THEATRE FACULTY
Maria McConville Pizzarello
Director
Maria McConville Pizzarello is the new theatre program director at the Darien Arts Center. She teaches with Open Arts Alliance in Greenwich, CT. As a NYC Public School teaching artist, Maria has worked with the Theatre Development Fund, LeAP! Onstage, and Theatre For A New Audience. Her students have performed and adapted the work of Shakespeare, written their own plays, devised ensemble performance pieces, sang and danced in musical productions, and performed their peers work on a Broadway stage. Growing up in New York, Maria attended LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts for Drama, and recently adjudicated the auditions for incoming students. In 2004, she graduated with a degree in performance from Fordham University at Lincoln Center. Maria is an actress, member of Actors’ Equity and also a playwright. She is published with Playscripts and Stage Partners.
Jake Lloyd
Jake Lloyd is a composer, lyricist and librettist living in New York City. Writing credits include, Off-Broadway: THE LOST BOYS (book music and lyrics); Regional: ONCE UPON THE MOON, (lyrics by Janine McGuire); BUILDING CITIES, (lyrics by Suzanne Davis); DREAMCHASER (lyrics by Joshua David Bishop). Upcoming projects include, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, (book/music/lyrics), O, PIONEERS (book/music/lyrics). His first youth fantasy novel will be published sometime next year. Outside of writing, Jake is active in the musical theatre scene as a music director, coach and pit musician. Selected musical director/conductor credits, off-Broadway: HOORAY FOR WHAT!; MR. PORTER AND MR. SHAKESPEARE, a concert of unpublished Cole Porter songs (in conjunction with the Cole Porter estate). Regional: CARLA BIANCO IN CONCERT, SEUSSICAL, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, INTO THE WOODS, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, THE WIZ and others. Selected orchestration credits: ANY DREAM WILL DO – AN ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER CELEBRATION, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE; THE LOST BOYS; DREAMCHASER, and various arrangements for choral groups and orchestras. In addition, Jake regularly does dramaturgy work for other authors and is a consultant for shows in development. Jake has been active in the classroom for the past 15 years in the private school sector. He has served as choral director, musical director, and department chair. At his first school he founded the musical theatre program, and at his current school, Dwight-Englewood, he founded the Show Choir. A graduate of Nyack College with a degree in composition, Jake has studied with composer Dr. Paul Liljestrand, television/film composer Chris Hughes, and at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, More information on Jake’s works can be found on his website, www.thejakelloyd.com
Rocco Natale
Rocco Natale is the founding Executive Director of Open Arts Alliance, Rocco Natale is the 2017 Moffly Media "Light A Fire" Award winner for arts engagement. A Newington-Cropsey Fellowship recipient for dramatic writing and research, Rocco is a playwright and director. His plays have been performed internationally and stateside he has worked at The Cherry Lane Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop's 4th Street Theatre, Inside Broadway, Urban Stages and Arena Stages. Rocco's adaptations of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and K.C.@BAT are published by YOUTHPlays. His play SMOKE SIGNALS holds the distinction of receiving the Siff Grant for educational performance and was developed to tour with Hospital Audiences, Inc. A semi-finalist in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference and Premiere Stages, Rocco has had the pleasure of working with Signature Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Mirror Repertory Company, The University of Connecticut and Shakespeare on the Sound. BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. MA: New York University; BA: New York University, CAS: The University of Bridgeport. Guest Lecture: Playwriting (Sacred Heart University.)
Martha Wollner
Martha aided Maysles Films Inc. in capturing real people stories for award winning projects that ranged from documentary features to landmark commercial campaigns and corporate projects for a host of Fortune 500 clients. Her duties at MFI included casting, producing and second unit directing on feature documentaries. Following her tenure as General Manager of the company, Martha established her own company, Very Real Casting, dedicated to nurturing human stories for all forms of media. Now in its 20th year, Very Real Casting is rooted in the same skill set the Maysles Brothers saw in Wollner from the outset; the ability to find and establish relationships with people who deliver the greatest window into their real stories. Martha is a proud member of NYC's renown Labyrinth Theater Company. Her performance and playwriting have both been featured at LAB. She has performed with the iconic Royal Shakespeare Company and attended the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland as both an actress and director. Her work in theater has long enhanced her story producing and casting skills.