christopher oscar peña is a story-teller originally from California, now residing in New York and LA.
In 2019 he co-directed the world premiere of Sean Daniels adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “lost novel” The Haunted Life at Merrimack Rep. The production marked the first time the Kerouac Estate had ever sanctioned an official theatrical adaptation of Kerouac’s work. Most recently, as a playwright, the Clarence Brown Theatre commissioned and produced the world premiere of his play The Strangers. In New York, the Flea Theatre produced the world premiere of his play a cautionary tail.
His work has been developed by Playwrights Horizons, the Goodman Theater, Public Theater, Two River Theater, INTAR, Ontological Hysteric Incubator, Playwrights Realm, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Old Vic, Orchard Project, Naked Angels, and New York Theatre Workshop, among many others. This upcoming season, his play how to make an American Son will have its world premiere in a co-production between Arizona Theatre Company and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in New York.
A two-time Sundance Institute Theater Fellow, he has also held fellowships with the Lark Play Development Center, was a recipient of the Latino Playwrights Award, an Emerging Artist Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, and was a part of the US/UK Exchange (Old Vic New Voices).
Recently named an Artistic Associate at Arizona Theatre Company, he’s a proud member of New Dramatists, was named one of “The 1st Annual Future Broadway Power List” by Backstage, and has been published by No Passport Press and Smith and Krauss. This year, with visionary director James Darrah and Pulitzer Prize winning composer Ellen Reid, he created and showran the Boston Lyric Opera's first ever digital opera series Desert In, by bringing together some of the countries best writers, composers and directors, to premiere in 2021. He is continuing his partnership with Darrah by creating a piece for the Los Angeles Chamber Opera this year.
In television, he was a writer on the Golden Globe nominated debut season of the CW show Jane the Virgin, and the critically acclaimed HBO show Insecure (also recurred on screen as the character Gary), as well as the Starz show Sweetbitter, and Motherland: Fort Salem on Freeform. He is currently developing an original series for Netflix.
B.A. UC Santa Barbara / M.F.A. NYU-Tisch School of the Arts