Arthur Kopit. When his award-winning first play, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You In the Closet and I’m Feeling’ So Sad, appeared in New York in 1962, Kopit was hailed as the new wonder of America drama. One of the few American playwrights able to survive economically by writing serious drama for Broadway, he made his theatrical mark with intelligently satirical comedy-dramas commenting on contemporary American social issues including the Vietnam War (Indians,1969), the language dysfunction and emotional isolation of stroke victims (Wings, 1979), nuclear proliferation (End of the World With Symposium To Follow,1986), and the rapacious greed of Hollywood (Road to Nirvana, 1991). In 1994 composer Jeffrey Lunden and lyricist Arthur Perlman used Kopit's Wings as the basis for the musical of the same name. Kopit has applied his talents in the musical realm as author of the books for the 1982 Tony Award-winning Nine, directed by Tommy Tune, Phantom with Maury Yeston, based on Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera (written before the Andrew Lloyd Webber version) and for the stage version of the Cole Porter film High Society.

Jeni Mahoney is playwright, director, play development geek and Founding Artistic Director Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. Her play, Fata Morgana, was the recipient of an NEA ArtWorks Grant (Boise Contemporary Theater.) Other plays have been presented at the National Playwrights Conference, InterAct Theater, Circus Theatricals, Key City Public, Company One, Fresh Ink, The Lark and Boston Theater Marathon among others. Since founding Seven Devils in 2001, Jeni has been instrumental in the development of over 200 new American plays including new works by Robert Schenkkan, Samuel D. Hunter, Jen Silverman, Lee Blessing, Elaine Romero and Andrew Hinderaker. Formerly Head of Playwriting at Playwrights Horizons Theater School/NYU Tisch, Jeni currently serves as co-Artistic Director of id Theater, and is on the National Theatre Conference Board of Trustees. She is an inductee of the Indie Theater Hall of Fame and a member of the Dramatists Guild. 

John Clinton Eisner co-founded The Lark in 1994 as a community of theater professionals dedicated to the playwright’s vision. He has grown The Lark into an award winning "think tank for the theater." He works directly with playwrights and creates strategies with artistic leaders in the United States and abroad to advance new plays into the repertoire. He has collaborated with partner theaters, literary agencies and funders to develop multiple-production "pipelines” for new plays. Trained as an actor, he began his transition to directing and producing through his experiences at the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, the National Theatre of the Deaf, the Denver Center, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. He was managing director and associate artistic director at Rhode Island’s Colonial Theatre (where he co-founded Westerly Shakespeare in the Park, now in its 25th season). He has served as advisor for CEC Artslink, NEA, New York State Council on the Arts, Theatre Development Fund, Theatre Communications Group, National New Play Network, TheatreForum Magazine, Transport Group and the Lucille Lortel Awards Committee and on the boards of the National Theatre Conference and the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (charter member).

Kate Brennan is developing Brennan Check-In at Oklahoma City University, where she is Head of Voice in the School of Theatre. Drawing from Yoga, Linklater Voicework, Thai Bodywork and Artistic Exercises, Brennan Check-In develops a creative habit that reinforces the resilience, resourcefulness, connection, positivity and health required to maintain life in the arts. Artistic Director of Ignition Arts and member of AEA, Kate is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Certified Thai Bodyworker, a Designated Linklater Teacher, and creator of three musicals: Some Assembly Required (2010), ELFuego (2012) and ALIEN8 (2017). Written with playwright David Lee White, ALIEN8 was most recently developed with the McCarter Theare Center Education Program in Princeton, NJ.

Liz Engelman splits her time between The University of Texas at Austin and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, where she is the director of Tofte Lake Center, a creative retreat for artists of all disciplines. Engelman has worked as festival dramaturg and alumnae relations coordinator at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, and has served as the resident dramaturg of Mixed Blood Theatre, as literary director of McCarter Theatre, the director of new play development at ACT Theatre, literary manager/dramaturg at Intiman Theatre and assistant literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville. She's worked on the development of new plays across the country including The Playwright's Center, Denver Center, South Coast Repertory Theatre, as well as abroad. Engelman is has served as past President and is on the board of LMDA, is a board member of the National Theatre Conference, and is an Ambassador-at-large for NNPN (National New Play Network). 


D.W. Gregory joined us in 2016 at NWPR and her play, Memoirs of a Forgotten Man, will be workshopped in Creede this winter! Her comedies and dramas explore political issues through a personal lens. Radium Girls, about dialpainters poisoned on the job in the 1920s, has received nearly 700 productions internationally. Other plays include The Good Daughter, October 1962, Salvation Road and Molumby's Million, which received a commissioning grant from the National New Play Network and was nominated for Philadelphia’s 2011 Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play. An affiliated artist with Playwrights Center and a member of Dramatists Guild, Gregory is currently at work on a three-actor musical based on Shakespeare' Twelfth Night, with composer Steven M. Alper and lyricist Sarah Knapp.

Heidi Kraay joined us in 2017 at NWPR and her play, How To Hide Your Monster, will be workshopped in Creede this winter! Heidi examines the connection between brain and body, seeking empathy with fractured characters. Writing across disciplines and training in diverse theater vocabularies gives her tools to live better making art. Her plays, including Rajpurr: Tale of a Tiger, SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething (co-devised), New Eden, DIRT (co-devised), and Kilgore, have been presented most recently through Campfire Theatre Festival, 8 in 48 Idaho, Boise Contemporary Theater, id Theater, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and HomeGrown Theatre. Heidi holds an MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts from California Institute of Integral Studies and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.


Amy Escobar (sponsored by Rain City Projects) first evening-length play, Scary Mary and the Nightmares Nine recently premiered at Annex Theatre in Seattle and is currently a Gregory Award nominee for Outstanding New Play. Amy is based in the Emerald City and has contributed to over thirty original works in her community in multiple disciplines. She identifies primarily as an actor and writer but is also a professional puppeteer specializing in modified Bunraku. She is interested in inclusive spaces, practical magic, and conscious language. Her work tends toward female narratives and the examination of that which makes her ask the most questions, laugh the loudest and hurt most terribly.

James Anthony Tyler's (Black and Latino Playwrights Conference Winner) Hand Held Out was presented by Israel Horovitz at The Cherry Lane Theatre. Dolphins and Sharks was developed at Fire This Time Festival, Berkshire Playwrights Lab, and Capital Stage’s Playwrights Revolution and produced at LAByrinth Theater Company and London’s Finborough Theatre. Some Old Black Man had a reading at La MaMa, and produced by Berkshire Playwrights Lab. Honors: 48 Hours in Harlem, Paul Robeson Award, John Golden Award, Dramatists Guild Fellow, Ars Nova Play Group Resident, Working Farm Playwrights Group Resident, Playwrights Center’s Many Voices Fellowship, Theatre Masters Visionary Playwrights Award. Education: MFA from NYU, Howard University, and The Juilliard School’s Playwrights Program.