Joe Zarrow is a playwright and actor. THE ABSENT MINDED is his second play to have appeared in Theatre Nova's Michigan Playwright's Festival, the first being RETCON, OR ACTUALLY IT'S A PLAY ABOUT ETHICS IN SUPERHERO JOURNALISM. Joe's school satire PRINCIPAL PRINCIPLE premiered in Chicago (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination, Best New Play) and has been produced in cities ranging from Atlanta to Auckland. Favorite roles have included Jeffrey in THE TOTALITARIANS (Theatre Nova), Max in COMEDY OF TENORS (Tipping Point Theatre - Wilde Award Nomination, Best Supporting Actor in a Play), Watson in THE (CURIOUS CASE OF) THE WATSON INTELLIGENCE (Open Book Theatre), Alan in THIS (Windy City Playhouse), Tony Kushner in workshops of Calamity West's ENGINES AND INSTRUMENTS OF FLIGHT: A FANTASIA (The Goodman), and some jerk on an episode of CHICAGO PD. Joe trained at the School at Steppenwolf.

 

Rachel Keown Burke began her career in theatre in 1999 at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO. Between 2004-2008, she attended the UNC School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, majoring in Cinematography and minoring in Screenwriting. In 2008, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a camera assistant, was a contributing member of a screenwriter’s group, and held a brief position as a writer’s assistant developing a pilot series for NBC. In 2010, Glendale Harley-Davidson, a company for whom she worked, afforded her the opportunity to join their motorcycle racing team for Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats, where she earned a land speed record. She resides in Southeast Michigan with her husband and 8-year-old-daughter. She has written two other plays, Unobtainable Calm, and Book’d , one feature-length screenplay, Damning with Faint Praise, and several shorts. Last year, she obtained one of four spots as a resident artist at The MITTEN Lab Playwriting Residency in Bear Lake, MI, co-founded by Rachel Sussman (producer, What the Constitution Means to Me), and director Katherine Carter. Rachel’s most recent work includes directing for Planet Ant’s BoxFest Detroit, as well as the Detroit New Works Festival, and will be a speaker at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference in Detroit in June 2020. Rachel is currently a directing intern at the Purple Rose Theatre Company, learning under the guidance of director Guy Sanville for the upcoming world premier of Carey Crim’s Paint Night.

Married writers Deborah Ann Percy (Johnston) and Arnold Johnston live in Kalamazoo and South Haven, MI. Their individually and collaboratively written plays have won over 200 productions, as well as numerous awards and publications across the country and internationally; and they’ve written, co-written, edited, or translated some twenty books. Debby earned the MFA in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. A book of her short fiction, Cool Front: Stories from Lake Michigan, appeared in 2010 from March Street Press; in fall 2014 One Wet Shoe Press published her full-length collection, Invisible Traffic, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and an Independent Publishers Award. Her latest projects are a fiction collection, Stepping Off into Space, and two short novels: A Second Opinion and So She Said. Arnie’s poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translations have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies. A full-length collection of Arnie’s poems—Where We’re Going, Where We’ve Been—appeared recently from FutureCycle Press, and his new novel—Swept Away—is currently under contract. His other books include two poetry chapbooks—Sonnets: Signs and Portents and What the Earth Taught Us—The Witching Voice: A Play about Robert Burns; Of Earth and Darkness: The Novels of William Golding; and The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns. His translations of Jacques Brel’s songs have appeared in numerous musical revues nationwide, and are also featured on his CD, Jacques Brel: I’m Here! His (and Fred Anzevino’s) Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night was named one of Chicago’s “must see shows” for Summer 2017 by The Chicago Tribune. Arnie and Debby’s collaborative books include their full-length plays Beyond Sex and
Rasputin
in New York and their long one-act Radiation: A Month of Sun-Days; a collection of their one-acts, Duets: Love Is Strange; and editions (translated with Dona Roşu) of plays by Romanian playwright Hristache Popescu: Night of the Passions, Sons of Cain, and Epilogue. Their edited anthology The Art of the One Act appeared in 2007 from New Issues Press. From 2003 until now they’ve written twenty-six half-hour radio dramas for broadcast on Kalamazoo’s NPR-affiliate WMUK-FM as part of All Ears Theatre. Adapted and expanded for the stage, one of their All Ears dramas appeared in 2013 from Eldridge Publishing as Rumpelstiltskin: The True Hero, which also recently published their play about high-school diversity It’s About Us! Commissioned by the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, their interactive drama The Night Before Christmas had its highly successful world premiere in December 2012. The New Vic Theatre premiered their chilling comedy, Giving Up the Ghosts, in October 2013, and Ghosts was produced in October 2018, having won the Pennsylvania Playhouse’s New Play Competition. Radiation: A Month of Sun-Days premiered in October 2017 at the Kalamazoo Civic’s Carver Center. From 2009-2012 they were joint Arts and Entertainment columnists for the national quarterly journal Phi Kappa Phi Forum. After a distinguished administrative career in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, Debby is now a full-time writer, as is Arnie, who was chairman of the English Department (1997-2007) and taught for many years as co-founder of the creative writing program and founder of the playwriting program at Western Michigan University. They are members of the Dramatists Guild, the Associated Writing Programs, Poets & Writers, and the American Literary Translators Association.

Michael Alan Herman and Josie Eli Lapczynski are award-winning writers from Pinckney, Michigan. Together, their plays have been produced across the country from The Roustabout Theatre Troupe, The Penny Seats, to The Dandelion Theatre. Michael and Josie are also the co-creators of the internationally award-winning science-fiction audiodrama "The Call of the Void," available wherever you listen to podcasts. For more information on "The Call of the Void" and this collaborative duo, please visit their website: www.acronartsandentertainment.com/thevoid.

Tom Emmott: As an actor, Tom has appeared on the stage and in feature films and videos. He has appeared in over 80 stage plays, 42 of which were a combination of musicals, operas, and comic operas. He has also worked as a director, theatrical instructor, a voice over talent and a producer. As a writer, Tom has written a number of plays and newspaper articles and has been writing since a child. He writes on a daily basis. Steve Clark is a composer and musician based in Traverse City. He has written several musicals, which have received productions and readings in his former hometown of Chicago. Steve has been music director for a social justice theatre company, played in folk-rock bands, and composed music for live storytelling events. You can find more of Steve Clark's work at squibn.com.

This activity is supported by the
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs
and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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