Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA - which was also Andy Warhol's birthplace
Education: University of Pittsburgh Anthropology & Theatre- Directing; CMU – Directing; Eduardo Machado, TV Writer & NYU Professor - Writing
Favorite Credits: All! Each of the many plays I've directed I've favored in one way or another.
Why theater?: Directing allows me to merge my first two loves: the desire to know other cultures—which stems from my background in anthropology — and the theatre. Through theatre, it is possible to convey the emotions, concerns and conflicts people in one culture experience to those of another. And, generally what we discover is that while the packaging of the people from culture “A” may appear to be different externally from the people who make up culture “B”, internally the feelings, wants and desires are the same for both. It is only natural, for all of us on this planet to desire the best for ourselves and for those closest.
Tell us about Carefully Taught: Carefully Taught is a modern-day drama that centers on the friendship between two school teachers–one black and one white. One loses her job. And, when she files a discrimination law suit against the school, their bond of friendship is shaken. Questions of loyalty and unspoken prejudice arise all around. Carefully Taught is a provocative tale because, in 90 minutes, four characters challenge us to examine our own perceptions of race within this culture.
What inspired you to direct Carefully Taught?: A year ago or so, I attended an informal reading of a musical Cheryl Davis had written and it was then that I knew that I wanted to work with her. So, when Dev Bondarin called me to ask if I'd be interested in directing Cheryl's new play, I almost said yes without reading it. Dev sent it and as I read Carefully Taught I was excited by its potential—it’s topical, there are role twisting characters and I immediately saw the space add live video to the mix. And we now have, what I think is, a very engaging production.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Plays with a distinct point-of-view, unconventional pieces, new plays and well-done musicals and classics inspire me as an artist.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: It would most certainly be Edward Albee.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Carefully Taught!
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: "Madame Director" - starring Viola Davis.
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Organic 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate from Belgium
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: When I'm not working in theatre, I'm working on a film and conducting research for the screenplay and play that I'm writing. If I weren't working in theatre and film, I'd be sailing.
What’s up next?: I’m adapting English playwright Elizabeth Inchbald’s 1798 classic, Lovers’ Vow into a contemporary piece in which the two lead characters—a man and a woman — are from racially, economically and socially diverse backgrounds. Both live on Cape Cod—one in Hyannis Port and the other in its shadow—Hyannis. The play’s context is the sub-prime banking debacle. Its theme is broken promises. I’m also putting together the pieces for production of the screenplay I’ve written, based on Ed Bullins’ play, The Fabulous Miss Marie. It’s a character-driven drama set in Los Angeles during the height of the 1960s.