Alice Ripley is a Tony Award winner, best known for originating the role of Diana in Next to Normal on Broadway. She was also Tony nominated for her role as Violet in Side Show. Ripley attended DePauw University, where she majored in Vocal Performance, before transferring to Kent State University where she received a BFA in Musical Theatre in 1985. While at University, Ripley performed in a number of stage productions, while her first paid acting job was at the Red Barn Summer Theatre in Frankfort, Indiana. Following college, she was active in community theatre in San Diego, California, and subsequently received her Actor's Equity card at the La Jolla Playhouse through a production of Silent Edward, a musical written by Des McAnuff, who was Artistic Director of the La Jolla Playhouse at the time and who would later direct Ripley in her Broadway debut in The Who's Tommy. In her 1993 debut, Ripley played a Local Lass and the Specialist's Assistant in the original cast of The Who's Tommy; she also understudied the role of Mrs. Walker. Broadway roles that followed were Betty Schaefer in Sunset Boulevard (1994), Bathsheba in King David (1997), Violet Hilton in Side Show (1997), Fantine in Les Misérables (1998), Molly Ivors in James Joyce's The Dead (2000), Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show (2000), one of The Sweethearts in Dreamgirls, the concert (2001), and Diana Goodman in Next to Normal (2009). With the exception of Les Misérables, Ripley was part of the original casts.
Jay Armstrong Johnson
Jay Armstrong Johnson is currently playing Raoul in the 30th anniversary of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. He can be seen on the hit ABC series “Quantico” and recently appeared in the Classic Stage Company’s Off-Broadway production of Fire and Air. Broadway credits include the original Broadway casts of: On The Town (2015 revival), Hands on a Hardbody, Catch Me If You Can, Hair (2009 revival cast). Off-B'way: The Mad Ones (Prospect Theater Co.), Wild Animals You Should Know (MCC), Working (Drama Desk Award; Prospect Theater Co.) Other New York credits include starring in the title role of the New York City Opera’s Candide, co-starring alongside Emma Thompson and Audra McDonald in Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall and filmed for PBS; The Most Happy Fella (City Center Encores!), starring opposite Kelli O’Hara in Babes in Toyland st Carnegie Hall with Master Voices, First National Tour: A Chorus Line. Regional: The Last Goodbye (The Old Globe), On The Town (Barrington Stage Co.); Newsies, Hello Dolly, 42nd Street, Pirates! Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder'd (MUNY); Hands On A Hardbody (La Jolla Playhouse) Concert: 35mm: A Musical Exhibition (on iTunes). TV/Film: Sex & the City 2, Law & Order: SVU. Jay Armstrong Johnson LIVE at Feinstein’s 54 Below available on iTunes and broadwayrecords.com. @jay_a_johnson
Four time TONY Award nominee Judy Kuhn most recently starred as Golde opposite Danny Burstein in Bart Sher's critically acclaimed revival of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway. In 2015 Judy starred as Helen Bechdel in the Tony Award winning production of Fun Home (Tony & Drama League Award Nominations), a role she created in the original Off-Bway production at the Public Theater (2014 Lucille Lortel Award). Also on Broadway she starred in The Roundabout's hit 1993 revival of She Loves Me (Tony Award Nomination), Chess (Tony & Drama Desk Award Nominations) and Les Miserables (Tony & Drama Desk Award Nominations), Rags (Drama Desk Nomination), Richard Nelson's play Two Shakespearean Actors (Lincoln Center Theatre), Alan Menken & Tim Rice's King David, and the original cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (NYSF). Read more about Judy Kuhn and her illustrious career at www.judykuhn.net.
Jeanine won the Tony Award for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for the musical Fun Home. She has also written Tony-nominated scores for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center; Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan); Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner); and Shrek The Musical (lyrics, David Lindsay-Abaire). The production of Caroline, or Change at the National Theatre in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet (lyrics, Brian Crawley) opened on Broadway in 2014 and garnered four Tony nominations, including Best Musical Revival. Opera: A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (libretto, Tony Kushner; Glimmerglass) and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me(libretto, J. D. McClatchy, Kennedy Center). Music for plays: Mother Courage (dir. George C. Wolfe, with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline), John Guare's A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center Theater, dir. George C. Wolfe), and Romeo and Juliet (Delacorte Gala). Film scores: Nights in Rodanthe, Every Day, and You're Not You. Ms. Tesori is a member of the Dramatists Guild and was cited by the ASCAP as the first female composer to have two new musicals running concurrently on Broadway. She is the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center at New York City Center, and is a lecturer in music at Yale University. Most of all, she is the proud parent of Siena Rafter, a senior at LaGuardia High School for the Arts.
Rema Webb recently appeared in Broadway's The Color Purple as Church Lady Darlene and as the Shug Avery understudy. She also starred as the homeless woman in A New Brain at Encores! Off-Center. Rema was featured as Lula Buffington in the Broadway revival of Violet and performed on the 2014 Tony Awards. Other Broadway credits include The Lion King (Rafiki/Shenzi/Nala), The Book of Mormon (Mrs. Brown) and Ragtime (Sarah u/s). Favorite regional include: Model/Lady In Plaid/LaLa in The Colored Museum at the Huntington Theatre Company (Elliot Norton Award for Best Ensemble); You’re Standing In My Way: A New Song Cycle by William Finn and Deborah Abramson at Barrington Stage Company; and Being Alive (Westport Country Playhouse and Philadelphia Theatre Company). Rema made her solo concert debt with her one-woman show, Children Will Listen, at 54 Below and recently had an encore performance of the show at 42 West. Finally, she is the founder/executive director of the On Broadway Performing Arts Training Program. www.remawebb.com
Broadway: Something Rotten (Bea), The Addams Family (Alice Beineke), [title of show] (Heidi), Disney’s The Little Mermaid(Ursula), The Full Monty. Off-Broadway and other New York: [title of show] and Now. Here. This. at The Vineyard Theatre andThe Most Happy Fella (Cleo) at City Center Encores!. Regional productions includeElf (Emily Hobbs) at The Paper Mill Playhouse, Dog and Pony (Jane/Bonnie) at The Old Globe, Next to Normal (Diana) at The Weston Playhouse, First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb at The Kennedy Center and Signature Theatre, and Meet John Doe (Ann) at Ford’s Theatre (Helen Hayes Award). Heidi has performed extensively in concert at venues including Carnegie Hall, The 92Y, Merkin Hall, 54 Below, and Joe’s Pub. She is a Duke University graduate.
Lester Thomas Shane
Lester Thomas Shane studied under Edith Skinner at Carnegie-Mellon University. While playing leading roles at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Lester also served as company Voice and Movement Master. In addition to Pace, Lester is on the faculty of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The New York Film Academy, BTS School of Drama and the TADA! Ensemble. As a speech and dialect coach he has worked with T Schreiber Studios, Peccadillo Theatre, Boomerang Theatre Company, Mint Theatre, Sink or Swim Repertory Theatre, and Signature Theatre (Virginia). He delivered the keynote address at the 2001 National Teaching Training Institute sponsored by PBS. His directing credits include over fifty productions ranging from the classics to premiere productions. National s include: Artistic Director, Shakespeare at the Met, Jacksonville, FL; Cleveland Public Theatre; Halle Theatre, Cleveland, OH; Charlottesville New Play Festival. In New York: T. Schreiber Studio; Manhattan Theatre Club; The Production Company; Vineyard ; 45th St Theatre; and The Basic Theatre where he served as Director in Residence. In addition he directed numerous readings and workshops and worked with the literary departments of Manhattan Theatre Club, Westbeth and Hartford Stage. For A&E Biography series, Lester wrote James Brown, Tyrone Power, and Carmen Miranda. For AMC, 20th Century Fox: The First Fifty Years; and for Discovery, Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy. With Penelope Brackett he wrote Seven Keys to Success Without Struggle, now in its second edition. His award-winning one-man show, Mortal Coil,was translated into Norwegian as Livets Lenker and Lester directed the European premiere. He continues to tour the English production nationwide. Lester is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, SDC and VASTA.
Dr. Rachelle Fleming(D.M.A. University of Miami, M.A. Eastman School of Music, B.A. SUNY Fredonia) has touched audiences in a wide variety of styles from cabaret to classical with a “glorious, rich voice and timbre that goes directly to the heart.” Recent performances by the versatile vocalist and actress include: performing and recording with three-time Grammy nominated Cuban ensemble Tiempo Libre; a concert with the Greater Rochester Jazz Orchestra for the Rochester International Jazz Festival; joining jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch for a Classical Action benefit concert; multiple performances with international jazz pianist Shelly Berg; recording and performing with multi-Grammy award winning opera star and sister, Renée Fleming; the Big Apple pops concert with Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra; a cabaret concert for the Boca Raton Arts Festival; the role of Joanne in Sondheim's musical Company; and the role of Lieutenant Simone in Pocket Opera's New York premiere of "jazz opera" Space in the Heart. Ms. Fleming is a featured soloist on Tiempo Libre's May, 2011 Sony Records release, My Secret Radio, and she recorded background vocals on Renée Fleming's 2010 Decca/Mercury Records pop CD, Dark Hope. Ms. Fleming's promotional work for Dark Hope included a nationally televised performance for President and Mrs. Obama at the Ford Theatre, and a music video for the hit single “Endlessly.”
Tony nominee and Emmy winner Liz Callaway made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. She has gone on to star in Baby,Miss Saigon, The Look of Love, The Three Musketeers, and for 5 years appeared as Grizabella in Cats. Off-Broadway appearances include The Spitfire Grill (Drama Desk nomination), No Way to Treat a Lady, Marry Me a Little and Brownstone. Other New York appearances include the legendary Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Fiorello! (Encores!), and Hair in Concert. She also starred as Nora Desmond in Sunset Boulevard at Pittsburgh CLO. Liz sang the Academy Award-nominated song “Journey to the Past” in the animated feature Anastasia,. Other film work includes Jasmine in the two Aladdin sequels, The Swan Princess, and Beauty and the Beast. Her extensive concert and symphony career has included appearances in London, Paris, Iceland, Australia, China and nearly every major city in the U.S. She has toured with composer Stephen Schwartz, and performs regularly with her sister, Ann Hampton Callaway. Liz has five solo recordings: Passage of Time, The Beat Goes On, The Story Goes On: Liz Callaway On and Off- Broadway, Anywhere I Wander: Liz Callaway Sings Frank Loesser, and her Christmas CD Merry and Bright. This fall, Liz will release her newest album, The Essential Liz Callaway. ww.lizcallaway.com
Mary Saunders-Barton is a Cum Laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a master's degree from Middlebury College and the Sorbonne, Paris. While in Paris, she studied with Pierre Bernac and received a diploma from the Ecole Normale de Musique. She serves as head of voice for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Musical Theatre and as program head for the Master of Fine Arts in Voice Pedagogy for Musical Theatre. In addition to her university teaching, Mary maintains a studio in Manhattan for professional performers. Her students have been seen on Broadway in The King and I, Wicked, Beautiful, Mamma Mia, The Lion King, Kinky Boots, Book of Mormon, Chicago, Here Lies Love, After Midnight and Newsies in addition to numerous tours and regional theatres. In 2013, Mary was the keynote musical theatre speaker at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Brisbane, Australia. In 2014, she was a master teacher for the intern program sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She is a frequent master class presenter at universities and professional organizations in the United States and Europe.
Beth Leavel received Tony®, Drama Desk, NY Outer Critics Circle and L.A. Drama Critics Awards for her performance as the title character in The Drowsy Chaperone. Beth also received a Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nomination for her role as Florence Greenberg in Baby It’s You. Other Broadway roles: Emily in ELF, Mamma Mia!, Young Frankenstein, 42nd Street (original/revival), Crazy For You, The Civil War, Showboat. Ms. Leavel was also seen in New York City Center Encores! production of No, No, Nanette as Lucille. Numerous Off-Broadway and TV credits including the final episode of ER. MFA from UNC-G. Proud mom to T.J. and Sam.
Gregg Barnes is an American costume designer for stage and film. He taught at New York University in the Graduate School for 20 years. He was also the resident costume designer for the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, New Jersey. Gregg’s credits include Broadway: Aladdin, Kinky Boots (2013 Tony nomination), Follies (2012 Tony, Drama Desk, Henry Hewes Awards), Elf, Legally Blonde (2007 Tony nomination), The Drowsy Chaperone (2006 Tony, Drama Desk Awards), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Flower Drum Song (2002 Tony nomination), Side Show, Bye Bye Birdie. New York: The Wizard of Oz, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The Merry Widow (NYC Opera), Pageant (NY and London – Olivier nomination), The Kathy and Mo Show. Regional: Aladdin, Robin and the 7 Hoods, Mame, Allegro (Helen Hayes Award). TDF Young Master Award.
Susan H. Schulman
Susan H. Schulman is a Professor of Theatre and head of the Graduate Directing Program at the Pennsylvania State University. Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning musical The Secret Garden, as well as its highly successful two-and-a-half-year national tour; the revival of Sweeny Todd at the Circle in the Square, for which she received a Tony Award nomination; the revival of The Sound of Music (Tony nomination for Outstanding Revival); and Little Women. For her direction of the highly acclaimed musical Violet, winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, Susan received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Director. She received an Obie Award for directing Sondheim and Furth’s musical Merrily We Roll Along at the York Theatre, a production that also received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival, as well as several Drama Desk nominations. Among her many regional and national tour productions are Sunset Boulevard with Petula Clark. Ms. Schulman has also directed several productions for Canada’s prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival. She is a member of the executive board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a graduate of the Yale Drama School, Hofstra University, and New York’s famed High School of Performing Arts. She currently working on two new musical projects.