Liesel Reinhart, Writer and Director
is the co‐artistic director of LA‐based Speak Theater Arts and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies Mt. San Antonio College. Liesel is the co‐writer of the nationally touring work N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK and collaborated with the Speak Theater Arts team to create and direct ArmeniaMania and Woke Up In America. She is also a long-time member the Board of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Her previous artistic collaborations with GMCLA include 2009’s music‐infused world premiere staging of Tectonic Theater Company’s Laramie Project: Ten Years Later; an Epilogue. She is currently in workshop development of an original musical collaboration entitled Limbo. Liesel’s academic pursuits address a range of subjects, including group performance, oral interpretation, gender and ethnicity, and learning assessments in higher education. She is pleased to donate her time directing this project in memory of Mike Donnelly, Marty Harris, and Ray St. Jean.
Morten Kier, Music Director and Arranger
is a platinum-award-winning singer/songwriter out of Copenhagen, Denmark. Morten, who has a Masters in Vocal Performance from The Royal Academy of Music, tours both in the US and abroad. He performs solo (voice and piano), with the vocal group m-pact, and as a lead singer of the band Gårsdagens Lys (‘The Light of Yesterday’). He also works as a producer for other artists, performs as a soloist or background vocalist on animated movies, album productions, and TV, does vocal workshops with Ørehænger, and writes arrangements and handbooks for singers. Morten is the proud owner of the record label, Gule Plader, on which he released his first debut album “Fra en ny altan” (“From A New Balcony”) in 2008. The album release was followed by more than 120 home concerts in Northern Europe, a band tour, and several national TV performances. For 7 years, Morten was a member of the internationally acclaimed vocal group Basix, whose debut album “The Grass” (2001) went platinum. Since July 2010, Morten has lived in Hollywood, California. He is currently recording material for his second EP release of 2012, and he works as a musical director on 2 stage productions: “Limbo” and “It Gets Better.”
Mervyn Warren, Lyricist/Composer
is a five-time Grammy-Award winner and 10-time Grammy nominee who has composed underscore and produced/ arranged/ written songs and lyrics for films such as The Wedding Planner, The Preacher’s Wife, A Raisin In The Sun (2008), Living Out Loud, A Walk To Remember, and Sister Act 2. An original member of the vocal sensation Take 6, Mervyn has produced/arranged/written numerous records for Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Barbra Streisand, David Foster, Boyz II Men, Michael Bublé, Donna Summer, Chicago, Faith Hill, and many more. In 2010 he co-produced “We Are The World 25 For Haiti” and recently completed both underscore and songs for the musical film Joyful Noise, starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.
Jeff Marx, Lyricist/Composer
won a Tony Award and a Grammy nomination for co-writing Avenue Q. He is a proud member of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.
Christopher Verdugo, former GMCLA Executive Director
was introduced to the gay choral movement at the early age of 18 when he joined the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida. Three years later he was made Artistic Director of Paragon Productions, producing theatrical productions for cruise lines and hotels throughout the world. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2003, he continued his nonprofit career with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, developing their Southwest region major donor and event departments. In 2006, Chris became the Deputy Director of Development for Equality California (EQCA) before going out on his own in early 2009 with Chris Verdugo Presents, a fundraising and event consulting firm that worked with such notable nonprofit organizations as Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and EQCA, among others. In July 2011, he formally joined GMCLA as Director of Development and Marketing. Following nearly five years as Executive Director of GMCLA, Chris is now the ED for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
Joseph P. Nadeau, GMCLA Artistic Director
Joe Nadeau grew up in Bangor, Maine and in 1993 graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education. In 1998, Joe became the artistic director and conductor of Heartland Men’s Chorus in Kansas City. During his fifteen years with HMC, Joe led the chorus in four international GALA festivals, performances (by invitation) at national Chorus America and American Choral Director’s (ACDA) conferences, a European Tour, and multiple collaborative performances with other GALA Choruses. Joe has Master’s and Doctoral degrees in choral conducting and regularly serves as guest speaker, presenter, clinician, and conductor for regional, state, and national conferences and music festivals. He has taught at every educational level from pre-K through college.
Kristie Roldan, Technical Director and Lighting Designer
Kristie has designed for many theatre, opera, and dance companies including: the Geffen Playhouse, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Speak Theater Arts. Her lighting credits also include web broadcast, television specials, and DVD projects for artists such as Rihanna, Ben Harper, and John Legend. Her theatrical designs have been seen on tour both nationally and internationally. Kristie’s most recent theatrical work includes: N*W*C with Speak Theater Arts, All Hail the Queen with Lesli Margherita, and Some Girl(s) at the Geffen Playhouse.
Jimmy Nguyen, Creative Producer
is a prominent entertainment and digital media lawyer, equal rights advocate, media commentator, and motivational speaker. In law, he is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. At his web site www.JimmyWin.com, Jimmy comments about politics, culture and life, while encouraging everyone to SHINE. SPEAK. WIN. He also contributes to the Huffington Post, Advocate.com, FWDNation.com, and HelloGiggles.com. Jimmy was named to a 2012 Huffington Post list of the “Most Influential LGBT Asian Icons” and to Advocate magazine’s 2010 “Forty under 40” list of leading LGBT persons. Jimmy is co-founder of the American Readers Theater association. He is thrilled to help bring it gets better to the stage.
Brianne Cohen, Events and Tours Manager
Brianne Pergola received her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and her Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In 2008, she started her own business, Eventful, a full-service event production company. Brianne worked on a variety of events ranging from private parties, concerts, galas, cocktail parties, etc. She quickly developed a niche in the LGBT community in Los Angeles and has worked with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, Equality California, Bienestar, West Hollywood Library Fund, Queer Lounge at Sundance, and GMCLA. GMCLA has been a consistent client of Eventful for the last 4 years. More recently, Brianne joined the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles as their Events & Tours Manager beginning in Fall 2013.
Philip Hayman, Costume Designer
was born and raised in Lincoln, NE, then relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 to study at UCLA. He received a BA in Design in 1985 and an MFA in Costume Design in 1987. Since then he has worked steadily in the motion picture and television field as a costume supervisor. He has worked on shows such as The West Wing, ER and True Blood. He is currently working on the television series Sons of Anarchy for F/X and Southland for TNT. He joined GMCLA as a singing member in 2006 and he has designed costumes for the chorus productions since 2007. He is proud to be a part of this production and happy to be able to share his work with you. Coming from a mid-sized Midwestern town where he was routinely harassed as a youth, Philip proves the adage that “It Does Get Better”.
Steven T. Seagle, Set Designer
Is the co-artistic director of LA-based Speak Theater Arts and partner in Man of Action Studios, creators of Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 and Generator Rex. Steve is the author of many acclaimed graphic novels including it’s a bird, Solstice, and Kafka. Steve is also is the co-writer and set designer of the nationally touring N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK and also collaborated with the Speak Theater Arts team to create, direct, and design ArmeniaMania.
Daniel R. Fisher, Producer
is an American banker/lawyer living in London as CEO of the European subsidiaries of Wilmington Trust. As a gay man who has been out and proud for over 30 years, he has experienced and witnessed first-hand the difficult but extraordinary evolution of acceptance, understanding and support for the LGBT community globally. In recognition of the work still to be done to support our current and future generations of LGBT youth in living proud and safe lives in a tolerant world, he is extremely honored to serve as a Producer of the GMCLA’s “It Gets Better” project. He dedicates his participation in loving memory of his proud gay brother and wonderful man, the late Scott Laurus Fisher.
Matthew Jenner, Producer
is one of It Gets Better’s kickstarter superstars who helped fund this project in memory of Matthew Shepard.
Ted Farley, It Gets Better Project Executive Director
Ted is the Executive Director with the It Gets Better Project and has spent his career working to make things better for the LGBT community and struggling youth. Prior to his work with IGB, Ted worked with the Alliance for Children’s Rights where he secured more than $10 million worth of volunteered legal services for children in out of home care. Ted has also worked as an attorney with the Urban Justice Center’s Domestic Violence Project, where he represented low-income LGBT survivors of domestic violence. In recognition of his advocacy, Ted was the recipient of the Courage Award from the New York City Anti-Violence Project and, in 2013, was selected as an Arcus Foundation LGBT Leadership Fellow.