Under Construction: Setting the Table

October 3 @ 7:30 PM
Written By Velina Hasu Houston
Directed By Stewart J. Zully

A young Japanese woman marries a Black man and moves with him to Kansas where she becomes stepmother to her two teenage children. Inspired by true events, the play takes an earnest look at race, immigration, and family. 

Velina Hasu Houston, recipient of over twenty-eight writing commissions, began her career Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club, expanding globally to institutions such as the Old Globe Theatre and Los Angeles Opera.  She also writes for film and television; and is a published poet, essayist, journalist, and novelist.  The nationally acclaimed film short she penned, Path of Dreams, was named best original screenplay at the London International Filmmaker Festival 2019.  Honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, Wallace Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), and others, she is Distinguished Professor & Director of Dramatic Writing at the School of Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California.  A Fulbright Scholar, she served on the US Department of State’s Japan-US Friendship Commission.  Currently, her work has been produced in Toronto, London, and Vietnam, and is slated for several Los Angeles productions in 2020. Matchabook, her blog, highlights female theatre artists.  The recipient of a TCG Global Connections grant, Houston is writing a new play that will first bow as part of The Body Female, produced by Los Angeles Opera in its Eurydice Found Festival, January 2020, a collaboration with Nao Bustamante, Paula Cizmar, Nadia Islam, and Bita Shafipour.  She is bookwriter with composer Angela Aki for the musical theatre adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha, produced by Dustin Sparks.  Current film projects include adaptations of two of her plays; and a film adaptation of the short story, “Madame Butterfly.”  Archives: Library of Congress, Huntington Library.

At The Road: As director: Nowhere on The Border, White Guy On The Bus; various readings at The Word and Summer Playwright Festival including Years of Sky, A Spot of Bother, Starstruck, The Timekeepers, Upon The Fragile Shore, A Quartet.

Director credits: Odyssey, Theatre 40, The Whitefire, LGBT Center; Various theaters in New York, Florida and Canada.

Actor credits:

  • Off Broadway: Tabletop (American Place Theatre), The Mugger (Player’s Theater), Extenuating Circumstances (Perry Street Theater), Crazy He Calls Me (Pre-Broadway, Tyson Studios), The Rope Dancers (Theatre East).
  • Regional: Nowhere On The Border (Stageworks), various theaters including Toronto.

Film: Vice, Speed Kills, Wolf, New In Town, Fighting For Freedom, For The Boys, Bonfire of The Vanities, etc.

TV:  The Sopranos, Law and Order (including CI and SVU), Blue Bloods, Unforgettable, Magic City, Columbo, Becker, etc.

Training: American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY); The Michael Chekhov Studio Teacher Training Program, Lloyd Richards, Austin Pendelton, Dennis Moore, Michael Howard, Peter Frisch.

Stewart co-produced and co-wrote the feature film Perfect Opposites, starring Aaron Paul, Piper Perabo, Joe Pantoliano and Jennifer Tilly.

“Setting the Table”

Tomoko Karina
Karrie King*
Merrick McCartha*
Ronaldo Alexander-Mateo Medina
Geoff Rivas
Nicole Royster
Tamlyn Tomita

*Road Company Member