National Reports

San Francisco by Suze Allen

San Francisco by Suze Allen

Playwright Lee Brady is a Bay Area theatre icon. In her 36 years as a playwright, she has written 46 full length plays, 30 of which have been produced as well as hundreds of short plays that have also found their way to the stage. Her plays have been produced around the country and in Costa Rica. Lee is also the queen of self-producing so San Francisco audiences have delighted in many, many of her plays. Now a resident playwright and co-founder at 3Girls Theatre, she recently had a salon reading of her play, Leavin’ Will at The Phoenix Theatre. The all-female cast of eight – Amber Crane, Tessa Konig-Martinez*, Diana Brown, Shirley Nilsen Hall, Ellen Brooks, Jayme Catalano, Evelyn Jean Pine, and Maureen Coyne – had a great time working on the piece that Lee transformed as they rehearsed.

Lee got hooked on plays through radio dramas.

“Radio was my portal into the world I wanted to be in. The radio dramas like Grand Central Station made me long to be in the scene in NY. Everyone talked too slow where I was from (Seminole, Oklahoma) and I wanted to go fast! And of course I came from a family of storytellers. On Sundays everyone would come to our house and do a lot of storytelling.”

Lee was always a writer. She got a degree in English, then went on to the University of Hawaii for a theatre degree and then landed in San Francisco with her husband Charles and their three children and got her masters in playwriting at San Francisco State. She did her master’s thesis on Ibsen, O’Neill, and Flannery O’Connor, and all three have influenced her work. Currently she is inspired by Tracy Letts, “my Okie soul bud”, and Lauren Gunderson, “who famously works on several projects at a time and then gets them all produced!”

As for her own writing, Lee explains, “I look at the world as a comic and interesting place and I want to get up in the morning and write about it. Write my plays. I love the theatre. I love the collaborating. I love actors, and directors, even bad ones.”

Next up for Lee is an all-new revival of her musical Southern Lights, directed by Andrea Gordon, featuring two of the Bay Area’s best loved actors, Lorri Holt* and John Flanagan.* The show is being produced at a site-specific San Francisco saloon in September, 2018.

Southern Lights is a country love song and has been produced in Marin, Monterey Peninsula, and at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco, winning music and script awards at each production. This seems to prove there is a real need for more country music romances in a country where the love-story has been overwhelmed by the hate-story.”

To find out more about Lee and her work, go to www.3girlstheatre.org

(*Member Actors’ Equity)