Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the category “Executive Director”

Ginny Louloudes

Ginny Louloudes, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenExecutive Director, Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, (A.R.T./New York)
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? A.R.T./New York’s members are a constant source of inspiration for me. My staff and I learn so much from them through our roundtables, their grant and loan applications, and meeting with them. When I discover a common need or challenge, I try to address it through a program or service.

Favorite Movie: The Producers

Favorite Lyrics from a Musical: Art isn’t easy; even when you’re hot; Advancing art is easy; financing it is not. A vision’s just a vision if it’s only in your head. If no one gets to see it it’s as good as dead. It has to come to life. (Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George)

Favorite Cocktail: I only drink wine – so it’s Iron Horse Vineyard’s 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir.

Guilty Pleasure: Project Runway & The Real Housewives of New Jersey (I know, I know).

Play That Changed My Life: The 1970 all-black cast production of Hello Dolly, starring Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway. When Pearl Bailey came down those stairs to the title song, I knew that I wanted to work in the theatre.

Still Dream of Doing: Writing a book of essays or performing them as a stand-up comedian (motherhood has give me lots of material).

I Feel Most Like Myself When: I’m dancing or doing yoga.

Best Escape: Old movies, particularly from the 1940s and ‘50s.

The One Thing Nobody Knows About Me: I made my stage debut at the age of 7, reciting a poem in Greek at our Greek School Program.

Virginia P. Louloudes (Ginny) is Executive Director of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), which serves 325 member theatres through programs that include consulting; a major cash-flow loan; four re-grant programs; two shared office/rehearsal spaces; and soon, the A.R.T./New York Theatres (99 and 99-150 seats), set to open in 2014.

Martha Richards

Martha Richards, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenExecutive Director, WomenArts – Non-profit Arts Manager
San Francisco, California USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I am inspired by our history. I love reading about women’s accomplishments in theatre and in the world at large because those stories fill me with a sense of possibility for my own life and for the lives of all the women I work with.

What play or production changed your life?
I saw Mary Martin in a touring production of Peter Pan in San Francisco.  I was only in second grade, but from that day on I knew that I wanted to work in theatre when I grew up. My parents got me a record of the show and I listened to it over and over – learning all the songs by heart and trying to fly in our living room.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Plays by dead white men – Since I have spent the past 17 years constantly advocating for women artists, it feels terribly wicked, but I still love to see great productions of works by the male playwrights I grew up on – Ibsen, Shaw, Chekhov, Wilde, Coward, Kaufman & Hart, and of course, Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I dream of taking a series of leisurely trips by bicycle and train where I could meet with women theatre artists in different parts of the world and observe their work.

What is your best escape?
I love being with my friends – especially if we can go for a long walk or have a nice meal. I always find that being in nature calms me down and helps me focus, and I often get my best ideas during casual conversations with my friends.

I feel most like myself when I ….
am sitting at my computer solving some complicated budget or software problem. I love those math problems.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
My introduction to arts management involved folding paper towels from the school bathroom into Origami paper swans to sell to my classmates. Instead of applauding my incipient managerial skills, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office for taking too many paper towels.

Martha Richards, Founder/Executive Director of WomenArts (a non-profit serving women artists) has held top management positions at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and StageWest. Holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.

Angelina Fiordellisi

Angelina Fiordellisi, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenFounder, Artistic Director of Cherry Lane Alternative since 1997; Executive Director, Cherry Lane Theatre since 1996; Actress, Dancer, Singer since age 4! 
New York, New York USA

My favorite books are The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis and Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

My favorite line from a play is “Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! (Pause. Vehemently.) Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!” ~Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

My favorite guilty pleasure is getting a pedicure.

My favorite drink is an Agave Stinger!

My most recent accomplishment is that in 18 months I have paid down $200,000 of my $250,000 deficit by renting my mainstage and studio theaters! Woo hooooo!!!! Yeah baby!!

The most gratifying/satisfying thing for me today is to look at the young women who work at Cherry Lane with me, who are so beautiful, intelligent, talented, committed and hopeful. These young women keep me going through all the challenges of running an Off-Broadway not-for-profit company and maintaining a Landmarked building with rent-controlled tenants.

The most exciting thing for me today is to watch a new play grow from the seedling of an idea, to its first reading, to rehearsal run thrus, to opening night before its first audience, and then to the closing after the play has grown immeasurably. This feels to me to be the greatest triumph. Each phase is a wonder and delight. This is when I thank prime creatoress and all the angels and saints that I am a participant with significant contributions to the creative process, in the theater, in the most electrifying, challenging and exciting community on the planet.

Angelina Fiordellisi was born in Detroit, Michigan, by Italian immigrants Stefano and Caterina. Broadway debut with Anthony Quinn, Lela Kedrova in Zorba. Married Matt Williams, stayed home to raise Matisse and Fred. Acquired, restored the Cherry Lane Theatre, founded not-for-profit company to create programs for playwrights and produce Off-Broadway classics.

Joan D. Firestone

Joan D. FirestoneExecutive Director, The Moth
New York, New York USA

I was born into a family that prized creativity and the arts, where the pursuit of any artistic discipline was supported over acquiring property of any kind. Growing up in New York supported that value system and whether it was a visit to the Met or MOMA, a chamber music concert at the Frick Museum, a concert heard from the fifth tier of Carnegie Hall, a dance concert from the third balcony of City Center, or a play on Broadway for $1.95 in the balcony – they all became an essential part of my life.

I’m not sure when I encountered a bias against the arts – as frivolous and without intellectual or practical merit. It was probably dealing in the political arena during my tenure at the New York State Council on the Arts, where outside of a few exceptionally committed legislators, the arts received little attention and even less funding. The public schools were the first to suffer the diminishing priority and lack of funds. The arts disappeared from the curriculum and, sadder still, the teaching institutions stopped offering training in the arts.

For the past several decades arts advocates have fought back with resources and ingenuity and I am part of the battle scene. Inspired by Dr. Maxine Greene, a mentor who held the John Dewey Chair of Aesthetics at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Agnes Gund, Chairman Emeritus of MOMA, current Chair of P.S.1 and founder of Studio In A School, I found the inspiration to fight for the rights of all children to find self-expression in the arts. Following efforts at school reform from within the system, I have found in The Moth, the acclaimed storytelling organization, an invaluable teaching tool in storytelling that engages students, and gives them a voice and an identity in an otherwise anonymous environment. Thanks to an army of devoted arts advocates and providers representing all arts disciplines, new possibilities are opening to the current generation of students.

Joan D. Firestone. Executive Director, The Moth; former Co-President League of Professional Theatre Women; Independent Producer; former Board Chair, Cherry Lane Theatre; passionate arts advocate in government and education.

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