Board of Advisors

Rosendale Theatre Collective Board of Advisors

Meira Blaustein – Executive Director, Woodstock Film Festival
Meira Blaustein is the Co-founder / Executive Director / Programmer of the Woodstock Film Festival. Conceived in 1999, the WFF was launched in 2000 and has quickly become one of the most respected and influential regional film festivals in the USA. Blaustein has nearly thirty years of experience in filmmaking, producing and directing numerous shorts and documentaries including Reaching Out with Theater – The Monster Metropolis and For Love of Julian.

Scott Cranin – Managing Director, TLA Entertainment Group
After trading at Lehman Brothers, running an antique shop in the Hudson Valley, and owning and operating two alternative video stores, Scott Cranin moved to Philadelphia and became editor of LGBT cinema and books at TLAvideo.com. He is now a Managing Director of TLA Entertainment Group and a programmer for Philadelphia QFest, an LGBT film festival held every July. Cranin also sits on the board of the Lambda Literary Foundation.

Denny Dillon – Actress
Denny Dillon is an award-winning stage, television and film actress. An Alumna of Saturday Night Live, she won a CableACE award “best actress in a comedy series” for HBO’s hit Dream On. She made her Broadway debut in Angela Landsbury’s Gypsy, and received a Tony Award nomination for My One and Only, co-starring with Tommy Tune and Twiggy. Dillon’s film credits include Saturday Night Fever and the critically acclaimed United 93.

Sophia Raab Downs – Producer, Director
Sophia Raab Downs’ producing credits include the feature films Gospel Hill and locally filmed Racing Daylight starring Academy Award nominees David Strathairn and Melissa Leo. Her first feature documentary, 21 Below, is the story of the women in her family and is currently airing in the UK and playing film festivals worldwide. Downs has worked in production on television’s Law & Order and Spin City, as well as independent feature films and music videos.

Susan Einhorn – Professor & Director, Queens College/CUNY Theatre Program
Director Susan Einhorn specializes in developing new works for the theater. NYC productions include Spare Parts (Circle in the Square Theatre), Finding Claire (Theater for the New City), and Uncle Jed’s Barbershop (New York Musical Theatre Festival, winner of the Director’s Choice Award). She has directed at many major regional theaters and is a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient. Einhorn served for 12 years on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDCS).

Charlie Kniceley – Musician
Charlie Kniceley is best known as a consummate side man and has worked with a long list of artists including Ron Carter, Joe Beck, Jack Dejohnette, Connie Francis, Jerry Vale and Lou Marini, to name a few. After retiring from the music scene in 1995, he is back and playing in the northeast and also Scotland at the Edinburgh International Arts Festival Fringe. Charlie served as chairman of the Rosendale Street Festival in 2008 and 2009.

Melissa Leo – Actress
Academy Award winner for Best Performance by an Actress in The Fighter (2010).  Actress Melissa Leo has been a staple in both film and television for over 20 years. She received universal critical adulation for her virtuoso performance in Frozen River, earning her first Academy Award nomination for “Best Actress in a Leading Role.” Prior to Frozen River, she was most widely known for her genius portrayal of Detective Kay Howard on Homicide: Life on the Streets and her outstanding work in 21 Grams, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Hide and Seek.

Wendy Lidell – President, International Film Circuit
Wendy Lidell is Founder and President of International Film Circuit, a boutique distributor of specialty films to art houses and commercial multiplexes nationwide since 1987. A two-time documentary Academy Award nominee, she has served as Festival Bureau Director for the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) and President of the Board of Women Make Movies.

Ron Marquette – Coordinator of Community Relations and Special Events at SUNY UCCC
Ron Marquette is the former Founding Artistic Director of the Shadowland Theater and was Executive Artistic Director of the Broadway Theater, UPAC. He is the author of two plays, Nonna and Larry Parks’ Day in Court, and has served on the boards of Ulster County’s Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson Valley AIDS Auction. Marquette is currently board chairman of the Ulster County Development Corporation and Coordinator of Community Relations and Special Events at SUNY Ulster County Community College.

Mark Morganstern – Owner, Rosendale Café
Mark Morganstern is the founder and owner of the Rosendale Café, an intimate and beloved music venue known for presenting some of the best local, national, and international musicians and performance artists available on the circuit.

Bruce Morrow – Disc Jockey
Legendary radio personality Bruce Morrow was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988. He adopted the moniker “Cousin Brucie” in 1959, while working at WINS/New York. Longtime host on WABC, WNBC, WCBS-FM and now Sirius XM satellite radio, in 1994 he became the only on-air personality in New York with his own street, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proclaimed West 52nd Street “Cousin Brucie Way.”

John Novi – Chef / Proprietor, Depuy Canal House
John Novi is head chef and proprietor of the 1797 Depuy Canal House, a four-star (New York Times) restaurant and museum of Colonial American antiques. He is a board member of the Hudson Valley Agricultural Heritage Partnership, and previously served on the boards of the Ulster County Council for the Arts, New Paltz College Foundation Fund, and Rondout Esopus Land Trust, among others.

Ron Nyswaner – Screenwriter, Director
Ron Nyswaner is currently working on Hamlet to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight). His screenplays include Soldier’s Girl (Peabody Award), Philadelphia (Academy Award nomination) and The Painted Veil, starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. His first book, Blue Days, Black Nights: A Memoir, was nominated for a Lambda Literary award.

Mandy Patinkin – Actor, Singer
Since his Tony Award-winning Broadway debut as Che in the 1980 production of Evita, Mandy Patinkin’s career has included starring roles on Broadway (Sunday in the Park with George, The Secret Garden, Mandy Patinkin in Concert) and numerous feature films including The Princess Bride, Yentl (Golden Globe nomination), and Impromptu. He received an Emmy Award and Golden Globe nomination for his critically acclaimed performance in the television series, Chicago Hope, and recently starred in Criminal Minds.

Aidan Quinn – Actor, Producer
Aidan Quinn’s most recent films are The Eclipse and Handsome Harry. Other recent projects include 32A, Cavedweller (WFF 2004), Song for a Raggy Boy (WFF 2003), Plainsong and Evelyn. He has appeared in over 35 independent and studio features including Desperately Seeking Susan, An Early Frost, Avalon, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Benny and Joon, Legends of the Fall and Michael Collins.

Chris Silva – Executive Director, Bardavon Opera House
Chris Silva became Executive Director of the Bardavon Opera House in 1994, overseeing the theatre’s dramatic growth including its recent ownership and operation of the Ulster Performing Arts Center. In 1999 he oversaw the rescue from bankruptcy of the region’s oldest professional symphony orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Silva was an operating consultant during the creation of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and currently serves as a consultant for the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington and the Ritz Theater in Newburgh.

David Sterman – Financial Advisor
David Sterman has worked as an investment analyst at various Wall Street firms since 1993. He has also worked periodically as a financial journalist with the goal of empowering individual investors. Currently, Mr. Sterman serves as a financial advisor to organizations in a start-up phase or high-growth mode. He holds a Master’s Degree in the Science of Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

David Strathairn – Actor
David Strathairn is an accomplished film and stage actor. He has appeared in many independent and studio films including Racing Daylight, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Map of the World, LA Confidential, Simon Birch, Dolores Claiborne, The River Wild, Silkwood and many more. He is best known for his work with director John Sayles, which includes Limbo, Passion Fish, Eight Men Out, Matewan, Brother From Another Planet and Return of the Secaucus Seven.

Bill Vanaver – Founder / Artistic Director, The Vanaver Caravan
Musician and composer Bill Vanaver has been playing to audiences throughout the world for the past 45 years. He is known for his stellar instrumental work on 5 string banjo as well a myriad of other folk instruments. With his vast knowledge of traditional song and musical styles, he has enlivened audiences at such venues as the Newport Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival among others. Bill Vanaver is currently an adjunct professor of American and World Dance & Music at Bard College.

Livia Drapkin Vanaver – Founder / Artistic Director, The Vanaver Caravan
A leading authority on dance education, Livia Drapkin Vanaver pioneered the exposure of traditional dance and music from many cultures to educational institutions. She is on the faculty of the Academy for the Love of Learning and teaches dance in the Graduate Theater Program at Columbia University. Her commitment to creating community through the vehicle of dance lead to work with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation in their Balkan Peace and Reconciliation project as well as their program working with families of the victims of 9/11.

Susan Wallace – Senior Project Manager, Jonathan Rose Companies
Susan Wallace co-leads and is a Senior Project Manager with Jonathan Rose Companies’ Civic, Cultural and Educational Group. She has over 25 years of experience in business, operations, and capital projects management for not-for-profit organizations. Susan is currently project-managing BAM’s new Fisher Building, the New York School of Interior Design’s graduate school fit-out, and Harlem RBI/DREAM Charter School’s new joint venture of school and affordable housing in East Harlem, NY. In her spare time Susan is a lead singer with Soul Purpose, a local Hudson Valley band for the past 13 years.

Kim Wozencraft – Author
Kim Wozencraft is the author of the internationally best-selling novel, Rush, which was made into a feature film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. Her screen adaptation of her critically acclaimed second novel, Notes from the Country Club, is currently in pre-production. Norman Mailer called her third novel, The Catch, “the best novel I’ve read about drug smugglers and narcs.” She co-edited Slam, the Book, a companion edition to the award winning 1998 film.

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