Welcome Class of 2014

May 12, 2014 / Get to know this year's Directors Project fellows


Today is the first day of school and our eleven Directors Project Fellows are off and racing for an intense week of meetings, shows, events and workshops known as Professionals Week. After this, they will break up into their individual programs.  

Learn more about the programs here and get to know the fellows below. You'll be hearing a lot more from them soon, right here on this blog! 

Class of 2014

Classical Directing Program


Lavina Jadhwani was recently named Time Out Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director.” Her work has been seen at Silk Road Rising (Artistic Associate), Rasaka Theatre Company (Artistic Director, 2007-2013), Apple Tree, Bailiwick, Chicago Dramatists, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Raven Theatre, Remy Bumppo, the side project, Stage Left, Victory Gardens, and others. She has received an SDCF Observership, an Illinois Board of Higher Education Fellowship, and three LMDA awards. Proud graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and Carnegie Mellon University; currently pursuing an MFA in Directing at The Theatre School at DePaul University. www.lavinajadhwani.com







Emma Weinstein is a New York based director interested in merging the classical, the political and the experiential. Past productions include: an immersive re-imagining of Marat/Sade set in a juvenile detention center, Kids on Bikes—a new play about race in BaltimoreNoel Coward’s Private LivesRoast by Amanda Keating, and Tis of Thee [Devised].  Her production Mom Baby God, an undercover look at the pro-life movement, is currently touring to theatres and festivals in New York City and across the United States. Emma attended Smith College and the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. www.emmaweinsteindirector.com






Fall Production Program

Ellie Heyman is a New York City theatre director. Directing credits include: The Traveling Imaginary (Merge Records/Music Tapes National Tour); Oh Liza: A Show for the Internet (Auntie Productions); Be Careful of Words (Helikon Rep); Our Lady (BCAP); Orlando (F&M); Hedda Gabler (Boston University); Chaplin Play No. 1 (University of Chicago); Contents May Be Extremely Hot (Phalanx Theater); and The Bar Show (Paper Crane Theatre). Ellie is Creative Director of The Orbiting Human Circus with Julian Koster (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Artistic Director of Helikon Rep. Ellie is a proud graduate of Boston University and Northwestern University. www.ellieheyman.com

Michael Leibenluft. Directing credits: Lost Tribe by Alex Borinsky with Target Margin Theater Lab; The Subtle Body by Megan Campisi, presented with Gold No Trade at Dixon Place and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center; TREATS at the Bowery Poetry Club, and North Bank Suzhou Creek at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Directing resident from 2012-2013 at Playwrights Horizons (Off-Broadway) and American Theater Company (Chicago). China Fulbright and SDCF Kurt Weill Fellow; member of the 2013 Lincoln Center Director's Lab and The Civilians R&D Group.  Education: B.A. from Yale and M.A. from the Shanghai Theatre Academy.




Michael Osinski co-founded Flashpoint Theatre Company in Philadelphia, where he served as the Producing Artistic Director and directed Caryl Churchill's Far Away, Neil LaBute's autobahn, and four other local premieres.  He has directed at the Wilma Theater, Redtwist Theatre, and the Philadelphia GLBT Theatre Festival, and he has assisted at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Strawdog Theatre, and the National New Play Network Showcase.  Recently Michael completed his MFA in Directing at The Theatre School at DePaul University, where he directed the premiere of Moth by Australian playwright Declan Greene.  He received his BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University.  www.Michael-Osinski.com

Caitlin Sullivan is a Seattle based director specializing in the development of new theatrical work. She is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of the Satori Group. Works with Satori include WinkyFabulous Prizes, and reWilding. She is currently directing Satori's newest work Returning to Albert Joseph, which will premiere this May, and developing The Land is Always Known in collaboration with musical duo The Bengsons. She is the Associate Director of Hundred Days (dir. Anne Kauffman), and also serves as the Co-Artistic Director of the Williams College Summer Theater Lab. Caitlin holds a BA from Williams College. 

Hangar Directing Program


Zi Alikhan is a theatre director who couldn't be more honored to begin working with The Drama League. A native Californian, Zi is based in New York City after completing a BFA in Drama from NYU/Tisch (CAP-21/Viewpoints). Zi is the founding Artistic Director of The BASiC Theatre Project, an NYC theatre collective dedicated to creating socially aware performance for the millennial generation. With BASiC, Zi has helmed productions of Gross IndecencyThe Mistakes Madeline Made, workshops of A Crucible and, currently, The Maids. Other NYC credits include N/F (HERE Arts, DUTF Encore Series), The Future Mrs. Harry Windsor (Dixon Place), In the Next Room (WORK Brooklyn), and The Cradle Will Rock (NYU/Tisch). As an assistant, Zi has helped create work Off-Broadway and regionally at The Pasadena Playhouse. Zi is a proud associate member of SDC. 



Melissa Crespo is a NYC based freelance director and producer. Most recently she directed Morningside Opera’s ¡Figaro! (90210). Selected assoc/asst credits: Bird in the Hand (Fulcrum Theater), Sarah Ruhl and Todd Almond's Melancholy Play (13P), Camino Real (NYU), Everyday Rapture and Some Men (Second Stage). Melissa was a Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and the Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage. She is an alumnus of The Civilians R & D Group and is currently the Grant Coordinator for the Tony Randall Theatrical Fund. Melissa holds an MFA in Directing from the New School for Drama.





John Michael DiResta

Recent credits: The Drunken City (Steppenwolf Garage), La Casa De Schwarz (Judson Church) The Memory Tax (Araca Project), Scenes From the Middle Voice and Favorites (Rising Phoenix), Yellowface, Lyle The CrocodileThe Romeo and Juliet Project, The Glass Menagerie, The Normal Heart, Big Questions (Northwestern), A Crack in the Canvas, Bisexuality is for TeenagersWatching the Thunder (MCC FreshPlay), Jump Into The Abscess (Where Eagles Dare), Cuddle Wars (Pillow Talk), Back to Society (Abrons Arts Center). Assistant Director: Ode to Joy (Cherry Lane) Skylight (Court Theater), The Verona Project (AMTP), Judgment Day (Bard Summerscape), Killers and Other Family (Rattlestick Theater). Dramaturge: Fur (Access Theater), The Wild Duck (Bard Summerscape).  John produced the MCC Theater Youth Company from 2007-2010, and is a teaching artist and writer. www.jmdiresta.com.  




Teya Sugareva is a Bulgarian theatre director, poet and teacher at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA). She was born on December 5, 1989 in Sofia, Bulgaria.  She received a BA degree in Directing for the Drama Theatre from NATFA, and the very same year started teaching there as an assistant of Prof. Snejina Tankovska. Her professional performances include The Miser by Moliere, Walled in Ones by Yassen Vassilev, Welcome, America! by Mathew Vishniek and Invitation for Dinner by Olya Stoyanova.   She has won several of the most respected Bulgarian theater awards.   She is currently studying for a PhD in the field of modern Bulgarian theatre.




Musical Directing Program

Hannah Ryan, a Boston-based freelance theatre director, is currently directing the New York Theatre Workshop’s 2014 Gala honoring Des McAnuff and Michael David. With Point Loma Actors she directed Twelfth NightA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Moliere's The Forced MarriageOnly in New YorkGreater TunaPolish Joke, and Food for Thought. With Point Loma Opera Theatre she directed Cendrillon and Gianni Schicchi. She assisted Des McAnuff on Broadway and HBO’s Billy Crystal 700 SundaysFetch Clay, Make Man at New York Theatre Workshop, Sideways and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at La Jolla Playhouse, and most recently, Christopher Plummer’s A Word or Two at CTG. She has also assisted Chasing the SongA Dram of Drummhicit and A Midsummer Nights Dream with director Christopher Ashley, Sleeping Beauty Wakes with Rebecca Taichman, God of Carnage with Richard Seer and Nobody Loves You with Michelle Tattenbaum.  www.hannahmryan.com