Damon Kiely is a professional director and writer, as well as a full time professor of directing and acting for DePaul's Theatre School. He has directed for Next Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Route 66. His world premiere adaptation of Thieves Like Us was produced by the House Theatre of Chicago and the Theatre School. He served as the Artistic Director of American Theater Company from 2002 to 2007. Prior to moving back to Chicago he produced, directed and taught in New York City. In New York he directed for the Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Ontological Theater, Adobe Theater Company, PS122, Ensemble Studio Theater and New Dramatists. Damon also served as the Artistic Director for Real Time Theater and was a Producing Director at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater as well as the Associate Artistic Director for the Children's Theater of Maine. He is a winner of the 2000-02 NEA/TCG Career Directing Program, the 2000 Drama League Fall Directing Program and the 1997 Princess Grace Award. He lives in Edgewater with his wife Jennifer and their children, Isabella and Finnegan.
Celeste Lagrotteria is the Production Manager for Manhattan Theatre Club. At MTC she production managed My Name is Lucy Barton, Ink, Choir Boy to name a few. She has also worked with Center Theatre Group, The Mark Taper Forum and The Kirk Douglas Theatre, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. She has overseen productions at the highest level Celeste began her professional career at Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. She has an MFA in Production Technology & Theatre Management from Carnegie Mellon, and is a graduate of Centre College.
Jenni Werner is the Literary Director and Resident Dramaturg at Geva Theatre Center. In that role, she has served as dramaturg on 29 productions at Geva, including classics and world premieres by Wendy MacLeod, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Cass Morgan, Nora Cole, Jamie Pachino, Mat Smart, Gabriel Jason Dean, Keith Glover, Lila Rose Kaplan and Brent Askari. In 2015, Jenni co-produced Geva’s blues festival celebrating the life and legacy of musician Son House, Journey to the Son. Jenni also produces Geva’s new play programming, and has led the development of over 40 new plays during her tenure at Geva. Additionally, she directs Geva’s commissioning of new plays through the Rochester Stories program. Previously, Jenni served as the Director of Programming at Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the non-profit theatre field. From 2005-2011, she produced TCG’s annual National Conference, curating the content and organizing the logistics for the largest national gathering of professionals in the non-profit theatre field. For six years, she was an adjunct instructor at New York University, and is now an adjunct instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Jenni has an M.F.A. in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a B.A. in theatre and history from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She also serves on the board of ImageOut, Rochester’s LGBT film festival.
Michael Stuhlbarg is a great actor. His films include Call Me by Your Name, The Post, The Shape of Water (all three nominated for an Oscar for best picture in the same year), Blue Jasmine, and A Serious Man. For Television: Boardwalk Empire and The Looming Tower. Theater: Michael played the title roles in Socrates at the Public Theatre and Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park, and was on Broadway in Pillow Man for which he won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony. He is currently in New Orleans filming the series Your Honor by Peter Moffat.
Kerry O'Malley is a wonderful actor who has worked on Broadway, Film, and Television. She is currently cast in the Broadway Revival of 1776 and can be seen on the new series Snowpiercer on TNT. Her theater credits include Broadway and National Tour of White Christmas, Into The Woods, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, the original cast of How I Learned To Drive, for television Shameless, Boardwalk Empire, Brotherhood, and film credits include Terminator Genisys with Emilia Clarke and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, the Disney feature Earth to Echo, Case 39 with Renee Zellweger, The Happening with Mark Wahlberg, Rounders with Matt Damon, and many others. She is also a huge Boston sports fan. www.kerryomalley.com
Stephanie Klapper (Stephanie Klapper Casting) is a New York-based Casting Director whose work is frequently seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally, internationally, on television, and on film. Projects she has cast have won numerous awards, including the Tonys, OBIES, Artios, Drama Desk, Pulitzer Prize, Sundance Audience Award, Cannes Prize Du Publique, and Comic Con awards. Frequent and long time collaborators include Primary Stages, Mint Theater Company, New York Classical Theatre, american vicarious, The Peccadillo, Masterworks, Resonance Ensemble, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Playhouse, Capital Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Ford’s Theatre, Kansas City Rep, The New Theatre, as well as many more both in New York and regional theatres around the country.
Nicole Brewer is a director, actor, educator and facilitator. She is a passionate advocate for anti-racist theatre and is invited across the US and the UK to teach and speak about Conscientious Theatre Training. Her advocacy for the theatre industrial complex to replace racist and oppressive practice with anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices has appeared in both American Theatre and HowlRound.
CHRISTINE BRUNO (actor/teaching artist/disability inclusion consultant) MFA — acting & directing, the New School. Member — The Actors Studio, NY Shakespeare Exchange; Advisory Company member, National Disability Theatre. Leadership — SAG-AFTRA NY Local Board; Chair, SAG-AFTRA New NY Local Performers with Disabilities (PWD) Committee; SAG-AFTRA National PWD, Actors’ Equity EEOC. Theatre: Cost of Living, Glass Menagerie, world premieres — Bekah Brunstetter’s Public Servant (Off-Broadway), The Maids (adaptation by Jose Rivera), The Good Daughter, musicals The Ugly Girl, Raspberry (UK tours). Film and TV: God Friended Me, Law & Order, Best Summer Ever, Hungry, award-winning features Flatbrush Luck and This is Where We Live.
Rajiv Joseph chatted with us over Zoom. Rajiv's play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and then, in 2018, for Describe the Night. Other plays include Archduke, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Lake Effect, The North Pool, and Mr. Wolf. Joseph has been awarded artistic grants from the Whiting Foundation, United States Artists and the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. He is a board member of The Lark in New York City, where he develops all his plays. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.