Christine Toy Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson is an 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, Crossroads Theatre, Leviathan Lab, Diverse City Theatre Company, Barrow Group, Weston Playhouse, Gorilla Rep, CAP21 etc. and are included in the...
Christine Toy Johnson is an 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, Crossroads Theatre, Leviathan Lab, Diverse City Theatre Company, Barrow Group, Weston Playhouse, Gorilla Rep, CAP21 etc. and are included in the Library of Congress Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection. In 2016, she won a fellowship in the Meryl Streep/IRIS Screenwriting Lab. Member: Dramatists Guild (Council), ASCAP, AEA (Council), SAG-AFTRA, Asian American Composers and Lyricists 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 25 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 has been a member of the elected leadership of Actors’ Equity Association since 1992, serving as National Chair of the union’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committee and also on the executive board of the Tony-honored Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts and was a founding steering committee member of AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition). She was a semi-finalist for the Ford Foundation "Leadership for a Changing World" Award in 2001, and has received multiple grant awards in support of her work from The Manhattan Community Arts Fund (5), The California Civil Liberties Public Education Program (4), The Puffin Foundation (3), The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (2), 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”. Christine is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Certificate of Screenwriting Program at NYU. For more information, please visit www.christinetoyjohnson.com. Twitter: @CToyJ

Plays

  • THE SECRET WISDOM OF TREES
    THE SECRET WISDOM OF TREES is the story of Abby Green, an intrepid and fiercely funny octogenarian, 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 octogenarian, 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?
  • 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. In progress.
  • DIARY OF A DOMESTIC GODDESS
    DIARY OF A DOMESTIC GODDESS by Christine Toy Johnson and Kevin Duda is the story of how Maggie Jones, a quintessential 1950’s Iowa housewife, learns to unleash her voice when she discovers a series of record albums in which she must co-star in pre-recorded scenes with celebrities of the day.
  • 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 Antoni...
    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
  • 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 Cambodian man framed for the murder of a young woman. While grappling with the idea that corruption within the Cambodian legal system is status quo, he begins to question how deeply his Khmer roots are woven into his own DNA and whether or...
    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 Cambodian man framed for the murder of a young woman. While grappling with the idea that corruption within the Cambodian legal system is status quo, he begins to question how deeply his Khmer roots are woven into his own DNA and whether or not he can, in fact, save the day, the way his American psyche insists he can. Inspired by true events currently happening in Cambodia.
  • INTERNAL BLEEDING
    Loosely based on a true story, INTERNAL BLEEDING is about an Olympic bound gymnast who becomes estranged from his parents after an accident leaves him paralyzed.
  • ADVENTURES OF A FAUX DESIGNER HANDBAG
    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.
  • 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 scandal that...
    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.)
  • THE NEW DEAL
    THE NEW DEAL is a comic drama about a Chinese American woman at odds with her cultural identity and propensity towards being hyper-superstitious. Her life and luck change, though, when she travels to Hong Kong to uncover a family secret and save their New York City restaurant from demolition.
  • 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)
  • 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.)
  • EMPRESS MEI LI LOTUS BLOSSOM
    A Teaneck born Asian American actress adopts the persona of an exotic Chinese film star so she can finally take Broadway by storm. (One Act / 30 minutes.)
  • 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 10-minute 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...
    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 10-minute 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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. (10 minutes.)
  • PEACE PLAZA
    A woman wonders about the cost of civil disobedience as she waits for her daughter on the day Martin Luther King 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.)
  • "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.)
  • DO THESE GENES MAKE ME LOOK FAT?
    A musing on the legacy of cravings. (10 minutes.)