Played out! After failed theatrical career, Slope writer calls it quits

Played out! After failed theatrical career, Slope writer calls it quits
Failed playright Ed Schmidt is going to give it all up — his writing, his dreams and even his books — in one final curtain call, “My Last Play,” opening Sept. 29.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A Park Slope playwright had to give up on his dream for it to finally come true.

After a lifetime of rejection and disappointment, Ed Schmidt, 49, is abandoning his dream of becoming one of the great playwrights and is putting his all into one last play that bares his soul — and his bookshelf.

“I’ve given my life to the theater and I just haven’t gotten enough back in return,” said Schmidt.

So Schmidt has decided to purge his life of drama — giving up writing and even disposing of his trove of books — in one final five-night run at powerHouse in DUMBO.

“There are a lot of light-hearted stories about my less-than-stellar career,” he said.

He’s not kidding: Schmidt’s online biography is a litany of rejections and disappointments: “We really don’t think it’s right” — Manhattan Theater Club; “We don’t feel the play is right” — Lincoln Center Theater; “We don’t think the piece is quite right” — Roundabout Theatre Company.

This guy has spent an entire career being wrong. But a funny thing happened on the way to his last show.

“When I decided to give up writing plays, out of nowhere, a respected theater company in Chicago decided to do a play of mine that’s 15 or 20 years old. When I finally made the decision to walk away, my career instantly improved,” he said.

Despite the late success, Schmidt is resolved to face the final curtain.

“Considering all the time I’ve put into this, it has not paid off as much as I thought it would,” he said.

“My Last Play” at powerHouse arena [37 Main St. near Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], Sept. 29–Oct. 3. Tickets are $25. For info, visit edschmidt.info/id5.html No charge for the books.

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