2014 National Music Theater Conference
Casts & Creative Teams
The War Dept.
JIM BAUER earned a degree in music composition and theory from Haverford College where he studied with composers John Davison and Harold Boatrite. He has since divided his time between composing scores for film (Claire Dolan and Keane, written and directed by Lodge Kerrigan) and television (dozens of long-form programs for VH1, MTV, PBS, ABC News Productions, and others), as well as performing as singer, songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist in a variety of bands he has assembled over the years, including, most recently: The Weimarband (2000-05) and Dagmar The Band (2005-2011). He wrote the music and lyrics and collaborated with his wife, visual artist Ruth Bauer, on the libretto for the award winning musical The Blue Flower which was most recently produced at A.R.T. – The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA in the fall of 2010 and Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre in the fall of 2011. In 2011-12 he collaborated with Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz (Anna In The Tropics) on Farhad, or The Secret of Being, a new one-act, one-person musical that premiered in New York City in November 2012. He is a recipient of a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant Award and a semi-finalist for the American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award. In addition to The War Dept., he is also currently working on EXO, turning his 30-song “Dagmar” narrative song cycle into an experimental theatrical concert event, blending folk and electronica in collaboration with percussionist David Rozenblatt and UK musician/producer Robbie Bronnimann.
RUTH BAUER is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her oil paintings, watercolors, collages, and monotypes have been shown in group exhibits in museums and in solo exhibitions in galleries across the United States, including The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Hudson River Museum, The Tucson Museum of Art, and The DeCordova Museum. Her paintings, watercolors, and monotypes are part of notable private and public collections, and her work has been reviewed in a number of articles in art journals and newspapers, including Art News and The Boston Globe. Her artwork has been published on book jacket covers for Houghton-Mifflin, Viking, Harvard University Press and Orchard Books. She collaborated with her husband, composer/lyricist Jim Bauer, on the book for the musical The Blue Flower, as well as the videos in the production. The Blue Flower was most recently produced at A.R.T. – The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA in the fall of 2010 and Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre in the fall of 2011. Ruth has been an artist-in-residence at the HERE Arts Center and was a recipient of a 2004 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant Award. Ruth is currently writing and illustrating a fictional journal of an amateur woman naturalist from the nineteenth century who has traveled to the mythical Isle of Kokovoko to document the flora and fauna there. Ruth is represented by The Clark Gallery.
MELIA BENSUSSEN is the recipient of an OBIE Award for Outstanding Direction, and has directed extensively around the country, including work at the Huntington Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Actors Shakespeare Project, Baltimore Centerstage, Hartford Stage Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, the New York Shakespeare Festival, MCC, Primary Stages, the Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville (Humana Festival), People's Light and Theatre Company (Barrymore nomination for Best Direction), San Jose Rep, and many others. Most recent work includes THE CHERRY ORCHARD for Actors Shakespeare Project (Norton nomination for Best Direction and Best Production); upcoming work includes AWAKE AND SING at the Huntington in Fall 2014.
She directed the world premiere of Kirsten Greenidge’s LUCK OF THE IRISH at the Huntington Theatre (winner 2013 IRNE Award for Best New Play), and her production of TWELFTH NIGHT at Actors Shakespeare Project, Boston, received the 2012 Eliot Norton Award for Best Production. Her work with new plays has involved working at New York Stage and Film/Powerhouse, the O'Neill Theater Center, and the Midwest Playlabs/The Playwrights Center, as well as other new play programs around the country. Collaborations with playwrights include work with Catherine Filloux, Kirsten Greenidge, Motti Lerner, Carey Perloff, Mat Smart, Ken Urban, Masha Obolensky, Jeffrey Hatcher, Lee Blessing, Richard Dresser, Willy Holtzman, Eduardo Machado, Edwin Sanchez, and Y York.
Raised in Mexico City, Melia is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted a variety of works, including her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, published by Theatre Communications Group. She is the Chair of Performing Arts at Emerson College in Boston.
DOMINICK AMENDUM has for the past 7 years served as Associate Music Supervisor of the International Mega-Hit Musical Wicked, also having conducted Wicked on Broadway, in Los Angeles, and in cities across the U.S. on the First National Tour. This past year, Dominick served as Arranger and Music Supervisor for the Broadway musical First Date, while also Arranging and Supervising the world-premiere of Secondhand Lions at Seattle’s landmark 5th Avenue Theatre (coming to Broadway in 2015.) Other upcoming projects include: The Man In The Ceiling (with Andrew Lippa and Jules Feiffer); Galileo (with screenwriter Danny Strong); andThe Kid (based on the book by Dan Savage).
Off-Broadway, Dominick currently serves as Music Director for Heathers. He was also the Music Director for The Blue Flower (SecondStage Theatre); The Kid (The New Group; also orchestrations and arrangements); The Romance Of Magno Rubio (DR2 Theatre); and This End Up (Ma-Yi Theatre Company). Dominick produced the recent First Date cast album, as well as recordings for Stephanie J. Block (“This Place I Know”); Carrie Manolakos (“Echo”), Will Van Dyke (“Chasing The Day”) and Paul Loesel and Scott Burkell (“Sorta Love Songs”). In the studio, he has collaborated with the likes of Rupert Holmes, Dolly Parton, Andrew Lippa, Stephen Schwartz, and Marvin Hamlisch.
Dominick is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studied Classical Piano Performance.
COLE BURDEN is so happy to return to the O’Neill. He participated in both the National Music Theater and Cabaret & Performance Conferences in 2005-2007. In that time he performed in Willy and Rupert, Red Eye of Love, Pure Heaven, Becoming Tennessee, and various cabaret acts. Other credits are A Christmas Carol (Arvada Center), Himself and Nora (American Theatre Group) The 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables (National Tour), Legally Blonde (Marriott Lincolnshire), Applause (City Center Encores!), Bonnie and Clyde, Warrior and the Piper (New York Musical Theatre Festival), Grey Gardens (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Les Miserables (Houston Theater Under the Stars), Evita (Mason Street Warehouse). Readings/Workshops: Nightmare Alley, Fiction in Photographs, Yank!, Bromance: The Dudesical, The Ballad of Little Joe. Concert appearances: Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s The Human Heart, We Are the Song: After the Storm (Joe’s Pub) "ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares," The Actors Fund’s Nothing Like A Dame. Film and TV credits: “Beautiful Creatures,” “As The World Turns,” “One Life to Live,” “30 Rock,” “The Real Housewives of New York.”
ALAN H. GREEN – Broadway: Sister Act, Play On. Off-Broadway: Happiness (Lincoln Center), Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. 1st National Tours: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Swing, Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Regional: First You Dream (Kennedy Center), Johnny Baseball (Williamstown/A.R.T.), The Visit (Signature), Miss Saigon (Papermill, Pittsburgh C.L.O.), Ragtime (North Shore, Sacramento). TV: “Unforgettable,” “30 Rock,” “Law and Order S.V.U.,” “The Guiding Light.” Commercials: Chase, Time Warner Cable, Trop50, Wendys, Golden Corral, Red Lobster. Rice University Graduate. www.alanhgreen.com
HUNTER RYAN HERDLICKA is best known from his almost two years starring on Broadway as Henrik in the Tony Award winning revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, playing opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, followed by Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. Selected recent credits include The Pirates of Penzance (Frederic) at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Cabaret (Cliff) at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Tempest (Ariel) at the Dallas Theater Center, Fiddler on the Roof (Fyedka) with Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Othello (Clown) with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Something’s Afoot (Geoffrey) at the Goodspeed Opera House, three seasons with the West Virginia Public Theatre, as well as countless workshops, readings, and concerts in New York working and singing alongside Liza Minnelli, Hugh Jackman, Michael Feinstein, Phyllis Newman, and Nathan Lane, among others. Hunter can be seen in the new documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, premiering in theaters around the country, as well as the return of One Life To Live. Hunter has enjoyed two sold out runs at New York’s famed nightclub Feinstein’s, and recently debuted his new show with a sold out appearance at 54 Below. A 2009 graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Hunter currently resides in Manhattan. Please visit www.HunterRyanHerdlicka.com for more.
JAMES JUDY is very grateful to be back at the O’Neill this summer where he appeared in last years The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes. His credits include: Broadway – Into the Woods, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Jekyll & Hyde, A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. Off-Broadway – Tin Pan Alley Rag at Roundabout, La Boheme at NYSF, Fiorello at City Center Encores, 1,2,3,4,5 & The Gig at Manhattan Theatre Club, Catch Me If I Fall at Promenade, J.P. Morgan Saves the Nation at En Garde Arts, Shlomo at Safra Hall. Television: “Boardwalk Empire,” “Cosby,” “Trinity.” National Tours: Deaf West’s Big River, South Pacific, Jekyll & Hyde. Regional: Damn Yankees, Finians Rainbow, Half a Sixpence, The Gig at Goodspeed Opera House; A Christmas Story & Winesburg, Ohio at Kansas City Repertory; Something’s Afoot, Evita, Enchanted April, Les Miserables at Pioneer Memorial Theatre; Our Town, 1776, Inherit The Wind, The Madwoman Of Chaillot, Counsellor-at-Law at Williamstown Theatre Festival. James would like to thank Kathy and Moochie for being his loving refuge.
DENISE SUMMERFORD won a Drama Desk award for her work in the a cappella musical In Transit, which began its life right here at the OʼNeill. She is thrilled to be back. Deniseʼs Broadway credits include Taboo (cast recording), The Rocky Horror Show, Saturday Night Fever, and Grease. She has played leading roles in the Broadway touring companies of Leader of the Pack, Grease, Company, and The Whoʼs Tommy. Denise was also in the original cast of the Off Broadway musical Shout! where she originated the role of "Red Girl" (cast recording). Denise has drawn praise from around the music scene with her series of solo concerts in and around NYC and can be heard on various voice-overs and jingles. Denise is a Half Moon Theatre company member and Director of Half Moon Theatre School of the Arts in Poughkeepsie. She has a BFA in acting and has teaches master classes in auditioning to colleges and conservatories. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.
ZAKIYA YOUNG was most recently seen in "This American Life’s" live presentation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music opposite Josh Hamilton in Joshuah Bearman’s Story and Sasheer Zamata in Struck by Reality. Prior to that, she played Nita in Tenderloin at the York and starred as Tracy in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. She starred as Tigre Savoy in Storyville, a challenging role that allowed her to debut her piano playing skills on an Off-Broadway stage. She played Kate in David Lindsay-Abaire’s play Good People at Seattle Repertory Theater and George Street Playhouse. Broadway credits include Stick Fly and The Little Mermaid. Favorite roles: Aida in Aida (Starlight Theatre), Betty in White Christmas (Syracuse Stage) and Lois Lane in It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (Dallas Theater Center). She is the first black actress known to have played that iconic role in any Superman project. Jeremiah 29:11. www.zakiyayoung.com
Recent credits: Off Broadway: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Vegas: Surf the Musical (Brooke). Broadway Tours: Wicked, Grease (Sandy), Legally Blonde. Regional: Muny’s Legally Blonde (Elle). NYC Readings: Flashdance (dir. Sergio Trujillo), Catch Me If You Can (dir. Jerry Mitchell).
The White City
JULIA GYTRI is a Manhattan-dwelling artist/gymnast. She joined forces with Avi Amon in 2011 to create The White City, which was a finalist for the 2014 Larson Grant. Their one-act musical, Step on a Crack, debuted in March 2014 with the Prospect Theatre Company. Upcoming projects include Salonika, a fusion of obscure fairy tales paralleled with the extermination of the Jews of Salonika, Greece; and Tickets to the Gun Show, a futuristic examination of human courtship and gender norms inspired by segregated male and female tribes in ancient Greece.
With composer/paleontologist Yan Li, Julia constructed -Blind., which premiered to a blindfolded audience in May 2012 and was performed in concert by the National Asian Artists Project in December 2013. The duo continues to develop the piece and find new ways to provide audiences with intensely exciting sensory experiences.
Julia currently performs, operates puppets, and composes music for educational children's songs at the New York K!d’s Club. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch, NYU. www.juliagytri.com
AVI AMON lives in Brooklyn and writes music for theater, film, and dance. Avi has appeared on NBC's "The Sing-Off," and performs regularly as a solo pianist, session musician, and with the band Pictures of the Sun. His music has been featured at Lincoln Center, The Directors Guild of America, La Mama, The Skirball Center, Dixon Place, and 54 Below, among others.
Before moving to New York, Avi wrote and directed Delaware: The Musical while working as an admissions counselor for the University of Delaware. During his tenure at the university, he worked extensively with the Professional Theater Training Program/Resident Ensemble Players as a music director and vocal coach.
With collaborator/pal Julia Gytri, Avi wrote the music for The White City (NYU, finalist for the 2014 Jonathan Larson Grant) and Step on a Crack (featured in Prospect Theater’s 7th Annual Music Theater Lab). The pair continues to work on other exciting projects including the fairy tale and Ladino-infused Salonika, and the futuristic Tickets to the Gun Show.
Avi is an alumnus of the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where he studied with Mel Marvin, Polly Pen, and Fred Carl. Avi is also a member of the Dramatists Guild, The American Composers Forum, The Society of Composers, Inc., and ASCAP. He currently tends to his immense plant collection and works at the JCC in Manhattan as a program associate for Arts+Ideas. www.aviamon.com
Tim Seib is a stage director who currently resides in New York City. Tim has worked with companies such as The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Storm Theatre, WingsTheatre, Festival 56, The Gorilla Theater, The Universal Theatre Festival, and Emerging Artists Theatre.
He has spent the last nine years as an artistic associate within The November Ten, which produces a summer theatre festival outside of Chicago every summer. Regional Directing credits include Cabaret, The Full Monty, Into the Woods, Proof, The Lucky Stiff, The Wizard of Oz, A Doll's House, Vanities, The Shape of Things.
Tim also has a passion for working with children, having helped create Two Road Educational Arts Theatre as well as teaching with Stages on the Sound in Brooklyn, NY. While normally called in to re-conceptualize classics, Tim has now turned his attention to the development process, having worked on the new musicals Broadcast and Goddess at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as well as reading new script submissions for both the National Playwrights Conference and the National Musical Theater Conference. Tim is a proud graduate of Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, Missouri.
KENNETH GARTMAN (MUSIC DIRECTOR) – Theatre: Inner Voices III:Arlington (Off-Broadway); Broadcast (Eugene O'Neill Music Theater Conference, 2013); Bryan Putnam's The ToyMaker (Eugene O'Neill Music Theater Conference, 2012); Zapata! The Musical (NYMF2012) and subsequent cast recording; Once Removed, a new musical with music by Graham Russell of Air Supply; Show Choir! the Musical (NYMF2010); The ToyMaker (NYMF2009) and subsequent cast recording;Trouble in Shameland (FringeNYC) and subsequent cast recording.
Cabaret/Concerts:Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour (MAC Award), Joshing Around, Unity Benefit Concerts, Concerts for City Greens, Cabaret Cares, The Salon Open Mic(Host/Co-Host), A Ballsy Christmas Open Mic (Host). Singer/Performer: Kenneth Gartman...Not Like the Other Cavemen (cabaret debut), National Tour of The Music Man; Side by Side by Sondheim; Simply Sondheim LIVE! (BBC Broadcast); and A New York Songbook: Way Off Broadway.
For more information, visit www.KennethGartman.com
Angel Desai – Broadway: Company (2006, Best Revival Tony® Award). Off-Broadway: The Tempest and The Winter's Tale (CSC), Manic Flight Reaction and The Bubbly Black Girl... (Playwrights Horzions), The Architecture of Loss (NYTW), Gum (Women's Project), This End Up… (Ma-Yi), Stop Kiss (u/s)(Public), others. Regional: Old Globe, McCarter Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, Yale Repertory, Long Wharf, Arena Stage, Playmakers Repertory, others. TV: recurring roles on "Being Mary Jane," "Damages," "The Event," "Dollhouse," "Kings," and all three "Law and Order"s; guest spots on "Nurse Jackie," "Elementary," "The Good Wife," "Do No Harm," "The Eleventh Hour," others. Film: The Clique, The War Within, Heights, Black Knight, Robot Stories. MFA from NYU.
Caitlin Kinnunen is delighted to be part of The White City and here at the O’Neill! Her background includes The Bridges of Madison County (Carolyn) and Spring Awakening (Thea) on Broadway and Next to Normal, (Natalie US) 1st national tour. Regional theater credits include Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Bridges of Madison County (Carolyn); Weston Playhouse, Pregnancy Pact (Maddie); Village Theatre, The Secret Garden (Mary), Annie (Annie), Fairystories (Polly), Little Women (Beth); The 5th Avenue Theatre, Wonderful Town; and Seattle Children’s Theatre, High School Musical. TV/film credits include the indie feature film “Sweet Little Lies” (Bess), “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Thanks to her family, Melissa, Kevin, and The Luedtke Agency.
Kate Loprest is honored to be a part of The White City and this summer at the O'Neill. She just originated the role of Victoria in Under My Skin Off-Broadway and this fall will play Lucy Grant in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's new musical Bright Star at The Old Globe in San Diego. Broadway: First Date (Allison) OBC, Hairspray (Amber), Wonderland, Xanadu, Drowsy Chaperone. Tour: Wicked (Glinda/Nessarose u/s) Chicago, Little House on the Prairie (Nellie Oleson). Recent: Single Girls Guide (Emma) Capital Repertory, Showboat (Ellie) WNO. TV/Film: “Boardwalk Empire” (Corrine), “Running Wilde,” “All My Children.. www.KateLoprest.com. GO BLUE!!!
Tommy McDowell is thrilled to return to theater paradise for a second summer in a row! No artist could possibly ask for a more nurturing creative environment than this, and he feels so fortunate to be able to experience such a haven. Favorite credits include: Tours – American Idiot (1st National, Swing), A Year With Frog & Toad (Snail), The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley (Flat Stanley). NYC – Urinetown (Hudson Guild Theatre, Bobby Strong), LMNOP (Developmental Lab, Nate Warren). Regional – Hairspray (Link Larkin), Grey Gardens (Joe Kennedy, Jr.), The Who’s TOMMY (Tommy). So much love and thanks to my supportive friends and family, and also to Eddie, Tim, Kenneth, and Paulette! www.tommymcdowell.com
BROADWAY: Lincoln Center Theater’s South Pacific OFF-BROADWAY: The Burnt Part Boys (Playwrights Horizons/Vineyard Theater) NATIONAL TOURS: South Pacific, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia!, Miss Saigon REGIONAL THEATER: The Master Butchers’ Singing Club (Guthrie), Other Desert Cities (Theatre Raleigh), Xanadu (Signature Theater), The Burnt Part Boys (Barrington Stage Co), Evita, Les Miserables, Zelda (Flat Rock Playhouse), Les Miserables (North Carolina Theater), St Ex (Weston Playhouse). BFA in Drama – Carnegie-Mellon University.
CAESAR SAMAYOA is currently developing the role of Escamillo in a new adaptation of Carmen directed by Moises Kaufman for the Tectonic Theater Project. Transferring Bizet’s Carmen to the Afro-Cuban Jazz world of 1959 Cuba - world premier in Miami, Fall 2014. Broadway: Sister Act, The Pee Wee Herman Show. Credits include leading roles in Film, TV, Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre Companies including Yale Rep., The Delacorte Theater- Shakespeare in the Park, La Jolla Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Huntington Theatre, Le Freres Corbusier, Primary Stages, Urban Stages, The Play Company. Caesar has also appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and in various national and international concert tours. BFA, Ithaca College. www.CaesarSamayoa.com
SCOTT WAKEFIELD has appeared on Broadway in Hands On A Hardbody, Ring Of Fire, and It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues. Off-Broadway in The Joy Luck Club, The American Clock, Howling At The Moon, and Still Getting My Act Together. Regional performances include: Fuddy Meers (Millet), A Flea In Her Ear (Camille), Moby Dick (Mr. Flask), The Front Page (Kruger), The Glass Menagerie (Tom), Shipwrecked (Louis De Rougemont), and others at such prestigious venues as Cincinnati Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory, Seattle Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, and The Alliance Theatre. Scott won best actor awards for his portrayals of “Will Rogers” in The Will Rogers Follies and “Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd” in Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Most recently, Scott played “Victor Franz” in Arthur Miller’s The Price at The Old Creamery Theater and now he returns to The O’Neill where he performed many years ago in Swamp Gas And Shallow Feelings. ScottWakefield.com.
More bio information to come soon!