JOPP creates original live theatre in collaboration with different artists. The work produced in these partnerships is key to our creative process: the blend of unique talents and perspectives that each artist brings to the stage in each original work creates new and exciting dynamics for artists and audiences alike.
Artists & Collaborators
Sam Bevan (Bassist)
Since moving to San Francisco in 1999, Sam Bevan has established himself as one of the most versatile and creative bassists in the Bay Area. Bevan is able to canvas a large musical landscape where jazz, funk, R&B, folk and Afro-Cuban disciplines joyously intermingle. The foundation for Bevan’s career was laid when he began classical piano lessons at age four. Sam played jazz and classical piano, sang professionally, pursued his BA in French, and then adopted the electric and acoustic bass. After college in Salt Lake City, Sam returned to the Bay Area to reside a few miles from where he was born in Oakland, California. Sam has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of artists including: David Grisman, Joshua Redman, Kenny Washington, Stacey Kent, Roberta Donnay, Lisa Engelken, Industrial Jazz Group, Bjorkestra, Fil Lorenz Orchestra and the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. we value his work with our musical ensemble at JOPP.
David Bridel (Director)
David Bridel is dean of the USC School of Dramatic Arts. He is also associate dean of global initiatives, director of the MFA in acting program, and associate professor of theatre practice. Bridel is a director, choreographer, playwright, librettist, performer and teacher. His work in all these theatrical disciplines has been seen at the Odyssey Theater, the Ford Amphitheatre, the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble and the Broad Stage in Los Angeles; in opera houses in Los Angeles, Paris, Vienna, Munich, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Santiago and Madrid; on screen (PBS’ Great Performances series and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars); and at universities, festivals and theatres in the U.S., U.K., Israel, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Austria and Brazil. Bridel is also the Founding and Artistic Director of The Clown School in Los Angeles, the only studio in the city devoted exclusively to the study and practice of clowning. We have been fortunate to have David direct this development of our theatrical presentation of In My Corner.
Elizabeth Burke (Performer)
Elizabeth Burke is an alumna of the internationally acclaimed North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, with whom she spent eleven years under the direction of her mentor, Gene Medler. She is a founding member of both Bessie Award-winning dancers Michelle Dorrance and Caleb Teicher’s companies, Dorrance Dance/New York and Caleb Teicher & Company, and also presently dances for New York-based dancers Derick Grant, Aaron Tolson, Adam Metzger (SLURP), and Xander Weinman (Reaction). She is on faculty at the American Tap Dance Foundation, and recently filmed Nostalgia: A Tap Movie (producer Dule Hill, director Johnnie Hobbs, III). Elizabeth took the premier of STReeT/FeaT to Paris with us and performed a lead role at the Teatre de Surenes.
Jeremiah Chechik (Director)
Jeremiah Chechik: Producer, Screenwriter, and Director. Jeremiah studied theatre at McGill University in Montreal. He has been a fashion photographer for Italian Vogue, a commercial director in New York as well as a pioneer in new media with his name on 9 patents. He has directed films as diverse as Christmas Vacation, Benny and Joon, Tall Tale, Diabolique, and Avengers; mini-series such as The Bronx is Burning; as well as multiple television episodes and pilots. Jeremiah is our amazing go-to director for developing and refining original JOPP productions
Matthew Clark (Musical Director)
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Matthew Clark holds a BFA in Jazz Studies from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. After two years free-lancing as an accompanist and instructor in Cleveland, Matthew relocated to San Francisco. Highly regarded as a pianist and arranger, he has performed and recorded with such jazz luminaries as Bobby Hutcherson, Benny Golson, Eddie Marshall, John Faddis, David “Fathead” Newman, Gene Bertoncini, Joshua Redman, and the late tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards. Clark has toured extensively throughout Asia, Europe and the United States, including appearances at the Monterey, San Francisco, Vienne, Big Sur, Stanford, and Rochester jazz festivals, in addition to televised performances for CNN Showbiz Today and multiple PBS specials. Recognized primarily for his tasteful soloing and supportive accompaniment, Matthew is also a respected clinician whose positions have included lecturer in jazz history and ensemble instructor at the Stanford, Oaktown and Cazadero Jazz workshops. Matt and Joe Orrach have worked side-by-side in the development of new JOPP works, creating adn refining music, choreography and story as they work together in a true collaboration.
Michael Davis (Performer/Director)
A third-generation San Franciscan, Michael’s creative efforts began early. In the early ‘70’s, Michael was handpicked from over 2,000 applicants to attend Clown College. Upon graduation, he landed a job as a clown with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Since then, Michael has been featured on The Dick Cavett Show, The Tonight Show, Merv Griffin, 20/20, and Night of 100 Stars, among others. A Command Performance at the Ford Theatre found him in the company of Liza Minnelli, Ben Vereen, and Natalia Makarova. He has been honoured by his peers with a Drama Desk Nomination and a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance in Sugar Babies. Michael David has used his amazingly creative skills to direct Joe's work and characters in development.
Michelle Dorrance (Performer/Choreographer)
Michelle Dorrance, founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance/New York, is one of the most sought after tap dancers of her generation and “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today” (The New Yorker). Awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, she is the Founder and Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance. Dorrance is known for her creative ensemble choreography, rhythm tap style and ambitious collaborative projects with fellow tap dance choreographers and musician. A 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner, 2012 Field Dance Fund Recipient and 2011 Bessie Award Winner, Michelle performs, teaches and choreographs throughout the world. Michelle has been on faculty at Broadway Dance Center since 2002 and has taught as guest faculty at Steps on Broadway, Duke University, New York University, East Carolina University, The Ohio State University, Barnard College, as well as numerous privately owned studios and national conventions. In early 2011 Michelle founded Dorrance Dance/New York with the mission to help audiences view tap dance, a beautiful, old jazz form, in a new and dynamically compelling context. Michelle has helped Joe to refine his choreography and bring new technique to bear in his creative work. She curated teh Jacob's Pillow program with JOPP's In My Corner.
Colin Douglas (Percussionist)
Grammy award-nominated drummer/percussionist/educator Colin Douglas was born in New York City. Mr. Douglas studied percussion at both the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, where he worked extensively in both the classical percussion and jazz drum set programs. After college he studied Latin percussion in Cuba as well as with many master percussionists in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has lived and played professionally for 16 years. Mr. Douglas has performed and recorded with a diverse group of musicians ranging from Latin acts such as Jesus Diaz y su Qba, Ray Obiedo, and the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – with whom Mr. Douglas received a Grammy nomination in 2013 – to R&B and rock acts such as Donna Summer and Slash.
Carla Grace Fajardo (JOPP Program Intern)
Carla Grace is a San Francisco native who has been involved with the arts for most of her life. She has performed with various ensembles and companies, including San Francisco State Gospel Gators, Modesto Performing Arts, and Barangay Dance Company. While she has also directed, managed, and acted in many plays and musicals, Carla Grace’s experiences aren’t limited solely to the stage. She pursued her undergraduate degree in Cinema at San Francisco State University. She has directed, written, and edited cinematography for many student films in the U.S. and England, where she studied at University of East Anglia in 2014-2015. When she isn’t working on films, she writes and works as a freelance photographer. Working in the performing and visual arts has given Carla Grace a great appreciation for theatre, film, and media. She loves working with all kinds of artists and helping them make their vision come true. She hopes to continue performing and managing creative projects in the future. She was a versitile and dedicated intern at JOPP who helped with creative projects and social media.
Daniel Gonzalez (Musician)
Based in north eastern Pennsylvania, Daniel began playing music at a young age, developing his craft in drum corps activities and military bands. His technical abilities and unique sound are the result of formal study and years of experience performing on numerous stages in Hawaii, California, Las Vegas, New York, Pennsylvania, Russia and more. Daniel also contributed his musical talent to various artists' recordings throughout the years and continues to pursue a musical career as an open-minded musician.
Katharine Gripp (JOPP Project Manager)
Katharine is a dancer, writer, and artist currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked for creative arts nonprofits since 2012, including Lesole’s Dance Project in Washington, D.C., and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in Berkeley, CA. As a dancer, she has been privileged to work with such world-renowned dancers and choreographers such as Merrill Ashley, Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton, Benjamin Levy, and many more. She holds a B.A. in English and a correlate in Medieval and Renaissance history from Vassar College. we valued Katharine's contribution as a JOPP intern, for her writing talents, organizational skills and social media acumen.
Ronnie Gutierrez (Percussionist)
Ronnie Gutierrez is an accomplished and versatile percussionist and drummer with decades of experience touring, playing, and recording music worldwide. His father, 1960s percussion icon Mike Gutierrez, was his earliest inspiration. By age twelve, Ronnie had his own band and was performing for school and church events. Ronnie attended Dick Grove School of Music in Studio City, California. Ronnie’s credits include concert and album performances with Grammy Award winning artists Andrea Bocelli, Jeffrey Osborne, Brenda Russell, Mariah Carey, Gladys Knight, Macy Gray, Natalie Cole, George Duke, Poncho Sanchez, and many more. He has performed with the California Philharmonic, Germany’s V.D.R. Orchestra, and Holland’s Metropole Orchestra. Ronnie’s band has performed privately for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Former Disney CEO Michael Ovitz, Rod Stewart, Sheri Belafonte and many more. Ronnie has also played for The Oscars and The Emmys. Roniis was a dedicated, talented and enthusiastic member of the jazz trio accompanying JOPP theatrical run in LA.
Lizbeth Hasse (Writer/Producer)
San Francisco-based entertainment lawyer and executive producer of several JOPP works, Liz Hasse is also the writer of IN MY CORNER. She has worked in the legal, creative and financial development of independent films and live performances worldwide for 30 years from the Creative Industry Law firm in San Francisco and Berkeley. Ms. Hasse advises independents, talent and entrepreneurs in intellectual property and media matters and mediates complex business and intellectual property disputes. She has written plays, fictional stories and articles in the fields of law, geo-politics and entertainment.
Stefan Haves (Director)
Stefan Haves is an acclaimed director, creator and producer of circus, theatre and film whose creations have appeared on stages, festivals, and screens across the globe. His work has been a favourite at Cirque du Soleil since 2006, where he has collaborated on creative teams as a Comic Act Designer, Casting Partner, and Master Teacher on nine shows, including O, Love, and Ka. Haves’ credits include directing and collaborating with performers like Joan Baez, Val Kilmer and Tim Robbins, as well as six years as the primary writer/director at Dinner/Cirque Teatro Zinzanni in San Francisco and Seattle. As a performer, Stefan’s work has also garnered global recognition, most notably as his celebrated character “Backman” appearing on stage, at festivals, and on television screens worldwide after claiming $10,000 on America’s Funniest People in 1991. Stefan has guided Joe's creation of characters and development of creative works.
Alex Herlihy (JOPP Marketing Administrator)
Alex is a writer, director, stage manager and 1st class honours graduate of Theatre & Drama studies at CIT, Corks School of Music in Ireland. He is the co-founder of two theatre companies in Cork, which found success during his final year in college. He spent this time working as a producer, writer, director, stage manager and marketing manager. He has since left to pursue a career in San Francisco.
Alex's recent Writer/Director credits include; "Paris" (TDC. MAY 2019.) "What a Scream" (10x10, Cork Arts Theatre, October 2018) "Antiretro" (Views from a Barstool, Cork Arts Theatre, May 2018).
Further production credits include; "The Full Monty" (Production Assistant, dir Leslie Wagner, Bay Area Musicals, 2020) "Mind That Tis Me Brother" (Producer/Marketing Manager, dir Johnny Hanrahan, Kinsale Arts Festival & Cork Arts Theatre, 2019) "Lucyd: Podcast" (Production Manager, dir Liam Cuthbert, CIT CSM, 2017) "The Events" (Stage Manager/FOH Manager, dir Regina Crowley, CIT CSM, 2018) "Tiny Little Love Scenes" (Stage Manager, dir Samantha Kelleher, CIT CSM, 2018). As a JOPP intern, Alex makes use of his broad theatre background and passion for the field in managing marketing and social media functions.
Dino Herrman (Sound Designer)
Dino Herrmann is a master at composing and mixing music. His studio, Sculptured Music, provides composed or library music and audio postproduction services such as final film mixing, dialogue editing, sound design and location recording. He has worked extensively as both a music mixer and technical adviser on many theater and film productions as well as many well-known music albums, working closely with such artists as Faith Hill, Josh Grobin, Destiny’s Child, Coldplay, Guns ‘n Roses, and many more. Some of his best-known movie credits include programming and advising for Troy, Alien vs. Predator, and The Day After Tomorrow.
Andrew Nemr (Performer/Choreographer)
Mentored by Gregory Hines, Andrew is considered one of the most hardworking and diverse tap dance artists today. Whether playing with Nat Adderley Jr., directing Cats Paying Dues, or co-founding the Tap Legacy™ Foundation, Inc., Andrew has garnered a reputation for impeccable musicianship and sensitivity, and respect for the craft that he loves. A TED Fellow and the artist in residence for the Quarterly Arts Soiree (QAS) at Webster Hall, Andrew received an NEA Masterpieces: Dance Initiative Grant to reconstruct the works of classic tap dance soloists, garnering critical and popular acclaim upon their presentation in Echoes In Time. Collectively, Andrew’s choreography and solo work has been described as “a welcome return to the elegance of simplicity and the tap dancer as maker of aural magic” (exploredance.com) and “deeply touching” (Daily Gazette). Andrew joined Joe in the original choreography for STReeT/FeaT.
Micha Noor Patri (Percussionist)
Micha received his Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory in 1999, where he studied with jazz drummers Greg Bandy, Michael Carvin, Joe Morello, and Dennis Mackrel, as well as with composer and educator Dr. Wendell Logan. Micha studied African diaspora drumming with Adetobi Greg Jackson and dancer Adenike Miriam Sharpley, and has performed with both. He performed with the award-winning Oberlin Jazz Septet and Ensemble. One of the Bay Area’s most versatile drummers, he has performed with scores of notable musicians, and supported severl of JOPP's productions.
Sandra Reaves-Phillips (Performer)
Sandra Reaves-Phillips was born on December 23, 1944 in Mullins, South Carolina, USA. As a film actress, she is known for ‘Round Midnight, Lean on Me, and For Love or Money. She was nominated for a 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a revue for “Low Down Dirty Blues” at the Northlight Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. She has toured in Europe with her Gospel Show, sang for an audience of 8000 at the Vatican, and had a private audience with the Pope. She recently appeared as The Chanteuse in San Francisco’s long running “Teatro Zinzanni,”, guested with Ray Charles in concert at West Point, and sang for the President of China at the invitation of Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco. Ms. Reaves-Phillips has been nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards and the NAACP Image Award. She was the recipient of the 1998 AUDELCO Award for her portrayal of Bertha Mae Little in ROLLIN on the T.O.B.A. Joe and Sandra enjoyed a season together at Tatro Zinzanni. Sandra leant her enormous talents to the JOPP production to raise scholarships for Bay Area college-bound public school students.
Reona started tapping when she was a child and met 16-year-old Kazumi Haru Watanabe (tap). With high school graduation, she goes to NY to train. Won all races in "Cutting Contest" held in CHICAGO, LA and Tokyo. Started solo activities from teens. In 2011, she formed the first leader trio on the theme of “music that can be realized with taps”. She started composing around this time. Her own tap theory and experience are greatly reflected. Currently, she mainly plays live with musicians around jazz and improvisation.
Born in July 1, 1979 in Sapporo, Japan. In 2001, In 2001, joined many sessions while taking a trip to Cuba and U. S. A. In 2006, appeared for Yokohama Jazz Promenade Competition by "Mikio Ishida Trio" and won the grand prix and Yokohama citizen Prize. He played with many musicians such as Fumio Itabashi (pf), Achim Kaufmann(pf), Tristan Honsinger(Cello),Tetsu Saito(Cb), Eiichi Hayashi (sax), Yukihiro Isso(Noh musician), Yoriyuki Harada(pf), Daisuke Takaoka(Tuba), Akira Sotoyama(ds), Syota Koyama(ds) ,Jean Laurent Sasportes(dance), Leona(tap),Taketeru Kudo(Butoh) a lot.
Takashi Seo presides over a contrabass group "Teigen" by ten several bass from 2003. He invited a bassist on behalf of Japan such as Hideto Kanai, Nobuyoshi Ino, Tetsu Saito.
He performed many music festival, Yokohama Jazz Promenade, Singaporean WOMAD, RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL in EZO, PERCPAN(Rio de Janeiro,Salvador),ASIAN IMPROVISATION ART EXCHANGE2010(Seoul), International society of BASSISTS Convention 2013(Rochester. NY) The Zomer Jazz Festival(Groningen,Neitherland).
Patrick Toebe (Technical Director/Lighting Designer)
Patrick has an extensive background in lighting and scenic design. His work has been seen across the United States and in Japan. His work includes lighting design for Theatre Flamenco, the World Institute on Disabilities, California Revels, Sacramento Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Knoxville City Ballet, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Sierra Shakespeare Festival, Centre Repertory, and Solo Opera. He has created lighting and scenic designs for Theatre of Yugen, Foothill Theatre Company, Pacific Alliance Theatre Company, Summer Repertory Theatre, A.C.T.’s Junior Rep, Centre Repertory, and many more. Patrick has been a professor in the Theatre Arts Department of the City College of San Francisco since 2006. Patrick has leant his monster technical talents and lighting creativity to several JOPP productions in the Bay Area and abroad.
Eugene Warren (Bassist)
Eugene plays double bass and electric bass in various styles ranging from classical jazz to world music. He received a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance from San Francisco State University. He regularly plays in clubs and venues with many groups throughout California. Eugene has been a valued player in the jazz trio accompanying several of JOPP's productions.