Lee Knowlton Blessing was born in the theatrical community of Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 4, 1949, and would continue to call Minneapolis home for much of his adult life. After growing up in nearby Minnetonka, Blessing began his college career at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, to complete his bachelors in English in 1971. Three years later, he began pursuing his masters of fine arts in English at the University of Iowa, where he would first begin to find success in playwriting. He went on to receive a second masters of fine arts from Iowa in speech and theater, and it was while pursuing this degree that he wrote his first published work, The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid. This first success, staged originally as a student production at Iowa, went on to win the American College Theater Festival’s National Playwriting Award in 1979 and was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Though it would be eight years before his Broadway success with A Walk in the Woods, Blessing was quite productive in the years following his graduation from Iowa. Between 1982 and 1985, he formed two of the more fruitful professional relationships of his career—with the Actors Theatre of Louisville and the O’Neill Theater Center. The Actors Theatre premiered his first four professional productions, and six of his plays have gone through workshop readings at the O’Neill Center’s...
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