Charise’s one act play, An Ocean In My Soul, is having its sold out world premiere at the Santa Monica Playhouse on October 25th, 2019. Help extend the run of the show by donating to or sharing the GoFundMe campaign page. This will be the first time a script of hers is fully produced onstage and she has been pouring her heart and soul into making the most of this production. So much so, that it was the first show of the festival to sell out this year.


Charise Sowells grew up in Minnesota where kids played outside until sundown and swam summer days away in lakes. Raised by hardworking and creative public school teachers, higher education and art were always the top priorities. She began singing in choirs at age 4, acting in plays at age 7, and performing in the school band at age 10. She also competed in history, math, and science.

In high school, the theater bug bit on a whole new level when she realized performance had the power to truly change people thanks to a teacher introducing her to the work of Ntozake Shange and Saul Williams. She moved to California to study Musical Theater at Orange County School of the Arts. Over 300 hopefuls auditioned that year, she was one of the 30 that made it in. It was there that Charise discovered her knack for writing melodies and monologues. She assembled a portfolio of her work to submit to the new creative writing department at school and was accepted, changing the trajectory of her life forever.

After graduating early, Charise was hired by one of the organizations she had been volunteering for while in school. She worked there full time for a year to save money for college and was granted a partial scholarship to her dream school, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Four intense years flew by as she balanced: a full course load, multiple part time jobs, work study positions to maintain her financial aid, and internships every semester to gain industry experience. Charise earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing (a.k.a. scriptwriting for Film, TV, and Theater) with academic honors as well as awards for her scripts, one of which an undergraduate student had never even been in the running for prior to her.

The day of graduation, she started working in TV at Channel Thirteen where she had been interning her last semester of college. Soon, she was employed by Nickelodeon and As the World Turns. From there, Charise ventured into the freelance life which eventually led her to Los Angeles where she ran a theater while continuing to develop her craft in writing workshops at the Robey Theater Company. Her thesis play, (562), was accepted into the DC Black Theater Festival and adapted into a feature film.

Throughout all this, Charise continued singing and songwriting. Her music has been featured by SF Weekly, Ukulele Magazine, and on radio stations and blogs both regionally and internationally. NPR called her music “amazing”. A single she released as Lake Lady won Song of the Year on a Berlin radio show. On top of penning songs for herself, Charise has written jingles for local businesses, songs for other artists, and composed music for film. She has also lent her voice to dozens of recordings and live acts, toured the US, and performed on television shows, at festivals, and abroad.

At a certain point, she ran a music blog and curated indie music showcases to give back and support fellow artists in a bigger way, using that platform to also raise awareness about issues in the community. Charise also taught playwriting and filmmaking to special needs and underprivileged teens. Over the years, she worked as a copywriter, actor, photographer, director, and producer, collaborating with other artists and businesses to create a wide array of content. A series of Charise’s fine art photography was exhibited in a Bay Area art gallery, Betti Ono.

Charise continues to record and release original music and has other scripts in various stages of development.


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