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TV Vets Lead A Team Of Playwrights For A New Streaming Opera Miniseries DESERT IN


DESERT IN is scheduled to premiere in Spring 2021 on

For DESERT IN, a new series commissioned for the soon-to-launch streaming service, two established TV writer/producer/directors will lead a team of early-career playwrights to bring crisp storytelling and a TV-informed approach to opera for the first time.

DESERT IN was created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid (she won for the 2019 opera, "p r i s m") and theater/opera director James Darrah (he directed the "p r i s m" world premiere at LA Opera), along with playwright/screenwriter christopher oscar peña. The project is an eight-part operatic miniseries about a mysterious roadside motel in the California desert. Its narrative arc and scripts are being created by eight writers.

Leading the team:

Lead writer christopher oscar peña, whose recent world premiere plays include The Strangers, commissioned and produced by the Clarence Brown Theatre, and a cautionary tail, produced by the Flea Theatre. Peña wrote for the debut season of CW's "Jane the Virgin" and HBO's "Insecure." He is developing an series for Netflix.

Deputy lead writer/writers room manager Joy Kecken is a screenwriter and producer who wrote and directed for HBO's The Wire. She was Supervising Producer on season two of Marvel's Cloak and Dagger and she is co-executive producer for "Motherland: Fort Salem" on Freeform. She has projects optioned by Lifetime and BBC.

Other DESERT IN writers are:

A. Rey Pamatmat, whose play Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them began a rolling world premiere at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival. He has written for AMC's "NOS4A2" and is developing a pilot for the channel.

Playwright/actor Ryan J. Haddad (Hi, Are You Single?) is new to screenwriting but has acting credits in the Netflix series "The Politician," Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and CBS series "Bull" and "Madam Secretary."

Playwright Kirsten Greenidge, whose breakout Milk Like Sugar won an Obie Award, a Lucille Lortel Award nomination, and awards from the Independent Reviewers of New England and the San Diego Theater Critics Circle.

Playwright and librettist Roxie Perkins, a Sundance Playwright Fellow whose plays were semi-finalists for the O'Neill National Theatre Conference and the Princess Grace Award.

Jesse Sanchez, a composer and playwright whose new original musical SUEÑOS was recently in development at Arizona Theater Company Workshop in 2020, and New York Theater Barn's New Works Series in 2019; and

Quentin Nguyen-duy, a Boston University theatre graduate whose play Amputees was produced at the BU Fringe Festival, the Asian American Playwrights' Collective Cape Cod Festival, and ArtsEmerson. builds on Boston Lyric Opera's successful move into digital content through its [insert:opera] initiative, by creating a new streaming platform dedicated to opera and classical music. provides a central online location for content aimed at traditional opera lovers, new commissioned works (like the miniseries DESERT IN and the upcoming cinematic production of Philip Glass's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER), opera-inspired original content, and projects designed to bring opera to broader audiences. The service launches in November online at and via branded apps available on Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

DESERT IN is scheduled to premiere in Spring 2021 on, powered by Boston Lyric Opera. For more information and interviews about this project, contact me at, 781-620-1761 (o) or 212-842-1752 (c).

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