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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the category “Artistic/Associate Artistic Director”

Margaret Fofonoff

meg's photo 2Executive Producer/Artistic Director/Writer
Boston, Massachusetts USA

What is your favorite line from a play?
“What are we crazy or something?” from Guys and Dolls characterizing those wonderful and stressful moments in our theater world that we would not trade for anything.

What play or production changed your life?
A production of Ragtime at The Strand Theatre in Boston. It was a show that I always dreamed of doing since I love the score, story and imagery. It was the experience of a lifetime to do this show where it really meant something in the heart of inner city Boston. We also made an important political statement just before the 2012 election that was heard far and wide. It is not often one has partners like the American Civil Liberties Union and The City of Boston, who both really care about making a difference. We all are on the same mission to make the world a better place for everyone. It is rare one has the opportunity to give back.

When I looked around on opening night at the diverse sea of faces in the audience, I knew this was not like any audience I had seen in any other Boston theater. At intermission I remember a lovely older African American patron, unconnected to anyone in the production, approached me, grabbed both my hands and said, ”Thank you so much for doing this, it means so much.” I will never forget that moment as it embodies why we all do what we do.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
So many things! A production in NYC, writing a new work, collaborating with my son writer/filmmaker, changing the world for the better in as many ways as I can.

What is your best escape?
Ballroom dance. It takes me away from everything else and the music and steps fill my head and make me smile.

Margaret Fofonoff (Executive Producer & Artistic Director, Fiddlehead Theatre Company) founded Fiddlehead theatre in 1993 and continues to produce and direct all shows and drive the artistic direction. Fiddlehead is a medium professional IRNE and Broadway World award-winning theater. She has a BA from Boston University with honors.

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Cecilia Copeland

Cecilia CopelandPlaywright and Artistic Director
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? I don’t typically look for things but just start writing and then they present themselves fully dressed demanding an audience and a suitable story to go with it.

What’s your favorite movie – Dune; cocktail – Gin Martini, stirred, not dry, not dirty, straight up, olives on the side.

What play or production changed your life? The first play I ever wrote solidified for me that I was meant to be a writer. It was a one act called The Amusement Bomber and was made into a short with Metro Screen Productions. The writing was an instruction in thought development and the piece turned out to be very synchronistic in ways that I couldn’t explain beyond to accept that by writing I was beyond the limitations of myself. That sounds more vague and esoteric than I wish it sounded, but it’s the truth.

Is there anything you still dream of doing? Lot’s of things! I want to have a major Broadway Production of one of my plays that features a female protagonist in the science fiction genre, explores poetic realism as a style, and uses Transmedia. I would also like to have a family with a partner who engages me on all levels, especially the intimate ones. I would like to promote and assist in establishing government policy that develops the Arts in the United States and to earn a very comfortable living via my creative writing.

I feel most like myself when I … am around someone who gets me or when I’m writing.

What is your best escape? It’s pretty rare for me in my life right now, but I think making love is the best escape ever because it’s not a solitary escape it’s a co-created reality that’s good for one’s soul, body and mind.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you? I was going to say that my answer to the last question might be a good one, but I don’t know if I can answer because I don’t believe I can truly be certain of what someone else doesn’t know.

Cecilia Copeland. Playwright and Artistic Director, NYMadness. Recipient of the Lennis J. Holm Scholarship at the Writers Workshop, Finalist for Mabou Mines Residency, and Semifinalist for The O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Her work has been produced by Metro Screen Australia, Culture Project, IATI, The Disreputables and workshopped at TerraNOVA and New Dramatists.

Laura Caparrotti

Laura Caparrotti, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenArtistic Director of Kairos Italy Theater, actress, director, producer, critic, theater absolute lover.
Rome, Italy and New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? Life, images, books, social/political issues: when something strikes me inside, it stays with me until I do something with it.

The ONE OF your favorite: book The Via Veneto papers by E. Flaiano / movie: Rocco and his brother by L. Visconti / line from a play: Men shut their doors against a setting sun – Shakespeare –
To dream, to laugh, to move on, to be free, on my own
To have a keen eye and a voice of strong tone,
Wear my hat awry as I prefer,
For no reason at all engage in combat or pen a verse!
To work without worry of glory or fortune
Such a voyage of which we dream to the moon!
Pen not a line that from myself departs
And comes from anywhere except straight from my heart,
Be satisfied with flowers, leaves, fruits of the land
If they’re in your own garden and grew by your hand!
And, if at all, you should triumph by chance,
Don’t give unto Cesar, take up your stance
Stand up for yourself, you merit, ‘ti’s thee
In short, the parasitic ivy I disdain to be
So even without the tree or the stone
I won’t get very high, perhaps, but alone! Cyrano de Bergerac (not great translation)

/cocktail: too many!

Artists/People who changed my theatrical life: the Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo who taught me how to breathe at theater, the actor Mario Carotenuto who taught me how to smell theater, the actress Lucilla Morlacchi who taught me how sacred theater is. And my parents, who made me experience theater since I was little.

Is there anything you still dream of doing? A lot! I want to keep bringing Italian theater to the States and to open the first Italian theater in New York. And I want to do theater all my life!

I feel most like myself when I …. Dance/Theater.

What is your best escape? Dancing

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you? I am an open book, able only to hide deep sadness. I guess it’s a survival instinct!

Laura Caparrotti is a director, actress, journalist, teacher, lecturer, consultant, dialect-coach, curator with an Italian accent. She studied and worked professionally for over ten years in Italy before relocating to NY where she founded KIT-Kairos Italy Theater, now the main Italian theater company in New York. And she can cook!

Sandra Nordgren

Sandra Nordgren, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenProducing Artistic Director / Literary Manager
New York, New York USA

What’s your favorite book / movie?
I am a huge lover of animals. Many dog and horse books.
My favorite non-fiction dog books are: Merle’s Door and Last Dog on the Hill. Fiction Dog Book: The Art of Racing in the Rain. I read Merle’s Door right after my sheltie died.  Merle was, and is, a soothing balm for my aching heart.
My favorite horse books are The Man Who Listens to Horses + Shy Boy, both by Monty Roberts, and Seabiscuit: an American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. My favorite film about horses is the documentary PBS series Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies.

What play or production changed your life?  
The Secret Garden. I walked in facing a life crisis and walked out knowing how to deal with it! Every single thing about that Broadway production was extraordinary. Saw it three times.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?  
I’m doing it. I am learning about horses and am staying at Birch Glen Stables in Massachusetts as I write this. Birch Glen is among the larger equine centers in MA. What a true blessing this whole experience has been. I’ve expanded my internal horizons doing Soul Journey with Horses here for a second time. I am writing a screenplay about horses and there is something extraordinary that happens when writing in the presence of horses who live in a world that is basically silent.

I feel most like myself when I ….
am free from criticism and left to create in a stress-free environment.

What is your best escape?
A really good movie always does it for me.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?  
Can’t think of anything. I am pretty much an open book.

Sandra Nordgren has produced 90+ plays, 100+ readings,16 development workshops, six play festivals. Developed and supervises 40-member summer theatre internship program. Founder: New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest. Playwright: A Christmas Carol (English, French, German, Spanish), The Ice Cream Man Cometh, The Flower. Screenplay: Conversation with a Kleagle.

Catherine Porter

Catherine PorterActor, Producer/Artistic Director, Development Director
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
Everywhere  – NYC and its history, in particular.

What’s your favorite book / movie / line from a play / cocktail?
Favorite book is still John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany – it made me sob on the subway. Movie:  harder, but among the most formative is To Kill a Mockingbird. Line from a play: anything Lady Bracknell says. I’m not a big cocktail drinker, but anything involving bubbly is a winner.

What production changed your life?
Oh, lordy, lots at different times! Mac Wellman’s Crowbar by En Garde Arts in 1990 is as good as any. I’d been in NYC three whole days when my friend Dan called and asked if I wanted to be in the ensemble of a play he was stage managing. Looking back, I can’t believe I hesitated, even if only briefly. The production was a whole new world. I’d never heard of site-specific theater before, I’d never read or seen anything like Mac’s work, I’d never imagined exploring every nook and cranny of a former Broadway theater (the Victory, pre-New Victory). The production became a huge hit, with celebrities in the audience every night. I met wonderful folks, like Richard Caliban, Annie Hamburger, Jan Leslie Harding, Juliana Francis, Michael John Garces, Lou Moreno, Richard Sheinmel and Anita Durst. I got my Equity card. And it entirely changed the kind of work I wanted to do.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Traveling to Barcelona, Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, Karnak. Singing in a rock band. Playing an instrument. Playing Beatrice in Much Ado, Martha in Virginia Wolf, the Chorus in Henry V. I am filled with aspiration!

I feel most like myself when I ….
Performing in a show… and riding in a car with the windows down listening to ‘70s rock.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I have done considerable fishing in my life – not in a while, but at one time, I was fairly adept at baiting a hook, casting a line, and gutting trout.

Catherine Porter is Co-Founder/Artistic Director of the OBIE-winning Peculiar Works Project, and has performed Off and Off-Off Broadway with myriad companies. She is Development Director for Dixon Place, and is on the board of A.R.T./New York and Concrete Temple. She was named one of nytheatre.com’s 2010 People of the Year.

Kristin Marting

Kristin Marting, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector / Artistic Director of HERE
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
All around this awesome city every day.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
A glass of Argentinian Malbec

What play or production changed your life?
The Seven Deadly Sins – Pina Bausch

I feel most like myself when I am directing. In rehearsal, I fuse all of my different strengths together into a creative force. I love the rich and evolving collaborative process with the performers, designers and writers and uncovering the patterns that will get us where we need to go.

What is your best escape?
Going to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, seeing what deliciousness all my farmer friends have brought and cooking up an exciting gourmet lunch for my family

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I used to be a DJ here in NYC in lower east side clubs.

Kristin Marting is a director of hybrid work. Over the last 20 years, she has constructed 26 works for the stage. She is a co-founder and Artistic Director of HERE, where she cultivates artists and programs all events – including 17 OBIE-award winners—for an annual audience of 30,000.

Jessi D. Hill

Jessi D. Hill, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenFreelance Director and Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I look for inspiration in conversations with playwrights I work with. Hearing what they’re working on and why they’re writing plays is inspiring. For myself, I often seek inspiration in my neighborhood. I live a hop, skip and jump from the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park and The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I visit one of these places almost every day.

What play or production changed your life?
In my early 20s I saw Tina Landau’s production of The Time of Your Life at Steppenwolf. It was a wonderfully acted, beautiful production that I’ll never forget (and I often think of).

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I haven’t done nearly enough international travel and often daydream of strapping on a backpack and disappearing for months.

I feel most like myself when I ….
Am directing or hiking in the mountains of Colorado or running…

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I wouldn’t say nobody but not everybody: I’m a runner and have been doing it more and more competitively over the last 5 years. I just registered for my second marathon. I try to run at least 30 miles a week.

Jessi D. Hill is a freelance director and Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective in New York. New play projects include work at The Women’s Project, New York Theatre Workshop, Primary Stages, The New Group, Culture Project, New Dramatists, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, and others. MFA Directing: Yale. SDC. Upcoming projects: www.jessidhill.com

Susan Bernfield

Susan Bernfield, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenArtistic Director, Playwright, Performer
New York, New York USA

Re: life-changing.
When I was in college in the mid-80s, I helped out with touring companies that came to the campus performing arts center. One day The Acting Company arrived with ORCHARDS: a bunch of adaptations of short stories by Chekhov commissioned from contemporary playwrights. The first, Wendy Wasserstein’s, was pretty straightforward – naturalistic set, period costumes, jokes. As the show progressed, from Mamet through Fornes, the plays got weirder, finally landing on Spalding Gray. A monologue, of course. A bed in which a woman slept wheeled out stage left (she never woke or moved much), and a guy walked onto the otherwise bare stage, started off “The day I got the Chekhov story in the mail,” and then kept talking for 20 minutes about going to the Sizzler and the sleeping woman and lots of other stuff I don’t remember but which seemed both random and profound.

I was just… stunned. I ran back to my dorm and acted it out for everyone I could find: “The day I got the Chekhov story in the mail. The day I got the Chekhov story in the mail. HE WENT ON FOR 20 MINUTES!!!” I mean, I was a good girl, I did what I was told, mine woulda been like Wendy’s, well-adapted, sweet and straightforward, this guy just totally messed with that, damn, how could he do that and why was it so interesting?? Looking back, I’m sure the piece bore thematic resemblance to the story, and the writers were picked, duh, cause they wrote like themselves. But I didn’t know that then. My theatrical education or experience so far hadn’t let me in on that.

And I didn’t know that someday what I’d care about most, theater-wise, would be these things: idiosyncrasy and assertiveness of artistic vision; finding your voice, sticking to it, aspiring to absolute confidence in it; breaking rules, especially. It seems silly now, and obvious, but I really didn’t know.

Re: cocktail.
I’m fond of many cocktails but I WISH I liked martinis. It just looks so good to sit behind one.

Susan Bernfield is the founder and producing artistic director of New Georges, where she’s generated weird-ish new plays by cool artists (who are women) for 20 years. She’s also a playwright and solo performer whose work has been produced and developed at theaters around the country.

Marcy Arlin

Marcy Arlin, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenTheatre: Director; Artistic Director of OBIE-winning Immigrants’ Theatre Project
Brooklyn, New York USA

Two productions lured me into theatre with the magic of costume, light and transformation: The Caucasian Chalk Circle at Lincoln Center and The Tempest, at Stratford, CT. Ariel’s costume, and the escaping mother on the turntable of the Vivian Beaumont…magic.

I also saw the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Funny, entertaining, and meaningful. Then there was Short Eyes at the Public, Story Theatre at my elementary school…Growing up in one of the few multicultural neighborhoods on Long Island….

Working on Journey Theatre, with survivors of war and torture, for 8 months, convinced me of the importance of theatre and social change. And how to really work with marginalized populations, who may not consider themselves marginalized.

My favorite book/author? Yikes. Well, I have to say that Ursula LeGuin, daughter of the anthropologist Kroebers. Earthsea Trilogy and Left Hand of Darkness.

Favorite play? Blood Wedding.

Favorite pop culture guilty pleasure? Young adult and TV sci fi. Love collecting multicultural non-verbal language.

I dream of going to Patagonia to meet whales and penguins, or the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel among the corals. To help animals. To write a novel. To direct a play a year outside of the U.S.

What they don’t know about me? I wanted to be an anthropologist in college, I studied a lot of Tai Chi, and I can watch birds for hours.

Marcy Arlin. LCT Directors Lab, TWB, No Passport; Fulbrights: Romania, Czech Republic. Favorite projects: Eastern European Playwrights: Women Write the New; East/West/East: Vietnamese Immigrants Out of War, Journey Theatre w/ survivors of torture, Tropic of X (Germany), readings at MESTC, Sweet Karma (QTIP). Co-Editor, Czech Plays: 7 New Works. Professor at CUNY, Yale, University of Chicago. Marcy’s Blog at TCG

Julia Miles

Julia Miles, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenArtistic Director
New York, New York USA

I don’t think anyone knows I was a farm girl from Pelham, Georgia. The one thing I learned there was to get away as soon as possible. I went to boarding school and then Northwestern University for a Theatre Arts Degree, got married, moved to New York City and eventually had three wonderful daughters…Stacey, Lisa and Marya.

Acting, producing plays and helping women playwrights was my work. We were always trying to raise money, it seemed. More resources are still needed to encourage women’s creativity.

Going to theatre and movies with my daughters and friends makes me feel most like myself.

A nice vodka tonic or glass of Merlot is a treat now and then…and chocolate is always welcome.

I am extremely lucky and most grateful for my family, colleagues and friends who have helped me along the way.

Julia Miles is the founding artistic director of Women’s Project and Productions. Julia was the Associate Director of the American Place Theatre in the late sixties. It is there, in 1978, that she founded the Women’s Project, which became an independent producing organization in 1986. She is a founding member of the League of Professional Theatre Women/New York.

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