WTF Happened in 2015

The 2015 Williamstown Theatre Festival season was an overwhelming success.  More than 45,000 visitors experienced the magic of WTF this summer – a Festival record!  Our stages, rehearsal rooms, and work spaces were teeming with some of this country’s best theatrical talent: Jo Bonney, Evan Cabnet, Trip Cullman, Jane Greenwood, Jessica Hecht, Audra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, Neil Patel, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Kyra Sedgwick, Blair Underwood, and many more – all engaged in creating bold, new theatrical experiences for WTF audiences.

In 2015, new work featuring a diverse company of actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and technicians took center stage – this was a result of our deep commitment to telling unique, theatrical stories and to fostering an inclusive environment both onstage and off.  Women and artists of color took on more leading roles in 2015 than ever before at WTF – onstage, backstage, and in the classrooms of our Professional Training Program.

Since the season ended, the actors, playwrights, directors, designers, technicians, and theatre administrators who made Williamstown home for the summer have spread the creative energy of WTF across the country – making theatre that is influenced by their Festival experience.  In this way, Williamstown Theatre Festival is bigger than a summer festival in the Berkshires – the art and artists of WTF impact the greater American theatrical landscape.


Photos by T. Charles Erickson

Photos by T. Charles Erickson

WTF productions had a big year on Broadway! Our 2014 production of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, starring Sam Rockwell and 2012 Tony Award winner Nina Arianda, transferred to Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre this year.  The 2014 production of Living on Love by Joe DiPietro, headlined by Renee Fleming, opened at the Longacre Theatre in April of 2015.  Our 2012 production of The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance, starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Scott Ellis, transferred to Broadway’s Booth Theatre in December of 2014 and gained four Tony nominations including Best Revival of a Play and Best Performance by a Leading Actor for Bradley Cooper.  The 2014 production of Kander & Ebb’s The Visit, starring Chita Rivera, opened at the Lyceum Theatre and gained five Tony nominations (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Song, Best Actress, and Best Lighting Design).



In 2015, WTF launched the New Play Commissioning Program to fund the creation of new work from its most nascent stage – as an idea in a writer’s mind.  In its inaugural year, this crucial program awarded commissions and summer writing residencies to three sensational writers: Fernanda Coppel (King Liz, Chimichangas and Zoloft), Halley Feiffer (I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard, How to Make Friends and then Kill Them), and Benjamin Scheuer (The Lion).  These writers lived in Williamstown all summer long, generating art that gives meaning to the world and entices the best talent in this country to invest time and creative energy to bring it to life.

Following the Festival, commissioned projects undergo comprehensive creative development, including script evaluations, in-depth dramaturgical support, collaborative partnerships with acclaimed directors, and readings.  This is the hard, invisible effort that yields new American plays and musicals; this is the process behind what lands, fully-produced, on the Main and Nikos Stages; this is what we must do to foster work from living writers on our stages – work that connects with audiences and adds to the cultural conversation in our country.

ROGER REES, 1944 – 2015

Roger Rees headshot

This year we lost Roger Rees, the Welsh actor who served as Artistic Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival from 2004 until 2007.  He was 71.  He worked virtually to the last weeks of his life, appearing in the Broadway musical The Visit, which premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2014.  Roger’s triumphant performance in The Visit will live in the hearts and minds of all who had the privilege to experience him in it.  We will all miss him enormously.


Every year, more than 400 talented theatre artists, technicians, and administrators descend upon Williamstown to collaborate and create world-class theatre.   After the Festival, many members of our Professional Training Program go on to contribute to the voice of the American theatre.  Here is a selection of what some members of our Professional Training Program and other members of our WTF Family have been up to since the summer…

LLUVIA ALMANZA (Apprentice) is currently working on El Soldado Razo, No Saco Nada de la Escuela, and Santa’s Cookie Problem.

STAFFORD ARIMA (Guest Artist) directed Allegiance on Broadway.

SAMANTHA BAGWELL (Box Office Manager) is the Individual Giving Officer for Patron Services in the Development Department at Roundabout Theatre Company.

CAROLINE BANKS (Apprentice) starred in The Unassuming Lives of My Exes at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre.

MOLLY BEACH MURPHY (Assistant Director) was Assistant Director on MCC Theatre’s Lost Girls and Old Hats at Signature Theatre, and is in writing residencies with Fresh Ground Pepper, JACK and The Habitat.

ALEX BILLMAN (Sound Intern) is Sound Operator at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

JEFF BRANCATO (Resident ASM) just finished Disgraced, directed by Gordon Edelstein, at Long Wharf Theatre where he was Production Stage Manager.

SKYLAR BURKS (Stage Management Intern) is the full time Production Assistant for the Huntington Theatre Company, currently working on the world premiere of A Confederacy of Dunces.

EVAN CABNET (Director, Off The Main Road) directed Thérèse Raquin on Broadway, starring Keira Knightley and featuring MARY WISEMAN (Actor, Off The Main Road).

JORDAN JAKED CARRIER (Assistant Costume Designer) joined the Alliance Theatre as a Costume Design Assistant in August.

JASON COHEN (Non-Equity Company) is playing Jerry Lee Lewis in the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet.

ALEX CRAWFORD (Assistant Box Office Manager) is working for Tom Kirdahy Productions.

CLYDE ENGLE (Apprentice) performed his one-man musical review, Don’t Cry for Me Banks of Wall St., Off-Broadway at the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row.

HALLEY FEIFFER (Playwright in Residence) is writing for the upcoming Starz series The One Percent, developing her own series for FX and working on several commissions (including one for WTF); her play A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City will open at MCC Theater this Spring, directed by TRIP CULLMAN (Director, Unknown Soldier).

HANNAH FENSKE (Assistant Props Artisan) works full time as the Assistant Warehouse Coordinator for Pacific Northwest Theatre Associates in Seattle.

BEN FERBER (Directing Assistant) is working with his company PowerOut to develop new plays.

SAM FRENCH (Directing Intern) is serving as the Assistant Director for Hartford Stage’s 15-16 season.

NICK GASWIRTH (Guest Artist) is currently performing in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 at A.R.T. in Cambridge.

KYLE GATES (Stage Manager, Legacy) is currently the Production Stage Manager of Fool for Love on Broadway.

VERONICA GIBSON (House Manager) works for Williams College as Operations Coordinator for Student Life.

HANNAH GREENE (Directing Intern) is now working as the Artistic Assistant at WTF.

DAVID GREENSPAN (Actor, Unknown Soldier) just finished the title role in Professor Brenner by David Pinski and is now performing the role of Sextimus in the Silent in Transport Group’s production of Once Upon a Mattress.

RYAN J. HADDAD (Education Intern) debuted his autobiographical solo performance Hi, Are you Single? at Dixon Place, directed by LAURA SAVIA (Associate Director), and booked a guest role on an upcoming episode of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

MICHAEL HAJJAR (Apprentice) recently completed his cabaret tour and is currently producing and starring in a show that will appear at the 4th Street Theater this April.

CORRY HAMMETT (Production Management Intern) is the Production Manager and Technical Director at North Central University in Minneapolis.

JESSICA HECHT (Actor, Legacy) is currently starring as Golde in Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof, and appeared in Netflix’s fall series Jessica Jones.

ZACH FIKE HODGES (Apprentice Coordinator) just finished the American premiere of The Dreaming at the Chain Theatre in Long Island City, NY.

LAURA JACQMIN’s (Playwright, Fellowship Project) new play Residence will have its world premiere in the 40th annual Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, directed by Hal Brooks. 

BRANDON KAHN (Resident PSM) is continuing toward his Masters at Columbia University in Theatre Management and Producing, and subbing on the Broadway revival of Spring Awakening. 

ERIK LOCHTEFELD (Actor, Unknown Soldier) is currently understudying Bruce Willis in Misery on Broadway, directed by Will Frears.

NAOMI LORRAIN (Non-Equity Company) performed in the Caucasian Chalk Circle, the world premiere of The Bridgette Hobbs Connection, and made her playwright debut with Rigor Mortis.

JAKE RYAN LOZANO (Non-Equity Company) is in his first year as an actor at the Yale School of Drama, cultivating craft and community.

BRETT MACIAS (Copyist, Unknown Soldier) had his Hurricane Katrina based musical, Gumbo,  in residency at Musical Theatre Factory.

TYLER MATYLEWICZ (Stage Management Intern) is on staff at Carnegie Mellon University as an Assistant Stage Manager for the School of Music and their main stage opera, Hydrogen Jukebox.

AUDRA MCDONALD (Actor, A Moon for the Misbegotten) is currently in rehearsals for Shuffle Along, which will begin performances on Broadway in March.

COURTNEY ANNE MCLAREN (Apprentice) is spending this season with Berkshire Theatre Group as an Artist in Residence.

DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU (Playwright, Paradise Blue) just finished writing on Showtime’s Shameless and is in rehearsals for the upcoming production of her play Skeleton Crew at Atlantic Theatre Company.

LILA NEUGEBAUER (Director, An Intervention) recently opened Kill Floor at Lincoln Center Theater; her upcoming projects include Future Thinking at South Coast Rep, Arcadia at The Juilliard School, and The Sandbox, Drowning and Funnyhouse of a Negro at Signature Theatre.

SAMANTHA NEWCOMB (Apprentice) is in the BFA Acting program at DePaul University.

CYNTHIA NIXON (Actor, Kinship) directed The New Group’s Steve, running at the Signature Theatre, and Culture Project’s MotherStruck!, at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre.

FITZ PATTON (Sound Designer, Kinship) is designing four Broadway shows and John Patrick Shanley’s new play, Prodigal Son.

MARGARET PEEBLES (Lighting Design Intern) is a second year graduate student at the University of Connecticut and Lighting Designer for Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s productions of The Laramie Project and Sense and Sensibility.

CAREY PERLOFF (Playwright, Kinship) created a big new Filipino project called Monstress for the new Strand Theater and took her first ever (very magical) trip to Japan.

KELLEY PFEILER (Carpenter) is the Stage Carpenter for Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI.

ISAYAH PHILLIPS (Apprentice) will be playing the character of Blood in Mojo & The Sayso at Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Overture Center in Wisconsin.

KAYLEIGH POWELL (Apprentice) recently appeared as Norma in Carrie at Westchester Sandbox Theatre.

JENN RAPP (Choreographer, Free Theatre) is the Associate Director/Choreographer for The Illusionists on Broadway and the US Tour of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

ELLIE SACHS (Directing Intern) Assistant Directed and Associate Produced How to Live on Earth with Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s company, Colt Coeur.

THOMAS SCHALL (Resident Fight Director) is the Fight Director on AllegianceChina Doll, and The Color Purple (Broadway), Ripcord (MTC), and Night Is A Room (Signature).

ANDREW SCHEER (Stage Management Intern) is Production Stage Manager on the First National Tour of Bullets Over Broadway.

BENJAMIN SCHEUER (Actor, The Lion in Concert) has been on tour around the USA performing his one-man show The Lion and got engaged to illustrator and writer, Jemima Williams.

SID SOLOMON (PTP Faculty) appeared in Lewis Black’s One Slight Hitch at Florida Repertory Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew with New York Classical Theatre, and was elected to Actors’ Equity Association’s National Council.

CHRIS STAHL (Non-Equity Company) is in year two of the MFA Acting program at Brown/Trinity.

ALEX STEVENS (Lighting Design Fellow) won the first annual High End Systems Hog Factor Four Programming Competition in Las Vegas in October.

GRAHAM TECHLER (Apprentice) is gearing up for graduation from the BFA Acting Program at the University of Michigan and his New York showcase in April.

BECCA TRIMBUR (Associate Company Manager) is currently the Company Manager at Florida Repertory Theatre.

BLAIR UNDERWOOD (Actor, Paradise Blue) is currently on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on ABC.

GABRIEL VEGA WEISSMAN (Directing Assistant) is Assistant Director of David Mamet’s China Doll on Broadway.

DARRON WEST (Sound Designer, Paradise Blue) had designs all over the country and a workshop for an upcoming piece at the National in London for next year. He just opened Misery on Broadway.

RACHEL WIEGARDT-EGEL (Literary Assistant) now works as the Literary Associate at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

BRANDON WOLCOTT (Sound Designer, An Intervention) designed Kill Floor at Lincoln Center’s LCT3 with Lila Neugebauer, as well as Laurie Anderson’s Haebeas Corpus at the Park Avenue Armory, with remounts of Kansas City Choir Boy at ART in Boston and CTG in Los Angeles.


Mandy talk

Mandy Greenfield talks with members of the Professional Training Program

WTF is now accepting applications for our prestigious training programs for the 2016 Season. WTF’s Professional Training Program gives invaluable on-the-job learning opportunities for performers, directors, writers, designers, technicians and administrators. If you know someone who’s considering a career in the theatre, a summer in Williamstown in the best place to start.  Every season, over 200 early career actors, directors, designers, technicians, and administrators come to WTF for what is frequently the most challenging and rewarding summer of their lives.
Williamstown Theatre Festival is committed to telling diverse stories and to fostering an inclusive environment both onstage and off. For all of our educational, professional and artistic positions, WTF actively seeks talented artists and administrators from all races, ethnicities and backgrounds.


If you missed the 2015 Company Lip Dub, here’s your chance to see it again!

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In order to continue taking a leading role in developing exciting, stirring new work with high caliber artists, and providing high quality educational opportunities for our Professional Training Program, we need your help!

It always bears repeating that WTF is a nonprofit theatre, relying on generous donors like you to cover more than thirty percent of our annual budget. I hope you will place WTF high on your charitable donation list as you plan your year-end giving.




Our annual Gala at City Winery in New York City (55 Varick Street) on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 6:30 PM is not to be missed! The evening will include cocktails, dinner, live auction led by Charity Auctioneer Robbie Gordy of Christie’s New York, along with special appearances and performances including: Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht (Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof), New York’s hottest new band Sky-Pony (led by Tony Award-nominated singer/actress Lauren Worsham and musician/writer Kyle Jarrow), star of stage and screen David Hyde Pierce and more!

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Thank you for your continuous support.  We look forward to seeing you for the 2016 Festival!

2015 Company, Photo by Paul Fox