Technical Director Karl Jenkins’s professional credits include working with some of the largest entertainment companies in the world. Karl contributed to the critical success of several Cirque du Soleil shows all over the world over the past ten years as the Head of Lighting, Project Manager and Technical Director. Graduating from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in 2007, Karl was quickly introduced to the world of international touring and has taken shows to some of the largest venues in the world including Radio City Music Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and The Kremlin Palace Theatre. Most recently Karl has worked with Franco Dragons House of Dancing Water and La Perle as Technical Director before moving to his current role as the Head of Technical Production at EXPO 2020 in Dubai.
Stage & Production Manager Kat is a stage & production manager from the United States with a deep love for all forms of live entertainment. She considers herself a versatile manager, having worked in theatre, circus, theme parks, cruise ships, and, most recently, international mega-events. Kat is currently based in the UAE, working as a Production Manager for Events and Entertainment at Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest event ever hosted in the Middle East. She is grateful to have built a career doing her favorite thing in the world, all over the world. Proud Carnegie Mellon graduate and certified Project Management Professional.
Tony Award winning Broadway Producer Ken Davenport is a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer whose credits include Once On This Island (Tony Award), Gettin’ the Band Back Together, The Play that Goes Wrong, Groundhog Day (Tony nomination), Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening (Tony nomination), It’s Only a Play, Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell, Kinky Boots (Broadway - Tony Award, National Tour, Toronto, Australia, and West End), and more, including multiple Off-Broadway productions! Ken’s shows have been produced internationally in over 25 countries around the world. He is the founder of TheaterMakersStudio.com, a one-of-a-kind "masterclass" community that provides training and inspiration from Broadway's best to writers, directors, producers and more. Ken also serves as the Executive Producer for North America for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group. Outside of theatre, he has produced award-winning content for both film and TV. Ken’s unique production and marketing style has garnered him international attention in numerous publications, including Vanity Fair and The New York Times. Upcoming projects include Broadway Vacation, Joy the Musical, My Life In Pink, a revival of The Great White Hope, Harmony: A New Musical written by Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, a musical based on the life and songs of Neil Diamond, and a musical based on the life of Harry Belafonte.
New Media Artist, Producer, Studio Manager AudioFil (Turkey) Kerem Demirayak is an artist/producer executing multimedia projects utilizing the latest technologies in the creative process. After pursuing an MA in Music Technology at Berklee College of Music, he showcased various audiovisual live performances in international festivals like Festival Les Arts (Valencia, Spain), AV Node Rome and Sonar Istanbul. He has worked closely with teams from global studios and agencies to communicate innovations with audiences through multimedia technologies and immersive experiences.
Dancer & Touch Compass Artistic Direction Panel Member (New Zealand) Lusi, of Samoan and European descent, is an award-winning dancer and founding member of Touch Compass who has been performing for over 30 years. She performed and toured New Zealand and Australia in the company’s major shows from 1997 to 2008 and starred in the highly acclaimed autobiographical performance Lusi’s Eden in 2001; in 2014, her DanceBox short film 'Mr and Mrs Jones' paid tribute to two key people in her life, her foster parents. Lusi has been a support dancer in Touch Compass’s community classes and represented Touch Compass at the Pacific CNZ Strategic conference at Te Papa, Wellington in 2018. In 2021 Lusi performed Taupou, a new work Samoan traditional dance performance collaboration with Everybody Cool Lives Here and LeMona at Cuba Dupa Festival, Wellington; she presented Taupou on stage at Kia Mau Festival, Wellington in early 2021. Lusi hopes to make a new work called Aiga partnership with Everybody Cool Lives Here in 2022. Lusi was awarded the High Commended award for her contribution to the dance community at the 2019 Arts Access Aotearoa Awards; Spirit of Attitude award at 2020 Attitude Awards; the Toa Artistic Achievement award at Pacific Arts CNZ 2020 Awards; and the Artistic Achievement award at the Arts Access Aotearoa 2021 awards
Tony-Nominated Producer, Executive Producer of POE Global Tony-nominated “Producer of Everything”. Creative Producer of Blue Man World, Blue Man Group's first exploration into print (2016 by Blackdog and Leventhal / Hachette). Notable projects include NATASHA, PIERRE, AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 (Tony Nomination). FUN HOME (Tony Award), HAND TO GOD (Tony nomination). Executive Producer of THE SUBJECT, a feature film by Chisa Hutchinson, directed by Lanie Zipoy, starring Jason Biggs and Aunjanue Ellis, and ADAM MANN (NOT HIS REAL NAME) a new play by Marin Gazzaniga based on Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind by Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola, in development with The Civilians. Creative Producer of PARTICLE FEVER (in development with David Henry Hwang, Zoe Sarnak, and Bear McCreary). Experiential Producer of the “In Her Shoes” campaign for Santander Bank, winner of Best Experiential and Best Tech for Good IDEAS award, Best Experiential for AICP, Finalist for a Cannes Glass Lion. Poeglobal.com
Award winning New Media Composer, Sound Artist & Software Developer (Turkey) Mehmet Unal is an Istanbul based Composer, Sound Artist and Software Developer. Coming from a strong music background, Unal is fascinated by the beauty of technical objects, and developing his own instruments and algorithms is an integral part of his creative process.The projects that he created music and sound design for have been presented in Washington, Melbourne, Istanbul, New Mexico, Geneva, Paris, Prag, Barcelona, Linz and have been granted international Awards as Red Dot Design Award, The International Design Awards, Codawards, ADC Awards, German Design, The Aesthetica Art Prize and many more…
Dancer & Touch Compass Artistic Direction Panel Member (New Zealand) Photograph by John McDermott Rodney has been dancing professionally since 1995, having started out as a Touch Compass founding member. Proud to be a pioneer for inclusive dance, Rodney has performed both nationally and internationally – winning an Isadora Dance Award while dancing in the US with Axis Dance Company. Rodney was also the winner of the Attitude Artistic Achievement Award, in 2016, and the Arts Access Aotearoa Artistic Achievement Award in 2017, 2018 The Grant Tilly Actor of the Year and the Creative New Zealand, Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi - Te Tohu Iho Pūmanawa award 2020. Increasingly, Rodney actively works not only as an artist but also as an advocator and provocateur, calling for stronger integration and providing voice for people with diverse requirements to have more choice and control over their lives especially Hau Tipua (Persons with a Disability and their Whaanau – Family). Rodney feels very strongly about making Performance spaces accessible as possible not only physical access but also supporting access for the hearing and sight impaired. Rodney finds himself working across varied media, including film, documentaries, and in motivational presentations. With his strong focus on Universal Access, Rodney is also extensively involved in organisations that advocate and pursue wide access for people with and without a Disability. Honoured to be dancing with Touch Compass, Rodney hopes to continue to change the way we all view dance and emulate what Touch Compass has done for him by supporting young artists with a Disability. His motto is: “He waka eke noa” (a canoe we are all in with no exceptions).
Founder & Executive Director at Art + (Kurdistan) Safen O. Muhammad Manages and directs ART+, a non-governmental art and cultural organisation working towards building awareness and training youth and others on the arts, culture and environment. He has eight years of experience as an artist working with refugee and IDP children throughout the Kurdistan region, particularly in the city of Slemani. He has also worked and collaborated with local and international NGOs, such as the UN, AptART, CDO, Skateistan, Make life Skate Life, Un Ponte Per, Kurdistan Botanical Foundation, Commission Scolaire de montréal and international artists creating murals, canvases and street and refugee camp art projects. Additionally, Safen has ten years of experience working as an environmental activist and volunteer in Slemani assisting Iraqi environmental organisations such as Nature Iraq and Waterkeepers Iraq. Safen has helped the aforementioned groups complete workshops, educational campaigns and awareness murals and art projects. He recently completed a yearlong research project at Zheen Archival and Research Center funded by the Nahrein Network at University College London. Currently he is involved in designing and setting up a climate change awareness exhibition at the University of Sulaimani funded by the German Embassy in Baghdad, to work and train students about the effects of climate change and climate action. He also manages the first ever Skate-park in Iraq, opened in the city of Slemani in 2018. He oversees the training of a new generation of Kurdish and Iraqi youth on the fundamentals of skateboarding and sport therapy with youth with special needs. Previously he worked as a newspaper designer for Hawlati Newspaper published in the city of Slemani.
Executive Director of aptART Samantha Robison is founder and executive director of Awareness and Prevention through Art (aptART), an organization of artists and activists dedicated to sharing artistic experiences with marginalized and conflict- affected youth throughout the world. AptART coordinates workshops for youth that result in large-scale public art. Samantha develops, organizes, and manages projects in partnership with the United Nations and government agencies as well as local and international non-governmental organizations. Samantha also works as the Director of Media & Development for community skatepark building organization, Make Life Skate Life. She organizes, documents and researches skatepark projects around the world. Her work has brought her to Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon,Tunisia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique and across Europe. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Studio Art from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she was awarded the alumni of the year in 2016. In 2017 Samantha received the Krider Prize for Creativity by the University & College Designers Association. In 2019, Samantha began a Masters of Fine Art program in Social Documentation at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Choreographer & Touch Compass Artistic Direction Panel Member (New Zealand) Suzanne is an artist/choreographer/researcher and has been an associate artist with Touch Compass since 1999. Her most recent work was performed at Auckland Arts Festival this year with collaborator, Rodney Bell, in 'He Owha Matarua’: a site specific performance at Piha that explores ecology and colonisation. She recently completed an independent film, ’Slippage’, to be screened later in 2021, building on her solo autobiographical show ‘Manifesto of A Good Cripple’ which she produced and performed at the Basement Theatre in 2019.
Playwright, Librettist, Screenwriter David Henry Hwang’s stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Yellow Face, Chinglish, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, a Grammy Award winner who has been twice nominated, and a three-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Opera News called him America’s most-produced living opera librettist. He co-wrote the Gold Record “Solo” with the late pop icon Prince and was a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair from 2015-2019. Hwang is currently creating Empress, a TV series for Netflix; the live-action musical feature film The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Disney Studios; and a movie to star actress Gemma Chan. Hwang serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts and sits on the Board of the American Theatre Wing, where he recently completed his term as Chair. His newest work, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, premiered at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre, where it won six Ovation Awards. Its subsequent run at the Public Theatre in NYC received a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
Actor, Writer, Director, Composer, Playwright Douglas Lyons is an actor, writer, director, composer-lyricist and playwright. Douglas served as a writer and composer on Apple TV’s 2022 series Fraggle Rock. He made his Broadway playwriting debut with Chicken and Biscuits, which bowed at The Circle in the Square Theatre starring Michael Urie and Norm Lewis. Douglas’ music and lyrics have been featured on BET Plus, CBS's Sunday Morning Show, Carnegie Hall's Voices of Hope Festival and Lincoln Center’s Broadway Songbook Series. His acting credits include the Broadway productions of The Book of Mormon and Beautiful (Original Cast), as well as the tours of Rent and Dreamgirls. Other theater writing credits include: Polkadots (Off Broadway Alliance Winner Best Family Show, Atlantic Theater Company). Beau (Adirondack Theatre Festival, plus a film capture with TBD Theatricals) and Five Points currently in development with Hamilton's Andy Blankenbuehler. With musical writing partner Ethan D. Pakchar, Douglas is a 2020 Jonathan Larson Grant finalist. @DouglasSings IG: @Chocolatehipster
Composer, Librettist, Songwriter Mr. Scheer’s work is noted for its scope and versatility. With the composer Jake Heggie, he has collaborated on many projects, including the critically acclaimed 2010 Dallas Opera world premiere, Moby-Dick, starring Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab; Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera), which starred Frederica von Stade; and the lyric drama To Hell and Back (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), which featured Patti LuPone. Other works by Scheer and Heggie include Camille Claudel: Into the fire, a song cycle premiered by Joyce di Donato and the Alexander String Quartet. Mr. Scheer worked as librettist with Tobias Picker on An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005 and on Therese Raquin which was produced by the Dallas Opera in 2001. Other collaborations include the lyrics for Wynton Marsalis’s It Never Goes Away, featured in Mr. Marsalis’s work Congo Square. With the composer Steven Stucky, Mr. Scheer wrote the oratorio August 4, 1964, for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The work was nominated for a Grammy in 2012 for best classical composition. In 2015, Mr. Scheer collaborated with Joby Talbot on the opera Everest, based on the doomed 1996 Everest expedition. With Jennifer Higdon, Mr. Scheer wrote an operatic adaptation of Cold Mountain, which premiered in the summer of 2015 at the Santa Fe Opera. This work won the International Opera award, presented in London, for the best World premiere in 2015. Along with Ms. Higdon, Mr. Scheer was nominated for a Grammy for his work on Cold Mountain for best classical composition. In December of 2016 Mr. Scheer and Jake Heggie premiered an operatic adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life for the Houston Grand Opera. Currently, Mr. Scheer has three grand operas in the works. An adaptation of international best seller: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a collaboration with Joby Talbot, will premiere at the Dallas opera in 2023. With Jake Heggie and the director- choreographer Jawole Zoller, he is at work on an opera based on union spy ring that was working in Richmond during the Civil War. This piece will premiere at the Houston Grand opera in 2023. The opera is entitled Intelligence. With Mason Bates, Mr. Scheer is at work on a new commission for the Metropolitan Opera. Also, a composer in his own right, Mr. Scheer has written a number of songs for singers such as Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, prominently featured Mr. Scheer’s song “American Anthem” (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS entitled The War. The lyrics to American Anthem were quoted earlier in the year at the climax of President Biden’s inaugural address.
Co-founder of Cirque du Soleil (Canada) Gilles Ste-Croix is the Co-founder of Cirque du Soleil. His pivotal involvement included leading the vast majority of creative productions which forged the astounding creative signature that the Cirque du Soleil has carried over the past 37 years. Yet the global impact went well beyond the success of its productions - it generated new horizons of expression, design processes and development of an entire theatrical and cultural register. With his origins as a humble farm boy and street theatre artist, Gilles gained his foundation as a self-taught artist and seeker, constantly researching and learning from the creative people with whom he surrounded. From street theatre troupes to roving musicians to elite performing artists, Gilles’ fascination and curiosity towards new approaches and creative frontiers fueled his unparalleled prolific vision. The vital contribution of Gilles Ste. Croix goes beyond the walls of the sophisticated purpose-built theatres and the famed yellow and blue tents: for over four decades, he has dedicated his professional life as a leading voice and actor developing and honoring circus arts and artists, equestrian arts, convergence of pluridisiplinary performance design and a deep engagement in cultural citizenship across the globe.
Director & Choreographer (Italy) Born in Rome, Giuliano Peparini is recognized as one of the most prolific and diverse directors and choreographers internationally. In his early years, he graduated from the School of American Ballet in New York. Upon returning to Europe, Giuliano was hired by Roland Petit at the Ballet National de Marseille, where he was named Danseur Etoile in 1997. He portrayed iconic roles and created many, dancing alongside illustrious dancers of the time and later becoming Assistant and Maître de Ballet of the Roland Petit, restaging his ballets for the Opéra de Paris, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the National Opera of Tokyo, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, amongst others. In 2004, he met Franco Dragone with whom he shares the same culture. Together, they created the show “Le Reve”, one of the largest and most poetic performances ever seen in Las Vegas. Their collaboration led onto the groundbreaking show “The House of Dancing Water”, which served as the cultural reference of its kind for 10 years in Macau. Giuliano works also in film in collaboration with great directors and in 2013, after 20 years of absence from the Italian scene, he returned as Artistic Director and Choreographer of the talent show “Amici 12”, Mediaset – Canale 5 TV. On 20 December 2015, at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Giuliano debuts a very personal adaptation of the ballet “Lo Schiaccianoci. (The Nutcracker)” New international productions await him in Canada, Asia, and Europe.
Co-founder & Artistic Director of The 7 Fingers (Canada) Gypsy Snider wrote and directed Dear San Francisco, SisterS, Réversible, Intersection, Amuse, Un Dia, Traces, and Loft. Constantly branching out into new mediums, Gypsy has choreographed televised feature performances for America’s Got Talent, Her Majesty’s Royal Variety Performance, the illusionist Darcy Oake’s Edge of Reality, and large scale fashion shows for Bench/. In 2013, working with director Diane Paulus on a new vision of Pippin, she choreographed and wove circus into the revival of the Broadway musical. Gypsy’s work on Pippin earned her a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Gypsy began her circus career at the age of 4 when her parents founded The Pickle Family Circus. She grew up touring the West Coast with the company, went on to graduate the Dimitri school of physical theater in Switzerland and performed with the Cirque du Soleil for several years before creating "Les 7 doigts de la main" in Montreal, Quebec. Gypsy has now come full circle back to her home town of San Francisco : The 7 Fingers have moved in to the iconic North Beach theater, Club Fugazi where Gypsy is co-writer/director of Dear San Francisco. Adding to her diverse range of projects, Gypsy wrote and directed Ships in the Night, contemporary musical dance revue for Virgin Voyages’ new cruise line. In 2020, she created and choreographed the televised EUFA Draft opening. During the darkest time of the pandemic lockdown, she wrote and co-directed her first film Out of Order. Gypsy is also a guest teacher and guest director at the National Circus School of Montreal, she received the Evolving Circus Award in New York City and was invited to speak at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington DC. Photo by Olivier Teětreault
Tony and Obie Award Winning, Emmy Nominated, Broadway & Television Director KENNY LEON is a Tony and Obie Award-winning; Emmy-nominated; Broadway and Television director. Most recently, he directed Lifetime’s Emmy-nominated Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia. Currently on Netflix, he has directed episodes of Colin in Black & White and Amend: The Fight for America. Last year, he directed the Tony Award--winning Broadway premiere of Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, A Soldier's Play, starring Blair Underwood and David Alan Grier at Roundabout Theatre Company for which he also received a nomination for Best Director. He also directed the acclaimed production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte/Shakespeare in the Park. His Broadway credits include the recent production of A Soldier's Play, American Son starring Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale which was also adapted for Netflix, the revival of Children of a Lesser God, the Tupac musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington (Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival of a Play), The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, August Wilson’s Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play), Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf, as well as A Raisin in the Sun starring Sean “Diddy” Combs, Phylicia Rashad, and Audra McDonald. He also directed Smart People and The Underlying Chris for Second Stage. Leon’s television work includes “Hairspray Live!”, and “The Wiz Live!” on NBC. He recently released his memoir Take You Wherever You Go. He is the recipient of the 2016 Mr. Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing and the 2010 Award for Excellence in Directing from the Drama League. Mr. Leon serves on the board of New York's Public Theater and is Artistic Director Emeritus of Atlanta's Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company. He is currently serving as Senior Resident Director at Roundabout Theatre Company. Prior to co-founding True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of The Alliance Theatre, where he produced the premieres of Disney's Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky and Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Other directorial credits include Alicia Keys World Tour, Toni Morrison's opera Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance The Musical, and the complete August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center. Leon is a sought after motivational speaker that has done acting and theatre workshops at universities and corporate offices around the country, South Africa and Ireland. He has directed in the UK, and extensively throughout the US, including Chicago's Goodman Theatre, Boston's Huntington Theatre, Baltimore's Center Stage, Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group and New York's Public Theatre. Leon is a graduate of Clark Atlanta and is an honorary Ph.D. recipient of Clark Atlanta and Roosevelt Universities and has served as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University.
Stage Director, Choreographer, Actor (Canada) Kimberley Rampersad is a Canadian theatre artist, born and raised in Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As an actor she has appeared across Canada including Mirvish, and the Stratford and Shaw Festivals. She is a recipient of a Maud Whitmore Scholarship (Charlottetown Festival) and a Guthrie Award (Stratford Festival). She was the associate choreographer of the North American and Asian tours of Hairspray – The Musical (NETworks) for four seasons. Her choreography has received Dora nominations for Passing Strange (Musical Stage/Obsidian) and Seussical - the Musical (YPT) respectively, and an Evie Award for Matilda – The Musical (Royal MTC/ Citadel/ Arts Club). As a director, Kimberley was featured in the New York Times for directing a full- length production of Man and Superman at the Shaw Festival. Other directing credits include Serving Elizabeth (Stratford Festival), How Black Mothers Say I Love You (GCTC) (Prix Rideau Award) and The Color Purple (Neptune and Citadel/ Royal MTC) (Evie, Sterling, Merritt Awards). She was the recipient of the Gina Wilkinson Prize for an emerging female director in 2017 (Ontario Arts Foundation). Kimberley completed her dance teacher certification through and was on faculty with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School; she holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Manitoba) and is currently a graduate student in Theatre Studies (University of Guelph). Kimberley’s greatest joy is working with young artists, where she harnesses her experiences as a South Asian and Black woman trained in classical western stage traditions, to encourage them to embrace their full selves in their practice. She is the Associate Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.
Artistic Director, Perseverance Theatre Leslie Ishii is a leader in the American Theatre in many capacities. (Artistic Director) Perseverance Theatre: Devilfish (World Premiere), We Hold These Truths, This Wonderful Life, Voyager One (pre-Production); Pangea World Theatre: Sueño, and Directors Institute for Ensemble Creation w/Co-Producer, Art2Action; East West Players: Takarazuka!!!, Taking Flight: The Katherine Cheung Story, Crimes Of The Heart; Artists At Play: 99 Histories; plays at UC, Irvine, USC, CSLA; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: API 2x2 Lab New Works Residency, Founder/Producer, Dramaturgy, FAIR Assistant Director Program Recipient; and where she began, Northwest Asian American Theatre. (Actor) Broadway, regional theatre—Pangea World Theatre, El Teatro Campesino, American Conservatory Theatre (Alum), and South Coast Repertory to name a few. She has also appeared in TV and film. (National Scope) Board President/Co-Chair Steering Committee, Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists’ National ConFest; National Cultural Navigation Theatre Project for the sustainability of BIPOC Artists and Theatres of Color, Co-founder/Director; Tsuru For Solidarity: Steering Committee, Co-Chair Direct Action Committee; Co-facilitated the launch of Theatre Communication Group’s Equity/Diversity/Inclusion Institute; Core faculty, artEquity working throughout the US with arts and culture organizations. SDC (National E/D/I Standout Moments Recognition, (2016, 2017), AEA, SAG-AFTRA
Choreographer & Director LIAM STEEL is a multi-award winning choreographer and director who has created work with the Royal National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Salzburg Festival. He has created many award-winning contemporary dance commissions, choreographed musical theatre for the West End and Broadway, and directed multiple operas, including Paul Bunyan for English Touring Opera which won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. He is a core collaborator at London’s Regents Park Open Air Theatre working on ten productions over ten seasons, including co-directing and choreographing the Olivier Award-winning Into the Woods, which transferred to the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. Liam created the musical staging and choreography for the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning feature film Les Misérables.
Stage Manager, Educator & Author LISA PORTER is a Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of California, San Diego, where she has taught since 2005. She is the Head of the MFA in Stage Management, and teaches graduate and undergraduate stage management. She has also developed courses related to creativity, neuroscience, disability, and performance. Lisa has taught in the MFA Stage Management program at David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University, and has led international classes in Singapore, Taiwan, and China. Working in diverse venues on six continents, Lisa’s career has included international projects with Laurie Anderson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anne Bogart, Hal Hartley, Yo-Yo Ma, Silkroad Ensemble, White Oak Dance Project, and Robert Wilson. She has collaborated extensively on multiple intercultural productions with Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen and TheatreWorks Singapore. Her New York and Regional credits include productions with Christopher Ashley, Charles Busch, Jonathan Demme, Richard Foreman, Doug Hughes, Tina Landau, Kenny Leon, Suzan-Lori Parks, Darko Tresnjak, and Mark Wing-Davey. She has also produced and stage managed non-profit and corporate events since 1996. In 2020, she published the book 'Stage Management Theory as a Guide to Practice: Cultivating a Creative Approach', co-authored with Narda E. Alcorn. They also wrote the essay 'We Commit to Anti-Racist Stage Management Education' on HowlRound Theatre Commons. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, 'A Call to Diversify Those Calling the Cues', and American Theatre, 'Managing the Stage, and Managing Expectations'.
Stage Director & Creative Director, formerly of Balich Worldwide (Italy) Lulu Helbæk is an experienced creative director and director with over 15 years of experience in the production of international ceremonies, shows, theatre and videos. She started in the field of music videos before moving on to special events, ceremonies and shows of many different genres, as well as working, along the way, as a content director and a developer of interactive video concepts with physical performance, to great success. She is known as a highly imaginative, out-of-the-box thinker, original concept creator and versatile live events director. Her work combines physical theatre, technology and creative strategies, all put to the service of a clear artistic vision. One of the main focuses of her work is her effort to bring the audience into a different dimension, to discover an angle of the story that hasn’t been told before. She is strongly inspired by spaces and the story behind them. Even when working on ceremonies and institutional events, generally considered less narrative shows, she seeks to reveal the humanity hidden in every character. And the venue of the show itself is often one of the main characters in her work; infused with beauty and meaning, the space comes to life before the audience's eyes. The other main focus of her work is music as a fundamental inspiration for the construction of images and worlds. She also develops the spaces and set design herself, as a starting point for the story. As a result of her studies of contemporary art, the physicality of the story expressed through dance and physical performance merges with the space itself, as if one was the natural expression of the other. In her work, she drafts the initial study and then guides it to the concept creation. She loves to shape creative teams, mixing people from different fields and backgrounds, and then lead them all the way through the show, focusing also on the secondary art direction of the communication media. From Turin Winter Olympic Ceremony in 2006 to the Ceremonies of Sochi 2014, she faced the most complex and challenging shows in the world as Director at Balich Wonder Studio, where she was also the Head of Creative putting together different teams for the various shows. In March 2017, she directed the first Italian permanent show “Giudizio Universale – Michelangelo and the secrets of the Sistine Chapel”, a multimedia immersive theatre show inspired by Michelangelo’s masterpieces. Between 2018 and 2019 she was appointed as Artistic Director for two editions of the Italian XFactor, with her partner Simone Ferrari, the most seen ever edition, bringing unconventional contents into Italian TV. In 2020 when the pandemic hit she was directing the new permanent show in Berlin for Cirque du Soleil, a contemporary tale brought into the new circus language, that is at the moment on hold. She is now working on an original production of contemporary circus and physical poetry inspired by Alice in Wonderland which will premiere December the 16th.
Lyricist and Librettist for Broadway, TV, and Film Lynn Ahrens is a lyricist and librettist with an extensive career in theater, film and television. With longtime collaborator Stephen Flaherty, she won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for the Broadway musical Ragtime and was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes for Twentieth Century Fox’s animated feature film, Anastasia, which they also adapted for Broadway. Additional Broadway: Once On This Island, (Tony Award, Best Revival); Seussical (one of the most produced shows in America); Madison Square Garden’s A Christmas Carol (composer Alan Menken); My Favorite Year; Rocky; Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life. Off-Broadway: Lucky Stiff; A Man of No Importance; Dessa Rose; The Glorious Ones; Upcoming: Knoxville; Little Dancer. Film: Lyrics for Anastasia, Camp, After the Storm, Lucky Stiff, Nasrin. Ahrens has been nominated for four Grammys and won the Emmy for her work in network television. She’s a mainstay singer/songwriter for the classic animated series Schoolhouse Rock. Her short stories and essays have been published nationally and her work has been nominated for Best American Essays and the Pushcart Anthology. She serves on Council for the Dramatists Guild of America and co-founded the DGF Fellows Program for Emerging Writers with Stephen Flaherty. In 2014 Ahrens and Flaherty received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 2015 they were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. www.ahrensandflaherty.com
Founding Director, Choreographer, Dancer: Malevo Dance Company (Argentina) Born in Argentina, in 1989, Matias is a dancer, choreographer and director of Malevo, Argentine Malambo Dance Company. Malambo is used as the main resource - a traditional Argentine dance of great virility and skill - and based on its essence and roots, it seeks to take it beyond its limits, with a modern, avant-garde and transgressive look, fusing it with other styles of dance. and always maintaining its essence and purity, thus achieving a perfect combination, to provide viewers with a totally innovative visual and sensory experience. The renowned American television program, “America's Got Talent”, opened the doors spread their art, and launched them to world recognition, appearing in shows, festivals and programs (France, Mexico, Egypt, Monte-carlo, Japan, China, Dubai, Canada, Argentina, Spain, among others).
Stage Director, Artistic Director, Educator Matthew Ozawa is a stage director, artistic director and educator whose international career spans all artistic disciplines including opera, theater, musical theater, dance, video, world music and visual art. Ozawa is a master storyteller, whose “strikingly spare productions” (New York Times) are “a vivid demonstration of what opera is all about” (Opera News). His productions consistently “deliver brilliance on all fronts” (Chicago Tribune) and are filled with “breathtaking imagery” (Broadway World). Ozawa is the Founder and Artistic Director of Mozawa, a Chicago-based incubator advancing collaborative art and artists. Also a proponent of arts education, Ozawa served three years as Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Passionate about collaborative interdisciplinary performance, new work, and reigniting classics, Ozawa’s “stylish” and “intelligent” productions have been seen at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Wolftrap Opera, Opera Colorado, Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Kentucky Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Siam and Asia Society among many others. In opera, Ozawa divides his time between directing classics, rarely performed works, world premieres and musical theater. Recent productions of classic as well as rarely performed repertory include Madama Butterfly (Santa Fe Opera / Arizona Opera), Don Quichotte (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Romeo and Juliet (Minnesota Opera / Cincinnati Opera / Michigan Opera Theatre), Nabucco (Lyric Opera of Chicago), L'Opera Seria (Wolf Trap Opera), Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Colorado / North Carolina Opera), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Kentucky Opera), Arizona Lady (Arizona Opera), La Boheme (Opera Colorado / Opera North), and Les Mamelles de Tiresias / Le Pauvre Matelot (Wolf Trap Opera). Committed to new and modern work, recent new production highlights include Ruo / Hwang’s An American Soldier (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), Perla / Murphy’s An American Dream (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Aucoin’s Second Nature (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Hanlon / Fleischmann’s After The Storm (Houston Grand Opera), Sucharitkul’s Snow Dragon (Skylight Music Theatre / Opera Siam), Larsen’s Frankenstein (West Edge Opera), and Regan / Fries’ The Memory Stone (Houston Grand Opera). In addition, Ozawa’s interest in hybrid storytelling has led him to direct pieces of musical theater including A Little Night Music (Houston Grand Opera / Des Moines Metro Opera) and Sweeney Todd (Skylight Music Theater). Ozawa’s skill at working across artistic boundaries has led him to collaborate with the Grammy award winning contemporary music ensemble Eighth Blackbird (Hand Eye and Ghostlight), Placido Domingo (Celebrating Placido Domingo), Sondra Radvanovsky (The Three Queens), Houston Ballet & Asia Society Houston (Tsuru), Mariachi Aztlon (Canciones y arias), Alexa Grae / Jon Wes (Vimeo music video – Sur La Nuit), and visual performance designer Candystations (Hand Eye) among others. In 2013, Ozawa founded MOZAWA because of his commitment to cross-cultural interdisciplinary work. Having incubated numerous new works and fostered over 150 artists from all over the world, Mozawa has been featured in Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine, at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and by High Concept Laboratory. Ozawa led collaborations have included A Dream Play (an interdisciplinary production in collaboration with Bow & Hammer: Sponsored by High Concept Laboratory), Y Portraits: Origins and Y Portraits: Awakening (an art gallery experience featuring over 50 international artists from all mediums; in collaboration with Chicago Harp Quartet & Ho Etsu Taiko Ensemble), and Fallen (a theatrical adaptation of Akutgawa's In A Grove featuring collaborative composition by koto musician Yumi Kurosawa and electronic sound artist Mike Vernusky). As an educator, Ozawa taught movement, acting and directing to undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance from 2017-2020. In addition, he has acted as lecturer for the School of Music at DePaul University, lecturer / stage director for the School of Music at North Park University, instructor for Music Academy of the West, and instructor for Rider University / Westminster Choir College. As an acting and movement coach, Ozawa has worked with young professionals at the Santa Fe Opera, Ryan Opera Center (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera and Opera Colorado. Ozawa’s own education in the industry led him to learn the business from the ground up. Starting at the Santa Fe Opera where he was a technical apprentice, he then proceeded to work as an Assistant Stage Manager, Stage Manager, Assistant Dramaturge, Assistant Director and then Associate Director all over the world. In any one of these capacities Ozawa has worked for Canadian Opera Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St Louis, Opera Colorado, Macau International Festival, Indianapolis Opera, and Off-Broadway. Throughout his formative years he was fortunate to work with and learn from some of the most world-renowned directors and artists including Meredith Monk, Peter Sellars, Isaac Mizrahi, Robert Carsen, Francesca Zambello, Chay Yew, David Alden, Bob Falls, Rob Ashford, Gary Griffin, James Robinson, and Francisco Negrin.
Creative Director Currently serving as Creative Director for Lab of Misfits, curating performances/talks for TED2019 Vancouver and Oslo Freedom Forum. Creative Consultant for C:LAB/Nextasy a Cirque du Soleil innovative division. Her mandate was to create immersive experiences and pop-up activations. Melanie Lalande served for 7 years as the Artistic Director for The Beatles™ LOVE™ by Cirque du Soleil® at The Mirage in Las Vegas. She oversaw 68 artists from 19 different countries as well as a staff of 14 who operate the production daily. She was in charge of all of the casting, performer integrations, and maintaining the artistic quality of the show. In 2016, in celebration of LOVE’s 10th anniversary, Melanie, along with the show’s Director, implemented a number of changes to the show. These changes included new costumes, choreography, new imagery and technology along with new music to make it “Bigger Brighter and Bolder.” As this show was updated Melanie served as producer of a documentary film following the process entitled “All Together Again.” She also served as the Creation Artistic Director for the Cirque du Soleil touring show, TOTEM™. While with the show she toured North America as well as parts of Europe. Prior to TOTEM™, she was the Artistic Director for KOOZA™ another touring show for Cirque du Soleil which toured North America. Melanie has been the Associate Director for two performances of One Night for One Drop in Las Vegas. The first performance was held in the “O” Theatre at Bellagio and the second one in the The Beatles™ LOVE™ Theatre performed at The Mirage. Melanie is the founder of Mayzsoul Inc. a dance company which performs in Washington D.C and New York City. She choreographed “The New Jazz Philosophy” tour with “The Legendary Roots Crew”, and “The National Pepsi Stuff” tour. Melanie ran the dance department at Fairfax Academy for Communications and the Arts. She taught dance in her community and aboard for over 20 years. She has her BFA in Dance from George Mason University.
Choreographer, Art Director, Performing Artist, and Designer (South Africa) My name is Tumelo Michael Moloi. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, performing cultural dances including gumboots, pantsula and traditional Zulu dance around the village of my home town. I started performing at the age of eleven and eventually went on to join a group Via Katlehong in which I was not only a dancer but also a lead choreographer and artistic director. Via Katlehong performed locally and internationally around Africa as well as across Europe and the USA. Our performances spread the stories of South African cultures, music, dance, and life during and after apartheid. In 2005 I was invited to perform in the Beatle’s "LOVE" show of Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, Nevada ad featured performer Gumboot dancer and one of a leading character for eleven years. During the summer I often worked to empower and engage under-served youth through circus and arts outreach programs with non-profits such as Prescott Circus Theatre in Oakland, California, and Rise Art Academy of New York. I also performed in the Circus In The Park program with San Francisco's Circus Bella, aimed at making entertainment accessible to everyone with yearly performances in The Yerba Buena Garden Festival. In 2016 my wife and I moved to Junction City to raise our two daughters on the family farm. I spend a lot of time in the Eugene/Springfield metro area. I have worked with The University of Oregon Foreign Language and International Studies Department, performing and teaching in their annual event. I also work with Lane Arts artStream program as a dance instructor for public schools. I teach privately at Demfinity Dance and Drum Studio. I also perform regularly at public libraries up and down the west coast, telling stories of African culture, music and dance. In addition, I have regularly performed at city sponsored events in Eugene and sometimes sold my visual arts and crafts, I am recently doing my own show called the living art with is a gallery and a show in at the same time.
Stage Director Director of Opera, UMKC Conservatory Originally from China, Mo Zhou is a stage director, artistic activist, and educator whose international career spans all artistic disciplines including opera, theater, musical theater, dance, and film. Ms. Zhou has directed at Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, The Juilliard School, WP Theatre Pipeline Festival, and The New School of Drama, to name a few. She has also worked as staff director at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, among others. She has finished training as James Marcus Directing Fellow at The Juilliard School, with two consecutive summers as the Directing Fellow at Wolf Trap Opera, as well as a 2050 Artistic Fellow with New York Theater Workshop, a Time Warner Directing Fellow with WP Theater and as an Apprentice Stage Director at Merola Opera Program in San Francisco. In 2019, she conceived and directed the opera The Diary of John Rabe, which looks at the Rape of Nanking through a German businessman John Rabe’s point of view. The production had a critically acclaimed run at NCPA in China, followed with a successful European tour at Staatsoper Berlin, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Ronacher in Vienna. The production has been turned into for a 4K opera movie that was distributed internationally in 2020. An avid advocate for new work, Ms. Zhou has developed new works with American Opera Project, NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and Guerilla Opera in Boston. Ms. Zhou has earned her BA at Bowdoin College, her MFA in Stage Directing at Columbia University and holds a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.
Intergenerational Street Dance/Hip Hop Connector, Choreographer, Director, Writer (Canada) Born in Montreal, Canada, in 1971, Natasha Jean-Bart's career spans over thirty-five years in the Performing Arts. She's a BIPOC artist, writer, dancer, choreographer, teacher, and intergenerational street dance/Hip Hop connector and consultant. Her credits as a performer and choreographer have taken her to well-respected stages, including Cirque Du Soleil's "The Beatles LOVE" as a lead character and Locking/Hip Hop rehearsal coach. Her expertise has garnered her numerous positions as a juror for elite dance competitions internationally. She is currently performing with the Canadian troupe "Bboyizm Dance Company." She continues to give workshops and lectures internationally. In addition, she uses her voice to assist and inspire artists from all walks of life in finding their purpose. A wife, mother of four beautiful children, and Nana to four lively grandchildren, Tash divides her time between her home: Las Vegas, her hometown, Canada, and the rest of the world.
Ong Keng Sen 王景生
Director, Scholar, Curator (Singapore) Ong Keng Sen is currently the Artistic Director of TheatreWorks where he has created much of his groundbreaking art. His approach to traditional arts of Asian in contemporary arts is grounded in his studies of intercultural performance with the Performance Studies Department at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and his intellectual girth in practice comes from holding a law degree. He has led the company since 1988. Keng Sen has made his career as a performance director with sensitivity towards weaving traditional Asian arts into contemporary creation since 1997. His talent has been the ability to negotiate diverse traditional arts of Asia bringing the best traditional masters together in one performance with contemporary arts of all kind from film to dance to plastic arts to music. Hence he has actively contributed to the evolution of Asian identities in the theatre as well as the subsequent transglobalisation of the Asian aesthetic in contemporary arts. He has consistently collaborated with different Chinese operas ranging from Beijing opera in seminal LEAR (premiered in Cocoon Theater, Tokyo in 1997, subsequently travelling to Hong Kong Arts Festival as well as Theater der Welt, Berlin in 1999), to Liyuan Opera in his well-received production about the life of Buddha and Pico Iyer’s book, THE GLOBAL SOUL (premiered in Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin in 2003), to Kun Opera in AWAKING (Singapore Arts Festival 2008) which juxtapositioned Tang Xian Zhu, the chief playwright of Kun Opera and William Shakespeare, who both lived at the same time in different ends of the globe. His works have been presented throughout the world including Edinburgh International Festival; Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Tanzquartier Wien; Landestheater Linz (European Cultural Capital 2009); Rotterdam Schouwburg; Oslo Dansenshus; Stockholm Dansenshus; Zurich Theater Spektakel; Roma Europa Festival (Rome); Grand Theatre de la Ville Luxemburg; Idans Festival Istanbul; Cairo Experimental Theatre Festival; Panorama Rio de Janeiro; and Melbourne Festival.
Artistic Director, Portland Opera Priti Gandhi, Artistic Director of Portland Opera, joined the company in the fall of 2021 as an artistic and strategic leader, as part of a new collaborative leadership team structure for the company. Her role leads the discussions for season planning, casting, developing the Portland Opera Young Artist program, and directing the artistic department - which includes oversight of the company’s community engagement and educational programs. Previous to her post in Portland, she was Vice President of Artistic at Minnesota Opera, where she advised on topics related to company programming, casting, and commissions related to the New Works Initiative. She also created new processes for company-wide conversations regarding diversity in traditional narratives and casting – most notably, exploring the growing discussion of the relevance of the operatic canon in the evolving lens of today – and has become a frequent contributor to panels, podcasts, and published articles regarding the ongoing dialogue of new perspectives in industry-wide EDI work. She is also passionate about connecting to singers regarding career paths and resources, as well as creating more compassionate and inclusive spaces for artists in the industry – speaking on panels with Opera America, National Endowment for the Arts, The Women’s Opera Network (OA), and various opera companies throughout the region. In addition to her work in Minnesota, Ms. Gandhi initially served as artistic administrator of San Diego Opera, where she oversaw all artistic contracting and management. In her long performance career, she appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Theatre du Chatelet, the Royal Opera House, Prague Estates Theatre, New York City Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Opera, among others. Ms. Gandhi graduated with a bachelor of arts in communications and a minor in theatre from the University of California, San Diego, has served as a published weekly columnist with The San Diego Union-Tribune, and was an honored alumna and commencement speaker at UCSD in 2016. An alumna of young artist programs at Cleveland Opera and San Diego Opera, Gandhi is also an amateur painter and flamenco dancer.
Composer (Canada) With more than three million records sold, René Dupéré is recognized around the world and his work transcends geographical and stylistic boundaries. In 1995, no less than 200,000 people paid him tribute at the Montréal Jazz Festival. He is known for his musical creations for Cirque du Soleil shows (Circus Reinvented, New Experience, Saltimbanco, Mystère, Alegria, Ka and Zed) as well as for events such as the ceremonies marking the rendition of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Being a multifaceted musician, he developed a personal musical style by combining traditional structures with modern sounds of synthesizers and exotic flavors of World Music. Equally at ease in the field of cinema, TV and publicity, he was able to impose an original musical signature and a strong personality to his musique. With two shows still on tour and two resident shows in Las Vegas, Dupéré proved that his music is travelling easily around the world, and that by virtue of its timelessness adapts well to the passing of time. EDUCATION: Bachelor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Music 2005: Awarded “Doctor Honoris Causa” in Music by the University of Laval (Québec) for his contribution to popular music. 2006: Awarded “Chevalier de la Pléiade” 2004: Founded a humanitarian project in Africa. ACHIEVEMENTS: 2019 : ISTAMBUL :Show "Chante-moi une histoire" with the string quartet SIMPLICE arranger and musician. 2012 :Album : "Chante-moi une histoire" with Francesca composer ,arranger and musician 2008 : Film JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH with Peter Fonda; composer and arranger. 2008 : Show ENERGIA for Holiday On Ice composer and arranger. 2008 : ZED permanent show for Cirque du Soleil in Tokyo: composer and arranger. 2006 : FILM La luna en botella: Spain Composer, arranger, and musician 2005 : CD of the show KA 2005 : The Dupéré effect: Performance by the Orchestre Symphonique de l’Estuaire 2004 : Creating the music for the show KA in Las Vegas, staged by Robert Lepage. Composer and arranger 2004 : Film :OIO Composer, arranger, and musician 2004 : Film :La peau blanche Composer, arranger and musician 2004 : The Dupéré effect: Performance by the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval 2003 : CD Elise Velle: LA BELLE EST DANS TON CAMP Composer, arranger, and musician. 2002 : TELE-Miniseries: THE FAMILY: Composer, arranger, producer and musician 2002 : Music for the ATHLETIC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS opening ceremonies in Edmonton Composer, arranger, and musician. 2001 : SOCAN Hagood Hardy Award: instrumental music. 1999-2000 : TV-Series: L’OMBRE DE L’ÉPERVIER II (Shadow of the Hawk ) Composer, arranger, producer and musician 1999-2000 : Golden Award for "Ismya Vova" publicity Air Canada.Award for Best Original Score at the New York Festival. 1998-1999 : World Tour Holiday on Ice. Show Xotika and recording of the album of the show. Composer, arranger and musician 1998 : BARNEY’S GREAT ADVENTURE, film: the song "Who's Inside It?". Composer, arranger 1998 : TV-Series L’OMBRE DE L’ÉPERVIER (Shadow of the Hawk ) Composer, arranger, producer and musician 1997: Award “Hagood Hardy”: Jazz / Instrumental Music (SOCAN). 1997 : Music for the rendition of Hong Kong to China. Composer, arranger and musician 1996 : CD VOYAGE with Elise Velle, Composer, arranger and musician 1995 : Nominated for Grammy Awards (U.S.A) Song Alegria, best arranger 1995 : Tribute to the music of René Dupéré at the International Jazz Festival Montreal. 1994-1995 : Alegria, Cirque du Soleil Composer, arranger and musician 1994-1995 : The song Alegria topped the Billboard U.S. for 54 weeks 1993 : MYSTERE :Cirque du Soleil permanent show in Las Vegas. Composer, arranger 1993 : The MYSTERE CD is at the top of the Billboard during sixteen weeks 1992 : SALTIMBANCO :Cirque du Soleil show Composer, arranger and musician 1990 : NOUVELLE EXPERIENCE Cirque du Soleil show Composer and arranger 1989 : FASCINATION Cirque du soleil Japanese tour. Composer, arranger 1989 : Primary Colors: The Story of Corita for HBO Composer, arranger, producer and musician 1988 : FELIX AWARD for the album CIRCUS REINVENTED 1987 : CIRCUS REINVENTED show Composer, arranger 1985 : Film Ann Trister LEA POOL Composer, arranger and musician 1984 :Le Cirque du Soleil Discography CIRCUS REINVENTED (Cirque du Soleil) NOUVELLE EXPERIENCE (Cirque du Soleil) SALTIMBANCO (Cirque du Soleil) MYSTERE (Cirque du Soleil in Vegas) ALEGRIA (Cirque du Soleil) VOYAGE (Elise Velle) XOTIKA (Holiday on Ice) L’OMBRE DE L’EPERVIER Radio-Canada LA BELLE EST DANS TON CAMP (Elise Velle) ENERGIA (Holiday on Ice) KA (Cirque du Soleil in Vegas) ZED (Cirque du Soleil in Tokyo)
Arts Journalist, Creator, and Host of the podcast Why We Theater Ruthie Fierberg is a savvy, intuitive, and creative freelance journalist. Based in New York City, Ruthie is the creator and host of the podcast Why We Theater on the Broadway Podcast Network. She has written for such national publications as Playbill, Parents, American Baby, Parents Latina, Good Housekeeping, and Backstage. An in-demand moderator, Ruthie is the regular host for Second Stage Theater Company's new artist talk series 2STREAM and has led talkbacks and panels for the 92nd Street Y, the JCC Manhattan, Disney Theatrical Productions, and BroadwayCon 2016-2021. Most recently, she served as the Executive Editor of Features and Branded Content at Playbill, creating innovative and engaging content through in-depth written pieces, multimedia and video features, live broadcasts, and as executive producer of digital concert specials. A skilled interviewer, Ruthie has the ability to quickly develop an easy rapport with her subjects. She has interviewed hundreds of celebrities, including Hollywood A-listers such as Judith Light, Nathan Lane, Aaron Sorkin, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Hudson, Melissa McCarthy, and Ethan Hawke, Olympic athletes like Bode Miller and Kristi Yamaguchi, and hundreds of theatre artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Pulitzer Prize winner David Henry Hwang, six-time Tony Award-winner Audra MacDonald, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, Tony-winning designers David Zinn, Clint Ramos, and Jessica Paz, Tony-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo, award-winning writers Tim Minchin, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and groundbreaking multi-hyphenate Lin-Manuel Miranda. Ruthie prides herself on her ability to bring out true personalities in her conversations and unearth one-of-a-kind stories. Her experience extends beyond the page in her video work. She has taken on the roles of talent scout, interviewer, script-writer, on-set producer and post-production director while working on multiple video series for Playbill, and previously at Parents. She also served as the Backstage media correspondent at the 2014 Tony Awards, producing over 35 red carpet videos overnight. Ruthie is an independent worker, and a collaborative team player, who throws herself into her work. She wields an unbridled passion for the arts, but most of all she aims to champion great thinkers and notable people and bring their stories to light. Her goal is to start meaningful conversation, encourage thoughtful people, and create change. That passion to use onstage art in order to manifest change in our offstage lives paved the way for Why We Theater on the Broadway Podcast Network. Launched in 2020, the podcast examines one play or musical in each episode as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. And don’t worry if you haven’t seen an individual episode’s show or if you’re not a theatre buff. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play and The Prom break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (i.e. NSA Jake Sullivan or This American Life’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) as tools to do the work. Ruthie attended Barnard College of Columbia University, where she graduated Cum Laude with her B.A. in Psychology. During her time at Barnard, she became the theatre editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator, writing and editing for the daily paper, expanded weekend arts section, and the weekly arts & culture magazine The Eye. Though she spent her first couple of college summers volunteering at hospitals in clinics, she later interned for Broadway producers Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller, and later as an editorial intern at Backstage magazine. After graduating she worked for a time at SpotCo (one of Broadway's premiere advertising and marketing firms). She then worked at Time Out New York in marketing and branded content before moving to Meredith Corporation to work at the Parents Network. In 2015, she became the Features Editor at Playbill, spearheading more in-depth interview content and expanded video content. Ruthie created Playbill's live from the red carpet special alongside colleague Felicia Fitzpatrick and hosted approximately 40 openings plus the annual Tony Awards each year; she also worked on Playbill Travel's Broadway on the High Seas cruises, booking and managing talent on board the ship, as well as stage managing and designing lighting for each show. In 2017 she was promoted to Senior Features Editor and later in her tenure to Executive Editor of Features and Branded Content. Over the years she has appeared on SiriusXM radio and NPR as a guest expert. Outside of theatre, Ruthie is obsessed with tennis (¡Vamos Rafa!) and travel—and has often combined the two by venturing to the French Open, the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and more. (She will make it to Wimbledon.) Ruthie is a dancer and a Bikram yogi. She is a fierce justice advocate, specifically involved with such causes as Covenant House International and The Actors Fund.
Tony Award winning Choreographer (Canada) Sergio Trujillo (Choreographer): Internationally renowned theater choreographer and director, Sergio Trujillo is the first ever Latinx recipient of the Tony Award for Best Choreography for Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations (Tony/NAACP Award, Outer Critics Circle/Chita Rivera nominations). Other Broadway: Tony Award-Best Musical Memphis, (Olivier/Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations), Tony/Olivier Award-Best Musical Jersey Boys (Greenroom Award, Olivier, Drama Desk, Dora, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations),On Your Feet (Tony Award nominee, Outer Critics Circle/Astaire Awards), Memphis the Musical (Olivier/OCC Award, Drama Desk/Astaire Award nominations), Jersey Boys (Olivier/ Drama Desk/OCC/Greenroom/Dora nominations), Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (Chita Rivera/NAACP Award), A Bronx Tale (Chita Rivera Award nomination), The Addams Family, Next to Normal, Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk nomination), Leap of Faith (Drama Desk nomination), Guys and Dolls (Astaire Awards nomination) and All Shook Up. Director/choreographer: Cirque De Soleil’s Paramour (Stage Entertainment), Arrabal (ART—Elliot Norton Award), Gloria Estefan on Broadway (Minskoff Theatre), Flashdance: The Musical (National tour). Other theatre: Invisible Thread (Second Stage, Astaire Award nomination), Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Musical (Olney Theatre—Helen Hayes Award nomination), Freaky Friday (Signature Theatre) and The Wiz (La Jolla Playhouse). International credits: Disney’s Tarzan (Stage Entertainment), Peggy Sue Got Married (West End), West Side Story (Stratford Festival).TV credits: Christmas in Rockefeller Center (Emmy nominee), ANNIE Live, Kennedy Center Honors, The Tony Awards, and Jersey Boys Live. In 2011 was named one of the top 100 Colombian artists in the world.
Composer for Broadway and Film Stephen Flaherty is a composer for theater, film and the concert hall. With longtime collaborator Lynn Ahrens, he won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for the Broadway musical Ragtime and was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes for the animated feature film Anastasia, which they also adapted for Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include Once On This Island (Tony Award, Best Revival), Seussical, Rocky, My Favorite Year, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life (original songs) and Neil Simon’s Proposals (incidental music.) Off-Broadway and regional credits include A Man Of No Importance, The Glorious Ones and Dessa Rose (all three at Lincoln Center Theatre); Lucky Stiff (Playwrights Horizons), Little Dancer (Kennedy Center and Seattle 5th Avenue), In Your Arms (Old Globe) and Loving Repeating: A Musical Of Gertrude Stein (About Face.) Upcoming: Little Dancer and Knoxville. Film includes Anastasia, After The Storm, Lucky Stiff and Nasrin. Additional awards include London’s Olivier (Best Musical), Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson (Best Musical) and four Grammy nominations. He serves on Council for the Dramatists Guild of America and co-founded the DGF Fellows Program for Emerging Writers with Lynn Ahrens. In 2014 Ahrens and Flaherty received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement and in 2015 they were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. www.ahrensandflaherty.com