david yezzi

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Dirty Dan & Other Travesties

Praise for Firebird Motel (2007)

An original founder of Thick Description, lyricist David Yezzi’s text is elegant in its quiet simplicity. He sets an unsentimental tone early, in Nova’s introduction: “We who were born here and those who end up here can’t live in other places.” He pithily establishes character, whether it’s menacing Trooper (“Don’t keep me waiting / I hate to wait”) or isolated Ivan (“At night all I have is my radio / It’s all I need to know”). These earthy pronouncements permit him to later slip into more ethereal musings (“It’s almost peaceful, this waking oblivion”) without losing credibility.

Classics Today

Yezzi, a co-founder of Thick with Kelly and Martin, has written richly evocative lyrics about the desert and living in “waking oblivion” – with cleverly handled interior rhymes.

The San Francisco Chronicle

A haunting new chamber  opera by composer David Conte and librettist David Yezzi.

Bay Guardian

Moments of extraordinary beauty . . . an intimate, even moving one-act accompanied by lush, appealing music. . . .

Oakland Tribune

The simplicity of David Yezzi’s libretto and the music of David Conte convert the Firebird Motel into a work of art that is sure to have many productions in other important cities long after its premiere in San Francisco.

San Francisco Tribune

March 2010

Dirty Dan & Other Travesties

Verse monologues by David Yezzi, with music by Chris Lee

The denizens of this off-kilter world—an wild-eyed short order cook in an all-night diner, a kid who cleans out dead people’s apartments, a failed painter with Oedipal problems, a hapless actor in a hilariously cocked-up production of Macbeth, and his ex-girlfriend who keeps a troubling secret—all of them share a sense of life’s absurdities (its travesties!) as well as its occasional redemptions.

Produced by Verse Theater Manhattan

Bowery Poetry Club
New York, NY

2003 & 2011

Firebird Motel

Music by David Conte

Words by David Yezzi

David Conte and David Yezzi’s one-act

chamber opera relates the existential

journey of a Mojave Desert motel desk clerk

(Ivan), who, after being visited by the ghost of his previous lover (Julie), finds himself with an opportunity for uncertain redemption with another (Corina) following a three-way shootout.

Thick House

San Francisco, CA

A new production of Firebird Motel was staged by the University of Delaware Opera Theater in October 2011


On the Rocks

A verse play by David Yezzi

Directed by James Milton

With Joshua Spafford, Bill Tatum, Claire Winters & others

Set on the coast of Maine, this family drama relates the uncertain fortunes of a son in the wake of his father’s death and the grandfather who can do nothing to help him, as old New England succumbs to new money and fraying family ties.

Produced by Verse Theater Manhattan

Bowery Poetry Club

New York, NY

Upcoming: A new production of Firebird Motel in San Francisco, March 2012

February 2011

The Children of Children Keep Coming

A griot song by Russell Goings,

Directed by David Yezzi

West Chester University, West Chester, PA

With Clinton Ingram, Yolande Bryant, Russell Goings, and Sherrie D. Strange