2020 Panelists Biographies
The State of Broadway
SARAHBETH GROSSMAN (Moderator) Sarabeth Grossman is a Tony Award-nominated and Olivier Award-winning Producer. She was on the producing teams for Indecent, An American in Paris (also West End and National Tour), Come From Away (West End only), Dames at Sea, Ann and Stick Fly. Off Broadway she produced The Irish Curse and the 60th Anniversary revival of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She is currently the Artistic Producer at Dallas Theater Center. Sarahbeth is a graduate of the Commercial Theater Institute and holds an MFA in Theater Management from the Yale School of Drama - where she served as the Associate Managing Director of Yale Rep. She is an associate member of the Broadway League and a member of Theater Communications Group, National Alliance for Musical Theatre and the Producer's Guild of America.
MICHAEL ALDEN (Panelist) On Broadway: Come From Away, Disgraced (Pulitzer Prize) Grey Gardens and Bridge & Tunnel (Special Tony Award.) On the West End: Come From Away (Olivier) David Seidler's original play, The King's Speech and Bat Boy The Musical. From 1987- 89, Vice President Post Production Cannon Films; 1989-90, Vice President Pathe Films;1991-92 Vice President MGM Post Production. Film works include: Stephen Daldry's The Hours, Kissing Jessica Stein, Just Cause with Sean Connery, the fashion forward documentary UnZipped for Miramax, The Zookeeper starring Sam Neill, Lesser Prophets, Mother, Mother and most recently Death Metal, now in post-production. Upcoming projects include When Regan Killed Roosevelt, a feature documentary telling the never-before-told story of the rise of rap group Public Enemy and the psychological thriller Cursed. www.MichaelAldenProductions.com
MOLLY MORRIS (Panelist) Molly Morris is a co-producer of Come From Away (Broadway, West End, North American Tour, Toronto & Australia). This season she was a producer on Broadway's Diana, A True Musical Story, by the TONY Award winning team of Joe DiPietro and David Bryan. Molly is dedicated to the development of original plays and musicals. Passionate about arts education and empowerment of young people, she is on the Associate Board of Rosie's Theatre Kids.
MARTIN PLATT (Panelist) Marin Platt has been a Director, Producer, and General Manager in the U.S., U.K. and Europe for over forty years. He was the founding Artistic Director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, General Director of Birmingham Opera Theatre, and founding Artistic Director of Santa Fe Stages, an international Arts Festival. As a Director his work has been seen throughout the U.S. and Europe. Mr. Platt’s career as a Producer and General Manager began in 1991, as co-director of Fifth Amendment Ltd, a UK based producing company. During 10 years with 5A, he produced over 50 theatre and dance productions, in London’s West End and on tour in the UK, Europe, and U.S. His most recent West End production was the Olivier nominated Lend Me A Tenor The Musical. On Broadway he produced Dames At Sea and in the 2013-2014 season with the Tony Award winning play, Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike. New York his productions have included Ed Dixon’s Georgie, Bedlam’s Hamlet and Saint Joan, Bebe Neuwirth in Here Lies Jenny, Treason, and the multi off Broadway award winning productions of In The Continuum and an oak tree. Bio via https://pstheatricals.com/
TINA FALLON (Panelist) Tina Fallon is the Executive Director of Creative Affairs for the Dramatists Guild and the founding producer of The 24 Hour Plays (Off-Broadway and Broadway). Since 1995, she and The 24 Hour Company have produced The 24 Hour Plays and The 24 Hour Musicals, often as charity benefits, in many venues around the world. Fallon has been a presenter at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and The Association for Theatre in Higher Education, a judge for the KCACTF Irene Ryan Awards, and a teaching artist at the EDTA conference.Bio via https://www.dramatistsguild.com/
COLLEEN JENNINGS-ROGGENSACK (Panelist) Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, arts leader and visionary is Vice President for Cultural Affairs for Arizona State University and Executive Director of ASU Gammage. She has artistic, fiscal and administrative responsibility for the historic Frank Lloyd Wright designed ASU Gammage, ASU Kerr Cultural Center, with responsibility for Sun Devil Stadium and Desert Financial Arena for non-athletic activities. She oversees the activation and transformation of Sun Devil Stadium into a year-round hub of cultural activity as ASU 365 Community Union.
She serves on The Broadway League's Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Government Relations Committee, the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors, Labor Committee and co-chairs the Road Presenters/Intra-Industry Committee and is Arizona's only Tony voter. Colleen is a founding and current member of the Creative Capital Board and Senior Advisor to Women of Color in the Arts, former Association of Performing Arts Professionals board president, served on the National Council on the Arts at the bequest of President Clinton and is a Life Director of the Fiesta Bowl. She is a consultant to universities, international governments and a featured speaker at conferences.
Colleen is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2019 Valley Leadership Woman of the Year, 2019 ASU West Pioneer Award, National Society of Arts and Letters Medallion of Merit, Valle del Sol’s Mom of the Year, APAP Fan Taylor Award, Black Philanthropy Initiative Honor, The Broadway League's Outstanding Achievement in Presenter Management and Arizona's Governor’s Arts Award. In 2012, The Arizona Republic recognized Colleen for Arizona’s 100th Anniversary as one of the individuals who had the greatest impact in the era.
Former dancer and choreographer, Colleen is married to Dr. Kurt Roggensack, volcanologist at Arizona State University, and the proud mother of Kelsey, an All-American swimmer, graduate of Williams College, two-time Fulbright Scholar, earned a master’s degree from Harvard University and currently pursuing a PhD at Cornell University.
SUE FROST (Panelist) Sue Frost is a founding member of Junkyard Dog Productions, which is dedicated to developing and producing new musicals. COME FROM AWAY at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway, on tour in North America, in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, on the West End at the Phoenix Theatre, and in Melbourne at the Comedy Theatre, 2010 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-winning Best Musical MEMPHIS (Broadway, National Tour and West End), FIRST DATE, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (executive producers). Prior to founding Junkyard, Sue was Associate Producer at Goodspeed Musicals for 20 years, where she produced more than 50 new musicals at both the Goodspeed Opera House and the Norma Terris Theatre. Before that she was a Broadway company manager. A graduate of Smith College, Sue is a member of adjunct faculty at Columbia University, and currently serves on the Broadway League’s Board of Governors, the Executive, Tony Administration, Audience Engagement, Intra-Industry Committees, and is co-chair of the Business Development Committee.
CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON (Panelist) Christine Toy Johnson is an award-winning writer, actor and advocate for inclusion. Her work has been produced and/or developed by the Roundabout, Village Theatre, O’Neill Center, Barrow Group, Prospect Theatre, Weston Playhouse, CAP 21 and more, and is included in the Library of Congress’s Asian Pacific American Playwrights Collection. Member of the Dramatists Guild Council, chair of the Guild’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee and host of their podcast "Talkback" on Broadway Podcast Network. Co-founder of the Obie Award winning Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC). As an actor, Christine has appeared extensively on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theatres across the country and on television and film. Christine is on "extended intermission" from the North American tour of COME FROM AWAY and is currently working on a commission from Village Theatre with composer/lyricist Jason Ma. Details: www.christinetoyjohnson.com
Writing and Producing the One Person Show
ALONNA RAY (Moderator) Alonna Ray (she/her/hers) is a writer, producer, and dramaturg from north Texas. She is passionate about creating theatre for all audiences that places an emphasis on language, cultural studies, and underrepresented demographics. She currently runs a freelance theatre consulting business called Yellow Rose Dramaturgy from her home in Dallas, Texas. She is a Resident Dramaturg and Artistic Associate at Richmond Catholic Theatre, a Creative Producer for Relatu Visual, and a frequent dramaturg and teaching artist with the Educational Theatre Association in addition to working one on one with playwrights, novelists, and various other theatre companies in her area. She has been a reader for Alley Theatre, New Harmony Project, Bay Area Playwrights Foundation, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Educational Theatre Association. She completed her undergraduate degree in French, comparative literature and drama at the University of Dallas and was a Dramaturgy/Literary Management Apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
VALERIE DAVID (Panelist) Valerie David (playwright/performer/producer) wrote The Pink Hulk, her inspirational journey in becoming a cancer survivor, to express the empowerment she felt being able to find humor and strength going through three bouts of cancer—first Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (1999), Stage II Breast Cancer (2014-2015) and then Stage IV Metastatic Breast cancer that spread to her bones (2018-2019), which she has conquered. Valerie is a true superhero—she currently has no evidence of disease—no trace of her cancer as of April 2019. Valerie raises money through The Pink Hulk performances for domestic and international cancer organizations.
Valerie has toured and continues to perform virtually in The Pink Hulk around the country and worldwide—to date, over 23 cities and all over Europe. The Pink Hulk has been accepted into 32 festivals and went from page to stage in less than 6 months. She performed in early July in Iceland’s Reykjavik Fringe Festival virtually with a talkback and Q&A. Valerie’s solo show has won several awards including the Audience Choice Award in the Shenandoah Fringe and the WOW Award in Sweden’s Gothenburg Fringe. Valerie and her play have been featured on TV, radio, and in publications, including NBC 4 New York, CBS’s Coast Live, Fox’s The Hampton Roads Show, amNY, Cure magazine, Broadway World, The IndyStar, The Virginian-Pilot, Richmond magazine, Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio Network, and Mia’s World, among many other publications and media. Podcasts include First Online with Fran—Frances McGarry, Crisis Help Show with Francis Sisco, Ingimar Bjarni’s Reykjavik Fringe Festival Fringe Podcast and Roy George’s Triple Threats and Beyond—coming out in August. Valerie has also been published in the MSK Visible Ink Writing Program Anthologies. Kristin Morale of Broadway World says, “Her performance is life changing...the most powerful and poignant two hours I have ever spent at a theater.”
The Pink Hulk is NOT just about cancer—it is about fighting back from any adversity in life and has been making an impact on audiences worldwide. Her powerful mantra is to never, ever give up hope, even in the worst of circumstances.
Valerie is also an improviser, published writer, editor and motivational speaker. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts-Manhattan Campus and James Madison University, her credits include many productions such as the Off-Broadway musical A Stoop on Orchard Street, Rumors and Claudia Shear’s Blown Sideways Through Life. Films: How I Became that Jewish Guy and Bridges and Tunnels. Memberships: Dramatists Guild, TRU, League of Professional Theatre Women, AEA and SAG-AFTRA. With more than 20 years of experience as a writer and an editor, she also teaches improv classes, writing classes, and how to create and produce your own solo show. Valerie wishes to thank David Rainey, Krystal Uchem, and The Landing Theatre Company for this opportunity.
GEORGE BRANT (Panelist) George Brant’s plays include Grounded, Marie and Rosetta, Into the Breeches!, The Prince of Providence, Tender Age, and Elephant’s Graveyard. His scripts have been translated into 14 languages and performed in 22 countries by such companies as the Public Theater, the Atlantic Theater, Cleveland Play House and Trinity Repertory. He has received a Lucille Lortel Award, an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, the Smith Prize, a Fringe First Award, and the Keene Prize for Literature. Brant received his MFA in Writing from the Michener Center at UT-Austin. He is currently working on a stage adaptation of the novel Crooked River Burning, a musical version of The Land of Oz, and an adaptation of Grounded for the Metropolitan Opera with music by Jeanine Tesori.
MASHUQ MUSHTAQ DEEN (Panelist) Mashuq Mushtaq Deen is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a Playwrights Center CORE Writer, and a Lambda Literary Award Winner. His full-length plays include Flood (covid-cancelled production at Kansas City Rep 2021), The Empty Place (NYU commission), The Betterment Society (upcoming publication), The Shaking Earth (covid-cancelled production at National Queer Theater 2020), Draw the Circle (productions: PlayMakers Rep, Mosaic Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre; published: Dramatists Play Service; winner Lambda Literary Award), and Tank & Horse (world premiere: Berkshire Fringe Festival). Deen’s work has been presented/developed/supported by a number of institutions including New Dramatists, Sundance Institute/Ucross, Blue Mountain Center, The Public Theater, NYTW, MacDowell Colony, Bogliasco Foundation, Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Target Margin Theatre, Keen Company, New Harmony Project, Phoenix Theatre, Chesley/Bumbalo Foundation, Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, InterAct Theatre, Page73, Ma-Yi, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, Georgetown University, BEAT Festival, PACE University, Hampshire College, Averett University, Dixon Place, Passage Theatre, Queens Theatre in the Park, Tofte Lake Center, and the Berkshire Fringe Festival. He has also received a 2017 Kilroy’s List Honorable Mention, been a Jerome New York Fellowship finalist (twice), O'Neill Conference semifinalist (thrice), Weissberger Award nomination, Playwrights Center Core Writers finalist (twice), and has received a James Baldwin Award, and Dennis Johnston Playwriting Prize honorable mention. He is a member of the NYTW Usual Suspects, Ma-Yi Writers Lab, founding member of the Public Theater Alumni Writers Group, and the Dramatists Guild. He earned his MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School/New School for Drama. He is represented by the Gurman Agency. In his spare time, Deen is also a participating citizen (#flarebkny) and a man of many hobbies, including bread-baker, soap-maker, and student of the guitar.
CHAY YEW (Panelist) Chay Yew is the Artistic Director at Victory Gardens Theater. Victory Gardens Theater: A Wonder in My Soul, Roz and Ray, The House That Will Not Stand, Hillary and Clinton, Death and the Maiden, An Issue of Blood, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Mojada, Oedipus el Rey, Universes’ Ameriville. Chicago: Dartmoor Prison, Black N Blue Boys/Broken Men (Goodman Theatre); Where Did We Sit On The Bus? (Teatro Vista/Victory Gardens, Boise Contemporary Theatre); Po Boy Tango(Northlight Theatre). Chay is a recipient of the OBIE Award and DramaLogue Award for Direction. As a playwright, his plays include Porcelain, A Language of Their Own, Red, A Beautiful Country, Wonderland, Question 27 Question 28, A Distant Shore, 17, and Visible Cities. His other work includes adaptations of A Winter People(based on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard), Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, and a musicalLong Season. His performance works include Vivian and Her Shadows and Home: Places between Asia and America. His plays have been produced at The Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Portland Center Stage, amongst many others. Overseas, his plays have been produced by the Royal Court Theatre (London), Fattore K and Napoli Teatro Festival (Naples, Italy), La Mama (Melbourne, Australia), Four Arts (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Singapore Repertory Theatre, Toy Factory, Checkpoint Theatre, Theatre-Works (Singapore), amongst others. He is also the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting. Award, GLAAD Media Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/ AFTRA Diversity Honor, and Robert Chesley Award. His plays Porcelain and A Language of Their Own, and The Hyphenated American Plays are published by Grove Press. He recently edited Version 3.0: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Plays for TCG Publications. He was the founding director of the Taper’s Asian Theatre Workshop and producer of Taper, Too. Chay is also an alumnus of New Dramatists and serves on Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ Cultural Advisory Council and League of Chicago Theatres. Bio via https://victorygardens.org/
MICHAEL GENE SULLIVAN (he/him) (Panelist) Michael Gene Sullivan is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright based in San Francisco.
As an actor Michael has worked with the American Conservatory Theatre, the Denver Center Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Theatreworks, California Shakespeare Theatre, SF Playhouse, San Francisco and the African American Shakespeare Companies, and the Aurora, the Marin, the Magic, the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, has toured nationally and internationally, to off-Broadway and the Kennedy Center, and has been a principle actor for the San Francisco Mime Troupe for over 30 years.
Michael’s directing credits include work with Sa n Francisco Shakespeare Festival, TheatreFirst, the African American Shakespeare Company, Street Of Dreams Theatre Company, and over a dozen shows with SFMT. Michael was also director of the all-woman, all-clown Circus Finelli.
From 1992 -1999 Michael was a Contributing Writer for the despite-its-name-never-silent, Tony and OBIE Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe before being named SFMT’s Resident Playwright 2000 to present. Michael is also a Resident Playwright for the Playwrights Foundation, and in 2017 was playwriting resident at the Djerassi Arts Center. Mr. Sullivan's political dramas, musicals, and satires include Walls (Ningun Humano Es Ilegal!), Treasure Island, For The Greater Good, Freedomland, Red Carol, Too Big To Fail, Did Anyone Ever Tell You-You Look Like Huey P. Newton?, Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan (with Josh Kornbluth), Godfellas, Too Big to Fail, Possibilidad or The Death of the Worker, the all-woman farce Recipe, and his one person show, Did Anyone Ever Tell You -- You Look Like Huey P. Newton? Mr. Sullivan's plays have been performed at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the International Festival of Verbal Art (Berlin), The Hong Kong Arts Festival, and in Greece, Spain, Columbia, Argentina, New Zealand, Ukraine, England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Mexico, as well as in theaters throughout the United States.
1984, his critically-acclaimed stage adaptation of George Orwell's dystopic novel of the oppressive present/future, had its world premiere in 2006 at the Actors' Gang, directed by Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins. After several extended runs in Los Angeles, 1984 has gone on to several national and international productions, has been translated into six languages, published in two, and most recently was produced again by the Actor’s Gang (this time starring Tim Robbins), New York’s Aquila Theatre, Houston’s Alley Theatre, and began a three-year run in Kyiv, Ukraine. Michael is currently writing and performing in Tales of the Resistance, a series of political radio plays for the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Michael is also a Collective Member and Board Member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, was a blogger for the Huffington Post and Progressive Army, and was profiled with his wife - actor, director, director, columnist Velina Brown - in American Theatre Magazine.
Writing for Devised Theatre
LILY WOLFF (Moderator) Lily Wolff is a British-American theatre director and new play dramaturg currently based in Houston, Texas. Recent escapades include dramaturging a new Isaac Gómez play set in a Whataburger, traveling to London to direct in a festival of Italian new plays at Theatre503, and dramaturging a new play about Hurricane Ike by Galveston native Molly Beach Murphy for New York Stage & Film and New Georges. In the pre-COVID age, Lily was the Literary Manager at the Alley Theatre, co-producing the Alley All New Festival and running the new play development program, the Alley All New initiative, alongside Director of New Work Liz Frankel. She has developed work by Theresa Rebeck, C. Denby Swanson, Katie Bender, Vichet Chum, Arthur M. Jolly, Eleanor Burgess, Hilary Bettis, Claire Kiechel, Charles Fuller, Bess Wohl, Christina Anderson, Johnna Adams, and Gabriel Jason Dean, among others. Directing credits include: FROM WHITE PLAINS (Thunderclap Productions), THE MADRES (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, Shrewd Productions), CRY IT OUT (Theatre En Bloc), A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY (Southwestern University), THE EFFECT (Capital T Theatre), LUNGS (Austin Critics’ Table “Best Direction” award, Hyde Park Theatre), FAHRENHEIT 451 (Different Stages), AS YOU LIKE IT (Shrewd Productions), GIDION’S KNOT (Capital T Theatre) and STOP KISS (UT Austin). Lily is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
JORGE SILVA (Panelist) Jorge Silva is a writer/performer, producer, and the Managing Director for The Neo-Futurists. Silva, a native Chicagoan, was previously the Producing Coordinator for the Goodman Theatre serving as the producing liaison for community engagement projects and the curator for artistic programming.
An alum of Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund and St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, Silva earned a dual degree in Government and Theatre (Advanced Undergraduate Theatre Program) at Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences. During his undergraduate career, Silva worked with the Committee on US and Latin-American Relations connecting local Spanish speaking immigrant communities to legal resources and ESL courses. While at Cornell, he also lead the nation’s oldest student run Latinx theatre company in the nation, Teatrotaller.
His artistic work eventually lead him to joining Teatro Travieso (Wooster, OH) in Lima, Peru where he was a part of a devised piece – Encuentro: Peru!! – that performed there and at UNESCO’s World Festival of Theatre School in Bucharest, Romania. He continues to serve as an artistic affiliate for Teatro Travieso.
Before returning to Chicago, Silva was based in Washington, DC serving as the Production Manager for the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theater. Starting as a performer for their signature show, Seasons of Light, Silva went on to employ his design and technical skills for in-house productions and for visiting productions. However, his proudest contributions to DC is being one of the founding members of Discovery Theater’s DCPS in-school arts education program, ‘Tools of Discovery,’ where he helped build arts assisted curriculum with teachers in English and in Spanish, grades Pre-K – 2nd. Silva was also a deviser with the interactive theatre company dog & pony DC and was a part of a collective that developed the socially conscious, trilingual (English, Spanish, American Sign Language) experimental works Toast and Squares.
Silva is also a freelance writer and essayist. His works have been featured in the online magazine Scout & Birdie (Oblivious, La Lucha), Junior Varsity (Ode to Dan Kerr-Hobert’s Mustache, Muerto), Pivot Arts: Voting Rights, Salonathon, Hot Kitchen Collective, Nation Cool Shorts, The LIVINGroom (You Are Beautiful, The Grown-Ups’ Table), and Story District [in DC] (Change Via Iron, Wasting Electricity, Childhood Beliefs).
Silva was introduced to The Neo-Futurists early in his academic career attending performances of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, but began his current tenure in 2016 as the recipient of the Neo-Access Scholarship. From there, he joined ensemble members Kurt Chiang and Lily Mooney for The Neo-Futurists’ ongoing experimental essay show THE ARROW. Most recently, he had the privilege of being a part of the Latinx inclusive creative team for REMEMBER THE ALAMO, devised by Neo Ensemble member Nick Hart.
Outside of theatre, Silva is an Affinity Group Leader for the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund’s mentoring program and one of the Events and Outreach Officers for their alumni committee. In a similar fashion, Silva also serves as a Career Coach for aspiring theatre practitioners currently in their undergraduate years for The Posse Foundation: Chicago. Recently, Silva was a featured speaker at Latinos Progresando’s flagship community event, MEX talks ; he is excited to return as to Latinos Progresando as a member of the host committee for MEX talks 2019.
MEGAN E. CARTER (Panelist) Megan E. Carter is a creative producer and dramaturg. She has developed and/or produced devised ensemble work with Ripe Time, Lear deBessonet, SITI Company, Palissimo, and the Rude Mechanicals; new plays by Liz Duffy Adams, Sheila Callaghan, Virginia Grise, Dominique Morisseau, Saviana Stanescu, and Catherine Trieschmann, among others. Megan served as line producer and dramaturg on the American Premiere of Jackie by Elfriede Jelinek, directed by Tea Alagic, and has edited the English translations of a number of Jelinek’s plays, including Rechnitz and The Charges (The Supplicants). She recently served as the Director of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation, which is dedicated to training and supporting theatre directors and choreographers and advancing the crafts of stage direction and choreography. Prior to SDCF, she worked for seven years as the Associate Artistic Director of Women’s Project Theater (WP), where she produced and/or dramaturged ten world premieres, six New York premieres, five developmental productions, three site- specific shows, and dozens of workshops and readings. In addition to managing WP’s new play development and playwright commissions, she also led the Lab for Directors, Playwrights, and Producers. Select credits: Harm’s Way and Sincerity Forever by Mac Wellman, directed by johnmichael rossi; Sand by Trista Baldwin, directed by Daniella Topol; crooked by Catherine Trieschmann, directed by Liz Diamond; Freshwater by Virginia Woolf, directed by Anne Bogart with SITI Company; Smudge by Rachel Axler, directed by Pam McKinnon; Bethany by Laura Marks, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch; The World Is Round, adapted from Gertrude Stein by Rachel Dickstein with music by Heather Christian. Megan has been on faculty at the SITI Company Conservatory and Primary Stages Einhorn School for the Performing Arts (ESPA). Education: MFA in Dramaturgy, Brooklyn College/CUNY.
Bio Via https://primarystages.org/
KIRK LYNN (Panelist) Kirk Lynn is a novelist and playwright living in Texas and New Mexico with my wife, who is a poet and novelist, and my daughter and son, who play the piano and think books are stupid, respectively. I’m a founder and member of the feminist collective Rude Mechs making performance in Austin TX for almost 25 years. Lynn reaches writing at The University of Texas at Austin.
CARRA MARTINEZ (Panelist) Carra Martinez is a collaborative theatre artist, scholar, community engagement specialist, and educator. Based in Austin, Texas, Martinez is the Director of Live in America at Fusebox Festival and teaches in the Playwriting and Directing Program at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the former Director of Community Engagement at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she led the visioning and implementation of the institution’s community engagement mission. In Minneapolis, she also worked at Penumbra Theatre and The Playwrights' Center. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
SCOTT BARROW (Panelist) Scott Barrow has been working with Tectonic Theatre Project since 2005. His first collaboration with the company was working with Moisés on 33 Variations at Georgetown, and he stayed with Tectonic through its Broadway run and in Los Angeles. Scott did the first tour of The Laramie Cycle, followed by Moisés’ one act about the lunar landing, The Dead Man’s Curve. Currently he is part of the team collaborating on and performing in Andy Paris and Anushka Paris-Carter’s Uncommon Sense. Scott teaches Moment Work workshops for Tectonic all across the country, including most recently a year-long residency at Drew University, where he and Barbara Pitts McAdams helped students develop, fully design, and stage an adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. As an actor, Scott has also played major roles at the New York Theatre Workshop, Arena Stage, the Arden Theatre, Arkansas Repertory, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Hartford Stage, the Huntington, the Wilma Theater, the Mint, Nevada Shakespeare in the Park, DC’s Studio Theatre, New Rep, the Geva, the Olney, Portland Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Urban Stages, Trinity Rep, and Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, where he is an Artistic Associate. Drawing on more than two decades of experience as an uninterested and mediocre student, Scott has been developing alternative ways to engage students and creatively explore classroom subjects. With the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, Scott wrote, directed, and acted in the Professor Projector Film Series, and as director of education for Stages on the Sound, he provides year-long residencies in the arts to schools in the New York City area. Bio via https://www.tectonictheaterproject.org/
Writing with Cultural Intentionality
MARTINE KEI GREEN-ROGERS, PHD (Moderator) Martine Kei Green-Rogers is currently AssociateProfessorat SUNY New Paltz,a freelance dramaturg, and Past-President of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of theAmericaswho has worked at theaters such asCourt Theatre,theOregon ShakespeareFestival, Pioneer Theatre Company,Salt Lake Acting Company, Great Plains TheatreConference,Classical Theatre Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, CATCO and Plan-BTheatre Company.Her Publications include the article "Talkbacks for ‘Sensitive SubjectMatter’ Productions:The Theory and Practice" in theRoutledge Companion toDramaturgyand““A New Noble Kinsmen: ThePlay On!Project and Making New PlaysOut of Old.”inTheatre History Studies.She is currently working on the manuscript titledIn TheStudio: Dramaturgy and Stage Designwith Jesse Portillo, which is under contract with SIU press
CARLYLE BROWN (Panelist) Carlyle Brown is a playwright/performer, curator and artistic director of Carlyle Brown & Company based in Minneapolis. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists, a LifeTime Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center and recently a Mellon Foundation National Playwright in residence with Illusion Theater. His plays have been produced at theatres across the country and internationally and he has received numerous commissions, fellowships and awards. A scholar and historian, Brown has been an artist in residence or visiting professor at various colleges and universities and has worked as a museum exhibit writer and story consultant.
OCTAVIO SOLIS (Panelist) Octavio Solis (he) Is a playwright and author whose works have been produced in theatres across the country since 1988. His fiction and short plays have appeared in the Louisville Review, Catamaran literary Reader, the Chicago Quarterly Review, Arroyo Literary Review, Huizache and Stone Gathering. His new book, Retablos, published by City Lights Books recently won the 2019 Silver Indies Award for Book of the Year from Foreword Reviews. His new plays Mother Road and Quixote Nuevo premiered in 2019. He is a Thornton Wilder Fellow for the MacDowell Colony and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
THOMAS MELONCON Thomas. Meloncon is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Texas Southern University. Thomas has written a variety of plays; radio dramas, children’s plays, health education and environmental dramas, dramas that have toured nationally. and hosted radio and tv shows on the performing arts. His body of work includes: The Diary of Black Men, Where were You in 65, The Man who saved New Orleans, Restricted Area, The Drums of Sweetwater, Four Songs in the Key of Love, and featured poet on several jazz albums.
ANYA PEARSON (Panelist) Anya Pearson is an award-winning actress, playwright, poet, producer, and activist. She was the inaugural winner of the $10,000 Voice is a Muscle Grant from the Corporeal Voices Foundation, for her choreopoem, Made to Dance in BurningBuildings. Made to Dance was showcased at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater and received its World Premiere at Shaking The Tree Theatre where Anya was the Playwright-in-Residence for the 2018-2019 season. Anya also received the $10,000 Problem Play Commission to adapt Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure focused on mass incarceration and its effect on black families. Her adaptation, The Measure of Innocence was selected for the 2020 Kilroys List and won the 2020 Drammy Award for Best Original Script. She was a finalist for the 2020 George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting. Her reimagining of Agamemnon, The Killing Fields, was recently developed at Seven Devils New Play Foundry and will head to Great Plains Theatre Conference in 2021. Anya runs a production company called Urban Haiku whose mission is to produce groundbreaking work that transcends the traditional boundaries of theatre while also serving as the catalyst for art and community action to combine for real social change. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, Linestorm Playwrights, Couch Film Collective, and a graduate of the William Esper Studio in New York City. Her best production is her 8-year-old daughter, Aidee, who can be seen, most nights, trying to circumvent bedtime by asking deep philosophical questions like: “When are we going to see the world? When is my life going to truly begin?” www.anyapearson.com
HILARY BETTIS (Panelist) Hilary Bettis (Panelist) Hilary Bettis is a playwright and screenwriter. Awards, residencies, and commissions include: Kennedy Center MFA Workshop (The Ghosts of Lote Bravo), Lecomte du Nouy Award, NYFA Fellowship, Juilliard Lila Acheson Wallace Fellowship, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (Alligator), 2050 Fellowship at NYTW, James McLure Fellowship New River Dramatists, Sloan/EST Commission (Dakota Atoll), John N. Wall Fellowship Sewanee Writer’s Conference, Blackburn Nomination (Mexico), PoNY Nomination, Cherry Jones/Abingdon Theatre Company Grant. Finalist and semifinalist include: the Source Festival and BAPF (Alligator), BAPF (Dakota Atoll), current O’Neill NPC finalist (Dakota Atoll), New Dramatists and the Leah Ryan Prize. Readings and workshops include: Juilliard, New York Theatre Workshop, New Georges, The Lark, The Flea, EST, Abingdon, Barrow Street, Barefoot Theatre Company, Pavement Group, Project Y, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Carolina Coastal University, New River Dramatists, The Actors Studio and The Aurora Fox in Denver. Productions include: American Girls (Off-Broadway at 45th St. Theater, upcoming 2015: The Edge Theater in Denver), The Mud Hole (Off-Off-Broadway F*IT Club), Two Lovers (New Georges #1MPF), and The Bronze Serpent (INTAR American Nightcap). Publications include Smith & Kraus, McFarland & Company, Original Works (American Girls). Film screenings include: Williamsburg Film Festival, IFS Festival (winner best actress), Nashville Film Festival finalist (B’Hurst).
She is a member of SAG, AEA, Dramatists Guild, The Drama League, TCG, Playwrights’ Center and Fractured Atlas. She is a member of EST, Project Y’s writer group and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. She is a staff writer for offoffonline.com, and has contributed articles to TDF Stages. She studied screenwriting with Brooke Berman at ESPA. Hilary lives in Bushwick with a fat orange cat, plays a little violin, volunteers with Undocumented Minors, and rides horses as much as it is possible to being broke and living in a big city. She is currently working on a feature (The Lost Coyote) with Oscar-winning producer, Mara Kassin. Bio via https://www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org/
The Virtue of Virtual
ALISON CHRISTY (Moderator) Alison Christy is a dramaturg, director, and scholar. Dramaturgy credits include The Alley Theatre, Studio Theatre, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Wordsmyth Theatre, and WordBridge Playwrights Laboratory. Directing credits include Horse Head Theatre Co., Abreact Theatre, and Planet Ant Theatre. Alison is currently a Lecturer at the University of Houston where she teaches courses on performance studies and dramatic criticism. For more information, visit her website: www.alisonchristy.com.
TIFFANY KEANE SCHAEFER (she/her/hers) (Panelist) Tiffany Keane Schaefer has dedicated her life to the creation and facilitation of genre performance. Tiffany is the founder and Artistic Director of Otherworld Theatre Company, a Science Fiction and Fantasy theatrical performance venue located in Chicago. She is the recipient of the Chicago Reader Award for "Best Stage Director" in 2017. Directing credits include Medusa Undone by Bella Poynton, Corona by Elizabeth A. M. Keel, Gone Dark: A Vampire Hunter Play by Stuart Bousel, Rogue Aviator: A Dieslpunk Adventure by Nick Izzo, and directing/collaborating on an original adaptation of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tiffany is also the founder and leading game designer of Moonrise LARP Games, an Otherworld Theatre branch dedicated to immersive live action roleplaying experiences. Most notable projects include Valha11a: A Digital Sci-Fi LARP based in Norse Mythology, Chronicles of the Realm, and Albion: School of Sorcery. You can check out Otherworld's work at OtherworldTheatre.org.
SIS KHALIL (She/Her) (Panelist) Sis is an actress and activist. Her IG series, Living with Sis was recently nominated for Best Quarantine Content at Broadway Black’s inaugural Antonyo Awards @ucancallmesis. Sis moved to New York City in 2019 after making her mark on Houston’s stages (including Miller Outdoor Theatre and The Alley Theatre) Sis is the founder of The Next Generation Project @wearetngproject, where she uses her talents to bring awareness, resources and change to the transgender community. The project's mission is to make sure that trans people of color, like herself, get the peace, love and respect they deserve.Via www.wearetng.com
IYVON EDEBIRI (Panelist) Iyvon Edebiri is a Nigerian-American independent creative producer, company manager, and dramaturg hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Iyvon is the co-founder, Artistic Director and Host of The Parsnip Ship. Iyvon is a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship (Italy), Gilman International Scholarship (Italy), and The DO School’s Future of Audio Entertainment Fellowship in Berlin. Iyvon was the recipient of the 2019 Mark O’Donnell Prize awarded by The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons for emerging, analogous theater artists. Iyvon has worked at Joe’s Pub, PIER55, Sundance Institute Theater Program, The Public theater and as the Associate Producer for ArKtype. B.A. Brandeis University. M.A. Baruch College (CUNY) Arts Administration.
JESSICA BLANK (Panelist) and ERIK JENSEN (Panelist)
Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen are actors, writers and directors. As a team, they are authors of The Exonerated, a genre-defining play based on interviews they conducted with over 40 wrongly convicted death row inmates across the United States. The Exoneratedwon Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Ovation, Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards, and was nominated for the Hull-Warriner Award and the John Gassner Playwriting Award; it has also received awards from Amnesty International, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Death Penalty Focus, and Court TV, and named Best Play of the Year by the New York Times . The Exonerated has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Farsi, Mandarin and Japanese and adapted by Jessica and Erik into an award-winning TV movie starring Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn and Delroy Lindo. Living Justice, Jessica and Erik's book on the making of The Exoneratedwas published by Simon and Schuster. Their documentary play Aftermath, based on interviews they conducted with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan, ran Off Broadway at New York Theater Workshop, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, toured internationally for two years and was nominated for two Drama League Awards. Their play How to be a Rock Critic(based on the writings of Lester Bangs) played sold-out runs at the Kirk Douglas, South Coast Rep, ArtsEmerson, Steppenwolf, and the Public Theater, with Erik starring and Jessica directing.
Their documentary play Coal Country, about the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, opened at the Public Theater on March 3, 2020, directed by Jessica, with original music written and performed by Grammy Award-winning musician Steve Earle. Coal Countrywas suspended when theaters closed down March 11. The play is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, and was nominated for the Drama Desk award for Outstanding Director (Jessica Blank) and Outstanding Music in a Play (Steve Earle).
Their newest documentary play, The Line, based on interviews with NYC medical first responders during the COVID crisis, was written from quarantine in spring 2020 and produced live online by the Public Theater. The Line was streamed by 26,000 people in its first week, was a NYT Critics’ Pick and streams online (at the Public Theater’s website) through August 2020.
Jessica and Erik’s first feature Almost Home, based on Jessica’s novel of the same name (Hyperion, 2007), was released by Vertical Entertainment in 2019 and their second feature, How to be a Rock Critic (based on their play), is in development with Likely Story. They wrote the pilot “The Negotiator” for Gaumont TV (EP Tom Fontana) and have developed for television with Fox TV Studios, 20th Century TV, Avenue Pictures, Sunswept Entertainment, Virgin Produced, and Radical Media.
Jessica co-wrote (with April Yvette Thompson) and directed the play Liberty Cityfor New York Theater Workshop (Lortel, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations), and has published three novels, Almost Home (Hyperion, 2007) Karma for Beginners(Hyperion, 2009) andLegacy(Penguin, 2018). As an actor, her TV credits include “Made in Jersey” (recurring), “For Life,” “High Maintenance” (HBO), “Blue Bloods,” “Elementary,” “The Following,” “The Mentalist,” “Bored to Death,” Rescue Me,” “Law & Order : CI,” “The Bronx in Burning” and many more. Film credits include The Namesake; Slender Man and more than a dozen indies including Creative Control (SXSW Grand Jury Prize); On the Road with Judas (Sundance) and You’re Nobody Till Somebody Kills You (produced by Spike Lee).
As an actor, Erik appears in the upcoming ABC series “For Life.” Other TV credits include “The Walking Dead,” “Mindhunter” “Mr. Robot,” “The Americans,” “House of Cards,” “Elementary,” The Blacklist,” and many more, including his critically acclaimed portrayal of legendary NY Yankee Thurman Munson in “The Bronx is Burning.” Film credits include Black Knight, The Love Letter and more than 25 indie films. His theater credits as an actor include the Pulitzer-Prize winning production of Disgraced at Lincoln Center, The Good Negro at the Public Theater, Arthur Kopit's Y2Kand Terrance McNally's Corpus Christi at MTC. Erik's sci-fi graphic novel The Reconcilers was published in 2010 to wide acclaim.
Jessica and Erik live in Brooklyn with their daughter Sadie.
CHAD RABINOVITZ (Panelist) Chad Rabinovitz is the only artist in the United States simultaneously serving as the Producing Artistic Director of two theaters devoted to new works: Adirondack Theatre Festival (Glens Falls, NY) & Bloomington Playwrights Project (Bloomington, IN). In addition to producing new works, Chad has directed more than 100 productions across the country, focusing primarily on new and contemporary plays and musicals. He is also currently the Producer of the Adirondack Film Festival as well a visual arts festival, Arts Fair on the Square. At ATF, Chad has grown attendance from 5,700 to over 14,000 in just 4 seasons, doubled subscribership, broke numerous box office records, introduced innovative children’s programming, and produced multiple best-selling shows in ATF’s history. Under Rabinovitz’s tenure, the Bloomington Playwrights Project has undergone what Bloom Magazine calls “a near miraculous renaissance”, quintupling its subscribership, erasing all debt, and purchasing its building. BPP has sold out every single performance of every production for 4 straight years. Specializing in developing new works, Rabinovitz has fostered and directed premieres from countless prominent playwrights. He is also known for his unique ability to work with magicians on developing and directing their acts. For his achievements, Rabinovitz was the recipient of Bloomington’s Manager of the Year Award, the Downtown Revitalization Award, Bloomington’s Attraction of the Year Award, and was honored with being on the cover of Bloom Magazine where he’s referred to as “a visionary artistic director, savvy businessman, and inspirational leader.” He was named one of the 100 Reasons to Love Bloomington and was awarded Bloomington’s 10 Under 40 award as well as Glens Falls’ 20 Under 40 award in the same month. Chad is a proud graduate of Advanced Space Camp. Bio Via https://www.atfestival.org/
EBRIN R. STANLEY (Panelist) Ebrin R. Stanley was born and raised in Houston, TX. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with a B.F.A in Musical Theatre in 2017 and a minor in Dance. Ebrin has directed and choreographed many productions for the Children's Museum of Houston. In December 2017, Ebrin was given the chance to co-write, direct and choreograph, Home for the Holidays, a Children's musical in Houston. In January 2018, he starred in the world premiere of Dead Meat, a workshop performance written by Paige Zubel. Later that year he landed the role of Hercules Mulligan/James Madison in Hamilton: An American Musical (Chicago). Ebrin released his debut album, "For the Lovers and The Heartbreakers" in September 2019 and a Christmas EP in December 2019. Ebrin continues to write music and musicals in his spare time and continues to produce music for others. Ebrin currents hosts the IG series “The Originals” every sunday @4:30 PM CST. IG:@ebrinrstanley
STACY WALSTON (Panelist) Stacy Walston is the Director of Production at the Southwest Shakespeare Company in Arizona. Via https://swshakespeare.org/.
JEREMY WEIN (Panelist) Jeremy Wein is a producer and director based in Brooklyn, New York. Jeremy’s producing credits include Kevin McDonald: ALIVE (Theatre Row, Dynasty Typewriter), Neva (Brooklyn College) Godspell (2011 Broadway Revival) Faux Snow (Thespis Theater Festival), and Take Me Home (Incubator Arts Project, Associate Producer, dir. Meghan Finn) and the 2012 documentary The Bitter Buddha (Co-Producer). He is also the founder of the New York City Podcast Festival, which he produced from 2013-2018. His directing credits include 8 by Dustin Lance Black (BMCC) and Neva by Guillermo Calderon (Brooklyn College). He recently produced the debut EP for The U.S Open (featuring Shawn Randell, William Jackson Harper, Steven Boyer, Diana Oh, Jeff Biehl and Bobby Moreno), which will be released later this year.
What I’d Tell My Younger Self: Real Talk for Young Writers
ERIC MOORE (Moderator) Eric Moore is a theatrical artist based in Houston, TX and an advocate for new work. His plays have received productions in Houston and around the country. His full-length play, THE DEBASERS, had a workshop production at the University of Houston under the guidance of Theresa Rebeck and won the Edward Albee Playwriting Award. He's had multiple plays selected as finalists for both regional and national awards through the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and Texas Educational Theatre Association. He's developed new plays with Rec Room Arts, Landing Theatre Company, and PlayPenn. You can access his (presentable) work on his New Play Exchange profile. In addition to serving as Literary Associate for Landing Theatre, he is also the Resident Dramaturg for Rec Room Arts, where he helped to start the Rec Room Writers group. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from the University of Houston in 2019.
JOSH WILDER (Panelist) Josh Wilder is a playwright from Philadelphia. His work has been developed; commissioned; and produced at various regional theaters and festivals across the country including The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theatre of Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop, True Colors Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2015 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, Company One, InterAct Theatre Company, and Yale Rep. Past awards include the Holland New Voices Award, The Lorraine Hansberry Award, The Rosa Parks Award, and The ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. Josh is a former Jerome Fellow and the first national recipient of the Jerome Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center. He has been in residence at The Royal Court Theatre ; Sundance at UCross; and served as Co-Artistic Director at The Yale Cabaret for its 50th season. Currently, he’s stationed in Los Angeles. MFA: Yale School of Drama. BFA: Carnegie Mellon. Bio Via http://www.mrwildah.com/
VICHET CHUM (Panelist) Vichet Chum is a Cambodian-American playwright and theater maker, originally from Dallas, Texas and now living in New York City. His plays have been workshopped at Steppenwolf Theatre, the Magic Theater, the Alley Theatre, the UCROSS Foundation, Fault Line Theatre, Crowded Outlet, Second Generation Productions, Weston Playhouse, Cleveland Public Theatre, All For One Theater, Amios, Florida State University, Merrimack Repertory Theatre and the New Harmony Project. He received the 2018-19 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting with New Dramatists and is a current board member for the New Harmony Project. This season, Vichet is a part of the 2019-20 Resident Working Farm Group at Space on Ryder Farm, the 2020 Interstate 73 Writer's Group at Page 73 and the 2020 Ars Nova Play Group. His play High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest will have its world premiere at the Alley Theatre in 2021. His play Bald Sisters will have its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in the 20/21 season. He is a proud graduate of the University of Evansville (BFA) and Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company (MFA). He’s represented by Beth Blickers at APA. vichetchum.com
ELIZABETH A. M. KEEL (Panelist) Elizabeth A. M. Keel is a Houstonian playwright and actress. Her work has been read or produced by Tokyo International Players, The Studio Theatre at Tierra Del Sol, Rec Room, Shattered Globe, Otherworld Theatre, Squeaky Bicycle, Fresh Produce'd (NYC), Growing Stage Children's Theatre of New Jersey, Landing Theatre, Stages, Mildred's Umbrella, METdance, Cone Man Running, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, Flexible Grey, and 14 Pews, among others. Recent acting includes The Hunchback of Seville, Hedda Gabbler, and The Cherry Orchard. Her play Override was selected as the second place winner for the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award in 2020. Upcoming projects may be found at elizabethamkeel.com.
Getting Past the World Premiere
ALISON CHRISTY (Moderator) Alison Christy is a dramaturg, director, and scholar. Dramaturgy credits include The Alley Theatre, Studio Theatre, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Wordsmyth Theatre, and WordBridge Playwrights Laboratory. Directing credits include Horse Head Theatre Co., Abreact Theatre, and Planet Ant Theatre. Alison is currently a Lecturer at the University of Houston where she teaches courses on performance studies and dramatic criticism. For more information, visit her website: www.alisonchristy.com.
THERESA REBECK (Panelist) Theresa Rebeck is a prolific and widely produced playwright, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and abroad. Her fourth Broadway play, Bernhardt/Hamlet premiered in 2018, making Rebeck the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. Other Broadway works include Dead Accounts; Seminar and Mauritius. Other notable NY and regional plays include: Seared (MCC), Downstairs (Primary Stages), The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels (Second Stage), Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House (Playwrights Horizons), The Understudy (Roundabout), View of the Dome (NYTW), What We’re Up Against (Women’s Project), Omnium Gatherum (Pulitzer Prize finalist). As a director, her work has been seen at The Alley Theatre (Houston), the REP Company (Delaware); Dorset Theatre Festival, the Orchard Project and the Folger Theatre. Major film and television projects include Trouble, starring Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman and David Morse (writer and director), “NYPD Blue,” the NBC series “Smash” (creator), and the upcoming female spy thriller 355 (for Jessica Chastain’s production company). As a novelist, Rebeck’s books include Three Girls and Their Brother and I'm Glad About You. Rebeck is the recipient of the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, a Lilly Award and more.
JACKSON GAY (Panelist) Jackson Gay is an original founding member of New Neighborhood. She also serves as Director of Artistic Programming for Fuller Road Artist Retreat in Vermont. Jackson’s directing work includes Power of Sail by Paul Grellong (Warehouse Theatre); Chekhov’s The Seagull (Juilliard); Kleptocracy by Kenneth Lin (Arena Stage); Transfers by Lucy Thurber (New York Stage & Film and MCC, Off-Broadway Alliance Best New Play Award); Christina Anderson’s the ripple, the wave that carried me home (Ground Floor Berkeley Rep); Lover Beloved by Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik (Alley Theatre); Mat Smart’s Kill Local (La Jolla Playhouse); Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Studio Theatre / New Neighborhood); Shakespeare’s Much Ado, adapted with Ken Lin (Cal Shakes); These Paper Bullets! by Rolin Jones with music by Billie Joe Armstrong (New Neighborhood, Atlantic, Geffen, Yale Rep – Critics Pick Time Out NY, Best Production and Adaptation LA Sage Awards, Time Out Los Angeles, Connecticut Critics Circle Award Best Production and Best Director); 3C by David Adjmi and Thurber’s Where We’re Born (Rattlestick); Elevada by Sheila Callaghan (Yale Rep); Thurber’s The Insurgents (Labyrinth Theatre Company); Thurber’s Scarcity and Jones’ The Jammer (Atlantic); A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers (Mint – Drama Desk nomination Outstanding Revival of a Play); Jones’ The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic and Yale Rep, Connecticut Critics Circle Award Outstanding Production of a Play). Jackson’s upcoming projects include Lucy Thurber’s Transfers for Audible. Bio via https://www.newneighborhood.net/
SANFORD (SANDY) ROBBINS (Panelist) Sanford (Sandy) Robbins is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Resident Ensemble Players (REP), a professional theatre located on the campus of the University of Delaware.
Professional theaters for which Sandy has directed include the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival, and American Players Theatre, as well as multiple productions for the Independent Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alley Theater, and the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where he served for several years as a resident director and remains a frequent guest director.
Internationally, he has directed the premieres of Sam Shepard plays for the national theatres of several foreign countries, including Buried Child for the Moscow Art Theatre Studio and the National Theatre of Cyprus. His production of Shepard's The Tooth of Crime received the Thalia Award for Best Production in Finland, an award won the previous year by Ingmar Bergman.
Mr. Robbins also serves professional theatres as a text and verse speaking coach for Shakespeare and other classic plays. He has taught acting, voice, verse speaking, and period style at Carnegie-Mellon University, Los Angeles City College, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In recent years Mr. Robbins directed Cyrano de Bergerac and Lombardi for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Winter’s Tale for the Independent Shakespeare Company, November, You Can’t Take It With You, and Picasso at the Lapine Agile at the Alley Theatre, as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Elephant Man, Inherit the Wind and the world premieres of Theresa Rebeck’s O Beautiful and Fever for the REP.
In addition to his work in the theater, Mr. Robbins designs and leads programs, and also trains facilitators, for Landmark Worldwide, an international leader in the personal and professional development industry, and Vanto Group, a boutique international consulting company that works with Fortune Five Hundred companies, government agencies, and distinguished non-profit organizations.
Mr. Robbins received his BFA and MFA from Carnegie-Mellon University, and his mentors include Eva Le Gallienne, Ellis Rabb, Adrian Hall, and William Ball.
Mr. Robbins was the recipient of the 2019 John Houseman award.
JEREMY B. COHEN (Panelist) Jeremy B. Cohen is in his eleventh season as Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center, having previously served as Associate Artistic Director/Director of New Work at Hartford Stage (2003-2010), where he also directed several premieres. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of Naked Eye Theater Company in Chicago. Other Regional/NYC directing credits include productions at: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Alliance, Baltimore Centerstage, Dorset Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Goodman, Kansas City Rep, McCarter, Mixed Blood, New Victory, Olney Theatre, Open Fist, Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Royal George, Steppenwolf Theatre, Theater J, Theater Latté Da, Victory Gardens, and Workhaus Collective; workshops at O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, New York Stage & Film, Pasadena Playhouse, Denver Center, Portland Center Stage, A.C.T./New Strands, New Harmony, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and Woolly Mammoth. As Founding Artistic Director of Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago, Cohen developed/directed more than 15 plays, including several premieres. He has received numerous directing awards, an NEA/TCG Directors Fellowship, and a Northwestern University grant for his play 12 Volt Heart. His Off-Broadway production (The Duke on 42nd Street) of singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke's My Mother Has 4 Noses is currently touring the U.S., and he's currently under commission on a co-written play (with Dipika Guha), Malicious Animal Magnetism at A.C.T./ZSpace in San Francisco.
ELIZABETH (LIZ) FRANKEL (Panelist) Elizabeth Frankel is the Director of New Works at The Alley Theatre and spent nine years at New York's Public Theater, where she was the Literary Manager. She helped to start Emerging Writers Group in 2008 and has run the program since its inception, launching the careers of 53 writers in the process. Outside dramaturgy assignments have taken her to venues including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Colorado New Play Summit, the Ojai Playwrights Conference and the Playwrights Center. Before joining The Public, she worked at Waxman Williams Entertainment, Miramax Films and in the literary office of Manhattan Theatre Club. She has also produced shows off-Broadway and in the Summer Play Festival. She was a Lucille Lortel Awards Nominator during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 theater seasons. Her journalistic work has appeared in The Village Voice, Time Out New York, American Theatre, and Northeast Magazine. She holds a BA in Performing Arts and English from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Bio via https://www.broadwayworld.com/
The Future of American Regional Theatre
KIMBERLY COLBURN (Panelist) Kimberly Colburn is a freelance dramaturg and producer, based in Toronto. Currently, she’s collaborating on several ongoing projects in development, including the musical Dixon Road by Fatuma Adar. Previously, she was South Coast Rep’s literary director and co-director of the Pacific Playwrights Festival. Before that, she was the literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Dramaturgy highlights include Poor Yella Rednecks by Qui Nguyen, Little Black Shadows by Kemp Powers, Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry and The Roommate by Jen Silverman among dozens of other productions, workshops, and readings. She has worked with companies including Soulpepper, Denver Theatre Company, Los Angeles Opera, Mixed Blood Theatre, The Playwrights Center, the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Native Voices at the Autry. www.theatrekimberly.com
ROB MELROSE (Panelist) Rob Melrose was formerly the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Cutting Ball Theater and works nationally as a freelance director. He has directed at The Public Theater (Pericles, Prince of Tyre), The Guthrie Theater (Frankenstein, Happy Days, Freud’s Last Session, Pen, Julius Caesar - with the Acting Company); The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Troilus and Cressida – in association with the Public Theater); Magic Theatre (An Accident, World Premiere); The Old Globe (Much Ado About Nothing); PlayMakers Rep (Happy Days); Black Box Theatre (The Creature, World Premiere, BATCC Award for direction); as well as Actors’ Collective; The Gamm Theatre; and Crowded Fire, among others. His directing credits at Cutting Ball include Timon of Athens, A Dreamplay, Ondine (World Premiere), Mount Misery (World Premiere), Strindberg Cycle, The Chamber Plays in Rep, Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night (World Premiere), Pelleas & Melisande, the Bay Area Premiere of Will Eno’s Lady Grey (in ever lower light), The Tempest, The Bald Soprano, Victims of Duty, Bone to Pick & Diadem (World Premiere), Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Hamletmachine, As You Like It, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World among others. He has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, USF, the University of Rhode Island, and Marin Academy. He has a BA in English and Theater from Princeton University and an MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama. Rob recently directed Strindberg's Svarta Handsken (The Black Glove) in Stockholm, Sweden at Strindberg's Intimate Theater. This was the first time the play was performed on the stage for which it was written, 110 years after it was composed. He has translated Woyzeck, Ubu Roi, Pelleas & Melisande, The Bald Soprano, The Chairs, No Exit, Communique n ̊ 10, Where and When We Died, and The Blind.
His translations of Woyzeck, Ubu Roi, and Pelleas & Melisande have been published by EXIT Press. He has written a number of plays including: Helen of Troy, The Flat Earth, Divorsosaurus, When Human Voices Wake Us, Asylum, and Serpentyne and has written a rock musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Ozma of Oz with the San Francisco electro-rock group Z.O.N.K. He is represented by Max Grossman at Abrams Artists Agency. Bio via https://www.alleytheatre.org/
KEVIN MORIARTY (he/him/his) (Panelist) Kevin Moriarty is artistic director of Dallas Theater Center, where he has directed world premieres, classics and musicals. He has also directed productions off-Broadway and at regional theaters, including The Guthrie, The Alley Theatre, Trinity Rep and TUTS, as well as The Marriage of Figaro and The Lighthouse for The Dallas Opera. Kevin has been artistic director of Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY; head of the MFA directing program at Brown University; Chair of the Dallas Arts District; President of Theatre Communications Group; and Vice-President of National Alliance for Musical Theatre. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
NATAKI GARRETT (she/her/hers) (Panelist) Nataki Garrett is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s sixth artistic director. Prior to her appointment in 2019, she served as acting artistic director for Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and was also associate artistic director of the California Institute of the Arts’ Center for New Performance, as well as Interim Dean of the CalArts School of Theatre and Co-Head of the Undergraduate Acting Faculty. She has been hailed as a champion of new work as well as an experienced, savvy arts administrator. As a sought-after freelance director, she has directed world and regional premieres across the country – her work has been seen at Dallas Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Pasadena Playhouse, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, and The Matrix Theatre Company in L.A., among many others. Nataki serves on the board of directors of Theatre Communications Group as well as the nominating committee of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. She holds a BFA degree from Virginia Union University, and an MFA from CalArts.
MARC MASTERSON (Panelist) Marc Masterson has been a leader in the American Theatre for over 35 years with a demonstrated track record of artistic accomplishment, civic engagement, and organizational development. He previously served as Artistic Director of City Theatre for 20 years and helped to build the organization and its current facilities on the South Side. In a distinguished career he has commissioned and developed over 100 world premieres including Pulitzer finalists, Broadway and Off-Broadway successes and notable works in the American theatre canon including A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, The Parisian Woman by Beau Willimon, Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Mr. Wolf by Rajiv Joseph and Office Hour by Julia Cho. More than 50% of the new plays he has produced were written by women. Previously, he served as Artistic Director of South Coast Repertory in California where he conceived and launched two major initiatives for diverse voices in the American theatre, the CrossRoads commissioning program and the Dialogos bi-lingual site-specific project. He served for 11 years as artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville where he produced more than 200 productions and the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Plays directed at the Humana Festival include works by Charles Mee, Wendell Berry, Craig Wright, Eric Coble, Adam Bock, Gina Gionfriddo, Melanie Marnich, and Rick Dresser. Recent directing credits include Shakespeare in Love, All the Way, Going to a Place where you Already Are, Zealot, Death of a Salesman, Eurydice and Elemeno Pea at SCR; Cry It Out at Dorset Theatre Festival; Hand to God at the Alliance Theatre; Byhalia, Mississippi by Evan Linder at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival; As You Like It for the Houston Shakespeare Festival; and The Kite Runner at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Cleveland Play House. He is thrilled to back home in Pittsburgh with many friends and some of the best audiences in the world. Bio Via https://citytheatrecompany.org/
MARISSA WOLF (Panelist) Marissa is currently in her second season as artistic director of Portland Center Stage at The Armory, where she recently directed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Marissa previously served as associate artistic director/new works director at Kansas City Repertory Theatre and artistic director of Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco. Select directing credits include Fire in Dreamland by Rinne Groff (The Public Theater; world premiere at KCRep); Man in Love by Christina Anderson and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens (KCRep); 77% by Rinne Groff (San Francisco Playhouse); Precious Little by Madeleine George (Shotgun Players); The Lily’s Revenge (Act II) by Taylor Mac (Magic Theatre); and The Late Wedding by Christopher Chen (Crowded Fire). She’s been nominated for Best Director by Broadway World San Francisco and the Bay Area Critics Circle. Marissa held the Bret C. Harte Directing Fellowship at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and has a degree in drama from Vassar College, with additional training from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
MARIA MANUELA GOYANES (she/her/hers) (Panelist) Maria Manuela Goyanes is the Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Prior to joining Woolly, she served as the Director of Producing and Artistic Planning at The Public Theater, where she oversaw the day-to-day execution of a full slate of plays and musicals at the Public’s five-theatre venue at Astor Place and the Delacorte Theater for Shakespeare in the Park. Earlier in her career at The Public, she managed some of the theatre’s most celebrated productions, including Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josephine & I by Cush Jumbo, Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee, Barbecue by Robert O’Hara, and Here Lies Love by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.
While at The Public, Maria also held a position on the adjunct faculty of Juilliard and curated the junior year curriculum of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU. She has guest lectured at Bard College, Barnard College, Brown University, Columbia University, Juilliard, the National Theater Institute at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, UCSD, the University of Texas-Austin, and Yale University, among others. Since 2015, Maria has also served as a member of the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. From 2006 to 2008, she co-chaired the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab with Jason Grote, and from 2004 to 2012, Maria was the Executive Producer of 13P, one of her proudest achievements.
Maria is a first-generation Latinx-American, born to parents who emigrated from the Dominican Republic and Spain. She was raised in Jamaica, Queens, and has a collection of hoop earrings to prove it. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2001 from Brown University.
ROBERT BARRY FLEMING (Panelist) Robert Barry Fleming is the Executive Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville. Robert Barry Fleming served as Associate Artistic Director at Cleveland Play House from 2016–2019. Prior to Cleveland Play House, he served as the Director of Artistic Programming at Arena Stage; world premieres he commissioned, developed and championed during this tenure include the 2017 Best Musical Tony Award winner Dear Evan Hansen, Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty, John Strand’s The Originalist, Katori Hall’s Blood Quilt, Karen Zacarías’ Destiny Of Desire and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner Sweat, by Lynn Nottage. Fleming was an Associate Producer for the Off-Broadway premiere of The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams, starring Amanda Plummer and Brad Dourif. He was also an Associate Professor (tenured) and Chair of the University of San Diego Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department.
His most recent directing and choreography credits include Next To Normal (Tantrum Theater), The Royale (Cleveland Play House), Destiny Of Desire (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Caroline, or Change (Tantrum Theater) and Between Riverside and Crazy (Cleveland Play House). As part of the 2018 Cleveland Play House New Ground Theatre Festival, Fleming directed a reading of the new musical Minton's Place by acclaimed contemporary music composer Nolan Williams, Jr., with libretto by Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Nikkole Salter.
His professional acting credits include stints on Broadway (Ragtime directed by Frank Galati, Stand-Up Tragedy directed by the late Ron Link), Off-Broadway (the leading role in Insurrection: Holding History by Robert O'Hara at The Public Theater), joining Actors Equity Association with the national tour of Cats (Original Bus and Truck), playing major regional theaters (The Old Globe, The Guthrie, A Contemporary Theater, The Mark Taper Forum with the world premiere of George C. Wolfe's Jelly’s Last Jam as Young Jelly), on television (Emmy-winning Disney Channel series Adventures In Wonderland, Family Matters, The George Carlin Show) and film (Academy Award-winning L.A. Confidential and Twilight Of The Golds). Bio via https://www.actorstheatre.org/