“Actor Therapy at Harvard” with musical theater composer RYAN SCOTT OLIVER and actor/vocalist LINDSAY MENDEZ


Sunday, October 2, 2016, 1:00pm


Farkas Hall - Studio

Presented by: Learning From Performers
Admission: Open to Harvard students only; register here
Related event: “Seriously Creative in a Commercial World” workshop with musical theater composer RYAN SCOTT OLIVER

“Actor Therapy at Harvard” with Lindsay Mendez and Ryan Scott Oliver

Actor Therapy New York comes to Cambridge! Since 2012, Actor Therapy has served over 300 musical theater performers, exploring audition technique, cabaret/performance technique, the actor’s audition “book” and repertoire building, text interpretation, with an emphasis on the student’s personal experience and how that may strengthen and or weaken the performer’s work in front of an audience. Some students will have the opportunity to sing and receive feedback. 


RYAN SCOTT OLIVER is “shaking up musical theater with his dark, twisted and genius work…[he] could very well be musical theater’s answer to an auteur filmmaker or a gothic novelist,” according to Huffington Post. Most recently his music and lyrics were heard in Jasper in Deadland (book by Tony Award-nominee Hunter Foster), first Off-Broadway in a Spring 2014 run, and then presented at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in May 2015, both starring Matt Doyle. Oliver is a Jonathan Larson Grant Recipient, Richard Rodgers Award Winner, Lortel Award Nominee, ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award Winner, a Dramatists Guild Fellow, and the recipient of residencies at 5th Avenue Theatre, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Weston Playhouse, Cap 21, the York Theatre, Running Deer Ranch, Pace University, San Diego State University and Playwrights Horizons.

Oliver wrote the music and lyrics for 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, which has been produced over 50 times around the world in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, England, Australia and Japan; it will premiere at Harvard at Adams Pool Theatre October 7-9. His other works include Darling (under option with Walk/Run/Fly Productions); Mrs. Sharp, read at Playwrights Horizons in July 2009 starring Jane Krakowski; Out of My Head; and the The Frog Prince Continued, a TYA musical commissioned and premiered in Chicago. A revue of his work, Rated RSO, played the Kennedy Center, Joe’s Pub, New York Musical Theatre Festival, and others.

Oliver is the Director of New Musicals at Pace University in downtown Manhattan and the Artistic Director of the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program. His songbook, Music+Lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver: Vol. 1, was published by Hal Leonard in 2011. He is currently at work on a trilogy of new musicals about American desperation in war-time: the first, a southern Gothic thriller set in small-town Missouri, 1945 entitled We Foxes (commissioned by Broadway Across America, 2013); the second, a Civil War drama called Rope (commissioned by Grove Entertainment, 2015); and the final part, a contemporary “marriage play” called Three Points of Contact.

LINDSAY MENDEZ is an actor and singer best known for her work on Broadway in Wicked as the 10th Anniversary Elphaba, Godspell, Grease as Jan (Broadway debut), and Everyday Rapture with Sherie Rene Scott. For her role as Rose Fenny in Off-Broadway's Dogfight, she was nominated for the 2013 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, and the 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Recently she previewed the show A Little More Alive, written by Nick Blaemire, in Kansas City, where she played the role of Lizzie. Her other theater credits include The Marvelous Wonderettes, Ryan Scott Oliver’s 35mm: A Musical Exhibition, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and Princesses.

Mendez frequently collaborates with fellow Broadway actor Derek Klena; the pair, popularly known as “Klendez,” have appeared alongside each other in Dogfight as Eddie Birdlace and Rose Fenny, Wicked as Elphaba and Fiyero, and frequently perform together at the Broadway supper club 54 Below.

While performing in Wicked, Mendez filmed a popular series of video blogs for Broadway.com entitled “Fly Girl: Backstage at Wicked with Lindsay Mendez,” giving an inside look at the smash musical involving interviews with current cast members, glimpses of costumes, sets, props, and how Mendez herself was transformed into the musical's protagonist, Elphaba, the green-skinned girl who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. Mendez is also a jazz and blues singer, performing at clubs and concert halls. She and her collaborator, pianist Marco Paguia, released a jazz album in 2013 entitled “This Time.” Along with composer Ryan Scott Oliver, she founded and currently runs Actor Therapy, a five-week training experience for young actors in NYC.

Supported by the Bernard H. and Mildred Kayden Artist in Residence Fund through Learning From Performers, a program of the Office for the Arts at Harvard.