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Velina Hasu Houston

VELINA HASU HOUSTON  (1957 - )

Nationality:    Asian American
email:    Click here to contact     Website:    Click here

Literary Agent:    Harden-Curtis Associates  


Since her work first appeared Off-Broadway when she was 22, Velina Hasu Houston, Ph.D., has been recognized as a Japan Foundation Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Fellow (twice), Sidney F. Brody Fellow, and James Zumberge Fellow (thrice); been honored by Sidney Poitier and the Pinter Review Prize for Drama, and received thirteen commissions. "Tea" and Houston's other plays have been produced internationally throughout the U.S and asia including at Manhattan Theatre Club, Pasadena Playhouse, Old Globe Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Smithsonian Institution, Whole Theatre (Olympia Dukakis, producer), NHK (Japan, nationwide), Negro Ensemble Company, Syracuse Stage, and others. She is Professor of Theatre, resident playwright, and creator and Director of the Master of Fine arts in Dramatic Writing program at the University of Southern California School of Theatre. Professional memberships include Writers Guild of America, west; Dramatists Guild. Her works are archived in The Velina Hasu Houston Collection, Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Three new plays will premiere this fall: "The Peculiar and Sudden Nearness of the Moon" at Sacramento Theatre Company, "Calling aphrodite" at International City Theatre (Long Beach, Ca) and "The House of Chaos" at Asian American Repertory Theatre (San Diego, Ca). Her research includes plays, films, books, and poetry that investigates identity and belonging vis-a-vis culture, ethnicity, and gender; particularly in a transnational context with regard to Japanese immigrants in the U.S. and the Japanese and African diasporas. She founded the Master of Fine arts in Dramatic Writing program at the University of Southern California School of Theatre (Los Angeles) and its predecessor, the MFa in Playwriting Program in 1990. Professional memberships include Writers Guild of America, west; Dramatists Guild, and alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. Her works are archived in The Velina Hasu Houston Collection, Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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below is a list of Velina Hasu Houston's plays - click on a Play Title for more information

Albatross         American Dreams         As Sometimes In A Dead Man's Face         Asa Ga Kimashita (Morning Has Broken)         Broken English         Calling Aphrodite         Christmas Cake         Confusion Of Tongues, The         Cultivated Lives         Eyes Of Bone         Father, I Must Have Rice         House Of Chaos, The         Hula Heart         Ikebana (Living Flowers)         Kapi'Olani's Faith         Kokoro (True Heart)         Last Resort, The         Legend Of Bobbi Chicago, The         Lotus Of The Sublime Pond, The         Matsuyama Mirror, The         Morning Has Broken         My Life Is A Loaded Gun         Necessities         Peculiar And Sudden Nearness Of The Moon, The         Petals And Thorns         Shedding The Tiger         Tea         Tea With Music         Thirst         Tokyo Valentine         Waiting For Tadashi



Albatross

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
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1st Produced:
Old Globe    -

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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American Dreams

Synopsis:
an African American soldier brings his Japanese bride home after World War II to meet his family in New York only to discover that the American Dream is not all that it is purported to be.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Negro Ensemble Company, Off-Broadway, New York    1984

Company:
Negro Ensemble Company

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2005   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  3            Other:  -

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As Sometimes In A Dead Man's Face

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
East West Players, La    1994

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Asa Ga Kimashita (Morning Has Broken)

Synopsis:
In 1946 Japan, a Japanese woman falls in love with an African American-Native American Indian soldier and in so doing challenges her father's ability to come to grips with Japan's loss in the war.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
East West Players, Los Angeles, California    1984

Company:
East West Players

1st Published:
Temple University Press, 1995   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
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Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Broken English

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Odyssey Theatre    1991

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Calling Aphrodite

Synopsis:
Keiko Kimura, a Hiroshima bomb victim - one of the young women of the legendary Hiroshima Maidens Project - travels to New York for reconstructive surgery and meets the lead surgeon, Dr. Everett, whose brother was killed by the Japanese during the war. With both having volunteered for the project for very different reasons, their challenging association forces them to redefine post-war peace on very personal terms as they attempt to restore their faith in humanity.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Scene Dock    2003

Company:
International City Theatre

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2005   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Christmas Cake

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Kuma Kahua    1992

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Confusion Of Tongues, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
St. augustine's By-The-Sea    1991

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Cultivated Lives

Synopsis:
The end of World War II brought more than an uneasy peace to Japan; for Misao Itamura, it ignited an inner struggle. With the help of a mysterious maid, this young heiress embarks upon a journey of renewal and discovery. Rebelling against suffocation by her domineering father, she becomes entangled with love, murder, the border between sexualities, and , ultimately, the search for the true meaning of a cultivated life.
- http://www.aatrevue.com

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre    1999

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Eyes Of Bone

Synopsis:
a single defining moment sets an extraordinary woman on an unexpected search for true vision. This mystical new work focuses on a gifted surgeon who is forced to confront her identity as a healer.
- http://www.aatrevue.com

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum    2007

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Father, I Must Have Rice

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Ensemble Studio Theatre    1988

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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House Of Chaos, The

Synopsis:
a native Japanese woman's fortune, legacy, and well-being are caught in a web of deceit and adultery that lead her to take unusual measures to save her honor. Inspired by Euripides' "Medea."

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Asian American Repertory Theatre, San Diego, California    2007

Company:
Asian American Repertory Theatre

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Hula Heart

Synopsis:
a young boy moves from Hawaii to suburban California only to find that his love for the sacred rites of hula don't transfer quite as easily. as he struggles to preserve his old culture while still making a place for himself in his new life, the essence of what is truly important in life becomes clear to him.

Notes:
This book provides the full texts of plays produced through The New Generation Play Project A consortium that included The Seattle Children's Theatre, The Children's Theatre Co. of Minneapolis, Louisville Children's Theatre And The Honolulu Theatre for Youth in 1989.

1st Produced:
Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Honolulu, Hawaii    1996

Company:
Honolulu Theatre for Youth

1st Published:
in Eight Plays for Children, University of Texas press - available fromSamuel French, NY   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  4            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Ikebana (Living Flowers)

Synopsis:
Set in 1957 Tokyo, the play focuses on ayame Itamura, a reclusive heiress who devotes herself to her father, the esteemed Dr. Itamura. as he sets out to arrange a marriage for her, ayame realizes that it is not her interests her father has at heart, but his own when Hanako, a beautiful and mysterious mixed-race stranger, arrives to work as their maid and disturbs the order of ayame's life, an order as carefully constructed as the ikebana she loves to arrange.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
The Pasadena Playhouse

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2004   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  2            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Kapi'Olani's Faith

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Kumu Kahua    1991

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Kokoro (True Heart)

Synopsis:
The tragic loss of her daughter in a failed parent-child suicide attempt leaves a Japanese mother on trial for murder and grappling with the hardest challenge of all--not to die, but to live.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Japan Society, New York    1994

Company:
Theatre of Yugen/Japan Society

1st Published:
University of Illinois Press, 1998
Dramatists Play Service, Inc (2011)   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  5            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Last Resort, The

Synopsis:
The impact of tourism threatens the charm of a Hawaiian resort town and the serenity of the locals. Hostilities regarding land and love intensify, shaking everyone's ideals to the core, and revealing the fragility of ambitions and dreams. a staged reading directed by Claudia Weill.
- http://www.aatrevue.com

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Usc    2009

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Legend Of Bobbi Chicago, The

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Mark Taper    1985

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Lotus Of The Sublime Pond, The

Synopsis:
a feisty provincial maiden is chosen by the Emperor as his consort. although the empire can't change her, the mayhem that ensues when she is taken to the imperial capital results in her changing the empire.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Jewish Women's Theatre Project, Hudson Theatre, Hollywood, California    2000

Company:
Jewish Women's Theatre Project

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2005   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Matsuyama Mirror, The

Synopsis:
When her menses begins in the wake of her mother's death, a young girl tries to cope with change amid grief; and fight the desire not to grow up

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Honolulu, Hawaii    1993

Company:
Honolulu Theatre For Youth

1st Published:
University of Texas Press, 1996   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  4            Other:  -

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Morning Has Broken

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
-    -

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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My Life Is A Loaded Gun

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California    1989

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Necessities

Synopsis:
a hard-edged, aging film executive decides to adopt a baby as a means for bringing meaning to her empty life. But as the babies become just more commodities to enhance her life, she begins to discover that the true necessities of life cannot be bought, leased, or acquired.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California    1991

Company:
Old Globe Theatre

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2005   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Peculiar And Sudden Nearness Of The Moon, The

Synopsis:
When a white woman and her white husband give birth to a black baby, the woman is catapulted onto a journey to re-discover who she is and to come to grips with one of the deepest mysteries of life

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Sacramento Theatre Company, Sacramento, California    2006

Company:
Sacramento Theatre Company

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2006   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  3            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Petals And Thorns

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
UCLa    1982

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

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Shedding The Tiger

Synopsis:
When Japan's high-flying bubble economy collapses, Minako Sakurai, a woman of breeding who has defined her entire life by her father's legacy, is forced to confront a daunting but compelling stranger--herself. Like the parable of the fox who dons the costume of the tiger to intimidate other animals as it passes through the forest, Minako finds her costume being pulled away by the prickly branches of economic reality and the challenges they bring to bear upon her marriage and relationships, leaving Minako exposed for all the world to see. Through adversity, Minako discovers her humanity. Set in Kyoto in 1998.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Sacramento Theatre Company, Sacramento, California    2001

Company:
Sacramento Theatre Company

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2006   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  4            Other:  -

Further Reference:
-

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Tea

Synopsis:
Four women come together to clean the house of a fifth after her tragic suicide upsets the balance of life in their small Japanese immigrant community in the middle of the Kansas heartland. The spirit of the dead woman returns as a ghostly ringmaster to force the women to come to terms with the disquieting tension of their lives and find common ground so that she can escape from the limbo between life and death, and move on to the next world in peace-and indeed carve a pathway for their future passage. Set in Junction City, Kansas, 1968; and netherworlds.

Notes:
L. A. Theatre Works. Audio Cassette 1983

1st Produced:

Company:
-

1st Published:
Dramatists Play Service, NY, 2000   -

Music:
-

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  5            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Tea With Music

Synopsis:
Musical version of "Tea"

Notes:
Music by Nathan Wang; lyrics and book by Vekina Hasu Houston

1st Produced:
East West Players, Los Angeles    08 Nov 2012

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
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Genre:
Musical

Parts:
Male:  -            Female:  -            Other:  -

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Thirst

Synopsis:
after the death of their mother, two sisters and their mixed-race half sister struggle with their grief and finally confront the dissonance that has kept them from being a real family.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
Asian American Theatre Company, San Francisco, California    1986

Company:
Asian American Theatre Company

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2005   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  1            Female:  3            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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Tokyo Valentine

Synopsis:
-

Notes:
-

1st Produced:
East West Players, La    1992

Company:
-

1st Published:
-   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
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Waiting For Tadashi

Synopsis:
When Tadashi Lane turns 50 and his long-term relationship disintegrates, he sets out on an odyssey to find the adoptive Japanese mother from whom he has been estranged for 20 years. as his history as a World War II orphan in Tokyo and as an immigrant struggling to acculturate in the U.S. interweave with his present-day odyssey, Tadashi's search for his mother ultimately becomes a desperate attempt to find and define himself. Set in Japan, Kansas, and California. 1945-Present.

Notes:
-

1st Produced:

Company:
George Street Playhouse

1st Published:
alexander Street Press, 2005   -

Music:
-

To Buy This Play:
If Publisher (above) is underlined then the play may be purchased by direct click from the Publisher, otherwise (below) are AbeBooks for secondhand, signed & 1st eds and other Booksellers for new copies

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Genre:
Play/Drama

Parts:
Male:  2            Female:  5            Other:  -

Further Reference:
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