Who’s Who: Guest Artists, Participants, Producing Team, Writers, Performers!
REGENERATION: REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM THEN AND NOW
Aug 26 at 7 pm ET on Zoom, Free
Download: ReGeneration Performance Program Aug 26
Performers and Presenters:
ReGENERATION: Our Reproductive Freedom Then and Now
August 26 at 7 pm ET on Zoom
Manju Bangalore (writer/performer, a love song) is a physicist, actor, and the founder of Operation Period, a youth-led nonprofit addressing menstrual inequity through art, advocacy, education, community engagement, and mutual aid. She has worked at two NASA centers, Marshall Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center on propulsion and the cockpit displays for the Orion spacecraft, as well as in the White House under President Obama on science policy. She currently holds the title of Miss World California and placed top 10 at Miss World America in October. (Paired with Judith Arcana.)
Aleina Dume (writer, Under Construction, post-performance discussion) is a first-generation college student studying at Swarthmore College from New York City. As of 2020, she is a sophomore. Aleina is passionate about amplifying unheard or marginalized voices through work in education and media. Her goal is always to make opportunities more accessible and equitable. She plans to graduate in 2023 with a degree in Sociology and Educational Studies. Aleina has experience in writing, journalism, teaching, social media/graphic design, and social justice work. She’s worked at Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center, Swarthmore College’s Intercultural Center, Her Agenda, The Trace, and Barnes & Noble. (Paired with Luz Rodriguez.)
Isabella Gallegos (writer, performer, Further) is a rising senior at Townsend Harris Highschool. She is an aspiring actor who has attended the New York State Summer School of the Arts for two years and worked closely with a non-profit organization called Kids Creative Collective. She also likes to write plays and stories, the most recent of which is a production at her highschool which she helped direct as well. Isabella hopes to inspire positive change in others through her art and is thrilled to be participating in a project dedicated to promoting reproductive rights with such amazing artists. (Paired with Mildred Lewis.)
Emory Kemph (writer, performer A Come to Jesus Moment) once considered being a chef, a professional soccer player, and an astronaut after a rousing tour of the National Air and Space Museum. She decided those careers weren’t stable enough, so she is now a writer and performer. Her personal projects are usually intersections of theater, sketch-comedy, and advocacy (especially pertaining to mental health and gender). Favorite credits include: The NYU Reality Show (writer/performer), A Chorus Line (Kristine, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and Smile, Because It Happened: An NYU Tisch Drama Senior Thesis Project Experimental Devised Puppet Theater Two-Person One-Woman Show (writer/Gritty Bits). Thanks to Stacey, Alinca, Cindy, and all of our wonderful collaborators! NYU Tisch ‘20. (Paired with Rev. Rebecca Turner.)
Ava Elizabeth Novak (she/he/they) (writer, performer 3 Notes to Hold Each Other) is a film and theatremaker based in New York City. She is currently attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, pursing a BFA in Drama at Playwright Horizons Theatre School and a film minor. Their most recent credits include being a reader for the Quarantine Play Bakeoff (University of Minnesota), video editor for Run Me My Money (nicHi douglas, The Movement Theatre Company 1Move Commissions), and one of the Sams in sam at the base of the mountain (Yousef Liepert, Nextfest 2020). Ava would like to thank Stacey Linnartz for giving her this opportunity and the entire team for such a fantastic process. (Paired with Cassandra Medley.)
Elliot Stewart (writer,perfomer Thoughts from Charlotte) is a performer, writer, choreographer, and designer based in NYC. When not on stage they have been a farmer, educator, waiter, or all of the above. They are so thankful to Stacey, Alinca, Cindy, and everyone who is a part of this project for bringing them on board and welcoming them to the Repro Freedom Arts family! Previous work includes Julius Caesar (actor) and God’s Ear (choreographer) at Playwrights Horizons Downtown, and Asphodels (props) at the Hudson Guild Theater. For any and all inquiries contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to get out there and VOTE! (Paired with Charlotte Taft.)
Judith Arcana: Born in Ohio during WWII, Judith Arcana lives in Oregon, where she writes stories, poems, essays and books. She’s a Jane, a member of Chicago’s pre-Roe underground abortion service, and taught women’s health, sexuality and maternity classes for the Chicago Women’s Liberation School and Columbia College in the 1970s. Her poetry collection What if your mother treats multiple themes, notably abortion, adoption, and IVF; her new story collection — Hello. This is Jane. — is linked fiction about abortion and tattooing. Visit juditharcana.com. (Paired with Manju Bangalore.)
Mildred Lewis: After Oberlin College, Mildred began as a director at the Actors Studio and Circle Repertory’s LAB. After graduating from UCLA’s film school, she won Samuel Goldwyn and HBO New Writers Awards. Unbowed, a feature based on her work, screened at the Palm Springs, American Indian and Pan African Film Festivals. Her plays have been produced in Chicago, Cincinnati, London, New York and Spokane. She teaches English at Chapman University and has won several teaching awards. (Paired with Isabella Gallegos.)
Cassandra Medley: Award winning playwright produced across the US. Several published plays, two online broadcasts: “Cell,” and “Relativity.” Retired from Sarah Lawrence College. Member Ensemble Studio Theater. (Paired with Ava Novak.)
Luz Marina Rodriguez is a co-founder of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Luz spent 13 years at the Foundation Center as its NY Lead and Training Specialist where she designed and delivered bilingual fundraising and philanthropy training throughout the U.S. and across borders in regions such as Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Nigeria She is the Founding Principal of Visionary Allies and is a sought-after coach and mentor to many social change agents for her expertise in fundraising, capacity-building and leadership development. (Paired with Aleina Dume.)
Charlotte Taft: Born 1950. BA and MA in Feminist Studies. Fell in love with a woman and moved to Dallas, Texas in 1975. Got a job in an abortion clinic. Director of a clinic from 1978-1996. Pioneered ‘Head and Heart’ counseling. Live in New Mexico with my partner of 32 years, Shelley Oram, and our beloved dogs. Director of the Abortion Care Network from 2009-2015. Counsel before and after abortion over the phone, 1996-present. Creating a series of YouTube abortion counseling videos, Before and After Abortion. Written two unpublished novels. (Paired with Elliot Stewart.)
Rev. Rebecca Turner: Since ordination in a Southern Baptist Church in 1986, Rev. Rebecca Turner has found many ways to heed the biblical call to do justice in the world. For 9 years, she was the Executive Director of Faith Aloud, an interfaith organization for reproductive justice that provided unique spiritual counseling services and materials to women choosing abortion and to abortion providers. These materials have been used throughout English- and Spanish-speaking countries around the world. She has served as Minister of churches in Baptist, Disciples of Christ, and United Church of Christ traditions. As the current Pastor of Christ Church UCC in Maplewood, MO, she continues to advocate for justice for women, LGBTQ+ folks, black lives, immigrants, and the environment. (Paired with Emory Kemph.)
Dawn Elizabeth (performer, You Can Sit Anywhere) is a native of Bessemer, Alabama and she is a graduate of Columbia University M.F.A Acting Program. Dawn has been seen in productions such as, Pride & Prejudice (Lydia Bennet/Lady Catherine), The Pride Plays Festival’s Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin (Miriam Caldwell), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), and In the Red and Brown Water (Mama Moja, The Woman That Reminds, and Nia). She is excited to be apart of this wonderful production. Jeremiah 29:11
Julissa Roman (performer, Under Construction) is a faculty member of HB Studio. In theater has worked with Catherine Filloux at La MaMa Theatre in “Luz” (Jose Zayas), “Nanas” (Dir. Tatiana Pandiani at IATI and LATEA), “A is for Abortion Play” (NY Fringe) “The Death of a Dream” (directed Obie Award winner Frank Perez); “Crossings” (N.Y. Fringe and Europe Theater Encounters); “Girl Who Died Often” (Repertorio Español), she developed “Torera” by Monet Hurst-Mendoza at Westport Country Playhouse. Film credits: “We Speak NYC” (George LaVoo) “Exposed”, performing next to Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas, “Nueva York” (Tribeca and NY Latino F.F.); “4 Latas” (San Diego F.F. and Human Rights F.F. Argentina), “Marie” (Women in Action F.F.) among others. http://www.julissaroman.com
Dr. Jaye Austin Williams (performer, We have always done this) teaches in the Program in Africana Studies at Bucknell University. Prior to her transition into academia, she spent thirty years as a professional actor, director, playwright and consultant, on and off Broadway and regionally; including Words of Choice with creator Cindy Cooper, Stacey Linnartz, Carl H. Jaynes and director Francesca Mantani Arkus. Her play, A Not So Quiet Nocturne, will be published next year by Routledge, in a collection edited by Willy Conley. She is currently completing a monograph entitled, Staging (Within) Violence: Slavery, the “Post-“ Colony and (Anti-) Black Modernity.
Sarah Wolf (workshop guest) is a social media intern at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and a college student in Massachusetts.
Alinca Hamilton (Creativity Coordinator, Director) is a born and bred NYC based actor. Her work explores the intricacies of urban communities through humor. She believes a conscious comical approach to storytelling helps to break down barriers and open minds. Her artistry ranges from acting to going behind the scenes producing, writing, and directing. Alinca is committed to using her love of the arts to promote worthy causes, using theatre and filmmaking as platforms for traditionally marginalized voices to engage in dialogue. Her favorite acting credits include: Calphurnia in Julius Cesar, Classic Stage Company; Philly in Someone Dies at the End, Edinburgh Fringe Festival; and the title character in Melody June Cooper: Actress* for Hire, which she conceived and produced. She holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University.
Stacey Linnartz (Creativity Coordinator, Acting Coach) is a professional actor, director, and teacher of acting. Most recently, she starred in the Off-Broadway hit LIFE SUCKS by Aaron Posner, directed by Jeff Wise (Drama Desk Nomination and OBA Award.) Last fall, the solo show she directed, AS SOON AS YOU’RE BORN (THEY MAKE YOU FEEL SMALL), had its Off-Broadway premiere at The United Solo Festival, where it received a Critic’s Choice Award. She has acted in and directed several projects for Repro Freedom Arts, including the Reproductive Freedom Theatre Festival. MFA, Graduate Acting, NYU. StaceyLinnartz.com.
Cindy Cooper (Producer) is an award-winning playwright and journalist in New York. Her plays have won awards from Pen & Brush, Samuel French, Nantucket Playwrights Festival, Malibu Intern’l Festival, and others. Her work has been produced in New York at The Women’s Project, Primary Stages, Wings, EST, Art and Work Ensemble, WOW, Theatreworks USA, Anne Frank Center, Center for Tolerance, Ronald Feldman Gallery, Center for Jewish History, Lincoln Center Clark Studio, New Circle Theatre Company and more, as well as in Boston, Philadelphia, LA, Chicago, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Reno, Vancouver, Budapest, Montreal, Helsinki, and others. A two-time Jerome Fellow, her plays are published in 16 publications, and edited Short Plays on Reproductive Freedom. The founder of ReproFreedomArts.org (formerly Wors of Choice), she has been honored by NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Abortion Conversation Projects and Quixote Foundation, and others
Emory Kemph, Social Media and Graphics, see Gen Z above.
Declan C Zhang, Zoom Producer, is a producer, playwright, actor, and musician. Recent credits: Hyacinth and Apollo and The Sun Club at Dixon Place, Frankenstein at The Tank, and The Wizard of Oz and The Wildness at NYU Tisch. They are a 2050 Administrative Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, in the Executive department, and an amateur chef. BM: NYU. @dclnzhang
ReproFreedomArts.org uses dynamic theater, arts and creativity to open new conversations in support of reproductive freedom and human rights. This mission includes addressing the many issues related to reproductive health, rights, justice and freedom, and many intersectional issues, as well — support for bodily autonomy, economic sustainability, equality, gender identity, LGBTQI rights, full access to health care, abortion access, contraception, maternity care, sex education, parenting support, environmental sustainability, immigration rights and voting access, and a world free of violence, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and gender oppression. Repro Freedom Arts is a platform of Words of Choice, a 501c3 nonprofit organization in New York State.
Special thanks to the generous donors who supported this program including artEquity Community Fund, the Anne Hale Johnson and Art Johnson Trust, Philanthropic Fund of New York, the Quixote Foundation, and many individual supporters.
CAST MEMBERS in the performing ensemble have included:
Alinca Hamilton (2019-2020) is a born and bred New Yorker with a B.B.A in Entrepreneurship from Baruch College. Her artistic talents range from being an actor to behind the scenes work producing, writing and directing. Her favorite acting credits include Calphurnia (Julius Cesar, Classic Stage Company); Philly (Someone Dies at the End, Edinburgh Fringe Festival); Sorin (The Seagull, Columbia University); Melody June Cooper: Actress for Hire, a short film in which she stars as the title character and co-created. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting program. http://www.alincahamilton.com
Donna Jean Fogel (2019) is an actor, director, and theater devisor who strives to illuminate the simple, complex, and sometimes mysterious connections between people, places and events. She loves to move and believes in the power of tenderness. Based in NYC for over 20 years, she worked with The Barrow Group (her NYC artistic home), Circle Rep Lab, Blue Light Theater company, among others, and regionally, including Playwrights Theater of NJ, People’s Light, and most recently at Boise Contemporary Theater in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. She directed A Walk in the Woods at The Barrow Group in 2018 and has directed productions at Stella Adler Conservatory/NYU, Long Island University CW Post, and American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She recently earned her MFA in Devised Performance from UArts/Pig Iron in Philadelphia, where she is currently developing a new work, The Next Thing, with Migration Theory.
Crista Marie Jackson (2008-2017, 2020) has performed with Words of Choice since 2008, appearing in New York and traveling to Kansas, Colorado, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. With a BFA in theatre from Hofstra University, she performed in various Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions. After studying aerial acrobatics, including silk and flying trapeze at the Circus Warehouse in Long Island City, she started performing aerial ballet at Sea World in San Diego in 2011.
Leah Jacobs (2012) is a graduate of the USC School of Theatre, where she originated two plays by playwright Boni B. Alvarez. Leah has been seen onstage in NYC with the Manhattan Theatre Source, The Leviathan Theatre Lab, Queens Theatre in the Park, Mortal Folly Theatre Company, and The Players Theatre, and has developed work with Ensemble Studio Theatre, CAP 21, and Primary Stages.
Carl H. Jaynes (2006-2020) most recently appeared in New Light Theater Project’s world premiere production of Still Dance the Stars by Jayme McGhan. A graduate of Northwestern University’s school of communications, Carl has also performed with the Negro Ensemble Company, Ensemble Studio Theater and Flock Theater of New London Connecticut where he performed the title role in Flock’s recent production of Shakespeare’s Othello. Carl has been a member of the Words of Choice company since 2006. In that time, he has traveled to more than a dozen states helping present dynamic theater on reproductive freedom to vulnerable communities across the country. Off-Broadway: Fortune and Men’s Eyes, Robin’s Band, Goin’ Back Home. Most often, Carl can be found working in the administrative areas of theater, having been producer or general manager for such notable works as Hedwig and the Angry Inch, by Stephen Trask and John Cameron Mitchell, Sakina’s Restaurant, by Aasif Mandvi, Wonderland, by Julia Dahl and the world premiere of Living in the Wind by Michael Bradford.
Stacey Linnartz (actor, artistic coordinator)(2006-2018, 2019-2020): Off-Broadway: Modotti (Theatre Row), Amendment 13 (Clubbed Thumb), Lost In Light (The Public), Heaven Can Wait (Actors Studio Theatre), Down The Road (ATA). Regional: Shipwrecked! (Capital Rep), A Streetcar Named Desire (New Harmony), Eclectic Society (Walnut Street), Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It (Smoky Mountain Shakespeare). London: Old Times, Sirocco (Royal Court). Film: The Weekend, Shallow Point, Swinging In Between, Saturday Afternoon. Television: Gossip Girl, As The World Turns, Rescue Me. Stacey is also a writer / producer / actor in the web series The Ghost of Shakespeare, and FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. She teaches with the Kids Creative Collective and is the Artistic Director of the non-profit Alive Process Theatre Company. Please visit http://www.staceylinnartz.com. MFA, NYU Graduate Acting.
Krystel Lucas (2011,2016) Theater includes: Elizabeth in In the Next Room or the vibrator play (St. Louis Rep); Market Woman in Death and the King’s Horseman, Gentlewoman in Macbeth (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Kennedy in The Summer House (Passage Theatre Company); Linda in Postcards from Earth (Guthrie Theater); Rosaline in Love’s Labor’s Lost (Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot); Perdita in The Winter’s Tale, Inez in Our Lady of 121st Street, Jane in Smash, Mrs. Linde in A Doll House, Black Mary in Gem of the Ocean, Dirty Water in Sliding into the Beast, Angel in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Honey in Tiger Tiger, Helena in All’s Well that Ends Well (NYU, Tisch School of the Arts); Josephine Baker in Memories… (Salt and Pepper Mime Theater). NYU Graduate Acting Program, MFA
Cassandra Nwokah (2019) is a theatre artist whose work centers on identity politics and the intersectional stories of women of color. She is the founder of Smash the Box, an arts collective serving women of color. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting program.
Abigail Ramsay (2014, 2010-2012) works in the performing arts as an actor, director and administrator. A graduate of England’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she worked in London, acting in theatre and BBC-4 Radio Plays. She has performed in “Lush Valley” Culturemart 2011 at HERE, Off-Broadway in “Shoot 2 Win,” as Donelle in Joe Scanlan’s visual art piece at the Institute of Contemporary Art (UK), Wallspace Gallery (NY), Princeton and Chicago, devised autobiographical story-telling pieces with resettled refugee teenagers through the International Rescue Committee’s Summer program, and directed amateur actors in a French language one-act farce at the National Arts Club (NYC). She received her BA from Brown University. Abigail was born in London and grew up in New York City.
Julissa Roman (2016-2017), originally from Perú, is a graduate of HB Studio, LAByrinth Theater Master Class and the New York Film Academy short term filmmaking program. She has most recently been seen as “Rosa” in the feature film Exposed, performing next to Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas. She has previously worked with Catherine Filloux at La MaMa Theatre in the play Luz interpreting the character of Luz and directed by Jose Zayas. Other theater credits: A is for Abortion Play (NY Fringe); The Death of a Dream (directed Obie Award winner Frank Perez); Crossings (N.Y. Fringe and Europe Theater Encounters); Girl Who Died Often (Repertorio Español); Build Your Own (by Padraic Lillis). Film credits: Nueva York (Tribeca and NY Latino F.F.); 4 Latas (San Diego F.F. and Human Rights F.F. Argentina) and her latest leading role in the short film, Marie, which will be showing at the Women in Action Festival (Santa Monica) http://www.julissaroman.com
Claudia Schneider (2008-2018): Performances include: A Single Woman (The Culture Project, NYC), Correct Usage and Common Errors (Playwrights Horizons), Cindy Cooper’s The Dwelling Place (The Actor’s Chapel, NYC), Martin Charnin’s WINCHELL (Brooks Atkinson-Broadway Workshop), Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They got That Way (The Irish Repertory Theatre, National Tour), Cowgirls (NY Workshop with Judy Kaye}, Six Degrees of Separation (Queens Theatre in the Park), A Name for the Moon ( Lincoln Center with Barbara Barrie), Waiting for the Parade (Redfield Company), A Williams’ Evening (with Patricia Neal & Eli Wallach, National Arts Club);The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Diary of Anne Frank, California Suite, Broadway Bound. She recently played Hannah in the Maine premiere of The Spitfire Grill. Recent Film and TV: Third Watch, Mona Lisa Smile, Black Rain. She performed in a special Words of Choice benefit in 2006, and has performed in the cast of Words of Choice since 2008. In Summer 2011, she is performing in theater in Maine.
Francesca Mantani Arkus(director 2006-2020) has directed and collaborated on numerous pieces in New York City at New York Theatre Workshop (reading series), HERE, Blue Heron Arts Center, Phil Bosakowski Theatre, Access Theatre, 78th Street Theatre Lab, TADA, The Director’s Company, Barrow Group, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Emerging Artists and Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She has served as Assistant Director to Tina Landau on Floyd Collins at Playwrights Horizons and Time of Your Life at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, Seattle Rep, and A.C.T. in San Francisco. Francesca is a director with New York University’s First Look Theatre Company, and a board member of Alive Process Theatre.
Kelly Vieau (stage manager, 2011-2013) is a graduate of the Purple Rose Theatre Company’s apprenticeship program in Chelsea, MI, where she worked on five shows and trained with stage management. She stage managed Guys & Dolls, Little Shop of Horrors, Oklahoma and Sweeney Todd at The Encore in Dexter, MI. Kelly has recently moved to New York and has stage managed The BEcompany holiday Cabaret, the workshop of Blood Potato and has recently been named Resident SM with the company. She has toured with Words of Choice in spring 2010 and served as SM for Peking Roulette in the MITF, and done production work on a music video that aired in Istanbul.
Cindy Cooper (creator, producer) is an award-winning playwright and journalist in New York. Her plays have won awards from Pen & Brush, Samuel French Off-Broadway Short Play Festival, Nantucket Playwrights Festival, Malibu International Festival, and others. How She Played the Game about six women from sports history, was produced in New York at The Women’s Project and at Primary Stages, as well as 100 other venues, including in Budapest, Montreal, England and Helsinki. A two-time Jerome Fellow, her plays are published in 14 volumes, including Women Heroes and Hit the Nerve. Her articles have appeared in Women’s eNews, Ms. Magazine, The Nation, Marie Claire, In These Times, On The Issues Magazine, others, and she has written seven non-fiction books, including Mockery of Justice, made into a CBS movie. A former practicing lawyer, she served as the Communications Director at the Center for Reproductive Rights. In 2009, she was named Anne E. Fisher Champion of Choice by NARAL ProChoice America.