2019 Course Faculty
SANDRA FENICHEL ASHER's plays have been produced nationally and abroad. Across the Plains, commissioned by The Coterie, Kansas City, MO, was selected for the Kennedy Center's New Visions/New Voices Symposium. In the Garden of the Selfish Giant won the Indiana Repertory Theatre/Bonderman National Playwriting Symposium Award, the New England Theatre Conference Aurand Harris Playwriting Award, and the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play Award. A Woman Called Truth has been honored with the AATE Distinguished Play Award, the Bonderman Award, and an ASSITEJ Outstanding Play for Young Audiences citation. Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story, commissioned by Pollyanna Theatre, Austin, TX, was chosen for development by Northwestern University's Purple Crayon Players and won a third AATE Distinguished Play Award. Walking Toward America, developed at NYU’s New Plays for Young Audiences workshop at the Provincetown Playhouse, was selected for the 2015 United Solo Festival in New York City.
A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship grant in playwriting, AATE's Charlotte Chorpenning Award for a distinguished body of work in children's theatre, and an Aurand Harris Fellowship grant from the Children's Theatre Foundation of America, Ms. Asher recently received a CTFA Founders Development Grant to produce American Theatre for the Very Young: A Digital Festival, which debuted in March, 2018, on Vimeo. Sandy is also the author of more than two dozen books for young readers, including the acclaimed picture books Too Many Frogs! and Chicken Story Time. She is also the editor of five anthologies, among them With All My Heart, With All My Mind: 13 Stories About Growing Up Jewish, (winner of the National Jewish Book Award for children's literature), Writing It Right: How Children’s Authors Revise and Sell Their Stories, and American Heartbeat: True Stories Told in Scenes and Monologues.
Sandy’s plays are available from Dramatic Publishing and YOUTHPlays; six are anthologized in Tell Your Story: The Plays and Playwriting of Sandra Fenichel Asher. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Authors Guild, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She and her husband live in Lancaster, PA, with their cat, Friday, and dog, Gracie.
KIRSTEN CHILDS is the award-winning writer of the musicals The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Playwrights Horizons), Miracle Brothers (Vineyard Theatre), Fly (with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman), and Funked Up Fairy Tales. For her work she has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She recently collaborated with Charlayne Woodard on the musical Grace for Inner Voices: Solo Musicals. Kirsten has written for Disney Theatricals, the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the New Electric Company, Works and Process @ Guggenheim Museum, and City Center Encores! She is a professor in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, a member of both the Dramatists Guild Council and the Dramatists Guild Fund, and is proud to be a mentor in Theatre Development Fund’s Open Doors program. Her newest musical, Bella: An American Tale, will play at Playwrights Horizons in May, 2017.
GAB CODY creates immersive, devised and site-specific work as well as theater meant-to-be-performed in a theater. Her multi-media non-traditional documentary project Inside Passage premiered this year at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre. She serves as lead writer and co-creator on the immersive urban adventures DODO, (produced in tandem with the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History and Bricolage Production Company), STRATA and OjO produced in Pittsburgh and at the La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival (also with Bricolage.)She has been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University and the College of William and Mary. Her plays have been staged at the La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York City’s New Dramatists andUrban Stages, Coconut Grove Playhouse, and at theaters in Seattle, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Sydney, Australia. Over the past three years she has served as a panelist and moderator at the TCG national conference and the Dramatists Guild national conference, leading conversations on immersive and site-informed theater. Her films have screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, New Filmmakers at the Anthology Film Archives in New York, Johns Hopkins Film Festival, New York Horror Film Festival, Big Bear International Film Festival and 11/22 FilmFest in Vienna. Ms. Cody’s collaborations (as screenwriter) with Riley Harmon A Method for Blue Logic and Passengers: Ghost Protocol have premiered at museums and film festivals internationally. Ms. Cody earned her MFA at Point Park University and her BFA at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is the Pittsburgh Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild.
CHERYL COONS (playwright/lyricistlLibrettist) has co-written more than a dozen musicals that have received professional productions, including River’s End (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Original Script and Score, Theatre for the American Musical Award, NYMF and NAMT Festival selection), At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award for Best New Work), Sylvia’s Read Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), Female Problems (After Dark Award for Best Music) and Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theatre International. She contributed lyrics to Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s award-winning productions of Merry Wives of Windsor and Measure for Measure. Her work has been produced on the stages of Northlight Theatre, the Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Florida Stage, and Marin Theatre Company, as well as other theatres across the US, and internationally in the UK, Canada, Kuwait, and Russia.
Cheryl’s musicals have been developed and showcased at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Music Theatre Conference, the National Alliance of Musical Theater’s Festival of New Works, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), Berklee College of Music, and the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. Projects she has written have twice been selected for the ASCAP/Disney Workshop in Los Angeles and Chicago, and for further development by ASCAP at the Perry Mansfield New Noises Festival in Steamboat Springs, CO. A revue of her work was produced at the Royal George Theatre and was honored as one of Chicago’s 10 Best Cabaret Shows of the year by Cabaret Scenes magazine and Cabaret Online. Her original novelty songs have been featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and NPR’s Morning Edition. Cheryl has appeared at Carnegie Hall, performing her original material in an evening hosted by Michael Feinstein.
Cheryl has been a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists since 2008, where she designed and teaches a curriculum of five classes for musical theatre writers. Since 2009 she has taught 38 sections of these classes, serving more than 275 students. She has also designed and taught musical theatre writing and musical theatre appreciation courses for Columbia College and Porchlight Music Theatre. She has worked since 2015 as a mentor and instructor for the Writing the Musical class at Northwestern University.
Cheryl served as an animateur (liaison/dramaturg/curator) for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Chicago Voices Project, developing two original musicals with a group of Chicagoans who had experienced homelessness, and a collective of youth artist/activists. She is a Program Manager for Storycatchers Theatre, assisting the court-involved youth at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center to write original musicals based on their real life stories.
Cheryl is the Chicago Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild. www.cherylcoons.com
GRETCHEN CRYER is most well known for writing the book & lyrics and starring in I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road (with music by Nancy Ford) which originated at the Public Theater and then transferred to the Circle in the Square where it ran three years. In Chicago the show won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Musical, Best Actress. The album won a Grammy nomination. Gretchen has written numerous other shows with Nancy Ford - Now Is the Time for All Good Men (Lortel Theater), The Last Sweet Days of Isaac (Obie Award - Best Musical, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award), Shelter (Golden Theater), Hang On to the Good Times (Manhattan Theater Club), Eleanor (Williamstown), The American Girls Revue (American Girl Place - Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles), Circle of Friends (American Girl Place - Chicago and New York) and Anne of Green Gables (Theaterworks USA). Cryer and Ford's new show, Still Getting My Act Together, premiered at the Laguna Playhouse last fall. Gretchen's new play Changing is slated to be done at the Intiman Theater in 2017. Gretchen has taught "Creating Your Own Solo Performance" at Denison University, Colorado College, and has conducted master classes at various schools around the country. She has taught the course privately for twelve years in New York City. She has won a Kleban Award and holds honorary doctorates from Eastern Michigan and Colorado College. Gretchen is on the Dramatists Guild Council and is President Emeritus of the Dramatists Guild Fund.
JOHN DIETRICH has had a career immersed in musical theatre storytelling working as a professional Director, Choreographer, Writer and Educator. This has included a 17-year relationship with Radio City Entertainment, where he was the Director/ Choreographer for the world-famous Rockettes, for Rockette Special Events, as well as for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Other work includes well over a hundred shows in a vast range of entertainment genres: from Television to Off-Broadway & Regional theatre, from Industrial shows to Ice shows. He has created and written for Walt Disney Entertainment, as well as for Dolly Parton & Dollywood Entertainment. He was the creative director for Niles Creative Group, a film production company specializing in large scale theatrically based film and video productions worldwide. He wrote the book & lyrics for the musical THINGS AS THEY ARE, based on the life of documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. It was a Next Link selection for the New York Musical Theatre Festival and received the “Best of Fest” Award for most popular show. It was also twice nominated for the prestigious Fred Ebb Award in 2009 and 2011. ONLY ANNE, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, written with composer Will Buck, received development at the Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat and was produced at the 2016 Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals.
John teaches a two-part master class for the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program titled Dance as a Storytelling Device in the Writer’s Toolbox with dance arranger David Chase, and was on the Adjunct Faculty at Marymount College of Manhattan teaching a course in Musical Theatre Performance. He received his MFA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, in Musical Theatre Writing, and his MA from New York University Gallatin School in Musical Theatre Structure & Directing Theory. He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin. He currently continues to freelance as a Director/Choreographer & Writer while being an academic advisor in NYU Tisch Drama for their musical theatre students as well as being the department’s Manager of Faculty Services.
DAVID FAUX serves as the Associate Executive Director of Business Affairs for the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.. In addition to his Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, he holds a Master of Science in social sciences from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts from the University of California-Santa Barbara. As a Fulbright Fellow, he studied local, creative expressions of Buddhism in South Korea. Dave sits on the Executive Committee that represents the business of Entertainment and Arts lawyers for the New York State Bar Association.
EDITH FRENI holds both her BFA and MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing. Her work has been produced and developed in New York and nationally at theaters including Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Profile Theatre Company in Portland, OR (Buena Vista), EST (Waterborn, Thicker Than Water 2004; My Dog Heart, Marathon 2007; Female Beginner, Marathon 2017), EST West and Labyrinth Theater Company (Bottoms Up!), the Williamstown Theatre Festival (Help Yourself), Actor's Express in Atlanta (The Stroke and Coming at You From the Cockpit); City Theatre in Miami (Flare) and at Nashville Repertory Theatre (This is About You).
Edith is a three-time nominee for the prestigious PONY Award and a two-time finalist for the Jerome Fellowship. Her play Total Power Exchange was a finalist for the 2017 Blue Ink Playwriting Award given by American Blues Theater in Chicago. It was also nominated for the 2013 L. Arnold Weissberger Award and the 2014 Kilroy's List. In 2014, Edith was nominated for the Humanitas Prize and the Francesca Primus Award for her play Buena Vista. Her play The Stroke was a Kilroy's List honorable mention in 2015 and that same year, was presented as a part of the Turner New Voices series at Actor’s Express. The Mystic was a finalist for the Blue Ink Playwriting Award in 2018.
Edith was a long-time member of Youngblood and is a member of Partial Comfort Productions and Ensemble Studio Theater. She was a 2015-16 Ingram New Works Lab resident playwright at Nashville Repertory Theater; the recipient of a New Territories Playwriting Residency at Serenbe Playhouse, and a fellowship at the Sewanee Writers' Conference. She has held commissions from Steppenwolf, the McCarter Theatre education program, Actor's Express, Theater Emory, The University of Miami and Georgia College and State University. Edith was the inaugural Emory University Playwriting Fellow from 2014-16. While at Emory, she co-created the commissioning and development program 4:48, a "bake-off" style playwriting challenge inspired by the great Paula Vogel.
She was also a co-founder and literary manager of The 24Seven Lab, a NY-based theater incubator that developed the early career work of many amazing playwrights, most of whom are now household names, from 2004-2011. She has taught playwriting, playmaking, play analysis, and theater history at the University of Miami, Emory University, The University of the South and is the co-lead teacher for Horizon Theater Company’s annual New South Young Playwrights Fest, as well as a teaching artist with Synchronicity Theater Company’s educational outreach program Playmaking for Girls. She is currently serving as the 2016-18 Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at The University of the South in Sewanee, TN.
For all else: www.edithfreni.com
GARY GARRISON is the Director of the Dramatists Guild Institute. For the last decade, he served as the Co-Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild of America (alongside Ralph Sevush). Prior to his work at the Guild, Garrison filled the posts of Artistic Director, Producer and full‑time faculty member in the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for 30 years, where he produced over 45 different festivals of new work, collaborating with hundreds of playwrights, directors and actors. Garrison’s plays include Ties That Bind, Skirting the Issue, Caught Without Candy, Game On, The Sweep, Verticals and Horizontals, Storm on Storm, Crater, Old Soles, Padding The Wagon, Rug Store Cowboy, Cherry Reds, Gawk, Oh Messiah Me, We Make A Wall, The Big Fat Naked Truth, Scream With Laughter, Smoothness With Cool, Empty Rooms, Does Anybody Want A Miss Cow Bayou? and When A Diva Dreams. This work has been featured at the City Theatre of Miami, Boston Theatre Marathon, Primary Stages, The Directors Company, Manhattan Theatre Source, StageWorks, Open Door Theatre, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Expanded Arts and New York Rep. His recent work as guest artist or master teacher of playwriting involve such institutions as Sewanee Writer’s Conference, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, CityWrights, The Inkwell and Source Theatre in D.C., Baltimore Playwrights Festival, New Hampshire Playwrights Festival, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Southeast Theatre Conference, Northwest Theatre Conference and Boston Playwrights. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The Playwright’s Survival Guide: Keeping the Drama in Your Work and Out of Your Life, Perfect Ten: Writing and Producing the Ten‑Minute Play, A More Perfect Ten and two volumes of Monologues for Men by Men. He is on the Tony Administration Committee for the Tony Awards and the program director for the Summer Playwriting Intensive for the Kennedy Center. A collection of short plays, Verticals and Horizontals, was published last spring by Original Play Publishers in Los Angeles. In April of 2014, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts instituted the National Gary Garrison Ten-Minute Play Award given to the best ten-minute play written by a dramatist.
ADAM GWON is a composer and lyricist whose musicals have enjoyed more than 200 productions worldwide. Off-Broadway: Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre); Regional: String (Village Theatre), Cake Off (Signature Theatre, Helen Hayes Award nomination), Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), The Boy Detective Fails (Signature Theatre), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); West End: Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios). Adam’s songs have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and more, by such luminaries as Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Brian d’Arcy James. Honors include the Kleban Award, Fred Ebb Award, Richard Rodgers Award, Loewe Award, Second Stage Theatre’s Donna Perret Rosen Award, Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, ASCAP Harold Adamson Award, and the MAC John Wallowitch Award. Recordings include: Ordinary Days (Ghostlight Records), Audra McDonald’s Go Back Home (Nonesuch), The Essential Liz Callaway (Working Girl Records), Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Album. Adam has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Dramatists Guild.
MARCY HEISLER is a lyricist, performer, poet, author and educator. Her writing credits include: Hollywood Romance (Lyrics), Dear Edwina (Book/Lyrics, Drama Desk nomination), Snow White, Rose Red and Fred (Book/Lyrics, Helen Hayes nomination), Junie B Jones, The Musical (Book/Lyrics, Lucille Lortel nomination) Ever After (Book/Lyrics), Junie B’s Essential Survival Guide to School (Book/Lyrics), The Great American Mousical (Lyrics) as well as an untitled romantic comedy currently in development with NBC/Universal Stage Productions. In partnership with composer Zina Goldrich, her songs have been featured in numerous projects for Disney, ABC, NPR and PBS. Awards include the Kleban Prize for Lyrics (2012), Fred Ebb Award (2009), ASCAP Rodgers and Hart Award (2012), and ASCAP New Horizons Theatre Award. She is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild, and a founding member of the New York Songspace. She graduated with High Honors from NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program, and previously studied acting at Northwestern University. She currently lives and writes in New York City.
MARK HOLLMANN received the Tony Award®, the National Broadway Theatre Award, and the Obie Award for his score to Urinetown the Musical, which had its start in the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival. It won Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, and Lucille Lortel Awards for best musical in addition to garnering ten Tony Award® nominations. Other shows as composer/lyricist include Yeast Nation (2011 New York International Fringe Festival, Perseverance Theatre, American Theatre Company, and Ray of Light Theatre), Bigfoot and Other Lost Souls (Atlantic Stage and Perseverance Theatre), The Man in the White Suit (New York Stage and Film), The Girl, the Grouch, and the Goat (University Theatre, U. of Kansas), Alchemist the Musical (Seattle Fringe Festival), Jack the Chipper (Greenview Arts Center, Chicago), Kabooooom! (University Theater, U. of Chicago), I Think I Can and Deal with It! (Berkshire Theatre Festival), and Fare for All (Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, NYC). Actor and/or co-writer for the Cardiff Giant Theater (Chicago) productions of The Rack, Theater of Funny, The Mercy Ripper, LBJFKKK, Love Me, All Eight Die, and After Taste, the last of which he also directed. TV: songs for Disney Channel’s "Johnny and the Sprites." He has served on the Tony Nominating Committee, serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild of America, and is a member of ASCAP. He is also a member of Sure Foundation Lutheran Church in Woodside, Queens, where he serves as a part-time pianist. He and his wife Jilly live in Manhattan with their sons, Oliver and Tucker.
TINA HOWE’s best known plays include Birth and After Birth, Museum, The Art of Dining, Painting Churches, Coastal Disturbances and Pride’s Crossing - all published by TCG. Among her many awards are an Obie, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, two N.E.A’s, a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, Tony nomination, Pulitzer finalist (twice), William Inge Award, Lilly Award for Lifetime Achievement and most recently a PEN Master American Playwright Award. Newly retired, Miss Howe taught at Hunter College for 25 years, launching the Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA in Playwriting in 2010. She has proudly served on the Council of the Dramatists Guild for just as long.
CHISA HUTCHINSON: Having never even seen a play until high school, Chisa caught up mighty fast by earning a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has since been commissioned to write several plays and has even written a few just for kicks, includingDirt Rich (SummerStage), She Like Girls (the Lark Play Development Center, the Ohio Theatre, NJPAC), This is Not the Play (Mad Dog Theater Company, Cleveland Public Theater), Sex on Sunday (the Lark Play Development Center, the BE Company, Trustus Theatre), Tunde's Trumpet (SummerStage, BOOM Arts), The Subject (Atlantic Theater Company, Playwrights’ Foundation, Victory Gardens, Partial Comfort, and Rattlestick Theater) , Mama's Gonna Buy You (WorkShop Theater Company, Inge Center for the Arts), Somebody's Daughter (Cherry Lane, Second Stage), Alondra Was Here (the Wild Project), and Dead & Breathing (the Lark Play Development Center, Contemporary American Theater Festival, National Black Theatre).
Chisa has been a Lark Fellow, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Humanities Fellow, a Resident at the William Inge Center for the Arts, a staff writer for the Blue Man Group and an ensemble member of the New York NeoFuturists. She has been a two-time finalist for the Weissberger Award, a finalist for the Heideman and a finalist for the highly coveted PONY Fellowship. She actually wins awards sometimes, too, like the GLAAD Award she got for her play, She Like Girls, the John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting, a Lilly Award for Most Outstanding Playwright at the Beginning of Her Career, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, the Paul Green Award, a Helen Merrill Award, a Lanford Wilson Award, and most recently a Thom Thomas Award.
Chisa just finished her residency as a Tow Fellow at Second Stage Theatre where she premiered her play, Somebody's Daughter. She is a proud fourth-year resident at New Dramatists, teaches creative writing at the University of Delaware, and is about to delve into the world of TV on a project for A&E/Lifetime.
CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON is an award winning actor, writer, director and advocate for inclusion. As an actor, she has been featured on Broadway (The Music Man, Grease!, Chu Chem), Off-Broadway (Merrily We Roll Along, Pacific Overtures, plays at the Public, the Mint, Playwrights Realm, etc.), in national tours (Cats, Flower Drum Song, Bombay Dreams), in regional theaters across the country (including the Guthrie, Williamstown, the Huntington etc), and extensively on TV (recurring on Season 2 of the Netlix Marvel series Iron Fist, the new Lifetime series You, The Americans, and Law and Order: SVU).
Her plays and screenplays have been developed/produced at such places as the Roundabout, the Barrow Group, the O'Neill, Village Theater, Crossroads, Weston Playhouse, and the Meryl Streep/Iris Writers Lab with upcoming world premieres at Roxy's Downtown Theatre in Wichita and the Kennedy-McIlwee Studio Theatre at NC State later this year.
Christine is part of the elected leaderships of both the Dramatists Guild and Actors' Equity Association, serves as National chair of both organizations' Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committees, and was honored with the 2013 Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors' Equity for "outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human spirit in the American theatre”. She is a guest lecturer in Acting at the Yale School of Drama.
Deborah Zoe Laufer
DEBORAH ZOE LAUFER's play, Informed Consent, opened at the Duke on 42nd Street, a co-production of Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre, in August, 2015. An Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commission through EST, it first received productions at Cleveland Playhouse and Geva Theatre Center. Her works have also been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Portland Stage, and 80 other theaters around the country, in Germany, Russia and Canada. End Days was awarded The ATCA Steinberg citation and appeared at Ensemble Studio Theatre through a Sloan Grant. It received a rolling work premiere through the National New Play Network, and went on to receive over 50 productions after that. Other plays include Leveling Up, Sirens, Out of Sterno, The Last Schwartz, Meta, The Three Sisters of Weehawken, Fortune, The Gulf of Westchester, Miniatures, and Random Acts. Deb is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and the Lilly Award and grants and commissions from The Edgerton Foundation, the NEA and NNPN. Her plays have been developed at PlayPenn, The Eugene O’Neill NPC, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ojai, The Missoula Colony, The Cherry Lane Alternative, the Dramatists Guild, New Georges, The Lark, Asolo Rep. and the Baltic Playwrights Conference. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a member of The Dramatists Guild.
ANDREA LEPCIO is best known for Looking for the Pony, a finalist for the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award and for the NEA Outstanding New American Play Award. It was presented in a "Rolling World Premiere" Off-Broadway at Vital Theatre Company in New York and Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta and subsequent productions. Upcoming production of Strait of Gibraltar at American Stage in Florida in May 2018. Recent productions include Strait of Gibraltar at Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta, Tunnel Vision at Off the Wall in Pittsburgh and Venus Theatre in Maryland, and Dinner at Home between Deaths at Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. Additional Plays and musicals under development include World Avoided (EST/Sloan Commission), Central Avenue Breakdown (FwdTheatre) and Life & Times (Music Theatre Factory). Andrea is a member of the Dramatists Guild, was a Dramatists Guild Fellow and served as the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program Director for ten years. M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing, Carnegie Mellon University. B.A. Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic. She lives in Maine, which means she travels often.
MICHELE LOWE received the Francesca Primus Prize for her play Inana (Denver Center Theatre) and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Both Inana and Victoria Musica (Cincinnati Play House in the Park) were finalists for the American Theater Critic’s Association/Steinberg New Play Award, which marked the first time in the ACTA’s 33-year history that a playwright was nominated for two plays in one season.
Michele is the author of The Smell of the Kill (Broadway debut); String of Pearls (Outer Critics nomination, Primary Stages); Map of Heaven (Denver Center Theatre), Mezzulah 1946 (City Theatre), Backsliding in the Promised Land (Syracuse Stage), and the original one-act musical A Thousand Words Come to Mind (Joe’s Pub) which she co-wrote with composer Scott Davenport Richards.
She has received commissions from the Transport Group, Signature Theater, Denver Center Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Geva Theatre, Premieres: Inner Voices, and Wind Dancer Productions. Her plays have been produced/developed by Primary Stages, Vineyard Theatre, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat, Le Pepiniere (Paris), TimeLine Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival, New York Stage and Film, O’Neill National Music Theater Conference, Lark Play Development Center, Colorado New Play Summit, City Theater, New Harmony Project, PlayLabs, and Hedgebrook. Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing, and Smith and Kraus publish her work.
Michele’s current play, The Greatest, was developed in the 2016 Keen Company Playwrights Lab. She is currently at work on The Proxy Marriage with composer Adam Gwon. Michele and Zoe Sarnak have been commissioned by Transport Group’s 20th Century Project. She is the creator of the TV series Clay.
Michele is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, serves on the Publications Committee for the Dramatists Guild and is a member of ASCAP. She has taught at the Einhorn School of the Performing Arts and given master classes at Carnegie Mellon and theatres across the country. Michele works one on one with writers, business execs and clergy, and often writes for The Dramatist magazine.
DEBORAH MURAD, ESQ. is an entertainment attorney serving as the Director of Business Affairs at the Dramatists Guild. In that capacity, she provides business advice to Guild members, reviews theatrical contracts, and educates Guild members on industry standards and key legal principles. Deborah’s research and focus is in the areas of contests/festivals guidelines, devised theater, and composer/librettist agreements in opera. She was the force behind the Guild’s recently released Best Practices for Festivals and Contests as well the Guild’s devised theater contracts templates and Resource Manual. She has served as a panelist and keynote speaker internationally at conferences and other events.
In addition to her work at the Guild, Deborah is the Associate Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild Copyright Management (www.thedgcm.com).
Prior to joining the Dramatists Guild, Deborah prepared estate documents with Volunteers of Legal Services, trained as a mediator with Safe Horizons, and was the Executive Director for the JCC Maccabi Arts Fest in Monmouth, NJ. When not working, Deborah enjoys performing and running her own New Jersey-based theater company.
JANET NEIPRIS is represented by Mark Orsini at Bret Adams in New York. Her plays have been produced at major theatres in the U.S. and internationally, including the National Theatre, London, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, The Women’s Project, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Arena Stage, D.C., Studio Theatre, D.C., Center Stage, Baltimore, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Milwaukee Rep., the Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, and The China Youth Arts Theatre, Beijing. Her awards include two NEA’s in playwriting, two Rockefeller Grants to Bellagio, 1990, for A Small Delegation, about Americans in China the year before Tiananmen Square, and in 2004, A Question of Country, based on a true story about the friendship between a black woman and a white woman during apartheid and the impossibility of it post-apartheid. Other awards include a USAI Grant, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship, and O’Neill Center Playwright in Residence. In 2004 she received a New York University Faculty Research Grant to visit South Africa to research a new play, and in 2008, a New York University Presidential Fellowship for her play about South Africa.
She is the author of Statues, Exhibition, The Bridge at Belharbour, Brussels Sprouts, Sunday at Five on the Cote D’Azur, Acts of Love, Out of Order, 703 Walk Hill, Almost In Vegas, Natives, Look Ma We’re Dancing, After Marseilles, The Agreement, A Small Delegation (original music by Tan Dun, set design by Ming Cho Lee, A Question of Country. She has also written for film, BBC, and NPR.
A composer, she has written the lyrics and score for the children’s musical Jeremy and the Thinking Machine, which was produced by the National Theatre, London, an original score for Death of A Salesman, at the Sharon, Ct. Playhouse, music for Paul Celan’s Black Milk of Morning, and Notes on a Life, music and lyrics,Women’s Project, NY. Anthologies include Contemporary Women Playwrights and Best Short Plays. She was recently a keynote speaker at the Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University, on The Moral Responsibility of the Artist. She is currently working on a book of short stories, Blue Hills. Janet Neipris
Is the author of TO BE A PLAYWRIGHT (2005) and MASTER CLASS: DRAMATIC WRITING (2016) (Routledge).
She established and chaired NYU Tisch’s Dramatic Writing Program for 18 years. As Chair of Graduate Playwriting and Screenwriting, Department of Dramatic Writing, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she has educated some of the country’s leading playwrights and screenwriters. Her book, To Be A Playwright, published by Routledge is used widely in universities. Professor Neipris has just been commissioned to write a new book, MasterClass in Dramatic Writing:Theater, Film, Television. She has taught playwrights and screenwriters in China, Indonesia, Florence, Prague, London, and South Africa. She is a member of Writer’s Guild of America East, PEN, and served on the Dramatists Guild Council Tony Committee. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing and Samuel French.
Plays and letters are in the Harvard University Houghton Theatre Collection.
MATTHEW PAUL OLMOS is a three-time Sundance Institute Fellowship/Residency recipient (2014 Lab, 2013 UCROSS, 2009 Time Warner Storytelling Fellow), New Dramatists Resident Playwright, Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist in Residence, Princess Grace Awardee in Playwriting, National Latino Playwright Awardee, and La MaMa e.t.c.'s Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Awardee as selected by Sam Shepard.
He spent two years as a Mabou Mines/SUITE Resident Artist being mentored by the late Ruth Maleczech and is a former New York Theatre Workshop's Emerging Artist Fellow, Dramatists Guild Fellow, Primary Stages' Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer, Brooklyn Arts Exchange Resident Artist, INTAR H.P.R.L Playwright, Rising Circle Collective Playwright, terraNOVA Collective's Groundbreakers Playwright; he is also an Ensemble Studio Theater lifetime member. His work has been presented both nationally and internationally, as well taught in university and is published by Samuel French and NoPassport Press.
He holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the New School for Drama, a B.A. in Playwriting from UC Santa Barbara. He is a regular essayist for The Brooklyn Rail, a previous National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development reader, a New York Innovative Awards judge, selection committee member for The Lark’s Playwrights’ Week and Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship; as well a Kilroys nominator.
For more information: www.matthewpaulolmos.com.
AUSTIN PENDLETON is an actor, director, playwright and teacher of acting. His most recent appearances in New York as an actor have included the title role in King Lear (at the Secret Theatre) and several productions at the Public Theatre (Straight White Men, and, at the Delacorte, Romeo and Juliet and, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, Mother Courage and Her Children). As a director he has been represented recently in New York by Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Giurgis, and (at Classic Stage Company) Hamlet, Ivanov, Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, in productions including such actors as Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Joely Richardson, Maggie Gylenhall, Mamie Gummer, and Denis O'Hare.
His plays, produced in New York, around the country and internationally, and all published, include Orson's Shadow, Uncle Bob, and Booth, which starred Frank Langella. He also wrote the book for the musical A Minister's Wife, presented at the Newhouse at Lincoln Center, with music by Josh Schmidt and lyrics by Jan Tranen, with the whole show conceived and directed by Michael Halberstam. He has appeared in over 200 movies, and appeared regularly on such TV shows as "Oz," "Homicide," and "Law and Order." He teaches acting at HB Studio, in New York City.
RALPH SEVUSH, Esq., is an entertainment attorney who has been with The Dramatists Guild of America since 1997. As the Guild’s Executive Director of Business Affairs & General Counsel, in addition to administering the organization and advising its 7000+ members, he has co-authored amicus briefs and given expert testimony in cases affecting playwrights; written articles about theater, copyright and free speech for The Dramatist magazine, lectured and moderated seminars for writers, students and academics around the country, and spoken before the Library of Congress. He also co-founded The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund in 2012, to protect copyright and free expression in the theater. Before coming to the Guild, he worked on numerous Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including BIG, the Musical, Fool Moon, God Said `HA!', Blown Sideways Through Life and Philemon. Earlier in his career, he worked for Sony Pictures, Cinema 5 films, and New Line Cinema in motion picture marketing, distribution, and finance. As a writer, in addition to his many essays published by The Dramatist magazine over the past 20 years, his play Little One, Goodbye was presented by the Tada! Theater, the Enchanted Players of NJ, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Innovative Stages Company; and his short fiction has been collected in a new book, Spira Mirabilis: Fantastic Tales from the Marvelous Spiral, to be published by taQ’Lut Press in December 2016. He is an alumnus of Stony Brook University and the Cardozo School of Law, and was a member of the BMI/Lehman Engel Librettists Workshop.
RONA SIDDIQUI is a NYC-based composer/lyricist. Musicals: Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, One Good Day, The Tin, Treasure in NYC. Original scores: The Vagina Monologues, Middletown, The Good Person of Szechuan. Music direction: A Strange Loop, Bella: An American Tall Tale, Who's Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started the Iraq War. Orchestration: Broadway Backwards, Gay Mens Chorus, Broadway Records, NAMT and Hole in the Wall Gang Camp galas. Commissions: 24 Hour Musicals, Prospect Theater Company, The Civilians, the NYC Gay Men's Chorus, 52nd St Project. Awards: ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and the ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. www.ronasiddiqui.com
TARI STRATTON is currently the Director of Education & Outreach for the Dramatists Guild of America, and the Associate Editor of The Dramatist magazine. She has been at the Guild since 1997, previously serving as the Assistant to the Executive Director. Tari is the administrator of the Dramatists Guild’s Fellows program, produces the Guild’s seminar series DG Academy and DG Conservatory and co-produces programming with Harvardwood. She also produces the annual Guild Awards Night, along with special programming such as the Guild’s National Conferences, Anti-Piracy Blast and Copyright Matters, an event presented at the Library of Congress. Tari serves on committees with the League of Broadway Theaters and Producers and the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts to increase diversity in the performing arts.
CARIDAD SVICH has received a 2018 Tanne Foundation Award, 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, 2018 NNPN rolling world premiere for RED BIKE, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based Isabel Allende’s novel. She has edited several books on theatre including Fifty Playwrights on Their Craft (Methuen Drama, 2017), Audience Revolution: Dispatches from the Field (TCG, 2016), Innovation in Five Acts (TCG, 2015), Out of Silence: Censorship in Theatre & Performance and Trans-Global Readings: Crossing Theatrical Boundaries and Theatre in Crisis? (the latter two for Manchester University Press, UK). She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists. She is an affiliated artist at the Lark, New Georges and Woodshed Collective, and lifetime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. Website: http://www.caridadsvich.com
JEFFREY SWEET's plays - including The Value of Names, Flyovers, The Action Against Sol Schumann, Court-Martial at Fort Devens, American Enterprise, and Porch - have been produced in New York, Chicago and stages around the world featuring actors including Jack Klugman, Amy Morton, Jon Cryer, William Petersen, Lindsay Crouse, Judy Kaye, Michele Pawk, Reed Birney, Richard Kind, Nathan Lane, Gary Cole, Dan Lauria, Jill Eikenberry and Megan Mullally. His newest play, Kunstler, opens off-Broadway in February after a warmly-received run at the New York Fringe Festival. He has won lots of awards, but none of them is the Pulitzer. He also has written a lot of TV, winning a WGA Award and an Emmy nomination in the process. His new book is called What Playwrights Talk About When They Talk About Writing.
ROLAND TEC is a filmmaker, playwright and composer. Roland scored his last two feature films, All The Rage and We Pedal Uphill, both of which were released theatrically in the U.S. For twelve years, he served as Artistic Director of Boston’s New Opera Theatre Ensemble, which mounted new operas in such unlikely venues as The Boston Public Library, Danco Furniture Showroom and The Charles Hayden Planeterium. Since moving to New York in 2000, several of Tec’s plays have been produced, among them: Gratuitous Nudity (co-written with John Yearley), Rapt, The Rubber Room (co-written with Gary Garrison) and The Wreck Behind Us. His play, Kennedy V, about the rise of Teddy Kennedy, was commissioned by Resonance Ensemble. The Curse Of Batvia, for which he composed music to Katherine Burger’s book & lyrics, will be presented this summer at Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, NY. His Music Composition teachers include: Luise Vosgerchian, Martin Boykan, David Lewin, Eric Chasalow, Peter Lieberson and John Corigliano. Tec has taught in the Music Departments of Brandeis University and Harvard College, among others.
SHERI WILNER’s plays include Kingdom City, Father Joy, Hunger, The End, A Tall Order, Relative Strangers, Little Death of a Salesman, The Unknown Part of the Ocean, and Joan of Arkansas and have been performed and developed at major American regional theatres including the La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Guthrie Theater and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In New York her work has been presented by New Georges, Naked Angels and the Lark.
She has twice been a co-winner of the prestigious Heideman Award granted by the Actors Theatre of Louisville: in 1998 for Labor Day, which premiered at the 1999 Humana Festival, and in 2001 for Bake Off, which premiered at the 2002 Humana Festival. Bake Off was praised by The New York Times as a “barbed, witty, thoughtful, giggle and snort inducing satire on gender roles.” She co-wrote the libretto for a full-length musical version, entitled Cake Off, which premiered at the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C. (nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Original Musical Adaptation); workshopped at the Old Globe in San Diego; and produced by the Bucks County Playhouse, starring Euan Morton and Justin Guarini.
Her plays have been published in over a dozen anthologies, and Playscripts.com has published twelve of her one-acts, which have received over four hundred productions across the United States as well as in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and India.
Her playwriting awards include a Howard Foundation Fellowship, a Bush Artist Fellowship and two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships.
Also an established playwriting teacher, Sheri has taught multiple courses for the Dramatists Guild Institute, PlayPenn and Primary Stages ESPA program and is currently the Master Playwright for the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs Playwrights’ Development Program. Other appointments include: Director and Playwriting Co-Chair of the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows Program (2015-18), the Rev. J. Donald Monan S.J. Professor of Theatre Arts at Boston College (2016-17), the Fred Coe Visiting Playwright-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, and Visiting Assistant Professor in Playwriting at Florida State University’s MFA Dramatic Writing Program in Tallahassee. Additionally, she has extensive experience working one-on-one with playwrights through such organizations as the Dramatists Guild, PlayPenn, the Playwrights Center, as well as on her own.
She attended Cornell University and received her MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University.
STEFANIE ZADRAVEC is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, playwright-in-residence at The Women’s Project, and received a 2015 Helen Merrill Award. Her plays include Colony Collapse (Theatre@Boston Court: 2015 Kilroys List and LA Times Critics Choice); The Electric Baby (Two River Theater, Francesca Primus Prize); Honey Brown Eyes (Theater J, Working Theatre, Helen Hayes Award); and currently – The Boat (The Working Theater Commission) and Tiny Houses (Women’s Project Commission). She has received Fellowships from the Dramatists Guild, the Lark, NYFA, Playwrights Realm, Sewanee Writers Conference, and the Edgerton Foundation. Stefanie has received a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, Women in Arts & Media Collaboration Award, and her work has received developmental and production support from The Ford Foundation, the NEA, NYSCA, The Mellon Foundation, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, Play Penn, The Women’s Project, San Francisco Playhouse, Quantum Theatre, Epic Theatre Ensemble, The Barrow Group, and New Dramatists. Her plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and featured in Best Women’s Stage Monologues (Smith & Kraus). Stefanie teaches playwriting at Primary Stages EInhorn School of Performing Arts and has taught at SUNY Purchase and Occidental College. She has taught multiple writing workshops and seminars at Play Penn, New Dramatists, Connecticut College, Occidental College, and Wright Club. www.szadravec.com