Melissa Bell

Melissa Bell

I write new works for the stage that explore women’s agency and actions as they navigate their power and repression. LADY CAPULET, a prequel to Romeo & Juliet, performed in Central Park by Barefoot Shakespeare, Finalist Henley Rose Playwriting Competition for Women, 2017. COURAGE, based on Mother Courage & Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, an immersive journey produced by NACL Theater, Honored Finalist...
I write new works for the stage that explore women’s agency and actions as they navigate their power and repression. LADY CAPULET, a prequel to Romeo & Juliet, performed in Central Park by Barefoot Shakespeare, Finalist Henley Rose Playwriting Competition for Women, 2017. COURAGE, based on Mother Courage & Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, an immersive journey produced by NACL Theater, Honored Finalist 2019 Women in the Arts & Media Collaboration Award; director Tannis Kowalchuk, composer Rima Fand, & Mark Dunau. Premiered on Governor's Island in NYC & the Catskills. DEVIL & THE DEEP, Reimagining Treasure Island. Music & Lyrics by Graham Russell (of Air Supply) & Katie McGhie, produced by Theatre East. LOST IN LOVE, a musical based on the hits of Air Supply, a One-Night-Only Benefit for the Actors Fund, featuring Constantine Maroulis, Andrea McArdle and Graham Russell (Air Supply), who also wrote the score. LOVE, SEX ANARCHY had staged readings in NYC and excerpts performed at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC. EMPTY ROOM, Reading: Theatre East. ICEBOX PLACENTA published in Smith & Krause "Best Women's Monologues of 2019." Additional works presented by Bechdel Group's 24-hour Playwriting Challenge, Future is Female Festival, The Reproductive Rights Festival, 29th Street Playwrights Collective New Works Series, Marble Church Summer Arts Festival, The Mother-Lode Festival, Turn To Flesh 5th Annual Staged Reading. 29th Street Playwrights Collective Resident Playwright, Dramatist Guild Member, Columbia University, BA, Concentration in Writing.

Plays

  • LADY CAPULET
    "Melissa Bell reimagines the life of Juliet’s mother in the years before the events of Romeo & Juliet in this classical prequel." –Time Out NY --- "Tantalizing" -Roundtheworldstage.com
    What caused the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets? This prequel to Romeo and Juliet follows the journey of Rose from country girl to matriarch, navigating her repression and power in 16th...
    "Melissa Bell reimagines the life of Juliet’s mother in the years before the events of Romeo & Juliet in this classical prequel." –Time Out NY --- "Tantalizing" -Roundtheworldstage.com
    What caused the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets? This prequel to Romeo and Juliet follows the journey of Rose from country girl to matriarch, navigating her repression and power in 16th Century Verona in a time when family, money, power and gender determine everything.
    Using heightened language, LADY CAPULET asks large questions about women’s place in the culture through a Shakespearean lens and features a strong female lead.
    Although not a musical, this show has incidental music available without royalty, written by Graham Russell of Air Supply.
  • GAME BOY
    Artan’s girlfriend Justine has refused to play his new video game and walked out, leaving him to his own devices, literally. What is this new game, and what does it say about the way women are perceived in society?
  • REMIX
    After being written off as a “one hit wonder,” MINI’s pop icon status is reignited with the remix of her past hit by a younger rap artist, HAKIM XL, which becomes this week’s hottest download. MINI is within reach of a long-desired comeback. Careers burn hot and fast in a business that perpetuates abusive behavior of which MINI is both victim and participant. REMIX deep-dives into the realm of celebrity, the...
    After being written off as a “one hit wonder,” MINI’s pop icon status is reignited with the remix of her past hit by a younger rap artist, HAKIM XL, which becomes this week’s hottest download. MINI is within reach of a long-desired comeback. Careers burn hot and fast in a business that perpetuates abusive behavior of which MINI is both victim and participant. REMIX deep-dives into the realm of celebrity, the obsessive need to be worshiped and the road to recovery.
  • ZOE COMES HOME
    Gloria has problems. Anxiety. Depression. Hoarding. Her daughter Zoe has come for one of her increasingly rare visits. She finds that Gloria is driving when she shouldn’t, garbage piling up and her cousin Fred has banned her from his Uber. And what is this new art project in the back yard? Now the new neighbor is making demands. Karma is a bitch and it lives next door. As Zoe learns the root cause of her mother...
    Gloria has problems. Anxiety. Depression. Hoarding. Her daughter Zoe has come for one of her increasingly rare visits. She finds that Gloria is driving when she shouldn’t, garbage piling up and her cousin Fred has banned her from his Uber. And what is this new art project in the back yard? Now the new neighbor is making demands. Karma is a bitch and it lives next door. As Zoe learns the root cause of her mother’s mental breakdown, she becomes the protector of her mother’s legacy.
  • Icebox Placenta (a monologue for women)
    Patti wants to follow a holistic ritual for her birth placenta, but finds it challenging in the middle of the city; and so, keeps it in her freezer for four years.

    (previously entitled "Playground Placenta")
  • TREASURE, a musical reimagining of RL Stevenson's Treasure Island
    Music and Lyrics by Graham Russell (AIR SUPPLY) and Katie McGhie, Book by Melissa Bell. Jim Hawkins’ dream of going to sea becomes reality after he discovers a treasure map. But where he thought he would find adventure, he is confronted by greed, betrayal and mutiny. To save himself and the crew, Jim must make choices that challenge his values of loyalty, trust and integrity. This adaptation includes devised...
    Music and Lyrics by Graham Russell (AIR SUPPLY) and Katie McGhie, Book by Melissa Bell. Jim Hawkins’ dream of going to sea becomes reality after he discovers a treasure map. But where he thought he would find adventure, he is confronted by greed, betrayal and mutiny. To save himself and the crew, Jim must make choices that challenge his values of loyalty, trust and integrity. This adaptation includes devised roles for women, including Benita Gunn, a young female protagonist, who helps Jim discover the true meaning of Treasure.
  • ANGEL OF HOPE
    A young girl rescues an angel from a Christmas tree while she and her sister try to cope with their sense of abandonment by their mother; when Hope enters their lives. Some families are born. Others are found.
  • MINI'S COMEBACK
    After 12 years, one-hit-wonder MINI has a chance for a big comeback. Her long time ex-producer wants a piece of the action and maybe a piece of MINI.
  • THIS IS HOW IT STARTS
    THE GENERAL is on a mission to deport the enemies of the people of the United States of America. The SERGEANT is a true believer. SOLDIERS are refusing to "do their duty." ARNIE just wants a job. This short plays examines the way xenophobia becomes policy.
  • MINI'S COMEBACK (20-min one act)
    After 12 years, one-hit-wonder MINI has a chance for a comeback. Her long time ex-producer wants a piece of the action and, possibly, a piece of MINI too. She knows what it takes. Does she still have it?
  • The Ghosts of Wuthering Heights: A Literary Haunted House
    Did you know Emily Bronte framed her novel as a ghost story? In this immersive adaptation, the spirits of seven characters, including the iconic Heathcliff and Catherine, return to earth, one room at a time, to tell their stories. The audience moves between rooms in random order until all characters are heard, bringing together the passionate story of love, betrayal, and revenge of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

  • LOVE, SEX, ANARCHY
    Escaping a brutal childhood and the monotony of factory work in Russia, Emma Goldman arrives in New York City, ripe for the Anarchist philosophy. A fiery speaker, proponent of woman’s reproductive rights and practitioner of Free Love, she becomes caught up in a passionate affair with Ben Reitman. Through their combined efforts, she becomes the most notorious woman in America. But Emma is tortured by Ben’s...
    Escaping a brutal childhood and the monotony of factory work in Russia, Emma Goldman arrives in New York City, ripe for the Anarchist philosophy. A fiery speaker, proponent of woman’s reproductive rights and practitioner of Free Love, she becomes caught up in a passionate affair with Ben Reitman. Through their combined efforts, she becomes the most notorious woman in America. But Emma is tortured by Ben’s inconsistencies and sexual betrayals. Can Emma reconcile her idealistic beliefs with her all too human emotional needs?
  • Stripes and Polka-Dots
    Matt and Zoe are having drinks in a bar, recapping the meeting of the day. But something is bothering Matt. Is it his drink? Is the way the bartender ignores him? Or does he feel threatened in some odd way? What does a drink say about the person who's drinking it, if anything?
  • THE AGENDA
    A type-A Assistant Principal named Betsy, a diabetic librarian, a mother in denial, and a crusading teacher discuss Women’s History Month, slavery, teenage pregnancy, control, bias, and everyone is trying to forward their agenda; all happening at the local PTA meeting. Cookie anyone? (Formerly titled THE PTA MEETING)
  • THE PTA MEETING
    NEW TITLE: THE AGENDA A type-A Assistant Principal named Betsy, a diabetic librarian, a mother in denial, and a crusading teacher discuss Women’s History Month, slavery, teenage pregnancy, control, bias, and everyone is trying to forward their agenda; all happening at the local PTA meeting. Cookie anyone? (Formerly titled THE PTA MEETING)