Jason Hewitt (Producer) productions have been nominated for six Audelco Awards, five New York Innovative Theater Awards, a Helen Hayes Award, as well as three ATEB awards in Mexico. Following successful engagements at Playwrights Horizons and Washington, DC’s Keegan Theater, National Pastime will entertain audiences from Arizona to Pennsylvania this season as it makes its way back to New York for a Broadway run in 2015. From 2007 through 2010 the Off-Broadway Musical Sessions played to New York Audiences, before being performed internationally in Mexico where it won Best Production. Other Off –Broadway: An Evening at the Carlyle, Melvin Van Peebles’ Unmitigated Truth, Same Train, Early in the Mourning (staged reading at Signature Theatre featuring Estelle Parsons, Jerry Stiller, and Peter Frechette), and Titanic Voices(Waldorf Astoria, National Arts Club, New York Historical Society). Aside from his work as a producer, he was seen on stage as Nixon in Frost/Nixon in the first post-Broadway production of the show in New York City. He was the Assistant Director for the National Tour of Oklahoma! and served as the Assistant Production Manager for both the Broadway revival of Les Misérables and the Los Angeles production of Wicked. In General Management, twenty Broadway shows in ten years at the firm of Alan Wasser Associates: Les Misérables(Original and Revival), The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Swan Lake, Fosse, Seussical, Putting It Together, Oklahoma!, The Sweet Smell of Success, Hollywood Arms, All Shook Up, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, Festen, LeStat, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, A Chorus Line, Grey Gardens & Journey’s End. Current Manging Director of the Peoples Improv Theater, Simple Studios, and the newly opened Pioneers Bar.
Tony Sportiello (Book/Producer/Artistic Director) has written more than two dozen stage plays, and has been produced all over the world, including London, Russia, Finland and China. He has two scripts in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, Contract Time and National Pastime. He is published in Samuel French. He has produced the Off Broadway shows Sessions, The Devil and Billy Markham, An Evening at the Carlyle and National Pastime. He was the Artistic Director of Madison Avenue Theater, The WorkShop and Algonquin Theater Productions. He is married to actress Kelli Maguire and is the devoted (and exhausted) father of Antonia Jacqueline Sportiello.
Joan Pelzer (Marketing and Social Media Director) is a NY based actress, producer, general manager and entrepreneur. Joan has been with Algonquin Theater Productions since it’s inception in 2004 and helped produce and general manage readings, showcases and the year and a half off-Broadway run of Sessions The Musical. Joan co-founded Liquid Productions in 2002 with Sharon Osowski and co-produced readings, cabarets, an Annual Academy Awards networking event, and a benefit staged reading of I Witness, an original play by David Grand starring Michele Lee and Tony Lo Bianco. Joan also helped produce non-profit September Space’s annual Iron Skillet Cook-Off 2004, featuring the French Cookin Blues Band, NYC DJs Elvis Duran and Goumba Johnny as Masters of Ceremony, and celebrities Steve Shirripa (aka Bobby Bacala) from the Sopranos, The Central Park Guitar Man, David Ippolito, and crooner-cop, Daniel Rodriguez. Proud member of AEA, SAG, Aftra.
Merry Beamer (Associate Producer) is an Actress, Director and Producer. Her first job in the theater was as a Production Assistant to Tony Award Nominee Arthur Faria on the Broadway revival of Ain’t Misbehavin’. She has served as the Artistic Director for Bridge Theater Company of Washington Heights where she directed Neil Simon’s Fools and The Good Doctor, Jim Leonard Jr’s The Diviners and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men as well as Broadway in the Heights I and II. She also produced the adapted story of A Christmas Carol presenting free shows for schools in the WAHI area. She co-directed the first New York revival of Balm in Gilead. Off Broadway she has acted in The A Train series and Adam Rapp’s Stone Cold Dead Serious. She started her association with National Pastime in 2012.
Debra Whitfield (Co-Artistic Director) is an award-winning director, actress and writer. She directed The Banana Monologues which is currently running Off-Broadway at the Acorn Theatre. Debra won the Beaux Arts Da Vinci Award for Best Revival in New York for her production of Trifles. In the Belly of the Beast (Florida Studio Theatre) was named Best Play of the Year by Sarasota Magazine. Her acting credits include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire and Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra. As a writer, Tech Support and The Man in the Window were both produced by Algonquin Theater Productions. www.debrawhitfield.net
Kimmie Braunthal (Marketing and Administrative Assistant) grew up in Riverside, CT, loving theater. She can sing, dance (mostly tap, salsa and swing), act, and write bios – a quadruple threat! She sang classical, jazz and show-tunes in college, as well as performed the role of Columbia in the college’s production of The Rocky Horror Show. She was Miss Flannery in Off-Beat Players’ Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2009. In college, she was also an assistant stage manager, stagehand, costume shop assistant, props crew head, and general theater enthusiast. After graduating Connecticut College in December 2012, she is now excited to continue working in theater. She previously interned for Merkley+Partners, The Public Theater, and Pilobolus Dance Theater. Currently, she is the Social Media Chair with Femfessionals/FemCity NYC, and the marketing and administrative assistant with Algonquin Theater Productions. She enjoys baking Oreo Cheesecake, because in which other situation would you get to energetically smash oreos?
AJ Sportiello (Ball Girl) is a fast moving and talented toddler. The star of all her pre-school plays, she also moonlights as a model in print advertisements. Her parents, Tony Sportiello and Kelli Maguire, couldn’t be prouder to be riding on her stylish coattails. You’re only young once and AJ is excited to continue being young. To her father’s chagrin, ever since trying her first Yankees Stadium hot dog, she has been (and always will be) a devout Yankees fan.