Christopher Demos-Brown

Lawyer-playwright Christopher Demos-Brown, who’s based in Miami, is used to multitasking; he was writing a court document just before our phone interview. But one ball he gave up trying to juggle a long time ago is an acting career. “I was a really bad actor,” he says, “but it makes me a better writer. I appreciate much more what it takes to be a good actor because I wasn’t one.”

Demos-Brown has written 11 plays (in his spare time, he jokes, instead of “watching Game of Thrones or playing Angry Birds”). But his most well-known by far is American Son, which recently ran on Broadway starring Kerry Washington and will take to Florida Studio Theatre’s stage Jan. 22-March 22. (His filmed adaptation of the piece is also on Netflix starting this month.) He estimates that more people saw the Broadway production in one week “than all of my other plays by far.”

Although the storyline of American Son is fictional (a well-educated black woman searching for her missing teenage son confronts both the cops and her estranged, white FBI agent husband late one night at a Florida police station), Demos-Brown drew several of the female character’s traits, like her strong, confident manner, from a prosecutor colleague. While he’s always been interested in American history and especially American race relations—and the subject of young black males’ stereotypical profile with law enforcement remains unfortunately timely—he says that ultimately American Son “is about this family and how they came together, and the forces that are pulling them apart. They’re the axis on which the play spins.”

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