Beethoven’s Third
by Howard Ho

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On the eve of a revolutionary new path toward his artistic destiny, Ludwig Van Beethoven is visited by two strangers who reveal the true nature of his artistic genius.




Howard Ho is a playwright/composer. His plays include Reset, produced by Moving Arts Theatre in LA and an O’Neill Finalist, and Various Emporia, an O’Neill Finalist. He’s been an OOB Finalist twice before with End of the Line (co-written with Kristen Rea and Chris Edgar and licensed by MTI) and Where I’m From, featured in Center Theatre Group’s Community Stories and being developed into a full-length musical. Other musicals include Pretendo, Hop Fong and MOLL-E. His short play Jie Jie was featured in Best of 2024 Playground-NY. He has sound designed over 50 shows, earning nominations from the Ovation Award and the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. His Youtube channel ( dissecting musicals has over 120,000 subscribers and was recognized by Lin-Manuel Miranda. His journalism has been published in Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, Howlround and American Theatre magazine. He holds degrees from UCLA and USC.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

When I was in high school, a group of us students were tasked with writing short skits about the generation gap between us and our parents. My contribution was to write a framing device that incorporated all the other skits, which made it one cohesive play. My career decision to pursue playwriting, however, came later when I had started working at various Los Angeles theatres that had writing groups. Company of Angels Theatre took a chance on me and fully-produced one of my first short plays Will Call, which was a hiphop battle rap, singing sock puppet musical.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

I wrote the play from a prompt at Playground-NY, which was to write about an origin story. The story of Beethoven becoming the Beethoven we all know is one of the great origin stories I learned about as a music history major in college. But rather than rehash that story, I wanted to put a twist on it to address the inequality that composers of today face. Many orchestras still program overwhelmingly from 19th Century Europe, often leaving out today’s composers and also entire demographics. I wondered to what absurd degrees they’d go for more Beethoven symphonies.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Musical, AAPI, intersectional, satirical, curious.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

David Henry Hwang, Lauren Yee, Julia Cho, Prince Gomolvilas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephen Sondheim, Jonathan Larson, Stew, David Byrne, Lynn Nottage, Peter Shaffer, Rajiv Joseph and August Wilson.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I’m credited as the Assistant to the Producers on the 2007 Ninja Turtles CGI animated movie.


What are some of your favorite plays?

In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, Pacific Overtures by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson, Aubergine by Julia Cho, Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, Passing Strange by Stew, Tick Tick Boom by Jonathan Larson.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

My play Reset is being published by Next Stage Press.

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