Fran Sillau (Director/Author)
Mr. Sillau serves as the Accessibility Coordinator at The Rose Theater, where he organizes educational opportunities for students with disabilities. He also directs mainstage productions at the Rose including Shrek: The Musical, Go,Dog.Go! and Hanna’s Suitcase.
Sillau serves as Artistic Director of Circle Theatre, a company dedicated to creating theater that includes artists with disabilities. Under Sillau’s leadership, the Circle co-commissioned My Broken Doll, a play based on the life of holocaust survivor Beatrice Karp, adapted by Ernie Nolan, and Over the River, a play about friendship by Ellen Struve. In December of 2016, Sillau directed a regional premiere of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Sillau is an Aurand Harris Fellowship recipient and a winner of The Access Grant from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where he is a frequent contractor. He also served as a Teaching Artist Fellow for VSA: The International Association for Arts and Disability. On the subject of theater and disability, Fran has conducted workshops in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee, New York, Washington, Connecticut, and at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. He holds an MFA in directing and inclusion from Goddard College. www.Fransillau.com.
EllaRose Chary (Book Writer)
EllaRose Chary is an award-winning New York based writer and an advocate for inclusion in media. Musicals: COTTON CANDY AND COCAINE (Theater C), TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix (Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, The Tank), PATCHWORK (Prospect Theater Commission), QUEER. PEOPLE. TIME. (Catwalk Residency), THE LORIKEET (The Flea Theater Commission), THE DOLL MAKER’S GIFT (The Rose Theater), and the Malaysian musical MARRYING ME (BOH Cameronian Arts Award Winner). Other projects: THE LAKE AND THE MILL (Drama League; Judson; Finalist, Kernodle New Play Award; Great Plains Theatre Conference 2019), SIX MONTHS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE (Harvard Residency), PATRIETTES (The #Fword Finalist), THE SEANCE MACHINE (The Tank), and The Civilians’ Lobby Projects at City Center (Encores! Off-Center).
She is an activist and advocate for inclusion in musical theater both on and off stage, and to that end wrote “Is The Pipeline A Pipe Dream For Emerging Women In Musical Theater?” (Lilly Awards Blog), “Women Making Musical Theatre: Institutions Hold the Power to Effect Change” (HowlRound), “’You Might Make A Killing’…If You Don’t Starve First” (Musical Theater Today, Volume 2), “Is It All About Popular? Unpacking Populism in Musical Theater” (Musical Theater Today, Volume 3) was on NYMF’s Expanding Representations of Gender Identity and Sexuality on Stage panel and co-curates Tank-aret. She frequently writes songs for Honest Accomplice Theatre.
EllaRose is an Dramatists Guild Fellow, Ars Nova Uncharted resident, The Civilians R & D Group alum, Musical Theater Today Contributing Editor, NYFA Fellowship Playwriting/Screenwriting Finalist, Kleban Prize Finalist, a BOH Cameronian Arts Award Nominee (Best Lyrics), Theatre Arts Guild Nominee (Outstanding New Work), recipient of the Anna Sosenko Grant and a NAMT grant, and a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. BA: Brown University; MFA: NYU Tisch. www.ellarosechary.com
Sammy Buck (Lyricist)
Sammy Buck’s shows have been performed on five continents. With composer Daniel S. Acquisto, he wrote the book and lyrics for Like You Like It (Playscripts/Broadway Licensing, Broadway Records Studio Cast RADcording) and StinkyKids® The Musical (TRW, Off-Broadway Alliance Award: Best Family Show, Vital Theatre). Bookwriter/co-lyricist: Small Town Story (American Theater Group/SOPAC, NYTB commission, Richard Rodgers Award Finalist, Village Originals, NAMT Writers Residency Grant). Book: Leonard Bernstein’s Cast Party (Roundabout). Lyrics: The Doll Maker’s Gift (Rose Theater) and And Then I Wrote A Song About It (Luna, Diversionary). Film: Red Hook (eOne Films, on Netflix/Showtime/Amazon Prime), Fade to White (Free Range Humans, on Amazon Prime). Emmy® winner with TVLand digital and creator of Structure! The Musical, Or Everything You Need To Know About Musicals You Can Learn from Star Wars. Winner, MAC Dottie Burman Award. Member of BMI and The Dramatists Guild, Inc. www.sammybuck.com
Brian Feinstein (Composer)
Brian Feinstein began his career in entertainment at the USC School of Cinema & Television and completed his master’s degree at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. His original compositions have since earned him rave reviews in The New York Times, six ASCAP Plus Awards, a Jonathan Larson Fellowship and the Anna Sosenko Trust Award. His original musical Girlstar, directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Eric Schaeffer, recently premiered at the prestigious Signature Theatre in DC. Other credits include: Mimi LeDuck starring the legendary Eartha Kitt (Off-Broadway), The Top Job (licensed throughout the US), The Circus Is Coming To Town (awarded best family musical in Southern California), among others. Brian’s compositions have been performed by the Boston Pops, the Indianapolis Philharmonic and a wide array of musicians and vocalists across the country, in Europe and on television. He also enjoys volunteering with the Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue League. www.BrianFeinsteinMusic.com
Debbie Denenberg (Co-Producer)
Deborah began her career at the Upstairs Dinner Theater as Producer/General Manager of this live, professional theater. In 1984, the Upstairs’ turnaround became the subject of a Harvard Business School case study, Lyric, Inc, still taught in business curriculums nationwide.
In 1987, Deborah moved to New York City. She worked for off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theater for one year. In 1989, Deborah joined the Broadway producers Dodger Productions. There she created and built Big League Theatricals, an industry leader that produces, books and general manages national tours of Broadway shows. Representative productions included: Guys and Dolls, The Secret Garden, Into the Woods, Driving Miss Daisy and The Who’s Tommy, the most profitable production of this multimedia Broadway musical.
Deborah left Big League Theatricals after nine years, but she still partners with the company as producer on specific national tours. Recent offerings include Dreamgirls, Hair, and The Producers, and A Christmas Story—The Musical by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen). This holiday musical is in its sixth year of seasonal touring.
Deborah enthusiastically thanks her collaborators on The Doll Maker’s Gift. Grateful appreciation to Shani Katzman of Chabad, for the idea, and to Howard Kooper, our Executive Producer, and to Sammy Buck, Brian Feinstein, and EllaRose Chary, New Yorkers who took the call and signed on for this adventure in Omaha. Thanks to the beautiful Rose Theater, a treasure. Most of all, thanks to the champion of this project, who brought our story to life, Fran Sillau.