Freedom Summer

Music by Charlie H. Ray & Sam Columbus; Lyrics and Book by Charlie H. Ray

When you speak with heart, people listen.

In the summer of 1964, civil rights workers from New York City join forces with grassroots activists in Meridian, Mississippi. Freedom Summer follows their crusade for equality as they navigate racism, corruption, and violence in the Jim Crow south. As the quest for progress begins to take its toll on the group, they’re forced to reckon with what it means to be an activist and the price one pays to rewrite history.


Runtime: 85 minutes with no intermission.

Charlie H. Ray

Charlie H. Ray (Writer (Book, Music, Lyrics))

Charlie H. Ray is so honored to be making his NYMF debut with this show, after developing it through Baldwin Wallace University. As a music director and performer, he has worked across the country with theatres like Casa Mañana, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, among others. / @charliehray

Sam Columbus

Sam Columbus (Add'l. Music, Arrangements, Orchestration, Music Direction)

Sam Columbus is thrilled to be making his NYMF debut with this show! Favorite credits include Tick, Tick... Boom! at Playhouse Square, and Jesus Christ Superstar, Cabaret and Dear Edwina with the Clinton Area Showboat. He gives thanks to BWMT, especially Beth Burrier.

Dana A. Iannuzzi

Dana A. Iannuzzi (Director)

DANA IANNUZZI (Director) is a New York-based Actor/Director who excited to be back at the part of Freedom Summer. Directing Credits Include: Aida (Associate Dir.), Beehive: The 60s Musical (Timberlake Playhouse), Legacy (NYMF) - 2018 Best of Fest for Readings, In the Heights (Associate Dir.), Grease (Associate Dir.), and Jekyll & Hyde (Associate Dir.) and The Vagina Monologues (The Players Theatre).

Talia Suskauer

Talia Suskauer (Rita)

Talia Suskauer is currently in the Broadway company of BE MORE CHILL. Originally from Florida, Talia attended Penn State where she earned her BFA in Musical Theatre. Other credits include BE MORE CHILL at the Signature Theatre, Little Women (Jo March), SHREK (Princess Fiona), SECRET GARDEN (Lily) at the New London Barn Playhouse. Much love and gratitude to HCKR, my family and friends, and T. @taliasuskauer

Devin Hall (James)

A native of New Jersey, Devin is extremely grateful to be able to share this incredible piece of history with you. National Tours: RENT (Paul/Angel u/s); Regional: HAIR (Hud); Sister Act (Tj); Hairspray (Seaweed); Rent (Angel); Aida (Mereb). A huge thank you to RAYCO Musicals, Dana Iannuzzi and DDO Artist Agency! Peace, Love and Light! 
Matthew 6:33. IG: @devin_hall

Blake Price

Blake Price (Mickey)

Blake Price is making his NYMF debut in Freedom Summer. After playing Monty in the national tour of A Gentleman's Guide..., he's been acting and writing in and out of NYC for the past 3 years. Thanks to Charlie, Sam, her majesty Dana Iannuzzi, and all involved in this poignant story. A special thanks to dad, Gene and the two Michigan State grads in my family, Mari and Bryant. Now I'm playing one! Go Green!

Veronica Otim

Veronica Otim (Sue)

Veronica Otim is a senior Music Theatre Major at Baldwin Wallace University. Roles at BW include Jenna in Be More Chill, Dionne in Hair, Reno in Anything Goes, and Emma in LIZZIE. She’s so excited and proud to be making her NYMF debut alongside her close friends. Big thanks to Charlie and Sam for the wonderful opportunity to tell this powerful story.

Veronica Otim

Veronica Otim (Sue)

Veronica Otim is a senior Music Theatre Major at Baldwin Wallace University. Roles at BW include Jenna in Be More Chill, Dionne in Hair, Reno in Anything Goes, and Emma in LIZZIE. She’s so excited and proud to be making her NYMF debut alongside her close friends. Big thanks to Charlie and Sam for the wonderful opportunity to tell this powerful story.

Jason Goldston

Jason Goldston (Andy)

NYMF debut! Endless gratitude to Charlie for the opportunity to create with such wonderful talent. Proud Baldwin Wallace alum. Next up: Becoming Nancy (Alliance Theatre) @jason_goldston

Derrick Cobey

Derrick Cobey (Preston)

Derrick Cobey originated the role of Andy Wright in Kander and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway. Off-Broadway: The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Roundabout), The Scottsboro Boys (Vineyard Theater); I Am Harvey Milk and Ragtime (Lincoln Center); National tours: Rent, Forever Swing. Regional: Ragtime (Bristol Riverside Theatre, Barrymore nomination); Caroline, or Change (Mercury Theatre Company); Jesus Christ Superstar (Bristol Riverside Theatre); Crowns (Virginia Stage Company, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); A Little Night Music (Arden Theatre); The Civil War (The Eagle Theatre); The Scottsboro Boys (The Guthrie/Philadelphia Theatre Company); Big River, Ragtime(Lyric of Oklahoma); Hunchback of Norte Dame, Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, and Macbeth (Great Lakes/ Idaho Shakespeare Festival); Abyssinia, Jesus Christ Superstar (North Shore); Abyssinia (Goodspeed); Ragtime (Paper Mill); Hair (Hangar Theater); Side Show (Cleveland Playhouse); The Buddy Holly Story (Westchester Broadway); Pacific Overtures (Arden Theatre); I Am Harvey Milk (Strathmore); numerous shows at Sacramento Music Circus; concerts and workshops of Andrew Lippa’s A Little Princess and Adam Guettel's Millions. In 2015 he received a Barrymore Award for his work in Parade at The Arden Theatre.

Nyla Watson

Nyla Watson (Lenora)

Giving all glory to God, Nyla Watson is a dedicated performer in the New York City community and a graduate student at New York University (NYU). She is also a proud graduate of Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory of Music (BW). Notable performances include ShowBoat: Live at Lincoln Center. Gigantic the Musical (off-Broadway), the touring companies of Wicked the musical and The Color Purple the musical. She attributes her success to her faith, her parents, her education and her professional and personal influences. Acts 4:7-12

Briana Carlson-Goodman

Briana Carlson-Goodman (Carolyn)

BRIANA CARLSON-GOODMAN Broadway: Les Misérables, Hair, Doctor Zhivago. Tour: Eponine in the 25th anniversary tour of Les Misérables. Regional: Eva Perón in Evita (NSMT - IRNE nom.), Mercedes in Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo (Pioneer Theater Company), Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof (The MUNY), Micaela in Carmen, directed by Moisés Kaufman (Olney Theatre Center), Sally in Nerds (Philadelphia Theatre Company). TV: "Person of Interest" (CBS). Folk band: The New Students (iTunes and Spotify).

Chris Cherin

Chris Cherin (Ensemble)

Chris Cherin (Ensemble) couldn't be more excited to join this incredibly talented and inspiring team of creators. This marks Chris' NYC theater debut! Recent regional credits: Pajama Game (Sid Sorokin), Legally Blonde (Emmett), and Hair (Woof). Many thanks to Charlie and Caroline; endless love to Mom, Dad and his beautiful fiancee, Kristin!

BreAnna Collier

BreAnna Collier (Ensemble)

BreAnna is a Louisiana native who has been gracing stages from Norway to Brazil! She is a proud Musical Theatre alum of Northwestern State University, and is thrilled to be collaborating with this stellar cast and creative team! Some of her favorite stage credits include : Aida, Once on this Island, Avenue Q, Rent, and The Wiz. She is so thankful for this experience and amazing opportunity.

Tyler Grigsby

Tyler Grigsby (Ensemble)

Tyler is elated to be a part of NYMF this Summer! He recently graduated from The Hartt School with a BFA in Music Theatre. Abbreviated regional credits: Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar (CRT dir. Terrence Mann), Five Points, The Peculiar Tale... (Goodspeed Opera House FNM), and Of Mice and Men (Monomoy Theatre). He would like to thank his support system (Mom & Dad, Mark Planner, and Oz) for being there through thick and thin. @Tyler_Grigsby

Darryl Winslow

Darryl Winslow (Ensemble/Sheriff Price)

Broadway: Avenue Q; Off-Broadway: Evil Dead (Jake), Good Person of Szechwan at The Public and LaMama, Shlemiel the First with Theatre Folksbiene/TFANA; Regional: Hairspray (Edna) Merry-Go-Round; Full Monty (Dave) Northern Stage; Wizard of Oz (Lion) Fireside; Das Barbecu (Wotan) and Urinetown (Barrel) the Barnstormers; this is his 10th appearance at NYMF.

Byron F. Abens (Stage Manager)

Byron F. Abens (Stage Manager) is thrilled to join Freedom Summer. His credits include productions Off-Broadway (Gates of Gold, Tales from the Tunnel, Skippyjon Jones), touring (Seussical, The Lightning Thief), and regional (Kansas City Repertory Theatre: Doubt; Stages St. Louis: A Little Night Music, Cabaret). Byron holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is celebrating his 15th year as a proud member of AEA.