Beth Morrison (PRESIDENT & CREATIVE PRODUCER)
Noted as a “contemporary opera mastermind” (LA Times) and “a powerhouse leading the industry to new heights” (WQXR), Beth Morrison is an opera-theatre producer and President and Creative Producer of Beth Morrison Projects. Beth created Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) in 2006 to identify and support the work of emerging and established living composers. BMP is celebrated as an industry disruptor and tastemaker at the forefront of musical and theatrical innovation by commissioning, developing, producing and touring the groundbreaking new works of these living composers and their collaborators, which take the form of opera-theatre, music-theatre, and vocal-theatre. BMP encourages risk-taking and the result is provocative works that represent a dynamic and lasting legacy for a new American canon. Opera News has noted: “More than any other figure in the opera industry, Beth Morrison has helped propel the art form into the twenty-first century." In 2013 Beth co-founded the PROTOTYPE Festival with HERE, which has become “essential to the evolution of American opera.” (New Yorker). Beth served a founding tenure as Producer for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, as well as Producer for New York City Opera's VOX: Contemporary American Opera Lab. She is currently an advisory board member of National Sawdust and Brooklyn Youth Chorus, as well as a board member of the international competition, Music Theatre Now and Voices 21C, a social justice choir. Morrison is frequently asked to give lectures at conservatories across the country, including Mannes School of Music, NYU, Manhattan School of Music, Arizona State University, University of Illinois Champaign Urbana and more. Beginning in the 2019/2020 season, she will be a lecturer at Yale School of Drama. Morrison is also in demand as a speaker both nationally and internationally and has delivered key note speeches for Classical:Next and Opera Europa among others. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Boston University, a Master of Music from Arizona State University, and a MFA from Yale School of Drama.
Jecca Barry (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR)
Jecca joined Beth Morrison Projects as General Manager in February 2013 and has served as Executive Director since 2017. In addition, she was recently named a Co-Director of the PROTOTYPE Festival. Jecca began her career as a performer of avant-garde flute music, before transitioning into finance and arts administration. Prior to joining BMP, she was a Business Manager at Spielman Koenigsberg & Parker where she handled the daily financial needs of high net worth clients, and Financial Administrator for the women’s rights non-profits Huairou Commission/ GROOTS International. Jecca worked with several arts organizations while living in Paris, France (2002-03, 2006-08), including touring multidisciplinary performance works to London, Amsterdam, and New York. Jecca has served as producer for the physical-theatre work The Object Lesson since 2014, touring it domestically and internationally to venues in Edinburgh, New York, Los Angeles, and Australia among others, and developed the work HOME, by artist Geoff Sobelle, which will premiere in September 2017. Jecca received a B.A.(Mus) in Flute Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and an M.M. in Flute Performance from New York University.
Kim Whitener (CONSULTING PRODUCER)
Having stepped down in late 2018 from her role of Producing/Executive Director at HERE where she had been since early 2007, Kim Whitener has resumed her life as an independent creative producer and consultant with her company, KiWi Productions. Working in partnership with Founding Artistic Director Kristin Marting, she co-curated and co-produced HERE’s producing and presenting programs, as well as other special projects. During her tenure, she was instrumental in the launching of two major HERE initiatives – the MADE HERE online video documentary series and PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now, an annual festival of opera-theater and music-theater, co-produced with Beth Morrison Projects, collectively directing eight festivals through January 2020. From 2007 to 2018, HERE more than doubled its annual budget to $2.5 million, grew its staff and Board of Directors, and established important co-producing partnerships. Prior to joining HERE, she executive produced and consulted to artists and companies such as The Builders Association (Alladeen, Super Vision, and Continuous City), Big Dance Theater, Martha Clarke, Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater, 33 Fainting Spells, among others. Ms. Whitener served as managing director of the ensemble theatre company The Wooster Group for four years, and previously was Marketing Director for Playwrights Horizons. She held theatre management and producing positions in Boston (Boston Music Theater Project) and Philadelphia (American Music Theater Festival) over the previous five years, with a specialty in new music-theater. She has served on many grant panels, including as 2015 lead program consultant for Creative Capital Performing Arts, the NEA Multi-disciplinary & Presenting Panel, the Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Panel 2013-15, The Pew Foundation Theatre Initiative, and the TCG New Generations Future Audiences Panel. She has taught seminars nationally and internationally on production, management, and development of projects for touring.
Brian Freeland (DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION)
Brian joined BMP in the summer of 2019. Prior to Beth Morrison Projects, he ran a number of independent theatre venues in New York and Denver, Colorado and served as designer, director and production manager of national and international performance works. Brian brings his background as a producer, director, writer, sound designer, and media artist, to the BMP production world. He was a founding member of The LIDA Project, the noted experimental theatre ensemble where he served as artistic director from 1995-2015 and is the co-founder of Countdown To Zero, a political theatre collective. He received his education from the University of Colorado at Denver and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
Robert Phillip Smith (ASSOCIATE PRODUCER)
Robert joined Beth Morrison Projects as an Associate Producer in September 2019. Prior to joining BMP, Robert was a producer and administrator at Manhattan School of Music, working with their Opera and Musical Theatre programs. His interests lie in the development of new theatrical works with music that both investigate and celebrate the human experience. Robert is overjoyed to join BMP as the company continues to innovate in the world of contemporary performance. He holds a BFA in Directing, Playwriting, and Production from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Melanie Milton (PROTOTYPE FESTIVAL PRODUCER)
A Chicago native, and formerly an Associate Producer with Beth Morrison Projects, Melanie has produced work with BAM, Fringe Arts in Philadelphia, Los Angeles Opera, National Sawdust, HERE, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim. A trained soprano, Melanie has sung with Downtown Voices and The Collegiate Chorale in venues spanning Carnegie Hall, Trinity Wall Street, Park Avenue Armory, Alice Tully Hall, The Caramoor Festival, and NYTW. Melanie has a passion for bringing evocative opera to a new, eager set of ears and recreating the concept of the performance venue through her work with LoftOpera and an active freelance event schedule. Melanie holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from North Park University.
Ashley Peters (FINANCE MANAGER)
Ashley Peters, originally from Utica, New York, holds a BFA in Dance and a BA in Psychology from University at Buffalo. As a freelance artist, Ashley has toured Germany with Jon Lehrer's Shadows in Motion, been a featured soloist with the Balasole Dance Company, toured Europe as a solo artist with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s International Ballet Ensemble as well as performed at Jacob’s Pillow with Melanie Aceto Contemporary Dance Company. In 2012, she was presented an Award of Distinction in Research from the University at Buffalo on her thesis regarding the history and applications of jazz dance. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2013, Ashley has performed at Triskelion Arts, Gibney Dance, Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater and Bryant Park presents Modern Dance. She is an active company member of The Moving Architects, female-centric dance company, and dances in various freelance projects throughout New York City. Prior to working at BMP, Ashley worked at Gibney Dance Center and gained a passion for Arts Administration! Ashley is thrilled to bring the future of opera to all of you!