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2019 Writers Colony Bios

2019 Writers Colony Bios

Listed alpabetically by project

A COMPLICATED WOMAN: THE JOHN KENLEY STORY

JONATHAN BRIELLE’s (Music and Lyrics) Broadway career began with writing the songs for Foxfire starring Jessica Tandy (Tony Award), Hume Cronyn and Keith Carradine; as well as the music for the film adaptation starring John Denver. Off Broadway, his musical, Himself and Nora was recently nominated for Best Musical - Outer Critics Award. Current musicals include: 40 Naked WomenA Monkey and MeNightmare Alley (going into production in Fall ’19) and Stepping Into Fire (book by Tom Coash). Musicals in development include Wild Sound with playwright Tom Coash, and A Complicated Woman with book by Ianne Fields Stewart (directed by Jeff Calhoun). Jonathan’s Las Vegas extravaganzas include Enter The Night, twelve years at the Stardust Hotel; MadHattan, two years at the New York, New York Hotel. US/UK Tours include: Rugrats LiveGoosebumps Live! and Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. For TV, he serves as composer/music director/supervisor for the television show Wonderama, now in its third season on Fox and CW networks. He is the founding Writer/Producer in Residence of the Johnny Mercer Writers’ Colony at Goodspeed Musicals; the Executive Vice President of the Johnny Mercer Foundation where he helps spearhead songwriting and musical theater programs for elementary school, high school and several leading universities and is the former National Projects Director of The Songwriters Guild of America. 

IANNE FIELDS STEWART (Book) (pronouns: they/them/their) is a black, queer, and transfeminine New York-based storyteller working at the intersection of theatre and activism. Their work is centered in deconstructing mainstream media forms and rebuilding them to amplify and include the voices of marginalized people. Ianne's work is divided into three platforms: the platform they stand on as a performer; the platform they build amongst others as a theatrical consultant and community organizer; and the platform they build for others to stand on as a playwright, director, teaching artist, and choreographer. As a performer, Ianne has worked consistently in productions at NYC venues such as Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, Black Spectrum Theatre, and more. Ianne can also be seen on Buzzfeed LGBT, the You Had Me at Black podcast, the #Safewordsociety podcast, Podcast of Color, and the Is it Transphobic podcast. In the summer of 2017, Ianne was selected out of over 500 applicants to be one of the 15 US Fellows for Humanity in Action's 2017 John Lewis Fellowship. Ianne's community engagement consulting practice has brought them into various theatrical companies and productions as well as multiple teaching artistry positions that have taken them from NYC Public Charter schools to the Rose M. Singer Center on Riker’s Island.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, A NEW FOLK ROCK MUSICAL 

MATT VINSON (Music) is a New York City based composer, pianist, and arranger. His musical works for theatre include Peter & I and Anne of Green Gables with librettist Matte O'Brien; Exiles in Paradise, Doing Nothing All Day, Willie, Mickey, & the Duke, and Elfriede’s Story, written for California Repertory Company; and vocal arrangements and music coordination for Political Subversities, conceived by Elizabeth Swados. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music & Humanities from the University of Southern California, completed advanced studies in composition and conducting at New York University, and is a composing alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

MATTE O'BRIEN (Book and Lyrics) is a playwright/lyricist based in New York City. His plays and musicals include: The Wonderful Mr. & Mrs. O’Leary, Peter & I, White Noise, As Flies to Wanton Boys, Morning Has Broken, Becoming David, The Meaning Of Life… and other useless pieces of information, and The Worst Was This. Current projects include: Anne of Green Gables: A New Folk Rock Musical, written with composer Matt Vinson, which was last seen at The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival in the summer of 2018; the musical How We Do with Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys; and a new play entitled The Night Elaine Stritch Died. He received a Jeff Nomination for his musical White Noise, produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and his play The Wonderful Mr. & Mrs. O’Leary, featuring, Tony Award winner, Alice Ripley, was developed at The Actors Company Theatre and was a 2017 finalist for The National Playwright’s Conference at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and a Masters in Classic and Contemporary Text from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

APOLLO WIVES

CARMEL DEAN (Music and Lyrics) made her compositional debut with Renascence, produced by Transport Group at the Abrons Arts Centre in October 2018. As a musical director and/or arranger, her Broadway credits include If/Then, American Idiot, Hands on a Hardbody, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She has performed on the Grammy Awards with Green Day, has worked with jam-band Phish, and has music directed/arranged for Broadway legend Chita Rivera. A native of Perth, Australia, Carmel is Fulbright scholar, a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and a member of BMI’s Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop.

LAUREN TASLITZ (Book) is a librettist/lyricist from Chicago. Her musicals/cabaret shows include Join the Club (The Evanston Arts Theatre, The Skokie Theatre); Regretting Almost Everything (Mr. Finn’s cabaret at Barrington Stage Company, Feinstein’s/54 Below); You Gave Me A Sheep (NAAP’s Discover New Musicals); A Statue of Stature (Prospect Theater Company’s New Musical Lab); and The Quantification of Relative Human Insignificance (Finalist, SigWorks Musical Theater Lab). Lauren has a number of shows in development. Her show Bak Chang (with Emily Chiu), commissioned by The 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, will have an industry reading in New York in the fall of 2019, and her cabaret, In My Book (with Danny Ursetti), commissioned by Coastal Carolina University, will be produced in April of 2019. In November of 2018, Lauren’s work with composer Jacob Fjeldheim will be featured in “Broadway’s Future Songbook Series,” at Lincoln Center. Her work has also been performed at NYTB at the Cell, Chicago Dramatists, The Porchlight Music Theatre, Princeton University and various other venues in and around New York and Chicago. Lauren has an MFA from Tisch, a JD from Harvard, and a Certificate of Completion from The Second City Writing Program. She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild and ASCAP. www.laurentaslitz.com

BEAUTY QUEENS

TIM ROSSER (Music) and CHARLIE SOHNE (Book and Lyrics) are winners of a 2015 Jonathan Larson Grant, ASCAP’s 2015 Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and the 2016 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Original Score. Their show, The Boy Who Danced on Air(NAMT 2013) had its world premiere at The Diversionary Theatre, its Off-Broadway premiere at the Abingdon Theatre and has a just released cast album on Broadway Records. Their pilot, Truth Slash Fiction, won best comedy at SeriesFest and ITVFest - and is currently in development at Lionsgate. Their new song cycle, With The Right Music, made its premiere with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra in February of 2018. They're also currently working on a family musical, Talk To Me, commissioned by New York City Children's Theatre. Tim and Charlie were also 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Fellows, members of The Civilians’ R&D Group and writers at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, ASCAP’s Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project and the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. Their songs have been seen at 54 Below, Birdland, Contemporary Classics at Seattle Rep, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe’s Pub, ALNM at Rockwell in Los Angeles, Above The Arts in London, a sold out show at Broadway au Carre in Paris, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. They are the songwriting team behind India Arie's single, “High Above.”

BORDERS

JANINE MCGUIRE and ARRI LAWTON SIMON (Book, Music and Lyrics) McGuire & Simon are a NYC-based musical theatre writing team. Their musical Borders, based upon the 2006 film The Bubble by Eytan Fox and Gal Uchovsky, has been developed/incubated at the BMI Advanced Workshop, the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, Goodspeed Musicals, and New York Theatre Barn. In 2015 their immersive musical Express premiered at the New York Transit Museum (performed inside historic subway cars) and later received a workshop production at New York Film Academy where it was expanded into a full-length piece. McGuire & Simon wrote the songs for the Theatre for Young Auduences musical Kibby The Space Dog, commissioned by the Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center, which premiered in March 2018. Collectively they have written and produced concerts, stage musicals, plays, film scores, orchestral pieces, choral works, and custom songs in addition to teaching musical theatre and performing arts outreach in the community.

COMMON GROUND

GEORGIA STITT (Music) is an award-winning composer, lyricist, music producer, pianist and activist. She premiered two original musicals in 2018: Snow Child (Arena Stage) and Big Red Sun (11th Hour Theater). Other shows include Samantha Spade, Ace Detective (TADA Youth Theatre), The Big Boom; SHE; The Water; and Mosaic. Georgia has released three albums of her music: This Ordinary Thursday, Alphabet City Cycle, and My Lifelong Love, and she is currently at work on a collection of theatrical art songs. Her choral piece With Hope And Virtue (using text from President Obama's 2009 inauguration speech) was featured on NPR and her orchestral piece, Waiting for Wings, co-written with husband Jason Robert Brown, was commissioned and premiered by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Georgia is on the Board of Directors for The Lilly Awards Foundation and she is the Founding Director of MAESTRA, an organization for women theater composers and conductors. Other fun credits include being the music director of the recent Off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity (starring Sutton Foster), music supervisor of the Anna Kendrick/Jeremy Jordan film The Last Five Years, and playing a nun in The Sound of Music Live! on NBC with Carrie Underwood and Audra McDonald. www.georgiastitt.com

LISA DIANA SHAPIRO (Book and Lyrics) is a writer/actor whose credits include book and lyric writer of Samantha Spade, Ace Detective (music by Georgia Stitt) and Princess Phooey (music by Eric Rockwell), both commissioned and produced at TADA! Youth Theater in New York. Samantha Spade, Ace Detective has also been produced regionally and in concert in New York at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Lisa’s short film Slingin’ The Slang (based on Samantha Spade, Ace Detective) can be seen at samanthaspademystery.com/slingin-the-slang. Samantha Spade, Ace Detective was named National Youth Arts Best New Musical 2014. Lisa and Georgia were short-listed for the Artists of Choice award in 2015. Lisa is currently commissioned by TADA! Youth Theater to write two new musicals: Common Ground, a show about teenage refugees living in New York, and the high-school-set Cyra, No!. Award-winning non-musical plays include Labor Pains, a Comedy in Nine Months; Into the Fire; Aces Wild and the high-school tour show The End of the Story. Lisa’s screenplays have finaled and placed in prestigious screenwriting competitions, including American Zoetrope, CineStory, and the Chesterfield Fellowship. She is a graduate of the Northwestern University theatre program. More at: LisaDianaShapiro.com, SamanthaSpadeMystery.com, PrincessPhooey.com.

DIVA 

TOBY MARLOW (Music, Lyrics and Book) is a composer, writer, actor and attention-seeker based in the UK. After somehow graduating from university in 2017, he now writes musicals and songs, and also comedies about homosexual time-travel. He is one half of the musical theatre writing duo Marlow & Moss, along with friend and collaborator Lucy Moss, who are responsible for SIX, a pop-concert musical about the six wives of Henry VIII that enjoyed a sold out run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It is currently playing in London’s West End at the Arts Theatre. The show has been nominated for five Offie Awards and the full album is available for download on Spotify and Apple Music. Toby is also co-writer and co-performer of the award-winning Hot Gay Time Machine, along with friend and collaborator Lucy Moss and also fellow hot gay Zak Ghazi-Torbati. Over the past year, Hot Gay Time Machine was a resident company at the Other Palace and toured to the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe festivals. It will be transferring to Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End for a six-week run over the Christmas season. Toby studied English at the University of Cambridge (where he met friend and colleague Lucy Moss) and his previous co-writing and composing credits include Red/Wolf, Footlights Pantomime: Robin Hood, numerous shows whilst at the University of Cambridge, and also this biography.

LUCY MOSS (Music, Lyrics and Book) is one half of the writing duo Marlow and Moss. The pair met at university and they have been friends/colleagues ever since. Their first musical SIX - which they wrote during their final term - debuted at the Edinburgh fringe 2017 as a student production. It was then picked up by Olivier-Award winning producer Kenny Wax, Global Musicals and George Stiles and showcased at the Arts Theatre in late 2017. The show has embarked upon its 2018 UK Tour, including a seven week run in London’s West End. As well as writing SIX, Lucy is co-director of its current tour. The pair’s other project, Hot Gay Time Machine, debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe, where they won both the Eddies Award and the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence (no big deal). They subsequently won the LGBTQ+ Award at the Brighton Fringe 2018 and enjoyed a sold-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe again in 2018. The show will be transferring to the West End in November 2018. Lucy also directs the show. When not writing, Lucy’s other passion is directing theatre. Previous credits include Pelican: The Cat Man Curse (Soho Theatre and Bedlam Theatre); Pelican: Fisk (Brighton Fringe and Bedlam Theatre); Wasted (Edinburgh Fringe); Bobalong (Edinburgh Fringe); The Cambridge Footlights’ Spring Revue 2017 & The Cambridge Footlights Pantomime 2016 (ADC Theatre); Boris: World King (Trafalgar Studios - as assistant); Worklight Theatre’s Monster (Perth Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe - as associate); Red/Wolf (Vaults Festival - as assistant). Lucy studied history at Cambridge University and trained in Dance and Musical Theatre at Laine Theatre Arts.

GUN & POWDER

ROSS BAUM (Music and Lyrics) is a composer, performer, and music arranger. His musical scores include: Gun & Powder (2018 Richard Rodgers Award, 2018 NAMT Festival, Signature Theatre's Sigworks Musical Theatre Lab), Crowndation: I Will Not Lie To David (National Black Theatre), Anne Frank: My Secret Life and A Letter To Auntie Rosa (Diverging Elements Theatre Company). He was selected as winner of NY City Center’s Sondheim Remix contest and Disney/NMI's 2018 New Voices Project. As founder and music director of RANGE a cappella, he has provided vocal arrangements for Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Billboard, Playbill, the E! Network, and a YouTube channel totaling 30 million views. He holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU, BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University, and is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. @bossraum // www.rossbaum.net 

ANGELICA CHERI (Book) is a playwright, musical theatre book writer/lyricist, screenwriter and poet. The plays of her “Prophet’s Cycle Trilogy” include The Seeds of Abraham (Signature Theatre, Billie Holiday Theatre, mentored by Lynn Nottage), The Sting of White Roses (North Carolina Black Repertory Company, National Black Theatre Festival) and Crowndation: I Will Not Lie to David (National Black Theatre-I AM SOUL Residency). Other plays include Berta, Berta (Contemporary American Theatre Festival), Learn to Speak Doll (Peppercorn Theatre commission) and Slow Gin Fits (Fire This Time Festival). She and collaborator Ross Baum received the Richard Rodgers Award for their musical Gun & Powder, which has been developed at Theatre Latté Da, The Signature Theatre and selected for the 2018 NAMT Festival of New Musicals. Angelica is one of six writers chosen for the inaugural Geffen Playhouse Writers Room. Angelica received her BA in Theatre from UCLA, MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. www.angelicacheri.com

THE GUNFIGHTER MEETS HIS MATCH

ABBY PAYNE (Book, Music and Lyrics) grew up in a musical family on a dairy farm in upstate New York. She studied jazz at SUNY Purchase, where she also began performing her original music and working with a band. Since then, Payne has released four albums (About a CakeIn a Pretty BoxSasquatch and The Gunfighter Meets His Match) and is currently recording a fifth. She is also known for being the creator and star of several ambitious music videos. Abby Payne’s creative collaborations were at the heart of her founding of The Round Table, a female art collective that has hosted events highlighting the work of women artists on the New York scene. It was through the Round Table that Payne was inspired to write the book and music for a musical adaptation of The Gunfighter Meets His Match, the concept album released in 2015. The musical had a sold out three night run at HERE Arts in August 2015, and showings of new material were held at Green Space and the Musical Theater Factory in 2016 and at Joe's Pub in 2017. In 2018, the musical was selected to be a part of the New York Musical Festival. Payne developed the show into a full two act version and acted as music director (as well as the character of the "saloon pianist") in the successful festival run at Theatre Row in August of that year. Payne performs with her band at several venues in New York City, and is continuing to develop The Gunfighter Meets His Match as well as working on other collaborative writing projects.

THE HOMEFRONT

JENNY STAFFORD (Book) is a book writer, lyricist, and playwright. Her lyrics have been heard on Broadway (Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour, German production 2019), as well as off-Broadway and at various venues across the country. Her works include The Homefront (with Sam Salmond, Village Festival of New Musicals), Extended Stay (with Scotty Arnold, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Florida Festival of New Musicals), Prodigy (CCU, Collaborative Development Project, Two Rivers Theatre Company, Indiana University, Harrisburg New Works Festival), To Have and to Hold (Prospect Theatre Company), Cinderella (commissioned/produced by the Spotlight Youth Theatre), Two Bugs are Better Than One (commissioned/produced by the New York City Children’s Theatre) all with Willem Oosthuysen, The Artist and the Scientist (with Brandon Anderson, CAP21), The Star Child (with Sarah Underwood and Josh Freilich, Frenchwoods), Awakening (with Joel B. New and J. Oconer Navarro), and Beating a Dead Horse (winner of the 2017 Reva Shiver Comedy Award, produced at Bloomington Playwrights Project and Athena Project Theatre). Her work has been featured at the Lincoln Center Songbook Series (The Lyrics of Jennifer Stafford), Prospect Theatre Company, The National Alliance for Musical Theatre Songwriter Salon, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, 54 Below, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, and numerous other NYC venues. Awards include finalist status for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, and the Ronald M. Ruble New Play Competition, as well as second prize in the McLean Drama Company Playwriting Competition, and the Paulette Goddard Award. She’s been an Artist in Residence at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Village Theatre, Hypatia in the Woods, Goodspeed Musicals, CAP 21, the Ross Ragland Theatre, and the Berkshire Playwrights Theatre. Dramatists Guild member; MFA NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

SAM SALMOND (Music and Lyrics) is a Jonathan Larson Award- winning composer, lyricist, and book writer. He’s writing music and lyrics for an adaptation of Eighty-Sixed, which had a developmental reading at Second Stage Theatre and a workshop with Playwrights Horizons and Musical Theatre Factory. His musical Mother, Me and the Monsters (a Boston Globe Critic’s Pick) was produced at Barrington Stage. His children’s musical, The Dot went on a 2017-18 Theatreworks USA national tour. He wrote book and lyrics for Cage Match (Prospect Theater Company). He’s the creator of Uncool: the Party (CAP21 and MTF). He’s also currently writing music and lyrics for The Homefront and Creature. Sam’s work has been featured at Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, The Town Hall and all around the country. He’s an alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm resident and a 2017-18 Dramatists Guild Fellow.

INTERSTATE

MELISSA LI (Book, Music and Lyrics) (she/her) is a composer, lyricist, performer, and writer. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a Lincoln Center Theater Writer in Residence, and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Musicals include Interstate (New York Musical Festival), Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award Winner for "Best New Play" 2007), and 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive). Her works have received support from 5th Avenue Theater, The Village Theater, Musical Theater Factory, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, and terraNOVA Collective. She is proud to be from Boston, and proud to be based in NYC and Baltimore. 

KIT YAN (Lyrics and Book) (Playwright/Poet/Lyricist/Performer) is Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, and Dixon Place. They have been a resident at the Civilians, Mitten Lab, 5th Avenue Theater, the Village Theater, a WP/Public theater translab fellow, and are a 2018-19 Dramatists Guild Fellow and Lincoln Center Writer in residence.  Their musical, written with Melissa Li, Interstate won 5 awards at the 2018 New York Musical Festival including Best Lyrics and will be developed at the Johnny Mercer Colony at Goodspeed Musicals. Kit’s showQueer Heartache has won 5 awards at the Chicago and SF Fringe Festival and their second musical written with Melissa Li, Miss Step is under commission at 5th Avenue Theater.

LIKE A BILLION LIKES

JILL ABRAMOVITZ (Lyrics) A contributing lyricist on Broadway’s It Shoulda Been You, Jill is also the lyricist/book writer of Bread And Roses with composer Brad Alexander (NYMF reading, 2016; Amas Musical Theatre “Dare to be Different” Festival, December, 2017). She is the lyricist of TheatreworksUSA’s Martha Speaks (book by Kevin DelAguila, music by Brad Alexander), and the lyricist/co-bookwriter of The Dogs Of Pripyat with composer Aron Accurso and co-book writer Leah Napolin (Weston Playhouse New Musical Award, Jerry Bock Award, NAMT 2011 and Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals 2012). She is currently translating the award-winning Israeli musical Billy Schwartz from the original Hebrew. Jill is a past Dramatist Guild Fellow, a Harrington Award winner in the BMI Advanced Workshop, and a current member of the MTF writer’s workshop, developing Like A Billion Likes with Brad Alexander and playwright Erik Forrest Jackson. Jillaonline.com 

BRAD ALEXANDER (Music) Theater credits include See Rock City & Other Destinations (book and lyrics by Adam Mathias), recipient of The Richard Rodgers Award, The BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award, and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical; Bread And Roses (book and lyrics by Jill Abramovitz), featured in NYMF as a Developmental Reading (2016) and in Amas Musical Theatre’s “Dare To Be Different” series (2017); TheatreworksUSA's Click, Clack, Moo (Drama Desk, Lortel nom), Just So StoriesMartha Speaks and songs for Duck For PresidentFly GuyWe The People (Lortel nom). TV: five episodes of PBS’s Emmy Award-winning Peg + Cat; VH1’s “Celebreality” campaign. Currently: Like A Billion Likes (book by Erik Jackson, lyrics by Jill Abramovitz), in development at Musical Theatre Factory. Member of NAMT, The Dramatists Guild and BMI Workshop. bradalexander.com

ERIK FORREST JACKSON (Book) is an award-winning playwright, musical book writer and novelist. His musical Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, co-written with Ben Winters and featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka, premiered at New York’s Capital Rep and is licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. His darkly comic drama Like a Billion Likes is the winner of the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award; a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference; and a top 10 finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award. Stage West selected the play as the winner of its Southwest Playwriting Competition and premiered the show in 2018. Erik is currently adapting the piece into a musical with composer Brad Alexander and lyricist Jill Abramovitz. In 2016, he adapted the beloved TV comedy Cheers for a live stage event (Boston and Chicago). His Off Broadway premieres include: a comic adaptation of Stephen King’s CarrieDoll, a twisted take on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House; the comic thriller Tell-Tale (GLADD nomination, Best Play of the Year); and the comedy Charlie!. He also penned the screen adaptation of Charlie! The movie premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and subsequently screened at festivals around world. As a novelist, Erik is the author of the Muppets Meet the Classics humor series from Penguin Books and Disney. He has received a residency grant at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and a full fellowship at the Chulitna Artists Residency. Erik is a member of the writers’ group at NYC’s Musical Theatre Factory and serves on the Advisory Board of the American Theatre Wing and the selection committee for the Clive Barnes Foundation Awards. erikforrestjackson.com

MAYA SONGS 

RAY LESLEE (Music) composed Avenue X, the award-winning a cappella musical about racial tensions in New York, produced Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons and over 50 theatres around the world; Standup Shakespeare, directed by Mike Nichols on Broadway, with F. Murray Abraham and Alfred Molina Off-Broadway, and at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2017 with Jeff Perry and Alice Ripley; A Steady Rain, national tour; Palestine at New York Theatre Workshop; The Three Musketeers national tour with the Acting Co.; Educating Rita and Little Egypt at Steppenwolf; Twelfth Night at Theatre For A New Audience; A Good Man at the Vienna Chamber Opera and the O'Neill Theatre Center; to name a few. For the concert hall: In December 2018, Chamber Christmas Carol, a new adaptation of Dickens for 5 musicians & 5 actors was seen at Morgan Library & Museum and at St. Mark's Church in NYC; Romeo & Juliet For Orchestra & Actors, a symphony with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Maya Songs, the poems of Maya Angelou, with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Three Virtues for string orchestra, with the Liviv Symphony Orchestra; to name a few. Ray has won over 30 awards and commissions and is a long-time panelist for the Richard Rodgers Awards. He’s currently writing The Learned Ladies, a comic opera based on the play by Moliere, with a libretto in verse by Brian Dykstra (Def Poetry Jam).

PRIVATE GOMER

MARSHALL PAILET (Book, Music and Lyrics) is a director, writer and composer for musical theater, plays, animated films, and is the proud owner of a wildly untrained, but ultimately well-meaning terrier-mix. He directed, composed, and co-wrote the Off-Broadway musicals Who's Your Baghdaddy, or How I Started the Iraq War (New York Times Critics’ Pick) and the now internationally licensed Triassic Parq (Chance Theater ’13; Ovation Award, Best Musical; Ovation Nom; Best Director). Other Theater: Claudio Quest (winner of six 2015 NYMF Awards for Excellence); Loch Ness (Best Musical, OC Weekly); Shrek the Halls (DreamWorks Theatricals). Film: VeggieTales: Noah’s Ark starring Wayne Brady (Original Songs). As Director Only: Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat (Adirondack Theater Festival); Wonderland (Atlantic Theater Company); Eudaemonia; Uncle Pirate; Stuck. Graduate Yale University. www.marshallpailet.com

REVELATIONS

LANCE HORNE (Book, Music and Lyrics) is a composer, orchestrator, singer, pianist, and music director across genres from Wyoming living in New York. His musicals include Amandine,Pictures of Dorian Gray, and The $trip, developed with O’Neill NMTC, MTC, NYTW, Public/Joe’s Pub, TheatreWorks Palo Alto, and ArsNova. Current musicals and works for stage in development: RevelationsThe Night Before My Wedding, Who Needs Donuts? and Three Lost Chords, an operatic work being revived for production in Australia. Lance composed with Jake Shears for the Moises Kaufman production of Bent at Mark Taper Forum and for his solo debut, ‘Jake Shears’, out now featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band, members of My Morning Jacket, and Lance on keys, providing most of the orchestrations. Several numbers for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, openings for Gypsy of the Year and Actor’s Fund benefits, Lincoln Center Tree Lighting with Sesame Street, and an Emmy for Best Original Song for his contribution to the anniversary episode of One Life to Live. Lance has toured with Alan Cumming around the world many times, most recently with ‘Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs’ at Carnegie Hall, Disney Hall, London Palladium, Edinburgh Festival, Kennedy Center, and PBS Broadcast, and their new venture, ‘Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant’ at the Carlyle and Joe’s Pub, including work developed over concerts at the Met Museum. Performances with Alan & Liza at Town Hall, Kristin Chenowith for President Obama, the First Lady, and the Queen, productions of Cabaret starring Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer and Prometheus Bound by Serj Tankian from System of a Down, both at ART, where Lance is currently leading the band and arranging ExtraOrdinary with Diane Paulus, celebrating 10 years of musicals at ART. Vocal arrangements for Little Womenon Broadway, and composer and arranger for material in ‘Vegas! The Show’ in its 7th year at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas and now on Royal Caribbean. Education: Interlochen, Juilliard: Bachelors and Masters in Music in Composition. Lance has been on faculty at NYU and Juilliard, and currently mentors Juilliard students on interarts work, co-leading ‘Creativity Lab’ annually at Juilliard. Larson Award, ASCAP Awards, album ‘First Things Last’ premiered at Lincoln Center’s Songbook Series and in concert on the West End at The Garrick. Lance hosts a party around a piano each week at Club Cumming, Mondays in the Club With Lance, and great performances and off-the-wall surprises are always in store. www.lancehorne.com

THE SHOW ENDS IN TUCSON

MICHAEL BLOOM (Book and Lyrics) is a sophomore Film and Psychology double-major at Wesleyan University. Michael is from Pleasantville, NY, a place which fostered his love of musical theater. This is the first piece of original musical theater that Michael has ever been a part of creating. In high school, Michael had the honor of acting alongside Metro-Nominated actors Liana Frasca and James McCarthy in productions of South Pacific, Man of La Mancha, Carousel, and The Drowsy Chaperone.

BRIDGET SHERMAN (Music) is a senior Music and Economics double-major at Wesleyan University. Within the Music major, Bridget’s concentrations have been symphony and film scoring. Her performing background consists of mainly classical guitar, piano, and violin. She is currently working on the film score for a digital production called “Boy’s Night” for her thesis. Most of Bridget’s past composition experience has been in scoring shorter orchestral pieces; she has since developed a newfound passion for musical theater in working on The Show Ends in Tucson with co-creator Michael Bloom.

THE THREE FATES

KATY PFAFFL (Music and Lyrics) attended the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) for Musical Theater. In addition to performing on Broadway originating the role of 'Song Woman' in the Tony Award winning production of War Horse at Lincoln Center, she has released six celebrated albums of original music as vocal/piano/guitar/violin powerhouse Mighty Kate and two original albums with her most recent indie duo Daughter & Son; music directed/orchestrated the original musical, The Village of Vale at the Clark Studio at Lincoln Center; composed and music directed various productions of two original musicals,Subway Train and The Colors of Love, in NYC; and continues to compose and arrange for film and TV. Katy is also a coveted private voice teacher/vocal performance coach, working with the Broadway community for the past 15 years. In addition to private lessons, Katy also teaches voice and musical theater at the Julliard School with BT Turkish Music Exchange Summer Program; Broadway Bootcamp in Loveland, CO; and internationally with Dream Box Arts (Shenzhen, China); Broadway in Japan (Tokyo, Japan); Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project (Tamil Nadu, India); Nkosi's Haven (Johannesburg, South Africa), and Wings of Hope (Jacmel, Haiti). Katy is most recently the co-founder of Broadway's Babies, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless, using the arts as a bridge to bring education, compassion, and possibility to children in need around the world. Current programs include: an annual music program for Dalit children in India; an annual conservatory program for poor and disabled children in Haiti; and in NYC with a weekly arts program at WIN (Women in Need) homeless shelter; a weekly after school choir program at Urban Assembly School for Global Commerce for under privileged children; and a weekly after school choir program with YPC (Youth Pride Chorus) at the LGBTQ Center.

MATT BOGART's (Book and Lyrics) writing includes co-songwriter for a production of Orpheus Descending at Arena Stage, a musical adaptation of the film The Rookie, a TV pilot with Mickey Fisher (Extant, Creator and Executive Prod.), a Leonard Bernstein Review, three cabaret concerts, co-songwriter for The Bogart Brothers band including At The End of Foster Road (a folk concert with narrative) and always and forever writing a novel. Matt has primarily made his career as an actor/singer with several Broadway credits, TV/Film, principal roles with symphonies and award recognition for regional theatre performances all across the US. Mr. Bogart has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the U. of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (2018 CCM Young Alumni Award Recipient), is an Affiliated Artist of Arena Stage in D.C., a theatre producer, co-producer with the Jay Records label releasing Jenn Gambatese R&H record and three solo musical theatre records of his own. www.MattBogart.com

UNTITLED PROJECT

JANET ALLARD’s (Book and Lyrics) musicals include: Into the Wild (with Composer Niko Tsakalakos): Developed by Perseverance Theater, Berkeley Rep, Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat, Encore Musical Theater. Pool Boy at Barrington Stage, Pittsburgh CLO, Provincetown Playhouse, Driving West at Ars Nova, The Unknown Jonathan Larson Award with P73, NYMF. Her plays are published by Samuel French and Playscripts, Inc. She is a Fulbright Fellow, has an M.F.A in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama, and studied at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

NIKO TSAKALAKOS (Music and Lyrics) is an award-winning singer-songwriter and composer-lyricist whose debut solo album, “The First Snow,” embodies his unique, edgy blend of theatre and pop. His new folk-rock musical, Into the Wild, based on the book by Jon Krakauer and co-written with Janet Allard, received a workshop production at Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter, Michigan in May 2017. His coming-of-age musical Pool Boy, also written with Janet Allard, enjoyed a sold-out world premiere run at Barrington Stage Company in the summer of 2010 and was produced by NYU Steinhardt at Provincetown Playhouse in 2012. A cabaret-style reimagining of Pool Boy was commissioned by Pittsburg, Civic Light Opera, 2017. Fall Springs, Niko's new eco-conscious, rock musical co-written with Peter Sinn Nachrieb, was featured in NAMT's 2017 festival at New World Stages and a received a workshop at Barrington Stage 2018.

THE WAVE  

OR MATIAS (Book, Music and Lyrics) is a composer, lyricist, pianist, conductor, and music producer. Since graduating from Juilliard, Or has been featuring cross-genre fusions of various styles, including: classical, jazz, rock, hip-hop, and pop. Or consistently attempts to break the barriers between his musical passions. Or is currently writing a new musical adaptation of The Wave, the 1967 experiment which turned an entire high school into a proto-fascist movement in just five days. He began developing the piece at the Ucross Artists Residency, and was invited to Indiana University to continue the developmental process in the fall of 2017 and again in the spring of 2018. He frequently composes for the radio show “Israel Story” alongside other collaborations in Israel. His musical Wall Between Us, about a relationship between two Israeli and Palestinian men, was performed across the United States to wide acclaim. He is currently writing scores for Rising to the Tap featuring tap dancer Andrew Nemr, and a musical about Polish composer and prime minister Ignacy Paderewsky, sponsored by The Adam Mickiewicz Institute of Poland. Most recently, Or has worked with Josh Groban, The Trans Siberian Orchestra, Ingrid Michaelson, violin virtuoso Amadeus Leopold, songstress Rachael Yamagata, alongside countless others. His touring has taken him to New Zealand, Australia (Melbourne Festival), Germany, Kosovo, and all over the US, where he performed to sold-out crowds and wide acclaim. Or produced a single for Josh Groban titled ‘Dust and Ashes’, released in the summer of 2016. Or served as music director and conductor for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway. In the summer of 2015, Or played the role of Sergei Rachmaninoff in Lincoln Center's production of Preludes, for which he was nominated for the Lucille Lortel award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. His performance was described as “marvelous” by the New York Times and “ravishing” by Variety. He also music directed and conducted the world premiere production of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Daughter Suite at the Public Theater, and served as the music and sound advisor on Anaìˆs Mitchell’s critically acclaimed Hadestown at New York Theatre Workshop. Or has served as the music director for the NY branch of Playing for Change – an organization which raises money through concerts to build music facilities for underprivileged kids worldwide. Growing up, Or participated in numerous classical chamber music festivals worldwide. At age 16, Or worked closely with violin legend Itzhak Perlman at The Perlman Program in Shelter Island. Other festivals include Musica Mundi in Belgium, The Banff Festival in Canada, Gijon International Piano Festival in Spain and the Music Academy of the West in California. Master classes and lessons include Yoheved Kaplinsky, Maxim Vengeroff, and the Takacs Quartet, to name a few. While at Juilliard, Or studied piano with Prof. Julian Martin. Previously he studied with Dr. Sharon Mann and Ms. Hadassah Gonen. He also holds a Masters of Fine Arts from NYU, where he received a Dean's Fellowship, and full scholarship for his studies. He is proudly endorsed by Yamaha. Or believes that all music is universal, and his biggest passion is collaboration.

WHOLE SEX

ORION STEPHANIE JOHNSTONE (Book, Music and Lyrics) is a queer, non-binary, human/composer/theater-maker/organizer with a ferocious commitment to our collective liberation. Their acclaimed, music-drenched, highly collaborative theater work is an extension of their organizing, rooted in conversations about intersectional anti-oppression. Most recently, they were a co-captain/music supervisor/contributing composer for the TEAM’s Primer for a Failed Superpower, alongside Rachel Chavkin, and they co-directed Diana Oh’s {my lingerie play}The Concert and Call to Arms!!!!!!!!! at Rattlestick in the fall of 2017. They are currently one of two Directing Fellows in the first ever TransLab co-produced by the Public Theater and the WP. Original music of theirs has been featured at venues including CSC, HERE Arts Center, 3LD, Joe’s Pub, the Bushwick Starr, and NYMF. A graduate of NYU/Tisch, they have held composer/lyricist residencies at Pace, UArts, and Montclair State Universities, and they were the youngest member of the New Dramatists’ Composer/Librettist Studio in 2006. Also a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and conductor, they have worked with Anais Mitchell, Liz Swados, and Taylor Mac among others. They spent 2008 in Prague collaborating with Czech folk band Tripura, and they were the associate music director of the national tour of War Horse. Their queer-politics-focused album, “Love Songs For the Rest of Us,” was developed through house concert/conversations in living rooms across the United States.

WILD SOUND 

JONATHAN BRIELLE’s (Music and Lyrics) Broadway career began with writing the songs for Foxfire starring Jessica Tandy (Tony Award), Hume Cronyn and Keith Carradine; as well as the music for the film adaptation starring John Denver. Off Broadway, his musical, Himself and Nora was recently nominated for Best Musical - Outer Critics Award. Current musicals include: 40 Naked WomenA Monkey and MeNightmare Alley (going into production in Fall ’19) and Stepping Into Fire (book by Tom Coash). Musicals in development include Wild Sound with playwright Tom Coash, and A Complicated Woman with book by Ianne Fields Stewart (directed by Jeff Calhoun). Jonathan’s Las Vegas extravaganzas include Enter The Night, 12 years at the Stardust Hotel; MadHattan, 2 years at the New York, New York Hotel.  US/UK Tours include: Rugrats Live, Goosebumps Live! and Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. For TV, he serves as composer/music director/supervisor for the television show Wonderama, now in its third season on Fox and CW networks. He is the founding Writer/Producer in Residence of the Johnny Mercer Writers’ Colony at Goodspeed Musicals; the Executive Vice President of the Johnny Mercer Foundation where he helps spearhead songwriting and musical theater programs for elementary school, high school and several leading universities and is the former National Projects Director of The Songwriters Guild of America.

TOM COASH (Book) is a New Haven, CT playwright, director, and professor. Prior to New Haven, he spent three years in Bermuda and four years teaching playwriting at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. Coash has won numerous playwriting awards including the American Theatre Critics Association's M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, the Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights, an Edgerton Foundation National New Play Award, the Hammerstein Award, The Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award, a Jerome Playwriting Fellowship, among others. His plays have been produced around the world including such theaters as: Portland Stage, Barrington Stage, the InterAct Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Bailiwick Theatre, West Coast Ensemble, and many more. His play Cry Havoc will have its European premiere at the Park Theatre in London, March 2019. His award-winning play Veils was recently one of six finalists for the American Theatre Critics Association's ATCA/Steinberg Best New American Play Award. Coash teaches playwriting at the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA Writing Program.

WILD THING

MICHAEL MEDEIROS (Book, Music, and Lyrics) bought his first guitar at the age of twelve in a dirt-floor shop in Angeles City, the Philippines. He played in bands through high school and college and expanded to keyboards in the 80’s. He was an actor/writer participant at New River Dramatists in the Blue Ridge Mountains for 8 seasons, working with such playwrights as Stephen Adly Guirgis, Jim McClure, Arthur Giron where he also had readings of his own work including the rock musical, Billy Butnham’s Dream, and screenplays, Tiger Lily Road, Chasing Beauty and Underground. As an actor, he has worked onstage - most recently, in 1776 for City Center Encores and in Goodspeed’s, A Wonderful Life, Films include X-Men First Class, Synecdoche New York and Robocop2. He has also been an actor/instrumentalist in notable productions, such as Goodman Theatre’s bold re-imagining of Camino Real, The Front Page at Long Wharf and in three very different productions of Twelfth Night which led to his musical adaptation, Wild Thing. He has written and directed three films, (for which he also composed elements of the score), including the indie feature, Tiger Lily Road which won best screenplay at Cincinnati Film Festival and the Audience Award for best comedy at Woods Hole Film Festival. He has also composed music for PBS.