America 2am is a uniquely collaborative anthology series, featuring several writer/director teams who each approached the project with their own intriguing answers to the question: "What kind of sensational, revolutionary, and scandalous conversations are taking place at 2am over Zoom?" With this series, we're thrilled to welcome some brilliant artists to our (virtual) stage for the first time, alongside a few familiar faces. Meet the creative dream team behind America 2am!
"Oh, Canada" and "The Perilous Flight" (Episodes 1 & 3)
Writer: Zak Berkman
Currently Producing Director at People's Light, Zak is an award-winning artist—director, dramaturg, writer, and composer—with over 25 years of experience producing theatre and developing new American plays. Prior to joining People’s Light in 2011, Zak was the Founding Executive Director of Artistic Programming with Epic Theatre Ensemble, an OBIE, Amnesty International, and Drama Desk Award-winning Off-Broadway company that was also heralded for its arts-in-education programming. Berkman served as Associate to late Broadway producer Margo Lion (Angels In America, Seven Guitars), and held posts at New York Stage & Film and Manhattan Theatre Club. As a playwright, works include a forthcoming adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (with original music also by Berkman), Such Things as Vampires (co-writer/composer, Barrymore Award for Original Music), Beauty on the Vine starring Olivia Wilde, and many more. He has also written for daytime television, including NBC’s Days of Our Lives, and was a directing intern with As The World Turns.
Director: Abigail Adams
Executive Artistic Director Abigail Adams has been associated with People’s Light for over 40 years, serving as artistic leader for over two decades and chief executive for the past 10 years. Adams is a Barrymore Award-winning director, having directed more than sixty plays at People’s Light, including The Children, Morning’s at Seven, Project Dawn, and The Cherry Orchard, as well as readings and workshops for the Public Theatre, Circle Rep, and others. She established the New Voices Ensemble at People’s Light in 1990, which received the White House Coming up Taller Award in 2000. Abbey served for ten years on the faculty of Swarthmore College and has also taught at New York University, Bryn Mawr College, Carnegie Mellon University, and The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Ursinus College.
"Leaving Teaching" (Episode 2)
Writer: Candrice Jones
Playwright, poet, and educator Candrice Jones is from Dermott, Arkansas, and currently lives and works in Minneapolis. Her primary goal as a writer is to write love letters for and to women of the American South. Candrice has been honored with a Callaloo Fellowship for poetry at Brown University and in London. She has also been a VONA Playwriting Fellow, a CalArts MFA Critical Studies recipient, and a resident fellow at the Ground Floor at Berkley Rep, the Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival, and MacDowell’s Colony of the Arts. Works include Crackbaby, FLEX (a full-length play developed at the 2020 Humana Festival of New American Plays), and A Medusa Thread (developed at The Playwrights Center in 2020). Recently, Candrice was a 2019-20 Many Voices Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center and is currently a 2020-21 Jerome Fellow. She is scheduled to be a resident playwright at Djerassi’s Colony of the Arts in 2021. America 2am is her People's Light debut!
Director: Steve H. Broadnax III
Steve Broadnax recently joined People's Light as Resident Director, after writing and directing 20/20 Vision (a short film) and directing critically-acclaimed productions of Mud Row, Skeleton Crew, and The Mountaintop on our stages. Steve's new play with music, Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland, has been rescheduled for the People's Light 2021-2022 season. Other directing credits include the upcoming Broadway-bound Thoughts of a Colored Man by Keenan Scott II (produced by Brian Morland, Ron Simons, and Diana DiMenna), the world premiere of The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall (Signature Theatre New York City), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Hattiloo Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre Company NYC, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Apollo Theatre NYC, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Atlantic Theatre NYC, Detroit Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, The Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix, AZ, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Moore Theatre in Seattle, Market Theatre Johannesburg SA, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, National Arts Festival in South Africa, and The Adelaide Arts Festival Australia.
"Lucía and Sophi Moans" (Episode 4)
Writer: Guadalís Del Carmen
Guadalís Del Carmen is an Ars Nova Resident Artist, Co-Artistic Director of the Latinx Playwrights Circle NYC, a 2020 Steinberg Playwriting Award recipient, and an Artistic Associate of Black Lives, Black Words. America 2am marks her People's Light debut. Her plays include Not For Sale (UrbanTheater Company, Joseph Jefferson Award New Play Nominee 2019), My Father’s Keeper (part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s The Mix), Bees and Honey (The Kilroys List 2019, LAByrinth Theater/The SOL Project 2020 production postponed due to COVID-19), Daughters of the Rebellion (Montclair State University 2019), A Shero’s Journey or What Anacaona and Yemayá Taught Me (Yale Magazine 2019), and more. Guadalís was a Co-Producer for Atlantic Theater Company’s African Caribbean MixFest 2021, and has also performed as an actor across the country – most recently at The Repertory of St. Louis in Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles.
Director: David Mendizábal
David Mendizábal — pronounced dah-veed — will direct the World Premiere of Eisa Davis' Mushroom at People’s Light in 2022. He is a director/designer, one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of the OBIE-Award winning The Movement Theatre Company, and Associate Artistic Director of The Sol Project. Select directing credits include: Don't Eat the Mangos (Magic Theatre/Sundance), On The Grounds of Belonging (Long Wharf Theatre), the bandaged place (NYSAF), Then They Forgot About The Rest (INTAR), The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), And She Would Stand Like This (w/ choreo. by Kia LaBeija), Look Upon Our Lowliness and Bintou (The Movement), and Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic / Drama League Nomination). David is a member of the inaugural Soho Rep Project Number One Residency and Ars Nova Vision Residency. He was also a participant in the TCG Leadership U: One-on-One program, where he was the Artistic Associate at Atlantic Theater Company 2017-2018.
Director of Photography and Editor (all episodes)
Omkar Girish Purandare
Omkar Girish Purandare is a director, photographer, actor, and editor from Pune, India, currently studying Computational Data Science at Pennsylvania State University. He has served as editor on multiple People's Light – Always On video shorts, including Soon I Will Be Done, Black Joy, and 20/20 Vision, and was assistant to the director on Mud Row. Omkar is one of the Co-Founders of Suna Ansuna Session, a collective that promotes conservation through musical performance in State College, PA. College works include: This Is Our Youth (associate director), #Heretoo (ensemble), She Kills Monsters (Bunraku), and Penn State Brand Spot 2018-2019 (Lead). India: Parlour, or it all started with hair premiering at Kala Ghoda Festival 2017 in Mumbai (company member), Coming Out (Ojas), Harvey (Dr. Chumley). He has also worked as videographer and DP on a variety of music videos.