Saturday, February 29, 2020

Teaching Playwriting Workshops in April!

I'll be teaching two playwriting workshops in April 2020, both through Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon, where I'm a resident artist.

I'll take a four class "Introduction to Playwriting" course to high school students at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Washington State.  My colleagues Sarah Lucht, Michael Mendelson, Chris Harder, Barbie Wu, and and Lynda Hayden will also be providing workshops and classes to students there in Shakespeare, Meisner, clowning and movement, and acting styles.

If you're an adult interested in taking a playwriting course from me, I hope you'll sign up for "Rage on Stage" a three-hour workshop I'll be teaching at Artists Rep on April 22nd, from 6:30-9:30pm!


Do you feel anger? Anxiety? Depression? Fear? White hot rage? You are not alone. Join us for this workshop in which we will explore how playwrights through the ages have purged their strongest personal and political rage in their work for the stage. And come prepared to write out your own primal screams, and then shape and share them!

Click here for more information on how to sign up!  All are welcome!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Gun Show goes to Michigan!

My thoughts are with actor Jala Jackson, a student at Michigan State University, as she takes my play "The Gun Show" across the state for multiple performances in multiple venues in February and March.

For more information, click here!

For tickets, click here!

Willamette Week's "Can't Miss" Spring Art Picks includes Song of Extinction

Big thanks to Willamette Week, for including Twilight Theater's upcoming production of Song of Extinction in Portland, Oregon in its "Can't Miss!" spring art picks.

Image result for song of extinction

Song of Extinction

At the center of this play is the bond between a biology teacher who survived the Cambodian genocide and a student whose mother is dying of stomach cancer.  It was written by E. M. Lewis, the Oregon playwright who wrote the Antarctic epic Magellanica. Like that masterpiece, Song of Extinction is about the intersection of science and grief.  Twilight Theater Company, 7515 N Brandon Ave., 8 pm. Through May 17. $18-$24. 

Click here to find out what else they recommend!

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant! The Opera!

I've just returned from an amazing ten days in New York City, in which composer Evan Meier and I had an orchestral workshop of our opera Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant at American Lyric Theater. 

We've been working on this commission for several years now.  Writing a full-length opera is no small matter!  But this was a huge leap for us -- our first opportunity to share the piece now that Evan has completed the orchestration.  I LOVE his music!  And our conductor, Andrew Bisantz, brought the best out of our delightful cast of eight singers, and the orchestra.  

Evan and I are so grateful to everyone who has supported our creation of this new family-friendly piece, including Larry Edelson who runs ALT, and commissioned us to write it, our colleagues Theo Popov and Tony Asaro who are working on their own beautiful new opera alongside us, called The Halloween Tree, our mentors Cori Ellison, Paul Morevic, Mark Campbell, and Mark Adamo, maestro Andrew Bisantz, and our glorious singers and orchestra.  It takes a really large village to create a new opera, and we're so lucky to have the continuing support of all of these people as we move forward, doing a few final revisions of the piece now, and searching for an opera company that wants to put this piece on their main stage.  We can't wait to see it fully produced!

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant is an original story that Evan and I created, which mashes up the logical world of Sherlock Holmes with the magical world of Jack and the Beanstalk.  There are angry giants and magic harps and a whole lot of fun for kids and grown-ups alike.  

We even had an announcement of the InsightALT Festival in the New Yorker, which was exciting!  And a nice little feature on our opera written by Gabrielle Ferrari, in her Parterre opera blog, which you can read here. "Readers, it was simply charming— nicely performed and perfect for young audiences without talking down to them or to their older counterparts," she says in her article. She gives lots of love to our delightful singers, and then shares, "I won’t spoil the mystery (hint: Jack didn’t do it), but I will say I found this a captivating 90 minutes... The score is varied and interesting, the libretto funny and full of warmth. The opera quotes were a nice way both the introduce kids to the concept of leitmotiv and to appeal to an opera-nerd audience, with a mix of really famous tunes with some lesser known ones."

Would you like to hear what we've been up to?  Tell your local opera company to bring Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant to your community!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

More Devotedly... A Chat with Portland Musician and PodCaster Douglas Detrick About Magellanica and Climate Change

In January, Douglas Detrick came out to the farm to discuss my play Magellanica -- which is about a team of scientists studying the hole in the ozone layer at a research station in Antarctica in 1986, where they confront environmental crisis, geopolitical conflict, and interpersonal struggle. Though not directly about climate change, the play shows that human beings can work together on a global scale to forestall environmental crises. Click the link to give it a listen!

"That’s the real question this now in which we find ourselves—this divided, polarized moment of anger and division and fear-mongering by a lot of people at the top—is that question of empathy. Do we want to put up a wall, beyond which we don’t care? Or do we say no, those are people like us, connected to us, living on the same small blue planet as us, and that we’re in it together?" ~E. M. Lewis

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Songs from the Stage

On Friday, February 7th, join me and lyricist Holly Richards for Songs from the Stage!  Holly and I are both members of LineStorm Playwrights.  She writes musicals and I write opera!  So when the opportunity came for us to share some of our work in the Portland-wide Fertile Ground Festival, we decided to get together.  This will be a fun hour-long concert (give or take) with songs and numbers from several of our works.  Hope to see you there!

LineStorm Playwrights, in association with Chapel Theatre, present

Songs from the Stage

By E.M. Lewis & Holly Richards
Directed by Brian Shnipper

Featuring pianist Kira Whiting and singers Sienna Burnett, Quinlan Fitzgerald, Ben Tissell, Madeline Ross, William Goforth, and Erik Hundtoft.

Feb 7 @ noon
Chapel Theatre
4107 SE Harrison St, Milwaukie OR 97222


From modern musical theatre to opera, join us for the musical works of E.M. Lewis and Holly Richards. Featuring songs from established works and works-in-progress, these two writers will share insights into their creative processes, as well as background on their inspirations.

This reading of Songs from the Stage is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. ASL interpretation will be provided.