Who Are the Playwrights

Melisa Tien

Resident Playwright

2015 — 2024

Melisa Tien is a playwright, lyricist, and librettist invested in making formally unconventional, socially relevant, and emotionally evocative work. A resident of New Dramatists, she is the author of the plays Best Life (JACK, 2021), Yellow Card, Red Card (ICE FACTORY, 2017), The Boyd Show, and Familium Vulgare; co-author of the operas The Big Swim (Asia Society Texas Center/Houston Grand Opera, 2024), Forever (Washington National Opera, 2024), Song of the Nightingale (On Site Opera, 2023), The Beehive (University of Northern Iowa, 2023), and Family Heirloom (Experiments in Opera, 2023), co-author of the music-theater works Swell (HERE, 2021), Daylight Saving, and Mary, and co-creator of the podcast/auditory experience Active Listening. She has been published in the anthologies Theater Artists Making Theatre With No Theater (Tripwire Harlot Press, 2020) and Modern Music for New Singers: 21st Century American Art Songs (2021), and has authored essays for New Music USA, and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance. She is currently a member of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, and was a member of Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s 2022 Ground Floor Residency Lab, Experiments in Opera’s 2022 Writers’ Room, The Assembly Theater Project’s 2021 Deceleration Lab, a recipient of a 2020-2021 grant from the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music, and Theatre, a recipient of a 2019 EST/Sloan commission, and a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting. She has presented work at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, the Women Playwrights International Conference, and the National Asian American Theatre Conference and Festival. She holds a BA from UCLA, an MFA from Columbia University, and a culinary diploma from the French Culinary Institute.