Panel Discussion: Musicals Reimagined

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Join SBMT Executive Director Sara Dean as she moderates this discussion on the use of Conscious Casting in musicals. Directors Tanika Baptiste, Lee Ann Payne, Gary Stanford, Jr. and Nicole Tung will take a musical and reframe the casting from traditional to unconventional. Reimagined musicals include The Sound of Music, Guys & Dolls, Miss Saigon, and Oklahoma (among others).

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About the Panelists:

Nicole Tung recently directed SBMT’s Almost, Maine. Past credits include assistant directing Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike and co-choreographing Guys and Dolls (SVCT). She is slated to assistant direct and choreograph Allegiance for PAP as well as perform in School House Rock! with 3Below Theaters in 2021. Offstage, she plays the role of wife opposite her husband, Jason, and mother/homeschool teacher/social activities director to their eight-year-old daughter, Kalana.

Gary Stanford, Jr. is a Bay Area native (born in SF) and has lived on the Bay Area peninsula and south bay for his entire life. He graduated from San Jose State in Computer Engineering and has worked for and done High Tech, Communications, Sports Gaming, Retail and Online Business Companies in the Bay Area and Nation. His 13-year career was resolved in 2019 where he retired and took his software development, QA automaton, Project Management and Process Management skills into the performing arts sector. As a performing artist he has been involved with singing, dancing, acting since a young child he spent his youth with P. S. Performance. As an adult performer he has been heavily involved in Bay Area Musical Theater and appeared in over 80 musicals with various theater companies. As of 2019 he has created his own theater company, North California Arts Collective and is on the Board of Directors for Z-Space theater company in San Francisco, Woodside Community Theater and Hillbarn Theater in Foster City. In 2020 he has been deeply involved in teaching regarding social justice, racism, colorism, and emotional intelligence. He has his own radio podcast show, Planet Bay Area, that deals with many social justice issues and hosts Bay Area experts to discuss all.

Tanika Baptiste is an award winning actor/singer based in San Diego and the Bay Area. Most recent directorial credits include At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen (Theatre Rhinoceros) Black Flag (Common Ground Theatre) The DesTROYers- Trojan Women adaptation (Assistant Director/Co-Adaptor/Costumer Southwestern College), Fires in the Mirror (Trinity Theatre Company). Tanika served as the Artistic Director for the first inaugural Artists 4 Black Lives Festival at Balboa Park San Diego, CA this past Juneteenth and is elated to direct Rachel with South Bay Musical Theatre.

Lee Ann Payne worked with SBMT as the director for Thoroughly Modern Millie and as choreographer for Promises, Promises and Hairspray. Other director/choreographer credits include: Shakespeare in Love, The Laramie Project (TBA Award Winner), The Producers, 1940’s Radio Hour, The Full Monty, and Assassins (TBA Award Finalist). Lee Ann holds an MFA in Musical Theater from San Diego State University and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.


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