2020 Theater Ideation and Public Panel Information

Our coaches will also participate in the Public Panel discussions. These free public events are great ways to glean some valuable advise from established professionals in the industry.

You must register in advance in order to reserve your space on the virtual call!

The lineup for mentors and speakers for the 2020 Theater Ideation:


Chisa Hutchinson:

Chisa Hutchinson (B.A. Vassar; M.F.A NYU) has presented plays at such venues as the Lark Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, the National Black Theatre, Second Stage Theater and Arch 468 in London.

Her first radio play, “Proof of Love,” can be found on Audible. Chisa has been a member of New Dramatists, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Lark Fellow, a NeoFuturist, and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group.

She’s won a GLAAD Award, a Lilly Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and the Lanford Wilson Award.

She is currently premiering her film, “The Subject” (starring Jason Biggs and Aujanue Ellis) at various festivals, finishing a script for Disney, and writing for a new Showtime series. www.chisahutchinson.com.

Marsha Norman:

Marsha Norman won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for her play, ‘night, Mother, and a Tony award for the book to her musical, The Secret Garden, as well as another for the Revival of The Color Purple. She has been co-chair, first with Chris Durang, and now with David Lindsay-Abaire, of the Playwriting Program at The Juilliard School for twenty-four years. She also teaches musical book at Yale. Her most recent Broadway work is The Bridges of Madison County, and the revival of The Color Purple. Her new project is the book for a musical about two women who dressed as men and fought in the Civil War, and a new play, assisted by the UN, about trafficking and violence toward women worldwide. She has won a Peabody award for her work in television as well as grants and awards from among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won the Margo Jones Award, the Sidney Kingsley Award, the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award in Playwriting, and the Dramatists Guild Career Achievement Award. And in 2016, she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. She writes and lectures frequently on playwriting and the musical book, and holds 18 honorary degrees from American colleges and Universities. She is a founder and President of The Lilly Awards Foundation, and serves on the Dramatists Guild Steering Committee, as well as serving on the Education Committee.

Michael Jackowitz:

CURRENT PRODUCTIONS: Diana (Broadway, spring 2021). Once on This Island (TONY AWARD). Escape to Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett. Lifespan of a Fact starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale.

UPCOMING (WitzEnd) PROJECTS: The Hawaiian Goddess by Keali’i Reichel, Patrick Makuakane and Roslyn Catracchia; Poseidon by Jonathan Prince/Andrew Lippa; Dark of the Moon, by Jonathan Prince/Lindy Robbins; Estella Scrooge a modern Christmas Carol by John Caird/Paul Gordon. PAST PRODUCTIONS: Tuck Everlasting (Broadway), Daddy Long Legs (Off-Broadway), first show ever live-streamed from NYC. Séance on a Wet Afternoon, opera by Stephen Schwartz (Lincoln Center). How to Succeed in Business (Broadway) starring Daniel Radcliffe (TONY NOMINATION), PIPPIN (Menier Chocolate Factory/London), The Best Is Yet To Come/The Music of Cy Coleman (DRAMA DESK AWARD), My Fairytale, My Antonia, It’s Only Life and tick, tick…BOOM!.

Michael served as the Musical Theater Liaison for the Harold Prince Musical Theater Program at The Directors Company in NY (1993) and is the Founding Partner of WitzEnd Productions, formed in 2013 for the creation of New Work. He is a graduate of the Commercial Theater Institute’s Producing Seminar (1996) in NY and continues to serve as Rubicon Theatre’s Director of New Work in California.


Emmanuel Wilson:

Emmanuel Wilson is the managing director for the Dramatist Guild.

In the role, Wilson oversees the staff, operations and systems of the organization comprised of playwrights, composers and lyricists.

He comes to the position after growing the guild’s membership to more than 8,500 from 6,500 in his three years with the organization.

At the Dramatists Guild, Wilson developed new partnerships with Blackboard Plays, the Educational Theatre Association and the Theatre Communications Group. He serves on the Guild’s New Media, Membership, Political Engagement and DEI committees.

Wilson is also the founder of Blue Rose Stage Company and formerly the artistic associate and literary manager at TADA! Youth Theater.

Jade King Carroll:

Jade King Carroll is a director based in New York City. Carroll is known for her work on new plays and African-American classics. She has directed five world premieres by Chisa Hutchinson and is currently working with Dael Orlandersmith on their third collaboration this year. Carroll has spent years developing work with many prominent playwrights. She has directed at several leading theatres across the country including Hartford, McCarter, New York Theatre Workshop, Long Wharf, Two River, Atlantic and Lincoln Center Institute. As an Associate Director she has worked on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall. Past Fellowships & Awards: Paul Green Award, New York Theatre Workshop, Van Lier, Second Stage Theatre, Women’s Project, McCarter Theatre, SUNY 40 under 40, TCG New Generations Future Leader and Gates Millennium Scholar. https://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/303399-jade-king-carroll

Moderated by:

Donna Blanchard:

Donna Blanchard received her BFA from the Professional Actors’ Training Program of Wright State University, followed by training at Chicago’s Second City Training Center; she has been a theatre professional for more than three decades, as an actor, director, teacher, and managing director. Her work now focuses primarily on “theatre of place,” supporting and developing theatre centered on people within a singular geographic footprint.

As COVID-19 spread to Hawai’i, she led Kumu Kahua Theatre through a sharp pivot to online theatre and continues to work with artists across the country to forge ever-greater audience experiences in the new medium of live digital theatre.

Currently, she is the Managing Director of Kumu Kahua Theatre, President of the Hawaii State Theatre Council, Executive Team Member of the `Ohina Showcase, Labs and Films, and a Community Advisory Board Member of Hawai`i Public Radio. She’s an accomplished nonprofit and for-profit business development professional with more than 20 years of experience in organization rescue, management, and alignment for strong resiliency, stability, and growth, and recently guided Honolulu’s Kumu Kahua Theatre and the arts center, The ARTS at Marks Garage from the brink of closure to financial stability.

She is also a freelance writer and both author and illustrator of the book, “Sometimes Adults Are Stupid: but you shouldn’t use that word.”