Sylvia Khoury grew up in Westchester, NY, but didn’t speak English until she was five. Her mother is French (by way of Algeria and Tunisia) and her father is Lebanese (by way of Turkey). She will be workshopping her play, Against the Hillside, at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference in July 2016. Previously, Against the Hillside has been presented as part of the Roundabout Underground Reading Series in February 2016 and as part of NNPN’s National Showcase of New Plays in December 2016. She also attended The Kennedy Center/NNPN’s MFA Playwrights’ Workshop in May 2015. Other full-length plays include An Inferno and Coffee for Women. These plays and other short works have been produced or developed at the New School for Drama, Columbia University, and Naked Angels. Semi-Finalist: Jerome Fellowship at the Lark. Sylvia completed her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University (2012) and received an MFA in Playwriting at the New School for Drama (2015). She lives in New York City, where she recently completed her first year at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Jonathan Payne recently received a 2015 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. His previous play, The Briar Patch, received the 2014 Holland New Voices Award from the Great Plains Theatre Conference. His work has been produced and developed at the Tristan Bates Theatre (UK), Ars Nova, Fringe Festival NYC, Horse Trade Theater Group, Fire This Time Festival, The Bushwick Starr, and Theatrikos Theatre Company. He is a proud member of the Ars Nova Play Group and a devised theatre group Impossible Bottle. He is a recipient of the Rosa Parks Award forBorne to the Ocean (2011) and the John Cauble Short Play Award for Slavery (2002) from the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. He received a BA from the GSA Conservatoire (UK) and an MFA in Playwriting from Tisch School of the Arts.
France-Luce Benson earned an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.F.A. in Theatre from Florida International University. She has also studied at the Harlem Dramatic Arts Academy at Columbia University, Circle Repertory Theatre School, and New World School of the Arts High School. Her plays have been produced by the Ensemble Studio Theatre where she is an honored Lifetime Member, Adrienne Arsht/City Theatre of Miami, Crossroads Theatre, The Fire This Time Festival, The Billy Holiday Theatre, and New Perspectives Theatre among others. She has also had readings and workshops at Primary Stages, Classic Theatre of Harlem, and Victory Gardens Theatre’s inaugural Ignition Festival. Awards and Honors include: Winner of the National Award for Short Playwriting, (Risen from the Dough 2015); The Kilroys List- Honorable Mention(Boat People2015); Alfred P. Sloan New Play Commission(The Devil’s Salt 2012) Alfred P. Sloan Award for original screenplay( Healing Roots); National Black Theatre, I Am Soul Residency Finalist; Kenney Center ATF Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award (Honorable Mention-Fati’s Last Dance, 2008); three time scholarship recipient at Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and two time Schubert Fellow. She has just been published by Routledge Press, and is currently a professor at St. Johns University.
Patrick Lazour is a writer, lyricist and playwright. His work has been performed at the Miller Theater, the Robsham Theater Arts Center, and Calliope Theater. With his brother Daniel, Patrick has written and produced four musicals and is working on an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Side of Paradise. His musical, The Grand Room, was developed and performed at the Robsham Theater Arts Center at Boston College. Most recently, his musical, We Live in Cairo, about the youth movement during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, was developed at the O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference. He holds a B.A. in political science and theater from Boston College. He lives in New York City.
Stacey Rose is a proud mom, theatre artist, and filmmaker from Charlotte, NC by way of Elizabeth, NJ. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts were she was honored with the NYU Grey Gallery Prize in collaboration with The Studio Museum of Harlem for her short play My Pet, the 2015 Outstanding Writing for Stage playwriting award, was a 2014-15 Future Screenwriter Fellow, and was a 2015 Fusion Film Festival finalist for her script television pilot Up-And-Coming. Her recent work includes the production of her short film Fun, the third in the series of films for The Perceptions Project. Stacey strives to create work which entertains, challenges, educates and empowers both the audience and her collaborators. Her work typically focuses issues of Black identity, race disparity, the dilemma of “otherness”, and cats … cause she loves them.
Brandon James Gwinn is the composer of Underwear A Space Musical which premiered in the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival and was an invited production at the 2012 American College Theatre Festival. His music and lyrics for Matchmaker Matchmaker I’m Willing to Settle premiered at Club Oberon part of the American Repertory Theatre in Boston and the 2011 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Brandon is also the composer and co-lyricist of the New York Theatre Barn Commission Small Town Story which received the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Writer’s Residency Grant, was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers award, was featured in the Village Theatre New Musicals Festival in Seattle, and will soon be produced in workshop at the University of Hartford. A singer-songwriter and music director, he has arranged and played shows in LA, San Francisco, Miami, and in New York at Feinstein’s, Birdland, Joe’s Pub, 54 Below and in fabulous Cherry Grove, Fire Island. He is also the music supervisor for The Calamari Sisters, the MD for Stonewall Sensation, a writer in residence at Ars Nova and returning MD for 3 seasons at Alpine Theatre Project in Montana. Brandon has a MFA from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.
Daniel Lazour is currently studying music at Columbia University. He has collaborated on four musicals with his brother Patrick, supplying the music and co-authoring the libretto. The two’s most recent musical We Live in Cairo, centering on the youth in Egypt’s 2011 revolution was selected for the 2015 National Music Theatre Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Other works include an opera scene (Bach and the Boy), a song cycle (Expat), and a string quartet (Chacarera), all premiering at Columbia University. Daniel plays piano, guitar and the occasional tin whistle.
Rachel Griffin is a composer/librettist/lyricist and a passionate mental health advocate. Her musical, We Have Apples, has been featured in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and on CBS National News. She started the viral mental-health campaign #imnotashamed (over 100,000 tweets) and has over 1.5 million YouTube views. Griffin has won two National songwriting contests (National Public Radio and American Idol Underground.) She is a proud public school music teacher.
Tim Duncheon is a playwright, lyricist, and composer based in New York. His plays include Breaking News!, Almost Free, Speak, Lavinia, and I’m From Outer Space (Ars Nova ANT Fest). Tim’s work has been read, developed, or performed by The Flea, Naked Angels, The Amoralists, and Ars Nova. His pirate musical Fearsome Frank has been developed at The Paradise Factory, in The Musical Theatre Factory’s 4X15, and in residency at the Blue Mountain Center. His short plays have also been seen at UglyRhino, Boomerang Theatre Company, and Caps Lock Theatre. Tim is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Librettists’ Workshop, Lather Rinse Repeat Playwrights Collective, and Bastard Playground. In addition to writing, Tim is a musical director and accompanist. He is a graduate of Yale University, where he studied writing with Robert Woodruff, Michael Korie, Rachel Sheinkin, and Donald Margulies.
Greg Edwards wrote the scripts for Application Pending (Off-Broadway, Drama Desk nomination) and Craving for Travel(Off-Broadway), lyrics for Neurosis: A New Musical (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, SALT Award for Best New Musical), and book and lyrics for Evelyn Shaffer and the Chance of a Lifetime (Samuel French OOB Festival winner, Take a Ten Musicals), Taking the Plunge (Samuel French OOB Festival, NYMF), and The Almost In-Laws (Take a Ten Musicals). He has collaborated with Marvin Hamlisch (White House Governors’ Dinner, Mr. Hamlisch’s holiday tour) and Arthur Laurents (Love Affair). Greg’s essays are published in Avidly (Los Angeles Review of Books) and McSweeney’s, and his game Jessica Plunkenstein and the Dusseldorf Conspiracy (NYT “Best Adventure Game of the Year”) was published by PC Gamer UK. Honors and approximations thereof include the BMI Harrington Award, the Fred Ebb Award (two-time finalist), and a Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship (top-12 semifinalist). Greg graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, belongs to the BMI Workshop, and can be stalked most effectively at www.greged.com.