Jun 12, 2021

Coffeehouse Chronicles #160 Morgan Jenness: Markers  of a Yenta Kitchen Dog

La MaMa present

Coffeehouse Chronicles #160

Morgan Jenness:

Markers  of a Yenta Kitchen Dog

Series Director: Michal Gamily

a black arrow pointing downward

La MaMa Coffeehouse Chronicles

#160 Morgan Jenness:

Markers  of a Yenta Kitchen Dog

Series Director: Michal Gamily

Moderated by Morgan Jenness

Assistant to Morgan Jenness: Everett “Evie” Mason

Panelists include: Maxinne Leighton, Jodi McClintock, Tom Ross, Emmett Foster, David Henry Hwang, Shelly Raffle, Muriel Borst Tarrant, Jim Nicola, Chris Grabowski, Lisa Peterson, Nina Mankin, Susan Rubin, Shelby Jiggetts, Wiley Hausam, Mark Russell, Anne Bogart and Melanie Joseph

Performances by Taylor Mac, David Cale, Lisa Ramirez, Daniel Alexander Jones, Universes, Daniel Talbott, Luis Alfaro, Carl Hancock Rux, Talking Band and Nicky Paraiso

NYTW: What we've done

Wake up its time to go to bed

Carl Hancock Rux

Bio: Carl Hancock Rux is an American poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, recording artist, actor, theater director, radio journalist, as well as a frequent collaborator in the fields of film, modern dance, and contemporary art. He is the author of several books including the Village Voice Literary Prize-winning collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta, the novel, Asphalt, and the Obie Award-winning play, Talk. His music has been released internationally on several labels including Sony/550, Thirsty Ear, and Giant Step. Mr. Rux is also co-Artistic Director of Mabou Mines, an experimental theatre company founded in 1970 and based in New York City. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Doris Duke Award for New Works, the Doris Duke Charitable Fund, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Prize, the Bessie Award and the Alpert Award in the Arts, and a 2019 Global Change Maker award by WeMakeChange.Org. Mr. Rux's archives are housed at the Billy Rose Theater Division of the New York Public Library, the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution as well as the Film and Video/Theater and Dance Library of the California Institute of the Arts.

Memory: My first memory of meeting Morgan Jeness was actually a confluence of experiences: working at the Joseph Papp Public Theater; requesting her expertise as a dramaturg on a performance piece I was working on called “Asphalt” , produced by Melanie Joseph and the Foundry Theater and presented at UMass Amherst as well as the Kitchen; and later working with her as a literary agent at Abrams. Her knowledge of theater, history, performance, and her ability to have impassioned conversations with artists about the work they were creating always left me spellbound. There quite frankly is NO ONE on the planet like Morgan Jeness. The NY Theater community ( as well as the community of social activism) had benefited greatly from her drive and forcefulness.

Anne Bogart

Bio: Anne Bogart is one of the three Co-Artistic Directors of the SITI Company, which she founded with Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992. She is a Professor at Columbia University where she runs the Graduate Directing Program. Works with SITI include Falling & Loving; The Bacchae, Chess Match No. 5; Lost in the Stars; The Theater is a Blank Page; Persians; Steel Hammer; A Rite; Café Variations; Trojan Women (After Euripides); American Document; Antigone; Under Construction; Freshwater; Who Do You Think You Are; Radio Macbeth; Hotel Cassiopeia; Death and the Ploughman; La Dispute; Score; bobrauschenbergamerica; Room; War of the Worlds–the Radio Play; Cabin Pressure; Alice’s Adventures; Culture of Desire; Bob; Going, Going, Gone; Small Lives/Big Dreams; The Medium; Noel Coward’s Hay Fever and Private Lives; August Strindberg’s Miss Julie; and Charles Mee’s Orestes. Recent operas include: Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, The Handmaid’s Tale, Handel’s Alcina, Dvorak’s Dimitrij Verdi’s Macbeth, Bellini’s Norma and Bizet’s Carmen. She is the author of six books: A Director Prepares; The Viewpoints Book; And Then, You Act; Conversations with Anne, What’s the Story and The Art of Resonance.

Memory: I first met Morgan Jenness when she was working with Joe Papp at the Public Theater. She came to see my very downtown, very site-specific productions (this was before "site-specific" was a word) and we bonded very swiftly.

Jim Nicola

Bio: James C. Nicola has been the Artistic Director of New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) since 1988. Under his guidance, NYTW has remained steadfast to its founding commitment of nurturing both established and emerging theatre artists and promoting collaboration and bold experimentation with theatrical forms. Mr. Nicola initiated an extensive series of workshop opportunities including summer residencies and fellowships for artists representing a broad spectrum of cultures and backgrounds. He forged a unique community of theatre artists, the Usual Suspects, a group of writers, directors, designers and actors, who form the core of NYTW's artist development activities. As Artistic Director, Mr. Nicola has been instrumental in the development of many NYTW productions, including Jonathan Larson's Rent; Tony Kushner's Slavs! and Homebody/Kabul; Doug Wright's Quills; Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Far Away, A Number and Love and Information; Rick Elice’s Peter and the Starcatcher; Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová and Enda Walsh’s Once; David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s Lazarus; Dael Orlandersmith’s The Gimmick and Forever; Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown; Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me; Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play; Sam Gold’s production of Othello; and eight productions directed by Ivo van Hove. Mr. Nicola is a graduate of Tufts University.  He is a recipient of Tufts University’s P.T. Barnum Award, the Erwin Piscator Award, the 2015 Miss Lilly Award for supporting women in theater, and a 2019 Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Memory: I don’t have a specific story of meeting Morgan, though we were both working together at what was then called the New York Shakespeare Festival.  I was an aspiring director by night, and working in the Casting Office by day.  Morgan was working in the Play Development office, with Gail Papp.

What I remember about her then—which is of course true about her to this day—was her complete and utter spiritual commitment to theater.  And especially to being in service to those who make it.

It’s this humility, this belief in a higher purpose, that has shaped Morgan’s life.  No one has more integrity than she in this regard.  She will always be an inspiration to me.

Tom Ross

Bio: Tom Ross inaugurated Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre Company with Barbara Oliver in 1992 and served 12 years as Managing Director. In 2004, he became Artistic Director, holding that position for 15 years. He stepped down in 2019. Tom oversaw both Aurora’s move into its own Addison Street theatre complex and its expansion into the Dashow Wing, creating a second theatre space. Tom created the new play initiatives, The Global Age Project and Originate+Generate. He directed 30 productions for the company. Additionally in San Francisco, Tom served as a producer of the legendary Solo Mio Festival for 8 years. Before moving to the Bay Area, Tom worked 8 years at NYC’s Public Theater (1982-1990) first as Executive Assistant to Joseph Papp and then Co-director of Play and Musical Development. While there he adapted Joe Orton’s screenplay “Up Against It” into a musical with songs by Todd Rundgren. He line produced Angelina Reaux’s “Stranger Here Myself” and worked on projects with Jonathan Larsen, Malcolm McLaren, Frank Oz and many others.

Memory: I believe I would have met Morgan on my first day at the Public.  Joe Papp's area and Play and Musical Development Department shared the same large space with Joe's office on one side and Gail Merrifield Papp's office on the other. We shared a reception area, library and cat.

Daniel Alexander Jones

Bio/Memory: Daniel Alexander Jones is an award-winning performance artist and writer. His work as his altar-ego Jomama Jones includes six albums of original music and several performance projects that have toured widely. He is the PEN/Laura Pels Theatre Awardee for 2021 and is also a TED Fellow. He met Morgan in the literary office of the Public Theatre in 1995 when he came in for a meeting about his writing; she had braids and a mischievous smile.

David Cale

Bio: David Cale’s most recent works include his solo musical memoir We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time, for which he wrote the book, lyrics, co-composed the music with Matthew Dean Marsh, and starred (2019 Jeff Award, 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award, 2020 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination, 2020 Drama Desk Award Nomination, 2020 Obie Award) and his solo play, Harry Clarke, starring Billy Crudup, (2018 Lucille Lortel Award). David’s debut exhibition of photographs, The Smiling Squirrels of Tompkins Square Park, is currently running at The Wild Project Gallery, NYC.

Memory: When my show, The Nature of Things, was unceremoniously cancelled at the last minute by a certain theatre in 1989, Morgan swooped in to the rescue telling me a slot had suddenly become available at New York Theater Workshop, and she facilitated an introduction for me to NYTW, who then premiered the show.

Chay Yew

Bio: As playwright, his plays have been produced at the Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf, La Jolla Playhouse, Wilma Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, East West Players, and internationally at the Royal Court (London), Napoli Teatro Festival, TheatreWorks (Singapore), Four Arts (Kuala Lumpur), La Mama (Melbourne), amongst others. As director, he has directed productions at the Public, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, National Asian American Theatre Company, East West Players, Ma Yi Theatre Company, Humana Festival, Goodman, Huntington, Mark Taper Forum, amongst others. His plays “The Hyphenated American Plays” and “Porcelain and A Language of Their Own” are published by Grove Press. He recently edited a new anthology “Version 3.0: Contemporary Asian American Plays” for TCG Publications. He is also the recipient of the OBIE Award for Direction, London Fringe Award for Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, amongst others. An alumnus of New Dramatists, he was the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago from 2011 to 2020. Chayyew.com

Memory: The first memory would be meeting morgan at the reading of my play, A LANGUAGE OF THEIR OWN, at "new work now" new play festival at the public. This would be probably in spring of 1994.

David Henry Hwang

Bio: David Henry Hwang’s work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, a Grammy Award winner and two-time nominee, and a three-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Opera News called him the most-produced living American opera librettist and he was a Writer/Consulting Producer for Showtime’s television series The Affair from 2015-2019. Hwang serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University and as Co-Chair of the American Theatre Wing. His latest work, Soft Power, written with composer Jeanine Tesori, received four Outer Critics Honors, a Grammy nomination, and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.

Memory: I first met Morgan when she was working in the Literary Office at the Public Theater, which was producing my first plays under Joe Papp, and we were both in our twenties!

Shelly Raffle

Bio/Memory: Shelly Raffle has had several careers throughout her life. She expects she has time for a few more.  Currently, she is showing off her vocal chops as a Voice Actor in several genres, including commercial, audiobooks and e-learning.  

A few careers ago, Shelly worked as a Stage Director for the Dramatists' Guild Young Playwrights' Festival.  In its second year the Festival was hosted by the New York Public Theatre where Morgan was working.  She doesn't recall the exact moment they met... it was more like Morgan was just THERE, mysteriously appearing any time she was needed.  Then the problem was solved and she was - poof! - gone.  Since that time - through good times and bad -- Morgan has been a supporter and important part of Shelly's life, both virtual and in person.

Kristina Wong

Bio:  Kristina Wong first met Morgan at the Creative Capital retreat.  Kristina asked onstage for a recommendation to a director and Morgan shook free from the crowd to say "I have someone for you-- Katie Pearl."  And Katie went on to direct "Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".  Morgan is a theater yenta.  Kristina Wong was featured in the New York Times’ Off Color series “highlighting artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.” She is a performance artist, comedian, writer and elected representative who has been presented internationally across North America, the UK, Hong Kong and Africa. She’s been a guest on late night shows on NBC, Comedy Central and FX.  Kristina’s current pandemic project is the Auntie Sewing Squad, a national network of volunteers sewing masks for vulnerable communities. The experience of erecting this remote factory turned national mutual aid collective at the start of the pandemic is the subject of her latest “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord”-- a show she is developing as a New York Theater Workshop Artistic Instigator. She’s currently a member of Center Theater Group’s Creative Collective.  www.kristinawong.com

Everett “Evie” Mason

Bio: Evie is a playwright and dramaturg, though they are probably best remembered for their roles as “Barista” at a coffee shop in Midtown, and “Server” at a restaurant in the East Village. They are the recipient of no awards, but they do look like the type of person who could possibly win an award one day. They are currently an MFA Playwriting Candidate at Columbia University.

Memory: I was lucky enough to spend an entire year in Morgan’s dramaturgy seminars at Columbia University. Each class was surprising, invigorating, and more often than not, scandalous. And already, in such a short amount of time knowing one another, Morgan has left an indelible mark on my work.

Christopher Grabowski

Bio: Christopher Grabowski is a Freelance Director and Professor of Drama at Vassar College, where in addition to teaching acting, directing, and collaboration, he is the Director of the Experimental Theater.  

Chris’ professional career began at New York Theater Workshop with his production of A FOREST IN ARDEN at the Perry Street Theater as part of the New Directors program.  He helped establish and was a founding member of the Curators projects at NYTW, which morphed into the Usual Suspects.  As Associate Artistic Director at NYTW he was part of the team supporting the work of The Five Lesbian Brothers, Tony Kushner, Jonathan Larson, Doug Wright, among many others.  

In addition to teaching and directing at Vassar for the last 25 years, Chris has directed at Portland Stage, The Denver Center (National Theater Conservatory), The Shakespeare Theater (Academy for Classical Acting), The Juilliard School, The Stella Adler Studio, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, among others.

Memory: I first met Morgan when she came to Yale Rep to see my thesis production of Elizabeth Egloff's PHAEDRA--She came with Linda Chapman (also first time meeting her!).  I think Morgan was there to see Egloff's work, and Linda was there to see Lola Pashalinski who I had cast as the Nurse---Morgan invited me to come to NYTW's offices on 42nd st to meet Jim Nicola to talk about the New Director's Project....

Nina Mankin

Bio/Memory: Nina Mankin has been a dramaturg, writer, art maker and community development person for many years. She is an ongoing collaborator with Taylor Mac, helping him create his first three theatrical pieces including The Lily's Revenge. She has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for co-writing the book of Ricky Ian Gordon's musical Sycamore Trees.  She was part of Jeff Weiss and Carlos Ricardo Martinez' original Hot Keys glee club with recurring guest spots as The Love Slav and Morgan's cop lover. She is a proud member of the Mamala Schvesters and first met Morgan in 1987 at the Public Theatre Annex, a meeting burned into memory for the fire-hydrant-red short flared skirt and stilettos Morgan wore, an outfit that seemed to the aspiring dramaturg to epitomize brilliance and secrets.  They've been plotting together ever since.

Murielle Borst-Tarrant

Bio: Author, playwright, director, producer, cultural artist, educator, and human rights activist.  She works on the deconstructing of methods of the arts in Native communities in urban areas across the country and in the New York City education system.  She consults many urban and non- urban universities on the development on Native theater programming. Nominated for the Rockefeller grant in 2001, won a Native Heart Award and was the only Native American Woman to have her work to be selected by the Olympic Games in Sydney Australia at the Sydney Opera House for her one-woman show “ More than Feathers and Beads”. She served internationally as the Special Assistant to the North American Regional Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues which one of her mandates was arts and culture. Directed Muriel Miquel  “Red Mother” nationally and Internationally. Keynote Speaker for the Indigenous Women’s Symposium at Trent University. Global Indigenous Woman’s Caucus Chair ( North America ) in 2013 to May of 2014.  Selected to speak on Repetition, Tradition and Change: Native oral history and contemporary art practice in hostel post- colonial times at the International Conference at the Muthesius Academy of Art in Kiel Germany and the Norwegian Theater Academy.  She is the Artistic Director of Safe Harbors NYC. Native Consultant for Regional Tony award winner LaMaMa Experimental Theatre for their Indigenous Initiative. She produced, written and directed “Don’t Feed the Indians- A Divine Comedy Pageant!” at LaMaMa Theatre. Recent Mellon Playwright Fellow.  

Dr. Maxinne Leighton

Bio: Dr. Maxinne Rhea Leighton (“Max”), author, urban strategist, post-disaster recovery mediator, warrior for GAIA, narrative change agent and reflective practitioner. Eclectic writer: An Ellis Island Christmasˆ (immigration); The Man With The Big Hands (sexual abuse); The He Of She (the inner patriarch); Grand Central Gateway to A Million Lives (architectural social history); Educating for Social Justice, A Dangerous Game: Matilda Joslyn Gage (intergenerational inequity); The Future of Cities: An Integrated Approach to Urban Challenges (green cities/ environmental justice); Design For Love, Comedy Central; Women Writer’s Collective, The Whole Theatre.

Memory: Fierce free spirit – my sister.


Co-Founder/Core Member of UNIVERSES since 1995

Playwriting/Acting credits include: AmericUS (Directed/Developed by Joan Herrington); UNISON (Directed/Developed by Robert O'Hara); PARTY PEOPLE (Directed/Developed by Liesl Tommy); AMERIVILLE (Directed/Developed by Chay Yew); The Denver Project (Director Dee Covington); One Shot in Lotus Position (Director Bonnie Metzger); BLUE SUITE (Directed/Developed by Chay Yew); SLANGUAGE (Directed/Developed by Jo Bonney); RHYTHMICITY (Playwright/Actor/Director); THE RIDE (Playwright/Actor/Director). Acting only credits include: The Comedy of Errors (Directed by Kent Gash). Directing only credits include: Passover by Antoinette Nwandu (Director); SWOPERA by Carpetbag Theatre (Director); Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman (Director); THE ARCHITECTURE OF LOSS (Assistant Director to Chay Yew); Will Powers’ THE SEVEN (Director-The Univ. of Iowa); Alfred Jarry’s UBU: Enchained (Director-Teatre Polski, Poland). Awards/Affiliations: 2020 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program recipient; 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (Theatre); Oregon Shakespeare Festival Acting Company Member (3 Seasons:’12-‘14); 2008 U.S. Cultural Ambassador w/ the U.S. State Dept./Jazz at Lincoln Center - Rhythm Road Tour; 2008 TCG Peter Zeisler Award; 2002 TCG National Directors Award; 2002-2004 and 1999-2001 TCG National Theater Artist Residency Program Award; 1998 and 2002 BRIO Awards (Bronx Recognizes its own-Performance); Van Lier Fellowship w/ New Dramatists; Co-Founder of The Point CDC; New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect; BARD College, BA ’89 - Theater. Publications: UNIVERSES’ The Revolution will be Live! (2021 release- TCG Books); SLANGUAGE in The Fire This Time (TCG Books); BLUE SUITE in The Goodman Theatre’s Festival Latino - Six Plays (Northwestern University Press); PARTY PEOPLE in The Manifesto Anthology (Rain City Projects- Fall 2014); Featured on the covers of American Theater Magazine 2004 and The Source Magazine 2000. Member: Actors Equity Association (AEA)



Co-Founder/Core Member of UNIVERSES since 1995

Playwriting/Acting credits include: AmericUS (Directed/Developed by Joan Herrington);  UNISON (Directed/Developed by Robert O’Hara); PARTY PEOPLE (Directed/Developed by Liesl Tommy); AMERIVILLE (Directed/Developed by Chay Yew); The Denver Project (Director Dee Covington); One Shot in Lotus Position (Director Bonnie Metzger); BLUE SUITE (Directed/Developed by Chay Yew ); RHYTHMICITY (Directed by Steven Sapp); SLANGUAGE (Directed/Developed by Jo Bonney); THE RIDE (Directed by Steven Sapp). Acting only credits include: DJ Latinidad (Directed by Mark Valdez); The Comedy of Errors (Directed by Kent Gash); The Unfortunates (Directed by Shana Cooper); Alfred Jarry’s UBU: Enchained (Director Steven Sapp). Awards/Affiliations: 2020 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency Program recipient;  2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (Theatre); Oregon Shakespeare Festival Acting Company Member ( 2012-2017) and Ensemble in Residence; 2008 U.S. Cultural Ambassador w/ the U.S. State Dept./Jazz at Lincoln Center - Rhythm Road Tour; 2008 TCG Peter Zeisler Award; 2006 Career Advancement Fellowship from the Ford foundation through Pregones Theater; 2002-2004 and 1999-2001 TCG National Theater Artist Residency Program Award; BRIO Awards (Bronx Recognizes its own-Singing); Co-Founder of The Point CDC; Former Board Member (National Performance Network - NPN) and (Network of Ensemble Theaters-NET); New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect; BARD College, BA ’92 (Literature/Language). Publications: UNIVERSES’ The Revolution will be Live! (2021 release- TCG Books); SLANGUAGE in The Fire This Time (TCG Books); BLUE SUITE in The Goodman Theatre’s Festival Latino - Six Plays (Northwestern University Press); PARTY PEOPLE in The Manifesto Anthology (Rain City Projects- Fall 2014); Featured on the covers of American Theater Magazine 2004 and The Source Magazine 2000. Member: Actors Equity Association (AEA)

Memory: I don't remember the first time we met Morgan, but I do remember how excited we were when we realized she knew who we were. And was willing to have artistic conversations with us. Knowing Morgan was another way that you knew you were making your way in the downtown performance theater scene. 

Beth Blickers

Bio/Memory: Beth Blickers is a literary agent at the Agency for the Performing Arts where she represents artists for theater, film and television. On my first day working at Helen Merrill, Ltd., I met Morgan as she emerged from a (literal) script closet bursting with enthusiasm at the goodies she had found, thereby cementing a seven year journey in which I quickly learned that when Morgan was excited about something one should drop everything they are doing and listen. When Morgan's "beeps go off" attention must be paid!

Wiley Hausam

Bio/Memory: Wiley Hausam (How-zum) was an associate producer at The Public Theater under producer George C. Wolfe from 1993 – 2000. While there, he was responsible for musical theater development, helped reorganize the marketing department, and helped open Joe’s Pub in 1998 with Audra McDonald’s first ever professional concert, which launched the acclaimed Songbook Series. Prior to that, he was an agent at ICM and was fortunate enough to represent George, Anna Deavere Smith, Michael John LaChiusa, Suzan-Lori Parks, Doug Wright, Jonathan Larson and many other wonderful theater artists. 

In 2002, he made the transition to higher education and became a multi-arts presenter of music, dance, theater, opera and talks. He opened and launched the Skirball Center at NYU in 2003 and later, at Stanford University, Bing Concert Hall in 2013. In between, he ran the performing arts center and presenting program at Purchase College for four years. Since 2017, he has been the managing director of performance facilities at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. He also teaches arts management there and programs the professional series, UNCSA Presents, which he launched for them in 2018. For twelve years, he taught in the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at NYU. In 2003, he edited, and TCG published, an anthology of four musicals entitled The New American Musical. It included Floyd Collins, Rent, Parade and the legendary LaChiusa/Wolfe The Wild Party starring Toni Collette, Eartha Kitt and Mandy Patinkin. He is at work on a book about this show/party, which unfortunately, suffered a few casualties.  

Wiley is thrilled to be a part of this series celebrating Morgan Jenness. He believes he met Morgan in 1987, when he asked her out for lunch (or was it a drink or dinner?) to introduce himself and ask for her counsel. He has trusted and admired her ever since. When they started working together at The Public in 1993, they fought like brother and sister for a few months, and then he fell in love with her. 

Jodie Lynne McClintock

Bio: Jodie Lynne McClintock has performed on Broadway and Off, in London’s West End, at major US regional theatres, and on film and TV.  Her Broadway debut was as Cathleen in Long Day’s Journey Into Night- a role reprised on international tour and film.  She was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company during their Broadway and Kennedy Center rotating repertories.  Off Broadway: The Art of Success (MTC), Daughter-In-Law (Mint), Belle Epoque (LCT), A Dangerous Personality (Perry Street), Charles Busch’s Shanghai Moon (TNC), Timeslips (HERE), and new plays for Primary Stages, Vineyard, Minetta Lane, Abingdon.  Regional credits include ART, Long Wharf, McCarter, Papermill, St. Louis and Capital Reps, Shadowland (Best Actress 2010 Times Herald NY), and multiple seasons for Alabama, New Jersey, and St. Louis Shakespeare Festivals.  Film and TV: United 93 (Boston Society of Film Critics Best Ensemble Cast), The Mighty Macs, 30 Rock, Law and Order: CI, SVU.  Her avatar Maud Eccles the bounty hunter appears in Grand Theft Auto 5.  She believes “Those who can, Do.  Those who can do more, Teach.”  She has been on the faculty of NYU, BADA (London and Oxford), Acting International (Paris-NYC), Adelphi, Broadway for All, Circle Rep, and others.  She currently coaches exclusively at the Queens Studio.   

Memory: I met Morgan and Maxinne in a chocolate brown basement studio on Washington Square in 1981.  As Hamlet speaks of shaping our ends “Rough-hew them how we will”, I think that Shakespeare class informed who we all have become.

Nicky Paraiso is an actor, curator, singer, musician, writer, solo performance artist.  He has been a fixture of the NY downtown performance scene for the last four decades. He is Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa, and Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its 16th season from May 12-23, 2021. He has worked as a performer with vanguard artists Jeff Weiss & Richard C. Martinez, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks, Anne Bogart, Laurie Carlos, Jessica Hagedorn, Robbie McCauley, among many others. Nicky is the recipient of a 1987 Bessie Award for Performance, a 2012 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award, a 2018-2019 TCG (Theatre Communications Group) Fox Fellowship for Resident Actors/Round 12, and the 2019 (NY Innovative Theatre) Ellen Stewart Award for Stewardship. Nicky's most recent full-length performance, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories, directed/designed by John Jesurun, was presented at La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre in March-April 2019.

Memory: "Oh my goodness, I truly don't remember the moment I first met Morgan Jenness! I feel that she has always been there during my entire adult artistic life. Although I probably first met Morgan at a show at the Public Theater or La MaMa in the mid-1980s (now doesn't that make sense?). Or at the Public Theater Play Development office when I was briefly a play/musicals reader, and both Morgan and my 1980s roommate Bill Hart were both Literary Managers there. Or at New York Theatre Workshop. Or having the honor of working with Morgan during the hours-long Jeff Weiss Hot Keys durational shows at Naked Angels and Performance Space 122. Or with her ongoing work with Spiderwoman and Murielle Borst Tarrant and many other indigenous/native theater artists. And lately I am so thrilled to know Morgan as an artist colleague/participant during Todd London's Third Bohemia artists' residency at SoHo Rep in June 2019, it all seems like yesterday."

Coffeehouse Chronicles


Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off-Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today.

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