( 1947- )
Born in Boston, Johnson spent summers visiting her Methodist minister uncle in different parts of the United States. She believes that watching him "perform in the pulpit" was her first exposure to drama and to the power of language. After graduating from high school in Brookline, Massachusetts, Johnson went to Sweden for a year then attended Boston University where she took courses in painting, literature, and philosophy and worked part-time as a psychiatric aid in a mental hospital. She interrupted her studies for another sojourn in Europe and spent a year in Naples, Italy. After returning to the United States and the university, she gave up school to work full-time as an accountant. Three years later, she went to France in order to write. Teaching English as a second language supported her work on a novel, short stories, and poetry for four years before she returned to the United States to finish an undergraduate degree at Goddard College. In 1987 Johnson received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.
Johnson lives in New York City where she writes, teaches at New York University and the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and is a writer, dramaturg, and director for the 52nd Street Project and dramaturg with the Young Playwrights Festival. Johnson is a member of the Playwrights Lab at the Women's Project and Productions.
Johnson's plays often deal with the debilitating effects of prejudice on both black and white characters. Well-rounded, complex characters and understated, at times lyrical, dialogue are features of her work. The story of a Vietnamese