Makena's Writing Awards & Accolades
- Makena’s song "Listen to Me" was selected for the 2021 Reverb Festival at Roundabout Theatre Company.
- Blurrred: A Modern Fairy Tale was chosen for the SE Texas Festival of New Plays
- Death Bites was presented in The Lincoln Center’s Virtual ADA30 Celebration
- Won the NaNoWriMo Award for her novel A Whisper of Magic.
- Heavy Heart was published in the literary magazine Fleas on the Dog, Volume 8.
- Her essay "Epic Storytelling in Musical Theatre" was published in Musical Theater Today Magazine, Volume 3.
- Makena was chosen as an Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights 2018 Diversity Fellow
- Production Secretary & Assistant for CURIOUS GEORGE / NBCU & Dreamworks. May 2019-Nov. 2019
- Graduate of Columbia College Chicago 2017 - Studied Playwriting & Theatre Directing
- Graduate of New Musicals Inc. CORE Curriculum for Musical Theatre Writing.
- Attended the Kennedy Center’s 2018 Playwriting Intensive for their annual workshop.
- Selected for the Institute for American Musical Theatre’s inaugural IAMT CREATORS Certificate Program in Musical Theatre Writing.
- Proud member of DGA & ASCAP.
Makena On Writing
I have a chronic and invisible illness. I was diagnosed almost six years ago with aplastic anemia, which two in a million people have, which affects me daily. I’ve had to learn how to manage my energy levels, flare ups, side effects, and ableism, while trying to live my life to the best of my ability. This last year, I was also diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in my leg, and I got major surgery to remove it. I'm now perpetually low on energy and platelets, as well as bionic. As someone who lives in a marginalized community, I’m inspired and influenced to write stories for underrepresented groups. In my work, I highlight social, political, economic, or environmental issues as the core of different stories.
I know that as a writer, I have a moral obligation to help tell underrepresented stories because my own story is underrepresented. I want more theatre, books, plays, and musicals about disabled people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and especially women, and people with chronic illnesses. If I don’t reflect what I’d like to see more of in my own work, then I am doing these marginalized communities, and myself, a disservice. I know that if I keep writing what I've never seen in the media, but would like to see, maybe someone else's life will change for the better. And then maybe, they’ll help someone else change, too.