THE NEW GROUP

New Group Now

NEW GROUP NOW is a new series of public forums which locate New Group shows within the larger context of American and/or global society. Bringing together artists and thinkers across disciplines, the series asks vital questions at the center of New Group shows and of our present culture.

A New Renaissance: Exploring the Cultural Impact of the Black Narrative and Identity

Monday, February 25 at 6:30pm
The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Click here to RSVP

Inspired by Jeremy O. Harris’ “Daddy,” a panel will come together to dissect Black representation in today’s culture and its impact on the development of Black identities, as well as the implications of accessing, engaging and maintaining ownership over the Black narrative and identity.

MODERATOR

Nancy Giles is an Emmy-winning contributor to “CBS News Sunday Morning,” and tries to be witty on various political panels on MSNBC. She’s acted in films and on TV and was recently Off-Broadway in The New Group’s Good For Otto by David Rabe. She’s also written and performed solo shows and is working on a collection of essays and true stories. Her podcast “The Giles Files” is on the Apple Podcast app, Google Play, and Stitcher. Be cool and subscribe!

PANELISTS

Jeremy O. Harris (Playwright) Plays: Slave Play (New York Theatre Workshop, NYT Critics’ Pick, Winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and The Lotos Foundation Prize), Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1, and WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys (2019, 53rd State Press). In 2018, Jeremy co-wrote A24’s upcoming film “Zola” with director Janicza Bravo. He is the 11th recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwrighting Award, a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and Scott Rudin Productions. Jeremy’s in his 3rd year at the Yale School of Drama.

D’Weston Haywood is an historian, whose research and teaching center on Black protest, Black masculinity, Black Power, and the intersections of Black culture, Black politics, and Black public spheres. His first book, Let Us Make Men: The Twentieth-Century Black Press and a Manly Vision for Racial Advancement (UNC Press, 2018), examines the Black press as a powerful tool of Black men’s leadership, public vocalization, and gender and identity formation that shaped the 20th Century Black freedom struggle. The book reveals how W. E. B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X, among others, mobilized Black newspapers to wage a fight for racial justice and Black manhood. Haywood’s work also includes forays into an innovative scholarly and pedagogical praxis he calls “Sonic Scholarship.” His first project in this regard, “The [Ferguson] Files: A Sonic Study of Racial Violence in America,” deploys poetry, rap, and research to (re) examine racial violence involving police killings of unarmed Black people between 2014 and 2015.

Antwaun Sargent is a writer and critic living and working in New York City. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Nation, W, Vice and various other publications. He has recently contributed essays and interviews to museum and gallery publications for artists Ed Clark, Mickalene Thomas, Arthur Jafa and Yinka Shonibare. Sargent has lectured and been in conversation with artists at Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, Art Gallery of Toronto and various other institutions. His first book “The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion” is out this fall from Aperture.

PAST PANELS

Prada, Pagers, and Instagram Fame: Exploring Wealth, Influence, and The Modern Day Fairy Tale

Monday, December 3 at 7pm
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Inspired by Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, The Musical, a panel of artists, fashion bloggers and social media influencers will come together to discuss and explore society’s interest in wealth, and how social media is changing the way we interact with and experience the lives of one another and the stories we tell. The panel will also explore how fashion and social media are utilized to create our own carefully curated narratives for the public eye.

MODERATOR

Kevin Sessums was the Executive Editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview as well as the Fanfair Editor of Vanity Fair where he was also a contributing editor and wrote 24 cover stories, among other articles. He has written for ELLE, Allure, Marie Claire, Travel+Leisure, Playboy, San Francisco and OUT magazines, as well as contributed to TheDailyBeast.com. Sessums was the founding Editor in Chief of FourTwoNine magazine and the Editor-at-Large at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre.  He has written two New York Times bestselling memoirs, Mississippi Sissy and I Left It on the Mountain.  He is currently Editor in Chief of sessumsMagazine.com.

PANELISTS

Carrie Berk is a bestselling author, fashion & lifestyle blogger, social media influencer and anti-bullying activist. She has a life’s worth of accomplishments under her belt…all at the tender young age of 15! Driven by a love of writing and a taste for sweet treats, Carrie created her first book series, The Cupcake Club, when she was only in second grade. Co-written with her mom, NY Times Bestselling author Sheryl Berk, the series has published 12 books to date, sold 400,000+ copies worldwide, and has gone on to become an award-winning Off-Broadway show and featured selection in 2017’s New York Musical Festival. Her second series, Fashion Academy, stems from her passion for fashion. The six-book series also became an Off-Broadway production at Vital Theatre. Her latest series, Ask Emma (Bonnier Publishing), springs not just from her boundless imagination, but from her personal experience as a teen lifestyle blogger and someone who has experienced cyberbullying firsthand.

In addition to publishing 21 books to date, Carrie launched her website, “Carrie’s Chronicles” in December 2017. The weekly “Style Empowerment” blog is her take on all things “fun, fab and fashionable” in NYC and features “Carrie’s Q & A” with several celebrities and beauty/fashion movers and shakers. Carrie is also an influencer in her own right, showcasing her personal style with the city as her canvas and working with top fashion, beauty & lifestyle brands, including FOREO, REVOLVE, Alice + Olivia, Madewell, and Daniel Wellington. When Carrie isn’t writing, she can be found singing, dancing or modeling, with numerous theater credits to her name. She also proudly serves as a teen ambassador for No Bully and has made it her mission to encourage tweens and teens to practice empathy and respect among their peers, both in everyday life and on social media.

Amy Heckerling attended the High School of Art and Design and NYU’s School of the Arts. Her short films received prizes at the NYU Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, the prestigious Bronx Film Festival, and secured her place at the American Film Institute. Her AFI short got her into Universal, where she directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High, followed by Johnny Dangerously and European Vacation. Amy wrote and directed Look Who’s TalkingLook Who’s Talking TooCluelessI Could Never Be Your Woman and Vamps, and produced A Night at the Roxbury, Executive Produced, wrote and directed episodes of the TV series of “Clueless” and “Fast Times,” and directed episodes of “The Office,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Carrie Diaries” and “Red Oaks.”

CLINT RAMOS. Designs for the The New Group include The True, Downtown Race Riot, The WhirligigSweet CharityBurningOne Arm. On Broadway: VioletThe Elephant Man (also West End), EclipsedIn TransitSunday in the Park with GeorgeSix Degrees of SeparationOnce On This Island, Torch Song. His awards include: Tony Award, Obie Award for Sustained Excellence, three Lucille Lortel Awards, two ATW Henry Hewes Awards and the TDF Irene Sharraf Award. His work includes over 200 Off-Broadway, national and international credits including Here Lies LoveBootycandy, Appropriate. He is one of the principal designer for Encores! Off-Center. Current: Wild Goose Dreams, Slave Play. He is the Head of Design at Fordham University’s School of Theatre. @clintramos

The Future is Female: A discussion on feminine representation and politics inspired by Sharr White’s The True

Monday, October 22 at 7pm
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Framed by Sharr White’s The True, a panel of artists, advocates, educators, community organizers and political activists will come together to discuss the importance of the female voice in today’s political arena and how to continue to cultivate and support the future of women in politics.

MODERATOR 

Nancy Giles is an Emmy-winning contributor to “CBS News Sunday Morning,” and tries to be witty on various political panels on MSNBC. She’s acted in films and on TV and was recently Off-Broadway in The New Group’s Good For Otto by David Rabe. She’s also written and performed solo shows and is working on a collection of essays and true stories. Her podcast “The Giles Files” is on the Apple Podcast app, Google Play and Stitcher. Be cool and subscribe!

PANELISTS

Christabel Cruz is the Director of National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership™, a national program that engages college women in public leadership, at the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Christabel is also a current Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science at Rutgers, majoring in Women & Politics and minoring in American Politics and Race & Ethnicity Politics. Her graduate research explores Latina candidate emergence and political ambition in local ethnic politics. Christabel has previously worked in New York City politics as well as in multicultural student affairs and as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers-New Brunswick, teaching undergraduate political science courses. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and Art History from Rutgers in 2011 and received a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers in 2013. In her free time, Christabel is a visual artist and writer and has coordinated community workshops for young people on political expression through the arts.

Meghan Finn (director) is the Co-Artistic Director of The Tank on 36th Street in Manhattan. RECENT DIRECTING: When We Went Electronic (The Tank October 25 – November 11, 2018), Manufacturing Mischief (The Tank, NYC; Serpentine Galleries London, Museo Jumex Mexico City, Canadian Stage; Carneigie Mellon; MIT), Charleses by Carl Holder (The Tank), DOOMOCRACY by Pedro Reyes (Creative Time); Sam’s Tea Shack by Ben Gassman and Sam Soghor (The Tank/Barker Room Rep), The Offending Gesture by Mac Wellman (The Tank/3LD at the Connelly Theater); American Powerby Mitch Epstein and Erik Friedlander (V&A London and The Wexner Center); The Downtown Loop by Ben Gassman (3LD/3D+ Productions/Teeth of Tooth Atelier); Take Me Home by Alexandra Collier set in a taxi cab (Incubator Arts Project/LPR), The Service Road by Erin Courtney (Adhesive Theater Project), Motel Cherry by Peggy Stafford (Summerworks Clubbed Thumb/New Georges) and 3 2’s; or AFAR by Mac Wellman (Dixon Place).

Bella Pori is a law student and former government employee living in Brooklyn, New York. She worked for elected officials in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island as a community representative and legislative director. She was the co-founder of Call Them In, an email reminder service that encouraged people to call their senators and make their voices heard on a wide variety of progressive issues. Her writing can be found at westwingbestwing.com, where she breaks down political concepts in an easy to understand way. Follow her on Twitter, @BellaPori.

Born and raised in the South Bronx, Amanda Septimo has a long, rich history of service to the community that began with community activism in her teens. Over the years Amanda has worked with local community organizations to advance an agenda of inclusive, sustainable, and responsible growth in vulnerable communities, like The Bronx. Most recently, Amanda Septimo worked with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) to ensure that school leaders and students have the resources they need to transform every school into a thriving learning environment.  Prior to joining CSA, Amanda Septimo spent four years working with Congressman Jose E. Serrano in The Bronx. In 2014, Amanda became one of the youngest serving senior staffers in Congress when she was promoted to District Director for the 15th Congressional District. In September 2018, Amanda Septimo was a candidate in the Democratic primary election for New York State Assembly in The Bronx’s 84thDistrict.

Living Long: How We Face Aging Today

Monday, June 4 at 7pm
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Framed by Lily Thorne’s Peace for Mary Frances, this panel will examine the very real phenomenon of Americans living longer, and the challenges and opportunities that presents. This will involve looking at the diversity of experiences, which may diverge depending on factors like class, race and place, and movements and strategies that are trying to respond to the changing times.

 

​​MODERATOR 

Over the last 15 years, Nancy Giles’ work as a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning CBS News Sunday Morning earned her 3 Emmy Awards for a unique blend of common sense wisdom, laugh-out-loud humor, and social and political commentary. A graduate of Chicago’s esteemed Second City improv troupe and a Theatre World Award winner,  Giles appeared for three seasons on the acclaimed TV drama China Beach. Her one-woman shows include The Further Adventures of the Accidental Pundette, Notes of a Negro Neurotic, and Black Comedy: The Wacky Side of Racism, which the Village Voice called “smart and unforgiving.” She’s offered her perspectives as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, The Beat with Ari Melber, and AM Joy.  An accomplished voiceover and radio artist, Giles won back-to-back Gracies from the Alliance for Women in Media for Giles & Moriarty (with CBS News correspondent Erin Moriarty) on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. Her podcast, The Giles Files, takes a lively spin on trending topics with interviews, commentaries, song parodies and more. For more than 25 years she’s been a proud volunteer with The 52nd Street Project, helping at-risk kids take part in acting, playwriting, and arts workshops, classes, and performances.

PANELISTS

​In his 30-plus years in journalism, John Leland has gone from chronicling youth culture to writing about the “oldest old.” It’s a fitting journey. Given the demographic trends, he writes, “Your elderly parents are the vanguard that your kids think they are.”

A graduate of Columbia College, he worked as a senior editor at Newsweek and editor-in-chief of Details magazine before joining The New York Times, where he has written for almost every desk at the paper. In 2015, he wrote a year-long series following six people age 85 and up, which became the basis for his new book, “Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year among the Oldest Old,” a New York Times bestseller. As he wrote in the Times about the series and the book, “No work I have ever done has brought me as much joy and hope, or changed my outlook on life as profoundly.”

He is the author of two previous books: “Hip: The History” and “Why Kerouac Matters.”

​In her capacity as Director of Organizing at Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), Rachel McCullough has built numerous campaigns and coalitions focused dignity for care work & caregiving. She was a leader in the historic campaign for the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and has been thrilled to help develop the field strategy for Caring Across Generations since its launch in 2011. She serves on the steering committee of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network and is an author of the 2014 report The Eldercare Dialogues: A Grassroots to Transform Long-term Care. She is the Campaign Director of the New York Caring Majority, an unprecedented coalition of seniors, family caregivers, people with disabilities, and home care workers fighting for a more caring economy in New York State.

​After a career that included almost 20 years on the Kings County Family Court bench Betty E. Staton returned to the Bedford Stuyvesant Community Legal Services Corporation (BSCLS) where she began her legal career as a staff attorney in 1979. She is currently President of The Brooklyn Legal Services which provides free civil legal services for poor and low income residents of Brooklyn.

In 1973, Judge Staton returned to Brooklyn College after an 18 year absence. After graduating in 1976, she entered New York University School of Law at the age of 42 on a full scholarship. She worked as a staff attorney at Bedford Stuyvesant Community Legal Services for eight years, including several years as Deputy Director and Director of Community Outreach and Education.

In March, 1987, she left BSCLS to become a founding partner in the law firm of Boyd Staton & Cave, the first African American female law partnership in the country. She worked at the law firm until 1991 when she was appointed to a ten year term on the New York State Family Court, In 2001, she was re-appointed her to a second ten year term and served until her mandatory retirement in 2004.

Judge Staton served as an adjunct lecturer at several colleges including CCNY, Medgar Evers, College of New Rochelle and New York City College of Technology where she taught Business Law for more than 15 years. Judge Staton is a member of several professional and community organizations. She is a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church where she is active in the Prime Time and Chosen ministries. Judge Betty loves to travel and dance. She is the 2013 winner of Stars of New York Dance a program that provides scholarships to aspiring young dancers. Her bucket list is to visit every state in the United States and every Continent throughout the world. Fourteen states and one continent (Antarctica) remain on her list.

Judge Staton is often asked why she has not retired. She feels blessed that God’s Grace enabled her to begin her legal career at the age of 45 and she has been able to give meaningful services to people in the community. She believes that there is still much that she can do and she is thankful every day for all God has given her: abundant Grace, talents, spiritual gifts of teaching and encouragement and the blessing of a sound mind and body.

Peace for Mary Frances marks Lily Thorne’s professional playwrighting debut. A graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA playwriting program, Thorne was a documentary film producer for many years, working with filmmakers Ric Burns (New York: A Documentary FilmEugene O’Neill: A Documentary Film), Alexandra Shiva (Bombay EunuchStagedoor) and Bennett Miller. She also co-directed a music video for Bright Eyes (“Easy/Lucky/Free”) and collaborated with the people’s historian Howard Zinn.

Building Community Around Mental Health

Monday, April 2 at 7pm
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Using the framing of David Rabe’s Good for Otto, the NEW GROUP NOW discussion series continues this season with a panel on Building Community Around Mental Health. The panel consists of artists, cultural workers, mental health advocates and policy makers who will discuss how we destigmatize the conversations around mental health in ways that build avenues for understanding, community and support.

Mental illness affects many people within our society, yet many stigmas still exist that hinder open conversation on the issue. Using the themes and events of David Rabe’s Good for Otto and the work presented in Dr. Richard O’Connor’s Undoing Depression, this discussion asks what does the conversation look like when we break down barriers and openly collaborate to become advocates for mental wellness? This discussion will explore what it looks like when we, as activists, artists, and policy-makers, intentionally join together to form a community around mental health.

 

MODERATOR 

Over the last 15 years, Nancy Giles’ work as a contributor to the Peabody Award-winning CBS News Sunday Morning earned her 3 Emmy Awards for a unique blend of common sense wisdom, laugh-out-loud humor, and social and political commentary. A graduate of Chicago’s esteemed Second City improv troupe and a Theatre World Award winner,  Giles appeared for three seasons on the acclaimed TV drama China Beach. Her one-woman shows include The Further Adventures of the Accidental Pundette, Notes of a Negro Neurotic, and Black Comedy: The Wacky Side of Racism, which the Village Voice called “smart and unforgiving.” She’s offered her perspectives as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, The Beat with Ari Melber, and AM Joy.  An accomplished voiceover and radio artist, Giles won back-to-back Gracies from the Alliance for Women in Media for Giles & Moriarty (with CBS News correspondent Erin Moriarty) on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. Her podcast, The Giles Files, takes a lively spin on trending topics with interviews, commentaries, song parodies and more. For more than 25 years she’s been a proud volunteer with The 52nd Street Project, helping at-risk kids take part in acting, playwriting, and arts workshops, classes, and performances.

PANELISTS

Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Founder and Executive Director of Life in My Days, a Global Non-Profit paving the way for starting difficult conversations around Mental Health and Disabilities, Abuse and Trauma, and Social Justice worldwide. Life in My Days connects individuals from over 150 countries and has operations in the United States, Turkey, Malaysia, and Jordan. Life in My Days specializes in starting these difficult conversations, empowering community members, and creating spaces of Belonging.

He is also a Social Justice and Mental Health advocate, sharing his personal experiences about Mental Illness and Oppression worldwide, and supporting organizations in creating more accessible and safe spaces. He has worked with dozens of communities worldwide, working on the individual, community, organizational, and policy levels. His work has been featured on Healthline, The Mighty, This is My Brave, Communications Rebel, Muslimgirl, and many local publications in the communities he works in.

He is also a Peer Support Specialist, supporting individuals from around the world, specializing in working with individuals displaced by war, torture and complex childhood trauma, living with Mental Illness and/or Disability, and individuals living with Suicidality.

In his free time, Ahmad is also a novelist writing YA Fantasy, and the occasional Non-fiction. Currently, he’s writing a memoir about his own complex childhood trauma. He has a Bachelors in Engineering from WPI, and a Graduate Certificate in Traumatic Stress. When he’s not on the road he lives in Northfield, NH.

T-Kea Blackman is a mental health advocate, speaker and writer who lives by the Toni Payne quote, “I rather be living my truth happily than living a lie miserably.” She is the creator and host of the Fireflies Unite Podcast, a weekly podcast dedicated to bringing light into darkness (just like the fireflies) by sharing the stories of individuals thriving with mental illness within communities of color despite the disadvantages and racism that negatively impact their mental health. T-Kea’s articles have been published on The Mighty, Urban Faith, Blavity, and 21 Ninety. Making a digital footprint, her articles have garnered over 45,000 views and encouraged individuals to seek treatment.

Described as an inspiration, her heartfelt and powerful story is a testament that you can thrive despite having a mental illness. T-Kea was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorders and is a suicide survivor. She previously worked in the television industry as a publicist and production/talent coordinator. Within her career, she provided support to TV One’s signature award-winning shows Unsung and Unsung Hollywood, BET’s Black Girls Rock!, The Soul Train Awards and BET X Youth Experience. Her diagnosis led her to use her entertainment background and communications skills to raise awareness for mental illness within communities of color.

She earned a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University, and a bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film production from Howard University.

Richard O’Connor, MSW, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist with offices in Lakeville, CT, and Manhattan. For 15 years he was director of the Northwest Center for Family Services and Mental Health. He received his MSW and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and extended his education through the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and the Family Institute.

Dr. O’Connor is the author of five books: Undoing Depression has been a perennial best-seller among self-help books; it earned high praise from professionals as well as from William Styron, Andrew Solomon, and Larry McMurtry. Active Treatment of Depression was hailed as “one of the decade’s great psychotherapy texts on depression.” Undoing Perpetual Stress received the Books for a Better Life Award as the best wellness book of 2005. Happy at Last is the “thinking person’s guide to joy.” His most recent book, Rewire:  Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, and Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior, was published in August 2014 by Hudson Street Press/Penguin.

Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She lives with depression and anxiety and is a suicide attempt survivor. Dior is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness. She goes around the country giving keynotes, hosting workshops, and speaking on panels. Her work and insight have been covered in media outlets such as Forbes, Newsweek, NBC News Latino, and The Guardian. Dior is the recipient of numerous awards including, The White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations, 2015 Alternatives Conference Cookie Gant and Bill Compton LGBTQI Leadership Award and a Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame Inductee. She has a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University. She is working towards a Master of Public Health at NYU’s College of Global Public Health. She is a native New Yorker and currently lives in New York City.

The Cultural DNA of “The Jerry Springer Show”

Monday, March 5 at 7pm
Lucille Lortel Theatre
21 Christopher Street

Using the framing of Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas’ Jerry Springer – The Opera, the NEW GROUP NOW discussion series continues this season with a panel on The Cultural DNA of “The Jerry Springer Show.” A panel of artists, media personalities and culture writers will gather to discuss the implications and consequences of sharing ones’ unfiltered life through reality television and social media. As well as explore how this sharing has become a staple in our popular cultural landscape.

After being on the air for more than 25 years, no one can deny that Jerry Springer and his show has had an impact on our culture. In many ways, “The Jerry Springer Show” is a precursor to the reality show and in this digital age, the internet’s confessional, the vlog. It opened a pathway that allows people to completely share all aspects of their lives. In conjunction with the New York premiere of Jerry Springer – The Opera, this conversation will discuss how sharing everyday life became mainstream and how we shift through all the stories afforded us and connect.

MODERATOR 

Jeremy O. Harris is an actor and playwright currently residing in New Haven, CT by way of Los Angeles, CA. His full-length plays include Xander XystDragon: 1, “Daddy,” WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys and Slave Play. Short plays include: I TRIED TO WRITE A POEM & THIS CAME OUT, Untitled, Merchant of Venice Adaptation (collaboration with conceptual artist David Birkin), N*Words In ParisIDK (a cute race-based pyschosis), and NORF. His work has been presented or developed by Pieterspace, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, NYTW, and Playwrights Horizons. He is a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, 2016 Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award Finalist, 2016 Princess Grace Award Semi-Finalist, resident playwright with Colt Coeur, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy is currently in his second year at the Yale School of Drama for Playwriting.

PANELISTS

Nick D’Agostino is a Creative Producer at the Emmy Award Winning studio The Skin Deep. From numerous viral hits and live theatrical experiences, to VR films and apps, The Skin Deep is a thought leader exploring human connection in the digital age. With millions of views and a large global audience, Nick has played a central role in creating, editing and facilitating many of The Skin Deep’s experiences and growth. From shooting and editing to directing and even participating in the Emmy award winning project {THE AND}, Nick’s been on both sides of the camera and spent the past 3 years focused on fostering vulnerability and honesty in their studio setting. Sharing conversations from around the world, Nick and The Skin Deep have their sights set on building experiences that foster valuable connection and examine how we, as humans beings, are interacting with one another as technology plays an increasingly larger role in our everyday lives.

Tiffany Mann Television: “Orange Is The New Black,” “RISE.”  Off-Broadway: Invisible ThreadCabin in the Sky.  Other theater: Effie (Dreamgirls) Celie (The Color Purple), Dynamite (Hairspray).  Ms. Mann has performed with the Fort Worth Opera Chorus in numerous productions and studied opera at Oklahoma City University. @iamtiffanymann

Daria McCall As AFROPUNK’s Marketing Manager, Daria McCall manages visual storytelling and content creation that celebrates the fullness of black identity. The New Jersey native is a Rutger University and School of Visual Arts alum. She has previously worked in marketing, event management, and content production for cultural powerhouses including Def Jam Recordings, Tribeca Film Festival, and The Met.

Patrick L. Riley is best known for his work as a freelance, senior field producer at “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for over 13 years – including ABC network credits on “Oprah’s Legends Ball” and “Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy”. That opportunity provided moments for Patrick to interview Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as well as many of his own idols – including Diana Ross, Mary Tyler Moore, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Dr. Maya Angelou, and many more. Since OPRAH wrapped in 2011, other brands call on Patrick to consult as a producer – including The Oprah Winfrey Network, The Wendy Williams Show, Pickler & Ben, BET Creative Services, and NBCBLK. Patrick Executive Produced the 2015-16 “The More You Know” campaign for NBC Universal. Other on-camera clients include (or have included) TV-ONE’s “Life After”; COZI-TV; BET; The Advocate; Wells Fargo; and ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360. Riley books a number of speaking and hosting engagements – including return business with Prudential, Optum, Disney, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Patrick sings as well. When in season, his popular open mic karaoke experience, All Star Karaoke, attracts an enthusiastic crowd. AirBnB named it the best way to experience karaoke in New York City. It includes giveaways from event sponsor, Miss Jessie’s, for which Patrick is a Brand Ambassador. He has received a number of industry nods for his work, including the 2014 Momentum Education’s “Pillar of Empowerment” Award at Momentum Honors in New York City as well as several awards from the National, Atlanta, and New York Associations of Black Journalists, and others. In a rare turn, Patrick portrays “Rudy” in the independent film STEPS, his movie acting debut – Executive Produced by Shaquille O’Neal. STEPS has screened to extensive praise on the film festival circuit – including the Peachtree Village International, the Newark International, and the Urban World Film Festivals. Patrick’s hardcover book, “That’s What Friends Are For: On the Women Who Inspired Me,” is being published by Dorpie Books. It will be out in March 2018. Here’s a link to purchase: dorpiebooks.com/products/patrick-l-riley

 

Confronting Racial Bias in Our Communities

Monday, December 11 at 7pm
National Black Theatre
2031-33 National Black Theatre Way

Using the framing of Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s world premiere play Downtown Race Riot, the NEW GROUP NOW discussion series continues this season with a panel on “Confronting Racial Bias in Our Communities.” Bringing together artists and prominent thought leaders across disciplines and backgrounds, this panel discussion asks vital questions at the center of New Group productions and our present culture.

Watch the full panel discussion here.

MODERATOR 

Over the last 15 years, Nancy Giles’ work as a contributor to the Peabody Award winning CBS News Sunday Morning earned her 3 Emmy Awards for a unique blend of common sense wisdom, laugh-out-loud humor, and social and political commentary. A graduate of Chicago’s esteemed Second City improv troupe and a Theatre World Award winner,  Giles appeared for three seasons on the acclaimed TV drama China Beach. Her one-woman shows include The Further Adventures of the Accidental PundetteNotes of a Negro Neurotic, and Black Comedy: The Wacky Side of Racism, which the Village Voice called “smart and unforgiving.” She’s offered her perspectives as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’DonnellThe Beat with Ari Melber, and AM Joy. An accomplished voiceover and radio artist, Giles won back-to-back Gracies from the Alliance for Women in Media for Giles & Moriarty (with CBS News correspondent Erin Moriarty) on WPHT-AM in Philadelphia. Her podcast, The Giles Files, takes a lively spin on trending topics with interviews, commentaries, song parodies and more. For more than 25 years she’s been a proud volunteer with The 52nd Street Project, helping at-risk kids take part in acting, playwriting, and arts workshops, classes, and performances.

PANELISTS

Anurag Gupta is the Founder & CEO of BE MORE, a social enterprise that employs proven in-person and online training programs to eradicate bias in key industries to save lives, improve top line performance and reduce billions of dollars of wasted costs. He is also a licensed attorney, an academic researcher, and a mindfulness expert. Prior to founding BE MORE, Anu worked with various social enterprises and research institutes globally on improving health and social outcomes for neglected populations. He was awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship and the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowships to grow BE MORE. He recently gave a TED Talk on breaking bias and his work has been profiled on the Huffington Post, NPR, and New York Post. He has trained over 4,000 professionals in hacking bias. You can follow him on social media @anuragnyc.

When she was eight years old, Jacqui Lewis hid under her bed as bullets flew in her Chicago neighborhood following the assassination of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In that moment, she felt called to work for racial equality in the United States.

Her 1,000-member congregation, Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, has diversity that looks like the subway, but its legendary love feels like home. Jews, Buddhists, atheists, and Christians pack its sanctuary. Millennials and boomers, trans and gay, singles and families all call Middle their own. Middle Church is celebrated in Robert P. Jones’ book, The End of White Christian America, as an example of what revolutionary love can do to combat racism and xenophobia.

Believing faith communities can lead the way to racial reconciliation, Dr. Lewis co-founded The Middle Project with her spouse, The Rev. John Janka, which trains leaders to create a more just society. More than 300 faith leaders attended its 11th annual conference, “Revolutionary Love – Disruptive Ethics to Dismantle Racism” in 2017, featuring speakers such as Van Jones, Valarie Kaur, William J. Barber II, Zainab Salbi, and Bill Moyers. “Revolutionary Love—Complete the Dream” is April 6–8, 2018.

Dr. Lewis is the first African American and first woman to serve as senior minister in the Collegiate Church of New York, founded in 1628. She hosted “Just Faith,” an on-demand program on MSNBC.com and is a frequent media commentator. Her books include The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Congregations, The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation (April 2018), and the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful! She is currently at work on a book about a path to revolutionary love.

Moise Morancy is a 22 year old American actor, director, hip-hop recording artist, poet, writer and activist from Brooklyn, New York. Moise is best known for his acting roles and his hard core, thought provoking, uncensored rap music. Though Morancy has a tough exterior, he often times expresses that it derives from pain and hardship. “Without change, one cannot grow,” and the ability to do both are some of Moise’s greatest attributes. Moise is currently appearing Off-Broadway in The New Group’s Downtown Race RiotYou can follow him on social media @moisemorancy.

James Braxton Peterson is the Director of Africana Studies and Professor of English at Lehigh University.  He is the author of several books, The Hip Hop Underground and African American Culture, Prison Industrial Complex for Beginners and Hip Hop Headphones: A Scholar’s Critical Playlist.  Peterson hosts “The Remix” on Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, WHYY.  “The Remix” is a podcast that engages issues at the intersection of race, politics, and popular culture. He is a Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institute. Peterson has written for Newsweek.com, The Guardian, The LA Times, Reuters, and The Daily Beast and The Grio.  He is a media commentator and has appeared on MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, HLN, Fox News, and other networks as an expert on race, politics, and popular culture.

Addiction, Mental Health, and Hamish Linklater’s The Whirligig

Monday, June 5 at 7pm
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Using the framing of Hamish Linklater’s world premiere play The Whirligig, a panel of artists, activists, and mental health professionals will discuss how mental health and substance abuse intersect within families in New York City and beyond.

MODERATOR 

Kai Wright is editor and host of WNYC’s narrative unit, and a columnist for The Nation. His reporting and writing is focused on racial justice, economic inequity, healthcare, and sexuality. Formerly features editor of The Nation, he was the host of the podcast “The United States of Anxiety,” a partnership of The Nation and WNYC Studios. The podcast explored America’s debate over its national identity against the backdrop of the 2016 election, profiling supporters of Donald Trump and their immigrant neighbors in the suburbs of Long Island. Kai was also host of the podcast “There Goes the Neighborhood,” which explored gentrification in Brooklyn. He is the former editorial director of Colorlines and a longtime fellow of the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.

PANELISTS

Scott Elliott is an award-winning stage director, filmmaker and the founding Artistic Director of The New Group, where he most recently directed the U.S. premiere of Wallace Shawn’s Evening at the Talk House, as well as Buried Child by Sam Shepard and The Spoils by Jesse Eisenberg, both of which transferred to Trafalgar Studios on London’s West End. Also at The New Group, he has directed works by Thomas Bradshaw, Ayub Khan Din, Francine Volpe, Erika Sheffer, Tommy Nohilly, Joe Orton, Mike Leigh, and David Rabe.

Alex Hurt plays Greg in The Whirligig. Broadway: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Off-Broadway: Love, Love, Love (Roundabout Theatre Company); Dada Woof Papa Hot (Lincoln Center Theatre); Placebo (Playwrights Horizons); Scenes from a Marriage(NYTW); Caucasian Chalk Circle (CSC). RegionalOther Desert Cities (Alley Theatre); A Behanding in Spokane (SF Playhouse); No Man’s Land, Who am I This Time (A.R.T.); The Lion in WinterOthello (Hedgerow). Film/TV: The River Why, “Bull”, “Law & Order: SVU”, “Grimm.” MFA: NYU Tisch Graduate Acting.

Maia Szalavitz is a neuroscience journalist obsessed with addiction, love, inequality and empathy. Her New York Times bestseller, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, explores why addiction is best viewed as a developmental disorder and what this means for treatment and policy.  She is author or co-author of six other books, including Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids and with Dr. Bruce Perry, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Born for Love:  Why Empathy Is Essential— And Endangered. She currently writes regular columns for The Guardian, VICE and the San Francisco Chronicle and is frequently published by other publications including the New York TimesTIME, the Washington PostScientific American, STAT and New York Magazine. She lives in New York City with her husband and a Siamese shelter cat.

Liz Evans is a trained as a nurse and has worked with people experiencing homelessness and drug use for over 25 years. She is currently the Executive Director of Washington Heights Corner Project and New York Harm Reduction Educators. Over a decade ago she founded North America’s first legally permitted Supervised Injection Site… (a place where it is legal to inject drugs under the supervision of a nurse).

Leslie Daly, PhD is a clinical psychologist at the Center for Motivation and Change (CMC), a private group practice specializing in the treatment of substance use disorders in New York City. Dedicated to practicing compassionate, evidenced-based treatment approaches, CMC works with individuals, their families and partners in both individual and group contexts. Leslie worked as a creative arts therapist at Bellevue Hospital Center and New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell for 8 years before pursing her doctorate at LIU Brooklyn. A yoga and meditation teacher for over 17 years, Leslie utilizes mindfulness- and body-based therapies to address trauma, mood and substance use disorders.

This work was supported by a Building Demand for the Arts Implementation grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.