Anita Riggio is a writer, lyricist, illustrator. A surprise 50th birthday gift--a cancer diagnosis and subsequent full recovery--offered her the opportunity to reset and discover that she didn't want to spend the rest of her creative life alone in a studio--albeit a lovely one. So, in 2009, following a commission by the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD) to adapt her picture book Beware the Brindlebeast into a play that toured nationwide during NTD's 40th Anniversary season, Anita established Fat Chance Production Group, LLC. and began to assemble an extraordinarily committed cast and creative team, and to write this original musical, incorporating her experiences as a teacher in the Deaf community, a reasonably successful children's book writer/illustrator, and a perfectly, flawed human. Riggio is the writer and/or illustrator of many picture books. Her manuscripts, book dummies, sketches and illustrations are archived at the Northeast Children's Literature Collection, Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT, and are available to the public. Anita Riggio lives and works in Connecticut. www.anitariggio.com
Sila Shaman is a composer and pianist whose work spans a variety of genres including music for film & TV, theater, dance, jazz, concert and experimental music. Her recent work has been described as “adroit tinkering and re-shaping of improvised source material into full fledged, highly polished works of art”. Her score for the documentary Sisters in Freedom received 2019 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards for both Musical Composition and Audio. As a jazz pianist and composer she has released multiple recordings on SteepleChase and Louie Records of which A New Abode was an album-of-the-week pick by NPR. Her latest duo album with multi-instrumentalist Dave Storrs, Brief West Coast Tour, was listed as one of the top releases of 2020 by All About Jazz. Her latest film/album project Transmission is a visual and aural examination of the COVID-19 pandemic through collected audio compositions, improvisation and narration in collaboration with infectious disease epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman. Originally from Turkey she currently lives and works in New York City. www.silashaman.com
Monique "MoMo" Holt is a Korean-born, Deaf performer, director, and storyteller with an extensive resume that spans 37 years. Her directing credits include TITUS in Visual Gestural Communication (New York Deaf Theatre); Cloud 9 and Urinetown, the Musical (Gallaudet University); Caucasian Chalk Circle (Open Circle Theatre), and others. Monique is currently creating a new opera for Inside Out Theatre and re:Naissance Opera, titled Caustic Effect, an ASL opera. Monique will direct its premiere at re:Naissance Opera in Vancouver, BC. MoMo has worked as Director of Artistic Sign Language(Dramaturg/ Translator/Coach) for countless theatrical productions, among them: A Hound on the Hill (Russian and French Sign Languages) for Ben Stamper Film Production -New York and France; Big River (DeafWest/Ford Theatre); Clybourne Park (Woolly Mammoth Theatre). The Odyssey, Into the Woods, Cymbeline, The Heart of Robin Hood. (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and others. Monique Holt is an Assistant Professor at Gallaudet University, She received a BFA in Acting from NYU and MFA in Devising Theater from Towson University. She is a member of AEA, SAG, and AFTRA.
Karen Dearborn is a choreographer, educator, dancer, whose personal journey into the Deaf world began in her 20’s when she became deaf during her professional career as a dancer in NYC. She studied ASL with Sam Edwards, Deaf actor, dancer and storyteller at the NY Society for the Deaf and began her journey into Deaf culture as a student at The National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD). She quickly moved from student to teacher and served on faculty of the NTD summer school for 10 years. In this role she was honored to work with so many illustrious Deaf performers including Andy Vasnick, Camille Jeter, Marlee Matlin, Linda Bove, Ed Waterstreet, and Robert DeMayo to name just a few. Her transition from performer to choreographer has been prolific. She has created over 80 works in concert dance, theatre, and musical theatre, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf (The King of Hearts and Under Milk Wood (1994), and for equity theatres including NorthShore Music Theatre, Muhlenberg Summer Theatre, and the Pennsylvania Stage Company. Recent projects include How to Succeed in Business staring Frankie Grande, The Cherry Orchard featuring Holly Cate, and The Bacchae, as well as, original ballets, aerial choreography and contemporary dances for the concert stage. As a dance educator, Ms. Dearborn was a Visiting Artist-in-Residence at Mount Holyoke College and Assistant Professor at Connecticut College. In 1993, she founded the dance program at Muhlenberg College where she is currently Chair and Professor of Dance. Her guest teaching spans across America and she was instrumental in establishing the dance program at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. She has received awards for her teaching including the Spira and Linback and was honored by the Allentown Arts Commission for Outstanding Achievement in Performing Arts. As dancer, she trained in ballet with Perry Brunson, American Ballet Theater, David Howard, and Jean Paul Comelin, in musical theatre with Lea Theodore, in jazz dance with Nat Horne, Frank Hatchett, and Luigi, and her modern training ranges from the traditional Limon and Graham to contemporary styles. Her 12-year performing career varied from ballet companies (Milwaukee Ballet, Chamber Ballet) to musical theatre productions such as Pippin, West Side Story, Over Here, and Brigadoon to dancing on cruise ships. Her research and writing have been published in The Journal of Dance Education, The Theatre Journal, and in the book Performing Magic on the Western Stage (Palgrave). She continues to serve the field of dance through her work on the boards of the American College Dance Association and CORPS de Ballet International. She holds a BA in Dance from Radford College and an MFA in Dance from Connecticut College and is a member of AEA and several national dance organizations.