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Meet The Writers: Deanna Choi

In our "Meet The Writers" series, we're learning more about the participants of the CMTWC Writer's Workshop. The Writer's Workshop meets every two weeks in Toronto where, under the guidance of head teacher Leslie Arden, participants learn and practice the craft of composition and lyric-writing. Check back every Monday to meet a new writer!

What was your introduction to the theatre?

My sister took me to see the Mirvish production of The Lion King when I was 8. I still remember 'The Circle of Life' with the actors entering through the aisles, wielding their puppets with zebras and flocks of birds. A gazelle almost brushed past me. My 8-year-old mind was completely blown.

When was the moment you decided to write for the theatre?

When I was in undergrad, I got cast in a small role in a student production of As You Like It, and the director asked me, "Hey, can you write music?" And I replied, "I, uh, ...nyyyaahh-sure?!"

Who is someone's work you admire, and why do you admire it?

The composer Caroline Shaw, because of the way she reimagines sound. Also the poet Warsan Shire, because she's ballsy, unapologetic, and frighteningly beautiful.

How do you like to write? What is your process? Where do you find inspiration?

I like writing around 8PM in my PJs, with a glass of wine, fuelled by a lot of tears.

In all seriousness though, I try to find inspiration from different places. The news, artwork in a gallery, a short story... Once I wrote a closing number after biking home at night hearing the deafening sound of a bunch of helicopters converging in downtown Toronto.

What do you want to see more of on stage?

Cilantro. I love cilantro. (Inspired by the ballet Cacti by Dutch choreographer Alexander Ekman).

If you had to pick one musical cast recording to be your "desert island record" which would it be?

Bat Boy the Musical

Complete this sentence: "I write because..."

...this is all a cover and in reality I'm training to be a vampire slayer.

What's a tip you have about collaboration?

Bring lots of snacks and tea because this meeting is going to take a lot longer than you'd anticipated.

Why did you join the Writers Workshop?