Creative Team

headshotMartin Blank (Playwright) is the author of nine produced plays. His full-length drama, The Law of Return, was produced at Maryland Ensemble Theatre, Center Stage, Jerusalem, and was last seen at Kennedy Center. His new full-length comedy, Closing Time, was seen at the Kennedy Center and Play Club West. His one-act comedy, Avenue of the Americas, was produced Off Broadway at the Tank Theater. He has received new play commissions from the American Jewish Theater, Theatre Ariel, and the Georgetown Theatre Company and is published by Smith & Kraus. He has served as Artistic Associate for the American Jewish Theatre and American Place Theatre, New York City, as well as Literary Manager, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Founding Artistic Director, Theater J. Currently, he is Artistic Director for American Ensemble Theater. He attended the University of Maryland and the Yale School of Drama. More at,

image026Elise Thoron (Director) For over twenty years, Elise has created cross-cultural exchanges with Russian, Japanese, and American theater artists.  As Associate Artistic Director at American Place Theatre, she developed and directed many new plays, and co- founded Literature to Life, a theater literacy program, now nationwide.  At the Public Theater, she directed Tony award-winning poet Lemon’s County of Kings, which tours the world, and now his play ToasT. She is writing a new opera, Hatuey, with Frank London; her music theater pieces have been produced in the US and Europe. For more info, visit

Alexis Distler (Scenic Design) Recent credits include Hir (Magic Theatre), Year of the Rooster (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Water By the Spoonful (The Arden Theatre Company), Trouble In Mind (Two River Theater Company), The Marriage of Figaro (Juilliard School), Seven Guitars (People’s Light and Theatre Company), Marisol (Abingdon Theatre Company), Post Office (New Ohio Theatre), Henry V (Juilliard School). Winner of the Barrymore Award for her work on In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (The Wilma Theater). Broadway Associate/assistant: Act One, Bronx Bombers, The Scottsboro Boys, Grace, Rock of Ages. MFA:NYU.

Debra Bergsma Otte (Costume Design) is a professor of design and Coordinator for the Production and Design Program at Montclair State University. Her credits include design for regional, Off-Broadway and university productions, television, dance, puppet design for Henson Associates and industrial work. She has served on the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Committee and on the National Selection Team as well as Region II Chair and Design Chair. She is the recipient of two Kennedy Center Gold Medallions for her work in arts education. Her MFA is in Design for Stage and Screen from Tisch School of the Arts (NYU).

Nicole Pearce (Lighting Design) Previously with Elise Thoron Recycling: Washi Tales. Selected NY credits include: The American Dream & The Sandbox directed by Edward Albee; Beebo Brinker Chronicles directed by Leigh Silverman; US Drag & Edgewise directed by Trip Cullman; Carmina Burana (Carnegie Hall); Savage in Limbo directed by Pam MacKinnon, Penalties & Interests (LABrynth Theatre Company); The Golden Dragon directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar; Betrothed (Ripetime);Trial by Water (Ma-Yi). Regionally: Sugar Syndrome; A Nervous Smile and Blithe Spirit directed by Maria Mileaf (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Dance with choreographers Mark Morris, Aszure Barton, Robert Battle, Jessica Lang, and Andrea Miller; Netherlands Dance Theater; Introdans; Brimingham Royal Ballet; The National Ballet of Japan; Ballet Memphis & The Joffrey Ballet.

Jeremy J. Lee (Sound Design) International: Nilo Cruz’s Pais de Bicicleta (Bogota), Associate Designer – Bridge Project 2010 World Tour. Off-Broadway: Tamar Of The River, Working (Prospect), The Ohmies, Adam Bock’s The Thugs, Alex Timbers’ Dance Dance RevolutionSong For New York (Mabou Mines); designs for NYTW, 13P, LAByrinth, Clubbed Thumb, etc. Regional: Theresa Rebeck’s Dead Accounts (Premiere, Cincinnati Playhouse); Matthew Lopez’s Somewhere (Premiere, Old Globe & TheatreWorks Palo Alto); West Side Story (5th Avenue Theatre); Syracuse Stage, ACT (San Francisco), many shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Jeremy is a professor of Sound Design at CCM in Cincinnati.

caskey_hunsaderCaskey Hunsader (Stage Manager) comes to The Law Of Return fresh off a 2 festival run of the new children’s musical, Rescue Rue (NYCTF & NYMF) NYC: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Broadway Bares XXI, Growing Up 70s, Whatever Man (NYMF), REALISTS among others. Tours: Alton Brown Live, A Chorus Line, Tap Dogs, Wizard Of Oz, Love Janis, TheatreworksUSA, Legally Blonde, Grease, Cats, Come Fly Away, Fiddler On The Roof. Regional: Peepshow (Vegas), Love Janis (San Francisco), Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (First Stage) and more. As a writer and performer, Caskey started Upstairs Landing Productions, writing and producing two web series: “fat guy” and “Standing By”. Learn more at

Stephanie Klapper (Casting)’s work is frequently seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally, internationally, on television, film, the internet and heard on radio. Select recent Broadway and Off-Broadway: Bronx BombersA Christmas Story, the Musical; Dividing the Estate; Mother Jones and the Children’s Crusade; Wikimusical; Poor Behavior; You Never Can Tell; As You Like It; Bikeman; Eve Ensler’s Emotional Creature; an oak tree. Resident casting director Primary Stages, The Pearl Theatre Company, and New York Classical Theatre and numerous Regional Theatres. Select film credits include Alice Jacobs is Dead, Feast of the Goat, Roberta and Sidewalk Stories and, for television, Lazytown. Ms. Klapper is a member of the Casting Society of America and the League of Professional Theatre Women.

Dale Heller (Publicist) has been representing NYC theatre as a publicist for well over a decade. Early clients include: the Tony Award winning musical “Avenue Q,” “Passing Strange,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin), to name a very few. In 2012 he started Heller Highwater Public Relations, with HHPR he has represented: Tina Packer’s “Women of Will,” the newly opened performing arts center The Sheen Center, “Bill W. and Dr. Bob,” etc.

Matt Vieira (Technical Director) is a NYC-based technical director and production manager. In addition to serving as the TD of the IRT Theater, Matt regularly freelances as a TD and PM throughout the NY/NJ area. Recent technical credits include Becket (The Gene Frankel Theater), And If You Lose Your Way, or A Food Odyssey (Invisible Dog), The Diorama (The Lion at Theatre Row), Jane the Plain (Flux Theatre Ensemble), and the past two European tours of Queen Esther Marrow’s The Harlem Gospel Singers Show.

Sandy (Saundra) Yaklin (Production Manager) is a freelance set designer & fabricator.  She is the resident designer for Gideon Productions and runs The Sand Box, a combined shop & rehearsal space in LIC.  Current projects include launching the Sh.I.T. List, a web database for trading theater & film goods, along with art direction for the short film “The Song of Two Suns” and set design for “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” (MTWorks).  Recent projects include “The Paper Store” (Front Wheel Productions, scenic film design); “The Understudy” (Secret Theatre, scenic design); “The FamilyPlay” (Collaboration Town, technical direction/co-design); “Dark Water” (MT Works, technical direction); “Richard 3″ (Queens Players, set design); “Freak Me” (art direction); Gotham Awards (IFP, awards set, production management); “Frankenstein Upstairs” (Gideon Productions, set design, IT Award nomination ), and “Advance Man” (Gideon Productions, set design, IT Award-Outstanding Play Premiere).  Sandy thanks her husbeau Mac for his support.

Becky Abramowitz (Assistant Director) is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in Theatre and moved back to NYC last October. Recent directing credits: Parked (Manhattan Repertory Theatre One Act Competition Semi-Finalist), Thirst (Berkshire Theatre Group Friday Series), and Dracula (FSU Student Theatre Association). Recent Assistant Directing credits: Same Time, Next Year (BTG) and Spring Awakening (FSU School of Theatre). She was recently a production assistant for Women’s Project Theater and a stage management intern for Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. “Thank you, Lanie and Phil, for this wonderful opportunity and thank you, Elise, for such a fantastic experience!”

Alling Langin (Assistant Lighting Designer). Alling’s most recent design credits include The Understudy at The Secret Theater and Daughters of the Sexual Revolution at the WorkShop Theatre. Last season she was the Assistant Production Manager at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. She is very excited to be apart of this show and apart of such a passionate creative team.

-1Theresa Evangelista (Graphic Design) is a graphic artist with more than 10 years of experience in book publishing and marketing design. She was born and raised in Queens, NY where she lives with her husband and their three goldfish.
Casting Director: Stephanie Klapper

Produced by Newsom Zipoy Productions:

phil-newsomPhil Newsom (Producer) Select NYC producing credits include Martin Blank’s Avenue of the Americas, the award-winning Musical Ten Reasons I Won’t Go Home With You (nominated, excellence in producing award, MITF), Super Sidekick the Musical “Best of FringeNYC 2012” and Aaron Kozak’s award winning The Birthday Boys with ArtEffects Theatre Company, a company he co-founded in 2009 in NYC.

lanie-zipoyLanie Zipoy (Producer) Select credits include Mac Rogers’ Universal Robots (2009 ITBA Best Off-Broadway Play), Laura Marks’ Bethany (Associate Producer, Women’s Project Theater), Mari Brown’s 23 Feet in 12 Minutes (New Orleans and AFO Fest) and the Brooklyn premiere of Caroline, or Change. She is co-founder of Voices Inside/Out, a prison theater exchange project. She is a Time Warner Foundation Fellow of the 2012-2014 Lab at Women’s Project Theater, NYC.