Gina Femia

Brooklyn-born playwright on her plays set in Coney Island and a marriage proposal on the beach

Brooklyn born and based playwright Gina Femia has written 32 full-length plays, including three set in various locations in Coney Island, from the playgrounds of the projects to the Wonder Wheel. Among them are The Mermaids' Parade (2015-2016) and ALLOND(R)A (Winner: Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Female Playwrights, Runner-up: Yale Drama Prize, 2019). "Coney Island itself is a character and informs the story and the characters," says Gina of the trilogy of plays. "Within the grit of these stories you see lots of moments of hope and joy, and they do end on hopeful notes, rather than devastating ones, which I think is important as well. I think you can't really understand hope if you don't have what you're fighting against. And that not only goes for plays, but life as well."

Gina grew up in Bay Ridge and currently lives in Bensonhurst. "This is my park," she says, of Coney Island, which she describes as the heart of Brooklyn and her backyard. She shares memories of childhood trips to Coney Island beach and Gargiulo's restaurant with her family, and more recent excursions with her husband Freddy, who proposed to her on the beach on a rainy day in April.  Gina is a graduate of theater programs at SUNY Purchase (BFA) and Sarah Lawrence College (MFA). In 2019, she was commissioned to write the book for Luna Park: The Musical, by lyricist Michael Cooper and composer Hyeyoung Kim.