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    Read about Girl Power! the inaugural short play festival written by the first group of LAB members and produced in August 2008.

    KATE BELL is a writer, songwriter, director, performer, and teacher.  Her plays have been seen in New York at Baruch College’s Bernie West Theatre and at the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival, produced by Committed Theatre Company and Feed the Herd Theatre Company, respectively.  Ms. Bell developed her play Lions of Babylon during the fall of 2007 at the Primary Stages School of Theater with playwright David Caudle; she is continuing her study of playwriting there through a full scholarship.  Ms. Bell earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The University of Michigan in 2000, and while there received a Farrar Fund Grant for Dramatic Writing as well as two Hopwood Awards, one in fiction and the other in playwriting.  Her play, Estrella, My Refugee, was a runner-up for the 2002 Princess Grace Award.  Ms. Bell managed, wrote music for, and performed throughout New York City with the jazz octet, The Poma-swank, from 2003 through 2007 (  She is presently working musically in a new rock project called The Slips (  Ms. Bell teaches playwriting, acting, vocal music, and songwriting in the New York City public schools through the Theater Development Fund, Marquis Studios, and the Henry Street Settlement.

    ZETTA ELLIOTTs poetry has been published in the Cave Canem anthology, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Check the Rhyme: an Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, and Coloring Book: an Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers.  Her novella, Plastique, was excerpted in T Dot Griots: an Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers, and her essays have appeared in The Black Arts Quarterly, thirdspace, WarpLand and Rain and Thunder.  She won the 2005 Honor Award in Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Contest, and her picture book story, “Bird” will be published in 2008.  Her first play, Nothing but a Woman, was a finalist in the Chicago Dramatists’ Many Voices Project (2006).  Her fourth full-length play, Connor’s Boy, was staged in January 2008 as part of two new play festivals: in Cleveland, OH as part of Karamu House’s R. Joyce Whitley Festival of New Plays ARENAFEST, and in New York City as part of Maieutic Theatre Works’ Newborn Festival.  She is currently a visiting professor in the African American and African Studies Program at Mt. Holyoke College. 


    CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON is a playwright, actor and filmmaker.Her first play, The New Deal, was also the first play to be developed in the "Different Voices" program at the Roundabout Theatre Company. Other plays: Paper Son, The Faux Designer Handbag Caper and The Perfect Wife. Screenplays: A Way From Home (with Charles Randolph-Wright), Jumping The Third Rail, Dully For President and Old, Fat And Ugly. Her short film about inadvertent discrimination, ALL AMERICAN EYES, (which she also starred in and produced) was the winner of the Audience Award at the Waves International Film Festival, and also played the Hearts and Minds and New York International Film and Video Film Festivals. Recently awarded a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, she is working on a documentary film with her husband, filmmaker Bruce Johnson, about the first Asian American pro-basketball player, Wat Misaka, of the 1947 Knicks.  As a performer, she has appeared extensively on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theatres across the country, in film, television, and concerts worldwide for over 25 years.She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Certificate of Screenwriting Program at NYU.


    ANDREA LEPCIO’s plays have been presented at Chashama, HERE, The Lady Cavaliers, Manhattan Theatre Source, New Shoe, Raw Impressions, Shalimar Productions, Three Chicks, Titans Theatre, Vital Theatre, Williamsburg Art Nexus, and Women's Project in NY, and at Bloody Unicorn, Hangar Theatre, Provincetown Theatre Company and Trustus Theatre, regionally. Her screenplay, A September Spring, won the Sloan Foundation Dramatic Writing Award. Hook & Eye won the Trustus Playwrights Festival where it was produced. She is a member of America-in-Play, BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Librettist Workshop and the Lark’s Playwrights’ Workshop. A Dramatists Guild Fellow, she currently serves as Program Director. A two-time finalist for the Heideman Award, her short plays and monologues have been published in Plays and Playwrights 2003, Estrogenius, lichen and by Smith & Kraus. She is a founder of the Mint Theatre Company where she produced the World Premiere of Austin Pendleton’s Uncle Bob. In addition to the Dramatists Guild Fellows program, she also works as a teaching artist and economic consultant. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild, New Shoe, and New York Theatre Experience Advisory Committee. M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing, Carnegie Mellon University. M.B.A. UC Berkeley. B.A. Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic.


    KIM MERRILLS plays have been produced by Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Theater for the New City, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Oakland Public Theatre, Rochester Repertory, Redbud Productions, Manhattan Theatre Source , the Culture Project, and other off-off-broadway places.  Workshops and readings of her plays have been presented by PlayLabs 2005 at the Playwrights Center, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Cherry Lane, Women’s Project, LaMama Experiments series, NJ Rep and Miami’s City Theatre.  Her work has received a Playwrights First Award, Kernodle-One Act award, and a Pilgrim Project grant.  Kim’s play Finding Claire was published last winter by Dramatists Play Service, and her play Exposure Time received a 2007 commission from EST/Sloan Project.   She is a graduate of the MFA playwriting program at Columbia University, and lives in New York.

    MICHELE MILLER has lived in many ‘hot’ (in climate and politics) locales as an archaeologist but currently resides in North Westchester with her young family.  Both the exotic and the mundane inhabit her work.  She has also worked in theatre administration and as a writer and editor.  Her full-length play, Real Estate, was a semi-finalist in the 2002 American Theatre Coop Playwriting Contest and received readings at Women's Project & Productions, Word of Mouth and Vital Theatre workshops.  Products of Conception, a play featuring one couple’s journey through infertility and loss, was produced as part of the Estrogenius Festival at Manhattan Theatre Source in October, 2003, and as part of the Strawberry Festival in the summer of 2004, where it was reprised as a “Producer’s Choice”. Her play, Bedtime Stories was produced as part of the Development Series at Manhattan Theatre Source in May, 2004.  Her one-act plays have been seen as part of ‘New Acts’ at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, the Tandem Acts Festival of the Women’s Project Theatre, and Blueberry Pond Theatre’s 2006 Spring Sampler.  She is an artistic member of the ensemble theatre company, Blueberry Pond Theatre in Ossining, NY.