WHO’S WHO AT PLAYWRIGHTS THEATRE

John Pietrowski, Artistic Director
Alysia Souder, Director of Education
Peter Hays, Director of New Play Development
James V. DeVivo, Associate Director of Education
Jackie Bruchman, Education Office Manager
Jennifer DeWitt, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Donna Lee Gennaro, Director of Audience Development
Lani Kennedy, Development Consultant
David Winitsky, Development Associate
James Glossman, Associate Artistic Director
Jim Ligon, Box Office Manager/Webmaster

John Pietrowski (Artistic Director) has been at Playwrights Theatre since its inception twenty-one years ago, and in his current position for the past sixteen years. At Playwrights Theatre, he has directed the Premiere Productions of Whores by Lee Blessing, Big Boys by Rich Orloff and Spain by Jim Knable (all co-productions with NJ Rep), The Good Girl is Gone by D.W. Gregory, Foreign Exchange by Peter Hays, Sally’s Porch and Song of Grendelyn by Russell Davis, I See My Bones by Kitty Chen, Sister Calling My Name by Buzz McLaughlin and three shows in Rowing To America: The Immigrant Project. He recently directed Richard Dresser’s Rounding Third at What Exit? Theatre Company, and is seated to dire ct Midnight Cry at Growing Stages in January. He has also directed productions of Acts of the Apostles, Mark’s Gospel, and Genesis at Playwrights Theatre, the latter piece also moving to productions at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Lamb’s Theatre in NYC. Other New York productions include Song of Grendelyn by Russell Davis, at the Public Theatre and Alice’s Fourth Floor, I See My bones for Urban Stages. He has directed two radio plays for the WNYC Radio Stage Consortium, St. Joe’s Takes the Radio Stage and The Rehearsal, both of which have aired on National Public Radio. He also directed the stage adaptation of The Rehearsal, by J. Rufus Caleb, at the New Harmony Project. His two plays Black Madonna and The Buda have been performed at Playwrights Theatre, Foundation Theatre, Loaves and Fish Theatre and Arts Club Theatre. Mr. Pietrowski was also the Program Coordinator of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Theatre Program for Teachers and Playwrights from 1988-94. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Performance Studies Department, he also holds an Masters of Public Administration in non-profit management from Seton Hall University and teaches theatre history at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a member of the 2001 class of Leadership New Jersey, Secretary of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, President of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance and a Board Member of the National New Play Network.

TOP

James V. DeVivo (Associate Director of Education)

is a teaching artist, director, writer and actor who has been involved in the field of educational theatre for 10 years; this is his fifth at Playwrights Theatre. Jim is passionate about the creation of new work for and by young people. He coordinates the NJ Young Playwrights Contest & Festival and the Madison and Cranford Young Playwrights Programs for Playwrights Theatre. He is involved as a Reader/Judge for writing and recitation contests with Scholastic, Inc. Art & Writing Awards, Young Playwrights, Inc., and forensics tournaments across New Jersey. Jim is the creator and director of the Playwrights Theatre Youth Troupe and has taught or directed at New Victory Theatre, Capital Repertory Theatre, Niagara Middle School, New York University, and Oak Hill Academy. His ten-minute play Out of the Box was presented by the Regroup Theatre Company as part of their Public Reading Series in March 2006. Jim recently performed in two new plays by Y York during the New Plays for Young Audiences Series at the Provincetown Playhouse. This November, he will present a workshop titled “Playwriting Across the Curriculum” at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City. Prior to arriving at Playwrights Theatre, Jim led the mid-inning mayhem as the Onfield Master of Ceremonies for the Aberdeen IronBirds, the Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. He holds a BFA in Theatre and English from Niagara University and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Theatre from New York University.

TOP

Alysia Souder (Director of Education) is an accomplished playwright and director who has been working as a teaching artist for the past 9 years. She has taught theatre, playwriting and conflict-resolution throughout NJ with many arts organizations including: Playwrights Theatre, The Arts Council of the Essex Area, The New Jersey Performing Art Center and the New Jersey School of the Arts. As an arts administrator, Alysia is passionate about the importance of the arts in the lives of children and young people. “After many years of rewarding teaching work with Playwright’s Theatre, I am excited to join the administration team in bringing quality arts programming to the community”. Souder’s recent work in the theatre includes directing a dramatic piece written by homeless individuals that participated in an on-going writing workshop at the Hoboken Clergy Coalition Shelter. A full-length production of Voices from the Shelter, which includes computer-generated sets, is scheduled go into rehearsal this fall.

TOP

Jim Ligon (Webmaster, Box Office) is an actor, director, and teacher and has worked with Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey in all three of those capacities for the last 17 years. He is a teaching artist in the New Jersey Writers Project in high schools and elementary schools across the state. He holds an M.F.A. degree from the University of Virginia and teaches acting at Montclair State University where he has directed numerous productions including, Radium Girls which premiered here at Playwrights Theatre in the 1999-2000 season, A Few Good Men, Nunsense, Deathtrap, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Pippin.. He was on the theatre faculty at Northern Kentucky University for two years, and has directed in such diverse locales as New Jersey, Alabama, and Mannheim, Germany. As an actor he most recently appeared at Playwrights Theatre as Papa in the world premiere of The Good Girl is Gone, by D.W. Gregory. He was also in the award-winning drama, Radium Girls, also by D.W. Gregory, in Playwrights Theatre’s 1999 – 2000 season and appeared in the staged reading of Big Boys, by Rich Orloff. In NYC he created the role of Joe Spinelli in the hilarious new off-off Broadway comedy Skin Deep by Jon Lonoff. Also in New York he was Paul in the New York premiere of Jim Grimsley’s The Lizard of Tarsus, playing opposite John Pietrowski and directed by Joseph Megel. He was also in Heathen Valley and A Woman Without a Name, both in the Romulus Linney season at Signature Theatre Company. Among his many regional theatre acting credits, he counts as favorites: Waiting for Godot, Greater Tuna (6 productions at different regional theatres across the country), How the Other Half Loves, Speed the Plow, ART, All in the Timing, and A Midsummer Nights Dream. Jim can also be seen on your TV set in many regional and national commercials, most recently for Chase Bank and Snickers. Check out his web site at www.jimligon.com.

TOP

Peter Hays (Literary Manager) is in his seventh season as Literary Manager and has worked with several playwrights though the New Play Development Program. As a playwright, his work has gone through Playwrights Theatre’s development program. His play, Foreign Exchange, was just produced during the 2004 season. Besides having a roundtable and concert reading at Playwrights Theatre, Foreign Exchange was also featured in a showcase at Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre in 2001 and again at InterAct in June, 2002 as part of the National Showcase New Plays, sponsored by the National New Play Network (NNPN). His full-length plays, Grimm Virtues, had a roundtable reading at Playwrights Theatre and was read again at the John Harms Center for the Arts. His short play, The Party Line, was just featured at the Theatre Brut Festival, My Rife, My Pony and Me at New Jersey Repertory Theatre. Currently, he is working on a new play called Feeling Lucky and recently adapted a one-act work for children called A Heart Alone in the Land of Darkness. Besides playwriting, he co-writes children’s books with his wife, Beti Rozen, a Brazilian children’s author, and they are founders of Sem Fronteiras Press, a small publishing company that features books about Brazil or the work of Brazilian artists. Their first effort, Stolen Spirit , received favorable reviews; a Portuguese edition was released in Brazil. Stolen Spirit was also adapted into a play and has had both a roundtable and concert reading at Playwrights Theatre and a reading at the John Harms. Their second book, A Heart Alone in the Land of Darkness, has just been released. Two more children’s books are forthcoming: Without Words in the Fall of 2004 and Gotta Find Froggy in 2005. Prior to working at Playwrights Theatre, he was Director of Play Development at Soho Rep and has been a reader for New Dramatists, the Sundance Film Festival and Haft/Nassitir. He holds a BA from Skidmore College and an M.F.A. from NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program at Tisch. He is an active member in the Dramatists Guild, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and is very active in Playwrights Theatre’s membership in the National New Play Network.

TOP

Jennifer DeWitt (Director of Marketing and Public Relations) has marketed a variety of products and services in many diverse industries such as publishing, conferences/trade shows, software, plumbing and air conditioning, recycled ink-jet cartridges and theatre. Prior to moving to New Jersey, she was the Director of Marketing for Main Street Theatre in Houston, Texas implementing key marketing strategies for their Main Stage productions, Concert Musical series, Youth Theatre and Kids on Stage educational program. Jennifer is also an actress and a company member of New Jersey Dramatists & Waterfront Ensemble and 12 Miles West Theatre Company. She has appeared Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway and in the New York International Fringe Festival, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, The Strawberry Festival, The Best of The Strawberry Festival and numerous times with numerous plays at The Producer’s Club. In addition to her theatre work, she is a voice-over actress for several successful Japanese animes. She starred in the wildly popular Martian Successor Nadesico as Yurika and played the overly-enthusiastic baseball manager, Nene, in the Princess Nine series to name just a few. She has studied in Rome, Italy and Cuernavaca, Mexico, and enjoys traveling the globe.

TOP

Donna Lee Gennaro (Director of Audience Development) is a native New Yorker, was raised in the theatre arts community and continued working in this arena in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Prior to joining the theatre administration community, she was a trained dancer performing with modern dancer choreographer, Norman Walker. She manifested her arts background into a Marketing Associate position with Roundhouse Theatre (Washington, D.C.) and soon became a Production Assistant with Redmoon Theater (Chicago). In addition, Ms.Gennaro became the Captain of Stilt at Redmoon Theatre and continues stilt performing and instruction today. Her background also includes working for several corporations including: US West, Bell Atlantic, Baird & Warner Chicago, and Transitions Relocation, where she was a top national account executive and received her Corporate Relocation Professional (CRP) designation. She holds a BFA from Adelphi University and had her Real Estate license from the National Association of Realtors with a CRP designation. In addition to her professional career, Ms. Gennaro’s volunteer work includes the following: marketing volunteer for the National Coalition for the Homeless, Co-chair for the Paper Mill Playhouse Gala Auction, Special Events for Redmoon Theatre, CRC Charitable Causes and Sage-Solutions for the Elderly.

TOP

Dominique Cieri (Education Consultant) is a graduate of Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and worked as an actress in England and the U.S. before she began writing. For the past four years she has been teaching playwriting and acting for Theatre for a New Audience in NYC, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, and most recently for Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Ms. Cieri’s written works include Pitz and Joe which was first read at the Dramatists Guild and then workshopped and read at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Pitz and Joe was selected by Anthony Zerbe for “Reflections, A New Plays Festival,” where it won the Davie Award and was produced at GeVa Theater in Rochester, N.Y. Nominated for the American Drama Critics Association Award, and National Play Award, Pitz and Joe was most recently seen in Los Angeles at the Hudson Theatre. For Dear Life, a new play about the 1979 Hostage Crisis in Tehran, was a finalist for the Charlotte Festival/New Plays in America. Screenplays include Irma’s Neck, Pitz and Joe. Teleplay: Crossing the Line.

TOP

James Glossman (Associate Artistic Director) For Playwrights Theatre’s mainstage, he has directed Circumference of a Squirrel, and the world premiere of his own play, The Special Prisoner, starring William Schallert, adapted from the novel by Jim Lehrer—after the play first won first prize at the Southwestern Festival of New Plays in Houston, TX. At Playwrights Theatre he has also directed the concert reading, last spring, of Mr Lehrer’s play, The Will and Bart Show, with an all-star cast including Josef Sommer, Frank Converse, Pamela Payton-Wright, and John Astin. Over the last several seasons at Playwrights Theatre, he has also directed the Rose City Project, an ongoing series of prose and play readings funded by the NJ State Arts Council, and other readings for Playwrights Theatre, featuring such notable actors as Mason Adams, Jayne Atkinson, Sam Coppola, Frankie Faison, Maryann Plunkett, Priscilla Lopez, Ron McLarty, Joe Morton, Vin Scelsa, Jay O. Sanders, and Louis Zorich, among others. Also in New Jersey—in addition to the first leg of Circumference of a Squirrel at NJ Rep—he has directed, at Luna Stage in Montclair, his own adaptation of Jim Lehrer’s novel Kick the Can, followed by productions of Waiting for Godot, Macbeth, Travesties, True West, The Collection, his own adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s Whitbread-winning novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum, the world professional premiere of Sheldon Harnick’s musical, Dragons, and Immoral Imperatives (which he also directed at Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theatre [WHAT] on Cape Cod, w/Laura Esterman and Malachi Throne). He recently directed Jeffrey Sweet’s The Value of Names (w/Jack Klugman and Louis Zorich) at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, after directing a workshop of the same play the previous fall (w/Edward Asner and Howard Morris), at the Matrix Theatre in L.A. He will re-direct this play, with Klugman and Zorich, in NYC in Feb ’05. For Shadowland Theatre in upstate NY he staged the East Coast premiere of Jeffrey Sweet’s play Bluff (w/John Astin); and rediscovered and directed the lost American political thriller Spread Eagle at L.A. Theatre Works (w/Edward Asner, Sharon Gless, Fred Savage, Paul Murphy,& Jamey Sheridan.) His adaptation, for radio, of Stephen Crane’s The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, was produced at WGBH-Boston and broadcast on NPR Playhouse, and his performance, at Luna, as Charlie in The Foreigner was nominated for Best Comic Performance by the Star-Ledger. Among his upcoming projects this season will be the workshop and production of All That is Here, an exploration of the 1994 Rwandan genocide—the script of which he has been developing with actor/writer Jay O Sanders. His screenplay adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Bluebeard, has been optioned by Quince Productions in Los Angeles. He has adapted and directed works by Twain, Faulkner, O Henry, Joyce, Fitzgerald, Cheever, Runyon, and others. His performance as Charlie in The Foreigner was nominated for Best Comic Performance by the Star-Ledger of Newark. Co-author of a series of musicals with composer Stephen Randoy, one of which (In Orbit) had its world premiere with actress Gwyneth Paltrow as Halley’s Comet. His adaptation of Twain’s The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg is published by Dramatic Publishing, with recent productions in Chicago, Indiana, Kansas, Florida, and California. Mr Glossman is a graduate of Northwestern University, ACT-San Francisco, BADA-Oxford, and the Yale School of Drama. He runs the drama program at Far Brook School, and during 2004-05 will be a visiting professor of Directing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

TOP

Jackie Bruchman, (Education Office Manager) is a recent graduate from Drew University, in Madison, NJ, with a B.A. in Theater Arts. She started off as an intern for the Education department at Playwrights Theatre prior to joining the staff, where she was a teaching assistant for the Youth Theatre Troupe. Jackie has spent most of her theater career working with South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA (her home state), having been trained in both their Youth and Adult Conservatories, and performing in their mainstage productions. She has also been an assistant teacher for South Coast Repertory’s Summer Youth Workshop. She has studied in London, Italy, and Greece, focusing on Theater History, both ancient and modern.

TOP

Lanie Kennedy, (Development Consultant) has directed foundation and corporate fundraising at Playwrights Theatre since fall 2005. Over the past decade, she has consulted in fundraising, special events, strategic planning and board development with dozens of theatres, dance companies, design studios, service organizations and other arts groups in the New York/New Jersey area. Ms. Kennedy was previously development director at Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for professional theatre, and ArtsConnection, New York City’s largest arts-in-education provider to public schools; and was managing director of Senta Driver=s modern dance company. She holds an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Columbia University and serves on the board of directors of the National Asian American Theatre Company.

TOP

David Winitsky, (Development Associate) is the husband of Elizabeth Samet and father to Ezekiel and Alexander. He holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University, is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and finagled a B.A. from Cornell University in Mathematics. He is the Associate Artistic Director of What Exit? Theatre in New Jersey, a company dedicated to the healing power of laughter. He has worked in Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, Off-Loop, Downtown and Regional theatre and wants everyone to know that they’re all alive and well. His great aspiration is to own a dog.