Board of Directors
Dr. Linda Giss Donahue, Board Member, Advisor
Jane Henry, Board Member
Chris Caddel, Board President
Dr. David Long, Board Member
Richard Johnston, Board Member
Dr. John Masselli, Treasurer
Meredith Lucio, Secretary
Dr. Ralph Ferguson, Board Member
Dr. Elizabeth Haley, Board Member
Artist Advisory Board
Will Frears was born and raised in North London, and has lived in the United States since 1990. A renowned director, scriptwriter and author, Mr. Frears had his professional debut in 2003 at the Actor's Theater of Louisville, where he directed the Pulitzer Prize finalist, Omnium Gatherum. The play-about a post-9/11 dinner party-was praised by The New Yorker's drama critic John Lahr, as "a wow beginning" for the young director. Since this production, Mr. Frears has gone on to direct a wide range of plays and films in theaters across the States. His most recent directorial project was the 2012 production of Build, an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award-recipient, at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Mr. Frears has also directed several films, including Coach, Beloved and All Saint's Day. (Winner, Best Narrative Short at the Savannah Film Festival). His films have screened at many Festivals, including Tribeca, Palm Springs, Morelia, Savannah, the Hamptons, Sarasota and Newport Beach.
Mr. Frears is a regular contributor to many periodicals, including The Paris Review, New York magazine, Harper's, Town & Country, Eight by Eight, and The London Review of Books.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1985. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from New York University. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on the boards of Yaddo and New York Theatre Workshop. He is a recipient of the William L. Bradley Fellowship at Yale University, the Charles MacArthur Fellowship at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, an HBO Fellowship in playwriting and the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University.
Wright’s play Quills premiered at Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in 1995 and subsequently had its debut Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop. The play recounts the imagined final days in the life of the Marquis de Sade. Quills garnered the 1995 Kesselring Prize for Best New American Play from the National Arts Club and, for Wright, a 1996 Village Voice Obie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting. In 2000, Wright wrote the screenplay for the film version of Quills which starred Geoffrey Rush.
Wright’s I Am My Own Wife was produced Off-Broadway by Playwrights Horizons in 2003. It transferred to Broadway where it won the Tony Award for Best Play, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He adapted the Disney's film The Little Mermaid for the Broadway musical, which opened in 2007.
He has written the book for a new musical, War Paint, about Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. The music is by Scott Frankel and the lyrics by Michael Korie. War Paint premieres at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, from June 28 to August 14, 2016, with stars Patti Lupone as Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden.
For television, Wright worked on four pilots for producer Norman Lear and teleplays for Hallmark Entertainment and HBO. In film, Wright’s credits include screenplays for Fine Line Features, Fox Searchlight, and DreamWorks SKG.
He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on the board of New York Theatre Workshop. He is a recipient of the William L. Bradley Fellowship at Yale University, the Charles MacArthur Fellowship at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, an HBO Fellowship in playwriting and the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. In 2010, he was named a United States Artists Fellow.
John Benjamin Hickey
He played supporting roles in a number of films including The Ice Storm (1997) and The Anniversary Party (2001). He has also appeared in Flightplan, Flags of Our Fathers, Freedom Writers, Then She Found Me, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Bet and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.
Hickey played American novelist and playwright Jack Dunphy in the 2006 Truman Capote biopic Infamous. Hickey played Philip Stoddard on the short-lived gay-themed sitcom It's All Relative. Since It's All Relative, Hickey has appeared on Alias, Law & Order, Brothers & Sisters, Stacked, Heartland, In Plain Sight, Law & Order: Los Angeles, and Modern Family.
He appeared in the 2011 Broadway revival of The Normal Heart, for which he won the Tony Award, Featured Actor in a Play. He was in the Broadway revival of Mary Stuart in 2009, as the Earl of Leicester.
From 2010 to 2013, he appeared on The Big C and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the final season of the series, subtitled Hereafter. Hickey starred as scientist Frank Winter on the TV series Manhattan, which concluded on December 15, 2015 after two seasons and 23 episodes.
In 2015, he appeared Off-Broadway at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre in the play Dada Woof Papa Hot by Peter Parnell.
Her plays have been produced in New York City by Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Vineyard Theatre, Dixon Place, and Soho Repertory Theatre—and elsewhere by American Repertory Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, New Jersey's Two River Theater Company, Washington DC's Studio Theater, and London's Gate Theatre and Almeida Theatre.
Her 2012 play Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play received a Drama League Award nomination for Outstanding Production and was praised by the New York Times as "downright brilliant." Her play A Devil at Noon was featured at the 2011 Humana Festival of New American Plays and the play Sleep Rock Thy Brain—written with Rinne Groff and Lucas Hnath—was featured at the 2013 Festival. In 2015, 10 Out of 12 played at the SoHo Rep theater.
Washburn is a member of 13P, an associated artist with The Civilians and New Georges, and an alumna of New Dramatists. Her work has been published in American Theatre magazine. She is a Guggenheim fellowship winner.
Foundation of New American Musicals
Bob Klein was born in Syracuse in 1928. Educated at the University of Michigan and Syracuse University. At 23, he was in charge of all talk and interview programming at NBC producing shows with guests such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Gary Cooper, Judy Garland, Lena Horne and Mary Martin and including the launch of the TODAY show. In 1954 Klein moved to California where he and satirist Stan Freberg to form Freberg, Ltd. (But Not Very) which led a small scale revolution bent on making advertising totally entertaining. In 1960, Klein launched his own creative service, KLEIN/BARZMAN. Clients included Westinghouse, Coca-Cola, General Motors (Chevrolet and Pontiac), motion pictures CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and PLANET OF THE APES, CBS-TV, and John Deere. From the 70’s to the 2000s, KLEIN & also created the legendary national branding for Nickeldodeon, Bravo, The Nashville Network, A&E, Showtime, and FX. He supervised the development and marketing of Time Warner’s ROAD RUNNER high-speed internet service. Bob Klein is a former member of the board of PROMAX and served as chairman of its Education Committee . In the 1990s, he was inducted into the PROMAX Hall of Fame. He served on the advisory board of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University from from 2002-20012. In 1997 KLEIN co-created REPRISE!, a musical theater company devoted to reviving classic American musicals. He continued as a board member in charge of marketing until 2007. In 2007 KLEIN co-created the Festival of New American Musicals and is its Co-Executive Producer. Now in its tenth year, the Festival has now become the Foundation for New American Musicals. The Foundation has launched unique show writing programs in LA high schools and will launch further programs at Santa Monica College, USC and UCLA over the next two years. The Foundation has presented over 150 new musicals in more than 100 venues stretching from Santa Barbara to San Diego to Abilene. Through its MUSI-CAL series, the Foundation has showcased more than 40 new musicals in progress over the past 3 years.
Jaston Williams is known nationally as the co-author, co-star and producer of the four award-winning plays in the Greater Tuna cycle. His performances have played on and off Broadway at the Kennedy Center, the Edinburgh International Arts Festival, the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. and all over America. Jaston received the L.A. Dramalogue Award for both Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas. A Tuna Christmas was published in “Best Plays of 1995.” For several years, he toured in Larry Shue’s The Foreigner. He performed in The Fantasticks and directed the musical Bad Girls Upset By The Truth. Jaston received the Texas Governor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts by a Native Texan and has performed at the White House on three occasions. He has appeared at Austin’s State Theatre in Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs and at Zachary Scott Theatre in Jay Preston Allen’s Tru, for which he received the Austin Critics Table Award for Best Actor in a drama. He has also appeared at the Zachary Scott Theatre in The Laramie Project and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Jaston’s autobiographical play, I’m Not Lying, was the first of his five solo shows, all receiving critical acclaim in performances across the country. The others are Cowboy Noises, Camping With Gasoline, Blame it on Valentine, Texas and his latest Maid Marian in a Stolen Car. Jaston has been seen recently with friends Joe Ely, Kimmie Rhodes, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Jo Carol Pierce in their performance piece, Is There Life After Lubbock? Jaston is the recipient of the 2013 Texas Medal of the Arts and has been inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame.
Theresa Rebeck is a widely-produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. New York productions of her work include Dead Accounts at the Music Box Theatre; Seminar at the Golden Theatre; Mauritius at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theater Club Production; The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House at Playwrights Horizons; The Understudy at the Laura Pels Theater in a Roundabout Theatre Company production; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Omnium Gatherum (co-written, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003) was featured at the Humana Festival, and had a commercial run at the Variety Arts Theatre. Her newest work, Poor Behavior premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2011. Dead Accounts, commissioned by the Cincinnati Playhouse, premiered January 2012. Seminar continues to run on Broadway.
In television, Ms. Rebeck has written for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, and Third Watch. She was the creator of the NBC drama Smash. She has been a writer/producer for Canterbury’s Law, Smith, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Her produced feature films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks and Seducing Charlie Barker, an adaptation of her play, The Scene. Awards include the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Writer’s Guild of America award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody, all for her work on NYPD Blue. She has won the National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. Mauritius was originally produced at Boston’s Huntington Theatre, where it received the 2007 IRNE Award for Best New Play as well as the Eliot Norton Award. Other awards include the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Athena Film Festival Award, an Alex Award, a Lilly Award and in 2011 she was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek.
Keith Reddin is an American actor and playwright. His plays Life and Limb, Rum and Coke, Highest Standard of Living and But Not for Me all received their world premieres at South Coast Repertory. SCR also produced his adaptation of Alexander Buravsky’s The Russian Teacher. Other plays include Nebraska, Life During Wartime, Brutality of Fact, All the Rage, The Prophets of Nature and Frame 312. Adaptations include: Bulgakov's Black Snow, Shatrov's Maybe, Molière's The Imaginary Invalid, Anouilh's Antigone and Thornton Wilder’s Heaven’s My Destination. Film and television include, Big Time (American Playhouse), The Heart of Justice (TNT), Milken (TNT), The Alarmist, and All the Rage. He is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
Best-known to television audiences as radio producer ‘Roz Doyle’ in NBC’s Emmy-winning comedy series FRASIER, Peri Gilpin was most recently seen on COMEDY CENTRAL’S BROAD CITY as Abbie Jacobson’s mom, CBS’s SCORPION as Homeland Security’s Katherine Cooper. Prior to her role on SCORPION, Peri starred alongside Craig Robinson and Amandla Stenberg in MR. ROBINSON.
Gilpin recently wrapped the independent films BENJAMIN, directed by Bob Saget, ONLY HUMANS directed by Vanessa Knutsen and THE OUTDOORSMAN Directed by David Haskell. She will next be seen in the independent film OCCUPY, TEXAS, which premiered at the National Dallas Film Festival.
Among many of Gilpin’s television credits are roles in MASTERS OF SEX, MEN AT WORK, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, CSI, MODERN FAMILY, LAW AND ORDER, HOT IN CLEVELAND, and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES.
Gilpin has appeared in the films HOW TO KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR’S DOG, with Kenneth Branagh and Robin Wright Penn, and SPRING FORWARD, with Liev Schreiber.
Gilpin’s theatre credits include five summers with the Williamstown Theatre in Massachusetts. She starred as ‘Alexa Vere de Vere’ in AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN in the off-Broadway Lucille Lortell Theatre and at the Pasadena Playhouse. In 2009, she enjoyed a successful run in MATTHEW MODINE SAVES THE ALPACAS at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles.
As a child, Gilpin enrolled in the Dallas Theater Center, and went on to study drama at the University of Texas in Austin and the British-American Academy in London. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin daughters.
Michael Benjamin Washington
Michael Benjamin Washington is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and an alumnus of the National Young Arts Foundation, which he serves on the Writing Adjudication Panel as a National Reviewer. He co-wrote the Foundation’s gala last winter under the direction of Bill T. Jones and teaches YoungArts Masterclass workshops in Los Angeles. Mr. Washington's political drama, Blueprints to Freedom: an ode to Bayard Rustin, concerning the making of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, had successful developmental workshops at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey and La Jolla Playhouse in California before enjoying sold out world premiere co-productions at La Jolla Playhouse and Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2015. The play was named Outstanding New American Play by the Edgerton Foundation and received the San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Leading Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Mr. Rustin. His performance piece, Mahogany: Re8lections on Vanity, about the rise and fall and rise again of a Xictional African American songstress, enjoyed several sold-out engagements at Joe's Pub inside New York’s famed Public Theatre. Acting stage credits include leading and supporting lead roles in Mamma Mia! directed by Phyllida Lloyd (original Broadway company); the 2005 Tony Award-winning revival of La Cage Aux Folles, opposite the late Robert Goulet, directed by Jerry Zaks; and Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night directed by Kathleen Marshall at Second Stage. La Jolla Playhouse: The Wiz (Tinman) directed by Des MacAnuff; Memphis (Gator) directed by Christopher Ashley; Letters to Obama (lab-playwright) directed by Christopher Ashley; Blueprints to Freedom (playwright/Bayard) directed by Phylicia Rashad; Most Wanted directed by Michael Grief. He is best known as Donald Jordan on Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s NBC hit comedy 30 Rock and can be seen in their upcoming third season of NetXlix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt opposite Titus Burgess. Other television credits include: Glee; Law & Order; The Jury; 100 Questions; 10 Things I Hate About You; Wendell & Vinny; and Hope and Faith to name a few. He also was seen with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs. Training: B.F.A.-New York University- Tisch School of the Arts; Journalism minor. Member: Broadway Inspirational Voices.