Photo by A. Vincent Scarano

A new monthly community engagement series: Plays to Progress. Hear from playwrights, local community leaders, and national activists as they explore social issues through art. Each evening will feature a brief performance followed by a conversation about the resonance of a work launched at the O’Neill within our local communities.

watch previous conversations

Leftovers by Josh Wilder

August 12, 2020

Jalil and Kwamaine just want their family to be “Cosby Show happy,” but that kind of life doesn’t seem to be in the cards—until an enormous dandelion sprouts in front of their South Philly home and wishes start falling from the sky. Seizing the possibility of no longer feeling like the city's leftovers, the brothers begin to dream their way out of the cycle of poverty that has governed their lives, and find themselves on an adventure they never could have imagined. Purchase the play

We kick-off this new series exploring LEFTOVERS by Josh Wilder. LEFTOVERS was developed at the O’Neill in 2015 as part of the National Playwrights Conference.  The event features a performance from actors Patrese McClain, Keshawn Mellon, and Jamal Colvin. Kolton Harris, Executive Director of Writer's Block InK Incorporated joins as our community panelist, with national panelists Joel Wilson, President and Chairman of the Executive Board of 100 Black Men of Philadelphia, and Geoff Pope, Founder of The LCR. Moderated by our Literary Manager Lexy Leuszler.

about the panelists


Cori Thomas’ plays include: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; LIBERIAN LEGACY TRILOGY: Pa’s Hat, Flight 109, In The Beginning; Citizens Market; The Ballad of Ella May; My Secret Language of Wishes; The Princess, The Breast, and The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; The Hair Play; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Developed and produced: Sundance Institute, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Goodman Theater, Page 73 Productions, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, GTTR, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co, Central Square Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, Working Theater, Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, New Black Fest. Commissions: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Sloan Foundation, Pillsbury House Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Black Fest, The Slavery Project, The Working Theater. New Dramatists Resident, Fellow at Sundance, MacDowell, Bogliasco Foundation, and Baryshnikov Center Fellow. Playwrigh-in-Residence at Yale through Page 73 Productions. Awards and Honors: Inaugural Italian American Playwrights Project pick (When January feels Like Summer) will be translated into Italian and published. American Theater Critics Association 2011 Osborn Award—When January Feels Like Summer; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award; 2016 Horton Foote Playwriting Prize Finalist; 2 time Theodore Ward Prize Winner. When January Feels Like Summer—Dramatic Publishing Company. Upcoming: World Premiere 2019 Lockdown at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Co; Writer - Audible Original Content Series “The Walls”; “untitled” feature Film for HBO Films. Cori is a founder of the non-profit organization www.pashatfoundation.org which does work with former male child soldiers in Liberia, West Africa. She is represented by Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency lhamos@gersh.com. Robert Pollock is PEN America’s Prison Writing Program Manager. For over a decade, he has worked with the justice system and its intersection with the arts. He is an ongoing participant in Rehabilitation Through the Arts, Musicambia, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, and Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections Advisory Committee. He has collaborated with the Fortune Society, Osborne Association, and several NYC grassroots organizations. He has participated in workshops and panels at Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Yale, and other universities to advocate for the power of the arts in prison education and restorative justice practices. As a visual artist, he illustrated the picture book for children of incarcerated parents, Sing Sing Midnight, which is used in therapeutic settings around the country. As a singer-songwriter, his compositions have been heard at the Obama White House, the RFK Human Rights Foundation, Create Justice forums, the Vera Institute of Justice Gala, the New York Ethical Society, and Carnegie Hall. Robert is a Fall 2019 New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow. PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights. For more than four decades, PEN America’s Prison Writing Program has amplified the writing of thousands of imprisoned writers by providing free resources, skilled mentors, and audiences for their writing. The Writing for Justice Fellowship has launched two years of fellows' work into major publications. In response to the pandemic, we’ve launched Temperature Check: Covid-19 Behind Bars, a new rapid response series featuring original creative reportage by incarcerated writers, accompanied by podcast interviews with criminal justice reform experts on the pandemic’s impact in United States’ prisons. Eric “Maserati-E” Abercrombie is a Musical artist, film maker, and justice reform activist. Eric was released from San Quentin State Prison in August of 2019 after serving 9 years in prison. While incarcerated Eric was a part of the original development team of a restorative justice pilot program which is currently being implemented in San Joaquin County. He was also featured several times on the infamous podcast Ear Hustle. Also he worked as a film maker for a media project in San Quentin State Prison called Firstwatch founded by Adnan Khan, where he and team of incarcerated men Created films from pre-production to post-production geared towards humanizing incarcerated people, utilizing the power of the narrative giving the currently incarcerated a platform for there truths of what it is like to be incarcerated to be seen and heard. He also was a lead facilitator of a youth mentor group called “PowerSource” while contributing to bettering the San Quentin Community being involved in several other programs. Since released Eric has spoken at the State Capitol, worked with the Restorative justice organization Re:Store Justice, and is now currently on tour with Antwan “Banks” Williams the co-creator/sound designer of the podcast Ear Hustle performing music and telling his story at schools to corrode the school to prison pipeline as well as educate and empower the young people. He plans to change the world by changing the way people view the world.





Lockdown by Cori Thomas

September 9, 2020

A writer and an incarcerated man embark on an unexpected journey to the realities of long term incarceration and grief, as they work together to craft a statement for his upcoming parole hearing. Lockdown was commissioned by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater through the Toulmin Foundation, and inspired by Cori Thomas’ experiences getting to know and working alongside a number of men currently serving life sentences at San Quentin State Prison.

about the panelists


Cori Thomas’ plays include: Lockdown; When January Feels Like Summer; LIBERIAN LEGACY TRILOGY: Pa’s Hat, Flight 109, In The Beginning; Citizens Market; The Ballad of Ella May; My Secret Language of Wishes; The Princess, The Breast, and The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; The Hair Play; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Developed and produced: Sundance Institute, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Goodman Theater, Page 73 Productions, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, GTTR, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Co, Central Square Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, Working Theater, Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, New Black Fest. Commissions: Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, South Coast Rep, Sloan Foundation, Pillsbury House Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Black Fest, The Slavery Project, The Working Theater. New Dramatists Resident, Fellow at Sundance, MacDowell, Bogliasco Foundation, and Baryshnikov Center Fellow. Playwrigh-in-Residence at Yale through Page 73 Productions. Awards and Honors: Inaugural Italian American Playwrights Project pick (When January feels Like Summer) will be translated into Italian and published. American Theater Critics Association 2011 Osborn Award—When January Feels Like Summer; Edgerton Foundation New Play Award; 2016 Horton Foote Playwriting Prize Finalist; 2 time Theodore Ward Prize Winner. When January Feels Like Summer—Dramatic Publishing Company. Upcoming: World Premiere 2019 Lockdown at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Co; Writer - Audible Original Content Series “The Walls”; “untitled” feature Film for HBO Films. Cori is a founder of the non-profit organization www.pashatfoundation.org which does work with former male child soldiers in Liberia, West Africa. She is represented by Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency lhamos@gersh.com. Robert Pollock is PEN America’s Prison Writing Program Manager. For over a decade, he has worked with the justice system and its intersection with the arts. He is an ongoing participant in Rehabilitation Through the Arts, Musicambia, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, and Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections Advisory Committee. He has collaborated with the Fortune Society, Osborne Association, and several NYC grassroots organizations. He has participated in workshops and panels at Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Yale, and other universities to advocate for the power of the arts in prison education and restorative justice practices. As a visual artist, he illustrated the picture book for children of incarcerated parents, Sing Sing Midnight, which is used in therapeutic settings around the country. As a singer-songwriter, his compositions have been heard at the Obama White House, the RFK Human Rights Foundation, Create Justice forums, the Vera Institute of Justice Gala, the New York Ethical Society, and Carnegie Hall. Robert is a Fall 2019 New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow. PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights. For more than four decades, PEN America’s Prison Writing Program has amplified the writing of thousands of imprisoned writers by providing free resources, skilled mentors, and audiences for their writing. The Writing for Justice Fellowship has launched two years of fellows' work into major publications. In response to the pandemic, we’ve launched Temperature Check: Covid-19 Behind Bars, a new rapid response series featuring original creative reportage by incarcerated writers, accompanied by podcast interviews with criminal justice reform experts on the pandemic’s impact in United States’ prisons. Eric “Maserati-E” Abercrombie is a Musical artist, film maker, and justice reform activist. Eric was released from San Quentin State Prison in August of 2019 after serving 9 years in prison. While incarcerated Eric was a part of the original development team of a restorative justice pilot program which is currently being implemented in San Joaquin County. He was also featured several times on the infamous podcast Ear Hustle. Also he worked as a film maker for a media project in San Quentin State Prison called Firstwatch founded by Adnan Khan, where he and team of incarcerated men Created films from pre-production to post-production geared towards humanizing incarcerated people, utilizing the power of the narrative giving the currently incarcerated a platform for there truths of what it is like to be incarcerated to be seen and heard. He also was a lead facilitator of a youth mentor group called “PowerSource” while contributing to bettering the San Quentin Community being involved in several other programs. Since released Eric has spoken at the State Capitol, worked with the Restorative justice organization Re:Store Justice, and is now currently on tour with Antwan “Banks” Williams the co-creator/sound designer of the podcast Ear Hustle performing music and telling his story at schools to corrode the school to prison pipeline as well as educate and empower the young people. He plans to change the world by changing the way people view the world.





How We Got On by Idris Goodwin

October 14, 2020

Hank, Julian, and Luann are three talented, determined suburban teens coming of age in the 1980s. Dreaming of fame and fortune in the new Hip-Hop music scene, they must overcome cultural isolation, familial dysfunction, and ruthless rivalries to make the music that defines their lives. A sultry DJ spins their stories with her own meta-theatrical perspective in this contemporary ode to the roots of rap. Purchase the play

about the panelists


Kirsten Childs The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin Obie, Kleban, Audelco, Richard Rodgers, Gilman Gonzalez-Falla awards; Rockefeller, Meet The Composer and Jonathan Larson Grants; Lortel, NAACP, Drama Desk nominations. Bella: An American Tall Tale Frederick Loewe Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize Finalist, 4 Audelco Awards. Fly with Rajiv Joseph, Bill Sherman and director Jeffrey Seller. The Edge of Night Playwrights Horizons, Soundstage Podcast Series. Family Chronicles Vineyard Theater commission. Washington Square with Ben Wexler. New Group commission with Gordon Greenberg. Funked Up Fairy Tales. Miracle Brothers. Lucky Boy Penn State Commission. NEA, Larson grants. American Songbook series. New Electric Company. Disney’s Believe and Disney’s Wishes. Guggenheim Museum Works & Process. Songwriter for Dianne Reeves (with Billy Childs). Tom Verni, a Long Island/New York City native (including residencies in Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Hells Kitchen), has been in the law enforcement / security / media consulting professions since 1992. 22 of those years he served with the NYPD retiring as a detective. His career in NYPD included assignments such as uniformed patrol, community policing/youth officer, and plain clothes work while on patrol. He has been a certified police master instructor since 1998 having taught in recruit school supervising hundreds of recruits. He was also recruited to perform in-service and executive trainings, and was a co-instructor of the very successful NYPD Citizens Police Academy. He was promoted to the rank of Detective, working for the Chief of Community Affairs as a citywide LGBTQ community liaison and part of a citywide critical incident response team. He was actively involved in LGBTQ bias related investigations and coordinated a complete rewrite of the NYPD LGBTQ cultural diversity training by having direct community involvement with a focus on Transgender information. He was certified in the ASIS Basic Methods of Security course as a citywide crime prevention officer. Due to Tom's vast law enforcement, training, and other experience, he has been sought out in his consulting career as a featured guest on numerous media outlets including BBC, FOX 5 NY, Fox News, HLN and CNN among others to opine on crime and police related incidents. He was featured in a TV ONE series called #murder and an ID series Grave Mysteries regarding his investigation involvement to the 2006 murder of Michael Sandy in Plumb Beach Brooklyn and is currently featured as one of the main commentators on the series Crimes Gone Viral on Investigation Discovery Channel. He has long supported numerous LGBTQ and other charities such as Pride For Youth, MCCNY, Sylvias Place, ASPCA, Lucies Place of Little Rock among others, helping to fundraise and as a volunteer. He was active in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program mentoring at-risk youth, and has been a DE&I instructor for Blue Courage LLC. Tom currently resides in Nassau County Long Island, with his husband Joe Moran and their two dogs Fred and Wilma. Shiela Hayes currently serves as the President of the NAACP Norwich Branch, Chair of the Robertsine Duncan Youth Council NAACP ACT-SO Program, a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I am a Corporator at Norwich Free Academy and a member of the Norwich Area Clergy Association. Shiela is a founding member and Secretary of Sankofa Education and Leadership, Inc. I am a member of the Rotary Community Corps of Norwich and a founding member of the Rotary Clubs of Norwich Celebrate Cultural Diversity Committee. From 2015 – 2018, Shiela was as a founding member and served as Secretary for the City of Norwich Ellis Walter Ruley Committee Secretary. From 2011 – 2014, she was a founding member and served as Secretary for the 150th anniversary of the City of Norwich Emancipation Proclamation Committee. She served as the former Secretary to the City of Norwich Semiseptcentennial (350th) Celebration and as former Secretary and former Treasurer on the Board for United Community and Family Services. Shiela is the recipient of 2019 Ron Aliano Service to the Community Award, the 2017 Lottie B. Scott Diversity Award, the CT Democratic Women’s Leadership Award for the 2nd District, the Paul Harris Fellows from the Rotary Club Norwich #6747 and the Connecticut Council of Family Services Agencies Family Champion Award. Shiela is a graduate of Quinnipiac University with a B.S. in Information Systems and Accounting and a graduate of Rensselaer at Hartford with a M.S. in Executive Management. Shiela has work experience as an Accountant, Auditor, Computer Programmer & Management Information Systems Integration Specialist, and Human Resources & Training Manager for manufacturing and service related industries and an Entrepreneur. Masi Asare is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. Her shows include: THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (book/music/lyrics, commissioned by Theatre Royal Stratford East, developed Eugene O’Neill Center); the musical adaptation of Mira Nair’s film MONSOON WEDDING (lyrics), slated to tour internationally in 2022; MIRROR OF MOST VALUE (Samuel French) a one-act play for Marvel about teen super hero Ms. Marvel, featured on the series “Marvel’s 616” now streaming on Disney+; the spy musical SYMPATHY JONES (music/lyrics/concept, published by Playscripts with 40+ productions to date); and commissions from Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment and Victory Gardens Theatre/Toulmin Foundation. A past Dramatists Guild Fellow, Masi won the inaugural Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, and holds awards for composition and lyrics from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, a Theater Hall of Fame Emerging Artist Grant, nominated by Daryl Roth, and the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award. An advisory board member for MAESTRA Music, she holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University.





Nomad Motel by Carla Ching

November 11, 2020

Alix lives in a tiny motel room with her mother and two brothers, scrabbling to make weekly rent. Mason lives comfortably in a grand, empty house while his father runs jobs for the Hong Kong Triad. Until the day his father disappears and Mason has to figure out how to come up with grocery money and dodge Child Services and the INS. Mason and Alix develop the most tentative of friendships, struggling to survive, and trying to outrun the mistakes of their parents. Will they make it out or fall through the cracks? A play about Motel Kids and Parachute Kids raising themselves and living at the poverty line in a land of plenty. Read the play on New Play Exchange.

about the panelists


A native Angeleno, Carla Ching called NYC home for 16 years. She started off writing/performing autobiographical work with pan-Asian collective Peeling. Her plays include Nomad Motel (NY Premiere: Atlantic Theater Company; NNPN Rolling World Premiere: City Theatre Company, Horizon Theatre Company, Unicorn Theatre Company), Fast Company (South Coast Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (Artists at Play, Mu Performing Arts), TBA (2g) and The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi). Her work’s been developed or produced by Aurora Theatre, Berkeley Rep, CTG Writers’ Workshop, Huntington Theatre Company, The Lark, Lyric Stage, Ma-Yi, The O’Neill and The Women’s Project among others. Former Artistic Director of 2g. She’s writing a play called Revenge Porn as a Toulmin Commission for The Atlantic. Founding member of The Kilroys and proud member of New Dramatists. TV credits: Graceland (USA), Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), I Love Dick (Amazon), The First (Hulu), Preacher (AMC), Home Before Dark. She’s developing a new show with 3AD and AMC Studios at Hulu based on Fast Company. David Zheng is a first-generation Chinese American playwright and visual artist from The Bronx. He is a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow and a resident playwright for the 2020 Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference. His work has been developed at The Public Theater, MCC Theater, The Labyrinth Theater Company, Cherry Lane Theater Company, The Lark, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. He is a 2018-2019 member of the Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, a 2018 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow at The Lark, and a member of Ma-Yi writers Lab. David is a founding member of the Middle Voice at Rattlestick. Instagram: @Zheng_Life Prior to becoming CEO at Project Hope Alliance (PHA), Jennifer Friend enjoyed a successful career as a partner at a large law firm representing national and international clients throughout the civil courts of California. While practicing law, she became involved in PHA’s board and was actively engaged in the organization’s expansion and strategic growth. In 2013, Jennifer answered her calling, left her partnership and became Project Hope Alliance’s full time CEO. Her personal experience as a homeless child in Orange County which inspired the Broadway play Nomad Motel, fuels her deep-rooted passion and commitment to homeless children and youth, while her ability to cast vision, think strategically, and lead and direct broader systems change uniquely qualify her to serve as Project Hope Alliance’s CEO. Jennifer holds a JD from Whittier Law School and a BA in Criminology, Law, and Society from the University of California, Irvine. She currently serves as a Trustee of the UCI Foundation; Appointed member of the Fiat Lux Alliance; a member of the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute Advisory Board; and is a proud parent volunteer for the Newport Harbor High School Marching Band and Davis Magnet School. Project Hope Alliance's mission is to end the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time. We deploy a long-term model of care for kids and youth experiencing homelessness. We have full-time case managers who work alongside kids and youth to eliminate barriers brought on by homelessness that could impede their ability to learn and succeed in school. Our team builds trusting relationships with students and offers individualized support in the form of transportation, technology, basic needs, and social-emotional mentorship from Kindergarten to age 24. Rita Provatas is an attorney who has practiced law for over 30 years. She started her career in Washington DC as a civil litigator and returned to her native New London to continue her career. She now focuses her practice on immigration and nationality matters, representing employers and employees in obtaining employment related visas and permanent resident status, and family members in obtaining permanent resident status and US citizenship. Attorney Provatas also represents immigrants in removal (deportation) proceedings before the Immigration Court and Bureau of Immigration Appeals as well as intending immigrants and students overseas through consular processing at the US embassies. Attorney Provatas was born to Greek immigrant parents and, as a first generation citizen, she believes it is vital to give back to her community. She is an active member of the American Immigration Law Association ("AILA") and is a previous chair of its local Connecticut Chapter. She speaks and writes on immigration law and policy for various organizations and speaks for advocacy and church groups to educate immigrant populations on their rights. She has served on several boards in different capacities, including her local Rotary group as past president, as board member of the Hispanic Alliance, as a mentor and sponsor of the Catholica Charites Law Clinic, as a member of the Democratic Town Committee in Waterford, Ct, and as a committee member of the Supervisory Committee of the Charter Oak Federal Credit Union. Rita Provatas, Esq. Pronouns: she, her, hers Provatas & McNamara, LLC. Attorney Provatas was born to Greek immigrant parents and, as a first generation citizen, she believes it is vital to give back to her community. She is an active member of the American Immigration Law Association ("AILA") and is a previous chair of its local Connecticut Chapter. She speaks and writes on immigration law and policy for various organizations and speaks for advocacy and church groups to educate immigrant populations on their rights. She has served on several boards in different capacities, including her local Rotary group as past president, as board member of the Hispanic Alliance, as a mentor and sponsor of the Catholica Charites Law Clinic, as a member of the Democratic Town Committee in Waterford, Ct, and as a committee member of the Supervisory Committee of the Charter Oak Federal Credit Union.





The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin by Kirsten Childs

December 9, 2020

What’s a black girl from sunny Southern California to do? White people are blowing up black girls in Birmingham churches. Black people are shouting “Black is beautiful” while straightening their hair and coveting light skin. Viveca Stanton’s answer: Slap on a bubbly smile and be as white as you can be! In a humorous and pointed coming-of-age story spanning the sixties through the nineties, Viveca blithely sails through the confusing worlds of racism, sexism and Broadway showbiz until she’s forced to face the devastating effect self-denial has had on her life.

about the panelists


Kirsten Childs The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin Obie, Kleban, Audelco, Richard Rodgers, Gilman Gonzalez-Falla awards; Rockefeller, Meet The Composer and Jonathan Larson Grants; Lortel, NAACP, Drama Desk nominations. Bella: An American Tall Tale Frederick Loewe Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize Finalist, 4 Audelco Awards. Fly with Rajiv Joseph, Bill Sherman and director Jeffrey Seller. The Edge of Night Playwrights Horizons, Soundstage Podcast Series. Family Chronicles Vineyard Theater commission. Washington Square with Ben Wexler. New Group commission with Gordon Greenberg. Funked Up Fairy Tales. Miracle Brothers. Lucky Boy Penn State Commission. NEA, Larson grants. American Songbook series. New Electric Company. Disney’s Believe and Disney’s Wishes. Guggenheim Museum Works & Process. Songwriter for Dianne Reeves (with Billy Childs). Tom Verni, a Long Island/New York City native (including residencies in Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Hells Kitchen), has been in the law enforcement / security / media consulting professions since 1992. 22 of those years he served with the NYPD retiring as a detective. His career in NYPD included assignments such as uniformed patrol, community policing/youth officer, and plain clothes work while on patrol. He has been a certified police master instructor since 1998 having taught in recruit school supervising hundreds of recruits. He was also recruited to perform in-service and executive trainings, and was a co-instructor of the very successful NYPD Citizens Police Academy. He was promoted to the rank of Detective, working for the Chief of Community Affairs as a citywide LGBTQ community liaison and part of a citywide critical incident response team. He was actively involved in LGBTQ bias related investigations and coordinated a complete rewrite of the NYPD LGBTQ cultural diversity training by having direct community involvement with a focus on Transgender information. He was certified in the ASIS Basic Methods of Security course as a citywide crime prevention officer. Due to Tom's vast law enforcement, training, and other experience, he has been sought out in his consulting career as a featured guest on numerous media outlets including BBC, FOX 5 NY, Fox News, HLN and CNN among others to opine on crime and police related incidents. He was featured in a TV ONE series called #murder and an ID series Grave Mysteries regarding his investigation involvement to the 2006 murder of Michael Sandy in Plumb Beach Brooklyn and is currently featured as one of the main commentators on the series Crimes Gone Viral on Investigation Discovery Channel. He has long supported numerous LGBTQ and other charities such as Pride For Youth, MCCNY, Sylvias Place, ASPCA, Lucies Place of Little Rock among others, helping to fundraise and as a volunteer. He was active in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program mentoring at-risk youth, and has been a DE&I instructor for Blue Courage LLC. Tom currently resides in Nassau County Long Island, with his husband Joe Moran and their two dogs Fred and Wilma. Shiela Hayes currently serves as the President of the NAACP Norwich Branch, Chair of the Robertsine Duncan Youth Council NAACP ACT-SO Program, a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I am a Corporator at Norwich Free Academy and a member of the Norwich Area Clergy Association. Shiela is a founding member and Secretary of Sankofa Education and Leadership, Inc. I am a member of the Rotary Community Corps of Norwich and a founding member of the Rotary Clubs of Norwich Celebrate Cultural Diversity Committee. From 2015 – 2018, Shiela was as a founding member and served as Secretary for the City of Norwich Ellis Walter Ruley Committee Secretary. From 2011 – 2014, she was a founding member and served as Secretary for the 150th anniversary of the City of Norwich Emancipation Proclamation Committee. She served as the former Secretary to the City of Norwich Semiseptcentennial (350th) Celebration and as former Secretary and former Treasurer on the Board for United Community and Family Services. Shiela is the recipient of 2019 Ron Aliano Service to the Community Award, the 2017 Lottie B. Scott Diversity Award, the CT Democratic Women’s Leadership Award for the 2nd District, the Paul Harris Fellows from the Rotary Club Norwich #6747 and the Connecticut Council of Family Services Agencies Family Champion Award. Shiela is a graduate of Quinnipiac University with a B.S. in Information Systems and Accounting and a graduate of Rensselaer at Hartford with a M.S. in Executive Management. Shiela has work experience as an Accountant, Auditor, Computer Programmer & Management Information Systems Integration Specialist, and Human Resources & Training Manager for manufacturing and service related industries and an Entrepreneur. Masi Asare is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. Her shows include: THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (book/music/lyrics, commissioned by Theatre Royal Stratford East, developed Eugene O’Neill Center); the musical adaptation of Mira Nair’s film MONSOON WEDDING (lyrics), slated to tour internationally in 2022; MIRROR OF MOST VALUE (Samuel French) a one-act play for Marvel about teen super hero Ms. Marvel, featured on the series “Marvel’s 616” now streaming on Disney+; the spy musical SYMPATHY JONES (music/lyrics/concept, published by Playscripts with 40+ productions to date); and commissions from Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment and Victory Gardens Theatre/Toulmin Foundation. A past Dramatists Guild Fellow, Masi won the inaugural Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, and holds awards for composition and lyrics from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, a Theater Hall of Fame Emerging Artist Grant, nominated by Daryl Roth, and the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award. An advisory board member for MAESTRA Music, she holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University.





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