The arts can be a great way to express yourself – just ask some of the great playwrights who have worked with Imagination Stage! We asked them about why they write, and how children can make sure their voices are heard.
Deborah Wicks La Puma
Deborah Wicks La Puma is a composer, music director, orchestrator and choral conductor. Her work for adults and children has been seen by audience members around the globe, from Singapore to Australia to the East Room of the White House. Her musical arranging credits in Theatre for Young Audiences include hits such as Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny, as well as Joan Cushing’s Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, Miss Nelson is Missing, and Le Petite Rouge, all three of which were commissioned by Imagination Stage. In addition, Ms. La Puma has collaborated with playwright Karen Zacarias to write music for Imagination Stage commissions Looking for Roberto Clemente, The Magical Piñata, and Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans.
Miriam Gonzalez is continuing her work with Imagination Stage with 10 Seconds, an upcoming play about teens and their experiences with police, and a second Oyeme play, based on the experiences of refugee youth from Central America. These projects are supported by grants from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of American, the MAP Fund, and Maryland Humanities.
Barry Kornhauser‘s honors include the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America’s Orlin Corey Medallion, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Play, Bonderman Playwriting Prize, and three AATE Distinguished Play Awards. Barry’s plays have been commissioned and produced by such Tony Award-winning stages as the Children’s Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, the Shakespeare Theatre, as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Currently, Barry works for the Millersville University Office of Visual & Performing Arts. In 2001, Imagination Stage collaborated with Barry to write and produce Honey & Sting, a play about bio genetics that toured the DMV area.
Psalmmayene 24 is a 2020 winner of the Mellon Foundations Resident Playwright award with Mosaic Theatre Company and an award winning DC-based director, playwright and actor. Since 2008, Psalm has written and directed four Hip Hop musicals for Imagination Stage including Zomo the Rabbit, P.Nokio, Cinderella: the remix, and The Freshest Snow Whyte.
Eric Coble has written scripts for adults and not-quite adults, including The Velocity of Autumn (which opened on Broadway in 2014), Bright Ideas, The Dead Guy, Natural Selection, For Better, Southern Rapture, A Girl’s Guide To Coffee, My Barking Dog, and The Giver, which have been produced Off-Broadway, in all 50 states, and on several continents. He has received many awards including an Emmy nomination, the 2011 AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation, and the Chorpenning Playwriting Award for Body of Work. For Imagination Stage, Eric was commissioned to write Strange Intelligence a play about the effects of biotechnology which toured the DMV area.
Caleen Jennings is an expert on playwriting, African American performing arts, Shakespeare performance, and children’s theatre. She recently retired from American University where she was Professor of Performing Arts and is the author of more than 80 plays. She is a recipient of the 2002 Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heidemann Award and in 1999, she received a $10,000 award from the Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays for her play Free Like Brer Rabbit which was commissioned, developed, and produced by Imagination Stage. Recently, she received two Helen Hayes nominations for outstanding new play for her plays Queens Girl in the World and Queens Girl in Africa.
Natsu Onoda Power
Natsu Onoda Power is a writer, director and designer, and an associate professor in Georgetown’s Program in Theater and Performance Studies, where she has taught since 2005. Recent credits include “Thumbelina” (Imagination Stage),”The Lathe of Heaven” (Spooky Action Theater/ Georgetown University), The T Party (writer/ director, Forum Theatre) ,” A Trip to the Moon” (writer/ director/ illustrator, Synetic Theatre), “Astro Boy and the God of Comics” (writer/ director, The Studio Theatre) . Her set design has been seen at Company One, Imagination Stage, Forum Theatre, and Synetic Theatre.. Prof. Onoda Power holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and is the author of God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post World War II Manga (The University Press of Mississippi, 2009).
David S. Craig
David S. Craig is a Toronto based playwright and lyricist who has written over twenty-nine professionally produced dramatic works. His plays and productions have won numerous awards. For Imagination Stage, Mr. Craig was commissioned to write The Neverending Story (adapted from the novel by Michael Ende) and Double Trouble (aka The Parent Trap) with music by Marc Schubring which was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical Adaptation in Washington, DC.
Charles Way is a Toronto based playwright and lyricist who has written over twenty-nine professionally produced dramatic works. His plays and productions have won numerous awards. For Imagination Stage, Mr. Craig was commissioned to write “The Neverending Story” (adapted from the novel by Michael Ende) and “Double Trouble” (aka The Parent Trap) with music by Marc Schubring which was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical Adaptation in Washington, DC.