"Venessa Diaz has real talent...I was moved by her soulful and stunning vocal chops". ~BroadwayShowBiz.com
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Venessa M. Diaz is a Puerto Rican writer, performer, teaching artist and Down syndrome activist. She is dedicated to performing and creating work that is politically and socially conscious. Her most recent piece, the solo show Organic Sofrito or Other Recipes for Disaster address the issues of cultural norms and mental health. Named a "Bestseller" at the prestigious United Solo Theatre festival, it has performed to sold out crowds in NYC and Chicago.
Venessa began performing at the age of 5. Since then she has performed throughout NYC and abroad with some of Broadways best.
She is a founding member of accomplished youth theater companies such as the Creative Arts Team (CAT) Youth Theatre and Urban Youth Theatre (UYT). As a Drama Education Specialist, she has taught Poetry Slam, Playwriting, Theatre and Musical Theatre in New York City public schools for over a decade.
As a Down syndrome activist, Ms. Diaz is the founder of GiGi's Playhouse Long Island. A Down syndrome achievement center that offers free educational and therapeutic programs to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. She has been a contributing writer to several online magazines and blogs including The Mighty, sharing her experience as a mother of twins with Ds. Venessa is also a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and a fellow of the NHMC TV Writers Program and Sesame Workshop Writers Room.
She has written for and developed shows with Netflix, Noggin, PBS, and Disney Jr. to name a few. Ms. Diaz is represented by Thuan Dang at APA.
WHAT'S THE BUZZ?
Here's What's Happening...
VENESSA GETS STAFFED ON DISNEY JR.
Venessa is thrilled to be "cast" as a staff writer for Kindergarten: The Musical! an animated musical series about navigating all of the “firsts” young kids experience while attending kindergarten. The series follows 5-year-old Berti, who, with the help of her amazing teacher and new friends, uses her imagination to express her fears, excitement and joy through big Broadway-style song and dance numbers, proving that kindergarten is just like a big stage and there is nothing a good song can’t fix. Created by Michelle Lewis and Charlton Pettus, with executive producers Tom Warburton, Michelle Lewis, Kay Hanley, Charlton Pettus and Dan Petty; Venessa is honored to work alongside such accomplished writers and musicians.
SESAME WORKSHOP WRITERS ROOM FELLOW
Venessa is honored to be one of eight fellows selected for the prestigious Sesame Workshop Writers' Room. In this highly-competitive program, Venessa gained hands-on children's TV writing experience guided by Sesame Street veterans and other media industry leaders. In this program, she developed and wrote an original pilot script for Pre-K audiences.
VENESSA'S SOLO SHOW ORGANIC SOFRITO IS A HIT!
Organic Sofrito or Other Recipes for Disaster was a lifetime in the making and a 5 year journey from page to stage! The WORLD PREMIER took place at the prestigious United Solo Theatre Festival in 2017 and was named a BESTSELLER! Since then, the show has continued to move audiences around NYC and most recently, at the Chicago International Latino Theater Festival. Venessa hopes to continue sharing her autobiographical story of hope, courage and forgiveness for audiences around the world! An open-run at Counter & Bodega Restaurant in NYC is in the works for Summer 2023.
HONING HER CRAFT IN HOLLYWOOD
As one of ten writers selected into the highly competitive NHMC TV Writers Program, Venessa developed an original TV pilot under the mentorship of executives from NBC, CBS and ABC/Disney. Venessa is honored to have have had the opportunity to work alongside such well accomplished writers, mentors and to once again be a part of an NHMC program. A short scene from her original TV pilot Mangú Mamas was accepted into the National Hispanic Media Coalitions Latino Scene Showcase in June of 2019.
DOWN SYNDROME ADVOCATE AND ACTIVIST
Aside from her professional career in the Arts, Venessa takes great pride in her role as a mother. Her twin sons, Julian and Noel were born with Down syndrome, a developmental disability. While her boys work hard to meet the same milestones as their peers, Venessa works hard to advocate for them and the Ds community. Recently for World Ds Day 3/21, Venessa designed and distributed buttons to raise awareness. Broadway stars, cast members and musicians from the Broadway community all sported a button to help raise awareness. She is the founder of GiGi's Playhouse Long Island; the 52nd location of the non-profit Down Syndrome Achievement Center that provides free educational and therapeutic programs to individuals with Ds and their families and currently sits on the Board of Directors for GiGi's NYC. Venessa has written several articles about Ds Awareness that have been published in The Mighty, Manhattan Times, Twiniversity Magazine and more.
WANDERLUST! VENESSA TRAVELS TO EXOTIC DESTINATIONS IN SEARCH OF NEW INSPIRATION FOR HER WRITING
With a passion for archeology and anthropology, Venessa has always had a zeal to travel the globe. In past years she has visited the ancient sites of Chile, Peru, Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, India, Nepal and Italy. Most recently, she had the great fortune to visit Ireland, England and sacred sites around the US. Her love of storytelling, culture and customs from peoples around the world inspire her work.
"There are no small parts, only small actors." ~Stanislavski
THE LATINO SCENE SHOWCASE
FRIDA, THE MUSICAL
NHMC TV WRITERS PROGRAM
EVENTS: PAST AND PRESENT
Sept 30th-Nov.1st 2019
NHMC TV WRITERS PROGRAM
Venessa is officially BI-COSTAL! As one of 10 writers selected into the highly-competitive 5 week NHMC Television Writers Program, Venessa will develop an original TV pilot under the mentorship of network executives from CBS, NBC and ABC/Disney!
Sept 19-22nd, 2019
THE MID WEST PREMIER OF ORGANIC SOFRITO!
Venessa is taking her solo show on the road! Organic Sofrito will make it's Mid West debut at the 3rd International Latino Theater Festival in Chicago!
July 18, 2019
NUYORICAN POETS CAFE THEATRE FESTIVAL
Venessa's short play Dream Catchers was selected to be featured in the iconic Nuyorican Poets Cafe Theatre Festival!
June 26, 2019
THE LATINO SCENE SHOWCASE
Venessa goes to HOLLYWOOD! The National Hispanic Media Coalition has selected a scene from her original TV pilot, Mangú Mama's to be showcased in the Latino Scene Showcase!
May 9, 2019
GOVERNOR'S COMEDY EMERGING TALENT
Always willing to take creative risks, Venessa is giving Stand-Up Comedy a whirl! Her first show was a success and now she has another! Tickets are selling out fast so get yours before they are gone!
March 15th, 2019
NEW WORKS FESTIVAL
Organic Sofrito will be returning to the stage at TADA! Theatre, in NYC! Don't miss your chance to see this compelling show and share your thoughts in the audience talk-back session!
November 18th 2017 @ 2pm
ORGANIC SOFRITO-SECOND PERFORMANCE ADDED!
A SECOND performance has been added after a SOLD OUT opening night! Grab your tickets now before they are gone!!
October, 13th 2017 @7pm
A.M.A.M.A AT THE DUKE ON 42ND
A Marvel, A Miracle, America (A.M.A.M.A) is a hot new acapella musical being featured in the New York New Works Festival at The Duke on 42nd St.
November 16, 2017 @9pm
ORGANIC SOFRITO OR OTHER RECIPES FOR DISASTER
Three Puerto Rican women, four courses and a whole lot of crazy! The solo show written and performed by Venessa Diaz, Organic Sofrito or Other Recipes for Disaster is scheduled to have its WORLD PREMIER at The United Solo Theatre Festival on November 16th 2017.
March 1, 2017
Who is shaping the fate of our healthcare system? How can we trust what we are told? AMERICAN SCOREBOARD is a series of verbatim readings of Senate and Congressional hearing transcripts about topics that face the current administration.
The next reading in the series on March 1st 7 pm will focus on the confirmation hearings for Tom Price, Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
December 5th, 2016
Join me and some of Broadway's best for an evening of song. This is a special performance to benefit Benjamins House, an assisted living facility for adults with developmental disabilities.
January 6, 2017
THREE KINGS DAY FUNDRAISER @ CAMARADAS EL BARRIO
Join me and a slew of amazing talent at the THREE KINGS DAY fundraiser benefiting my Solo Show, ORGANIC SOFRITO OR OTHER RECIPES FOR DISASTER. There will be raffles, prizes, drink specials and LIVE entertainment from NYC's hottest Spoken Word artists, musician Edwin Vazquez and comedy by The Funny Latino, Roman Suarez. 6pm-Midnight!