PATRICIA BIRCH (Director). In a career that crosses all media, Patricia Birch has earned two Emmy Awards and five Tony nominations. Other honors include Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Barrymore, Billboard, and MTV awards, as well as a Directors Guild nomination and the prestigious Fred Astaire Award for her choreography and direction of music-driven projects ranging from Sondheim to the Rolling Stones. Just received last year: Induction to the Theater Hall of Fame.
Ms. Birch was trained at School of American Ballet and the Martha Graham School; she became a soloist in the Graham Company and played Anybody’s in the original Broadway production of West Side Story.
Ms. Birch has created the musical staging for original Broadway and off-Broadway shows including Grease, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Me Nobody Knows, A Little Night Music, Candide, Over Here, Diamond Studs, The Happy End, Pacific Overtures, They’re Playing Our Song, Gilda Radner, Live from New York, Zoot Suit, Rosa, Parade, Like Jazz and LoveMusik, with Donna Murphy and Michael Cerveris and directed by Harold Prince.
Direction as well as choreography credits: Celebrating Gershwin at BAM, the Melissa Manchester musical I Sent a Letter to My Love; the original production of Maurice Sendak and Carole King’s Really Rosie; Joe Raposo’s Raggedy Ann; The Snow Queen, Band in Berlin, a multi-media docu-musical about the Comedian Harmonists; the Cy Coleman musicals Exactly Like You, and Like Jazz. With Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony: semi-staged productions of Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing and Let ’Em Eat Cake, as well as The Thomashefskys, the story of Tilson Thomas’s grandparents and stars of the Yiddish Theater. The piece debuted at Zankel Hall, played Tanglewood this past summer and will be at Avery Fischer Hall next year.
Opera and music projects include The Mikado, Candide, and Street Scene for New York City Opera, The Mass and The Balcony for The Opera Company of Boston, and A Wedding by William Bolcom, Arnold Weinstein, and Robert Altman at the Chicago Lyric Opera. Rag Dolly, Man of La Mancha, King Island Christmas, The Snow Queen and Orphan Train are projects staged at The New York State Theater Institute.
Ms. Birch’s film credits include choreography for all musical sequences in Grease and direction as well as choreography on Grease 2. She has also staged musical sequences for Big, Working Girl, Stella, Awakenings, Billy Bathgate, Roseland, The Wild Party, First Wives Club and The Human Stain (with sequences for Anthony Hopkins, Gary Sinise and Nicole Kidman), among others. For television, Ms. Birch has directed Natalie Cole: Unforgettable with Love and Celebrating Gershwin, (Emmy Awards in direction). She was choreographer for The Electric Company and staged numbers for Gilda Radner, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John and Jim Belushi and Dan Ackroyd on Saturday Night Live. She also directed music videos for Cyndi Lauper, the Rolling Stones, Carly Simon and the NBC Olympics.
* Currently Ms. Birch is choreographing sequences for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire produced by Martin Scorsese.
L.E. McCULLOUGH (Book) is a prize-winning journalist and author who has written 52 books of fiction, non-fiction, and plays, including 177 published stage and script works and received the Emerging Playwright Award for the New York premiere of his play Blues for Miss Buttercup, based on the life of blues piano legend Leroy Carr. Dr. McCullough’s original Plays of America has been named to the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Recommended Reading List alongside classics like To Kill a Mocking Bird, Great Expectations, Lord of the Flies and Midsummer Night’s Dream.
His commissions include plays on journalist Ernie Pyle, 1920s jazzman Charlie Davis, corporate patriarch Eli Lilly, Catholic activist Dorothy Day, the scientist Galileo, singer-heiress Libby Holman and, for the new National Constitution Center, a play on the U.S. Constitution. His most recent New York production is First Mothers: The Women Who Raised America’s Presidents.
In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Dr. McCullough’s educational plays and monologues are utilized by schools and theatre groups in Africa, Australia and Europe from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Kennedy Center ArtsEdge Teacher Training Program to a drama studio in rural Mpumalanga, South Africa and Hillingdon Manor School for Autistic Pupils in England. www.educationalclassroomplays.com
MICHAEL BARRY GREER (Lyrics). Our productions of Orphan Train will always be dedicated to the memory of the late Michael Barry Greer, a stellar actor, lyricist, composer and author. Michael was represented off-Broadway as lyricist or composer-lyricist by the revues Break a Leg and The Way It Is. His cabaret piece Columbus Avenue was performed at Don’t Tell Mama, and his musical Split was presented at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival. Other musicals included Mister! (w/ Obie-winner Leslie Lee), Legs, My Man Godfrey, Someone Seeking and Ice Cream in August. He was also a novelist and screenwriter. As an actor, he appeared On and Off-Broadway, at most major regional theatres, in film and on television with memorable roles in Law and Order, Black Eagles, A Question of Loyalty, Ghosts, Mothers, Tod, the boy, Tod and Of Mice and Men.
DOUG KATSAROS (Music) has a lengthy theatre résumé that includes writing the opening theme and special material for the Tony Awards. For Broadway he conducted Footloose, vocal and dance arranged The Life, orchestrated The Rocky Horror Show, co-starred in and musical directed Cy Coleman’s Exactly Like You, starred as Berger in Hair, served as composer/lyricist for Jackie Mason’s Laughing Room Only. For Off-Broadway he composed and directed Abie’s Island Rose, composed Just So, co-composed and orchestrated A…My Name Is Alice and co-composed Hal Prince’s Diamonds. He has written the original symphonic and rock scores for the Macy’s NBC July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza since 2003 wrote a season of music for the Ringling Brothers Circus and was composer/lyricist/co-star in the Broadway Project for PBS.
Mr. Katsaros co-hosted and musical directed VH-1’s Stand-Up Spotlight and was the subject of a documentary on TV Nation. His band Balance had 2 Billboard hits, and he has played keyboards, sung and orchestrated on CDs for Judy Collins, Donny Osmond, Cher*, Diane Schuur, Kiss*, Live*, Peter Frampton, Bon Jovi*, Gloria Estefan*, Sinéad O’Connor, Richie Havens, Peter, Paul & Mary, Raul DiBlasio, Frank Sinatra*, B. B. King and Todd Rundgren among others and arranged several tunes for Rod Stewart’s American Songbook.* (* Platinum) http://broadwayworld.com/people/Doug-Katsaros/
Mr. Katsaros has scored and conducted 6 films, including Sandra Bullock’s Me and the Mob, Sarah Jessica Parker’s If Lucy Fell and the sci-fi classic Star Crystal, and has written thousands of TV themes and commercials including Elton John’s “Diet Coke” spots, the new ABC Saturday Night Movie theme, Mancuso FBI, The Tick, The Jim Henson Hour and the immortal “By Mennen”. He musical directed Elayne Boosler’s Showtime special, played in Barry Manilow’s big band, arranged the first parade for Universal Studios Florida and has toured the world with various international musical artists.
* Currently Mr. Katsaros has composed the music for the new Broadway musical Somewhere in Time and tours internationally as keyboardist/arranger for Latin superstar Raul DiBlasio. http://www.themusicofyourdreams.com/
JONATHAN STUART CERULLO (Producer) Jonathan Stuart Cerullo most recently was the Key-note speaker for the NY Foundation for the Arts Dance Intensive, is a 2012 alumnus of both the Commercial Theatre Institute and the NY Foundation for the Arts Entrepreneurial program. He is a proud to serve on the SDC Callaway Award Committee. In 2012 he directed and staged Harold Rome’s musicals revue, Pins and Needles for NYC La Mama ETC and the HOWL Festival, directed two short dramas for the nationally recognized Writopia Lab at 59E59. He is also developing a one man burlesque bio-drama, The Fifth Dentist In Search of Sid’s Treasure starring comedian, Mike King, and Willie and Me, In the Spotlight Again based on the life of circus artist, Emmett Kelly. Mr. Cerullo has choreographed, “Orpheus in the Underworld” for, Great Performances “Evening At Pops”, Dear Mr. Gershwin, at Canada’s Royal Theatre, the Big Apple Circus’ Carnivale and Picturesque at Lincoln Center and two dances for the Broadway production of Say Goodnight, Gracie starring the late Frank Gorshin. Additional Broadway credits include, Assistant Director/Choreographer for Band In Berlin, Associate Choreographer for Anna Karenina, and as a dancer was featured in Legs Diamond, and CATS, and was Assistant to two-time TONY award winning Director and Choreographer, Joe Layton on The Three Musketeers. Off Broadway, he most recently choreographed Under Fire, which won the NYMF 2009 Best of Fest, Midsummer Nights for Musical Theatre Works, Wonderful Town at the Equity Library Theatre, and directed Uta Hagen’s 50-Year Tribute. His film and television work includes Assistant to the Choreographer on “The First Wives Club,” Donny Osmond’s “This Is The Moment,” and “Natalie Cole’s Christmas Special”. Jonathan also had the pleasure of working with Bette Midler by creating the Special Effects Movement for her in “The Stepford Wives.” Regionally he choreographed Camelot at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, was private dance instructor to Uta Hagen in Six Dance Lessons at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and appeared at the TONY award winning, Goodspeed Opera House. He also has directed and choreographed, for the internationally recognized outdoor entertainment company, Studio Festi, the New York City 2010 Columbus Day Parade hosted by television personality Maria Bartiromo, broadcast live on NBC and in Italy on RAI TV. Jonathan is a proud member of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society, the Actors Equity Association and The Dramatist Guild. For more info please visit his web site at www.jsctheatricals.com.
RICHARD FINKELSTEIN (Scenery and Projections) has designed new plays for such writers as: John Pielmeier, Hugh Wheeler, and Adrienne Kennedy. His production of Peter Pan, designed for the New York State Theatre Institute toured to Russia in 1989. He also designed the New York and Off-Broadway premiere of Jeffery Sweet’s American Enterprise, and the Off-Broadway premiere of the new musical, Orphan Train. Mr. Finkelstein also has designed for The Colorado Shakespeare Festival. His work as scenery designer for the musical A Tale of Cinderella was widely seen on PBS, Warner Home Video, and during a run in New York City. Mr. Finkelstein designed A Child’s Christmas in Wales for The National Theatre of the Deaf in Hartford Connecticut. He is a winner of numerous critical awards including three Kennedy Center Awards (From ACTF) and the Denver Drama Critics Award. His work was selected by jury for exhibition at the first World Stage Design Exposition in Toronto in 2005 and was selected for exhibition at the prestigious Prague Quadrennial in 2007. Mr. Finkelstein is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (MFA 1977) and Wilkes College (BA 1974) and has taught at University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, University of North Dakota, State University of New York at Stonybrook and at the Boulder and Denver campuses of University of Colorado. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Stage Design at James Madison University in Virginia.
As a stage photographer, Mr. Finkelstein’s work has been exhibited in major galleries such as the SoHo Gallery in NY City and printed in prestigious publications such as Dance Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Stage Directions, Dance Spirit and Dancer. Many books now include is work as both photographer and stage designer. The new 9th edition of Acting is Believing features his work on the cover. Since 2006, Mr. Finkelstein has served as the official photographer for the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. Since 2005 he has served as one of the official photographers for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology USITT. In 2011 Mr. Finkelstein entered the field of design for virtual performance. In this realm he now serves as the Resident Scenic Designer for the first virtual dance company in history, Ballet Pixelle, located in the virtual environment of Second Life. http://www.rfdesigns.org/
DONA GRANATA (Costume Designer) designs internationally for film, stage, television and opera. Theatre: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Jolson, Chaplin, Says He, Says I, Canciones de Mi Padre (Broadway); Hope of the Heart, The Aristocrats, Hoagy, Bix Wolfgang Beethoven Burkhaus, Stepping Out, My One and Only (LA); Double Feature (Regional). Worked with leading opera companies in USA, Barcelona Opera, Spoleto Festival (Italy/USA): The Nutcracker (Hartford Ballet); Beatrice and Benedict (WNO); It Had to Be You (Lorimar/CBS); Dark Rapture (Dallas Theatre); The Immigrant (Virginia Theatre); Ghosts (Old Globe Theatre); Scenes from an Execution (Mark Taper Forum); David’s Mother (CBS/MOW); All’s Well That Ends Well (San Diego); The Barber of Seville, Beatrice and Benedict (Houston Grand Opera). Features: Dark Horse (Republic Pictures/Carolco), Once in a Blue Moon (Discovery Program/Showtime), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (Cinecom), Happy Together, World Gone Wild (Apollo Pictures), Nobody’s Fool (Island Pictures), Lust in the Dust (New World Pictures), The Goodbye People (Embassy Pictures), Deathtrap, The Wiz. Ms. Granata won an Emmy Award and a Costume Designers Guild Award for the 2001 ABC biographical drama Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows and received Emmy nominations for Showtime’s The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone and Robert Altman’s musical documentary Jazz ’34.
* All photos by Richard Finkelstein; set design by Richard Finkelstein.