Board & Staff
B O A R D
John Weidman has written the books for a wide variety of musicals, among them Pacific Overtures, Assassins and Road Show, all with scores by Stephen Sondheim; Contact, co-created with director/choreographer Susan Stroman; Happiness, score by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; Take Flight and Big, scores by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire; and the new book, co-authored with Timothy Crouse, for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, a new production of which, produced by the Roundabout Theatre, recently ran on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Since his children were pre-schoolers, Weidman has written for Sesame Street, receiving more than a dozen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children’s Program. From 1999 to 2009 he served as President of the Dramatists Guild of America.
F. Richard Pappas, Esq.
F. Richard Pappas is an entertainment attorney with over 30 years’ experience in the theatre, motion picture, television, and literary publishing industries. Before establishing an exclusive private practice in 1992, Rick was a member of the entertainment department of the New York City firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for 11 years. He has been fortunate to represent pre-eminent playwrights, composers, directors, choreographers and producers on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in the West End, as well as numerous clients in the not-for-profit theatre community. In 1990 Rick co-conceived and produced the groundbreaking charity record album Red Hot + Blue with contemporary artists such as David Byrne, U2, Annie Lennox and Tom Waits reinterpreting the songs of Cole Porter, and executive produced the companion ABC/Channel 4 television special featuring short films by Jonathan Demme, Wim Wenders, Neil Jordan and Jim Jarmusch. The album was RIAA-Certified Gold and has generated over $5 million for AIDS research and relief organizations. In 2012 Rick was Executive Producer of the Cameron Mackintosh/Working Title motion picture adaptation of Les Miserables, which was Oscar® and BAFTA nominated and won the Golden Globe as Best Picture. He is a graduate of Yale and lives in Austin, Texas because he can.
Ralph Sevush, Esq.
Ralph Sevush, Esq., is an entertainment attorney. He’s been with The Dramatists Guild of America since 1997, and their Co-Executive Director and general counsel since June 2005. After college (SUNY at Stony Brook, 1983), he began a career in the film industry with Cinema 5 films and New Line Cinema, working in motion picture marketing, distribution, and script development. After law school (Cardozo School of Law, 1991), he worked with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Reiss Media Entertainment, International Media Investors and Sony Pictures.
Then, as Director of Business Affairs for Fremont Associates/Pachyderm Entertainment, he began his career in the Theater with the Broadway productions of BIG the Musical, Bill Irwin & David Shiner’s Fool Moon, Julia Sweeney’s God Said, 'HA!' and the off-Broadway & L.A. productions of Claudia Shear’s Blown Sideways Through Life. Since coming to the Dramatists Guild, in addition to administering the organization and advising the Guild’s membership and its council, he has co-authored numerous amicus briefs, and provided expert testimony, in a range of cases affecting playwrights. He has also authored over 70 articles on the theater industry for The Dramatist magazine, as well as hosting seminars and workshops for writers. He founded The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund in 2012 to support the Guild’s efforts in defense of free speech and copyright protection.
Plays include Blood and Gifts (National Theatre, London; Lincoln Center Theater, Drama Desk Award Nominee and Lucille Lortel Award Nominee); The Overwhelming (National Theatre; Roundabout Theatre); White People (Off Broadway with Starry Night Productions); and Madagascar (SPF Festival in NYC; Melbourne Theatre Company). As one of the original playwrights for the Tricycle Theatre of London’s The Great Game: Afghanistan he was nominated for a 2009 Olivier Award. His works have been staged throughout the United States and in Germany, Canada, Australia, and Israel, and are published by Faber and Faber and Dramatists Play Service. He is a 2012 Guggenheim fellow in playwriting. Other recent awards include, NEA/TCG and NYFA fellowships, the Pinter Review Prize for Drama, the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborne Award, and the William Inge Center for the Arts’ New Voices Award. Rogers serves on the board of the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, is a member of New Dramatists, and holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He lives with his family in Brooklyn.
Plays include: Stick Fly (’12 Outer Circle Critics Nomination – Best Play [Broadway],’10 Irne Award – Best Play, ’10 LA Critics Circle Award – Playwriting, ’10 LA Garland Award - Playwriting, ’09 LA Weekly Theatre Award – Playwriting, ’08 Susan S. Blackburn Finalist, ‘06 Black Theatre Alliance Award),’06 Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination – Best New Work, Voyeurs de Venus(’06 Joseph Jefferson Award – Best New Work, ‘06 BTAA – Best Writing), The Bluest Eye (’06 Black Arts Alliance Image Award – Best New Play, ‘08 American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award), The Gift Horse (’05 Theodore Ward Prize, Kesselring Prize 2nd Place), Harriet Jacobs, and Stage Black. Theatres include: Arena Stage, Cort Theatre (Broadway), Chicago Dramatists, Company One, Congo Square, Everyman Theatre Company, Freedom Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Co., Jubilee Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Long Wharf, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, McCarter Theatre Co., Mo’Olelo Theatre Co., MPAACT, New Vic (Off Broadway), Playmakers Rep, Plowshares Theatre Co., Steppenwolf, TrueColors, and Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Commissions include: Steppenwolf (4), McCarter, Huntington, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville/Victory Gardens, Humana, Boston University, and The Roundabout. Stick Fly and Harriet Jacobs published by NU Press, Bluest Eye, Gift Horse, Stage Black - Dramatic Publishing, Stick Fly - Samuel French. Lydia is a graduate of Northwestern University where she majored in Performance Studies. Lydia was an ’05/’06 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf, an 06/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, a 2012/’13 Radcliffe Institute Fellow, a 2012 Sallie B. Goodman McCarter Fellow, a 2012 Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, is Co-Vice President of Theatre Communication Group’s Board of Directors, is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, has an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Pine Manor College, and is on faculty at Boston University.
Cheryl L. Davis
Cheryl L. Davis is the General Counsel of the Authors Guild and a former partner at the firm of Menaker & Herrmann LLP, with more than 30 years’ legal experience. Her practice before the Authors Guild focused on counseling clients on intellectual property issues and litigating copyright and trademark cases. An award-winning playwright, she has long combined her creative passion with her legal work, representing theater clients in connection with a variety of contract and corporate issues (including both intellectual property and employment matters). She has made numerous presentations and written about intellectual property in the commercial arena, as well as for theater artists and other creatives. She was recently honored by the Lawyers Alliance for New York for her pro bono work, and she is the Vice President of Theater Resources Unlimited, a networking organization for producers and producing entities, as well as a proud member of the League of Professional Theatre Women. As a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild of America, and now the Authors Guild, she has hit the Guild trifecta.
Mara Isaacs is a creative producer and founder of Octopus Theatricals, a theatrical producing and consulting company dedicated to fostering an expansive range of compelling theatrical works for local, national and international audiences. Current projects include Hadestown, Theatre For One, Our Secrets by Hungary's Bela Pinter and Company (US Tour January 2017) and Fiasco Theater's Into the Woods (US National Tour). Mara is the Project Director for The Springboard Project: Fostering Collaboration in Dance-Driven Musical Theater and Executive Producer for the Opening Weekend of Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts in 2017. Additional projects/clients include Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Phantom Limb Company, The Civilians and others. Mara has produced over 100 productions that have been seen on Broadway, off-Broadway, around the U.S. and Internationally, garnering Tony, Pulitzer, Obie, and many other awards and nominations. She was Producing Director at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ for 18 seasons and previously produced new play development programs and productions for Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. www.octopustheatricals.com
Laurence T. Sorkin
Laurence T. Sorkin is a retired partner in the New York City law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, where he practiced for more than 45 years and was head of the firm’s antitrust and trade practice group. During that time he represented clients before the Federal Trade Commission, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and numerous state and foreign competition authorities, and litigated a wide range of antitrust issues in federal and state courts. He also led his firm’s pro bono practice for a number of years.
Larry was outside counsel at the Dramatists Guild of America for many years while at Cahill, and he has represented the Guild in some of its most significant matters. He successfully defended the Guild in the antitrust lawsuit that led to the adoption of the Approved Production Contract (APC) currently in use today for Broadway productions. He also represented the Guild as amicus in Thomson v. Larson, the landmark Second Circuit case rejecting a dramaturg’s claim that she was the co-author and joint owner of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical, Rent.
He is currently an adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School and is also a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam Law School in The Netherlands. He has also taught at Yale Law School. He is a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies at Loyola University (Chicago) School of Law and the advisory board of the Fordham Competition Law Institute. He has served in leadership positions in the Antitrust Law Section of the American Bar Association and has spoken at antitrust conferences in the United States and abroad.
He has been a member of the board of directors of The Legal Aid Society of New York, as well as the board of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and currently serves on the board of Sympho, Inc., an orchestral groupthat seeks to reinvent the classical music concert experience for contemporary audiences. He is also a past president of the Yale Law School Association.
Among his pro bono representations, Larry successfully represented Samuel Bice Johnson, a Mississippi death row inmate, in Johnson v. Mississippi, where the U.S. Supreme Court held that the jury’s consideration of materially inaccurate evidence at sentencing violated Johnson’s Eighth Amendment rights and vacated his death sentence. For his work on the Johnson case and other death penalty cases he received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York in 1998.
David H. Faux, Esq.
David H. Faux is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey and focuses on Intellectual Property, Entertainment, Art, and Business/Commercial Law. He has served as Director of Business Affairs for the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. since 2007. Prior to becoming an attorney, Dave spent several years as a music journalist and, later, a publicist in the Northwest. He also worked as Marketing Director for a 3-D computer animation company, heading sales and representing graphic artists to potential clients. While living in Oregon, he was on the Board of Directors for the Community Center for the Performing Arts (a.k.a., the Woodsmen of the World—or “W.O.W.” Hall) and as an officer of the Lane County Literary Guild.
In addition to his Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, he holds a Master of Science in social sciences from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied local, creative expressions of Buddhism in South Korea. His years in the music and fine arts industries as an entrepreneur, scholar, and international traveler inform his approach to the law, giving him an insight not achieved by most other lawyers.
Dave has served on a wide range of panels involving subjects from theater financing and theater contracts to stage-to-screen adaptations and obtaining underlying rights. He has lectured across the nation on the topic “Author as a CEO.” He has also chaired programs in boxing law and basics in fine arts and the law.
While Dave is a member of the Copyright Society of the United States of America, the New York City Bar Association, the Brooklyn Bar Association, and the New Jersey State Bar Association, he has been particularly active in the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) in its Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Section (“EASL”). For EASL, he is the Eleventh District Representative, representing Queens. He also serves as EASL’s Alternate to House of Delegates in Albany, NY and is the co-chair for EASL’s Fashion Law Committee. Dave is a member of the Copyright and Trademark Committee, IP Law Committee, and the Phil Cowan/BMI Memorial Scholarship Committee. He also sits on the Executive Executive Committee that represents the business of Entertainment and Arts lawyers for NYSBA.
S T A F F
In addition to her work with the DLDF, Amy VonVett is also the Executive Assistant to Business Affairs for the Dramatists Guild of America, the professional association of playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists. Amy has been with the Guild for over seven years. In her time at the Guild, Amy has been published in the organization’s member magazine, The Dramatist, managed six elections of Dramatists Guild Council members, and supported a membership of over 7,000 strong. Amy received her paralegal certification from Pace University in 2014. Amy lives in the Bronx and is an avid theater-goer and knitter.
Claudia Stuart received her M.F.A. in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College in 2010. She has worked in finance for several theatre companies in New York, from children’s theatre to international touring to Broadway. She is the founding executive director of Theatrical Gems, an award-winning nonprofit company that produces in New York and Pennsylvania. When not in the theatre, you will usually find her doing crossword puzzles and snuggling with her two cats and giant fluffy dog.