David Hauptschein is a Chicago-based artist, playwright, screenwriter, and impresario.


Hauptschein is currently working on several series of photo-based digital paintings. Selections from Never Before Seen and The Mask Behind the Mask were exhibited at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago in 2016.

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Hauptschein's play, In Memory of Edgar Lutzen (2010), was produced by Secret Life Theatre at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London. Secret Life Theatre also produced The Gurney (2008) in Chicago, An Alchemy of Flesh (2008) in London, and The Playactor (2007) in London.  In 2004, his play The Ballad of Johnny 5 Star, co-written with David Vlcek, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and then transferred to the Library Theatre in Manchester, England.  Hauptschein's other produced plays include Trance, When the Walls Have Ears, The Persecution of Arnold Petch, Breakdown and Out, and The Lucid Dreamers, all of which premiered in Chicago.  In addition, Trance was staged at the White Bear Theatre in London in 2002. Trance received a Fringe First Award at the 1996 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and was featured at the 1997 Arts Festival in Brighton, England.

Among Hauptschein’s other theatrical events are the Heartless Theatre production of selections from Hauptschein's The Frank Monologues, featuring Michael Shannon; Pig American Theater's production of No One Goes Mad: From Writings of the Insane; and The Duplex Planet Project, based on David Greenberger’s magazine The Duplex Planet.

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Hauptschein's screenplay, Country of Hotels, is scheduled to be released in 2017. He is also the creator of an award-winning experimental animated short film entitled Fecundation.

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Performance Art

In the arena of performance art, Hauptschein has curated many spoken word events. This includes the acclaimed Letters, Diaries, and True Stories shows; Coffee with David Hauptschein and Joseph Fosco; and the Social Science Fiction Festival; as well as an eclectic poetry/performance art series called The Spoken Word Cafe. Hauptschein’s Letters and Cyberspace shows were broadcast on NPR’s This American Life.