Board of Directors
Ellen Weiss (Chair) (composer/lyricist) was thrilled that Transport Group was awarded $25,000 by the Shen Family Foundation for her musical score, Being Audrey. In 2006, she wrote the original vocal and harmonica score for TG's revival of All The Way Home. She is also extremely proud to be one of the writers for the company's historic production of The Audience (2005 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Musical). A member of the Lehman Engle B.M.I. Advanced Musical Workshop and graduate of Carnegie Mellon University Drama Dept., her other works include Memorable (Dir. Larry Fuller, York Theater Company),Little Match Girl, Shel Silverstien's The Giving Tree, Requiem for William. Her songs have been recorded by Daisy Egan, Donna Murphy, Barbara Walsh, Brent Barret, Stephen Bogardus, Danny Burstein, Sarah Uriarte Berry, and the late Laurie Beechman. In addition to her writing, Ms. Weiss served as Chairman of the Board of TheatreWorks/USA. She lives in New York with her son Chris.
Nancy Friedman (Vice Chair) spent nearly two decades as a freelance television writer and producer, creating marketing, promotional and branding material for clients as diverse as Nickelodeon, HBO, Lifetime Television, WCBS, The Points of Light Foundation, and The Disney Channel. A veteran blogger, her essays have appeared online in The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Sacramento Bee as well as in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is a founder and co-host of The BloggingAngels, a popular weekly podcast for women about harnessing the power of social-media, and a social media consultant for clients as diverse as Microsoft Windows and Omni Hotels. Her own humor blog, From Hip to Housewife.com, is where she writes about momming, aging and her twenty-year quest to lose the same ten pounds. Nancy is the Queen Bee and co-founder of KidzVuz: video reviews by kids, for kids.
Benjamin D. Goldberg (Legal Advisor) is is a Vice President and counsel at D. E. Shaw & Co., L.P., a global investment and technology development firm, where he focuses on technology, intellectual property, outsourcing, professional services and other related contracts. Prior to joining D. E. Shaw, he worked in house at Barclays Bank PLC and as an associate at Robinson & Cole LLP. Ben received his B.A., cum laude, from New York University (Journalism, Political Science) and his J.D., cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Ben is also the Vice President of the Board of Directors of The Performing Arts Project and is active in the theater community.
Scott Manville (Secretary) is a Senior Vice President of Computer Services for U.S. Trust Company, where he has spent his entire career.
Rory Stanton (Treasurer) is the Finance Director for Wired magazine.
Sarah Ackerman attended Vassar College where she received a BA in Drama with a minor in Art History. She received her Masters Degree in Elementary Education from New York University in 2003. She is currently employed by The Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) where she teaches Early Childhood classes, focusing on helping children and families learn together in a unique environment of interactive exhibitions and programs.
Anne L. Bernstein is a Broadway and film producer whose credits include Marlene and the award-winning documentary, Broadway’s The Golden Age.
Hilary A. Blumenreich is a former development and marketing associate for several theatrical companies including the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Donmar Warehouse where she assisted in developing corporate strategics and seasonal underwriting. She formerly served as president of Claremont Children’s School parent board as well as Austin Crews, a non profit created to promote environmental education through urban development. She is actively involved with NY Special Olympics. She received a BA from Butler University and studied European Cultural Policy at the University of London.
Irene Carney is an educator in Richmond, Virginia where she heads The Sabot School – a progressive program of Early Childhood Education. She has also served as a Trustee of The Richmond Montessori School and as Founding Chair of the Board of Directors of Orchard House School – an innovative middle school for girls.
Marcia Cohen works at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and has been providing accounting, tax and financial advisory services to mid size organizations in a variety of industries and also to high net worth individuals. Prior to this, Marcia worked for Geller & Company, Coopers & Lybrand, and Solomon Brothers. She is an AICPA Personal Financial Specialist, a CPA and a member of the AICPA and the NY State Society of CPAs. Marcia is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Delaware.
Jack Cummings III (Artistic Director) is the co-founder and Artistic Director of off-Broadway’s Transport Group Theatre Company. He is a five-time Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Director (The Audience, The Boys in the Band, See Rock City & Other Destinations, Hello Again, and Queen of the Mist). Other favorite Transport Group credits include the first New York revivals of Michael John LaChiusa’s First Lady Suite (starring Tony nominees Mary Testa and Mary Beth Peil), Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All The Way Home, William Inge’s classic The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (starring Tony winner Michele Pawk), the world premiere musicals Normal (starring Tony nominee Barbara Walsh), Marcy in the Galaxy, and Being Audrey as well as a deconstruction of the 1928 play The Patsy (starring OBIE winner David Greenspan). Other credits include the world premiere musical A Thousand Words Come To Mind by Michele Lowe and Scott Richards for New York’s Premieres, Inc., A Streetcar Named Desire for Pennsylvania’s Gretna Theatre, Tony Kushner’s adaptation of The Illusion for Nevada Theatre Company, Violet (Best Director and Best Musical, Virginia’s Style Magazine), and The Young Man From Atlanta for Richmond’s Barksdale Theatre. For PBS, he directed a musical version of A Tale of Two Cities (filmed in Brighton England), starring Michael York. He is currently developing the new musical The Blonde Streak, by Dan Lipton and David Rossmer for Broadway Across America. Upcoming: Terrence McNally’s world premiere play …And Away We Go for The Pearl Theatre Company, The 2013 Drama Desk Awards. Jack received his MFA from The University of Virginia and his BA from The College of William and Mary. He is married to actress Barbara Walsh.
Lori Fineman (Executive Director) is formerly the Executive Director of the National Women’s Theatre Festival in Philadelphia. She worked as a systems analyst for Andersen Consulting and as the Global Director of Knowledge Management for Capco. Lori is the President of the Jewish Community Project of Lower Manhattan, an organization that develops educational and social programming for families living downtown.www.jcpdowntown.org. She holds a BSE and BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Barbara Freitag is an associate producer/investor in many Broadway shows including: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, and Caroline, or Change. Other projects include Tony Award-winning The Drowsy Chaperone with producer Kevin McCollum, Legally Blonde, The Homecoming, August: Osage County, and November with Nathan Lane.
Larry Hirschhorn is a three time Tony Award winning theatre producer with credits on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours and the West End of London. He was one of the co-lead producers of the multi-award winning VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE by Christopher Durang. Starring Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierece, it went on to win every major theatre Award for Best Play in the 2013 Season, including the Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Since closing in NY, there have been over 100 productions of it around the country, and was just announced as the most produced American play of 2014. More recently he is a co-producer of THE ELEPHANT MAN, starring Bradley Cooper, and A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER which also won a Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Musical 2014. Other Broadway credits include: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (5 Tony Awards); Gore Vidal’s THE BEST MAN (Starring James Earl Jones, John Laroquette, Angela Lansbury, Eric McCormack, and Candice Bergen); DRIVING MISS DAISY (w/ James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave); THE ADDAMS FAMILY (w/ Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth); HAIR (Broadway/London/ National Tour- winner of Tony & Drama Desk Awards for Best Revival); THE SEAGULL (w/ Kristin Scott Thomas); PASSING STRANGE (Drama Desk Award for Best Musical); BUTLEY (w/ Nathan Lane); and WELL. Earlier in his career he was the Founder/Artistic Director of Off-Broadway’s Melting Pot Theatre. Highlights there include COBB which one the Drama Desk for Best Ensemble, and was co-produced with Kevin Spacey); the NY Premiere of Miss Evers’ Boys and Woody Sez. (Still touring all over the world).
Francesca James has five daytime Emmy Awards and was the first person in the history of daytime drama to travel the distance from acting to directing to Executive Producing, receiving several nominations in all three disciplines. She began her professional life acting in the theater.
Yael Jekogian is a fundraising consultant for nonprofit organizations, specializing in women's issues. She served as Director of Development for Nontraditional Employment for Women in New York City and Women's Way, a women's funding federation in Philadelphia. Prior to her fundraising career, Yael practiced as an environmental engineer with environmental insurance companies and environmental consulting firms, focusing on contaminated property remediation, environmental compliance, and landfill design. Yael is on the National Board of Directors of Women's Campaign Fund.
Jenny Niederhoffer graduated from Penn State with a BFA in Musical Theatre. After working as a professional actor for a few years, she moved into the non-profit world helping organizations develop plans to engage lay leadership for long term involvement and successful partnerships with the executive staff. She has worked for UJA-Federation of NY, Foundation for Jewish Camps and Jewish Theological Seminary. She has been involved with UJA-Federation's young leadership board, the York Theatre, Harmony Program and Penn State Musical Theatre Program.
Darcie Douglas-Piacentile is a former professional singer who has been involved in music her entire life. As the mother of three daughters, all performers and all members of Actor’s Equity and SAG, she has spent countless hours behind the curtain doing vocal coaching, costume changing and a million other theater related tasks. As co-owner of LB Theatricals, with her husband of 26 years, Joseph, she participated in the production of Harold Pinter’sThe Homecoming, which won the Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play in the 2007-2008 season and a Tony nomination for the same. She actively supports high school theater, most notably for lobby display design for which she has been nominated four times (2011 Into the Woods, 2012 Gypsy, 2013 Grease, 2014 Rent) by the Metropolitan High School Theater Awards. She also received an Honorable Mention for her lobby display of Gypsy by Paper Mill Playhouse in 2012. Darcie is currently writing a musical based on the story of Faust, which she performed in part for the Gospel Music Association’s Seminar in the Rockies. Through the Piacentile Family Foundation, of which she is a managing member, Darcie has contributed and supported many theater projects and theater organizations such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. She looks forward to bringing her background, expertise and enthusiasm when she begins working with Transport Group.
Joseph Piacentile was born and raised in New York City. He is married 25 years to Darcie Douglas Piacentile and has three daughters, Kristin, Danielle and Gabrielle. He is a retired physician, musician, former member of NY local 802, and has spent the past twenty years of his life pursuing fraud perpetrated against the Federal and States governments, under the False Claims Act of 1863, becoming one of the most successful relators in the history of the act. He and his wife Darcie have a family foundation that supports the arts and overseas mission projects, and their three children are all active members of SAG and Equity, appearing in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Dr. Joe, as his is called, has also been involved in several theater productions on the financial side, including The Homecoming, Farragut North, Luck Guy and Cinderella.
Kenneth Stein is a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. He counsels clients on all aspects of patent, copyright and trade secret law. Ken is listed in New York Super Lawyers in the area of intellectual property litigation. He is also on the advisory boards of the East Harlem International Film Festival, Ruah Dance Company and General Mischief Dance Theatre and is a Co-Chair of the Benefit Committee of the Legal Action Center.
Artistic Advisory Board
Brian Crawley, lyricist and librettist
Lucille Lortel Award & New York Drama Critics Circle Award winner
The Little Princess
John Dossett, actor
Tony Award nominee
John Clinton Eisner, Producing Director
The Lark Play Development Center
Shawn Elliot, actor
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
Paulette Haupt, Artistic Director
The Eugene O’Neill Music Theater Conference
David Hirson, playwright
Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk winner
Michael John LaChiusa, composer and lyricist
5-time Tony Award nominee
The Wild Party
Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Donna Murphy, actress
2-time Tony Award winner
The King & I
Gilbert Parker, agent
Represented A.R. Gurney, Terrence McNally & Beth Henley
Michele Pawk, actress
Tony Award winner and 3-time Drama Desk nominee
Crazy For You
Christopher Shinn, playwright
Obie winner, Lucille Lortel Award winner, Drama Desk nominee
Where We Live