James T Washburn

Librettist Playwright Lyricist

I am a Seattle-based trans storyteller-activist. My artistic mission: To empower members of the queer community by reclaiming the classics, queering the canon, and using familiar stories and mediums to start difficult conversations.

As a writer, I am dedicated to writing roles explicitly for queer (and especially trans) performers and telling stories for and about my community that also welcome in the rest of the world. I believe that theatre, especially musical theatre, is a perfect space to start difficult conversations, because it's a safe place where audiences are willing to let themselves open their minds and empathize with people they otherwise might not care about.

My first performed play, Tomorrow Comes, was written in response to the 2016 Presidential election, and featured the uniquely powerful dynamics of queer chosen families. Since then, I've discovered a talent for writing fresh but "familiar" stories, including Phoenix Rising, a Greek myth in verse about a lost child of Zeus who gives up his life to exist as himself. Following this theme of adding to the classic canon, my current work in progress, Briar/Rose, began as an ensemble-generated physical exercise and grew into a fairytale musical that has been repeatedly described as something that "I swear I heard when I was a kid..."