Head and Heart

The Student Leadership Program

Head and Heart

at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre  [map]

Our truths hang in that balance.

It’s said that the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25, but the battle for the mind is ongoing. Logic demands the clearcut fact, the rational guide. Emotion fights for the untamable colors, a raw feeling, an intuition. So how do we, as young people, navigate the tension of logic versus emotion that is prevalent in everything we do? Brought to you by an all-female team, Head and Heart explores this question, searching for our most authentic selves through a balance between the two.

Laurel Ledesma (Stage Manager)

Laurel Ledesma a rising third year at New York University, and is thrilled to be Stage Managing for NYMF this summer! She is pursuing a Drama major, with a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology, and has spent two years studying with Playwrights Horizons Theater School. This past year she has acted, lighting designed, and stage managed five shows within her program, and she plans to study abroad in London this Fall.

Chloe Geller (Musical Director)

Chloe Geller is thrilled to be the music director for the NYMF Student Leadership Program! She studies music composition at New York University, focusing on musical theatre writing. NYU credits include “Next to Normal” (MD, SoHo Playhouse), “[title of show]” (MD, PHTS), and “ONWARD” (AMD and Co-Arranger, Tisch New Theatre). Last summer, Chloe worked as the Music Direction intern at Pittsburgh CLO and is a member of Goodspeed’s Music Direction Intensive class of 2019.

Chelsea Thiessen (Casting Director)

Chelsea Thiessen is very excited to be involved with NYMF this summer as the casting director for the Student Leadership Program! Next year Chelsea will be entering her senior year as a musical theatre major at the University of Central Oklahoma. Post graduation Chelsea plans on pursuing a career as a casting director and is so grateful for this opportunity to be introduced to that side of the business.

Mackenzie Engeldrum (Producer)

Mackenzie Engeldrum is thrilled to be joining a team of passionate artists serving as the producer for the NYMF Student Leadership Program! She studies theater at the University of Southern California. Recently, she stage managed a student-written show and participated in an original immersive theatrical piece, now premiering at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. She has also worked and performed at the Bay Street Theater and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Long Island.

Miranda Cornell (Director)

Miranda Cornell is a new graduate of Vassar College (BAs in Drama and Education) and is so excited to be working with NYMF this summer! Her directing work has been seen at FringeNYC, The Kraine, Access Theater, NYSAF/Powerhouse, and Vassar College. Additionally, she co-founded and served as the Artistic Director of Semicolon Theatre Company. Up next: Directing/Producing Apprentice at McCarter Theatre Center for the 2019-2020 season. For credits and more information: www.mirandacornell.com

Joyce Lee (Marketing Director)

Joyce Lee is excited to be participating in this year’s NYMF Student Leadership Program as the marketing director! A New York University rising senior, she majors in Media, Culture, and Communications. She is passionate about uplifting stories and creators from marginalized communities across many intersections of identity. She is a producing intern at Hypokrit Theatre Company. Previous theatre marketing credits include “Spring Awakening” at Irondale Center and “Holy Day” at the New Ohio Theatre.

Adam J. Rineer (Composer)

Adam is a Philadelphia/NYC-based composer/lyricist. Currently pursing an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Collaboration at Temple University, Adam's work was featured in NYMF's 2017 SLP concert "United We Stand", “A Little New Music” (LA new musical theatre series), and the award winning web series Merce (Adam's original song named the "World AIDS Day 2017 Anthem" by Poz Magazine). Additional work includes "The Naked Truth" (co-written with Ian Connor) which has receive two NYC readings.

Annabelle Lee Revak (Composer)

Annabelle is a composer, music director, and pianist. Her show Notes and Letters will be produced at Underscore Theatre Company in Chicago in May 2020. Concerts: Keeper of the Keys (Davenport’s); Antithesis (The Understudy). Orchestration/Arranging: Make Me Bad (Drew Gasparini, CCC); Take Me (Jon Langford, Strawdog), Wife Material (Jamie Shriner, Underscore). MD: The Last Five Years (JPAC), The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe (Underscore), The King’s Legacy (BVT). www.annabelleleerevak.com

Adina Kruskal (Composer)

Adina Kruskal is a writer, composer, and music director originally from Newton, MA. She graduated from Skidmore College and studied at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Her first full-length musical, Unison, for which she wrote the book, music, and lyrics, was featured at the 2019 Chicago Musical Theater Festival, where it was honored with the award for Best Ensemble. www.adinakruskal.com

Spencer Robelen (Composer)

Spencer Robelen is a New York-based composer, violinist, and playwright. His compositions include chamber, orchestral, and choral music, as well as film scores, musicals, and incidental music for plays and ballets. Whether he’s writing a bittersweet song, an absurdist play, or an electronica fugue with fart sounds, Spencer covers a large spectrum of emotions with his work. He is also a noted SpongeBob SquarePants scholar.

O'Neill and Savage (Composer)

Jonathan O’Neill and Isaac Savage are a team of British writers, based in Glasgow, specialising in new musical theatre work. They celebrated the première of their first full production back in June, called ‘Tanya: A New Musical’, after various writing collaborations in 2018. Currently, they are working on an original short musical film entitled ‘Window In The West’ and they are thrilled that part of this work will be heard internationally for the first time.

Erin Reifler (Composer)

Erin J. Reifler is an award winning composer, librettist, music director, and trombonist. Recent writing credits include: LIGHT ON THE WATER (NYU Tisch), BACK O’TOWN (MITF, Nom. Best Music & Best Lyrics) THE TROMBONE LESSON (Manhattan Rep. Winner 10-Minute Play Competition). Music Assisting Credits: HOME STREET HOME, EDDIE THE MARVELOUS, REUNION EXPERIENCE, JEANNETTE. As a trombonist, Erin has played in over 50 productions across the country. BA: Brown University MFA: NYU Tisch GMTW. Proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

Alex Shelbourne (Composer)

Alex is a California-born composer, conductor, and third-year undergrad studying songwriting for musical theatre and playwriting at New York University. Primarily a guitar-based composer, his works often aim to bring the storytelling techniques of traditional folk and early rock to the theatre medium. His music has been selected for showcases throughout the city, such as the Gallatin Theatre Cabaret, The First Stages Showcase, and Lamplighters’ New Works Festival. He studies privately with Dr. Steven Rosenhaus.

Belle Shea & Hannah Tobias (Composer)

Belle Shea and Hannah Tobias have been a writing team since 2013. Produced co-written works include full-length musicals 2023 and How the Lighthouse Became an Island. These days you can find the two living in Brooklyn creating all sorts of art, together and separately. Belle Shea is releasing a solo singer-songwriter album this August, Hannah Tobias is an audio/video engineer & producer. Feel free to get in touch!

Alec Steinhorn (Composer)

Alec Steinhorn is a writer/music director and a rising senior at Northwestern University, where he studies theatre and music composition. He has written and directed an original musical, and scored multiple new plays. Alec’s compositions have been produced in Evanston, Chicago, New Jersey and New York City. With his writing partner Jordan, Alec is currently writing a musical, "People You May Know", which will premiere this spring in Chicago.

Jordan Knitzer (Composer)

Jordan Knitzer is a lyricist/playwright and a rising senior at Northwestern University, where he studies theatre and a concentration in playwriting. He has written and collaborated on multiple original musicals, and he has also written a new play titled, "I'm Here...For Right Now" that will be premiered in the fall at Northwestern. Jordan's compositions have been produced in Evanston, Chicago, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and New York City. With his writing partner Alec, Jordan is currently writing a musical, "People You May Know", which will premiere this spring in Chicago.

RJ Christian (Composer)

RJ Christian is Junior at NYU, studying composition under the tutelage of Joseph Church, and has written music and lyrics for two full musical productions: The Link (2018, book by Emily Lourim) and Mea Culpa (2019, book by Cameron Reese), and presented workshops of On a Wing and a Chair (2019) and Henchman (2019) with collaborator, Cameron Reese.

Sarah Kaufman (Composer)

Sarah Kaufman is a songwriter from San Jose, California, who happily resides in Brooklyn, New York. She recently graduated from the Molloy College/CAP21 BFA Theatre Arts program. She’s been performing in musicals and writing music and lyrics for most of her life. She would like to thank her mentor Barbara Anselmi, as well as her family, teachers, and especially her classmates at Molloy/CAP21 for their endless enthusiasm and support.

Alex Goldie Golden (Composer)

Alex Goldie Golden is an NYC-based composer and music director. Recent credits include: Williamstown Theatre Festival (Associate MD, Late-Night Cabaret Series), Ars Nova workshop production of “The Hole Story” (MD, Composer: Andrew R. Butler), New London Barn Playhouse (MD), Ghost (Conductor/Keys 1), Next to Normal (MD, Recipient of Kennedy Center ACTF Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Music Direction), Jean’s Playhouse (Composer/MD). She has also worked as the music intern for Music Theatre International and as a pianist for The Story Pirates. She graduated with a BA in theatre and honors in music direction from Bucknell University.

Kasler & Wilkie (Composer)

Max Kasler and Gwen Wilkie are rising seniors studying Music Composition at Muhlenberg College.They believe that it is their responsibility to challenge people to be better by writing music that inspires, and gives people a space to think. They are currently recording an album of their song cycle called Woven Stories to be released in the fall. For updates visit kaslerandwilkie.com.

Ethan Riordan (Composer)

Ethan Riordan is a contemporary musical theater composer studying at Yale University as part of the Shen Curriculum for Musical Theater. He will be entering his sophomore year this fall. During his first year at school, Ethan worked on a song cycle entitled "Flicker" that will be performed at Green Room 42 on August 20th this summer.

Riley Cavanaugh (Lighting Design)

Riley Cavanaugh is a New York based lighting designer attending Pace University. Some of his recent work includes Kelly [1955] at the New York Theater Festival, Sam Shepard’s Mad Dog Blues and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, both at The Hive NYC, Fragments: a Workshop, at Dixon Place, and Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania. Currently, he is also designing the original play Dear Miss Kitt at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, and Fancy Maids at the Dream Up Theater Festival. Find Riley at rileycavanaughdesign.com and on Instagram @rileycavanaughdesign  

Nikolai Granados

Nikolai Granados (Performer)

Nikolai Granados is an AMDA NY Graduate excited to work with NYMF. Fresh out of College, his most recent show is the Let’s Broadway Cabaret at the West End Lounge!

Jovan E. Watlington

Jovan E. Watlington (Performer)

Jovan E. Watlington is a recent graduate of Pace University’s Musical Theatre program. OFF BROADWAY: U/S Zachary in The Secret Life of Bees REGIONAL: Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar at Tibbits Opera House and Seaweed J. Stubbs in Hairspray at The Laguna Playhouse. Jovan gives all his love and gratitude to God, his mom and family, Buchwald, & CLA. @jovanesean

Melody Munitz

Melody Munitz (Performer)

Melody Munitz, a rising sophomore BFA Musical Theatre major and Psychology minor at Penn State, is thrilled to be part of “Head and Heart”! A New York native, Melody has previously performed in several shows Off-Broadway, at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center. Other favorite credits include The Fantasticks (Luisa), Beauty and the Beast (Belle) and Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins). Melody is grateful to NYMF for this opportunity to collaborate with other passionate artists, and to her family, friends, and mentors for all of their support!

Carmen Wiley

Carmen Wiley (Performer)

Carmen is so excited to be making her New York theatre debut with this amazing team of humans! Previous credits include Veronica in "Heathers: The Musical" (Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Award), Lady of the Lake in "Spamalot," and Penelope Pennywise in "Urinetown." BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Thank you the fam, squad, and Al! Shout out to all the Pisces' out there!

Mitchell Turner

Mitchell Turner (Performer)

Mitchell Turner has been seen all over New York City in cabarets at Don’t Tell Mama, Prohibition, Sid Gold’s and The West End. Regional: Parade, Kiss Me Kate, The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, Mary Poppins, Chicago, and Ruthless. First runner-up of “LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2017,” presented by Princess Cruises. Thanks to NYMF SLP and the team for the love! Visit mitchellmturner.com or find Mitchell at @MitchellFierce to see what he’s up to next!

Abiola Israel

Abiola Israel (Performer)

Abiola Israel is thrilled to be making her NYMF debut in the SLP's production of Head and Heart. She was most recently in the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program's production of Shadows. She'd like to thank her family and Jesus for never giving up on her and her dreams!

Corey Ryan

Corey Ryan (Performer)

Corey is thrilled to be making his NYMF debut. He was recently seen as Georg in Spring Awakening at the Argyle Theatre in Babylon, NY earlier this year. Some of his favorite roles include Kodaly in She Loves Me and Finch in How to Succeed.

Caroline Mixon

Caroline Mixon (Performer)

Caroline Mixon is excited to be a part of Head and Heart. Originally from California, she moved to New York a month ago after completing her BFA in musical theater from Carnegie Mellon University. Her most recent credits include Sally Bowles in CABARET and THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at CMU. She is excited to start her journey here in NY, and hopes you enjoy the show!

Bryan Freedman

Bryan Freedman (Performer)

Bryan Freedman is delighted to be making his NYMF debut this season! He is also appearing in The Oldenburg Suite (Claes Oldenburg) at NYMF. Recent credits include Parade (Leo Frank) with The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, and Into the Woods (Wolf/Rapunzel’s Prince) with A Class Act NYU. NYU Tisch at New Studio on Broadway and The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Love to Mum, Dad, Jessica, and Mackenzie. www.bryanfreedman.com Instagram: @bryan_freedman

Christina Josette Jimenez

Christina Josette Jimenez (Performer)

Christina Josette Jimenez is a rising 2nd year at NYU’s Tisch New Studio on Broadway. Winner of the 1st Adela and Larry Elow American Songbook High School Competition 2018. Off-Broadway: Runaways the Musical at New York City Center,The Music Of Jerome Kern Concert at Carnegie Weill Hall, The 29th Annual Cabaret Convention - The Best of Jerry Herman Night at Jazz at Lincoln Center . Christina is an alumni of the Professional Performing Arts School High School In NYC. Previous roles include West Side Story(Anita), How To Succeed(Ms. Jones), A Chorus Line(Diana Morales) and In The Heights(Nina).