Daniella Topol is a New-York based freelance theater director primarily focused on working with writers to develop and direct relevant, theatrical and adventuresome new plays and musicals. Daniella Topol (ARTISTIC DIRECTOR)’s world-premiere productions include: Martyna Majok’s Ironbound (Rattlestick; Roundhouse; Steppenwolf’s First Look, NY Times Critics’ Pick), Jessica Dickey’s Charles Ives Take Me Home (Rattlestick) and Row After Row (Women’s Project), Cori Thomas’ When January Feels Like Summer (Ensemble Studio Theatre/P73/Women’s Proj; NY Times Critics’ Pick), Rachel Bonds’ Five Mile Lake (South Coast Rep), Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City (New Georges) and Lascivious Something (Women’s Project), Rajiv Joseph’s Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre), Tony Meneses’ Guadalupe in the Guest Room (Two River), Catherine Treischmann’s How the World Began (South Coast Rep and Women’s Project), Lloyd Suh’s Jesus in India (MaYi and Magic). Topol has been the Artistic Program Director of the Lark Play Development Center, New Works Program Director of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and Associate Producing Director of City Theatre. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s Directing Program where she also has a Masters in Arts Management. She has directed readings and workshops for a number of companies and is currently a member of the board of the Lark Play Development Center, has been a grants review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY State Council on the Arts and TCG. She is an NYTW Usual Suspect, member of EST, a Women’s Project Lab alumnus, and a New Georges affiliated artist. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 4-year old daughter.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Peter T. Wilderotter, President
Nina Darnton, Secretary
Dan Markley, Treasurer
Daniella Topol, Artistic Director
David Van Asselt, Founder
Sandra Coudert Graham
Laura Rebell Gross
Wendy Vanden Heuvel
Annie Middleton recently received an MFA in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama. At YSD, she served as Managing Director of Yale Cabaret, Company Manager for Yale Repertory Theatre, General Manager for the Dwight/Edgewood Project, and Management Fellow at Roundabout Theatre Company in NYC. Prior to grad school, Annie lived in Los Angeles where she spent a year at WME, followed by two years at Carousel Productions, a film/TV production company led by actor, producer & writer Steve Carell. Annie received a B.S. in Theater from Northwestern University. She grew up in Pelham, NY, and has a passion for singing, guitar, yoga, vegetarian food and dogs.
Victor Cervantes is an actor/director/writer/producer. From Phoenix, AZ, he is the Co-Artistic Producer of Middle Voice at Rattlestick, the apprentice company of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Actor: Lila Feinberg’s Clifford Odets Ensemble Commissioned piece Love Lab (dir. by GT Upchurch); Harrison Rivers’ Look Upon Our Lowliness (dir. David Mendizabal); Vassa Zhelesnova (dir. Moritz van Stuelpnagel); Savage in Limbo (dir. Stella Powell-Jones); Polaroid Stories (dir. Adam Knight); Multistages’ Temple of the Souls; The Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum. Director: Hawthorne’s James Baldwin Project (Middle Voice at Rattlestick), Exposure (Middle Voice at Rattlestick), Summer and Smoke (NYU/ETW), and (melo)drama*tic (NYU/Strasberg). Playwright: (melo)drama*tic, hom#phobic, connectSHUN, four Stories for Stories, and human(I)fest. He has enjoyed teaching young artists with MCC and The Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute for 4 years, and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder for 7 years. Member of Improbable Stage Company and MethLab Collaborative. 1st-Generation College Graduate: BFA NYU/Tisch School for the Arts, Lee Strasberg Centennial Scholar & Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar.
Ngozi Anyanwu is an overall Renaissance Woman. Education: University of California San Diego’s (MFA acting) Point Park University (B.A) Acting :The Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Barrington Stage, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and The Mark Taper Forum. TV credits: Limitless, Deadbeat, The Affair Law and Order SVU and Mysteries of Laura and the upcoming show The Deuce. Producer: 1st Generation Nigerian Project, Co-Producer and Director of New Play Development of Now Africa’s Playwrights Festival. Director: She Gon Learn, by Lisa Strum for the Emerging Arts Festival, United Solo Festival, National Black Theater; Black Love. Playwrighting Good Grief, Victory is Ours and The Homecoming Queen. Good Grief was presented as part of the Rising Circle Collective’s 6th annual Ink Tank and the play also received a workshop production at INTAR Theatre. Most recently Good Grief won the Inaugural CTG/Humanitas Award and will have a reading at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Victory is Ours was recently presented as part of the National Black Theatre’s Keep Soul Alive Monday Reading Series. An excerpt of The Homecoming Queen will be presented as part of The Fire This Time’s Inaugural’s Writers group. Anyanwu is also a recipient of the Djerassi Artist Residency.
Vered Hankin Called “the leading Jewish storyteller of her generation” (New York Jewish Week), internationally acclaimed storyteller Vered Hankin has been called “spellbinding” (The Forward), “mesmerizing” (Edge NY), “eloquent and vibrant” (Village Voice) and “gifted and wise beyond her years” (Lifestyles Magazine). As a storyteller and actress, Vered Hankin has traveled the world performing, including the famed Performance Space122 (Jeff Weiss’ Come Clean, rated #1 Voice Choices, starring Allison Janney) and on NPR. A former faculty member at Northwestern University, she is the author of two storybook collections, The Talking Treasure: Stories to Build Emotional Intelligence in Children and In the Beginning: Sparks for a Child’s Week. Her storytelling audio CD won the National Association of Parenting Publication’s Award of Excellence and the Film Advisory Board’s Gold Award. Vered also collaborated with celebrities Jerry Stiller, Daryl Hannah, Henry Winkler and others in an internationally aired radio show and audio CD-set of children’s folktales, One People: Many Stories. In addition to her storytelling escapades, Vered is also founder of MBSR Chicago, an organization devoted to mindfulness relaxation interventions for families facing chronic illness. A former faculty member of Northwestern University’s Department of Medical Social Sciences, she has also published numerous academic article, appeared internationally as a keynote speaker and interviewed by Forbes Magazine as a meditation expert. Currently, Vered is focusing on her passion for acting and can be seen in various theatres around Chicago, such as Lookingglass Theatre, Artistic Home and Jackalope Theatre. Recently, she was featured in the book, Bright Lights of the Second City: 50 Prominent Chicagoans Living with Passion and Purpose.
Polly Lee is an award winning actress seen most recently on The Americans. She has dedicated her career to new American plays and as such has performed in over 20 premieres here in NYC and across the country. She has developed work for hundreds of playwrights (most recently Sam Chanse, Barbara Hammond, Ken Urban and Mia Chung) and is a proud recipient of New Dramatists’ Charles Bowden Award. In her newfound literary capacity she has read and evaluated plays for SPACE on Ryder Farm (where she will be assisting The Working Farm curator, John Baker), Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Marathon, The Princess Grace Foundation, New Dramatists’ Admissions Committee, the Lark’s Lit Wing, Jewish Plays Project and Playwright’s Realm. Polly has narrated many audio-books and is a proud member of EST, Rising Phoenix Rep., AEA and an affiliated artist of Clubbed Thumb.
David Mendizábal is a director, designer, and one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company in Harlem. At The Movement he conceived and directed the workshop production of Look Upon Our Lowliness by Harrison David Rivers, and directed the North-American premiere of Bintou by Koffi Kwahulé, translated by Chantal Bilodeau. Additional directing credits include: And She Would Stand Like This by Harrison David Rivers (Upcoming, Dec. 2016), Locusts Have No King by J. Julian Christopher (INTAR), Wayward by Steve DiUbaldo (Lee Strasberg Directing Fellowship), The Gospel According to F#ggots by Aurin Squire (BAX), AT BUFFALO by Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Joshua Williams, Khalil Sullivan (NYMF/CAP21), ASHÉ by Ricardo Pérez González (UP Theatre Company). He serves on the Steering Committee of the National Latina/o Theatre Commons, Associate Producer for The Sol Project, and co-founder of La Co-Operativa of NYC Latina/o Theatre Artists. Alumni of NALAC Leadership Institute, Andrew W. Mellon Artistic Leadership Fellow for Encuentro 2014, Drama League Director’s Project, The Civilian’s R&D Group, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and LAByrinth Intensive. B.F.A. NYU/Tisch. www.davidmendizabal.com
Cori Thomas plays include: When January Feels Like Summer (World Premiere City Theatre Co., Pittsburgh, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Page73/Women’s Project NY Premiere/ Upcoming Productions: Mosaic Theatre DC, Underground Railway Theater MA, 2016);The Ballad of Ella May(The Working Theater 2016); Pa’s Hat (Pillsbury House Theatre, MN 2010); Flight 109, My Secret Language of Wishes (Various theaters and University productions including Mixed Blood, MN 2011); The Princess, The Breast, and, The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; Waking Up (Ensemble Studio Theatre 2013); His Daddy( Going To The River & Castillo 2009); our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Cori’s plays have been developed and produced at Sundance Institute, Goodman Theatre, City Theatre Company. (Pittsburgh), Page 73, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, The Working Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Going To The River, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, The Black Rep (St. Louis), The New Black Fest, and Queens Theatre in the Park. She has been commissioned by South Coast Rep Theatre, The Working Theatre, The Sloan Foundation, NYSCA, EST, Pillsbury House Theatre. Residencies, and Honors: Class of 2022 Resident Playwright at New Dramatists, MacDowell Fellow, Edgerton New Play Award, Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Osborn Award for Best New Play (When January Feels Like Summer) ; 2005 Theodore Ward Prize (My Secret Language of Wishes), 2003 2nd Place Theodore Ward Prize (“our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor….”). Cori is a co-founder of The Pa’s Hat Foundation, Inc.www.pashatfoundation.org an organization focused on helping the former child soldiers of Liberia heal after the long standing civil war through focus on arts, education, and literacy. Representation: Leah Hamos at The Gersh Agency Lhamos@gersh.com