Bios

Co-Directors

Mason Rosenthal

Mason Rosenthal is an original performance maker, director, actor, and teacher from Skokie, Illinois. He is a Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special and a member of The Medium Theatre Company, both devised theatre companies based in Philadelphia. With these two companies, and in his work as an independent artist, he has created over 40 original performance pieces. Mason holds a BFA in Drama from New York University where he studied with The Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. After graduating, he was on faculty at The Atlantic from 2007 to 2011. He has studied improvisational dance with his teaching mentor George Russell since 2006. In 2011 he moved to Philadelphia to be the Headlong Performance Institute’s first teaching fellow. In 2017, he moved to Austin to pursue an MFA in Performance as Public Practice with The University of Texas.  For more information, check out his website.

Read an interview with Mason here.

mason@lightningrodspecial.com

Scott R. Sheppard is an OBIE Award-winning theater artist living in Philadelphia and New York City. He is a Co-Director of the Philadelphia-based theater company Lightning Rod Special. Recent credits: Underground Railroad Game (co-creator/perfomer), which was named by the New York Times in 2018 as one of the top 25 plays in the past 25 years and is currently touring nationally and internationally; Pig Iron Theatre Company’s 99 Breakups and Period of Animate Existence (co-creator/performer); PITC’s Gentlemen Volunteers (performer)George & Co.’s Holden (co-creator/performer); Lightning Rod Special’s Sans Everything (co-creator/performer) and Arden Theatre Company’s The Stinky Cheeseman (performer, Barrymore nomination). Scott is a recipient of the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Performing Arts, an OBIE Award winner for Best New American Theater Work, and a recipient of Edinburgh’s Fringe First Award (Underground Railroad Game) . Proud graduate of the inaugural class at Pig Iron’s School for Advanced Performance Training and Guild Hall resident artist for 2018.

Read an interview with Scott here.

scott@lightningrodspecial.com

Alice Yorke is a Philadelphia-based actor, creator, director, and producer. She is a Co-Director of Lightning Rod Special, with whom she created and performed in Hackles, Let the Dog See the Rabbit, and Sans Everything. She is the lead artist on Lightning Rod Special’s newest piece, The Appointment, a dark comedy with original music that reveals the absurdity, hypocrisy, and misogyny of the abortion debate in America; the piece will premiere in March 2019 at FringeArts. Other credits include The Gap at Azuka Theatre (Bonaly Award for Excellent Performance, Barrymore Award nominee Best Supporting Actor, Best Ensemble), Down Past Passyunk at InterAct Theatre, Alex Bechtel’s The West, Pig Iron’s 99 Breakups and Pay Up, dancing with clown-funk band, Red 40 and the Last Groovement, and directing Lee Minora’s White Feminist. Proud graduate of the inaugural class of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training.

Read an interview with Alice here.

alice@lightningrodspecial.com

Company Members

Alex Bechtel is a Philadelphia-based theatre artist. He is a graduate of The Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training and The University of the Arts, where he now teaches Freshman Acting. Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on The Walnut St Theatre’s production of My Way and Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical for his performance in Theatre Horizon’s Into the Woods. Bechtel has been awarded an Independence Fellowship in the Arts and was twice a finalist for the F. Otto Haas Award. He was the composer/lyricist of Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto for People’s Light and Theatre Company, composer/original cast member of The Light Princess at The Arden Theatre Company, and creator/composer of The WestPhiladelphia Nocturne, and Cheer Up, Dostoevsky. 

Oona Curley is a lighting and scenic designer from New York City specializing in new and devised work. She recently designed the Obie Award Winning production of Underground Railroad Game with Lightning Rod Special and ArsNova. Her work has been seen in New York (ArsNova, Atlantic Theater Co., BAM, The Cherry Lane, Joe’s Pub, JACK, La MaMa, The New Ohio, The Vineyard, NYU/Tisch, Columbia Stages, M34 Productions), Philadelphia (The Arden Theatre, Opera Philadelphia, FringeArts, The Kimmel Center, Curtis Opera, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Inis Nua Theatre Co., Theater Horizon, Team Sunshine Performance Co., Shakespeare in Clark Park, anonymous bodies, Carbon Dance Theatre), and regionally (Sharon Playhouse, Brown/Trinity Rep, Gamm Theater, Chester Theatre, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Long Wharf). Oona earned her MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received the J.S. Seidman Award for Design Excellence and was NYU’s 2015 nominee for a Princess Grace Award. Oona is an associate artist with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at Connecticut College. www.oonacurley.com

Katie Gould is a founding member of Lightning Rod Special. She is also a member of the inaugural class of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, where she met her LRS collaborators. Katie has worked as a performer/creator with many Philadelphia theater companies including Lightning Rod Special, Pig Iron, Theater Exile, EgoPo and Azuka. Katie is also the owner of KG Strong, a woman-powered, body-positive strength training studio in the BOK building. Lightning Rod Special is Katie’s creation family and home where she gets to explore and explode her special kind of crazy.

Read an interview with Katie here.

Rebecca Kanach is a NYC and Philadelphia based costume designer that specializes in new and devised work. She has worked with Opera Philadelphia, Ballet X, Swarthmore College, The Medium Theatre Company, Bristol Riverside, Drexel University, Interact Theater Company, The Lantern Theater, Philadelphia Theater Workshop, Rutgers-Camden Campus, Temple University, The Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma, various Philadelphia Mummers groups, and is proud to be the resident costume designer with The Bearded Ladies Cabaret. In 2017 she received a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Costume Design for her work on Peaceable Kingdom. She is currently pursuing her MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in costume design.

Jenn Kidwell is a performing artist. Recent projects – Underground Railroad Game (2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work, 2018 Edinburgh Fringe First Award), Home (Geoff Sobelle), Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (Dan Hurlin), I Understand Everything Better (David Neumann/advanced beginner group, 2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), Antigone (The Wilma Theater), Fire Burns Hot: Little Reno!, I Promised Myself to Live Faster and 99 Break-Ups (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Dick’s Last Stand (Whitney Biennial 2014, as Donelle Woolford), Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). Projects in development – A Hard Time (PITC), TABLE with Thomas Graves & the Rude Mechs and Nichole Canuso’s The Octopus and the Interview. Company member, PITC and Lightning Rod Special, Wilma Theater Associated Artist, co-founder of JACK. Her writing has been published in movement research Performance Journal #45 and at hyperallergic.com. 2013 TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship (with PITC), 2015 Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant, 2016 Pew Fellow, 2017 Independence Fellowship.

Read an interview with Jenn here.