Stephanie Fongheiser (she/her)
Creator / London Hayes & Chris Hayes
Stephanie Fongheiser is a Filipino American actor based in Chicago. She is honored to be working with such a talented group of people and is very grateful to SMJ for asking her to be a part of this project. She most recently appeared as Jane Bennet and dramaturg in the virtual adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Pride and Prejudice Productions. Chicago credits include: Fast Company (u/s, Jackalope Theatre), Double Vision (Underscore Theatre), Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings (Asian Improv aRts Midwest), Game of Tiaras (Surging Films & Theatrics), and Kiss Me, Kate (Big Noise Theatre). She will soon join the cast of Royal Princess Parties as Mulan and Raya.
Childhood Confession: “In second grade, I wanted to be like Hermione so badly that I made myself homework assignments so that I could complete them. (I knew that it made no sense because I already knew the answers, but who else would make me homework?)”
Talia Frank-Stempel (she/her)
Creator / Jade Dean
Talia Frank-Stempel is an actor, writer, and teacher based out of NYC. Originally from DC, Talia graduated from Emerson College in May 2019 with a BFA in Theater Education and Performance as well as studied at the Eugene O’Neill NTI program during the spring of 2018. Talia has a passion for new play development, devising, physical theater, and making people smile. She has trained across the US and abroad including Action Theater in Estonia with Ruth Zapora, a Chekhov intensive in Cuba, and Lecoq with Complicite in London. She wrote and directed Phoenix, which premiered at Emerson College in Boston in April 2019. Favorite acting credits include Uncle Vanya (Yelena), The Glass Menagerie (Laura), Anchortown (Moonrise), and Cabaret (Fraulein Kost). Talia is honored to be working with this talented team on this special piece.
Childhood confession: “When I was 3, I would perform entire Beatles albums naked for guests that came to dinner.”
Nicky Khor (he/him)
Production Assistant / “Josh”
Originally from Portland, OR, Nicky Khor is an alum of Whitman College (‘14), NTI, and Horizon Theatre’s apprentice program. He lives on Manhattan where he has finally achieved his dream of making it to Broadway (144th and Broadway, that is). Favorite roles include CLEANTE (Tartuffe), ORSINO (Twelfth Night), and SIMON (The Princess of Caspia). Legend has it that he’s the reason the Mona Lisa smiles.
Childhood confession: “When I was 6. I would perform this ritual nightly. Before Scooby-Doo reruns started, I would walk in circles around my coffee table and list off ALL the episodes I didn’t want to see. Amazingly, it kind of worked - the episode that played was always one I had missed… I would the episode to the running list in my head and try again the next night.”
Daniel Kunkel (he/him)
Creator / Sound Designer / Chase Romero
Daniel Kunkel is a director, writer, stage combatant and podcaster currently living in scenic Bend, Oregon on the side of a mountain with his girlfriend and two cats. He graduated from Otterbein University with a BFA in Acting in 2020 after founding the school’s first all-student organized theatre company. He is currently a head investigator on The Mistletoe Secret, a podcast exploring the Hallmark Cinematic Universe. When not creating, he enjoys wood carving, sword and armor making, and macaroni and cheese. He firmly believes that pepper jack is the greatest cheese.
Childhood confession: “Despite being raised in the south, I mispronounced “Cajun” till I was about 14 years old.”
Danielle Phillips (she/her)
Creator / Manny Melbourne
Danielle Phillips is an actor/writer and is an alum of the National Theater Institute’s Fall ‘17 semester and Spring ‘18 Advanced Performance semester, where she performed in both devised works OVER/UNDER and Channeling. Credits include: small town icons: a revenge play (PEA Fest), Playdate (Dixon Place), The Crucible, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Cloverdale Playhouse), and Helvetica (Auburn University Montgomery).
Childhood confession: “When I was a kid, I refused to wear short dresses and sandals without socks. Knees and toes were too scandalous for me.”
Alizae Powell (she/her)
Creator / Riley Kingston
Alizae Powell is a 24 year old NTI & NMTI alum. Since moving to NY, she has worked on new musicals with MTF on multiple occasions. Alizae is excited to see theater again and be a part of it even virtually and looks forward to sharing the work that has been put in for this production.
Childhood confession: “When I was 3, my mom woke up to me covered in Vaseline because I had consumed it.
Ezra Brain (they/them)
Creator / Dramaturg
Ezra Brain is a genderqueer writer, theatre maker, and teacher based in NYC. Their writing has been performed at the Tank, Literacy Theatre, Stop Pretending Theatre Project, Passaic Preparatory Academy, the New Masculinities Festival, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Exquisite Corpse Company, Stay True Theatre, and Dixon Place.
Childhood fun fact: “When I was a child, I was obsessed with costume dramas and worshipped at the altar of masterpiece theatre.”
Ludmila Brito (she/her)
Creator / Director
Ludmila Brito is a Brazilian director of Indigenous descent, focused on the development of new plays, community building, and facilitating conflict resolution through the power of stories.
Childhood fun fact: When Ludmila was a kid she dipped napkins into her sodas cuz she didn’t like bubbles. Oh wait she still does that. nvm
Creator / Playwright
SMJ is an NYC-based, mixed-race, and non-binary playwright, educator, and theatermaker originally from Mount Vernon, OH. Their work has been seen in various forms in New York, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey, and the UK. They’ve been a resident artist at the Access Theater, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the National Winter Playwright’s Retreat, The Workshop Theater, The Midnight Factory, and Dragon’s Egg Studio. Recently, SMJ was a part of The Sappho Project’s inaugural 2020-2021 W*rk Lab as well as the 2020-2021 Art House Productions INKubator Playwrights Group. They’re a graduate of the BFA Acting program with a Dance minor at Otterbein University and the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. SMJ is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Ring of Keys. www.smjwrites.com
Childhood confession: “I had two pieces of furniture I loved to death: my Power Rangers tent that I would sometimes sleep in and a bucket seat from one of my dad’s old pick-up trucks.”