Biographies
Here are the biographies of those who wrote, directed and acted in the original off-Broadway musical Sarah, Plain and Tall.

JULIA JORDAN has four plays produced in New York this year. They are St. Scarlet at the Ontological Theater directed by Chris Messina, Tatjana in Color at the Culture Project directed by Will Pomerantz, Summer of the Swans at The Lucille Lortel Theatre directed by Joe Calarco in the summer, and Boy at Primary Stages in the spring. She was also the librettist working with Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin on the one-act musical The Mice which was produced in 2000 as part of Harold Prince’s 3three at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, as well as at The Ahmanson in Los Angeles in 2001. Her short film The Hat,
which she wrote and directed, premiered at Sundance in 2000 and is currently showing IFC. She wrote the books for the Moscow Circus’ Winter Queen show, which toured in 2002. She was playwriting fellow at Julliard and received her Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin.


NELL BENJAMIN holds a master of Philosophy degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and a BA from Harvard University, where she and composer Laurence O’Keefe (Bat Boy: the Musical ) co-wrote the 145th Hasty Pudding show. They went on to write lyrics and music for The Mice, produced by Harold Prince as a part of 3hree of the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, where it won a Barrymore Award, and at the Ahmanson Thearter in Los Angeles, where it was nominated for an Ovation Award. Benjamin and O’Keefe’s Sensitive Song was nominated for a 2002 MAC Award. Benjamin has written scripts for the WB sitcom
Unhappily Ever After, online games for the critically acclaimed “Icebox.com” and a manual on corporate bond trading procedures which was called “unexpected lyrical” by the banking compliance officer in Switzerland.

In 2002, she won a scholarship to Southampton Writers’ conference, whose instructors included Jules Feiffer, Frank McCourt, and poet Billy Collins.

In 2003, Nell Benjamin won a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Grant and the Kleban Foundation Award.


LAURENCE O’KEEFE won the 2001 ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award and a 2001 Larson Award for his music and lyrics. He wrote music and lyrics for the off-Broadway musical Bat Boy: The Musical, which won the Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for the Best Musical and two Richard Roidgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Bat Boy is now running in many productions across the country and will be produced next spring in London. He wrote the music for The Mice as part of 3hree, and the music and lyrics for Drop Everything, a new clown show/musical with Fool Moon’s David Shiner.
O’Keefe and Shiner have performed together at Seattle ACT Theatre, in New York at Naked Angels, and at the Tollwood Festival in Munich. O’Keefe has contributed songs and music to The Cat in the Hat, The Daily Show, and other movies and television shows. But his happiest achievement is his ongoing project with America’s greatest lyricist, Nell Benjamin.


JOE CALARCO was the director for Sarah, Plain and Tall for TheatreworksUSA at The Lucille Lortel Theatre. His off-Broadway credits include Shakespeare’s R&J, adaptor/director, John Houseman Theater (Lucille Lortel Award); in The Absence of Spring, writer/director, Second Stage; Summer of the Swans, The Lucille Lortel Theatre. Regional: Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Award), Sideshow (Helen Hayes Award) and the world premier of in The Absence of Spring, Signature Theatre; A Midsummer Nights Dream, The Shakespeare Theatre; and The Last Five Years, Philadelphia Theatre Company. Calarco was a
Drama League Directing Fellow and is currently a Jospeh Papp artist-in-residence at Second Stage.



BECCA AYERS (Sarah) took over the role of Lucy in the first national tour of Jekyll and Hyde. Other favorite roles include Lucianna in The Comedy of Errors at the Missouri Rep., Sally Bowles in Cabaret at Cambridge Theater Company with Spiro Malles and Marni Nixon, and Petra in A Little Night Music at Barrington Stage Company. Becca holds her BFA from Stephens College. She is a singer/songwriter and has written soundtrack materiel for several films. Becca resides in Manhattan with her talented sister, Heather and Heather's boyfriend, Tally (both actors!). Her loving parents live in Kansas City, MO. http://www.beccaayers.com


KENNETH BOYS (William/Mathew) first appeared in NYC at the NY Shakespeare Festival under the direction of Joe Papp. He has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in National Tours of such shows as Apple Pie; Sherlock Holmes; Camelot; Raggedy Ann; T.N.T,; A New Approach to Human Sacrifice; Sarah, Plain and Tall; Young Rube; The Madman and the Nun; Roomies; The Importance of Being Earnest; Zero Sum; and The Grand Tour. He has appeared twice at Luna Stage Co. in Rapture and Friends and Relations; at Paper Mill Playhouse opposite Paxton Whithead in Out of Order; as Gremio in The
Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare On The Sound; as Pishchik in The Cherry Orchard with Keir Dullea; as Stedman in A Moon for the Misbegotten directed by Susan D. Atkinson; as Guildenstern in Hamlet directed by Douglas Campbell. He has also appeared at the The Adirondack Theatre Festival, The New Harmony Project, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Theatre Under the Stars, West Virginia Public Theatre, Mt. Gretna Playhouse, etc. TV and film credits include All That Jazz, Close Quarters, The Fan, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Mike Hammar, The Young Riders, and many commercials. He has appeared in more than 17 productions at Bristol Riverside Theatre including The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Greetings, Mountain, Blithe Spirit, Communicating Doors, and Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol.


HERNDON LACKEY has just completed both the Goodman Theatre and Kennedy Center runs of Stephen Sonheim's new musical, Bounce. Broadway credits include Hugh Dorsey in Parade, Tom Davenport in Inherit the Wind, The Warden in The Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Inspector Javert in Les Miserables, Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and the Squire of Dinidan in Camelot. Off-Broadway: Forbidden Broadway and the City Center Encore production of Bloomer Girl. Film credits include Beauty and Beast, Aladdin and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.



KATE WETHERHEAD originated the role of Anna in the off-Broadway production of Sarah, Plain and Tall in the summer of 2002. She recently appeared off-Broadway as Sarah Godfrey in The Summer of the Swans written by Julia Jordan and directed by Joe Calarco. Other New York credits include A Christmas Carol and Rebels (NY workshop). Regional credits include The Spitfire Grill (Skylight Opera Theatre, WI), The Love of Three Oranges (Williamstown Theatre Festival, MA) and Working (Lost Nation Theatre, VT), and Sarah, Plain and Tall at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. Kate recently finished shooting
a short film, Staple Girl, in which she played the title role and a reading of Julia Jordan's Smoking Lesson at Urban Stages. See web site: www.katewetherhead.com


DEBRA WISEMAN (Estelle/Maggie) most recently performed with David Shiner and composer Larry O’Keefe in Seattle and Europe in Shiner in the Round. Debra originated the role of Estelle/Maggie in Sarah Plain and Tall at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (NY). On Broadway, Debra was in Cyrano and The Scarlet Pimpernel. She toured nationally as Hodel with Theodore Bikel in Fiddler on the Roof. Regionally, Debra’s favorite leads include Side Show (Garland Award), No No Nannette (Paper Mill), My Fair Lady, Sound of Music and Triumph of Love. Debra’s first film credit was the Oscar-winning, Bullets over Broadway
(Woody Allen) followed by The Other Sister (Garry Marshall). On television, she has been a guest on Step by Step, Remember WENN, Clueless, Hollywood Off-Ramp, Kings of Comedy, and played a starring role opposite Angela Lansbury in Mrs. Santa Claus (CBS).



JOHN LLOYD YOUNG (Caleb) teamed up again with Sarah, Plain and Tall castmate, Kate Wetherhead, as brother and sister in the new play The Summer of the Swans at off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theatre in July of this year. The play was written by Sarah, Plain and Tall book writer, Julia Jordan, and is directed by Sarah, Plain and Tall director, Joe Calarco. In the past few seasons John Lloyd has appeared in New York at the Cherry Lane Theatre, the Jose Quintero, the John Houseman with the Obie Award-winning Target Margin Theatre Company, and as Moritz in Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening (Expanded Arts).
Regional appearances include the McCarter Theatre, Washington's Kennedy Center, the Westchester Broadway Theatre and the Gateway Playhouse. Television: computer tech Cooper on Law & Order, Saturday Night Live. Radio: two years announcing and hosting for WCFE-FM. Graduate: Brown University. Website: www.johnlloydyoung.com

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