The CoA Playwrights Group is comprised of a select group of diverse, award-winning writers whose work has been produced nationally and internationally and are committed to creating plays that highlight the people and landscapes not often portrayed in American theater. Scripts from the Playwrights Group are presented in either the annual short play festival, LA Views, or as a mainstage production.
Tamadhur Al-Aqeel joined the Playwrights’ Group at Company of Angels in January of 2013. She wrote and puppeteered, The Family Car, a puppet show that was part of CoA’s LA Views: Traffic Jam. She wrote Valentine’s Day for “Angels Flight,” a weekend of plays written and performed within a 12-hour period. Her first foray with CoA was in 2011, when her play, The Bean Trial, was part of the series To Read and Stage in LA.
Prior to that, Tamadhur co-wrote, with the ensemble of Ghost Road Company, Four Dervishes, which was performed in 2005 at LATC as part of The Edge of the World Theater Festival, and in 2004 at the 24th Street Theater. During the research phase of Four Dervishes, Tamadhur gave birth to her first daughter. Tamadhur has had a number of plays produced or co-produced by Cornerstone Theater Company: In The Bag (2011, One-Minute Play Festival); Branches (2001); The Market Tale (1999); Ride #14 (1997); Family Tales (1996); Shahrazade and the Arabian Nights (1994).
Tamadhur holds a BA in Journalism from CSULB and has written for radio, print, and the blogosphere. Awards include a Golden Mic (2001) for “Best Original Commentary” Division A, Radio and TV News Association of Southern California’ written for and read on KPCC FM, Pasadena; Garland Award (2000) for Ensemble Performance, Back Stage West, as an actor in For Here or to Go? by Alison Carey, Cornerstone Theater Company at the Mark Taper Forum; and a Drama-Logue Award for Sound Design, (1994) for Sharazade and the Arabian Nights, which she co-wrote and which garnered the coveted LA Weekly Pick-of-the-week, and a nomination for the Weekly’s Production of the Year award.
She has a husband and two daughters, for whom she animates the voices of all their stuffed animals, makes up silly songs, and is put on the spot every bedtime to either come up with something new, or remember word for word some foolish thing she did months ago.
Mando is a playwright, screenwriter and an actor from South Texas. His first feature film, Cruzando (www.cruzandothemovie.com), which he co-wrote and co-directed with Michael Ray Escamilla has was won praise and accolades and has screened at such notable festivals as the HBO New York International Latino Film Festival, Newport Beach International Film Festival, London Latino International Film Festival. Cruzando was distributed by Vanguard Cinema and is available on DVD.
His two plays A King of Infinite Space, an adaptation of Hamlet fused with the music of Pearl Jam and Sangre, an adaptation of Blood Wedding, premiered at Central Park’s Summer Stage for the Bronx and Central Park. He also wrote the book for the Yellow Brick Road, a bilingual musical adaptation of the Wizard of Oz for Theaterworks USA which received is critically acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere at the Lortel Theater in July 2011. His play Post No Bills received its Off-Broadway premiere at Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater in November 2009. His play Splitting Mama was selected to participate at the Black Swan Lab at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a contributing writer for Theater 167’s You Are Now the Owner of This Suitcase. He also participated in the Freight Project where he developed his play (O)n THE 5:31 which was commissioned for Rising Phoenix Rep’s Cino Nights at the Seventh Street Small Stage. His play, Rear Exit, was presented at INTAR’s NewWorks Lab in an evening of shorts entitled, One Night in the Valley, and was presented as a part of The Atlantic Theater’s Latino Theater Festival. His translation of Yamaha 300 for The Lark’s Mexico/US Exchange Program received a staged reading at The Goodman’s Latino Theater Festival. His play Throat was developed at The Field ArtWard Bound Residency Program and was produced by Allison Prouty at the 45th St Theater. Throat completed a three-city tour to Washington, DC, McAllen, TX, and Minneapolis, MN; it had an additional run at INTAR’s NewWorks Lab.
His plays have received developmental support from Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater, The Kennedy Center, INTAR, The Lark, Naked Angels, Mixed Company, Sonnet Rep, The Shalimar, Theater Alliance, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and The Round House Theater.
Basilica received a developmental production at STC in McAllen, TX in May of 2011 and had a week long workshop at The Black and Latino Playwright Conference in San Marcos. He was a finalist for the Ellen Steward Artist Award at La MaMa. He is a member of Rising Phoenix Rep, alum of INTAR’s Hispanic-Playwright-in-Residence Laboratory 2006 – 2008 and a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts.
An east coast transplant, John has attended The Philadelphia College of Art and The California Institute of the Arts. He has worked extensively as an animation artist/illustrator and writer on a variety of projects.
Aside from writing and directing, John is a long time member of the Company of Angels and has served as a board member.
Theater Productions include: Hello Hello, Angels Unwrapped (2003 BackstageWest Critic’s List, playwriting, direction, and production), Table Dance, Youthspeak, Costumes and Changing Leaves.
Readings include: Wind Chimes (Full Length Drama), Peaches and Daddy (Full Length Musical Comedy), and Hartford Zoo (Proposed Animated Series).
John wrote for Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros.’ Animaniacs and worked as a story artist for Warner Bros., Universal Studios, Film Roman, Hyperion Studio and Mike Young Productions. He has done illustration work for the Walt Disney Studios.
MAURO FLORES JR.
Originally from South Texas, Mauro Flores, Jr. received his MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU.
In 2010, Vanguard Repertory Theatre in North Hollywood, CA produced Mauro’s short puppet play Torso. In 2012, A Streetcar Named Sigmund on a Jung Tin Roof, a ten-minute play, received a stage reading at Drekfest in Chicago, Ill. Recently, he wrote and directed Red and Black, a ten-minute play, for CoA’s LA VIEWS: Traffic Jam. He is also a member of Skylight Theatre Company’s PlayLab.
In 2011, Mauro wrote and produced the live-action superhero comedy webseries The Trainee. In 2013, he wrote and directed the digital comedy short Night of the Hipsters featuring Maria Canals-Barrera. And in 2013, Mauro was selected for San Antonio’s CineFestival’s inaugural Latino Screenwriters Project (with critical support from the Sundance Institute) for his screenplay, Rachel’s Quinceañera. Most recently, he wrote and directed the short film ALMA, a psychological thriller.
Also an accomplished graphic artist and illustrator, Mauro has been commissioned by CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, as well as by various production and theatre companies (www.maurofloresjr.com). Currently, he works as an Associate Show Producer for CBS’s “The Amazing Race”.
JUDY SOO HOO
Judy Soo Hoo’s plays include Texas, Refrigerators, Solve for X, At Risk, and Taking Flight: The Katherine Cheung Story. She has worked with at East West Players, Lodestone Theater, Asian American Theatre, Pan Asian Repertory, Mark Taper Forum, Cleveland Playhouse,Illusion Theatre, Eureka Theatre, Watts Village Theatre and the Los Angeles History Project. An excerpt of Taking Flight was part of “Our American Story,” a two-person show that recently toured Southern California in East West Players Theatre for Youth program. She is happy to be part of the Company of Angel’s Playwrights Group.
Donald Jolly hails from the District of Columbia. He first gained recognition for his writing as a teenager when his short play Just… was selected as a winner of the EmPowerPlay Festival at Young Playwrights’ Theater, and received a reading at D.C.’s Theater J. In college, he was awarded the Ruth & Loring Dodd Drama Prize for the best play by an undergraduate for his full-length play, I Might Have Been Queen. Donald employs imaginative uses of language to investigate urban identities and explore the intersections/interactions between race, class, gender, and sexual orientation through historical and contemporary lenses.
His work has been workshopped/read/presented at Horizon Theatre Company (Atlanta), CalArts, Celebration Theatre (LA), University of Southern California School of Theatre, and Company of Angels. During the 2008-2009 season, Donald participated in Center Theatre Group’s Writers’ Workshop, where he workshopped his play, Her Highness, Philomena Phillips, Blueswoman Extraordinaire! Donald’s historical drama, Bonded, received its world premiere in 2010. He is member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., a graduate of Dartmouth College, and holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the USC School of Theatre.
Mayank Keshaviah is a playwright, screenwriter, and drama critic who originally hails from Minnesota, but who has lost all his cold weather resilience since moving to L.A. He has been a member of the Playwrights’ Group at Company of Angels since 2009, and his plays Angels Fight (2011), Switzerland (2012), and All American (2013) have been produced as part of L.A. Views, the company’s annual short-play festival. Both Switzerland and All American have also been published in Smith & Krauss’ annual “The Best Ten-Minute Plays” anthologies. In 2012, his play Rangoon received its world premiere Off-Broadway at the Clurman Theater, produced by New York’s Pan Asian Repertory Theatre.
Before moving to Los Angeles, Mayank served on the board of South Asian Theatre Arts Guild Experiment (STAGE) in Washington, D.C. where he directed Rearranged Marriage and Psycho for the annual South Asian Literary and Theatre Arts Festival (SALTAF). He also assistant directed LENNY & LOU at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. After moving to the left coast for grad school, Mayank worked on the world premiere of Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates at the Mark Taper Forum and in the Literary Department of Center Theatre Group.
In addition to his dramatic writing, Mayank regularly reviews theatre for the LA Weekly and Stage Raw. He has served as a voting member of the L.A. Drama Critics Circle, and in 2010 he was selected as an NEA Arts Journalism Fellow in Theatre and Musical Theatre. He is represented by Abrams Artists in New York and by Scenario Literary Management in Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College, an M.A. in Teaching ESOL from American University, and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the University of Southern California.
NIC CHA KIM
Nic Cha Kim is a writer, video artist, and cultural activist. His plays A Taste of Home, Rise Up, RE:VERSE, and Trapezoid, have been produced by Lodestone Theatre Ensemble and Company of Angels and his plays Hyperbola and Point have received readings from East West Players, Asian American Theater Company, and Mu Performing Arts. Nic is Artistic Director of Niche.LA Video Art (www.niche.la) and has produced music videos, commercials, and features films. Most recently, Nic served as Executive Producer and Writer of Art Battle LA, a 52 min documentary which premiered on KCET. As an activist, Nic is recognized by the City of Los Angeles as a Founder of Gallery Row and currently serves his community as President of Gallery Row Organization (www.galleryrow.org).
D. HIDEO MARUYAMA
D Hideo Maruyama teaches English and obtained his MFA in Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach. He was the Editor of an Asian Pacific American Arts journal called “dIS*orient Journalzine” during the 1990s. The journal published a number of APA writers like Velina Hasu Houston, Amy Uyematsu, Philip Kan Gotanda, and Elaine Kim. Under his watch, he created “dIS*courses”, which partnered poets and writers from different communities to create linked writing collaborations which included poets like Gerald Locklin, Marco Vasquez, and Sesshu Foster.
In 2010, he received a Fulbright-Hays and recently helped to edit a collection of Vietnamese Boat People stories. As a playwright, he has been a member of East West Players’ David Henry Hwang Writer’s Institute. He has penned Accidental Nexus (2003), Sato’s Dream in Blue (2006), Time After Time-A Catalogue of Traumatic Events (2007), IFDD Station (2009) and Double Exposure (2013). He has staged two short plays as part of COA’s LA Views short play series: LA to Little Saigon (2014), and Nails of Little Saigon (2015).
Ron was the Playwright in Residence at Center Theatre Group from 2010 to 2011. His awards and fellowships include: The Craig Noel Outstanding New Play (San Diego Critics), 2010 Theater Masters Visionary Playwright Award Winner, Scott Michael Fellowship, Shank Residency at Center Theatre Group, 2009 Patté Award for “Outstanding New Play” in San Diego, Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship in Production, Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award (2nd place), San Diego Fellowship, Horizon Theatre Fellow, and Eleanor Frost Award.
Ron’s plays have been developed at: La Jolla Playhouse, Moving Arts, Cornerstone Theatre, Matrix Theatre, Company of Angels Theater, Chalk Rep, SoHo Theatre in London, The Kennedy Center, Watts Village Theater Center, Theatre Masters MFA Playwright’s Festival, Dartmouth College, UCSD and SDSU.
Thanks to Ron’s military parents, he’s lived in Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, and Panama. But, Ron’s home is Hayti, MO. Hayti is an impoverished town of no consequence located at the intersection of I-55 and US-412. Ron spent the latter part of his adolescence in Springfield, MO with 7 of his 9 siblings, mother, and stepfather with an Apostolic Pentecostal cult before escaping to the North to find freedom at Dartmouth College.
Ron holds an A.B. in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the University of California, San Diego. Ron has experience in private equity, information technology, and finance. Prior to graduate school he was in an Information Technology Leadership Program at Johnson and Johnson. Ron has also been a one-man fundraising department for a Los Angeles Legal Services firm and a regularly performing standup comedian.
JULIE TAIWO ONI
The daughter of a Nigerian father and German-American mother, Julie Taiwo Oni is also an identical twin. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from Pepperdine University in 2006 with an emphasis in sociology and a Spanish minor, and her MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC’s School of Theatre in 2009, where she studied with Velina Hasu Houston, Oliver Mayer, and Luis Alfaro. Her play Tether received a reading as part of Inkwell Theatre’s Inkubator Festival in October 2009. She currently teaches ESL in Pasadena.