PAPER ARMOR at New Black Fest

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

workshop cast and director of Paper Armor, my play about Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston and their friend and stenographer, Louise Thompson Patterson.   IMG_3862

catching up

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

…on 2014.

The Mysteries was a hit in the spring. I wrote an episode about Jesus’ brother James. did you know Jesus had a brother?

Trade Practices was fun in the fall. I wrote a storyline about two college friends whose relationship and work in the finance sector shifts through the economic meltdown of 2008. you had to buy and trade stocks to see the storyline you wanted, and my mom wasn’t into the idea. but soon as we got there to see the show, she was haggling like the rest of us.

thanks to a Doris Duke grant, I got to investigate youth and online engagement and gaming in the context of Cornerstone Theater’s 10 city bridge tour across California. we hung out with 8th graders and high schoolers in the agricultural community of Arvin, and learned who can’t live without the drama on Facebook and who hates all that and sticks to Instagram.




Friday, August 22nd, 2014

@ Skylight Theatre, co-produced with Lower Depths Theatre Ensemble. LA Weekly and LA Times critics’ choices.


winter’s bone

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

photo 3(2)

out in UCross, Wyoming, population 25, for the Sundance playwrights and composers retreat. there’s nothing here except deer, cows, amazing food, and snow. we are all working sweetly here on our own visions.

Sundance 2014 (2)

fall into the gap

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

what’s the season been? teaching up at Williams and learning a lot from the students and the changing leaves. did a workshop of RAMP during a residency at CalArts to complete my Alpert Award. the student actors all wrote songs about climate change. Mexico completely reset me, and it was a helpful linguistic lead up to the experiences I’ll have collecting stories from farmworkers in the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett, PA (where the mushroom bed pictured below lives). in the mirror before a TimeWarner storyteller summit addressing diversity. the convening made me feel posh, defeated, and fired up all in 24 hours.


Flowers Are Sleeping.

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

by creating this musical, I brought all of the things I do—acting, singing, writing music, writing scenes—into one room. absolutely liberating.

director Liesl Tommy, actor-singers Darius de Haas, Dashiell Eaves, Nicole Lewis, band members Jon Spurney, Mark Vanderpoel, Sydney Driver, Nick Rolfe, and visual artist Steffani Jemison worked with me to make this piece wonderful. and it all happened because of Laura Kaminsky commissioning me at Symphony Space.

here’s a little video from a rehearsal…

the Alpert Award.

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

I am a recipient of the Alpert Award in Theatre, a distinction that has revived my optimism,  joy, and courage about playmaking. we had a fantastic time putting together the web feature for the award, which in many ways is a continuation and supplement of this site, and the conversations and experiences with the panelists, staff, and other awardees were unbelievably rich. I’m inspired, and hope you are too.

thank the mighty Daniel Alexander Jones for capturing and creating this moment.

photo by Daniel Alexander Jones

Symphony Space

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I’m previewing new songs from my musical-in-progress.

clips from Angela’s Mixtape

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

because you missed it, or you miss it, like me.

courtesy of Actors Equity Association. featuring Kim Brockington, Denise Burse, Eisa Davis, Ayesha Ngaujah, and Linda Powell, directed by Liesl Tommy. co-produced by Hip Hop Theater Festival and New Georges.

a song from the Active Ingredients medicine show

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

snuck back into the studio for a few minutes to lay this brief, unadorned song down. I wrote it for our medicine show with Third Root and the Foundry—lyrics inspired by a crucial practice and set of wisdoms in Tibetan Buddhism. here’s the first take. enjoy!

Eisa Davis - I Know

collaboration with the FOUNDRY / THIRD ROOT

Monday, April 11th, 2011


The Ruby Prize.

Friday, January 21st, 2011

named in honor of Ruby Bridges, one of the first African Americans to integrate public schools in New Orleans, the Ruby honors a woman playwright of color with $10,000 and development of a new work through Southern Rep Theatre. this was the first year the prize was given out and yours truly received it, along with finalists Katori Hall, Jocelyn Bioh, Tanya Saracho, and Kimber Lee. the play, RAMP, was commissioned by American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and has been supported by New York Stage and Film, LAByrinth Theater Company, and The Hip Hop Theater Festival. we’ll have a workshop at New Dramatists. feeling quite grateful for this unexpected distinction.


Monday, June 28th, 2010

thanks to everyone who came out to hear the music at Joe’s Pub Memorial Day weekend. photos below by Nick Suttle and Kevin Yatarola.

ANGELA’S MIXTAPE named a Best of 2009 by The New Yorker

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

yes it was! here’s the link. also got a nod in the Village Voice’s column for contributing to best theater of the decade.

The New York Times review

“On this mixtape, style will dictate, we bounce back and forth in time…”

Using the rhythms of music and memory, Angela’s Mixtape tells the story of Eisa’s radical upbringing on the dividing line between Oakland and Berkeley, California—in a family that includes her aunt, professor and activist Angela Davis.

Time shifts between the 70s, 80s, and 90s as smoothly as a DJ fading from song to song. Each track, each memory, has a built-in switch to the next, for theatrical momentum that keeps on building.

The music crosses styles and decades, but it’s hip-hop and a b-girl stance that keeps the piece bouncing in the present.

pictured below: the cast, and the cast paired with the people they play. I’m not playing Ellen Burstyn though. or Alicia Keys.





The History of Light…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

premiered at the Contemporary American Theater Festival, directed by Liesl Tommy. here are Jason Denuszek and Amelia Workman as Math and Soph.