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photo: Pacific Rim Press

Stacie Chaiken’s new play The Dig: death, Genesis & the double helix is scheduled for an LA premiere in the fall of 2012. She is on the performance faculty of the USC School of Theatre and the founder of What’s the Story? a workshop for writers and performers wrestling with personal story. She has taught Master Classes in autobiographical story and performance at NYU, Hebrew Union College and in Israel, at Bar Ilan, and Tel Aviv Universities, where she was recurring a Fulbright Senior Specialist. www.staciechaiken.com

Beth Hogan, actress and associate artistic director of the Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles, is on the Performance Faculty of the USC School of Theatre.

Andrea Hodos is the creator of Moving Torah Workshops - a method for interpreting traditional Jewish texts using writing, movement and theater exercises alongside traditional study methods.  In 2008 she was invited choreograph and perform with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange as an Emerging Choreographer, and her work was presented at the National Building Museum in Washington DC as part of Muscle and Mortar: Animating Architecture at the Capitol Fringe Festival. This summer her one woman show, Cutting My Hair in Jerusalem, will be paired with a piece My Hair Betrays Me by feminist scholar, Ayesha Chaudhry in an evening of performance called Cover Stories: Two Women Forging Modern Identities Amidst Ancient Expectations. www.movingtorah.com

Selma Holo is the Director of USC Fisher Museum of Art and the International Museum Institute. Prior to coming to USC, Holo was Curator of Acquisitions at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, where she assisted Simon between 1977 and 1981 in his development of that museum’s superb collection of painting and sculpture. Recently, she has become increasingly engaged in the study of museums as institutions—and their influence on the shaping of culture. Her most recent book: Beyond the Turnstile: Making the Case for Museums and Sustainable Values is published by Altamira Press.

Velina Hasu Houston has written over 30 plays including 16 commissions in a

career that began at New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club with her seminal work Tea. Her

plays are presented internationally throughout Asia, the US, and in Canada, Greece, Croatia,

and Australia. The recipient of many honors, Houston writes opera, essays, television, and

film and is a published poet. She is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild, Writers Guild of

America-West, League of Professional Theatre Women, and Alliance of Los Angeles

Playwrights. She serves on the US Department of State's US-Japan Conference on Cultural

and Educational Interchange. At the USC School of Theatre, she is founder of the Master

of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing, Professor of Theatre, Associate Dean of Faculty,

Director of Dramatic Writing, Resident Playwright. Archives: Library of Congress,

Huntington Library. www.velinahasuhouston.com

Dan Leshem is the Associate Director for Academic Outreach and Research at the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. Before coming to USC, he was program director of the Emory University Holocaust Denial on Trial web resource. He received his Ph.D. from Emory’s Comparative Literature program in 2009 after completing his dissertation on the ethics of Holocaust representation, The Language of Suffering: Writing and Reading the Holocaust.

Madelyn Puzo, Dean of the USC School of Theatre since 2002, was a creative producer for some of the country's leading regional theatres, including the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, for over 20 years. She has commissioned and/or produced work by such noted theatre artists as Bill T. Jones, JoAnne Akalaitis, Spalding Gray, Joe Chaikin, Philip Glass, Femi Osofisan, Girish Karnad, Bart Sher and Robert Woodruff.  She has produced such diverse plays as House Arrest: An Introgression, Acts I & II by Anna Deavere Smith; Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Sir Peter Hall; and David Henry Hwang's new version Flower Drum Song . While director of Taper, Too, the Mark Taper Forum's second theatre, she won nine Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.

Betsy Salkind is an actress, comedian, writer and former drummer for the Phenobarbidolls. She is a regular at NY's Comic Strip and LA's Comedy Store and appeared most recently in the Showtime special Fierce Funny Women. She is the author of More Than Once Upon A Time (2006), which tells the story of a child who is raped by her father and his friends, but manages to overcome it and then ruin his life, as well as the hilarious Betsy's Sunday School Bible Classics (2008). She is perhaps best known for her squirrel impression, but refuses to be pigeonholed as a squirrel. betsysalkind.com

Moti Sandak is the Director of the International Institute for Jewish & Israeli Culture, and the founder, director & chief editor of All About Jewish Theatre, the global website to promote and enhance Jewish theatre and performing arts worldwide www.jewish-theatre.com.

Mady Schuztman is a writer, scholar and theatre artist.  A renowned practitioner and scholar of the techniques of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), Schutzman is co-editor of Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism (Routledge, 1994) and A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Theatre and Cultural Politics (Routledge, 2006), and teaches the TO work at USC and Pacifica Graduate Institute, as well as at CalArts.  She will be bringing her CalArts TO students to work with underprivileged youth in Santarém, Brazil, during the summer of 2012.

Stephen Smith is executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. He founded the UK Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire, England and cofounded the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. Stephen is a theologian by training with a particular interest in the impact of the Holocaust on religious and philosophical thought and practice. He wrote his dissertation on the “Trajectory of Memory,” examining how Holocaust survivor narrative — and in particular, visual history — has developed over time and shapes the way in which the implications of the Holocaust are understood.

Lynn Sipe, USC Libraries associate dean for collections, acquired the Holocaust & Genocide Studies Collection in collaboration with the collection’s co-facilitator, history and Jewish studies professor Wolf Gruner. The 10,000-item collection includes primary and secondary sources on the Holocaust, ranging from rare books to pamphlets to personal accounts.

Ron Sossi, artistic director and founder of the Odyssey Theatre, has received the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Margaret Harford Award for “demonstrating a continual willingness to experiment provocatively in the process of theatre” and the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Ron Link Award for “consistent quality of direction.” Recent OTE directing projects include Far Away, Buddha’s Big Nite! and Kafka Thing. Ron has led the Odyssey throughout its 36-year history.

Joseph Stern is a veteran of theatre film, and television. He founded the Matrix Theatre in 1977. In the last 35 years he has produced more than 45 plays and over 300 episodes of television, as well as numerous long form specials and films. Recently, he produced Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Neighbors, a study of racism in America, personified by an interracial middle class couple, their bi-racial daughter and a family of black minstrels in blackface who move next door. Neighbors was the recipient of multiple LADCC and Back Stage awards, and was nominated for four Ovations, including Best Play. The play enjoyed a successful run at the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis.  His production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning No Place to Be Somebody received 8 NAACP Awards.  His world premiere production of Orphans moved to the Steppenwolf and then to Off-Broadway before becoming a feature film.  His groundbreaking CBS special Other Mothers, about alternative lifestyles, was honored with 7 Emmy nominations and received 3. In 2004, Mr. Stern produced Our America for Showtime.  It went on to receive four Emmy nominations and won the coveted Humanitas Award.  Mr. Stern was the Executive Producer for the 6-year run of the hit CBS series Judging Amy., where he premiered His current production is All My sons, with a multi-ethnic cast.

Michaela Ullmann is the Librarian for the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library at USC, where researchers from around the world turn for research on the German-speaking exiles in Southern California or other related subjects.  

Ruth Weisberg works primarily in painting, drawing, printmaking and large-scale installations. I make art out of all aspects of my identity, finding in the process that art integrates my experiences, beliefs and heritage. I am particularly nourished by the history of art, the history of the Jewish people, and by the unwritten history of women. I believe that art creates meaning and can be transformative for both the artist and their audience. I seek to create realms of the imagination in which the viewer can also project their struggles, stories, and desires.

Laurie Woolery, associate artistic director, Cornerstone Theatre, Los Angeles. As a director and playwright, she has collaborated on many new works, making theater with and for people of many ages, cultures and levels of theatrical experience, Cornerstone builds bridges between and within diverse communities in Los Angeles and nationwide. Laurie is on faculty at California Institute of the Arts, Citrus College and California State University at Northridge and serves on the Board of the Latino Producers Action Network (LPAN), Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) and the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.

photo: Danna Kinsky