The Drama League Announces the 2017 Fellowship Recipients of the Directors Project

By: Apr. 24, 2017
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The Drama League (Executive Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks) has announced the eleven exceptional stage directors who have been selected as the 2017 Directing Fellows of The Drama League Directors Project: Michael Alvarez, Laura Brandel, Jillian Carucci, Tom Costello, Matt Dickson, Justin Emeka, Bonnie Gabel, Flordelino Lagundino, RebeccA Martinez, Kholoud Sawaf, andGabriel Vega Weissman. These exceptional early-career directors will begin their fellowship year by being presented during the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards, which will be held on Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square (1535 Broadway). More information can be found at

The eleven Fellowship recipients, who will spend the next year as part of the award-winning program, have been accepted into four different programs of study: the Fall Directing Fellowships, the Hangar Directing Fellowships (a partnership with the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY), the Classical Fellowship for Directors of Color (a partnership with The Old Globe of San Diego, CA; the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival of Garrison, NY; and Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA); and the Leo Shull New Musicals Directing Fellowship. Recipients in The Drama League's Fellowship in Film and Television will be announced at a later date.

"Chosen from hundreds of talented early-career directors, these eleven Fellows are truly extraordinary," noted Mr. Stelian-Shanks. "The Drama League is making a commitment to their careers for their entire lives, beginning this spring. They become a part of our family and community, alongside directors likeDiane Paulus, Michael Mayer, Rachel Chavkin, Sam Gold, Moritz von Steulpnagel, May Adrales, Pam Mackinnon, Desdemona Chiang, Anne Kauffman, Christopher Ashley, Lear deBessonet, John Rando, Jackson Gay and more."

"These directors will get exceptional opportunities to access the highest levels of the professional theatre community," said Program Director Sherri Eden Barber. "I know from my own experience, as an alumna of the Directors Project, the critical impact it will have on their future creative work and their career trajectories."

The Fellowships will begin on May 15 with Drama League Professionals Week, where they will meet industry veterans, attend Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, and start their developmental training. They will be publicly introduced to the professional theatre community during the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 19, 2015 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square.

The Drama League is supported by Resolution Life, its proud Lead Season Sponsor.

Since its founding in 1984, The Drama League Directors Project has become the preeminent development program for theatre directors - providing talented young artists with career-changing experiences in the professional theatre. Its 300-plus alumni can be found working in all aspects of the entertainment profession: at the helm of productions on Broadway and Off-Broadway, at regional theatres companies, in film and television, and as artistic directors and associate directors at 55 regional theatres across the country. Many are also producers, writers, agents, administrators, and educators of the next generation of directors, at some of the finest professional training programs. 'Drama League Directors' have been honored with many awards, including the Tony, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk, and its own Drama League Award, with the praise of critics and audiences alike.

The Drama League Directors Project is the preeminent career development program for theatre directors - providing talented artists with transformative experiences in the professional theatre.

The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. It is one of the nation's oldest continuously-operating, not-for-profit arts advocacy and education organizations. Through its programs, initiatives and events, The Drama League serves over 3,000 artists and 15,000 audience members each season with over 150 events and programs. For more information about events or membership please call Tom Sime at 212.244.9494 ext 101.




An immersion for four directors in directing opportunities in the professional theatre, both regionally and in New York City, culminating in a festival of their work Off-Broadway.

Bonnie Gabel is a queer director, performance-maker, and community organizer based in New Orleans, LA. As co-director of LAST CALL she creates innovative, multi-platform performances that document and interpret LGBTQ history. She is an ensemble member of NEW NOISE and writes for Pelican Bomb. She is co-directing the nationally touring performance Alleged Lesbian Activities. Her work is funded by MAP, The National Performance Network, The Network of Ensemble Theaters, and Alternate Roots. She studied internationally with the Moscow Art Theatre and the DAH Theatre. She holds a BFA in Performance and a BA in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Matt Dickson is a New York based director. Recent credits include: The Cider House Rules (Rutgers University), Leah Nanako Winkler's The Adventures Of Minami (The Brick), Kid Prince & Pablo (Ars Nova), Silver Men (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Brian Quijada's Where Did We Sit On The Bus?(Kennedy Center), Charles Mee's A Perfect Wedding (Atlantic Conservatory), Carmen (NY Opera Exchange), and Aykroyd (Fordham University). Regional credits include: Lanford Wilson's Home Free! and Michael John Garcés Audiovideo (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Upcoming: Blood Wedding (Rutgers University). As an actor he has appeared on Broadway in War Horse and The Coast of Utopia (Lincoln Center), and Off-Broadway in Nicky Silver's Too Much Sun (Vineyard). B.F.A. from Boston University.

Flordelino Lagundino is a New York-based director, producer, and actor. He is the artistic director of Leviathan Lab and former associate producer at La Jolla Playhouse. His directing credits include: Sweeney Todd, Doubt, Yellowman, Animals Out of Paper, Cedar House (Perseverance Theatre); Like a LIzard, Words Words, Passage, (Leviathan Lab); Flipzoids, True West, Shakespeare's R&J, The Reincarnation of Stories (Generator Theater Company); In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), Much Ado About Nothing, Stone Cold Dead Serious, In the Blood (Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company). Directing fellowships: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage. Education: MFA in acting, UT-Austin; MFA in directing, Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company.

Rebecca Martínez is a Brooklyn-based director, choreographer, and deviser. Her work focuses on audience connectivity and social practice. Upcoming:Ms. Julie, Asian Equities (Brave New World Repertory Theatre, NYC) and 26 Miles (Profile Theatre, Portland, OR). Rebecca is an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre, a Co-Curator of Working Theater's Directors Salon, a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR's Unit52, the 2015-16 SDCF Observership Class, the Latinx Theatre Commons and Ghostlight Project Steering Committees, and an Associate Member of SDC. Awards include the Lilla Jewel Award. Rebecca is an artist with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice.


A practicum in artistic leadership of a regional theatre, where fellows lead a resident Acting Company in programming, directing, and producing the Second Stage season at the Hangar Theater in Ithaca, NY.

Michael Alvarez is an international theatre director. He's directed at Her Majesty's Theatre, Arcola Theatre, and Westminster Library in London, at the Brighton Festival; and he was a guest director in Slovenia. Other UK experience: a workshop with Punchdrunk, producing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and leading new musical workshops with Mercury Musical Developments. Selected NY credits: Trouble: A New Rock Musical (NYMF),Pistrix (Midtown Festival), Back (Gallery Players). Recently he directed Salome by Oscar Wilde at CalArts. Member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Education: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; and California Institute of the Arts.

Jillian Carucci is a director, teaching artist and producer. Directing: Biohacker (Exquisite Corpse Company),Mirror, Mirror (Tunnel Theatre), Identity (Tony-Award winner Alice Ripley's solo show). Teaching: scene study and devising (McCarter Theatre Center and Premiere Stages), monologues and business of theatre (CAP21 Conservatory). Currently developing a new play in residency at The Tank. Director of the Industry Practicum and Showcase program at CAP21. Co-founder of Tunnel Theatre, SDC Associate, member of the League of Independent Theater. Graduate of Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University.

Tom Costello, freelance director and Ithaca native, is the Director of Artistic Development for Pipeline Theatre Company and an Associate Artist at the Flea Theater. With the Flea: the world premieres of Smoke by Kim Davies, The Wundelsteipen by Nick Jones; with Pipeline: Sleepless City by Tim Chawaga, Shakespeare the Dead by Alex Mills, Bubble and Squeak by Evan Twohy (Samuel French finalist); with Libra Theater Company: The Thirteenth Commandment by Joshua H. Cohen; with Dramatic Adventure: productions devised in Slovakia and Ecuador. Faculty member at Atlantic Acting School where he most recently directed Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play. BFA from NYU/Tisch.

Gabriel Vega Weissman. Directing: Steel Magnolias (Co-directed with Marsha Mason, Bucks County Playhouse); The Birds (also adaptation, Scranton University); Mille Miglia (also adaptation, from teleplay by Athol Fugard), Zastrozzi (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Making the Move (Edinburgh Festival Fringe) as well as work with NYMF, National Black Theatre and NYC Children's Theatre. Associate/Assistant Directing: Long Day's Journey Into Night, China Doll, The Winslow Boy (Broadway); Many Off-Broadway/regional productions with Roundabout, Atlantic, Second Stage, Vineyard, Public and Signature Theatres. Co-writer of Loose Canon (licensed by DPS); MTC Fellow; LCT Directors Lab; Three seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival.


A summer residency at three of America's leading theatrical homes for classical work, assisting on mainstage productions and directing in their educational and touring programs.

Justin Emeka specializes in new approaches to "classical" texts as well as imaginative stagings of popular and emerging playwrights. In New York, he adapted and directed A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo n Juliet at the Classical Theatre of Harlem. Recent production's include Lydia Diamond'sStick Fly at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle; Dominique Morisseau's Detroit '67 at Karamu House in Cleveland and Alice Childress's Wedding Band at Oberlin College. Mr. Emeka has an MFA in directing from the University of Washington and is an associate professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Oberlin College.

Kholoud Sawaf is a Syrian director from Damascus. She has worked as a theatre and documentary maker in Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and United States. In collaboration of TheatreSquared, she's adapting and directing R&J Damascus, a recipient of a $250,000 grant through Doris Duke Foundation's Building Bridges Program. Some of her directing work includes: The Chairs (U of A), Merci Maurer (devised) with ArkansasStaged and Vietgone(TheatreSquared, 2018). Assistant directing credits include: Vietgone (Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Manhattan Theatre Club). BA: American University of Shajrah, Mass Communication. MFA: University of Arkansas, Directing.


Named in honor of the late theatrical impresario and publisher/editor of Show Business Weekly, a five-week immersion in the art and craft of developing and directing new works for the musical theatre.

Laura Brandel is a NYC-based director/choreographer of new musicals, plays, and devised work. Artistic Producer, NYTB's New Works Series (2008-2016). Director of Dramatists Guild Fellows Presentation (Playwrights Horizons). Directing: Mackenzie & The Missing Boy (MTF), The Good Girl and Body and Soul (Manhattan MT Lab), Deux Femme (The Lark), Missing Karma (Samuel French OOB-Festival), A.R.T./New York Gala honoring S. Epatha Merkerson. Choreographer: Cry Eden (Access Theater), Hit the Wall (Barrow Street), a cautionary tail (The Flea). Consultant to Larry Keigwin on Rent Off-Broadway, Assistant Director Doctor Faustus (CSC). Member SDC, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, DNA's Choreolab. BA in Dance/Dance Education from Hunter College.

The 2017 Fellows join the previously-announced 2017 Drama League Resident Artists, who began developing nine new plays and musicals with hundreds of collaborators at The Drama League Theater Center in Tribeca last February. The resident artists for 2015 are:

2017 Beatrice Terry RESIDENT ARTIST

Shakina Nayfack, Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club


Kevin Doyle/Sponsored By Nobody, THE A?TS

Christopher Burris, Bring The Beat Back

Jess Chayes, Intelligence

Megan Hanley, Graceful Exit

Elena Heyman, Home/Yuva

Jenny Larson, Casta

Kristin Marting, Assembled Identities

Shira Milikowsky, Distant Star

Andreas Robertz, Father God Mother Death

Travis Lee Russ, America Is Hard To See

Caitlin Sullivan, Gilded Girls

Brandon Woolf, The Summer Way

Jessica Bashline, Fresh

Jake Beckhard, CHELSEAS

Sophie Blumberg, Trixie The Giant

West Hyler, Stella Nova

Alexandra Keegan,Tough

Cat Miller, Untitled Clara Immerwahr Play

Molly Beach Murphy, Galveston

Tatiana Pandiani, The Poet And The King

Elinor Renfield, Borkhova

Dan Rogers, The Future Perfect

Marcus Scott, Cherry Bomb

Michelle Tattenbaum, Ideas

Gabriel Vasquez, Such A Tragedy

For additional information, please visit the website at