ARTISTS

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COMPANY BIOGRAPHIES:

ARTISTIC | ACTING COMPANY | LAB ARTISTS | DESIGNERS | PRODUCTION

Artistic:
STEVE COSSON (Director): founded the Civilians in 2001. With the company: co-writer and director of Paris Commune which was recently produced at the Public Theater, and previously at La Jolla Playhouse; co-writer and director of This Beautiful City which premiered at this year’s Humana Festival with productions at Studio Theatre in DC, LA’s Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre and The Vineyard Theatre; writer/director of the long-running hit Gone Missing (New York Times critic Charles Isherwood’s Best of 2007 list), published by Dramatists Play Service;  (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, (2006 Fringe First award at Edinburgh) published by Oberon Books in the UK; and director of the company-created Canard, Canard, Goose?. The Civilians’ work has also been produced at A.R.T., Actors Theatre of Louisville, HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival, London’s Gate Theatre and Soho Theatre among many others. Cosson has directed and developed many new plays including Neal Bell’s Shadow of Himself; Mat Smart’s 13th of Paris; Tommy Smith’s Air Conditioning, Anne Washburn’s Communist Dracula Pageant, world premiere of Peter Morris’ Square Root of Minus One; U.S. premiere of Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life, U.S. premiere of Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love; world premiere of Erik Ehn’s Tailings, John C. Russell’s Stupid Kids and In the Dark; also The Time of Your Life (Williamstown), The Importance of Being Earnest (ACT), Serious Money, and Guys and Dolls both for Carnegie Mellon. He wrote and directed Close to Shore for the San Diego Repertory Theatre, created from a six-month residency in a San Diego neighborhood. Wrote/directed Fingered, a response to The Children’s Hour (LA’s Common Ground Festival and San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center). He has taught and given master classes at Connecticut College, Carnegie Mellon, Fordham, NYU/Playwrights Horizons, UC Santa Barbara, Vanderbilt, Columbia, Colorado College, and the Yale School of Drama among others. Cosson was a resident director at New Dramatists, 2004 Obie grant for The Civilians, a MacDowell Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar in Bogotá, Colombia. 2004 Obie for The Civilians. He holds an MFA in directing from UC San Diego, and a BA in drama from Dartmouth College.

MICHAEL FRIEDMAN (Composer/Music Director): is a founding Associate Artist of The Civilians, and has been the Composer/lyricist for the company’s This Beautiful City, [I Am] Nobody’s Lunch, Gone Missing, and Canard, Canard, Goose? He also wrote music and lyrics for Saved, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, In the Bubble, The Brand New Kid, God’s Ear, and The Blue Demon. With Steve Cosson, he is the co-author of Paris Commune. His music has also been heard at the New York Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, The Roundabout Theatre Co., Second Stage, Soho Rep, Theater for a New Audience, Signature, and The Acting Company, regionally at Hartford Stage, Humana Festival, ART, Berkeley Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Portland Center Stage, and internationally at London’s Soho and Gate Theatres, and the Edinburgh Festival. Film/TV work includes On Common Ground, Beloved, Emile Norman: By His Own Design, Floaters and Affair Game. He was also the dramaturg for the recent Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon. He is an Artistic Associate at New York Theatre Workshop, and a recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and a Princeton University Hodder Fellowship. He received a 2007 Obie award for sustained excellence.

JOCELYN CLARKE (Dramaturg): is a freelance dramaturg and writer. Currently a creative advisor on the ScreenWriting programme at the National Film School in Ireland – as well as on the artistic staff of the Sundance Theatre Lab -he was the Commissioning and Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre for four years, and lead theatre critic with The Sunday Tribune for nine years. He has taught dramaturgy and criticism at the Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College Dublin, at Dartington College of Arts, and at Columbia University. He has written four adaptations for director Anne Bogart and the SITI Company – BOB adapted from interviews with director Robert Wilson, Alice’s Adventures UNDERGROUND from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures Underground, ROOM from the writings of Virginia Woolf, and SCORE, based on the writings of Leonard Bernstein. For the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company in Sligo, Ireland he has written adaptations of Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, and Through The Looking Glass; for The Ark, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH; for Corcadorca Theatre, two site-specific adaptations of William Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and THE TEMPEST; and for the Abbey Theatre, THE LITTLE DEER, THE CRIMSON FLY, AND THE SWAN CHILDREN. He is currently working on an adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s THE THIRD POLICEMAN for the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, which will premiere in fall 2007, as well as on FINN for Mabou Mines, which will premiere in fall 2008.

MICHAEL PREMO (Project Coordinator): is a Brooklyn-based producer and multi-disciplinary artist. He is also a Producer, Special Projects for EarSay, Inc, and has served as Festival Coordinator for the Hip-Hop Theater Festival.  Along with Penny Arcade he produced and curated The Globesity Festival: Hunger Strike Theater, a festival commissioning and presenting original performances exploring the objects and ideas we buy and buy into, through fasting.  He traveled across the country recording and facilitating interviews for StoryCorps, a national project dedicated to recording, in sound, stories of everyday people, and StoryCorps Griot, an initiative to ensure that the voices, experiences, and life stories of African-Americans will be preserved and presented with dignity. StoryCorps stories are broadcast weekly on NPR and full recordings are archived at The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian’s African-American Museum of History and Culture. As an actor he has performed in New York and regionally. With Company One (Boston) he performed Before My Eyes an original performance created from interviews with Israeli soldiers and unsuccessful Palestinian suicide bombers.  In South Africa he wrote and performed Living’ with HIV. Michael is a recipient of a NYSCA Individual Artist Award. B.A. Northeastern Universtiy. www.michaelpremo.com

Acting Company:
MARSHA STEPHANIE BLAKE: Broadway: The Crucible, directed by Richard Eyre.  Off-Broadway:  Queens Boulevard by Charles Mee (Signature Theatre),  All That I Will Ever Be by Alan Ball, directed by Jo Bonney (NYTW), Speak Truth to Power, directed by Terry Kinney (Culture Project), The Beach (365 Plays/365 Days), directed by Leigh Silverman (Epic Rep/Public Theatre), Living Room in Africa, directed by Carolyn Cantor (Edge Theatre Co.), The Gentleman Dancing Master and The Master Builder (Pearl Theatre), Aunt Dan and Lemon (The New Group): Twelfth Night (Public Theatre/NYSF).  Regional: This Beautiful City (Kirk Douglas LA, Humana Fest, Studio Theatre DC), Peter and Wendy (Arena Stage).  Film: The Architect, directed by Matthew Tauber, A-Alike, Lifted and the upcoming Indelible, directed by Randall Dottin.  Television: 6 Degrees, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Third Watch. B.A. Dartmouth College. M.F.A UCSD

BILLY EUGENE JONES

GREG McFADDEN: Broadway: The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.  Off-Broadway: Hamlet, NYSF; The Voysey Inheritance, Atlantic; The Sea, TACT; World Premiere of Noel Coward’s Long Island Sound, TACT; Badge, Rattlestick; Three Cornered Moon, Keen Company; In Praise of Folly: The Don Quixote Project; A Tale of Two Cities, Culture Project; Misalliance, School for Scandal; Richard II, Pearl Theatre; The Last Episode, NY Fringe Festival  Regional: Cincinnati Playhouse; St. Louis Rep; Shakespeare Theatre; George Street Playhouse; Hartford Theater Works; Humana Festival; Delaware Theatre Company;  Kennedy Center; Virginia Stage.  Film: Synecdoche, New York; Solitary Man.  Television: Dirty Sexy Money; Law and Order and L&O:CI; Guiding Light (recurring – Jeremy); Conviction; One Life to Live.   Juilliard Grad.

MELANIE NICHOLLS-KING: Melanie Nicholls-King started her career on the stage.  She formed a theater company called Sugar’n'Spice with two other women and was nominated for a DORA award in the best female performance category for their first production, ‘Sistahs’.  This was followed by a leading role in Clement Virgo’s, ‘Rude’ which at the time was the first feature film written, directed and produced by African-Canadians and went on to win the Best Canadian Feature Film – Special Jury Citation at The Toronto Film Festival.  She’s since had roles in the critically acclaimed HBO drama ‘The Wire’, Showtime’s ‘Deacons for Defense’, all three of the ‘Law & Order’ franchises, Disney’s ‘The Famous Jett Jackson’ and the Canadian independent film, ‘How She Move’ which had it’s premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up and distributed nationally by MTV Films and Paramount Vantage.  She also continues to work regularly on the stage and was nominated for AUDELCOs for her roles in Cassandra Medley’s ‘Relativity’ and ‘Noon Day Sun’.

JOAQUIN TORRES: Joaquin Torres most recently performed in Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play at Yale Repertory Theatre directed by Mark Wing-Davey.  New York credits include: Scariest (dir. Ari Edelson, Meredith McDonough, Bleeker Street Theatre); Widows (dir. Hal Brooks, 59E59 Street Theaters); King Lear (dir. James Lapine, Public Theatre); Beauty of  the Father (dir. Michael Greif, MTC); Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (dir. Liz Diamond, Lincoln Center Institute); Winter’s Tale (dir. Barry Edelstein, CSC).  Regional:Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play (dir. Mark Wing-Davey, Goodman), King Lear (dir. Robert Falls, Goodman), Our Town (dir. Bartlett Sher, Intiman); Much Ado About Nothing (dir. Peter Dubois, Cal Shakes). Film/TV: Filters (dir. John Fiorelli); Third Watch, Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC); One Life to Live, All My Children (ABC). Training: NYU’s Graduate Acting Program. Joaquin lives in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill.

COLLEEN WERTHMANN: Colleen Werthmann is a proud Founding Associate Artist with The Civilians, having helped create CANARD, CANARD, GOOSE?, THE LADIES, and especially GONE MISSING, over five years of tours and its Off-Broadway run at the Barrow Street Theatre.  Other theater credits include MISS WITHERSPOON (Playwrights Horizons/McCarter), RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS (Playwrights Horizons), BLUE SURGE (Public Theater), LIGHT RAISE THE ROOF (New York Theater Workshop), SUITCASE (Soho Rep/La Jolla Playhouse), THE MISTAKES MADELINE MADE (Naked Angels/Yale Rep), and new play development at the O’Neill Theater Center and New York Stage & Film. Colleen is also a founding performer-designer of the internationally acclaimed experimental theater group Elevator Repair Service.  Her three solo shows, CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS RULE, FIRE IN THE HOLE, and SHE HATES HER SUPERVISOR, were produced at Joe’s Pub, PS122, Westbeth Theater Center, and HBO Workspace (LA).  TV and film credits include The Sopranos, Sex & the City, Third Watch, The Pink Panther, and of course Law & Order (Regular and Extra Crispy).  Radio credits include WNYC’s “On the Media” and KUOW’s “Rewind.” She has written for 23/6 and McSweeney’s.  Born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she received her BFA in Drama from NYU. She just got married in October to Gardiner Comfort, the best person ever, and lives in Harlem.

Lab Artists:
URBAN BUSH WOMEN: seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance. We do this from a woman-centered perspective, as members of the African Diaspora community, in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond. The company aspires to ensure continuity by strengthening and expanding their community via ongoing professional education, development of new audiences, nurturing young talent and presenting bold, life-affirming dance works in a variety of settings. Founded in 1984 by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women (UBW) is a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. UBW weaves contemporary dance, music, and text with the history, culture, and spiritual traditions of African Americans and the African Diaspora, exploring the transformation of struggle and suffering into the bittersweet joy of survival. UBW engages in extensive community-based programming, encouraging cultural activity as an inherent part of community life. In training young artists, Urban Bush Women gives equal consideration to an artist’s creative and social cultural concerns. UBW has been presented extensively in New York City and has toured throughout the United States and in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. The Company has been commissioned by presenters nationwide, and includes among its honors a 1992 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”); the 1994 Capezio Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance; and 1998 and 2004 Doris Duke Awards for New Work from the American Dance Festival.

LUCY THURBER: is the author of seven plays: Where We’re Born, Ashville, Scarcity, Killers and Other Family, Stay, Bottom of The World and Monstrosity. The Atlantic Theater Company opened its 2007/08 season with Scarcity. Rattlestick Playwrights Theater has produced three of her plays, Where We’re Born, Killers and Other Family and Stay, Bottom of The World was commissioned and workshopped by Women’s Expressive Theater, Inc. at the Eugene O’Neill, the first Tribeca Theater Festival and The Public Theater. Monstrosity was workshopped at Encore Theatre Company (San Francisco). She was the recipient of the 2000-01 Manhattan Theatre Club Playwriting Fellowship and has been a guest artist at Alaska’s Perseverance Theatre twice, where she helped to adapt both Desire Under The Elms and Moby Dick. She has had reading and workshops at Manhattan Theatre Club, The New Group, Primary Stages, MCC Theater, Encore Theatre Company, PlayPenn, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New River Dramatists and Soho Rep. She was one of three playwrights in residence at The Orchard Project, summer 2007. Her 10-minute play Dinner is published in Not So Sweet, a collection of plays from Soho Rep’s 10 minute play festival. Scarcity was published in the December 2007 issue of American Theatre. Her produced plays are published by Dramatists Play Service. Thurber is a member of New Dramatists, 13P, MCC Playwrights Coalition and Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages. She is currently writing a new play under commission from Playwrights Horizons. Lucy has taught at Columbia University in Graduate Playwriting and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She also runs an after school playwriting program for New York City teenagers through MCC Theater.

CARL HANCOCK RUX: is an African American poet, playwright, novelist, recording artist, and essayist who crosses and fuses disciplines in his art. His writing and spoken word performances incorporate the rhythms and oral traditions of the African American diaspora while being grounded in the classical Western canon. He is the author of the Village Voice Literary prize winning collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta the novel Asphalt and the OBIE award winning play Talk. Rux is also a resident artist at the Miami Performing Arts Center, the Robert E. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College and Head of the Writing for Performance MFA program at California Institute of the Arts. He is a recipient of numerous awards including the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts Prize, and the Bessie Schomburg Award, among others.

MICHAEL HILL: Over the years Michael has been privileged to perform or record with Little Richard, Carla Thomas, Harry Belafonte, Archie Bell and B.B. King, and has jammed with numerous blues heroes, friends and colleagues, including B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Luther Allison. Recognized as one of modern blues’ “most talented songwriters and guitarists” (Living Blues) and known for “uncompromising musical and lyrical integrity” (Goldmine), Michael has clearly learned much from his heroes, especially the importance of originality. Now with four highly acclaimed albums, Michael Hill and his Blues Mob ignite stages all around the world in a unique, high energy expression of New York- style blues. Powerful singing, dazzling guitar playing and his engaging personal blend of warmth, conviction and humor have Michael leaving audiences feeling good first time, every time.

Designers:

Lucrecia Briceno (Lighting Designer) is a Peruvian artist and former beekeeper. Her body of work includes theatre, dance & opera, as well as collaborations in several non-performance projects. Recent work includes: Canterbury Tales, directed by Yuriy Kordonskiy; Hippolytus, directed by Sharon Fogarty; Lee/gendary directed by Suzi Takehashi; Life in a Marital Institution, directed by Hal Brooks; Eccentricities of a Nightingale, TACT; The Staircase, directed by Andrea Moro; West Side Story at John Jay Theatre; The Kiss of the Spider Woman directed by Gisela Cardenas; Grasmere, performed at 59E59 and C-Venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Crime & Punishment, directed by Juan Souki. Lucrecia is an Associate Artist of The Civilians and Wreckio Ensemble. She has been a guest artist/lecturer at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and NYU. MFA: NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

ANDROMACHE CHALFANT (Set Designer) is a set designer for theater and opera. Theater: Samuel Beckett’s Endgame (A.R.T. upcoming), Christina Anderson’s Inked Baby (Playwrights Horizons upcoming), Jose Rivera’s School of the Americas (Henry Hewes Nomination for Set Design), Stephen Adly Guirgus’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (LAByrinth and The Public Theater), Anne Washburn’s The Internationalist (The Vineyard Theater), Rinne Groff’s Orange,Lemon,Egg,Canary, and The Civilians’ (I am) Nobody’s Lunch (PS122). Regional: John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation (The Old Globe upcoming), Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House (Cleveland Playhouse), Clifford Odet’s Awake and Sing! (Arena Stage), Morris Panych’s VIGIL (Westport Country Playhouse), and Craig Wright’s Lady (Asolo Repertory). Opera: Charles Gounod’s Faust (Minnesota Opera upcoming), Handel’s Semele (Opera Boston), Mozart’s The Abduction From the Seraglio (Opera Omaha), Dominick Argento’s Postcard From Morocco (The Curtis Institute) Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Berkshire Opera Festival). Andromache is an Associate Artist of The Civilians and a member of LAByrinth Theater Company. She has been a guest artist/lecturer at Sarah Lawrence and NYU. She received a BFA in Visual Art from Bennington College and a Masters in Scenic Design from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

CHLOE CHAPIN: (Costume Designer) Broadway: Associate Costume Designer (Equus); Assistant Costume Designer (Passing Strange). New York: Three On A Couch (Redshift Productions); Romeo & Juliet, A Cocktail Hour, The Middle Ages (Theater By The Blind); Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue (Culture Project); The Director (Flea Theater); Pot Au Noir (Chocolate Factory Theater). Regional: Greenwich Music Festival, Two River Theater Company, Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theater, The Empty Space, Book-It Repertory Theater, Theater Schmeater, Seattle Film Festival. Education: BFA: Cornish College of the Arts, MFA: Yale School of Drama. Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

SHANE RETTIG: (Sound Designer) Shane is a sound designer, composer and musician. His work has been heard in the New York productions of: Rafta, Rafta…,The Music Teacher, Rich Boyfriend and Jayson with a Y (The New Group), Perdita (The Lion), Dark Matters (Rattlestick), Nobody’s Lunch (The Civilians), The Unknown (NYMF, The Public), What’s My Line? (Barrow Street), Eleven (2G), Save the World (Roundtable), Unfold Me, The Nightshade Family, crooked and Pink (SPF), Request Concert (Mabou Mines), Suitcase and Everything Will Be Different (Soho Rep) Dearest Eugenia Haggis (Clubbed Thumb), 2008 Marathon (EST) and The Wedding Plays (HB). Regional: Center Stage, ATL, La Jolla, Dallas Theatre Center, Williamstown, Yale Rep, NYU, Juilliard. Sound Design Exhibition in the 2007 Prague Quadrennial. He performs with the Brooklyn bands The Atomic Grind Show, Slow to Wake and Project:Airlock. Faculty: Rutgers University. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

Production:
PETER DEAN: (Production Manager) New York credits include American Dream & The Sandbox directed by Edward Albee (Cherry Lane), The Atheist, In Conflict (Barrow Street Theatre), Celia, the Musical (New World Stages), Unconditional, A View From 151st St., The Worst of Bogosian, A Small, Melodramatic Story (LAByrinth), Little Flower of East OrangeSchool of the Americas(LAByrinth/Public), Opus Cactus, Baseball and Passion (MOMIX). Regional Credits include A.R.T., Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, The Huntington Theater Company, The Denver Center Theater Company and Trinity Rep. Peter is a graduate of Otterbein College (PBS/OFA).