Advisory Board

SRT’s Advisory Board is comprised of select individuals and mentors — directors, actors, casting directors, artistic directors, and playwrights who are all currently working professionally in the arts — those whose influences have helped us to realize our own potential as artists in our personal and professional lives.

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Advisory Board member Celia Weston (center) with Artistic Director, Todd Loyd, and Tiffany Little Canfield.

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Paul Barnes and SRT Arts Supporter Lucy Owen

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Peter Hedges with SRT

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Gerald Freedman with the cast of Proximity

Paul Barnes

Paul Barnes is the Producing Director of Great River Shakespeare Festival and his work has ranged from plays by Shakespeare (Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Midsummer, Romeo and Juliet, As you Like It, Troilus and Cressida, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry V, Henry IV: Part 1, Henry VIII) to American standards (All My Sons, The Glass Menagerie, Bus Stop, The Fantasticks, Brighton Beach Memoirs), to large scale musicals (Camelot, Little Shop of Horrors), small scale revues (Forever Plaid, My Way, Woody Guthrie’s American Song), and new plays (Copenhagen, Floyd Collins, A Skull in Connemara, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Memory of Water). His work has been seen in The East (University of Delaware/PTTP), The South, (Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Stage Company, The Clarence Brown), the Midwest (Indiana Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory, American Players, Skylight Opera, Missouri Repertory) and the West (Utah Shakespearean Festival, Kern Shakespeare Festival, The Globe/University of San Diego, Oregon Shakespeare Festival). In addition to his work with regional companies, Paul has also directed for many professional actor training programs including the University of Missouri/Kansas City, the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater, the University of Utah, and Webster University. He was Conservatory Director/Associate Artistic Director at PCPA Theatrefest from 1987-1997, where he directed Romeo and Juliet, Picnic, Peter Pan, On the Verge, Childe Byron, Fiddler on the Roof, Yours, Anne, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Stand-up Tragedy, West Side Story, The Grapes of Wrath, Death of A Salesman, The Little Foxes, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1776, Forever Plaid, and the world premiere of The Daly News, which was written by former PCPA Artists-in-Residence Jonathan Gillard Daly, Gregg Coffin, and Larry Delinger. Prior to his tenure at PCPA, Paul was Education Director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Director of Drama at Lincoln High School in Stockton, California.

Gary Beach

Gary received the 2001 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his role as Roger DeBris in Broadway’s The Producers. Other Broadway appearances include the revival of Les Miserables (Thenardier), Beauty and the Beast (Tony and Ovation award nominations), La Cage Aux Folles, Sweet Adeline (Encores!), Doonesbury, The Moony Shapiro Songbook, Annie, Something’s Afoot, and 1776. National tours include Les Miserables, Legends!, Lend Me a Tenor, Closer Than Ever, and Of Thee I Sing (Helen Hayes nomination). On TV, appeared on "Will and Grace," "Queer as Folk," "Kate and Allie," "Cheers," "Sisters," "Murder, She Wrote," with Letterman, Jamie Foxx, The Wayans Brothers, and Dolly Parton, as well as "Saved By the Bell," and "Arliss." Film credits include The Producers, Defending Your Life, Space Works, and Man of the Century. Recordings include Beauty and the Beast, Doonesbury, Symphonic Les Miserables, and Sondheim at the Movies.

William Cantler

Will is Associate Artistic Director of MCC Theatre. He became involved with MCC Theater in 1984 and was instrumental in the evolution of the company as a non-profit organization and the creation of MCC’s first New York production, Beirut by Alan Bowne. Will directed productions for MCC including Just Horrible by Nicholas Kazan starring Bridget Fonda, and Alan Bowne’s Sharon and Billy starring Marisa Tomei. Will is also a partner and casting professional at Telsey + Company. Broadway credits include The Goat, Death of a Salesman, Anna In The Tropics, Enchanted April, Glengarry Glen Ross, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Frozen, and many, many more. In addition, Will casts for The Signature Theatre and the Atlantic Theater.

Gerald Freedman

Obie Award-winner and first American director invited to direct at London’s Globe Theatre, Gerald is regarded internationally for productions of classic drama, musicals, operas, new plays and television. He served as leading director of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival from 1960 through 1971 – the last four years as artistic director. Gerald was co-artistic director of John Houseman’s The Acting Company from 1974-77, artistic director of the American Shakespeare Theatre during 1978-79, and artistic director of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1985-1997. He has staged 26 of Shakespeare’s plays, along with dozens of other world classics, and directed celebrated actors such as Olympia Dukakis, James Earl Jones, Stacy Keach, Julie Harris, Charles Durning, Sam Waterston, Patti Lupone, Mandy Patinkin, Jean Stapleton, William Hurt, Carroll O’Connor and Kevin Kline. Gerald made theatre history with his off-Broadway premiere of the landmark rock musical Hair, which opened the Public Theatre in 1967. Broadway direction includes The Robber Bridegroom, The Grand Tour with Joel Grey, the revival of West Side Story, co-directed with Jerome Robbins, the premiere of Arthur Miller’s The Creation of the World and Other Business, and Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession with Lynn Redgrave and Edward Herrmann. Productions for the Great Lakes Theater Festival include Shakespeare’s King Lear (with Hal Holbrook), which went to the Roundabout Theatre. Gerald directed opera productions for the Opera Society of Washington (Kennedy Center), the San Francisco Opera Company, and New York City Opera. For New York City Opera, he directed revivals of Brigadoon and South Pacific. Before coming to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Gerald taught at Yale and The Juilliard School. A native of Lorain, Ohio, he received both his B.S. and his M.A. (summa cum laude) from Northwestern University. Gerald trained for the stage with Alvina Krause, voice teacher Emmy Joseph and at the Actors Studio. He serves on the Kennedy Center New Play Committee, is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and a participant in the Oomoto Institute, Kameoka, Japan. Gerald is Dean Emeritus of the School of Drama at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Peter Hedges

Peter is the author of numerous plays including Baby Anger (Playwrights Horizons), Good As New (Manhattan Class Company) and Imagining Brad (Circle Repertory Theatre), all published by Dramatists Play Service. Commissions include the Roundabout Theater/Nederlander Organization. His first novel, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, has been translated into 10 languages, and he also wrote the screenplay for the critically acclaimed 1993 film of the same name which starred Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award. An Ocean in Iowa, his second novel, was published in 1998 by Hyperion Press. Peter wrote and directed Pieces of April, starring Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt and Derek Luke. Screen adaptations include Jane Hamilton’s A Map of the World for the Kennedy-Marshall Company and Nick Hornby’s About a Boy for New Line Cinema, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Peter directed Diary of a Lost Boy, filmed in New York, is working on his third novel, and has finished production on Dan in Real Life, a film he co-wrote and directed, starring Steve Carell.

Joe Mantello

Joe’s directing credits include Blackbird, Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross (Tony nomination), Laugh Whore, Assassins (Tony Award), Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Man of No Importance, Design for Living, Terrence McNally and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for the San Francisco Opera, The Vagina Monologues, bash, Another American: Asking and Telling, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), Proposals, The Mineola Twins, Corpus Christi, Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks, Blue Window, God’s Heart, The Santaland Diaries, Snakebit, Three Hotels and Imagining Brad. He also directed the film Love! Valour! Compassion! As an actor Joe appeared in Angels in America (Tony nomination) and The Baltimore Waltz. He is the recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie and Joe A. Callaway awards, and is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at the Roundabout.

Jack O’Brien

One of the most respected theater artists in the country, Jack O’Brien is the director of Lincoln Center’s acclaimed staging of Henry IV, Parts I and II, as well as Broadway’s Catch Me if You Can, Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Piano Lesson, Coast of Utopia, and many others. He is a director, producer, writer and lyricist, and served as the artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre from 1981 – 2007. O’Brien has won three Tony Awards and been nominated for seven more, and won five Drama Desk Awards.

Mary-Louise Parker

Mary-Louise is a multi-award-winning actress with a diverse career in film, television, and theater. Her work in Weeds has garnered a Golden Globe award and a Lead Actress SAG nomination.

She made her Broadway debut to rave reviews in Prelude to a Kiss, garnering a Tony nomination, a Theatre World Award, The Clarence Derwent Award and a Drama Desk nomination. She originated the role of Li’l Bit in the critically lauded How I Learned to Drive, which earned her an Obie Award, a Lucille Lortel Award and an Outer Critics Circle nomination. She starred in Reckless, for which she received Tony and Drama League nominations. Her performance in Proof earned her the 2001 Tony, as well as the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, Obie and New York Magazine awards, and the T. Schreiber Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre.

Additional theatre credits include Communicating Doors, Bus Stop, Four Dogs and a Bone, The Art of Success, Throwing Your Voice, Babylon Gardens, The Importance of Being Earnest, Up in Saratoga, The Miser and Hayfever. She co-founded the Edge Theater, where she performed in The Age of Pie and The Girl in Pink, among other productions.

On the small screen, Mary-Louise’s work in HBO’s Angels in America garnered Emmy and Golden Globe wins and a SAG nomination. She received another Emmy nomination for her performance on The West Wing, and she starred in Sugartime, opposite John Turturro, A Place for Annie, Saint Maybe, Cupid & Cate, The Simple Truth of Noah Dearborne, Miracle Run and Vinegar Hill. Mary-Louise was in the Oxygen Channel original film Robber Bride, based on Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name.

Mary-Louise’s film oeuvre includes the dark Christian comedy Saved!, opposite Mandy Moore, Romance & Cigarettes, written and directed by Turturro and produced by the Coen Brothers, and starring roles in Fried Green Tomatoes, Grand Canyon, Reckless, Boys on the Side, The Client, Naked in New York, Bullets Over Broadway, The Best Thief in the World, Longtime Companion, Pipe Dream, Red Dragon and The Five Senses, for which she was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Actress, as well as The Spiderwick Chronicles, opposite Freddy Highmore, Nick Nolte, Martin Short and Joan Plowright.

She won the Robert Brustein Award for Excellence in Theater and the Philadelphia Film Festival Award for Career Achievement. Her personal and professional belongings, along with career memorabilia, are archived at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, where she was recently the youngest person ever inducted.

Bernard Telsey

Bernie is Artistic Director of MCC Theater. He graduated from New York University in 1981 with a degree in Theater Administration and Acting. While at NYU he interned with many not-for-profits theaters, acted and met Robert LuPone. In its early years MCC Theater became a place for artists of all kinds to develop their craft, and in 1986 the company received its not-for-profit status and began producing the plays it was developing. During this time, Bernie began working at Simon & Kumin Casting as an assistant, and then as a casting director at Risa Bramon & Billy Hopkins Casting. He opened his own casting office in 1988. He, along with his staff of casting directors and associates at Telsey + Company, have cast such Broadway and Off-Broadway shows as Legally Blonde, Grey Gardens, Company, In The Heights, The Drowsy Chaperone, Talk Radio, Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, The Color Purple, Tarzan, Sweeney Todd, Wicked, Glengarry Glen Ross, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, All Shook Up, Frozen, The Goat, Hairspray, Wit, La Boheme, Long Days Journey into Night, Anna and the Tropics, Rocky Horror Show, Taboo, Moon for the Misbegotten, Aida, Death of a Salesman, De La Guarda, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rent, Capeman, The Cryptogram, and Food Chain. His company has also cast for the New York Theater Workshop, Drama Dept, ACT in San Francisco, La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, The Hartford Stage Company, and The Goodman Theatre. Bernie also cast Peter Seller’s international productions of Peony Pavillion, The Merchant of Venice and I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky. Film credits include Sex in the City, Dancing with Shiva, Dan in Real Life, Across the Universe, Rent, Pieces of April, Camp, Whoopie, HBO’s Undefeated, Finding Forrester, Blair Witch the Sequel, The Bone Collector, and The Grey Zone. Along with his casting staff, he also casts all of the plays and readings produced by MCC Theater.

Celia Weston

Celia is a Tony and Drama Desk nominee and Outer Critics Circle Award for The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Her other Broadway credits include True West, Summer and Smoke, Suddenly Last Summer, The Lady From Dubuque with Irene Worth and Loose Ends with Kevin Kline. Off-Broadway credits include Bargains, Far Off Sweet Forever and Please Hang Up and Dial Again. Regional theatre credits include Ghost on Fire, The Rose Tattoo, Angel Street and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She received an Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actress for Dead Man Walking (Tim Robbins, director). Other film appearances include Runaway Jury, Hulk, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Flirting With Disaster (David Russell), Unstrung Heroes (Diane Keaton), Hard Promises (Lee Grant), Little Man Tate (Jodie Foster), A New Life (Alan Alda), The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella), Snow Falling On Cedars, Junebug, Joshua, No Reservations and The Invasion. Celia is well-known for role as Jolene in CBS series "Alice."