Laila Ayad

LAILA AYAD is an actor, singer, published author, former founding member of Apple Girl Productions in New York, where she promoted and challenged the position of female artists in the theater by producing new works by female playwrights and directors, and a founding member of Ovation award-winning IAMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles, where she currently resides. She was recently seen as Margot in the Off-Broadway debut of Shiner at Theatre Row in New York, developed the DreamWorks animated film The Prince of Egypt for the stage in the role of Tzipporah, and can currently be seen as Charlotte Reid on ABC’s Scandal. She has been a mentor with The Young Storytellers Foundation, a program that develops literacy through the art of storytelling in the Los Angeles public school system, for the past 5 years.

LA Theatre:  World Premiere productions of Leslye Headland’sBachelorette and Reverb, and Christian Durso’s Shiner. NY and Regional Theatre:  TheatreworksUSA (National Tour),King Tut at Town Hall, Why We Have a Body at The Producer’s Club, Spring Awakening at The Blue Heron, A Bright Room Called Day at The Frederick Loewe Theatre, Macbeth at The Geilgud Theatre in London, and Gruesome Playground Injuries with The Triptych Group at The Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder. Film/TV:  Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Reception, Exodus Fall. B.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Jon Caren

JON CAREN (Playwright) – Plays include NEED TO KNOW (Colt Coeur Play Hotel 2015, Rogue Machine World Premiere, Fall 2015) THE RECOMMENDATION (Ground Rising 2015, IAMA 2014, The Flea 2013, Old Globe 2012, Craig Noel Award, Best New Play,  2014 Ovation, Best Play, NAACP nomination), THE MORNING THE SUN FELL DOWN (MTC 7@7 2013), LET ME GO (2013 Rattlestick Fest, JPP), CATCH THE FISH (Most Outstanding Play, NY Fringe) and THE VENERABLE RAMAN GUPTA (Flea First Look Series, Sundance Finalist, New Group 2014 New Works Lab).

His work has been developed at theaters across the country including MTC, The Roundabout Underground, EST, The Rattlestick, New Group,  Williamstown, Ars Nova, Pasadena Playhouse, Keen Company, Colt Coeur, Woodshed, Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, Rogue Machine, The Elephant as well as developmentally at The Lark, New York Stage and Film, The Jewish Plays Project, Partial Comfort and in The Samuel French OOB Festival and The Old Vic in London.

He is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, A NYSAF Award Winner, a two time recipient of a Fellowship to SPACE @ Ryder Farm, a two-time Lecomte du Nouy award winner and a recipient of the Theater Publicus Prize for Dramatic Fiction. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award, a nominee for the Otis Guerney New American Playwright’s Award.

In TV, Jonathan has written pilots for FOX and CBS amongst others. He is a graduate of The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright’s Program at The Juilliard School and Vassar College where he studied mythology and religion.  He’s a member of Partial Comfort and originally hails from Los Angeles.

Dean Chekvala

DEAN CHEKVALA is a graduate of Wayne State University and The School at Steppenwolf.  He has worked with various theatre companies in Chicago, Detroit, and LA, including the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and two seasons with the Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre.  With IAMA he has appeared in Lousie Munson’s Goodbye to All That and Leslie Headland’s The Accidental Blonde.  Other theatre credits include: Hamlet, Il Bidone, Noises Off, A Flea in Her Ear, Over the River and Through the Woods, House of Yes, Romeo and Juliet, The Altruists, Ashes to Ashes, Twelfth Night, The Mound Builders, All in the Timing, Hippies Heartaches and Hairloss, Little Women .  TV/Film credits include: Harper’s Island, Justified, Lie to Me, ER, Without a Trace, 13 Graves, Numb3rs, Skip Tracer, Austin Golden Hour, NCIS LA, Breakout Kings, True Blood, People Like Us.  And the upcoming feature films Mulligan, What Remains, and Arthur Newman: Golf Pro, along with another installment of the web series Reception.  This Fall he will be in IAMA’s upcoming production of Do Like the Kid’s Do written by IAMA member Louise Munson.

Deborah S. Craig

DEBORAH S. CRAIG actor, singer, writer
Broadway:  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drama Desk Award), Off Broadway:  orig wkshps of IHO written by Tony Kushner / Dir. Michael Grief (The Public),  Don’t Quit Your Night Job! (core cast / HA! Comedy Club),  …Spelling Bee (2nd Stage), Wave (Ma-Yi / Dir. Will Pomerantz), Pericles (Red Bull / Dir. Jesse Berger),  The Karaoke Show (Project 400 / Dir. Diane Paulus), Fuenteovejuna (NAATCO / Dir. David Herskovitz)
Regional:  Ordinary Days (SCR / Dir. Ethan McSweeny), My Scary Girl (Barrington Stage / Dir. Andrew Volkoff), Loves Labours Lost (American Stage / Dir. Kenneth Noel Mitchell), Falco (Ronacher Theatre in Vienna, Austria)
TV: recurring roles on Amazon’s Golden Globe winning series “Transparent” (Kristin), NBC’s “The Blacklist” (Luli), CW’s “Hart of Dixie” (Shelley), JJ Abrams/ABC’s “Six Degrees” (Melanie),  Room8 ( / Missy), guest star Disney’s “Dog With a Blog”, MTV pilot “Dumb Girls” (written by Lauren Iungerich)
Film: The Outfield (Oct 2015 release), Kiss Me Kill Me (2016), Ghost Town,  Just Wright, Bad Actress, Hysterical Psycho,

Jeff Gardner

JEFF GARDNER is an actor/sound designer born and raised in Los Angeles.  Jeff has designed sound for IAMA’s production of A Dog’s House as well as their Ovation award-winning, The Recommendation.  Jeff has designed and performed throughout the country including The Shakespeare Theatre, DC, The Studio Theatre, A Noise Within, Circle X Theatre, Echo Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival and is a member of The Antaeus Company in North Hollywood.  Jeff can be seen at LA Theatre Works where he regularly performs live sound effects and is the resident sound designer for the Westridge School in Pasadena.

Eli Gonda

ELI GONDA was raised (professionally, that is) by David Leveaux and Jack O’Brien, Eli served as Associate/Resident Directing on numerous Broadway and West End productions including: Cyrano de Bergerac,  Fiddler on the Roof, Nine, Sinatra, Henry IV, and Nora Ephron’s Imaginary Friends. His stage Directing credits include: The Kid starring Joey McIntyre (Denver Center for Performing Arts), Halley Feiffer’s I Didn’t Want a Mastodon for IAMA Fest 2015, Little Miss Fix-It (Roundabout Underground), The FIFA International World Congress- Opening Ceremony (Atlantis, Bahamas), The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity (Pico Playhouse, Ojai Playwrights), The 8 Minute Musicals, The Crow Mill by Andrew Unterberg (The Cherry Pit), Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me (Producer), and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (Creative Consultant).

Eli’s TV/FILM credits include: THE OUTFIELD (Fullscreen Films) starring Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas, “HUSBANDS” for CW Seed (nom. Best Director, IAWTV and ISA Awards), the award winning short, THE ROOSTER written by Danny Strong, and producing the award winning documentary, AMERICAN TEEN (Paramount Vantage).

Named one of LA Confidential’s “Artists to Watch,” Eli is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he received the Mitsy Dailey Award for Music. Eli is a proud member of the ABC|Disney Directing Program and the IAMA Theatre Company.

Leslye Headland

LESLYE HEADLAND is a Los Angeles-based playwright and television writer.  She holds a B.F.A. in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  She studied at Playwrights Horizons Theater School where she was awarded the Robert Moss Prize.  LA THEATRE: Writer/Director of the Seven Deadly Plays series produced and premiered by the IAMA Theatre Company.  The series includes “Cinephilia” (lust), “Bachelorette” (gluttony), “Assistance” (greed), “Surfer Girl” (sloth), “Reverb” (wrath) and “The Accidental Blonde” (envy).  NY THEATRE: “Cinephilia” (Theatre Row) and “Bachelorette” (Second Stage Uptown).  TV: “Terriers” on FX created by Ted Griffin and produced by Shawn Ryan.  She is currently developing a pilot for HBO based on Julie Klausner’s memoir “I Don’t Care About Your Band” produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell.

Josh Heine

JOSH HEINE is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where he studied at Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and Stonestreet School of Film and Television. Josh has appeared in IAMA’s Production of The Accidental Blond by Lesley Headland as well as a number of new work readings. Other theater credits include the world premier ofMy First Time and the co-lead in Jewtopia, Diving Normal at Fringe NYC (Outstanding ensemble award for 2006). Josh understudied the title character in Wendy Wasserstein’s last play, Third, at Lincoln Center, and starred in Sickopposite Andre DeShields at the Summer Play Festival. Regional credits includePicnic (Baltimore Centerstage) and Women and Wallace (Williamstown Theatre Festival). He played Benjamin in the national tour of The Graduate (Las Vegas).Film: Nice Knowing You, Manslaughter, Exposed, A Night in the Hill. Television: “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday”, “Without a Trace”, “Law & Order: CI”, “Off The Map”, “The Exes”.  Web: The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros (Cupid), The Silverlake Badminton and Adventurers Club.