Town Stages is proud to announce the 2019 recipients of the annual Sokoloff Creative Arts Fellowship: Charlotte Arnoux & Alex Parrish, Nikko Benson, Éamon Boylan, Maximus DeFrancesco, Molly Powers Gallagher, Tess Howsam, Rachel Lin, Anna Lublina, Lacy Marie Meyer, Ben Moniz, Marina Montesanti, Zach Morris, Mark Murray, Tara O’Con, Noah Reece, Tidtaya Sinutoke, Alex Spieth, Jeff Tang, Greg Taubman, The Mother Line Story Project, Will Thomason, Isaac L. Thompson Jr, Rebecca Vineyard, and Emma Rosa Went.
Sokoloff Arts has been dedicated to telling artists’ stories and sharing their passions since its foundation in 2012. The Sokoloff Creative Arts Fellowship, in conjunction with Town Stages, provides a home for artists, entrepreneurs, writers, content creators, movers, shakers, and makers of all disciplines. Fellows receive access to free workspaces to host meetings, develop, write, practice and collaborate. They also receive access to subsidized presentation and performance space, advisement from the executive staff at Town Stages in the development of their projects, and endless opportunities for support and feedback from their contemporaries.
“The Sokoloff Arts Creative Fellowship is dedicated to providing space, perspective, and opportunity. We foster a community where all are welcome and everyone’s biases are challenged,” said Robin Sokoloff, executive director of Town Stages. “We encourage those who feel silenced, marginalized, and otherwise ‘othered’ to share their experiences, and remain dedicated to conversation and community. In our inaugural year, we were thrilled to support more than two dozen projects in a wide range of endeavors and disciplines.”
A female-driven cultural arts institution, Town Stages, is a state-of-the-art, flexible, performance and event space with a 10,000 square foot storefront facility that utilizes a for-profit business model to maintain their non-profit mission of creating accessible space for all. With a Main Hall, a Cocktail Lounge and Bar, a Gallery, and many multi-use rooms, Town Stages offers much-needed space and production resources for businesses, arts organizations, producers, and families.
“We were so lucky to have such an incredible group of makers in our first year,” said Chie Morita, Deputy Director at Town Stages and Coordinator of the Fellowship Program. “We had some structure in place, but we were building the program from the ground up while Town was still covered in sawdust. The 2018 Fellowship taught me tremendous things about how people congregate, build creative rituals, and make space for their arts. I’m so grateful for them. In saying that, I’m thrilled to start 2019 off with a renewed dedication to creative space-making and collaborative asking. At the end of the day, I believe in art that asks us to empathize and be vulnerable, and I am certain that this group is going to encourage thinking and feeling at a whole new level.”
Check out this year’s 2019 Sokoloff Fellows:
Charlotte Arnoux & Alex Parrish
UltraViolet: An Electrifying New Musical
The NY-based writing team of Arnoux & Parrish consists of Charlotte Arnoux, a French theater artist focused on new work development and plays tackling social justice issues, and Alex Parrish, a musician/performer who creates musical theater centered on psychology and moral ambivalence.
Charlotte is the Managing Director of GoodCapp Arts, director for theater and film, and creator/producer of NYC’s FRIDGE Festival; BFA NYU Tisch; www.charlottearnoux.com.
Alex is a composer/lyricist/orchestrator for full-length and one-act musicals, orchestral suites, multimedia shows, short films, and cabaret works; BFA NYU Tisch and BMI Musical Theatre Workshop; www.alexanderparrish.com.
Nikko Benson is a musical theater writer and performer, a Jonathan Larson award winner, and an O’Neill Music Theater Conference Finalist. His projects include Nikola Tesla Drops The Beat (Adirondack Theater Festival); Start Again (Musical Theater Factory); In Pursuit of Magic (Kennedy Center Millenium Stage) and ElseWhere. Writer’s residencies with Village Theater Festival, Pace New Musicals, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, Catwalk, Forge Foster, and Goodspeed Writers Colony. Nikko is a founding member of the Musical Theater Factory, a core member of Marisa Michelson’s Constellation Chor, and a teaching artist at The Performing Arts Project.
Éamon Boylan is
Self Made Artist
Maximus is a singer and performer with years operatic training. He is a rostered performer of seven seasons, singing the National Anthems for the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Maximus is also a past Quarter Finalist of the American Tradition
Molly Powers Gallagher
Three Sisters, Their Brother, & Their Dead Mother
Molly Powers Gallagher is a writer & actor, who is committed to creating stories that make women feel seen. She recently presented an industry reading of her screenplay DRIVING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED (2nd Round of Consideration – 2019 Sundance Development Track). Molly is a current LabWorks Artist at The New Victory Theater, where she is developing THE LIVING HISTORY PROJECT, an immersive play for that constructs and deconstructs a women’s history museum. Her plays THE MIGHTY PATSY MINK! and THE MYSTERY OF THE 12 CURIOUS COUSINS
The Reflection Cabinet and “Water, Water,Everywhere…”
Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, Tess Howsam curates and directs ekphrastic shows that blend theater, installation art, and performance. Howsam seeks to subvert theatrical expectations while building cross-disciplinary collaborations that offer visibility to marginalized artists and address issues of gender. Her installation work is rooted in story and collaboration, viewing art as a dialogue to address contemporary sociological, political, and environmental issues. Howsam is the Founding Artistic Director of the Exquisite Corpse Company (2012-present). Her installation Corseted Community is a part of an international exhibit Puentes – No Muros/ Bridges – Not Walls, (El Centro de las Artes de Querétaro (CEART) Querétaro, Mexico, March 2018/ Casa de Europa Mexico, San Miguel, Mexico, October 2018). MFA-IA: Goddard College, Washington, BA: Bard College, New York.
Rachel is a New York City-based writer and performer. She moved to Brooklyn at the age of 8 and has lived here ever since. She received her BFA in acting from NYU Tisch, and before that she attended Stuyvesant High School in Tribeca. She has devised and developed work with Aaron Landsman, Karmenlara Ely, Niegel Smith, John Jesurun, and many more artists she greatly admires. She has worked at Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Flea Theater, the Tank, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, the Lark, Signature Theatre, LAByrinth, P73, and more. She is a member of Actors Equity. She hopes to someday own both a dog and a dishwasher. rachelmlin.com.
Бабушка | Bab(oo)shka
Anna Lublina is a theater artist based in Brooklyn. She embraces ideals of collectivity and community action that she first encountered in her research into the Soviet conceptualists. Her work has been presented at the Old American Can Factory, Dixon Place, The Brick, The Tank, The Pit, and Vital Joint. Anna has been an artist in residence at the Barn Arts Collective and Azule. She was recently accepted into the St. Ann’s Warehouse PuppetLab, the Sokoloff Arts Creative Fellowship Program, Undiscovered Countries Blast Off Lab, and awarded the Blueprint Grant by COJECO in support of “Бабушка | BAb(oo)shka.”
Lacy Marie Meyer
WHO I AM and LITTLE LIGHTS
Lacy Marie Meyer is an award winning Actor, Writer, & Producer. She is the founding member of the feminist writing group WHO I AM and a member of STILLWATER WRITERS. She most recently acted in and co-produced the Off-Broadway play, THE HURRICANE PARTY by David Thigpen at The Cherry Lane Theatre. She is a member of The Collective NY and a graduate of The William Esper Studio. Her short play, LITTLE LIGHTS, was selected to be produced and published by the Collective NY’s anthology play festival. Lacy received a degree in Theatre and Women’s Studies from Ball State University.
Untitled Ballet About America
Ben Moniz is a Brooklyn based composer, multi-instrumentalist, and theater-maker. He has written scores for several documentaries and short films and performed in pit bands with Manhattan School of Music, The Barn Arts Collective, and 5th Floor Theatre Company. Ben’s work as a composer has been featured at FEAST: a performance series, Paper Kraine, and A Good Night in Bad Waters. He has worked extensively with The Barn Arts Collective in Bass Harbor, Maine as a performer, a musician, an artist in residence, and a technical advisor. soundcloud.com/benmoniz
EXI(S)T is a Musical about Asylum Seekers in the United States. We are celebrating what it means to be “different” and promoting the mixture of cultures, beliefs and rhythms. We are stripping away the “victim immigrant” narrative and coming together under the common belief that all humans are deserving of human rights. Inspired by Shane Evan’s MM2000 illustrations; written by Nicole Sousa; conceived and directed by Marina Montesanti; dramaturgy by Bárbara Eliodorio. Music team: Linda Briceño and David Telson. Production Stage Manager: Gabriela Gutierrez. In collaboration with Sigrid Gonzalez, Former Special Advisor, and Appointee within the Obama Administration for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Incubator for Communal Experiences
Zach Morris (Third Rail Projects’ Co-Artistic Director) is co-creator of the immersive theater hits Then She Fell, The Grand Paradise, Sweet & Lucky, and most recently Ghost Light at Lincoln Center Theater’s Claire Tow Theater. Zach’s work includes site-specific performance, multimedia installation art and environments, and experiential performance. He is particularly interested in creating projects that place contemporary art and performance in non-traditional contexts. Zach has been honored with numerous awards, including a Chita Rivera award, two BESSIE awards, and was recently named as one of the 100 most influential people in Brooklyn culture by Brooklyn Magazine. His work has been presented nationally and internationally with the support of numerous grants, commissions, and residencies and he has had the pleasure of teaching, mentoring, and creating new platforms to support the work of artists both at home and abroad. Zach holds a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.
Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Mark is a passionate and versatile storyteller who finds equal joy in musical, classical, and comedic pursuits. He is excited to be a part of the 2019 Sokoloff Arts Fellowship with his show Pilots, an episodic writing competition in which six writers go head to head each week to win the favor of the audience. In his spare time, he enjoys Star Wars, tabletop games, yoga, and dad jokes. He holds a BFA in acting with an emphasis in original works from Cornish College of the Arts. You can follow him and his work at www.markmylesmurray.com.
Tara O’Con is an experiential artist, designer, and Certified Professional Coach specializing in immersive theater, user experience design, and Coaching for Transformation. She is a long-time collaborative member of Third Rail Projects- hailed as one of the foremost companies creating site-specific, immersive and experiential dance theater. As a teaching artist and coach, she specializes helping people bring tools for building empathy and trust into interactive settings across disciplines and into their own lives. She has been commissioned by several theaters in NYC, an Artist-In-Residence with Movement Research, and a Choreographic Fellow at the Bogliasco Study Center in Liguria, Italy.
And God Came Down [tentative]
Noah Reece is a composer, writer, performer, and all-around storyteller originally from the plains of Oklahoma. From superheroes, to spies, to Noresmen, to middle-American families, Noah perpetually gravitates toward subjects and projects that are new and different from the last, and revels in playing with the balance between sincerity and humor in his art.
Untitled (for now)
Tidtaya Sinutoke is a Thai born, NYC-based composer, writer, and musician. Composition credits include: Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon, Hart Island Requiem, SHE | THEY | HE, Crossing Borders, Sunrise Prayer, Water is Life, Half the Sky, and Yellow Cycle. She is a recipient of the Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects, NYFA IAM Mentoring Program, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence, Kilroy’s Honorable Mention List, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, 5th Anvenue Theatre’s First Draft Commission, and Jonathan Larson Grant. A proud member of ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. MFA: NYU. tidtayasinutoke.com
Alex Spieth is an actor/writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the creator of the series Blank My Life (www.blankmylifetheseries.com). Blank was feautured in IndieWire and GirlTalkHQ and has been screened by BRIC TV, Brooklyn WebFest, and NYC Webfest. As an actor, Alex has performed with Shake and Bake (Off-Broadway), Irondale Ensemble, Everyman Theatre, Quantum Theatre, the New Ohio Theatre, TITAN Theatre Company, The Public Theatre’s Under the Radar Festival, and University Settlement. She tours Jane Doe, a one woman show about rape culture in our communities to colleges and universities.
Such Strange Gravity: Songs of Gotham
Jeff Tang is a composer, lyricist, and creative producer investigating the history, creation, and perpetuation of cultural narratives through music and theater. His work has been seen and heard in New York, Chicago, London, Minneapolis, Berkeley, and La Jolla. Commissions include NYC’s Leviathan Lab, Music Institute of Chicago, Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis, NYU’s Grad Acting Write/Act Festival, and St. Ann’s School. Alumnus of National Sawdust’s Summer Labs Residency, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, Prospect Theater Company’s Musical Theater Lab, and the PlayLabs Festival. MFA, NYU GMWTP
Essence & Presence (and other teaching methods)
Greg Taubman helps stories find their form and storytellers hone their craft—primarily as the Co-Founder of FORGE, a boutique arts consultancy (www.forgenyc.org). As a freelance director and dramaturg, Greg has worked with regional and national institutions including The Public Theater, Classic Stage Company, The NY Neo-Futurists, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Theater of War, and The Shakespeare Society. Greg has taught and directed students at Stanford University, Columbia University, and LIU Post. Projects in development include Farewell King, Essence & Presence (a recipient of the 2019 of the Sokoloff Arts Fellowship), and his book Such Stuff: The Essential Value of Art & Dreams.
The Mother Line Story Project
The Mother Line Story Project
THE MOTHER LINE STORY PROJECT was formed in 2015 and has performed at venues like Town Stages, Dixon Place, Abingdon Theater, HERE Arts, and The PIT. Its signature workshop process has also been brought to Regional Theatres, Universities, Wellness Centers, and even Cairo, Egypt! MLSP Inc is a certified not-for-profit and is a proud member of ART/NY. Thousands of audience members have enjoyed MLSP on stage and countless others have heard our stories through platforms like radio, video, and podcasts.
Les Pianistes Dansants
Will Thomason is an eclectic performer and theatre maker who uses his experience in dance, voice, acting, piano performance, and songwriting to tell stories examining our modern culture through a combination of chorded melodies, rich harmonies, and witty wordplay. As an actor/dancer, favorite roles include Paul in A Chorus Line and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Among his 4 full-length works, part of his song cycle “These Four Years,” was the inaugural concert at TOWN Stages thanks to generous support by Sokoloff Arts. A recipient of the ASTEP Kaffenberger Fellowship, he also enjoys creating theatre pieces with underserved children.
Isaac L. Thompson Jr.
Isaac Thompson graduated from The School of The Arts in 2004(Rochester,NY), where he majored in Visual Arts. Fast forward to 2016 when Isaac quit his high paying job and moved to NYC to pursue acting. It was there that he painted his first painting in almost 10 years. Since then Isaac has painted close to 200 pieces and sold just over 150. He adopted the name “CAASi Evolution”. CAASi is ISAAC spelled backwards, he stated “Coming back to fine art is the LAST thing I thought I would do, it’s backwards.” The adventure of CAASi is just beginning.
What You Carry With You
Rebecca Vineyard is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist who plays with form. Her solo autobiographical piece, Ambiguously Olive, was developed through Undiscovered Countries’ inaugural Blast Off! lab in 2017. Rebecca was a Fresh Ground Pepper BRB 2018 Resident Artist, and was featured on Fusion TV’s Peabody Award-nominated show, Sex. Right. Now. with Cleo Stiller. She also serves as literary manager for Crashbox Theater Company. Rebecca is thrilled to develop two new pieces as part of both the 2019 Sokoloff Arts Creative Fellowship, and Undiscovered Countries’ Blast Off! BFA NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Atlantic Acting School.
Emma Rosa Went
Courage! To the Field!, The Shirt Show Part 2, and other projects
Emma Rosa Went is a freelance theatre director. New York work includes: The Tank, The Brick, Playwrights Realm, Dixon Place, Theater Row, Access Theatre, Center at West Park, LPAC Lab, Trans Lab @ WP, and many other venues. Regional includes: Scranton Shakespeare Festival, Campfire Festival @ Boise Contemporary Theatre, Barn Arts Collective. Off-broadway and regional assisting includes: TFANA, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Atlantic, Rattlestick, Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Emma is an alum of the OSF FAIR Program and the SDCF Observership Program, and the recipient of a 2019 Drama League First Stage Residency. BA Sarah Lawrence College. Associate Member SDC. www.emmawent.com