Nancy Bannon has written/directed five short films. Original feature screenplays have been recognized by festivals, contests, labs including: Nicholl Fellowship (quarterfinalist 2018, 2017), Sundance Screenwriters & Episodic Labs (second round qualifier multiple years), NYWIFT development lab (fs2p), Slamdance Film Festival (grand prize finalist), more. Her short screenplay, Blood was published in The Southampton Review. Original theater work (she conceived, wrote, directed) includes: Cornfield, Puncture, The Pod Project (immersive events, NYC). As movement director: Romeo and Juliet (w/ Orlando Bloom) on Broadway, more. Off-Broadway includes: Occupied Territories, a play (nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards) which she co-wrote and plays a leading role. Nancy is the recipient of three Princess Grace Awards, a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award, multiple prizes and scholarships and is a graduate of The Juilliard School. Faculty: SUNY Purchase, Rutgers University, American University and The Studio Acting Conservatory. Nancy was a professional dancer for over a decade. nancybannon.com
Tommy Crawford is an actor, singer, musician, and songwriter/composer. Recent acting: Feste in Twelfth Night (Two River Theater), Paul McCartney in Only Yesterday (59e59, Northern Stage), Million Dollar Quartet (Weston Playhouse), One Man Two Guvnors (Florida Studio Theater), Veil’d (WP Theater), Heresy (The Flea), Metro Cards (Youngblood/EST), SeaWife (White Heron Theater; Naked Angels/South Street Seaport). Recent composing/lyrics: SeaWife (Drama Desk Nom, Outstanding Music in a Musical, with The Lobbyists), Cry Eden (workshop production at Access Black Box), The Burial at Thebes (UCSD MFA/La Jolla Playhouse), From Cold Lake (The PIT). As arranger/music director: One Man Two Guvnors (Chautauqua), The Tempest (Saratoga Shakespeare), The Grapes of Wrath (Ubuntu / UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse), The Seagull (Case Western / Cleveland Play House). Music director, co-founder of The Lobbyists; lifetime member artist of Ensemble Studio. Love to S, M, D. BA: Yale. www.tommycrawford.com
Shairi Engle (she/her) is a playwright based out of San Diego. She’s a founding member of the Veteran’s Playwriting Workshop at La Jolla Playhouse and a writing and performance coach for So Say We All, a literary non-profit helping people tell their true stories. Tony Kushner selected Shairi as the 2019 Arts in the Armed Forces Bridge Award recipient. Most recently, Shairi was commissioned by The Old Globe in collaboration with Diversionary Theatre to write short plays for San Diego’s Virtual 2020 Pride Festival. Having discovered her own voice through the arts, Shairi’s writing is driven by her deep personal understanding that storytelling can save lives.
Tampons, Dead Dogs, and Other Disposable Things is the story of Jen, a nervous woman and mother with a deep sense of humor and deep wounds. After years of therapy that failed to help Jen move on from trauma, she sets off on a backpacking trip in the mountains to give her the space and quiet she needs to silence her demons. But Joe, Jen's travel companion with whom she shares a loaded history, keeps getting in the way, and as their path moves further and further away from safety, we learn that everything is not what it seems. Shairi’s play is a funny, searing, shocking story about the journey to self-discovery and strength in the wake of sexual violence -- presented in a small, little package. The package in this case being a tampon.
Morgan Green (she/her) is a director of theater, film, and radio plays. She is currently a Co-Artistic Director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and a co-founder of New Saloon. Morgan received the 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Director for her work on New Saloon’s MINOR CHARACTER: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time, which was most recently seen at the Public Theater’s 2019 Under the Radar festival. A selection of recent work includes: The Danube by María Irene Fornés (Harvard University), The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (Marin Theatre Company), Cute Activist by Milo Cramer (The Bushwick Starr), and The Music Man by Meredith Wilson (The Sharon Playhouse). Morgan is a New Georges Affiliated Artist, former artist in residence at Bric, Mabou Mines, and Baryshnikov Arts Center, an alumna of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and a proud member of SDC. MorganClaireGreen.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, Kentucky (Ensemble Studio Theatre) Utility (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre) SeaWife (Naked Angels) Mary Kate Olsen is in Love, a cautionary tail, 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.
Music Director - The Migration LP
Khiyon Hursey (he/him) is a writer and composer based in Los Angeles and New York. He was a staff writer for Netflix’s romantic musical drama, Soundtrack and is currently co-writing Love in America, a movie musical to be produced by Issa Rae at Universal. He is the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation’s Irving Burgie Scholarship, Bart Howard Songwriting Scholarship, and the Lucille and Jack Yellen award, a 2016 NAMT Writers Grant, a 2016 - 2017 Dramatists Guild Musical Theater Fellow, 2017 Space on Ryder Farm Residency, 2018 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project residency, 2019 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz, 2019 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, the 2020 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals and the 2020 Stephen Schwartz Award. Khiyon got his start as the music assistant on the off-Broadway and Broadway productions and the Grammy Award Winning Cast Album of Hamilton. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Songwriting.
Monet Hurst-Mendoza (she/her) is an NYC-based playwright from Los Angeles, CA. Her plays have been developed with Rising Circle Theater Collective, Astoria Performing Arts Center, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Amios, |the claque|, Magic Time @ Judson, Atlantic Acting School/NYU Tisch, The Flea Theater, WP Theater, The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and the ICA Boston, among others. Monet is an alum of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, R&D Group at The Civilians, WP Theater Playwrights Lab, Fresh Ground Pepper's Playground Playgroup, and the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists. She has held residencies with The Other Mirror, The MITTEN Lab, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. She is currently a Story Editor on "Law and Order: SVU." Proud member of The Kilroys, The Dramatist Guild, and WGAE. BA: Marymount Manhattan College.
Designer - Ike
Jian Jung (she/her) is a New York based set designer. Jung’s design has been acclaimed as 'innovative', 'inventive', 'genius' and 'spectacular' by major press such as The New York Times, LA Times, Time Out, and many others. Her theater work has been in numerous downtown NYC theaters including Classic Stage Company, ART/NY, The Kitchen, The Bushwick Starr, The Flea, Abrons Arts Center, Theater Row, and Soho Rep, as well as outside of NYC, in Venezuela, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Korea, and Los Angeles.Her opera work has been in Long Beach Opera (CA), Lincoln Center Juilliard School, Huntington Theatre (Boston), among many venues. Jung received Edith Lutyens & Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Award for Ludic Proxy by Aya Ogawa, and was nominated for 2019 Henry Hewes Design Award for Suicides Forest by Haruna Lee. Her design was exhibited in Prague Quadrennial, the world’s largest scenography exhibition. Jung received an MFA in Theater Design from NYU and an MFA in Environmental Design from Ewha Women’s University in Korea. www.jianjung.com
Adaptor & Playwright - McCourt
Ilya Khodosh (he/him) holds a D.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. He recently taught playwriting at Williams College, where he created Our Time, a production celebrating Stephen Sondheim’s ninetieth birthday, and had the honor of interviewing Sondheim about his time at Williams. Ilya is an accomplished Russian translator currently working on an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. An occasional monologist, he wrote and performed two solo storytelling shows at the United Solo Theatre Festival. He lives in New York City.
Frank McCourt is known to the world as the beloved author of Angela’s Ashes, a poignant and hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of his impoverished childhood in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. But before he published his masterpiece at age 66, he spent thirty years as a devoted teacher in New York City public high schools. A whimsical iconoclast and a virtuosic storyteller, McCourt found humor in autobiographical tales of deprivation and resilience. He taught generations of burnt-out, overwhelmed students to overcome their fear and doubt, and to tell their own stories. McCOURT, adapted from his memoirs ‘Tis and Teacher Man, picks up the narrative where Angela’s Ashes left off. We meet him as a young immigrant who arrives in New York with bad eyes and teeth, penniless and desperate to put his traumatic past behind him. He is a hotel janitor and longshoreman, hauling crates on the docks, and cleaning up after wealthy guests whose privilege feels otherworldly to him. After being drafted in the Korean War, without so much as a high school diploma, he used the GI Bill to enroll in NYU, where he felt like an impostor – until he came to understand that his miserable past held the key to his unique and wonderful contribution to the world, and to his happiness.
Sandra Tsing Loh (she/her) is a writer, performer, and radio commentator. Her work has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and This American Life. She is a contributing editor to the Atlantic and host of the syndicated daily radio “minute,” The Loh Down on Science. She lives in Pasadena, California.
The MadWoman and the Roomba, the follow up to her New York Times bestselling book The Madwoman and the Volvo, is a chronicle of the indignities, hilarities, and unexpected joys of life in the so-called golden years. Having been promised crystal clear seas and sandy beaches on the shores of retirement by glossy advertisements and in-flight magazines, best-selling author Sandra Tsing Loh finds the reality of being fifty-five-years-old looks more like a dilapidated craftsman house with a dead lawn and a mouse problem. With deadpan wit and fearless honesty, Loh navigates the realities of what it means to be a middle-aged, “downwardly-mobile,” woman in America, living what feels like a “disorganized twenty-five-year-old’s life in a malfunctioning eighty-five-year-old’s body.” Among the chaos of life with teenage daughters, sporadic employment, an underemployed bohemian partner, and near-constant low-level anxiety, Loh revels in the restorative joy of laughter. And the blessed redemption of a Costco membership: personal massage chair! Roombas on sale! Delicious $4 wines! Massive tins of mixed nuts! While balancing the various demands of midlife work, motherhood, friendship, and romance (while also embracing her inner goddess) Loh finds herself repeatedly marveling at the often ludicrous realities of modern American life and its #SecondWorldProblems. The Madwoman and the Roomba is a welcome respite from the tumultuous, almost apocalyptic-feeling of contemporary life; Loh manages to capture the side-splitting humor and unexpected joys of a life that might be falling-short of youthful, starry-eyed expectations but is still rich in love, gratitude, and serendipity.
Molly Beach Murphy (she/her) is a playwright from Galveston, Texas. Plays include: The Air Got Thick (Alley at Ucross); IKE (2019 Drama League Beatrice Terry Resident); Molly Murphy & Neil deGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth; Big Bend in the Red Dirt Desert. With core collaborators Annie Tippe and Jeanna Phillips, Molly co-creates experimental musicals such as Cowboy Bob as well as two new pieces in early development. Molly’s work has been developed with New York Theater Workshop, New York Stage & Film, Williamstown Theater Festival, Ars Nova, the Alley Theatre, Page 73 Productions, The Civilians’ R&D Group, The Orchard Project, the Ucross Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund, Yale Institute for Music Theater, Village Theater Festival of New Musicals, NYMF, Pipeline Theater Company. Molly was a Semi-finalist for the Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship and is a New Georges Affiliated Artist. Published works appear in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Hairpin, Santa Ana River Review & American Theatre Magazine.
In the days after a storm devastates the Texas Gulf Coast in 2008, Ike follows a myriad of storm survivors as they try to make sense of a town reduced to rubble, a collapsing US economy and the surreal truths of who we prove to be in the midst of complete upheaval.
Phanésia Pharel (she/her) is a Haitian-American playwright who addresses the divine metaphysical dilemma of Black and Latinx girlhood. Her plays span revolutions, islands, and Afro-Futurism. Her play, Penelope, was selected as one of four in the nation to be workshopped at the International Thespian Festival and was subsequently published in Dramatics magazine and by Samuel French. Her play, Shovel Me Away, was produced at Micro Theater Miami and received the Best Of The Best 2016 award. Her monologue, My Kid, My Life, appears in the 2015 City Theatre anthology. She attends Barnard College of Columbia University where she recently won the Brandt Playwriting award and the Helen Prince Memorial Prize for excellence in dramatic composition. She is currently a National Playwright in Residence for the Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles.
On the Caribbean island of Quisqueya (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), where war has erupted, vulnerable bodies are under the reign of soldiers and fire. A Waitress escapes onto a resort in the midst of writing her novel; telling the story of a beautiful young woman named Lucky. As she writes the novel comes to life, shifting between the resort and Lucky’s world. As the waitress weaves Lucky’s path to womanhood, Lucky is forced to sacrifice her home and body. What does triumph look like in a world numb to Black girls suffering?” The women of Lucky refuse to burn. Special thanks to Maddy Cohen, Magaly Colimon Christopher, Yvette Ganier, Onyekachi Iwu, Lexis Rangell-Onwuegbuzia, Sandra A Daley-Sharif, and PrinceTy for their support and contributions to Lucky’s development.
Brian Quijada (he/him) is an actor, playwright, and composer who’s original work has been developed and produced all across the country. His hip hop solo show Where Did We Sit on the Bus? has been produced at Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista (Jeff Award), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Drama Desk Nomination), Boise Contemporary, 1st Stage, and City Theatre Pittsburgh. His plays have been developed at The Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center, Pittsburgh CLO’s Spark Festival, Victory Gardens’ Ignition Festival, New Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater, and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Musical Theatre Conference. Commissioning institutions include Seattle Repertory Theater, A.R.T., and The Kennedy Center. He is a proud member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Mexodus is a concept album inspired by the estimated 4,000-10,000 enslaved people in the Southern part of the United States who pursued a journey into Mexico instead of looking north. This under told chapter of the Underground Railroad is an exploration of Black and brown bodies standing together against oppression. Initially conceived in 2018, Brain and Nygel put pen to paper in March 2020 and intend to release one track a month for one year as of June 2020. Listen to Mexodus tracks here.
Christina Quintana (CQ; she/her/any) is a writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots. Her plays and musicals, including Azul (Southern Rep), Citizen Scientist (Second Prize, Barrington Stage Company's Burman New Play Award), Scissoring (INTAR, and available via Dramatists Play Service), and Evensong (Astoria Performing Arts Center), among others, have been produced across and the country, and she is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from WP Theater, MacDowell, Queer/Art, Playwrights Realm, and Lambda Literary, among others. She served as staff writer on the ABC series The Baker and the Beauty and is at work on a new musical commissioned by Black Cap Productions based on Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America by Roberto G. Gonzales. For more, visit www.cquintana.com.
M is a devoted Latinx sanitation worker, grappling with the decision to transition and facing the end of their relationship with their live-in girlfriend. All the while, the “epitome of trans* masculinity” provides comfort and chaos in dream and song. Mr. San Man is an exploration of gender and love, at home and in the workplace. What roles do we play in the lives of our friends, colleagues, and loved ones, and how and when do they surprise us—for better and worse?
Nygel D Robinson (he/him) is a singer, actor, writer, and multi-instrumentalist based in New York City. Nygel has been consistently working in New York and regionally as an actor/singer/musician. Past credits include Larry in the workshop and Lincoln center concert version of Beau, Jesus in Godspell (St. Michael’s Playhouse), Actor/Musician in The All Night Strut (Milwaukee Rep), and Actor/Musician in Blue Suede Shoes and That’s Amore (Florida Studio Theatre). Nygel has a new kids song “I Wanna Dance” that will be released later this year with Jam With Jamie. Nygel counts it a true blessing to be involved with New York Stage and Film and looks forward to the amazing work that will come from this collaboration!
Mexodusis a concept album inspired by the estimated 4,000-10,000 enslaved people in the Southern part of the United States who pursued a journey into Mexico instead of looking north. This under told chapter of the Underground Railroad is an exploration of Black and brown bodies standing together against oppression. Initially conceived in 2018, Brain and Nygel put pen to paper in March 2020 and intend to release one track a month for one year as of June 2020. Listen to Mexodus tracks here.
Keenan Scott II (he/him) is an actor, playwright, director, and producer of original work. His work has been produced at Howard University, Gala Hispanic Theatre, National Black Theater, and the NYC Fringe Festival. Keenan’s critically acclaimed piece Thoughts of a Colored Man has been workshopped and developed at The Arena Stage and the historic New York Theatre Workshop for private readings. The play had its World Premiere at Syracuse Stage for their 2019-2020 season and transferred to Baltimore Center Stage to finish its regional run. He has also been commissioned for several pieces including being a part of the PLAY AT HOME series curated by Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, The Public Theater, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
During The Great Migration of the 1920s, a father’s decision to move up north to better his family’s livelihood doesn’t go as planned. This decision forever changes the course of his lineage as they grow through several decades in American History; from post Great Depression of the 1940s to the Black Power Movement of the 1970s to the sampled sounds of the 1990s Hip Hop until now. Through family, love and sacrifice you see the evolution of a family through the society and the systemic oppression they had to endure. But in the face of it all, they did one thing…survive.
Kristin Slaney is a Brooklyn-based playwright and screenwriter, originally from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Selected full-length works include Hockey Messiah (Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2019 Ted Snowdon Reading Series, 2019 Kilroys List Honorable Mention, Winner of the 2018 Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series), Un-Utero (Finalist for the Columbia@Roundbabout Reading Series, Semifinalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference), King of Berlin (Doppler Effect Productions, the 2017 Queer Acts Festival), After Eepersip Disappeared (Ship’s Company Theatre), and COULD THIS MEETING HAVE BEEN AN EMAIL (Spicy Witch Productions). Her play Hockey Messiah will be produced in Canada at Neptune Theatre in September 2020. Kristin is an alum of EST’s Youngblood playwriting group and Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab. MFA: Columbia University.
In the mid-19th century, the island of Nantucket revolved around the whaling industry. The island's men spend years off at sea, and their absence fostered an environment unlike anywhere else in America, with women as leaders in business, religion, and astronomy. This is the backdrop for the upbringing of Maria, an amateur astronomer who has lived her whole life on the island-- but when she discovers a comet, she will be forced to confront the world off the island, and questions of women's education and access that she's never before had to consider. Commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theatre through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, MISS MITCHELL is a musical inspired by the life of Maria Mitchell, the first astronomy professor at Vassar.
Director - McCourt
Susan Tenney (she/her) is an Award-winning Director and Choreographer, recently directing Catherine Curtin in Connect for Planet Connections Zoom Fest, which garnered an encore performance. Her work has been seen Off B’way and in venues including La Mama, Cincinnati Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Tanglewood, Edinburgh Fringe, Princeton University, and Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium. Other recent direction, includes Accepting Applause by Catherine Filloux, and Magaly Colimon-Christopher’s Waterfall of the Gods. Four seasons with the Williamstown Theatre Festival as Resident Choreographer, she had the honor of working with Tennessee Williams on a celebration of his oeuvre. Working on multiple productions, and staging 30 Cabarets, she worked with actors that included Blythe Danner, Karen Allen, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Daniel Davis, and James Naughton. Recipient of five Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Awards in Direction (3) and Choreography (2). League of Professional Theatre Women, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. BFA, SUNY Purchase.
Lucie Tiberghien (she/her) is a French and American director based in Brooklyn. She founded Molière in the Park Inc in the fall of 2018, the first non-profit in Brooklyn solely dedicated to bringing free theater, on a yearly basis, to Prospect Park. Most recently she directed an online production of Tartuffe For MIP which garnered 35,000 views and a New York Times Critic’s Pick headlined “When Tartuffe meets Trump, It’s Revolutionary,” She has been directing and developing new work in New York and regionally for the past 20 years.
Dramaturg - Ike
Lily Wolff (dramaturg; she/her) is a British-American theatre director and new play dramaturg currently based in Houston, Texas. Most recently she dramaturged an Alley Theatre commission by Isaac Gomez, directed a workshop of Austin playwright Raul Garza’s new play Running Bear, and traveled to London to direct in a festival of Italian new plays at Theatre503. In the pre-COVID age, Lily was the Literary Manager at the Alley Theatre, co-producing the Alley All New Festival and running the Alley All New initiative alongside Director of New Work Liz Frankel. She has developed work by Theresa Rebeck, C. Denby Swanson, Katie Bender, Liz Duffy-Adams, Vichet Chum, Arthur M. Jolly, Eleanor Burgess, Hilary Bettis, Claire Kiechel, Charles Fuller, Bess Wohl, Christina Anderson, Johnna Adams, and Gabriel Jason Dean, among others. Directing credits include: From White Plains (Thunderclap Productions), The Madres (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, Shrewd Productions), Cry It Out(Theatre En Bloc), A Bright Room Called Day (Southwestern University), The Effect (Capital T Theatre), Lungs (Austin Critics’ Table “Best Direction” award, Hyde Park Theatre), Fahrenheit 451 (Different Stages), As You Like It (Shrewd Productions), Gidion's Knot (Capital T Theatre) and Stop Kiss (UT Austin). Lily is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Founders' Award Recipient; Chrysalis Co-Facilitator; Playwright
Kirya Traber (she/her) is a nationally awarded writer, performer, and cultural worker. Her plays include Lucky (in development, New York Stage and Film 2020), IF This Be Sin' (excerpted, Musical Theatre Factory + Joe’s Pub 2020), and Both My Grandfathers, (workshop, Lincoln Center 2015). She is the recipient of a NY Emmy Nomination (First Person PBS), a Robert Redford’s Sundance Foundation award for Activism in the Arts, an Astrea Foundation award for Poetry, and the New York Stage and Film Founders’ Award. She has been a commissioned artist of notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Education, WNET Thirteen, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Orchestra of St Luke's, Ping Chong + Company, and others. Throughout her ambitious performance and writing career, Kirya has continuously utilized her art for social change as a cultural organizer. More at kiryatraber.com
The Founders' Award
Chrysalis - A Black Healing Project
What is freedom beyond structural oppression, beyond whiteness? Throughout time, Black people have answered these questions through ritual, the griot, the liminal realm between what we embody and what we imagine. Chrysalis invites Black theater artists and healers to weave alchemy and (re)imagine how healing might be a transformative and generative force in their lives and in Black communities.
It’s 1999 and someone said the world might end this year, but Cece isn’t sure she cares. She’s 14 going on 15, and she’s already over everything. Here, on the Mendocino coast, where the ancient redwood trees meet the vast Pacific Ocean, nothing ever changes anyway. Except... the mill did close last year, and a lot of her mom’s friends have gotten into “farming” (*cough* growing weed *cough*), and there have been a lot more wildfires this summer, and maybe everybody seems to be a little more on edge than usual. But other than that, nothing really ever changes… except she did meet this guy, this black guy, at a party other day. Her best friend Luce says he looks like a dirty soiler, and a drug dealer, but for some reason Cece can’t stop thinking about him. So that’s definitely different. But other than that. Nothing ever changes, and maybe if the world did end, things would finally get interesting.
Chrysalis Co-Facilitator; Organizer, Healer
Hailing from Nigeria, Adaku Utah (she/her) is a teacher, organizer, healer and ritual artist committed to cultivating movements that are strategic, sustainable and mutually nourishing. For over twenty years, her work has centered in movements for radical social change, with a focus on gender, reproductive, race, youth and healing justice. She is the co-founder and co-director of Harriet's Apothecary, a healing village led by Black Cis Women, Queer and Trans healer, artists, and organizers committed to living out Harriet Tubman's legacy of centering healing, wellness, and safety as movement building strategies to deconstruct legacies of trauma and galvanize communities to shape generative transformation. She is also the Interim Organizing Director at the National Network of Abortion Funds. She teaches with BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity) and the Generative Somatics teaching team and proudly serves on the board of Soul Fire Farm as a commitment to ending the racism and injustice in the food system. In her spare time, she loves nerding out about astrology, herbs, erotica, and sci-fi.
TIFFANY N. ROBINSON
Chrysalis Project Assistant; Stage Manager
Tiffany N. Robinson (she/her) is ecstatic to work with the amazing Chrysalis team. Tiffany is a native of Philadelphia and holds a BFA in Theater Arts Administration from Howard University. Selected Shows: MJ The Musical (Broadway Spring 2021), The Cher Show (Broadway/Chicago), Motown the Musical (Broadway/1st National), Memphis (1st National), Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem) and Dreamgirls (National Tour).
Chrysalis Participant; Theater Maker
Troy Anthony (he/him) is a composer, activist, and theater maker based in NYC practicing Black queer joy. He has presented work at Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Prospect Theater Company and the Musical Theater Factory (MTF). He's received commissions from The Shed, Atlantic Theater Company, and The Civilians. Troy has been seen in the Public Theater’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It, as well as Prospect Theater Company’s Tamar of the River. He leads the Public Theater’s Public Works Community Choir and focuses on the intersection between art and social justice at the DreamYard Art Center. He’s also a 2019-2020 Musical Theater Factory Maker.
Chrysalis Participant; Theater Maker
Nissy Aya (she/her) is a Black girl from the Bronx. She and all her younger selves tell stories and tall tales. While helping others do the same. They lead workshops, too. As a facilitator and cultural worker, we believe in the transformative nature of storytelling, placing those most affected by oppressive systems in the center, and examining how we move forward through healing justice and afrofuturist frameworks. Our creative work reflects those notions while exploring the lines between history and memory, detailing both the absence and presence of love, and giving all the life (and then some) to Black Femmes.
Chrysalis Participant; Healer
Donnay Edmund (she/her/they) Dreamer. Daughter. Dancer. Lover. Movement fairy. Earth adoring. Liberation believing. Donnay is a Brooklyn born Black Femme, raised by a collective of single, working class mothers. Donnay is an educator working towards collective liberation. She believes in transformative justice and the power of imagination to create new worlds full of justice and love. Donnay believes that we have the ability to care for one another as we unlearn oppressive ideas and remember and create new practices for communal care. She leads workshops that center healing justice, popular education, and anti-oppressive organizing to create a more just world. She is also a multidisciplinary artist. She fluidly moves from the realms of dance, theatre, and storytelling to somatics, yoga, and herbalism and seamlessly interweaves these elements into the cultural throughline of her work. Her practice explores the connection of mind, body, spirit, land, and ancestral healing.
Chrysalis Participant; Theater Maker
Gethsemane Herron-Coward (she/her) is a playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with JAG Productions, The Flea, The Hearth, Magic Time @ Judson, The Ice Factory Festival at the New Ohio Theatre, Playwright’s Playground at Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Fire This Time Festival and Ars Nova, where she is a Resident Artist with Ars Nova’s Play Group. Additional residencies from The Liberation Theater Company, Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, VONA and the Millay Colony, where she was the recipient of the Yasmin Scholarship. Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Finalist for Space on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residency, the Dennis and Victoria Roth Playwright’s Program, and the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award. MFA: Columbia University. Proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild. She’s enamored with Sailor Moon, witches and other magical girl warriors. She writes for survivors.
TIFFANY LENOI JONES
Chrysalis Participant; Healer
Tiffany Lenoi Jones (she/her/all intended & impacted with love) is an artist, educator, activist, storyteller, and healer. She is committed to unearthing the intersections of our stories to provide opportunities for transformation and healing. She believes in the power and alchemy imagination and creativity as essential tools of liberation. Her life mission is to provide a dose of TLC (tender love and care) within each interaction to foster a community that shares the ability to teach, learn, change, create and/or challenge (TLC). She is a full-time tenured Art Educator in the New York City Public School system. During her career as an art educator, she has created curriculum and experiences rooted in a critical pedagogy of love, liberation, healing, and transformative justice. She is a proud Harriet’s Apothecary Leadership Circle Member & Healer. She works collaboratively with the collective to foster spaces that encourages wellness, care, and liberation of black people through the creation of healing spaces. She founded and was the first Educator in Residence for Art & Social Justice at the New Museum. During her residency she co-founded and organized the New Museum’s Convening for Contemporary Art, Social Justice, and Education.
NICO LE BLANC
Chrysalis Participant; Healer
Nico Le Blanc (they) is a passionate, certified 200YT & meditation instructor and advocate whose primary focus is to create positive, safe, and empowering spaces that facilitate vulnerability and healing. Nico is committed to the upliftment, self-care, health and vitality of marginalized communities. This heart work has lead to Nico serving as a healer within Harriet’s Apothecary - an intergenerational healing collective of Black Cis, Trans, Queer, Women healers, activists, and artists. In addition to teaching yoga and serving as a healer, Nico is an AfroHouse/House DJ and serves as Associate Director for Diversity & Inclusion at New York University (NYU).
Chrysalis Participant; Healer
Shamilia McBean (she/her/they/them) is an herbalist, facilitator & community arts practitioner using her mediums to co-create liberatory community spaces. Inspired by familial and communal ancestors, she seeks to continue a legacy of healing, artistry and liberatory practice. Shamilia believes in art-making to inspire learning, spark movement, preserve culture and build community. In her practice, she supports and trains artists, educators and community workers to develop engaging, holistic methods within their practices. She focuses on immersive, participatory engagement with stories of transition, transgression, healing, love and liberation in marginalized communities.
Chrysalis; Theater Maker
jeremy o’brian (he/him) is a Mississippi-born, Brooklyn-based playwright who currently teaches at New York University. He is the recipient of the Liberation Theatre Playwriting Residency Fellowship (2019), Athena Theatre’s Athena Writes Playwriting Fellowship (2018), and the Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voice in Playwriting Fellowship (2016). His plays include: egg; or anythin’ dipped in egg gone soften (Development: Athena Theatre), a curious thing; or superheroes k’ain’t fly (Development: American Academy of Dramatic Arts, JAGFest 4.0), and under one roof (Development: Liberation Theatre Co.). jeremy holds a Masters in African and African Diaspora Studies from UT-Austin and a BA from Tougaloo College.
IANNE FIELDS STEWART
Chrysalis Participant; Theater Maker
Ianne Fields Stewart (she/they) is a Black, queer, nonbinary, transfeminine, New York-based storyteller working at the intersection of performance and activism. As a performer, Ianne has worked consistently in productions at NYC venues such as: Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, La Mama, and many more. Recent television appearances include Pose, The Bold Type and the upcoming Netflix series Dash and Lily. Ianne can also be seen on Buzzfeed LGBT, GLAAD, Inside Edition, the You Had Me at Black podcast, the #Safewordsociety podcast, Podcast of Color, the Is it Transphobic Podcast, and serves as the cohost of the Topics Include 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. During this fellowship, Ianne studied and organized with contemporary and historic civil rights leaders in Atlanta, GA exploring the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and its roots in present day social justice movements. Since then, Ianne has developed a theatrical consulting and teaching artist practice which spans from talkback facilitation to teaching artistry to community outreach and organizing. Spaces that have benefited from Ianne’s practice include: The Alliance of Resident Theatres, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Heartbeat Opera, Music Theatre Factory, NYC charter schools, and the Rose M. Singer Center on Riker's Island.
Chrysalis Participant; Healer
Emily Waters (she/they) is a Brooklyn-based theater-maker, poet and educator. Emily helped to roll out #MeToo Curriculum with Girls for Gender Equity, focusing on joy and storytelling through theater. Emily has also co-created healing justice spaces and has facilitated workshops with Harriet’s Apothecary. Emily was an Emerge Fellow, '19, with Hemispheric Institute and was the headlining performer for the work in progress at Abrons Arts Center. They are also the recipient of the Peace and Social Change Fellow with Columbia University where she supervised research on the healing capacity of theater for survivors of gender based violence. In December 2019, Emily was awarded the Mount Tremper Arts Family Residency. Emily has been a collaborator and performer in works presented at The Shed and Here Arts. She has also presented her original work at Jack Theater, The Apollo, NYC’s Highline, In Solidarity Conference, Novo Foundation Grantmakers of Color Conference, and Judson Church. Emily is currently a Performance Project Fellow with University Settlement and was a selected writer in Billie Holiday Theater’s annual 50in50. Most recently Emily is creating work commissioned by the All For One Theater’s Solo Shorts Series and Black Revolutionary Theater Workshop’s Revolution Now! Podcast Series.
LISA MARIE ROLLINS
Lisa Marie Rollins (she/her) is a freelance director, writer and new play developer. She is a Sundance Institute Theatre Lab Fellow (Directing) and Directors Lab West member. Regional directing /dramaturg work include Hedgebrook Women’s Play Festival, Crowded Fire Theater, American Conservatory Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, TheatreFirst, Berkeley Repertory Theater (Ground Floor), Shotgun Players, Custom Made Theatre, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, TheaterWorks (CO). She has been a writing fellow with Hedgebrook, Djerassi, SF Writers Grotto, CALLALOO London, VONA, Just Theater Play Lab and Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency. She was honored with a “Bay Brilliant” artist award from San Francisco’s KQED and received a 2019-20 Gerbode Special Award in the Arts for playwriting. She is currently Literary Manager for Intiman Theater in Seattle, a Community Arts Panelist for Zellerbach Family Foundation and a Resident Artist with Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco.
Estefanía Fadul (she/her) is a NYC-based Colombian-American stage director and producer, focusing primarily on new plays and musicals. Current work includes Carla’s Quince, created with The Voting Project Ensemble, and La PalomaPrisoner by Raquel Almazán (Next Door @ NYTW). Recent directing includes Christina Quintana’s Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR), Stefan Ivanov’s The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska’s Agent 355 (Chautauqua), and James Anthony Tyler’s Pranayama (Juilliard). Estefanía has developed new work at the Public Theater, Playwrights' Realm, Long Wharf, Drama League, Repertorio Español, Artists Repertory Theatre, Milagro, and Musical Theatre Factory, among others. Alumna: O’Neill/NNPN’s National Directors Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Drama League Fall Fellowship and TV DirectingFellowship, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, and NALAC Leadership Institute. She is a co-leader of the New Georges Jam, and a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons steering committee, the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and SDC. B.A. Vassar College. www.estefaniafadul.com
The Pfaelzer Award
The Pfaelzer Award was created in honor of Johanna Pfaelzer's twenty-year commitment to nurturing artists and their developing stories at NYSAF. Selected in consultation with Johanna, the recipient receives artistic and administrative support for projects of their choosing throughout the year, culminating in a residency during NYSAF's summer season, which will include a reading, workshop, or other developmental activity that best supports the artist and their work. The recipient will be actively involved with the rich community of NYSAF artists and artistic staff and has the opportunity for project mentorship from Johanna Pfaelzer.
The Culper Spy Ring famously helped George Washington win the American Revolution, but there’s one secret they never revealed: the identity of their sole female member, Agent 355. Now for the first time since 1783, a punk-pop band will finally reveal the truth about the unknown woman who helped America’s first spy ring “outwit them all.” Challenging a history written by men, Agent 355 explores the never-before-told stories of real Revolutionary women whose stories, sacrifices, and secrets shaped the nation.
Carla's Quince is a bilingual immersive virtual theatre experience that invites audiences to become guests at Carla's Zoom Quinceañera. With the aim of increasing Latinx participation in the United States' electoral process, this non-partisan English/Spanish extravaganza will inform on the voting process, break down some of the issues at stake this election year, and provide space for individuals to reflect on how their voting choices affect their communities. Learn more here.
PRESTON MAX ALLEN
Agent 355 Music, Lyrics and Book
Preston Max Allen (he/him) is a playwright, composer, and lyricist whose work has been featured at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Lincoln Center, Signature Theatre, Chautauqua Institution, Rattlestick, Musical Theatre Factory, Feinstein's/54 Below, Joe's Pub, York Theatre, and Second City Chicago. Preston’s musicals and plays include We Are The Tigers (L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation winner, Best Lyrics/Composition); Agent 355 (dramaturg/co-book Jessica Kahkoska); Never Better; The Rage: Carrie 2, An Unauthorized Musical Parody (Jeff Nominee for Best Musical); A Very Netfl*x Musical: No Streaming Live! (book by Edward Precht); and Modern Gentleman (Pride Plays 2020). Preston is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group (2019/20), graduate of the Second City Comedy Studies Program, and an alum of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. @prestonmaxallen
Agetnt 355 Book and Dramaturgy
Jessica Kahkoska (she/her) is a writer/dramaturg most interested in work driven by history, research, and community collaboration. Projects include In Her Bones (Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 2020 Colorado New Play Summit) The Death of Desert Rose (with Elliah Heifetz, Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, SBR Productions Commission), Agent 355 (with Preston Max Allen, Chautauqua Theater Company New Play Workshop, Marion International Fellowship in the Visual and Performing Arts), Letters to the President (dir. Michael Bello, The Cooper Union), Wild Home: An American Odyssey (Notch Theatre Company, 2020 NEA ArtWorks Grant), and Nia (dir. Sarah Wansley, Upcoming at New Light Theatre Project’s Darkroom Series). Her work has additionally been developed/presented by Ars Nova ANT FEST, Joe’s Pub, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, the Drama League, UCROSS Foundation, Village Theatre, Denver University (Marsico Visiting Scholar in the Arts and Humanities), the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the American Musical Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University.www.jessicakahkoska.com.
Agent 355 Music Director
Madeline Smith (she/her) - Broadway: Waitress (Piano/Conductor sub), War Paint (Key 1 sub), Mean Girls (reh. piano).Off-Broadway: An Octoroon (TFANA); Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future (Ars Nova); Skin of our Teeth (TFANA); 1001 Nights (Atlantic Theater Company); FUTURITY (Ars Nova/Soho Rep). Regional: We Live In Cairo (ART); Loch Ness (FLMTF); Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat (ATF). TV: The Wiz! Live. Adaptations: Frozen Jr., Descendants (Disney Theatricals). Education: B.A. from Harvard University.