Rolling up their sleeves to learn lessons from lives changed by the 1968 Democratic Convention and its events, two award-winning artists have integrated powerful emotions, facts, and humor into an inspiring, compelling work of musical theater.
JAMIE LEO (concept; book & lyrics) recently directed a revival of Deb Margolin’s Critical Mass and performed his Long Day in a Bad Shirt monologues with real-time projected animations at Dixon Place. For the Henson Foundation, he developed a groundbreaking piece of work at St. Ann’s Warehouse, with puppetry performed live in Adobe Photoshop. His solo work The Night Hides a World, about his invitation to speak at the University of Tehran, has been performed in several venues in New York and nationally. In What You Call The Dark, his new play about sight and blindness is in development and was read at New York Theatre Workshop in March. @jleonyc
PAUL LESCHEN (music & arrangements) was nominated for his score for Sleep Tight by NY Innovative Theatre Awards, and for a Drama Desk for Outstanding Music for Twist. A frequent collaborator with Scissor Sisters, his co-arrangement of “Comfortably Numb” was a massive hit. Paul has worked with Hedda Lettuce, Murray Hill, and other genderbenders and has a band, Kingship, with singer/co-writer Chris Hall. Paul’s collaboration with Fred Sauter has yielded The Astronaut Love Show and Karma Kills. He is a graduate of Northwestern.
JOEY MURRAY (director) is a New York City based theatre, concert, and music video director whose work has been seen at performing art centers, regional theaters and arenas all over the United States and China. He was the Interim Artistic Director and is the current Casting Director for Jenny Wiley Theatre, eastern Kentucky’s longest operating professional theatre, where he has directed numerous productions, including: Disney’s Tarzan, Oliver!, 9 to 5, The Robber Bridegroomand Footloose. He most recently directed Hair at Pentangle Arts and The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Fordham University. Selected Regional: Godspell at ArtisTree’s Grange Theatre, Cabaret at Pentangle Arts, the regional tour and Queens Theatre production of Polkadots: The Musical, and Holidays at the Hard Rock! featuring renowned Broadway and recording artist Linda Eder at the Hard Rock Arena in Ft. Lauderdale. Murray served as Associate Director for the Broadway-bound production of CAN-CAN at Paper Mill Playhouse, and is the resident director for The Broadway Dolls, an award-winning concert experience featuring a cast of the most in-demand women on Broadway. NYC: New York Musical Festival (NYMF), New York Int’l Fringe Festival, New York Theatre Barn; Theatre at St. Clements; 54 Below; Joe’s Pub; The Triad/Stage 72; Birdland; Zipper Theatre. Music video debut for Element Music, an NYC-based entertainment company featuring some of the music industry’s leading musicians. Murray is a graduate of Catholic University and studied playwriting and directing at New York University and The Barrow Group. SDC Associate.
ROB BAUMGARTNER, JR. (musical director) is a New York-based composer/lyricist and musical director. His original musicals include: The Jungle (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony), Adam Lives (Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals) Johnny Mercer Writers Colony); Baldwin Wallace First Takes, New York Theatre BArn, NAMT, Cap21); Date of a Lifetime(NYMF, New Jersey Rep); Alone World(Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; West Village Musical Theatre Festival-Winner of Best Score) The Hole (St. Clements ’09), Radiant Ruby(Vital Theatre Company ’05) and Lullabies. Rob has served as an assistant to composers Galt MacDermot, Debra Barsha, Rob Reale. He was lucky enough to work beside Mr. McDermot on the 2008 Broadway revival of Hair. He is musical director and orchestrator for the upcoming revival of Inner City. Rob is a graduate of the Musical Theatre Writing MFA program at Tisch School of the Arts, and is a proud faculty member at Cap21/Molloy College and Harlem School of the Arts.
BROOKE WENDLE (choreographer) is ecstatic to join the NYMF Festival with ’68. Favorite Choreography credits include Cirque Du Soliel, Franco Dragone, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, Adam Lambert Original High World Tour, American Idol, Orange is the New Black, Eastbound and Down, The Carrie Diaries, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Casa Mañana Theater (Broadway World Regional Award for Choreography) RENT (Shanghai, China), Holland America Cruise Line and Broadway Dance Lab.
ENSEMBLE – New York Musical Festival production
’68’s exceptionally talented ensemble weaves the events through multiple characters whose lives were impacted by Chicago’s 1968 Democratic Convention in profound – and unexpectedly hilarious – ways.
MAGGIE HOLLINBECK is happily making her NYMF debut! National tours: Once (Baruska standby); Annie (Connie Boylan). Off-Broadway: Red Roses, Green Gold (Miss Glendine). NYC: Richard III (Queen Elizabeth). Regional: Pasedena Playhouse, The People vs. Mona (Miss Frye); Goodspeed Opera House, Finian’s Rainbow (Sharon); Little Fish (Charlotte); and See What I Want to See (Kesa/The Wife/An Actress).JEREMY KONOPKA is thrilled to bring this work to life at NYMF. Regional: Dogfight (Fector); Spring Awakening, (Georg, Otto); We Are Proud to Present…(Another White Man); This Wonderful LIfe (Narrator et al.). Jeremy has collaborated on demos and workshops of new works in NYC and Philadelphia. He has performed in cabarets and concerts at The Broadway Comedy Club and Feinstein’s/54 Below. He is a graduate of The University of the Arts and is a proud member of AEA. Love to Sean, Mom, Dad, family, and friends. www.JeremyKonopka.com IG: @JeremyKon
BOB GAYNOR brings tremendous talent and tenacity to our ensemble. Original Broadway casts: Leap of Faith, Catch Me If You Can,Sweet Charity (Vittorio/us), Boy George’s Taboo (Leigh Bowery/us), Elton John’s Aida (Radames /sb). New York City Center: Bye Bye Birdie (Conrad), Applause, and Stairway to Paradise. Regional: An Audience with Meow Meow (Jonathon) Berkeley Rep, Next to Normal (Dan) Broadway World nominee, Leap of Faith, First Wives Club, Smokey Joe’s Café (Michael), A Chorus Line (Zach). Film: Broadway 4D, Across the Universe, The Mask. Television: “The Sound of Music Live” with Carrie Underwood,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law & Order,” “All My Children” (Mitch Morrison), “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns” and the American Music, Emmy and Academy Award shows. Toured with artists including Reba McEntire, Paula Abdul, Cher, and Cheyenne. Bob is a Southern California native educated at Cal State University Long Beach.
DELPHI BORICH enriches our ensemble with her enthusiasm and talent. She was most recently seen as in Gloria (Kendra) at Asolo Repertory Theatre. National Tour: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (u/s Ella). Other regional: in Peter and the Starcatcher (Molly) at the Barn Stage Company; and Peter Pan (Wendy) at Syracuse Stage. She is a proud graduate of Syracuse University BFA Musical Theatre. Much thanks to HCKR. @delphiborich
MARY CALLANAN brings a depth of experience and skills to the ensemble cast. She most recently played in last season’s BANDSTAND (Jean Ann Ryan). Previously, Mary played in the 1st National Tour of The Bridges of Madison County (Marge). Broadway: Mama Mia! (Rosie – final company), ANNIE (Mrs. Pugh/ Miss Hannigan understudy) Tours: Mamma Mia, Sound of Music, Big, and Damn Yankees. Regional: Gypsy, BBAJ, Make, Les Mia, Falsettos, Follies, Batboy, Sweeny Todd, Sunday in the Park, Chicago, and Violet. Proud member of Actor’s Equity. marycallanan.com
UTON ONYEJEKWE is a singer/actor/musician. NYC: Signature, Ma-Yi. Regional: Sierra Rep, Skyline, 4th Wall, ReVision. As a musician, Uton has played at Stone Pony, Knitting Factory, Bitter End, NJPAC, among other venues countrywide. Very excited to be a part of this production of ’68 and to tell the story of this seminal and consequential event in American history!
JONATHAN SPIVEY is honored to help bring this piece of history to the stage. Broadway: The Front Page; Act One, (Lincoln Center, televised for PBS). Off-Broadway: Summer and Smoke (Classic Stage/Transport Group). Regional: Yale Rep, Long Wharf, The Old Globe, Barrington Stage, Maltz Jupiter, Milwaukee Rep, Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Virginia Rep, Heritage Theatre Festival. MFA: Old Globe/University of San Diego. Playwright, jazz pianist, composer, and lyricist. jspivey.com
NICOLE PALOMA SARRO conveys a dynamic presence to the ’68 ensemble. NYMF debut! NATIONAL TOUR: In the Heights; FAVORITE REGIONAL:Gypsy( Rose), Les Miserables (Madame Thenardier), Legally Blonde (Paulette). Love to JP and Little Paloma! Proud AEA member. NicolePalomaSarro.com
JEREMY KONOPKA is thrilled to bring this work to life at the NYMF. Regional: Dogfight (Fector); Spring Awakening (Georg, Otto); We Are Proud to Present…(Another White Man); and This Wonderful Life (Narrator, et al.). Jeremy has collaborated on demos and workshops of new works in NYC and Philadelphia. He has performed in cabarets and concerts a The Broadway Comedy Club and Feinstein’s/54 Below. BFA: University of the Arts. Proud Member of AEA. Love to Sean, Mom, Dad, family, and friends. www.JeremyKonopka.com IG: @jeremyKon
JOE JOSEPH is jazzed to join the team of “‘68” for his first time at NYMF. OFF-BWAY/NYC: Loveless Texas, Baghdaddy, The Queen’s Dilemma, Genet Porno. REGIONAL: Strait of Gibraltar, HAIR, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Sister Act, Making Porn. TV: A Crime to Remember, Redrum. Ads for Newport and Disaronno. Proud graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Jesuit. @gojoejoseph
JALYNN STEELE Jalynn is excited to perform at NYMF again and bring her vivacious energy to the cast of ’68. Off Broadway: Sistas (Dr. Simone). National/ International Tours: Fosse (Lead & Gotcha Girl) Regional: Mamma Mia (Tanya), Beehive, Little Shop of Horrors (Ronette & Chiffon). NCL. Productions: After Midnight (Star), Rock of Ages (Justice), Burn the Floor (Lead Vocalist), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Brenda). Let’s love! www.facebook.com/JalynnTheEntertainer/