Let's Talk Tech is a monthly Seattle Rep podcast that goes behind the scenes with technical theater professionals to get the inside scoop on their careers, the industry, and the roles that we don't see on stage. From stage managers, to technical directors, to crew, each episode highlights a different theater professional from the Seattle area and beyond.
In our latest episode, Director of Arts Engagement Nabra Nelson interviews composer, music producer, and theater artist Steven Tran about his journey from tech to theater, working with Seattle Rep’s Public Works, collaborating with local theater artists, and more.
Meet the Artists
Composer, Music Producer, and Theater Artist
Steven Tran creates music and art that inspires, uplifts, and celebrates our shared humanity. A self-taught composer, orchestrator, and music producer, Steven’s music has been heard at ArtsWest Playhouse, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Wooden O, and ReAct Theatre. Steven has music directed at ArtsWest Playhouse, Village Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Green Room 42 (NYC), and Seattle Rep, and acted with Taproot Theatre and Seattle Shakespeare Company. His work as co-composer and arranger/orchestrator for The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion by Justin Huertas earned Steven a Gregory Award co-nomination in 2019 for Best New Play. Steven is the performer/playwright of The Sonata Years, an autobiographical solo show that combines his talents for storytelling, classical piano, and sound design to craft an intensely personal reflection on the Asian-American experience. The Sonata Years was workshopped as part of The Other Season at Seattle Rep in 2019. Recent credits: music director for Lizard Boy at the NAMT Festival of New Musicals; co-composer/music producer for A Very Merry Kraken Tea Party at ArtsWest; music director/audio editor for Twelfth Night at Seattle Rep, the first ever virtual Public Works production. He is a composer in the Jane Lang Creation Lab at Seattle Opera, developing a new electroacoustic chamber opera about NASA’s Voyager program.
Master Scenic Artist
Ruth Gilmore is a Master Scenic Artist in Seattle who has been creating scenery for dance, opera, and theater for more than 25-years at a variety of theatrical venues in Seattle, including Olympic Ballet, Seattle Rep, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Children's Theatre, Intiman Theatre, ACT Theatre, Whim W'Him, and Zoe-Juniper among others.
Before relocating to Seattle, Ruth was a working Scenic Artist at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, DePaul University Theatre School, and Chicago Scenic.
Other recent scenic projects of note include painted backdrops for the national tour of McCoy Rigby's Peter Pan, painted backdrops for the world premiere of I Only Have Eyes for You at LA's Montalban Theatre, and Ruth's latest film credit was as Lead Scenic on Captain Fantastic.
Head Audio Engineer for the Bagley Wright Theater, Seattle Rep
Nathan Kahler has been the Audio Engineer for the Bagley Wright Theater since the 2006/07 season. Nathan moved up to Head Audio Engineer during the 2007/08 season. During his time at Seattle Rep, he has coordinated the audio needs for Pullman Porter Blues, Come From Away, Here Lies Love, In the Heights, and Shout Sister Shout!, and assisted in upgrading the Bagley Wright and Poncho Forum audio and communication systems.
Nathan has a background as a sound designer and regularly utilizes that knowledge to assist production sound designers and to fill in on productions that suddenly found themselves in need of assistance, like New Works showcases in the Poncho Forum and Woody Sez on the Bagley Wright stage.
Nathan has previously worked at Syracuse Stage, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, TheaterVirginia, Tacoma Actors Guild, and The Empty Space as a Sound Designer and Engineer. His undergraduate work was done at Willamette University and he did graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Nathan is proud to be a member of IATSE Local 15, and looks forward to returning to Seattle Rep and bringing more great productions to the Bagley stage.
Emily W. Leong
Emily W. Leong is a Seattle-based lighting designer. Since entering the Seattle theater scene in 2012, she has worked with Nordo, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle Public Theater, Pony World Theater, Pratidhwani, and ArtsWest. When not designing for theater, Emily hones her creativity designing for burlesque. From 2016 - 2020 she joined the producing team of IvaFiero Productions to create rock concert inspired burlesque shows. She has designed the past two Emerald City Comic Con burlesque shows, produced by JoJo Stiletto. She is on staff at Theatre Off Jackson as a resident lighting designer and technical liaison. Thanks to her work with various performance styles and companies, Emily received the Melissa Hines Award at The Gregory Awards in 2015.
Lex Marcos is a Seattle-based Scenic Designer originally from Manila, Philippines. He studied Painting and Art History at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He designed sets in Manila for eight years, working with acclaimed Filipino directors, designers, visual artists, and playwrights. He recently got his MFA degree in Scenic Design in March 2017 at the UW School of Drama. After that, he then started designing shows in town for Intiman Theatre, ArtsWest, Sound Theatre Company, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Pony World Theatre, Theatre Battery, Tacoma Arts Live, and Portland Center Stage
His works Ang Post Office ng Hari and Umaaraw Umuulan Kinakasal Ang Tikbalang have been selected for Philippines exhibit in the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in 2011 and 2015.
Lex was nominated for Outstanding Scenic Design in the 2019 Gregory Awards for his work on Parliament Square produced by Pony World Theatre. Nominated in the Excellence in Scenic Design Small Theater category at the Gypsy Rose Lee Awards in 2018 for Pony World Theatre’s Parliament Square and in 2020 for Really Really Theatre Group’s production of Lungs. Lex is a recipient of Village Theatre Northwest Creator Residency Program 2021.
Audio Engineer and Event Producer
JoJo Nieves is a seasoned audio engineer and event producer living in Seattle, WA. With a B.A. in Music and over eleven years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, he has produced everything from small corporate gatherings, to live concerts, to virtual events with over 500,000 guests.
JoJo began working in production as a college student in 2009. Originally from Southern California, he ran audio for several prominent churches in the area until he relocated to Phoenix, AZ, in 2011. JoJo briefly worked for PSAV until he was recruited to become the internal operations manager and a full-time event producer for Automätik, an automotive industry-based training company. During his time there, JoJo helped produce nationwide events for clients that included Toyota, Jaguar-Land Rover, Volkswagen, and Alfa Romeo. He also served as the primary producer for Automätik’s in-house event space.
Since moving to Seattle in 2016, JoJo has helped produce events for some of the most influential companies in both the region and the world. Clients have included: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Xbox, Alaska Airlines, Boeing, REI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tableau Software, SAP Concur, Redfin, Expedia, Verizon Wireless, F5 Networks, SEIU 775, Seattle Children's Hospital, Hopelink, University of Washington, Seattle Seahawks, BECU, and MoPOP Seattle. In today’s landscape of digital events, JoJo has continued to remain curious and reinvent himself by learning how to manage broadcast-level intercom systems and direct fully produced events for thousands of guests over Zoom.
Timothy White Eagle
Scenic Designer and Performance Artist
Timothy White Eagle is a mixed race artist. His art practice rises from a decades long exploration of traditional ritual and embodiment practice. He crafts experiences and objects designed to heal both creator and audience. His preferred mediums include objects, photography, performance, and installed space. His work has been presented on three continents. He was the recipient of the WAA/AIP Launch Pad award in 2019 as well as a Seattle City Artist award in 2020. He received a BFA in Theater from The University of Utah.
Timothy tours as an artistic director and performer with MacArthur Genius Taylor Mac on his Pulitzer Prize finalist A 24 Decade History….
Connie Yun is a freelance lighting designer for the stage and is based out of Seattle, WA. In the Pacific Northwest, her designs have been seen at Seattle Opera, Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, Seattle Children’s Theatre, ACT Theatre, Seattle Rep, On the Boards, Langston, Empty Space Theatre, Cornish College of the Arts, Bellevue College, and University of Puget Sound. Nationally and internationally, she has also designed for Madison Opera, Kentucky Opera, Minnesota Opera, Dallas Opera, Arizona Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Academy of the West, and Canadian Opera Company. Connie has also been the assistant/associate to many internationally known lighting designers including Duane Schuler, Peter Kaczorowski, Jennifer Tipton, Robert Wierzel, Allen Lee Hughes, and Mark McCullough. Upcoming projects includes designs for Seattle Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and Portland Opera.
Angie Zylla has been a Properties Artisan at Seattle Rep since August 2016. Her job includes, working in the shop with two other props artisans and also helping in paints periodically. Some of her favorite projects have been creating life cast heads for multiple productions of Mac Beth directed by Erica Schmidt.
Prior to Seattle, Angie worked in props at the Contemporary America Theatre Festival in West Virginia, Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Colorado, Hippodrome Theatre in Florida, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. She received her BFA in Theater Technical Production from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied under Sandra Straw and interned at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre with Jim Guy.
Angie is a member of The Society of Properties Artisans and Managers and a Union Member of IATSE Local 15. Prior to going back to college for theater, Angie worked a variety of jobs, including holding positions in the medical field for eight-years and high-end satellite and electronic communications systems.
Angie comes originally from central Minnesota and has loved living in Seattle!
Desirae Brownlee has had a busy career in theatrical lighting since graduating college from Western Washington University in 2005. She began her grand adventure touring around the world. She has worked on lighting crews for shows in 48 states, nine countries in Europe, eight Canadian Provinces, and four states in Mexico. She worked on a cruise ship as the Lighting Tech with ports in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. And spent four summers working with Circus Smirkus in New England. She then returned to Seattle and worked at Seattle Opera from 2012 to 2017, where she got to work on Richard Wagner’s The Ring Cycle. As a member of IATSE Local 15, she has run follow spot for numerous rock shows at the (former) Key Arena, done rigging, and moved gear for concerts and conventions. Desirae has been working as the Master Electrician in the Leo K. Theater at Seattle Rep since February of 2018. This new mom, to daughter Adalade, loves to show women that brains are bigger than brawn when it comes to lighting up the world!
Sharath Patel is a Portland Oregon based designer who works nationally and international focusing on experimental, commercial, academic, political and socially conscious theatre. Recent designs at Portland Center Stage, Rep Theatre of St. Louis, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Folger Theatre, ACT Theatre, Artist Rep, American Rep, Seattle Rep, Yale, Rep, Cal Shakes, Alabama Shakes, EastWest Players, Marin Theatre Company, Virginia Stage Company, and Mercury Company. Additional work in New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Norfolk, Raleigh, Aspen, India, France, England, Germany, and Romania. He has previously served as a visiting assistant professor, lead designer, guest artist, instructor, or lecturer at Reed College, Whitman College, Yale, Fordham, Columbia, Willamette, Ohio, Portland State, and Butler Universities. He is a member of USA829 as well as the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association. Sharath is also an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Department of State and a Resident Artists at Artists Rep. MFA, Yale School of Drama. sharathpatel.com
Danielle Nieves is a freelance artist, theatrical costume designer, and curator. She is currently the Costume Design Associate at Seattle Rep. She is passionate about projects that uplift community voices and stories that critically challenge the canonical narrative. She is particularly impassioned when working with fellow Latinx artists on projects that aspire towards authentic representation and she is humbled by the tangible impact achieved through reflective collaboration. Aside from design she specializes in clothing psychology, costume history, and textiles. Regional credits for costume design include: American Mariachi at Dallas Theater Center and Goodman Theatre, Real Women Have Curves at Dallas Theater Center, and Behold the Dreamers at Book-it Repertory Theatre. Off-Broadway credits include: Pity in History, No End of Blame, Gertrude The Cry, and Lovesong of the Electric Bear. Danielle holds an M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of California Irvine and a curatorial certification for Japanese and Western costumes from the Kyoto Costume Institute. www.daniellenieves.com
Maggie Carrido Adams
Wardrobe Technician, Interdisciplinary Artist
Maggie Carrido Adams is an interdisciplinary performing artist based in the Pacific Northwest. As an actor, director, writer, and musician, she works to illuminate the stories of the underrepresented to foster compassion in the world. Her teaching work ranges from corporate facilitation and training to costume and makeup design. She is also a wardrobe technician and a member of IATSE Local 887.
Sann Hall joined the Seattle Rep family in 2012 and held a number of titles in the production office before landing as Production Manager. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Sann continues to work outside Seattle Rep primarily as the Co-Managing Partner of Pony World Theatre. Since 2009 she has continued to work in a variety of disciplines with Pony World; along with producing she has been a director, designer, puppeteer, actor, and of course production manager. Beyond Pony World and Seattle Rep, Sann directs, creates, and performs puppets for stage and screen and in 2017 was selected to participate in an ensemble puppeteering workshop with Complicité Theatre in London.
Previously she was the Production Manager for Animate Objects Physical Theater and Company Manager for Annex Theatre. In 2007 she had the great joy of working as a stagehand in the Pleasance Cabaret at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She has also been professionally acting and teaching around the country since 1998, including working with Missoula Children’s Theatre in MT, Long Lake Camp for the Arts in NY, Mount Holyoke Summer Theatre in MA, and StoryBook Theater in WA, to name a few. Sann holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Mount Holyoke College and trained as a performer during a year abroad at the British American Drama Academy of London.
Shay Trusty (they/them) is a Seattle Stage Manager devoted to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Shay was a Stage Management Apprentice 2018/19 at Seattle Rep which involved working on In the Heights; A Doll's House, Part 2; and Tiny Beautiful Things. Recent Seattle credits include The Race 2020 (Intiman Theatre), The Christmas Killings of Corgi Cliffs (Cafe Nordo), BenDeLaCreme Presents: Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor, and Production Assistant for As You Like It (Seattle Rep).
Aaron Alonso is currently the Production Manager at Village Theatre KIDSTAGE in Everett, managing and supervising the production programs in that location. KIDSTAGE, as part of Village Theatre, is one of the leading theatrical youth education departments in the Pacific Northwest, serving over 26,000 students over the course of the year between their locations in Issaquah and Everett. Before, he attended Western Washington University, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in stage management and technical theatre in spring 2014. He has worked at many theatrical companies here in the region and across the country, including: Village Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Some of his favorite productions include: In the Heights, School of Rock, Chicago, Les Miserables, The Lion King Jr., Hairspray, Equus, RENT, and A Christmas Story: The Musical. Aaron thanks his friends, family, and mentors as he valiantly attempts to put his theater degree to use. He is living the dream every day, being in the "room where it happens" to make shows with the most talented students and artists in the world. Member of the United States Institute of Theatre Technology. His motto: "MacGyver it!"
Caitlin Denney-Turner was born and raised in Laramie, Wyoming, where she was introduced to theater and what it can do about injustice at a very young age. From there she was hooked. She wrote, worked on and starred in plays during high school and went on to get her BFA in musical theater from the University of Wyoming. After discovering she liked stage managing way more than performing she applied to the Seattle Rep Professional Arts Training Program as a stage management intern for their 2014/15 season. From there she had a brief stint in Indiana at Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts as their production stage manager and company manager. In fall of 2015 she came back to Seattle and has been working professionally as a stage manager, assistant stage manager, and production assistant ever since.
Currently serving as Producing Director at the Seattle Rep as well as an adjunct professor for the University of Washington, Elisabeth Farwell-Moreland has worked at numerous regional theaters such as The Cleveland Playhouse, The Caldwell Theatre Company, Cain Park Summer Theatre, and Seattle Rep. Her Off-Broadway credits include Angry Housewives and Pacific Overtures. National Tours of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, La Cage Aux Follies, and Dreamgirls. Elisabeth's Broadway credits include The Secret Garden, Aspects of Love, Starlight Express, and Sweeney Todd, as well as the third national tour of Phantom of the Opera from 1992-2006.
Adrienne Mendoza is a theater and opera stage manager based in Seattle. Credits include Public Works: As You Like It, Nina Simone: Four Women, Here Lies Love (Seattle Rep); Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, Eugene Onegin, The Falling and the Rising (Seattle Opera); And in This Corner: Cassius Clay, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mwindo (Seattle Children’s Theatre); The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Kiss Me, Kate, Mamma Mia!, Holiday Inn, Ragtime, Paint Your Wagon, A Night With Janis Joplin, How to Succeed in Business... (The 5th Avenue Theatre).
Anne Hitt is currently based in Seattle, WA and has been stage managing professionally for 13 years. She is a member of AEA and AGMA and is also the founder of SM Boot Camp: Stage Management Intensive, which is a week-long stage management workshop offered once or twice a year. In Seattle, Anne has worked at The 5th Avenue Theatre (Austen’s Pride), ACT (Urinetown, Oslo, Ride the Cyclone), and Village Theatre (Newsies, Hairspray, She Loves Me). Anne lived in Southern California for five years stage managing and earning her MFA in Stage Management from UC Irvine. Credits include The Kirk Douglas Theatre (Good Grief, Women Laughing Alone With Salad), The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Merrily We Roll Along), The Geffen Playhouse (Barbecue, In & Of Itself), The Ahmanson (An Act of God), and The Mark Taper Forum (appropriate, Bent, and The Price). She now lives in Seattle with her husband and 2-year-old son.
2019/20 Stage Management Apprentice
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Madisen Crowley is a stage manager and theater artist based in the Seattle area. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2018 where she earned her BFA in Design and Technical Theatre, as well as minor in Gender Studies. Madisen recently completed a stage management apprenticeship with Seattle Rep as part of their Professional Arts Training Program. During her time she had the pleasure of working on Indecent, True West, the August Wilson Monologue Competition Finals, as well creating and hosting Let's Talk Tech!
Director of Arts Engagement
Nabra Nelson is a community organizer and theater creator from Egypt, Nubia, and California. She is also the Director of Arts Engagement at Seattle Rep. As an arts administrator, director, playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist, she works with theaters, universities, and community organizations to create positive change, strengthen community, and amplify under-heard voices through theater. She is a founding company member of Dunya Productions and Heard Space Arts Collective, and is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Seattle Rep's Let's Talk Tech podcast was originally conceived by 2019/20 Professional Arts Training Program Stage Management Apprentice Madisen Crowley.
Pictured: Aishé Keita and Michael Wieser in Familiar (2018). Photo by Navid Baraty.