Columbia Stages' BLACK SNOW Closes 2/6

Columbia Stages' BLACK SNOW Closes 2/6

The final performance for Colombia Stages' 'Black Snow' will be held on February 6, 2010.

Columbia Stages presents Black Snow by Mikhail Bulgakov, directed byMikhael Tara Garver and produced in association with The New Ensemble. On astormy night, Sergei sits alone with his first great novel in a small room inMoscow. A knock at the door propels him down the rabbit hole into an adventureof ridiculous proportions. This world premiere event melds together thehilarious and stunning adaptation by Keith Reddin with an epic original scoreby Andrew Gerle and Royce Vavrek. From the thunderous sound of the keys, thetrue music of a man's voice battles with your expectations.

Created by Ken Barnett*, Alexander Borinsky, Joe Cassidy*,Seth Reiser, Jeremiah Matthew Davis, Stephen Dobbie, Ava Eisenson, JasonFleitz*, Mary Ethelwyn Guiteras, Dani Karliner, Beth Ann Leone*, SydneyMaresca, Justin Ness*, Will Pickens, Alexandra Seal, Eric Slater*, EricSouthern, D. Westerholm, Paul Wolfram, & Cassie Wooley*.

* Appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association

The New Ensemble isa company of experienced theatre artists based out of New York City makingsensory immersive stories. Through a lucky series of events, thisparticular group of designers, actors, composers, and lyricists came togetherin the spring of 2009 to create nonplay, an original journeywhere the audience moved through the danger, music, poetry, and humor of thesigns in one's own dreaming life. This group of theatre-makers is led byArtistic Director Mikhael Tara Garver, who made a name for herself creatingwork in Chicago with Uma Productions (a beloved storefront theater companyknown for its uniqueumaenvironments)and has spent the past ten years developing and now teaching immersive theaternationally. She now leads The New Ensemble in making both fantastical andtruthful productions. By acknowledging the ridiculous event of makingtheatre, and the wondrous possibility between audience and performance, The NewEnsemble surrounds you with musicality, physicality, and honesty of the sharedmoment.
Currently the ensemble is continuing its development of nonplay (which is inspired by Strindberg's dream play &e.e. cummings' writing, with original composition by Andrew Gerle and RoyceVavrek); developing a new rock experience titled Fornicated with music from the Beatles, and performingBlackSnow-the world premiere event that marriesKeith Reddin's adaptation of Bulgakov's novel to an epic score by Andrew Gerle andRoyce Vavrek. The New Ensemble is comprised of Nathan Dame, Ava Eisenson,Mikhael Tara Garver, Mary Guiteras, Kyra Miller, Will Pickens, Seith Reiser,Elizabeth Rich, Alexandra Seal, Eric Slater, Taylor Valentine, RoyceVavrek, and Cassie Wooley. This particular group of individuals bringvaried talents and lengthy experience to The New Ensemble, and look forward toincluding you in our unique community. More information on all of these artistsand our work is available at

The cast includes:

Ken Barnett* Most recently, Ken performed in a new adaptation ofSchnitzler's La Ronde at the 2009 NYC Fringe Festival, for whichhe won a Best Actor award. On Broadway: Wonderful Town, and Julie Taymor's The Green Bird. Off-Broadway: Debbie Does Dallas; Imperfect Chemistry; Joy;Susan Stroman'sA Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden; Houdini; and The Whore of Sheridan Square, for which he received a Best Featured Actornomination (NYIT). In L.A., Ken originated the roles of Paul in Atlanta at the Geffen Playhouse; Matt in The Id& Bob at the Lillian Theatre. Regionaltheatre productions includeGlass Menagerie (Tom); Maury Yeston's Hans ChristianAndersen (Hans); Adam Guettel's Myths+ Hymns (nomination: Best Leading Actor,Philly Awards); Merrily We Roll Along (Frank) at the Guthrie; LittleShop of Horrors (Seymour); BloodBrothers; Balm in Gilead; and Mame(opposite Christine Ebersole). Feature filmcredits include appearances in Polar Opposites; Ira & Abby; Puccini for Beginners; TheProducers; and Game Six. Television: Grey's Anatomy; How I Met Your Mother; Entourage; Monk; GuidingLight; Big Red (pilot); andseveral commercials. Ken is a graduate of Wesleyan University.

Alexander Borinsky is a writer and actor who last appeared in Hee-Hawat the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and The Archery Contest at P.S.122. He has directed and performedShakespeare and Chekhov in backyards, bars, houses, parks, and theaters. As anundergraduate, he was a member and co-director of The Control Group--Yale'sfriendly experimental ensemble. His play, The Polish Egg Man, premiered at Upstream Theater in St. Louis.

Joseph Cassidy* Broadway: Next To Normal; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels;1776; Show Boat; Les Miserables; and A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. TV/Film: Law& Order; Freefall. Other New York credits: Next to Normal (Dan) @ NYMF; Listen To My Heart; Joe Cassidy, Rockstar, both at Joe'sPub & Ars Nova; Grind at theYork Theater; a frequent guest artist with NYU's Graduate Music Theatre WritingProgram. Soloist with over 16 symphony orchestras across the U.S. and Canada. Regional:The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, TheaterWorks (Palo Alto), Denver Center,Asolo Repertory Theater, Ford's Theatre, Hartford Theaterworks, TUTS, CasaManana, NYSAF, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Please visit

Ava Eisenson is an actor and director. She was most recently seenin Full, a new physical theatre piece directed by Lee SundayEvans, and nonplay,directed by Mikhael Tara Garver. She recentlyfinished a year and a half working as assistant to the managing director at LaMaMa E.T.C, and co-created a cabaret series called The Heat is On to support the La MaMa archives. She looks forwardto assisting musician/writer Stew on Making It--his upcoming show at St. Ann's Warehouse. She is afounding member of The New Ensemble.

Jason Fleitz* New York: The Shot (Bone Orchard); Times365:24:7 (Bone Orchard); 365Days/365 Plays (Public Theater/BarrowStreet Theatre); Red Light Winter(Barrow Street Theatre). Regional: Red Light Winter (Studio Theatre/Steppenwolf - standby); TheTwo Character Play (EL2 StageWorks); BackPorch Secrets (Chicago Dramatists); 13thAnnual Winter Pageant (Redmoon); EnterAlice (Uma Productions) and TheMiddling Season (Collision Theatre). Film:InMemory of the Days to Come (TheBureau/Crossed-Eyed Productions) with Elodie Bouchez. Training: B.F.A. inActing from DePaul University. Jason is a member of Actor's Equity.

Mary Ethelwyn Guiteras NY Theatre: nonplay with The NewEnsemble; This is a Cowboy Poem My Daddy Taught Me with the Cardinal Group; Don't Eat theNeighbors with Phare Play; CalmUndoing with Trisklion Arts; ThickLike Piano Legs with Disgraced Productions;La Turista, and BringingIt All Back Homewith Solid Hang. Mary canalso be seen in Disgraced Productions' Web series Apartment 1B as Julia. Training: NYU Tisch School of the Arts;Playwrights Horizons; Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; and Experimental TheatreWing; Funny Training at People's Improv Theater (The PIT) with Chris Grace,Kevin Scott and Nate Starkey. In addition to acting, Mary also teaches middleschool theatre at Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School.

Beth Ann Leone* Recent credits include Cycatrix Adaptitudewith the Inverse Theatre Co. & Henry Vwith Actor's Shakespeare Company. She also participated in a summer intensiveat Columbia University, with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company, as well as afollow up two week advanced class with their company members. Beth's nextproduction will be A Midsummer Night's Dream with ASC in March 2010. This is Beth's firstproduction with the New Ensemble.

Justin Ness* New York credits include: The Lost - AWorld Elsewhere: Arias in the Keyof Clown (NYC Fringe); Dan Dilinger in TheSpin Cycle; Dogberry inMuch AdoAbout Nothing; Creon in Medea; Son/Hanging Man in Baaahhh (NYC Fringe); Lieutenant in Plays for theSunni Triangle; Officer in Huggingthe Shoulder (NYC Fringe); Don Pedro in MuchAdo About Nothing; Lincoln County Sherriff inThe Ascetic of Lincoln County(NYC Fringe). Regional Credits: Leroy Lumpkin in Smoke and Mirrors; Daniel in The Complete Works of WilliamShakespeare, Abridged; Homer Collyer in TheDazzle; Teddy Hodell in Valparaiso; BabbyBobby in The Cripple of Inishmaan. Film: Searching for Bobby D opposite Kevin Dobson and Carmen Electra. Justinproudly serves as the Managing Director for Wide Eyed Productions, which justreceived "Person Of The Year" from Justin received his B.A.,Theater Arts, Performance and Directing from Boise State University.

Alexandra Seal Previous New York credits under the direction of Ms.Garver: Lucy in nonplay; Masha in Three Sisters; Chorus 1 in Mourning. NYC Theatre: MTS in Chekhov's Chick's; Hanging Women (workshop at Eugene O'Neill Center); Hanging Women (NYC Premiere Where Eagles Dare); SpringStreet(Juilliard School of Music). MCTC: Chicago; The Dreammaker's Perdition. Training: B.A. Ithaca College; National TheaterInstitute; Moscow Art Theater. TV:As the World Turns; Guiding Light;One Life to Live; The CollegeHumor Show. Internet:The Onion; CollegeHumor. Film: Bingo!;A Big Ball of Foil in a Small NY Apartment.Member of The New Ensemble.

Eric Slater* is a member of the The New Ensemble. He was mostrecently seen in The Juvenal Players at Grand Arts in Kansas City(MO). He was also in last season's nonplayand Three Sisters, both directedby Mikael Garver. Some other credits include: Permanent Collection at Madison Repertory (WI); What the ButlerSaw at Court Theatre Chicago; Revengeof the Space Pandas and Honus andMe at Goodman Theater (IL); SpiteFor Spite, Butley, and Misallianceat Writer's Theatre Chicago; Major Barbara at Remy Bumppo Theatre Co. (IL); MeasureFor Measure at Next Theatre Chicago, and Hunchback at Redmoon Theatre (IL), among many others. A long-timecompany member of the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Eric has appeared in Silence, Expecting Isabelle, andSelf Defense which was co-produced by the Steppenwolf TheatreEnsemble. Film credits include Inside and Melting Crayonsdirected by Scott McCall, andSlappy's Sliding Scale a Mike Rosette film.

Cassie Wooley* is a founding member of The New Ensemble. She spentthe first five years of her career in Chicago where she received a Jeff Awardfor her performance as Mary in Merrily We Roll Along. She grew upin Sioux City, IA where her parents own Lamb Productions Theatre and received her B.F.A. from The TheatreSchool at DePaul. Cassie was recently named NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation.Later this month you can find her at Joe's Pub in her very own solo showproduced by NYMF and Sh-K Boom records. For more

In addition to Mikhael Tara Garver, the creative team includes JeremiahMatthew Davis (Dramaturg), AndrewGerle (Composer), Danielle Karliner(Producer/General Manager), SydneyMaresca (Costume Design), WilliamJ. Pickens (Sound Design), SethReiser (Lighting Design), EricSouthern (Set Design), RoyceVavrek (Lyricist), Tiffany Vega (Company Manager), and D. Westerholm (Production Stage Manager).

Jeremiah Matthew Davis (Dramaturg)is a theater maker and social scientist from Green Country, Oklahoma. He hasworked as a dramaturg, director, actor, and educator in the United States andabroad. Jeremiah is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy at ColumbiaUniversity where he is a Dean's Fellow. Recent New York credits, director: BloodKnot by Athol Fugard; Tell It To Me Slowly by Daniella Shoshan (NYC FRINGE); dramaturg: worldpremiere ofMourning by JasonPlatt; world premiere of nonplay byMikhael Tara Garver; The Frankenstein Project, adapted and directed by Matt Torney; librettist:NachDieser, Nicht, music composed by Andile Khumalo.

Andrew Gerle (Composer)is an award-winning composer and pianist whose works for the theater haveearned him three Richard Rodgers Awards, a Jonathan Larson Award, and theBurton Lane Fellowship from the Theater Hall of Fame. With lyricist Eddie Sugarman,he wrote the musical Meet John Doe, which had its world premiereat the Ford's Theatre in D.C. in 2007 and was nominated for seven Helen HayesAwards. He has been a Fellow at the MacDowell Artists' Colony and awriter-in-residence at the Sundance Theater Institute and the O'Neill MusicalTheater Conference. As a classical pianist, he has appeared with the BaltimoreSymphony, the Yale Symphony and the National Symphony as winner of their YoungArtists' Competition. Please visit

Danielle Karliner (Producer/GeneralManager) Currently Danielle is pursuing an M.F.A. at Columbia University'sSchool of the Arts in Theatre Management & Producing. In NY, Danielle hasworked with Camp Broadway, The Atlantic Theater Company and Jujamcyn Theaters. Sheserved as line producer for the SPF 2009 (Summer Play Festival) production ofKen Urban's The Happy Sad directed by Trip Cullman. Recently sheproduced Ether Steeds, a new play byJason Williamson directed by Niegel Smith as part of FringeNYC 2009 (winnerBest Ensemble) and James Ryan Caldwell's new play The Private Life ofInga Snyderdirected by Stephen Brackett. Upcoming,Danielle will be company manager for Charles Busch's new production of TheDivine Sister at Theater for the New City,directed by Carl Andress.

Sydney Maresca (CostumeDesign) recently designed costumes for Red-HairEd Thomas (SohoThink Tank); Strangers(Ontological/Hysteric);MilkMilkLemonade and Rift (NYU). She is aresident designer with The Debate Society and her work with them includes You'reWelcome (The Brick),CapeDisappointment (PS 122), TheEaten Heart (Ontological/Hysteric), AThought about Raya, and The SnowHen. Sydney is finishing her M.F.A. at NYUand is also part of the The Hazzards, a New York ukulele band.

William J. Pickens (SoundDesign) Mr. Pickens has worked with Mikhael on Three Sisters/ Mourningand nonplay. Recently he has worked on Broadway:Present Laughter (AmericanAirlines Theatre); Off Broadway: Red and Brown Water, Brother Size and Marcus (PublicTheatre); Heroes, Beasley's Christmas Party (Keen Company) and Regionally: Richard III (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); TheIllusion (University of Rochester); and Housein Hydesville(GeVa Theatre Center)

Seth Reiser (LightingDesign) Seth designs for theatre and dance in and around New YorkCity. Recent credits include: The Lily's Revenge/TaylorMac (Here);Middlemen/Josie Whittlesey(Human Animals Collective); His Greatness/Tom Gualtieri, nonplay/MikhaelGarver (The New Ensemble); Radio Play/Tommy Smith (Ars Nova); The Woman/Andrea Ferran (Columbia Stages); Transition/Tommy Smith (OtB, Public Theatre); TheVanished/Awoye Timpo (Novisi); TheSeagull/AdriannaBaer (Columbia Stages); The Sleeping Giant/Larry Goldhuber, Shakespeare's Tap Sonnets/Awoye Timpo(Novisi). Upcoming:Transfomations/Ed Berkely (Juilliard Opera). Seth is a member of the NewEnsemble, and the resident designer of Novisi.

Eric Southern (SetDesign) The Storm (Michael Sexton, NYU); Whore (Stephen Brackett, SPF); Do Not Do ThisEver Again (Maria Goyanes/ Ohio Theater);Fatboy, The Intervention (John Clancy/ Ohio Theater); Burn This, AMap of the World (NYU); Stomp andShout, A Good Place to be From (BabelTheater Project); Cinephelia(Theater Row); An Inspector Calls, Measure for Measure (Franklin Stages); Hamlet (Anya Saffir/Atlantic Stage 2); Never theSinner (The Woodshed Collective); TheIntervention, Suspicious Package andGoner (Brian Parks). For over five years,Eric was the resident lighting and set designer for the Atlantic Acting Schoolwhere he designed many productions. He was also a leading associate of thearchitectural design team for the Atlantic's Stage 2, and a design consultanton their current main-stage renovation. B.F.A. Tisch; M.F.A. Candidate Tisch,2010.

Royce Vavrek (Lyricist)made his Carnegie Hall debut this past May with scenes from hisopera-in-progress Dog Days with composer David T. Little. Hewrote the libretti for Bully Pulpit(Metropolis Opera Project); The Hunger Art (American Lyric Theater; Center City Opera Theater); and Noraat the Altar-Rail (A.L.T.). Upcomingprojects include Vinkensport or the Finch Opera with David T. Little (Bard College); TheBear Dance with Nick Martin; and a triptychof one-act operas (Mermaid in the Jar, Prairie Dogs, and Hollywood Saints) with Rachel Peters. Also with Mikhael Garver/TheNew Ensemble: nonplay. ArtisticDirector of the new opera-theater company The Coterie. B.F.A: ConcordiaUniversity, Montreal; M.F.A: NYU.

Tiffany Vega (CompanyManager) is a first year Theatre Management and Producing M.F.A. candidate atColumbia University. She has a B.A. in Theatre from the University ofMaryland-College Park and has directed, stage managed, and produced severalproductions that were part of The Ultimate Latina Theater Festival in New YorkCity in 2008 and 2009. She is a member of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority,Inc., and is very active with the Latino theatre community in NYC.

D. Westerholm (ProductionStage Manager) graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Management from WesternWashington University and is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Stage Managementat Columbia University.

Mikhael Tara Garver (Director)is a director, choreographer and writer from Washington, D.C. She was theArtistic Director and Co-founder of Uma Productions in Chicago, IL for seven years.With Uma, her directing credits include Moment: Three Days of Rain & TheAuthor's Voice; The Lover; why they invented dancing, an adaptation she also choreographed and co-wrotefrom several plays by Charles Mee produced in Chicago, IL and at the BankStreet Theater in New York; The Pool of Bethesda (After Dark Award); Enter Alice, which she also choreographed; the Chicago premiereof Recent Tragic Events by CraigWright (top ten shows, Time Out/Chicago Tribune); The Violet Hour; Faith Healer (Jeff Award); and the Midwest premiere of Orange Lemon EggCanary. While making her own work, Garverassisted Martha Clarke, Charlie Newell, Gary Griffin, Jeremy Cohen and AnneBogart. Mikhael received a B.S. from Northwestern University and is currently acandidate for her M.F.A. in directing at Columbia University. At ColumbiaUniversity she is a recipient of the Heyward Fellowship Award and has developedaround forty pieces of work. Some of her favorites have been Alcestis deconstructed, six stages of a floatinglife, and don juan/the seaside; Mourningby Jason Platt and Three Sisterstranslated by Curt Columbus. Outside of Columbia, she has worked at CollaborationTheater, American Conservatory Theater, NYU - Steinhardt, American TheaterCompany, Timeline Theatre, Court Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theater Company. Shehas taught at Columbia University, American Repertory Theater, Boston College,and in Chicago on the craft of immersive theater. In New York she has directed& developed the world premieres of For Homeostasis; The Legislative Process; Checkpoint; and First Odd Prime. Inthe Spring of 2009 she created the piece nonplay: shadows of a dream, inspired by Strindberg's dream play and e.e.cummings' poetry with original music by Andrew Gerle and lyrics by RoyceVavrek. In the Summer of 2009 she was the associate director on JuvenalPlayers by Pablo Helguera at Grand ArtsCenter in Kansas City, MO and selected as one of the National Theater ofScotland's emerging artists at the Edinburgh International Festival. She iscurrently the staff director ofSleep No More: a production by punchdrunk at American RepertoryTheater. Mikhael is the associate producer of the 2010 Emerging AmericaFestival at A.R.T. and the Artistic Director of The New Ensemble.

Tickets for events at The Riverside Theatre can be purchasedonline ( or by visiting the box office of The RiversideTheatre. Box Office hours are Thursday-Saturday, 4-8pm; Sunday 12-4pm and 1hour prior to all performances.

Columbia Stages is the producing arm of the OscarHammerstein II Center for Theatre Studies of Columbia University's School ofthe Arts. Columbia Stages presents a season of graduate actor and directorproductions as well as an annual festival of new plays by emerging playwrights.The theatre program offers M.F.A. degrees in acting, directing, playwriting,dramaturgy, stage management, and theatre management and producing. The goal ofthe program is to provide each student with the foundation for a career in professionaltheatre as well as the tools to embrace an ever-changing theatrical landscapeand shape the future of the theatre.

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