“He starts his poetry and my soul starts to get bigger to contain it...” - Bill Cain of Stand Up Tragedy
“...It's magic. And you are a magician.”
- Patrick Adams of TV Show “Suits”
Steven Connell is an acclaimed actor and renowned playwright, with work hailed by critics as “Powerful Theatre”, “Hilarious”, and “Brilliant”, but considering he is a Hollywood Slam Champion, a Los Angeles Slam Champion, a two-time HBO Def Poet and a National Poetry Champion (twice), he is perhaps best known for his work as a poet.
Featured on ABC World News, Good Morning America, HBO Def Poetry and others, he has created work for such prestigious organizations as Global Green, TEDMED, Xprize Foundation, NIKE, Sony/Universal, Pioneer Electronics, American Cancer Society, Farmers Insurance, GAP, Banana Republic and Amnesty International, to name a few. Private highlights include performing at Oprah Winfrey’s celebration of Maya Angelou, the Quincy Jones Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Marion Anderson Gala (honoring Maya Angelou/Norman Lear); as well as special events for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, (special request: Quincy Jones), and President Obama, (special request: Oprah Winfrey).
In addition to being a poet, he served as creative director for the national spoken word tour and documentary, The Underground Poets Railroad, and as the artistic director for the Los Angeles Poetry Festival (Celebrate the Word). After that he was hired as poet and creative director for Norman Lear’s Declare Yourself. His work with Declare Yourself, and his partnership with Norman Lear, not only registered over a million voters it brought focus to the political facet of his work. This resulted in partnerships with Rock the Vote, Vote or Die, the ACLU, and the Pen Foundation, to name a few and led to his being published in the acclaimed anthology “Why Freedom Matters”. In 2009 he was asked to DC to perform as part of the Inaugural Celebration and has been invited twice to the White House, performing most recently a new piece “Watch Close” as part of a national summit on human trafficking.
Along with longtime creative partner Sekou Andrews, he re-imagined the text for three beloved symphonies, including Peter and the Wolf, and performed them alongside Rachel Worby and the Angeli Orchestra. Their first play, no easy choices, was selected by HBO as part of the Aspen U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and their newest play The Word Begins premiered at the Signature Theater garnering 3 Helen Hayes Award nominations in addition to rave reviews. After a limited run at the renowned New York Public Theater, it headlined the inaugural LA RADAR festival in June where it was called “…a masterpiece” by the LA TIMES. His smash one-man show, 40 Days, (directed by Kristen Hanggi, Tony nominated director for Rock of Ages) was hailed as “breakneck, mind-boggling theatre,” earning multiple critics picks, and being named the Best Solo Performance of the year from Entertainment Today. His newest solo work, Against Oblivion, ran as part of the inaugural season of their Studio Series at South Coast Repertory, where he has just been commissioned to create a new piece.
His first book of poems Better Bound was just released to great acclaim while his highly regarded spoken word album, “Intimate Nature of Knife Fights”, remains in high demand along with, “Angel Rising”, his newest album. “Transit Space”, (Music Center co-commission) a collaboration with visionary choreographer Jacques Heim, and the world famous Diavolo Dance Company, followed it’s LA premiere at the Broad Theater with a performance at the Greek, and can be seen performing regularly in theaters and festivals all over the world.