Deaf West's DJ Kurs, The Second City's Kelly Leonard & More Join TEDxBroadway Speakers Lineup

By: Jan. 12, 2016
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Today, the organizers of the fifth annual TEDxBroadway announced additional speakers for the event being held on Monday, February 22, 2016 at New World Stages in New York City.

The cornerstone question of the day at TEDxBroadway will be: "What is the BEST Broadway Can Be?" Newly announced speakers weighing in on the topic are:

· DJ Kurs, artistic director of Deaf West Theatre since 2012. Kurs shepherded the production of Spring Awakening from its beginnings in a 99-seat theater in Los Angeles to its current revival on Broadway.

· Wesley Whatley, who's served for the last decade as a member of the Macy's Parade & Entertainment Group's creative team. Whatley is responsible for developing and producing musical scores, creating original music and overseeing performance programs for the company's iconic national events, including Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Macy's 4th of July Fireworks.

· Erin Lavik, professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Dr. Lavik's research focuses on engineering polymers to protect and repair the nervous system and treat trauma more broadly.

· Kelly Leonard (president & CEO of Kelly Leonard Productions/creative advisor for The Second City), who's worked at The Second City for nearly three decades in various creative and leadership positions. His book, Yes, And: Lessons From The Second City, was published by HarperCollins in 2015.

· Meredith (Max) Hodges, who joined Boston Ballet as executive director in 2014, and leads the company in partnership with Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. Boston Ballet boasts a 52-year history of internationally acclaimed performances, world-class school programs, and groundbreaking community outreach.

These speakers join a previously announced lineup that includes Jennifer Ashley Tepper (director of programming for Broadway supper club 54 Below), Randy Weiner (producer, venue owner, and playwright), Katie Sweeney ("Autism Warrior Mom") and James Lecesne (writer, storyteller and actor). More speakers will be announced soon.

TEDxBroadway is co-organized by Damian Bazadona, founder of Situation Interactive and Jim McCarthy, CEO of Goldstar. Bazadona and McCarthy are proud to welcome back co-organizing sponsors Jujamcyn Theaters and The TEDxBroadway Loft and Young Professional Program are being underwritten by the Nederlander Organization and The Shubert Organization. Tickets for the TEDxBroadway Student Program have been underwritten by Disney Theatrical Group.

Additional details are available at

Interested attendees can purchase tickets at

Photo by Tate Tullier