Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Ralph B. Peña and Leigh Silverman Among Six Mid-Career Directors Selected for Sundance Institute’s Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles, France

Congratulations to Ralph B. Peña and Leigh Silverman, who are among six mid-career directors selected for Sundance Institute’s Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles, France. They will be joined by Mark Brokaw, Juliette Carillo, Anne Kauffman, and Les Waters at the second Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat, July 29 through August 11, 2014. The Retreat is one of 10 residential programs hosted by Sundance Institute this summer, collectively representing 15 weeks of support and mentorship for promising independent artists in theatre and film from the United States and around the world.

Under the supervision of Theatre Program Artistic Director Philip Himberg, Producing Director Christopher Hibma and Program Associate Anne Kauffman, the Retreat is the only theatre director-centered residency of its kind. The Retreat complements other initiatives of the Theatre Program by providing resources to mid-career theatre directors and grew out of a need expressed by directors for an immersive forum in which to exchange ideas and best practices with peers; review and discuss new work, and participate in intensive discussions led by experienced arts professionals.

Philip Himberg, Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, said,”The Directors Retreat offers a truly rare opportunity for theatre directors to focus inward, to investigate, research and plan new projects, and to reinvigorate their creative spirits. This also comprises a unique experience for these stage artists to be in dialogue with their peers, and to engage in rigorous conversation about the contemporary field.”

Directors selected for the 2014 Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation Theatre Directors Retreat are:
Mark Brokaw recently directed the Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Other Broadway credits include The Lyons, After Miss Julie, Cry-Baby, The Constant Wife, and Reckless. New York premieres include works by David Auburn, Lynda Barry (The Good Times Are Killing Me), Douglas Carter Beane (As Bees in Honey Drown), Keith Bunin, Charles Busch (Olive and the Bitter Herbs), Julia Cho, Lisa Kron (2.5 Minute Ride), Kenneth Lonergan (This Is Our Youth, Lobby Hero), Craig Lucas (The Dying Gaul), Eduardo Machado, Nicky Silver (Too Much Sun, The Lyons), Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive, Long Christmas Ride Home) and Wendy Wasserstein (Old Money). Mark has collaborated with Noah Haidle and Laura Jacqmin at past Sundance Institute Theatre Labs. He has directed at London’s Donmar Warehouse and Menier Chocolate Factory, Dublin’s Gate Theatre and the Sydney Opera House. Mark is the Artistic Director of the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. Mark is also an Artistic associate at Roundabout Theatre.

Juliette Carillo most recently worked as director and choreographer on The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Regionally, Juliette has directed Lydia (Mark Taper Forum, Yale Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company); The Brothers Size, The Cook (Seattle Repertory Theatre); Plumas Negras (as writer), It’s All Bueno, Touch The Water, Lethe, As Vishnu Dreams, Los Faustinos (Cornerstone Theater Company); References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot, Anna in the Tropics, California Scenarios, Nostalgia, The Countess, Sidney Bechet Killed a Man, Jane of the Jungle (South Coast Repertory); Cloud Tectonics (Alliance Theatre); The Eviction, Eyes For Consuela (Magic Theatre); Sonia Flew (Laguna Playhouse); El Paso Blue (Summer Play Festival, New York); The Play That Knows What You Want (Women’s Project. Juliette has received various awards, including: Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, Seattle Repertory Theatre (The Brothers Size); Examiner Awards, Arizona Theatre Company (The Glass Menagerie). GLAAD award, Mark Taper Forum (Lydia); Ovation Awards, Henry Awards, Denver Center Theatre Company (Lydia); finalist, Alan Schneider Award for Directing, Drama-Logue Awards, NEA/TCG Directing Fellowship, Princess Grace Award. Juliette received her MFA at the Yale School of Drama.

Anne Kauffman has directed at most major New York non-profit and regional theaters. Her recent credits include Lisa D’Amour’s Pulitzer Prize finalist play Detroit, Smokefall by Noah Haidle at South Coast Rep and The Goodman Theater, 100 Days by The Bengsons at Z Space in San Francisco, Somewhere Fun by Jenny Schwartz at the Vineyard Theater, Amy Herzog’s Belleville for Yale Rep, NY Theatre Workshop and Steppenwolf (Lortel Nomination for Best Director), Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night starring Edie Falco for Naked Angels (Lortel Nomination for Best Director), and Greg Pierce’s Slowgirl for LCT3. She is Program Associate at Sundance Institute, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writers and Directors Lab, a current member of Soho Rep’s Artistic Council, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, The Drama League of New York, a founding member of The Civilians, an Associate Artist with Clubbed Thumb and member of New Georges Kitchen Cabinet. From 2000-2006, Anne was on the directing faculty at NYU. She received her MFA in directing from UCSD, and a BA in Slavic Languages and Literature and Theater from Stanford University. Anne’s many awards include the Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Exceptional Creativity from Lincoln Center, the Alan Schneider Director Award, several Barrymore Awards, Obie Award, and the Lilly Award in Direction.

Ralph B. Peña is the artistic director of Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Recent directing credits include developing a new musical at ACT in San Francisco, Lloyd Suh’s The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go! (Children’s Theater Co. and Ma-Yi, Off Broadway Alliance Award), Joshua Conkel’s Curmudgeons in Love (EST Marathon), Mike Lew’s microcrisis (Youngblood, Ma-Yi), Ruth Margraff’s Centaur Battle of San Jacinto, and House/Boy (Dublin and Singapore Theater Festivals). He received an Obie Award for his work on The Romance of Magno Rubio. Ralph serves on the board of TCG, and is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater.

Leigh Silverman was nominated for Best Director of a Musical for Violet. Other Broadway credits include Chinglish and Well. Off-Broadway, Leigh has directed several shows, including American Hero (Second Stage and Williamstown Theater Festival); Kung Fu (Signature Theatre); The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Playwrights Horizons); The Call (Playwrights Horizons); The Madrid (MTC); Golden Child (Signature Theatre); No Place to Go (Public Theater; Two River Theatre); In the Wake (Center Theatre Group/Berkeley Rep and Public Theater, Obie Award, Lortel nomination); Go Back to Where You Are (Playwrights Horizons, Obie Award); From Up Here (MTC, Drama Desk nomination); Yellow Face (Center Theatre Group/Public Theater); Coraline (MCC/True Love); Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons); Well (Public Theater; Huntington Theatre; ACT); Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Second Stage Theatre). Recent regional productions include: Chinglish (Goodman Theater, Jeff nomination; West Coast/Hong Kong tour).

Les Waters recently directed Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Will Eno’s Gnit, Todd Almond’s Girlfriend and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night at Actors Theatre. Waters also previously directed Big Love by Charles L. Mee at the 2000 Humana Festival, and Naomi Iizuka’s At the Vanishing Point. From 2003 to 2011, he served as Associate Artistic Director at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His shows have ranked among the year’s best in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time Magazine and USA Today. His productions have been seen in New York at The Public Theater, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, Connelly Theater and Clubbed Thumb, and regionally at theatres such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse and American Repertory Theater. In 2009, he made his Broadway debut with In the Next Room or the vibrator play. Led the the MFA directing program at UCSD from 1995 to 2003. Les is also an associate artist of The Civilians.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is supported by an endowment from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous additional support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, John and Marcia Price Family Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, LUMA Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Inc., The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and Karen Lauder.

Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1981. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Program is one of the leading play development programs in the United States. Titles such as Appropriate, Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Circle Mirror Transformation, An Iliad, The Lily’s Revenge, The Good Negro, The Light in the Piazza, Passing Strange, Stuck Elevator, Spring Awakening, The Laramie Project and I Am My Own Wife have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, OBIEs and other recognition. The Theatre Program’s East Africa initiative is the only professional program of its type on the continent, offering Labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship and exposure to artists in six African countries and now expanding to include the MENA region. The Theatre Program’s newest initiative is the Theatre Directors Retreat in France.

Sundance Institute
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing independent artists and introducing audiences to their new work. Internationally recognized for its Sundance Film Festival, the Institute annually supports over 200 artists with more than a dozen labs for directors, screenwriters, documentary editors, composers, playwrights, producers and New Frontier artists and grants more than $2 million to artists. The Institute has supported projects including Fruitvale Station, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Question Bridge, Wadjda, God Loves Uganda, Gideon’s Army, Spring Awakening, Appropriate and Fun Home.

The LUMA Foundation
The LUMA Foundation was created in 2004 to promote challenging artistic projects combining a particular interest in environmental issues, human rights, education and culture in the broadest sense. The conceptualisation of its initial programming has been spear headed by Maja Hoffmann and a Core Team, which includes Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, and Beatrix Ruf. The LUMA Foundation’s current focus is the development of a new creative campus in Arles (France) with its Core Team working together with architects Frank Gehry and Annabelle Selldorf. This ambitious project for the production of exhibitions, research, education and archives is supported by a growing number of public and private partnerships.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
July 23-26: 2g’s Workshop Production of Galois at the New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory Festival 2014; Donate to Campaign
July 24: Sold to Open 37th Asian American International Film Festival in New York
Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, President Bill Clinton and More Remember Meshach Taylor
Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More
June 22 – July 27: Blair Underwood, Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Lead the Cast of The Old Globe’s Othello, helmed by Barry Edelstein 
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
June 23: André De Shields, Billy Porter, Chuck Cooper, Brandon Victor Dixon, Clifton Davis, Norm Lewis, Chapman Roberts and More Set for The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
Remembering Frank Trenholm Lyman III, 1968-2014; Fund Established for The Lyman Children
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Ruby Dee, Actress and Activist, 1922 – 2014
Fred Korematsu, American Hero and Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 86
July 31-Aug. 3: Drama Desk Nominee Joel de la Fuente stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at ACT, Helmed by Lisa Rothe
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
Lucille Lortel Awards for Here Lies Love, Fun Home, The Open House, Good Person of Szechwan
Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 OBIE Award Winners
Photos: André Braugher, Ami Brabson, Christine Toy Johnson, Antoinette LaVecchia, Richard Topol, Victor Williams, Nikkole Salter, Elizabeth Van Dyke at Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty at the Paradise Factory
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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