Michael Elliot Rutenberg is a Professor Emeritus of Theatre at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and the author of Edward Albee: Playwright in Protest. He is the former Head of Israel’s National Conservatory of Stage and Cinematic Art — the only American to hold that position.
Dr. Rutenberg received his B.A. degree in Theatre from Brooklyn College, and his M.F.A. and D.F.A. degrees in Directing and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama. He is a member of the famed Actors Studio where he has developed new plays for public presentation.
An active professional director in New York City, he has directed at The American Theatre of Actors, The West Bank Café, The Theatre for the New City, and The Corner Loft Theatre. Regionally, Dr. Rutenberg has directed at the Deertrees Summer Theatre in Maine, The Monticello Playhouse in New York State, and the Silo Circle Theatre in North Carolina.
He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, the Dramatists Guild, the Theatre League of South Florida, and the Mystery Writers of America, having written and directed A Polite Case of Murder.
Professor Rutenberg has been a guest director at Dartmouth College and at the Annual Theatre Festival in Key West, Florida. Recently, he taught master classes in playwriting at The Caldwell Theatre and the Hollywood Playhouse, also in Florida. On October 21, 2003, his play The Candidate opened at Love Creek Productions in New York City. Then, March 25, he directed the New York premiere of The Fist at Theater For The New City in New York City. In July 2004 Love Creek Productions presented his play A Birthday Gift For Barbie. Dr. Rutenberg has been a visiting professor of theatre at the newly opened Digital Media Arts College and at Lynn University, both in Boca Raton, Florida. He was recently awarded a Fulbright to Haifa University in Israel as Writer/Artist-in-Residence from February to June 2005. Now back in the United States, he has assumed his regular duties as professor of theatre at Hunter College, and recently directed The Crucible, which opened in November 2005.
In 2004 and again in 2005 he was awarded the New York City Chancellor’s "Certificate of Recognition" for Scholarly Achievement. In April of 2006, Professor Rutenberg received the Hunter College "Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching" The following month he directed The Jewish Theatre of New York's production of My Name Is Rabbi Meir Kahane as part of Theatre For the New City's 11th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts. In June 2007 he directed his short play Payback, which was a finalist at the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival, and in November 2007, directed Peter Weiss's Holocaust docudrama The Investigation at the Loewe Theatre in Manhattan. In July of 2009, Dr. Rutenberg directed the world premiere of Jonathan Alexandros's Death In Mozambique, at The Cherry Pit in New York City.
Professor Rutenberg is now listed in the 2009-2010 Edition of Who's Who in America and 2010-2011, 2012-2013 editions of Who's Who In The World. In 2012 he received Brooklyn College's "Lifetime Achievement Award." In April 2013 he won first prize for his play "A Miracle" in the 6th annual International Short Play Competition sponsored by the Boca West Theatre Company in Florida.