The Hello Herman Project has received the generous support of many famous actors, writers, directors and other public figures. We also have video advisors who have performed the play, who will provide their insights to our contest entrants. These wonderful people have lent their names, their time and their support to this important project because they want bullying, contempt and oppression to end.
Lyle Kessler’s play “Orphans” has been an international success in almost every country in the world since its Steppenwolf Theater Production in Chicago and New York. Albert Finney starred in London’s West End production. “Orphans” will be produced on Bwy, Spring 2013, starring Alec Baldwin, directed by Dan Sullivan. “Collision” opens at the Off Bwy Rattlestick Theater, Jan./Feb. 2013. Other plays include “The Watering Place,” “Possession,” “Robbers,” “Unlisted” and “The Great Divide” in development at the Labyrinth Theater Co. His films include “Orphans,” “Gladiator,” “The Saint of Fort Washington” and “Touched,” which he co-starred in. Mr. Kessler studied acting with Lee Strasberg and is a member of the Actors Studio and Labyrinth Theater Company. He served as the Director of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. He and Mark Rydell co-moderated the Playwright/Directors Unit of the Actors Sutdio West for eleven years before Mr. Kessler moved back to New York this past year with his wife, actress Margaret Ladd. Together they developed an Arts and Mental Health Program called the Imagination Workshop, which brings Theater Artists in to work with hospitalized psychiatric patients in both N.Y. and L.A.
An imposing and unforgettable presence on Broadway, actor Frank Langella has long been considered among America’s greatest stage and film actors. His career is a model of quality and longevity; excelling in range, power, and versatility. A preeminent presence in the American theatre, he has been called “an actor’s actor” by Ben Brantley of the New York Times and “one of our few great actors” by Clive Barnes of the New York Post. In recent years, Mr. Langella’s career as an actor in films has become equal in stature to his career on Broadway.
This past summer Mr. Langella filmed “Robot & Frank” with Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler, Peter Sarsgaard, and James Marsden. The film was award winning at Sundance; is garnering excellent reviews with critics and public alike before its August 17th opening. Most recently, Mr. Langella was seen in Andrew Jarecki’s “All Good Things” alongside Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. Earlier this season, Mr. Langella was on Broadway in Terence Rattigan’s “Man and Boy”, in what Ben Brantley has called a “personal triumph”, earning him his 6th Tony nomination. He will next be seen in the independent feature “The Time Being” opposite Wes Bentley, as well as HBO’s “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” opposite Christopher Plummer and directed by Stephen Frears, and finally Olivier Dahan’s “Grace of Monaco” opposite Nicole Kidman.
In 1974, he made his Broadway debut in Edward Albee’s “Seascape”, earning him the 1st of his three Tony awards. He made his film debut in 1970 in “Diary of a Mad Housewife,” and later that year co-starred in the iconic Mel Brooks comedy “The Twelve Chairs.” Appearing regularly in film and on television through much of the 1970s, he was still busiest as a stage actor. In 1977, he starred in the title role of a Broadway revival of “Dracula”, and his performance as the bloodthirsty count earned rave reviews and turned the production into an unexpected hit. He reprised his performance for the film version of “Dracula” released in 1979.
He maintained a busy schedule of stage work and in the 1990s scored a breakthrough screen role in Ivan Reitman’s comedy “Dave” as the deceitful political puppet master Bob Alexander. A busy schedule of character roles in such films as Adrian Lyne’s “Lolita” and Roman Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate” followed, and Langella still remained a frequent and distinguished presence in the New York theatrical community.
He has continued to work constantly on Broadway, winning his 2nd Tony for “Fortune’s Fool” in 2003 and his 3rd for “Frost/Nixon” in 2007, as well stellar reviews for his bravura performance in the 2008 revival of “A Man for All Seasons”. In film, he scored an artistic and critical success in 2005 playing William S. Paley in George Clooney’s historical docudrama “Good Night, and Good Luck” and then costarred as Daily Planet editor Perry White in the 2006 summer blockbuster “Superman Returns,” directed by Bryan Singer.
In 2007, Langella earned rave reviews, as well as an Independent Spirit Award nomination, for his starring role in “Starting Out in the Evening”. In the 2008 film version of “Frost/Nixon”, he was honored with a Best Actor Academy Award nomination, as well as Golden Globe and SAG nominations, for his portrayal of disgraced former president Richard Nixon in Ron Howard’s big-screen adaptation of the Broadway play. He also can be seen in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, the sequel to Oliver Stone’s award winning 1987 film.
Mr. Langella was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2003. In addition to the awards already mentioned, he has been honored with well over two dozen acting nominations and wins, including Tonys, Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Cable ACE Awards, Obies, and various critics’ awards.
Langella makes his home in New York.
Born in Bombay, India, Salman Rushdie is the acclaimed author of eleven novels – Grimus, Midnight’s Children (Booker Prize, 1981; “Best of the Booker” award, 2008, for the best novel to have won the prize in its first 40 years), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence and Luka and the Fire of Life – and one book of stories, East, West, as well as four works of nonfiction—Imaginary Homelands, The Jaguar Smile, Step Across This Line and, most recently, Joseph Anton, an autobiographical memoir. His stage adaptation of Midnight’s Children was performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2004 an opera based upon Haroun and the Sea of Stories premiered at New York City Opera.
A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Salman Rushdie has received, among other awards, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, as well as the Freedom of the City in Mexico City, Strasbourg, and El Paso, and the Edgerton Prize of the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest artistic honor. From 2004 to 2006 he served as President of PEN American Center, and continues to work as president of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped create. In June 2007 he was knighted for services to literature. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages. A film of Midnight’s Children, directed by Deepa Mehta, with screenplay by Salman Rushdie, will be released in the coming months.
Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti was born June 6, 1967. He graduated from Choate Rosemary Hall prep school, majored in English at Yale, and obtained his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, with his major in drama from the Yale University School of Drama.
Paul is the youngest of three children. His older brother, Marcus Giamatti, is also an actor. His sister, Elena, designs jewelry. His father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was a professor of Renaissance Literature at Yale University, and went on to become the university’s youngest president. (In 1986, Bart Giamatti was appointed president of baseball’s National League. He became Commissioner of Baseball on April 1, 1989 and served for five months until his untimely death on September 1, 1989. He was commissioner at the time Pete Rose was banned from the game.) Paul’s mother, the former Toni Smith, was an actress before she married Dr. Giamatti. Paul’s father has written six books.
Giamatti’s acting roots are in theatre, from his college days at Yale, to regional productions (Seattle, San Diego and Williamstown, Massachusetts) to Broadway.
This summer Matthew Modine starred as Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Foley in the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises – one of the top grossing films of all time.Matthew has worked with many of the film industry’s most respected directors, including, in no particular order, Christopher Nolan, Oliver Stone, Sir Alan Parker, Stanley Kubrick, Curtis Hanson, Robert Altman, Alan J. Pakula, John Schlesinger, Robert Falls, Sir Peter Hall, Abel Ferrara, Spike Lee, Tom DiCillo, Mike Figgis, Jonathan Demme, and John Sayles, to name but a few.Modine has been nominated (And The Band Played On, What The Deaf Man Heard) for three Golden Globe Awards and received a Best Ensemble Golden Globe for Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. Modine played the title character in Alan Parker’s Birdy which won the Cannes Film Festival’s Gran Prix Award. Alan Rudolph’s Equinox received four Independent Spirit Award nominations including Best Actor for Modine and Best Film. He is the recipient of a Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup (Short Cuts) and the Best Actor Golden Lion Award (Streamers).Matthew has recently completed two films. In jOBS, he portrays John Sculley, the man who “fired” Steve Jobs from the company he founded. Matthew stars opposite Ashton (Steve Jobs) Kutcher. Matthew also stars in Cat 8, a fact-based science fiction/action/adventure film.In addition to his theatrical work, Matthew has developed and released several new media projects. His award-winning book, Full Metal Jacket Diary was recently released as the Full Metal Jacket Diary iPad App, a unique and deeply immersive experience with narration, audio effects, original music, never-before-seen photos, personal letters, and much more. Matthew is also collaborating with Dumfun and Glow Interactive on the newPunky Dunk Project children’s iPad app. The Punky Dunk Project is a fun, interactive, bilingual learning application now available on iTunes.
Aimee’s film debut was a starring role in the highly acclaimed film by contemporary artist Matthew Barney, Cremaster 3, first presented in the US at the Guggenheim Museum in 2003. Cremaster 3 is “an astonishing work of creativity,” and was lauded by The Guardian as “the first truly great piece of cinema to be made in a fine art context since Dali and Bunuel filmed Un Chien Andalou in 1929. It is one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema.”
Currently starring as Isis, she continues her work with Barney in Ancient Evenings, an adaptation of Norman Mailer’s novel of the same name. Chronicling the seven stages of a soul’s journey from death to rebirth, each chapter, while filmed, will also be accompanied by a one-time only live performance. They recently performed “Khu,” the second chapter, in October 2010 in Detroit.
Aimee first received worldwide media attention as an athlete. Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimee’s medical prognosis was discouraging; she was told she would never walk, and would likely spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at increased mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood doing the usual athletic activities of her peers: swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside “able-bodies” kids.
After graduating high school with honors, Aimee was one of three students in the US chosen for a full academic scholarship from the Department of Defense, and at age 17 became the youngest person to hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon. She worked there as an intelligence analyst during her summer breaks.
It was at this time that she rediscovered her love of competitive sports. While a dean’s list student at the prestigious School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, she set her sights on making the US Team for the 1996 Atlanta Games. She enlisted the expertise of Frank Gagliano, one of the country’s most respected track coaches. Through this partnership, she became the first amputee in history, male or female, to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown’s nationally-ranked Division I track team. Becoming the first person to be outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, sparking a frenzy over the radical design of her prototype sprinting legs. The essential design of those legs are now the world standard in sports prosthetics.
After a profile in Life magazine showcased her in the starting blocks at Atlanta, the world took notice. Aimee soon landed a 10-page feature in the inaugural issue of Sports Illustrated for Women, which led to her accepting numerous invitations to speak at international design conferences. This introduction to a discourse relating to aesthetic principles fueled her interest in issues relating to body image, and how fashion advertising impacted societal notions of femininity and beauty. In 1999, Aimee made her runway debut in London at the invitation of one of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers, Alexander McQueen.
Walking alongside the supermodels of the world, Aimee’s groundbreaking, triumphant turn captured the attention of the fashion media, propelling her onto the magazine covers of ID and Dazed and Confused. After making her mark in such fashion magazine standards as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Glamour, and Elle, she was also named as one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” In February 2011, she was named as the new Global Brand Ambassador to the world’s largest beauty brandL’Oreal Paris, another cultural milestone.
An influential voice in today’s culture, she is regularly invited to share her ideas at various corporations and global conferences like TED and TEDMED, and she has been named as one of Esquire’s “Women We Love,” one of Jane magazine’s “10 Gutsiest Women,” one of Sports Illustrated’s “Coolest Girls in Sport,” and was celebrated as the “Hottest Muse” in Rolling Stone’s annual Hot List. In addition to her professional career, Aimee serves on numerous boards and spends much of her time assisting various non-profit organizations, most notably the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). After serving as a Trustee for the WSF, founded by Billie Jean King, she was elected as the foundation’s President, a position she stewarded from 2007 to 2009. Aimee served for years as Vice-President for J.O.B., the nation’s oldest non-profit employment service for persons with disabilities, founded in 1947 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Orin Lehman, and others. She is a founding member of the Leadership Board to SPIRE Institute, the world’s largest and most diverse athletic development center.
Already at a young age, Aimee’s impact on modern society and her influence on future generations is undeniable. Her likeness has been immortalized in exhibits at institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the NCAA Hall of Fame, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern, the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Museum, where she is honored for her contribution to sport among the “Greatest American Women of the 20th Century.”
She resides in New York City.
Thomas Kail: Recent directing credits include the Broadway shows: In the Heights; Lombardi, Magic/Bird.
Directing Off-B’way includes: In the Heights. Lincoln Center Theater: Broke–ology, When I Come to Die. New York City Center: The Wiz. National tour: In the Heights. Co-creator and director of hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme, which played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, HBO Comedy Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival and Melbourne Comedy Festival. Recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center. Graduate of Wesleyan University, CT.
Peter Coyote is an American actor, author, director, screenwriter and narratorof films, theatre, television and audio books. His voice work includes narrating the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics and Apple’siPad campaign. He has also served as on-camera co-host of the 2000 Oscar telecasts.
Leigh Rachel Faith – Director of Operations, Champions Against BullyingPassionate about building safe communities for children, Faith has served as Champions Against Bullying’s Youth Coordinator and Spokesperson since it’s inception in 2003. Taking the reigns as Director of Operations, she spearheaded the organization’s expansion into the US and assisted the organization’s process in gaining nonprofit status in 2008.Faith’s extensive background in psychology, her work as an actress and dancer in film, television and theatre, in addition to her years in tutoring, has earned her a strong following as a mentor for young children. She brings a variety of talent and experience to the table and is an invaluable asset to the development of new programs and initiatives for Champions Against Bullying.While she actively continues her career as a film and television actress, every day is an opportunity for Faith to make a difference in the world. She is dedicated to the empowerment of all children around the globe. In her workshops and presentations, Faith informs and inspires her audience – kids, educators and parents – to take action and join her in protecting children and enhancing their lives.
Colleen Carroll began her career in education teaching sixth grade in Inglewood, CA. After leaving the classroom, she formed Carroll Education Services, a curriculum development company whose clients have included MTV: Music Television, Nickelodeon, Bravo, BET, CNBC, The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History, Jersey Battered Women’s Service, and Random House Children’s Books. Colleen served as Director of Curriculum for Special Subjects for Edison Schools (formerly the Edison Project), where she was responsible for curriculum development and professional development for the visual arts, music, dance, and theater education programs. Colleen is the author of the award-winning, twelve volume children’s books series, How Artist See (Abbeville Press). Currently, Colleen teaches creative writing to fifth-graders at The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
Bonnie Culver is the Co-Founder and Director of the Wilkes University Creative Writing Low-Residency Program. Bonnie Culver’s 20 plays have been produced from NY to LA by colleges, regional theatres, and equity companies. Marlee Matlin’s Solo One Production Company optioned RAINING RAINBOWS, her fourth film. In 2004, her play SNIPER won the New Jersey Arts Council Perry Award for Excellence in the Production of an Original Play and completed a first class equity showcase at Center Stage, NYC. SNIPER was included in the Richard and Betty Burdick National Playwriting Reading series, an annual event that showcases “the best in American contemporary theatre.” The screenplay version of SNIPER was a Sundance Film Development Program finalist. Dr. Culver holds a Ph.D. from Binghamton University and has taught creative writing, theatre, and literature as a full-time teacher, drama coach, and artist-in-the schools for over thirty years. She has served higher education as a faculty member, dean, and creative writing administrator. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, a Board member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), an executive board member of the Norman Mailer Society, and president of the James Jones Society.
Chris Wilkins is best known for playing Herman Howards at the 2011 National Forensic League Tournament, where he went on the become the national champion in duo interpretation with his twin brother Ryan. Currently he is attending Augustana College in his hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He spends the majority of his time working with and coaching high school students to become better actors. Chris believes that art and theatre are the perfect vessels to start a dialogue about bullying, a conversation that he believes must be had.
Ryan Wilkins is best known for playing Lax Morales at the 2011 National Forensic League Tournament, where he went on the become the national champion in duo interpretation with his twin brother Chris. Currently he is studying theatre at Augustana College in his hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He spends the majority of his time working with and coaching high school students to become better actors as well as participating in theatre shows for his college. Ryan believes that bullying is a topic we need to talk about, and that theatre and art can be the perfect tool to start the conversation.
John Buffalo Mailer is a screenwriter, actor, journalist, magazine editor, playwright and producer.He co-founded Back House Productions in New York City with Thomas Kail and two other Wesleyan grads in October of 2000. Within one year Back House became the resident theater company of The Drama Bookshop’s Arthur Seelan Theater, and have developed several plays, including the 2008 TONY Award Winner for Best Musical, In The Heights.In 2003, John took the position of Executive Editor for High Times magazine under the Leadership of Richard Stratton (SLAM, Street Time, currently running for Governor of New York), to re-launch the publication as an Outlaw version of Vanity Fair. 2004 he interviewed his father, Norman Mailer, for New York Magazine, on the possible dangers and benefits of the protests of the 2004 Presidential election. That interview was later included in a book of discussions between father and son on topics ranging from Protest to Poker and everything in between, titled The Big Empty (Nation Books, February ‘06).In 2008, in partnership with his brother, Michael Mailer, he produced the documentary adaptation of Naomi Wolf’s New York Times best selling book, The End Of America, as well as a National Television commercial directed by Oliver Stone, called Listen To The Vets. John would later appear opposite Shia LaBeouf as Robby Mancini in Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.He is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and The Actors Studio. He has lectured at the University of Notre Dame, Wesleyan, the University of Athens, Syracuse University, The New York Society for Ethical Culture, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Long Island University, NYU, and has appeared on Fox News, Air America, Democracy Now, WNYC,TheBigThink.com, CSPAN’s Book TV, and WPIX New York.As a Journalist, John has covered the homeless problem in America through the eyes of National Spokesperson for The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Cheri Honkala and her son, Mark Webber, as well as The World Social Forum in Venezuela, the 2006 Presidential Election of Mexico, and the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Buffalo has freelanced for Playboy, New York Magazine, ESPN Books, Provincetown Arts, Lid Magazine, Stop Smiling, Corriera De La Sera, The Norman MailerReview, and The American Conservative.In addition to his role as Executive Editor at High Times from 2003-2004, John was an Editor-At-Large for the national publication Stop Smiling from 2004-2007, and Contributing Editor for the international magazine, TAR from 2006-2007.He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Jessica is passionate about education, the environment, children and women’s issues. She has built her career (Kuwezo.com, Manilla.com, Dish Network, MTV Networks, ASkyB, Cox Communications, Financial Services and WICT) on truly understanding the customer and their needs, and finding ways to connect them to the benefit and delight of both. Jessica has helped build The Hello Herman Project because she wants to provide care and support to schools, to parents, and to kids everywhere. She believes that art can be a trans-formative and transcendent experience that can change the world.
Peter is the president and CEO of Lúgh Studio, Inc. a Brooklyn-based graphic design firm. For over 15 years Lúgh Studio has been helping clients communicate their message visually be it a huge Fortune 100 company or a small start up—they all have a message.
In addition to founding and running Lúgh Studio, Peter co-owns Tioga Bistro with his sister Maureen and started and runs ePubTool a medical publication planning software company.
He has a passion for communication—through language, graphic design or acting. He studied acting with Uta Hagen and Herbert Bergdorf and wrote and performed in HBO Latinos’ original HABLA series. He speaks fluent Swedish and German and is conversant in Spanish.
Peter believes art can truly effect change and he hopes to make a difference with The Hello Herman Project and Art Effect USA.
An explorer at heart, Linda Abrams carries a pioneer’s zeal into each new journey in her life. Her passion for entertainment along with her curiousity, deep experience, meticulous standards and make it happen ethos have propelled her success. She’s built dozens of award-winning campaigns for some of the entertainment world’s most powerful media brands including Harry Potter, the Looney Tunes, ER and MTV’s Video Music Awards. She thrives at the forefront of new technologies and platforms, having guided the launch of MTV2 and In2TV and in creating her first entrepreneurial venture, StarGreetz, a personalized digital content company. Linda has always been committed to using the power of media to effect positive change whether it’s MTV’s Choose or Lose (voting), Free Your Mind (tolerance) and Enough is Enough (anti-violence) campaigns or with AOK, a “social game for good”. What Linda loves the most is harnessing the influence of media to make a meaningful difference, which is why she’s so happy to be part of the Art Effect team and The Hello Herman Project.