The official website of Velina Hasu Houston with information regarding her artistic career.
"Tea, With Music," Photo by Michael Lamont
Tea, With Music, Book and Lyrics by Velina Hasu Houston and Music by Nathan Wang, is based upon Houston's play, Tea, a story about five Japanese international brides that preceded The Joy Luck Club by several years and also inspired it. The play was written in 1981, had a Rockefeller Workshop Production in 1984, and premiered Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1987. The musical opened in 2012 at East West Players, directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera. Produced and studied internationally, Tea is the most presented play about the Japanese female experience in the United States and beyond. The book for Tea, With Music was a 2013 L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards nominee for Best Book of an Original Musical.
"Tea is not quiet, but turbulent... the eye of the hurricane."From Velina Hasu Houston's Tea
Velina Hasu Houston is an internationally celebrated writer with over 30 writing commissions. While she is foremost a playwright, her writing includes theatre, musical theatre, film, television, essays, poetry, journalism, and blogging.
Ethnically non-binary, she is Japanese, African American, Blackfoot Native American, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean.
In New York, U.S. nationwide, and globally, her work is produced at notable institutions such as Manhattan Theatre Club, Old Globe Theatre, and Los Angeles Opera; and she writes film-television work-for-hire. In addition, her plays are studied around the globe, including the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Germany, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, England, India, Japan, Egypt, Australia, and Algiers.
A co-recipient of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she also has been honored by the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Japan Foundation, Wallace Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, and others.
She founded graduate playwriting studies at the School of Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California, where she is a presidentially appointed USC Distinguished Professor of Theatre in Dramatic Writing and USC Resident Playwright. For thirty-one years, she served as Director of MFA Dramatic Writing and Head of Undergraduate Playwriting. She also teaches story-building at the USC Iovine Young Academy, is an Associated Faculty Member of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, Affiliated Faculty with East Asian Studies and American Studies & Ethnicity, and a member of the USC Asian Pacific Islander Faculty-Staff Association. Formerly, she has taught and/or presented lectures at the University of California at Los Angeles, Doshisha University (Kyoto), Aoyama Gakuin Daigaku (Tokyo), Osaka University (Osaka), and Kyoto University (Kyoto); and numerous US institutions. She participated in a research cluster at Keio Daigaku (Tokyo).
For film and television, she has written work-for-hire for several independent producers as well as Columbia Pictures, PBS, Eleven Arts, Sidney Poitier, and others. She co-produced and penned the screenplay for the film short, Path of Dreams, directed by Tamara Ruppart, which has garnered awards nationwide and globally, including best screenplay at the London International Filmmakers’ Festival. Her documentary film with producers Frank Suffert and Lillemor Mallau, Desert Dreamers, narrated by Peter Fonda; was produced by PBS. Also for PBS, Houston wrote the adaptation of Journey Home, Yoshiko Uchida’s novel about Japanese American World War II forced incarceration; and wrote several episodes for Lancit Media/PBS’ Puzzle Place.
She is on the Board of Trustees for Berklee College (Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory @ Berklee). At the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Los Angeles, she is Writers’ Odyssey Associate Artist. She is a member of New Circle Theatre Company, New York, and the New Circle Theatre Company Writers’ Group, New York.
A Fulbright Scholar (Fulbright Specialist Project, Aoyama Gakuin Daigaku, Tokyo, Japan) and Phi Beta Kappa, she served on the State Department's Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission for six years. Her archives are with The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. She is published by American Theatre, Los Angeles Times, Dramatists Play Service, The Dramatist, Smith & Kraus, and others. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America-West, Directors’ Lab West Advisory Council, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and the League of Professional Theatre Women. Her blog, matchabook, focuses on multiethnicity, biculturalism, and BIPOC and female theatre-makers.
Agent: Mr. Jack Tantleff, Ms. Rachel Ellicott, Paradigm Talent Agency.
Entertainment Attorney: Mr. Michael C. Donaldson, Esq., Donaldson Callif Perez.
Ichigo ichie... each encounter in life happens only once.