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DON NGUYEN  |  Writer

Don Nguyen (He/Him) was born in Vietnam, grew up in Nebraska and currently lives in NYC.  Full-length plays include The Supreme Leader (Dallas Theater Center), Hello, from the Children of Planet Earth (The Playwrights Realm), Red Flamboyant (Firebone Theatre), Sound (Azeotrope/ACT), The Commencement of William Tan (Yale Cabaret), The Man from Saigon (A.C.T New Strands Festival), and The World is Not Silent.  Recipient of the 2015 GAP Prize from the Aurora Theatre and a NYSAF Founder’s award. Finalist for The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Princess Grace Award, and The Woodward International Playwriting Prize.  Nominations include: the Laurents/Hatcher award and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award.  Don was a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the Public Theater’s inaugural Emerging Writers Group, The Civilians inaugural R&D Group, and a frequent volunteer at the 52nd Street Project. 

MARYA MAZOR  |  Director

Marya Mazor (She/Her) is an award winning and critically acclaimed director based in Los Angeles. Marya’s February 2020 production of Fun Home won the Los Angeles Ovation Award for Best Production of a Musical. Her numerous stage productions have received multiple LA Times Critic's Pick designations, Ovation Award Nominations, and Stage Raw Award Nominations. She has directed for The Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Long Wharf Theater, and many other venues in New York, Los Angeles and regionally. Marya was a National Endowment for the Arts TCG Fellow and an AFI DWW fellow. She directed the digital series, Sophie in Hollywood, now airing on Asian American Movies. Her AFI Directing Workshop for Women short film The Winged Man was lauded at festivals worldwide including ComiCon. She directed the Broadway scale Disney’s Aladdin for Disney Cruise Lines. Marya was co-founding Artistic Director of Voice & Vision theater in NYC, developing the voices of women and girls. She holds an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama and has taught at Chapman University, the University of Southern California, Fordham University, Saddleback College, and others.

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TINA ARI  |  Linh/Language Consultant

Born and raised tri-lingual (ASL, English and Vietnamese) in San Jose, California, Tina Ari began fulfilling her dream in front of the camera. Upon realizing her passion for acting in high school, she quickly garnered attention from Warner Brothers and was cast as a member in "The Student Council". She then went on to win the first "Bay Area Search" for "America's Next Top Model". Currently starring in commercials, independent films and TV shows, Tina continues to cultivate her aspirations as an actress in Atlanta, GA

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After immigrating to the US from Vietnam at a young age, Vien developed his craft within the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. His early work includes TV and film roles alongside actors such as Ben Affleck and Sam Rockwell in the film "Glory Daze", and George Clooney in the hit TV series "ER". After a fifteen year hiatus from acting, during which he attended to raising his two young boys, he has returned to the stage and screen. Most recently, he has filmed several TV roles including a large recurring arc on NBC's critically acclaimed series "This Is Us". He can next be seen recurring on the upcoming final season of TNT's "Animal Kingdom". While renewing his commitment to acting, his daily routine continues to revolve around his family - helping his teenage sons with their school work, and cooking meals for his wife, who works long hours as a nurse.

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Jon Norman Schneider (He/Him) most recently appeared onstage in Mike Lew's TIGER STYLE! at South Coast Rep. Select New York credits include THE CHINESE LADY; DURANGO (The Public), the title role in HENRY VI PARTS 1-3 (NAATCO), AWAKE AND SING! (NAATCO/The Public), THE OLDEST BOY (Lincoln Center), QUEENS BOULEVARD (the musical) (Signature), A MAP OF VIRTUE (13P), among others. Regionally, he has worked at Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Alley, Alliance, Barrington Stage, Dorset Theatre Festival, The Goodman, The Huntington, The Kennedy Center, Long Wharf, The Magic, McCarter, Milwaukee Rep, Mosaic, Northern Stage, and The Old Globe. His film and TV credits include "Bitter Melon", "Manila Is Full of Men Named Boy", "The Normals," HBO's "Angel Rodriguez", "The Endgame," "Jessica Jones," "Veep," "30 Rock," and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

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NANCY MA  |  Stage Directions

Nancy Ma is an actor, writer, and facilitator who grew up in Chinatown New York. Her solo show, "Home", produced by The Latino Theater Company, has been performed at schools and festivals around the country. Nancy’s work focuses on generational patterns, straddling cultures, and reexamining hope in unexpected spaces. She was in the class of 2022 writers at The New Harmony Project. She has facilitated career readiness and creative workshops at The Bramon Garcia Braun Studio, Change Agents, The Covenant House, and Young Storytellers. Recent acting credits: "Bull" (CBS), "Barry" (HBO), "Hacks" (HBO), DOUBLE HAPPINESS (MOCA), THE JOY LUCK CLUB (Sierra Madre Playhouse). BA from Williams College.

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ERIC LOCKLEY is an OBIE award-winning actor, writer, filmmaker, producer and podcast host. Lockley is committed to using multiple disciplines to inspire communities to possibility, healing and joy. Eric operated as both actor and writer in his comedic web series Blacker and in his inspirational short film, "The Jump," both of which received acclaim from various national and international film festivals. Eric’s plays including BLACKEN THE BUBBLE and WITHOUT TRACE have been seen on stages in DC, NY, TX and Chicago. Lockley's solo shows LAST LAUGH and ASKING FOR MORE reached audiences at LaMaMa, The Apollo, and students around NYC. As an actor, on-screen and stage credits include: "The Inheritance," "Luke Cage," "First Reformed," CHOIR BOY, HOW WE GOT ON and BLACK ODYSSEY as well as a number of commercials. Lockley is a founder of and produces with NYC-based organizations, The Movement Theatre Company (WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN) & Harlem9 (48HOURS IN™. . . ), creating opportunities for artists of color to be expansive in their play. Eric also performs sketch and musical improv and is a featured cast member of The Homemade Sketch Show (TubiTV). Eric's inspirational podcast, "The 180" explores a moment when guests' lives turned around and is available on all streaming platforms. Eric was commissioned by Engarde Arts to write and perform an Afrofuturist solo show/walking tour hybrid called, WE THE PEOPLE (NOT THE BOTS). The piece which premiered in June 2022, took audiences on a journey led by a time traveler destined to save the future by learning from local history. Lockley will present new work in NYC at The Public in 2023 as a part of the Under the Radar festival. To stay connected with Eric find him at @iamericlockley or visit his site:

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SHARIFFA ALI  |  Director

Shariffa Chelimo Ali is an international creative leader committed to advancing radical change through the power of art and activism. Originally from Kenya and raised South Africa, Shariffa has been a New York resident since 2013, working primarily as a director, community organizer and academic. 


As a filmmaker, Shariffa's works have been featured at acclaimed film/VR festivals & institutions worldwide including Sundance Film Festival (USA); Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (South Africa); Brooklyn Film Festival (USA); Pan African Film Festival (USA); Electric Africa VR festival (South Africa) and DOK Neuland (Germany).


As a theatre artist and academic Shariffa has directed taught at NYU, Brooklyn College, Yale University and Princeton University where she currently is a faculty member in the Theatre Program. Past theatre productions include Eclipsed, Detroit '67, Intimate Apparel, We Are Proud to Present... and an original new musical called We Were Everywhere. Shariffa's Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre credits include Mies Julie (Classic Stage Company) School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Pittsburgh Public Theatre), The Copper Children, (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Mlima's Tale (St Louis Rep).

Shariffa served as Assistant Director to her mentor Cynthia Nixon for plays Rasheeda Speaking, Steve (The New Group) and Motherstruck! (Culture Project). Shariffa was the executive consultant to Ms. Nixon's during her TV directorial debut in episode 106 of HBO Max's "And Just Like That", the sequel to the hit series "Sex and the City".


In 2022 Shariffa was named Elizabeth M. Swayzee Artist in Residence at Miami University where she will be curating the inaugural Black Roots Festival in the spring of 2022. 

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TAYLOR A. BLACKMAN  |  GRIOT 5/Black Figure/Deandre/Dark Matter

Taylor A. Blackman is NYC based actor, writer, producer, and director. NYC THEATRE: “WHAT THE END WILL BE” (Roundabout Theatre Company), TILL (Signature Theatre). Selected Workshops/Readings: I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE (Ensemble Studio Theatre), SWEET CHARIOT (Movement Theatre Company), REFLECTIONS: BEN VEREEN PROJECT (Dir. Joshua Bergasse), GOSSAMER (Ensemble Studio Theatre). Regional: FUN HOME, MAMMA MIA, HELLO DOLLY (Lyric Theatre Of Oklahoma). TV/FILM: "FBI," "Alternatino." Adjunct Professor at The New School.

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ALANA RAQUEL BOWERS  |  GRIOT 3/Bria/Soleil/Newone

Alana Raquel Bowers is an actor, dancer and singer born and raised in Baltimore, MD. She is a proud alumna of the Baltimore School for the Arts and NYU Tisch Drama. She recently made her Broadway debut in "CHICKEN AND BISCUITS", originating her role as Simone at Circle in the Square Theatre. Regional: SCRAPS at Flea Theater (Aisha), CHICKEN AND BISCUITS at Queens Theatre (Simone). Off-Broadway: WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN (Three) at A.R.T./New York Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, American Repertory Theater, the Public Theater, and BAM, respectively. Film/TV credits: "After Class" starring Justin Long and "FBI: Most Wanted" on CBS.

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Cherrye Davis  |  GRIOT 6/Ma/Sinceria/Oracle

Cherrye J. Davis- AEA. Education: NYU-Tisch UG. NY Theater: I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS (NYCCT), BEST LIFE (Jack,) SPOILED (LaMaMa). HOW TO MOURN AN AMERICAN, (Rough Draft Fest. 2019), THE LOOPHOLE (The Public Theater), And SHE WOULD STAND LIKE THIS (TMTC), AND THEN I WOKE UP (Downtown Arts), SELF-ACCUSATION (LaGuardia Performing Arts Center), TROJAN WOMEN (Oppressed in Heels), HOPE SPEAKS (La Mama), IMMORTAL (The Forge), BINTOU (TMTC), HAMLET (Classical Theater of Harlem). TV/Film: "Covered" (2020), "Extra Room" (2019), "For Flow" (2011 HBO Black Film Fest. Finalist), "Scribbles" (NYC Indie Film Fest). Devised Work: SCAVENGER (BARS @ The Public Theater), DREAMS IN SCAR SPACE (Playwrights Horizons Theater School), TAPES (TMTC). This Fall, her original solo show “How To Mourn an American” will be featured at Little Island in Sept. 2022. Music: "Tony and the Kiki," blues experiment "The Nervous," and live hip hop band "Deathrow Tull."

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Janelle McDermoth (She/Her) is a multi-platform creator from The Bronx, New York and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Broadway: A BRONX TALE. Off Broadway: WE'RE GONNA DIE (Lortel Nomination, Antonyo Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Honor), THE CHRONICLES OF CARDIGAN AND KHENTE, SOUL DOCTOR. TV: “Law & Order: SVU,” “Blue Bloods,” “Blindspot,” “High Maintenance.” Film: "To All The Boys: Always and Forever," "Daughter of the Bride." In addition to her work on stage and screen, she is a working songwriter and producer. Her original music combines the poetics that compel her, the hip hop that raised her, and her penchant for the aforementioned theatrics. @janellemcdrmth

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J.D. MOLLISON |  GRIOT 1/Marcus/Chariot

J.D MOLLISON: Past Productions: OCTET, (Signature Theater, Berkeley Rep), X OR BETTY SHABAZZ VS. THE NATION (The Acting Company), black odyssey (CalShakes), MOBY DICK (A.R.T.), VENICE (N.Y. Public Theater), A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS (NYTW), LES MISERABLES (Broadway Revival), THE BOX (The Foundry), IPHIGENIA 2.0 (Signature Theater), A WINTER'S TALE (Public Works DTC), GREATER ANGELS (EPbB), MONSTROSITY (13P), JELLY'S LAST JAM (Alliance Theatre, Suzi Bass Award). Audio: HANDS UP (National Black Theater), KING LEAR (PlayOn Podcasts) TV: “Shameless,” “Madam Secretary,” "SVU", “Shades of Blue,” Training: Carnegie Mellon University.

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Xavier Scott Evans is an American actor based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s best known for his recent work on HBOMax “Love Life” (2021), “FBI” (2021), and his starring role in the feature film Bottom of the 9th. Roles in theater include New York Theatre Workshop’s world premiere of ON SUGARLAND (5x Lucille Lortel Award nominated) written by Helen Merrill & Obie Award winning Aleshea Harris (IS GOD IS) and directed by Lilly & Obie Award winning Whitney White. The Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Ngozi Anyanwu's (“The Homecoming Queen”) The Last of the Love Letters directed by Patricia McGregor starring Tony Award Nominated Daniel J. Watts (Tina) Upcoming Film: "Paradise Highway" -7.29.22 (ft. Morgan Freeman, Juliette Binoche) (2022) written & directed by Anna Gutto.

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NARCISCUS KEY  |  Stage Directions

Narciscus Key is a young Actor, Photographer, and costume designer from the Hudson Valley. He spends his times working on different sets, and always trying to improve his skills. He wants to be the best that he can in all his crafts and puts in the work to make sure he will get there.

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Julia Doolittle (She/Her) is a playwright and screenwriter raised in Los Angeles. Her plays include The Absentee (Know Theatre, Semi-finalist Relentless), Tell Them I’m Still Young (NYSAF, American Theatre Group starring Andre Braugher and Michele Pawk), and Love and Contracts (Writers Theatre, South Coast Rep dir Moritz Von Stuelpnagel). Her work has also been seen at Victory Gardens Theatre, Portland Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Sam French Off-Off Broadway Festival, Rattlestick Playwright's Theatre, The Tank, Tiny Rhino, Urban Stages, and Rogue Machine Theatre. She's a proud recipient of the Elizabeth George Commission from South Coast Rep, a finalist for the Neukom Award, a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Summer Conference, and a finalist for the Heidemann Award at the Humana Festival. She is a member of the Obie-Award winning playwrights' group, Youngblood. [] 

MAY ADRALES  |  Director
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May Adrales (She/Her) is a director, artistic leader, teacher and mother; she has directed over 25 world premieres nationally, most recently at Second Stage (Rajiv Joseph’s “Letters of Suresh”) and MTC (Qui Nguyen’s “Vietgone”).  Awards include: Ammerman Award at Arena Stage; TCG’s Alan Schneider award for freelance directors; Denham fellowship; New Generations Grantee. Fellowships: Drama League Directing, Van Lier, WP Lab Director, SoHo Rep Writers/Directors Lab, and New York Theater Workshop directing.  She served in artist leadership positions at Milwaukee Rep; The Playwrights Center;  The Public Theater; and The Lark. She is currently the Director of the Theatre Program at Fordham University.  MFA, Yale School of Drama. (

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One of Hollywood’s most respected actors, Emmy® Award-winner André Braugher crosses over from television to film to theatre with ease. For eight seasons, Braugher starred alongside Andy Samberg in the hit comedy series “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Andre won two Critics Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and received four Emmy® Award nominations for his role as ‘Captain Ray Holt’ in the series. Braugher starred on the critically acclaimed TNT series “Men of a Certain Age” alongside Ray Romano and Scott Bakula. Braugher received two Emmy® Award nominations for his role on the show. He was also starred in the sci-fi mini-series The Andromeda Strain (2008) alongside Benjamin Bratt and Eric McCormack for A&E. In 2006 Braugher won an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Mini-Series and a Golden Globe Award nomination for his starring role in mini-series Thief, which aired on FX. In 2004, Braugher starred in the TNT original four-hour mini-series Salem’s Lot based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King. Prior to that film, he starred in the Showtime Original Film A Soldier’s Girl. In 2002, he starred in the critically acclaimed CBS series Hack opposite David Morse and in the Showtime Original Film 10,000 Black Men Named George with Charles Dutton and Mario Van Peebles for director Robert Townsend. Braugher served as Executive Producer on this film, and he received an NAACP Award nomination for his role as A. Philip Randolph. In 2000-2001, Braugher starred in the critically acclaimed ABC drama series Gideon’s Crossing. Braugher received an Emmy® Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Dr. Ben Gideon in Gideon’s Crossing. In 1999 Braugher made his directorial debut with one vignette of the Showtime trilogy Love Songs, in which he also starred, and he starred in the TNT telefilm Passing Glory (1999), for director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) garnering critical acclaim for his performance. But it is his riveting portrayal of Detective Frank Pembleton on the NBC series “Homicide: Life on the Street” (1992-98) which brought Braugher breakout success and garnered him two Emmy® Award nominations and an Emmy® Award in 1998 and two Television Critics Association Awards in 1997 and 1998 for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Braugher received a second Emmy® Award nomination in 1996 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series for his work in the Peabody Award-winning HBO production The Tuskeegee Airmen. Braugher’s other television credits include the ABC drama “Last Resort,” reprising his Emmy® Award-winning role of Detective Frank Pembleton in the two-hour NBC Special Homicide: The Movie (2000); the title role in The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson (1990), HBO’s Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (1990) and NBC’s Murder in Mississippi (1990). He began his television career as the late Telly Savalas’ sidekick in television movies based on the original Kojak series. Upcoming, Braugher has joined the sixth season of Paramount+’s legal drama “The Good Fight” alongside Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald which is set to premiere summer 2022. In addition to Braugher’s success on the small screen, audiences have seen him star in a variety of feature film roles. He voiced a role in the animated feature Spirit Untamed (2021); he co-starred in the feature film Baytown Outlaws (2012); co-starred in Salt (2010) opposite Angelina Jolie for director Phillip Noyce; co-starred in Passengers (2008) opposite Anne Hathaway; in the Frank Darabont The Mist (2007) based on the novel by Stephen King; in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); in the thriller Poseidon (2006); in Duets (2000) opposite Gwyneth Paltrow for director Bruce Paltrow; in the independent feature A Better Way to Die (2000); and alongside Dennis Quaid in the critically praised film Frequency (2000). Before that he starred with Alec Baldwin in the independent film Thick As Thieves (1999), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and later aired on HBO; he was a part of an ensemble cast, which included Jeff Daniels, Gary Sinise, Joan Allen and Anna Paquin, in director Jim Stern’s All The Rage (1999); and starred in City of Angels (1998) with Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, and Dennis Franz.

JOHN EL-JOR  |  Seth
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John El-Jor (he/him) is delighted to be making his NYSAF debut this season. A recent graduate of Penn State Musical Theatre, his favorite credits include SHOOK (Northern Stage), FUN HOME (Bruce), NOSTALGIA NIGHT (Taylor), and ME AND MY FRIENDS… (Frans). Special thanks to his friends, family, and artistic team.

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Michele Pawk’s Broadway credits include: BEAUTIFUL, HAIRSPRAY, LOSING LOUIE, MAMMA MIA, HOLLYWOOD ARMS (for which she won the Tony Award), CHICAGO, SEUSSICAL, CABARET (receiving Drama Desk & Outer Critics' Circle Award nominations), TRIUMPH OF LOVE, CRAZY FOR YOU (Drama Desk nomination), MAIL. OffBroadway she appeared in HEROES OF THE FOURTH TURNING(Lucille Lortel & OBIE Awards),PICNIC, 17 ORCHARD POINT, GIANT, A SMALL FIRE (Drama Desk & Lucille Lortel nominations), PICNIC, MAHIDA'S EXTRA KEY TO HEAVEN, FLYOVERS, PRAYER FOR MY ENEMY, THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, THE PARIS LETTER (Drama Desk nomination), REEFER MADNESS, AFTER THE FAIR, HELLO AGAIN, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, jon & jen, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Regional favorites include: VANYA and SONIA and MASHA and SPIKE, BOUNCE (Helen Hayes nomination), THE FALL TO EARTH, NATURAL HISTORY, THE BLONDE, THE BRUNETTE, AND THE BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD, and THE GIG. Television appearances include: Madam Secretary, Law & Order (7x), The Golden Girls, Dear John, and Quantum Leap. She can be heard on 14 Original Cast Albums and several books on tape. Directing credits include: MY QUEER YOUTH and THE DISNEY DIARIES at the Beechman Theatre in NYC, WEST SIDE STORY at Creighton University in Omaha, NE (nominated for Best Direction, Best Musical Awards), CARAPACE ISLE at Manhattan Rep, PICNIC for the William Inge Center, and SEUSSICAL, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, RENT, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, A CHORUS LINE, ANYTHING GOES, SMALL TOWN STORY, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, URINETOWN, INTO THE WOODS(for Wagner College Theatre) Michele is a proud faculty member in the Theatre Department at Wagner College.

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Paola Sanchez Abreu is an actor, writer, voiceover artist, activist living in New York City. After training in Chicago at The Theatre School at DePaul University, she moved to NYC. She has workshopped and developed productions with Primary Stages, New Dramatists, INTAR, and Playwrights Realm. She made her Lincoln Center debut, joining the original cast of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves (#25). Her TV credits include Chicago Med, Madame Secretary, and The Code. She has performed sketch comedy with Means of Production and Brooklyn Comedy Collective and she recently won a spot with Gen 180s Climate Comedy Cohort program working to create comedy that addresses our climate crisis. When not in her voice over booth, Paola is an organizer for Sunrise Movement NYC, which works to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. @mmm_pao

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KEENAN SCOTT II  |  Book, Music & Lyrics

Keenan Scott II (he/him) is a playwright, poet, actor, director, and producer of original work from Queens, New York. His work has been workshopped and produced at notable theaters such as National Black Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Arena Stage and Woolly Mammoth. His critically acclaimed piece Thoughts of a Colored Man world premiered at Syracuse Stage for their 2019-2020 season and transferred to Baltimore Center Stage to finish its regional run, before settling at the Golden Theater during the 2021-2022 Broadway Season, where he made his writing and unconventional acting debut. Scott was chosen to be a part of the 2021 TED Fellow cohort to be among a global community of artists, inventors and scientists. His latest work The Migration LP and new original musical The Return of Young Boy is currently being developed at New York Stage and Film, while his other stage plays are in various stages of development. He is a part of the creative team of the miniseries A Luv Tale by Sidra Smith, now on BET+. He is also developing an array of projects for television and film, currently developing a pilot with UCP of NBCUniversal and adapting a novel by JJ Bola called The Selfless Act of Breathing with BRON Studios.

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TRE MATTHEWS  |  Music & Lyrics

For Tre Matthews (he/him), art serves as a vehicle through which he uses to stimulate people’s feelings through a cohesive blend of thought-provoking lyrics, topics and visuals that tug on the heart strings of the human heart. Michigan native, Tre Matthews is a creative swiss-army knife as it relates to the world of audio-visual production. A seasoned multimedia visionary, Tre manifests his artistry to audiences as a hip-hop artist, songwriter, music producer, audio engineer and video director and editor. After graduating from American University in 2009, Tre began working at a local recording studio where he wrote and produced songs for some of Washington DC’s top unsigned artists as well as filmed and edited television and video productions for national campaigns for the US State Department, BET, Voice of America and other DC based companies. With an eclectic appreciation that spans the vast spectrum of artistic expression and innovation, Tre founded “Be.Leave.”, an inter-media brand focused on delivering the highest quality content in music, film, fashion, tech and musical theater. His current work, a musical entitled: The Return of Young Boy, a collaborative effort with Broadway Playwright Keenan Scott II is currently being developed at New York Stage and Film.

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Steve H. Broadnax III. Thoughts of a Colored Man (Broadway) Katori Hall’s 2021 Pulitzer Prize Première The Hot Wing King at The Signature Theatre, Lee Edward Colston’s The First Deep Breath at Chicago’s Victory Garden Theatre (Premiere and Winner of Jeff Awards Best New Work) Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root at the National Black Theatre (Winner of Kennedy Center's Hip Hop Theater Creator Award) and William Jackson Harper’s Premiere Travisville at NYC Ensemble Studio. Ensemble Studio Theatre member and serves as the Associate Artistic Director at People’s Light Theatre and a Professor of Theatre at Penn State University; Co-Head of MFA Directing.

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Phoenix Best (She/Her) is very excited to return to NYSAF! Her credits include- Broadway: DEAR EVAN HANSEN (Alana Beck), THE COLOR PURPLE REVIVAL (Swing). National Tour: LES MISERABLES (Eponine). Other Theatre: A.D. 16, Olney Theatre Center (Mary), DREAMGIRLS, TUTS (Deena Jones), MACBETH IN STRIDE, ART (Witch). TV/Film: "The Best Man: The Final Chapters" (Nicole), :Love Life" (Ogechi), "Estella Scrooge" (Mercy & Charity), "From Sea To Rising Sea" (Lu).

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Nathaniel De La Rosa, professionally known as Bodega Bamz, is an American Rapper, Actor, Director and Entrepreneur from Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, NYC. He is of Puerto Rican & Dominican Decent and considers himself a Voice for Latinos. One of his main goals as a Leader is to represent his Latin heritage and motivate others in the community to do the same.

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Drew Drake is an Actor, Poet and Educator from Huntsville Alabama but currently residing in NYC; focused on creating art that facilitates healthy dialogue for people of color. Drew was last seen performing on stages such as Bonnarro Music Festival, Barclays Center and Brooklyn Academy of Music production “Word. Sound. Power”Drew is currently the Poet-In- Residence and teaching artist with Urban Word NYC , Rehabilitation through the Arts (Arts Empowerment organization Prisons in NY State). Drew's also a Professor at New York University; teaching Voice and Speech at Tisch School of the Arts. Learn more at

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Roya Marsh (She/Her) is a writer, educator and activist from the Bronx, NY. She is the author of dayliGht (MCDxFSG, 2020), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry, the co-founder of the Bronx Poet Laureate and works feverishly toward Queer liberation and dismantling white supremacy. She has written and performed in HOW TO MAKE IT IN BLACK AMERICA and SHE HATES COFFEE. She has performed at the Nuyorican poets cafe, Kumble Theater, Jack Theater, the Little Theater at Dixon Place and the Liberty Center in Elizabeth, NJ. Roya’s work has been featured in numerous places including, The Academy of American Poets, Poetry Magazine, the Village Voice, Nylon Magazine, Huffington Post, The Root, Blavity, Button Poetry, Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, Lexus Verses and Flow, NBC, BET and The BreakBeat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic.

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Esau Pritchett- Born in Saginaw, MI. BA in performing arts theatre from Oakland University. Resident of NYC since 1998. Has appeared in numerous regional theatre productions across the country and guest starring roles on TV shows over the past couple of decades. Recently recurred as Mr. David for two seasons on Fox’s primetime drama “Prodigal Son.” Currently has a recurring role on the Starz Network drama “Power: Book II Raising Kanaan.”

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Feelings of Gratitude and Thrilled to be a part of the NYSAF Summer Season with Playwright Keenan Scott II and Director Steve H. Brodnax. Broadway Debut THE WIZ as the Dorothy Understudy to Stephanie Mills for 3 yrs. Member of the Honorary Tony Awarded Broadway Inspirational Voices Gospel Choir. Performing Credits include FIRST NOEL, LANGSTON IN HARLEM, HAVING OUR SAY (Delaney Sisters), SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, CONSTANT STAR (Ida B Wells), SPUNK, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, NUNSENSE, ABYSSINIA , BLACK NATIVITY, 1940'S RADIO HOUR, TV's "Law and Order SVU" and "Criminal Intent." Graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Winner of 7 John Barrymore Awards, 2 Carbonell Awards & 5 NAACP Awards/Hollywood. Master of Arts in Media Studies (New School/NY) Agents: Henderson Hogan Agency NYC (Thanks) IG @thelovelygt Quote "When I Iook back over my life, and I think things over...I can truly say that I've been blessed" Peace

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Actor, teacher and performance poet Steven Willis has appeared in over a dozen plays and new works throughout the Midwest. His most recent credits include Lynn Nottage’s SWEAT, Ike Holter’s HIT THE WALL and Alice Birch’s REVOLT SHE SAID REVOLT AGAIN. He received an MFA in theater from the University of Iowa in 2021 and currently attends the Iowa Writers Workshop for Poetry. His live spoken word performances have encompassed over a 1,000,000 views on YouTube and is a 3 Time Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist.

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Wayne Wilson is excited to join his first Broadway workshop. Baltimore native and recent graduate of SCAD, he’s recently spent his time singing with Ye’s Sunday Service and filming for the upcoming George C. Wolfe film, Rustin. He salutes his fellow Air Force and military family, having served as an Arabic cryptologic linguist. He thanks his Mom, Dad, agents at HCKR, his manager Shana, Keenan and Lindsey Scott for giving him license to tell this story. -@Iamwaynewilson

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Jasmine Aiyana Garvin (She/Her/Hers) is a lifelong Poughkeepsie resident and a 2021 Graduate from The New York Conservatory For Dramatic Arts, where she received her Associates Degree in Musical Theatre. She recently received a spot in Warner Brother’s Top 10 Actors In Training 2021. You can usually find her on TV sets or running around city hall. Her goal as a performer is to inspire others to pursue their dreams regardless of how they started, or where they come from.

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César Alvarez (they/them) is a composer, lyricist, playwright, and performance maker. They create large experimental musicals as non-normative possibility spaces for embodiment, inter-dimensionality, socio-political transformation, kinship and coexistence. With a background as a jazz saxophonist, band leader and sound artist, César's work inhabits a space between the worlds of theater, music, performance art and social practice. César has written five full-length musicals, Futurity (2016 Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical); The Elementary Spacetime Show; The Universe is a Small Hat; Noise (a commission of The Public Theater); and The Potluck. 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). In 2015 César co-founded Polyphone, a festival of new and emerging musicals at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and served as Artistic Director for five seasons. César was a 2018-20 Princeton Arts Fellow, 2020-22 Hermitage Fellow, a recipient of The Jonathan Larson Award in 2016, the Kleban Prize for lyrics in 2022 and is currently under commission at Playwright's Horizons and Denver Theater Center. César is an Assistant Professor of Music at Dartmouth College.

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SARAH BENSON  |  Director

Sarah Benson (She/Her) is a theater director based in New York City and one of the three Directors of Soho Rep. Recent credits include: Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview (Soho Rep, TFANA, Berkeley Rep, play awarded Pulitzer Prize for Drama); Suzan-Lori Parks’ In The Blood (Signature Theater) for Soho Rep: Richard Maxwell’s Samara with music by Steve Earle; César Alvarez and The Lisps’ Futurity (ART, Walker Arts Center and in New York with Ars Nova, Lucille Lortel Outstanding Musical, Callaway Award for Direction); Branden Jacobs-Jenkins An Octoroon (Soho Rep, TFANA; OBIE Best Play); Lucas Hnath’s A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney; Sarah Kane’s Blasted (OBIE award for direction, Drama Desk nomination); and David Adjmi’s Elective Affinities with Zoe Caldwell (site-specific). She is a Vilcek Foundation awardee and moved to New York from London on a Fulbright. She also directed the award-winning 2019 Skittles Superbowl commercial Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical (Town Hall).

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Anthony Alfaro  |  César

Anthony Alfaro (They/Them) National Tours: On Your Feet! (1st National), Mamma Mia! (national & international ). Off Broadway: The View UpStairs (Original Cast), The Loophole (in development at the Public Theater). Regional credits include: Paper Mill Playhouse, The Kennedy Center, TUTS, Baltimore Center Stage, Fulton Theatre, NSMT, Arvada Center. Additionally Alfaro is a singer/ songwriter who fronts the NYC based Glam Rock & Soul band, TONY & THE KIKI. Join The Kiki on IG & TikTok @tonyandthekiki & be sure to subscribe to their YouTube Channel & stream their original music wherever you get your tunes.

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ESTEBAN ANDRES CRUZ  |  Cesar/Dad/Musician

Esteban Andres Cruz (They/Them) was born in Berwyn and raised in Cicero, IL and is thrilled to be making their NYSFF debut, reprising their role as Cesar in The Potluck.  Chicago theater: Steppenwolf, Writers' Theater, Victory Gardens, Factory Theater, 16th Street, Lyric Opera (as Puck) and many others.  West Coast: Pasadena Playhouse, Celebration Theater, Cygnet Theater and Sacred Fools.  Regionally: T.A.T.C., Peninsula Players, St. Louis Rep, Milwaukee Rep and Miami New Drama.  Off-Broadway: Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven (Drama Desk Award nomination).  2018 TCG National Fox Acting Fellow Award Winner, Joseph Jefferson Award Winner: Best Lead Actor (Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train) and After Dark Award for Best Choreography.  Select film: Spa Night (Cassavetti Best Feature), Valley of Bones, The Thin Line, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas and Rattled.  TV credits: Chicago Fire, Awkward, Easy, Idiot Sitter, The Bridge, You're The Worst and South Side.

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EL BEH  |  Jamie

El Beh (THEY and she only in rotation - if just using one: they/them) is a genderqueer, chinese-american theatre artist, performer, musician, singer, composer, mover, shaker, educator, forever student and glowing unty to many a nibling. They are a co-host of Drag Spectacular Spectacular and a proud company member of Shotgun Players, Mugwumpin and detour dance. Her cello playing has been heard with such folks as Taylor Mac, The Bengsons and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony and they were named one of KQED’s Bay Brilliant Artists to Watch. Growing edges and digging deep are their fuel along with shared experiences, community making, alternative mutual aid solutions and constantly trying to fuck up the systems that need fucking. They feel big, laugh loud, like to feel her bare feet in the grass and skinny dip in the ocean. During the pandemic they joyfully made music with families via the internets, developed their 2 hour morning routine that consists of 2 things, and ate more bread than she ever has in their entire life combined. Blessedly they emerged into the queer haven of Matt Ray and Taylor Mac's The Hang and are more than grateful to be jumpin' aboard this queer train to Queersville too.

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ALEX BECHTEL  |  Mike/Music Assistant/Musician

Alex Bechtel (He/Him) is a multidisciplinary artist dedicated to the creation of new works of music, theatre, and musical theatre. He is a composer, actor, sound designer, music director, and multi-instrumentalist, and a company member of the experimental theatre ensemble Lightning Rod Special. Recent credits include: Music & Lyrics for Lightning Rod Special’s The Appointment (NYTimes Critics’ Pick & Best of 2019 List), and original music for People’s Light & Theatre Company’s Shakespeare in Love, Arden Theatre Company’s The Light Princess, Treasure Island and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Two Gents, Henry V, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night. Bechtel has received Barrymore Awards for Music Direction, Leading Actor in a Musical, and Original Music. In 2015, he was awarded an Independence Fellowship in the Arts. He is the creator/composer of The West, Philadelphia Nocturne, Cheer Up, Dostoevsky, and Penelope. See and hear more at

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ARI BRAND  |  Jim/Musician

Ari Brand (He/Him) is thrilled to be working here at NYS&F for the first time. His NYC theater credits include: Prayer for the French Republic (MTC); My Name Is Asher Lev (Off-B'way); The Neil Simon Plays (B'way); The Lucky One (Mint); Black Tie (Primary Stages); Romeo and Juliet (Public Theatre/NYSF); Much Ado About Nothing (NYCT); Scenes From Childhood (written by Ari Brand, 14th St Y). Other theater: Bad Jews (Geffen Playhouse); Mary Zimmerman's Arabian Nights (Berkeley, KC Reps); Last Night of Ballyhoo (Bay Street); Diary of Anne Frank (Westport); Diner (DTC); My Name Is Asher Lev (Long Wharf). TV/Film: Fosse/Verdon; Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; The Other Two; FBI; White Collar; To The Flame; Listen. B.A. Wesleyan University; BADA; LABA Fellow. With immense gratitude to Cait. Dedicated to grandpa George.

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ANDREW R. BUTLER |  Bill/Musician

Andrew R. Butler (He/Him) is an actor, writer, and composer. At NYSAF: César Alvarez's The Elementary Space Time Show. NYC theater: the titular role in Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future (Ars Nova; Drama Desk and Lortel nominations for Outstanding Actor In A Musical); the American Cryptids concert series (Joe's Pub; Jackson Heights); Jaclyn Backhaus's Folk Wandering (Pipeline Theatre Co.); Haruna Lee's Memory Retrograde (Under The Radar); The Skin Of Our Teeth (Theatre For A New Audience); On The Rocks' Edelweiss (Ars Nova); César Alvarez's Futurity (Ars Nova/Soho Rep) and The Universe Is A Small Hat (Babycastles). As a writer/composer Andrew received the Jonathan Larson Grant and the Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical for Rags Parkland. On the socials: @andrewrbutler

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Bianca “b” Norwood (They/Them/b) is an actor born and raised in Fresno, California.  They live in Brooklyn, NY. Bianca exists between genders, generations, races, cultures, and coasts. This multitude, queerness, or “space between“ is often reflected in the characters they play, and the worlds they inhabit. Former collaborations include work at Manhattan Theatre Club, Tectonic Theatre Project, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, and Clubbed Thumb. TV credits: “WeCrashed” “Let The Right One In”.  Bianca is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

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MAYA SHARPE  |  Sandi/Musician

Maya Sharpe is multi-passionate maker and thinker. Maya's passion lies in exploring simplicity in humanity through composition. Using this tool to demonstrate there is more of a connection and love between everything than the politically derived disconnect and hatred.

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Barbara Walsh  |  Mom

Barbara Walsh (She/Her): Broadway: FALSETTOS-Trina (Tony and Drama Desk nominations- LA Ovation Award). COMPANY-Joanne (Drama Desk nomination) BLOOD BROTHERS- Mrs Lyons HAIRSPRAY-Velma Von Tussle, BIG- Mrs Baskin, ROCK N ROLL THE FIRST 5000 YEARS- Grace Slick, Joan Baez, NINE - Francesca, Off Broadway: FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, READING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, CSC MACBETH- Ross, CSC and Transport Group SUMMER AND SMOKE- Mrs Winemiller The PublicTheatre FIRST DAUGHTER SUITE- Pat Nixon, Transport Group THREE DAYS TO SEE- Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller, Regional: MASTER CLASS- Maria Callas Paper Mill, GREY GARDENS- Edie Beale Studio Theatre, CARRIE- Margaret Studio Theatre, (Helen Hayes Award), ANGELS IN AMERICA- Rabbi, Dr Henry, Hannah, Bolshevik, Ethel Rosenberg Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE- Sonia KC Rep/ Baltimore Center Stage. National Tours: OKLAHOMA (1980), NINE, LES MIZ, CHESS ( Carbonell Award) FALSETTOS, OKLAHOMA ( Aunt Eller) 2022 TV: ALL MY CHILDREN, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, MADAM SECRETARY, LAW&ORDER, LAW AND ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT, MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL.

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KATIE MADISON  |  Music & Lyrics

Katie Madison (She/Her) is a composer, writer, director, producer, and vocalist based in the Canarsie and Munsee Lenape land known as Brooklyn. She is a 2021 Jonathan Larson Award finalist, and was recently seen in conversation with New York Times best selling author Ibi Zoboi debuting a digital commission she produced with Kweli Journal. Katie is part of the inaugural cohort of the Hi-ARTS Artspace Exchange Program in collaboration with the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. She is a 2021 New York Stage and Film Founders' Award finalist, and was one of three featured emerging artists in the 2021 Crossroads Theatre Genesis Festival. In August of 2021, Katie used her New York City Artist Corps Grant to produce, direct and perform in a concert of her work at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center. She was chosen by The Downtown Alliance in collaboration with En Garde Arts and The Tank to re-open New York City in their first live performance post pandemic. Katie was a Critical Breaks Resident with Hi-Arts in April 2021 developing her show Sun Songs. Her show [ taking ] space was a 2019 Sundance Theatre Lab finalist. Find her original digital work on


Deborah Cowell (She/Her) is an editor, writer, and digital artist. Working primarily with black and white photography, video, and film, Deborah has had recent work commissioned by Kweli Journal (March 2022), the University of Michigan School of Musical Theater and Dance (November 2020), Hi-Arts (May 2021), The American Opera Project (June 2021). Her work has been featured by The Weeksville Heritage Center (August 2021), Judson Memorial Church (June 2020), The Downtown Alliance in collaboration with En Garde Arts and The Tank. She is currently building a portfolio of black and white candid portraits and still life in and around local Black, Queer musical theater artists developing new works and New York City at large. Debbie has documented the development of shows such as Bye Bye Self-Love Hello Pop-Tarts by Daniel James Belnavis, Spirit in the Vine (words by Jay St. Flono & music by James Dargan, Homegoing (music by Jarrett Murray, book & lyrics by Katie Madison), [ taking ] space (book, music & lyrics by Katie Madison), Sun Songs (music & lyrics by Katie Madison) and other untitled works in development. Deborah Cowell is a product of the public school system, first grade through graduate school.

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Lily Houghton (She/Her) is a twenty-six-year-old playwright born and raised in Manhattan. Her plays have been produced/developed at MCC Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company, EST/Youngblood, NYU, Seattle Repertory Theater, Normal Ave, The Flea Theater, Yale, Contemporary American Theater Festival and Jermyn Street Theatre in London. She has won two Sloan Foundation Science Grants, the Elizabeth George Grant and was awarded the Launch Commission from the Atlantic Theater Company. She is a proud member of the Obie winning Youngblood at EST. Lily currently has television projects in development at Amazon with Blake Lively's B for Effort, Sister, Rebelle Media, Dakota and Elle Fanning's Lewellen, Belletrist and Temple Hill. She loves her brother, Henry.

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Leigh Silverman (director) first directed at NYSAF in the late 90’s and has gratefully returned many summers developing all kinds of work with incredible artists. Her Broadway credits include: GRAND HORIZONS (2ST; Williamstown Theater Festival); THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT (Studio 54); VIOLET (Roundabout; Tony nomination); CHINGLISH (Goodman Theatre; Longacre); and WELL (Public Theater; ACT; Longacre). She has directed over 60 world premiere new plays and musicals in New York including at the Signature Theater where she first met the Houghton family and discovered they were the most generous, loving and quadruple threat talent family she had ever known. She received the 2019 Obie for Sustained Excellence in Directing.

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Midori Francis (She/Her) is an Emmy nominee for her portrayal as Lily in the Netflix/21 Laps series "Dash and Lily". Critics and fans alike marveled at Francis's ability to craft a three dimensional portrait full of layers, depth, and contradictions. It's in the theater world where Midori got her start. She's a Drama Desk and Obie Award recipient for her work in the play THE WOLVES. She received another Drama Desk nomination for her critically acclaimed performance in USUAL GIRLS. In the feature realm, Midori had a hilarious turn in the summer Universal blockbuster GOOD BOYS. Midori can currently been seen in Netflix's AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY and the Mindy Kaling HBO MAX series THE SEX LIVES OF COLLEGE GIRLS.

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BILL HECK  |  Billy

Bill Heck  (He/Him) stars in the upcoming FX for Hulu series, THE OLD MAN, playing the young version of Jeff Bridges’s character. Playing the younger version of stars has become something Bill takes on happily such as also playing the younger version of Jon Voight on Showtime’s RAY DONOVAN.  Other television credits include Netflix's LOCKE & KEY, TNT’s THE ALIENIST, AppleTv’s LITTLE AMERICA, among others. He can also be seen as a series regular role in Amazon’s adaptation of the hit horror film, and novel by the same name, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Bill grabbed the admiration of the Coen Brothers when they recast Matt Damon's role (due to scheduling conflicts) with Heck, in Netflix's, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS. Heck starred in Broadways Revival opposite Alan Cumming and played the role of Cliff opposite all three of the actresses that played Sally Bowels.  Michelle Williams, Emma Stone and Sienna Miller.  On the big screen, Bill stars in the upcoming indie film, SMALL TOWN WISCONSIN, and the Amazon feature film I’M YOUR WOMAN, opposite Rachel Brosnahan.

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JAKE HOROWITZ  |  Roger/ Loud Chewer 

Jake Horowitz (He/Him) stars as Everett in Amazon Studios The Vast of Night which had its US Premiere and won the 2019 Slamdance Audience Award. Upcoming: Luca Guadagnino’s Bones & All opposite Timothée Chalamet. Other film projects include the starring roles in Mickey Reece’s Agnes, Adam Bloom, and Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Jake’s New York Off Broadway Stage Debut was in Our Town directed by David Cromer. He has gone on to star on stage in Dutch Masters (Wild Project) directed by André Holland, The Sensuality Party directed by Danya Taymor (The New Group), King Lear directed by Arin Arbus and Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (both at Theatre for a New Audience). He is a graduate of LaGuardia High School, and will be Juilliard School Class of ‘23.

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Henry Houghton (He/Him) has been acting his whole life and really loves it. He worked at the Museum of Natural History for ten years and is now an usher at Signature Theatre Company. He was part of AMAS theater in high school, then Afterwork Theater for seven years, and is now a member of Epic Players, a neuro-diverse theater company in Manhattan. Acting, singing and watching Oscar movies with his cat Roscoe are his favorite hobbies. He loves his sister, Lily.

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Christine Newberry is thrilled to be performing in this year’s season of NYSAF. She is 18 years old and performed as Wednesday in the EPIC Players Cabaret Show in 2021 and was part of the first All-IN(clusive) Theatre Ensemble. She is coached in voice, theatre and piano. She attends Wagner College pursuing a Vocal Performance degree. Christine’s goal is to become a Broadway actress, something she’s set her mind to since an early age.

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Diana Burbano (She/Her) a Colombian immigrant, is a playwright, an Equity actor, and Literary Manager of Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble. Diana’s play Ghosts of Bogota, won the Nu Voices festival at Actors Theatre of Charlotte in 2019. Ghosts was commissioned and debuted at Alter Theater in the Bay Area in Feb 2020. Sapience was a Playground-SF 2020 Winner and was featured at Latinx Theatre Festival, San Diego Rep 2020. Fabulous Monsters, a Kilroys selection, will  premiere at The Public Theatre of San Antonio, featuring the music of FEA in 2023. She was in Center Theatre Group’s 2018-19 Writers Workshop cohort and is in the Geffen’s Writers Lab in 20-21. She has worked on projects with South Coast Repertory, Artists Repertory Theatre, Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble and Center Theatre Group and Livermore Shakespeare Festival. Diana recently played Amalia in Jose Cruz Gonzales' American Mariachi at South Coast Repertory and Arizona Theatre Company, and Marisela in La Ruta at Artists Repertory. You can also see her as Viv the Punk in the cult musical Isle of Lesbos. She is the current Dramatists Guild Rep for Southern California.

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ELISA BOCANEGRA  |  Devisor and Director

Elisa Bocanegra (She/Her) is the founder of HERO Theatre, which she started with the help of her mentor, Olympia Dukakis. She is a Fulbright Scholar and the current Pfaelzer Award winner at NYSAF, where she was also part of the NEXUS program. Elisa won the TCG Leadership U Grant, the nation's largest grant of its kind. This allowed her to be part of the Leadership Team at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for two seasons. Her stage directing credits include Troy, a modern retelling of The Trojan Women about women and homelessness. She directed Troy and worked alongside Kilroy List playwright Amina Henry in the development. Bocanegra and Henry are recent recipients of an NEA award. Other directing credits include Festival Irene: A Tribute to Playwright Maria Irene Fornés, The Floating Island Plays by Eduardo Machado, and a new screen and stage project called Nuestro Planeta, which focuses on educating Latinx audiences about environmental justice within the Americas. As an actor, she can be seen on season two of Apple TV's "Physical", starring Rose Byrne, and will be returning for season three. Her first film, Girlfight, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at The Sundance Film Festival.

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Camila Cano-Flavia was most recently seen guest starring on NBC’s THE BLACKLIST and LAW AND ORDER: SVU. She can next be seen recurring on Showtime’s THREE WOMEN and in the independent feature BABY RUBY. Camila starred in the revival of Erica Schmidt’s daring adaptation of MAC BETH at Hunter Theatre Project and made her Broadway debut in the Ivo Van Hove-directed production of NETWORK opposite Bryan Cranston. She also starred in the critically acclaimed production of DANCE NATION at Playwrights Horizons, which won the Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble; and in the world premiere of COAST STARLIGHT at La Jolla Playhouse. Her TV credits include starring as the iconic Frida Khalo on HBO’s LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, ABC’s FOR LIFE, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and MADAM SECRETARY.  She graduated with a BFA in Acting in 2018 from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Camila was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


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Helena Betancourt (She/Her) is a Colombian born American actor whose real-life immigrant story is as rich as many of the characters that she has brought to both the large and small screen. Her latest, a larger-than-life Latina named “Conchi” in the upcoming Netflix holiday movie “Christmas with You” starring Freddie Prinze Jr. Betancourt’s Conchi is a scene stealing meddling sister-in-law on a mission. The made for tv movie adds yet another classic character to her list of credits that include Showtimes “Billions”, “Orange Is The New Black” and “Law &Order: Special Victims Unit”. Without a doubt Helena Betancourt is living her best life nurturing an acting bug she’s had since she was five years old. A career she hopes helps her fulfill another lifelong dream of visiting every Caribbean Island during her lifetime. In the meantime, remember her name, because Helena Betancourt seems destined for big things in the not so distant future

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MAKI BORDEN  |  Hernann

Maki Borden's most recent theatre credits include Our Lady of 121st Street dir. Phylicia Rashad (The Signature), Wolf in the River dir. Adam Rapp, Inanimate (The Flea), A 24-Decade History of Popular Music dir. Taylor Mac/Niegel Smith (St. Ann's Warehouse), Then They Forgot About The Rest dir. David Mendizábal (Intar). Maki trained at the University of Texas at Austin and with the LAByrinth Theater Company as an Acting Fellow.

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Sheila Tapia: Off-Broadway: CQ/CX (Atlantic Theater Co.), La Ruta (The Working Theater), ReEntry (Urban Stages), Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue (Culture Project/P73), Welcome To Arroyos (Lark/NYC Hip Hop Festival/NYTW) Naughty Prep School Stories (NYC Fringe Festival), The Wrath of Aphrodite (GayFest NYC.) Regional: Speed The Plow (Shakerbridge Theater), ReEntry (Baltimore Center Stage), Private Lives, ReEntry (Two River Theater Co.), How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (Round House Theater). Film: “Side Effects” alongside Jude Law & Catherine Zeta Jones, “Tick, Tick . . .Boom!” directed by Lin Manuel Miranda; TV credits include “Madam Secretary,” “Blindspot,” “New Amsterdam,” “Mrs. Fletcher,” “Mysteries of Laura,” “Royal Pains,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU.” This summer Sheila worked at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Company performing the role of Sra. Costa in The River Bride, by award winning playwright Marisela Treviño Orta. Sheila has also just completed her 1L year at The Elizabeth Haub School of Law where she is ranked in the top 6% of her class. Other Education – BA: University of Florida; MFA: Ohio University. Member AEA and SAG.

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Reza Salazar (He/Him) originated the role of Rafael in the world premiere production of Clyde’s (formerly called Floyd’s) at the Guthrie Theater. Broadway: Clyde’s (Helen Hayes Theater) Sweat (Studio 54). Off-Broadway: Richard II, Mobile Unit’s The Tempest, Oedipus El Rey (Public Theater) My Mañana Comes (Playwright’s Realm). Regional: Sweat (Arena Stage). His TV credits include: “Inside Amy Schumer” (Paramount +) “The Accidental Wolf,” (Topic) “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Daredevil,” (Netflix) “The Blacklist,” “Believe,” “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (NBC), "Louie," (FX) "The Knick," (Cinemax). Reza’s film credits include: The Prisoner, The Imperialists Are Still Alive, See Girl Run, The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz. Reza is also a musician who has performed in venues such as Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater.

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David Anzuelo - Theater acting credits: Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven (Labyrinth/Atlactic); Fishmen; Se Llama Cristina (Intar); Intimacy; Aunt Dan & Lemon (New Group). Regional Theater: Mother Road (Arena) ; Frost/Nixon (Rep Theater of St. Louis); Oedipus El Rey (Woolly Mammoth). Film: "A NY Christmas Wedding" (Netflix) ; "A Walk Among The Tombstones"; "Remember Me; You Won’t Miss Me". TV acting: "The Americans"; "Elementary"; "Succession"; "Blue Bloods"; "White Collar"; "Person Of Interest"; "Deadbeat", "Third Watch".

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JOSH RADNOR  |  Writer

Josh Radnor can currently be seen in the acclaimed Amazon series "Hunters" co-starring alongside Al Pacino with Jordan Peele executive producing. On television, Radnor is best known for his leading role as ‘Ted Mosby’ on CBS’ groundbreaking Emmy nominated series, "How I Met Your Mother". Additional television credits include Lou Mazzuchelli on "Rise" (NBC), and Jedediah Foster on "Mercy Street" (PBS). Film: Joey Soloway’s Afternoon Delight alongside Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple, Theresa Bennett’s Social Animals (Paramount) Upcoming Film & TV: "Fleishman is in Trouble" (F/X/Hulu), 3 Birthdays (dir: Jane Weinstock), All Happy Families (dir. Haroula Rose) 


Radnor has also made his mark as a director and writer. His film, Liberal Arts, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was later released by IFC. His directorial debut, HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE, debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Favorite U.S. Drama. 


Radnor has appeared on stage in a number of theatrical productions, including Little Shop of Horrors at The Kennedy Center; the world premiere of Richard Greenberg’s The Babylon Line at Lincoln Center; the Broadway production of Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize winning play,  Disgraced; Roundabout Theatre Company’s special one-night-only gala reading of She Loves Me ; the Ovation Award-winning world premiere production of Jon Robin Baitz's The Paris Letter; and his leading role as the title character in Terry Johnson’s Broadway stage adaptation of the 1967 film The Graduate.


He also makes music with Aussie musician Ben Lee as Radnor & Lee. They released their second album, “Golden State,” on Flower Moon Records in 2020. His solo EP “One More Then I’ll Let You Go” was released in the spring of 2021. And he recently recorded a double album in Nashville (EULOGY: VOLUMES 1 & 2) which will be released later this year. 

In addition, Radnor debuted as a playwright with Sacred Valley, which premiered at the Mainstage of Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater.

SHERYL KALLER  |  Director

Sheryl Kaller (she/her) Some recent productions include A Walk on the Moon at George Street Playhouse,  Bliss by Tyler Beattie and Emma Lively at Seattle 5th Avenue Theater and The White Chip by Sean Daniels at 59 E. 59. She directed Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-nominated play on Broadway, Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly. Sheryl received a Tony Award nomination for Best Director for the Broadway production of Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts. Other projects include Frozen for Disney Cruise Lines, Our Town with Deaf West Theater and Pasadena Playhouse and Sacred Valley  by Josh Radnor at NYSAF. The world premieres of Billy Porter’s play While I Yet Live at Primary Stages, Nick Blaemire’s A Little More Alive (Barrington Stage and Kansas City Rep), Roundabout Theater Company’s Underground production of Too Much Too Much Too Many, by Meghan Kennedy, and the LCT3 production of Mr. Joy, by Daniel Beaty. She’s is currently in collaboration with playwrights Marilyn Ness and Josh Radnor, among others. For: Scott, Tobey, Tess and TPFK

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Broadway: reasons to be pretty (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League Award nominations), Other Desert Cities (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), House of Blue Leaves, Reckless. Select Off-Broadway: Wedding Band at TFANA; White Noise at Public Theater; The Way We Get By, Becky Shaw (Lucille Lortel nomination), This is Our Youth, Gemini, All This Intimacy at Second Stage; Sam Mendes' 2010 Bridge Project: As You Like It/The Tempest (BAM, the Old Vic and international tour). Film: the upcoming Devotion and Lilly, Wild, John Wick and John Wick: Chapter Two. Television: “Life in Pieces,” “The Newsroom,” “The Slap”.

Stage and screen actress Carla Gugino can next be seen in the Peacock limited series LEOPARD SKIN premiering this fall. She recently completed filming the Edgar Allen Poe-inspired limited series THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, for Netflix. Previously, she starred as 'Jett Kowalski' in the HBO Max series JETT. Other notable TV roles include ‘Olivia’ in THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, ‘Kathy Scruggs in MANHUNT: DEADLY GAMES, Amanda Daniels’ in HBO’s ENTOURAGE, ‘Abby Rhodes’ in CALIFORNICATION, and the title role in KAREN SISCO. Notable film roles include ‘Madeleine’ in GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE, ‘Emma’ in SAN ANDREAS, ‘Jessie’ in GERALD'S GAME, ‘Ingrid Cortez’ in the SPY KIDS TRILOGY, and ‘Sally Jupiter’ in WATCHMEN. She also starred in AMERICAN GANGSTER, MATCH, and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. On Broadway she has starred in AFTER THE FALL, DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS, , and ROAD TO MECCA. Off-Broadway: SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER and A KID LIKE JAKE, and Alice Birch’s ANATOMY OF A SUICIDE.

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Anna Deavere Smith (She/Her) is a playwright and actress. She’s credited with having created a new form of theater. Her works for the theater are composed of excerpts of hundreds of interviews. They tell stories about contemporary issues from multiple perspectives. Plays and subsequent films include Fires in the Mirror and Twilight Los Angeles, Let Me Down Easy, and Notes From the Field about the school to prison pipeline. Movies include Philadelphia, The American President, Rachel Getting Married and Billy Crystal’s new movie Here Today. Television: "Inventing Anna", "The West Wing", "Nurse Jackie" and "Black-ish". President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She’s the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, several Obie awards, and the George Polk Career Award in Journalism. She was a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for two Tony Awards. She’s a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has several honorary doctorate degrees including those from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Spelman College and Juilliard. She received an honorary doctorate from Oxford last fall.

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MARC BRUNI  |  Director

Marc Bruni (He/Him) directed the Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway, in the West End, US/UK Tours, and in Australia, winning the Helpmann and Green Room Awards for Best Direction of a Musical. Bruni’s other directing credits include: Trevor the Musical (Off Bway- Stage 42, Writers Theatre), The Explorers Club (Manhattan Theater Club), The Tale of Despereaux (With PigPen Theatre Co.- Old Globe Theatre, Berkeley Rep), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre and Royal George in Chicago- Jeff Award nom for Direction), Hey, Look Me Over!, Paint Your Wagon, Pipe Dream and Fanny for NY City Center Encores!, The Music Man, How to Succeed.., and 50 Years of Broadway (Kennedy Center), Roman Holiday: The Cole Porter Musical (Golden Gate), The Sound of Music (Chicago Lyric Opera), Other People’s Money (Long Wharf-CCC Nom for Direction), I Hate Hamlet (Bucks County Playhouse), Presto Change-o (Barrington Stage), Ordinary Days (Roundabout Underground), and 7 shows for the St. Louis MUNY including Singin' in the Rain, My Fair Lady, The Music Man and The Sound of Music (Two Kevin Kline Nominations). He also directed the 8 episode streaming musical A Killer Party. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and member of SDC.

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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, Musical Theatre Factory, Chautauqua Institution, Feinstein’s/54 Below, and Joe's Pub. Preston conceived and wrote book, music, and lyrics for the 2019 Off-Broadway musical We are the Tigers (album now streaming);  Agent 355 (dramaturgy/co-book Jessica Kahkoska); and The Rage: Carrie 2, An Unathorized Musical Parody (Jeff Nominee, Best New Musical). Additional musical collaborations include A Very Netfl*x Christmas Musical: Now Streaming Live! and Amy Adams Wins an Oscar (books by Edward Precht). Plays: Modern Gentleman (2020 Pride Plays Festival) and Caroline (2021 Ars Nova Out Loud). Preston is a member of the Writers Guild of America East, the Ars Nova Play Group (2019-21), and an alum of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. He is currently developing a TV series with Freeform and recently staffed on an upcoming series for FX. @prestonmaxallen

TRIP CULLMAN |  Director

TRIP CULLMAN (Director). Broadway: Choir Boy, Lobby Hero, Six Degrees of Separation, Significant Other. Select off Broadway: I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard (Atlantic); Days of Rage, The Layover, Lonely I’m Not, The Substance of Fire, Some Men, Bachelorette, Swimming in the Shallows (Second Stage); Punk Rock (Obie Award), Yen, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gynecologic Oncology Unit At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Of New York City (MCC); Significant Other (Roundabout); Choir Boy, Murder Ballad (MTC); A Small Fire (Drama Desk nom.), Assistance, The Drunken City (Playwrights Horizons); The Hallway Trilogy: Nursing, The Last Sunday in June (Rattlestick); Dog Sees God (Century Center); Roulette (EST); US Drag (stageFARM); and several productions with The Play Company. London: The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, PA (Tricycle). Select regional: Geffen, Alliance, Old Globe, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Bay Street, Williamstown Theater Festival.

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Keelay Gipson (He/Him) is an Afro Surrealist writer and teaching artist whose plays include demons. (JAGFest @ Dartmouth), The Red and the Black (O’Neill Finalist), #NEWSLAVES (Princess Grace Finalist), imagine sisyphus happy (P73 Summer Residency @ Yale), Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of friederich schiller's classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival), The Lost Or, How to Just B (Kernodle New Play Award). AWARDS: NYSAF Founders’ Award, Barrington Stage Spark Grant. FELLOWSHIPS: Victory Gardens Playwrights’ Ensemble, Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, Lambda Literary New Voices, Playwrights Realm, Dramatist Guild Foundation. RESIDENCIES: MacDowell, City of New York Public Artist in Residence (PAIR), The Hermitage Artist Retreat. His work has been developed/supported by Roundabout, The Old Globe, Artist Repertory Theater, Bushwick Starr, New York Stage and Film, Ars Nova, National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop.

STEPH PAUL  |  Director

Steph Paul is a director/choreographer/creative who clears space for uninhibited physical truth. What comes up must come out. She weaves together her lived experience as a first-generation Haitian-American, body percussionist, dancer, athlete, and is passionate about art as a means to build a team. Recent credits include THE ROYALE (KCRep), AMERICA V2.1 (Definition Theatre), THE LAST MATCH (Writers Theatre), WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE SEA (Humana Festival), HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF (Victory Gardens Theater, Humana Festival), THE WOLVES (Studio Theatre - Helen Hayes Award Winner, Outstanding Choreography in a Play). International credits include Royal Opera House Muscat and National Theatre of Scotland. Steph is an Artistic Associate of Chicago Dance Crash, a proud member of SDC and a 2021 Princess Grace Award-winner. She is also a big fan of curating playlists, açaí bowls and improbable comebacks.

Artists In Residence
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NISSY AYA |  2022 Founders' Award Recipient

Nissy Aya (Nissy; she/ze/we) is a Black girl from the Bronx. She and all her younger selves tell stories and tall tales -- while helping others to do the same. As a cultural worker and writer, 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.

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STEPHEN BELBER |  Playwright

Stephen Belber’s (He/Him) plays have been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries. They have world premiered at Roundabout, the Atlantic, MCC, Primary Stages, the Geffen, the Huntington, the Humana Festival and elsewhere. He was an Associate Writer and actor for "The Laramie Project", and co-writer/actor on "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later". Belber has written and directed 3 feature films: "Management" (Jennifer Aniston/Woody Harrelson), "Match" (Patrick Stewart/Carla Gugino), and "What We Do Next" (Corey Stoll/Karen Pittman). Film scripts include "Tape" (Ethan Hawke/Uma Thurman, directed by Richard Linklater), "The Laramie Project" (associate writer), "Drifting Elegant", and "O.G.", (Jeffrey Wright, HBO Films). Television includes "Law & Order SVU", "Rescue Me", "Tommy", and multiple pilots for HBO, F/X, USA, TNT, ABC… Has worked on many studio films (including "Dallas Buyers Club"), and developed movies with Will Smith, Todd Phillips, Bennett Miller, Jay Roach and many others. Currently writing scripts for a Netflix series based on his original script The Madness. His next film-directing project is an adaptation of his play Dusk Rings A Bell.

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Kyle Beltran (he/him) - Broadway: The Cherry Orchard, In The Heights (& first national tour). Off-Broadway: A Case for the Existence of God (Signature, World Premiere), Lessons In Survival (Vineyard), Blue Ridge (Atlantic), Fire In Dreamland (Public), Tin Cat Shoes (Clubbed Thumb), The Amateurs (Vineyard), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Public, Delacorte), Head of Passes (Public), The Flick (Barrow Street), Gloria (Vineyard), The Fortress of Solitude (Public), Choir Boy (MTC), 10 Things to Do Before I Die (2ST). Regional: Williamstown, Center Theatre Group, Goodman, Dallas Theater Center, Steppenwolf, Yale Rep, The Old Globe. Film/Television: "Equity" (Sony Pictures Classics,) "Inventing Anna" (Netflix), "Olga Dies Dreaming" (Hulu, pilot), "American Rust" (Showtime), "David Makes Man" (OWN/HBOMax), "The Shivering Truth" (Adult Swim), "Horace and Pete" (Pig Newton), "The Big C" (Showtime), "Unforgettable" (CBS). BFA in Drama, Carnegie Mellon.

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Abigail Zealey Bess (She/Her) is an award-winning filmmaker, theatre director and educator. She has been directing theatre and film, specializing in new work since she arrived on these shores and established her film company, Weird Sisters, which began as a theatrical entity in 1997. Under the auspices of her company she has developed numerous projects in collaboration with many writers both established and newly emerging on the New York scene. She directed and produced her debut film, the award-winning baseball trilogy: "Play Ball!" (Fanfare for A Common Man, Random Acts of Intimacy, Caught in Time) that screened throughout the globe including the Berlin Film Festival, Cannes Director Fortnight, and at over 40 USA festivals including New York, Newport, Seattle and Savannah. In addition to garnering Best Film at seven USA festivals, she was awarded 1st Prize for Best Short Film by woman director at the LA Women In Film Competition. As a long-standing member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre based in New York, one of the leading developmental theatres of new plays in the USA, she has directed and produced numerous new works home and abroad. NY Theatres where she has worked include The Foundry Theatre, Ohio Theatre, Soho Repertory Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Here, Cort Theatre, Broadway, and internationally the Edinburgh Festival, the Young Vic, the Strand Theatre, London. Recent Theatre Credits: the award-winning NY Fringe Winner The Radicalization of Rolfe by Andy Burgh at the Players Theatre, the Soho Playhouse 2016, Paper Doll by Susan Eve Haar at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, Leviticus, Edinburgh Fringe 2018 with Sawyer Spielberg’s Theatre Company, WATG, Saugerties by SEH with Chad L. Coleman and Beau Garret at Hudson Guild Th in LA 2019 and Pre Pandemic; Spring Awakening, the Musical at NJ Shakespeare Theatre which just made it under the pandemic wire. She continues to head Weird Sisters developing feature film projects and theatrical ventures in NY, Regionally and in Europe devoted to the promotion of prolific women artists and writers giving voice to new thought-provoking work. Current Film Projects include her award-winning film "Icarus Stops For Breakfast" @IcarusBreakfast which has won over 30 Best Film Awards on the 2020/21 International film festival circuit and previously Mary and Louise, (Select Awards: Best Short film screenplay LA FF, Accolade Award Competition Special Merit, Best Composer Score, Brit Penrod Best Trailer, WIF Finalist). Full Length Features currently in development include "Walking Shadows", the story of two unlikely Vets finding friendship and rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of Vietnam by Chris Ceraso and 7 Variations of the Same Lover a quirky love story with magical consequences by Crystal Skillman. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, Cinefemme, SDC, Actors Studio PDU, NYWIFT, and Board Member of LPTW and Advisory Council for Dell Arte Opera. She teaches on the Faculty for the Graduate Film Program at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, Columbia University, NYCDA and is represented by Linda Weaver at Access Talent.Instagram: @azbess, @IcarusBreakfast Website:

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JAKI BRADLEY  |  Director

Jaki Bradley (She/Her) is a director for theater, TV and film. Recent theater projects include The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin (IRT), How to Load a Musket (LTR) White Noise (Berkeley Rep); Radio Island and Good Men Wanted (NYSAF); House Plant and 1969: The Second Man (NYTW: Next Door); Mama Metallica (Denver Center); and Playing Hot (Ars Nova). She has developed and presented work with The Public, Williamstown, Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, the O’Neill, and Arena Stage, among others. She has been a member of the Civilians R&D Group, an artist-in-residence at Ars Nova, a Drama League artist-in-residence and TV/Film Fellow, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Williamstown Directing Corps, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. In TV and film, she has written for Netflix, FX and Paramount and is developing her feature directorial debut.

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MOLLY CARDEN  |  Playwright, Performer

Molly Carden - New York credits: Emotional Creature (Signature Theatre), Please Continue (Ensemble Studio Theater), How To Live On Earth (Colt Coeur), Cherry Smoke (Working Theater), Downtown Race Riot (NYSF/Powerhouse Theater). Regional: Midwives (George Street Playhouse), Indecent (Weston Playhouse), The Carpenter (Alley Theatre), Translations (Studio Theatre), Frankenstein (Denver Center), The Night Alive (John Drew/Guild Hall), On Clover Road (Contemporary American Theater Festival), Emotional Creature (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Great Immensity, (The Civilians at Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Proud member of Colt Coeur, EST, and the 52nd St. Project. B.F.A. from UNCSA. Molly is thrilled to be a part of the NYSAF 2022 season!

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Adam Chanler-Berat’s (He/Him) work has been developed by Ars Nova, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and Barrington Stage Company. As an actor, he can be seen in HBOmax’s “Gossip Girl.” Broadway: Next to Normal, Peter and the Starcatcher, Amelie, Saint Joan. Off-Broadway: Assassins, Fortress of Solitude (Lortel Nom.), Rent, Fly by Night, How to Load a Musket, Nantucket Sleigh Ride, Zorba. TV/Film: "Delivery Man", "The Life Before Her Eyes," “NCIS: Nola,” “Soundtrack,” “The Code,” “Veep,” “Elementary,” “The Good Wife,” “Doubt.” He’s a proud founding member of The Commissary.

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SHAYOK MISHA CHOWDHURY  |  Creator, Director

Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a many-tentacled writer, director, and performer based in Brooklyn. Awards: Jonathan Larson Grant for musical theater. Next: Public Obscenities (Soho Rep & NAATCO); Speech (Philly Fringe). In process: Rheology (HERE Arts Center); How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia (Rhinebeck Writers Retreat). Recently: Brother, Brother (New York Theatre Workshop); Mukhangi (Under the Radar @ The Public). Film: "Vichitra", a series of experimental shorts including "Englandbashi" (Ann Arbor Film Festival), "An Anthology Of Queer Dreams" (Finalist for Third Coast’s Audio Unbound Award); "The Other Other" (Ars Nova), and "In Order To Become" (Bushwick Starr). Music: collaborator on the Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawn. Poetry: Cincinnati Review, TriQuarterly, Hayden's Ferry Review, and elsewhere. Residencies & Fellowships: NYSAF, Sundance, Fulbright, NYSCA/NYFA, Kundiman, NYTW 2050, Hermitage, Ucross, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Soho Rep Project Number One, Ars Nova Makers Lab, BRIClab, Mercury Store, Drama League. MFA: Columbia.

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JOHANNA DAY  |  Actor 

JOHANNA DAY. Broadway: THE NAP, SWEAT (Tony Nomination), YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, LOMBARDI, PROOF (Tony Nomination). Theatre: FLOYD’S (Guthrie), PEACE FOR MARY FRANCIS (The New Group), PETER AND JERRY (Second Stage; Drama Desk Nomination), APPROPRIATE (Signature; Obie Award, The Lilly Award), POOR BEHAVIOR (Mark Taper), REALISTIC JONESES (Yale), CHOICE (Huntington), THE RAINMAKER (Arena Stage; Helen Hayes Award), HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Vineyard). Television: “Madam Secretary” (five years recurring), “For Life,” “New Amsterdam,” “The Blacklist,” “Escape at Dannemora,” “The Kruick,” “The Americans,” “Masters of Sex,” “Alpha House,” “Royal Pains.” Film: “Worth,” “The Post,” Great Gilley Hopkins,” “How Far She Went,” “The Breatharian.”

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KATE DOUGLAS |  Composer, Performer

Kate Douglas (She/Her) is a writer, composer and performer. Her work includes Against Women & Music! with Grace McLean (The Civilians), Wonderland (Finalist, Jane Chambers Excellence in Feminist Playwriting Award) and The Apiary (Semi-Finalist, Page 73 Fellowship). Her work has been presented by The Met Cloisters, Ancram Opera House, Little Island and The McKittrick Hotel and developed at New Victory Theater, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Rhinebeck Musicals, the Writer’s Colony at Goodspeed and the New Musicals Lab at the Ferguson Center. She is an alumna of the Dramatist Guild Fellows, The Civilians R&D Group, The Orchard Project Greenhouse and Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. She is a three-time Women of Note at the New York Musical Festival. She is currently a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Writing Workshops and signed with Kobalt Music Publishing, currently on faculty at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. As a complement to her artistic practice, she studies bodywork and plants.

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LEE SUNDAY EVANS|  Director, Choreographer

LEE SUNDAY EVANS (Director) is a two-time Obie Award-winning director + choreographer, and the Artistic Director of Waterwell ( Select credits include: ORATORIO FOR LIVING THINGS by Heather Christian, DANCE NATION by Clare Barron, HOME by Geoff Sobelle, IN THE GREEN by Grace McLean, DETROIT RED by Will Power, CAUGHT by Christopher Chen, FARMHOUSE/WHOREHOUSE by Suzanne Bocanegra and THE COURTROOM, a reenactment of one woman's deportation hearings with transcripts arranged by Arian Moayed, now a feature film ( Her work has been seen at The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, BAM, Playwrights Horizons, Steppenwolf, The Atlantic, WP Theater, The Play Company, The Bushwick Starr, New Victory, ArtsEmerson, Edinburgh International Festival, among others. She is also a co-creator of The Flores Exhibits (

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Estefanía Fadul (She/Her) is a Brooklyn-based Colombian-American director. Recent projects include the world premieres of Eva Luna by Caridad Svich (Repertorio Español), The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle (Philadelphia Theater Company), Carla’s Quince created with The Voting Project (Drama League Award nomination), Zoom Intervention by Noelle Viñas (Weston Playhouse, NYTimes Critics Pick), The Same Day by Stefan Ivanov (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), and C. Quintana’s Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR). Estefanía has developed new work off-Broadway and regionally at the Public Theater, Playwrights’ Realm, NYTW, Chautauqua, Audible, Goodspeed, Juilliard, and more. She is the inaugural recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Pfaelzer Award, and an alumna of fellowships at Clubbed Thumb, the Drama League, O’Neill/NNPN, Williamstown, and Repertorio Español. She serves on the Drama League’s Board of Directors, and is a member of the Leadership Circle of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, New Georges Jam, Latinx Theatre Commons advisory committee, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and SDC. B.A. Vassar College.

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YVETTE GANIER  |  Writer, Performer

Yvette Gainer (She/Her) gratefully joins NYSAF as writing partner by invitation from Ms. Shona Tucker for the screenplay development of Shona's solo play, Growing Wild, where Yvette initially collaborated as dramaturg. Recently, Yvette became a 2021 Orchard Project Greenhouse Lab artist where she is in development of her TV pilot and a full-length play. In addition, Yvette is an Obie award winning actor (Breath Boom - Playwrights Horizons). Yvette has worked Broadway, Off-Broadway, London and Regional Theatre as well as TV/FIlm. Notably, Yvette originated roles with August Wilson including Rena in Jitney and Black Mary in Gem of the Ocean. Currently, Yvette has a recurring role on "New Amsterdam" (NBC). She is also part of a producing team developing a web series centered in the world of dating singles.

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Gethsemane Herron (She/Her) is a playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with JAG Productions, The Hearth, The Fire This Time Festival, The Liberation Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Playwright’s Center, Ars Nova, and WP Theater. She is a Resident Artist with Ars Nova’s Play Group, a 2020- 2022 member of the WP Lab, a 2021-2022 Jerome Fellow, and a 2022-2023 Many Voices Fellow at the Playwright’s Center. Additional residencies from VONA and the Millay Colony. Winner of the Columbia@Roundabout Reading Series. Winner of the 45th Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Finalist for Space on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residency, the Van Lier New Voices Fellowship at the Lark, and the Founders Award at New York Stage and Film. MFA: Columbia University. Gethsemane splits her time between New York City and Minneapolis, where she is a Proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild. She’s enamored with Sailor Moon and other magical girl warriors. She writes for survivors. 

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Rebecca Holderness-  Innovator, Entrepreneur, Artist, and Professor creating vitality and viability for cities, artistic scenes and beyond. Award winning director and innovator who developed the successful University of Milwaukee Wisconsin BFA in Acting: more than a decade of program development, creative work, and project creation delivering performance, education and projects that benefit cities, and the people that live in them. Directing venues include Shakespeare & Company, The Public Theatre, Lincoln Center, The Culture Project NY, Burning Coal, NC and Spooky Action in DC. A critically acclaimed director and Zelda Fichandler Award winner, Holderness is founder/CEO of 2Ft.D – a SAAS business for the entrepreneurial developer and the capital investment that supports them. 2Ft.D is automated expertise for neighborhood-based development aimed at breaking barriers for growth that works for communities now and in the long haul. Alum: Columbia University (MFA), Vassar College, member of SSDC. RH is also an IYT yoga teacher and holds a certificate in Authentic Leadership/Naropa. Proud single mother of Lawson Mitchell (Bard) and dog owner (Annie) and custodian of “Sierra’s Sister’ an epic Sourdough Starter.

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CEDWAN HOOKS  |  Puppeteer, Puppet Artist

Cedwan Hooks is a puppeteer and puppet artist from Kansas City, KS whose world-class work has appeared internationally. He spent two years as a puppet designer and costume character trainer for the DreamWorks Experience in Macau. He also headed up the puppet workshop for Warner Brothers/DC 'Universe’s Doom Patrol" and worked as a puppeteer on the show. He was also a puppeteer, puppet builder and wrangler on "Helpsters", a show created for Apple TV + by Sesame Workshop. He was an assistant puppeteer and puppet wrangler on BBC’s "Moon and Me" (created by "Teletubbies" creator Andrew Davenport). Additionally, Cedwan has created walkaround and puppet works for Comedy Central, the Georgia Aquarium and The Public Goods Projects. He has also been a puppetry consultant for 20th Century Fox World in Malaysia. He continually performs as a puppeteer on stages and screens all over the world. Cedwan’s background as a performer informs the decisions he makes as a designer to the benefit of the client. He trained as an intern at Mesner Puppet Theater, and as a student at the O’Neill Puppetry Conference. At home, he won the Blue Star Award for Outstanding Puppet Design and Creation from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. His mission remains to create and perform memorable characters that move their audience. 

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SHAYFER JAMES  |  Composer, Performer

Shayfer James is an internationally touring songwriter, theater and film composer. He has composed, co-created and performed theater works in Iceland, London, NYC, and Jersey City and has developed theatrical works with Kate Douglas at Rhinebeck Musicals, the Writer’s Colony at Goodspeed and The O'Neill Theater Center. Shayfer has also composed the score and original songs for various films including The Ranger and Offeason (both available on Shudder) and has independently released seven original LPs/EPs since 2010, with a U.S. tour and new album release coming in late summer/fall of 2022.

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TIM J. LORD  |  Playwright

Tim J. Lord is the recipient of the inaugural Apothetae-Lark Fellowship for a writer with a disability, the 2019 Reg E. Cathey Writing Residency at the Orchard Project, and a 2017-18 Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. As a native of the Midwest and a member of the disability community he tells stories of people and communities who are often overlooked on our stages in order to illuminate ignored and underrepresented perspectives. His play We Declare You a Terrorist premiered at Round House Theatre in April 2022. Other work has been developed and produced at The Public Theater, The Lark, The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Queens Theatre in the Park, New Harmony Project, The Playwrights’ Center, Geva Theatre, Pillsbury House + Theater, Circle Rep, the Summer Play Festival, The Cutout Theatre, The Working Theater and The 52nd Street Project. Tim studied playwriting with Paula Vogel and Chay Yew, and is a graduate of the MFA Playwriting Program at the University of California, San Diego.

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ROOPA MAHADEVAN  |  Composer, Vocalist

Roopa Mahadevan is a leading second-generation Indian classical and crossover vocalist in the American diaspora known for her powerful and emotive voice, versatility, and community spirit. Roopa collaborates with leading NYC musicians in jazz, R&B/soul, free improv, and various world traditions through her ensemble Roopa in Flux, directs innovative choir Navatman Music Collective, and is a sought-after vocalist for leading Bharathanatyam/modern dancers. Roopa received Carnatic training under Asha Ramesh and later Suguna Varadachari through a Fulbright scholarship to India.  She has performed in diverse venues as Music Academy during the December festival in Chennai, Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, which awarded her the title “Kala Ratna”, Carnegie Hall, MET Museum, Joe’s Pub, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, and more. She is a soloist on several albums, including Christopher Tin’s Grammy Award-winning Calling All Dawns, and active in several ensembles, such as Brooklyn Raga Massive. Roopa has been invited to residencies at Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, Hedgebrook, Ryder Farm, and MASS MOCA, and Joe's Pub Working Group. In a previous avatar, Roopa worked in public health policy, following degrees from Stanford University.

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GLORIA MAJULE  |  Playwright

Gloria Majule is a playwright from Dodoma, Tanzania presently residing in Seattle, WA. She seeks to tell stories that bring multiple black voices together from across the world, and are accessible to black audiences no matter where they are. She writes primarily for and about the black diaspora. Gloria is an inaugural recipient of Atlantic Theater Company's Judith Champion Launch Commission. Other Awards and Honors include: Selection - Great Plains Theatre Conference (2022) | Second Place Winner – A is For Playwriting Contest (2021) | Finalist – Alliance/Kendeda Playwriting Competition (2021), Bay Area Playwrights Festival (2021, 2020) | and Semifinalist – O'Neill National Playwrights Conference (2022), Blue Ink Playwriting Award (2022), UCROSS + Blank Theater Future of Playwriting Prize (2022), Bay Area Playwrights Festival (2022), Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series (2020). Selected development history includes: Great Plains Theatre Commons, Alliance Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse and Aye Defy. Gloria graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a BA in Performing & Media Arts and Spanish, and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama.

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GRACE MCLEAN  |  Writer, Performer

Grace McLean (She/Her) is a performer, writer and composer. Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Off-Broadway and Regional include New Group, MCC, LCT3, The Public, Vineyard, La MaMa, BAM, Weston Playhouse, ART, Williamstown Theatre Festival. TV: The First Lady (Showtime), The Other Two (HBO Max).  Her first musical In The Green earned her a Richard Rodgers Award for her writing and a Lortel for her performance. Grace McLean & Them Apples performed in the 2015 and 2016 seasons of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, and Grace toured Pakistan and Russia as an artistic ambassador with the US State Department. Writer-in-residence at Lincoln Center, Larson Grant recipient ('21) one of Broadway Women’s Fund’s Women to Watch (‘21), Civilians R&D Group (‘19-’20), MacDowell Fellow (‘18), Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award (‘17). The original cast recording for "In The Green" and EPs "Make Me Breakfast" and "Natural Disaster" are available now.

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TALENE MONAHON  |  Playwright

Talene Monahon (She/Her) is a Brooklyn-based playwright and actor. Her plays include Jane Anger (2022 Off Broadway Alliance Best New Play Nominee, New Yorker Critic’s Pick, Time Out Critic’s Pick, New York Magazine Approval Matrix,), How to Load a Musket (#3 on TheaterMania’s list of “The 10 Best Theater Productions of 2020”), Frankie & Will (MCC), proud revengeful ambitious (Play Per View) and All in Good Fun (Peterborough Players). Her work has been developed by Bedlam Theater, Red Bull Theater, Cape Cod Theater Project, and Northern Stage and her writing has been published in Stage Rights, The Cincinnati Review, and McSweeneys. As an actor, credits include productions at Roundabout Theater Company, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons, the Atlantic, MCC, New Georges, Encores!, Red Bull, La Jolla Playhouse, Gingold Theater Group, Partial Comfort. B.A.: Senior Fellow, Dartmouth College.

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jeremy o'brian  |  Playwright

jeremy o’brian is a first-generation Mississippi-born artist.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Tougaloo College before attending and graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Arts in African and African Diaspora Studies. He is currently a company member and teaching artist with Tectonic Theater Project, a playwright, and recording artist. He is the recipient of the Birmingham Black Repertory Theatre Company Black Queer Fellowship (2020),  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 (Workshop Production: JAGProductions), under one roof; or home to mississippi (Development: Liberation Theatre Co.), and boys don’t look at boys (Semi-Finalist: Playwright’s Realm Writing Fellowship). 

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IBI OWOLABI  |  2022 Drama League Fellowship Recipient

Ibi Owolabi (she/her) is an Atlanta-based director. Her work has been seen at 7 Stages, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Theatre Emory, The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, and the DC Black Theatre Festival. Ibi graduated from Georgia Southern with a degree in theatre, and was awarded the SDC Fellowship her sophomore year. Post-graduation, she moved to Actor’s Express for a directing internship, and then went on to become the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Alliance Theatre. Ibi directed several Zoom productions, including Well-Intentioned White People, Good Bad People, White-Ish, Stew, and Faith. Ibi’s recent in-person productions include These Shining Lives at USC, The Bluest Eye at Synchronicity Theatre, and Intimate Apparel at Actor’s Express. She is also a producer for Weird Sisters Theatre Project, a mixed media production company by women, for everyone.

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Jon Riddleberger  |  Puppeteer

Jon Riddleberger is a NYC-based actor, puppeteer, filmmaker and teacher. His work can be seen in the Clifford the Big Red Dog feature film and the BAFTA nominated television show Moon and Me. He recently finished work on a new Apple TV show called Hello, Tomorrow. He has travelled the world with renowned theater companies such as Handspring Puppet Company, Dead Puppet Society, and was recently in the NY Times critics pick Bill’s 44th (future dates TBA). He puppeteered the horses in the North American and Japanese tour of War Horse. His film “The Memory Trade” was produced by Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams and has been seen in festivals around the country. Jon is an adjunct teacher at NYU Tisch where he teaches puppetry to the drama students. You can find out more at:

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DOMINIQUE RIDER | Director / Curator

Dominique Rider is a Brooklyn-based director and curator. They believe in l[i/o]ving like it is the end of the world. Dominique’s work is concerned with answering the question: “What is a world unmade by slavery?” They have worked as a director, collaborator, and curator at The Playwrights Center, New York Stage and Film, Two River Theatre, Audible, Roundabout, Princeton University, BRIC Arts Media, MCC, The Old Globe, The Lark, Soho Rep, The Atlantic, and The Bushwick Starr among others. They are the director in residence for the National Black Theatre through 2022, a 2021 BRIClab resident artist, a 2019 NAMT directing observer, a co-producer for CLASSIX, and an inaugural member of Roundabout Theatre Company’s Directing Group. Broadway: reasons to be pretty (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League Award nominations), Other Desert Cities (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), House of Blue Leaves, Reckless. Select Off-Broadway: Wedding Band at TFANA; White Noise at Public Theater; The Way We Get By, Becky Shaw (Lucille Lortel nomination), This is Our Youth, Gemini, All This Intimacy at Second Stage; Sam Mendes' 2010 Bridge Project: As You Like It/The Tempest (BAM, the Old Vic and international tour). Film: the upcoming Devotion and Lilly, Wild, John Wick and John Wick: Chapter Two. Television: “Life in Pieces,” “The Newsroom,” “The Slap”.

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SRUTI SARATHY  |  Violinist, Singer & Composer

Sruti Sarathy (She/Her) (website:; Instagram: is a leading Carnatic (South Indian classical) violinist, singer, and composer based in the Bay Area and Chennai.  Sruti's music brings out the voice of the Indian violin in a contemporary and imaginative way.  Her original music uses the Carnatic sound to explore diverse South Asian identities and diasporic history. Sruti often takes the role of composer-performer for dance, film, and theater works.  She has received accolades in India and the United States for her artistry, including awards from the Madras Music Academy.  A graduate of Stanford University, Sruti is the recipient of several grants from organizations including Fulbright, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and most recently, the Creative Work Fund.  She is the creator of Sound Thoughts, a project exploring literary and musical resonances, and her debut EP, "The Wanderer," is forthcoming.<