Under Construction: Snowflake
Two college administrators of color meet online with an applicant they think is Black. Much to their surprise, while the applicant identifies as Black, she looks White. The encounter blows to smithereens all notions of race and ethnic diversity.
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.
Stewart J. Zully has been working for over thirty-five years as a director, actor, producer, writer and teacher. He recently directed the Ovation recommended Nowhere On The Border by Carlos Lacamara at The Road, where he also directed the award-winning White Guy On the Bus, by Bruce Graham, and in 2017 he co-produced the Road’s Summer Playwright’s Festival. In 2016 he directed the Ovation nominated Martha, by Ellen Melaver (a one-woman show about Martha Graham) at the LGBT Center in Hollywood, which moved to The Whitefire Theatre for a six month run. Stewart recently wrote and directed the acclaimed short film, the front lines, shot entirely on Zoom with Road actors and inspired by the doctors and nurses serving all of us…everyday. The film is currently available on Youtube.
Stewart has directed in Los Angeles, New York, Florida and Canada, premiering pieces by David Lindsay-Abaire, Romulus Linney, Peter Tolan, Rolin Jones and Marco Ramirez. Other directing credits include Joan’s Show: An Evening with Joan Copeland, highlighting Ms. Copeland’s career as an original member of The Actor’s Studio and recollections of a life in show business (as well as being the sister of Arthur Miller).
Producing credits include founding Theatre 40’s Annual One-Act Festival in 1990, where playwrights whose work premiered include Horton Foote, Craig Lucas, Arthur Miller and Jane Anderson. Stewart produced the festival for six years, culminating with three plays published by Samuel French and two plays airing on A&E. Stewart co-wrote and co-produced the feature film Perfect Opposites, which stars Piper Perabo, Aaron Paul, Joe Pantoliano and Jennifer Tilly. The movie is based on the stage play A Piece of My Heart, by Matt Cooper, which Stewart directed at The Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles.
As an actor, Stewart has over 100 credits in film, television and theatre. They include the films Vice, Wolf, For The Boys, Bonfire of The Vanities, New in Town and Malcolm X. On television, Stewart’s credits include a recurring role on The Sopranos, Blue Bloods, most of the Law and Order shows, etc. Theater credits include leading roles Off-Broadway, LA and Toronto. In 2004, his commercial for Citibank’s Identity Theft campaign won an Emmy as Best Commercial of The Year.
Stewart recently published his memoir, MY LIFE IN YANKEE STADIUM 40 Years as a Vendor and Other Tales of Growing Up Somewhat Sane in The Bronx. For more info, go to stewartjzully.com.