Advisory Board
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

Patricia Birch (Director/Choreographer) Patricia is a renowned choreographer and director for stage, screen and television. She began her career as a dancer in Broadway musicals. She has directed and choreographed music videos for Cyndi Lauper, the Rolling Stones, and Carly Simon. She earned Emmy® Awards for her direction of the television specials “Natalie Cole: Unforgettable” and “Celebrating Gershwin” and, in collaboration with Michael Tilson Thomas, she staged the concert version of On the Town performed by both the London Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Birch also spent six years staging numbers for “Saturday Night Live”. She has performed as a soloist with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille. In addition, Ms. Birch has been nominated five times for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Choreographer.

Tituss Burgess (Actor) Tituss is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BA in Music. On the hit NBC sitcom “30 Rock” Tituss plays the recurring character, D’fwan. He is currently working on his second studio recording of original music due out early summer. He recently starred as Nicely Nicely Johnson in the new Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls. Other Broadway credits include originating the role of Sebastian the Crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jersey Boys (OBC) and Good Vibrations (OBC). Regionally he was seen in The Wiz (Cowardly Lion, La Jolla), Songs For A New World w/ Jason Robert Brown, Brian D’arcy James and Alice Ripley. He played Father in Children of Eden, Jim in Big River, and a host of others. In the concert world, Tituss has served as soloists with the Prague Symphony Orchestra as well as for Academy Award Winner, Ennio Morricone. Television: “2009 Tony Awards”, “The View,” “The Today Show,”  ”Good Morning America.” His solo CD “Here’s To You” is available on iTunes.

Michael Cooper (Composer/Lyricist) Michael’s lyrics were sung on Broadway last season in It Shoulda Been You, starring Tyne Daly and directed by David Hyde Pierce (Outer Critics Circle Nomination). Off-Broadway: City Of (Original song). MAC Award nominee, 2005 Jonathan Larson Award Winner. BA:  Williams College; MFA: NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Sunfish (Co-Book/Lyrics) Top Jury Honor DIMF, South Korea (2013). News To Me, Rites of PassageMuseum Pieces, and The Dome (Prospect Theater Co); Lizardman! (Libretto for The Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire). Selected for NAMT, The ASCAP/Disney Workshop, 4×15 at The Musical Theater Factory, NYTB (Timelines), and the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals. Associate producer for Zombie, an award-winning short film based on the Joyce Carol Oates novella. Upcoming: Music for Second To Nun and Music & Lyrics for Love,

Traci Klainer Polimeni (Lighting Designer/Producer) NY lighting credits include: The Asphalt Kiss (59E59, Drama Desk nomination); Broadway production of Prune Danish starring Jackie Mason (Royale Theatre); Four (MTC, Lucille Lortel nomination); Now Circa Then (Ars Nova); The Irish Curse (Soho Playhouse); Sand (Julia Miles Theatre); Sealed for Freshness (New World Stages); Based on a Totally True Story (MTC); 2 Girls for 5 Bucks (Ars Nova); Echoes of the War (Mint Theatre); Dragapella (Upstairs Studio 54); and the 92nd Street Y Gala 2006-2009. Regional theatre lighting credits include: Hartford Stage, Virginia Stage Co., Two River Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Prince Music Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Capital Repertory, City Theatre, Charlotte Repertory, and George Street Playhouse. Traci is also a partner in the design firm Luce Group, which specializes in architectural, exhibit and event lighting design.  Luce’s credits include: Moving Beyond Earth at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, D.C.; A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls at the New York Historical Society; NYC2012’s presentation to US and International Olympic Committees at the Queens Museum of Art; and the Nantucket Whaling Museum. Current projects include: three LED installations at Discovery Place, NC, and Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. As a producer, Traci’s credits include The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde (NYMF); Apartment 3A by Jeff Daniels; Warrior (NYMF, associate producer); Behind the Limelight (NYMF, associate producer); Souled Out (The Zipper, NYC); and The Irish Curse (Edinburgh Festival, Scotland).

Wendy MacLeod (Playwright) Wendy’s The House of Yes has been produced at Soho Rep, The Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, The Gate Theater in London, and The Washington Shakespeare Company. It became an award-winning Miramax film starring Parker Posey in 1997, earning a Special Jury Award at Sundance. MacLeod’s other plays include: Juvenilia (Playwrights Horizons), The Water Children (Playwrights Horizons; L.A.’s Matrix Theatre), Things Being What They Are (Seattle Rep.; Steppenwolf; Bay Street Theater), and Sin and Schoolgirl Figure (both premiered at The Goodman, Chicago). A New Dramatist alumna and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, she is the James E. Michael playwright-in-residence at her alma mater, Kenyon College, and has been a guest professor at Exeter University in the U.K. and Northwestern University’s film and theater departments.

Patricia Simon (Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, Marymount Manhattan College) Pat received a BFA from Boston Conservatory of Music in Musical Theatre and worked as a performer in regional theatre. Favorite roles include “Fanny” in Funny Girl and “Tzietel” in Fiddler on the Roof. She received an MFA in Directing under master artist Joshua Logan at Florida Atlantic University. Following time spent as an agent and casting director (Steel Magnolias) she began teaching at AMDA and Musical Theatreworks. For 20 years she has taught Musical Theatre at Marymount Manhattan College directing such shows as Ragtime, Baby, Carousel and The Grass Harp. Serving as coordinator of the program, she has designed the curriculum for 140 students a year. An Oral Historian, she has recorded interviews with every major music theatre artist as well as all the people who worked with Joshua Logan. She is proud of the new work done in collaboration with MMC and The York Theatre. It’s exciting to be part of APAC! Pat is most proud of her children and grandchildren.

Daniel Judah Sklar (Creator, Playmaking) For over 23 years Daniel Judah Sklar has taught Playmaking, his technique for helping children to write and perform their own plays, at institutions ranging from Yale School of Drama, to P.S. 133 in Harlem, to the Native American Preparatory School in Bemidji, Minnesota, to the elementary school in Brooklet, Georgia (pop. 600) to the San Franciso Juvenile Hall. He has also focused on the New York City schools, where he has worked in conjunction with the Circle in the Square Theatre to produce hundreds of kids’ plays on Broadway. His book, PLAYMAKING: Children Writing and Performing Their Own Plays, won the Distinguished Book Award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. He received the Sustained Achievement Award from the New York City Arts in Education Round Table, and a feature about his students’ work being performed at Lincoln Center in New York City aired on the “Today Show”. He is a Workshop Leader for the Kennedy Center’s Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers in Washington DC.

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