Tina Howe - Class of 1955
For New York City born and raised Tina Howe, coming to Champaign-Urbana for high school was like moving from Oz to weirder Oz. In New York, Tina Howe had attended private all-girls schools, and the coed Uni High was like an entire other planet - one where Tina Howe was just as much of an alien to the student body. Despite the cultural shock, she recalls her time at Uni fondly. “I was accepted, even though I was sort of a strange creature. But I had friends. And I wasn’t smart and I didn’t do well, but nobody made fun of me and nobody was mean to me, and I think it was that - that the Midwest isn’t as judgmental as the East is. We were all accepted and cherished. And I think it was going to a high school where I could be strange and weird, and nobody minded, and I was allowed to be my own person and not get cast in plays and nobody cared, and I think that was huge, because high school can be very, very painful.”
After graduating from Uni High, Tina Howe attended and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where she first discovered her love and talent as a playwright. Her first play, "Closing Time", was written during her time as an undergraduate and directed by her classmate, Jane Alexander. Since then, Tina Howe has become a highly accomplished and celebrated playwright, being a finalist for two Pulitzer Prizes (for Painting Churches (1984) and Pride's Crossing (1997)), nominated for a Tony Award Best Play for Coastal Disturbances (1987), and winning the 1998 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play for Pride's Crossing (1984). Currently, Tina Howe is living in New York City with her husband of over sixty years, Norman Levy. She is working on writing a set of three short plays for women, about where women go , describing them as "goofy plays about women being crazy and being joyful, and having a good time; imaginative, using my imagination."
- Interview with Tina Howe