Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Eisa Davis

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1999

Eisa Davis is an award-winning actor, writer, and singer-songwriter working on stage and screen. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, and wrote and starred in Angela’s Mixtape, named a “Best of the Year” by The New Yorker. Other plays include Ramp (Ruby Prize winner), The History of Light (Barrymore nomination), Paper Armor, Umkovu, Six Minutes, Warriors Don’t Cry, Mushroom, and the collaborations Active Ingredients and Hip Hop Anansi. Davis created the voiceover text for Cirque du Soleil’s first ice show, Crystal. Works in progress include The Essentialisn’t, an art installation music performance piece, and a musical version of Devil in a Blue Dress. Davis writes for the Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It.

Davis was awarded the prestigious Herb Alpert Award in Theatre, and was a resident playwright at New Dramatists, where she won the Helen Merrill Award and the Whitfield Cook Award, among others. She has received Fellowships from Sundance/UCross, Yaddo, MacDowell, Cave Canem, and the Doris Duke, Van Lier and Mellon Foundations. In addition to dozens of workshops at academic and arts institutions, Davis has taught semester long courses at Princeton and Williams.

As an actor, she is an Obie Award winner for Sustained Excellence in Performance. Her recent work includes Kings (Drama League nomination), the 2017 Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, and Preludes, for which she received her second Lucille Lortel nomination. Other recent theatre work includes The Cradle Will Rock directed by Sam Gold, Luck of the Irish (Lucille Lortel and Audelco nominations), the world premieres of This and The Call, the first revival of The Piano Lesson at Yale Rep (also composer and music director), and the acclaimed Broadway rock musical Passing Strange, captured on film by Spike Lee. In 2019, she played June in the new musical The Secret Life of Bees, adapted by Lynn Nottage, Susan Birkenhead, and Duncan Sheik. Current television work includes “God Friended Me” (CBS), “Rise” (NBC), “The Looming Tower” (Hulu), and “Succession” (HBO). She played Carol Driscoll on “House of Cards,” was Bubbles’ sister on “The Wire,” and Alexandra on “Blindspot.” She has had numerous other roles in films and television shows.

As a singer-songwriter, music from her albums Something Else and Tinctures is available through iTunes and Soundcloud. Selections from Tinctures were featured on the Showtime series Soul Food. She tours as a performer in Carrie Mae Weems’ Grace Notes/Past Tense (Spoleto Festival, Yale Rep, the Kennedy Center).

Davis is a member of The Actors Studio, a usual suspect at New York Theater Workshop, and was an artist-in-residence at Symphony Space. A graduate of The New School and Harvard, she lives in Brooklyn, NY.


New Jersey

Eisa Davis worked in the New Jersey studio.

The yellow clapboard New Jersey Studio, located on a grassy, sloping site, was funded by the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs and built as an exact replica of Monday Music Studio (1913). The studio’s porch rests on fieldstone piers that increase in height as the ground slopes to the west. Like Monday Music Studio, New Jersey…

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