Miki Johnson is a writing co-producer on Showtime's Ray Donovan. Before that, she was a staff writer for AMC's Hell on Wheels. Miki is in development with Ray Donovan show-runner, David Hollander, on a semi-biographical project for TV. A playwright and feature writer, Miki is also an actor; she earned her MFA in acting from Yale in 2005. Her last home was Houston, Texas where she was resident playwright and actor for Houston’s The Catastrophic Theatre. With Catastrophic, she premiered her first-ever play, AMERICAN FALLS for which Houston Press named her Best Playwright 2012 in their annual Houston Theatre Awards. The play received productions in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, LA and other theatre in the US. Later that same year, Catastrophic produced FLEAVEN, a hip-hop musical written in rhyme. With Catastrophic, she’s acted in Endgame, Crave by Sarah Kane, Bluefinger by Jason Nodler, The Designated Mourner and Our Late Night by Wallace Shawn, and Spirits to Enforce and The Pine by Mickle Maher.
THE CRAB KING
Book by Miki Johnson & music by Joe Folladori and Hoja Lopez
5F, 5M, chorus of naked and clothed chicks
THE CRAB KING is a raunchy, Absurdist musical inspired by an Italian Folktale called The Flea by Giambattista Basile, the guy who wrote Cinderella.
UPCOMING: Catastrophic (2014).
A day in the lives of six living people and two dead ones in American Falls, Idaho. From a ghost drinking beer in a lawn chair to a Native American shoe salesman, the population of American Falls is the product of “America’s improbable experiment.” As these paths traverse in and out of each others’ stories, the play carries us from Bruce Willis in Moonlighting to the actual moon; from conceiving babies while drunk on Budweiser beer to the difficulties of those babies, then children, then grown-ups; from the cool pain of alienation to the warm embrace of belonging. AMERICAN FALLS asks ancient, unanswerable questions: What is it to live? What becomes of the child on the mysterious road to adulthood? What is it like to grow old? What does it mean to die?
Premiered with The Catastrophic Theatre, Houston TX (2012). Subsequent productions at Cleveland Public Playhouse (2014), Barebones Productions, Pittsburgh (Spring 2015), and Echo Theatre, Los Angeles (Fall 2015).
Winner of Best Playwright 2012, Houston Theatre Awards.
"…a thought-provoking slice of Americana." - Living Out Loud Los Angeles
"Reviewing this play is difficult due to its complexity...as each layer is revealed the overall story grows in complexity. That said in another way it is a simple show, a show of everyday life all over the world as experienced in some fashion by each of us. It may well be set in AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho but it’s a story is as universal as air and water. It is an excellent work from playwright Miki Johnson." - Examiner.com
"Playwright Miki Johnson makes an extraordinary Los Angeles debut with Echo Theater Company’s West Coast premiere of AMERICAN FALLS, her first full-length play. Although AMERICAN FALLS has been described as “a kind of modern day ‘Our Town’”, and indeed there are some similarities, it is darker, grittier and far more presentational." - Paul Myrvold's Theatre Notes
“Ms. Johnson reminds us what great theatre has always been about is great storytelling…[she] uses a heavy dose of poetry and stunning imagery to keep us listening and involved in these lives [and] has created intrigue and fascination by weaving together their lives in surprising twists and turns that constantly peak our curiosity…I dare not give away too many of the connections and circumstances that bring together these souls…every one of these characters is still living in my mind now three days after seeing Ms. Johnson’s play…I suppose if God can create the world in seven days, then Miki Johnson can create a masterpiece in five. Go see for yourself how profoundly brilliant AMERICAN FALLS is. Here’s to the first of many more masterpieces, Ms. Johnson.” – Houston Chronicle
“…Talented acting and excellent direction bring Miki Johnson’s vision of what lies behind the white picket fences of a small town into vibrant life, resulting in a production filled with humor, ablaze with insights and rocking with humanity — and one not to be missed.” –Houston Press
“…[she] takes great delight in digging through the garbage bin of the American psyche, finding that combination of ephemeral trash that could tell a stranger so much about who we are and how we live without ever actually peaking in through the window…Johnson’s nonlinear script, a series of monologues, mixes and matches the flat metaphors, the touchstone archetypes, the cringe-inducing cliches that flood the media that flood our lives as if they were placeholders for our true selves.” – Arts and Culture Houston
Book by Miki Johnson & music by Joe Folladori
2F, 4M, chorus
FLEAVEN is the tale of Heaven, a disco professional laid low by the town’s town villain Flame who was left behind as Heaven achieved international disco stardom with the band Denim Shorts. Turning to hip hop and Rick James covers, Flame and his entourage terrorize the townspeople in an attempt to reunite with Heaven, leading (of course) to an epic disco-mall showdown. Told in a startlingly original style, FLEAVEN explores the breaking up and reconciliation of a deep friendship gone dark.
Premiered with The Catastrophic Theatre, Houston TX (2012).
“When I elected to devote my life to theater criticism, little did I dream it would one day be necessary to use the term “disco fever” in a review. Yet that’s the only explanation for Catastrophic Theatre’s FLEAVEN. Playwright Miki Johnson, director Jason Nodler and their cohorts have unexpectedly succumbed to a mass outbreak of the long-dormant bug, resulting in a whacked-out flashback of alarmingly funny proportions. If this outing were any more camp, they’d need tents and insect repellent.” – Houston Chronicle
“Johnson is not a playwright, it seems, who repeats herself…In her second play, Johnson continues her home-run streak, and gives us a fresh, witty and vastly entertaining comedy, in a polished production certain to delight.” – Houston Press
Nick and Rachel are a couple consumed by love and drugs and very deep sickness. Nick, a semi-famous musician, has recently had a disastrous, potentially career-ending performance. Now he’s stuck. If he wants to make the money to support his habit, he has to perform; in order to perform, he has to get clean.
Premiered at The Catastrophic Theatre (2014).
“The effect of this hourlong one-act is taut and disturbing. The primary impulse is to look away, try to distance one’s self, yet the doings have some of the same fascination as a grisly train wreck or 12-car pileup on the highway.” – Houston Chronicle
“Hauntingly poignant…The more I thought about and revisited the performances, I began to weep openly. This play stays with you and will haunt you for some time, and you’ll be glad that it does.” – Broadway World