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Charise Castro Smith is an American playwright, actress, television writer, producer, and co-director who will make her film debut in the Walt Disney Animation Studios film Encanto. Centered on a Colombian girl who lacks magical powers in spite of her family having them, she will co-direct the film alongside Zootopia co-director Byron Howard and co-write the screenplay alongside Jared Bush.

Personal life

Castro Smith grew up Miami, Florida, where she was raised in a Cuban-American family. She attended Brown University as an undergraduate student and later the Yale School of Drama, where she earned her MFA in acting but was a city schoolteacher previous to graduate school. She lives in LA and is married to actor Joby Earle, whom she met at Yale.

After receiving her BA from Brown, Castro Smith attended the Yale School of Drama for her Master's in Fine Arts (MFA). Although she was studying Acting, she wrote a play Estrella Cruz that was produced at the Yale Cabaret, the student-run theatre. From this, Paula Vogel, head of the playwrighting program at the time, began to act as a mentor to her. After graduating, Castro Smith worked primarily as an actor until she was selected for the Van Lier Fellowship Program in 2012-2013 at the New Dramatists in New York. This led her to embrace playwriting as a career, which led to writing and producing for television.

Career

In 2008, Castro Smith’s first play Estrella Cruz [The Junkyard Queen] was produced at the Yale Cabaret, and was later produced at the Ars Nova ANT Fest in New York City and at the Halcyon Theater in Chicago. The play is a Cuban-American twist of a Greek myth of the goddess Persephone set in the 21st century. In 2011, Smith's play Boomcracklefly was produced at the Milgaro Theater in Portland, Oregon. In 2014, her play The Hunchback of Seville was produced by the Washington Ensemble Theatre in Seattle.

Acclaimed as a "gleefully revisionist riff on rampaging colonialism," The Hunchback of Seville was inspired by Smith's interest in how Americans handle the history of Columbus and the massacres that resulted from his actions. The complex character of Queen Isabella stems from Smith's own desire to play Richard III in Shakespeare's Richard III. Smith's most produced work, Feathers and Teeth, was featured at the Goodman Theater’s New Stage Festival (2013-2014). Inspired by Hamlet, 1970s horror films, and Jon Ronson's book The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, Feathers and Teeth centers on a 13-year-old girl who loses her mom and thinks her new step-mother is a demon.

As with Smith's other plays, Feathers and Teeth features a complex, "crazy" female lead in an eccentric and comedic play. Ultimately, Smith's goal was to use horror as a way to help others understand the human experience of obsession and fear. The play was later produced at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon. Castro Smith's most recent work El Huracán, featured at the DNA New Work Series at La Jolla Playhouse, is described as loosely connected to the ideas of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Wikipedia
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia page Charise Castro Smith. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.
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