- Linda Earle, President
- Joanna Merlin, Vice President
- Christine Toy Johnson, Secretary
- Brian R. Steinwurtzel, Treasurer
- Linda Bove
- Billy Burgess
- Kent Gash
- Jack Hofsiss
- Abel Lopez
- Gary Mobley
- Philip J. Smith
LINDA EARLE has a long track record of experience in visual, performing and media arts having worked as an administrator, grant-maker, and advocate for artists and culture. She is currently the executive director of the New York Arts Program, a semester long off-campus study program for undergraduates in the visual, performing and media arts, writing and journalism. Before joining NYAP, she served as Executive Director of Programs for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, one of the nation’s leading organizations for emerging visual artists. During her tenure as Senior Program Director for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Earle established the multi-disciplinary Individual Artists Program in 1984, and later served as Director of the Museum/Visual Arts and Theatre programs. Before joining NYSCA, she worked in production and held managerial positions in theatre and independent film and taught Film and Cultural Theory at Barnard, Hunter, and at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Earle has lectured widely on issues pertinent to individual artists and arts advocacy and has been a keynote speaker at national forums on the arts. She has served on many advisory, awards, and admissions panels, including the Pew Foundation, the NEA, NEH, and New Dramatists, and in leadership positions on numerous arts and community non-profit Boards, including the Board of Governors of Colby College Museum. As a writer, Earle has participated in professional residency programs at Hedgebrook and the Writers’ Room. She received her BA in Film Studies from Hampshire College and an MFA in Film from Columbia University, where she also studied painting, art history, and architectural history.
*JOANNA MERLIN, a student of Michael Chekhov, is an actor, teacher and former casting director for Harold Prince, Bernardo Bertolucci and James Ivory. She is a faculty member in NYU’s Graduate Acting program and, as an actor, made her Broadway debut opposite Laurence Olivier in Anouilh’s Becket and created the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. She has a recurring part on Law and Order, SVU as Judge Lena Petrovsky. Her film roles include: Sarah’s Key (2011 release),The Wackness, Invasion, City of Angels, Class Action, Mystic Pizza, Fame, Killing Fields and The Ten Commandments. She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, was a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee and is the President of the Michael Chekhov Association. She produced a prize-winning one-woman film, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn, in which she appears. Her book, Auditioning: An Actor-Friendly Guide is in its 10th printing.
*CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON is an award-winning actor, playwright, and filmmaker based in New York City. She has been breaking the color barrier in non-traditionally cast roles for more than 25 years, and has been featured extensively on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theatres across the country, in film, television, and concerts worldwide. The Christine Toy Johnson Portfolio, an anthology of her plays, has just been selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress Asian Pacific American Performing Arts Collection. She is also the producer and co-director with her husband, filmmaker Bruce Johnson, of Transcending – The Wat Misaka Story, the award-winning documentary feature film about Japanese American basketball star Wat Misaka, the first person of color to be drafted into what is now the NBA by the 1947 New York Knicks. An avid advocate for diversity and inclusion, she has been a part of the elected leadership of Actors’ Equity Association since 1992, where she serves as co-chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. Christine was honored in 2010 by the JACL (the nation’s largest and oldest Asian American civil rights organization) in their “Salute to Champions” for “exemplary leadership and dedication.”
*BRIAN R. STEINWURTZEL is a principal of the Newmark Holding’s Portfolio that owns and operates approximately nine million square feet of real estate in the United States. The portfolio includes properties such as the Flatiron Building, 515 Madison Avenue, 10 Astor Place, 520 Eighth Avenue, 230 Fifth Avenue, The Film Center and the Actors’ Equity Building. Mr. Steinwurtzel’s primary responsibilities at Newmark Knight Frank are centered on leasing, acquisitions and project management. Over the last eight years, Mr. Steinwurtzel and his partners have achieved an average occupancy rate in excess of 98%. Noteworthy recent projects include the acquisition of the eight-acre Long Wharf portfolio leased by Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital, the 124-acre Bethlehem Steel Works site where Newmark Holdings partnered with Las Vegas Sands to build the Bethlehem Sands casino, the formation, financing and construction of a 24-lane bowling alley in Harlem as well as the renovation, management and full lease-up of the Actors’ Equity Building in Times Square. Prior to joining Newmark, Mr. Steinwurtzel was an Equity research analyst for Triene Inc., a Goldman Sachs Ventures’ firm. Mr. Steinwurtzel received his Masters in Business Administration from Columbia Business School and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University.
*LINDA BOVE is world-renowned for her role on Sesame Street, where for more than 30 years, she entertained and enlightened TV audiences young and old, deaf and hearing. Prior to that, she had the distinction of being the first deaf actress to attain a recurring role on TV, on the soap opera, Search for Tomorrow. Linda toured for 10 years with the National Theatre of the Deaf and shortly thereafter, understudied the lead role in the Tony Award-winning Children of a Lesser God on Broadway. She then went on to star in the National Tour, which extended to Canada. Linda later appeared in the Oscar-winning feature film of the same name, and also in Sesame Street‘s first full-length feature, Follow That Bird. A founding member of the multi-award-winning Deaf West Theatre, she has directed, produced, acted, served as translation master, and designed and managed the company’s Professional Training Program. Linda is the celebrated author of two classic sign language books for children as well as the popular video, Sign Me a Story, published by Random House and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Gallaudet University and the AFTRA Disability Awareness Award from the Media Access Office.
BILLY BURGESS lives in Stockholm, Sweden and is the Global Brand Manager for KAHLÚA, the world’s #1 selling coffee liqueur. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. from Fordham University. He enjoys cinema, travel and volunteering. In addition to the Alliance, Billy also sits on the Board of Directors of another New York City-based non-profit. Follow him on Twitter @billyburgess
KENT GASH is the founding Director of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway: Music Theatre and Acting, where he has directed Assassins and The Who’s Tommy. With Broadway veteran Walter Marks, Mr. Gash is co-author and director of the new musical, Langston in Harlem, whose off-off Broadway production won Four 2010 Audelco Awards including Best Musical. New York productions include Broke-ology at the Julliard School, the critically acclaimed Off Broadway premiere of Miss Ever’s Boys for the Melting Pot Theatre Co., the world premiere musical Call The Children Home for Primary Stages, the York Theatre concert presentation of Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday and the Off-Broadway revival of Samm-Art William’s Home. Mr. Gash is the former Associate Artistic Director of The Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff, recipient of the 2007 Tony Award for excellence in the American Regional Theatre. Mr. Gash is a former board member of National Alliance for Musical Theatre and has served on panels for National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group and the Princess Grace Foundation. Mr. Gash has taught Master Classes in Acting and Musical Theatre Performance for the National Theatre of Scotland, University of California at Los Angeles, American Conservatory Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Fordham University, Carnegie-Mellon University and Disney Theatrical. He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Drama with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and of the University of California’s School of Theatre Film and Television with a Master’s Degree in Directing for the Theatre and Television.
JACK HOFSISS is an American theatre, film and television director. He received a Tony Award for his direction of The Elephant Man on Broadway. The production also garnered him the Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, an Obie Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. After a directing stint at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C., he became a casting director in New York for several years. He then directed The Best of Families, a mini-series, for television in 1977. He also directed for TV Out of Our Father’s House (1978), 3 by Cheever: The Sorrows of Gin (1979), The Elephant Man (1982), Family Secrets (1984), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof(1985). In 1982 he directed the film I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can. Hofsiss appeared in the documentary The Needs of Kim Stanley in 2005. He is a 1971 graduate of Georgetown University. He currently teaches directing at HB Studio in NYC.
ABEL LOPEZ is associate producing director of GALA Hispanic Theatre, and treasurer of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. He is a former chair of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and immediate past chair of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC). He is a past president of the Helen Hayes Awards, the Performing Arts Alliance, Leadership Washington, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Theater Communications Group. Abel is also past chair of the Creative Communities Initiative of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region. Abel is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, NALAC, In Series, and Black Women Playwrights Group. He is a member of The Kennedy Center Community board, Latino Advisory Board of the Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution, and Advisory Committee of The Playwrights Forum. He has directed productions at GALA, Horizons Theatre, DC Arts Center, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Source Theater, and In Series in Washington, DC, as well as many other theaters across the nation. His productions have also been presented in Venezuela, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Cuba. In 1991, Abel was named a Washingtonian of the Year.
GARY MOBLEY is Executive Director for Strategy and Analytics for The College Board, where he previously was Senior Director for Strategy and Analytics. Prior to that, he was Manufacturing Strategy Analyst for Corning Inc. and HSE Manager at Schlumberger.
*indicates member of the Executive Committee