Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


BCWJ Profile of Maria Alexandria Beech

Profile of Maria Alexandria Beech

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

Maria Alexandria Beech is a playwright and librettist living in New York. She has written over fifteen full-length plays, several as a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages Theatre, which co-produced her play LITTLE MONSTERS at Brandeis Theatre Company. Her full-length musical titled CLASS, with Karl Michael Johnson, was presented in a reading in May, 2012 at NYU.

AH: Alex, I know that you hold an MFA from Columbia University. Now you have a second, this time from NYU.

MB: It’s in musical theatre writing. It is a true honor. One would think that writing a musical and writing a play are similar processes, but in fact they’re not. They each require their own craft and their own knowledge base.

AH: What is CLASS about?

MB:  It’s based on a play that I wrote in the writers group at Primary Stages, about a girl who is struggling with alcoholism and she signs up for a summer school class in New Orleans in 1987.  And so this girl walks into the situation, and the professor has recently learned that she doesn’t have much longer to live.

It was a real challenge to adapt as a musical, in the sense that it is very much a play as it exists. It was an homage not only to a professor that I had, who was dying of cancer and who had to face students who wanted to use her illness against her, but it was an homage to professors and teachers I had had growing up.
AH: Tell us about your reading at NYU.

One of the things that I learned is that musical theatre is still very much about that well-made musical, that traditional structure of the well-made musical, and the opening number and the closing number. One of my goals is to still honor that tradition, but kind of also do other things and explore more. [I’d like to] not look at the book or the dialogue just as a bridge between the songs. I think the songs could be little kind of poems that stand alone.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

Download the article here: BCWJ Profile of Maria Alexandria Beech by Anne Hamilton

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