( 1957- )
Lesli-Jo Morizono's hometown is Berkeley, California, where she received a BA in psychology from the University of California. As a young girl, she dreamed of being an actress, and at the age of fifteen, she won an acting scholarship to the American Conservatory Theatre's Summer Congress Training Program. Morizono says, "Luckily, I learned in time that I didn't have the talent or a strong stomach for acting. Now I write plays and screenplays, something I enjoy enormously." In 1992 she graduated with an MFA in dramatic writing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She lives with her husband, Toshio, and her dog, Washington (a.k.a. "mongrel from hell"), in New York City.
Lesli-Jo Morizono's plays have a fantastical quality that transcends the realistic situations motivating the drama. In her short play Fried Rice, she depicts a humorous spiritual encounter between Mary, an Asian American, and Willie Wing, the African American proprietor of a Chinese restaurant located in the desert near the California-Nevada border. Mary stops into the restaurant on her way through the desert. After she sees God's face in a plate of deluxe fried rice, Willie begins to believe in and see the apparition. They both see what they want to see: Mary's God has Chinese features and will reveal the whereabouts of her muderous mother; Willie's God, complete with jerri curls, is his ticket to fame and franchises. As they argue over the validity of their own vision, their prejudices and racism erupt. Epithets and racial slurs are hurled at each other in rapid-fire manner, culminating only when the plate of fried rice is scattered on