Liv Cummins is Professor of Drama and Creative Writing in the Humanities Department. She holds a BS in Theater and English from Skidmore College and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Liv brings expertise as a musical theater lyricist/book writer, comedy writer, director, screenwriter, singer/songwriter, theatrical producer, and performer. At Lesley, Liv teaches creative writing, literature, drama, and English Composition courses, and her specialties include playwriting, screenwriting, drama, and comedy. She developed and teaches the new creative writing/drama course, Art & Craft of Musical Theater Writing – featuring a Cabaret Night performance of students’ original songs – and the Art & Craft of Comedy Writing.
As a musical theater dramatist, Liv is inspired by the passions and perseverance of historical women characters, as shown in her musicals Vanishing Point and The Bridge. The adventurous lives of aviator Amelia Earhart, author Agatha Christie, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (in Vanishing Point), and engineer Emily Warren Roebling, ‘silent builder’ of the Brooklyn Bridge (The Bridge), animate Liv’s musicals. Her shows have been produced at theaters across the country and the world, including Seattle Public Theater, NYC’s 54 Below, Baltimore’s Stillpointe Theatre, and el Teatro Lara in Madrid, Spain, in a Spanish-language translation of Vanishing Point.
Her current musical project, Ladies, How Dare You!, tells the tale of two American suffragists in 1913 who travel by carriage to Washington, D.C. for the largest Women’s March of its time, and find themselves on a life-changing journey. The piece utilizes old-fashioned comedy hijinks and Shakespearean mistaken identities, and features an Americana-flavored score. Exploring themes of gender roles and urban and rural clashes, the show asks what it means to be an American.
Liv is also a director, singer/songwriter, and sketch comedy writer and performer. Liv hosts, directs, and performs in the live comedy/variety show, The Berserkshires! – formerly Saturday Night LIV (hosted by Liv Cummins) – a cross between the Carol Burnett show, the classic Ed Sullivan show, and Saturday Night Live. The show, which has been performed in NYC, Boston, the Berkshires, and the Albany, NY region, features original comedy sketches interspersed with music acts and oddball performers, such as jugglers, knife-throwers, impressionists, and others.
At heart, Liv is a storyteller. In her comedy, screenplays, songs, and musicals, her work weaves humor and authenticity with emotional songs to engage audiences in funny, unexpected, thought-provoking ways.
In her teaching, Liv is committed to providing an academically challenging, collaborative environment in which her students develop their critical thinking, writing, and feedback literacy skills, and form a trusted community of writers and thinkers. She aims to inspire them to question and challenge socially- and culturally-accepted constructs, develop their passions, and become lifelong learners.