Interviews with Artists
An actor of extraordinary stature and depth, recently played Vladimir in “Waiting for Godot” with Bill Paterson at The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr. Cox was a member of the Lyceum company in Edinburgh, the Birmingham Rep where he played the lead role in “Peer Gynt,” and Orlando in “As You Like it,” and soon made his London debut in 1967. His many stage roles include as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and London’s National Theatre during the 1980’s and 1990’s as the title character in “Titus Andronicus,” Petruchio in “The Taming of the Shrew,” as Burgundy opposite Laurence Olivier in “King Lear,” and later went on to play King Lear at the National Theatre. He also played Inspector Nelson in “Rat in the Skull” (Laurence Olivier Award as Best Actor). More recently, he appeared in Broadway in “The Championship Season,” and in “The Weir” at The Donmar Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre. His many TV and films include “The Wednesday Play,” “The Year of the Sex Olympics,” “The Prisoner,” as Henry II in the BBC2’s “The Devil Crown,” as Leon Trotsky in “Nicholas and Alexandra,” “The Lost Language of Cranes,” “Sharpe,” “Grushko,” “Reign Storm,” as Hermann Goring in “Nuremberg” (Emmy award, Golden Globe & Screen Actors Guild noms.), “Frasier” (Emmy nom.), “L.I.E.” (Boston Society Film Critics Award, Dallas-Ft. Worth Critics Award, Independent Spirit Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, NY Film Critics Award & Satellite Award), as Jack Langrishe in HBO’s “Deadwood” (Screen Actors Guild nom.), “Zodiac” (Satellite Award nom.),“The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” “Doctor Who” Christmas Special: “The End of Time,” “The Big C,” “The Straits,” “Rob Roy,” “Braveheart,” “Adaptation” (Screen Actors Guild nom.), “The Ring,” “X2” (Teen Choice Award nom.), “Try,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” “Red,” “Chain Reaction,” “25th Hour,” “Super Troopers,” “Red Eye,” “Tell-Tale,” “The Escapist,” “The Day of the Triffids,” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” He has narrated several audiobooks including Ivanhoe, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. Mr. Cox received the 20th Bradford International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, he was elected as Rector of the University of Dundee. A patron of the Scottish Youth Theatre, Scotland’s National Theatre “for and by” young people in Glasgow, a patron of “THE SPACE, a training facility for actors and dancers in Dundee, and an ‘Ambassador’ for the Screen Academy Scotland. In 2012, he was the 10th Grand Marshal of the New York City Tartan Day Parade. Mr. Cox was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Appeared on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s “Rock N’ Roll”, directed by Trevor Nunn, in the role of Lenka, a role she originated in the World premiere of the play at the Royal Court Theatre, and at the Duke of York in the West End in London. Off-Broadway she worked with Irina Brook on “Shakespeare’s sister” at La Mama E.T.C., a play the group also toured in French in France. Regionally, at Shakespeare and Company, she appeared in Marivaux’s “Island of Slaves.” In Europe, Ms. Ansari was a member of the internationally acclaimed Theatre du Soleil, directed by Ariane Mnouchkine, in Paris, and on a tour throughout Europe. A founding member of the Shakespeare company Berlin, she also starred in many productions of the Public Theatre in Vienna, amongst other theatres including Roxanne in “Cyrano de Bergerac;” Irma in the musical, “Irma la Douce;” Berenice in “Berenice;” Romy in “Romy, I;” which she also co-wrote and Alma Mahler in “Alma;” including the three-part series. Most recently she played Queen Gertrude in the Mirror Repertory’s Greensboro Arts Alliance production of “Hamlet,” directed by Sabra Jones, and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” directed by Myriam Cyr in Greensboro, Vermont. On the Los Angeles stage, she performed in Moscow Art director Valery Belyakovic’s version of Gorky’s “Lower Depth: The Shelter” (Ovation award nom.) Her repertory debut was at the Theater am Neumarkt in Zurich. Ms. Ansari’s film and TV include Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects”, “Blumenthal” and “As Good as Dead” (both of which she also co-produced), “Maggie Black,” “I Was There,” “Mysteries of Laura,” HBO’s “Deadwood,” “The Blacklist,” “Bar Karma,” “Two Men, a Man, and a Baby,” “Herzog,” “Inspector Rex,” “The King,” and most recently the TV series, “Einstein.” Ms. Ansari studied with Uta Hagen, with Susan Batson, and at the Stage School of Dance and Drama.
One of the world’s great clowns, is also an acclaimed actor, playwright and director, and recently appeared in their award-winning production of “Old Hats” with Bill Irwin at the Signature Theatre in New York City. On Broadway, Mr. Shiner and Mr. Irwin’s the two-man wordless show “Fool Moon,” featuring music by the Red Clay Ramblers, ran for eight years (Special Tony Award for Live Theatrical Presentation, Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, Outer Critics Circle Special Achievement Award). Mr. Shiner originated the role of The Cat in the Hat in the stage musical, “Seussical.” He began doing street mime in Colorado, France and Germany, and then worked for various circuses including Cirque de Demain; the German troupe, Circus Roncalli; and the Swiss National company, Circus Knie. With Cirque du Soleil, he co-created and performed in “Nouvelle Expérience,” touring for nineteen months throughout Canada and the United States, and was the writer and director of “Kooza.” Mr. Shiner’s film and TV performances include “Lorenzo’s Oil;” “Man of the House;” opposite Bill Irwin in Sam Shepard’s film, “Silent Tongue;” and numerous appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. He has also mentored and guest directed at Lilalu, a German youth circus program.
Is a New York-based playwright and actor. He has directed and/or performed in his plays “Jack,” “The Home Show Pieces,” “2 Samuel 11, Etc. at Home, “Dead Mother, or Shirley Not All in Vain” (NYC Public Theatre), “She Stoops to Comedy,” (Obie Award), “Go Back to Where You Are” (Playwrights Horizons), “The Argument” (Target Margin Theatre – Obie Award), “The Myopia” (The Foundry), “Jonas” (Transport Group), and with songwriter Stephin Merritt “Coraline” (MTC). He has received two performance Obies – one for Terrence McNally’s “Some Men” and Goethe’s “Faust,” one for Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band.” His other appearances include “The Patsy” (Off Broadway Alliance Award nom., Outer Critics Circle Award nom., “Beebo Brinker Chronicles” (Drama League Award nom., Lucille Lortel Award nom., Outer Critics Circle Award nom.), “Punk Rock,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (CSC), and premieres of works by David Adimi, Sarah Ruhl, Todd Almond, Adam Rapp, Michi Barall, William Hoffman, Linda Chapman and Kate Moira Ryan, David Grimm, Kathleen Tolan, Harry Kondoleon, Paul Zimet and Ellen Maddow, José Rivera, Kirk Lynn, Lee MacDougall, Mac Wellman, Richard Foreman, Elizabeth Egloff, and Jefferey M. Jones. He received Guggenheim, and Lortel fellowships, Alpert Award and an Obie for Sustained Achievement. He received the Lamda Literary Award, CalArts/Alpert Awards in the Arts.
One of America’s most prolific television directors, Mr. D'Elia is currently executive producer and director of “How to Get Away with Murder” starring Viola Davis. He recently directed Patrick Stewart in the sitcom, “Blunt Talk.” Mr. D’Elia was an executive producer/director of “Chicago Hope,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal,” “Harry’s Law,” “Monday Mornings,” “The Crazy Ones,” and the co-creator of “Judging Amy.” A successful director of television commercials in the 1980’s, in 1989, he independently produced and directed the film, “The Feud,” based on the 1983 novel by Thomas Berger. Mr. D'Elia has also directed episodes of television series including “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “Northern Exposure,” “Glee,” “The Practice,” and “The West Wing.” Mr. D'Elia has been nominated for a total of eight Emmy Awards, four as a director and four as an executive producer.
Is best known as a star of Yiddish theater and for his role as lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on the television series, “Picket Fences,” for which he earned an Emmy Award. He is also known for his portrayal of Harvey Lipschultz, a crotchety U.S. history teacher, on the TV series, “Boston Public.” He adopted the stage name “Fyvush,” which was a common Yiddish given name. He made his Broadway theatre debut in the original production of the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” as Mordcha, the innkeeper, in 1965. He then played Lazar Wolf, the butcher, in the limited run 1981 Broadway revival, and eventually played the lead role of Tevye the milkman for years in the national touring company. Mr. Finkel’s film and TV includes the English-subtitled, Yiddish sketch-comedy revue, “Monticello, Here We Come;” the original “Kojak;” the miniseries, “Evergreen;” “Off Beat;” opposite Robin Williams in the American Playhouse adaptation of “Seize the Day;” the film adaptation of Neil Simon's Broadway comedy, “Brighton Beach Memoirs;” Sidney Lumet’s “Q & A;” “Fantasy Island;” Oliver Stone’s “Nixon,” “The Crew;” “Chicago Hope;” “Law & Order;” “Early Edition;” “Hollywood Squares;” “The Simpsons;” “Real Monsters;” and the Coen brothers film, “A Serious Man.” Mr. Finkel appeared in the role of Mr. Mushnik in the Off-Broadway musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Café Crown” (Obie Award, Drama Desk nom.), “Fyvush Finkel: From Second Avenue to Broadway” and “New Jerusalem” at CSC in New York City.
An American playwright, screenwriter and actor. His plays include “Orphans”on Broadway starring Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge, original production directed by Gary Sinise at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre before its successful Off-Broadway run. During its London production, Albert Finney received the Olivier Award for his performance in the London West End production. “Orphans” was also made into a film directed by Alan J. Pakula, starring Matthew Modine and Albert Finney. The play continues in repertory in the Tokyo Theatre Company Kaze in Japan; “The Watering Place” (on Broadway with William Devane and Shirley Knight), “Possession,” “Unlisted” (premiere at LA’s Tiffany Theatre with Charles Robinson), “Burning Bright,” “The Family Circle,” “The Engagement,” “The Viewing,” and “Robbers” (premiere at Long Wharf Theatre with Judd Hirsch). Mr. Kessler began his career as an actor. His stage appearances include the Philadelphia premiere of “Waiting for Godot” opposite Bruce Dern, and recently as Albert Einstein. He also appeared in several films, including “James Dean” as Lee Strasberg, with whom he studied with at The Actors Studio. He is the Head of the Playwright/Directors Unit at The Actors Studio. Mr. Kessler was a Rockefeller Foundation Playwriting Grant for his play “The Watering Place,” and received the New York State Council on the Arts Playwriting Award for “Burning Bright.” His films include “Gladiator,” “The Saint of Fort Washington” (also executive producer), and “Touched,” in which he also appeared in. Mr. Kessler and his wife, Margaret Ladd are the founders of the Imagination Workshop at U.C.L.A.’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. The workshop brings together actors, writers and directors who create scenes and original plays to be performed by psychiatric patients, veterans and "at risk" students in the L.A Public Schools. In 1998 they won the Ovation Award. Mr. Kessler and Mark Rydell are the co-moderators of the Playwright/Directors Unit of The Actors Studio in Los Angeles. He also served as the Director of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, and participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Conference in Hungary. www.lylekessler.com
Is currently starring as Roberta in the hit Off Broadway show, “Sistas: The Musical” Off-Broadway at St. Luke’s Theatre in New York City. She is a member of the original cast. An original member of the Amoralists Theatre Company, and was a member of The Flea Theatre’s resident acting company, The Bats. She has appeared in “Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Cape Playhouse), “Hamlet” (The Drilling Company), “Portraits” (Prospect Theatre Company), “Dirty Little Black Girls” (The Fire This Time Theatre Festival), “Hairspray” (Gateway Playhouse), Babes in Toyland (Lincoln Center), and on a national Tour of “Freedom Train.” Her film and TV work includes: “Smash,” “Animal Planet,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” and “Person of Interest.” She recently completed work on two new films. www.jenniferfouche.com
Has been Artistic Director of the renowned Pasadena Playhouse since 1997. Before beginning his tenure at The Playhouse, he served as Associate Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre for four years. He was also a co-founder of the off-Broadway theatre, The Production Company. Mr. Epps has directed both plays and musicals at many of the country’s major theatres including the Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Guthrie, Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, and the Goodman Theatre. He conceived the highly acclaimed musicals “Play On!” and “Blues in the Night,” both which received Tony Award nominations. He directed productions of both of those shows on Broadway, in London, and at theatres around the world. His directing includes “Scenes and Revelations,” “Blue,” “Showtune,” “Purlie,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” “Unchain My Heart,” “Twelve Angry Man,” “Intimate Apparel,” and “Breaking Through.” He directed productions of both of those shows on Broadway, in London, and at theatres around the world. Mr. Epps has also directed episodes of TV shows including “Evening Shade,” “Smart Guy,” “Frasier,” “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “George Lopez,” and “Girlfriends.” For more than a decade, he served as a member of the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Mr. Epps received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for his efforts and accomplishments at The Pasadena Playhouse. Under his leadership, The Playhouse has earned distinction for productions of artistic excellence, critical and box office success, and highly praised theatrical diversity.
Played the title role of Salome in the Royal National Theatre production that toured Australia and Japan, appeared in “The Women” at the Royal Old Vic, Madame de Sade at the Almeida Theatre, and created the part of Constance in the London premiere of “Goodnight Desdemona.” She also played Salome opposite Al Pacino in Arvin Brown’s production at Long Wharf Theatre, and opposite Steven Berkoff in “Salome” in Tokyo and around the world. She originated the role of Barbarina in Julie Taymor’s production of “The Green Bird” at Theatre for a New Audience. She has appeared in several films and TV shows including “Le Secret de Jerome (Best Actress) at the International Film Festival in Belgium and Best Actress Award, International Film Festival of Baie Comeau, Canada. “Brothers (Best Actress Award-Drama Film Festival of Greece), as Ultra Violet in “I Shot Andy Warhol,” as Claire Clairmont in “Gothic,” and “Species Two.” As a director, Ms. Cyr’s productions include “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” at the Greensboro Arts Alliance Summer Stock Theatre in Vermont,” the Community House of Hamilton and Wenham's production of “The Sound of Music,” “Little Women,” “Mary Poppins” at Stage 284, a staged reading of Jack Beatty’s “The Battle Not Begun: Munich 1938,” and “Simon Says” at the Boston Center for the Arts. Ms. Cyr is also the accomplished author of Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery Behind a 17th Century Forbidden Love.
Is a member of the country music band, “Three Wheel Drive” with the renowned violin player, fiddler, vocalist Donny Carpenter, and vocalist, string instrumentalist Mitchell Curtis, performing regularly at FloBama in Florence, Alabama, across the state and throughout the United States. He was lead guitarist and vocalist of “Shenandoah,” an award-winning band founded in Muscle Shoals in 1984, with Marty Raybon, Ralph Ezell, Stan Thorn, Mike McGuire and Mr. Seales on lead guitar and back-up vocals. He retired from the band in 2014. “Shenandoah” released nine Studio albums, and was the most successful band to come out of the Muscle Shoals area, with two gold albums, twenty-six singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, including nine albums: “Shenandoah,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Extra Mile,” “Long Time Comin’,” “Under the Kudzu,” “In the Vicinity of the Heart,” “Shenandoah Christmas,” “Shenandoah 2000,” and “Journeys.” Their number one hits included “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South,” “Two Dozen Roses,” “Next to You, Next to Me,” and “If Bubba Can Dance, I Can Too.” They toured across America and on several international tours. Shenandoah received County Music Association award nominations, and received the Vocal Group of the Year Award in 1991 and 1992 and the Grammy Award in 1992 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” with Alison Krauss.
Founder of the American Indian Institute, creator of the Billings Symphony, and conductor of the distinguished Springfield Symphony in Massachusetts, Mr. Staffanson was born in 1921, along the flanks of the Yellowstone River near the badlands of Sidney, and grew up as a cowboy in the Deer Lodge Valley, where his grandparents had settled in 1872. After becoming a conductor, he founded the first symphony orchestra in Billings, Montana. Devoting the latter part of his life to the preservation of Native American culture and wisdom, in 1977, Mr. Staffanson founded the American Indian Institute, creating with traditional indigenous leaders the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth. His work with these Elders opened lines of communication between indigenous cultures globally in ways that never before existed. For close to forty years, Mr. Staffanson has built lasting relationships with political, business, and spiritual leaders in Japan, Russia, European countries, and in Africa. Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing in Oregon recently published Mr. Staffanson’s memoir, Witness to Spirit: My Life with Cowboys, Mozart & Indians, with a foreword by Chief Oren Lyons, and an introduction by Todd Wilkinson.
Is regarded as the world's greatest xylophone virtuoso. He has appeared with and written for Michael Feinstein, Sid Caesar, Ginger Rogers, Tito Puente, Larry Gatlin, Martin Mull, and Madeline Kahn. Mr. Finkel has appeared on all major television stations, recorded for most record labels and has had successful concert tours in Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, England as well as America. Mr. Finkel has collaborated with Philip Glass and has heard his works performed by numerous orchestras including the American Symphony Orchestra and the Little Orchestra Society. Mr. Finkel has appeared been on many television shows, films and live performances including “Love Laffs,” “Jerry Lewis Telethon,” Woody Allen’s film, “Radio Days,” with Michael Feinstein on Broadway, “Second Avenue to Broadway,” with Fyvush Finkel, “Read-a-thon with Sesame Street Players,” and at hundreds of colleges across America, and as a headliner on all cruise ship lines. As a writer, Mr. Finkel has penned many film and stage productions including “Rainbow Wars” (nominated for Academy Award). “It’s Up to All of Us,” “Second Avenue to Broadway,” “Michael Feinstein in Concert,” “Sophie Tucker in Person,” “Music of Vic Mizzy,” as well as three novels and several books of short stories.
A member of the Assiniboine people, Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr. is a Playwright, Director, Poet, Actor, Writer, and Educator from the Fort Peck Indian reservation located in northeastern Montana. He is the author of over forty one-act and full-length plays, many of which have been produced by companies such as Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, and the Public Theatre in New York. Presently, an adjunct faculty member in the English Department at the University of Maine and a Faculty Affiliate of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr., with Dr. Margo Lukens of the University of Maine, completed the book, Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers: And Other Untold Stories, a collection of Mr. Yellow Robe’s full-length plays. His other book, Where the Pavement Ends, a collection of his one-act plays was published in 2001. Mr. Yellow Robe is a member of the Penumbra Theater Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, Ensemble Studio Theater in New York, and a Board of Advisors for Red Eagle Soaring Theater Company (a Native youth theater company) of Seattle, Washington. Mr. Yellow Robe has garnered honors including a Princess Grace Foundation Theater fellowship, the Playwright’s Center Jerome Fellowship, and a Native Writers' Circle of the Americas First Nations Book Award for Prose. His plays include “Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers,” “A Stray Dog,” “Falling Distance,” “A Great Thing,” “Native American Paranormal Society,” “Better-n-Indins,” “Pieces of Us: How the Lost Find Home,” “Sneaky,” “Blood of the Rez. Paper Wars,” “New Forest Order,” “How Tribal are You?,” “The Council,” “The Star Quilter,” “The Body Guards,” “A Broken Bottle-A Broken Family,” “The Independence of Eddie Rose,” and “The Pendleton Blanket.”
Singer/songwriter and producer, Mr. Martin’s first album was “Untethered.” He is the lead singer of “The Wildwood Ruminators,” a new group emanating from the fertile musical soil of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama area. The Wildwood Ruminators trio is comprised Tony Lee, formerly of the celebrated Celtic band, Full Moon Ensemble, singer/songwriter and drummer Malcolm Singleton, bass player, Bill Williams and John Jackson, leader of the pop/punk band, Jessica’s Mistake. Guest musicians on their second album included keyboardist Kelvin Wooten, banjo player Scooter Muse, percussionist, Daniel Beard and guitarist Barry Billings. Their albums include “The Wildwood Ruminators,” “Elemental,” and “Revelation.” Mr. Martin produced a version of the song “I’m Gone” for a local female artist, which won the Best of Showcase Series award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame National Academy of Popular Music.
Currently Co-Artistic Director and an Acting Teacher at the T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre, Mr. Jensen was a member of the Core Faculty of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts for over twelve years and served as the Third Year Academy Company Director. A graduate of AADA, he was the recipient of the Max Fisher Award. An alumnus of T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre, he studied with Terry Schreiber, and had previously studied acting with Uta Hagen and Chuck Olsen at The Actors Studio. He has performed Off-Broadway and in film and television. His New York directing credits include “Incendiary Agents” (The Nylon Fusion Theatre Company), “The Glass Menagerie” (Sanford Meisner Theatre), “The Wild Guys,” (Miranda Theatre-NY premiere), “Home Free” and “Ludlow Fair,” “Lunchtime.” Productions with The Academy Company include “Lie of the Mind,” “Burn This,”“Creadeux Canvas,”“Biloxi Blues,”“Snakebit,”“Blood Wedding,”“The Wager,”“A Flea in Her Ear,”“Three Sisters,”and “Uncle Vanya.”His directing at T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre includes “Balm in Gilead” (2011 New York Innovative Theatre Award), “Joking Apart,”“Hurlyburly,”“A Taste of Honey,”“Marvin’s Room,”“You Can’t Take It with You,”“The Real Inspector Hound,” “The Actor’s Nightmare,”“Fifth of July,”and “Doubt.” www.peterjensen.nyc.com
One of America’s finest landscape painters, Tim Stevenson recently had a solo exhibition of over sixty of his most recent works featuring the peaceful vistas of the Tennessee Valley, vivid still life and thoughtful figurative paintings in watercolor and oil at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center in Decatur, Alabama. A native-born Alabama artist, he has been painting for over forty years in the tradition of the ‘Old Masters,’ (Vermeer and Rembrandt). A self-taught artist who ‘drew pictures for cookies’ at age three, his intermittent excursions into art included cartooning, advertising, illustration and billboard painting along the way. For nine years, Tim taught painting and drawing at his namesake art studio and school, and now teaches a small group of students twice a month in Tuscumbia. He finishes a new painting roughly every two weeks. www.timstevensonart.com