R. Eric Thomas is a playwright, the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia and D.C., and he is a Senior Staff Writer for Elle.com where he writes “Eric Reads the News,” a daily current events and culture column. He won the 2016 Barrymore Award for Best New Play and the 2018 Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award and received a 2017/2018 National New Play Network Commission. His debut memoir-in-essays, entitled Here For It, or How to Save Your Soul in America, will be published by Ballantine Books in February 2020 and his biography of Rep. Maxine Waters, Reclaiming Her Time, co-authored with Helena Andrews-Dyer, will be published in late 2020 by Dey Street Books.
With over a million social media shares, Eric’s ELLE.com column “Eric Reads the News” has quickly become an online humor staple. Covering pop culture, politics and current events, the column is a sardonic and sassy take on our world.
His play, TIME IS ON OUR SIDE, was commissioned by Simpatico Theater Project and developed with PlayPenn. It was the recipient of two 2016 Barrymore Awards, including Best New Play, and was named one of six finalists for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theater Critics Association New Play Award. Of the play, The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “it’s a superbly crafted two-hour mystery… Thomas creates an entire world with seeming room for all of humanity’s hopes and dreams, foibles and longings.”
The world premiere of MRS. HARRISON was produced by Azuka Theatre and was nominated for 3 Barrymore Awards, including Best New Play. About it the Philadelphia Inquirer raved “Every once in a (great) while, a new work in Philadelphia premieres with such power and promise that it demands to be seen by a much wider audience. That play is Mrs. Harrison at Azuka Theatre. That playwright is R. Eric Thomas.”
Other plays include SAFE SPACE (Single Carrot Theater; development: Cohesion Theater Company Playwright’s Fellowship), I’LL HOLD OUT MY HAND AND MY HEART WILL BE IN IT (commission: Arden Theatre Company), CRYING ON TELEVISION (development: Ingram New Works Project), INFINITY JONES NEEDS SOME SPACE! (development: Act II Theatre), NIGHTBIRD (development: Interact Theater Company/NNPN Commission), MIRIAM1234 (City Theater Shorts-On-Ships 2018; Finalist: City Theatre National National Award for Short Playwriting 2017), HUMAN RESOURCES (City Theatre Summer Shorts, 2015, Finalist: 2015 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting, published: City Theatre Anthology 2015), the wordless puppet play FRIEDA THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (developed with Aaron Cromie, FringeArts 2015), WHEN YOU PUT IT THAT WAY IT JUST SOUNDS RIDICULOUS (Finalist: 2014 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting), ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID (Quince Productions).
Eric is an alumnus of The Foundry, a Philadelphia playwrights lab and InterAct Theatre Company’s Core Playwrights program, he was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow, a 2018-2019 Ingram New Works Fellow, a member of Baltimore Center Stage’s Playwright’s Collective and the Cohesion Theater Company 2017 Playwright’s Fellowship.