2020 Writers Grove Bios
Listed alpabetically by project
AT THE RIVER I STAND
CARLTON BYRD (Book) Whether in television, film, theater, producing, writing or voice over acting, Carlton continues to cement himself as one of the most dynamic talents of his generation. Known for breathing humanity and dignity into often misunderstood characters, his television credits include ABC’s Castle, TNT’s Major Crimes, CBS’s Blue Bloods and NBC’s Law & Order. His vast theater credits include Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride (Ensemble Theatre Company), August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (Seattle Repertory Company/Arena Stage) and Dominique Morisseau's Sunset Baby (TheaterWorks Hartford). His writing credits include Val-en-tina (Executive Producer, Co-Writer), Slow (Co-writer, Actor), Close (Co-Writer, Actor), Train (Co-Writer, Actor), and A Walk in the Park (Co-Writer, Actor). As co-founder of BGB Productions, Carlton has made it his mission to tell stories that represent the true breadth of global diversity from a unique and youthful perspective. He executive produced and directed â€‹Meat Puppet: The Filmed Experience,â€‹ a streamed theatrical production aimed at raising money for the philanthropic group Unusual Suspects, which “mentors, educates, and enriches underserved youth through the creation of collaborative, original theatre”. In 2019, Byrd co-founded Open City Acting Studio in Los Angeles and serves as co-creative director. Open City is in service to the development of the actor in their journey to being competent industry professionals, fearless artists that are constantly in process, driven and curious in their pursuit of bringing the truth of the human condition to all their work. Byrd received his B.F.A. in Theatre from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where he was awarded the coveted Ron Howard Fellowship.ROWEN CASEY (Music & Lyrics) is a songwriter, composer, and professional musician. A multi-instrumentalist rigorously trained on the violin since the age of five, his wide resumeÌ spans from performing in concert halls under Leonard Slatkin to fiddling on country hits at the House of Blues. As a songwriter, this wide array of experience has shaped a diverse palette of musical styles. His work has been heard on stage and screen, most notably Off-Broadway at the Minetta Lane Theatre, the New York International Fringe Festival, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. After growing up in a small town, Rowen attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and Berklee College of Music - leaving him with rural roots and a trunk full of city baggage. He is an Anna Sosenko Trust Award recipient and former finalist in National Public Radio’s â€‹From the Top.
HENRY LIN-DAVID (Book & Lyrics) is a junior at Wesleyan University majoring in English and minoring in History. The Massachusetts native has maintained a cordial and platonic relationship with the theater. Highlights include playing violin and viola in various pit orchestras, directing a murder-mystery play during his senior year of high school, and taking on the role of Lumiere in his sixth grade production of Beauty of the Beast. Although Henry's previous work consists mainly of prose, since then he has succumbed to the allure of musical theater, and looks forward to the journey to come.ALEX TRIPP (Music) is a junior Music and Applied Data Analysis double major at Wesleyan University. Alex is from San Francisco (proper, mind you) which fostered his early love for gate bridges, golden or otherwise. His experience with musical theater consists of a brief and unheralded appearance in Cabaret in high school, as well as listening to much of the modern tenor repertoire as sung by his brother through their shared bedroom wall. He is very excited to meet real-life adults who do this for their job.
CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET
PAUL FUJIMOTO (Music & Lyrics) is a composer/lyricist, 4th-generation Japanese-American, born and raised in Seattle, now based in NYC. His songs have been recorded by Tony winners and nominees and have been showcased in many concert venues and student showcases around the world. His current project Corner of Bitter and Sweet, written with Lainie Sakakura, is being developed by the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. Paul also dabbles in jazz composition and is an award-winning trumpet player. Training: University of Washington, AMTP Johnny Mercer Project, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. www.paulfujimoto.bandcamp.comLAINIE SKUKARA (Book) is a New York-based, Japanese American (Nisei/Sansei) musical book writer, director, choreographer striving to have a voice for our Asian American community. Writing team Sakakura (book) and Fujimoto (music & lyrics) has been working together for five years including two-29 HR AEA New York readings of Corner of Bitter and Sweet (musical adaptation of Jamie Ford’s New York Times Best-Seller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), most recently co-produced by 5th Avenue Theatre, Ann Ramsey-Jenkins, Abingdon Theatre Company and directed by Ms. Sakakura. Wrote and co-conceived BCEFA’s Red Bucket Follies Opening Number celebrating Asian Americans on Broadway and Flower Drum Song’s 60th Anniversary at New Amsterdam Theater. Directed works at Cherry Lane Theatre, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Neighborhood Playhouse, Summer Stage, Theatre 71. Wrote and directed three cabarets for Alvin Ing at The Triad and Don’t Tell Mama. Conceived and produced over 25 multi-cultural performance events for NYC public schools. Recipient of the 2015 Joe A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography and 2002 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Choreography. Performed in the original Broadway companies of Chita Rivera The Dancer’s Life, Flower Drum Song (David Henry Hwang Revival), Fosse, The King And I (1996 & 2015 Revivals), The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. Above all, mother of Avelina and Isabela Sanchez.
THE ELEMENTARY SPACETIME SHOW
CÉSAR ALVAREZ (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a New York-based composer, lyricist, playwright, and performance maker. César has written five full-length musicals: FUTURITY (Soho Rep/Ars Nova, A.R.T, Walker Art Center, Mass MoCA); The Elementary Spacetime Show (co-book with Emily Orling. New York Stage and Film, Polyphone, FringeArts/UArts, NYU/Playwrights Horizons Theater School) The Universe is a Small Hat, a multi-player participatory musical (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, The Civilians R&D Group, Babycastles, Sarah Lawrence College. Upcoming: Princeton University); NOISE (a commission of The Public Theater and NYU/Playwrights Horizons Theater School); and The Potluck. César's musical FUTURITY received the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical and four other Lortel Nominations. César also composed the music for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon (Soho Rep, TFANA. Drama Desk Nomination) and The Foundry Theater's Good Person of Szechwan (LaMaMa, The Public Theater. Drama Desk Nomination). They are a 2018-20 Princeton Arts Fellow and a recipient of The Jonathan Larson Award. www.musicisfreenow.orgEMILY ORLING (Book) is a visual artist, designer, mother and poet with a background in painting, sculpture and installation. Emily received Lortel and Drama Desk nominations for her set design of FUTURITY at Soho Rep/Ars Nova. Emily has also worked as dramaturg and book writer on several musicals in collaboration with César Alvarez. Emily has worked extensively as a designer for the LA-Based dance company Contra-Tiempo. Emily's designs for theater and contemporary dance have been seen at A.R.T, The Arsht Center, St. Marks Church, CounterPulse, Dance Place, Walker Art Center, MASS MoCA, Sarah Lawrence College, Wesleyan College, Playwrights Downtown, UCLA and many others. Solo Exhibitions: Lo River Arts Gallery, 473 Broadway Gallery, Dactyl Gallery. Group Exhibitions: Cal State Fullerton, Corridor Gallery.
SARA COOPER (Book & Lyrics) is a playwright-lyricist. Highlights of works: The Memory Show, Benefit Reading for the Alzheimer’s Association, The Mercury Theater Chicago (2019), United Kingdom Premiere, New Bard Productions in London (2016), Transport Group at The Duke on 42nd Street (2013), Asian Premiere, Water Gate Media in Seoul (2012-2013), Barrington Stage Company (2010), NAMT (2010); Elevator Heart, World Premiere, THML Theatre Company in association with Access Theater (2019), University of San Francisco Performing Arts and Social Justice Program (2018), Tisch New Musicals (2016); Fault Lines, World Premiere at The Kennedy Center (2018), workshop, Washington National Opera (2017); HoT, concert, Dixon Place (2019); Mechanical, reading, The Producers Club (2018), concert, Dixon Place (2017); Things I Left On Long Island, musical: concert, Dixon Place (2016), play: FringeNYC (2014), Time Out New York Critics’ Pick (2014); Loving Leo, Weston Playhouse (2013); Windows, American Opera Projects (2013). Awards and Honors: Queens Council on the Arts grant (2018); 92Y Musical Theatre Lab Collective (2017-2018); American Opera Initiative Fellowship, Washington National Opera (2017); Queens Council on the Arts grant (2016); New York State Council on the Arts Individual Theatre Artist Commission (2015); Jonathan Larson Grant, American Theatre Wing (2014); New York Fringe Festival Overall Excellence Award in Playwriting (2014); National Endowment for the Arts and National Alliance for Musical Theatre National Fund for The Memory Show (2013); Weston Playhouse New Musical Award for Loving Leo (2012); American Opera Projects Fellowship (2011-2012). As an educator, Sara’s favorite teaching credits include New York University, Purchase College, Montclair State University, CUNY Guttman Community College, and Lincoln Center. Sara is a volunteer editor for Maestra. MFA Musical Theatre Writing and BFA Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts. Dramatists Guild, ASCAP. http://saracooper.weebly.comLYNNE SHANKEL (Music) is best known as a music supervisor, arranger and orchestrator. She was music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator for Allegiance on Broadway and was the first woman to solely orchestrate a new musical on Broadway. She has written orchestrations and arrangements for everyone from Chita Rivera, the New York Pops and Raul Esparza to Tony Award winner/Bon Jovi member David Bryan and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. As a composer, Lynne collaborated with lyricist Jon Hartmere to provide new songs for bare: The Musical in 2012. Her composition has also been featured in the original musical MAYA (commissioned by Teach For India) and in The Old Globe’s 2016 production of Red Velvet. In 2017, Lynne released her critically acclaimed album Bare Naked on Yellow Sound Label. www.Lynneshankel.com
KELLY V. KELLY
SARA FARB (Book) Select performance credits: Currently in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; five years at the Stratford Festival of Canada (Romeo and Juliet, Anne Frank, A Little Night Music, King Lear, and many others); Canadian Premiere of The Humans (Brigid); Fun Home (Medium Alison -- Dora Award nomination, outstanding performance). Select writing credits: R-E-B-E-C-C-A for Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, which she also performed; bookwriter for Bremen Rock City (co-written by JMF alumni Colleen Dauncey and Akiva Romer-Segal); bookwriter for He Is Coming, which she co-write with Britta Johnson, and which earned them a Dora Award nomination for outstanding new musical.
BRITTA JOHNSON (Music & Lyrics) is a writer, composer and lyricist based in Toronto. She made her American debut when her original musical, Life After, opened at the Old Globe in San Diego this past Spring following an extended, award-winning run at Canadian Stage in Toronto. Her other writing credits include: with her sister Anika Johnson: Dr. Silver: A Celebration of Life, Brantwood, Jacob Two-Two, Trap Door; with Sara Farb: Kelly v. Kelly, Reframed; with Katherine Cullen: Stupidhead!. She was the librettist for choreographer Robert Binet’s adaptation of The Kreutzer Sonata with Ballet Moscow. She is the inaugural Crescendo Artist with The Musical Stage Company in Toronto, which includes a commitment to produce three of her shows in three years.
THE LAST MEDICINE SHOW
KEVIN ARMENTO (Book) Kevin’s plays include Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Drama Desk nomination, Stage Edinburgh Award), Balls (Drama Desk nomination, Houston Theater Award), Good Men Wanted (New York Stage and Film), Devil with the Blue Dress (Bunker Theatre London, Stage Debut nomination), Companion Piece (Pleasance Theatre, London), and Playing Hot (Pipeline Theatre, Off-Broadway Alliance Award nomination). He's an alum of Ars Nova's Play Group and Makers Lab, Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, and artist in residence at the Drama League, and is currently working on commissions from Ars Nova and MTC. His work in television has been developed with CBS Studios and eOne, His short film sometimes i think about dying premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. His first feature is in development with XYZ Films.SAMMY MILLER (Music & Lyrics) A native of Los Angeles, Grammy® nominated drummer Sammy has become known for his relentless focus on making music that feels good as a drummer, singer and composer. Upon completing his Master’s at The Juilliard School, Sammy formed his ensemble, The Congregation. As a band, they share the power of community through their music—joyful jazz. They have brought their “raucous” and at times “preposterous” sound all over the world including The Newport Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, and The White House. Sammy has been commissioned with Kevin Armento by Ars Nova to write The Last Medicine Show.
THE LITTLE BIG THINGS
NICK BUTCHER (Music & Lyrics) is a composer/lyricist and actor. After an extensive performing career in the West End, Nick is becoming one of the most exciting young contemporary theatre composers in the UK. Currently, Nick is under commission by two major UK producers to adapt a book and subsequent film for the stage as well as discussions to write for an upcoming series with Disney. Nick’s YouTube channel featuring his original songs propelled him into the industry and led to his signing with top creative agents Curtis Brown. Nick sold out his first solo show, Live at Zedel’s, in April 2019. Previously, Nick was a finalist in the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Competition two years running at the Garrick Theatre and Savoy Theatre; gained support from Cameron Mackintosh Foundation and Arts Council England; shadowed composer George Stiles on numerous projects; and successfully presented his first professional workshop presentation of Guy Fakwes at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Nick has worked as an actor on new musicals in the West End including Lend Me a Tenor, Half a Sixpence and School of Rock as well as major productions at Chichester Festival Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, Opera North and Barbican Theatre with directors including Olivier Award winning Timothy Sheader, Laurence Connor, Daniel Evans, Rachel Kavanaugh and Jo Davies. Nick has worked on four new major productions with Sir Cameron Mackintosh.
TOM LING (Lyrics) is a writer and lyricist who trained at University of Birmingham and continued studying musical theatre at the Guildford School of Acting. Tom has co-written numerous songs with composer Nick Butcher which have featured in his successful YouTube channel, including their musical short film, Loved Before. His other work includes: Techies, a musical comedy which achieved a sold-out run with “audiences laughing loudly” (British Theatre Guide) at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe and remained in the Broadway Baby Top Ten New Musicals for the duration of the festival; The Cereal Cafe, a new musical about the 2015 Shoreditch gentrification riots - which was professionally workshopped at The Other Palace in 2018 and gained significant media coverage; Grandma Claus, sold out family musical, UK tour; Broken Lenses- a new song cycle and co-writing credits on Nick Butcher, Live at Zedels. Tom has also lectured on musical theatre writing to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s YCP.
JOE WHITE (Book) is an award-winning writer from Birmingham, who has developed work with the Old Vic, Lyric Hammersmith, Bush, Hampstead, Birmingham REP and BBC Radio 3. In 2014, he was selected for the BBC Writersroom 10 and won the Channel 4 Playwriting Award (formerly Pearson Award). In 2015, he was the Writer in Residence of Pentabus Theatre Company, and in 2017, he was selected for the Orange Tree Writers Collective and the Old Vic 12. His debut play Mayfly premiered at the Orange Tree Theatre in Spring 2018, and led to nominations for Best New Writer at the Stage Debut Awards and Most Promising New Playwright at the OffWestEnd Awards, which he won. Mayfly is published by Nick Hern Books. In 2019, Joe was selected for the BBC TV Drama Writers Programme, through which he is developing a pilot with STV. He is currently under commission with Sheffield Crucible, Audible and Carnival Films. On a personal level, Joe loves his sport and is very much one of the lads. His collaborative nature and understanding of the musical form makes Joe an authentic and exciting playwright to adapt Henry’s story for the stage.
THE MOON AND THE SEA
CREIGHTON IRONS (Music & Lyrics) first started making songs with his brothers in the rambling woods north of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina as a Morehead Scholar, where he fell in love with writing musicals. Creighton went on to earn an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program ('08). His thesis from NYU, Factory Girls, written with collaborator Sean Mahoney, travelled to Goodspeed Musicals as a part of their Festival of New Musicals. Subsequently, the show was selected for the National Alliance for Musical Theater's Festival of New Musicals and has been workshopped at PACE University, Boston Conservatory, the American Conservatory Theater, the Musical Theater Factory, and 11th Hour Company. His shows have enjoyed productions in North Carolina, Boston, California, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and New York. In addition, his songs have been performed in cabarets across the country (Barrington Stage, selected by William Finn; Goodspeed Musicals; Baldwin-Wallace and Emerson College), in New York City (54 Below, ArsNova, Birdland Jazz, Joe's Pub, The Canal Room, Lincoln Center and others), and the UK (The Breakaway Project in Dublin, The Willow Globe in Wales). Creighton also works as a musical director (Dreamland, Working, Kudzu, The People v. Mona, Diamond Studs) and teaching artist (with the Roundabout Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, Hunts Point Society for Children, the Shakespeare Society, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Playmakers Rep, and others). He has been an artist-in-residence at Lesley College, A.C.T., Boston Conservatory, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. In addition, he has led songwriting and other performing arts workshops with Bank Street, Emerson College, Hartford Stage, Metro Nashville City Schools, Playmakers Repertory Theater, Woods Summer Wonders, Manhattan Shakespeare Society, and others.DOUGLAS LYONS (Book) is an actor, writer, director, composer and playwright. Broadway: Beautiful (Original Cast) and The Book of Mormon. Tours: Rent, Dreamgirls and The Book of Mormon First National Tour. As a writer: Polkadots (Off-Broadway Alliance Winner Best Family Show, Atlantic Theater Company) and Five Points (MN Theatre Award Nominee for Exceptional New Work, Theatre Latte Da), Beau (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Pete(Her)Pan (Pace New Musicals). Commissions: '64 (The 5th Ave). With composer Ethan Pakchar his lyrics have played NAMT, Joe's Pub, Roundabout Theatre Company, Lincoln Center, Bucks County Playhouse, The Old Globe, Goodspeed Musicals, Seattle Rep, and others. He's currently in residence at The Directors Company with Chicken & Biscuits. @DouglasSings
JOEL ESHER (Music & Lyrics) Off-Broadway: PharmaBro (OBA nomination, Best Musical 2017-2018). Folk Wandering (Pipeline/ARTNY). NYC: Joey and Ron (Players Theater), Bagels from Benny (92Y), Sammy Spider (92Y), Superhots! (Soundbites). Joel is the Music Supervisor of the Story Pirates, where he has penned numerous songs for their globally-ranked Kids and Family podcast (1 million+ downloads/month). Graduate of the Musical Theater program at Northwestern University (Joseph L. Siegel scholarship recipient).
MONTSERRAT OLMOS LOZANO (Book) Indigenous Rights Activist, Totonac Medicine Woman, Traditional Birth Worker, and Mental Health Counselor at Mixteca Organization in Brooklyn, New York. Montse began her decolonizing work as a ceremonial dancer in the Nahua/Mexikah tradition of her birthplace, Mexico City. As a musician and visual artist, she’s presented work at New York Botanical Garden, University of Houston, El Museo del Barrio, Columbia University, and New York Hall of Science.
GREGORY VAN ACKER (Book & Lyrics) Sugar Skull: A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure (Mexico Beyond Mariachi, licensed by Columbia Artists and currently on a 30-city cross country tour!), The Book of You (Durango Arts Center), Thurgood Grows Up (Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling). Material from Noplace was selected for Reclaiming Our Time: Songs from MTF's POC Roundtable at Joe's Pub, and Musical Theatre Factory’s 4x15: Round 31 performance series.
PARIS BY NIGHT
CURT COLUMBUS (Book & Lyrics) became Trinity Repertory Company’s fifth artistic director in January 2006. He is also the artistic director of the Brown/Trinity MFA programs in Acting and Directing. His directing credits for Trinity include Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, Middletown, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Merchant of Venice, His Girl Friday, Camelot, Cabaret, Blithe Spirit, A Christmas Carol, The Cherry Orchard and the world premieres of The Completely Fictional, Utterly True, Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allen Poe and Social Creatures. Trinity has been home to the world premieres of three of his plays, Paris by Night, The Dreams of Antigone, and Sparrow Grass. Trinity has also produced his translations of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Ivanov, as well as Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear and Lope de Vega’s Like Sheep to Water (Fuente Ovejuna). Curt’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (with Marilyn Campbell) has won awards and accolades at theaters around the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. His translation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, developed at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia, is now published by Dramatists Play Service, as is his play Sparrow Grass, and his translations of Chekhov’s other major plays, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and Ivanov. Curt lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his husband Nate Watson.
ANDRE PLUESS (Music) Broadway: 33 Variations, I Am My Own Wife, Metamorphoses. Regional: Argonautika/Arabian Nights (Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company); After the Quake (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse); Ghostwritten (Goodman Theatre); Cymbeline (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Endgame (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Marcus (American Conservatory Theater); Lady Windemere’s Fan (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Passion Play Trilogy, Legacy of Light (Arena Stage); The Clean House (Yale Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center, with director Bill Rauch); A Moon for the Misbegotten (McCarter Theatre); Macbeth, Much Ado about Nothing (California Shakespeare Festival). Other credits: Associate artist with Lookingglass Theatre Company and California Shakespeare Festival. Awards: Multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards and Citations, Ovation Award, Drama Critics Circle Award, Barrymore Award, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations for composition and sound design.AMY WARREN (Music) Lincoln Center Theater: Act One. Broadway: August: Osage County. Off- Broadway: Melancholy Play (13P), Schlemiel the First (TFANA), Adding Machine: A Musical (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lortel nominations./Minetta Lane), When the Messenger Is Hot (59E59), Miss B (NY Fringe). Regional: Steppenwolf, Goodman, Northlight Theatre, Piven Theatre, Theater Oobleck, Next Theatre, About Face Theatre, Curious Theatre Branch, Theatre for the Age of Gold, Touchstone Theatre, Second City, Cactus Theater. Film: Untitled Noah Baumbach, Gravity (Explorer Captain). TV: The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order.
TODD ROBBINS (Book) is an award-winning performer and creative artist that has worked in many areas of popular entertainment and the performing arts during a career that has lasted more than thirty years. Todd was recently seen hosting his TV series True Nightmares for the Investigation Discovery Channel. Other recent appearances include The Discovery Channel’s Oddities and Lost Magic for the History Channel. Todd has also been a consultant on numerous TV shows and movies, including several episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Criss Angel’s Mind Freak on A&E and Road Trick on the Travel Channel. Classically trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, he has put his performing abilities to good use in the two Drama Desk-nominated theater pieces that he created for off-Broadway, Carnival Knowledge and Play Dead, co-created by Teller (of Penn & Teller). Todd is an advisor to the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT, the FringeNYC Festival and the annual TEDxBroadway event in NYC. Todd’s podcast Abnormalcy recently debuted on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. This podcast features Todd telling true twisted stories of murder and mayhem. For more about this go to abnormalcypodcast.com. For more information about Todd, view the documentary on him, American Carny: Tales of the American Sideshow, and go to his website: www.toddrobbins.com.
THE PRANCING ELITES
MIRANDA COOPER (Music & Lyrics) is an English singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer and television presenter. Miranda Cooper has worked in the music industry since 1996 when she gained her first recording contract. In 1997, Cooper met Brian Higgins, the founder of the songwriting and production team Xenomania. Miranda signed a deal with London Records under the alias Moonbaby, releasing the single "Here We Go" to little success, although it was used as the theme tune to the cartoon series Totally Spies! with some lyrics adjusted. Cooper started songwriting with Higgins, eventually finding commercial success and critical acclaim with their productions for Girls Aloud and Sugababes. Cooper has written for successful artists such as Alesha Dixon, Gabriella Cilmi and Kylie Minogue. Cooper's songs have spent more years on the English chart than any other female songwriter in history, and she has penned four number one hits – "Round Round" and "Hole in the Head" by the Sugababes and "Sound of the Underground" and "The Promise" by Girls Aloud. In 2018, Miranda wrote music and lyrics for the musical adaptation of Son of Rambow with previous writing partner Nick Coler and writer Richard Marsh. Cooper and Coler also wrote the music and lyrics for the musical adaptation of David Walliams’ book Billionaire Boy.
MICHAEL R. JACKSON (Book) Michael’s A Strange Loop (which had its 2019 world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in co-production with Page 73 Productions) was called "a full-on laparoscopy of the heart, soul, and loins" and a "gutsy, jubilantly anguished musical with infectious melodies" by Ben Brantley for The New York Times, and "exhilarating and wickedly funny" by Sara Holdren for New York. In The New Yorker, Vinsom Cunningham wrote, "To watch this show is to enter, by some urgent, bawdy magic, an ecstatic and infinitely more colorful version of the famous surreal lithograph by M. C. Escher: the hand that lifts from the page, becoming almost real, then draws another hand, which returns the favor." As a songwriter, Jackson has seen his work performed everywhere from Joe’s Pub to NAMT. He wrote lyrics and co-wrote book for the musical adaptation of the 2007 horror film Teeth with composer and co-bookwriter Anna K. Jacobs. He wrote book, music, and lyrics for the musicals White Girl In Danger as well as for A Strange Loop. Awards and associations include: a New Professional Theatre Festival Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a Whiting Award, the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting and a Dramatist Guild Fellowship. He has commissions from Grove Entertainment & Barbara Whitman Productions and LCT3. Jackson holds a BFA and MFA in playwriting and Musical Theatre Writing from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
JASON PEBWORTH (Music & Lyrics) As part of the Grammy-nominated songwriting and production team The Invisible Men, Pebworth has co-penned a number of transatlantic hits for artists including Iggy Azalea, Jessie J and Britney Spears. Prior to forming the trio in 2008 with Jon Shave, he and George Astasio were members of the U.S. band Orson. Song credits include: “No Can Do,” “Do It Like The Dude,” “Who’s Laughing Now,” “LazerLight,” “Hot Right Now,” “The Power,” “The Feeling,” “Dibby Dibby Sound,” “Can’t Say No,” “Vegas Girl,” “Animal,” “Work,” and “Fancy,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks and by the end of 2014 had sold nearly 4 million digital downloads in the U.S., was the seventh top single of 2014 worldwide with 9.1 million global sales and was nominated Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
JON SHAVE (Music & Lyrics) As part of the Grammy-nominated songwriting and production team The Invisible Men, Shave has co-penned a number of transatlantic hits for artists including Iggy Azalea, Jessie J and Britney Spears. Prior to forming the trio in 2008 with Jason Pebworth and George Astasio, both former members of the U.S. band Orson, Shave had worked out of the hugely-successful U.K.-based songwriting/production house Xenomania where he wrote for the likes of chart-topping British female pop group Girls Aloud. Song credits include: “No Can Do,” “Do It Like The Dude,” “Who’s Laughing Now,” “LazerLight,” “Hot Right Now,” “The Power,” “The Feeling,” “Dibby Dibby Sound,” “Can’t Say No,” “Vegas Girl,” “Animal,” “Work,” and “Fancy,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks and by the end of 2014 had sold nearly 4 million digital downloads in the U.S., was the seventh top single of 2014 worldwide with 9.1 million global sales and was nominated Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
KATYA STANISLAVSKAYA (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a musical theatre composer, lyricist, librettist, musical director, and educator. Her original works include the full-length musicals Resident Alien (Weston New Musical Award, Astoria Performing Arts Center) and Going South (Dixon Place, Gallery Players, Musical Theatre Factory), theatrical song cycle Women On Love, and numerous short musicals and cabaret songs. Her works have been developed at the BMI Lehman-Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Dramatist Guild Fellowship, New Dramatists, New Georges, Weston Playhouse, Astoria Performing Arts Center, New York Theatre Barn, and Western Carolina University. Her songs have been performed at Joe’s Pub, Symphony Space Feinstein’s/54 Below, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, Ars Nova, Barrington Stage, Goodspeed Musicals, York Theatre, and Prospect Theatre by Broadway perfomers including Taylor Trensch, Alex Brightman, Lauren Marcus, Wes Taylor, Grace McLean, Karen Ziemba, Malcolm Gets, Alyse Alan Louis, Anika Larsen, Amy Justman, and Theresa McCarthy. Honors include the Jerry Harrington Award (BMI), MacDowell Colony Residency, and Nautilus/New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio. Katya is an active music director musical director, conductor, and/or pianist at New York and regional theaters. She has a Master of Music degree in Music from Temple University, an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU, and is Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at SUNY - New Paltz.
SEAN'S STORY PART TWO | THE RECKONING
KHIYON HURSEY (Book, Music & Lyrics) is a writer and composer based in Los Angeles and New York. A 2014 graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Songwriting, he recently finished a stint as a staff writer for Netflix’s romantic musical drama Soundtrack. He is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Irving Burgie Scholarship, Bart Howard Songwriting Scholarship, a 2016 NAMT Writers Grant, a 2016 - 2017 Dramatists Guild Musical Theater Fellow, 2017 Space on Ryder Farm Residency, 2018 Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project residency, 2019 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz, and the 2019 Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat.
JAKE BERNSTEIN (Book) is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author. He was a senior reporter on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team, which broke the Panama Papers story. In 2017, the project won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. Bernstein was an executive producer on the The Laundromat, a Netflix film based on his book, Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers, Illicit Money Networks, and the Global Elite (Henry Holt, 2017). He earned his first Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for National Reporting, for coverage of the financial crisis. Bernstein has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Guardian, ProPublica, and Vice, and has appeared on the BBC, NBC, CNN, PBS, and NPR. He was the editor of The Texas Observer and is the coauthor of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency (Random House, 2006).
DAVID BUSKIN (Book, Music & Lyrics) has been writing, recording and performing his music since 1970. He’s made about fifteen albums, most as half of the duo Buskin & Batteau or one-third of the notorious “geezer band” Modern Man. His songs and jingles have been recorded by many great artists; a sample: Judy Collins; Peter, Paul & Mary; Johnny Mathis; Astrud Gilberto; Tom Rush; Dixie Carter; Roberta Flack; Mel Tormé; Take 6; Phoebe Snow, Richie Havens and Arlo Guthrie. He is a New York Nightlife Award, Bistro Award and Clio Award winner. Earlier this year he was given the ASCAP Jamie deRoy Award for excellence in songwriting. He’s organized or participated in numerous concerts for organizations like The Hole In The Wall Camp, Stand For The Troops and WHY/Hunger. For the last seven years he was a principal contributor to the late Isaiah Sheffer’s Thalia Follies, a thrice-yearly political cabaret in NYC. He has written special material for, among others, Bette Midler, Paul Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Whoopi Goldberg. He is particularly proud of his recent acting debut as The Narrator, The Peddler and The Donkey in the York Theater’s revival of Sheldon Harnick’s Dragons. “Sheldon was speechless at my performance,” he says proudly. “In fact, he hasn’t spoken to me since.”
JAKE HOLMES (Book, Music & Lyrics) is best known as a lyricist and songwriter. His music has been recorded and performed by such artists as Lena Horn, Harry Belafonte, Frank Sinatra, The Four Seasons and Led Zeppelin. In the early eighties, Harry Belafonte sent Jake to Johannesburg to work with South African musicians on songs for Harry’s album Paradise in Gazankulu. It was there Jake fell in love with world music. It has been an obsession ever since. Jake has recorded five albums of his own and recently completed his sixth solo effort: Dangerous Times. He has played to concert audiences throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. His musical Sidewalking was produced at the Manhattan Theater Club and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination. Jake ‘s song “Monsters Under My Bed” and 10 minute musical Pigmailman can be found in the musical Story Time with Mr. Buttermen (Fables for Adults Living in a Modern World) which premiered at La MaMa E.T.C. and has had runs at Center Stage, NY, and Fringe NYC. Jake is internationally recognized for his impact on the world of advertising. He is the only advertising writer to be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame for his music for commercials. His credits include “Be All That You Can be” (US Army) “I’m A Pepper” (Dr. Pepper) “The UnCola” (7-Up), “Come See The Softer Side Of Sears” campaign, the Clio Award-winning “Little Old Ladies” for Lipton Tea and the “Less Is More” campaign for Charmin Tissues. Jake's passion for the spoken word recently led him to the Nuyorican Poet's Café where he has, on occasion, won the coveted ten dollar bill first prize.
VILLAGE OF VALE
JOHN MCGREW (Music & Lyrics) is a composer, storyteller, singer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and producer based in Los Angeles, CA. The New York Times called McGrew's music for Jack Ferver’s dance performance piece Death Is Certain both "ominous" and "delicate." In 2009, McGrew was invited to create and perform a piece for DanSpace Project's Food For Thought, a night honoring the year's most influential dance artists. In 2013, McGrew composed the theme music for the TED Talk conference, TED Talk: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered. (with Graham Fisk, Oliver Jeffers, and Mac Premo). In 2014, McGrew was nominated as a Fellow in the Academy for Teachers for his work at schools in the New York Metro area. McGrew performs across the country with his rock group Apollo Run, whose "talent for quickly jelling melodies" was recognized by NPR's Song of the Day, HuffingtonPost, Time Out NY, The LAist, Baeble Music, and Future Sounds. www.johnmcgrewmusic.com
JOSEPH VARCA (Book & Lyrics) is an actor, writer, and filmmaker based in New York. As an actor, recent work in theater includes Broadway’s Network directed by Ivo van Hove and Off-Broadway’s Pentecost and Monster (PTP, Atlantic Stage 2); LoveSick or Things That Don’t Happen (Project Y, 59E59th); Macrune’s Guevara (St. Clements). Other: NY premieres of Cut by Crystal Skillman, Song For a Future Generation by Joe Tracz; Poor Jesse by Emily Feldman (Sam French OOB Festival); and Lucky Girl (McCarter Theater Center). Film/TV: American Genius (NatGeo) Bastards of Young, Chilling Visions (Chiller TV), Bristel Goodman (Palm Springs International Film Festival) and the feature film Lapsis, which he also produced. His work as a director in theater has premiered at the NYC Fringe Festival (Amerika – Best Ensemble Award and I Was Tom Cruise – Outstanding Play Award) and work in film at the TriBeCa Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival. He is a graduate of Middlebury College.
WEST SIDE COWBOYS
THE LOBBYISTS (Book, Music & Lyrics) Tommy Crawford, Eloise Eonnet, Alex Grubbs, Will Turner, Tony Aidan Vo and Douglas Waterbury-Tieman are a band and theater collective that creates plays and concerts that explore the American mythos driven by a rockin’ folk Americana beat. They formed in 2012, and take their name from the lobby of The Flea Theater, where the group first started playing and writing music together. Drawing on folk, roots, and a host of other influences, the band has been noted for their lush harmonies, "marvelous" songwriting (The New York Times), and "impressive musicianship" (Entertainment Weekly). The New Yorker calls their music "terrific," and The Village Voice lauds them as “undeniably talented.” Their music for SeaWife, a haunted tale of the American whaling trade created with playwright Seth Moore and director Liz Carlson, was nominated for a 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Musical alongside Steve Martin, Sara Bareilles, Michael John LaChiusa and Andrew Lloyd Webber. They have played some of New York's favorite concert venues, including Joe's Pub, Rockwood Music Hall, 54 Below, Pete's Candy Store, Ars Nova, Mercury Lounge, and more. Their music has been workshopped and developed with NY Stage & Film, Cape Cod Theater Project, Ars Nova, and Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat. SeaWife was originally produced Off-Broadway by Naked Angels in partnership with the South Street Seaport, and subsequently premiered regionally at Nantucket’s White Heron Theater. They have released one full length and three short albums of original music. Learn more about the band, their music, and projects at www.wearethelobbyists.com.
ELOÏSE EONNET is an actress and musician from France, now based in NYC. As an actor, credits include new plays by Sean Graney, Amy Freed, Thomas Bradshaw, and Willie Orbison and The Lobbyists/Seth Moore. She has worked with Naked Angles, Ensemble Studio Theater/Youngblood, The Flea Theater, Exit, Pursued by a Bear, Amios, Winkel&Balktic and Williamstown Theater Festival, among others. Feature film credits: Madeline, Passion of Mind, L’acqua..il Fuoco and According to Her. Eloïse sings, stomps, and creates with The Lobbyists (Drama Desk Award Nomination), and earned a BA in Psychology from Barnard College. For more information, visit www.eloiseeonnet.com
ALEX GRUBBS is a member of acclaimed New York folk band The Lobbyists who were nominated for a 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music for SeaWife, produced by Naked Angels. Other credits include Spill and Kentucky (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Utility (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), SeaWife (Naked Angels), Mary Kate Olsen is in Love, These Seven Sicknesses (The Flea Theater). Regional: Miss Keller Has No Second Book (Gulfshore Playhouse), SeaWife (White Heron), The 39 Steps, Barefoot in the Park (Heritage Theater Festival), lifetime member of Ensemble Studio Theater, NYC. M.F.A in Acting UVa. www.alexgrubbs.com
DOUGLAS WATERBURY-TIEMAN is an actor, musician and writer from Lexington, KY. BM in Musical Theatre: Belmont University. Off Broadway: The Robber Bridegroom, Soot and Spit. Regional; SeaWife, Once. He recently played fiddle aboard The Disney Magic as well as for Clint Black’s Looking For Christmas at The Old Globe. Proud member of The Lobbyists and The Playbillies, he is also the creator of Johnny & the Devil’s Box, recently seen in cabaret at Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals.