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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, is currently running 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 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, treasurer
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.
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