Welcome to Geva Journal, where Geva staff members lift the stage curtain to share with you backstage secrets, special behind the scenes extras and an inside scoop on how the artistic process at Geva Theatre Center, in Rochester, NY comes together. But this isn’t a one way street, we want to chat with you and hear what you think as we let you peak into rehearsals, the thought process of designers, and works in progress from our costumes, scenery and properties shops.
Think of it like show and tell, but with power tools, award winning actors and rotating sets.
Who are we?
Jenni Werner is in her sixth season as the Literary Director and Resident Dramaturg at Geva Theatre Center. Jenni has served as the dramaturg on twenty Geva productions, including world premieres of plays by Wendy MacLeod, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Cass Morgan and Nora Cole. Jenni also produces Geva’s Festival of New Theatre and leads the development of new plays at Geva. Previously, she served as the Director of Programming at Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the non-profit theatre field. From 2005-2011, Jenni produced TCG’s annual National Conference, curating the content and organizing the logistics for the largest national gathering of professionals in the non-profit theatre field. For six years, she was also an adjunct instructor in the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University, and the resident dramaturg of NYU’s Looking for Shakespeare program for high school students. She is now an adjunct instructor in the English department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has an M.F.A. in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a B.A. in theatre and history from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Jenni serves on the board of directors for ImageOut, Rochester’s LGBT Film Festival.
Jean Gordon Ryon serves as New Plays Coordinator at Geva Theatre Center where, among other duties, she produces the Regional Writers Showcase and the Young Writers Showcase. She was dramaturg for 1776, John Bull’s Other Island, That Was Then, Shear Madness, The Underpants, The Clean House, Almost Maine, The Music Man, Company, Perfect Wedding, The 39 Steps, Last Gas, Wait Until Dark, Little Shop of Horrors and Geva’s current production of A Christmas Carol, and she has contributed dramaturgical research and written program articles for several other productions. Ms. Ryon holds a degree in drama from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Goucher College. Her most recent directing credits in the community include Grace and Glorie, Master Class, Blithe Spirit, Pride’s Crossing, andThe Gin Game for Blackfriars;The Chosen and The Immigrantfor JCC’s CenterStage; Juno and the Peacock, Da,Translations, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Waiting for Godot, The Kings of the Kilburn High Road, Dancing at Lughnasa, Faith Healer, The Hostage, Love in the Title, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Dublin Carol, and A Moon for the Misbegotten for RCP’s Irish Players; and Romeo and Julietand Much Ado About Nothingfor RCP’s Shakespeare Players.Ms. Ryon is also the Artistic Director of The Geriactors, a traveling troupe of mature actors.
Becca Poccia is in her fourth season at Geva Theatre Center, where she has served as dramaturg for All Your Questions Answered, Tinker to Evers to Chance, Katherine’s Colored Lieutenant and The Road to Where; as stage manager for the Late Nite Catechism plays, the Plays in Progress series and the Festival of New Theatre; and as venue manager for the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. Ms. Poccia holds an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and also works as a freelance dramaturg; favorite credits include Goliath (Planet Connections Theatre Festivity) and the world premieres of AK-47 Sing Along (New York International Fringe Festival),Lifetime Fairytale (Columbia Stages), Dirt: Part 1 (Enthuse Theater) and Foreign Wars (Random Access Theatre).
Founded in 1972, Geva Theatre Center is a not-for-profit, professional theatre company dedicated to creating and producing professional theatre productions, programs and services of a national standard. As Rochester’s leading professional theatre, Geva Theatre Center is the most attended regional theatre in New York State, and one of the 25 most attended in the country, serving up to 170,000 patrons annually, including more than 16,000 students. The 552-seat Elaine P. Wilson Mainstage is home to a wide variety of performances, from musicals to American and world classics. The 180-seat Ron & Donna Fielding Nextstage is home to Geva’s own series of contemporary drama, comedy and musical theatre; Geva Comedy Improv; Geva’s New Play Reading Series and the Hornet’s Nest – an innovative play-reading series facilitating community-wide discussion on controversial topics. In addition, the Nextstage hosts visiting companies of both local and international renown. Geva Theatre Center offers a wide variety of educational, outreach and literary programs, nurturing audiences and artists alike. Since 1995, the organization has been under the artistic direction of Mark Cuddy.