Stars from Broadway, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and More Set for PROPAGANDA Festival; Cast Announced!

Stars from Broadway, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and More Set for PROPAGANDA Festival; Cast Announced!

Further Casting announced for PROPAGANDA: A Festival Celebrating Russian Voices. Staged readings will feature Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba and Catherine Curtin, Broadway's Dan Oreskes, Tobias Segal, Thomas Schall, Nadia Bowers, and Jason Tam, Blue Bloods' Robert Sella, Kings' Michael Crane, The Bridge Project's Michelle Beck, and The West Wing's Thomas Kopache in new plays by groundbreaking Russian playwrights.

Panel Discussions will feature New York Times journalist Masha Gessen, US News and World Report Journalist Nancy Goldstein, Towleroad Legal Editor Ari Ezra Waldman, and Olympic Medalist Derrick Adkins,

The festival of staged readings and panels will be held at Cooper Union, at 41 Cooper Square, on Saturday, January 18th and Sunday, January 19th and co-sponsored by The Lark Play Development Center and the Cooper Union Department of Continuing Education and Public Programs. Propaganda spotlights Russia's recent anti-propaganda law in relation to sport, performance, and LGBT and Olympic history. Tickets for Propaganda's events are available at

On January 18th at 3pm in Cooper Union's Rose Auditorium, Propaganda: A Festival Celebrating Russian Voices will feature the first ever presentation of Daria Wilke's acclaimed 2013 LGBT Young Adult Novel The Jester's Cap, in a new theatrical adaptation, followed by the panel Translating Experience. On January 18th at 7pm, the first English translation of celebrated playwright Oleg Mikhailov's drama Pelmeny, as well as a reading of Vladimir Nabokov's seminal work on sport, Breitenstrater-Paolino, will be presented, followed by the panel Civil Liberties: Examining Russia's Past, Present and Future, moderated by Nancy Goldstein, journalist for the Guardian and U.S. News & World Report.

On January 19th at 5pm in Cooper Union's Great Hall, Tess Berry-Hart's acclaimed docu- drama SOCHI 2014 will be presented for the first time in the US. The reading will feature Broadway alums Michael Rosen and Thomas Schall and Orange is the New Black regulars Uzo Aduba and Catherine Curtin. Following the reading, at 6:30pm, Masha Gessen, journalist and NY Times International Opinion contributor, will make her first public appearance since expatriating from Russia, speaking in a panel discussion entitled Sport and Art in a Censored Society. Also featured on the panel will be Olympic medalist Derrick Adkins and Spectrum president Larry Poltavtsev. Moderating will be Ari Ezra Waldman, legal editor at Towleroad. The online theater journal HowlRound will air a live stream of this panel on HowlRound TV, as well as publish a series of articles by and about Propaganda's artists and participants in the week leading up to the festival.

Producing Artistic Director of the Festival is director and Timer Warner Fellow Lauren Keating. The Lark Play Development Center has partnered with Propaganda to support the development of these newly translated works in preparation of their presentation at Cooper Union. The political and social history of Cooper Union's Great Hall, the site that has seen many landmark speeches in American history, makes it the ideal setting for Propaganda, as artists, athletes, public policy makers and journalists discuss civil liberties at home, abroad and on the Olympic stage. All proceeds from Propaganda: A Festival Celebrating Russian Voices will benefit the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance. Spectrum is a leading international organization devoted to human rights advancement on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and former Soviet Union countries.

On the participants:

Lauren Keating, Producing Artistic Director: Lauren Keating is a New York City based director of classic and new work. She has directed with The Public Theater, Ars Nova, 3LD, Woodshed Collective, New Georges, NYU, Cooper Union, AtPlay, The Players Theater, The Old Vic, The Prospect Theater, Peculiar Works Project, The Space, Vampire Cowboy Battle Ranch, New Lions Productions, The Mint Theater and The Flea Theater. Regional credits include: Translations (Yale University), The Big Come (The University of New Mexico), Lulu, Learning Russian and Charlotte's Web (The Hangar Theatre) and Pugilist Specialist and Seagulls (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Lauren is a Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab member, a founding member of The Internationalists, a New Georges Affiliated Artist and the Old Vic/New Voices Exchange American Director, 2009. She is an NYU/Tisch Alumni, the former Artistic Associate at The Shakespeare Society and a two-time Drama League Directors Project Fellow. Lauren is a Time Warner Foundation Fellow with The Women's Project Lab, 2012-2014. Upcoming productions include The Architecture of Becoming, at NY City Center, and The Harmonious Pimps of Harmony, by Daniel Hartley.

Charles Callaghan, Associate Producer: Charles Callaghan is a New York City based actor, playwright, and producer. He earned a BA from Yale University and an MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory. He has performed at the Denver Center, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Yale Repertory Theater, the Guthrie Theater, and the Repertory theater of St. Louis. In New York, he has performed with TerraNova Collective, Ars Nova, and the Amios Theater Company. He can be seen in the upcoming Web Series "Twenty Five" ( As a playwright, he has been a finalist for the Heideman Award at the Actors Theater of Louisville. Callaghan's new full-length drama, Ben Lomond, is currently in development with Lauren Keating attached to direct. Callaghan spent a year as an associate producer for cause-based creative content with the creative consulting firm PhilanthroMedia. Callaghan is also the co-captain for a bi-coastal cycling team for AIDS/LifeCycle, a 600 mile benefit bike ride in CA for essential AIDS services. To see how you can get involved, visit

Daria Wilke, Playwright, The Jester's Cap: Daria Wilke, a Moscow native, was born into a family of puppeteers and grew up in the theater. She did her homework sitting in dressing rooms, played with lighting technicians, and hid in the storeroom of puppets and huge masks. While dreaming of becoming an actress and director, she earned a degree in psychology. After graduation she worked in radio, and became a reporter for one of the biggest daily newspapers in Russia. She left Russian for Vienna in 2000, taking a position at the University of Vienna in the Dept. of Slavonic Languages, and writing novels in native Russian. Her books for children and young adults have been shortlisted for the Cherished Dream, Baby NOS and Vyacheslav Krapivin award, National Russian Literature prizes. Her adult novel Off Season was awarded the Russkaya Premia Award in 2012. Wilke's latest novel for young adults, The Jester's Cap, was censored in Russia, but is now nominated for the Kniguru Prize, the Russian national award for the best book for teenagers and young adults. Her adaptation of The Jester's Cap into a play is her first foray into playwrighting

Oleg Mikhailov, Playwright, Pelmeny: Oleg Mikhailov is a playwright, screenwriter and a member of Moscow's Penman Union. Born in Sverdlovsk, in the former USSR, Mikhailov graduated with honors from Yekaterinburg State Theatrical Institute as a screen and stage actor. For 15 years he worked for broadcast stations in Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk, and St. Petersburg. He started writing plays in 2005, and since then ten of his plays have been published, and garnished many awards. He is the winner of the 10th International Literary Award 2012, the winner of the international drama festivals Eurasia, Free Theatre and Badenweiler, and a nominee at the New Drama and Lubimovka festivals. In 2009 Mikhailov left Russia for the Ukraine, where he currently resides.

Tess Berry-Hart, Playwright, SOCHI 2014: Tess Berry-Hart is a British author and playwright whose work deals mainly with LBGT themes, gender identity and sexuality. She trained as a playwright at The Royal Court Theatre Young Writers' Programme and was the British representative at the Young European Playwrights Festival with her magical realist play, "Legoland". She was formerly the writer in residence at the Blue Elephant Theatre in London where her play "Waking Up Suddenly", a play going backwards in time, was produced. Her first Young Adult novel, "Escape From Genopolis", a futuristic fantasy set in a world where pain has ceased to exist, was published by Scholastic Books in 2007, and followed by the sequel, "Fearless", in 2009". Her verbatim play, "Someone To Blame", about a real-life murder case and campaign against a miscarriage of justice, was produced at the King's Head Theatre in London in 2012. "Sochi 2014" was first commissioned by the King's Head as a rapid-response piece to give a voice to the LGBT Russians oppressed under Putin's regime, and has now been developed into a full-length piece.

Masha Gessen, panelist: Born in Moscow, she emigrated to the United States in her teens, then returned to Russia a decade later. Writing in both Russian and English, she has covered every major development in Russian politics and culture of the past two decades, receiving numerous awards and fellowships in the process. She blogs weekly for The New York Times and has written for The New York Review of Books, International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, U.S. News & World Report (where she served as Moscow Bureau Chief), Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Granta and Slate; she has also edited several Russian magazines and written for many more. A longtime resident of Moscow, she is in the process of relocating to New York City.

Nancy Goldstein, moderator and panelist: Nancy Goldstein's work has appeared in venues including the Guardian, NPR, Politico, Salon, Slate, The American Prospect and the Washington Post, where she was an Editor's Pick and the winner of the blogging round during their Next Great Pundit Contest.

Ari Ezra Waldman, moderator: Ari Ezra Waldman is the Associate Director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy and Adjunct Professor of Law. This year, he will be teaching Intellectual Property, Sexual Orientation and the Law, and several other courses. He is also the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow at Columbia University, where he is completing his dissertation in sociology. Professor Waldman's work currently focuses on the law and sociology of Internet life, with particular focus on the inequalities and injustices that arise in unregulated digital spaces. He has spoken and published widely on cyberharassment, social network privacy, and LGBT youth. In addition to his work at NYLS, Ari is the Legal Editor at Towleroad, the award-winning and widely read LGBT-oriented news and politics website, where he writes a weekly law column on issues facing the LGBT community. He also practiced law at Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where he focused on intellectual property litigation, and at Winston & Strawn LLP, where he was an appellate litigator, and clerked at the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a graduate of Harvard Law School. Read more:

Cooper Union: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, established in 1859, is among the nation's oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher learning. The organization, the legacy of Peter Cooper, occupies a special place in the cultural fabric of American life. The Great Hall of The Cooper Union has stood for more than a century as a bastion of free speech and a witness to the flow of American History and ideas. When the hall opened in 1858, more than a year in advance of the completion of the institution, it quickly became a mecca for all interested in serious discussion and debate of the vital issues of the day. The Great Hall was the platform for some of the earliest workers' rights campaigns and for the birth of the NAACP, the women's suffrage movement and the American Red Cross. To the Great Hall's podium has come a pageant of famous Americans - rebels and reformers, poets and presidents. Before they were elected, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama all spoke there. Besides Woodrow Wilson, only one incumbent president has spoken in the Great Hall: William Jefferson Clinton, who, on May 12, 1993, delivered a major economic address on reducing the federal deficit. And, during the past century's times of tremendous upheaval, it was through meetings in Cooper's famous auditorium that the politics and legislation necessary to build a humane city took shape. The Great Hall is located in The Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues, New York City.

HowlRound: HowlRound is a story of artists and theater makers sharing dissonant opinions, engaging in-depth dialogue, and promoting best practices with the hope of ensuring a vibrant future for the theatrical field. Howlround designs and develops online knowledge platforms and in-person gatherings that promote access, participation, organizational collaboration, field-wide research, and new teaching practices to illuminate the breadth, diversity, and impact of a commons-based approach to theater practice.In more than two full years of operation, 300,000 unique visitors have been to this site. 500 theater makers have contributed to the journal, blog and NewCrit, over 100 organizations have livestreamed HowlRound TV events, and viewers of HowlRound TV have logged over 50,000 hours of watch time. The New Play Map now features over 1,800 organizations and 1,800 artists. 400 people have joined us in person for convenings around key issues of concern.

Towleroad: Towleroad began in 2003 and is now a leading online news source offering a broad range of information on politics, pop culture, gay culture, media, entertainment, photography, fashion, technology, music, and travel.

The Lark Play Development Center: Now in its 20th year, The Lark is a laboratory for new voices and new ideas, providing playwrights with resources to develop their work, nurturing artists at all stages in their careers, and inviting them to express themselves freely in a supportive and rigorous environment. The Lark reaches across international and cultural boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. By placing authors at the center of the creative process, and giving them the tools they need to succeed financially and professionally, Lark's goal is to empower them to tell their stories and reflect the world back to us in unique and important ways. Lark's focus is on maintaining a laboratory where talent is rewarded, diversity abounds, and everyone's idea is worthy of consideration.

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