About the Staff

The First-Year Arts Program (FAP) is overseen by the Freshman Dean's Office and the FAP director, Julia Smeliansky, in close collaboration with the Office for the Arts.  In addition, there are 7 Resident Artists20 Guest Artists, and 16 Upperclassman Proctors.  The Resident Artists are all top artists in their fields, and each teach a full workshop, a smaller master class, and advise on development of content for the FAP Pageant for each of their threads.  Guest Artists are all working professionals that each teach individual Master Classes in their respective areas of expertise.  The FAP Proctors are all prolific arts leaders here on campus who help to run all of the programs, advise on Pageant content, and can offer great first hand insight into the social, academic, cultural and artistic fabric that is Harvard.

Director/Proctor Bios

Julia SmelianksyDirector

Julia Smeliansky

I’m thrilled to be starting this year as Director of the First-year Arts Program. I come from a theater background; I was literally raised backstage as a kid.  I have studied Art History and Theater Management, and have worked and toured with may theater, ballet and modern dance companies. I have worked for Harvard for nineteen years as the Administrative Director of the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training.  Prior to coming to Harvard, I was an Associate Producer on Broadway. In my spare time, I translate plays, paint and sing. Looking forward to an incredible experience this summer with our FAP team. Email me at julia_smeliansky@harvard.edu with any questions you may have.

 

Joey Donnelly, Assistant Director

Joey Donnelly

Joey is so excited to be the assistant director and an acting instructor this year for FAP! He is a recent graduate of the l masters in acting program at Harvard University in conjunction with the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre School. Joey graduated with a degree in Theatre and Speech from Wagner College  and then performed in regional musical theatre across the U.S. He has also dabbled in directing and producing during his  studies at A.R.T. Directing/Producing 'BardCore' at Club Oberon at A.R.T., directed several new works for '10 Minute Tuesdays' at A.R.T. As well as assisting Russian Absurdist director Misha Milkis on the Moscow Project- 'Christmas at the Ivanovs.' Favorite acting credits include 'Middletown' (John Dodge) 'Romeo and Juliet' (Mercucio), Violet at A.R.T. (Father), James and the Giant Peach (Earthworm) as well as having the privilege to understudy the role of Sandra in A.R.T.'s production of 'Transcripts.' After FAP Joey will head off to The Netherlands to join the international embodied acting troupe- Theatre Hotel Courage- where he will represent America in a devised piece exploring the oppressors and oppressed in today's societies from September- December and then will join the faculty at Wagner College in New York where he will be an adjunct professor of acting and public speaking.  

 

 

Ian Askew '19, Team Music

Yo! I'm Ian, a rising junior on team music! I'm from Takoma Park, Maryland, a city snuggled up right next to Washington, DC. I'm involved in a lots of art-making on campus. Whether you're interested in starting a Prince cover band or creating a three-hour improvised orchestral performance based on the water cycle, I'm your dude! I'm all about carving out your own space on campus and making you dreams come tru! I concentrate in History & Literature and am heading toward a joint concentration with Theater, Dance, and Media.

A fun fact: I've been on the campus snapstory twice, and only one of those times was I singing Smash Mouth's 1999 hit "All Star." 

This is my second year as a proctor and I'm excited to join my partner Eden on team music (they're so cool!). Excited to meet you all! Contact me at iaskew@college.harvard.edu with any questions, even about unrelated stuff. I'll just google it.

 

Charlie Krumholz '18, Team Studio Art

Greetings, FAPpers. Hailing from the Sunshine State, I’m Charlie Krumholz. A rising senior in Eliot House, I am excited to be the second Studio Arts proctor with Camila. Though I am an Economics concentrator, I also paint, draw, sculpt, and remain a Snapchat enthusiast. Passionate about visual arts, I work as a Student Guide at the Harvard Art Museums and contribute as an Art Board member of The Harvard Advocate undergraduate arts journal. I also conduct economics and financial research for professors and the Harvard Financial Analysts Club, in addition to participating on the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum and Harvard Economics Review.

As the youngest of six children, I can relate to being the little freshman in the big Harvard community. As you begin a new chapter in your life, there is no place as great as FAP for artists entering the Harvard community. Each day we will eat in the Eliot dining hall (the best dining hall, of course), under the painted gaze of John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Charles William Eliot. I can’t wait to introduce what we all love about FAP and the role of the arts at Harvard. Please feel free to reach out and say hello. My email is charleskrumholz@college.harvard.edu.

 

Eden Girma '18, Team Music
 

Dear FAP, 

Bios make me somewhat anxious so here are some things you should know about me:

  • Name: Eden Girma
  • Hometown: Madison, WI
  • House/Class: Cabot/2018
  • Concentration: Astrophysics and Mathematics Joint (and Jazz Voice @ NEC, I guuuueeeesssss???? lol)
  • What are you doing here??: I’m the music proctor, you really didn’t know that?
  • Music likes include: Janelle Monae, Fleet Foxes, Chopin etudes, Nina Simone, ATCQ, WPR’s Simply Folk, Monk, Lianne La Havas, The Noisettes, Chuck Berry, the Howlies, Erykah Badu, Nick Hakim, Emily King, and so so so much more
  • General likes include: genuineness, Alex Graff, hiding for hours in a cafe, imagining I’m a professional dancer, reading my friends’ books, the Cambridge Public Library, my roommate’s mom’s chocolate chip cookies, cooking Ethiopian food, learning new things, succeeding at social interactions

But all awkwardness aside, I’m really excited to get to know y’all and provide *love* and *advice* and all the beautiful things proctors are supposed to do :) I’m so much better at answering questions and listening to others than randomly spewing out things about myself, so email edengirma@live.com if you feel at all compelled to introduce yourself or ask me a question about, well, anything. (I promise to try my best in answering it adequately >.<)

 

Sam Hagen '18, Team Drama

Salutations, FAPpers, my name is Sam Hagen and I am a rising senior in Leverett House studying Theater, Dance, & Media and History of Art & Architecture. I’m originally from Gainesville, FL, although you might be more familiar with its other names, “Gains-ville” or “Gainesvegas.” At Harvard I am involved in theater as an actor, director, producer, designer, dramaturg, and doing what Julia says. Outside of rehearsal and production meetings, I also compete in Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. Send me your questions about anything, like the difference between Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, or study abroad opportunities in Afghanistan, at samuelhagen@college.harvard.edu. All emails should include cat video links, thanks. 

 

Darren LaPointe '18, Team Theatre Design

Heyo! The name's Darren LaPointe, and I'm a rising senior in Kirkland House concentrating in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology with a secondary in English. Another thing about me is that I'm from Maine, which is why I like wood. This will be my first year with FAP, and I'm super excited to work with the all-star squad we've assembled to figure out what this crazy thing is all about. As one of the TDT proctors, I've been consuming sawdust and inhaling paint fumes to prepare my body for the shop, and I would not recommended you do the same. Anyways, on campus I do "tech" for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and have also helped with things like "load-in" and "strike" for a couple of HRDC shows. Things that make me say yay are sports, junk food, video games, weights, and American musical theater. If you'd like to intimately discuss any of these subjects or talk about something else in a much more shallow manner than shoot me an e-mail at dlapointe@college.harvard.edu. Can't wait to get this ball rolling!

 

Gabe Martinez '18, Team Dance

HIYA FAP!  I’m Gabe (read: Goob), a rising senior in Leverett house (and blockmates with your fellow proctor Laurel “Lauren” “Looble” McCaull).  I’m from Riverside, California (RIP warm) concentrating in Computer Science (RIP sleep) with a secondary in History of Art and Architecture.  Besides my usual blasting off I do around campüs, I spend a lot of time dancing with the Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company, Expressions Dance company, and Eleganza Show.  Other than dance, my nonexistent free time is spent walking to the quad, drinking chai in Lamont Cafe, and working as a student researcher at the Harvard Art Museums.  I am so pumped for you all to do FAP, because it truly is a life changing (read: physically and mentally exhausting) program and I am so excited to be able to do it all over again!  DANCE THREAD OOH HA HA.  I love talking (so much) so please send me an email, text, or Instagram direct message if you want to talk dance, design, life, love, or Lana Del Rey. All relevant contact info below.  <3 Gooby

Email: gmartinez@college.harvard.edu

IG: gabemart

 

Laurel McCaull '18, Team Dance

Laurel McCaull

Greetings, FAP! I’m Laurel, and I’m so stoked to meet you all. I’m a rising senior in Leverett House, where I live with Gabe “Producer” Martinez, fellow dancer and scammer extraordinaire. We’re both from California, so if you ever want to complain about the cold or reminisce about In-N-Out, we’re your people. I concentrate in English, and this year I’ll be writing a creative thesis (zoinks!). On campus I spend most of my time avoiding work and finding dance opportunities wherever I can. Apart from the various student groups with whom I perform, I also assistant-choreograph for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, a wacky drag show that you have to see to believe. In my spare time, I love to write fiction, binge-watch Netflix, and listen to Modern Love podcasts because yes I’m a big softie and it’s fine. Hit me up at laurelmccaull@college.harvard.edu if you ever want to talk books, dance, the correct cream-to-coffee ratio, or anything else that gets your goat. Word.

 

Lance Oppenheim '19, Team Film

Who you ask is this young gun Lance Ian Oppenheim? America's brand new bag... and he's Canadian. No he's not. He's American, from Florida at that.  And he's a sophomore here at Harvard, dual-concentrating in VES and social anthropology.

That's right folks, Lance makes movies. Some are sad. Some just may even make you cry. 

Because you see, Lance directs from the heart. So, why don't you go on over and watch one? Come on, do it. Why?

Because he's Lance Ian Oppenheim. He's your new best friend. Feel free to send him an email at mailto:lanceoppenheim@college.harvard.edu.

 

Camila Ortiz '19Team Studio Art

Camila Ortiz

Hey FAP! I'm Camila, a rising junior in Quincy House studying History & Literature with a Music Secondary. I also love to draw n make graphics, which why I'm joining Charlie on team Studio Art! I come from Davis, California (it still takes me a minute to find Massachusetts on a map! It's also cold here but I'm getting used to it!) Here at Harvard I like to spin tunez on WHRB, the student radio station, write songs, take art classes, and order Dominos at odd hours. I am so excited to get to know all of you and make cool art together! Email me at camilaortiz@harvard.edu if you wanna say hey or talk about your horoscope or ask anything at all!

 

Angie Cui '20, Team Dance

Angie Cui

Hey FAP!! My name is Angie and I'm a rising sophomore living in Quincy House, studying Social Studies (I promise it's actually a real thing). I'm from New York City which means I love talking and walking quickly and bougie coffee shops. I was a FAPper myself just last August and at beyond thrilled to be back as a proctor!! I'm one half of TEAM DANCE #YAS #LIT which makes sense because literally all I do on this campus is live breathe and bleed (mostly not literally) dance. Come hang out with me on campus in the Modern Dance Company, Expressions Hip Hop Company or Eleganza fashion show (read: napping in all the dance studios on campus). When not wearing sweatpants, I am the Director of Recruitment for the International Relations Council, staff Harvard's Model UN conferences and tour guide for the Harvard Admissions Office. Realistically though, find me trolling David's Tea for free samples or stealing food from various club meetings. Mostly just wherever there's food. YAY CAN'T WAIT TO MEET ALL OF YOU!!!! 

 

Casey Goggin '19Team Drama

Casey Goggin

Hi FAP! My name is Casey Goggin, I am a rising junior in Cabot House, pursuing a joint concentration in Government and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, with a citation in French. My family moves a lot so idk where I am from, but I lived in Australia so that was cool! I am SO thrilled to be a Drama Proctor alongside Sam Hagen. I'm super involved with theater around campus, mainly as an actor and a light designer, and I am also a staff member at the Y2Y Homeless Youth Shelter. As far as my artistic interests/passions/quirks go, I am very in to figuring out how I can best use my body to stage protest and create spaces of support. 

As someone whose only experience with theater before college was an ensemble role in a high school production of Sweet Charity, I 100% vibe with the uncertainty and doubt one can feel about diving in to the arts in the seemingly-daunting environment that is Harvard. And I am here to tell you that at any level of experience, you TOO can get in to it and get SICKENING. I can't wait to meet you all and share in your passion and your art, whether it be in FAP or beyond. Please don't hesitate to send me an email at caseygoggin@college.harvard.edu if you have any questions or if you want to discuss RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9.

 

Mike Skerrett '18, Team Creative Writing

Greetings, FAP, and welcome to my e-bio. It's like my normal bio but it exists in the cloud. I'm Mike and I'm a rising senior in Adams House studying Government with an English secondary. I was born in Boston, and have spent the ensuing 20 years calling people out if they say they're from Boston but are from 45 minutes away. On campus I'm in the Immediate Gratification Players, a longform improv comedy troupe, I've written a couple plays, been in a couple more not written by me, and do other general comedy stuff like standup and sketch comedy. I like playing chess and crying until my opponent lets me win. When it comes to mousepads, I think you go blue or go home. When it comes to 3D printing organs, I'm wary but hopeful. Anyway, I love writing and can't wait to write with you all! Please shoot me an email at mskerrett@college.harvard.edu -- I'd love to talk about anything, as long as you DON'T mention that thing I told you in confidence. Fun fact! The picture below is taken when I was having a ton of fun at Disneyworld. I just have resting "whut did u say to me dude?!?" face.

 

Julia Steigerwald Schnall '18, Team Production

Hi FAP! I’m a rising senior in Adams House studying psychology, and my last name is actually pronounced “Smith”. I love pasta and hate ketchup and sometimes have a pet cat. I’ve been involved in theater as a stage manager, producer, costume designer, poster designer, and member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club board, but my primary theatrical interest is napping: I’ve napped in every theater on campus, as well as under a desk (not mine) at the Harvard Art Museum, where I have a “real job.” When I’m not asleep, you can find me designing for the Harvard Political Review, cooking, working as a course assistant for a class on education reform, and taking care of my cactuses. Email me anytime at jsteigerwaldschnall@college.harvard.edu to talk about coffee, design, the eight years I spent playing clarinet (currently: zero idea how to put the pieces of a clarinet in order or where the hands go), what’s wrong with Discover Weekly, the horrifyingly low number of works by female artists on the walls of nearly every major art institution on this planet, and any/everything else that’s on your mind!

 

Carla Troconis '19, Team Theater Design

Carla Troconis

What. Is. UP, FAP?! I’m Carla Troconis (alternatively known as “Trollconis”) and I’m a junior living in Cabot House (along with your drama proctor #GOGGIN) and concentrating in Government. On campus, I do a lot of acting, directing, and tech work with the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, along with being on board as its Treasurer (money, money, everywhere). I also write and edit for the Harvard Political Review because as we’ve all seen, isn’t politics and theater the same thing nowadays?! Oh yeah, my sense of humor is 50% sarcastic quips, 50% "University of Miami Frat Boy humor" (this phrase was trademarked by Casey Goggin). For fun, I like to spend time reading about Latin American dictators and democratic attempts (shout out to my homeland Venezuela, #SOS), writing plays/stories/poetry, spending times at Quad establishments like Starbucks, Cambridge Common, and the Cabot Dining Hall with friends, and spending too much time looking at memes. Slide into my DMs (just kidding, please don’t) at carlatroconis@college.harvard.edu if you have questions/wanna talk about theater, tech, birds, or anything at all, really. Super psyched to get to know you all! 

 

KeeHup Yong '19, Team Film

KeeHup
Yooooo.
My name is KeeHup Yong and I am a rising junior hailing from Vine Grove, Kentucky. Here on campus, I study psychology and live in Currier House. Along with my dude Lance, I rep Team Film! 
I do art thingies. I dance, film stuff, animate things, sing in the shower, sing at performances, rap, and write about random moments. I love art, and you remember that you can't spell "Heart" without "Art"! 
When I am not having an existential crisis over what to do my life or which flavor of milk to drink at breakfast, I like talking. A lot. Oh and working on projects for my psychology lab  If you don't see me or hear my silly and obnoxious laugh, I'm probably in a dance studio with the Harvard Breakers, or smuggling food out of the dining halls.
Please reach out about literally anything. Like. Anything at all. Just reach out! 
 
 
Inaara Shiraz '19, Team Creative Writing

Inaara Shiraz

 

Resident and Guest Artists

Jim Augustine '01, Drama

Jim is an actor/singer/dancer/choreographer/director/producer-turned-media-entrepreneur, whose career-to-date has spanned theater, film, publishing, consulting and social media.  Jim began his career in 2001, working as assistant to choreographer, Rob Ashford, on Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Awards: Best Choreography and Best New Musical), the Huntington Theater’s Marty starring John C. Reilly, and Roundabout’s 2002 Broadway revival of The Boys from Syracuse.  Jim went on to choreograph the A.R.T’s original production of Lysistrata starring Cherry Jones, the Off-Broadway premiere of Pen at Playwrights Horizons, and the NYC premieres of Gone Missing and Paris Commune for the Civilian Theater Company’s 2004 OBIE-award winning season. In 2007, Jim wrote, directed and produced his first film, The Audition, which won Best Drama at Iris International’s 2008 “Gone with the Film” Festival and Honorable Mention at the International Accolade Awards. During this period, Jim helped develop the memoir, Hope’s Boy, which was released in 2008 by Hyperion Books and became a New York Times Bestseller.  Currently, Jim is directing and producing his first feature film – a documentary in association with HRH Prince Charles’ Youth Business International – about young entrepreneurs around the world and the mentors who have helped to make their ambitions a reality. Jim is also Founder and CEO of Buckaboone, Inc., a dotcom startup that is poised to spark a revolution in social economy upon its launch in Fall 2010.  Jim is a summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard in Women’s Studies, and holds a Masters in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  This is Jim’s 12th FAP!

 

Ed Burch, Dance

Ed Burch

Hey FAP! I am a lifelong dancer, gymnast, actor, singer and artist. Born and raised in Auburn, MA. I studied at Jo Ann Warren Studio based out of Worcester, MA; where I teach and choreograph to this day. I have had the honor of studying under the likes of Henry LeTang, Gregory Hines, Debbie Dee, Paula Abdul, and Gary Coburn, to name a few. I am currently the director for a dance company based out of Worcester, Stylized Movement, and also the owner and director of Ed Burch Dance; offering dance to people of all ages. Styles including Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballet, Contemporary and all styles of Ballroom; I also work as a choreographer/coach/advisor for the Clark University dance team, as well as choreographer and director for a number of New England based productions. I am also a national dance adjudicator, and have judged and work shopped nationwide.

I have been blessed with the ability to teach an art form that I love to some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the privilege to meet.  I had the honor of being a guest artist for the 2013 Freshman Arts Program and am so happy to have joined the Resident Artist team in 2014!

 

Glenn Kiser '91, VES Film

 

After acting in some 20 productions (including the Hasty Pudding) and making short films through the VES department, Glenn clutched his Harvard Psych degree and moved to Los Angeles to make it in the movies.  He started off working in editing on low budget independent films like BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and THE GAME.  Then he moved to San Francisco where he ran George Lucas' company Skywalker Sound, where he oversaw sound work on massive projects such as the HARRY POTTER series, the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films, the IRON MANs, TRON: LEGACY and AVATAR.  Glenn currently consults for Dolby Labs and is touring the world film festival circuit with a short film he co-wrote and directed, "Sabbatical."

 

Peter Miller, Theatre Design

When he isn’t teaching at FAP, Peter paints other people’s scenery. For several seasons he was the Resident Scenic Artist of The Juilliard School at Lincoln Center and the Wolftrap Opera Company of Vienna, Virginia. Since joining Local 829 of United Scenic Artists he has worked on the paint crew of numerous Broadway Shows, Films, and TV Programs. Broadway highlights include Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Ragtime, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Crucible, Saint Joan, and Tom Stoppard’s Epic trilogy, The Coast of Utopia. Recent work includes revivals of West Side Story, Exit the King, and Waiting For Godot. Films include the current romantic comedies; When In Rome and It’s Complicated, Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, August Rush, The Interpreter, War of the Worlds, The Stepford Wives and Unfaithful. Films coming soon to a theater near you include: Wall Street II - Money Never Sleeps, A Couple of Cops, and Julie Taymor’s adaptation of The Tempest. Peter graduated from Harvard in ‘84 - he concentrated in VES and lived in Adams House. He is proud to work in an industry that allows him to put The World Wrestling Federation’s Grand Slam Highway to Hell and The Victoria’s Secret Holiday Fashion Show on the same resume. After more than twenty-five years in show business he can honestly say that he has hardly ever been bored, and that he has almost always been amused!
 

Matt Sherwin, Music

Matt Sherwin

MATT SHERWIN is a composer/sound designer for theatre, as well as a songwriter and performer. He is he recipient of the 2016 Innovative Theatre Award for Best Original Music, and served as composer/sound designer for the multiple Obie Award-winning Born Bad at Soho Rep. Additional credits include the Drama Desk-nominated The Accomplices at The New Group, 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks at the Public Theater, Macbeth for Lincoln Center Theater Education, as well as productions for Ensemble Studio Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Barrington Stage Company. Matt has served as a Guest Artist at NYU/Stella Adler Studio, Louisiana State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Yale. He has also co-written three musicals, the most recent of which, My Base and Scurvy Heart, was featured at the William Inge Theatre Festival with Cady Huffman and Nellie Mckay. Matt performed for two decades as a songwriter throughout NYC and the Northeast, released three albums, and received Honor Awards from Billboard and the Songwriters Resource Network. For the past ten years, he has served as a teaching artist with Lincoln Center Theater’s Songwriting in the Schools Program. MFA: NYU/Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
 

 

Julia Rooney '11, VES Studio Arts

 

Julia Rooney is a visual artist. She grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where she studied ceramics (hand-building and wheel) at Greenwich House Pottery, and oil painting at Parsons The New School for Design. From 2003-2007, she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts as a studio art major.

In 2011, she graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies and a secondary in Italian. From 2008-2010, she traveled extensively in Italy as a researcher-writer for “Let’s Go”, and worked as a studio assistant at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence. This travel informed most of her undergraduate work, both in technique (experiments with fresco and oil paint), and subject matter (post-modern Italian architecture). Paintings and installations from this series were exhibited at the Center for Government and International Studies (in “Invisible Cities” and “Atlas: Map and Myth”), The Office for the Arts, Massachusetts Hall, and the Carpenter Center (“Oh Pioneers”). She was the recipient of the Council Prize in Visual Art (2011), the David McCord Prize (2011), a David Rockefeller International Experience Grant (2009), and an Artist Development Fellowship (2009).

Upon graduating, she returned to New York and began work in the Islamic department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as an artist assistant for two NY-based painters. In 2012, she returned part-time to Harvard as a VES Teaching Assistant in Silkscreen, and co-curator of the Sandra Naddaff Leigh Hafrey Three Columns Gallery in Mather House. Her professional work has drawn her most recently to the study of Islamic art and the Turkish language. The merging of text and image in the Islamic tradition has parallels to recent collaborations with her sister, Anne Marie Rooney, who is a poet and teaching artist in New Orleans.

 

Kadahj Bennett, Creative Writing

Oops! Image Out Of Order.

 

Nell Benjamin '93, Guest Artist: Creative Writing

Nell Benjamin co-wrote the score to Legally Blonde, The Musical with composer Laurence O’Keefe, for which they received a 2007 Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk nomination and the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Musical.  Nell and Larry premiered an original opera called “Life Of The Party” at Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts.  Prior to that, Nell’s disturbingly free adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, called Pirates! (or Gilbert and Sullivan plunder’d) ran at the Goodspeed Opera House, the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Huntington Theater and the St Louis MUNY.  Nell wrote lyrics for Sarah, Plain and Tall, originally developed by TheatreworksUSA. Sarah played at the Lucille Lortel Theater, Off-Broadway and at Dallas Theater Center in 2009.  Nell and Larry were nominated for a 2005 Drama Desk for Best Book of a Musical for Cam Jansen (also developed by Theatreworks USA) and won an L.A. Ovation award for their first collaboration, The Mice.  Her work for television includes the last and weirdest season of Unhappily Ever After, Animal Planet’s Whoa! Sunday with Mo Rocca, and the new Electric Company.  Her play, The Explorers Club, will be produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in Spring of 2013.

 

Larry O'Keefe '91, Guest Artist: Music

Larry is a composer/lyricist, bookwriter, arranger and pianist for Broadway, movies and television.  Larry wrote music and lyrics for the Off-Broadway smash Bat Boy: The Musical (about a bug-eating bloodthirsty cave boy discovered by the tabloid Weekly World News) has been produced in hundreds of productions worldwide, including London's West End, Japan, Korea, Berlin and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Bat Boy won two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics’ Circle awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical, and was nominated for seven Drama Desk awards including Best Music and Best Lyrics.

With his frequent co-writer and wife, the brilliant lyricist and bookwriter Nell Benjamin, Larry scored hits in childrens' theater (Sarah, Plain And Tall;  Cam Jansen And The Curse Of The Emerald Elephant) and on Broadway (Legally Blonde: The Musical).  Legally Blonde ran for over 600 performances at the Palace Theatre on Broadway and was nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Score, as well as ten Drama Desk Awards including Best Lyrics, Best Music and Best Musical. 

Larry and Nell have now adapted Sarah, Plain And Tall into a full-length show for grownups, following a workshop at the prestigious Eugene O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference in Waterford, Connecticut.  The full-length Sarah received its premiere production at the Dallas Theatre Center in Dallas, Texas, and will come to Broadway in 2011. Larry's next project is the stage adaptation of the beloved bloody cult film Heathers, for which he is co-writing book, music and lyrics with Emmy-winning writer Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness, Desperate Housewives).

Larry has written music and songs for shows on MTV, VH-1, "The Daily Show" and Disney's "Johnny And The Sprites", and composed for PBS's recent documentary series "Make 'Em Laugh". Larry has taught master classes in music, theater and comedy at Harvard, Yale, NYU, Florida Atlantic University and elsewhere.  He has won the Ed Kleban Award for his lyrics, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizon award for music and lyrics, the USC Harry Warren Prize for composition and a Jonathan Larson Foundation grant for his songs. 

 Born in New York, Larry graduated Harvard University with an A.B. in Social Anthropology, but spent his time performing and composing for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, singing with the Harvard Krokodiloes and writing for the Harvard Lampoon.  Larry and Nell live in New York City. They used to live in Los Angeles but their apartment got bulldozed so now they have two cars and furniture out there but no house.