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2014 Gala Cast Biographies


Susan Tenney (assistant director- Frail/Ingilin) is a director/choreographer whose work has been produced in NYC and regionally. She is the 2013 Planet Connections award winner for Outstanding Choreography in the Sci-Fi dramedy “Something Sudden 5wept 0v3r Me”, and was nominated as Best Director for the same production. She is a member of SDC.


Jen Wineman (director- Community Service) is a New York City based director and choregrapher. Current: The Hunchback of Seville (Washington Ensemble Theatre). Recent: Bubble Boy (American Theater Group); F#%king Up Everything (Elektra Theater); The King’s Whore (Walkerspace). Upcoming: the new musical Fable (NYMF) and The 39 Steps (Triad Stage). M.F.A. Yale School of Drama.


Jessi D. Hill (director- SNAP!) is Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective and a freelance theatre director based in NYC.  Recent projects include work at New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater/Joe’s Pub, Hoxton Hall (London), The Playwrights’ Center, Primary Stages, Chicago Dramatists, Women’s Project, The New Group, Culture Project, New Dramatists, Dixon Place, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, Youngblood, Astoria Performing Arts Center, and others. She has been Staff Repertory Director for The Acting Company, a Director-in-Residence at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and a guest artist at Yale School of Drama, Fordham University, Powerhouse/NY Stage & Film, NYU/Tisch, Atlantic, Playwrights Horizons, Strasberg, Hunter College and others. MFA Directing: Yale. Member SDC.


Rhys McClelland (assistant director- Community Service) is an award winning Director  from Great Britain, where he has directed for some of the largest producing houses in England. Iphigenia at Aulis (Birmingham Rep) Henry V (Birmingham Rep)The Heights (National Theatre, Olivier) Rhys is currently directing an adaptation of Clive Barkers ‘Revelations’ LA & NYC.


Mia Rovegno (director- Frail/Ingilin)’s plays have been developed by The Civilians, P73, New Georges, Culture Project, and others. She has directed new work for Soho Rep, Women’s Project, NYTW, Berkeley Rep, The Civilians, The O’Neill, Ars Nova, Clubbed Thumb, NYSAF, The Lark, Playwrights Realm, The Atlantic, Rising Phoenix, EST, Partial Comfort, The Amoralists, The Flea, Dixon Place, A.R.T., and others. Recipient of: New Georges Audrey Residency, P73 Yale Residency, Pataphysics retreat, SDC Observership, and MTC’s Alper Fellowship. Partial Comfort company member; Alum of Drama League, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Civilians R & D Writers Group, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, & Women’s Project Directors Lab. BS: Northwestern; MFA: Brown.


Jenna R. Lazar (production stage manager/technical director) is thrilled to be part of this wonderful event. Recent favorites include: The Drawer Boy (Soho Playhouse); The Woodsman (Oberon Theatre Ensemble); One-Acts for a Cause (w/ Estelle Parsons and Celia Keenan-Bolger); Summer Shorts 7 (59 E 59 Theatres); Order (dir. Austin Pendleton); and American Rapture (dir. Alexander Dinelaris). Jenna is the Technical Director for the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, and is a proud member of the Oberon Theatre Ensemble and Actors’ Equity Association.


Rachel Jacquin (assistant stage managerThis is Rachel’s first time working on the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Her past stage management credits include Off-Off Broadway-Other(s)-six steps to stereotypes, Leashes for Dinosaurs, and now the Gala Event with Planet Connections 2014, Fifty Words (LungTree Productions), The Music Man, Little Shop of Horrors (Art House Productions), Blessed Are… , Love & Communication (The Passage Theatre Company),  Metamorphoses (Wingspan Arts) and recently Assistant Directed a middle school production of the Wizard of Oz.


 Melissa Leo (Catherine- St. Anne’s Soup) received an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for her tour de force performance in “The Fighter.” She also received Oscar® and SAG Award® nominations for her starring role in “Frozen River,” for which she won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead and a Spotlight Award from the National Board of  Review, among countless other accolades.

Her most recent films include “Prisoners” opposite Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal; “Oblivion,” opposite Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman; and the blockbuster “Olympus Has Fallen,” directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Freeman and Aaron Eckhart. She also appeared in Robert Zemeckis’s critically acclaimed drama “Flight,” with Denzel Washington.

Leo’s other notable film work includes “Conviction,” with Hilary Swank; “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” in which she starred opposite Dwight Yoakam and  Tommy Lee Jones, with Jones directing; and “Hide and Seek,” starring Robert De Niro. Leo also shared a Best Ensemble acting award from the Phoenix Film Critics Society for her outstanding work in “21 Grams,” opposite Benicio del Toro and Sean Penn.

On the small screen, Leo was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work in “Mildred Pierce,” the HBO miniseries directed by Todd Haynes in which she starred with Kate Winslet. Leo is also known for her groundbreaking portrayal of Detective Kay Howard on “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” Her other television credits include the current HBO series “Treme,” from executive producer David Simon, and a guest starring turn on Louie CK’s F/X comedy “Louie,” in which she gave a hilarious and outrageous performance which People magazine called the best in television all year, and which has recently earned her a second Emmy nod.

Leo studied drama at Mount View Theatre School in London, England, and later at the SUNY Purchase Acting Program.


Jolly Abraham (Ingilin- Frail/Ingilin) Broadway: Coram Boy and Bombay Dreams. Off-Broadway: No Exit,The Marriage of Figaro, The Bald Soprano, Richard II, Hard Times, The Oedipus Trilogy, Hamlet (The Pearl Theatre), Massacre (Rattlestick), McReele(Roundabout). NY Theatre: The Un-Marrying Project, The Grecian Formula (Fringe), Twelfth Night(sonnet rep) Regional: Scorched (The Wilma Theatre, Barrymore nomination), Vaidehi (Chauttauqua Theatre Company), News To Me (Hartbeat Ensemble), Loves Labours Lost co-production (The Shakespeare Theatre DC/ RSC), The Pentecost (Old Globe). O’Neill Theatre Conference and Lincoln Center Director Labs. TV: Unforgettable,recurring Law and Order:SVU, Lights Out, White Collar, Nurse Jackie, Gossip Girl, Sex and The City, Ed, Law and Order:CI, Bedford Diaries. Film: The Adderall Diaries, A Walk Among the Tombstones(with Liam Neeson), After You Left (Sundance short entry), Loving Leah, Stay (with Ryan Gosling). Company member of The Pearl Theatre. BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts.


Robin Carus (casting director) Robin Carus has been casting for 17 years. She was Head of Casting for TheatreworksUSA for nine years. While there, she auditioned thousands of actors and cast over 200 national tours and countless off-Broadway shows created by emerging playwrights and directors. Since then, she has cast for major theatre festivals including work at the 2009 Marathon Festival at EST, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Conference, Lincoln Center’s American Living Room Festival, NAMT, NYMF, Fringe, Midtown International Theatre Festival and the Emmy Award winning Family Life Theatre.

Tour: Clifford the Big Red DogSpank! The Fifty Shades Parody, Family Life TheatreTheatreworksUSA Regional: The State Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company International: Sunfish (Dir: Will Pomerantz, Daegu International Theatre Festival, Korea) Off-Broadway/Off-Off Broadway: Woman at the Funerals (IATI Theatre), Pete the Girl (The Living Theatre), Aesop’s Fables (Dir: Theodore Mann/Circle in the Square), The Last CastratoLike You Like It (Dir: Igor Goldin/Gallery Players), The Plant That Ate Dirty SocksSeussical, Max & RubyHenry and MudgeCam JansenWalk Two MoonsSummer of the SwansJunie B. JonesSarah, Plain and TallRomeo and Juliet. Workshops & Readings: Valentino’s Tango (Dir: Chet Walker), Folk City (Theater for the New City), Art(Dir: Dan Cordle), Caught (Dir: Nick DeGruccio), Dani Girl (Dir: Scott Schwartz) Concerts/Special Events: Like You Like It (54 Below), 2014 JFest (Resident Casting Director), 2013 One Acts For A Cause: An Evening of New One Acts by Neil LaBute, John Patrick Shanley, and Winter Miller: a benefit for Safe Horizon (Signature Theatre, NYC), FX’s “Archer Live”  (Irving Plaza, NYC & Theatre of the Living Arts, PA), I Stand Before You Naked (Gerald Lynch Theatre), Speargrove Presents (Julia Miles Theatre), Strange News From Another Planet (Dir: Michael Alltop/Fringe), City of Dreams (Dir: Michael Alltop/MITF), Like You Like It (Dir: Jen Bender/NYMF, Musical Mondays Theatre Lab) Film: Love TrueWeatheringRunning With SharksThe King’s PawnDisgraceElvis,RoverNo VagrancySkook (Additional Casting), A Breath AwayBreaking the ChainTigerUnderwear (Winner Best Short Savannah Film Festival). TV: “Whistler and the Case For Beauty” (PBS), commercials.

In addition to her casting experience, Robin is on the Young Leadership Board of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. Robin lectures and teaches audition workshops in New York and at colleges around the country. You can find her on Facebook @ Robin Carus Casting or on Twitter @robincarus.


Jenny Seastone Stern (Mother- SNAP*)  NY Theater: North Atlantic (The Wooster Group), Grimly Handsome (Julia Jarcho; OBIE Award for Best American Play, 2013), Stay (Rattlestick),  Gin Baby (KidBrooklyn), Our Planet (Japan Society), A (Radically Condensed and Expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, (after David Foster Wallace) (Daniel Fish), Blood Play (The Debate Society), Nomads (Julia Jarcho), Dreamless Land (New York City Players), American Treasure (13P), The Bereaved (Partial Comfort), P.S. Jones and the Frozen City (TerraNOVA), Goldor $ Mythyka (New Georges), Vendetta Chrome (Clubbed Thumb), Devil Land (SPF), Dawn (The Flea), Purity (PS122). Selected Film: Hal Hartley: The Girl From Monday, Meanwhile, and Ned Rifle.  TV: Over/Under. Member: Partial Comfort Productions. Affiliated artist of New Georges.  Founder of the performance series Catch.


Russell Jordan (Daddy – SNAP*) Outstanding Actor in a Staged Reading Award, DASH by John T. Hall – 2013 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Member: AEA and SAG-AFTRA.


Kate Benson (Frail- Frail/Ingilin) is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. Recent performing credits include Nomads at the Incubator, Good Person of Szechuan at the Public, and home/sick at the Living Theater. Her first play, A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes, was produced by New Georges at Dixon Place this spring. She has an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College, and she is a member of the Jam at New Georges.


Izzy Fields (costume designer) hails from Houston, Texas and is currently based out of New York City.  She just received her MFA in costume and production design at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and will be starting as a production assistant in the fall for Law  and Order.  New York Credits include (most recent): The Faire, Fault Line Theatre; Breathing Time, Fault Line Theatre; Richard III, NYU Grad Acting Department; Lies My Father Told Me, National Yiddish Theatre; Midsummer Nights Dream, Secret Theatre; Night of One Acts, Signature Theatre; Certifiable, Conelly Theatre, Blithe Spirit, NYU Walker Theatre; Two Brothers andFyvush Finkel Live!, National Yiddish Theatre;Levels of the Game, NYU Walker Theatre;Empress of Sex, Bleeker Street Theatre, and several collaborations with Second Ave Dance Company.  Izzy received the award for best costume design in both 2007 and 2009 at the Midtown International Theatre Festival here in NYC. She also received, along with the wholeFyvush Finkel Live! show, a 2010 Drama Desk Nomination.

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