A message for NTC Members
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National Theatre Conference
Welcomes 10 New
Members to Its Roster
Distinguished Group Highlights NTCs
Dedication to Inclusivity and Diversity
(New York City, November 9, 2016) —The National Theatre Conference (NTC), an organization founded in 1925 that meets annually in New York to discuss relevant issues in today’s theatre community and to celebrate outstanding achievement in the American theatre, has announced the addition of 10 new members. This prestigious group of theatre artists, nominated by NTC members during the year and then decided upon by the NTC Board, is comprised of Vivienne Benesch (Artistic Director, Playmakers Rep, Chapel Hill, NC); Tom Bryant (dramaturg, educator/Crafton Hills College, CA); Mindi Dickstein (lyricist, librettist, playwright, New York, NY); Justin Ellington (composer, soundscape artist, New York, NY); Christine Toy Johnson (actor, playwright, lyricist, New York, NY); Elynmarie Kazle (Chair, Stage Managers’ Association, educator/Ohio University, Akron, OH); Lorca Peress (Founder/Artistic Director, Multi-Stages, New York, NY); KJ Sanchez (playwright, director, educator/University of Texas/Austin, Austin, TX); Sheila Tousey (actor, New York, NY); Richard Rand (actor, educator/Purdue University, Lafayette, IN).
All ten members will be introduced to the National Theatre Conference membership when the organization meets in New York, Dec. 2-4, 2016.
“We are proud to welcome 10 outstanding new members who bring tremendous vitality and expertise to NTC. We can’t wait for them to join the ongoing conversation to support, connect and advocate for the American Theatre,” states NTC President Risa Brainin, Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Artistic Director of UCSB’s LAUNCH PAD. “The National Theatre Conference is dedicated to creating a membership which is inclusive and diverse. Our distinguished group of leaders represents 37 states and is comprised of producers, artistic directors, freelance directors, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, and scholars. We work in universities, play development and professional arts organizations, and professional theatres.”
VIVIENNE BENESCH became Producing Artistic Director of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC in January, 2016. From 2005-2016 she served as Artistic Director of the renowned Chautauqua Theater Company and Conservatory. A director, award-winning actress, and educator, Vivienne has worked on and Off Broadway, in film and television, at many of the country’s most celebrated theatres, and on the faculty of many of the nation’s foremost theatre training programs.
TOM BRYANT’s dramaturgical work on Broadway includes The Kentucky Cycle and All the Way by Robert Schenkkan. Regionally, his work was seen in All the Way and The Great Society by Robert Schenkkan, and Roe by Lisa Loomer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Wind Cries Mary by Phillip Kan Gotanda, at San Jose Repertory; Discovery of America by Arthur Kopit,  and The Mandrake Root by Lynn Redgrave, at Long Wharf; Apollo by Nancy Keystone. Film development: HBO, BBC, and Disney. Teaching: Head, Theater Program, Crafton Hills College. MFA in Directing, Carnegie-Mellon University.
MINDI DICKSTEIN is a lyricist, librettist, and playwright. Lyrics: Little Women (Broadway, MTI, Sh-K-Boom), Benny & Joon (Transport Group), Snow In August (American Harmony Prize). Book and lyrics: Trip (Playwrights Horizons, Steinberg Commission), Beasts and Saints (Larson Award, ASCAP Workshop, Boston Theatre Project), Notes Across A Small Pond (Bridewell Theatre, London). Book: Toy Story The Musical (Disney). In concert: Lincoln Center’s “Hear and Now: Contemporary Lyricists” and 54 Below. Plays: Starving To Death In Midtown (Climate Change Theatre Action 2015), The Existential Gourmet (Jane Chambers Award, PEN International New Playwright). MFA and faculty: NYU Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.
JUSTIN ELLINGTON’s diverse musical background allows him to create in many different contexts as both composer and soundscape artist. Whether Justin is working on a world premiere like Other Desert Cities (Lincoln Center) or Fetch Clay Make Man (McCarter Theater), a classic like As You Like It (Stratford Shakespeare Festival), or Trouble in Mind (Guthrie Theater), his interest is rooted in storytelling. Justin has been awarded by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and has received a Cinema in Industry Award for his work with George C. Wolfe at the National Civil and Human Rights Museum in Atlanta, Ga.
CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON is an award-winning actor, playwright/librettist/lyricist, director and advocate for inclusion. She has been featured extensively on Broadway/Off-Broadway/TV/Film. Her written work is included in the Library of Congress Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection. Proud member: Dramatists Guild Council, Actors’ Equity Council. Recipient of the 2013 Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association.
ELYNMARIE KAZLE is currently serving as Adjunct Professor of Production and the Stage Management Mentor at Ohio University, and Production Manager/SM Mentor for the Akron School for the Arts. She is the National Chair of the Stage Managers’ Association, a Fellow of the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, and a three-time IBEN Tech Lecture Fellow from Bradley University. Kazle has worked in NY, LA, and across the country for institutions such as the Cleveland Play House, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Pasadena Playhouse. She has served as a one-time cultural ambassador to Sweden, on the boards of the Akron Arts Alliance and Theatre LA, and has toured internationally. She has created several entertainment mentoring programs including the highly successful USITT Stage Management Mentoring Program.
LORCA PERESS is a theatre director specializing in multicultural and multidisciplinary new works (including dance, musicals, opera), and Founder/Artistic Director of MultiStages. Faculty: NYU Tisch Strasberg Studio, Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Memberships: SDC, AEA, League of Professional Theatre Women (Co-President 2011-14), Creative Network for Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Governor’s Office of Puerto Rico. Bennington College and NTI graduate.
KJ SANCHEZ is Founder/CEO of American Records, and Head of MFA Directing, UT Austin. She’s directed Off Broadway in New York, and regionally including the Goodman, Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, and Studio Theatre in D.C. Her plays have been produced at Berkeley Rep, Playmakers Rep, Asolo Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two River, Center Stage, Round House, Cornerstone Theater Company an Off-Broadway and published by Playscripts.
SHEILA TOUSEY is an actress with numerous film, television and theatre credits to her name including appearances in Signature Theater (Arlington) and Magic Theatre’s (San Francisco) Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard; and at the Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis) in Marsha Norman’s adaptation of Louise Erdrich’s Master Butchers Singing Club.  Training: MFA, NYU Graduate Acting Program.
RICHARD STOCKTON RAND has acted on and Off Broadway, throughout the USA, Europe, and Canada. The recipient of an IAC-NEA Artist Fellowship, he’s worked at more than 100 theatres, and acted, directed or choreographed 200 productions. Scholarship: Routledge Companion to Commedia dellArte; Movement for Actors; Baseball Monologues and More Monologues for Men; and numerous journals. Purdue University: Chair, Interim Chair, Undergraduate Coordinator, Senior Faculty Mentor. Past President, Association of Theatre Movement Educators.
The NATIONAL THEATRE CONFERENCE is an organization founded in 1925 that meets annually in New York City to celebrate outstanding achievement in the American Theatre.  Membership is limited to no more than 150 distinguished leaders from the professional and academic theatre who serve as a “think tank” dedicated to the continued development of theatre in this country.  In addition to awards recognizing and celebrating excellence in the theatre, the NTC works actively to promote positive change in the American theatre.

Contact: Sherry Eaker at; or call 917-239-5467.
For information regarding the National Theatre Conference, go to www.national
NTC 2016
RISA BRAININ           16
DAVID FULLER          16
JENI MAHONEY        17
BENNY AMBUSH               16
JERRY GENOCHIO           18
ANITA GONZALEZ  ​​           17
SHARON OTT                    16

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