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2017 NYNW Theatre Festival Guest Speakers​
(2018 Speaker Seminars TBD)

The NYNW Theatre Festival is excited to offer several guest speakers for the festival participants to enjoy and learn from!

Admission is free

Panel members interested in bringing shows to Broadway / Off Broadway will attend and participants are welcome to bring scripts for review and feedback

The round table discussions are held at The Duke Theatre, 229 W 42nd Street

Seating will begin at 5:30 pm and the speakers will comence at 5:35 pm


Tuesday, October 3rd at 5:30 PM

Bringing a Show to Broadway with Broadway Producer, Larry Rogowsky

Larry holds a BFA in Theater Arts and began producing live theatre in 2015. Credits include Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 , Significant Other, and Disaster! on Broadway, Cagney off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre and Popesical in the New York Fringe Festival. Currently, M. Butterfly on Broadway at the Cort Theater. Larry's upcoming projects: The Other Josh Cohen and a new British farce, A Comedy of Manors. Larry is a champion for youth theatre and delights in bringing his five-year-old son to the New Victory Theatre for their seasons. Larry is a member of the Angels Circle at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has been a Host Committee member for their annual Broadway Backwards concert.


Thursday, October 5th at 5:30 PM

Crowdfunding to Build Independence at 5:30 PM with Director of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, Christina Raia

Christina Raia is a New York City based Writer/Director, the Founder of CongestedCat Productions, and the Director of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark. Her work, a collection of short films, a web series, and two feature films, has gained a large online following through multiple crowdfunding campaigns. She has been covered by press outlets such as Indiewire, AfterEllen, and BuzzFeed. She also turned her desire to foster collaboration and engagement in the local film community into IndieWorks, a monthly film screening series showcasing and supporting the work of other independent filmmakers in New York.


Wednesday, October 11th at 5:30 PM

From the Directors Chair: Adapting Stage to Screen with award winning film and theater director, Jaclyn Gramigna

Jaclyn is an award winning film and theater director who uses humor to push boundaries and social consciousness. Since graduating from NYU, with a BFA in Film & Television Production, she has directed many short films and music videos, which have screened in a variety of film festivals. Two plays that Jaclyn has directed have won first place in theater festivals (including the NYNW Theatre Festival) and she has since had the opportunity to collaborate with playwrights to adapt 3 plays into films. In 2013 she was highlighted as an "emerging filmmaker to watch" in Miramax's blog and in 2016 she was the keynote speaker at the Visions Film Festival & Conference. Gramigna currently freelances, producing and directing branded content and interactive audio experiences and plans to shoot her debut feature film, an unconventional thriller, in 2018. She is a proud member of the FilmmakeHers, a co-leader of The Filmshop and is an activist for underrepresented voices in film.


Friday, October 13th at 5:30 PM

NYNW Theatre Festival Presents: Women in Producing

Come speak with these three incredible women about producing, shattering that glass ceiling and the future of women in film and theatre. LUCIA KAISER - As the first female Executive Producer of the Johnny Carson Show, two time Emmy Award winner Lucia Kaiser has made an immeasurable impact on the television industry. Notable accolades include: Chairperson of the Democratic party, holding the top post for martial arts legend Bruce Lee’s production company in Hong Kong, being the co-founder of the first premier / all-woman advertising agency in New York City and being the first woman General Manger at Hawaii’s KGU Radio. Ms. Kaiser is currently producing several movie projects, at the forefront of which is the movie, “Framed” by Terrence Winter which depicts the life of her dear friend, Tod Volpe. CHARLOTTE COHN - is a producer, director and actor. She recently produced the Off-Broadway hit Church & State by Jason Odell Williams which was nominated for BEST NEW PLAY by the Off-Broadway Alliance. There are already 9 regional productions scheduled for the 2017-18 season, including a production at The Berkshire Theatre Festival, which Charlotte will direct. Other directing credits include Baltimore in Black & White at the cell theatre, Emancipation at The United Solo Festival at Theatre Row, and the upcoming one-act play Dog Park at the Stage Door Playwrights Festival in Irvington, NY. Charlotte was a lead producer on Jason Odell Williams’ Handle With Care which was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, ran for over 100 performances Off-Broadway starring Carol Lawrence, and has been produced 21 times in the last five years in the U.S. and Canada. Charlotte was a co-producer on Rated P For Parenthood at The Westside Theatre and she is a founding producer of the New York Music Theatre Festival (NYMF) and Main Street Musicals. As an actor, performing highlights include Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme (Broadway, Ahmanson), Coram Boy (Broadway), and Happy End (A.C.T., BATTC Award Nominee, Best Leading Actress in a Musical). Charlotte offers a ‘Page to Stage’ seminar giving artists a step-by- step guide to producing new work. SOLA FASEHUN was an Associate Producer on the first Broadway revival of Godspell (starring Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba). Currently Sola is a Sales & Distribution consultant at Submarine Entertainment / Deluxe (Winter’s Bone, Tangerine). During Sola’s time at Submarine the following movies that Submarine has repped have received Academy Awards: Citizen Four, 20 Feet From Stardom, and Searching For Sugarman. Another Submarine film, Life Animated, was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award. Sola is a Co-Producer on the feature film: Fire Music, which will soon be released in collaboration with Submarine Entertainment. She has an MFA degree from Columbia University.


Monday, October 16th at 5:30 PM

Conversation with a Broadway Actor with Broadway actor Etai Benson

Etai Benson is a New York-based Israeli-American actor. He is currently starring as "Papi" in the new Broadway musical The Band’s Visit. Most recently, Etai played the role of Adam Hochberg in the First National Tour of An American in Paris. On Broadway, he was the lovelorn munchkin Boq in the smash musical Wicked. He trained at the University of Michigan and the Moscow Art Theatre School. Other credits include: Arthur in The Fortress of Solitude (world premiere, Dallas Theatre Center); Asher in My Name is Asher Lev (GableStage); Henry in Next to Normal (Weston Playhouse); Arpad in She Loves Me (Caramoor); Freddy Honeychurch in A Room with a View (world premiere, The Old Globe); roles at Capital Rep, The Muny, and Kansas City Starlight. Readings and workshops: Newsies, Little Miss Sunshine, Stars of David (Concert, 92nd St. Y). TV/Film credits include: Guest Star on Suddenly Rich, Seeking: The Web Series, and the award-winning horror short, Sticks. @etaibenson


Wednesday, October 18th at 5:30 PM

How to Make a Microbudget Film with award-winning writer, actress, and producer Naomi McDougall Jones

Naomi McDougall Jones is an award-winning writer, actress, and producer based in New York City. She is currently in post-production on her second feature film, BITE ME, with producers Jack Lechner (THE FOG OF WAR, BLUE VALENTINE) and Sarah Wharton (THAT’S NOT US), which she wrote and also starred in opposite Christian Coulson (HARRY POTTER), Annie Golden (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK), and Naomi Grossman (AMERICAN HORROR STORY). Naomi’s first feature film, which she also wrote, produced, and starred in, was the 12-time award-winning IMAGINE I'M BEAUTIFUL. The film received a theatrical release and is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and GooglePlay ( A TV series she created, THE DARK PIECES, is now in development at E1 in Canada after having been named on The 2016 WriteHer List as one of the top 16 unproduced pilots by a female screenwriter. Naomi was one of the writers for Amazon’s prestige series THE NEW YORKER PRESENTS, which premiered at Sundance. Naomi has become an advocate and speaker for bringing gender parity to cinema. In November 2016, she gave a TEDxTalk, The Women in Film Revolution Begins With You, which can be seen on YouTube. She additionally hosts the podcast Fear(ful)less: Filmmaking From the Edge about her adventures as an indie filmmaker, available on iTunes and GooglePlay. More at ​

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