Murray Horwitz

Director of Special Projects at Washington Performing Arts; freelance playwright and lyricist

Washington D.C. Metro Area
  1. Washington Performing Arts,
  2. []
  1. Kenyon College

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Director of Special Projects

Washington Performing Arts
– Present (1 year)Washington, DC

Free lance writer, director, consultant

– Present (39 years)

Honors & Awards

Tony Award Best Musical -- Ain't Misbehavin'

American Theater Wing

National Medal of Arts

President Bill Clinton

Awarded to NPR Cultural Programming

Peabody Awards

University of Georgia

Many Peabody Awards for NPR Cultural Programming, including three personal awards for the series WYNTON MARSALIS: MAKING THE MUSIC, THE NPR 100, and NPR'S JAZZ PROFILES


Murray Horwitz has enjoyed remarkable success in both artistry and administration in the performing arts. His accomplishments include creating the phenomenally successful NPR comedy news quiz, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, and originating and co-writing Ain't Misbehavin', the hit Broadway musical based on the music of Fats Waller, which won Tony, Obie, Emmy, Grammy, and New York Drama Critics' Circle awards. He was the Director and COO of the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center from 2002 to 2009. Opened the year after Horwitz’s appointment, the AFI Silver has successfully gone on to become a major Washington cultural landmark. Prior to his work at AFI, Horwitz was Vice President of Cultural Programming for National Public Radio. He still appears as a commentator on NPR, where he won the National Medal of Arts and three Peabody Awards. Earlier, Horwitz was Acting Director of the NEA Opera-Musical Theater Program, and a deputy press secretary for the New York State Assembly Speaker's office. He currently divides his time between his own writing and serving as Director of Special Projects for Washington Performing Arts.

Since 1998, he has been creative consultant to the annual Mark Twain Prize ceremonies at the Kennedy Center, honoring (among others) Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bill Cosby. In 1997, he wrote and staged the opening and closing ceremonies of the Presidents’ Summit for the Future of America, in Philadelphia (with Presidents Clinton, Ford, and George H. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey).

Horwitz began his career as a clown with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he performed for three years.

Horwitz is a former trustee of Kenyon College, and a board member of Young Playwrights Inc. and Yiddish of Greater Washington. In 1999, he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France.


Kenyon College

A.B., D.F.A. (honorary), English and Drama

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