Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the category “Lyricist”

June Rachelson-Ospa

-2Book Writer, Lyricist, Producer, Educator
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? I look at my family and friends. I love
writing for kids. Making them feel good about who they are in the world.

What’s your favorite movie / pop culture guilty pleasure? My favorite movie is Casablanca. I love the Eagles. And I adore old black and white horror films. Homicidal by William Castle is the best!!!

What play or production changed your life? Hair on Broadway when I was a teen. My Dad took me and Fluffer hopped off the stage and pulled me up to sing Let The Sun Shine In. At that moment I knew that THEATRE WAS FOR ME!!!

Is there anything you still dream of doing? I dream of having something that I’ve written getting published and touring all over the world!

I feel most like myself when I ….am hanging out with my two sons Jon (20) and Jake (26). Unconditional Love does it all the time.

What is your best escape? Horse Back Riding in the mountains.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you? How shy I was when I was a kid. I used to avoid people and walk with my head looking down at my shoes.

June Rachelson-Ospa’s company is Bozomoon Productions. Writing and Producing musicals with Partner Daniel Neiden over 15 years. Tourettaville, the first musical we wrote about my son Jon’s struggle with tourette syndrome, went to the Kennedy Center. Jon is a film major in college, son Jake is an animator and husband Jerry designs Macy’s Parade!

Carolyn Feleppa Balducci

Carolyn Balducci, member of League of Professional Theatre WomenWriter, Lyricist
Montauk, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
… I don’t really look. Ideas seem to find me.

What’s your favorite book / movie / play ?
I’m an ominivore. If I actually had one single most favorite book, movie or play,
I probably would never admit it.

Favorite quotes –
“Yes, I did see Mr. Peabody, but I didn’t see him. That is, I didn’t see him really. Yes, I spoke to him twice, but I didn’t talk to him.”  — Bringing Up Baby

‘That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.’ – Emma

Guilty pleasures?
…The New York Times’ Metropolitan Diary on Mondays. Croissants. Coffee with cream.

What play or production changed your life?
Arlecchino, il servitore di due padroni by Carlo Goldoni. Directed by Giorgio Strehler at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
…Re-reading the books on my shelves.

Upcoming Event – for the LPTW 30 plays in 30 years celebration —
GIOVANNI THE FEARLESS a commedia dell’arte folk opera (Music by Mira J. Spektor; my book & lyrics). SYMPHONY SPACE – Thalia/Nimoy Theatre – June 7th at 7:30.

I feel most like myself when I ….
…hear people laughing. Especially if they’re laughing at my jokes.

What is your best escape?
…the beach

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
…. that once upon a time I met the King of Sweden.

Carolyn Feleppa Balducci: Author of novels, biographies, poetry, screenplays & plays. Creative Writing faculty, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1977-2002). Translator/adaptor of contemporary and classical comedies such as Lysistrata, La Calandra, La Veniexiana. Screenplays & plays: Otto of the Silver Hand, Best Interest, Hamptons Quartet, Old Rat’s Promise, Giovanni the Fearless.

Enid Futterman

Enid Futterman, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenLyricist/Book Writer
Claverack, New York USA

I love theaters almost as much as I love theater, especially old theaters, especially endangered old theaters. I was arrested standing next to Susan Sarandon just before the Morosco and the Helen Hayes were demolished to make way for a Marriott. (A theater meant to compensate was built right into the hotel – a cavernous place not even a stage mother could love.)

The plays that inspired me to write were musical plays—Carousel (which I fell for at 6, at camp), West Side Story, Sunday in the Park with George, The Light in the Piazza. You get the picture—the hopelessly and hopefully romantic. So the rooms that echo with the music of the American Popular Songbook, once identical to the music of the American Musical Theater, are as precious to me as theaters, and as theatrical. None more so than the Oak Room, the quintessence of cabaret, and the site of more enchanted evenings than I can count, but will not forget. When the news came from, you guessed it, Marriott, that the Oak Room would not reopen after renovation with the rest of the Algonquin Hotel, but instead become a “breakfast nook” for Elite Marriott Rewards members, it felt like a fatal wound to New York’s idiosyncratic heart.

Once again, I’m fighting a quixotic battle against the same Goliath, but with a better weapon–the Internet. I wrote a petition with Vicki Stivala (who is writing a whole book about the Oak Room), and like the social media butterflies we’ve become, promote it relentlessly on Facebook and Twitter.

More than 3000 people have signed, commented (eloquently and urgently), shared, tweeted, and forwarded, including dozens of fellow theater women. There is much favorable press (Back Stage, NPR, QXR, HuffPo, blogs, podcasts), the Oak Room was named a Place That Matters by the Municipal Art Society, Community Board 5 is poised to recommend to management that the room be used for cabaret again, and the latest word from management: “it’s not off the table.”

Oh, and

Enid Futterman wrote Book and Lyrics for Yours, Anne, Portrait of Jennie, and An Open Window, and text for song cycles I am Anne Frank and I Remember. She writes theater criticism for Our Town, which she co-publishes and edits, and holds an MFA in Musical Theater Writing from NYU.

Sheilah Rae

Sheilah Rae, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenLyricist, Librettist, Composer, Producer
New York, New York USA

By the time I was five I was already studying ballet and piano, and had seen several children’s musicals, so it wasn’t that big of a leap that when I was five years old, and my sister Judy was three, my mother dressed us alike, and complete with white gloves, toted us off to see the National Company in Chicago of South Pacific. I remember that day as if it were yesterday, from where our seats were, to what the theater looked like…and of course, the piece! This was my first Broadway musical, and I was mesmerized, and I told my mother right then and there that when I grew up, I wanted to ‘do that’—whatever that meant. She assumed it meant that I wanted to be a performer, and for many years, that’s where I thought I was headed too, but I was always consumed with the creative process. How could anyone actually sit down and write South Pacific?? I have been very blessed in that I was able to more or less realize my dream. I was a Broadway performer for many, many years, and then made the segue to full time songwriter as I began a family. I am grateful that I could pursue my career with the help and encouragement of my family, and even as I became a wife and mother, was able to continue a life in the record business, jingle business, and then again the theater. I have been a member of Equity since 1963, and that is a long time. And even before I had my Equity card, I was performing in ballets in Chicago from the time I was about nine. Seeing the recent South Pacific brought back a flooding of those early childhood memories—and I am still asking myself, ‘how does anyone actually sit down and write South Pacific?

Sheilah Rae: Co-book/lyrics, ‘Funny, You Don’t Look Like A Grandmother’ pub. Sam French. Co-book/lyrics ‘I Married Wyatt Earp’, Off Broadway 2011. Heideman Award Finalist 2005; ‘Lovelines’, 2006; ‘What Goes Around’, 2010; ‘The Waiter’, 2011;‘ Single and Active’ with Michele Brourman. Past president of LPTW. President Board New York Theatre Barn. AEA, SAG, AFTRA, Local 802, The Dramatists Guild, Songwriters Guild.

Elsa Rael

Elsa Rael, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright, Lyricist, Book Writer
New York, New York USA

Some ideas, themes, books, films get lodged in our heart’s memories for ages, and one such for me was a novel, The Leopard, by a brilliant Sicilian, Giuseppe Lampedusa, written in the 1880s. Much later, the material was filmed in Italian, with Burt Lancaster (probably dubbed) and happily faithful to Lampedusa’s painful vision.

The character understood he had little choice but to live with the societal changes which were developing, causing him great distress. However, his family, wife, mistress and even his servants accepted the inevitability of what was happening, adding to the Leopard’s pain. The work, oddly, foreshadowed the dire events of The Cherry Orchard.

Within the past few weeks, I wrote a much updated outline — my version of the story, taking into account how we, in our time, are accepting of our society’s immoral greed and lack of caring for those on whom we trod. Whether the material will become a play or a novel I don’t yet know, but I feel I have a date with the idea.

Elsa Rael wrote 9 plays produced off Broadway and at major regional theatres, and special material for Walter Cronkite, Kaye Ballard, Marsha Mason,and Beatrice Straight. As an arts advocate, she co-produced with Joseph Papp at the Public a festival of 30 plays by women with roles for women over 50. Gov. Mario Cuomo honored her with a special citation.

Mira J Spektor

Mira Spektor, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenComposer, Lyricist, Poet
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? It comes unannounced!

What’s your favorite book / movie / line from a play / pop culture guilty
pleasure / cocktail?

Songs: Cecile Chaminade, Amy Beach and Clara Schumann
Books: Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides) and State of Wonder (Ann Patchett)
Poems: ee cummings
Movie: Gone With The Wind
Opera: The Counsul (Menotti)
Musical: Candide (Bernstein)

What play or production changed your life? First time I went to the ballet…The Ballet de Monte Carlo in Paris, with my mother when I was 8 years old!!

What is your best escape? Sci-Fi …right now having Gabriel Nussbaum & Elizabeth Wood’s Bank Street Films make a TV opera of my chamber opera Villa Diodati – about Mary Shelley who wrote the great Sci Fi “Frankenstein”…Villa Diodati had 6 well reviewed productions including in the NYMTF 2008, but am looking forward to this live TV filming on May 6, 2012, 7:30 pm at the York Theater in St Peters Church!!!

What’s the one thing few people know about you? That the award-winning Bank Street Films company’s producers are my grandson & his wife!!

Mira J Spektor writes songs, scores for films, TV & CDs. Operas & musicals include The Housewives’ Cantata (lyrics LPTW June Siegel); Lady Of The Castle; Villa Diodati; Giovanni The Fearless (libretto LPTW Carolyn Balducci). CDs at BookHampton. Since 1975 produces AVIVA PLAYERS. BMI, Dramatist Guild, LPTW. “An interesting composer”, “attractive and tonal” – The New York Times.

Caridad Svich

Caridad Svich, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright, Translator, Songwriter, Editor
South Gate, California USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
Politics, poetry, music, film, literature and human experience

What’s your favorite book / movie / line from a play / pop culture guilty pleasure / cocktail?
Too many favorites but among them in random order are the films – Terence Malick’s Days of Heaven, Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, Allison Anders’ Gas Food Lodging, Jane Campion’s Bright Star, and Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.

What play or production changed your life?
Bruce Springsteen in concert with the E Street Band.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Recording a CD of music, writing a novel, making a film, setting up a writers institute

I feel most like myself when I ….

am walking through a park in the beauty of spring

What is your best escape?

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I love Hello Kitty.

Caridad Svich is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press, Drama Editor of Asymptote literary journal, associate editor of Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge/UK) and contributing editor of TheatreForum. She is recipient of the 2011 ATCA Primus Prize, and the 2009 Lee Reynolds Award from LPTW. Visit her at http//

Harriet Slaughter

Harriet Slaughter, member of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Retired Arts Administrator, former Co- President of the League of Professional Theatre Women, 30th Anniversary Co-Chair
New York, New York USA

Always inspired by the work of other women and their accomplishments. I am currently working on the League’s Photographic Exhibition – Celebrating Our Legacy which opens at the New York Public Library on March 7th. I have been printing out the photos of the numerous women we have interviewed and each one in her own right deserves special recognition. Our recent Edith Meiser Oral History with Donna Murphy was a joyous evening of her recollections in the theatre. Thanks to funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Edith Meiser Foundation these tapings can continue. It’s so great to have our member Jackie Davis at the Library as a supporter of this endeavor and Betty Corwin who so diligently finds the women most suited to be interviewed.

Harriet Slaughter has been in the performing arts all of her life, first as a performer, then transitioning to Director of Labor Relations for the Broadway League. Since her retirement, she has been pursuing her creative journey through painting and writing poetry.

Robin Rothstein

Robin Rothstein, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDramatist, Bookwriter/Lyricist, Commercial Theatre Professional
New York, New York USA

Favorite cocktail: Bloody Mary. Tall glass. Heavy on the horseradish. Garnished with a serious piece of celery. You want to really send me over the moon? Throw in a few green olives and an extra dash of Tabasco. Make me a Bloody Mary that satiates me to the core and I might just want to share the rest of my life with you. At the very least, I’ll want to give you a hug to show how much I appreciate you as a bartender who loves what you do and who loves sharing your Bloody Mary-making talents with the world. A bartender who knows how to spread mirth through mixology. And feel free to surprise me. Go ahead and make me a Bloody Mary with some added flair. Because we could all use a bit more flair in our lives. My least favorite cocktail? The safe, watery, garnish-free Bloody Mary. A sorry counterfeit that has become accepted in our complacent society. Like the Starbucks cappuccino. Make me a watery, garnish-free Bloody Mary and this will tell me that you have no passion for life. That you are someone in desperate need of flair. I will also be annoyed for having dropped ten bucks on your crappy drink. Because a well-made Bloody Mary is essential. A well-made Bloody Mary reminds you to relish being alive, and to feel grateful for all the good you have while you laugh it up on a lazy Sunday afternoon with awesome friends who you haven’t seen in a while. A truly satisfying Bloody Mary is about having nowhere else to be, nothing to worry about, and nothing else you need to be doing at this very moment.

Except, perhaps, ordering a second Bloody Mary.

Robin Rothstein’s work has been produced in NYC, Canada, South Africa and across the US, including Actors Theatre of Louisville. Her writing is also published in multiple “Best of” collections. Member: Dramatists Guild, AEA, LPTW, and The Broadway League. Associate Director, Operations at Broadway Across America, NYC. University of Pennsylvania alum.

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