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Abingdon Theatre Company Announces EMPRESS MEI LI LOTUS BLOSSOM as Winner of Virtual Fall Festival of Short Plays

Ms. Johnson will receive a stipend to be used to support further exploration of her piece.

Abingdon Theatre Company Announces EMPRESS MEI LI LOTUS BLOSSOM as Winner of Virtual Fall Festival of Short Plays

Abingdon Theatre Company has announced the winner of its inaugural Virtual Fall Festival of Short Plays, part of the company's recommitment of creating opportunities for all voices to be heard. The jury panel made up of Roberto Araujo, Rashad V. Chambers, Deidre Goodwin, L Morgan Lee, Jaime Lozano, Mauricio Martinez and Juan Villa selected Christine Toy Johnson and her piece "Empress Mei Li Lotus Blossom" as the winner. It enjoyed its premiere on October 21st, specifically adapted for Zoom and was directed by Ms. Johnson, featuring wonderful performances from Rin Allen, Deborah Lew and Rebecca Hirota. The 2-week festival which ran from October 19 - October 30 was a tremendous success reaching over 2,000 people via YouTube.

Ms. Johnson will receive a stipend to be used to support further exploration of her piece and ATC has committed to producing the winning piece as part of their "Around the Table" free reading series when live theater is possible again. She will also be invited to become an "Artist-in-Residence" for Abingdon's 29th Season. Christine joins "The Carolyn Halpert Artist in Residence" program which aims to nurture emerging artists and new work offering them mentorship and the opportunity to continue further exploration of their work. They will follow this year's amazing artists, the 28th Season Residents, Krystle N. Adams and Jenn Susi.

"I am so thrilled that Christine was selected as the winner for our inaugural festival," states Chad Austin, ATC Artistic Director. "Her piece is so timely and opens a great discussion about the world we currently live in. I am also delighted to have Jenn and Krystle join our team at Abingdon, as they both have important voices that need to be heard. I know they will be a great addition to our company."

In other news, Abingdon has welcomed a new Board Member, Olivier Award Winning Producer, Merrie L Davis. Merrie's producing career began with Gigi, the Musical and she has since become an Olivier Award-winning producer for Company - West End (Winner of 4 Olivier Awards including Best Musical Revival 2019) and Tony nominated Producer for Eclipsed (6 Tony nominations, 2016). She is currently a Producer on Company, Broadway.

Since coming into the New York theater world, Merrie has been investing in and raising money for shows such as, Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hello, Dolly!, The Band's Visit and Network, among others. In addition to producing, she is an Out-of-the Box Marketer who founded Next Act 2 Follow, a producing & marketing company, utilizing her unique marketing skills and introducing inventive ideas to the Broadway scene for shows including, Allegiance and 39 Steps. Currently, Merrie is on the Board of Theatre Resources Unlimited (TRU) and The Broadway Association, and is still delighted that she took the giant leap into an industry that she has always loved!

Christine Toy Johnson is an award-winning writer, actor, director and advocate for inclusion. Her written works have been produced and/or developed by the Roundabout, Village Theatre, Barrow Group, Prospect Theatre, Weston Playhouse, O'Neill, Women's Theatre Festival, CAP 21, Greater Boston Stage Company, the Abingdon Theatre Company and more and are included in the Library of Congress's Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection (Playwrights Division). She is an alum of the BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, was a 2016 fellow of The Writers Lab (supported by Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey), serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild and is host of the Guild's podcast "Talkback" on Broadway Podcast Network. As an actor, Christine has appeared extensively on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theatres across the country and nearly 100 television and film appearances including recurring guest star roles on Marvel's "Iron Fist," "The Americans." "You," "Law and Order: SVU" and more. She is on "extended intermission" from the North American tour of Come From Away. Rosetta LeNoire, JACL, Asian American Arts Alliance, Obie awards for advocacy in diversity and inclusion. For details, please visit

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