Playwrights of Color


Lisa Kang and Dennis Yen in Impact Theatre’s production of Ching Chong Chinaman, by Lauren Yee, directed by Desdemona Chiang. Photo by Cheshire Isaacs.

Like most producers, I’m looking for ways to increase diversity at my company. I’m guessing you are, too. So I put together (with the help of a bunch of awesome people, especially the excellent Sam Hurwitt) a list of playwrights of color from my neck of the woods, the San Francisco Bay Area. All of these playwrights have scripts ready and waiting for you to read, love, and produce repeatedly. There are even some musical theatre and opera composers included.

And just for fun, I included at the end a list of solo performers you should know about, too, just in case a funder gave you a fat wad of cash to bring one of these awesome people to your area.

If you have anyone to add, you can email me at and I’ll put their website on the list!

Hector Armienta

Jeannie Barroga

Eugenie Chan

Christopher Chen


Christopher Chen

Paul S. Flores

Brian Freeman

Philip Kan Gotanda (Of course you already know his work!)

Imani Harrington

Chinaka Hodge


Chinaka Hodge

Denmo Ibrahim

Robert Henry Johnson

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Min Kahng

Cherylene Lee

JC Lee


JC Lee

Charles Lewis III

Jeffrey Lo

Marisela Treviño Orta


Marisela Treviño Orta

A. Rey Pamatmat

Geetha Reddy

Andrew Saito

Sean San Jose

Kirk Shimano

Octavio Solis

Michael Gene Sullivan


Michael Gene Sullivan

Aimee Suzara

Ian Walker


Ian Walker

Lauren Yee

Torange Yeghiazarian

Ignacio Zulueta


Brian Copeland

Marga Gomez

Rhodessa Jones

Thao P. Nguyen


Thao P. Nguyen

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5 thoughts on “Playwrights of Color

  1. Hey, I know those names!

    In fact, that’s mine beneath the photo of JC Lee.

  2. Erin Merritt says:

    Hooray! Will you only add people who have websites? I have contact info for the other people I sent you but no idea if they have websites.

    • Yes, only people who have websites or twitter feeds or other public profiles. I followed up on every lead everyone gave me, and many had either left the area or appear to have stopped writing (i.e., have some web presence as a teacher but nothing as a current playwright). I don’t feel comfortable publicizing personal contact info, or publicizing people who may not want to be contacted. If they already have engagement with the web as a playwright, then I’m taking that as a sign that they’re courting the attention. If they’re avoiding making a website, twitter feed, or even a facebook profile, I’m going off the assumption they don’t want to be found. So yes, only playwrights who are currently writing/shopping plays in the Bay Area and have some kind of publicly accessible point of contact.

  3. Laura says:

    Loved Ian Walker in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” had no idea he was a playwright, thanks Melissa!

  4. chasbelov says:

    Oops, and Ian Walker’s The Lullaby Tree is upcoming at The Phoenix Theater.

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