Music and Lyrics
WILLIAM FINN is the writer and composer of Falsettos, for which he received two Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical (with James Lapine) and Best Original Score. He has also written and composed In Trousers, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, two Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the Lucille Lortel Award, and Guggenheim Fellowship in Musical Composition). Mr. Finn wrote the lyrics to Graciela Daniele’s Tango Apasionado (music by the great Astor Piazzolla) and, with Michael Starobin, the music to Lapine’s version of The Winter’s Tale. His musical, Romance in Hard Times, was presented at the Public Theater. Recently, he wrote Painting You for Love’s Fire, a piece commissioned and performed by the Acting Company, based on Shakepeare’s sonnets. For television, Mr. Finn provided the music and lyrics for the Ace Award-winning HBO cartoon “Ira Sleeps Over,” “Tom Thumb and Thumbelina,” “Pokey Little Puppy’s First Christmas,” and, with Ellen Fitzhugh, two “Brave little Toaster” cartoons. Mr. Finn has written for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New Yorker. A graduate of Williams College where he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship for Musical Composition, Finn now teaches a weekly master class at the NYU Tisch Graduate Program in Musical Theatre Writing. His most recent projects include Elegies, A Song Cycle (Lincoln Center) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which ran on Broadway and has been produced nationally and internationally, as well.
RACHEL SHEINKIN’s Broadway credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony, Drama Desk awards); Off Broadway credits include Striking 12 (Lucille Lortel nomination), Off-Off Broadway credits include Serenade. Regional credits include Guthrie Theatre, Little House on the Prairie; Center Theater Group, Sleeping Beauty Wakes (Los Angeles Ovation Award); London: Blood Drive. Residencies, fellowships, commissions include: Eugene O’Neill National Theater Center, Baryshnikov Dance Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Manhattan Theatre Club, Deaf West, McCarter Theatre, Playwrights Horizons. Rachel is a volunteer mentor for TDF’s Open Doors program, a visiting instructor at Yale School of Drama, and adjunct faculty member of NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.
REBECCA FELDMAN is the conceiver of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for which she won a Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk and Tony Nomination for Best Musical. She directed its world premiere at Barrington Stage Company in the summer of 2004. Rebecca conceived, directed, and performed in C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, the play upon which Spelling Bee is based, with her company The Farm. Previous projects with The Farm include Super (Atlantic Theatre Studio), V-Ville (West End Theatre), the work-in-progress Jade Winds or Why I Hate Florida. She has directed and performed in New York and regionally for the past 10 years including: New York Fringe Festival, Soho Rep, Adobe Theatre, New Dramatists, Mabou Mines and various downtown venues. Rebecca is a Lincoln Center Director’s Lab alum.
JAY REISS is a playwright. He is a Julliard graduate and provided additional material to the book for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Reiss appeared in the original workshops, Off-Broadway cast, and Broadway cast of the musical as Vice Principal Douglas Panch.
MELISSA RAIN ANDERSON
Director and Choreographer
MELISSA RAIN ANDERSON returns to Geva Theatre Center, where she has appeared in numerous productions, to direct The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee. New York City credits include John and Jen for Yellow Line Theatricals and Roads Traveled at the Duplex. In London, Melissa had the honor of assisting Hal Prince on the world premiere of the new musical Paradise Found at the Menier Chocolate Factory starring Mandy Patinkin. Regional credits include the Houston premiere of Next to Normal for Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston Press Award best musical 2012), Always….Patsy Cline for PCPA Theatrefest, Gregg Coffin’s new musical right next to me for The Human Race Theatre and The B Street Theater, The Fantasticks and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) for The Great River Shakespeare Festival, The Marvelous Wonderettes, Caps and Gowns and Nunsensations for The Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Side by Side by Sondheim for Playhouse on Park, Coffin’s Five Course Love, Caps and Gowns, Winter Wonderettes and The Marvelous Wonderettes (a record breaking nine month run in Houston) for Stages Repertory Theater. Upcoming projects include directing Next To Normal at Southern Oregon University. Melissa 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 twelfth season! Geva productions include All Your Questions Answered, Company, The Music Man, Five Course Love, Sweeney Todd, The House in Hydesville, Cabaret, Urinetown, Our Town, Inherit the Wind, A Chorus Line, Camelot, 1776, A Christmas Carol, Convenience and as part of Hibernatus Interruptus, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, One For My Baby, right next to me and An Evening with Mrs. Kasha Davis, International Celebrity Housewife. New York credits include the Women’s Culture Project, Roads Traveled, and elegies for angels, punks and raging queens. Regional credits include The Best of Forbidden Broadway, Smokey Joe’s Café, Leader of the Pack, Honk!, and The Most Happy Fella. Mr. Kot has played for the national touring productions of Fosse, Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Mamma Mia and Hairspray. Mr. Kot is also the Director of Musical Theatre at Nazareth College.
KRIS STENGREVICS graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 2004 with a B.F.A. in Production Design. He initially started at Geva Theatre Center as a props artisan in 2007. Today he is the Facilities Manager of the historic Geva building. Kris has had the opportunity to design for several other theaters, such as Greece Athena Performing Arts Center, JCC Center Stage and several venues for Eastman Opera Theatre Company. He is very happy to be a part of his first Mainstage production at Geva Theatre Center, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
AMANDA DOHERTY is currently in her 13th season at Geva Theatre Center as the Costume Shop Supervisor. While at Geva, she has had the opportunity to design costumes for the Wilson Mainstage productions of Informed Consent, The Book Club Play,The Underpants and Shear Madness, the Fielding Nextstage productions of Tinker to Evers to Chance, Stranded on Earth, Underneath the Lintel, Race of the Ark Tattoo, Lobby Hero and the Big Theatre for Little People productions of Meet Me Incognito and And Then They Came for Me. Other designs include work for Kodak, Coca-Cola, Penn State’s University Resident Theatre Company and Cornell University, where she was a resident draper and Assistant Costume Shop Manager. Her draping skills have also been seen in productions at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and Pennsylvania Center Stage. She received her M.F.A. in Costume Design and Technology from Penn State University and now happily resides in Rochester with her husband and two Bumpus Hounds.
EMILY STORK’s lighting designs have been seen worldwide, including festivals in Italy, France, Scotland, and Israel and in the U.S. at places as diverse as PS 122, Dance Theatre Workshop, the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Public Theater, La Mama, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Walker Arts Center, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, On the Boards, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, Lincoln Center and on the side of a building in Rochester. Emily’s designs at Geva have included the world premiere of Mat Smart’s Tinker to Evers to Chance, Greg Kotis’ All Your Questions Answered, and Seth Rozin’s Two Jews Walk Into a War… In 2003, she was the resident lighting designer for the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy where she worked with Maestro Gian Carlo Menotti on Wagner’s Lohengrin. Some favorite collaborations have been with Split Britches on Peggy Shaw’s To My Chagrin, Pig Iron Theatre Company’s James Joyce is Dead and So is Paris, Nora Jones’ Album Release Party for Little Broken Hearts at the Box in NYC. She was the Lighting Director at The Juilliard School for 12 years, where she designed countless shows and special events including the Leading Ladies Gala starring Audra McDonald and Barbara Cook and the Tempest Benefit reading with Sir Derek Jacobi. Emily is the festival lighting designer for the Rochester Fringe Festival where her designs have included the aerialist dance group, Bandaloop, the Cirque du Fringe in the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent and the outdoor informal installation at the Spiegel Garden.
Examples of her work can be found at: www.emilystorkdesign.com
IAN HILDRETH has been designing and audio engineering at Geva Theatre Center for six years. Past designs include Pump Boys and Dinettes, MoM: A Rock Concert Musical, Next to Normal, Avenue Q, Fences, 3 Mo’ Divas and Carry It On. Associate designs include The Whipping Man, Dracula, Two Jews Walk Into a War and Radio Golf. Mr. Hildreth is a graduate of SUNY Brockport.
FRANK CAVALLO has stage managed dozens of productions for Geva since first joining the company after it moved into the (then) newly renovated Richard Pine Theatre. Earlier this season Mr. Cavallo stage managed Informed Consent, Last Gas and The 39 Steps. Previous productions include Superior Donuts, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anything Goes, The Glass Menagerie, 5 Guys Named Moe, Below The Belt, A Raisin In The Sun, Dancing At Lughnasa, Jitney, Vigil and several world premieres for the Reflections New Plays Festival. He has also stage managed at several other regional theaters, has been the production manager for the Rochester Childrens’ Theatre at Nazareth College and has toured for Poetry In Motion with Ms. Salome Jens’ one woman show …About Anne, featuring the poetry of Anne Sexton.