TheatreNow! Season 1, Episode 1:  Quiara Alegria Hudes, Playwright and Librettist

Quiara Alegría Hudes is the author of Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Water by the Spoonful is the second in a trilogy of plays. The first, Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. The third and final installment, The Happiest Song Plays Last, opens at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in April 2013.

Hudes wrote the book for the Broadway musical In the Heights, which received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical, and was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. In its original Off-Broadway incarnation, In the Heights won the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. The touring companies of In the Heights have performed at Puerto Rico’s Centro Bellas Artes, LA’s Pantages, and Tokyo’s International Forum.

Other works include Barrio Grrrl!, a children’s musical that premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2009 and toured nationally. 26 Miles premiered at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2009 and was published in American Theatre Magazine. Yemaya’s Belly, Hudes’ first play, premiered at Portland Stage Company and received The Clauder Prize.

Hudes’s honors include the United States Artists Fontanals Fellowship, the Joyce Fellowship at the Goodman Theatre, the Aetna New Voices Fellowship at Hartford Stage, the Roe Green Award at the Cleveland Playhouse, and fellowships at Sundance Theater Institute and the O’Neill Theater Center. She is an alumna of New Dramatists and has been honored with a Resolution by the City of Philadelphia.

After graduating from public school in Philadelphia, Hudes went on to receive a B.A. in music cum laude from Yale University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Brown, where she studied with Paula Vogel. She was recently inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame–the first Latina and among the first group of women to receive this honor since the school’s founding in 1836.

Hudes is on the board of Philadelphia Young Playwrights, which produced her first play in the tenth grade. She now lives in New York with her husband and daughter.

TheatreNow! Season 1, Episode 2:  Claire Lautier, Actress

Claire Lautier is a classically trained actress who has built a successful career in film, television and in the theatre.  She has played leading roles on stages in Canada, New York, across the U.S. and internationally, and can be seen in many television and film appearances.  She is a fluent French speaker and has worked in many different dialects.  She is an honor graduate of both Duke University and the Juilliard School, and the winner of numerous awards for her work.

TheatreNow! Season 1, Episode 3: Ruth Margraff, Musician, Composer, and Playwright

Ruth Margraff has been called a leader in the new opera movement in America and has toured with her Café Antarsia Ensemble and her work throughout the  UK, Canada, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Greece,Turkey, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Croatia, Japan, Egypt and India.  Her writing has been developed and produced in NYC at the Apollo Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Hourglass Group, HERE Arts Center, the Public, Cooper Union, Lincoln Ctr, Kitchen, NYTW, etc., and nationally at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky), Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s “AlterActive Series” Rosenthal Plaza (Ohio).Playwrights’ Center, Red Eye, Walker Art Center (Mpls); University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa (Alabama); Undermain, Club Dada (Dallas); Salvage Vanguard, Rude Mechanicals, Fronterafest, Nerve Dance Co., Deborah Hay Dance Co., Sharirworks (Austin); Perishable, AS220 (Providence); Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop (Iowa City); Bottom’s Dream, Audrey Skirball-Kenis, Overtone Industries, Theater of Note (Los Angeles); North American Cultural Laboratory Festival (Catskills), Crossing Borders Live (Ithaca), Gypsy Festival at Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca (Lodi), Hollins University (Roanoke, Virginia).

Viaduct Theater/HotHouse Center for International Performance and Chicago Cultural Institute/Music Without Borders (Chicago). Ruth has been the recipient of grants, awards and honors including four Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts commissions, a McKnight National Commission/Residency, a McKnight Advancement Grant and Jerome Fellowship with the Playwrights’ Center, an NEA/TCG national playwriting residency, a Fulbright new opera award to Greece, a TCG Extended Collaboration grant and several ITI travel grants and awards from Arts International and Trust for Mutual Understanding of New York, two NYSCA awards, and was selected for a CultureConnect envoy to Calcutta (India). Ruth’s work is published by Kendall/Hunt University of Arizona, Watson Gutpill/Backstage Books, Performing Arts Journal, American Theatre, Theater Forum, The Drama Review, Playscripts, Inc., Stockyard Magazine, Applause Books, CUNY/Martin Segal Press, Dramatist, Johns Hopkins, Manchester, NuMuse Anthology/Brown, Chain/Temple, Epoch/Cornell, Conjunctions/Bard, Autonomedia, etc. She has taught at the Yale School of Drama, Brown University, University of Texas/Michener Center, Fordham, University of Iowa, etc. and is currently Associate Professor of writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ruth is an alumnae of New Dramatists and HERE’s Harp artist residency, member of League of Professional Theater Women, and co-leader of a Theatre Without Borders initiative on theater & peacebuilding with Brandeis University’s Slifka Coexistence International.

TheatreNow! Season 1, Episode 4:  Kristin Marting, Artistic Director, Playwright, and Director

Kristin Marting is a director and choreographer of hybrid work based in NYC. Over the last 20 years, she has constructed 26 works for the stage, including 11 original hybrid works, 8 adaptations of novels & short stories and 7 classic plays.  She works in a collaborative, process-driven way to fuse different disciplines into a cohesive whole.

She is currently developing a tour for LUSH VALLEY, a live art political work which premiered in September 2011. Other recent projects include ORPHEUS, a collaborative alt-musical; James Scruggs’s solo eight channel video work DISPOSABLE MEN and his recent hybrid play (RUS)H. She also directed SOUNDING and DEAD TECH (collaborative works adapted from Ibsen), both of which received prestigious MAP Fund awards. Prior works have toured around the US. She has also collaborated on several large-scale political action art events, including The Line in 2004.

For the last 20 years, she has been developing a unique hybrid directorial/choreographic form that features a “gestural vocabulary” used both as an emotional signifier and as a choreographic element. This vocabulary, though specific to each project, is in a state of constant development with an ever-growing set of permanent gestures being added to the repertoire.

She is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of HERE, where she cultivates artists and programs all events for two performance spaces–including 17 OBIE-award winners—for an annual audience of 30,000. She regularly serves on grant panels for NEA, NYSCA, DCA and TCG, among others. She was recently named a Person of the Year for outstanding contribution and honored with a BAX10 Award for Arts Managers. Previously, Marting co-founded and served as co-artistic director of Tiny Mythic Theatre Company for nine years.  She served as Robert Wilson’s assistant for HAMLETMACHINE and SALOME.  She graduated from NYU with honors in 1988.  She lectures at NYU, Harvard, Columbia, and Williams College among others.

TheatreNow! Season 1, Episode 5: Valentina Fratti, Artistic Director, Producer, and Director

Valentina Fratti co-founded the Miranda Theatre Company (now m2 productions) where she served as Artistic Director for 12 years and where she produced and directed over 30 original plays, three festivals of One-Acts by Women and the Moonshine Series.  She works with commercial producer Jane Harmon and was the Associate Producer on the Broadway production of Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Tony Award, Best Play). Most recently she wrote and directed Unearthed, a benefit for the Italian Earthquake victims, at the Cherry Lane Theatre, The Green Manifesto by Anne Berlin and Andy Cohen at the Fringe Festival and Love Stinks at the SPF Abridged Festival at The Public Theatre. Other recent credits: Ginna Carter’s Traffic School with Elaine Stritch; Open House at Six Figures’Artists of Tomorrow; Patriot Act at the Castillo Theatre; Jeff Daniels’ Apartment 3A; Russell Davis’s Day of the Picnic at PlayPenn; Young Playwrights Festivals at the Cherry Lane Alternative and the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons. She worked with directors Doug Hughes and Robert Falls on Rebecca Gilman’s productions of Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Blue Surge. As a playwright her plays include The Male Appetite, Jerusalem Mountain, and Shooting Medea.  She is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and is the recipient of the 2009 Alice Kaplan Institute Guest Artist Residency at Northwestern University.

TheatreNow! Season 1, Episode 6 Part 1 and Part 2: Catherine Filloux, Playwright

Catherine Filloux is an award-winning playwright who has been writing about human rights and social justice for the past twenty years. Her new play LUZ will premiere September 27, 2012 to October 14, 2012 at La MaMa in New York City, where she is an Artist in Residence. Filloux’s commissioned libretto, New Arrivals, for Houston Grand Opera, Song of Houston, will premiere in June 2012, composed by John Glover. Catherine has been commissioned to write a new one-woman play for the actor Marietta Hedges about the civil rights movement and the KKK. Filloux is currently developing her play All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go, into a musical with composer Jimmy Roberts (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) and John Daggett. Catherine recently traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the Henry Smith Artist in Residence Programme in Woodvale Cambrai Community Centre and Holy Cross/Wheatfield Primary Schools, with The Playhouse Derry~Londonderry.

Filloux’s more than twenty plays have been produced in New York and around the world. They include: Dog and Wolf (59E59 Theaters/Watson Arts, NYC, 2010); Killing the Boss (Cherry Lane Theatre, NYC, 2008); Lemkin’s House (Rideau de Bruxelles, Belgium, 2007, McGinn-Cazale Theatre & 78th Street Theatre Lab, NYC, 2006, Kamerni teatar 55, Sarajevo, Bosnia, 2005); The Beauty Inside (New Georges, NYC and InterAct, Philadelphia, 2005); Eyes of the Heart (National Asian American Theatre Co., NYC, 2004); Silence of God (Contemporary American Theater Festival, WV, 2002); Mary and Myra (CATF, 2000 and Todd Mountain Theater, NY, 2002); Arthur’s War (commissioned by Theatreworks/USA, NYC, 2002); Photographs From S-21, a short play that has been produced throughout the world and Escuela del Mundo (commissioned by The Ohio State University and touring Ohio in 2006-2005).

The Beauty Inside was translated into Arabic for a workshop at ISADAC in Rabat, Morocco, 2004. “Dog and Wolf” Community Outreach Project is a new model conceived by the playwright in 2010, produced by Watson Arts, to bring theater to neighborhoods where theatergoing isn’t necessarily part of everyday culture.

Filloux wrote the libretto for Where Elephants Weep (Composer Him Sophy) an opera, which received its premiere in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2008. She is the librettist for The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown (Composer Jason Kao Hwang), which opened at Asia Society in New York City and was selected as a Critics Choice in Opera News in 2005, released by New World Records.

Awards include: Voice Award for Artistic Works (Voices of Women), New Generations-Future Collaborations Award (Mellon Foundation/TCG), PeaceWriting Award (Omni Center for Peace), Roger L. Stevens Award (Kennedy Center), Eric Kocher Playwrights Award (O’Neill), MAP Fund (for The Breach and The Floating Box), 5-time Heideman Award Finalist (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and the Callaway Award (New Dramatists). She is a Fulbright Senior Specialist (Cambodia & Morocco), Asian Cultural Council Grant and LMCC Manhattan Community Arts Fund and Fund for Creative Communities recipient. She served as a Juror for Sarajevo’s MES International Theater Festival and as a James Thurber and William Inge Center for the Arts Playwright-In-Residence. She is a Core Writer (The Playwrights’ Center) and New Dramatists alumna. She developed the Oral History Project A Circle of Grace with the Cambodian Women’s Group at St. Rita’s Refugee Center in Bronx, NY. She has provided French-English translations for various theater companies and periodicals. Catherine developed her play Eyes of the Heart for Lifetime TV.

Filloux’s plays are published by Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Vintage, DPS and Prentice Hall. Her anthologies include Silence of God and Other Plays, published by Seagull Books, London Limited and Dog and Wolf & Killing the Boss, two plays by Catherine Filloux, NoPassport Press. Her articles have appeared in periodicals including American Theatre, Manoa, and The Drama Review. Catherine received her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and her French Baccalaureate in Philosophy with Honors in Toulon, France. Filloux is featured in the documentary film “Acting Together on the World Stage” co-created by Dr. Cynthia E. Cohen and filmmaker Allison Lund, in collaboration with Theatre Without Borders. Filloux is a co-founder of Theatre Without Borders and has served as a speaker for playwriting and human rights organizations around the world.

Season 1, Episode 7 Part 1 and Part 2: Yvette Heyliger, Producer, Playwright, Director and Yvonne Farrow, Producer, Actor, Choralographer

Yvette Heyliger is a grant-winning playwright, a director, and a producing artist. Ms. Heyliger’s critically acclaimed play, What Would Jesus Do?, was selected for main stage production in the National Black Theatre Festival 2007 in Winston-Salem, NC. What Would Jesus Do?, written and directed by Ms. Heyliger, had its world premiere in Los Angeles in recognition of World AIDS Day 2006 and the 25th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS in America. Ms. Heyliger’s play, Hillary and Monica: The Winter of Her Discontent, received its New England premiere at Gloucester Stage. Ms. Heyliger was nominated “Best Director” for Coming Clean by Steven Shapiro, a finalist in the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival 2007.

Ms. Heyliger was was awarded the Regional Resource Network’s HIV/AIDS Capacities Building Mini-Grant to present, What Would Jesus Do?: HIV/AIDS and Our Seniors in conjunction with Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, NY. An unprecedented “celebrity reading” of the play was done at the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival, thrusting the issue of HIV/AIDS on to Black Theatre’s national stage.

Ms. Heyliger won a grant from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s The Fund for Creative Communities to assist in producing, What Would Jesus Do?, in association with Theatre of the Riverside Church in observance of World AIDS Day 2005. This grant was a fiscally sponsored project of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI); additional in-kind assistance for this production was provided by The Riverside Church HIV/AIDS Task Force and a grant was awarded by The Riverside Sharing Fund/Riverside Mission and Social Justice Commission of The Riverside Church in the City of New York.

Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group presented What Would Jesus Do? to a standing-room-only audience at the Museum of the City of New York as part of the Roger Furman Play Reading Series 2005.

What Would Jesus Do? was written as a result of a grant Ms. Heyliger received from the New York State Council on the Arts/Individual Artist Program, with additional assistance from a Harlem Arts Alliance/Rockefeller Foundation re-grant. Ms. Heyliger has presented excerpts (monologues and/or scenes) of What Would Jesus Do? for HIV/AIDS prevention programs at colleges, churches, prisons, health fairs, youth and senior centers, workshops and conferences.

Ms. Heyliger’s published play, Autobiography of A Homegirl, was featured in Smith and Kraus’ Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2003 and Best Stage Scenes 2003. (“Here are fantastic pieces by well-known playwrights… as well as just-as-fantastic monologues by exciting new voices such as… Yvette Heyliger!)

Autobiography of A Homegirl was selected for presentation at the National Black Theatre Festival 2001; prior to that it had been showcased in Women of Color Theatre Festivals in many New York theatres including: Henry Street Settlement, Black Spectrum Theatre, and Theatre of the Riverside Church.    In 1996 Ms. Heyliger was nominated “Best Playwright” in the NAACP Theatre Awards for the Los Angeles production of Autobiography of A Homegirl, which was partially funded by Bill Cosby and also received a grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Homegirl, was chosen “Best of the Weekend” by the Los Angeles Times, which was a particular honor as it was Twinbiz’ debut production.    Ms. Heyliger also made her directorial debut with that production. Early in the play’s development. Ms. Heyliger won a grant from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Manhattan Community Arts Fund present Autobiography of A Homegirl, as part of the Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group’s 1995 “Voices of Griots” Roger Furman Reading Series.

Ms. Heyliger presented, in association with Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group, her play, Hillary and Monica: The Winter of Her Discontent, as part of the UnConvention: An American Theatre Festival. Hillary and Monica was presented at the National Black Theatre Festival 2003 in Winston-Salem, NC. In 2001 Hillary and Monica kicked off the National Black Theatre Festival’s Reader’s Theatre Series; prior to that it was presented at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in their festival, “Going To The River,” which celebrates the works of African American women playwrights, as well as in the Women of Color Arts Festival 2001 at Producer’s Club, Musical Theatre Works and Henry Street Settlement. Hillary and Monica: The Winter of Her Discontent had its genesis as a writing exercise in Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre Playwrighting Workshop with Ed Bullins. In 2005 the play was presented in a staged reading for New York University’s “Dramatizing History I” class which explores how creating a work based on historical characters poses specific challenges for the playwright.

Ms. Heyliger’s play entitled, Father’s Day, was written as a result of a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts/Individual Artist Program, and was subsequently produced by Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop during their 1990-1991 season.

Ms. Heyliger was selected to receive a merit scholarship to Fred Vogel’s Commercial Theatre Institute, an intensive 14-week training program for commercial theatre producers. Ms. Heyliger was selected to participate in the first Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab, NY. Formerly an actress, Ms. Heyliger’s claim to fame was a stint on the NBC hit Cosby Show where she played Bill Cosby’s sister- in-law, Aunt Sarah. She studied the Sanford Meisner Technique with William Esper. Ms. Heyliger received her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from New York University.

With regard to her work as a playwright, Ms. Heyliger has been requested as a speaker at colleges and universities including:  Vassar College, New York University, Wesleyan University, and Rutgers University, to name a few. She works as a teaching artist in the public and private schools of New York and formerly at Riker’s Island Prison. Ms. Heyliger is a member of the Dramatists Guild/Authors League, AEA, SAG, AFTRA, Harlem Arts Alliance, AUDELCO and is an associate member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Ms. Heyliger founded and is partners with her twin sister, Yvonne Farrow, in TWINBIZ, a production company which was established to create and produce original projects for stage, television and film which educate, entertain and serve.

Yvonne Farrow won a 2010 AUDELCO Award for Excellence in Black Theatre as LEAD ACTRESS for her role as Leonta Wilson in the critically acclaimed stage play, What Would Jesus Do?, written and directed by Yvette Heyliger. This play with music by Larry Farrow, swept the ceremony winning seven of its eight AUDELCO nominations including PLAYWRIGHT and PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR. Yvonne originated the role in WWJD’s 2006 World Premiere in Los Angeles and continued on to perform as a Celebrity Guest at 2007 National Black Theater Festival.

A member of SAG, AEA and AFTRA, Yvonne has had recurring roles on Alias, Passions, Melrose Place, Models Inc, South Central and Mantis. Some television credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Bernie Mac, Seinfeld, Gregory Hines Show, and Sinbad. Some film credits include My Uncle Rafael, Ice Dreams, A Very Brady Sequel, Gotta Kick It Up, I’d Rather Be Dancing (a short which she wrote, produced, co-directed and starred, winning “Best Actress” at the ATHFF and nominated “Best Short” at the PAFF and FESPACO), Showtime Black Filmmaker’s award winning film, Letter To My Mother and An Incident the Life of a Slave Girl an AFI film. Some theater credits include leading roles in Sorrows and Rejoicings, Autobiography of a Homegirl, Company Policy, The Visit and A Raisin in the Sun (winning “Best Actress” at the Santa Monica Theater Guild.

Yvonne Farrow is partner with twin sister and founder, Yvette Heyliger in TWINBIZ (twins-in-the-business), whose mission is to write, direct and produce original works for stage, television and film, which seek to educate, entertain and serve. In 2008 Yvonne was nominated “Best Producer” at the NAACP Theater Awards for the LA Premiere of What Would Jesus Do? and went on to co-produce with Twinbiz at the National Black Theater Festival main stage. She was also the executive producer and star of Autobiography of a Homegirl, written and directed by Ms. Heyliger, also a NBTF main stage selection with its LA premiere at the Hollywood Court Theater. Yvonne wrote, produced and starred in a staged reading of her hour-long dramatic television pilot, The Y Factor at William Grant Still; and did the same with her a half-hour sitcom pilot, Vanilla Bean, which was developed and showcased at the HBO Workspace. Her stage play, Movements, where she was once again a triple threat, won third place at Inner City Cultural Center’s Act II Short Play Competition, and from there was selected for LA Theater Works’ The Play’s The Thing Radio Theater Series, airing live on KCRW with an all star cast. Yvonne’s very first play, L’Esprit Dance for Me was produced at University District of Columbia at Howard and was a finalist in the American College Theater Festival.

Yvonne Farrow has been specializing in choralography of concert choral works specifically designed for classically trained choirs for almost 20 years. She is also a dramatic coach employing theater and lighting design to choral performance as an extension of her vision. She is a member of American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, National Association Negro Musicians and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, working with choirs from middle school to the professional. Her choral ballets have been performed around the world and have contributed to top awards won by The Choral Project, Daniel Hughes, Director, at the California International Choral Festival & Competition; and The Northridge Singers, Paul Smith, Director, at International Eisteddfod, in Wales. She re-set War Song 2.0 on University of Delaware Chorale, which competed in the 42nd Annual Choral Festival, Tolosa, Spain and Turn the World Around, 2.0 on Cal Poly’s Kellogg Chamber Singers.

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


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