Kirsten Dahl: ​Denver based playwright, novelist, and general writer


Della doucet

On the run from a military marriage, Southern-born Della struggles to find
her way in the gritty New York art world of 1981. 


making w.a.v.e.s

When Verna Swenson enlists in the WAVES in 1943, the Navy assigns her to train pilots. But teaching men to fly may be an impossible job.



It’s the psychedelic ‘70s at an alternative college in Vermont. Five mismatched lovers pursue a midsummer night’s dream as wild as the surrounding woods.

Death in the dordogne

On an ill-fated biking tour through France, a group of Americans confront the civilized Stone Age—and the barbaric present.


Making waves

New Play Profiles World War II Navy Women

Verna Johnson departs for practice flight over Hawaii in 1945

Verna Johnson departs for practice flight over Hawaii in 1945

Who were the WAVES—and what did they do in the war?  Meet these intrepid women, who took over men’s Navy jobs in WWII, when the new play Making WAVES sets sail May 19th.

Inspired by the experiences of actual Navy WAVES, including the playwright’s mother, Making WAVES explores the 1943 world of Minnesota farm girl Verna Swenson as she takes on the challenge of teaching instrument flying to male pilots. In the WAVES, Verna travels from boot camp in the Bronx to the volcanic beauty of Hawaii, finding deep friendship, learning about race relations, trying to jitterbug--and to outrun the fear that has dogged her since childhood.

Hear some of Denver’s top actors bring the script to life in its first public reading on May 19th at 3 pm, at Lighthouse Writers, the Grotto, 1515 Race St. in Denver. 

Melissa Lucero McCarl will direct. Kirsten developed Making WAVES in Melissa’s 8-week playwriting workshop, offered three times yearly at Lighthouse Writers. She also workshopped it at Dramatists Guild Institute in New York.

The WAVES marched to many songs. This is one of the best known: 

WAVES of the Navy (harmonizes with Anchors Aweigh)  Lyrics by Betty St. Clair, 1943

WAVES of the Navy, There's a ship sailing down the bay. And she won't slip into port again Until that Victory Day.

Carry on for that gallant ship And for every hero brave Who will find ashore, his man-sized chore Was done by a Navy WAVE.

For more vintage photos, click HERE