Currently Senior Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland, a position created specially for him, Walter Dallas has been heralded as a creative genius. After being based in New York, Dallas went to Philadelphia in 1983 to create the School of Theatre for the University of the Arts. Freedom Theatre’s founding Artistic Director, John Allen, Jr., soon asked him to succeed him as Artistic Director and to professionalize the small, family-driven Philadelphia community theatre; Dallas quickly affirmed Freedom’s place on the national agenda, and served in that capacity for 16 years.
Considered a legend and a force of nature in African American theatre, Dallas has worked on and off-Broadway, at major regional theatres including the Yale Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, the Mark Taper Forum, Westport Country Playhouse, Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, and with notable artists including James Baldwin, Phylicia Rashad, Joe Papp, Ntozake Shange, August Wilson, Denzel Washington, Pearl Cleage, Joanne Woodward, Lynn Nottage, Jonathan Demme, Rachel Hockett, Emily Mann, Charles Fuller, and Clarice Taylor.
His work in the theatrical and photographic arts has taken him to Brazil, Canada, England, France, Ghana, Holland, Ireland, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Russia, Santo Domingo, South Africa, and Tanzania. His photography has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, enjoyed a one-day exhibition at the Garage Sale Gallery, a three-month actual and virtual exhibit at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia, and appears regularly on the website of the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dallas was asked by August Wilson and Lloyd Richards to direct the world premiere of Seven Guitars at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. When the Pittsburgh Public Theatre wanted to revive Jitney, Wilson gave permission, but only if Dallas directed. Dallas also spoke at the August Wilson Memorial Tribute on Broadway.
Dallas was lead writer for Standing in the Shadows of Motown, a film about Motown’s house band, the Funk Brothers. This documentary features Joan Osborne, Chaka Khan, Ben Harper, and Gerald Lavert. Narrated by Andre Brougher, it won several major international accolades including Best Non-Fiction Film from the New York Film Critics Circle and three Grammy Awards. He staged the Funk Brothers World Tour.
His awards, too numerous to list here, include a Doctorate of Fine Arts honoris causa, from the University of the Arts, Creative Genius Awards, a California Emmy Award for his first play, Willie Lobo/Manchild, Mayoral Proclamations, including Atlanta’s Walter Dallas Day, New York Audelco Awards, several Atlanta Bronze Jubilee Awards for Outstanding Direction, and a 2010 Barrymore nomination for Best Direction of a Play for Blue Door at the Arden Theatre.
Dallas is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Yale School of Drama, with additional studies at Harvard Divinity School and the University of Ghana.
Ilene Graff is a Grammy-nominated recording artist (for her CD Baby’s Broadway Lullabies) who is best known as the mom on the TV comedy, Mr. Belevedere. Broadway work includes runs in Promises, Promises (pit singer; Fran Kubelik), and Grease (Sandy). The highlight of her Broadway career was creating the role of Cleo in the Cy Coleman-Michael Stewart musical, I Love My Wife. Other theatre credits include Rose in Gypsy, Charley’s Aunt with Charles Grodin, and an award-winning performance in You and Me, an original musical composed by her husband, Ben Lanzarone. She co-starred with Glenn Close in the new film version of South Pacific, and also has appeared in concerts for The Actors’ Fund, honoring Harold Arlen, Kander and Ebb, Jule Styne and the late great Cy Coleman. Ilene recently sold out engagements at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood as part of their Cabaret at the Castle series and The Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Florida; she’s performed at The Canyon Club and Sterling’s in Los Angeles, and had very successful concerts at Birdland and the Metropolitan Room in Manhattan. Ilene’s book What the Other Mothers Know, co-written with Michele Gendelman and Donna Rosenstein, is published by HarperCollins (www.whattheothermothersknow.com). Ilene and Ben are the proud parents of Nikka Graff Lanzarone, a New York musical theatre performer and graduate of the Boston Conservatory.
Gregory Mosher is a director and producer of nearly 200 stage productions--at the Lincoln Center and Goodman theatres, on and off-Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, and in the West End--and a film and television director and producer.
His career began in Chicago, where he headed the newly formed Goodman Stage 2, the one of the pioneering theatres of the 1970s Chicago theatre scene. At the age of twenty-seven, he was named Director of the Goodman Theatre. After seven seasons at the Goodman, Mosher was invited by former mayor John V. Lindsay to head the theatre at Lincoln Center. He launched an innovative production schedule and revolutionized marketing efforts, discarding the traditional subscriber arrangement to seek a younger, less affluent, and more diverse audience.
During this period, Mosher continued to focus on new work. While many of the creators (such as Julie Taymor) were at that time relatively unknown in New York, others were legendary; Lincoln Center and Goodman audiences saw new work from Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Elaine May, Stephen Sondheim and Nobel prize-winners Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott.
Among the most celebrated of Mosher’s productions were John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves and Six Degrees of Separation, David Rabe’s Hurly-Burly (starring William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Harvey Keitel and Christopher Walken, directed by Mike Nichols); the South African township musical Sarafina!, Mike Nichols's version of Waiting for Godot (starring Robin Williams and Steve Martin), James Joyce’s The Dead (Tony Award for author Richard Nelson), numerous Spalding Gray premieres (including Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box), David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow (starring Madonna, Joe Mantegna and Ron Silver), John Leguizamo’s Freak, Anything Goes, the long-delayed world premiere of Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes’s Mulebone, and the widely acclaimed revival of Our Town, for which Mosher won the Tony Award. During this span, Mosher directed and produced the premieres of twenty-three of David Mamet’s plays and adaptations, beginning with American Buffalo in 1975. His Broadway production of Glengarry Glen Ross garnered Mamet the Pulitzer Prize.
His collaboration with Samuel Beckett spanned the final decade of that writer’s life, and included Beckett’s own productions of Endgame and Krapp’s Last Tape, and the Lincoln Center production of Waiting for Godot. His collaboration with Tennessee Williams included premieres including Williams's final full-length play, the 1992 Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire (starring Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange) and the 2004 The Glass Menagerie, which starred Sally Field.
After a nearly 20-year break from directing on Broadway, Mosher returned in 2010 with A View from the Bridge, starring Liev Scheiber and Scarlett Johnansson. That Championship Season opened on Broadway in March 2011, starring Keifer Sutherland, Chris Noth, Jason Patric, Brian Cox and Jim Gaffigan.
His film The Prime Gig (starring Vince Vaughn, Ed Harris and Julia Ormond) played the Venice, London, and Los Angeles Film festivals. He directed (for TNT) Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre (starring Jack Lemmon and Matthew Broderick), which won the Cable Ace Award for Best Drama, and produced the film version of American Buffalo, starring Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz.
Mosher is a professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He has frequently directed special events for such organizations as The New Yorker, PEN, and various social/political causes; artists have included Woody Allen, Don DeLillo, John Updike, Jack Lemmon, David Byrne, Seamus Heaney, Robert Pinsky, Lou Reed, Tracy Chapman, John Ashbury, Robin Williams, Simon Schama, Martin Amis, Joan Didion, Janet Malcom, Jon Stewart and many others.
He has received every major American theatre award, including two Tonys.
Polly Pen writes book, music and lyrics. She is an Obie Award winner for the score of Bed and Sofa, which received seven Drama Desk nominations. Her first Off-Broadway production as both composer and co-author, Goblin Market, received five Drama Desk nominations and the BEST PLAYS Special Citation for Musical Composition and Adaptation. Other works include The Night Governess (McCarter Theatre), Her Lightness (Sarasota Opera), The Dumb Cake (a radio musical for NPR), Embarrassments (Wilma Theater) and Christina Alberta’s Father (Vineyard Theatre), which received a Richard Rodgers Award, an Obie and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music. Polly is the recipient of several NEA grants, the Kitty Carlisle Hart Award and the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Award for Musical Theatre. She has been honored by a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center and received the 2009 Flora Roberts Award for a distinguished body of work. She has been a National Theatre Artist-in-Residence at McCarter Theatre and is a professor at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. In another life, Polly has worked extensively as an actor on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in repertory theatres throughout the United States.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with an investment in the arts in our local community, and in the vision and mission of the Homecoming Players. We look forward to establishing a happy niche in the arts-rich Ithaca culture. We couldn't do it (and wouldn't want to) without the support and advice of our directors.
Flori Carlin Doyle received a BFA (Acting-Directing) from Ithaca College, and holds an MA in Teaching, with a concentration in English, from Manhattanville College. She has participated in teaching seminars at Bard College; presented workshops at conferences for teachers at the New York State English Council and for students at the annual Performing Arts Student Workshop, at Purchase College, and at New York State Theatre Education Association student conferences; and won grants on teaching the plays of August Wilson from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York State English Council. A member of Actor’s Equity, Flori has acted in New York City and various regional and community theatre productions. Flori has directed over forty high school musicals and full-length plays. For the past twenty-four years, Flori has organized field trips of high schools students to Broadway and off-Broadway shows, and actively participated in theatre education programs that incorporate workshops with current Broadway musicals, including Students Direct. Flori works with the education department of the Manhattan Theatre Club where her students worked with guest teaching artists and participated in Project Interact with students from another New York City high school. A member of the New York State Theatre Education Association for thirteen years, Flori presently serves on the board of directors and previously served as the Hudson Valley Representative. She has sat on the committee for the NYSTEA Educators’ conference, and served as its conference chair in 2009. On the faculty of the Good Council Academy, in White Plains, New York, she started a theatre workshop, directed coordinated theatre excursions and assemblies for the school community and parents, and was moderator of the Black Awareness club. She has taught acting at Chappaqua Summer School and directed workshops for the summer school program as well as in the Continuing Education program in Chappaqua, New York. Currently Flori teaches English and acting at Ardsley High School in Westchester County, where she coordinates the theatre program and directs plays and musicals. Flori has taught yoga workshops for student actors, and is a cyclist and a triathlete, a certified Spin instructor, and a Level One Triathlete coach.
Lynne M. Kemen is the undergraduate advisor for the psychology department at
Lynne also holds a master’s in dramatic literature and theatre history from Cornell University (received in 1976) and two BA degrees: in English and theatre (with honors), and in psychology, with a minor in biology with departmental honors.
Prior to her recent teaching and research, Lynne had a long career in theatre management and consulting for not-for-profit organizations; positions included assistant business manager and script reader at McCarter Theatre in
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, David S. Powers received his B.A. from Yale (1973) and Ph.D. from Princeton (1979). Since 1979, he has been teaching at Cornell University, where his courses deal with Islamic civilization, Islamic history and law, and classical Arabic texts. His research focuses on Muhammad and the rise of Islam; and the history of Islamic law and its application in Muslim societies. Powers is the author of Studies in Qur'an and Hadith: The Formation of the Islamic Law of Inheritance (California, 1986); Law, Society, and Culture in the Maghrib, 1300-1500 (Cambridge, 2002); and Muhammad is Not the Father of Any of Your Men: The Making of the Last Prophet (Pennsylvania, 2009). He is founding editor of the journal Islamic Law and Society and Sectional Editor (Law) of the third edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam. And he enjoys theatre.
Dan Taylor is a singer, dancer, and actor. He has trained with Patrice Pastore and Ivy Walz at the Ithaca College School of Music, and Eliza VanCort at the Actor's Workshop of Ithaca. He was last seen in Opera Ithaca’s world premiere of Billy Blythe as James. Favorite roles include Ser Amantio di Nicolao, Gianni Schicchi; St. Thomas Aquinas/Tim/Doctor, Mitzi’s Abortion; Man, Closer Than Ever. Daniel is also a proud member of Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, and also serves on the board of Opera Ithaca. By day, Daniel is a graphic designer and technologist working at the Ithaca College Library. His portfolio and C.V. can be seen at dplusdstudio.com.
Lynn Pheasant Welden A New Jersey native, Lynn received her B.F.A. in performing arts from Ithaca College, where she first met Arthur Bicknell and Rachel Hockett. Since that time, she has gone on to appear in major roles in repertory theatre, and also performed the female lead in Tom Stoppard’s irreverent political farce, *Dirty Linen,* on Broadway. In addition, Lynn has worked as a play analyst and potential-properties advisor for the literary department of ICM International Agency in New York, with the VP for current TV programming at MGM/UA in Los Angeles, and as director of development at the Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey, a professional repertory theatre located on the campus of Drew University in Madison. Her expertise also extends into public relations, publishing, marketing, media relations, and audience development. A lifelong champion of the arts as a catalyst for enlightenment and change, Lynn is delighted once again to be reunited with her creative roots in Ithaca, and to advance the mission of the Homecoming Players.