The faculty, mentors, and guest artists involved with the program are drawn from established playwrights, screenwriters, and other accomplished theatre and film artists in the greater New England area, including NYC and Boston, as well as Los Angeles and other artistic centers around the country. Individuals are selected who have proven credentials in their field as well as experience in and a proficiency for effective teaching on the graduate level.
BUZZ McLAUGHLIN (Program Director)
Buzz is a playwright and screenwriter, stage and film producer, script consultant, and teacher. His plays, which include Transcendence, Leaving Jane, Traverse des Sioux, Sister Calling My Name, Spirit on the Plains, Absent Without Leave, Limits, and Wings (a musical adaptation of Aristophanes’ The Birds), have been produced in NYC and regionally in the U.S. and Canada. With his wife Kris he has written several screenplays and teleplays. His work has won numerous national competitions, including the National Play Award for Sister Calling My Name, and he is the recipient of a Playwriting Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He has twice been a writer-in-residence at the New Harmony Project, a national playwrights/screenwriters conference held annually in New Harmony, Indiana, and for many years served on the Project’s advisory board. He is currently the co-founder/producing partner of the independent film company Either/Or Films that produced the feature films The Sensation of Sight, starring Academy Award nominee David Strathairn and Only Daughter, currently in post-production. He runs a professional script consulting service and is the Founding Director and former Artistic Director of award-winning Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, a professional (AEA) theatre dedicated to the development of new plays currently in its 26th year. A former Professor of Theatre Arts and Playwright in Residence at Drew University, Buzz taught playwriting and, as chairman, founded and built the department into one of the leading undergraduate theatre programs in the country. Prior to his years at Drew he was an Assistant Professor of Drama at the University of Virginia, where he developed the University’s MFA program in theatre. His book, The Playwright’s Process: Learning the Craft from Today’s Leading Dramatists (Back Stage Books), includes extensive excerpts from his four-year interview series at the Dramatists Guild, NYC, with sixteen of America’s foremost playwrights. He holds a doctorate in theatre and dramatic literature from the University of Wisconsin and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Writers Guild of America.
Russell’s plays include Appointment with a High Wire Lady, The Last Good Moment of Lily Baker, The Second Death of Priscilla, The Day of the Picnic, Cecilia’s Last Tea Party, Sally’s Gone, and She Left Her Name. They have been produced at various theatres, including People’s Light & Theatre, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Long Wharf Theatre, Center Stage, Yale Repertory, and Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival. They have also been presented at the Mark Taper Forum’s New Work Festival, the Sundance Institute Playwrights Lab, the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference, Playpenn, National New Play Network’s Showcase of New Plays, and New Harmony Project. He has been a 2008-10 recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and was resident playwright at People’s Light for the residency program of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group. He has received grants and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, McKnight Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Tennessee Arts Commission as well as two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a past member of New Dramatists in New York and has been a visiting artist at institutions such as Lehigh University, Yale University’s Divinity School, Virginia Technical University, Ohio University, University of Utah, University of Puget Sound, and with New York Stage & Film at Vassar College. He and composer Melissa Shiflett were commissioned by the Pennsylvania Opera Theater to develop an opera from his play The Wild Goose Circus.
He was commissioned by Repertory Theater of St. Louis to write The Travelling Jekyll & Hyde Show, which was further developed at the Sundance Children’s Theatre Lab and at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. His family audience piece Theatre For Your Mother: The Little Red Riding Hood Show was produced by People’s Light & Theatre, Honolulu Theatre For Youth, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, and the New Zenith Theatre. He was commissioned by People’s Light, through a National Endowment for the Arts grant, to adapt Avi’s Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Newbery Medal for children’s literature, 2003). His plays have been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatists Play Service, Baker’s Plays, and by Toneeluitgeverij Vink B.V. in the Netherlands. Selections from plays have been published in Smith & Kraus’ Great Scenes for Young Actors (Volume II), in The Best Women’s Stage Monologues and The Best Men’s Stage Monologues for 1991, 1992, 2003 and 2008, and in Penguin Books’ 100 Monologues – An Audition Sourcebook from New Dramatists. Two monologues from his new play, Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven, are published in Smith & Kraus’ 2010: The Best Woman’s Stage Monologues & Scenes and 2010: The Best Men’s Stage Monologues & Scenes. Currently, he is working on The Evening & Morning Tiger, a theatre piece with an eight person ensemble of actors and circus artists, commissioned by People’s Light & Theatre and Longwood Botanical Gardens. He is also developing a screenplay based on his play Appointment with a High Wire Lady for Either/Or Films.
Wendy Hammond is a produced playwright and screenwriter who is an assistant arts professor in the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has been in Singapore since the fall of 2008 at the inception of Tisch’s new Dramatic Writing Program and was instrumental in shaping it. In the four and a half years she taught at TischAsia, her students and graduates won over 30 film and writing awards and over 150 of their productions have been screened at major film festivals, broadcast locally and internationally, and produced on stages in Singapore, the U.S., and countries around the world. Although TischAsia School of the Arts has enjoyed unprecedented artistic and professional successes, it will soon close because of political conflicts and Wendy will be returning to teaching in the U.S. Her professionally produced plays include The Ghostman, Jersey City, Family Life: 3 Brutal Comedies, Absence, Road Rage: a Love Story, and Suzy Psychopath. They have been produced by New York City theatres (Atlantic Theatre, Second Stage, Soho Rep, Home for Contemporary Theatre and Art), by regional theatres (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Long Wharf, Salt Lake Acting Company, Charlotte Repertory Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, and Purple Rose Theatre Company), in London, Milan, Tel Aviv, and Singapore. Wendy’s produced screenplays include A Beautiful Life, based on her play, Jersey City, co-written by Deborah Calla and produced by Calla Productions; Lehi’s Wife, produced by the American Film Institute and Calla Productions; and Julie Johnson, based on her play, produced by Shooting Gallery Films, starring Lili Taylor, Courtney Love, and Spalding Gray, directed by Bob Gosse that premiered in the Sundance Film Festival and played in film festivals all over the world winning many awards including Best Feature in the Barcelona Film Festival and an Audience Award in Berlin. She has also dramaturged many plays and screenplays and has worked as a literary manager for Soho Rep and the Baystreet Theatre Festival. Wendy has been a visiting lecturer in literary arts at Brown University, where she taught the advanced screenwriting course to graduates and undergraduates and conducted independent studies in screenwriting. She has also been a visiting lecturer in the film department at Connecticut College, where she taught the intermediate screenwriting course for undergraduates. She has been on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where she was an assistant professor of playwriting, a lecturer in screenwriting, and coordinator of dramatic writing. She was an adjunct professor of playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College, where she taught creative writing literature and wrote about performance. She taught creative writing workshops to prisoners in the Bellevue Hospital Prison Ward, as well as playwriting classes in New Dramatists, Circle Repertory Theatre, The Atlantic Theatre, Theatre Emory, The Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Actors Information Project. She was on the faculty of New York Stage and Film at Vassar College, the Writers at Work Writers Conference, and the Sewanee Writers Conference, where she co-taught three years with Tina Howe and two years with Horton Foote in the summer conference playwriting workshops. Among other awards, Wendy has received a Drama League Award for Playwriting and five Detroit Free Press Theatre Excellence Awards. She has twice attended the Sundance Institute Playwright Conference and the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, as well as the Steppenwolf Theatre Workshop, the American Film Institute’s Directors Workshop for Women, and has been nominated by the American Theatre Critics Association for Best New American Play. She holds a BFA in theatre from the University of Utah, an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU, and an MDiv from Yale.
“A truly thrilling part of my life is, and has been, creating a safe space for students to explore their talent, grapple with craft, take risks, find their wild voices, play and laugh, face the world’s darkness and absurdity as well as its love, and push the limits of what theatre can do. Besides my experience as a playwright, theater practitioner and screenwriter, I believe I offer a fervent belief in students, in their humanity, humor and talent, and an ability to provide a caring, challenging place for theatre artists to risk, expose and blossom. Writers are in the business of making meaning out of experience. Right now, given the profound issues facing our world, this meaning-making business is more important than ever. I believe the playwrights and screenwriters of the near future have a sacred duty to evoke tears and laughter over what is, and to hold up a vision of what could be.”
Arthur is one of the top contemporary playwrights in the country and the former Head of the Graduate Playwriting program at Carnegie-Mellon University. In addition to his work at Carnegie Mellon, he has also taught at Drew University and Sarah Lawrence College. A prolific writer, his plays have been published by Samuel French and produced in New York and throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe and include Moving Bodies, Edith Stein, Becoming Memories, Flight, Love and Murder, Money, Innocent Pleasures, Charlie Bacon and His Family, Boy Dies Dancing Mambo, Dirty Jokes, A Dream of Wealth, The Golden Guitar, Memories of Our Women, and St. Francis in Egypt, in addition to many one-acts. Arthur has also written a number of screenplays and the librettos for operas. In the forefront of the movement to engender scientific subject matter in plays, and with financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which has commissioned him three times, his work has attracted major actors such as Alfred Molina, who portrayed physicist Richard Feynman in an audio tape of Giron’s Moving Bodies, produced by L.A. Theater Works. His Galileo Prize winner Emilie’s Voltaire has been seen so far in New York, Australia and Portugal. Because Arthur is bilingual, he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Guild to write an original Spanish-English libretto, The Golden Guitar. Since composers are attracted to his plays because they are naturally lyrical, his play Edith Stein has become an opera, and there are three musical versions of his play Flight. His work has won numerous awards and honors, including the Los Angeles Critics’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Writing (twice) as well as the Galileo Prize. He was nominated for a Daytime Drama Emmy when, in his younger days, he wrote Another World. Among Arthur’s recent New York productions are The Coffee Trees and Emilie’s Voltaire (both produced at the Beckett Theatre). Currently he is working on the Broadway-bound musical Amazing Grace, which was seen recently at the Goodspeed Opera House. He is also working with German composer Adrian Werum on adapting a Hermann Hesse novel to the stage and is writing a screenplay about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Arthur is a Founding Member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC, currently in its 37th year, a theatre company in which he remains active and is dedicated to the production of new plays. He lives in New York with his wife Mariluz.
Playwright/screenwriter Karen Sunde began as an actor. Off-Broadway she performed many leading roles and became Associate Director of CSC Repertory (Classic Stage Company). Her plays have been performed Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, on a USA tour, and in eleven countries and seven languages. Her published plays include Dark Lady (produced at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland; the Aalborg State Theatre, Denmark, and optioned for film); Balloon (won three Villager awards Off-Broadway; nominated Best Play by Outer Critics Circle; and aired on Radio France); Haiti: A Dream in a collection of one-acts titled Facing Forward (produced by Seven Stages, Atlanta; aired on WNYC, WHYY, and NPR); To Moscow (premiered at the Ankara National Theatre, Turkey; produced at Chain Lightning, NYC); Oh Wild West Wind in a collection of one-acts titled Rowing to America (produced at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey). Other plays include Truth Takes a Holiday (which was read at La MaMa, NYC); In A Kingdom By the Sea (produced at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey); How His Bride Came to Abraham (produced at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; Praxis Theatre Project, NYC; and The Unicorn, Kansas City); Anton, Himself (produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Moscow Art Theatre, the Yalta Festival in Russia, Peoples Light and Theatre Company, PA, and NYU); The Fastest Woman Alive (produced at Luna Stage, NJ; Praxis, NYC; and Edinburgh Festival, 2010); Kabuki Othello (produced at People’s Light and Theatre Company and Annenberg Center, Philadelphia; Wisdom Bridge, Chicago and Milwaukee Repertory); Kabuki Lady Macbeth (produced at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and cited for five JEFF Awards, including “Best New Work,” Best Production,” and “Best Direction”); scenes from To Moscow; Anton, Himself; Masha,Too, and How His Bride Came to Abraham appear in Scenes & Monologs from the Best New Plays. Karen has written plays for Actors Theatre of Louisville, People’s Light and Theatre Company, and The Acting Company, NYC. Achilles toured Hungary, Cyprus, and Japan. She co-wrote the musical Quasimodo, which premiered at the Byrdcliffe Festival, Woodstock, NY, and was produced at the Lahti City Theatre, Finland. For Cheltenham Center, Philadelphia, she wrote La Pucelle (Me & Joan) and Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting (Tracking Blood White). Among plays produced in NYC: for Chain Lightning, she wrote When Real Life Begins; for The Working Theatre, she wrote 2020 Sexcare in Free Market; for NYU’s Tisch School she wrote Please God, No Wedding or Shooting at the End!, produced by Table and Chair Handmade Theatre. She also wrote an opera, The Spa, with composer Michael Dilthey. Her first screenplay, Undercover Patriot, was a finalist at Sundance and optioned. She wrote Parallel Loves for Terra Bella Entertainment, Los Angeles; Boule de Suif (adapted from de Maupassant) for Dace Direction, London; Dream House for Passport Films, NYC; The Fastest Woman Alive for Howard S. Shulman Productions, NYC (optioned); The Secret Ship (optioned); Final Quest: The Mountain of the Gods; Tripping Tammy; Love Hits Earth (& Other Disasters); Next!; and adaptations of her How His Bride Came to Abraham (optioned) and In a Kingdom by the Sea. She is currently completing Lady & the Hooker. She is the recipient of a McKnight Fellowship, an NDEA Fellowship, the Aide de la Creation award in France, and the Bob Hope Award. She served on the theatre panel of New Jersey Council on the Arts and the new plays panel of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and was La MaMa ETC (New York)’s nominee for the Laura Pels/PEN award. Karen lives in New York City.
JON M. GARON
Professor Jon Garon is director of the NKU Chase Law & Informatics Institute at Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. Author of a leading entertainment law casebook, Entertainment Law & Practice (Carolina Academic Press 2005, Supplement 2012), and the highly regarded production handbook, The Independent Filmmaker’s Law & Business Guide – Financing, Shooting, and Distributing Independent and Digital Films (Second Edition, A Cappella Books/Chicago Review Press, June 2009), Jon obtained his B.A. in theatre from the University of Minnesota and J.D. from Columbia Law School. He has represented numerous independent narrative and documentary filmmakers in all aspects of production and distribution. He specializes in entertainment law, intellectual property and cyberspace law, and the role law plays in the growth of informatics as an academic and professional discipline.