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Velina Hasu Houston

Velina Hasu Houston

Velina Hasu Houston


Internationally acclaimed playwright Velina Hasu Houston has written over 30 plays including 17 commissions in a career that began Off-Broadway with her plays Tea at Manhattan Theatre Club and American Dreams at Negro Ensemble Company. She also writes opera, musical theater, television, and film and is a published poet and essayist.  She has completed a novel, Tea, based upon her play Tea.

She is a 2013 L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards nominee for best book for the book to her musical, Tea, With Music. She also is the 2013-2014 recipient of an Aurora Foundation grant to develop a new play and screenplay about the life of Sadako Sasaki.

Recent world premieres of her plays include Tea, With Music (a chamber musical with book and lyrics by Ms. Houston and music by Nathan Wang, presented at East West Players), Calligraphy (Playwrights’ Arena/Latino Theatre Company at Los Angeles Theatre Center) and The DNA Trail (Silk Road Theatre Project with the Goodman Theatre). Current projects include two commissions: Another Perfect Day and Jonah and the Whale (LA Opera). She adapted her play The Intuition of Iphigenia into an opera, workshopped it in Toronto, and plans are in motion to bring it to Los Angeles.  Her new play Turbulence (formerly The Territory of Dreams) was featured at Pasadena Playhouse’s Hothouse in 2012. As a playwriting fellow in Playwrights' Arena's New Pages program, she is developing a new chamber musical, Cinnamon Girl, which premieres at Playwrights' Arena in Los Angeles in spring 2014. She is developing a second chamber musical, Brown Girl in the Ring, which was workshopped at East West Players in June 2013. Her play, Cause Célèbre, a farce, received its first stage reading by Playwrights' Arena, as part of the "Golden Tongues" festival at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, in  June 2013; and will be revived in February 2014 at USC.

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Productions at LA Opera

  • Jonah and the Whale

    Jonah and the Whale