Michelle Tyrene Johnson

Michelle Tyrene Johnson

COMMISSIONS

Only One Day A Year, Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, Mo., scheduled for Fall 2020 and selected for Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices 2020 as one of six selected national plays

Coloring Within The Lines
a one-act play with the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum’s “30 Americans” Exhibit, August 2019

Justice in the Embers
Production, StoryWorks (...
COMMISSIONS

Only One Day A Year, Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, Mo., scheduled for Fall 2020 and selected for Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices 2020 as one of six selected national plays

Coloring Within The Lines
a one-act play with the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum’s “30 Americans” Exhibit, August 2019

Justice in the Embers
Production, StoryWorks (Tides Theater of San Francisco and Center for Investigative Reporting),
Oakland, CA, July 2016
Kansas City, Mo., February 2016

FULL-LENGTH PLAYS

The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip
Scheduled production, Talking Horse Productions (Columbia, Mo.), February 2020
Production, KC Melting Pot Theatre Co. (Kansas City, Mo.), February 2019
Finalist in 2018 New Works Festival at Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX)
Semi-finalist in Unicorn Theatre (Kansas City) 2017-2018 In-Progress New Play Reading Series
Winner of Olathe Civic Theatre (Olathe, KS) New Works Playwrights Competition, March 2017
Staged Reading, National Black Theatre Co. (NYC), March 2017

Final Arrangements
Staged reading, The Fire This Festival (NYC), January 2018
Staged reading, Script2Stage2Screen Theatre Co. (Rancho Mirage, CA), March 2017
(Winner of four awards in the 2017 Desert Theatre League Awards)

Echoes of Octavia
Staged reading, TRU Voices (NYC), June 2015
Full production, MeltingPot KC Theater Company, August 2014
Staged reading, MeltingPot KC Theater Company, September 2013

Pass Over
Production, Olathe Civic Theatre Association, scheduled April 2019
Staged reading, Westport Center for the Arts (Kansas City, Mo.), scheduled June 2018
Staged reading, Script2Stage2Screen Theatre Co. (Rancho Mirage, CA), March 2018
Staged reading, Jewish Ensemble Theatre (Detroit, MI) 2017 Festival of New Plays, June 2017
Workshop reading, Millikin University Theater Dept. (Decateur, Ill.), Nov. 2015

Mustard Seeds
Workshop Reading, Nelson-Atkins Art Museum,(Kansas City, Mo.), February 2018

Buried Roots
Staged reading at KC Repertory Theatre in New Works Festival (Kansas City, Mo.), August 2019
Staged reading/podcast at Parsnip Ship (NYC), October 2019

ONE-ACT PLAYS
The Green Duck Lounge
Staged reading, Mizzou New Works Series (Columbia, Mo.), Feb. 2017
Full Production, University of Missouri Theatre Department (Columbia, Mo.), Feb. 2018

Best Light
Production, Kansas City Fringe Festival, July 2015

Rights of Passage
Staged reading at KC Repertory Theatre in New Works Festival (Kansas City, Mo.), May 2016
Production, Big Momma’s Backporch Theater Co. (Springfield, Mo.), Feb. 2015
Staged reading, Midwest Dramatists Center (Kansas City), October 2014

Riding Backwards
Production, Kansas City Fringe Festival, July 2014

Wiccans in the ‘Hood
Production, BrainSpunk Theater (Philadelphia, PA), June 2014
Full production, Kansas City Fringe Festival (Sixth most attended show out of more than 120 in the festival), July 2013
Full production, Midwinter Madness Festival (New York City), February 2013

Trading Races: From Rodney King to Paula Deen
Production, BrainSpunk Theater (Philadelphia, PA), June 2014 Full production, Planet Connections Theater Festival (New York City; play nominated for Best Director, Best Lead Actor, and Best Lead Actress), May 2014

The Negro Whisperer
Kansas City Kwaanza Festival, December 2018
Production, Emerging Artists Theater's 10th Annual New Work Series (New York City), October 2013
Production, The Fire This Time Festival (NYC), January 2017

10- MINUTE PLAYS
Waiting for Virginia Wolfe
Production, The Fire This Time Festival (NYC), January 2017

Forever Hold Your Peace
Production, Smoked Apple Productions (Louisville, KY), May 2015
Olivia's Little Patch of Snow
Production, Fade to Black Festival (Houston, TX), June 2014
What A Fool Believes
Production, Superstition Play Festival (Milford, CT), July 2013
A Rebecca By Any Other Name is Still A Becky
Full production, Fade to Black Play Festival (Houston, TX), June 2013

Three Dogs and a Bone
Staged reading, Potluck Productions (Kansas City, MO), November 2012

As The Guiding Light Turns
Production, Kansas City Fringe Festival, July 2012

No Other Way
Production, Barn Players of Mission, Kansas, December 2011

SPECIAL EVENTS
An Evening Featuring the Work of Michelle Tyrene Johnson
Staged reading, Fishtank Performance Studio (Kansas City, MO), February 2014

140 Word Play
Reading, “World Theater Day Event,” Mind The Gap Theater (New York City), March 2013

Excerpt from Cushioned Edges (Renamed “Best Light”)
Staged reading, “Women Who Write Showcase,” Unicorn Theatre (Kansas City, MO), February 2013

HONORS

Charlotte Street Foundation Resident Artist 2019-2020

Selected as one of nine playwrights attending HBMG Foundations’s 2019 National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Creede, Colorado

Selected as one of the featured playwrights for The Fire This Time Festival 2017 (NYC)

Selected as BrainSpunk Theater Playwright-in-Residence for 2015 (Philadelphia, PA)

One of four inaugural resident playwrights of Midwest Dramatists Center (Kansas City, MO) April 2014

One of five writers selected for Project Playwright (Kansas City, MO), Two 10-minute play productions, June 2013
Board member of International Centre of Women Playwrights from 2013-2015

Playwright Respondent for the Mid-America Theater Conference, March 2015

Playwright Adviser at William Inge Center for the Arts 13th Annual High School 24 Hour Plays Event, August 2015

MEMBERSHIPS

Dramatists Guild of America
Midwest Dramatists Center (founder and board member)

EDUCATION

Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting degree candidate; anticipated completion May 2023
Spalding University (Low Residency Program)

Doctorate of Law, University of Missouri-Columbia, May 1995
Bachelor of Science in Journalism, University of Kansas, December 1986
Civil Mediation Certification, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law’s Center for Dispute Resolution, June 2003

Plays

  • Buried Roots
    Jaime McBride, an African-American woman college professor, studies and teaches genealogy. She has improperly used her resources to find out about her biological family. And without knowing that a blood tie exists, someone walks into Jaime's life, which causes Jaime to question her life choices, her concept of family, and to figure out if it's possible to re-plant an old family tree.
  • The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip
    Five African-American women board a train in Kansas City, friends convening for a movable feast of good wine and impromptu book chat. When one, the ruminative, ever curious librarian Marie gets off, the contemporary world disappears in a flash and time itself collapses around her. Suddenly, she's very alone and in the stark, informally segregated Booneville depot. It's the ripe, slower-paced, Billie...
    Five African-American women board a train in Kansas City, friends convening for a movable feast of good wine and impromptu book chat. When one, the ruminative, ever curious librarian Marie gets off, the contemporary world disappears in a flash and time itself collapses around her. Suddenly, she's very alone and in the stark, informally segregated Booneville depot. It's the ripe, slower-paced, Billie Holiday-infused but palpably dangerous 1940s Midwest, and Marie, armed only with her grandmother's out-of-print guide, The Negro Motorist Greenbook, must negotiate the threatening landscape of Jim Crow. She's befriended by the sharp-tongued, pragmatically savvy owner of a "colored" brothel, and in short order introduced to another America: where covert transactional assignations are the stuff of hardscrabble survival, and black women must carve out decent lives in the midst of staggering odds. How will Marie get back to her comfy train car of smart-phones and glib, R&R obsessed contemporary peers? What will she be forced to reckon with, plopped in the middle of a richly textured, sometimes sweet, sometimes melancholy, often oppressive pre-ascendant civil rights climate? Where at any moment, lives are at stake, violent death a reality? With heart and non-stop humor, The Green Book Wine Club Train Trip plunges its unlikely heroine into an unexpected, deeply personal quest, one ultimately arming her with a brand new perspective and maybe even wisdom.
  • Echoes Of Octavia
    Zora Anderson, a young African-American woman, co-owns Octavia's Diner with her father. The popular diner is named after Zora's deceased mother. Zora is torn between duty to her family by staying to expand the diner in a lucrative deal offered by the city's entertainment district, and the opportunity to move halfway across the country, as part of a prestigious graduate school fellowship, to...
    Zora Anderson, a young African-American woman, co-owns Octavia's Diner with her father. The popular diner is named after Zora's deceased mother. Zora is torn between duty to her family by staying to expand the diner in a lucrative deal offered by the city's entertainment district, and the opportunity to move halfway across the country, as part of a prestigious graduate school fellowship, to write a book about her idol, Science Fiction writer Octavia Butler.

    *** Held under option by Rhymes Over Beats (NYC) from 2015-2018

  • Rights of Passage
    A white police officer seeks legal consultation after the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager. Both members of the law firm and the police officer find out unexpected facts from the other.
  • Final Arrangements
    Comic drama (or dramatic comedy) about two very different black women who bump into each other at a funeral parlor as they are making final arrangements to bury their husbands. The strangers discover that it's not husbands plural - it's one dead man who lived a double life.
  • The Negro Whisperer
    This is a magical realism in a one-person show. The Negro Whisperer is a figure that travels through space and time giving advice, guidance and support to blacks in American.

    The circumstances she (or he) would advise on range from everything to a young black college student being harassed by classmates who consider her name “ghetto” to failure to get Trayvon Martin to stop walking alone in a...
    This is a magical realism in a one-person show. The Negro Whisperer is a figure that travels through space and time giving advice, guidance and support to blacks in American.

    The circumstances she (or he) would advise on range from everything to a young black college student being harassed by classmates who consider her name “ghetto” to failure to get Trayvon Martin to stop walking alone in a strange, white neighborhood.
  • Pass Over
    The Washingtons, an African-American family, has lived next door to the Levy family in a Philadelphia neighborhood for a few generations and in the wake of the death of the Washington family matriarch, secrets, discoveries and conflicts collide. The Washingtons finding old stock in the Levy family business creates family, cultural and personal tension.
  • Trading Races: From Rodney King to Paula Deen
    What if blacks were reduced to one person and whites reduced to one person and they had to verbally slug out how both races would continue to co-exist in America? "Trading Races: From Rodney King to Paula Deen" explores with humor and uncomfortable jabs how racial tension has led to where this country is and what uncomfortable truths have to unfold for it to continue. Will Billy and Eve fight it out...
    What if blacks were reduced to one person and whites reduced to one person and they had to verbally slug out how both races would continue to co-exist in America? "Trading Races: From Rodney King to Paula Deen" explores with humor and uncomfortable jabs how racial tension has led to where this country is and what uncomfortable truths have to unfold for it to continue. Will Billy and Eve fight it out and save this country's future? Or will Weeping Hawk make America have the ultimate do-over?
  • Wiccans in the Hood
    Wiccans in the Hood” is an one-act play that takes place in a cemetery located in an urban, predominantly black neighborhood. Three white people and a Black (or Latino) friend decide to perform a centuries-old ritual of offerings to an African spirit when they are encountered by a black woman who lives in the neighborhood who originally mistakes them for Wiccans. The offerings include eggplants, lit candles,...
    Wiccans in the Hood” is an one-act play that takes place in a cemetery located in an urban, predominantly black neighborhood. Three white people and a Black (or Latino) friend decide to perform a centuries-old ritual of offerings to an African spirit when they are encountered by a black woman who lives in the neighborhood who originally mistakes them for Wiccans. The offerings include eggplants, lit candles, flowers and even a teddy bear at some point. With comedy and emotional confrontation, all five characters delve in to the testy areas of religion, race and convention and become transformed by the experience.