Drama     *     90 minutes     *     5 Men/1 Woman

Max, a musically gifted high school student, is falling off the edge of the world –- and his biology teacher is the only one who’s noticed. A play about the science of life and loss, the relationships between fathers and sons, Cambodian fields, Bolivian rainforests and grief.

"Song of Extinction" at the Guthrie, presented by Theatre Latte Da.

“Song of Extinction” at the Guthrie, presented by Theatre Latte Da.


  • Samuel French
  • Dramatics Magazine

"Song of Extinction" by EM Lewis, published by Samuel French in 2010


  • 2012 – Hostos College – The Bronx, NY  (plus Book-of-the-Semester)
  • 2011 – The Guthrie, by Theatre Latte Da, Minneapolis, MN
  • 2010 – Ion Theater — San Diego, CA
  • 2010 – Edinburgh Fringe Festival, produced by Rio Hondo College — Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2008 – World premiere production by Moving Arts at [Inside] the Ford (through a special Winter Partnership Program with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission) — Los Angeles, CA
  • 2008  – Winner and workshop production at the EcoDrama Festival — University of Oregon — Eugene, OR
"Song of Extinction" at the Guthrie.

“Song of Extinction” at the Guthrie.

Readings, Awards, and Development:

  • Reading: Page 73 – New York, NY
  • Reading: Briccolage Theater’s 2011 Play Reading Series — Pittsburgh, PA
  • Reading: TimeLine Theater’s 2010 “TimePieces” Reading Series — Chicago, IL
  • Published by Samuel French — March 2010
  • Published in Dramatics Magazine — January 2010
  • Winner: 2009 Harold & Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award from the American Theater Critics Association
  • Winner: 2009 Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle — Los Angeles, CA
  • Winner: 2008 Production of the Year and Best Lead Actor from the LA Weekly Awards — Los Angeles, CA
  • Winner – 2008 Ashland New Plays Festival — Ashland, OR
  • Reading – Atlantic Theater’s 2008 Next Page Reading Series – New York, NY
  • Finalist – 2008 Sundance Institute Theater Lab
  • Finalist/Reading – HotCity Theater’s 2008 Greenhouse Festival – St. Louis, MO
  • Reading – NYU’s 2008 hotINK International Festival of New Plays (sponsored by Atlantic Theater) – New York, NY
  • Staged Reading in the 2007 Living Room Series at the Blank – Los Angeles, CA
  • Reading at Moving Arts 2007 – Los Angeles, CA
Biology teacher Khim Phan and high school student Max Forrestal talk about extinction.

“Song of Extinction” by EM Lewis, produced by Moving Arts — Winner of the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for Outstanding Writing of a World Premiere Play and Production of the Year at the LA Weekly Awards.

Reviews from the World Premiere of SONG OF EXTINCTION, produced by Moving Arts at [Inside] the Ford:

“…one of the most beautiful and important plays of the season.”  – Laura Hitchcock, Los Angeles Beat

“CRITIC’S CHOICE… artfully balances its theme of mortality between the intimate and the macroscopic… explores inner psychological states with remarkable eloquence and clarity…”  – Phillip Brandeis, Los Angeles Times

“GO! The interplay of the three [views on extinction] in Lewis’ smart and honest script is one small push away from collective transcendence”

– Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly

“An extraordinary production… exquisitely written… Everything about this play is done to perfection… there is a melancholy richness and sensitivity in this beautiful play that will stay with you for a very long time. Guaranteed to leave you thoughtful and speechless.”  – Cynthia Citron, Curtain Up

“An exquisitely poetic and deeply moving new play…”  – Steven Stanley, Stage Scene LA

“Lewis weaves a mesmerizing tale that gently plucks on the universal chords of the human condition… The triumph of this play is the masterful blend of visual and audio elements that complement the text with an exquisite tenderness and spellbinding artistry…”  – MR Hunter, Stage Happenings

“…remarkable, totally engaging… The theme of Ms. Lewis’ haunting “Song” is extinction past and present, from the Cambodian genocide during the Khmer Rouge regime to endangered species in the Bolivian rain forest, epics against which a number of intimate, desperate human dramas unfold. That so many stories as well as so much history are presented in such compelling style (without sermonizing or pontificating) is a testament to the playwright’s skills and ability to trust the passions and inner voices of her fully-drawn characters…” – Jack Ong, Executive Director of the Haing Ngor Foundation

"Song of Extinction" by EM Lewis at Ion Theater in San Diego

“Song of Extinction” by EM Lewis at Ion Theater in San Diego

Reviews from the Ion Theater Production of SONG OF EXTINCTION,
in San Diego, CA:

“In EM Lewis’s engrossing and insightful Song of Extinction, getting its impressive local debut by Ion Theatre, the “extinction” ranges from personal to global. And the drama envelops the heart and mind throughout the journey.”  -Don Braunagel, SanDiego.com

“The writing, both psychologically astute and dreamily poetic, is impressive…  It’s a rare play that explores environmental degradation in such strongly original and humanly true ways…”   — Anne Marie Welsh, North County Times

“…a lyrical, metaphor-laden meditation on family, loss, hope and new beginnings.”  — Jennifer Chung Klam, San Diego Union Tribune

“Song of Extinction” by EM Lewis, at the Guthrie, produced by Theater Latte Da

Reviews from the Theater Latte Da Production of SONG OF EXTINCTION at the GUTHRIE, in Minneapolis, MN:

“…90 minutes of poignant worthiness … Rothstein’s second small jewel of the year… [He] shows us his articulate understanding of drama that gets inside the human psyche.”  — Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

All the right notes Theater Latte Da’s ‘Song of Extinction’ a touching triumph:    “…filled with compassion for its characters and a delicate touch that makes [Song of Extinction] a very moving drama… To the credit of author Lewis and director Peter Rothstein, no point is belabored, no audience member bludgeoned with a message. For a work with so many layers, it’s nevertheless almost minimalist in structure, its dialogue convincingly realistic, its tone admirably restrained.”  — Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press

“Making his professional debut, Piering gives a natural, nuanced performance as Max. His anger and pain are always near the surface and explode at the smallest provocation, but Piering never moves into melodrama. His focus fuels several of the show’s best moments, especially the final minutes, when the cello comes out of the case and Max finally is able to get beyond his anger and into his sorrow. The piece, composed by longtime Latte Da music director Denise Prosek, reflects that perfectly, while Piering plays it as Max would—full of anger and passion.”  — Ed Huyck, City Pages

“This piece is intense, rich, affecting… [David] Mura lends the play understated resonance… Also first rate are John Middleton and Carla Noack as the Forrestals… Anyone raising a teen-ager knows how illogically volatile they can be and Dan Piering, as Max, captures this gorgeously.”  — John Olive, How Was The Show?

"Song of Extinction" published in Dramatics Magazine, with original cover art.

“Song of Extinction” published in Dramatics Magazine, with original cover art.


Click here for a video trailer from the Moving Arts production of “Song of Extinction” at [Inside] the Ford.

Click here for a video of interviews and rehearsal from the Theatre Latte Da production of “Song of Extinction” at the Guthrie.

Click here for a video of live footage from the Theatre Latte Da production of “Song of Extinction” at the Guthrie.

Click here for a video of clips and reviews from the Theatre Latte Da production of “Song of Extinction” at the Guthrie.