Marlane was born in San Francisco and raised in San Pedro. Marlane Meyer is of Polynesian and Native American (Cherokee) ancestry on her father’s side and German and Swedish on her mother’s side. She attended California State University-Long Beach, where she studied under Murray Mednick, one of the founder of the Padua Hills Festival. She was the dramaturg for the Latino Actor’s Workshop at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in 1986. Meyer has a bicoastal career; she has worked in both Los Angeles and New York. In addition to a successful television writing career, including episodes of Sirens, the teleplay of Better Off Dead, Life Stories for NBC, and Out of the Sixties for HBO, she teaches playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. Meyer is a member of the New York Playwrights, the Dramatists Guild, the Women’s Project, PEN Center West, and the Polynesian Society, and she is an alumna of New Dramatists.
Although Meyer is not yet acknowledged as an important contemporary American or Asian American playwright, her works have been awarded many prizes. Etta Jenks won the Kesselring Award and the Dramalogue Award in 1987; Kingﬁsh won the Dramalogue Award in 1988 and the PEN Center West Award in 1989; The Geography of Luck won the Dramalogue Award in 1989; and Moe’s Lucky Seven won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 1993. Meyer also received the Brody Foundation Grant for Literature in 1987, the Creative Anists Public Service Grant in 1989, and a National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship in 1990. Moreover, Meyer, a former playwright-in-residence of the Padua Hills Playwrights’ Workshop, belongs to various literary coteries, such as the Dramatists Guild, the Writers‘ Guild of America East, PEN Center West, the New York Playwrights’ Lab, and the Women’s Project.