LARRY GELBART, a Chicago-born writer and producer who has achieved success for his work in radio, television, film and theater. He began his professional career in the late 1940s, before reaching the age of twenty, writing for such radio shows as The Eddie Cantor Show,” “The Maxwell House Coffee Time with Danny Thomas,” “Duffy’s Tavern,” “Command Performance,” “Jack Carter,” “The Jack Paar Show,” “The Joan Davis Show” and “The Bob Hope Show.” By the early 1950s he had begun writing for television, including “The All-Star Revue,” “The Red Buttons Show,” “Honestly,” “Celeste, “The Patrice Munsel Show,” “Caesar’s Hour” and “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom”; his television work in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s includes “The Danny Kaye Show,” “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine,” the long-running and hugely successful “M*A*S*H,” “Barbara Streisand… and Other Musical Instruments,” “Roll Out!,” and “Karen,” “AfterM*A*S*H” and the award-winning HBO television film, Barbarians at the Gate. In addition to A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, his work for the theatre includes the plays My LA (1950), Sly Fox (1976) and Mastergate (1989); and the musicals The Conquering Hero (1960); One, Two, Three, Four, Five (1988) and City of Angels (1989; which won six 1990 Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical). His film work includes The Notorious Landlady, The Thrill of It All, The Wrong Box (co-written with Burt Shevelove), Not With My Wife, You Don’t, The Chastity Belt, A Fine Pair, Oh, God, Movie, Movie, Neighbors, Tootsie and Blame It on Rio.
BURT SHEVELOVE was born in Newark, New Jersey, graduated from Brown University and received a Master’s degree in theatre from Yale. While at Yale, he wrote lyrics for a musical version of Plautus’s Mostellaria and later became the resident director for the Yale Dramatic Association. After serving as an ambulance driver in World War II, he began a career as a writer, director and producer for radio and television, working with such stars as Judy Garland, Red Buttons, Jack Paar, Cyril Richard, Nancy Walker and Victor Borge; his work won him Emmy and Peabody Awards. His Broadway career began in 1948 with Small Wonder, a revue for which he wrote material, co-produced and directed. He also directed a revival of Kiss Me, Kate (1956); Hallelujah Baby! (1968); No, No, Nanette (1971; he also wrote the book); The Frogs (1974; written with Stephen Sondheim and performed in and around the Yale University pool) and Happy New Year (1980; he also wrote the book). He co-wrote the film, The Wrong Box, with Larry Gelbart. Burt Shevelove died in 1982.
Music and Lyrics
STEPHEN SONDHEIM wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park With George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994) and Road Show (2008) as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Anthologies of his work include Side By Side By Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting It Together (1993/99) and Sondheim On Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (1990) and the television production “Evening Primrose” (1966). His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made A Hat (2011). In 2010 the Broadway theatre formerly known as Henry Miller’s Theatre was renamed in his honor.
MELISSA RAIN ANDERSON
MELISSA RAIN ANDERSON returns to Geva Theatre Center, where she has appeared in numerous productions and directed the 2014 production of The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee and last season’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot. Ms. Anderson will also direct The Marvelous Wonderettes in the Fielding Stage later this season. Directing Credits: New York City; John and Jen for The Secret Theater. Regional credits include The Cocoanuts at Utah Shakespeare Festival, Spamalot and The Little Mermaid for Arkansas Repertory Theatre; the Houston premiere of Next to Normal (Houston Press Award Best Musical) as well as Five Course Love, the entire Wonderettes Series including the World Premiere of The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On for Stages Repertory Theatre; Always….Patsy Cline for PCPA Theatrefest, The Fantasticks and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) for the Great River Shakespeare Festival. Upcoming projects include A Christmas Carol at The Denver Center Theater Company and The Little Mermaid at Cape Fear Regional. Ms. Anderson lives in New York City with her husband, actor Jim Poulos. Please visit melissarainanderson.com.
DON KOT is Resident Music Director and Affiliate Artist at Geva Theatre Center where he celebrates his sixteenth season! Geva productions include Little Shop of Horrors, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, All Your Questions Answered (world premiere), Next to Normal, Avenue Q, Company, The Music Man, Five Course Love, Sweeney Todd, Cabaret, Urinetown, A Chorus Line, Camelot, 1776, A Christmas Carol, Sister’s Christmas Catechism, Convenience and as part of the Festival of New Plays, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, One For My Baby, rightnextto me, Tomorrowland and An Evening with Mrs. Kasha Davis, International Celebrity Housewife. He was also vocal coach and music arranger for The Odd Couple, Informed Consent, You Can’t Take It With You, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The House in Hydesville, Our Town, and Inherit the Wind. Mr. Kot has performed Off-Broadway at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at Pershing Square Signature Center, 45 Bleecker Street Theatre, Laurie Beechman Theatre, and at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Other regional credits include The Music Man, The Best of Forbidden Broadway, Smokey Joe’s Café, Leader of the Pack, Honk!, and The Most Happy Fella. National touring productions: Fosse, Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Mamma Mia and Hairspray. Mr. Kot is the Coordinator of the Musical Theatre degree program at the State University of New York at Geneseo.
ROMMY SANDHU is excited to make his Geva Theatre Center debut with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He most recently choreographed The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Tuacahn). In addition, Mary Poppins, Sister Act, Ragtime, The Pajama Game and Singing in the Rain. In New York, he has directed and/or choreographed several Broadway Cares Benefits (Minskoff Theater NY), How Now Dow Jones and Dancebreak. As Associate, Denver Center’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Dir. Kathleen Marshall), Little Shop of Horrors (w/ Ellen Greene and Jake Gyllenhaal, Dir. Dick Scanlan), Bells are Ringing, Applause (NY’s City Center), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Broadway). As a performer on Broadway, Mr. Sandhu has appeared in Mary Poppins, Zorba, Bombay Dreams, Oklahoma!, On The Town, The Life, Sweet Charity (Concert), A Christmas Carol, Annie Get Your Gun and nationally in Carousel; Kiss Me, Kate; Evita and Dreamgirls (w/ Jennifer Holliday). On Television in “SMASH,” “The Tony Awards,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” “The Today Show,” “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “The View.” Mr. Sandhu is on faculty at Marymount Manhattan College’s Musical Theatre Department, Broadway Dance Center (NYC) and ONSTAGE New York. Proud father of three and husband to one. www.RommySandhu.com twitter: @newrom
ADAM KOCH returns to Geva where he previously designed A Christmas Carol, Five Course Love and Sweeney Todd. Credits across the nation, include the landmark outdoor productions of Miss Saigon and Carousel (Serenbe Playhouse); Sister Act, Saturday Night Fever, and the regional premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Ogunquit Playhouse); the seven-year smash hit Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet (Apollo Theatre); Hello, Dolly! (Ford’s Theater); Miss Saigon, Dreamgirls, See What I Wanna See, Kiss of the Spiderwoman (2008 Helen Hayes nomination) (Signature Theatre); Dreamgirls, Big Fish, A Little Night Music, Tarzan, Bye Bye Birdie (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); Hairspray, Baskerville (Syracuse Stage); Bat Boy (1st Stage, 2015 Helen Hayes nomination); Off-Broadway credits include Rooms: A Rock Romance, Loaded, We the People, Pinkalicious, Freckleface Strawberry. Mr. Koch trained at Carnegie Mellon University.
DEVON PAINTER returns to Geva Theatre Center to work with the incredible artists here. Previous Geva credits include Good People, Pump Boys and Dinettes, A Christmas Carol, Five Course Love and Sweeney Todd. Ms. Painter lives in New York and designs costumes throughout the United States, most recently Seascape at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, WI. New York credits include shows for Juilliard, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Culture Project, and many, many productions at The Pearl Theatre Company, as well as assisting on Broadway. Regional theatre credits feature designs for the Guthrie Theater (Stage Kiss, Shadowlands, Private Lives, Death of A Salesman), the Denver Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, the Folger Theatre and the Studio Theatre in Washington DC, Anchorage Opera, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Great Lakes Theater Festival, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Contemporary American Theater Festival, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her design work was exhibited in Curtain Call; Celebrating a Century of Women Designing for Live Performance. Ms. Painter is a member of United Scenic Artists.
BRIAN J. LILIENTHAL
BRIAN J. LILIENTHAL returns to Geva Theatre Center where he previously designed Monty Python’s Spamalot!, Women in Jeopardy, Little Shop of Horrors, Informed Consent, The 39 Steps and The Book Club Play. Regionally he has designed over 250 productions for Huntington Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co, Milwaukee Rep, Cleveland Play House, Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Merrimack Rep, Arden Theatre, Trinity Rep, among many. Mr. Lilienthal has designed operas for Long Beach Opera, Bard Summerscape, Portland Opera Repertory Theatre. He has won the Los Angeles Ovation Award for lighting design, and has been nominated multiple times for Boston’s IRNE Award. He has spent nine summers as the resident lighting designer for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. He received his M.F.A. at California Institute of the Arts. Mr. Lilienthal currently teaches lighting design at Tufts University, and is a member of the newly formed Patriots Program at Merrimack Rep in Lowell, MA. He lives in Somerville, MA, and is a drummer with a rockabilly trio that performs throughout New England.
BART FASBENDER is a composer/sound designer from New York City and made his Geva debut last season with The May Queen. His credits include Alex Timbers’ Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway; Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By and Paul Weitz’s Lonely, I’m Not at Second Stage; Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life for Women’s Project; John Patrick Shanley’s Storefront Church dir. by Mr. Shanley at Atlantic Theater; Neil LaBute’s All The Ways To Say I Love You at MCC; The Long Shrift at Rattlestick dir. by James Franco; Jesse Eisenberg’s The Revisionist and Ascuncion dir. by Kip Fagan at Cherry Lane; A.R. Gurney’s Family Furniture, directed by Thomas Kail at The Flea Theater; A Month in the Country for director Erica Schmidt at Classic Stage Company. Other designs and compositions off-Broadway for The Play Company, Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, Primary Stages, The Public, Manhattan Theater Club, BAM, The New Group, Naked Angels, Ars Nova and many more. Regionally he’s designed at the Guthrie, Mark Taper Forum, American Conservatory Theater, The Old Globe, Philadelphia Theater Company, Williamstown, NY Stage & Film, Seattle Rep, Two River Theater and many others. Proud member of United Scenic Artists 829 and Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association.
JEAN GORDON RYON
JEAN GORDON RYON serves as New Plays Coordinator at Geva Theatre Center where, among other duties, she produces the Regional Writers Showcase and the Young Writers Showcase. She was dramaturg for 1776, John Bull’s Other Island, That Was Then, Shear Madness, The Underpants, The Clean House, Almost Maine, The Music Man, Company, Perfect Wedding, The 39 Steps, Last Gas, Wait Until Dark, Little Shop of Horrors and Geva’s current production of A Christmas Carol, and she has contributed dramaturgical research and written program articles for several other productions. Ms. Ryon holds a degree in drama from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Goucher College. Her most recent directing credits in the community include Grace and Glorie, Master Class, Blithe Spirit, Pride’s Crossing, and The Gin Game for Blackfriars; The Chosen and The Immigrant for JCC’s CenterStage; Juno and the Peacock, Da, Translations, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Waiting for Godot, The Kings of the Kilburn High Road, Dancing at Lughnasa, Faith Healer, The Hostage, Love in the Title, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Dublin Carol, and A Moon for the Misbegotten for RCP’s Irish Players; and Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing for RCP’s Shakespeare Players. Ms. Ryon is also the Artistic Director of The Geriactors, a traveling troupe of mature actors.
JENN LYONS is a Rochester native happy to be working at Geva. Previous shows at Geva include A Moon for the Misbegotten, Miracle on South Division Street, Red, The Mountaintop, Little Shop of Horrors, The Odd Couple and Clybourne Park. National Tours include Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella (starring Eartha Kitt), Showboat and The Who’s Tommy. New York credits include work at Roundabout Theatre and Circle Repertory Theater as well as the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. Her two favorite productions are Maddie and Jack.
ELISSA MYERS CASTING, PAUL FOUQUET, CSA
ELISSA MYERS CASTING, Paul Fouquet, CSA, a Rochester native, is honored to be recognized as a Geva Affiliate Artist. This marks the 19th year of Myers’ and Fouquet’s collaboration with Geva Theatre Center. Casting credits include “Poisoner’s Handbook,” “Becoming Helen Keller,” and the mini-series “Mystery of Matter” for PBS. Other PBS projects include “The Abolitionists,” “Dolly Madison,” “Alexander Hamilton,” “John and Abigail Adams,” “Benjamin Franklin” (Emmy Award), “Liberty” (Peabody Award), “God in America,” “People vs. Leo Frank,” “Louisa May Alcott,” as well as PBS “Great Performances” (Artios Award in “Outstanding Achievement in Casting”) and most recently “Murder Of A President” for American Experience. Additionally three “Movies of the Week,” as well as five pilots. Feature films include “Hank and Asha” (Audience Award at Slamdance 2013 and five other festival awards), and “The Union.” Theatre includes seven Broadway shows, including Tony-nominated Having Our Say, as well as 26 Off-Broadway shows. Regional theatre casting in the past two years includes Denver Center, Geva Theatre Center, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Magic Theatre, Arena Stage, Alley Theatre, George Street Playhouse, and Arizona Theatre Company. The office has so far received 16 nominations and has won three Artios Awards for “Outstanding Achievement in Casting.”