STUFF ABOUT MIKE:

 
SHORT BIO

Mike Bencivenga has been an award winning creator of theater, film and television for 30 years. His full-length plays include SINGLE BULLET THEORY, COUPLETS, BILLY & RAY, SUMMER ON FIRE, BAD HEARTS, MINUET ON THIRD, WASTED DAYS, COMPROMISED and TALK OF THE TOWN. In 2013 BILLY & RAY won the prestigious W. Keith Hedrick award for best play. It was produced in 2013 at The Falcon Theater under the direction of the legendary Garry Marshall. The show moved to The Vineyard Theater in 2014, also directed by Garry Marshall, where it enjoyed an extended, sold-out run. In December of 2014 Mike's political comedy, SUMMER ON FIRE, won the Christopher Wolk prize for excellence in playwriting. In 2016 The Scorpio Theater in Calgary, Canada produced SUMMER ON FIRE. COMPROMISED was named the 2021 Best Play by Playwrights First in NYC.

 

On film Mike has won many honors for his work as a writer/director. His debut feature, LOSERS IN LOVE (1993) starring Nick Searcy, won best film at the Houston International Film Festival. His next film, HAPPY HOUR (2004) starring Anthony LaPaglia and Eric Stoltz, won numerous prizes at festivals before going into national theatrical release. In 2016 he wrote GREAT PLAINS for MarVista Productions. And in 2018 his screenplay adaptation of BILLY & RAY won the Best Historical Screenplay prize at the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. Mike is also an Emmy award winning editor/producer at WABC-TV in New York. 

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PROJECTS
& PRIZES

THEATER WORK:

 

TALK OF THE TOWN (2021) - Wrote full-length comedy based on James Thurber's classic novel "The Years With Ross."

COMPROMISED (2019) – Wrote full-length comedy/drama and directed two public readings in New York and LA. 

WASTED DAYS (2018) – Wrote full-length drama produced as a staged reading at The Blank Theatre in LA.

SUMMER ON FIRE (2016) – Wrote full-length drama produced at the Scorpion Theater in Calgary, Canada.

MINUET ON THIRD (2016) – Wrote full-length comedy commissioned by The Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea, MI.

BAD HEARTS (2015) - Wrote full-length drama. Read at The Blank Theater in LA and at Wagner College in NYC.

BILLY & RAY (2013 - 2016) – Wrote full-length comedy, premiered at The Falcon Theater in LA directed by Garry Marshall (2013). Produced and directed again by Garry Marshall at The Vineyard Theater in NYC (2014). Produced at the Laguna Playhouse (2016). 

COUPLETS (2003) - Wrote and directed full-length musical play with dialogue adapted from the sonnets of William Shakespeare. Produced by the Lightning Strikes Theater Company Theater in NYC.

SINGLE BULLET THEORY (2002) - Wrote full-length comedy. Produced by The Lightning Strikes Theater Company in NYC.

FUNNY BUSINESS (2001) – Co-produced and performed in a series of comedy shows to benefit NYC firefighter families after the 9/11 attack.

THE CHAINSAW BOYS (1997 – 2003) - Produced and performed in a long running improvised comedy show that toured from Austin to Boston and was featured in the NYC Fringe Festival (2000).

BONUS VIDEO:  Watch Mike with his Improv Group

THE CHAINSAW BOYS at Boston's Improv Asylum in 1999.

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FILM WORK:

 

HAUNTED HEART (2021) - Wrote original romantic comedy script.

BILLY & RAY (2018) – Wrote comedy screenplay based on his award winning play. Optioned by producer Bob Greenhut in 2019.

GREAT PLAINS (2016) – Wrote original suspense screenplay produced by Mar Vista Films in Los Angeles for cable and video release.

TALIESIN (2014) – Wrote commissioned screenplay about the early, scandalous life of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. 

RUNNING GUN (2010) - Wrote western screenplay about the true story of the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid. 

HAPPY HOUR (2004) – Co-wrote and directed feature film drama starring Anthony LaPaglia, Eric Stoltz & Robert Vaughn. Limited theatrical release.

LOSERS IN LOVE (1993) – Wrote, directed and produced independent feature comedy starring Nick Searcy. Limited theatrical release.

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BONUS VIDEO:  Watch the trailer for Mike's Award Winning feature "HAPPY HOUR" starring Anthony LaPaglia, Eric Stoltz and Robert Vaughn. Theatrical Release in 2004. 

TELEVISION WORK:

 

POKER FACE (2021) - Wrote pilot for a half-hour comedy series.

CHASING THE DARK (2018) – Wrote pilot and bible for an hour-long dramatic series. In development at Branded Pictures Entertainment. Named Semi-Finalist in 2019 ISA Table Read Competition.

ENCINO, SCI (2016) - Wrote seven episode comedy web series read in LA. Named Semi-Finalist in 2019 ISA Table Read Competition.

THE JONES (2014) - Wrote 4 episodes for a half hour comedy series. 

EYEWITNESS NEWS (1982 – Present) - Editor, camera, web writer and occasional producer of breaking news and entertainment content at WABC; the number one news station in New York City.

YOKO ONO: THEN AND NOW (1984) - Co-producer of a full-length documentary presented on PBS Frontline and on HBO.

HBO FILMS (1980) – Wrote, directed and performed in animated and live action short comedy films that were presented on HBO. 

SESAME STREET (1976 - 1978) Worked as a voice artist and animator on several spots that aired on PBS stations.

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BONUS VIDEO:  Watch an animated piece Mike voiced on "SESAME STREET" that PBS aired beginning in 1978.

AWARDS:  

 

PLAYWRIGHTS FIRST - COMPROMISED (2021) Best Play Award NYC.

EUGENE O’NEILL AWARD (Semi-finalist) – COMPROMISED (2020) 

Awarded by The National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, CT.

ROBERT J. PICKERING AWARD – MINUET ON THIRD (2019) Awarded for Playwriting Excellence in Branch County, MI. 

BEST HISTORICAL SCREENPLAY – BILLY & RAY (2018) Awarded at the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

BEST SCREENPLAY – BILLY & RAY (2017) Awarded at the Berlin Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

STANLEY DRAMA AWARD – BAD HEARTS (2016) Best play honor awarded by Wagner College in Staten Island, NY. 

CHRISTOPHER WOLK PRIZE – SUMMER ON FIRE (2014) Top prize for excellence in playwriting awarded by the Abingdon Theater in NYC.

W. KEITH HERRICK PRIZE – BILLY & RAY (2013) Best Play award presented by HRC Showcase Theater in Hudson, NY.

BEST SCREENPLAY – RUNNING GUN (2010) Awarded at the Vail Film Festival in Vail, CO.

BEST SCREENPLAY- SINGLE BULLET THEORY (2005) Awarded at the VISIONFEST ’05 Festival in New York City.

BEST DIRECTOR – HAPPY HOUR (2004) Awarded at the Desert Reel Festival in Midland, TX.

BEST SCREENPLAY - HAPPY HOUR (2004) Awarded at the Tiburon

Film Festival in Tiburon, CA.

PRISM AWARD – HAPPY HOUR (2004) Awarded for the accurate depiction of drug and alcohol abuse in Los Angeles, CA.

BEST NARRATIVE FILM (AUDIENCE AWARD) - HAPPY HOUR (2004) Awarded at the Florida Film Festival in Maitland, FL.

EMMY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING HISTORICAL/CULTURAL PROGRAM - EYEWITNESS TO THE CENTURY (1999) Awarded as producer of an hour long millennium special for WABC-TV in NY.

BEST LOW BUDGET FEATURE - LOSERS IN LOVE (1993) Houston International Film Festival in Houston, TX.

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BONUS VIDEO:  Watch Mike's short animated film "AWAKENING" which aired on HBO in 1980.

Education

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (1978 – 1980) Tisch School of the Arts. 

ADELPHI UNIVERSITY (1974 –1976) Film, television and theater major. 

(Returned 2016 – 2017) Graduated with BA - Summa Cum Laude.

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