Shenandoah Conservatory welcomes Broadway artists Mark Schneider and Jason Gillman as guest directors for two musical theatre productions in Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre this fall. Schneider will guest-direct “Into the Woods,” running Thursday, Oct. 5, through Sunday, Oct. 8, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Musical Theatre Jason Gillman, B.F.A., will guest-direct and choreograph “Rent,” running Thursday, Nov. 16, through Sunday, Nov. 19.
“In this production of ‘Into the Woods,’ we’re exploring the poignant desperation of characters whose lives hinge on the fulfillment of a wish,” said Schneider. “We’re not just venturing into the fairy-tale woods; we’re navigating the complex landscape of human vulnerability and resilience. It’s an evocative experience that delves into the heart of what drives us — both the wishes we make and the paths we choose, and sometimes, are forced to take.”
“I’m thrilled to be here at Shenandoah working with these amazingly talented students in this incredibly positive and creative atmosphere,” said Gillman.
Harold Herman Chair in Musical Theatre, Associate Professor of Theatre and Music Director Patrick Brady will provide music direction for both “Into the Woods” and Rent,” and Adjunct Auxiliary Associate Professor of Dance Mary Robare, B.A., will serve as choreographer for “Into the Woods.”
“How incredibly fortunate for our musical theatre students to have the opportunity to work with not one, but two well-respected Broadway artists this semester,” said Director of Musical Theatre, Coordinator of Recruitment for Musical Theatre, Charles B. Levitin Chair in Musical Theatre and Associate Professor of Theatre Kevin Covert, B.F.A. “Both Mark Schneider and Jason Gillman have an incredible well of knowledge to share with our students. We are delighted to have both of these amazing artists here at Shenandoah.”
About Mark Schneider
Schneider is a theatre director and acting coach with a career spanning over 25 years in both commercial and nonprofit theatre. His impressive body of work encompasses a wide range of productions, including new works, classics and musicals.
His most recent directorial credit was serving as a resident director of “Hamilton” on tour with the AndPeggy and Angelica companies. Among his regional directing credits are “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (MUNY, Kevin Kline Award winner), “Boeing-Boeing” (Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California, and Festival Borgio-Verezzi, Italy) and “Macbeth” (The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.).
On Broadway, Schneider has made significant contributions to thirteen productions. He served as the resident director of the Tony-nominated Best Revival of “Miss Saigon” and as the associate director of the Tony Award-winning “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical.” His musical credits also include working as the associate director of “Annie The Musical,” directed by James Lapine; the resident director of “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” directed by Stephen Daldry; and the associate director of Jason Robert Brown’s teen musical, “13,” which featured Ariana Grande’s Broadway debut. Schneider has also been an associate director on two Tony Award-winning Best Revivals – the comedies “The Norman Conquests” and “Boeing-Boeing,” each directed by Matthew Warchus. Additionally, he enjoyed a five-year collaboration with Tony Award-winner Doug Hughes, both regionally and on Broadway, including their work on the Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley.
Schneider has worked on numerous musicals in development, including “The Jungle Book,” “Frozen,” “Bull Durham,” “Top Hat” and “Take the Lead.” He has contributed to new plays by John Patrick Shanley, Jon Robin Baitz, Richard Greenberg, Stephen Belber, Theresa Rebeck, Alfred Uhry, Beau Willimon and Patrick Marber. He has collaborated with such acclaimed actors as Christopher Plummer, Brian Dennehy, Gabriel Byrne, Alfred Molina and Cherry Jones. He has engaged organizations devoted to new work development including the Roundabout Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Company, Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Class Company, New Dramatists (Composer/ Librettist Studio), NYU Goldberg School of Dramatic Writing, New York Stage and Film, Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater, and The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
As a professional acting coach, Schneider’s students have appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on tour, regionally, on television and in film. Notably, he contributed to the Jay-Z/Will Smith film production of “Annie” in 2013, coaching Oscar-nominee Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role. Wallis’ performance as the plucky New York orphan garnered her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. Schneider’s expertise is also in demand for leading acting workshops with nationally recognized organizations such as the Broadway Teaching Group, the National Student Leadership Conference and The Growing Studio in New York City.
Schneider is a longtime member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and he has previously been affiliated with the Actors Equity Association. He has received grants and fellowships from prestigious institutions such as The Drama League of New York, Manhattan Theater Club, Lincoln Center Theater and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. In 2016, he was honored with the President’s Award for Extraordinary Service from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society in recognition of his efforts to improve employment terms for Broadway resident and associate directors and choreographers.
About Jason Gillman
Gillman starred as Freddie Benson opposite John Lithgow and Jonathan Pryce in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” on Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include “Chicago,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Never Gonna Dance,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Hello, Dolly!” with Carol Channing, and most recently, the original company of “Legally Blonde The Musical.”
He has performed nationally and internationally with several Broadway tours. Gillman has appeared at countless regional theatres across the country, including The Fifth Avenue Theatre (Seattle), Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia), Coconut Grove Playhouse (Miami), Art Park (Buffalo), Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and The Berkshire Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Gillman has also done extensive commercial and television work, including appearances on “Law & Order,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “The Dana Carvey Show,” “The Today Show” and the Kennedy Center Honors. Gillman was educated at the University of Florida, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, and continued his training in New York City, where he studied with Sanford Meisner protégé Vivian Matalon.