Saturday, November 17, 2018
The Irene Diamond Stage
Signature Theatre is partnering with American Theatre magazine on a series of panel discussions that cover subject matters relevant to theatre audiences and practitioners. These panels are free and open to the public.
Theatre Best Practices Panel:
The case for a more diverse and representative theatre field has been made. And though the field is still far from realizing full inclusion and equity, some folks are doing this work, against steep odds but with some success. How do they do it, and what advice do they have for their colleagues?
Moderated by Diep Tran, panelist include Bill Rauch, Ralph Pena, Jacob Padrón and Erica Jensen.
About the Panelists
Erica Jensen represents one third of the Artios Award-winning Calleri Casting, alongside James Calleri and Paul Davis, working on projects in film, television, and theater. Jensen began her career as an intern at Playwrights Horizons, where she met James Calleri 15 years ago. Her theater credits include shows at Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theaters, including Classic Stage Company, Rattlestick Theater, Long Wharf Theater, City Theater, Keen Company, McCarter Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre, and The Flea Theater. Broadway credits include Fool for Love, Hughie, A Raisin in the Sun, Of Mice and Men, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Living on Love, and The Visit. Television credits include “Army Wives”, “Lipstick Jungle”, “Hope & Faith”, “Angela’s Eyes”, and “Z-Rock”. Jensen spent the 2004-5 television season as the Talent Coordinator on Chappelle’s Show. Jensen co-wrote, co-produced, and directed the musical Mother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood for the NYC Fringe Festival, and won Best Director at the New York City 15 Minute Play Festival for her director of the short play For Better or Worse. Jensen holds an MFA in Acting from Illinois State University.
Jacob G. Padrón is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sol Project, a NYC-based theater initiative dedicated to producing works by Latinx playwrights with leading Off-Broadway companies and building a body of work for the new American theater. Padrón was recently a Senior Line Producer at The Public Theater, where he worked on new plays, new musicals, Shakespeare in the Park, and Public Works with artists including Suzan-Lori Parks, Universes, and Shaina Taub and Kwame Kwei-Armah. From 2008 to 2011, he was an Associate Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, appointed by Bill Rauch. At OSF, he was a part of the producing team that transferred productions to Seattle Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He was the producer of Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 Days/365 Plays for the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. Padrón was named “one to watch” by the American Theatre magazine and was an inaugural recipient of the SPARK Leadership Fellowship administered by TCG. In addition to his work on The Sol Project, he is currently on staff with the Time Warner Inc. in Cultural Investments. Originally from Gilroy, CA, Padrón is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and Yale School of Drama.
Ralph B. Peña is the Producing Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company. A co-founder of Ma-Yi Theater Company in 1989, along with colleagues from the Philippines, he became the company’s Artistic Director in 1996. Since then, and in partnership with Jorge Z. Ortoll, Ma-Yi’s former Executive Director, Peña has worked to make Ma-Yi one of the country’s leading venues for new Asian American Theater. Peña’s recent directing credits include Among the Dead, House Rules, Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Ma-Yi), The Orphan of Zhao (Fordham Theatre), Macho Dancer: A Musical, The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! (Cultural Center of the Philippines), among others. His theater work has been seen at The NYSF/Public Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Laguna Playhouse, NAATCO, Victory Gardens, LaMama, ETC, and more. He is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater, and the author of Flipzoids, Cinema Verite, This End Up: A User’s Manual for Lovers of Asians, Project: Balangiga (co-written with Sung Rno), and Dead Man’s Socks. Peña was born in Manila, the Philippines, sharing his younger years between Manila and California before moving permanently to the US in 1984. During his time in the Philippines, he helped found a street performance company called Bodabil, later renamed UP Peryante, using vaudeville as a form of protest theater against the Marcos dictatorship.
Bill Rauch is the recently appointed inaugural Artistic Director of The Perelman Center, and has been the Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival since 2007. He directed seven world premieres at the festival, and has demonstrated a commitment to uplifting underrepresented voices in the arts. His “American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle” commission for 37 plays highlighting moments of change in American history, has included Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-winning Sweat, Paula Vogel’s Indecent, and both of Robert Shenkkan’s plays on Lyndon B. Johnson His work as a theater director has been seen across the nation, from low-income community centers to Broadway in the Tony Award-winning production of Shenkkan’s All The Way. Bill is also co-founder of Cornerstone Theater Company where he served as Artistic Director from 1986 to 2006, directing more than 40 productions, most of them collaborations with diverse rural and urban communities nationwide. Rauch has won numerous awards, including the 2018 Ivy Bethune Award from Actors’ Equity Association for this commitment to diversity in casting and producing, a 2015 Ford Fellowship, and TCG’s Visionary Leadership Award in 2010, among others. He was educated at Harvard College, and will be relocating to New York with his husband and two children in 2019.
About the Moderator:
Diep Tran is currently the senior editor of American Theatre magazine, where she focuses on issues of representation and access. She is also a producer and co-host of the Token Theatre Friends podcast. You should subscribe if you want to hear people of color discussing theatre. Diep is also a freelance journalist, whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, Playbill, CNN, Hell Giggles, and Salon, among other publications. In 2015, she was a critic fellow at the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.