MEXODUS is a concept album inspired by the estimated 4,000-10,000 enslaved people in the Southern part of the United States who pursued a journey into Mexico instead of looking north. This under told chapter of the Underground Railroad is an exploration of Black and brown bodies standing together against oppression. Listen to MEXODUS tracks here.
Content Note: sexual assault; systemic racism; white supremacy
BRIAN QUIJADA | Co-Creator and Performer
Brian Quijada is an actor, playwright, and composer and Co-Artistic Director of The WildWind Performance Lab at Texas Tech University. His hip-hop solo show WHERE DID WE SIT ON THE BUS? has been produced at Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista (Jeff Award), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Drama Desk Nomination), Boise Contemporary, 1st Stage, City Theatre Pittsburgh, and most recently, a digital production at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Drama League Nomination). His plays have been developed at The Kennedy Center, Pittsburgh CLO’s Spark Festival, Victory Gardens’ Ignition Festival, New Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Festival, and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Musical Theatre Conference. Commissioning institutions include Seattle Repertory Theater, A.R.T., 1st Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Kennedy Center. He is a proud member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre.
NYGEL D. ROBINSON | Co-Creator and Performer
Nygel D. Robinson is a singer, actor, writer, and multi-instrumentalist based in New York City. Select musician theatre credits include Larry in the workshop and Lincoln center concert version of BEAU: THE MUSICAL, Jesus in GODSPELL (St. Michael’s Playhouse), and Actor/Musician in THE ALL NIGHT STRUT (Milwaukee Rep). Nygel is the co writer of the new musical concept album MEXODUS alongside Brian Quijada.
Inspired by her experiences as a Latina living in the US, SOUTH is an original, one-woman musical by Florencia Iriondo about finding one’s roots and the place called home.
FLORENCIA IRIONDO | Book, Lyrics and Music
Florencia Iriondo is a true citizen of the world. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she lived in New Zealand and Ireland and has been in NYC since 2013. Florencia is a lyricist at the Tony-Honored BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, a Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference Finalist, an LMCC and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Creative Engagement grant recipient, and a member of The Dramatists Guild.
SOUTH, Florencia's original musical about family, identity, and belonging, is scheduled to be presented at the Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe Festival, now postponed due to the pandemic. Readings were presented at HB Studio, The Core Club, ArtsonSite, and The Players Club. The music debuted by curation at a sold-out concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
Florencia’s song-cycle WHO'S FLO was awarded by the Global Music Awards and the Hollywood Songwriting Contest. She’s the founder and executive producer of LinkedIn's original video and podcast series, having previously worked at MTV, Viacom, and Sky TV. She has studied musical theater at Estudio Julio Bocca, acting at Stella Adler Studio, sketch writing at Upright Citizens Brigade, and holds a B.A. in Communications from Universidad Austral.
LUIS D'ELIAS | Music
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Luis is a recent New York Innovative Theater Award winner for Outstanding Original Music.
An Electronics Engineering graduate, Luis has been involved in all aspects of music since his early days as a progressive rock guitarist, keen on combining Venezuelan traditions with the energy of rock and metal. Later, he went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music as a film composer and electronic producer, while performing, arranging, and collaborating with all sorts of artists, including A.R. Rahman, Alejandro Sanz, and Marcos Valle. Once settled in New York, he released his first album, Origenes y Destinos, which garnered nominations in several independent music awards festivals, all the while working as a sound designer for renowned software developer, Heavyocity. His band, New Caracas, has been featured in Billboard magazine and other major news outlets in Venezuela, and he most recently released their second production, NOS: an album inspired in the Latin American Diaspora.
FEDERICO DIAZ | Arrangements
Born in Mendoza, Argentina, Federico Díaz is an upcoming versatile musician of the new generation of guitarists with a multi-faceted career as a performing artist, arranger and composer in the classical and popular music worlds. His performances have taken him to distinguished festivals and concert halls in the US, Europe and Latin America. His passion for chamber music, tango and folklore lead him to collaborate with musicians such as Lionel Cottet, Philippe Quint, Daniel Binelli, and Juan Falú, among others. As arranger and producer, he has been working with singer Juana Luna. The most recent project was a collaboration with the NY Philharmonic Bandwagon Series. As a sought after studio musician, he recorded as sideman of a wide variety of projects. The most recent productions include the bolero duo album “Mucho Corazón” with Sol Liebeskind and “Erial” with Rodrigo Aranjuelo’s group Future Natives. This last piece was choreographed for the ABT Incubator project in April 2021. Federico studied at the University Mozarteum Salzburg with Eliot Fisk and at Manhattan School of Music with David Starobin. Recently, he completed the highly selective Doctor ́s Degree in Performance, at the Graduate Center CUNY under the guidance of Frederic Hand.
Fueled by his desire to connect with the Queer Asian community, transgender slam poet Dash goes on a cross-country tour with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. News of the tour reaches Henry, a transgender teenage blogger from Kentucky, who finds inspiration and solace in the the band's political and personal music as he explores his own relationship to gender. INTERSTATE is a Queer Asian-American pop-rock musical about two trans people at different stages of their journeys navigating love, family, masculinity, and finding community in the era of social media.
Content Note: adult language; racism, homophobia and transphobia; sexual intimacy; religious trauma; use of needles
MELISSA LI | Book, Music and Lyrics
KIT YAN | Book, Poetry and Additional Lyrics
Kit Yan (he/she/they) and Melissa Li (she/her) are a Queer Asian-American writing team based in New York City. They are 2021 Kleban Award winners, 2019 Vivace Award recipients from the Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation, 2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows, MacDowell Fellows, and Lincoln Center Writers-in-Residence. Their musicals include Interstate (Mixed Blood, NAMT, NYMF “Best Lyrics”), MISS STEP (in development), and Cancelled (Keen Company). Upcoming works include audio and virtual plays for Playwrights Horizons and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Their work has been supported by theaters around the country including The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theater, Weston Playhouse, Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Colony, Musical Theater Factory, and many others. For more, visit interstatemusical.com.
JESCA PRUDENCIO | Director
Jesca Prudencio is a director and choreographer dedicated to developing new theatrical works that humanize issues nationally and internationally. Recent works include UNREMARKABLE! A MELISSA LI AND KIT YAN CONCERT SPECIAL (Musical Theatre Factory); THE INTERVIEW, a virtual play by Ekaterina Avgustenyak (Arena Stage & Forum for Cultural Engagement, DC); INTERSTATE by Kit Yan and Melissa Yi (Mixed Blood); and the award-winning short film American Quartet (Filmelodic, NYC). Other credits include THE GREAT LEAP by Lauren Yee (Steppenwolf); VIETGONE and ACTUALLY (San Diego Rep); CALLING (La MaMa ETC); MAN OF GOD(East West Players); PDA (La Jolla Playhouse's WoW Fest); A&Q (Pineapple Lab, Philippines) and FAN (B-Floor, Thailand). She is a recipient of The Drama League Fellowship and the inaugural Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship.
JULY 31 & august 1
WHITE GIRL IN DANGER, a new musical from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael R. Jackson (A STRANGE LOOP), is the story of Keesha Gibbs, a young woman who lives in the "Blackground" of a melodramatic soap opera town called Allwhite. Tired of repetitive Blackground stories of enslavement and police violence, Keesha sets out to become Allwhite's leading heroine by appropriating the storylines of her three main rivals, Meagan, Maegan and Megan. But as she gains power for herself, she also attracts the attention of the Allwhite Killer, putting her story and her life in more danger than ever. A, thrilling, binge-worthy and wildly funny dark new musical satire.
MICHAEL R. JACKSON | Book, Music and Lyrics
Michael R. Jackson's 2020 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle winning A STRANGE LOOP (which had its 2019 world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73 Productions) was called "a full-on laparoscopy of the heart, soul, and loins" and a "gutsy, jubilantly anguished musical with infectious melodies" by Ben Brantley for The New York Times. In The New Yorker, Vinsom Cunningham wrote, "To watch this show is to enter, by some urgent, bawdy magic, an ecstatic and infinitely more colorful version of the famous surreal lithograph by M. C. Escher: the hand that lifts from the page, becoming almost real, then draws another hand, which returns the favor." In addition to A STRANGE LOOP, he also wrote book, music and lyrics for WHITE GIRL IN CHANGER. Awards and associations include: a New Professional Theatre Festival Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a Whiting Award, the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, an Antonyo Award, a Fred Ebb Award, a Windham-Campbell Prize, a Dramatist Guild Fellowship and he is an alum of Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group.
LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ | Director
Lileana Blain- Cruz is a director from New York City and Miami. Recent projects include: HANSEL AND GRETEL (Houston Grand Opera); AFROFEMONOMY (PSNY); ANATOMY OF A SUICIDE (Atlantic Theater Company); Fefu and Her Friends (TFANA); Girls (Yale Repertory Theater); MARYS SEACOLE (LCT3, Obie Award); FAUST (Opera Omaha); FABULATION OR THE REEDUCATION OF UNDINE (Signature Theatre) ; THUNDERBOLTS AND REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN (Soho Rep.); THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND and RED SPEEDO (New York Theatre Workshop); WATER BY THE SPOONFUL (Mark Taper Forum/CTG); PIPELINE (Lincoln Center); THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD (Signature Theatre, Obie Award); HENRY IV, PART ONE and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); THE BLUEST EYE (The Guthrie); WAR (LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and Yale Rep.); SALOME (JACK); HOLLOW ROOTS (the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater). Upcoming projects include: DREAMING ZENZILE (St. Louis Rep) and THE LISTENERS (Opera Norway). She was recently named a 2018 United States Artists Fellow and a 2020 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist. She is currently the resident director of Lincoln Center Theater. She is a graduate of Princeton and received her MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama.
SIVAN BATTAT | Leo Shull Musical Theater Fellow
Sivan Battat (she/they) is a director & cultural worker based in NYC. Sivan’s work is across genres - in the theatre, in community, in ritual celebration, and beyond. They are the Associate Artistic Director of Noor Theatre Company, and currently the Directing Fellow at Roundabout Theatre Company. Sivan is also a member of this year's TCG Rising Leaders of Color Cohort. Recent directing credits: Layalina, Martin Yousif Zebari (National Queer Theater); The Night Traveller, Salah Abdul Saboor (Cutting Ball Theater); Close to Home, Sharifa Yasmin (Uprising Theatre Company); Coexistence My Ass, Noam Shuster (Harvard University/Tour); Who the Fuck is Ahmed, Michael Zalta (Rough Draft Fest, LPAC); She He Me, Raphael Khouri (National Queer Theater); Baba Karam, Sanaz Toossi, McArabia, Sevan Kaloustian Greene (Atlantic Middle Eastern Mixfest); Pie Shop Play, Alice Pencavel (Corkscrew Festival); East o’, West o’!, Michelle J. Rodriguez (ANTFest, Ars Nova). Other residencies include: NYTW (Adelphi Residency), National Queer Theater (Mount Tremper Arts Residency), Roundabout Directors’ Group, 14th Street Y (LABA Fellowship), Studio Theatre (Artistic Apprentice). Sivan has assisted and associate directed extensively regionally & off-Broadway, with directors including Whitney White, Sam Gold, Rebecca Taichman, Neil Pepe, GT Upchurch, David Muse and more. Sivan seeks to bridge justice work and cultural work, bringing the power of performance to our movements, and the vision of movement work to our theaters. BA Wesleyan University. Sivanbattat.com
Elisa Bocanegra | NEXUS
Elisa Bocanegra is an actor, director, and producer. She is the founder of HERO Theatre in Los Angeles. Elisa was a TCG Leadership U grant recipient, which provided her the opportunity to work at OSF for two seasons. Her directing credits include TROY, where she teamed up with homeless shelters around Los Angeles to raise awareness of the crisis. Other directing/curating credits at Hero Theatre include The Floating Island Plays by Eduardo Machado and a 10 year-long environmental justice new works commissioning initiative called Nuestro Planeta. As an actor, she has performed at many theatres, including The Goodman Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, South Coast Rep, Center Theatre Group, Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and The Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her film debut was in the Sundance Film Festival winner, "Girlfight." Elisa is currently being mentored by Patrisse Cullors and is part of Cullors’ MFA in Environmental and Social Justice Arts Practice program at Prescott College.
SHAYOK MISHA CHOWDHURY | NEXUS
Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a many-tentacled writer and director. He is the creator of VICHITRA, an experiment in queer South Asian imagination, commissioned by Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, HERE Arts Center, Joe’s Pub, Sound Scene, and New York Stage and Film. Currently a Project Number One Artist at Soho Rep, Misha is an alumnus of The Public’s Devised Theater Working Group, Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab, Ars Nova’s Makers Lab, New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, and residencies at BRIC, The Drama League, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Recent: Brother, Brother (New York Theatre Workshop) with Aleshea Harris; MukhAgni (Under the Radar); How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia (Joe’s Pub). In the works: Public Obscenities (Soho Rep); Rheology (HERE Arts Center); SPEECH (Playwrights Horizons) with Lightning Rod Special. A NYFA/NYSCA, Fulbright and Kundiman fellow, Misha has been published in The Cincinnati Review, TriQuarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. shayokmishachowdhury.com
CHRIS DARBASSIE | Artist-in-Residence
Chris Darbassie is a New York based interdisciplinary artist. The first generation Trinidadian American aims to give breathe to Black people in storytelling and beyond. Interested in the discoveries of what it means to honor a life, Chris is charged to cultivate the exploration of alternate ways to exist, and in turn alternate ways to create. As a dramaturg, visual artist, and designer Chris has serviced devised works and theatrical productions in collaboration with National Black Theater, The Movement Theater Company, Criminal Queerness Festival, The Bushwick Starr, The Atlantic, Long Wharf Theater, Theater for a New Audience., and Playwrights Horizons. Notable sound design credits include Derek Fordjour’s Fly Away at Petzel Gallery, Jeremy O’Harris’s Black Exhibition at Bushwick Starr, and Neptune at Dixon Place and The Brooklyn Musuem. Wingspace 2019-2020 Sound Design Fellow. www.darbassiedesign.com"
ESTEFANÍA FADUL | 2020 Pfaelzer Award Recipient
Estefania Fadul (She/Her) is a Colombian-American director and producer. Recent projects: Carla's Quince created with The Voting Project (Drama League nomination), Zoom Intervention by Noelle Viñas (Weston Playhouse, NYTimes Critics' Pick), Christina Quintana’s Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR), The Same Day by Stefan Ivanov (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), Agent 355 with book, music, and lyrics by Preston Max Allen and book by Jessica Kahkoska (Chautauqua, MTF), Pranayama by James Anthony Tyler (Julliard), and Óye Oyá with book by Rebecca Martínez & music by Rodolfo Ortega (Milagro). Estefanía is the inaugural recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Pfaelzer Award, and an alumna of the O’Neill National Directors Fellowship, Drama League Directors Project, Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, NALAC Leadership Institute and Advocacy Leadership Institute, and Civilians’ R&D Group. Member: Drama League Directors Council, Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Latinx Theatre Commons advisory committee, and Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab. SDC. BA: Vassar College. www.estefaniafadul.com
KAREEM FAHMY | Artist-in-Residence
Kareem Fahmy is a Canadian-born playwright and director of Egyptian descent and was a 20-21 TCG Rising Leader of Color. His plays, which include American Fast, A Distinct Society, The Triumphant, Pareidolia, The In-Between, and an adaptation of the acclaimed Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building, have been developed at the Atlantic Theatre Company, New York Stage and Film, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Capital Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Northlight Theatre, Target Margin Theater, The Lark, Fault Line Theater, and Noor Theater. He has directed and developed new plays at theaters around the country, including MCC, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The New Group, New Dramatists, The Civilians, Geva Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, Portland Stage, Silk Road Rising, San Diego Rep, and Berkeley Rep. Fellowships/Residencies: Sundance Theatre Lab, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Phil Killian Directing Fellow), The O’Neill (National Directors Fellow), Second Stage (Van Lier Directing Fellow), Soho Rep (Writer/Director Lab), Lincoln Center (Directors Lab), New York Theater Workshop (Emerging Artist Fellow & Usual Suspect). Kareem is co-founder of the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at The Lark and of Maia Directors, a consulting group for organizations and artists engaging with stories from the Middle East. MFA in Theatre Directing: Columbia University. www.kareemfahmy.com
FILMMAKERS' WORKSHOP | Artists-in-Residence
The Filmmakers' Workshop serves a specially curated group of film and TV writers each year. We focus on fresh, ambitious work and prepare writers for success in a competitive industry.
Our tailored, process-oriented approach mirrors our celebrated development of new plays and musicals. For 2020-21 the program was redesigned as a 17-week virtual workshop to provide even deeper engagement and creative solutions for early-career screenwriters and TV writers during a time of uncertainty. It will culminate in a summer residency at Marist College during the 2021 NY Stage and Film Summer Season. Participants receive one-on-one mentorship, participate in round table discussions and workshops with industry leaders, and in-depth group discussions of their work. Read participant bios here.
JENNIFER GIBBS | NEXUS
Jennifer Gibbs is a playwright, performer, and screenwriter whose stories bridge platforms. Her work has been described as “a feast for the senses” (Time Out New York). Currently she’s collaborating on an audio-text-photography digital publication of her solo play Immortality, forthcoming from Massachusetts Review Working Titles. Jennifer’s two multiplatform series, Riot Mom and Trainhoppers, unfold across television, audio, and live landscapes. She recently completed a prose manuscript, O/Mother, which gives voice to the experience of serial grief (excerpted in Massachusetts Review Quarterly). She’s also developing a television series, Heartland, about our national divide. Jennifer’s plays have been presented at theaters including HERE Arts Center (HARP Artist Residency Production), the National Theater of Norway/International Ibsen Festival, Old Vic New Voices London, FringeNYC (Fringe Overall Excellence Award), Theater 167, Cherry Lane, LAByrinth, Williamstown, New Georges, and Joe’s Pub. Jennifer has received grants from the Rockefeller & Doris Duke Foundation MAP Fund and LMCC Swing Space, and a Collaboration Award from Women in the Arts & Media Coalition. She’s an Affiliated Artist at Theatre 167 and New Georges. Raised by back-to-the-land artists who taught her to drive a backhoe and brew her own kefir, Jennifer holds a BA from Harvard and an MA from NYU. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and son. Thank you NYSF for the NEXUS community!
KEELAY GIPSON | Artist-in-Residence, 2019 Founders' Award
Keelay Gibson is an Activist, Professor, and award-winning Playwright whose plays include demons. (JAG Fest/Dartmouth HOP Center), The Red and the Black (Finalist; The O’Neill, Sundance Theatre Lab), #NewSlaves (Finalist; Princess Grace, The O’Neill, Seven Devils), imagine sisyphus happy (Finalist; The O’Neill, P73 Summer Residency) CRH, or the placenta play (Semi- Finalist; The O’Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Conference, AADA Main Stage Live!), Nigger/Faggot (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), The Lost Or, How to Just B (Kernodle New Play Award), What I Tell You in the Dark (Finalist; Premiere Stages at Kean University), and Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of friederich schiller's classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival, partnership with Wendy’s Subway and Lambda Literary). He is a part of the new Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble, the recipient of a Barrington Stage Spark Grant, the NYSAF Founders’ Award, the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, as well as writing fellowships with La Madison Baldwin, Lambda Literary, The Amoralists, Page 73 and the Dramatist Guild Foundation. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of New York, the Administration of Children’s Services of the City of New York, New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Season at Vassar College and Yale University. His work has been developed at The Bushwick Starr, Wild Project, HERE Arts Center, Pace University, West Connecticut University, National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. He is published in The Best American Short Plays anthology by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books and 48 Hours in Harlem, Vol. 3 by Harlem9. He has taught workshops, courses and masterclasses at NYU, Pace University, Rutgers University, Fordham, and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Keelay and fellow playwright’s ensemble member Stacey Rose developed the “Requirements for BIPOC Artists” survey to hold theatres accountable
JACINTH GREYWOODE | Artist-in-Residence
Jacinth Greywoode is a New York-based composer, arranger, and music director. Recent compositional credits include: DEATH BY LIFE (commissioned by White Snake Projects); GONE MISSING Encores! Off-Center Lobby Project (New York City Center); IRON JOHN, (2020 Richard Rodgers Finalist, 2019 O’Neill NMTC Semifinalist, NAMT 31st Festival of New Musicals, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley New Works Festival, 2019 O’Neill Incubator Residency; Co-Book and Lyrics, Rebecca Hart); and BLACK GIRL IN PARIS (Civilians 2020 R&D Group; Book and Lyrics, AriDy Nox). Recent credits as music director/music arranger include A SOLDIER’S PLAY and THE ROSE TATTOO at American Airlines Theater, WiLDFLOWER at the Apollo Theater (music assistant), and THIS IS B.S., a new webseries. Jacinth received a Bachelor of Arts in music with a Certificate in collaborative piano performance from Princeton University, a Master of Arts in composition from Stony Brook University, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. www.jacinthgreywoode.com
JESSICA HUANG | Artist-in-Residence
Jessica Huang is a playwright based in New York, from Minnesota. Her work has been commissioned by Audible, History Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mixed Blood Theatre, Timeline Theater, Theater Masters and Theater Mu, and includes The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin (Barry and Bernice Stavis Award, Kilroy's List), Mother of Exiles (Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award, Kendeda Prize Finalist), Transmissions in Advance of the Second Great Dying, and Purple Cloud. She has been a member of the Civilians R&D Group, Page 73's Interstate 73 and Ars Nova Play Group, and has had fellowships at the Playwrights' Center and McDowell. She is a graduate of the Playwrights Program at Juilliard.
THE LARK | Artists-in-Residence
The Lark is an international theater laboratory, based in New York, dedicated to amplifying the voices of playwrights by providing transformative support within a global community. Founded in 1994, The Lark provides writers with funding, space, collaborators, audiences, professional connections, and the freedom to design their own processes of exploration. The guiding principle of our work is the belief that playwrights are society’s truth tellers, and their work strengthens our collective capacity to understand our world and imagine its future.
Plays substantially developed at The Lark include Cost of Living by Martyna Majok, one in two by Donja R. Love, Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee, and Sweat by Lynn Nottage.
For more information about the artists, initiatives and plays of The Lark, please visit: www.larktheatre.org.
NEHEMIAH LUCKETT | Assistant Music Director, WGID
Nehemiah Luckett Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Nehemiah Luckett has been performing, composing and conducting for over 30 years. From an early age he connected his deep love of music to the transformative power of building community through breathing and singing with family and friends. He has been a featured soloist at the National Cathedral, Carnegie Hall and has performed on six continents. He has composed solo, choral and instrumental pieces. From 2011 to 2020 Nehemiah served as the Music Director and Composer for Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir. Full productions include three full length musicals: Hamlet: Prince of Funk (1999) with collaborators Owen Beverly (Evans) and Matthew Smith, Brick by Brick (2006) with Ross Wade, and jazz singer (2019) with Joshua William Gelb presented at Abrons Arts Center. Projects currently in development include Triple Threats with Tracey Conyer Lee and A Burning Church with Zhailon Levingston and Alex Hare.
JACLYN LUSARDI | ASM, INTERSTATE
Jaclyn Lusardi (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to work on INTERSTATE again, having previously been ASM for its 2018 NYMF production. Some New York credits include ASM on FERN HILL, SMART BLONDE, UNRAVELED (MBL Productions), NAMT SM for Eastbound (2020), SIMON & JORGE PAY THEIR STUDENT LOANS (2019), MONSTERSONGS (2018), SM on INDIGO reading (Sing Out Lousie! Productions). Regional include PSM Replacement for MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, AIDA (John W. Engeman Theatre), BFA from Adelphi University.
DAVID MENDIZÁBAL | Director, MEXODUS
David Mendizabal is a director/designer, one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of the OBIE Award-winning The Movement Theatre Company, and Associate Artistic Director of The Sol Project. Select directing credits include: DON'T EAT THE MANGOS (Magic Theatre/Sundance/Sol Project) ON THE GROUNDS OF BELONGING (Long Wharf Theatre), the bandaged place (NYSAF), THEN THEY FORGOT ABOUT THE REST (INTAR), THE MATURATION OF AN INCONVENIENT NEGRO (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), AND SHE WOULD STAND LIKE THIS (w/ choreo. by Kia LaBeija), LOOK UPON OUR LOWLINESS, and BINTOU (The Movement), and TELL HECTOR HOW I MISS HIM (Atlantic / Drama League Nomination). He was a member of the inaugural Ars Nova Vision Residency and Soho Rep Project Number One Residency, where he created and directed the short film, eat me!. Alumnus of The Drama League Directors Project, LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble, NALAC, artEquity, and Lincoln Center Directors Lab. David was a participant in the TCG Leadership U: One-on-One program, where he was the Artistic Associate at Atlantic Theater Company 2017-2018. BFA - NYU/Tisch | davidmendizabal.com
JOANNA CASTLE MILLER | NEXUS
Joanna Castle Miller is a playwright, producer, and satirist whose work includes Sh@med, My Child Blank, Static Sun, The Storehouse, and Fox News the Musical. Her recent short plays include The World’s Next Tooth Fairy Is Marci Peterson, The Being Heard Academy and Parasite. Joanna's monologues have been published and produced by Applause, McSweeney's, Funny or Die, and The Belladonna. She was a 2021 NYSAF Nexus Fellow and is currently under commission by We the Women Collective. Film/TV: Keep This Far Apart, Ash, Sorta My Thing, Christmas in Zoom Village, and Red, White, and Dad. Joanna is the founder of Wait Don’t Leave Productions, which develops film and theatre projects related to historical memory.
DORON JÉPAUL MITCHELL | Artist-in-Residence
Doron JéPaul Mitchell is a writer/actor/producer based in Colorado. After completing his MFA in acting from NYU Tisch Graduate Acting Program he made his Broadway debut in Aaron Sorkin's To Kill A Mockingbird alongside Jeff Daniels and Latanya Richardson-Jackson. His works have included the Lincoln Center’s One Night Only Benefit Concert of Camelot" featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, starring in Christopher Cole’s BET CRE8 Semi-Finalist film Getaway, in the Huffington Post Award-winning short NIGHT directed by Joosje Duk, recently as Lewis Latimer in the SFFilm Sloane Fellow Jon K. Jones' film entitled, Let there Be Light. As a writer his play, A Letter To... debuted at the National Black Theatre (2018). His latest screenplay, Traphouse, was selected as a semi-finalist for the 2021 Sundance Institute Development Lab. Doron has developed work with New York Stage and Film, Columbia University MFA Acting, and was a lead writer on the play, Intersections that premiered at the Guthrie Theatre in 2016. Doron has developed and cultivated film, plays, and new works with New York Stage and Film, New York Theatre Workshop, The Lark, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Wheelhouse, BMI, Less Than Rent Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons to name a few. Currently, Doron is serving as Creative Producer and Writer for a new anthology series in association with Level Forward Company. All in all, Doron strives to never be tied down to one artistic medium, constantly pushing to inspire those around him to embrace all their gifts. IG: @doronjepaul | www.doronjepaulmitchell.com
KAMERON NEAL | Summer Season Graphic Art
Kameron Neal is a video artist, performance-maker, and multidisciplinary designer based in NYC. Forbes described Kameron’s solo exhibition at Detroit Art Week 2019 as “an absurd escape that simultaneously provokes and entertains.” Kameron is currently a NYSCA/NYFA Fellow and has been in residence at CultureHub, The Public Theater’s Devised Theater Working Group, and forthcoming at The Institute for Electronic Arts and the Bemis Center. As a resident artist at Ars Nova, he co-created MUKHAGNI, an irreverent multimedia performance memoir, with Shayok Misha Chowdhury; the piece was curated in Under the Radar 2020. Kameron’s stop-motion self-portrait LIQUID LOVE was awarded Best of Show at Digital Graffiti Festival 2017 where he returned in 2018 as an artist in residence to present a multichannel projection-mapped installation titled, GROUNDWATER VOL. I & II. His video art has been featured in music videos and performances by Billy Porter and Rufus Wainwright. Kameron’s work has also been seen in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, HYPEBEAST, Studio Magazine, and at BAM, New York Theatre Workshop, SohoRep, Bushwick Starr, New Orleans Film Festival, the Democratic National Convention, Vox Populi, and the Williams College Museum of Art. kameronneal.com
PHANÉSIA PHAREL | NEXUS
Phanésia Pharel is a Haitian-American playwright who is currently focusing on the divine metaphysical dilemma of Black and Latinx girlhood. Generally, her plays span revolutions, islands, and Afro-Futurism. Recent success includes her play And Other Dreams We Had which was a finalist for the City Theatre National Short Playwriting award and was selected for Smith and Kraus Best Plays of 2020. Phanésia was also named a Semi-finalist for the 2021 Blank Stage “Future of Playwriting award”, Semi-finalist in the 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and a Finalist for the 2021 Jane Chambers Feminist Playwriting award. She has developed several pieces with Conch Shell Productions and works as a Teaching Artist for ViBe Theater Experience. In 2020, she was Artist in Residence for New York Stage and Film and a National Young Playwright Residency for the Echo Theater Company of Los Angeles. At the moment she is under commission by Thrown Stone Theatre and is a member of New York Stage and Films NEXUS group. Last but certainly not least Phanésia is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America.
JULIUS PRYOR IV | Artist-in-Residence
Julius Pryor IV with his production partner Marttise Hill are award-winning filmmakers and the co-founders of Pryor Hill Productions, which focuses on creating compelling content by filmmakers from underrepresented communities. They are 2016 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellows. They’ve produced two features that world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival: Tahir Jetter’s romantic comedy, How to Tell You’re a Douchebag, and Michael Larnell’s debut, Cronies, executive produced by Spike Lee. In 2018, they executive produced Kevin Wilson’s Academy Award nominated short film, My Nephew Emmett. Their latest short film, Feathers, by A.V. Rockwell, world premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2018. They have worked with established talent including Will Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, DeWanda Wise, and William Jackson Harper. Julius and Marttise received their Bachelor’s in English Literature from Morehouse College and their MFA in Film Production from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Julius and Marttise have taught courses on creative producing, screenwriting, and directing at Brooklyn College, Tribeca Film Institute, and the Ghetto Film School in New York. They’ve been featured on “BBC World News Talking Movies” and Nofilmschool.com as emerging producers of ethnically diverse content for film, television and digital platforms. And Marttise are award-winning filmmakers and the co-founders of Pryor Hill Productions, which focuses on creating compelling content by filmmakers from underrepresented communities. They are 2016 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellows.
DOMINIQUE RIDER | Artist-in-Residence
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.
HANAKO RODRIGUEZ | Stage Manager, MEXODUS
Hanako Rodriguez is a freelance theater professional with a passion for helping to bring to life new works written by underrepresented voices. Her recent New York credits include NYT Critic's Picks ATHENA (with The Hearth) and The Workshop (at HB Studios). She has worked on numerous Off and Off-Off Broadway projects including those with The Fire This Time Festival, National Black Theatre, Two Headed Rep, The Bushwick Starr, horsetrade, WWTNS?, HERE Arts, and La Mama ETC.
SAM SALMOND | Artist-in-Residence
Sam Salmond is a Jonathan Larson Award- winning composer, lyricist, and bookwriter. He wrote music and lyrics for an adaptation of Eighty-Sixed, (developmental readings with Playwrights Horizons and Musical Theatre Factory). His musical Mother, Me and the Monsters (a Boston Globe Critic’s Pick) was produced at Barrington Stage. His children’s musical, The Dot went on a multi-year Theatreworks USA national tour. He wrote book and lyrics for Dust & Embers (A Penn State Commission). He’s the creator of Uncool: the Party (CAP21 and MTF). He’s also currently writing music and lyrics for The Homefront (2019 Workshop Production at The Village Theatre). Sam’s work has been featured at Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, The Town Hall and all around the country. He’s an alumnus of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, a 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm resident and a 2017-18 Dramatists Guild Fellow.
LYNNE SHANKEL | Orchestrations, WGID
Lynne Shankel is best known as a music supervisor, arranger and orchestrator. She was music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator for ALLEGIANCE starring Lea Salonga and George Takei and was the first woman to solely orchestrate a new musical on Broadway. Other Bway credits: CRY-BABY (arr/music dir); COMPANY (resident music sup); BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (asst. conductor); YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN (assoc. conductor). Other NYC as orchestrator (select): BARE: THE MUSICAL (co-composer, co-orchestrator, music sup); BREATHE; ALTAR BOYZ (DD nom, orchestrations); THE EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY (DD nom, orchestrations); THE MEMORY SHOW; VANITIES; SUMMER OF ’42, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, NY Pops Family Holiday Concert. Regional as orchestrator/ music sup (select): LIFE AFTER (Old Globe, Musical Stage Company) SNOW CHILD (Arena Stage); ALLEGIANCE (Old Globe, Craig Noel Award- orchestrations); CHASING THE SONG (La Jolla Playhouse).
As composer: POSTCARD AMERICAN TOWN (music and lyrics: Rhinebeck Writers Retreat 2018, New York Theatre Barn New Works Series 2019, Winner of SDSU New Musicals Initiative 2020); HoT (Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony 2020, New York Theatre Barn New Works Series 2020, Dixon Place 2019); PERPETUAL SUNSHINE AND THE GHOST GIRLS (1st place winner NAMT 15 Minute Musical Competition; Rhinebeck Writers Retreat 2021).
RONA SIDDIQUI | Music Director, WGID
Rona Siddiqui is a composer/lyricist based in NYC. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and Billie Burke Ziegfeld award and was named one of Broadway Women's Fund's Women to Watch. Her show SALAAM MEDINA: TALES OF A HALFGHAN, an autobiographical comedy about growing up bi-ethnic in America, had a reading at Playwrights Horizons (dir. by Raja Feather Kelly). Other musicals include ONE GOOD DAY, HIP HOP CINDERELLA, and THE TIN. Arena Stage commisioned Rona to write a piece for their 2021 Arena Riffs series. She is the recipient of the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. She has written pieces for WICKED's 16th anniversary commemoration Flying Free, 24 Hour Musicals, Prospect Theater Company, The Civilians, and has performed concerts of her work at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Feinstein's/54 Below. She is currently part of Musical Theatre Factory's Makers Residency and Ars Nova's Vision Residency. Rona music directed the Off-Broadway Pulitzer Prize-winning A STRANGE LOOP for which she received an Obie along with the cast and creative team (Playwrights Horizons). She has orchestrated for Broadway Records, Broadway Backwards, NAMT and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
NATASHA SINHA | Dramaturg, INTERSTATE
Natasha Sinha (she/her) is a producer and dramaturg, focusing on new plays and new musical work. Natasha is Associate Artistic Director of Playwrights Horizons. Past credits at Signature Theatre and LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater include Dave Malloy's OCTET, Lauren Yee's CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND, PASS OVER by Antoinette Nwandu, SHABASH!, Martyna Majok's queens, GHOST LIGHT by Third Rail Projects, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' WAR, Rude Mechs' STOP HITTING YOURSELF, and DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. As a freelance dramaturg, she has also worked with Dave Harris, Michael R. Jackson, Grace McLean, Shakina Nayfack, Danny Pudi, Heather Raffo, Sam Salmond, Kit Yan & Melissa Li, and more. As a co-founder of Beehive Dramaturgy Studio, Natasha works with organizations such as Page 73, Musical Theatre Factory, and Anticapitalism for Artists. She is the recipient of the 2019 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award, and she is on the Boards of Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and LMDA. In her free time, Natasha is a coordinator of Amplifying Activists Together.
WILLIAM STEINBERGER | Artist-in-Residence
William Steinberger is a director and producer. He has directed and developed new plays at Hartford Stage, the Drama League, Berkshire Theatre Group, New Light Theatre Project, the Wilma, InterAct, Theatre Horizon, the American Playwriting Foundation, Passage Theatre, 59E59, The Jewish Plays Project, All For One Theater, and several universities. Will’s recent freelance production credits include Gina Femia’s meet you at the Galaxy Diner. (New Light Theatre Project & The Tank), Charles Gershman’s Oedipus 18.104.22.168 (All For One featuring Eddie Cooper; 2021 Drama League Award nomination), Gina Stevensen’s Disavowal (New Light), Johnny G. Lloyd’s Or, an Astronaut Play (The Tank & InVersion Theatre, of which Will is a co-founder), and Zizi Majid’s Return to Fall (Columbia University). He is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and was a finalist for the 2020 National Directors Fellowship. I’m So Hot, an interactive satirical dating app set in 18th Century France, co-created by Catherine Weingarten from her play of the same name, will premiere in August, produced by New Light, The Tank and Pocket Universe. More at WSteinberger.com.
PAUL OAKLEY STOVALL | Artist-in-Residence
Paul Oakley Stovall is a multi-hyphenate artist and activist based in Chicago. He is currently playing George Washington in the first national tour of HAMILTON: An American Musical by Lin Manuel-Miranda. He is currently working on an eight episode limited series about Frederick Douglass and the time he spent in Ireland in 1845. As a playwright he is a Steinberg, Jeff, and GLAAD award nominee for his play Immediate Family, which has been directed by Phylicia Rashad at Goodman and Mark Taper Forum. His musical CLEAR was chosen for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights/ Music Theatre Conference and subsequently his play THE HUNTED (co-written with Evan Linder) was a 2017 Finalist. CLEAR will be workshopped at Alliance Theatre this spring. Outside of entertainment, Paul served as an press advance associate for Senator, soon to be President Obama and subsequently served as a media logistics coordinator and advance staff lead for First Lady Michelle Obama, representing the Obama administration across the nation and overseas in Sweden, Turkey, Kosovo, South Korea, Canada, Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Ukraine, Denmark, Chile and the UK among others.
KIRYA TRABER | 2020 Founders' Award Recipient
Kirya Traber is a nationally awarded writer, performer, and cultural worker. She is a collaborating artist with Ping Chong + Company, and is Curator-in-Residence with Hi-ARTS. She was New York Stage and Film’s 2020 Founders Award recipient. From 2015-2020 she was Lincoln Center’s lead Community Artist in Residence. She is the recipient of a NY Emmy Nomination (First Person PBS), Robert Redford’s Sundance Foundation award for Activism in the Arts, a California Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund award for Poetry. She has been a commissioned artist of notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Orchestra of St Luke's, and La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, among others. Throughout her ambitious performance and writing career, Kirya has continuously utilized her art for social change as a cultural organizer.
AGUSTIN URIBURU | Cellist, SOUTH
Agustin Uriburu is a Brooklyn-based Argentinian Cellist, Guitarist, Composer, and Arranger. Over the last few years, he has performed with renowned projects in Jazz, Tango, Classical, Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, World & Theater Music. Agustin has played at the most distinguished music venues in NYC such as Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, The Stone at the New School, Minton's, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, Rockwood Music Hall, 92Y, Cornelia St. Cafe, C'mon Everybody, Consulate General of Argentina, among many others. He currently leads the Agustin Uriburu Quartet, about to release its debut album this fall. He often collaborates with Puerto Rican Grammy-winning rapper Residente, and he recently recorded in the Latin Grammy-winning song ‘Antes Que el Mundo se Acabe’. Other artists he has collaborated with are Jazz Pianist & Composer Uri Caine; violinist Mark Feldman; Former Piazzolla´s and Pugliese´s bandoneon-player Daniel Binelli; Jazz Pianist, Leo Genovese; Yotam Ben-Or Quartet; Singer-songwriter Sol Liebeskind, just to name a few. Agustin has toured in the US, South Korea, Colombia, Costa Rica and performed in the most outstanding Concert Halls in Argentina.
PRISCILLA VILLANUEVA | Stage Manager, SOUTH
Priscilla Villanueva (Cilla) Is a New York based Stage Manager and AEA member. They have graduated from City College of New York with a B.A in Theatre. They has worked for The Bushwick Starr, Theatre for the New City, Signature Theatre, The Kraine Theatre, Playwrights Realm and The Sappho Project. Her Off-Broadway credits include: THE SIBLINGS PLAY, CULLUD WATTAH, NEUROSIS, Locusts Have No King, and Play On!Shakespeare festival. Peace and Love…