The Samuel French Awards
Kennedy Center ACTF New Play Awards
The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition
The Ted Schmitt Award
L. Arnold Weissberger Award for Playwriting
Princess Grace Award
THE SAMUEL FRENCH AWARDS
Samuel French will honor some of the theatre community's most respected artists, activists and rising stars on Monday, October 24 when they bestow the Samuel French Awards in a private reception. This year's recipients are:
Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre
Presented by James Bundy (Yale Repertory Theatre)
This award is bestowed upon a Samuel French playwright, composer or lyricist whose body of work has been successfully produced across the nation, at both amateur and professional levels. Along with the award, a donation will be made to Piven Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre, two regional theaters that strongly influenced and affected Ruhl's career.
KEITH JOSEF ADKINS
The New Black Fest
Award for Impact & Activism in the Theatre Community
Presented by Kamilah Forbes
Given to an individual who has significantly impacted the theatre community through activism in the past year. Along with the award, a donation will be made to The New Black Fest.
MICHAEL KOOMAN & CHRISTOPHER DIMOND
The Next Step Award
Presented by Andrew Lippa
This award celebrates and supports playwrights, composers or lyricists toward the next step of their career. The award recognizes artists who have demonstrated strong energy and talent in their career thus far, and offers support for a current or shelved project.
The Samuel French Awards will also feature performances by Laura Benanti, Todd Almond, Kathleen Chalfant, Matt Shingledecker, Michael Kooman, Dennis A. Allen III and MaameYaa Boafo.
About the Honorees
Keith Josef Adkins
Sarah Ruhl's plays include For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Passion Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Melancholy Play; Eurydice; Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, Dear Elizabeth and Stage Kiss.
She has been a two-time Pulitzer prize finalist and a Tony award nominee. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, often with premiers at Yale Repertory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, the Goodman Theater, and the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago. Her plays have also been produced internationally and have been translated into over twelve languages. Originally from Chicago, Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has received the Susan Smith Blackburn award, the Whiting award, the Lily Award, a PEN award for mid-career playwrights, and the MacArthur "genius" award. Her book of essays 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write was published by Faber and Faber last fall and named a Times notable book of the year. You can read more about her work on www.SarahRuhlplaywright.com . She teaches at the Yale School of Drama, and she lives in Brooklyn with her family.
KEITH JOSEF ADKINS
is a playwright, screenwriter and artistic director. His plays include The People Before The Park, about the 19th century black community Seneca Village that was razed to create Central Park. It premiered at Premiere Stages in Fall 2015. His play Pitbulls received its world premiere Off-Broadway at Rattlestick Theater, NYC, in November 2014. His play Safe House received its world premiere October 2014 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park with a subsequent production at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Winter 2015). His play The Last Saint on Sugar Hill received its New York City premiere in 2013 at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theater in NYC and its world premiere with MPAACT Theatre in Chicago. Other plays include The Fight of a Migrant, The Dangerous, Sugar and Needles andThe Final Daze, among others. His worked has been developed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Center Theatre Group, among others. Keith is a 2015 Helen Merrill Playwright Award recipient, a 2016 NYFA Playwriting Finalist , a 2014 Teer Spirit Award recipient and was selected for the Lark Play Development Center’s 2016-17 Rita Goldberg Playwrights Workshop. His short play Potato Salad (adapted from Charles Fuller’s Zooman and the Sign) appears in the Obie-Winning 48 Hours in Harlem’s first anthology. In TV and film, Keith is writing a feature film for James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions. He was recently in development with Kingsize Productions (The Good Wife, BrainDead) for a new drama series and his horror screenplay The Turnpike was recently a finalist at this year’s 20th anniversary of the Urbanworld Film Festival. Keith is also the co-founder and artistic director of The New Black Fest, an organization dedicated to new and provocative playwriting and discussion from the African Diaspora. The New Black commissioned and curated Facing Our Truth, HANDS UP and UN-TAMED (co-curated with playwright Dominique Morisseau), and has partnered with Segal Theatre at CUNY Graduate Center, National Black Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, 651 ARTS in Brooklyn, and BRIC in Brooklyn. The New Black Fest also co-founded the American Slavery Project.
MICHAEL KOOMAN & CHRISTOPHER DIMOND
received the Fred Ebb Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. Between them, they have received the Burton Lane Award, the Harold Adamson Award, the KC/ACTF Musical Theatre Award, a NYFA Fellowship, and numerous ASCAP Plus awards. Their musicals include The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (O’Neill Music Theater Conference, Village Theater), Orphie & The Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), Judge Jackie: Disorder In The Court (Pittsburgh CLO, licensed by Samuel French), Dani Girl (Exit, Pursued by a Bear; licensed by Samuel French), Golden Gate (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Homemade Fusion (London's Ambassadors Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and Junior Claus (Orlando Repertory Theatre; licensed by Dramatic Publishing). They are currently working on an animated television series for Disney, as well as the original musical The Enlightenment of Percival Von Schmootz (commissioned by the Canadian Music Theatre Project) and an as-of-yet unannounced screen-to-stage adaptation. Michael and Chris are members of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP, and are proud alumni of Carnegie Mellon University. They were Dramatists Guild Fellows, received a fellowship at the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference, and attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriting workshop. In addition, they founded the ASCAP Foundation Musical Theater Songwriting Project, a program dedicated to training young songwriters. Their debut album, Out of Our Heads, featuring an all-star lineup of Broadway performers, is now available on iTunes. For more information, visit www.koomandimond.com
PIVEN THEATRE WORKSHOP
was founded 45 years ago by Joyce Piven and her late husband Byrne Piven. Prior to their efforts at the Workshop, the Pivens were founding members of Playwright’s Theatre, where they were introduced to the influential work of Viola Spolin. Spolin’s work used games and storytelling as tools for stimulating creative expression. The Pivens built on Spolin’s concept and, in doing so, have left an indelible mark on the Chicago theatre landscape. Today, Piven Theatre Workshop carries on Chicago’s history of improvisational theatre though its mission of encouraging improvisational play to unlock the individual’s capacity for creative self-expression and celebrating each individual’s unique voice.
The Workshop’s acclaimed training center provides classes for adults of all ages and children from 3rd grade through high school which are grounded in the ensemble, Piven’s signature story theatre technique, improvisation and scene study. The Workshop also provides classes for youths and adults with developmental disabilities through the Cove School and the PEEP program, and awards approximately $50,000 in need-based scholarships annually.
The Workshop’s Equity Theatre grew naturally out of the training center. Productions at Piven are grounded in the traditions of story theatre and have a strong emphasis on the ensemble. Each season centers on a theme and is chosen after discussions with resident artists, teachers, students, and the community at large.
Piven Theatre has been producing highly acclaimed productions throughout its history. In recent years, Piven Theatre has received five Recommendations for Joseph Jefferson Awards, an After Dark Award for Outstanding Ensemble, a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Adaptation and a nomination for Best Original Score.
Piven’s exceptional training and award-winning productions have created a community of incredibly successful alumni, ranging from actors such as John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Kate Walsh, Jeremy Piven, Lili Taylor, and Aidan Quinn, to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jeffrey Gettleman, MacArthur Genuis Fellow playwright Sarah Ruhl, and constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley.
YALE REPERTORY THEATRE
the internationally celebrated professional theatre in residence at Yale School of Drama, has championed new work since 1966, producing well over 100 premieres—including two Pulitzer Prize winners and four other nominated finalists—by emerging and established playwrights. Twelve Yale Rep productions have advanced to Broadway, garnering more than 40 Tony Award nominations and eight Tony Awards. Yale Rep is also the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Established in 2008, Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre has distinguished itself as one of the nation’s most robust and innovative new play programs. To date, the Binger Center has supported the work of more than 50 commissioned artists and underwritten the world premieres and subsequent productions of 24 new American plays and musicals at Yale Rep and theatres across the country.
Performers and Presenters
Dennis A. Allen II
DENNIS A. ALLEN II
was born and raised in Hempstead, New York. His play The Mud is Thicker in Mississippi was a winner at the 35th annual Off Off Broadway Samuel French festival in 2010 directed by Dennis’ frequent collaborator Christopher Burris. He is a recipient of Atlantic Theater Company's inaugural 2014-15 Launch Commission and National Black Theatre's, 2016-17 "I Am Soul Playwright Residency". He’s received the Himan Brown Creative Writing Award two years running, and has developed and produced plays with The New Black Fest, The Lark Play Development Center, the Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Fire This Time Festival, Working Theater, New York Madness, The Bowery Poetry Club (Sticky), JACK, The Naked Expedition Project, 48 Hours in Harlem and the National Black Theatre. He has also kept up his cutting exploration of racial interaction and black identity in collaborative writing projects with The American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices, 2014 Schomburg Junior Scholars theatrical reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, and The New Black Fest's Hands up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments.
As an actor Dennis helped to develop and performed in Reid Farrington's Tyson vs. Ali and the world premiere of Kate Benson's, A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of The Greatest of the Great Lakes. His Director credits include, The Fire This Time Festival, Playwrights Horizons, The Brick Theater, Poetic Theater's The Taproot Festival and Conscious Language. Dennis teaches artist workshops with his partner and fiancé Celestine Rae around the country; most recently at Indiana University, Atlantic Theater Company, and Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival region 1. Dennis received his MFA from Mac Wellman and Eric Courtney's Brooklyn College Playwriting program.
is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. For The Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park, he wrote the music and lyrics for the Public Works production of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theater (a production in which he also starred as Ariel). His musicals include Girlfriend (Berkeley Rep., and Actors Theatre of Louisville, with songwriter Matthew Sweet, dir: Les Waters); Melancholy Play (13P, with playwright Sarah Ruhl, dir: Davis McCallum); We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Yale Repertory Theater, with playwright Adam Bock, dir: Anne Kauffman); On The Levee (LCT3, dir: Lear deBessonet); The Odyssey (The Old Globe, dir: Lear deBessonet) and Iowa (Playwrights Horizons, 2015, with playwright Jenny Schwartz, dir: Ken Rus Schmoll). Almond music-directed and arranged Sherie Rene Scott's hit show Piece of Meat (54 Below and Hippodrome in London) and can be heard on Laura Benanti's live album "In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention." He has released two solo albums: "Mexico City," and "Memorial Day."
Tony Award-winner Laura BENANTI just completed her 2016 Tony nominated role as Amalia Balash in the hit Broadway Musical, She Loves Me. Laura also received Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and Drama Desk Award nominations for this role. Laura can now be seen touring the country in her latest solo show, Tales from Soprano Isle. The show will feature songs from Laura’s career, including She Loves Me, along with humorous anecdotes and experiences that she has encountered on/off the stage and screen. In 2016, she will begin a recurring role on the Samantha Bee and Jason Jones TBS comedy, The Detour. Additional TV credits include Supergirl, Nashville, guest-starring as songbird Sadie Stone; The Good Wife; and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.In addition to television work and her critically acclaimed performance as Elsa Schrader in NBC's The Sound of Music LIVE, Ms. Benanti is a highly celebrated, five time Tony Award-nominated stage actress who took Broadway by storm at the age of 18.
She received a Drama Desk award, Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony Award Nomination for her starring role in the Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center where she also starred in the Broadway production of Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. Ms. Benanti earned the 2008 Tony Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award for her revelatory portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy opposite Patti LuPone and directed by Arthur Laurents. Her other Broadway roles include The Wedding Singer, Nine, starring Antonio Banderas, her Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated performance of Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods and her sultry Tony nominated turn in Swing! Ms. Benanti made her Broadway debut as Maria in The Sound of Music opposite Richard Chamberlain.
Other distinguished theater performances include the Public Theater's production of Christopher Durang's Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, Perdita in The Winter's Tale at the Williamstown Theatre Festival opposite Kate Burton, Anne in A Little Night Music at the L.A. Opera opposite Victor Garber, Eileen in Wonderful Town opposite Donna Murphy and most recently her portrayal of Rosabella in the Most Happy Fella, both for City Center Encores! Ms. Benanti completed a week-long engagement at the popular New York cabaret club, 54 Below, for which The New York Times hailed her as a "supremely confident" performer whose "bright, full soprano, with its semioperatic heft, can go almost anywhere." In September 2013, she released her debut album, "In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention: Live at 54 BELOW" on Broadway Records to ecstatic reviews.
Laura currently performs her concerts in venues around the country and even recently performed for the President and First Lady of the United States at both the Fords Gala and the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington DC.
Laura's past television credits include a starring role in the NBC series "The Playboy Club" and "Go On" opposite Matthew Perry. She also starred in the F/X original series "Starved". Ms. Benanti recurred on "Law and Order: SVU," "Royal Pains," and "Eli Stone." and had appearances on "The Big C" and "Elementary".
She currently resides in Manhattan.
Website: LauraBenanti.com. Twitter: @LauraBenanti
Theatre Credits: School Girls (MCC Theater-workshop) Lift (Crossroads & 59e59) Untamed (National Black Theatre) Comedy of Errors (Maryland Shakespeare Festival) Hamlet (American Globe Theatre Educational Tour) ,(George Street Playhouse Company Member (2010-2011). Currently known for her starring role as Nana Yaa on the international hit series An African City. (Hulu, Youtube & VHX) Other TV credits: Madam Secretary, Blacklist, American Odyssey, Mysteries of Laura. Next, Ms. Boafo will be seen opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in Beat Up Little Seagull. Training: MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. SDG. www.maameyaaboafo.com
is in his 15th year as Dean of Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre. In his first 14 seasons, Yale Rep has produced more than 30 world, American, and regional premieres, nine of which have been honored by the Connecticut Critics Circle with the award for Best Production of the year and two of which have been Pulitzer Prize finalists. During this time, Yale Rep also has commissioned more than 50 artists to write new work and provided low-cost theatre tickets to thousands of middle and high school students from Greater New Haven through WILL POWER!, an educational program initiated in 2004. In addition to his work at Yale Rep, he has directed productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater Festival, The Acting Company, California Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and The Juilliard School Drama Division. A recipient of the Connecticut Critics Circle’s Tom Killen Award for extraordinary contributions to Connecticut professional theatre in 2007, Mr. Bundy served from 2007–13 on the board of directors of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for nonprofit theatre. Previously, he worked as Associate Producing Director of The Acting Company, Managing Director of Cornerstone Theater Company, and Artistic Director of Great Lakes Theater Festival. He is a graduate of Harvard College; he trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Yale School of Drama.
BROADWAY: Angels in America (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Racing Demon, Dance With Me. OFF-BROADWAY: Rose (Drama Desk Nomination), Wit (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Connecticut Critics Circle, and Obie Awards), A Walk in the Woods (Drama Desk nomination), Tales from Red Vienna, Miss Ovington & Dr. Dubois, Somewhere Fun, Red Dog Howls, Painting Churches, Talking Heads (Obie Award), Vita & Virginia, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Spalding Grey: Stories Left to Tell, Bloomer Girl, Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination), Far Away, Twelve Dreams, Henry V (Callaway Award). OTHER NY CREDITS: The Vagina Monologues, True History and Real Adventures, Phaedra in Delirium, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, Endgame, The Party, Sister Mary Ignatius..., The Investigation of the Murder in El Salvador. LONDON: Wit LOS ANGELES: Ovation Awards for both Wit and Red Dog Howls. SELECT REGIONAL THEATRE: McCarter, Berkley Rep, Guthrie, Yale Rep, Long Wharf, Yale Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Mark Taper Forum, ATL, Sundance Lab. FILM: Class Rank, Isn’t it Delicious?, R.I.P.D., The Bath, In Bed With Ulysses, Lillian, Duplicity, The People Speak, Lackawanna Blues, Perfect Stranger, The Last New Yorker, Second Guessing Grandma, Dark Water, Kinsey, Laramie Project, Random Hearts, A Price Below Rubies, Murder and Murder. SELECT TELEVISION Recurring on "Doubt", “The Affair,” "Madame Secretary", "Law and Order", “The Strain,” “The Americans,” “House of Cards,” “Rescue Me,” “The Book of Daniel,” “The Guardian,” ; Also “Forever,” “Heartbreaker,” “Elementary,” “Mercy,” “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (HBO), “Benjamin Franklin,” “Georgia O’Keeffe” (Lifetime), “Voices from the White House” (PBS), “A Death in the Family” (PBS), “Storm of the Century”. AWARDS: 1996 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence, 2004 Lortel Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the League of Professional Women. She has received the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards for her body of work and holds an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from The Cooper Union.
his new hit song “Evil Like Me” appears in Disney’s “Descendants”. Written for Kristin Chenoweth the soundtrack hit #1 on the “Billboard 200” album chart, #1 on the iTunes and Billboard soundtrack charts, and has been viewed over 50 million times on YouTube. Recently, Andrew composed and conducted a world premiere piece for the international piano virtuoso Lang Lang and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in Guangzhou, China. This new work, a 32-minute, 5-movement piece called “Rising Tide”, will be reprised later in 2016 and recorded in China. Lippa’s epic Concept Opera “I am Anne Hutchinson/I Am Harvey Milk” had its world premiere at The Music Center at Strathmore in April of this year starring Kristin Chenoweth as Anne Hutchinson and Mr. Lippa as Harvey Milk. Next summer, Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, will be present the world premiere of "The Man In The Ceiling". Based on Jules Feiffer's award-winning novel this musical features a book by Mr. Feiffer and music and lyrics by Mr. Lippa. Directed by Jeffrey Seller (Tony-winning producer of "Hamilton") Mr. Lippa will play the role of Uncle Lester in this production.
Broadway credits include: Music and lyrics for “Big Fish” directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; Tony-nominated music and lyrics “The Addams Family” (over 1,000 productions worldwide); music for Aaron Sorkin’s play “The Farnsworth Invention” directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys). In 1999 he contributed three new songs to the Broadway revival “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” (including “My New Philosophy” for Tony-Award Winner Kristin Chenoweth) and created all new arrangements. Off Broadway credits include: “The Wild Party” (book/music/lyrics) which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for best musical and Drama Desk Award for best music; “John & Jen”music and co-wrote book (w/ Tom Greenwald). His epic oratorio for men’s chorus, orchestra and soloists, “I Am Harvey Milk” has seen over 20 productions including Disney Hall and Lincoln Center. His musical “A Little Princess” (written with Brian Crawley) premiered at Theatreworks, was seen in concert at Texas State University in 2011, and is licensed for worldwide production by Music Theater International (MTI).
Mr. Lippa is proud to have been music director for many concerts for Kristin Chenoweth including the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall. Recordings include Julia Murney’s CD I’m Not Waiting; The Addams Family (Decca Broadway and Spanish and German productions); Big Fish (Broadway Records); The Wild Party (RCA Victor); You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (RCA Victor) which earned him a Grammy Award nomination; A Little Princess (Ghostlight); and John & Jen (2 different recordings: Ghostlight and Broadway Records), I Am Harvey Milk. Mr. Lippa also produced the original cast recording of “Bat Boy” (RCA Victor).
Awards: Tony and Grammy nominations; shared Emmy for Nickelodeon’s “The Wonder Pets”; The Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award; ASCAP’s Richard Rodgers/New Horizons Award; The Drama Desk Award; The Outer Critics Circle Award. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Lippa serves as president of The Dramatists Guild Fund. He was born in Leeds, England and grew up in suburban Detroit.
Broadway Credits: Fiyero in Wicked, Tony in West Side Story (Featured in Arthur Laurent’s Memoir “The Rest of the Story: A Life Completed), and Spring Awakening. Off-Broadway: Rent (Roger: Original Revival Cast) and Standby. International Tours: Wicked (Fiyero) and Spring Awakening. West End: Homemade Fusion by Kooman & Dimond. Immersive Theater: Dani Girl by Kooman & Dimond, Michael Arden’s Adaptaion of La Ronde, The Golden Lotus, and For Madmen Only. TV/Film: Blue Bloods, Regis & Kelly (Regis’s Farewell Episode, Seaside, Sweet Parents, Future 38, Grind, Eugenia & John, and Barflies. Other Credits include numerous developmental projects in NYC and LA as well as a number of regional theatrical productions. BFA Elon University. Learn more by following him on Instagram and Twitter: @m_shingledecker.
was founding artistic director of hi arts/hip hop theater festival, curator in residence at the Kennedy Center and currently Executive producer of the Apollo theaterDirector.NBC's Wiz LIVE (associate director) Center Stage: Dominique Morriseau's Detroit 67 Arena Stage: Katori Hall's BLOOD QUILT, True Colors Theater Company: Dominique Morrisseau's DETROIT 67, People’s Light: August Wilson’s Fences, 2014. Theatre Includes: Broadway (Associate Director): Holler If Ya Hear Me, Tony Award-winning Raisin in the Sun, Lucky Guy, Stickfly, The Mountaintop, Def Poetry Jam on tour (Tour Director). Most recently: Sunset Baby (Labyrinth Theater Company) New York Times Critics Pick, Circle Unbroken by Sekou Sundiata (651 Arts), Billy and the ZooLoos by Lynn Nottage (Summer Stage) Marvin Gaye Tribute with John Legend (Kennedy Center), Wanted (PS122), And Her Hair Went With Her (NJ Rep Theater), Scourge (Yerba Buena, 14 city international tour), Masquerade (Roger Bonair-Agard), \, The Kennedy Center). She has also worked at: Lincoln Center Theater, Public Theater, Lark Play Development, and Arena Stage. She is the Producing Artistic Director of Hi Arts NYC/Hip Hop Theater Festival. Film/Television Includes: Producer of Peabody Award-winning HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, Executive Producer of HBO’s Brave New Voices. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow, NAACP Image Award Nominee, and League of Women in Theater Josephine Abady Award recipient. Training: She studied at the British American Drama Academy, Oxford England. BFA, Howard University.