Maria Alexandria Beech graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Literature Writing at Columbia University where she earned an MFA in Playwriting as a recipient of the Williams Foundation Fellowship and the Dean's Fellowship. Alex has worked as a television news reporter and producer, emerging markets analyst and marketing strategist at Lehman Brothers. Her articles have been published by Lehman Brothers, Veneconomy, El Universal, Barclays Capital, The New Leaders, and other publications. In 2006, her play BREAKING WALLS was produced at The Cherry Lane Theatre as part of its Cherry Pit Late Nite Series. Her Spanish translation of THE COOK, by Eduardo Machado, premiered at The Stages Theatre in Houston. Her play about torture, THE SOFT ROOM, was performed at the Culture Project's Impact Festival. Blue Box Productions presented her plays, BAT IN IRAQ, YOUR FACE, and DESIGNER X at Sticky at Blue. Her play, THE INVENTOR OF MANATEES, was performed at the Flea Theatre as part of Stupid Plays. In 2007, she participated in the Insurgency/Counter-Insurgency Theatre Project at The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where her play, BAT IN IRAQ was performed. In 2006 and 2007, her plays, LIMA BEANS, BREAKING WALLS, and BLACK ROSES were semi-finalists in the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. As a member of the Hispanic Playwrights Lab at Intar, her play CAST ASIDE was performed in Bus Stop. For the past three seasons, Alex has been a member of The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages Theatre in New York, where her play, SAVING THE LIVES OF STRANGERS, was performed in two staged readings. In 2008, CHARITY was performed in a reading which included Frances Sternhagen. As an invited artist at the Lark Play Development Center's US/Mexico Exchange Program in 2008, Alex translated and participated in the workshop of Luis Ayllon's THE CAMELS. In April, her play BONDS, set at Lehman Brothers in 1999, will be presented in a reading at Primary Stages Theater, and her plays, DESIGNER X, YOUR FACE, and WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, will be performed at The Planet Realities Festival. In 2009, Alex was the recipient of The Aspen Theatre Master's Visionary Playwright's Award.
Broadway and film star Jeremy Irons announced the second annual Theater Masters' Visionary Award winners on Thursday, May 14th. at a press reception. The 2009 Visionary Award Winners are Maria Alexandria Beech and Zayd Dohrn with New York's Primary Stages and The Dallas Theater Center as respective sponsoring theaters.
Winning playwrights are invited to attend Aspen Institute's noted "Aspen Ideas Festival," and are jointly commissioned by the nominating theatre and Theater Masters to write a full-length play that embraces timeless values and powerful issues. Based in Aspen, Colorado, Theater Masters is a non-profit organization whose core mission is to seek and nurture the next generation of artists for the American Theatre and present their work. "Along with some of the country's finest regional theatre artistic directors, we are identifying remarkable writers who are some of the finest young playwrights in this country and encouraging them to write a new play inspirited by attendance at the Aspen Ideas Festival ," said Julia Hansen, Theater Masters founder and Artistic Director - and former President of New York's Drama League. "In many ways how I started the Drama League's "Director's Project" is how I am now fostering new playwrights --- by discovering new playwrights with sponsoring theaters and guaranteeing the writers that their work will be seen."
In 2008, Theater Masters initiated the Visionary Playwrights Award, in partnership with the Aspen Institute and three of America's top regional theaters: Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, La Jolla Playhouse in California, and Playwrights Horizons in NYC.