Indie Theater Now People of the Year 2013

Lisa Marie

Lisa Marie

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Indie Theater Now proudly presents the 10th annual People Of The Year. These 15 artists represent the cream of contemporary independent theater. All of them have contributed in multiple ways to the diversity and vitality of NYC theater in the past 12 months. These artists are chosen by nominations from NYTE’s contributors and selected by the Board of NYTE.

RANDI BERRY is the Co-Artistic Director of Wreckio Ensemble, and the Executive Director of The LIT Fund. She also serves on the Board of Directors of The League of Independent Theater. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: With John Clancy, Randi helped form The LIT Fund whose first Community Grant was awarded to The S.H.I.T. List, a community-based project developed by Gideon Productions, Flux Theatre Ensemble, and Shaun Bennett Fauntleroy and she spearheaded the Rehearsal Space Grants for The League of Independent Theater. Plans for 2014: Randi plans to continue growing The LIT Fund, and expanding The League of Independent Theater’s real estate efforts. She will also be appearing in Wreckio Ensemble’s upcoming production of The Sisters of Arkansas Can Saw.

J. STEPHEN BRANTLEY is a versatile actor and playwright. One Memorable Thing He Did in 2013: His latest play, Pirira, premiered at The Chain Theatre under the auspices of Theatre 167 this past fall in which he played a leading role and he also starred in Kathleen Warnock’s That’s Her Way. Plans for 2014: J. Stephen is working on a semi-autobiographical solo cabaret show that will premiere at Horse Trade’s upcoming FRIGID Festival, under the direction of David Drake. He will also appear in a one-day, site-specific revival of Theatre 167′s Jackson Heights 3am, which he also co-wrote. He is also working on a new full-length play. Learn more at:

JANIE BULLARD is an inventive and ubiquitous sound designer and composer. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: She designed sound for both of Flux Theatre Ensemble’s spring rep productions, Honey Fist by August Schulenberg, and Sans Merci by Johnna Adams (for which she also composed original music). Plans for 2014: Janie will be working on two upcoming productions with director Daniel Talbott: the premieres of Sarah Shaefer’s play The Gin Baby, and David Van Asselt’s Foo Fable. She will also be sound designing August Schulenberg’s new play, Jane the Plain, for Flux Theatre Ensemble, David Stalling’s new play, Dark Water, for MTWorks, and a new revival of Love’s Labour’s Lost at the New School for Drama. Learn more at:

BURAN THEATRE is a New York-based theatre company creating new works that straddle genre and artistic production under the auspices of artistic directors Adam R. Burnett and Jud Knudsen. One Memorable Thing They Did in 2013: Their production of NIGHTMARES: a demonstration of the Sublime played The Brick Theater twice (in both January and October); in-between those engagements, the production toured three western states where Buran remounted it from scratch with all-new casts drawn from local actors. Plans for 2014: They will premiere their newest work, Magic Bullets, at the Incubator Arts Project in May, and take it on tour from November 2014 through January 2015. They are also developing a second new work, Mammoth, which will make its New York premiere in late 2014/early 2015. Learn more at:

CECILIA COPELAND is a playwright, and the Artistic Director of NY Madness. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: Her newest play, Light of Night, received its world premiere production this past fall at IATI Theater. Plans for 2014: Her next play, Between Here and There, will be presented by Open Hydrant Theater, and Light of Night will receive a second production later in the year. In addition, Cecilia’s company, NY Madness, will finish its spring season with featured guests August Schulenburg, Mia Chung, Jenny Lyn Bader, and David Bar Katz. Learn more at:

ELENA K. HOLY is the Producing Artistic Director of The Present Company, which produces The New York International Fringe Festival every summer. FringeNYC is the largest multi arts festival in North America and is the sixth most attended event in NYC. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: Elena led FringeNYC into its 17th year, and her stewardship of the festival helped hundreds of shows and thousands of indie theater artists to develop and present innovative and passionate work to a broad audience. Plans for 2014: Elena plans to revolutionize FringeNYC’s operations and ticketing, continue providing the best possible resources and support for festival artists, further the coalition of a new World Fringe Alliance, and the formation of a FringeNYC Alumni Association. Learn more at:

LESS THAN RENT is a New York-based theatre company of enormous drive and invention. One Memorable Thing They Did in 2013: LTR presented Sean Patrick Monahan’s solo musical Diva at this year’s United Solo Theater Festival, where it won the Best Musical award and the Audience Favorite award. Plans for 2014: LTR is about to enter its second year of residency at Horse Trade Theater Group, which will include world premieres by Peter Gil-Sheridan, James Presson, and Sean Patrick Monahan. Learn more at:

PADRAIC LILLIS is a prolific and accomplished director and playwright, and the Artistic Director of The Farm Theater. One Memorable Thing He Did in 2013: Padraic directed LabRats Theatre Company’s production of The Rise and Fall of a Teenage Cyberqueen by Lindsay Joy Murphy, for which he won the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Director. Three of his plays are published on Indie Theater Now. Plans for 2014: Padraic has a full slate of activities planned for The Farm Theater’s first year, which include developing Brian Luna’s solo show 7th and 11th Dimension, hosting a salon for Russell G. Jones’ play The Blind Spot, and a three-way college collaboration with the University of Ashland, Centre College, and Clark University. Learn more at:

SAMARA NAEYMI is the Producing Director and Curator of Incubator Arts Project. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: Samara continued to champion new, innovative work at Incubator Arts Project, presenting such varied and distinct artists as Sara Farrington, Joshua William Gelb, Daniel Fish, Vampire Cowboys, and Dave Malloy & Eliza Bent. Plans for 2014: Samara will continue her work as Producing Director and Curator of Incubator Arts Project as they launch their spring season. She will also start work as a freelance producer for a roster of artists soon to be announced. Learn more at:

TIMOTHY NOLAN is a veteran playwright, and the Literary Manager of Variations Theatre Group. One Memorable Thing He Did in 2013: His most recent play, What’s in a Name?, was produced by Variations Theatre Group at The Chain Theatre last spring. Plans for 2014: Timothy will continue his stewardship of Variation Theatre Group’s staged reading series, Minor Variations Project, and hopes to get a new play development lab off the ground. He is also working on a new play of his own. Learn more at:

DIANA OH is an actress of remarkable range and depth, and the creator of the artist’s retreat Filling the Well. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: Diana gave a memorable and scene-stealing performance in Gideon Productions’ world premiere of Frankenstein Upstairs by Mac Rogers this past summer. Plans for 2014: Diana will be seen on stage in the next installment of the One-Minute Play Festival. She will also be recording an EP of her original songs, leading future retreats and residencies for Filling the Well, and working on a reading and workshop production of her original musical, Kimchi Mamas and the Dirty Disco. Learn more at:

AMY LEE PEARSALL is an actress, a company member of Wide Eyed Productions, and a frequent reviewer for Indie Theater Now. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: Amy Lee gave a memorable performance in Boomerang Theatre Company’s production of Lickspittles, Buttonholers and Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens by Johnna Adams. Plans for 2014: Amy Lee will soon be seen in PlaylabNYC’s staged reading of e.e. cummings’ rarely seen play, Santa Claus: A Morality. Next fall, Wide Eyed Productions will produce the world premiere of Dan Kitrosser’s new play, Dead Special Crabs. Learn more at:

JIM SHANKMAN is an actor, director, and playwright. He is also the Director of Scene Study for the Conservatory Program at Michael Howard Studios. One Memorable Thing He Did in 2013: Jim performed his solo show, Kiss Your Brutal Hands, at this year’s United Solo Theater Festival, for which he received their Best Actor award. Plans for 2014: Jim intends to submit Kiss Your Brutal Hands to several other New York theatre festivals throughout the year. He also has plans to move his play Suicide Math (which premiered at this year’s New York International Fringe Festival) Off-Off Broadway for an extended run.

MOIRA STONE is a veteran actress of immense versatility. One Memorable Thing She Did in 2013: Moira delivered a knockout lead performance in The Brick Theater’s spring production of Robert Honeywell’s rock musical Mass. And she was in the Matt Freeman’s Why We Left Brooklyn. Plans for 2014: In March, Moira will be appearing at 3LD in UTC #61’s revival of The Pig, or Vaclev Havel’s Hunt for A Pig by Vaclav Havel. Learn more at:

CHINAZA UCHE is a talented and sought-after actor, and a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble. One Memorable Thing He Did in 2013: Chinaza played the title role in Kinetic Theatre Company’s revival of William Shakespeare’s Othello. Plans for 2014: Chinaza will be appearing in Flux Theatre Ensemble’s spring production of Jane the Plain by August Schulenberg, and the indie theater-centered webseries Producing Juliet. Learn more at: