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, 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.