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May 16, 2023

BIPOC LGBTQIA+ Voices and the Queer Experience

A production photo from the 2019 Playwrights Horizons production of A Strange Loop.

The Concord Theatricals catalog is a tapestry of authors and the dynamic perspectives they bring to storytelling. We’re putting a spotlight on queer playwrights of color who continue to amplify the triumphs and struggles of the LGBTQIA+ experience. Discover some featured writers and works below, and learn more at Concord Theatricals in the US or UK.

Trey Anthony

A playwright, producer, actor and comedian, British-born Trey Anthony is the first Black Canadian woman to have a prime-time television show on a major network. She has received NAACP Theatre Awards and the Queering Black History Award from Egale Canada for her work, among others. She is the creator of the wellness speaking series Black Girl in Love (with herself) and the popular viral TEDx Talk Coming Out of Your Box.

Featured Work: How Black Mothers Say I Love You (US)
Hard-working Daphne left her two young daughters in Jamaica for six years to create a better life for them in America. Now, thirty years later, proud and private, Daphne is relying on church and her nearby dutiful daughter to face a health crisis. But when feisty activist Claudette shows up unexpectedly from far away, her arrival stirs up the buried past, family ghosts and the burning desire for love, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Fernanda Coppel

The work of Fernanda Coppel has won the Asuncion Queer Latino Festival at Pregones Theater, an HOLA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting and a Helen Merrill Award. Besides creating for the stage, she was a writer-producer for Queen of the South and Rise, among numerous television projects. Chimichangas and Zoloft marked her professional New York debut at the Atlantic Theater Company.

Featured Work: Chimichangas and Zoloft (US/UK)
Suffering from a profound sense of disappointment after her 40th birthday, Sonia flees her family and goes on a binge of prescription Zoloft and greasy chimichangas.  Sonia’s rebellious daughter Jackie and her best friend Penelope hatch a plan to lure Sonia back home, while their fathers struggle with a secret association of their own. This irreverent story examines the search for happiness and the mysteries of sexuality through the eyes of two brazen teenagers.

Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo is a Tony, Olivier and NAACP Theatre Award-nominated, Obie and Lucille Lortel Award-winning actor, playwright, director and producer. He has been recently celebrated as a Newport Beach Film Festival’s Artist of Distinction and honored by the Vineyard Theatre for his 30-year body of work. He is on the faculty of The National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and has taught, guest lectured and mentored at numerous institutions around the country.

Featured Work: Dot (US/UK)
The holidays are always a wild family affair at the Shealy house – but this year, Dotty and her three grown children gather with more than exchanging presents on their minds. As Dotty struggles to hold on to her memory, her children must fight to balance care for their mother and care for themselves. Domingo’s twisted and hilarious play grapples unflinchingly with aging parents, midlife crises and the heart of a West Philadelphia neighborhood.

Isaac Gómez

Isaac Gómez is an award-winning Chicago and Los Angeles-based playwright and screenwriter originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His plays include La Ruta and The Way She Spoke. His television credits include the Netflix Original Series Narcos: Mexico, the first writers room for Kings of America on Netflix, and, most recently, the Apple TV+ Limited Series The Last Thing He Told Me starring Julia Roberts. He currently has a series in development with Stacey Sher and FX.

Featured Work: La Ruta (US/UK)
To the U.S.-owned factories in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, La Ruta is just a bus. But to the hundreds of women who live, work and often disappear along the route, it’s so much more than that. Inspired by real testimonies, and using live music to evoke factory work and protest marches, La Ruta is a visceral unearthing of secrets buried in the desert and a celebration of the Mexican women who stand resiliently in the wake of loss.

Michael R. Jackson

Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop won the 2022 Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. It was also the recipient of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His next musical, White Girl in Danger, premiered as a co-production between Second Stage Theater and the Vineyard Theatre. Michael is the recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, Whiting Award, Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting and a Dramatist Guild Fellowship. Jackson holds a BFA and MFA in Playwriting and Musical Theatre Writing from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Featured Work: A Strange Loop (US/UK)
Meet Usher: a Black, queer writer writing a musical about a Black, queer writer writing a musical about a Black, queer writer. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical, this Pulitzer Prize-winning, blisteringly funny masterwork exposes the heart and soul of a young artist grappling with desires, identity and instincts he both loves and loathes. Hell-bent on breaking free of his own self-perception, Usher wrestles with the thoughts in his head, brought to life on stage by a hilarious, straight-shooting ensemble. Bold and heartfelt in its truth-telling, A Strange Loop is the big, Black and queer-ass Great American Musical for all!

Hansol Jung

Whiting Award winner Hansol Jung, whose productions include Wild Goose Dreams, Among the Dead and No More Sad Things, hails from South Korea. She has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean while working on several musical theatre productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul. She is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theater Writers Lab, NYTW Usual Suspects and The New Class of Kilroys.

Featured Work: Wolf Play (US/UK)
A Korean boy is ushered into a new house by his adopted American father. This new house belongs to an American boxer and her wife. The American father un-adopts the boy with a single signature. But when he discovers that the new parents are a lesbian couple, the ex-father fights to get the boy back. Wolf Play is a messy, funny, disturbing theatrical experience grappling with a wolf, a puppet, and the very prickly problem of “What is a family, and what do we need from families today? Is it very different from what humans have needed from families before?”

Eduardo Machado

Eduardo Machado, playwright, screenwriter, director and arts professor, was born in Cuba and came to the United States when he was eight. He is the author of over forty plays, including Havana is Waiting, In the Eye of the Hurricane, Kissing Fidel and The Modern Ladies of Guanabacoa. He is a member of the Actors Studio, The Ensemble Studio Theater, and an alumnus of New Dramatists.

Featured Work: Havana is Waiting (US)
This comedy-drama takes a strong political stand on the divisive issue of the United States’ embargo on Cuba. The play begins with flamboyant writer Federico making his first trip back to Cuba, thirty-some years after he immigrated to the States as a child. In Cuba, Federico and his friend Fred meet Ernesto, a car driver and lifelong resident of Havana. The three men get to know each other better and soon learn where the real boundaries of the world lie. The play examines of the complex relationships that exist not only between men, but between the countries in which they live.

Robert O’Hara

Playwright and director Robert O’Hara has received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, Obie Awards, the NAACP Best Director Award and the Oppenheimer Award. He has been an Artist in Residence at the American Conservatory Theater, New York Shakespeare Festival, Theater/Emory, and the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth. Most recently, he received a Tony Award nomination for directing Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris.

Featured Work: Bootycandy (US/UK)
The semi-biographical subversive comedy tells the story of Sutter, who is on an outrageous odyssey through his childhood home, his church, dive bars, motel rooms and even nursing homes. O’Hara weaves together scenes, sermons, sketches and daring meta-theatrics to create a kaleidoscope that interconnects to portray growing up gay and Black. The uproarious satire crashes headlong into the murky terrain of pain and pleasure and… Bootycandy.

A. Rey Pamatmat

A. Rey Pamatmat grew up in Port Huron, Michigan, acting in a local community theatre and surrounded by few peers who looked like him. Influenced by María Irene Fornés and August Wilson, he has been the Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Theater Writers Lab, the nation’s largest resident company of Asian-American playwrights, since 2004. The Filipino-American author has won the Princess Grace Award for Playwriting and a GLAAD Media Award, and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

Featured Work: House Rules (US/UK)
Rod thinks the game is fixed. Momo’s still learning the rules. Twee doesn’t think winning is enough. JJ hates his hand. And why the hell is Henry still playing? Two families (and some guy named Henry) panic with hilarious and heartbreaking results when they realize their parents won’t be around forever. Can anybody prepare for the inevitable moment when they’re the ones left holding all the cards?

Harrison David Rivers

Harrison David Rivers won the Relentless Award (2018, New York Stage & Film), and was named a Runner-up for the 2018 Artist of the Year by the Star Tribune and a 2017 Artist of the Year by City Pages. Harrison is an alum of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers’ Group, Interstate 73, NAMT and The Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab. He is a NYTW Usual Suspect and a member of the Playwright Center’s Board of Directors.

Featured Work: This Bitter Earth (US/UK)
At the Million Hoodie March in 2012, Jesse, an introspective Black playwright, encounters Neil, a white Black Lives Matter activist. Flash forward several weeks, they have begun dating. But as the months pass and Neil works his way further into the world of activism, Jesse never enters it. As passions and priorities collide, this couple is forced to reckon with issues of race, class and the bravery it takes to love out loud.

Tanya Saracho

Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México. She is a playwright and television writer who’s worked on How To Get Away With Murder and HBO’s Looking, among other shows. Currently, she serves as creator/showrunner of the series VIDA on Starz. She is also developing a television series called Brujas with Big Beach, which deals with the intersection between Brujería culture and feminism. She is the founder of Teatro Luna (all-Latina Theatre Company) as well as the founder of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists). Her plays include El Nogalar, Enfrascada, Mala Hierba and Fade.

Featured Work: El Nogalar (US/UK)
In present-day Northern Mexico, the Galvan family returns to reclaim their pecan orchard after matriarch Maité has squandered the family’s money. Tragically, the land they once knew has slowly been taken over by a drug war. This modern adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard explores the complex relationships among a mother and her daughters as four women face the challenges of a dangerous and rapidly changing environment.

Tatenda Shamiso

Tatenda Shamiso is a theatre-maker, writer and musician with origins from Zimbabwe, Belgium, the United States and Switzerland. He is also a scholarly researcher in Afrofuturism and its potential to deconstruct and rebuild our notions of gender, space and time. Tatenda freelances as a writer, director and facilitator, and guest lectures in the Theatre and Performance Department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Featured Work: NO I.D. (UK)
With laughter, music, and a healthy dose of care, NO I.D. is a love letter to gender transitions and an examination of how absurd our bureaucratic systems can be. The story of Tatenda Shamiso’s experience as a Black transgender immigrant in the UK is presented through the songs he wrote throughout his first year on testosterone alongside letters, signatures and a whole lot of paperwork. The show highlights what it takes to validate Black and queer identities in the eyes of the law.

Kit Yan & Melissa Li

Kit Yan, a Vivace Award winner for big ideas in musical theatre, is a New York-based artist born in Enping, China, and raised in Hawaii. Kit is a former Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow and MacDowell Fellow, and their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, NAMT, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, Mixed Blood and Diversionary Theater.

Melissa Li is a composer, lyricist, performer and writer based in New York and Baltimore. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a Lincoln Center Theater Writer-in-Residence, a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Melissa has released music solo and collaboratively, including 2 Seconds Away, Drive Away Home (as Good Asian Drivers), and The Beginning (as Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs).

Featured Work: Cancelled (US) (book by Kit Yan, music & lyrics by Melissa Li)
A scandal breaks in a progressive high school when Joey, the popular lesbian President of the GSA, accidentally sends an offensive tweet directed at Evan, a trans classmate. Tensions rise when their friends scramble to take sides, leaving Joey and Evan caught in the center of the drama. With humor and heart, this one-act musical explores how broken relationships can be repaired by putting aside snap judgements and owning one’s mistakes.

For more work showcasing BIPOC LGBTQIA+ voices, visit the Concord Theatricals website in the US or UK.

Header Image: 2019 Playwrights Horizons production of A Strange Loop (Joan Marcus).