NSYPF 2021 Mentors

2021 Mentors

Darren Canady (Lead Mentor) hails from Topeka, KS. His work has been produced at the Alliance Theatre, Congo Square Theater, Horizon Theatre, London’s the Old Vic Theatre, M Ensemble, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, American Blues Theater, and others. His awards include the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, Chicago’s Black Excellence Award, the Black Theatre Alliance Award, and the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. His work has been developed at numerous festivals including the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright’s Conference. His play You’re Invited appeared in The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011. His work has been seen or developed at the Quo Vadimus Arts’ ID America Festival, the Fremont Centre Theatre, Premiere Stages, the BE Company, Penumbra Theatre, and American Blues Theater. Darren is an alum of Carnegie Mellon University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Juilliard School. He is a former member of Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New Writers Group, and a past participant in the T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange. He is an artistic affiliate with American Blues Theater and Congo Square Theatre. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas. 

Megan Tabaque (Lead Mentor) is a Filipina-Canadian playwright, actor, and arts educator. Her work has been developed, commissioned, and produced by the Alliance Theater, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Tofte Lake Center, the Workshop Theater, Paper Chairs, Vanderbilt University, and Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective, among others. She is a James A. Michener Fellow, Kundiman Fiction Fellow, Sewanee Writers’ Conference Scholar, Seattle Public Theater Emerald Prize finalist, Playwrights’ Realm Scratchpad Series semi-finalist, and a 2021 Four Seasons Residency nominee. She is currently developing a brand new play about conspiracy theorists and human trafficking in Asian American communities titled Marry Me, Bruno Mars for Emory University’s Brave New Works festival. Megan earned her MFA in Playwriting and Fiction from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, TX. She currently resides in Atlanta, where she is the 2021-2023 Emory Fellow of Playwriting. 

Kara Davidson is an actor, playwright, and teaching artist currently pursuing her MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Kara is passionate about creating poignant narratives for the stage that illuminate something universal about being a human being in this world. She is a company member with The House Theatre of Chicago and has also worked with Manual Cinema, Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, ABLE Ensemble, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and Flatwater Shakespeare, among others. She is also a motion capture performer and her previous video game credits include Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11, Call of Duty: WWII, and Call of Duty: Cold War. She is a co-founder and director of a monthly virtual workshop called The Lab which aids in developing new works-in-progress by artists from all across the country (www.thelab.blog). 

Alexa Derman is a playwright from Jersey. Her plays include PSYCHOPSYCHOTIC (Relentless Award Honorable Mention; Finalist: Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, Sanguine Project Playwright, Unicorn In-Progress Series, Kitchen Dog New Works, Echo Young Playwrights in Residence; Semifinalist: Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Downstage Left Residency; Brown University and Yale Drama Coalition), GIRLISH (Fresh Ink Theatre, Yale Dramatic Association, Yale Playwrights Festival), and RESTORATION MASTER RESET (Cutting Ball in WAYS TO LEAVE A BODY). Other honors and experiences include selection as a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow; O’Neill NPC Semifinalist 2017, 2015; Jane Chambers Student Prize for Feminist Playwriting Honorable Mention; and at Yale the Marina Keegan Award for Excellence in Playwriting. BA from Yale in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies; also interested in games, radio, and other forms of narrative entertainment. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Brown, where she studies under Julia Jarcho and is a member of the Brown-RISD Game Developers. 

Jordan Ealey is a dramaturg, playwright, and scholar from Atlanta, Georgia. As a dramaturg, Jordan specializes in new play and musical development, having worked with organizations such as Synchronicity Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Working Title Playwrights, and Hush Harbor Lab. Since completing the playwriting apprenticeship at Horizon Theatre Company, Jordan’s plays have been developed, workshopped, and/or produced with Out of Hand Theater, The Keegan Theatre, Rorschach Theatre, and LiveArt DC. In addition to her artistic practice, Jordan is the co-creator, co-host, and co-producer of Daughters of Lorraine, a podcast on Black theatre through a Black feminist lens, which is supported by HowlRound Theatre Commons. Currently, Jordan is pursuing a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she researches Black women-authored musicals from the nineteenth century to the present. 

Alysha Griffin is a poet, theatre artist, and scholar from Appling, GA. As a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Kansas, she is completing a dissertation about playwriting pedagogy that includes a creative component– a play titled Lot’s Daughters. She is a graduate of Spelman College (BA, English and History) and the University of Kansas (MA, Literature). 

Greg T. Nanni is a playwright, comic book writer, performer, marketer, and former Philadelphian now living in the NYC area. He is a member of Witherspoon Circle, Passage Play Lab, a former PDC Playwright in Residence at Plays & Players, the Literary Manager of the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, and the former Marketing Manager of Plays & Players Theatre. He is the Co-Founder and former Co-Moderator of the PDC Playwrights’ Happy Hour, and formerly served as President on the board of the Philadelphia Dramatists’ Center. He is a Co-Leader of the Witherspoon Circle, and is the co-producer of the New Feathers Reading Series program. His One Act plays have been featured in Festivals and Readings throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area, and have been produced nation-wide. He performs his own solo shows FAT and THE DEPRESSION SHOW! on demand. Full length plays include: LONELINESS (CU 2020 Workshop Production), THE BEAR IS HERE (BAPF Semi-Finalist), RAGE, LOVE (AMONG DREAMERS), VACATIONS, and ANGST. He is a graduate of George Washington University. He is a current MFA Playwriting Candidate at Columbia University, and is the recipient of the Dean’s Fellowship. gregnanni.com 

Vic Shuttee is a 2021 graduate from Texas State University, earning an MFA in Dramatic Writing. Vic also holds a BFA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from University of Houston. Texas State Productions include Bunco State (part of the 2020-2021 season, directed by Martin Jason Asprey), Pew! Pew! (Directed by Ryan Scarlata) and Free Tickets For a Taping of the New Government Funded Sitcom: ‘ICE Box’ (Directed by Aaron Sparks). His 10 Minutes Milk in the Desert and Howie Zazser Can’t Not, and his One Acts Not Every Hand and …ICE Box have all been recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. His full-length Brick Wall, a previous finalist for the New York Young Playwrights Competition and The Blank Theatre’s Stella Adler Competition, was produced by the University of Houston and awarded a Jean Kennedy-Smith award by the Kennedy Center. Vic attended an observer-ship at the O’Neil Playwrights Conference, participated in The Lark’s Writers Retreat and developed scripts under Mark Medoff and Theresa Rebeck. Vic’s written about entertainment for Houston Press since 2014, and he was named one of Houston Press’s 100 Creatives to Watch and a 40 Under 40 by Empower Magazine. His plays can be read and reviewed on the New Play Exchange. Outside of writing, Vic has performed comedy at theaters and festivals across the country and trained as an improviser with UCB, Second City Hollywood, and ComedySportz. He’s shadowed the head writer on the CBS sitcom Mike and Molly, assisted Emmy-winner Robert Wuhl with his first stage play Hit Lit, and taught classes and workshops of playwriting, screenwriting, podcasting and comedy at the High School of Performing and Visual Arts, the Texas Thespians Conference, ComedySportz and Stageworks Theatre. While at Texas State, he’s taught 7 sections of “Intro to Playwriting” and developed the curriculum and taught the course “Creating Comedy”, based on the essentials of writing jokes, stand-up, and sketch comedy. His comedy interview podcast Hail Satire! has reached nearly half a million listeners and produced over 500 episodes!