'Falsettos' by William Finn & James Lapine Creative
Director, Set DesignerLara Morton
Lara Morton (Director), she/her, co-founded FUSE in 2019, after working professionally in educational and community outreach theatre since 1994. Previous directing projects for FUSE include Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.” (2020), Kimberly Belflower’s “Lost Girl” (2022) and the acclaimed pandemic tour-de-force “A Midsummer Night’s Dream- The Rewired Musical” (Winner: Best Feature-length Comedy at Legacy Theatre Film Festival), which has become a tool for English and Theatre Arts educators across the country on YouTube. With her FUSE partners Noah Golden and Elizabeth Santaus, Lara has co-produced “All Together Now!” (2021) and “Songs For A New World” (2023). Previous formative positions include Artistic Director/Playwright-in-Residence for the Yale-based Open End Theatre, Program and Education Director for Young Audiences of CT (Arts for Learning), and Assistant Director/Program Facilitator of the Mental Health Association Players (Binghamton, NY), where her lifelong relationship with improv began. She has been teaching and directing as a freelancer through her company Handful Productions for the past decade, turning out long-term touring projects such as SATB Cabaret and ‘Focus Teen Improv. As a playwright, she has been honored with several professional staged readings in Manhattan (Epic Theatre Ensemble’s Sunshine Series of New Works, 2011) and New Jersey (Speranza Theatre’s Fall Festival, 2013), and her one-woman touring educational piece about CT State Heroine Prudence Crandall, “The Prudence Crandall Story,” has been gracing Connecticut school stages since 1998. As a performer, Lara has appeared in numerous musicals and Shakespeare plays in CT, most recently in the memorable role of Mrs. Gloop in Broadway on Main’s April production of “Willy Wonka.” She also works as a professional voice actor (@elizabeth_morton_voiceactor), face painter (@facepaintingbylara), and is employed by the Yale School of Medicine as a Simulated Patient actor. Lara is incredibly grateful for the phenomenal team of passionate creative professionals who bring their A-game to everything they do at FUSE.
Music Director, PianoAron Smith
Aron Smith (Musical Director), he/him, is a greater New Haven based music director, pianist, accompanist and arranger. He can be seen performing and music directing in many professional and community theaters throughout the area and is the music director for the Theatre for Young Audiences at Downtown Cabaret in Bridgeport. An award winning educator with over 20 years of public education experience, Aron currently teaches general music, band and choir in Oxford CT. He recently produced and directed “It’s the 80s!,” an original work written by Mr. Smith. He co-founded the Edgewood Drama Club and previously directed a PAC recognized choir. The choir won “Best Overall” in the “2015 Shubert Centennial Show Choir Competition”. Aron teaches piano at the University of Bridgeport. He earned his B.A. and M.S. degrees from University of Bridgeport; has a degree in English Literature from Marist College; and studied at Hartt School in West Hartford.
Paul Aguirre (Choreographer), he/him, is a director/choreographer based out of Black Rock, CT. He has spent over 20 years as a professional AEA actor in regional theatres and tours around the country and has performed in CT theatres; Goodspeed, Westport Country Playhouse, ACT, Music Theatre of CT, 7 Angels Theatre, and Summer Theatre of New Canaan. In between performing he has directed and/or choreographed productions from “A Chorus Line,” “Company,” “Romance/Romance,” “Babes in Arms” to “Seussical,” “Narnia,” “Fame” and “The Wiz,” as well as original works “Heart & Music,” “Lyz!,” “Liberty: The Musical” and “Hearts of the Hollow.” Paul is thankful to be a part of FUSE and to get to know more about and work with the CT theatre community makers and creators and help tell stories from new voices. Paul is also the creator/owner of BroadwayDollsandGuys.com custom crocheted dolls and gifts. Love to David, Nikki, and Arya. Paul forever dedicates his work to Ma for her never-ending love and support.
Stage ManagerCamille Fortin
Camille Fortin (Stage Manager), she/her, is excited to be back with Fuse after Stage Managing their previous production of “Songs For A New World” especially for such a beautiful and timely show. Camille is a Stage Manager and Actor based in New Haven, CT. She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Connecticut and will return to UCONN to obtain her Masters of Social Work in the Fall. Her favorite roles include “The Seagull” (Nina), “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (Miss Gwendolyn Pynn), “Men on Boats” (William Dunn) and “The Nether” (Iris). She is fortunate to have Assistant Stage Managed “As You Like It,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and “The Grapes of Wrath” at Connecticut Repertory Theatre. She is grateful for live theater and the chance to work with such a talented team.
Associate ChoreographerVirginia Skinner
Virginia Skinner (Associate Choreographer), she/her, has been working in musical theater for as long as she can remember. Virginia is an actress, choreographer, and musician. She has worked with many theater companies throughout Connecticut in a plethora of different roles, including once as a stage manager and another as a director. Some of her choreography credits include “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Her favorite roles that she has performed to date are Mrs. Walker in “The Who’s ‘Tommy,’” Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and Molly in “The Road to Aracea.” Virginia studied music and theater at Southern Connecticut State University. She currently performs with the Connecticut based band VAMP42. When she’s not on stage or dancing, she is usually hiking with her dog, knitting, or watching Muppet movies with her son.
Technical Director/Lighting DesignerKevin Michael-Reed
Kevin Michael Reed (Lighting Designer), he/him, is a theatre director & designer exploring the intersection of art & technology in performance. His production credits include producer, director, playwright, dramaturg & Lighting & AV designer. Recent directing credits include: “The Great Gatsby: A Live Radio Play” by Joe Landry (Legacy Theatre), “I Do! I Do!” by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt (Legacy Theatre), “X” by Alistair McDowall (The Lir), “Shadows” by CJ Lloyd Webley (Squire Lane Theatrical / Theatro Technis), and “Version 2.0” by Kashyap Raja (Squire Lane Theatrical / Leicester Square Theatre). Recent collaborators, in various roles, include: Once Off Productions (“Looking For América”), Birmingham Repertory Company (“Constructed” by CJ Lloyd Webley), BiggerThanMe Productions / The Other Palace (“Pattie Shop Diaries”), The Lir Academy (“Blood Wedding,” “Wish List”), Equinox Theatre Company (“We All Come From Somewhere”), Corn Exchange / Dublin Fringe Festival (“Bodies of Water”), Pan Pan Platform / AOB Arts Management (“Symphony of Worms”), Asylum Productions / Abbey Theatre (“The Big Chapel X”), Ballet Ireland (“Swan Lake”), Gerrard Martin Dance Company / AndWhat Queer Arts Festival (“B”), Tenth Muse Productions / Omnibus Theatre London (“Beauty & The Beast, a new adaptation”), and Vista Life Innovations (“All Shook Up,” “Addams Family,” “Man of La Mancha”). He produced the critically-acclaimed productions of Reese Thompson’s “WHORE: A Kid’s Play” and “JOY DONZE: 13 & Not Pregnant” at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has consulted and technical directed live streamed productions, conferences & symposiums for various theatre companies throughout the US & Ireland. Kevin holds a BFA in Photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), a MA in Playwriting from City, University of London, and MFA in Theatre Directing from The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art. kevinmichaelreed.com
Costume DesignerEmma Bender
Emma Bender (Costume Designer), she/her. FUSE Theatre: “Lost Girl” (Curly/Doctor) Quinnipiac University: “Almost, Maine” (Director), “Alice in Wonderland” (White Queen/Lobster), “Little Women” (Props Coordinator), “Three Sisters” (Anfisa), “Proof” (Props Coordinator), “Macbeth” (Angus/Second Apparition), “4 A.M. Stay-at-Home Edition” (Anne/Monster Under the Bed/ Nightmare). University of New Haven: “Godspell” (Photography), “The Hatmaker’s Wife” (Poster Artwork/Photography), “Head Over Heels” (Poster Art, Photography), Film and Theater Academy (Run Crew), “Elephant’s Graveyard” (Photography), “Melancholy Play” (Poster Art), “Mr. Burns” (Totem Art), “Our Town” (Scenic Photography). Neighborhood Music School: “Pirates! 2: ‘The Hidden’ Treasure” (Bluebeard), “Suessical Medley”(Cat in the Hat).Education: Quinnipiac University BA in Theater, expected '24.
Sound DesignerRich Ives
Richard Ives (Sound Designer), he/him, of IDEAS Unlimited, LLC is providing audio support for his second production with FUSE. He is a mechanical design/project/quality engineer by trade, with a BSME degree from Carnegie Mellon University, but after college has always managed to find time to pursue his interest in the technical aspects of music. Rich has designed, installed and maintained sound systems for area schools and churches, but is most at home mixing a live performance. He says that he “just doesn’t feel right” watching a show unless he ís sitting behind a mixing console and surrounded by electronics. From unknown performers to celebrities, from audiences of a few dozen to 15,000, from classical to rock, from tiny coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall, Rich has mixed it all. Most recently, he has been turning up the volume on middle and high school musicals, and gets a lot of satisfaction from surprised parents who can hear their tiny six year old from the back row. Rich would like to thank FUSE for the opportunity to be a part of the creative team for “Falsettos.”
Executive ProducerElizabeth Santaus
Elizabeth Santaus (Executive Producer), she/her, graduated from Wellesley College with a major in studio art and a minor in mathematics. Elizabeth has over thirty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry. With previous experience consulting and as CFO for three sister companies in Branford, Santaus knows how to help businesses prosper and grow. She has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for more than 300 small businesses in Connecticut and New York since launching Dressler Santaus LLC in 2006. She has been a QuickBooks© trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund's Bridgeport location and currently presents seminars in conjunction with SCORE. Santaus has been Treasurer of The Network of Executive Women of Milford, Inc. for seven years. A member of the Gateway Christian Fellowship congregation, Santaus' strong faith and seemingly effortless grace extends to this community and to the arts. The arts, particularly fine art, musical theater, and dance, have been her unpaid passion, and she is thrilled to be able to combine this love with her financial management skills working with Fuse, and has successfully written several state grants to fund this season's productions. Since coming to Fuse, Santaus has served as Executive Producer on "A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Rewired Musical" (2021), "All Together Now!" (2021), "Lost Girl" (2022), and "Songs For A New World" (2023).
(See Actor's Bio)
William Finn is the writer and composer of “Falsettos,” for which he received two Tony Awards, Best Book of a Musical (with James Lapine) and Best Original Score. He has also written and composed “In Trousers,” “March of the Falsettos” and “Falsettoland” (Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the Lucille Lortel Award and Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting). Mr. Finn wrote the lyrics to Graciela Daniele's “Tango Apasionado” (music by the great Astor Piazzolla) and, with Michael Starobin, the music to Lapine's version of “The Winter's Tale”. His musical “Romance in Hard Times” was presented at The Public Theater. Recently, he wrote “Painting You for Love's Fire,” a piece commissioned and performed by the Acting Company, based on Shakepeare's sonnets. For television, Mr. Finn provided the music and lyrics for the Ace Award-winning HBO cartoon “Ira Sleeps Over,” “Tom Thumb and Thumbelina,” “Pokey Little Puppy's First Christmas” and, with Ellen Fitzhugh, two “Brave Little Toaster” cartoons. Mr. Finn has written for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker. A graduate of Williams College, where he was awarded the Hutchinson Fellowship for Musical Composition, Finn now teaches a weekly master class at the NYU Tisch Graduate Program in Musical Theatre Writing. His most recent projects include “Elegies, A Song Cycle” (Lincoln Center), “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which had a three-year run on Broadway and has been produced nationally and all over the world, and “Little Miss Sunshine” with James Lapine. For the past four years he has been the Artistic Head of the Musical Theatre Lab at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
James Lapine was born in 1949 in Mansfield, Ohio and lived there until his early teens, when his family moved to Stamford, Connecticut. He attended public schools before entering Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he majored in History. He went on to get an MFA in Design from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. After graduate school, he moved to New York City where he worked part-time as a waiter; a page and tour guide at NBC; a free-lance photographer and graphic designer; and an architectural preservationist for the Architectural League of NY. One of his free-lance jobs was designing the magazine of the Yale School of Drama, Yale/Theater, then edited by Rocco Landesman and Robert Marx. The dean of the School of Drama, Robert Brustein, offered Lapine a full-time job designing all of the printed materials for the School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theatre as well as a faculty position teaching a course in advertising design. While at Yale, his students urged him to direct a play during the annual January period when both faculty and students undertook a project outside of their areas of study or expertise. At their suggestion, Lapine directed a Gertrude Stein play, “Photograph.” The play was five acts, and just three pages in length. Assembling students and friends, the play was presented in New Haven and came to the attention of director Lee Breuer, who helped arrange for a small performance space in Soho to present the work for three weeks. The production was enthusiastically received and won Lapine an Obie award. Lapine was approached to create a new piece for the Music-Theatre Group. He wrote and directed a workshop version of “Twelve Dreams,” a work inspired by a Jungian case history. The play was later presented at the Public Theatre and revived by Lincoln Center Theatre. Lapine eventually left the visual arts for a career in the theatre, where he has also written and directed the plays “Table Settings,” “Luck, Pluck and Virtue,” “The Moment When,” “Fran's Bed” and “Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing.” He has written the book for and directed Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods,” “Passion” and the multi-media revue “Sondheim on Sondheim.” He also directed “Merrily We Roll Along” as part of Encores! at New York City Center. With William Finn he has collaborated on “March of the Falsettos” and “Falsettoland,” later presented on Broadway as “Falsettos,” “A New Brain,” “Muscle” and “Little Miss Sunshine” at Second Stage Theatre. On Broadway, he has also directed David Henry Hwang’s “Golden Child,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” Michel Legrand’s “Amour,” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” He directed Jenny Allen's solo piece “I Got Sick and Then I Got Better” with Darren Katz. Lapine directed the 2012 Broadway revival of “Annie.” He co-produced and directed the HBO documentary “Six By Sondheim.” In 2014, Lincoln Center Theater produced his stage adaptation of the Moss Hart memoir “Act One.” Lapine has also directed several productions off-Broadway as well as three films. He is the recipient of three Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Lapine is a member of the Dramatist Guild Council and for the last twelve years has been a mentor for TDF's Open Doors Program. He is also on the board of Ars Nova Theatre. He currently lives in New York City.
Original Creative Team
Falsettos is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals. www.ConcordTheatricals.com.