Jun 1, 2022
Jun 7, 2022

Coffeehouse Chronicles #164 Jim Nicola

Coffeehouse Chronicles #164
La MaMa Celebrating Jim

Moderator: Linda Chapman
Musical Director and MC: Dane Terry
Series Director: Michal Gamily

a black arrow pointing downward

La MaMa will be celebrating the retirement of Jim Nicola, the artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, who is stepping down this year after spending 34 years at the off-Broadway theater. Moderated by Linda Chapman, there will be storytelling, live performances, and videos by people who have worked with him throughout the years, including Morgan Jenness, Doug Wright, Lisa Kron, Penny Arcade, Moe Angelos, Dael Orlandersmith, Nicky Paraiso, Thaddeus Phillips, Mary Buck, Mark Bennett, Dane Terry (musical director and MC), Anaïs Mitchell, Paul Rudnick, Michael Greif, Ivo van Hove, David Cale, Emmet Foster, Victor I. Cazares, JoAnne Akalaitis, Gabriel Berry, and more!

Moderator: Linda Chapman

Musical Director and MC: Dane Terry

Panelists: Morgan Jenness, Doug Wright, Lisa Kron, Penny Arcade, Moe Angelos, Dael Orlandersmith, Nicky Paraiso, Thaddeus Phillips, Mary Buck, Mark Bennett, Paul Rudnick, Michael Greif, David Cale, Emmet Foster, Victor I. Cazares, JoAnne Akalaitis, and Gabriel Berry

On Video: Anaïs Mitchell and Ivo van Hove

Series Director: Michal Gamily

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.

Linda Chapman served as New York Theatre Workshop’s Associate Artistic from 1995 through 2020. Prior to her time at NYTW, she was Associate Member of The Wooster Group from 1983-94. She was a founding producer of Dyke TV and DTV Productions, a grassroots cable television program and media center created by and for the lesbian community. DTV archives are housed at Smith College. Linda is co-writer and performer of the Obie Award-winning Gertrude and Alice: A Likeness to Loving, with her life partner of 41 years, Lola Pashalinski. Linda co-adapted Ann Bannon's lesbian classic The Beebo Brinker Chronicles for the stage with Kate Moira Ryan. The play was awarded a GLAAD Media Award and nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. A 2015 Lily Award winner, she is founding President of Youth Arts NY, Co-Chair of the The League of Professional Theatre Women’s International Committee, Chair of the League's Lortel Award Committee, a member of the BOLD Theatre Women's Leadership Circle, and has served on numerous funding panels.

JoAnne Akalaitis is a Lithuanian American theatre director and writer and cofounder of Mabou Mines. Among works she directed are Endgame, The Balcony (by Jean Genet) and The Birthday Party (by Harold Pinter) – she has staged works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Schiller, Tennessee Williams, Philip Glass, Janáček, and her own work at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, NewYork City Opera, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Mark Taper Forum, CourtTheatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Guthrie Theater. She is the former artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and of the Public Theater, and was artist-in-residence at the Court Theatre in Chicago. Ms. Akalaitis was the Andrew Mellon co-chair of the Directing Program at Juilliard School, and was the Wallace Benjamin Flint and L. May Hawver Flint Professor of Theater at Bard College until 2012. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, Edwin Booth Award, Rosamund Gilder Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre, and Pew Charitable Trusts National Theatre Artist Residency Program grant.

Moe Angelos is one of the OBIE-Award winning Five Lesbian Brothers and has been a member of the Wow Café Theater since 1981. She works with The Builders Association, making media-infused performances that have toured all over the universe that is accessible to non-billionaires. She has collaborated with many downtown NYC luminaries including Lisa Kron, Jess Dobkin, Anne Bogart, Lois Weaver, Kate Stafford, Carmelita Tropicana, Brooke O’Harra, Half Straddle, New Georges and The Ridiculous Theatrical Company. She has been a mentor in Queer/Art/Mentorship and her work and show biz ethos have been championed by Jim and Linda at NYTW! Google her on the subway home or on your second screen if you're watching remotely for more true and false info.

Penny Arcade aka Susana Ventura is an internationally respected performance artist, writer, poet, and experimental theatre maker known for her magnetic stage presence, take no prisoners approach, her content rich plays and one liners. She is the author of 16 scripted performance plays and hundreds of performance art pieces. Her work has always focused on the other and the outsider, giving voice to those marginalized by society. Her willingness to speak truth to power at the expense of career concerns has made her an international icon of artistic resistance.

Mary Buck has spent over 40 years in the Entertainment Industry, including CBS Television Casting (both NYC and LA) from 1975–1979, Head of Casting for Paramount Television from 1979–1982, Buck/Edelman Casting from 1982–2002, President of the Casting Society of America from 1999–2002, Head of Casting for Warner Brothers Television from 2002–2010, and Boston University College of Fine Arts from 2010 to present. She has overseen casting for shows such as Taxi, Cheers, Mork and Mindy, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, Bosom Buddies, The Wonder Years, Party of Five, Melrose Place, Malcolm in the Middle, The George Lopez Show, Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, The West Wing, Friends, Gilmore Girls, Without a Trace, The Closer, Gossip Girl, The Middle, The Vampire Diaries, The Mentalist, and Pushing Daisies and films such as The Little Mermaid and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. She has worked with the following producers and directors: J.J. Abrams, Chuck Lorre, Jerry Bruckheimer, John Wells, Will Smith, Josh Schwartz, Greg Berlanti, Kevin Williamson, Gail Berman, Michael Patrick King, among others.

Mark Bennett — Broadway scores and/or sound designs include: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Dead Accounts, Driving Miss Daisy, A Steady Rain, The Coast of Utopia (2007 Drama Desk Award: Original Music, Henry Hewes Award Sound Design), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Henry IV, Golda's Balcony, The Goat, among others. Mark composed scores for all BAM/OLD VIC Bridge Project productions directed by Sam Mendes.  Off-B’way includes: USA or world premieres An Illiad (Obie Award/Craig Noel Award) Mad Forest, My Children! My Africa!, Love and Anger– Jim Nicola Co-Director, and Light Shining In Buckinghamshire (NYTW), The Seagull, Dogeaters, and eight Shakespeare productions in and out of The Park  (The Public Theater) & Julius Caesar (TFNA).  La Mama projects include Suspicious Counterpoint with Yoshiko Chuma and SOHK and Nicky Paraiso’s epic cabaret, 20th Century Blues.  He performed onstage and behind the piano as co-music director of Jeff Weiss’ Hot Keys at Naked Angles and PS 122.  Regional credits include Dead End, Rose Tattoo, Persephone, Ripcord, Yerma (Huntington Theatre Co.) and over a dozen productions at the Globe and The La Jolla Playhouse.  Recipient: 1998 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Sound Design, Obie for An Iliad (with creative team), 14 Drama Desk nominations, 3 Lortel Award nomination and a New York Dance and Theatre Performance (“Bessie”) Award.  Two of Mark’s musical projects (Most Wanted and The Two Orphans) received readings and support from The New York Theatre Workshop and he is very proud of his many years as a sound designer and composer for over fifteen NYTW productions, scores of readings, and collaborating with Jim Nicola on creating the first of NYTW’s decades of Summer Residencies.

David Cale’s recent works include his solo musical memoir WE’RE ONLY ALIVE FOR A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME, in collaboration with composer Matthew Dean Marsh (2020 Obie Award, 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award, 2020 Lucille Lortel Award nomination, 2020 Drama Desk Award nomination) and the solo play HARRY CLARKE, starring Billy Crudup (2018 Lucille Lortel Award). Jim presented David’s show THE NATURE OF THINGS at NYTW in 1990, and most recently set into motion and supported a new collaboration between Dael Orlandersmith, Matthew Dean Marsh and David, entitled YOU DON’T KNOW THE LONELY ONE.

Victor I. Cazares is a non-binary Poz Queer Indigenous Mexican Artist (Enby PQIMA for short). They are currently the Tow Playwright-in-Residence at New York Theatre Workshop where their play american (tele)visions will premiere next season.

Morgan Jenness has worked as an educator, activist, worked in the literary office and as Associate Producer at the Public Theater, and also was functionally an Associate Artistic Director at NYTW and LATC. Morgan has served in dramaturgical capacities at theaters and developmental situations all over the USAmerican theater for over three decades, as well as creative consultant at both the Helen Merrill and Abrams Artists agencies. Has been a guest artist with multiple educational theater programs, is currently on the faculty of Columbia, Fordham and Pace University and has been on multiple theater funding and award panels. Morgan is also a recipient of several awards including an Obie for Long Term Support of Playwrights. Is currently Creative Director/founder of In This Distracted Globe – a dramaturgical and management consultancy, and has consulted with multiple artists in the La Mama family.

Lisa Kron is a writer, a performer, and a founding member of the Five Lesbian Brothers, who’s been making theater for many, many years—a lot of it at New York Theater Workshop and LaMama, as well as down the street at the WOW Cafe.  

Anaïs Mitchell is a Vermont-based singer-songwriter, and the Tony and Grammy award-winning creator of the Broadway musical Hadestown for which she wrote the book, music, and lyrics. Hadestown won 8 Tony Awards overall including Best Musical as well as the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Mitchell was named to TIME’s prestigious TIME 100 list in 2020, and her first book, Working on a Song– The Lyrics of Hadestown was published by Penguin/Plume in the same year. Dubbed by NPR as “one of the greatest songwriters of her generation”, Mitchell comes from the world of narrative folksong, poetry, and balladry. Her recordings include the original studio album of Hadestown (2010, featuring Justin Vernon and Ani DiFranco) and Young Man in America (2012), along with reinterpretations of traditional music including Child Ballads (2013, with Jefferson Hamer) and Bonny Light Horseman (2020, as Bonny Light Horseman, which received two Grammy nominations). She co-wrote and featured on multiple tracks on Big Red Machine’s 2021 album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last, alongside other features by Fleet Foxes, Taylor Swift, and Sharon Van Etten. Her most recent album, Anaïs Mitchell (2022), has received widespread praise with features and glowing reviews in the New York Times, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Telegraph, and NPR. She has headlined worldwide and supported tours for Bon Iver, Josh Ritter and Punch Brothers, and her music has featured in year-end best lists including NPR, Wall Street Journal, MOJO, Uncut, TheGuardian, Sunday Times and The Observer.

Dael Orlandersmith’s plays include Stoop Stories, Black n’ Blue Boys/Broken Men, Horsedreams, Bones, The Blue Album, Yellowman, The Gimmick, Monster, and Forever. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Yellowman and the winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick. Dael is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim, along with several other awards and honors. Her play, FOREVER, was commissioned and performed at the Mark Taper Forum/Kirk Douglas Theatre  Fall of 2014, followed by performances at the Long Wharf Theatre Winter 2014/15, New York Theatre Workshop Spring 2015, and will run at Portland Center Stage Winter 2016. Her play Until the Flood was  done at St. Louis Repertory fall of 2016. She is currently working on two  commissions  for Artists Repertory Theatre In Portland and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Until the Flood was done at Rattlestick Theatre in 2018 and Milwaukee Rep. In 2019, it was done at Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, the Arcola Theatre  in London, The Galway  Arts  Festival  at  the  Druid  Theatre, and  at the Traverse at Edinburgh Festival…the play is scheduled to be  performed  in Berlin at  the Schaubruhner Theatre in April of 2022 and at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC in June 2022. Ms. Orlandersmith is  working on a Commission for Rattlestick Theatre called Watching the Watcher and has two plays opening at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in 2022—NEW AGE, to be directed  by Jade King Carroll, and ANTONIO’S SONG/I WAS DREAMING OF A SON, co-written  with Antonio Suarez Edwards and directed by Mark  Clement. She is also working on a new work with writer/performer David Cale called You don’t know the lonely  one and is working on a new piece called SPIRITAS. In 2020, Ms. Orlandersmith received the Doris Duke Award.

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 17th season from April 14-May 1, 2022. 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. Nicky was honored by Movement Research in 2016.

Thaddeus Phillips is a theatre director, stage designer and Film/TV actor from Denver, Colorado known for the stage productions 'Red-eye to Havre De Grace', '17 Border Crossings', '¡El conquistador!', 'Flamingo/Winnebago' & 'Lost Soles' and for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2', 'Alias El Mexicano' and 'El Capo 3'. His stage work has been seen at New York Theatre Workshop, Barrow Street Theatre, PS 122, HERE Arts Center and La MaMa ETC, as well as in Spain, England, Ireland, Holland, Serbia, Mexico, Slovenia, Colombia, Costa Rica & Italy.

Paul Rudnick is a playwright, novelist, screenwriter and essayist. His plays have been produced on and off Broadway and include Jeffrey, I Hate Hamlet, Regrets Only and The New Century. He’s especially proud that The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Valhalla were produced by Jim Nicola at New York Theater Workshop. Paul’s novels include I’ll Take It, Social Disease and Playing The Palace, and his essays were published under the title I Shudder. He’s rumored to be quite close to film critic Libby Gelman-Waxner, whose collected reviews were published under the title If You Ask Me. He’s a frequent contributor to the New Yorker, and his screenplays include Addams Family Values, In&Out, Sister Act, the screen adaptation of Jeffrey and Coastal Elites.

Portrait of Dane Terry
Photo by Kate Sweeney

Dane Terry is a multi-media storymaker, performer and composer. He has made stories and music for all sorts of rooms and situations and with all sorts of people. Dane was the writer, composer and lead performer of the musical fiction podcast Dreamboy (Night Vale Presents 2018). Works for stage include: Jupiter's Lifeless Moons (PSNY 2018) and Bird In The House (La MaMa 2015, Under The Radar Festival 2016). Dane was the 2016 recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger Award from PSNY. He lives in New York City.

Ivo van Hove is General Director of International Theatre Amsterdam (former Toneelgroep Amsterdam) since 2001. He was artistic director of the Holland Festival from 1998 to 2004. His productions tour all over the world: the Edinburgh Festival, Taipeh, The Barbican London, the Ruhrtriennale, Vienna Festival, Seoul, Sydney, Buenos Aires, New York and Festival d’Avignon. Works Van Hove has directed include Angels in America, a staged version of Yanagihara’s A Little Life, Shakespeare’s Roman tragedies and Kings of War, Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Other selected international credits include A View from the Bridge at the Young Vic, Network Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre London, Visconti’s Obsession with Jude Law at the Barbican, Antigone with Juliette Binoche, and productions for Schaubühne Berlin, Paris’s Théâtre de l’Odéon, Hamburg Schauspielhaus, Comédie-Française and recently West Side Story on Broadway and La menagerie de Verre with Isabelle Huppert. With David Bowie and Enda Walsh he created Lazarus.

Opera credits include The Makropulos Case, Salome for Dutch National Opera, Boris Godunov and Don Giovanni for Paris Opéra, world premiere Brokeback Mountain for Teatro Real Madrid, Macbeth for Opéra de Lyon, Laclemenza di Tito and Idomeneo forLa Monnaie, Brussels, Lulu and Der Ring des Nibelungen at FlemishOpera, Mazepa for Komische OperBerlin and Mahagonny in Festival Aix en Provence.

Van Hove has received many international accolades including two Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and many more awards in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. He is a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, received the Flemish Culture Prize for Overall Cultural Merit (2015) and has been made a Commander of the Order of the Crown by King Filip of Belgium. In 2019 he was awarded the Dutch state art prize; the Johannes Vermeer prize.

Doug Wright — Goodman: I Am My Own Wife, War Paint. Chicago: I Am My Own Wife, (About Face Theatre). Broadway: War Paint, Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk Nomination), The Little Mermaid, Grey Gardens (Tony Award nomination), I Am My Own Wife (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize). Off-Broadway:  Posterity (Atlantic Theater Company); Unwrap Your Candy (Vineyard Theater); Quills (New York Theatre Workshop), Standing on Ceremony (Minetta Lane Theater), Buzzsaw Berkeley (WPATheater). Films: Quills (Paul Selvin Award, WGA) and upcoming The Burial starring Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones. Former President, Dramatists Guild ofAmerica. Member: SAG-Aftra, SDC and the WGA.

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.

Special Event