Christine Toy Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson is a Tony honored, Obie, Rosetta LeNoire, JACL, and Asian American Arts Alliance award-winning writer, actor, director, filmmaker and advocate for inclusion.

Her plays and libretti have been developed with the Roundabout Theatre Company, The O'Neill Theater Center, Prospect Theater Company, Village Theatre, Ars Nova, Greater Boston Stage Company, the Abingdon,...
Christine Toy Johnson is a Tony honored, Obie, Rosetta LeNoire, JACL, and Asian American Arts Alliance award-winning writer, actor, director, filmmaker and advocate for inclusion.

Her plays and libretti have been developed with the Roundabout Theatre Company, The O'Neill Theater Center, Prospect Theater Company, Village Theatre, Ars Nova, Greater Boston Stage Company, the Abingdon, Crossroads Theatre, Leviathan Lab, Diverse City Theatre Company, Barrow Group, Weston Playhouse, Gorilla Rep, CAP21 etc.,are included in the Library of Congress Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection, and published by Smith & Kraus, Rowman & Littlefield, and Applause Books. In 2016, she won a fellowship in the Meryl Streep/IRIS Screenwriting Lab.

Member: Dramatists Guild (Treasurer), ASCAP, AEA, SAG-AFTRA, Asian American Musical Theater Writers Project (founder), BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop (alum). Christine was the Executive Producer and Co-Director with her husband, filmmaker Bruce Johnson, of TRANSCENDING – THE WAT MISAKA STORY, the award-winning documentary feature film about Japanese American basketball star Wat Misaka, the first person of color to be drafted into what is now the NBA by the 1947 New York Knicks.

As a performer, she has been breaking the color barrier in non-traditionally cast roles for over 30 years, and has been featured extensively on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theatres across the country, in film, television, and concerts worldwide.

An avid advocate of inclusion, Christine serves as Treasurer of the Dramatists Guild and as chair of the Guild's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. She is a founding steering committee member of AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition) and has received multiple grant awards in support of her work from The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (11), The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (4), The Puffin Foundation (3), The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (3), Asian Women Giving Circle, The Open Meadows Foundation, and The Boomerang Fund for Artists.

She was honored by the JACL (the nation’s largest and oldest Asian American civil rights organization) in 2010 for “exemplary leadership and dedication”, the Asian American Arts Alliance in 2012 for “Outstanding Service in the Arts”, and received the 2013 Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association for “outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience in the American theatre”. AAPAC received an Obie for their collective work in diversity, equity and inclusion in 2020 and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre in 2022. Christine is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Certificate of Screenwriting Program at NYU.

Christine is the host of The Dramatists Guild's podcast TALKBACK, distributed on the Broadway Podcast Network.

For more information, please visit www.christinetoyjohnson.com. Twitter/Insta: @CToyJ

Plays

  • EMPRESS MEI LI LOTUS BLOSSOM (Zoom adaptation available)
    A Teaneck born Asian American actress adopts the persona of an exotic Hong Kong movie star so she can finally take Broadway by storm.

    The Prologue, Parts 1, 2 and 3 are available as a stage version or all taking place on Zoom. Part 1 of the Zoom version is attached.
  • A LITTLE MORE BLUE
    A solo play with music that’s part memoire, part revelation, A LITTLE MORE BLUE is about an Asian American woman who discovers how much her father's lifelong quest to be an “All American guy” has galvanized her own journey to make fighting for his dream one of her own.
  • ADVENTURES OF A FAUX DESIGNER HANDBAG (audio/radio & stage versions)
    ADVENTURES OF A FAUX DESIGNER HANDBAG is a comedy about three friends frantically trying to find a limited edition handbag. They are catapulted through space and time from the maze of Chinatown, New York, to the Splendid China theme park in Orlando, Florida, where they try to discover if authenticity is really in the eye of the beholder. (Audio/radio play version and stage versions available)
  • THE SECRET WISDOM OF TREES
    THE SECRET WISDOM OF TREES is the story of Abby Green, an intrepid and fiercely funny septuagenarian, who tries to prepare her family and herself for her journey into Alzheimer’s by planting trees at the locations of her biggest memories. When her daughter dies and her grandchildren turn against her, she struggles with knowing that even her most painful memories are becoming difficult to hold onto. What’s worse...
    THE SECRET WISDOM OF TREES is the story of Abby Green, an intrepid and fiercely funny septuagenarian, who tries to prepare her family and herself for her journey into Alzheimer’s by planting trees at the locations of her biggest memories. When her daughter dies and her grandchildren turn against her, she struggles with knowing that even her most painful memories are becoming difficult to hold onto. What’s worse – losing your family or losing the memories of what has become of them? Inspired by true events. Dedicated to Lynn Cohen.
  • EXPRESSION OF REGRET
    Three Chinese American women wonder if the end of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the U.S. government’s apology for it will make it easier to breathe. (15 minutes.)
  • PAPER SON
    PAPER SON is the story of a young Chinese man who must learn to balance his American identity with his family’s immigrant journey. It’s 1952, and when he meets his match in an American-born-Chinese girl, romance and new questions about the name he lost in his secretly illegal immigration follow. (The prequel to THE NEW DEAL).
  • GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
    Sam Chey, a highly successful Cambodian-American lawyer returning to Phnom Penh for the first time since his parents fled the Khmer Rouge, tries to find justice for a young man framed for murder. While grappling with the idea that corruption within the Cambodian legal system is status quo, he begins to question whether or not he can save the day, the way his American psyche insists he can. Inspired by true...
    Sam Chey, a highly successful Cambodian-American lawyer returning to Phnom Penh for the first time since his parents fled the Khmer Rouge, tries to find justice for a young man framed for murder. While grappling with the idea that corruption within the Cambodian legal system is status quo, he begins to question whether or not he can save the day, the way his American psyche insists he can. Inspired by true events currently happening in Cambodia.
  • who we are
    An Insurrectionist accuses Chinese American elementary school students of causing the Global Pandemic.
  • PEACE PLAZA
    A woman whose family lived through the Japanese internment camps wonders about the cost of civil disobedience as she waits for her daughter on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot. (10 minutes.)
  • WELCOME TO TELEVISION
    Behind the scenes at Perfect Pitched Productions, newcomer Sabrina Lee discovers that “reality” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. (One Act / 30 minutes.)
  • TILL SOON, ANNE
    A musical.
    Book & Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson. Music by Bobby Cronin.
    TILL SOON, ANNE is the story of a young woman at the end of her journey with brain cancer, who gathers her closest friends and family together for one final perfect weekend.
  • DIARY OF A DOMESTIC GODDESS
    By Kevin Duda and Christine Toy Johnson.
    Meet Maggie Jones, a quintessential 1950’s Iowa housewife who is “perfectly perfect in every single way.” Every morning, she sets out her husband’s suit and tie and shoes and socks, presses his shirt, whips the butter, bakes the bread, polishes the silver, knits a sweater, sets the table, weaves the napkins, fries the bacon, scrambles the eggs, picks up the paper...
    By Kevin Duda and Christine Toy Johnson.
    Meet Maggie Jones, a quintessential 1950’s Iowa housewife who is “perfectly perfect in every single way.” Every morning, she sets out her husband’s suit and tie and shoes and socks, presses his shirt, whips the butter, bakes the bread, polishes the silver, knits a sweater, sets the table, weaves the napkins, fries the bacon, scrambles the eggs, picks up the paper, and pours the coffee – all before 8 a.m. But, something is missing. She can’t help but think that she can do more…but what? Perhaps a visit from a mysterious traveling salesman, who presents her with The Hollywood Housewife Records, will hold the key. Soon she is acting out zany, pre-recorded scenes with her favorite celebrities. As Maggie gets swept away by the stories and characters she plays, she discovers that learning to say what she really means makes her more “perfectly perfect” than she ever could have imagined.
  • AMERICA'S BFF
    Three finalists to become the face of a beloved snack company find out they may already know the secret to winning - and it's not pretty.
  • LIVING WHILE ASIAN
    Laurie, an Asian American freelance musician sheltering in place by herself on the upper westside of Manhattan during the pandemic known as COVID-19, gives a video update to her Facebook friends.
  • FAMILY DISTANCING
    Ari, an Asian American freelance photographer sheltering in place with his husband in their Los Angeles home during the pandemic known as COVID-19, gives a Marco polo video update to his college friends.
  • YOU THINK YOU KNOW US
    NICOLE, an African-American female marketing consultant living in Minneapolis, Minnesota responds to remarks pointed towards her from a middle aged Caucasian man wearing a “Make America Great” baseball cap at a family style restaurant off the highway in St Cloud.
  • INTERNAL BLEEDING
    An Olympic bound gymnast becomes estranged from his parents after an accident leaves him paralyzed. Inspired by a true story.
  • TRUTH AGAINST THE WORLD: THE LIFE AND LOVES OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
    Rebounding from repeated personal tragedy and intent on setting the record straight about his life’s work, Frank Lloyd Wright at age 65 gives a press conference about his new autobiography and plans for enduring the future.

    He is 65 years old and the depression in full force. He hasn't been getting many commissions because of his ongoing reputation for being reckless with funds and the...
    Rebounding from repeated personal tragedy and intent on setting the record straight about his life’s work, Frank Lloyd Wright at age 65 gives a press conference about his new autobiography and plans for enduring the future.

    He is 65 years old and the depression in full force. He hasn't been getting many commissions because of his ongoing reputation for being reckless with funds and the scandal that continues to surround him, perpetuated by the press – but he is about to embark on the most fruitful and successful period of creativity in his life. He displays the utter confidence and sense of imperviousness he maintained throughout his entire life -- one that empowers him to achieve his lifelong mission: to change people’s lives by changing the space in which they live.

    In internal moments, he hears questions from the women in his life, revealing how much they influenced him and how. Towards the end of the play, he is surprised to gain insight from the voice of his older self –which leads him to be inspired, once again, by his own mission and purpose in life: to create a new society built on the principal of architectural beauty.

    Written for Tony-nominated actor Alan Campbell (SUNSET BLVD.)
    For more information (including licensing), please visit www.franklloydwrightonstage.com
  • MY BOYFRIEND IS AN ALIEN (AND I'M OKAY WITH THAT!)
    Book & Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson. Music by Bobby Cronin.

    Taking place in Waterloo, Iowa in the summer of 1955, MY BOYFRIEND IS AN ALIEN (AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT!) is a short musical about Arlene, a cashier at the local Hinky Dinky, whose life changes when she falls in love with an Alien named David. Things get complicated when she reveals to him that she is actually a Witch who put a...
    Book & Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson. Music by Bobby Cronin.

    Taking place in Waterloo, Iowa in the summer of 1955, MY BOYFRIEND IS AN ALIEN (AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT!) is a short musical about Arlene, a cashier at the local Hinky Dinky, whose life changes when she falls in love with an Alien named David. Things get complicated when she reveals to him that she is actually a Witch who put a spell on him to become pregnant with his child. And when a panicked David tells her that they will be giving birth to a “Witchalien”, the most powerful species known to man, woman, witch and alien – they’re scared to death to imagine what kind of Witchalien their future child might be.
  • TANFORAN
    A Caucasian woman married to a Japanese American man during World War II must reconcile the identity the U.S. government gives her with the only home she knows: her family. (10 minutes.)
  • "EVER SEE A FAT CHINESE?"
    Lexy Lee has a sneaking suspicion that she’s “large for her breed”. She’ll do anything for a major-league make over. Or will she? (15 minutes.)
  • HALO HALO BIRTHDAY
    A Filipina widowed mother who has traveled to Tokyo to be an “overseas performing artist” tries her best to communicate absentee birthday wishes to her daughter back in the Philippines. (10 minutes.)
  • RIDING OUT THE STORM
    RIDIING OUT THE STORM - A ten-minute musical. (Book and Lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, Music by Michael Mott.) On the day Hurricane Sandy is set to hit Staten Island, a woman must decide whether or not to evacuate the house her late husband built.
  • ANTONI & AN WEI
    ANTONI & AN WEI – A musical in one act. (Book and lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, Music and lyrics by Jason Ma). Part history, part musing. Antoni Gaudi, the famed Catalan architect, finds his life’s calling come sharply into focus when he falls in love with Li An Wei, a Shanghainese opera singer. Set in Barcelona in both 1879 (the year Gaudi started building La Sagrada Familia) and 1926 (the year he died...
    ANTONI & AN WEI – A musical in one act. (Book and lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, Music and lyrics by Jason Ma). Part history, part musing. Antoni Gaudi, the famed Catalan architect, finds his life’s calling come sharply into focus when he falls in love with Li An Wei, a Shanghainese opera singer. Set in Barcelona in both 1879 (the year Gaudi started building La Sagrada Familia) and 1926 (the year he died, still building it), we see Antoni and An Wei discover how love and inspiration can be manifested in a multitude of grand and epic, yet ultimately intimate and deeply personal ways. (40 minutes.)
  • BARCELONA
    BARCELONA – A musical. (Book and lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, music and lyrics by Jason Ma.) A story about the enduring power of love, inspiration and art – and the family ties that bind them.

    Julianna, an American novelist, travels to Barcelona to connect with her dead sister Antoinette, after a family heirloom mysteriously materializes in a dream she has about Antoinette and famed architect...
    BARCELONA – A musical. (Book and lyrics by Christine Toy Johnson, music and lyrics by Jason Ma.) A story about the enduring power of love, inspiration and art – and the family ties that bind them.

    Julianna, an American novelist, travels to Barcelona to connect with her dead sister Antoinette, after a family heirloom mysteriously materializes in a dream she has about Antoinette and famed architect Antoni Gaudi. We travel between time periods – from Gaudi’s era (1879 and 1926) into 2015, mixing fact and mostly fiction. In this Barcelona, time and reality is fluid.

    Setting: NYC, Barcelona, Spain and the Catalan Seaside.
    Time: 1879, 1926, 2015, and the space in between
  • THE NEW DEAL
    In a battle with her brother to keep her family’s restaurant from being demolished, Abigail Lee finds out that saving the past isn’t always the same as fighting for the future.
  • EYE D
    EYE D – A documentary-style theatre piece with music; a conversation with Asian American, Latina and African-American women on race, ethnicity, and the beauty of Michelle Obama. (One Act / 40 minutes)
  • DO THESE GENES MAKE ME LOOK FAT?
    A musing on the legacy of cravings. (7 minutes.)