MARIA COMINIS is a first-generation Greek American. She is an actor, author, playwright, producer, and professor. As a playwright, she is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Grant, 2022, a Semi-finalist in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, 2022 and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF), 2020 for her full-length play, WOMEN OF ZALONGO. In 2023, she was a Resident Artist in the HB Studio Rehearsal Space Residency, NYC. HB was her artistic home for a decade as an acting teacher and mentee of Uta Hagen. Television Credits: Hacks, New Girl, Desperate Housewives, All My Children, One Life to Live. Theatre: Bernarda Alba, The Diviners, The Sea Gull, Ivanov, and many musicals including a CAMI National Tour. A full Professor at CSUF since 2005, she teaches acting and the new student coordinator for the BFA Acting Program. She authored 'Rehearsing in the Zone, A Practical Guide to Rehearsing Without a Director,' Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2020, and co-authored, 'Production Collaboration for the Theatre: Guiding Principles,' Routledge 2022. She is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, National Alliance of Acting Teachers and the Dramatists Guild, where recently she placed as a semi-finalist in the Dramatists Guild Virtual Residency. Represented by MINC Talent Agency and Literary Manager, Progyny Talent Management.
MORE ABOUT ME:
The most gratifying moment in the theatre was when I wasn't sure if I should stay in the game after graduate school. I was burned out, tired and didn't see where I fit in. Rita Moreno came up to me after a performance of West Side Story (Choreographed by the great Donald MacKayle) and I was in the role of Maria. Her eyes twinkled as she touched my cheek and said that I should never give up. She shared that I had the spark and played a beautiful Maria. The Smiling Madonna was an original musical I did when I was 16 and I played a young nun who was unrequitedly in love with a Monk. I had a great song which stopped the show and afterwards the response was so overwhelming, it took me out of character for a moment. I realized this is where I belong. I feel most like myself when I am in the zone (hyper-focused) whether it be acting, writing or teaching. I overcome disappointment by simply moving on and acknowledging that there is something around the corner that belongs to me. If I could bring one change to theater it would be more inclusivity and more blind submissions so the work stands alone and speaks for itself. I think Artistic Directors should know that I am first and foremost a collaborator and my goals are centered on what works for the story, and the whole, not about serving anyone's ego. The one thing that nobody knows about me that I would like them to know is that I am a bit psychic. My hunches surprise even me. It's one reason I don't get disappointed easily. My favorite thing to do when not writing is cook with my family, eat great food, talk and sing through musical theatre scores with my son and husband who are great pianists, and garden. I keep doing theatre because it moves me and others and it connects humanity to an indescribable depth. I imagine telling stories no matter the times. Brecht said, "In the dark times will there be singing? Yes, there will be singing about the dark times."
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
I just finished the first draft of my second full length play called OWL PEOPLE which was inspired by the visitation of a Snowy owl in my neighborhood from December 5th, 2022-January 16th 2023. A snowy white owl arrives in a sleepy Southern California suburb during the Christmas season. Some think it’s the Messiah, some are ecstatic to witness the mystical bird out of their element and some want it to leave. Why did this beautiful creature choose them, a community divided about everything?
Greek American, Myth, Ancestral stories, Women, Equity.
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