100 Creatives 2012: Elizabeth Keel, Playwright

Categories: 100 Creatives

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Keel

Houston playwright Elizabeth Keel was always interested in the arts. From the early age of four, she was already always reading and writing. While attending Robert E. Lee High School in Virginia, she tried her hand at acting, but by the time she had finished school, she'd realized that writing was more for her. After moving to Houston for college, her attention was focused more on fiction writing and directing, but soon after beginning her junior year of college, she was taking a further interest in playwriting.

Shortly after graduating with a degree in Theater and English at UH, Keel decided to stay on to take a few extra playwriting classes that were being taught by the famous playwright Edward Albee. Now she is a playwright herself.

What she does?
Elizabeth Keel is a playwright, fiction author and never not writing. She has already written several plays including Going Dark and Notions of Right and Wrong. And this month, two of her newest short plays are being showcased in the And I Feel Fine series, a short story series produced by Big Head Production. When asked what her plays are typically about, Keel says most of her plays involve magical realism and other fantasy elements.

Keel has also already published her first novel, Running into Trouble, a story she says is about what happens when you have two soul mates instead of one. Her novel is already being sold on Web sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When she's not writing, Keel is teaching playwriting classes to high school students at the Alley Theatre. She is also the manager and chocolatier at The Chocolate Bar in the Heights area.

"I believe that for any artist it is healthy to immerse themselves in the real world, which is why I enjoy managing The Chocolate Bar."

Photo by Melissa Iuliano

What inspires her?
She names several people that have inspired her... Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Will Eno, Sarah Rubi... and her mother.

She also finds inspiration through collaboration.

"I love when people get together and mix their art forms, beautiful sets, beautiful costumes...actors just go to town."

If not this, then what?
She has to think about it for a second, and then says a chef. Why?

"Food can be artful." She thinks it would be another way to express her creativity if she weren't doing it through her writing.

If not here, then where?
She says she'd like to give Chicago a try.

"I think it's a pretty funky place. Such great music and it's in the heart of the country. I think that L.A. and New York are both kind of extremes and Chicago is sort of the meeting ground."

Still, she adds that she appreciates Houston. "Houston is so unique because we're such a small community of theater."

What's next?
She will be the mentoring playwright at the Alley Theatre for an upcoming summer program, Writers in the Schools, a program for which she will teach several playwriting and fiction-writing classes for students in all grades. She is also working on publishing her second novel, an untitled fiction story about Medea, a Greek mythological woman.

More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor

Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer

Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor

Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer

Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts

Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer

Wade Wilson, gallery owner

Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright

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