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8th Annual Festival of New Artists Bios

8th Annual Festival of New Artists Bios


DAVID HEIN (Book, Music and Lyrics) is an award-winning singer/songwriter who has toured across North America and released 4 CDs. He holds a BFA in Theatre from York University. He composed the music and lyrics for the Toronto Fringe hit, Death To Dating and is the author of two previously produced plays, June Days and The Tech Show. As assistant composer and music supervisor with Manic Moose Music, he worked for The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Workshop, and Disney. In 2009, based on his family’s true story, he and Irene Sankoff wrote and performed in My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, which won “Outstanding New Musical” and “Excellence in Book Writing” in the New York Musical Theatre Festival and was nominated for "Best Comedic Play" in the Canadian Comedy Awards and for a Weston New Musical Award. David also received a BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Musical, Best Male Lead and Best Music Direction. It has had ten productions across North America, and has now played to over 70,000 people.

IRENE SANKOFF (Book, Music and Lyrics) co-wrote, co-produced and performed in My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding for which she received a BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Musical and Best Featured Ensemble. She holds an MFA in Acting from the New School For Drama and a Creative Writing/Psychology BA from York University. Favorite roles include Mollie in The Mousetrap while it was the longest running show in Canada; Amy Sweeney in Zero Hour: The Last Hour of Flight 11, which was translated into four languages and is one of the Top 10 History Channel programs of all time; Constance in Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet; Denise in Problem Child; and all 12 characters in the one-woman show Moving at the Speed of Life. In 2011, Irene and David received the Bryden “Ones-to-Watch” award and a prestigious Canada Council for the Arts grant as well as two Ontario Arts Council grants to develop their new musical, Come From Away which is also being workshopped as part of the Canadian Musical Theatre Project, with a staged reading in February 2013 - also directed by Brian Hill.


DOUGLAS J. COHEN (Music and Lyrics) received the 2010 Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting and won two Richard Rodgers Awards for writing book, music, and lyrics for No Way to Treat a Lady (produced twice off-Broadway resulting in over 100 productions worldwide) and The Gig (Manhattan Theatre Club Stage II, Goodspeed, York Theatre Company concert, Sacramento Music Circus). Doug is the composer/lyricist of The Big Time (book by Douglas Carter Beane) which debuted at the NYMF Festival and plans are underway for a Broadway-bound production. Nominated for a 2005 Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Lyrics, Children's Letters to God), he penned co-book, music, and lyrics for The Opposite of Sex (Williamstown Theatre Festival) and received a Jonathan Larson Grant for composing Barnstormer , which has recently been optioned for New York by producer Lawrence Poster. Doug is the composer of Glimmerglass (NAMT Conference 2000, readings through the Village Theatre and Melting Pot, productions at Goodspeed at Chester, Spirit of Broadway – Best Production of 2008) and A Charles Dickens Christmas (produced by Theatreworks/USA and licensed through MTI). He also contributed original songs to Jackie Collins' Hollywood Lies and Boozy (Robert Moses), the latter produced by Les Freres Corbusier and directed by Tony nominee Alex Timbers, which enjoyed runs at both the Ohio Theatre and Culture Project. His latest musicals are Nine Wives with collaborator Dan Elish (which recently received readings in New York produced by Larry Hirschhorn starring Heidi Blickenstaff and Sarah Stiles) and Helen of Troy written with future West End lyricist/ playwright Zoe Samuel. His new play, Lovely Send Anywhere, has been developed at the Lark Play Development Center and received a reading in October 2012 starring Santino Fontana and Condola Rashad, helmed by Dan Knechtges, and produced by Paula Herold. Doug recently joined the faculty of the Neighborhood Playhouse where he teaches the 2nd year students in song interpretation. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ASCAP, and the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop.

DAN ELISH (Book, Lyrics and Author) wrote the book to the musical 13 which played at the Mark Taper Forum and won the 2007 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for best production; he was also nominated for best writing. 13 went on to play on Broadway at the Jacobs Theater in the fall and winter of 2008. Dan is also the author of nine novels, including The School for the Insanely Gifted (for kids), Nine Wives (for grown-up types), and Born Too Short, which won a 2004 International Reading Association Students’ Choice Award for young adult literature. Dan has also written music and lyrics for six musicals, scripts for TV (notably "Cyberchase" and "The Wonder Pets"), and has won scholarships and fellowships to The Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. Current projects include an original musical, Johnny Finkleman, Esq. and the book for a new musical conceived by Randy Redd with music and lyrics by Dan Mills. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and lives in New York with his wife and two children.

CHIP KLOSE (Director) is a New York-based Director & Choreographer. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA) and is a proud member of AEA and SDC. His work has been seen Off-Broadway, Regionally, and at the University level; highlights include the Drama Desk nominated productions of The Extraordinary Ordinary, and Fugitive Songs. He's recently been brought on to assist Tony-winner, Christopher Gattelli with the Broadway bound musical, In Transit.


EMMA LIVELY (Book, Music and Lyrics) is the co-creator of four original musicals: Princesses, Blue, Candy Land and Bunny’s Bakery (all with book, music and lyrics by Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie). Originally trained as a classical violist, Emma is the president of LivelyWorks, a production company, and also runs a custom bakery out of her kitchen in NYC. Her first book, The Prosperous Heart (co-written with Julia Cameron), was released by Tarcher/Penguin in 2012. 

TYLER BEATTIE (Book, Music and Lyrics) is the co-creator of four original musicals: Princesses, Blue, Candy Land and Bunny’s Bakery (all with book, music and lyrics by Emma Lively and Tyler Beattie). Additionally, Tyler's work as a playwright, composer and director has been seen in theaters and schools throughout the midwest. A passionate educator, Tyler has taught all over the country and currently lives in NYC where teaches through the education department of Carnegie Hall.

JANECE SHAFFER (Book) is a nationally produced, award-winning playwright. Her newest play, The Geller Girls, will receive its world premiere in 2014 at the Alliance Theatre under the direction of Artistic Director Susan V. Booth. This will mark her fifth world premiere production at the Alliance Theatre. Her Alliance credits include: Broke (debuted in 2011, winner of the 2012 Gene Gabriel More Best New Play Award and to be produced in Seattle in 2013), Managing Maxine (commissioned by the Alliance, winner of the 2008 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award and then later produced at the Asolo Repertory Theatre and Human Race Theatre), Bluish and He Looks Great in a Hat. Shaffer’s play Brownie Points (2010 Gene Gabriel Moore Best New Play Award) debuted at Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit under the direction of Jasmine Guy in 2010 and wasthen presented at Seattle’s Taproot Theater and Lamb’s Players Theatre in San Diego. Shaffer has developed work at: Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Theatre J; True Colors Theatre Company; Sacramento Theatre Company; Horizon Theatre; San Diego Repertory Theatre; and with New Rivers Dramatist. In 2010, Shaffer was invited to be the guest playwright for the Alliance Theatre’s Collision Project and was also a member of the Alliance’s inaugural 2007-2008 Atlanta Writer’s Lab. Shaffer resides in Atlanta with her husband and daughter.