Special thanks to the following Instigators whose hard work and inspiring voices have helped the LAFPI take positive action over the years:
Jessica Abrams, Jennifer Ashe, E.h. Bennett, Nancy Beverly, Andie Bottrell, Larissa Brewington, Eloise Coopersmith, Korama Danquah, Laura Ferejohn, Helen Hill, Terry Holzman, Jen Huszcza, Sara Israel, Cindy Marie Jenkins, Kitty Lindsay, Dana Leigh Lyman, Ella Martin, Sue May, Alyson Mead, Jane Miller, Lynn Moses, Theo Motzenbaker, Jessica Lea Risco, Zury Margarita Ruiz, Madhuri Shekar, Kimberly Shelby-Szyszko, Laura Steinroeder, Tanyah Tavorn, chandra thomas, Laurel Moje Wetzork, Jenny Winstead, Gina Young
Jessica Abrams’ play The Laughing Cow had its world premiere this past April at the Meta Theatre on Melrose and received Pick of the Week by LA Weekly. Her short play, Melissa, is currently part of New American Theatre’s Short Play Festival in Los Angeles. The First To Know (the full-length play of which Melissa is a part) was read in the MaD Play Reading Series last Spring, and her solo piece If I Look This Good, Why Do I Feel Like Sh*t? was read at the ExAngeles Writers Collective’s A Month of Sundays Reading Series this past October. Her television writing credits include The Profiler for NBC and Watch Over Me for Fox/MyNetworkTV. She was a guest artist at the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive in 2010 and is a co-founder of the New Leaf Endeavors Theatre Company. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University in Manhattan.
Jessica was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger. Blogs by Jessica Abrams.
JENNIFER ASHE is a NY transfer producer and performer now based in Los Angeles. She is a proud member of Theatre Unleashed which is dedication to both the development of new works and original takes on established classics, 2CENT’s Theatre Group dedicated to the rejuvenation and exposure of great and original works from all eras and is a founding member of the Foundry Theatre Works, a developmental theatre company creating original works since 1992.
For The Foundry she produced and acted in The Whole Truth by Viki Boyle and Cornered by Andrea Goyan for Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015 and Occupation by Merri Biechler for The Fringe 2016. With 2CENTS INKFEST 2016 she performed It Leaches, Post Office, and Stringmates by Amanda Newman and just finished INKFEST 2017 with Aura Lord of Dawgtown by Caroline Marshal and Aruba by Susan Goodell. Coming soon for Theatre Unleashed she will perform Camp Ragnarock-a serial comedy. She was a member of NYC’s Manhattan Class Company helping to develop Beirut and enjoyed 10+ years on stage and television there. She began her career in the original cast of ABC’s Loving and spent many happy years on As the World Turns as Meg Snyder Reyes Landry. www.jenniferashe.us
Jennifer was a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
E.h. Bennett was a dramatist and retired librarian.
Her self-produced short film, I ONLY CRIED TWICE, based on her short play and dedicated to Charlie Hebdo, is in the final stages of editing.
Bennett’s plays have been produced by OC-centric New Play Festival, New Voices of Orange County, and Fullerton College Playwright’s Festival with staged readings by Orange County Playrights Alliance, Truman State University, White Horse Theater Company, and Fullerton College Playwrights Festival.
Her documentary Mendez v. Westminster: Families for Equality has aired on KOCE-TV (PBS) since October 2010. It is centered about her play El Primer Dia de Clases.
Her 10-minute play, A Waffle Doesn’t Cure Insomnia, was selected for publication in the Best American Short Plays 2011-2012.
Bennett received her B.A. in Theater Arts from California State University, Fullerton, where she studied acting with Donn Finn and Jose Quintero. Upon graduation she moved to Los Angeles where she studied acting with Stella Adler and Arthur Mendoza.
She was featured in Benicio Del Toro’s short film Submission. She worked for nearly ten years in dramatic television production on such shows as The Young Riders, Gabriel’s Fire, Under Suspicion and The Big Easy, as a writer’s and development assistant.
Bennett holds a Master of Library & Information Science from UCLA, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Orange County Playwrights Alliance.
Erica passed away in 2019 and is beloved and missed – she was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
In 2015, the writers/actors group Fierce Backbone produced Nancy’s play HANDCRAFTED HEALING in L.A., and her comedy COMMUNITY made the finals (top 12) in the American Association of Community Theatres play contest.
Nancy is also the co-writer and co-producer of the webseries THE CALAMITIES OF JANE, which has been shot and will be on the web in 2016.
Her film script SHELBY’S VACATION had the distinction of making the semi-finals of Chicago’s 2011 Pride Films and Plays contest and then being hand-picked by its executive director for a rollicking reading at a gay pride event in Vermont. Nancy is currently wearing the producer’s hat and turning SHELBY into a film.
Nancy’s professional life began at Actors Theatre of Louisville where she worked as the Assistant Literary Manager and read thousands of scripts, acted as dramaturg on a number of Humana Festival plays – and had several of her own plays produced in the ATL short-play showcases.
She moved from Louisville to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television and has worked as an assistant to the head of drama development at FOX as well as for showrunners on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and GHOST WHISPERER where she got to pitch story ideas. Simultaneously, she continued working in theatre and her L.A. productions include A NEW YOU at the LGBT-centric Celebration Theatre and GODISLAV at the Miles Memorial Playhouse. Additionally, GODISLAV had the honor of being selected for the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region in Denver.
Nancy was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Andie Bottrell is a published writer whose work can be read on hundreds of medical sites all over the Internet. Her poetry and short stories can be read in various publications both online and in print including the Blue Collar Review, Finding the Beat and UH Magazine, where her work has been translated into Italian. Andie’s screenplay Do What You Do won 3rd place in the Comedy Division of the 2011 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition and was an official finalist in the Hollywood Screenplay Competition and a top finalist in the Script Showcase. Andie has written, directed, edited and acted in several short films including the Creative Arts Film Festival and American Academy of Dramatic Arts Alumni Film Festival selected short film Who is the Man in Black? She has completed three full length plays Mad or Married, A Surrogate Life, and (I still want) A Little More. Her one-act Fear premiered at The Vagrancy’s Bacchanalia this past year. Andie is also an actress, director, editor, photographer, artist and musician. Learn more about her work at http://www.andiebottrell.com.
Andie was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Larissa Brewington was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. She penned her first one woman, one act, GREY MATTERS (a show about a woman experiencing physical abuse from her overworked, over stressed daughter) during her year as a professional actress and intern at Touchstone Theatre in Bethlehem, PA. Discovering that one woman, one acts were her forte, she went on to write CHAOS ON THE EDGES (a young woman battling alcoholism), SPEAKING OF ASHES (a disgruntled young woman attempts to communicate with her dead father by being ‘candid’ with his ashes) and AN EVENING WITH HARRIET TUBMAN (about the legendary escaped slave who shuttled many other slaves to freedom).
Over the years she’s branched out to one act, two persons as well as full length plays. For the past five years, she’s submitted to Pandora Festival (panel judged festival contest featuring AZ playwrights) and has had the following plays stage read: SHADES OF GREY, TIE THE NOT, CIVIL UNION, WHEN AUNT NAOMI SPEAKS, WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW, and THE FIRE IN MINERVA. Larissa is also an actress who has written and performed for The Herberger Theatre Center’s Outreach Program Lunch Time Theatre, for the past six years. (Plays performed have been: AN EVENING WITH HARRIET TUBMAN, QUALITY TIME, TRAILBLAZING SADIE, INTO THE BLUE WITH BESSIE COLEMAN, A VOTE FROM ALICE and the up and coming FREDERICK AND IDA.) Her full length play WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW was runner up for the AZ Theatre Company. She is the winner of the 2011 Short Play Artist Path Theatre Contest in Prescott with her one act, two person play A LITTLE SOMETHING CALLED FAMILY. She is currently preparing her for 7th original Herberger Lunch Time piece entitled THE LEAGUE.
Larissa was part of the LA FPI Communications Team
Eloise Coopersmith is a socially conscious, multi-hyphenate artist and a fierce advocate for giving voice to art inspired by thought-provoking ideas. Eloise started her formal theater education in Theater at the Young Conservatory at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, later graduating from Northwestern University with a Bachelor in Speech and finally earning her Masters in Theater at Cal State Los Angeles. Eloise also operated her own non-profit, the Fillmore Association for the Arts, and its company, Open Book Theater, whose credits include the award-winning production of “Bukowski, An Evening of Poems and Prose”. Eloise is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and the Dramatist Guild of America, and is living proof
it is never too late to make your dreams come true.
Since the debut of her 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, “My (unauthorized) Hallmark Movie Musical”, Fringe Artists have won a special place in her heart. Visit www.eloisecoopersmith.com to learn more
Eloise is a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
Laura Ferejohn wrote her first play at 6, adapting the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale to reflect her life and the mysterious new neighbors in a quiet, perhaps too quiet, suburb of Los Angeles. At 12, she wrote her first pilot for a comedy-western entitled Chaos in Harmony.
She has spent the past several years writing for nonprofit organizations as well as freelancing for various groups and companies.
She is and always has been a writer. Words have always been the bane and balm of her existence.
Laura was the original LAFPI Resources Editor
Korama Danquah is a writer and actor with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from Brown University. She has performed in (and written) experimental and devised work as well as more classical and traditional pieces. Her favorite theatrical experiences have been writing and performing her solo show Mixtape for New Year’s Eve (or Secretly a Love Story) and developing her performance piece on body image, sexuality, and intimacy, Body the Limits. Korama is a member of the collaborative writing group Fell Swoop Playwrights and is thrilled to be a part of the Los Angeles theatre scene. She works on new plays every(ish) day; you can check out her personal blog and more info at www.koramadanquah.com
Korama was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Helen Hill is a licensed psychotherapist, and a writer about life and poetry. She works with at-risk youth, adolescents and adults on “coming out” issues. Helen is also an artist utilizing many different mediums from pencils to computer imaging. Her favorite medium, though, is the written word and her camera. Both are used to express ideas that go beyond sight and into the realm of insight.
You can see some of Helen’s artwork at http://www.new-gallery-of-art.com.
Her therapy site is found here: http://www.helen-hill.com.
Helen acted as an LA FPI Communications & Graphics Consultant
I am a screenwriter, playwright, poet, documentary producer, photographer, and collage artist. I am so grateful that I am able to live a creative life in Los Angeles.
OK, I’m not just an art lover, I’m an “art adorer” and thrive in our city’s cultural cornucopia, attending theater, movies, art openings, poetry readings, music and dance concerts. I’d probably go out every night of the week if I could, but also like staying home to read a good book or binge-watch a great tv series with my hubby.
I started writing plays in high school and after college joined New Playwrights Theater in Washington DC where my play “Queen of the Complaint Letters” and “The Happy Hour” were part of their reading series. I moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at the American Film Institute Center for Film and Television Studies as a Screenwriting Fellow and received the AFI/Paramount screenwriting award. I’ve worked for Disney as well as for National Geographic Television where I wrote and produced a documentary on the Giant Bluefin Tuna.
My play “Sticky Fingers” was part of the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival and won an Encore! Producers Award and great reviews. You can check it out at http://hff16.org/3645
Last, but not least, in the last few years, I’ve been writing poetry and making collage and assemblage art work. My pieces were exhibited in a solo show at Known Gallery in Los Angeles as well as several group exhibitions.
Terry was a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
Jen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.
She has a BFA in Dramatic Writing and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. After graduating from college, she stayed in New York and worked a variety of day jobs including video librarian and study guide writer. She eventually moved to Los Angeles for better weather and more trees.
Out in Los Angeles, three of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at the Blank Theatre in Hollywood. Also at the Blank, she was an Associate Producer on Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See, and she was a Weekly Producer and Playwright Mentor for the Young Playwrights Festival.
She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio.
She is a script reader for a variety of theatre companies. She is a member of the Playwrights and Directors Lab at the Actors Studio West.
In addition to plays, she has written ad copy, film reviews, blogs, bad poetry, screenplays, a novel, and several short stories.
She has heard numerous pronunciations of her last name, but the one she prefers is Hooo-zhah.
Jen was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger. Blogs by Jen Huszcza.
Sara’s introduction to the world of theater came when she was cast in the title role of a kindergarten play, The Magic Letter E (cap to cape, fad to fade). She has been engaged by words ever since. As a playwright, Sara’s work has been seen on both coasts (the middle of the country has alluded her, for now. . .) and has garnered her the American Theatre Co-op Playwriting Prize and a Playwrights Circle Award. She was also a Princess Grace Award semi-finalist for her play, bad Art. As a television writer, her first two produced scripts aired simultaneously — same night, same time, different channels. In addition, her television script Triumvirate was named “Best Un-produced Pilot” by Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America.
Her work as a theater director has been seen at The Blank Theatre Company, Theatre of NOTE, the Dramatists Guild, the Marianne Murphy Reading Series, the Lillian Theatre, and Dartmouth College; she is also an alumnus of Directors Lab West. Her producing credits include Speech & Debate and Dickie & Babe for The Blank Theatre Company and an official entry of the 2009 Los Angeles Independent Television Festival. Sara is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Sara was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger. Blogs by Sara Israel.
CINDY MARIE JENKINS is a Storyteller & Consultant based in Los Angeles. Cindy is now exploring interactive street theatre to engage and activate her community. She believes in working within the extremes of social media and hand-to-hand guerrilla marketing for audience development & outreach.
PRIVATE CLIENTS include: The Help Group, Santa Monica Rep, Beans Boutique, Consultant for Eric Garcetti, President of the Los Angeles City Council, & other small businesses, nonprofits, individuals looking to make a career shift, etc.
TEACHING/COACHING: Guest Responder for Kennedy Center College Festival, Cold Reading Workshops for SAG Conservatory at AFI, Co-teacher of Connect the Arts, a Social Media & Marketing Seminar, Academy Teaching Associate and Artistic Associate for The Antaeus Company in North Hollywood; Director of Education for Enrichment Works (teaching writing & theater workshops for young people as well as Professional Development sessions for LAUSD Teachers, writing study guides according to VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts Standards); Mentor/Director for Virginia Avenue Project, Program Director & Writing/Theater Instructor for Safe Moves: DUI Prevention Theater Program and CTG‘s Speak To Me Program. RECRUITING experience upon request.
Art installations/interactions have been shown at Summer Nights on the Boulevard, The Barnsdall Gallery, The Courtyard Gallery, the Silver Lake Jubilee and the Children’s Festival of the Arts in Hollywood.
Her adaptation of VOICES FROM CHORNOBYL has been produced in different venues around Los Angeles since 2006 to build awareness and raise money for the residents and children of Chernobyl. Awareness Events at www.voicesfromchornobyl.com . Cindy regularly contributes to LA Stage Alliance, Atwater Village Now, The Inspired Classroom, Bitter Lemons & LAFPI
Cindy Marie initiated LAFPI’s Online and Social Media Outreach and was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
As a writer, theatre maker, and feminist, Kitty Lindsay is committed to creating opportunities for women and girls to share their stories. Currently, Kitty advances this unapologetically feminist agenda by contributing her creative talents to four inspiring areas of art making: blogging, podcasting, theatre directing, and community organizing.
A Ms. blogger and regular weekend contributor at Hello Giggles, Kitty’s editorial writing, highlighting the creative contributions of women in theatre, TV, film, and beyond, has also appeared in Ms. magazine and on the Feminist Majority Foundation blog, Awesomeness TV, The Establishment, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Theatre Is Easy.
Featuring conversations with feminist artists and activists from across the United States, Kitty’s podcast, Feminist Crush, explores the intersection of art, activist, and feminist practices. In addition to blogging and podcasting, Kitty is also a passionate theatre maker, directing new works by women (and women only!) in New York and LA. Recent LA credits include the award-winning world premiere of Tiffany Cascio’s THANKSGIVING as part of the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival, the LA premiere of Johnna Adam’s WORLD BUILDERS, and the award-winning world premiere of Kato McNickle’s GIRLS. IN BOYS PANTS as part of 2Cents Theatre Group’s 2015 Acting Out INK! Fest. She has also directed staged readings of exciting new plays by women for The Blank Theatre, The Vagrancy, TinyRhino, and Crooked Heart Theater.
Lastly, with the goal of joining the creative and change-making forces of LA’s feminist, performing arts, and fine arts communities, Kitty organizes and facilitates free writing and performing workshops at the Women’s Center for Creative Work and Theatre for Arts in Hollywood. Kitty’s Inspiring Social Change Through Storytelling, Writing for Performance, and [Working Title] workshops inspired her to organize Feminist AF, a reading series showcasing new, revolutionary works by emerging feminist artists and presented seasonally at the Samuel French Film and Theatre Bookshop in Hollywood.
Follow Kitty on Twitter and Instagram: @KittyLindsayLA
Kitty was an LAFPI Special Agent
Dana Leigh Lyman is a Playwright, Stage Producer, Director and all around Arts Supporter born, raised and living in Los Angeles, CA. She started writing short stories at a young age and with a lot of encouragement from her family and teachers, went on to study English Lit/Creative Writing with Short Stories as her focus. In college, she spent her free hours helping out the Theatre Department with casting, dramaturgy and Shakespeare dialogue work. Two years ago, she was invited to fill a spot in a 24 hour theatre project as a playwright and loved the experience of seeing her writing brought to life by a wonderful cast and director. She has participated and written twice for these events and had a monologue “Do they count? How do I count them?” featured in Theatre Unleashed’s 25 Plays Per Hour at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2013 and her short play Sustenance was created as part of the Raze the Space Readings at Samuel French Bookstore in Hollywood in 2014.
After previously working as Director of Development for Theatre Unleashed and as a producing exec, she broke out on her own to do project to project work with other companies. For the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2013, in addition to writing and producing for Theatre Unleashed, she also worked as a Marketing Producer for Village Idiom’s production of [title of show]. That fall, she had the honor of working with Director Scott Marden as Assistant Director for Theatre Unleashed’s production of Trust. In 2014, she worked as a producer with Marden again for the world premiere Riot Grrrl Saves the World by Louisa Hill at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2014. In 2014, she also assistant directed and directed short pieces for Fresh Produce’d.
She has served as social media manager for organizations and stage productions as well as helping out with supplemental promotional material and events. She is also a grant writer and in addition to her work with Theatre Unleashed and a number of individual artists and organizations, she also worked with and helped form a documentary production company called Sueno Documentary Films.
In addition to writing and working on her first full length play, she is actively working as a freelance producer, director and dramaturge and is eager to connect and collaborate with as much of the LA Theatre Community as she possibly can.
Dana was part of the LAFPI Social Media Team
Ella Martin is a writer, director, and actor. Ella attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she was named a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar and focused in acting, directing, and theatre history, earning a B.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Mab, a collective of risk-taking L.A. theatre artists conducting creative experiments & provoking audiences of all backgrounds.
She has directed for the Rubicon International Theatre Festival, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Santa Monica College Opera Workshop, LA Women’s Theatre Project, Theater Charity, and Theatre Mab, and assistant directed for The Road Theatre, LA Theatre Ensemble Scriptyard, Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, and LA County High School for the Arts.
She has written plays that have been developed or performed at the Rubicon International Theatre Festival, the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, Theater Charity, and PianoFight LA.
Ella is an active member of 12on12off, a non-profit organization striving to regulate workers’ hours to create a safer, healthier working environment for professionals in the film industry.
To see some of her work as an actor, click here.
Ella was the LA FPI Study Director
Sue May is an multi award-winning independent filmmaker, fine art photographer and writer (Screenwriter/Playwright/Poet). She holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture, and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from USC. Sue formed My Dog Spot Productions, an independent documentary production house addressing universal social themes focusing on the marginalized and underrepresented, women in society, spirituality, and the Arts.
The primary reason I choose to communicate through dialogue/film/visual art/imagery is to encourage a positive transformation within society, the kind of communication that displaces the notions of ignorance, fear, prejudice, hatred, and inequality. I believe that all beings ultimately seek happiness and when we illuminate each others’ minds by demonstrating our similarities – verses stressing our differences – the consequences can only be positive. ~ Sue May
Sue produced LA FPI Videos and “Persons of Interest” Video Blogs.
Alyson Mead studied at Yale, the Slade School of Art in London, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and with iO West, UCB and Tectonic Theatre Project. Her plays include THE FLORA AND FAUNA (Princess Grace Award finalist, Henley-Rose Award winner, Bridge Initiative New Work winner, American Stage’s 21st Century Voices winner, Apollo Theater Chicago, The Tank, WAM Theatre, Magnolia Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Capital Rep NEXT ACT! New Play Summit, Project Playwright semi-finalist), THE PULSE PROJ ECT (Steppenwolf, Emerald Theatre, Stage Q), THE QUALITY OF MERCY (Urban Stages Emerging Playwright Award finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival semi-finalist, Elephant Theatre, Skylight Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Winterfest), THE HONOR SYSTEM (Cimientos/IATI Theater finalist, Manhattan Theatre Works’ Newborn Festival semi-finalist, Pasadena Playhouse), THE FLOWER (Kenneth Branagh Award for New Dramatic Writing finalist, NEWvember New Plays Festival finalist, Rough Writers New Play Fest), STORIES WE TELL AROUND THE FIRE (National Winter Playwrights Retreat workshop) and PUNK ROCK MOM (Venus Theatre), among others. She was awarded residencies and fellowships through Ragdale, Marble House Project, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, La Porte Peinte, Can Serrat and the Women’s International Study Center, among others, and her work has been developed and commissioned by Kenyon Playwrights Conference, Playwrights Center San Francisco, 360repco, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and the 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project. She’s published by Original Works Publishing and Smith & Kraus, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Ammunition Theatre’s Writing Workshop, the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Playwriting Unit and the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.
Alyson passed away in 2020 and is beloved and missed – she created and produced the LAFPI Podcast “What She Said”
Jane Miller is a playwright and screenwriter born and raised in New York City, now living in LA. Her plays have been produced at The Looking Glass Theater, Squeaky Bicycle Productions, Aporia Theater, and The Network in New York City and the Lyric Theater in Los Angeles.
She has been a contributing playwright at the Last Frontier Theater Conference, the Sewanee Writers Conference, and the Southampton Playwriting Conference. She has taught screenwriting to re-college students at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. Now she’s pursuing her MFA in screenwriting at UCLA.
She loves writing strong heroines and is obsessed with depicting authentic female friendships. She also hopes to prove that the rom-com isn’t dead.
Jane was part of the LA FPI Communications Team
Screenwriter, director and producer, Lynne is an award-winning filmmaker, a theatre director/playwright and a principal with Appleseed Entertainment, an independent film production company.
Lynne’s stage directing has included a staged reading of the feature script she co-wrote, Daybreak, as part of the Bruno Kirby Celebrity Reading Series at The Hayworth Theater, with a cast including Beth Grant, Rex Lee and Mackenzie Phillips, and a full production of the hit comedy Paging Dr Chutzpah at the Sidewalk Studio Theater in Toluca Lake. This twice-extended world premiere by playwright Mark Troy opened to great reviews and sold-out performances.
While living in Europe from 2008 to 2010, she directed several staged readings of Colette Freedman’s acclaimed play Sister Cities, translated into French by Maëlle Genet as Une ville, une soeur, as she prepared to direct its Paris debut. In 2011, after returning to Los Angeles, Lynne directed the world premiere of Joanclair Richter’s 20-something dramedy It’s Good 2 be Crazy at the Hudson Guild Theatre on Theatre Row in Hollywood.
Lynne’s most recent theatrical endeavor was to try her hand at playwriting. Her 10-minute Can You Hear Me Now? premiered at the Write Act Repertory in 2012 and she is currently working on several more before tackling a full length work.
Lynne formed the LA FPI Communications Team
Theo Motzenbacker was a director-about-town and member of Son of Semele Ensemble, where they produced Company Creation Festival for several seasons, a collection of new devised and otherwise collaboratively-created works performed in rep. Their own collaboratively-developed works include The Life of the Night and Why We Become Witches, both adapted from classic queer novels. Theo’s work has been seen at Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, Chalk Rep, the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Downtown Repertory Theatre, and more.
They hold a B.A. from Bard College and are currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Twitter: @motzenbacker
Theo was a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
Madhuri Shekar is a playwright based in Los Angeles, born in the Bay Area, and brought up in Chennai, India. 2014 saw the world premiere of two of her plays – In Love and Warcraft(Alliance Theatre, Atlanta) and A Nice Indian Boy(East West Players, Los Angeles.)
She was the 2013/14 winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award and an alumnus of the 2013/14 Center Theatre Group Writers’ Workshop. She was a finalist for the 2013 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting, and the 2013 Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center. Her plays have been showcased or developed at the Kennedy Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC.
Madhuri was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger. Blogs by Madhuri Shekar
Jessica Lea Risco hails from the frozen lake country of Northern Minnesota and has worked on as actress across the United States from New York to the San Francisco/Bay Area, and now Los Angeles, which has become her home. Theatrically, she has worked with Berkeley Rep, San Francisco Playhouse, Golden Thread,The O’Neill Foundation and Boxcar Theatre where she originated the role of Dorothy in The Speakeasy, for which she was nominated for Broadway World’s Best Actress in a Featured Role. Jessica has two feature films coming out this year. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Dance, Jessica has studied at The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and continues to take master classes with Richard Seyd and Carole D’Andrea. www.JessicaRisco.com.
Jessica was part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Zury Margarita Ruiz is from Inglewood, California. She received her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the University of Southern California in 2013. Zury is a former member of both the Latino Theatre Alliance/LA’s Writers Circle and Ensemble Studio Theater/LA’s New West Playwrights
Zury is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Kimberly is a writer for the stage and screen whose work has been produced, presented and developed at theatres and cultural centers throughout New York and California, among them LaMaMa, Hunter College, Irondale Theatre Ensemble, International Theatre Festival Berlin, Xoregos Performing Company, Manhattan Repertory, Red Thread Theatre, Left Hip Productions, Metropolitan Playhouse, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Kimberly mentors and teaches creative writing and theatre for various organizations, including the Virginia Avenue Project, and served as Literary Manager for the new play development program, Seedlings, at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. She also works as a dramaturg and script consultant for a number of theatre and film production companies, festivals and conferences, including Young Playwrights Inc. and Pride Films and Plays.
Kimberly has produced work for Manhattan Theatre Source’s Estrogenius Festival and served as Filmmaker-in-Residence for Girl Be Heard, née Project Girl Performance Collective. As a performer, Kimberly has voiced commercials and radio shows, live-modeled for sculptors, painters and installation artists, and been featured in television and film, as well as in theatre productions. She was a regular writer/performer at Brooklyn’s Write Night cabaret series, in Fort Greene.
Kimberly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing at Hofstra University and is a member of the Antaeus Playwrights Lab and Fell Swoop Playwrights, in Los Angeles. Her prose, poetry, and articles on education, health, and the arts have been published in anthologies and periodicals, online and in print. Her work has been recognized with a Gold Award from Parenting Publications of America.
Kimberly was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger. Blogs by Kimberly Shelby-Szyszko
Laura Steinroeder is a freelance Theatre Director and Social Media Consultant. She serves as the Social Media Manager for Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights, and the Solo New Works Festival at the LA Writers Center. She is currently working on marketing and outreach for two new devised pieces in NYC, and has curated several twitter chats for Howl Round’s weekly Howls on the topics of new play development, director/playwright relationships, and self-producing.
Laura created the facebook group, Theatre Director Resources to assist directors in finding and posting upcoming opportunities, as well as to provide an opportunity to share and discuss issues and inspiration. She tweets for the LAFPI and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Laura studied directing at the Claremont Colleges and attended the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. SDC Associate Member.
Laura acted as an LAFPI Social Media Consultant
Tanyah Tavorn is a fiber, mixed media and theatre artist, with a BA in Art and Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She participated in shows for Hawaii Craftsmen, UH Art Gallery, Trash2Fashion and Pacific Arts League. For theatres including UHM Kennedy & Earle Ernst Theatres, Kipuka Theater, Soho Think Tank/Ohio Theatre and Diamond Head Theatre she has held positions including designer, graphic artist, stage manager, running crew and worked in set construction.
A member of the Hawaii Arts Alliance, she has been a designer for organizations including Earth Celebrations, Ka Leo O Hawaii and the UMH Art Department, and provided graphic design as a board member for UMH Late Night Theatre. She has also worked at events for Heritage Museum, Life Foundation and Mark’s Garage/The ARTS at Mark’s.
She currently serves on the board of non-profit arts organization Hawaii Craftsmen, promoting and staffing events for Hawaii Fashion Month and the Honolulu Museum of Art, and is and a creative collaborator with Kipuka Theater and LAFPI.
Tanyah was part of the LAFPI Communications Team
chandra thomas is an award-winning actor-writer-producer. She’s worked at theatres across the country including the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, SoHo Rep, Guthrie Theater, Centerstage. Some of her television and film credits include LABOR DAY, 9-1-1, LAW & ORDER: SVU, BLUE BLOODS, THE GOOD WIFE, COMPLETE SENTENCES? Her play The ‘Edge, about a haphazard group from a working-class housing project who band together to form a competitive step team, is currently under development. chandra is currently developing two new plays. Originally from New York, chandra is the child of immigrants and has gleefully lived all over the world. She has an MFA from Columbia University. Instagram: @chandrathomas | Twitter: @chandra7thomas
chandra was part of the LAFPI Social Media Team (Twitter + “Ask Me Anything” Conversations)
An award-winning writer and artist, Laurel holds two degrees from USC, a Masters in Professional Writing (stage and screen emphasis), and a B.A. from USC’s film school. Her first theatrical play was a finalist in the N.E.T.C., her second produced for victims of domestic abuse at T.H.A.W., her third became Rogues, an independent film. Laurel wrote, edited, directed and co-produced Rogues, and has won a couple awards for her screenplays.
Laurel is a writing consultant, web content strategist, fine artist, comes from a family of paronomasiacs, and loves to cook. She’s taught film production, screenwriting, and film history at the university level. While at USC’s M.P.W. graduate program, she was the Stage and Screenplay editor for the literary journal, the Southern California Review. Her thesis, a full-length play set in Hollywood during 1940-1941, Blueprint for Paradise, was produced last year by The Athena Cats, a collective of Southern California area female playwrights and directors formed to bring unrepresented works written by women to the stage. www.mojewetzorkstudios.com
Laurel was the longtime Onstage Editor
Jenny Winstead is a playwright, dramaturg, and literary researcher who has an unhealthy relationship with watching documentaries and eating chocolate. After graduating from the University of Kentucky in May 2017 with degrees in Creative Writing and Playwriting, she trekked west to pursue storytelling as a profession. She’s taught playwriting with Shakespeare Society of America, had her plays produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville and other Kentucky-centered theatres, and most recently joined the LAFPI Social Media Team as head mistress of Twitter.
Jenny’s excited for the opportunity and looking forward to meeting the community – say hello at @theLAFPI!
Jenny was part of the LAFPI Social Media Team (Twitter)
Gina Young is a Los Angeles-based writer, director and performer. Her most recent play, Femmes: A Tragedy, a contemporary lesbian adaptation of Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women, was hailed as “slyly riotous” and “dazzlingly reconceived” by The Hollywood Reporter and is the 2014 recipient of the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting. Gina’s other plays include Asuncion Playwrights Project Semi-Finalist Tales of a Fourth Grade Lesbo, Time Out New York Critic’s Pick she cuts herself / she likes to write and BAX Grant Recipient God in a Girl.
Gina’s work has appeared at REDCAT, Highways, WOW Cafe Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Lyric-Hyperion Theatre, The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse, The BRIC Studio Theater,
The FUSE Festival curated by Dixon Place, BAX/The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Live Girls! in Seattle, Washington, The Baltimore Playwrights Festival and the Page to Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center.
As a performer, Gina has toured the US and Europe extensively with original musical and theatrical work, including performance art pop duo Team Gina, whose video Butch/Femme screened at LGBT film festivals worldwide, won multiple awards and has over 250,000 hits on YouTube. She also appeared in Wynne Greenwood’s Sister Taking Nap at On the Boards and Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City at New Georges.
Gina studied drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is developing a rock opera called sSISTERSs and working on her first screenplay. A collection of her plays is forthcoming from Topside Press.
Gina was part of the LAFPI Social Media Team