Meet the Presenters of the 30th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards

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Angela Nicholas

A triple threat, Angela Nicholas is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. You may know her from HBO’s Deadwood; on the LA stage she’s played Greta Garbo, Eva Peron, and Gertrude, Queen of Denmark (OR … Gertrude, Hamlet’s mom). She’s currently nominated in three categories for “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”, and most recently played Donna in “Mamma Mia!” at the historic California Theatre. 

Brian Kite

Brian Kite was the Producing Artistic Director of La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts until he moved to UCLA to become Chair of the Department of Theater. He also served as the Chair of the Board of Governors of LA STAGE Alliance and is now the Interim Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, but he is especially proud of his Ovation Award for Spring Awakening – Best Director of a Musical.

Claudia de Vasco

Director, Producer, and Actor, Claudia de Vasco is the Co-Artistic Producing Director of Chalk Repertory Theatre and the Managing Director of Emerging Arts Leaders LA. You’ve seen her onstage as both a Shakespeare leading lady and as an activist with The Kilroys, fighting for equity in American theatre.

Danny Feldman

A lifelong Angelino, Danny Feldman started his theater work in the 99-seat theater scene in LA (where he won Best Intimate Musical for producing ‘bare’) followed by several years as Managing Director of Reprise Theater Company. After a 6-year stint running NYC’s famed Labyrinth Theater Company (where he garnered a Tony nod for producing) he returned home to serve as the Producing Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse where he is now in his third season.

Elmira Rahim

Elmira Rahim is a Los Angeles based Iranian actor. After her graduation from the USC MFA Acting program, Elmira founded a theater company, ÉLAN Ensemble where she works as the Artistic Director with the mission to create innovative theatrical productions based in physical theatre in order to provide Los Angeles audiences with a deep collective experience that reflects us as a community.

Geoff Elliott

Geoff Elliott holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Florida and a Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre. Elliott is one of A Noise Within‘s Producing Artistic Directors.

Elliott has performed major roles for some of the leading regional theatres in America, including The American Conservatory Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Arizona Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and California Shakespeare Festival. He has received three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards and more than a dozen other awards for performance and direction.

Graham Wetterhanm

Graham Wetterhahn is the Executive Producer and Creative Director of After Hours Theatre Company. He is a 3x Ovation nominee for Dogfight, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: The Immersive Experience, and The Last Five Years: A Multisensory Experience.

Harry Groener

Recipient of three Ovation Awards, a three time Tony Nominee, was in the original companies of CATS and CRAZY FOR YOU and is a Founding Member of The Antaeus Theater Company.

Julia Rodriguez-Elliott

Julia Rodriguez-Elliot holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Florida and a Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre. Elliott is one of A Noise Within‘s Producing Artistic Directors.

Rodriguez-Elliott has extensive experience teaching theatre arts to students from middle school to college and regularly conducts student workshops as part of ANW’s educational programming. Ms. Rodriguez-Elliott has served on theatre panels for organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and LA Stage Alliance, and she regularly lectures at the California Institute for the Arts, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and schools throughout the California State University and University of California school systems. Ms. Rodriguez-Elliott received the 2005 National Latina Business Women’s Association’s Latinas in Business Award in the Arts & Entertainment category, the 2006 Women in Business award from the California State Senate and Assembly, and the 2010 Fifty Fabulous Women of Influence in the San Gabriel Valley Award.

Michael A. Shepperd

Michael A. Shepperd is the legendary mother of the House of Celebration. The longest running lesbian Gay bisexual transgender queer questioning intersex two-spirit allied asexual cis-gender gender non-binary theatre in the country.

Oanh Nguyen

Founding Artistic Director of the Chance Theater since 1999. Chance Theater has received the National Theatre Company grant from American Theatre Wing along with multiple Ovation Awards including two for Best Production.

Sharon Lawrence

Sharon (ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA, DYNASTY, CRIMINAL MINDS) began her Broadway career before Time Square was gentrified and her film and TV career prior to digital media. 

After four EMMY nominations, a SAG Awards, Drama Critics and Ovation nods, her commitment to LA theatre (ORSONS SHADOW, A KID LIKE JAKE) is enriched as a IAMA Theatre Company member.

Snehal Desai

Snehal Desai is the Producing Artistic Director of East West Players, the nation’s premier Asian-American theater company and the longest running theater of color in the country. A career highlight was moving to LA.

Steven Leigh Morris

Steven is the Founding Editor of Stage Raw. He was the Theater Editor and Critic-at-Large at LA Weekly. He is recipient of the National Entertainment Journalism Awards’ Print Critic of the Year, he has chaired and served on the Pulitzer Prize jury for Drama, written for a range of publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesAmerican Theatre Magazine and DRAMA Magazine in LondonSteven is also a published and produced (in L.A. and Off-Broadyway) playwright with works developed at London’s Tricycle Theatre, the New York Theatre Workshop, City Garage and The Mark Taper Forum in L.A. 

Terence McFarland

Terence McFarland is Associate Executive Director of The Soraya . He is the former Chief Executive Officer of LA STAGE Alliance. He is a trustee of Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway Initiative, a $40 million public private partnership to revitalize the historic Broadway District of Downtown Los Angeles, and is one of the hundred international arts leaders chosen for the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program.

Vanessa Stewart

Currently serving as co-artistic director at Sacred Fools Theater, Vanessa co-wrote the role of Keely Smith for herself in Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, which went on to win 5 Ovation awards and find a home at the Geffen Theater. Since Louis and Keely, Vanessa went on to write Stoneface at Pasadena Playhouse, the musical Nathan C Jones at the Blank Theater, and most recently Deadly for Sacred Fools Theater.

LA STAGE Alliance

LA STAGE Alliance

LA STAGE Alliance is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and support for the performing arts in Greater Los Angeles.