Matthew Spangler

Plays by Matthew Spangler



The Kite Runner – (10M 2W, or 9M 2W) based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini. Amir and Hassan are best friends growing up in Afghanistan in the 1970s until the Soviet invasion pulls them apart. Amir and his father immigrate to the United States, while Hassan stays behind. Twenty years later, Amir is called back to Afghanistan to rescue Hassan’s son from the now war-torn country, but first, he must face demons from his past. The Kite Runner is a heartbreaking story of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption set against the backdrop of global politics.

Paradise Hills – (3M 3W) based on short stories by John Cheever. This comedy, set in the picture perfect American suburbs of the 1960s, includes Cheever’s best-known story, “The Swimmer.”

Tortilla Curtain – (5M 2W) based on the novel by T.C. Boyle. Cándido and América, two undocumented immigrants from Mexico, are camping along a streambed in Topanga Canyon, California. In this epic tale about the price of the American dream, their lives intersect in comic and increasingly tragic ways with those of the settled community around them.


Matthew Spangler’s plays have been produced by the San Jose Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Play House, Arizona Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Citadel Theatre (Edmonton), New Repertory Theatre (Watertown, MA), La Jolla Playhouse (staged reading), the National Steinbeck Center, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Avignon Theatre Festival, among other theatres and festivals. His play The Kite Runner, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, received five San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards, including Best Script and Best Production, as well as the Mary MacMurtrie Award for Best Drama from the Arizona Daily Star. His adaptation of T. C. Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain received an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. Some of his other plays include: Paradise Hills, based on John Cheever’s short stories; Mozart! a musical adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s letters to his father; one-person shows of James Joyce’s Dubliners and Finnegans Wake; as well as adaptations of Ernest Hemingway’s, Thomas Wolfe’s, and John Steinbeck’s fiction. Matthew is a professor of performance studies and theatre at San José State University. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D.), Trinity College Dublin (M.Phil.), and Northwestern University (B.A.).

* Please note that some titles are handled by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing, Broadway Play Publishing, and Please ask if you don’t see a particular play.