Morgan Embry is a lighting designer, video designer, choreographer, and performer currently based in Los Angeles, California. She strives for incorporation of diverse and interactive technology into her works and her collaborative process. She received her BA in Dance from The University of Alabama and her MFA in Lighting Design at the University of California, Irvine. She is a full time Designer with Duck Lights in LA, where she is the current Lighting Designer for music artists: King Princess, Oliver Tree, ModSun, SHAED, and Samuel Proffitt. She is also an active designer for dance and theatre, acting as resident LD for Koryn Wicks Dance, Willing Kompany, and Video Designer for Next Festival of Emerging Artists. Morgan is also a company performer with Living World Entertainment.
Kathryn Ervin is a professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at California State University San Bernardino. She served on the faculty at Michigan State University. She teaches courses in Directing, Acting, Creative Drama, and African American Theatre and Film and Culture. She is a graduate of Wayne State University and Illinois State University. Kathryn is active in numerous professional organizations including the California Educational Theatre Association, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and she is a fellow of the California Arts Project. She is a recipient of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Outstanding Educator Award and an NAACP Pioneer Award. She is a consultant and past president for the Black Theatre Network, the national organization for artists, scholars, and individuals with an interest in celebrating the beauty and complexity of black life on stage. In 2010 she received the Black Theatre Network Lifetime Membership Award recognizing her service to the organization. As a director, her representative productions include THE WIZ, Novio Boy, HAMLET: the artist formerly known as PRINCE of Denmark. Previous UCR productions include Intimate Apparel and How I Learned to Drive. Her original production of the hip hop opera Keep Hedz Ringin by Rickerby Hinds was a finalist at the American College Theatre Festival in Utah and presented as part of the NYC Hip Hop Theatre Festival in 2002.
Sound Designer and Composer
Maritri Garrett is a teacher, singer, pianist, cellist, and guitarist based in Southern California. She studied music at Howard University, earning a Bachelor of Music in music composition and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies. While at Howard, she auditioned and won a spot as an accompanying singer at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural celebration for Barbra Streisand. Maritri made her classical piano debut at Steinway Hall in New York and was subsequently commissioned to compose music for two ballets at Washington Ballet. She has released the albums Reunion Of Souls, Enter Redemption, and If Only I could Breathe (with guitarist Nick Cassarino) and in 2008 cofounded The Soulfolk Experience, a songwriting collective with fellow songwriters V. Jeffrey Smith and David Pilgrim. Her material is prominently featured on their compilation releases The Soulfolk Experience Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. https://www.facebook.com/MaritriMusic
Director and Choreographer
Barrie Gelles is a theatre scholar, director, and teacher. She is a doctoral candidate of Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Barrie writes about the aesthetics of musical theatre, Jewishness and Broadway musicals, pedagogical approaches to theatre courses, and the role of theatre practice in the academy. Her dissertation, “Broadway’s Promised Land: The Jewishness of New York City’s Progressive Era as Reflected in Broadway Musicals Since the 1960s,” examines the reoccurring themes and tropes in musicals that recreate, reframe, and reclaim narratives of Jewish American culture memory.
Her research emphasizes the study of musical theatre aesthetics as a way to examine how Broadway musicals create narratives that become part of cultural memory. Barrie directs new musicals, rarely produced musicals, and re-envisioned revivals of musicals wherein she uncovers a new story while remaining loyal to the original text and authorial intent. She also cultivates opportunities for new musicals through Overtures, a new musical developmental reading series that she created and continues to curate. Barrie has published reviews in Theatre Journal and Theatre Topics and have authored the article “Glee and the Ghosting of the Musical Theatre Canon” in Popular Entertainment Studies. In addition, she has published a follow-up to the article as a book chapter in Queer in the Choir Room: Essays on Gender and Sexuality in Glee. Barrie regularly presents at the annual conferences of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the American Society for Theatre Research.
She is currently the Communications Coordinator for the Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group at ATHE. Barrie teaches a variety of courses, including musical theatre history, theatre history, acting, script/song analysis, and public speaking. In addition to teaching at NYU, she teaches at Marymount Manhattan College and Baruch College. She has previously taught at Brooklyn College and Hunter College as well. She was a fellow for two years in Brooklyn College’s Writing Across the Curriculum program; during that appointment, she worked with departments to create shared digital resources and create tools for incoming adjunct instructors. Barrie has a BA in Theatre and Literature from Sarah Lawrence College, an MA in Theatre from Hunter College, and is in the final stages of earning her PhD in Theatre and Performance from The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Sound Designer and Composer
Hailed as “whirlwind” (Gramophone), the music of composer Dana Kaufman has been heard throughout North America and Europe. Her works have been featured at venues/festivals including New York Opera Fest, Jordan Hall, Contemporary Music Center of Milan, Carlow Arts Festival, Boston New Music Festival, Ravinia Festival’s One Score, One Chicago youth division, National Opera Week, Hartford Opera Theater, Opera on Tap Chicago, soundSCAPE Festival, and Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival; they have been performed by ensembles such as Great Noise Ensemble, Na Wai Chamber Choir, Firebird Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, 5th Wave Collective, Passepartout Duo, So Percussion, and members of OperaRox Productions and the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. In addition to receiving a Fulbright Research Grant in Estonia and being a four-time American Prize awardee/honoree (including in the Opera/Theater/Film Division), Kaufman has received awards/honors from the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, Black House New Operas Project, Boston Choral Ensemble, New American Voices, and more. An advocate for social justice through music and a frequent speaker, Kaufman has delivered lectures/presentations at institutions/conferences such as the LA Opera, Music by Women Festival, Women Composers Festival of Hartford, College Music Society National Conference, and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and was a panelist for “Gender Representation in New Opera” at New Music Gathering. Kaufman graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College (Bachelor of Arts in Music in Russian), completed her Master of Music in Composition at New England Conservatory, and received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at University of Miami Frost School of Music as the first Frost student to be a Dean’s Fellow. She is Assistant Professor in Music Composition at University of California, Riverside. danakaufmanmusic.com
Jennifer Kretchmer is a producer, writer, and performer. With nearly 20 years of tabletop gaming experience as a player and DM, she writes and consults on tabletop content, is a regular on convention panels and shows about tabletop RPGs, appears weekly on D&D Beyond’s live-streamed tabletop show Silver and Steel, and is the creator and executive producer of Monsters & Fables for the official D&D channel. She has worked in front of or behind the camera on more than a thousand episodes of television (actor: Dollhouse, Veronica Mars; producer: Let’s Make A Deal, My Partner Knows Best) and is currently adapting pop musician Lights’ graphic novel Skin&Earth for television. Jen is an ambulatory wheelchair user with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and is a passionate advocate for disabled accessibility, inclusion, and representation in media.
Music Arranger and Orchestrator
David Roesner is a Professor for Theatre and Music-Theatre at the LMU Munich. He previously worked at the Universities of Hildesheim, Exeter, and Kent. In 2003 he published his first monograph on ‘Theatre as Music’, followed by major publications on Theatre Noise. The Sound of Performance (with Lynne Kendrick, CSP, 2011), Composed Theatre. Aesthetics, Practices, Processes (with Matthias Rebstock, Intellect, 2012) and his monograph Musicality in Theatre. Music as Model, Method and Metaphor in Theatre-Making (Ashgate 2014). David also works as a theatre musician and sound designer. He has worked at the Thalia Theatre Hamburg, Deutsches Theater, Berlin, Stadttheater Hildesheim, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts Davis (CA), and the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. He currently also leads a research project on contemporary theatre music accompanied by a blog: http://theatermus.hypotheses.org For a full list of publications and projects see: http://mhn.academia.edu/DavidRoesner.
Sydney Lynne Thomas
Sydney Lynne Thomas (she/hers) is a Chicago-based scenic designer and civic artist from Dallas, TX. Her breadth of work includes scenic design, community installations, workshops, painting/sculpture, photography, and world-building. Beginning with a background in visual arts, she explored a variety of visual and mixed media arts before later transitioning into the field of scenic design, where she translated her love of color and provocation to the stage. Since then, she has designed or collaborated on well over 50 theatrical projects in the last few years. An ongoing focus of her work is to continue artistic explorations through curating/creating safe, accessible, and engaging spaces with a mind towards community and collaboration. A few of her Chicago-based scenic design credits include Day of Absence (Congo Square Theatre), Sheepdog (Shattered Globe Theatre), Hoodoo Love (Raven Theatre), His Shadow (16th St Theater), and work on The Watson’s Go to Birmingham 1963 (Chicago Children’s Theatre). She was nominated in Chicago for both a 2020 Non-Equity Jeff Award in Scenic Design and a 2020 3Arts Award for distinction in Theatre. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (2019), studying theatrical design/production. For more information visit: sydneylynnedesign.com