Artist Biography / About Thao
Thao P. Nguyen has been writing and performing solo shows since she joined the Solo Performance Workshop in 2007. Her first full-length one-person comedy, Fortunate Daughter, was named one of the Top 10 Bay Area Plays of 2013 by KQED Year in the Arts! She was featured as a closing act at the San Francisco Theater Festival four years in a row (2009-2012). Fortunate Daughter's runs in San Francisco, Berkeley, and at the New York Int'l Fringe Festival have resulted in rave reviews and plenty of sold-out shows. Nguyen is currently performing two full-length shows, a solo show called WHITE POWER: A Comedy and a two-person sketch comedy show entitled In the Crosshairs with Martha Rynberg & Thao P. Nguyen. She is also in the process of co-writing and co-producing a new two-person show called Rape Jokes, to be debuted in the Fall of 2019.
The Berkeley Times says Nguyen's "performance is virtuosic." The San Francisco Chronicle warns readers, "Don't miss!" The San Jose Mercury News says Nguyen is "fresh and entertaining with a natural humor that runs easily from gentle to slapstick." Synchronized Chaos (San Francisco, CA) calls her work "effortlessly funny, heartwarming, and truly satisfying!" NYtheatre.com (New York City, NY) says Fortunate Daughter is "theatrical magic; a pure story, with heart, passion and humor." The SF Theater Blog says, “Thao P. Nguyen is multi-faceted. Her tale is beautifully drawn.” The Daily Californian (Berkeley, CA) says, “Nguyen's versatility is remarkable, and she's, not to mention, very, very funny.”
Fortunate Daughter is directed by Martha Rynberg and was originally directed by W. Kamau Bell. Rynberg is a solo theater director, the instructor of the Solo Performance Workshop, and the writer and performer of Lady Parts. Bell is the star of Totally Biased (2012-2013, FX and FXX) and United Shades of America (2016-present, CNN). He awarded Nguyen with the coveted "W. Kamau Bell Solo Performance Black Belt," a distinction which to this date has been awarded only four times.
Nguyen is also an accomplished producer. As the co-founder of JUST ART: Stanford Artist/Activist Collective, she produced 20-Minutes of Action (2017), Marigold & Lavender (2017), and CENTRIFUGE: Stories of Refugees and Displacement (2018). She has produced such successful shows as ATYPICAL: Stories from the anomalous Asian American (2012), DIS-ORIENTED: A trio of Middle Eastern and Asian American women (2011-2012), A Mother's Day Special: See Mom, I Didn't Forget! (2010-2013), Best Feeding by Martha Rynberg (2014), and Reveries and Rage: Stories on Colonization and Survival (2013). Nguyen has also produced such well-regarded series as City Solo at Off-Market Theater (2009-2012) and Words First at CounterPULSE (2009-2011).
Nguyen is currently a doctoral student at Stanford University's Theater & Performance Studies program, writing a dissertation on sexual violence, queer migration, and performance. Nguyen holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Communication Studies with a focus on Performance Studies from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Psychology from Brown University. As an academic, her area of study is at the intersection of live performance, mental health, and social justice. She is particularly interested in increasing the visibility and understanding of issues most pertinent to populations experiencing multiple vectors of structural oppression, such as Asian American women and Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC). Prior to her doctoral studies, she also was the Artistic Director for the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center of San Francisco.