Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a queer Bengali director, playwright, poet, and vocalist, based in New York City. Born in India, he acquired a taste for sour rice cakes and the seaside before moving to Massachusetts where, in a hometown theater rehearsal, he received his mandate from an unlikely medicine man with a galaxy of Harley Davidson tattoos. Through performance, Misha seeks to exercise the extraordinary muscles coiled up in our ordinary bodies.
A New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow, and the 2017-2018 Levitt Artist-in-Residence at Williams College, Misha's theater work has been or will be developed at Ars Nova, SPACE on Ryder Farm, New York Theatre Workshop, HERE Arts Center, the New York Musical Festival, the Hemispheric Institute, and the CATWALK Institute. He is co-founder of performance collaborative The Lonely Painter Project (visit the website here), under the auspices of which he creates original, ensemble-driven works for the stage. Favorite projects include Inhume: A Genesis Story, a devised adaptation of Chekhov's The Bet, and the original song-cycle MAKE, which traveled to the Hemispheric Institute's 2016 Encuentro in Santiago, Chile. The company is currently collaborating with the originators of @EverydayAfrica to generate a piece inspired by the images and comments collected in the instagram feed. Other Recent and upcoming directing credits: Cherrie Moraga's The Mathematics of Love (Stanford TAPS); Nia Witherspoon's The Messiah Complex (HERE Arts Center); Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves ('62 Center, Williamstown). Misha was recently assistant director to Richard Jones on the The Old Vic’s production of The Hairy Ape at the Park Avenue Armory.
Misha has written and directed four new musicals with composer Laura Grill, including The Optics of Dying Light, which was produced as his MFA thesis at HERE Arts Center, and Artemis in the Parking Lot, which was awarded Best of Fest at the 2016 New York Musical Festival’s Developmental Reading Series at Playwrights Horizons. Their newest piece, How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia, will be presented as part of Ars Nova's ANT Fest in June 2017. The duo are also currently collaborating on a re-vision of the Bengali play, Blood Oleander, inspired by the events of the Coal Creek War and the abolition of convict-leasing in 1890s Tennessee.
A recipient of fellowships from Fulbright, Kundiman, and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Misha’s writing has been published in The Cincinatti Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Portland Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He was a soloist on the Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawns and performed in concert at Lincoln Center.
Misha received his Bachelors in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity under the mentorship of Maestra Cherríe Moraga at Stanford University, his Master of Fine Arts in Directing Theater at Columbia University under Anne Bogart, Brian Kulick, and Greg Mosher, and studied Lecoq-based physical theater at the London International School of Performing Arts. He has been a visiting artist at Stanford, Williams, Fordham, and Syracuse Stage.