MELODY BROOKS was an actor for more than 35 years, and has been producing and directing in New York City since 1983. In 1991, Ms. Brooks formed the New Perspectives Theatre Company and serves as the company's Artistic Director and CEO. Its mission and goals are a result of her long experience working in the Off- and Off-Off Broadway arenas.
Ms. Brooks was formerly a program officer with the Academy for Educational Development, previously worked at Bank Street College of Education, and was Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre at Long Island University/Brooklyn for ten years. The work of NPTC merges her artistic and educational backgrounds.
She is on the Board of Directors of the League of Professional Theatre Women,and a member of the LPTW Heritage Program and Co-chair of the triennial Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award for 2014 and 2017. Brooks co-founded 50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists in 2009 and continues to be involved in various initiatives that have grown out of that movement and which focus on reclaiming the heritage of women in theatre. Most recently she has partnered with theatre historian Mari Lyn Henry on STAGE STRUCK, serving as director and dramaturg for performances featuring actresses from the past, written using their own words and on SUFFRAGISTS FROM THE STAGE, a series of presentations on theatre women who were major forces in securing the 19th Amendment. Brooks was honored in 2018 as a "Trailblazing Woman of Theatre for Artistry & Vision" by Rhythm Color Associates.In 2015 she received the Spirit of Hope Award from Speranza Theatre Company for her more than 25-year track record of supporting women theatre artists and was named a "Person of the Year" in 2009 by NYTheatre.com as a co-founder of 50/50 in 2020.
For NPTC, Brooks oversees the artistic output of the company, and creates and directs new projects that address its mission. She created and oversees the Women’s Work LAB, responsible for the development of short and full-length plays by 12 -15 members per year; she is also executive producer ofand a regular director/dramaturg for ON HER SHOULDERS, which presents female playwrights from the past 1000 years in staged readings with scholarly playbills at the New School.
As part of these programs she has developed and directed a number original scripts notably MOTHER OF GOD!by Michele Miller,a Princess Grace Foundation Finalist that revisits the story of Mary from a Jewish (and irreverant perspective);Exhibit #9by Tracey Scott Wilson, (co-directed with Celia Braxton) a satire on the African-American Experience (AUDELCO Award); Jihad, The Play by Ann Chamberlin, a mystical examination of the influence of gender and religion in war (OOBR Award); and Anatomy of a Love Affairby Deirdre Hollman, an intense look at an interracial relationship ending after eight years (optioned by Essence Entertainment).
Other developmental directing credits for NPTC include Everyday Somewhere Here: Letters From Palestine and Israel,a multi-media piece created in collaboration with Benji Rgoers and based on his travels to the region, Finding Home by Keline Adams, which was presented as a work-in-progress in NPTC's Voices From the Edge Festival, starring Marcella Lowery (of The Cosby Show); Untitled and Unfinished, written and performed by Yolanda Wilkinson and presented at NPTC and the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival; Touchscape, written and performed by James Scruggs for the Queer at HERE Festival and Voices From the Edge; and Chewin' da Fat on Life, a work-in-progress by OBIE-Award winner Stephanie Berry.
Brooks has also directed many of NPTC's innovative classic productions, including a multi-media Hamletbased on research proposing that the script parallels the Book of Revelation. With Vebeke Lunn Fazakerley of Primary Sauces in London, she created a unique production of Macbeththat included an authentic medieval banquet as a central part of the action. The production was performed at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Washington Square Methodist Church and NPTC. She has also directed Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, Othello,The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Miss Julie, and the NY premiere of Vaclev Havel's The Increased Difficulty of Concentration.In addition, she served as dramaturg and co-director on NPTC's OOBR award-winning production of The Taming of the Shrew.
Most recent (non NPTC) directing credits includeHouse Of Desiresby Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz for The School of Drama at the New School/BFA Program, two Theatre Brut short play festivals and a Ferber Festival at New Jersey Rep.
She takes a lead role in the creation and implementation of NPTC's Youth & Community Programs repertoire, developing the Shakespeare Made Simpleprogram and co-creating World Voiceswith award-winning playwright Rick Balian. She lead a 4-year residency at School for Classicsin East New York, Brooklyn, a high school which NPTC helped create in 2009, developing an academically rigorous four-year theatre curriculum and presenting annual student Shakespeare productions.
Brooks began acting in an Upstate New York theatre company when she was a child, touring playgrounds, schools and the New York State Fair throughout the summers, and performing in the company's permanent space during the remainder of the year. This early training and exposure to all aspects of theatre production played an important role in her development as a theatre professional and as a person, and forms the basis of her commitment to extending the benefits of theatre as a positive influence to young people and communities in need.
Her acting credits are varied and diverse. She has performed extensively with NPTC's Shakespeare Made Simple program, received critical acclaim opposite Austin Pendleton in NPTC's production of Richard IIIin the role of Queen Elizabeth, and played Lady Macbeth among other roles for NPTC's mainstage. In 1991, she performed in a production of Oedipus, Rexat Epidaurus, Greece,which marked the first ever appearance of American actors in the history of the 2,500-year-old theatre. She also appeared at theEdinburgh International Theatre Festival in Temporary Lucidity, a critically acclaimed series of one-acts by playwright Rick Balian, which she co-produced.
Previously Brooks served as an Associate Producer for the NY Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) coordinating seminars and master classes in NYMF '06. She works periodically as a non-profit management consultant (including for the NYS Council on the Arts); and teaches/coaches upon request.
Catharine Guiher, General Manager
CATHARINE GUIHER’S most recent credit was as Company Manager for the Broadway production of TORCH SONG. She worked in various capacities at Second Stage Theater for 12 years and at Roundabout Theatre Company for 17 years. In addition to her theatre work, she has been a professional dancer at Madison Square Garden, sailed around the world, and plays competitive volleyball. She is a graduate of the Nightingale-Bamford School and Vassar College, and apprenticed at the Joseph Jefferson Theatre Company and Dorset Theatre Festival. She has served on the boards of New Perspectives Theatre Company, Confluence Theatre Company, and the Gallery Players. She has been the General Manager of New Perspectives Theatre Company since 2007.
C. Amanda Maude, Associate Artistic Director
C. AMANDA MAUDE has more than 30 years experience performing, teaching and developing workshops for all ages in both the United States and England, dividing her time between New York City and England. She has been a core NPTC Company member and teaching artist since 1995 and has served as associate artistic director since 2002. For NPTC, Ms. Maud has assistant-directed a number of Shakespeare productions (Othello, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet), both for general and school audiences, and provided support in text work and Elizabethan performance styles (including deportment and choreography.) She was a regular performer in NPTC’s Shakespeare Made Simple and World Voices programs for public school students, and continues to assist with the creation of supplemental educational materials and conducting workshops of all kinds.
Her professional performing credits are numerous, including appearances as Gertrude (Hamlet), Friar Laurence (Romeo & Juliet), Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Emelia (Othello) for NPTC as well as roles in Blood Wedding (George Washington University Artist-in-Residence) and The Persians (Wells College Artist-in-Residence). Roles in England include the UK premiere of The Evidence at New Perspectives Theatre Company/UK; The Belle of Bonavista Bay (lead) for Forest Forge, the UK premiere of Taking a Liberty at The Contact Theatre in Manchester, Macbeth at the Chester Gateway, Midas at Shakespeare’s Globe Education Centre, The Natural Theatre Company at the Millenium Dome and new works at the Soho Theatre studio, the Chelsea Centre and the Albany Theatre. In England she as performed with a number of educational theatre companies including the Apothecary Theatre Company, Mu-Lan Arts, and most recently with Theatre Adad. She also worked for many years with Twisting Yarn Theatre in such productions as The Crow Scarers, a national tour comissioned by the United Cooperatives, Entrenched, a devised physical theatre piece for High School and College students and Trail of Tears, the premiere of an original play. All three productions included drama and history workshops along with the performances. Ms. Maud works regularly with the Saint John on Bethnal Green Arts and Music Festival in London, developing programming and producing events each year, including directing The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green and the holiday Panto.
Tim Rankin, Communications Director
TIM RANKIN has been a part of the NPTC community for over 10 years and he currently enjoys the rather flattering title of Director of Communications.
Tim brings with him an extensive background in media and production spanning almost 40 years. Whether producing basement tapes with his brother in the 1980s, directing public access television shows in Middletown, CT, writing for UConn’s The Daily Campus, producing voice-overs and podcasts, or playing bass in a wildly diverse array of bands from Tibetan Pop to Hard Rock, Tim stays active in his creative expressions. He is currently recording with singer/songwriter Randy Moses and working mostly out of his home studio in Harlem.
Tim has also been a teacher and education advocate since 1995 when he volunteered as a reading tutor in a juvenile detention facility. Today, Tim is exploring how the Internet is facilitating educational improvements across the world and is planning a sabbatical to China in the Spring of 2020.
Through journalistic curiosity, savvy media and communications strategies not to mention a lifelong interest in the creative arts, Tim continues promoting and preserving the long and distinguished history of the New Perspectives Theatre Company as it approaches its 30th season.
Celia Braxton, Ph.D, Senior Dramaturg (Women’s Work Project)
CELIA BRAXTON, Ph.D. (Senior Dramaturg, Women's Work Project) is the Senior Dramaturg for the Full-length LAB and co-leads the team of resident director-dramaturgs. She was previously a director/dramaturg with the Short Play LAB, directing in the 2012 and 2013 festivals. Elsewhere, she has helped devise numerous one-person shows, including initial work with Stephanie Berry on her Obie-winning The Shaneequa Chronicles, and a dance/drama adaptation of Macbeth with the Avalon Theatre of e/Motion. Celia has presented at numerous academic conferences. Recent presentations include “Pauline Hopkins and the Underground Railroad,” written for “The Play in Context” portion of an On Her Shoulders’ (OHS) reading of Peculiar Sam, or The Underground Railroad in 2018, and revised for the Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society at the American Literary Association conference in May 2019. For OHS she has also contextualized Mae West’s Sex, and Anna Cora Mowatt’s Fashion. Her 2006 NETJ article, ““Home, Sweet Home”: The Drunkard, Domesticity, and the New Theatrical Audience,” contextualizes the play within the climate of developing domestic ideology. She teaches Developmental English at Queensborough Community College and theatre courses at LaGuardia Community College.
Jenny Greeman, Program Manager (Women’s Work Short Play Lab)
JENNY GREEMAN is an artist and educator currently a Resident Director with the Women’s Work LAB. She joined NPTC in January 2007 after participating in the company's Shakespeare Bootcamp for Directors and Educators, and was formerly the Administrator of Youth & Community Development at NPTC. In Summer 2010 Jenny helmed the World Premiere production of Screenplay by Scott Brooks, which was awarded “Outstanding Production of a Play” at the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival and subsequently moved to an Off Broadway run at 59E59. For the 2008 MITF, Ms. Greeman and her writing partner, Elliot Lanes, were awarded “Best Staged Reading” for their original children’s musical, The Raggedy Ann and Andy Musical. Jenny is the Resident Director for Dark Lady Players, where her credits include Shakespeare’s Three Marys, Hamlet’s Apocalypse, and Shakespeare’s Gospel Parodies: A Medieval Mystery Tour. Ms. Greeman is the Director of Programming at P2 L: Pathways to Leadership. She holds a BA, Phi Beta Kappa, in Urban Studies from Connecticut College and was a Fellow at Barnard College’s Institute for Urban Education. She is currently earning a Masters of Public Administration at Baruch/CUNY.
Meganne George, Resident Production Designer
MEGANNE GEORGE’S credits include Broadway: A Wonderful Life (Actor's Fund). Kennedy Center: mabou mines' Dollhouse. Off-Broadway: The Brightness of Heaven, Cherry Lane, die. L Villar-Hauser. For mabou mines: Medea, Glass Guignol, Finn (NYSCA grant), Dollhouse (Elliot Norton Award Design nom); Red Beads; Cara Lucia (ATW Hewes Nom.; Best Design First Irish Festival); Children of Ararat, Two Little Indians, Superpowers, Orpheus and Eurydice; Hurray for Iceboy, John Goldfarb Please Come Home (FringeNY Best Costume Design). Regional/Intn'l: For Heaven's Sake (Buffalo dir L. Villar Hauser); Grey Gardens, The Graduate, As Bees in Honey Drown, No Way to Treat a Lady, UnNecessary Farce, Radio Gals, Jihad, Melody Brooks; dir Women Onstage for Peace Fest- Bogotá), Choreophorae (European Capital of Culture Fest), Kilkenney Arts Festival: Lucia's Chapter's, A Prelude to a Death in Venice.13 seasons w/ Bronx Opera; 18 w/NPTC. Film/TV/Themed Entertainment: mabou mines' Dollhouse (producer, Arte, France); Don't Nobody Love the Game (PBS); Sesame Street 10th Anniversary Celebration Parade, Beaches Resorts (Jamaica, Turks & Caicos. megannegeorge.com
Ray A. Rodriguez, Artistic Associate
RAY A. RODRIGUEZ is an active AEA and SAG/AFTRA member who has been a core teaching artist with NPTC since 1999, and has performed in numerous World Voices and Shakespeare Made Simple productions. He has been a teaching artist with NPTC programs at School for Classics, PS-IS 137, and Muscota New School. A Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors currently teaching staged combat and movement classes at Adelphi University in Long Island, NY. He has also taught at Harlem School of the Arts, New York University and Muhlenberg College, and has conducted guest workshops at in the Tri-State Area. He is the resident fight director for NPTC and the Inwood Shakespeare Festival where he has performed and choreographed numerous productions of Shakespeare and other classics. Some acting credits include: Petrucchio in NPTC's OOBR-winning Taming of the Shrew; Rodrigo (Othello) NPTC Mainstage; Banquo (Macbeth), Mercutio (Romeo & Juliet); Iago (Othello), Brutus (Julius Caesar), Porthos (Three Muskateers), Macduff (Macbeth), Long John Silver (Treasure Island) among others at Inwood Shakespeare Festival; Caliban (La Tempestad) with Resonance Ensemble and Jack Pinchwife in The Country Wife with HonkBark Productions.
Mikaela Lynn Johnson, Artistic Associate
MIKAELA LYNN JOHNSON received her M.F.A from The New School for Drama in the spring of 2009, and immediately joined the NPTC Company of Actors. She performed in the inaugural Theater Is Served presentation of Lysistrata, and subsequently appeared in The Convent of Pleasure, Good Morning Miss Millie, and La Mandragola—in concert readings of plays from across the spectrum of Theatre History. Mikaela was part of the acclaimed ensemble for NPTC’s Hamlet, and has performed in four festivals of one acts by the playwrights in NPTC's Women's Work LAB. From the beginning of Mikaela’s tenure at NPTC, she has been a valuable member of the teaching artist team, performing for the World Voices Series for youth and family audiences in The Wild Boy: A Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Tale, The Adventures of Rubbish in the Hood and multiple pieces in our Shakesepare Made Simple series. In 2011 she was a regular teaching artist at The School for Classics, NPTC’s residency program in East New York, Brooklyn. Mikaela worked with students performing in Shakespeare productions, mentoring them in the text and performance skills. Currently she is assistant managing NPTC's World Voices Program (2014) and works additionally as a personal trainer and massage therapist.
Anna Aubry (Summer Intern)
Anna Aubry is a rising Junior at Oberlin College double majoring in Theatre and American Studies with a concentration in ‘Identity and Diversity.’ A native of New York, Anna has been acting her whole life. She hopes to draw on her passion for performance to support and create activist work that provides representation for marginalized groups. In her free time, Anna performs improv comedy and stand up and is a member of Oberlin’s club Students United for Reproductive Freedom. She is so excited to be working as an intern at NPTC this summer and to learn more about the people and responsibilities that go into making politically transformative theatre.
Sabina Demidovich (Summer Intern)
Sabina Demidovich is a writer and actor based in New York City. She is currently a rising senior at The New School, where she studies both creative writing and theatre. She is an active member of SAG/AFTRA, and has trained at UCB for years, where she developed her original passion for comedy. Her love for comedy has led her to also work at the Improv Asylum theatre in Chelsea, where you can find her at absurdly late hours with a half-asleep smile. Sabina finds herself drawn to stories that are inclusive, vulnerable, and empowering. She would also like to thank NYC Ladders for Leaders for giving her a chance and providing her such a great opportunity. Sabina is incredibly humbled and excited to work with New Perspectives for the summer, and can’t wait to grow with everyone! www.sabinademidovich.com.
Eve Dorfman (Summer Intern)
Eve Dorfman is a rising senior at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, N.Y.. She has a passion for all things theatre and has performed in various productions at her school, Belvoir Terrace Arts Camp in Lenox, M.A., and Random Farms Kids Theater in Elmsford, N.Y.. She is also an Ambassador for Random Farms, working to raise funds for the non-profit throughout the Westchester community. Additionally, Eve acts as an Assistant Director for Random Farms, working with students in both their elementary and middle school programs. Eve also volunteers with KJK Productions’ shows within the Chappaqua Central School District on a yearly basis. Eve is a member of her school's a capella group, The Quaker Notes, and has performed at various venues including Carnegie Hall.
Abigail Kopelowitz (Summer Intern)
Abigail Kopelowitz is a high school student from South Florida who is interning at New Perspectives Theater Company. For the last two years, Abigail has worked as a teen ambassador for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts reviewing various performances such as orchestras, jazz concerts, operas, plays and musicals. As a teen ambassador, Abigail shares her insights and reviews of these shows in an effort to engage young people in local theatre. Abigail is passionate about performing arts geared towards Deaf and hearing impaired communities. This year, she assisted in creating, presenting and performing in a variety show at her school performed entirely in American Sign Language. Likewise, Abigail annually competes in World Language Competitions, performing music and short skits in American Sign Language. In her pursuit to create positive social change in the world, Abigail helps lead several student organizations such as the Women Empowerment Club, iServe at Temple Ramat Shalom, and the Science National Honor Society, among others. Next year, Abigail will complete her final year of high school where she hopes to continue pursuing her passion for performing arts.
Alena Koshy (Summer Intern)
Alena Koshy is a rising Senior in Bayside High School specifically in the Music Production and Performance Program. Her love for theater and music has drawn her to perform in several shows and concerts in her school. She is also heavily involved with Student Government and the Women’s Empowerment Club at her school, and is excited to see how her many passions intertwine with each other in her new role at The New Perspectives Theatre Company. She is enthusiastic about what she can contribute to the organization’s ultimate goal of more inclusivity in theatre. Alena is hopeful that the successful completion of her internship will provide her with more skills that can benefit her future performances.
Eva Licht (Summer Intern)
Eva Licht is a rising Junior at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She is forming an interdisciplinary major in Theatre-Biology, and is excited to explore how performance and theatre can make scientific research more accessible to a wider range of audiences. Eva is involved with the theatre department at Reed, and has experience acting and stage managing. She is a board member of the Reed Independent Performance Project, a student-run group that produces performance art directed and created by students. She is very grateful to be working with New Perspectives for the summer, and is hoping to carry NPTC’s dedication to inclusive theatre with her in future performance and production experiences.
Ella Spungen (Summer Intern)
Ella Spungen recently graduated high school at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn and will be going on to attend Brown University in the fall. In high school, she was the Editor-in-Chief of both her school’s newspaper and literary/art magazine, and headed various other clubs. Outside of school, she volunteered at a number of organizations to promote literacy and the arts among children. She loves all things theatre, and on her newspaper focused heavily on covering the performing arts both in and out of the school. Ella is grateful for the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of a theatre company at New Perspectives and to gain experience doing such work. She firmly believes in the power that theatre has to foster growth, learning, and healing, and is so excited to be a part of that process.