The Samuel French Advisory Committee
Comprised of notable industry professionals that represent a wide spectrum of interests and perspectives in the theatrical community, the primary purpose of the Advisory Committee is to provide Samuel French with industry insight and feedback, thus ensuring that Samuel French serves its core mission of connecting playwrights and producing organizations.
Jason M. Cooper - Theatre Business Affairs Executive at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles with offices in New York, London, Nashville, and Beijing. Cooper works in the New York office and collaborates with the company’s theatre agents in representing actors, directors, choreographers, playwrights, composers, and lyricists for theatrical productions off- and on Broadway, and around the world.Cooper began his career in the entertainment department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, LLP. He joined CAA in 2006. Cooper graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Social Studies and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School. Following law school, Cooper clerked for the Honorable Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York. Cooper has given seminars and appeared on panels at Columbia Law School, the Dramatists Guild, the New York University MFA Graduate Musical Theatre program, and the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries.
Susan E. Lee - Chief Marketing Officer at Nederlander, joined in 2005 and oversees new business and corporate partnerships. She has launched Audience Rewards, now the official loyalty program for Broadway; The National High School Musical Theatre Awards aka The Jimmy’s Awards, named in honor of James M. Nederlander; InTheatre Network, and Broadway Direct, a national entertainment e-newsletter. Prior to joining Nederlander, Susan oversaw marketing for Serino Coyne, Inc., the largest full-service agency on Broadway, where she implemented Visa’s sponsorship of the Tony® Award-winning musicalMovin’ Out, which was supported by the largest integrated marketing campaign in theatrical history. In 1995, she introduced Camp Broadway, the “original” Broadway summer program. Since then, over 300,000 students have attended its workshops and programs. Working in partnership with Sound Associates, Susan also introduced ShowTrans®, an assistive technology that provides multi-lingual audio commentary for non-English speaking audiences. As the Director of Marketing at The League of American Theatres and Producers, she launched Broadway on Broadway, The Broadway Line and, most notably, Celebrate Broadway: The 100th Anniversary of Broadway in Times Square. She is a member of The Association of Press Agents and Managers and served as the national press representative for several tours.
Jason Loewith - a producer, director, playwright and dramaturg in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and now Washington, DC, where he serves as Artistic Director of the Olney Theatre Center. As a playwright, he won Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, and Jeff Awards for Best New Musical for Adding Machine: A Musical, which he co-wrote with composer Joshua Schmidt. He produced the world premiere at Chicago’s Next Theatre Company in 2007, where he served as Artistic Director from 2002-2008. That production went on to a six-month run Off-Broadway in 2008, winning four OBIE Awards for direction, design and performance. Jason directed a dozen regional and world premieres at Next, where his programming twice received the After Dark Award for Outstanding Season (03-04 and 05-06), and work that he directed or produced won multiple Jeff, After Dark, and Black Theatre Alliance Awards and received critical accolades from Chicagoland's major media outlets. Jason increased Next's budget from $168,000 to $700,000, retiring $100,000 of inherited debt and quadrupling the Board of Directors along the way. He created and implemented two strategic plans for Next Theatre, which led to triple-digit subscription and contributed income growth. Since moving to Washington in 2009, Jason has directed new plays for Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, DC’s Studio Theatre, and Baltimore’s Everyman and CENTERSTAGE, where he also served as Associate Producer for Special Programs. During that time, Jason served as Executive Director of the National New Play Network, the country’s alliance of theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. With NNPN he supervised dozens of Rolling World Premieres across the country by writers like Luis Alfaro, Steven Dietz, Quiara Hudes, and Theresa Rebeck. In his four years at the helm, NNPN added new programs and expanded old ones, garnering major new funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Earlier in his career Jason served for two years as Artistic Administrator for Chicago’s Court Theatre, five years as General Manager (and frequent dramaturg) at off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company, worked in the literary departments of the Mark Taper Forum and the Public, and nearly lost his marbles mounting fifty productions in three years as Production Manager at the Odyssey Theatre in LA. His work has been supported multiple times with NEA grants for Artistic Excellence, as well as the Rockefeller/MAP Fund and MacArthur’s International Connections Fund. Jason was a TCG New Generations mentorship grantee in the first year of the program, received his MA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his AB from Brown University. His book The Director’s Voice, Volume 2 was published by TCG in 2012.
Todd London - Artistic Director of New Dramatists. In 2009 Todd became the first recipient of Theatre Communications Group's (TCG) Visionary Leadership Award, for "an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to advance the theatre field as a whole, nationally and/or internationally." He is beginning his sixteenth season as artistic director of New Dramatists, where he has worked closely with more than a hundred of America's leading playwrights and advocated nationally and internationally for hundreds more. 2010 saw the publication of his book, Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play (written with Ben Pesner), the product of a five-year study he led for Theatre Development Fund about new play production in America and the lives and livelihoods of playwrights. That year, he traveled across the country to lead meetings in 10 cities, intended to address the study's findings and encourage a more vital environment for new work. He is also the author of The Importance of Staying Earnest, and An Ideal Theater (due out in June), among others. A former Managing Editor of American Theatre magazine and the author of The Artistic Home, published by TCG, he has written, edited, and/or contributed to over a dozen books. His new book, An Ideal Theatre, an anthology of founding visions for American theatres that Todd collected, edited and introduced, is due out in spring 2012 (TCG). A series of his tributes to contemporary theatre writers, "A Lover's Guide to American Playwrights" appears on howlround.com. Todd's particular brand of advocacy journalism has focused on both the lives and livelihoods of individual artists and on the not-for-profit theatre movement, especially the impact of institutionalization on the field. His essays and articles have been translated for publication in Russia, North and South Africa, Scandinavia, Serbia, and Romania. Todd is a frequent featured speaker at conferences, universities and theatres. This summer he delivered keynote addresses at the Chicago Theatre Symposium, the Dramatists Guild of America's first national conference, and TCG's 50th anniversary national conference. He has won the prestigious George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his essays in American Theatre and a Milestone Award for his first novel, The World's Room, published by Steerforth Press. In 2001 he accepted a special Tony Honor on behalf of New Dramatists, and in 2005 he represented New Dramatists at the Obie Awards, where the organization was honored with the Ross Wetzsteon Award for excellence. Todd has taught at Harvard and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and currently serves on the faculty of Yale School of Drama. He's a past Literary Director of the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard and Associate Artistic Director of CSC Rep off Broadway and New Playwrights Theatre in Washington, D.C. He has two sons, Guthrie and Grisha, and is married to playwright and ND alumna Karen Hartman.
Marsha Norman - award winning playwright, is the winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, Blackburn Prize, Hull-Warriner, and Drama Desk Awards for her play ‘NIGHT, MOTHER. In l992 she won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her book for the Broadway musical, THE SECRET GARDEN. She also wrote the book for the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, for which she also received a Tony nomination. THE COLOR PURPLE is currently in the third year of its national first-class tour. Her new play, the Master Butcher’s Singing Club, premiered at the Guthrie Theatre in the fall of 2010. She won a Peabody Award for her writing on the HBO television series, IN TREATMENT, starring Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest. Her most recent work is the adaptation of THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN: A NOVEL SYMPHONY FOR ACTORS AND ORCHESTRA, with music conducted and written by Jason Robert Brown. The CD has been released by TRW and PS Classics. Her other plays include Getting Out, for which she won the John Gassner Medallion and the American Theater Critics Association Citation, Third And Oak: The Laundromat, The Pool Hall, The Holdup, Traveler In The Dark, Sarah And Abraham, Loving Daniel Boone, Trudy Blue, and Last Dance. Her television and film credits include ‘NIGHT, MOTHER, starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft, THE LAUNDROMAT, starring Carol Burnett and Amy Madigan; THE POOL HALL, starring James Earl Jones; FACE OF A STRANGER starring Gena Rowlands and Tyne Daley; COOLER CLIMATE, starring Sally Field and Judy Davis; AUDREY HEPBURN, CUSTODY OF THE HEART, and most recently, SAMANTHA, AN AMERICAN GIRL. She spent one year as Co-Executive Producer of LAW AND ORDER:CRIMINAL INTENT, and wrote the Gina episodes of Season 2 of HBO’s In Treatment. The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel symphony for actors and orchestra, written by Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman, was released by TRW and PS Classics on June 22, 2011. Her other published work includes Four Plays, Collected Works Of Marsha Norman, Vol 1, and a novel, The Fortune Teller. She has Grammy and Emmy nominations, as well as grants and awards from among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won the Margo Jones Award, and the Sidney Kingsley Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild Hall Academy of Arts and Letters. Ms. Norman is Co-Chair, with Christopher Durang, of the Playwriting Department of The Juilliard School. She writes and lectures frequently on the theatre and has 18 honorary degrees from American colleges and Universities. She was elected to membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers and serves on the Governing Board of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She sat on the Board Trustees of Agnes Scott College from 2001 - 2011, and was the Chair of the Academic Affairs committee from 2008 - 2011. She is a former Vice-President of the Dramatists Guild of America. She is a native of Kentucky and currently lives in New York. Most recently, she received the William Inge Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in Theatre Award.
David Roth - Head of Theatre Dept. at StaplesHigh School in Westport, CT, where for the past 14 years he has been teaching Acting, Directing, Costume Design and Stagecraft as well as directing 4 productions a year. The theatre program at Staples High School was established in 1959 by Craig Matheson and the actor Christopher Lloyd - a student at the time - and is often regarded as one of the best high school programs in the country. The organization is currently made up of over 150 students. Staples Players produces a One Act Play Festival, two student directed studio productions, and four large main stage productions each year including musicals as well as Shakespeare and intimate Black Box dramas and comedies. The program has won the New England Theatre Conference's Moss Hart Award for Best Secondary School Production in New England ten times as well as being the only high school ever to win the Overall Award three times for their productions of The Diary of Anne Frank, Soldier, Soldier, and War and Pieces. Staples High School produces 8-12 seniors each year who continue their pursuit of theatre by majoring in it in college programs such as Juilliard, Carnegie-Mellon, University of Michigan, DePaul University, UNCSA, Ithaca University, CCM, etc. Staples Players Alumni are currently represented on Broadway as both performers and directors. Many others have successful careers in film and theatre across the country. Notable alumni include Michael Hayden (Actor), David Marshall Grant (Actor, Producer and Playwright), Kevin Gray (Actor) Justin Paul (Broadway Composer), Peter Duchan (Film and theatre writer), Daryl Wein (Film director and screenwriter), Lesyle Headland (Playwright and director), Gina Rattan (Director), Ari Edelson (Director), Courtney Kemp Agboh (Writer, producer) and Alisan Porter (Actress and musician). David holds a BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University and a Masters in Theatre Education from Southern Oregon University. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Kerry, and their daughter, Lucy. He is honored to serve on this advisory board.
Howard Sherman - an arts management consultant with a particular focus on communications, marketing and branding. This follows his eight-year tenure as executive director of the American Theatre Wing, where his many responsibilities included serving as executive producer and occasional moderator of the television program “Working in the Theatre”; creating and hosting the audio program “Downstage Center”; incorporating SpringboardNYC, the Theatre Intern Group and The Jonathan Larson Grants into ATW's programming; and serving on the Tony Awards Management and Administration Committees. In addition, he was instrumental in the development of ATW’s National Theatre Company Grants program and conceived the book, “The Play That Changed My Life”. Immediately prior to joining ATW, he spent three years as Executive Director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford CT, overseeing the company's educational and developmental programs. Sherman was Managing Director of Geva Theater in Rochester NY; General Manager of Goodspeed Musicals; and Public Relations Director of Hartford Stage. He began his career in publicity positions with the Philadelphia Festival Theater for New Plays, Westport Country Playhouse, and Manhattan Theatre Club. He has taught and/or guest lectured at, among others, the Yale School of Drama, North Carolina School of the Arts, Emerson College, Brooklyn College, Hartt School of Music and University of Connecticut. His writing on theatre and the arts has been seen in a variety of outlets, including American Theatre magazine; The Huffington Post; HowlRound, the online journal of the Center for Theatre Commons; The Los Angeles Times' "Culture Monster"; The Wall Street Journal's "Speakeasy"; and he has been a columnist for London's The Stage since February 2012. He blogs at hesherman.com and tweets as @hesherman.