robert Alan Ackerman, with Susan Sarandon, Karen Allen and Farrah Fawcett on Broadway. Receives Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play 1982-83 and The John Gassner Award for Playwriting

A TANTALIZING (play), directed by Emily Mann, is produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky)

The Los Angeles production of THE WOOLGATHER receives L.A. Drama Critics Best Play


SHIVAREE (play), directed by Dan Sullivan at Seattle Repertory receives Warner Communications Award


EXTREMITIES is produced in London with Helen Mirren

SHIVAREE moves to the Long Wharf Theatre (Connecticut)

THE UNDOING (play), directed by Jon Jory at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky). The play is later directed by Veronica Brady at the Mill Hill Playhouse (New Jersey)

NANAWATAI! (play), world premiere in Begen, Norway as directed by Kjetil Bang-Hansen


NANAWATAI! is produced at Los Angeles Theatre Center, directed by Bill Bushnell

EXTREMITIES becomes a feature film by the same title starring Farrah Fawcett

TAMER OF HORSES (play), directed by Lee Richardson at Crossroads Theatre Company (New Jersey) with Joe Morton and Michele Shay


CAT’S-PAW (play) directed by Dan Sullivan at Seattle Repertory Theatre

TAMER OF HORSES (play) directed by Bill Bushnell, produced at Los Angeles Theatre Center

TAMER OF HORSES receives NAACP AWARD for Best Play

THE UNDERSTANDING (play) directed by Doug Hughes at Seattle Repertory Theatre


THE BEAST (film), based on the play NANAWATAI!, is produced by David Putnam/Columbia Pictures, directed by Kevin Reynolds, with George Dzundza, Jason Patric and Steven Bauer. The film receives the Roxanne T. Mueller Award for Best Film at Cleveland International film Festival, and also appears at the Toronto, Denver, and Deauville (France) Film Festivals


SUNSHINE (play) directed by Marshall Mason at Circle Repertory

William Mastrosimone receives the New Jersey Governor’s Walt Whitman Award for Writing


SINATRA (television) five-hour mini-series with Philip Casnoff, Olympia Dukakis, Gina Gershon and Marcia Gay Harden, following nearly three years of interviews with Mr. Sinatra by William Mastrosimone. Receives Golden Globe Award for Best Mini Series


THE BURNING SEASON (movie made for cable television) directed by John Frankenheimer for HBO with a cast including the late Raul Julia (his final work)

WITH HONORS (film) with Joe Pesce and Brendan Fraser


THE BURNING SEASON receives Environmental Media Award, Humanitas Award for Best Teleplay and Best Director, three Golden Globes, and two Emmys


BENEDICT ARNOLD (play) directed by Barry Lewis at The Florida Stage


LIKE TOTALLY WEIRD (play) directed by Mladen Kiselov at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky)


BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD (play) directed by Mike Fisher at Thurston High School (Oregon). The play is subsequently offered to schools royalty-free on the internet provided no admission is charged. It quickly becomes one of the most produced plays in middle and high schools around the world


BLINDING LIGHT (play) directed by Julie Boyd at Passage Theatre, New Jersey


TAKE DOWN, BREAK DOWN (play) directed by Mike Fisher at Thurston High School (Oregon)


BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD (movie made for cable television) directed by Guy Ferland for Showtime based on William Mastrosimone’s play by the same title (although the story is substantially different in the film). The movie receives the Rae Mona Reynolds Humanitarian Award from the Oregon Theatre Arts Association, 2nd Place Golden Space Needle Award in the Seattle Film Festival, Best Movie in the Nantucket Film Festival, The Parents’ Choice Award


BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD (movie) receives the Western Justice Center Foundation Visions For Youth Award, five Emmy Awards, and the Peabody Award

BENEDICT ARNOLD (movie made for cable television) with Aiden Quinn and Kelsey Grammer on A&E

THE AFGHAN WOMEN (play) written in response to 9/11 to benefit Afghan orphans and clinics in Kabul and Jalalabad, through International Orphan Care, on whose board William Mastrosimone sits as advisor. Although the play has been performed at various small theatres around the country, most notably at Passage Theatre Company (New Jersey), it has yet to receive an official world premiere.


INTO THE WEST (movie made for cable television) William Mastrosimone creates, is head writer for, and co-produces the movie for Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks. The film premieres on TNT, and is shown on the BBC. Receives Critics Choice Award for Best Picture Made for Television 2005 as well as Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Museum for “Outstanding Television Feature of 2005.” Also wins “Western Heritage Award,” Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and is nominated for 16 Emmys.

SLEEPWALK (play) directed by Mike Fisher, performed by Thurston High School at Edinburgh (Scotland) Fringe Festival


BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD receives Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival

UNDERSTANDING (play) now retitled A STONE CARVER directed by Bob Kalfin at Soho Rep (also known as SoHo Repertory Theater), (New York) with Dan Luria


DIRTY BUSINESS (play) directed by Lou Tyrrell at The Florida Stage. Receives the South Florida Carbonell Award for Best New Work.

Works in Progress

William Mastrosimone is currently writing a book on writing entitled “WHAT IS A CHARACTER?” He is also working on many upcoming plays which will include:

T (pronounced tau as per the Roman alphabet)

In 2010, “THE BLACKBERRY WARS,” written by William Mastrosimone and based on his childhood experiences, will be produced by Curtis Burch/Latitude Productions. A novella of the same title will seek publications in tandem with the film.

Did you know?

In Brueghel’s “Icarus,” for instance: how everything turns away/Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may/Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,/But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone/As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green/Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen/Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,/Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

W.H.Auden, “Musee des Beaux Arts”