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Joseph Hayward

Associate Producing Director, The York Theatre Company

Joseph Hayward is a director and producer of theatre and live events based in New York. His artistic home is The York Theatre Company, where he currently serves as the Associate Producing Director and coordinator for the Developmental Reading Series. Like The York, Joseph is passionate about developing new works and rediscovering musical gems from the past. 

Most recently, he directed How to Steal an Election at The York (the first New York revival), A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Julie Benko Sings Jule Styne at The York, Lullaby of Broadway with Lee Roy Reams, Karin Baker & Karen Ziemba at The York, and Desperate Measures at Saint Michael’s Playhouse. Other credits include: And Then There Were None at St. Bart’s/Moss Theatre, Remembering Jerry Herman at The York, and You Can’t Take It With You at St. Bart’s/Hudson Guild Theatre. 

Joseph began his career as an assistant and associate to a variety of directors and producers including Bill Castellino, Ray Roderick, Austin Pendleton, Jack Hofsiss and more. For eight years, Joseph continued to hone his craft under the guidance of these directors at theaters across the country. 

Jeff Herbst

Artistic Director, Northern Sky Theatre

Jeff has been with Northern Sky since 1991 and became artistic director in 1993. He began his collaboration with the Heritage Ensemble, Northern Sky’s predecessor, in 1985 as part of the Governor Dodge State Park troupe and then migrated north to direct for the Peninsula State Park group in 1988 and 1989. He has worked on over seventy-five original productions with Northern Sky, including Guys on Ice, Lumberjacks in Love, Packer Fans from Outer Space, and Bone Dance. Jeff was instrumental in developing Northern Sky’s New Works Program and the Fred Alley New Musical Fund, nurturing writing teams in bringing an original work “from the page to the stage.” He was integrally involved with the design of the new Gould Theater and Northern Sky campus. He recently initiated Northern Sky NOVA, a nascent program for nurturing up-and-coming talent. Jeff has an MFA in Acting from the Asolo Conservatory and has performed on and off Broadway, as well as at regional theatres throughout the United States. He and Fred Alley were honored in 2017 with the Distinguished Alumni Award from their alma mater, Mt. Horeb High School, for their work in creating original musical theater.

Roy Lightner

Artistic Director, Red Mountain Theatre

Roy Lightner is an award-winning theatre creator, director, choreographer, and educator born and raised in Kansas City. Prior to his tenure at RMT, Roy served as the Associate Artistic Director for the Transcendence Theatre Company, and also on the Musical Theatre Faculty of Ithaca College. Additionally, Roy has taught courses at Arizona State University and Cornell University. His work as a creator, director, and choreographer spans internationally, including productions and immersive events for Google, Lincoln Center, the Stephen Sondheim Center, Transcendence Theatre Company, MTWichita, Music Theatre of Kansas City, GEVA Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Westin Playhouse, Depot Theatre, and more.  As a creator/director/choreographer his credits include: Transcendence Theatre Company’s productions of Oh, What a Night! (2015 Winner – Best Director, Broadway World San Francisco), Superheroes in Love, and Music of the Night; New York City Opera’s Lucky to Be Me (Lincoln Center, assistant to Peggy Hickey), Hairspray, Miss Saigon (Sondheim Center), Hound of the Baskervilles (Cape Playhouse, New Jersey Rep, Westin Playhouse, Depot Theatre), Bring It On (Music Theatre of Kansas City), Hairspray (Winner – Best Director, Broadway World KC), Thoroughly Modern Millie, Good News, Urban Cowboy, Starmites, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and moreDance Concert Choreography credits include: two full-length original choreographic works Under the Covers (Ithaca College) and In Your Eyes (Miller-Marley Ballet Company)The Oklahoma City Dance Project, NYC’s Community Dance Project, New York City’s Jazz Choreography Enterprise, Astoria Fine Arts and B.C. Beat. Performance credits total over 40 professional productions. As a national director for Dancers Inc., he toured the country as a Master Class teacher. Roy has taught at New York City’s Professional Performing Arts School, as well as created the contemporary/musical theatre dance program for the Astoria School of Fine Arts.  He graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Musical Theatre; and received his Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts with a Concentration in Performance Creation from Goddard College.

Roy is currently an Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

James Morgan

Producing Artistic Director, The York Theatre Company

The York Theatre Company occupies a unique spot in New York’s theatrical landscape. Now in its 50th year, the York is the only theater in the city, and one of the few in the world, whose two-fold mission is to produce new musical works and rediscover musical gems from the past.

The York’s intimate, imaginative producing style has become its trademark.  Its productions have won critical acclaim, a host of honors and awards, and a loyal audience. Just as important, the York provides a nurturing, constructive environment for new artists to hone their craft, and for some of the masters of the musical theater’s Golden Age to take fresh looks at their classic works.  A special Drama Desk Award was presented to the company for its “vital contributions to theater by developing and producing new musicals.”

Founded by Janet Hayes Walker, the York has presented more than 70 full-scale musical productions, including such classics as The Golden AppleThe Grass HarpOn the 20th CenturyA Doll’s LifeLost in the StarsCarnival!, and Merrily We Roll Along.  Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on  musical theater: newer musicals in its Mainstage Series (most of them world, American or New York premieres) and revivals in its popular Musicals in Mufti series of semi-staged readings.

Recent Mainstage productions have included Desperate Measures (Best Musical, Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Outer Critics Circle), Marry HarryA Taste of Things to ComeYou’re a Good Man, Charlie BrownRothschild & Sons, Cagney, Texas in ParisInventing Mary Martin, Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter, Storyville, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, Closer Than Ever (Best Musical Revival, Off-Broadway Alliance Award), Ionescapade, The Road to Qatar!, Falling for Eve, Yank!, Blind Lemon Blues, Enter Laughing, Asylum, Thrill Me, Souvenir, and The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!).

Among the York productions that have had commercial transfers are Desperate Measures, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), SouvenirJolson & CompanySweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, and Cagney, starring Robert Creighton as James Cagney and members of the original York cast, which ran at the Westside Theatre for over 500 performances with the original York cast.  Cast recordings are available for 35 York productions.

In the spring of 2019, the York celebrated its 125th Musicals in Mufti production: Stephen Sondheim’s Saturday Night.  The Muftis, now in their 25th year, constitute a lovingly-curated catalogue of rarely produced musicals, some of them under-appreciated in their initial  productions, but all of them worth re-examination.  Recent Mufti presentations have included Alan Jay Lerner’s Carmelina (with Joseph Stein), The Day Before Spring (with Frederick Loewe) and Lolita, My Love (with John Barry); three shows of Jule Styne, Hallelujah, Baby!, Bar Mitzvah Boy, and Subways Are for Sleeping; a celebration of Jerry Herman’s Dear World (starring Tyne Daly) and Milk and HoneyBerlin to Broadway to Kurt WeillStarting Here, Starting Now, and Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope.

The York’s New2NY series presents simply-staged concert performances of new musicals, providing a stage between developmental lab and full production. Previous shows in the series have included In Transit (which ran on Broadway in 16/17 season), The Times, Larry Grossman’s Compose Yourself!, and 2017’s Mark Felt, Superstar and How to Be an American!.

Each year, the York presents some 30 readings of new musicals in its Developmental Reading Series, which has been the incubator for such shows as Avenue QSummer of ‘42Harold and Maude, Yank!In TransitSouvenir, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Mark Felt: Superstar, and We Foxes.

Started in 2015, the York’s Musical Theatre Training Program (MTTP) brings working professionals in to work with eager and dedicated theatre students.  Our rigorous yet nurturing programs offer training in singing, acting and movement and often include master classes with some of New York’s top theatre artists. Most of our programs culminate in a showcase performance on the York’s Off-Broadway stage.  We currently offer a Summer Intensive for middle and high school students and a Winter Intensive to college students from across the nation.

The York also produces the annual NEO Concert recognizing New, Emerging and Outstanding musical theater writers, and is proud of its longtime association with Marymount Manhattan College, its Education partner.  The company recently honored Joel Grey with the 25th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theater. Other recent recipients  Angela Lansbury in 2015, and Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty in 2014.

Ann-Carol Pence

Co-Founder/Associate Producer, Aurora Theatre

ANN-CAROL PENCE (Co-Founder/Producing Artistic Director) arranged the music for Aurora’s first Christmas Canteen in 1996 and was hired full-time in September of 1998 as Resident Musical Director. An education major at James Madison University, she used her background to develop Learning Library (or L2). As a musician, she created Aurora’s Musicals by Moonlight, and Aurora’s New Musical Initiative. She has performed as pianist and music director both nationally (Goodspeed Opera House, Pasadena Playhouse, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Kennedy Center) and locally (The Alliance, Theatrical Outfit, The Horizon, Georgia Ensemble Theatre,). As a proud citizen of Gwinnett, Ann-Carol is most proud of Aurora Theatre winning the first ever Pinnacle Award for Large Non-Profit, and the first ever Moxie Award (for woman-led businesses) for Aurora Theatre. These distinctions go well with her 5 Suzi Awards for Outstanding Music Direction. She was a participant in the 2016 Atlanta Regional Leadership Institute and member of the “Best Class Ever!”

Sara Skolnick

Director, Acquisitions & New Work, Broadway Licensing

Sara Skolnick is the Director of Acquisitions and New Work for Broadway Licensing Group and heads International & Touring Licensing, as well.  She also recently served, with Tom Casserly, as Director of the Grove/Whitman Commissioning Program, which developed ten new musicals under commission.  She previously spent five years as the Executive Producer at Grove Entertainment and, prior to that, worked for over eleven years at Broadway Across America (formerly Live Nation and Clear Channel Entertainment), ultimately serving as Vice President – Production/Director of Development.  At Broadway Across America, she also oversaw a commissioning program for the development of new musicals.  Sara is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Comparative Literature and Theatre & Drama.