Melissa Crespo is a New York-based director who enjoys directing everything from classical to contemporary plays, as well as musicals and operas. She is most passionate about collaborating with playwrights. She has developed plays at theatres such as: The Lark, Strange Sun Theatre, Echo Theatre Company, Ars Nova, Morningside Opera, The Civilians R & D Group, Hangar Theatre, and The Public. Earlier this year she directed the world premiere of ¡Figaro! (90210) at LA Opera following the New York concert presentation hailed as “blasphemous, brilliant…realistically contemporary and timelessly comic” (New York Times). She assistant directed Phyllida Lloyd on Cush Jumbo's Josephine and I at The Public (Lucille Lortel Winner for Outstanding Solo Show). Most recently she directed the Harlem Renaissance opera concert of Voodoo by H. Lawrence Freeman, which hadn’t been performed since it’s premiere in 1928. She served as the Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, was a Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and is a 2014 Drama League Fellow where she directed the world premiere of Maggie-Kate Coleman’s The Map of Lost Things while in residence at the Hangar Theatre. Melissa received her MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama. www.melissacrespo.com
Founder and principal of Platt Productions, Jacob has been working in theatre for over 15 years providing producing, production management, and lighting services spanning Broadway scale productions to community theatre performances. After attending Carnegie Mellon University and returning to NYC to complete his education, Jacob worked with and held a position on the artistic council of Working Mans Clothes Productions during the successful productions of She Like Girls (GLAAD Award) and To Ninevah (NY Innovative Theatre Award). He is also an Associate Designer and Project Manager at Sense Lighting, executing large scale architectural and corporate installations such as Audemars Piguet & Galerie Perrotin "Curiosity" for Art Basel Miami, Martha Stewart's American Made Awards 2012 (Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal) and Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak (Park Avenue Armory). Jacob is thrilled to work with Desiree Burch and the rest of this fantastic team on expanding the audience of Tar Baby.
Desiree is a writer, comedian and actress, best known for her full-length solo shows--like the critically-acclaimed 52 Man Pickup--which have toured NY, L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, London, Amsterdam and Edinburgh. Her stand-up and solo work have been featured at various NYC venues including Carolines, Gotham, Joe’s Pub, Bowery Ballroom, 59E59, Ars Nova, LaMama, P.S. 122, Dixon Place, the New Museum and the Greene Space, as well as on VH1, MTV, Comedy Central, NBC and E4. She has been profoundly influenced by performing as a New York Neo-Futurist in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Other favorite theater experiences include playing Miriam in Tennessee Williams’ In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel (Columbia School of Theater) and Lu in Rip Me Open (written with Michael Cyril Creighton for Galapagos/Dixon Place Hot! Festival), as well as creating The Soup Show with Neo-Futurists Cara Francis and Erica Livingston. She has worked regionally and nationally as educator (American Place Theater) and speaker (TEDx), and is the former host of “Smut” at Galapagos Art Space. She received her B.A. in Theater Studies from Yale University.
Dan is an award winning playwright, composer and storyteller. His plays and musicals have appeared at P.S.122, Urban Stages, 45 Bleecker Theatre, The Ohio Theatre, The Brooklyn Lyceum and Bryant 1Park, with work developed at Rabbit Hole Ensemble, The Lark and American Place Theatre. He is currently adapting the national bestselling novel We the Animals by Justin Torres with Emmy-nominated director Jeremiah Zagar for UnionHZ films. Dan teaches playwriting to teens and tweens at Writopia Lab and is currently pursuing his MFA in playwriting at the New School for Drama, where he is the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Fellow. Many thanks to Desiree for the last two years of collaboration on this play, and dedicating this one to Grandmadele, who sets the bar pretty high.
DEVISING DIRECTOR - 2011-2014
As a theater director, Isaac has worked Off Broadway in New York at DR2, ARS Nova, Joe's Pub @ The Public Theater, The Ohio Theater, La Mama, PS122, 59E59, and many other venues. He directed, The Other Mozart by Sylvia Milo, which has been produced in Auburn AL, Charleston SC, Berkshires MA, Austria, and at the Cherry Lane Theater in NYC. He directed and helped develop Desiree Burch’s solo shows and Tar Baby (NYIT Nomination for Outstanding Performance Art) and 52 Man Pick Up which has been produced in Scotland, New Orleans, San Francisco, and. all over NYC. He has directed the premieres of Bekah Brunstetter's To Nineveh, Green, Something True, and co-directed I Used To Write On Walls. To Nineveh was nominated for 9 NY IT Awards and won 6 including Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Production, and Outstanding Original Full Length. Other directorial work includes Many Worlds by William Borden, Arms and the Octopus by Casey Wimpee (NYIT Nominations for Outstanding Short Script and Outstanding Supporting Actor), Fresh Kills by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, the cowboy is dying… and The New Normal by award winning playwright Donnetta Lavinia Grays, and True West by Sam Sheperd. A founding member of the award winning Working Man's Clothes Productions, where he served as Artistic Director for four years, Isaac is currently serving as the Artistic Director for the newly formed THEATRE 4the PEOPLE. With T4TP he has directed A GRIMM REALITY (Co-production with Bryant Park), "the shakespeare project," To Be or Not To Be Canon in D created by Jessica Doherty, and Co-directed Unraveling Shakespeare 2013 with James Watkins.