"Out of the Room"

It has been four years since the world shut down because of Covid-19. It has felt like so much longer. I was so lucky to jump right back into work during "hot vax summer," when variants felt like they couldn't touch you and the world felt like it was going back to normal. (Normal...while you swab your nose with a stick every three days to make sure you were still a superhero, stealthily avoiding the virus that brought the world to a standstill.) I was so lucky to make the decision to step away from teaching and be caught by a breadth of work that was waiting for me. The Woman in Black was BACK! I was Associate Director for Jackson Gay on the World Premiere of WHEN HARRY MET REHAB (to get it's off-broadway run this Fall at the Signature Theatre!). I was on a plane twice a week, my roommates were helping me take care of my dog, and I remembered what it felt like to be an expert. To be valued. To be WORKING. And then the variants returned. Shows were canceled. The world

The Woman is BACK

  Image Description: Two white binders on a table that read "The Woman in Black." One belongs to Robin Herford, director, and the other Maggie Spanuello, Associate Director.     The WOMAN IN BLACK has reopened Off-Broadway at the McKittrick Hotel! I was in the room again with THE MAN, Robin Herford, and the wonderful crew at the McKittrick. Audiences have been terrified, performance reports have been a joy to read, and I've been reunited with David Acton and Ben Porter from our first production pre-covid.      I'm also in the room with James Evans, who joins us again as the understudy for "The Actor," and Simon Hedger, who is the understudy for Mr. Kipps and joins us from the 2018/2019 US Tour. James was put on for two of our opening weekend performances and got  an excellent review ! I am a proud associate director.       Image description: Robin Herford, wearing a great shirt and his navy blue mask, next to Maggie Spanuello, wearing a black shirt and a bla

Children of a Lesser God at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre

  Photo Description: Photo reads, "CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD BY: MARK MEDOFF DIRECTED BY: MICHELLE MARY SCHAEFER. July 29th-August 5th. All Performances are open captioned. Tickets at There is a logo for the Naitonal Endowment for the Arts in the lower right hand corner. The poster is in black and white with two hands reaching towards each other but not touching with two bright lights shining behind the hands.     I had been looking forward to sitting in the audience of Hope Summer Rep's CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD since 2019. The first attempt at the production was canceled due to Covid-19, and when Lenny Banovez asked me to join the 2021 team as associate director, I was thrilled to be a part of a team that was prioritizing the full and equitable participation of disabled artists.      Our director, Michelle, has now been involved in seven productions of CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD, but this was her first time as director. After a last-minute actor replacement,

May Term: Race and Gender in American Music Theatre

      I have had the distinct pleasure of co-teaching my last class at Carthage College with Raven Dockery (she/her) on "Race and Gender in American Music Theatre." I have always loved teaching Writing Intensive courses at Carthage because most of the students in my class are NON-MAJORS! There are 23 students in this class (in-person and online), 12 of them are students of color, and their majors are Nursing (over half our class!), Theatre and Music, Computer Science, Psychology, Exercise and Sports Science, Poli Sci, Graphic Design, and International Political Economy. Raven has been blowing their minds teaching the history of the Black Experience in the performing arts for the last 200 years, and we have had some incredible guest speakers the first couple of weeks. Sawyer Smith (they/them), Chicago actor and Choreographer, was our first guest and for over half our students, this was their first experience ever talking with someone who is trans. When I invited Sawyer to &quo

The Woman In Black is coming to Spoleto Festival USA!

      A year ago, I posted this graphic on Facebook surrounded by posts where I bragged about the fancy new masks I was buying from costume designers and wardrobe folks around the country and saving Hyrule from its enemies. I am thrilled that in two weeks, I will be getting on a plane to Associate Direct THE WOMAN IN BLACK at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina.     I feel honored to be among the first folks I know to go back to work to do in-person productions with live audiences. It is crucial that we succeed in our safety protocol and I am so satisfied with the COVID-19 protocols at Spoleto. All festival artists have promised to not eat indoors, we will all be masked except for moments where actors are performing or musicians are playing, and our performances will all be outside. The WOMAN IN BLACK pod of 7 is fully vaccinated. We are going to do our best to restore confidence in doing theatre and returning  to the theatre, and I am confident in our ability to do

A Musical in the Time of Covid: Ride the Cyclone at Carthage College

Ride The Cyclone at Carthage College   Cast on the second day of shooting This musical was a rollercoaster and yes that pun was intentional. A musical in the time of Covid! What were we thinking?  When I chose RTC for Carthage's Music Theatre Workshop Show, I specifically wanted to feature some excellent senior MT majors AND focus on a show that was ensemble-driven. Getting this show approved by the dean was HARD because the cast is so small and often Music Theatre Workshop Shows are supposed to be a cast of 18-22 to get as many folks on stage as possible to work on roles and have show experience. Who knew that my obsession with this musical and my insistence on working with a small cast was going to be such a blessing? Who knew that this was the perfect musical to do during Covid? RTC, a show about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of senseless tragedy, is a musical for right NOW.    From L to R: Christine Barreca, Matthew Wrbanek, Nate Myers, Anna Brown, Ashley Veltm