The Comeback Project – Reopening Theaters
By bringing together experts from within the industry and equally, from beyond the industry, The Comeback Project hopes to provide resources and strategies for arts-workers from all corners of the theatrical world planning their return to in-person work. These thought-provoking conversations aim to respond to the challenges the theater community is facing in real time. The series’ first panel was “Reopening Theaters: Lessons from Countries Who’ve Done It” and future panels will include Indoor Rehearsal Protocol, Lessons from Sports and Television, and more.
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Moderators / Panelists
Sammi Cannold (Moderator & Co-Creator) is a director who is one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment, class of 2019. Recent theater credits include Evita (New York City Center), Endlings (New York Theatre Workshop, A.R.T.), Ragtime on Ellis Island, Violet on a moving bus (A.R.T.), and Allegory (La Jolla Playhouse WOW). Upcoming projects include Carmen (Lincoln Center w. MasterVoices), a documentary film, and two feature films. Associate director credits include the Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre… (dir. Rachel Chavkin). Sammi has also served as an Artistic Fellow at the A.R.T., a member of Cirque du Soleil’s Creative Cognoscenti, and a Sundance Institute Fellow and developed work with Playwrights Realm, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, Cirque du Soleil, and Nickelodeon. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. from Harvard University. www.sammicannold.com. @sammi.cannold
Rebecca Aparicio (Co-Creator) is an NYC-based director, writer, and musician. As a director, recent projects include: Jack and The Beanstalk (The American Repertory Theatre), Days of Re-Creation (Philadelphia Theatre Company), In The Heights (Live Arts). She’s also developed work with Classical Theatre of Harlem, Musical Theatre Factory, The Tank, Ars Nova, HERE, FringeNYC, and more. As a writer, her award-winning musical Pedro Pan was developed by New York Musical Festival, Musical Theatre Factory, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, FringeNYC, and was originally commissioned by the Truf Theatre. Additional writing: Legacy (Prospect Theatre), The Garcia Sisters (Red Mountain Theatre), and Nora Saves The World (Barn Arts). Past Fellowships: Roundabout Theatre’s Inaugural Directing Group, an MTC Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow 2019-2020, The COOP’s Clusterf**k Writing Cohort, and a two-time SDCF Observership Award recipient. Rebecca is a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, Latinx Playwrights Circle, and a founding member of Magic Forest Theatre, dedicated to creating new musicals for young audiences. www.RebeccaAparicio.com
Michael Cassel is an internationally recognised producer and entertainment executive. He formed the Michael Cassel Group in 2012.
Michael is the Executive Producer of the Australian premiere production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playing exclusively in Melbourne at the Princess Theatre. The record-breaking play is produced by Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions. Michael is Co-Producer, with Jeffrey Seller, of the Australasian premiere production of Hamilton at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.
Michael is also Producer of the first international touring production of Disney’s The Lion King, which has enjoyed triumphant seasons in Manila, Singapore, Daegu, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Previous productions include the Australian and international tour of Les Misérables, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the 10th Anniversary Tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Australian premiere of Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots and the Australian and Asian tour of Singin’ in the Rain. Concerts and events include The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, the opening celebration of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and tours including Celeste Barber, Lea Salonga, Tina Arena, Rita Wilson and Darren Criss. Broadway and West End co-producer credits include DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt, Pretty Woman: The Musical and The Cher Show.
In addition to his theatrical interests, Michael exclusively represents former Australian Prime Minister, The Hon. Julia Gillard AC, former Olympian and global sporting administrator, Lord Sebastian Coe CH, KBE, broadcaster and journalist Liz Hayes and media personality, Sami Lukis. During his ten-year tenure with Disney Theatrical Group, he oversaw the company’s Broadway stage productions in international markets including The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, AIDA, The Little Mermaid and High School Musical, as well as supporting Disney on Ice and Disney Live! licensed to Feld Entertainment.
Michael began his professional career working with Australia’s legendary producer and celebrity manager, Harry M. Miller.
Michael lives in Sydney with his wife Camille and their children Eveleigh and Vaughn.
Ginny Kim (South Korea) is the Managing Director of Theatre Bridge International, a theatre agency based in London and Seoul. They work on projects between the UK and Korean theatre industries, including the 2020 – 2021 South Korean tour of Cats and the upcoming South Korean premier of Hadestown. A distribution specialist for international productions with over adecade’s experience in the industry, Ginny has built strong connections with theatre rights holders and local producers in the UK and Korea. Her understanding of the relationship between the two markets is second to none. Ginny also serves as a producer with S&Co, a leading production company in Korea specializing in production, investment and distribution of both domestic and overseas productions and presenting musicals such as The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and more.
Haruka A. Nakagawa (Japan) has been with Shiki Theatre Company since 2014, currently serving as Section Chief in the International Relations Department. Shiki Theatre Company is one of the largest theatre companies worldwide. Originally founded by a group of 10 university students in 1953, Shiki has expanded its activities over the last 67 years to deliver a wide variety of performances throughout Japan, including musicals and straight plays such as The Lion King, Aladdin, The Phantom of the Opera, and many more. Shiki presents more than 3,000 performances, and is seen by more than 3 million audiences each year. As international coordinator and liaison, Haruka works closely with the international creatives on many of the licensed and original productions at Shiki. Haruka is a proud graduate of The George Washington University.
Alistair Smith is editor of The Stage. Having joined The Stage on staff in 2004, he has also held the roles of reporter, news editor, opinion editor, deputy editor and print editor. During his time at the publication, he has helped create two awards ceremonies – The Stage Awards and The Stage Debut Awards – and launched Get Into Theatre, a site dedicated to diversifying and improving access to the theatre industry. He is also the author of two major industry reports, the London Theatre Report and the Theatre Workforce Review, and was a founder of the My Theatre Matters! campaign.
Ariel Stolier is Producing and Programming Director of Paseo La Plaza, a leading theater center comprising 4 main stages (from 430 to 860 seats) and a production company in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and has produced or executive produced more than 80 plays and musicals in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Brazil. A former Fulbright scholar in the United States, he is currently a professor in performing arts marketing at the University of Buenos Aires, a visiting lecturer in Cultural Management at the National University of Córdoba and was a Global Cultural Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Member of AADET (Association of Theater Managers and Producers of Argentina).