Daniel Pinkerton
Affiliated Writer
Minneapolis, MN
Daniel is a playwright and lyricist based in Minneapolis.

Daniel is a California-born and Minneapolis-based playwright and lyricist. He holds an MFA in playwriting and an MA in European history from the University of Minnesota. He has been awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Composer-Librettist Fellowship, a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowship in Playwriting, two Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships, three Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grants, and has participated in the Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio. His play Do You Want to Know a Secret? was published in the anthology Little Festival of the Unexpected (2002); it was produced by Fortune’s Fool (Minneapolis) in 2006 and Actors Repertory Luxembourg in 2016. 

Since 2002, Daniel has concentrated on musicals. He wrote the book and lyrics for The Ballad of Mary Mallon (Theatre Latté Da, Minneapolis, 2004) with composer Chris Gennaula, and lyrics for the pansexual Marxist holiday musical, Beaverdance! (Bedlam, Minneapolis, 2009; revised version 2014) with book writer Corrie Zoll and composer Marya Hart. He wrote the book and lyrics for YARRRH! The Lusty, Busty Pirate Musical (Fortune’s Fool, 2011), music by Chris Gennaula. It was one of the biggest hits of the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival, and was successfully remounted in September 2011 at Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis. For the 2016 Minnesota Fringe Festival, he wrote and appeared in the autobiographical one-man show Grand Theft Autobiography, with songs composed by Gary Rue and performed by Gary Rue & the Delinquents. Most recently, he wrote the book and lyrics for The Lady with a Lap Dog (Fortune's Fool, 2017), with music by Robert Elhai. Works in progress include the book for Chopin’s Heart (workshop, Illusion Theatre, Minneapolis, 2012; Open Eye Figure Theatre, 2015), for which Gary Rue has written the songs; and the book and lyrics for Hard Times, a musical adaptation of the novel by Charles Dickens, with music by Gary Rue (workshop, Nautilus Music-Theatre, Minneapolis, 2016).

Daniel Pinkerton is co-artistic director, with Ariel Leaf, of Fortune’s Fool Theatre. He is also an editor, journalist, and graphic designer.


A multimedia drama set in Berlin before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Barbara Kingsley, Stephen D'Ambrose, Maggie D'Ambrose, Greta Grosch, and Harry Baxter. Directed by Leah Cooper; videography by Matthew Foster.
by Daniel Pinkerton (book & lyrics) and Chris Gennaula (music)

A fast-change, gender-bending musical for three women who play 11 characters, both male and female, accompanied by an accordionist. 

Lisa Bol, Dawn Brodey, and Ariel Leaf; Valerie Rigsbee replaced Dawn Brodey in the fall revival. Directed by Melissa Hart; Noah Strom, accordion.


Daniel was awarded a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship to hold a workshop of his musical in progress, Hard Times (music by Gary Rue). On May 28 and 29, 2016, public readings were held at Nautilus Music-Theatre Studio. It was directed by Ben Krywosz, with musical direction by Peter Vitale.

Do You Want To Know a Secret? by Daniel Pinkerton was performed at Actors Repertory Theatre Luxembourg, March 9-13, 2016. Directed by Erik Abbott. For more information: http://actorsrep.lu

Chopin's Heart, book by Daniel Pinkerton, music and lyrics by Gary Rue, additional lyrics by Daniel Pinkerton, will be given two concert performances (songs and connective material based on the book) at Open Eye Figure Theatre, Minneapolis, on May 15 and 16, 2015. 

Bedlam Lowertown (St. Paul) revived Beaverdance! A Marxist Fur Trade Holiday Musical, book by Corrie Zoll, lyrics by Daniel Pinkerton, and music by Marya Hart. A great deal of new material was written for this thorough retooling, which ran Nov. 21-Dec. 21, 2014. It was directed by Randy Reyes.