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Jack McManus, Jack Levinson and Brendan Stackhouse have a love for all things “Peanuts”, so it was natural to create a musical about the creator of this beloved comic strip. Sparky tells true-life story of Charles M. Schulz. This 90-minute musical chronicles Schulz’s life, explores how the Peanuts characters came to life, and why his legacy will live in infamy.

Sparky received a developmental 29-hour reading last November. Now at The NY WinterFest Sparky will receive its first fully staged  production.

Meet the three men behind this new musical.

Jack McManus

Jack McManus

Jack McManus (Book and Lyrics) is a NYC-based playwright, director, dramaturg, and theater maker. His short play Mom, I Want to Be a Chemist (co-written with Ryan Cook and Derek Crosby) has been performed by amateur and high school theater companies across the north-east, winning The Theater Project’s 2016 Young Playwright’s Competition. In 2017, Jack directed the first university production of Becca Schlossberg’s The Untold Yippie Project. Currently, Jack is studying at Pace University to get a BA in directing. For more information on his work, please

Jack Levinson

Jack Levinson

Jack Levinson (Composer) is a composer and pianist currently studying at Mason Gross School of the Arts as a sophomore music education major. Initially beginning piano lessons at the age of 4, he became more interested in more serious composition in 2012 at the age of 13. During high school, he played keyboards for marching band and performed in the pit orchestra of several local musical productions. He took up alto saxophone at the end of 2015 which sparked his interest for playing for large ensembles and exploring other instruments. He has also provided music for the musical Loving Claire as part of 48-Hour Musicals. He looks forward to other musical endeavors as rewarding as Sparky.

Brendan Stackhouse

Brendan Stackhouse

Brendan Stackhouse (Concept, Director, Choreographer) is probably the biggest Peanuts fan that exists. Broadway: Fun Home (Assistant Choreographer), Off-Broadway: The Marvelous Wonderettes (Associate Director), Once Upon A Mattress starring Jackie Hoffman (Assistant Director). NYC Directing: Speech and Debate (30th Street Studios), The Dog Died (Dixon Place), Motel Rasdell (Shetler Studios), and various readings and workshops. Brendan is the resident Director of Hemlock Theatre Company on Staten Island and the Resident Choreographer for the Acting Naturally Theatre in Philadelphia.

CAST:Beth DeMichele*, Robby Haltiwanger*(Ghost 1st Nat’l Tour), April Lavalle*, Kyle McClellan*, Monet Sabel*, Matthew Tiberi*Finding Neverland), Alex Temple Ward*, Jeff Bodnar, Cordara Newson, Jillian Mauro and Michelle Caniglia. (*) AEA

Musical Director: Carter Letsky

Music Supervisor: Sean Peter Forte

Associate Director: Laura Woyasz

Winterfest Page:
Production Website:
You can see Sparky at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild, 441 West 26th St. January 22nd @6:15pm, 26th @ 8:30pm, and 27th @1pm

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

NY WinterFest

New York Theater Festival Announces The Winners of Best of Fest



After a season of 82 plays and 16 musical showcasing their work from December 26th to March 10th the NY Winterfest announced their nominees and winners. The play The Tenants by Dave Hanson, the musical The Circle of Eyes by Katy Mikelle and Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play/Musical – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac were the big winners. The Tenants was about two ghosts who haunt an old New York apartment, unable to remember much of who they were or why they’re there. But when a young couple move in, the two spirits begin to remember vicariously through the living. A dark comedy that explores regret and life after the human condition.

BEST PLAY OR MUSICAL WINNER ($3,000): The Tenants by Dave Hansen


Sand In Memphis Glass, or The Grace of a Good Woman by Brandon Thomas Sabatino

The Circle of Eyes Story, Music and Lyrics by Katy Mikelle

Jokey: A Sexual Unboxing Music and Lyrics by Jack Fortin Book by Jacob Rosen, Charlie Towle and Jack Fortin.

Spilled Milk by Khalif Gillett

The Middleman by Marlin Thomas

Southern Boys: Sons of Sharecroppers by Kathy D. Harrison 

Burning House by Joseph Nelms

A Measure of Doubt by Paul Schwartz

BEST SHORT ($200.00)These Walls Book and Lyrics  by Caitlin Collins Music by Matthew Lowy 


Bunny Funeral by Morgan Hammel

Molotov Cocktail by Edward J Fee

BEST DIRECTOR ($500): Mark Bell From the Play – The Tenants


Sarah Green From Play – Spilled Milk

Katy MikelleI From The Musical – The Circle of Eyes

Jacob Rosen From The Musical  – Jockey: A Sexual Unboxing

Carlo Moreno From The Play – Love /Sick

BEST ACTRESS ($500): Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac


Vaness Lee From the play – Les Boites Noires

Lucia Bellini From the play – Love/Sick

Kathleen Simmons From the play –  A Measure Of Doubt

Morgan Hammel From the play – Bunny Funeral

BEST ACTOR ($500): A tie… Beau Allen From the play – The Middleman and Ross DeGraw From the play – The Tenants


Papa Jean From the Play – Les Boites Noires

Steve Blachard From the Play – A Measure Of Doubt?

Christopher Pio From the play The Myth Of Forgiveness

BEST SINGER ($500): A tie… Keith Weiss From The Musical – A Yaqui Spring Musical and Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play/Musical – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac


Sam Swinnerton From the Musical- Jokey: A Sexual Unboxing

Daniel Scott Walton, Hilary Ekwall, Renee Bergeron and Drew McVetyFrom the Musical – These Walls

Marcus Beckett, Jermaine N. Sellers and Lawrence Dandridge From the Musical –  Southern Boys

BEST MUSIC SCORE ($300.00): A tie… Jack Fortin From the Musical – Jockey: A sexual Unboxing and Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST CREATIVE PLAY OR MUSICAL ($200.00) Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

Best Costume Design ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN ($200.00)Katherine R Mitchell From the Play – Girl

BEST SET DESIGNER ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY ($200.00)Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes

BEST STAGE MANAGER ($200.00): Woodjinie Francois Perre From the Play – Les Boites Noires

Submissions are open for the NY SummerFest which runs from June 1 – Sept 20 

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NY WinterFest

New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Reyna de Jesús Defies The Odds



Reyna de Jesús is proud to be Latina, a brain injury survivor, deaf/hard of hearing, educator, performer, writer and friend. Her main purpose is to show representation through her pieces. She is internationally known for her work on and off stage.

Her first play “Stillness of July” is a cumulation of everything she needs or needed to see in her life. It encompasses everything from women owning their lives and bodies, to three educated Latina leads, powerful women of color creating magic, supportive men and an epic story about women supporting women, love, life, and death.

Stillness of July follows the story of Sara and Lamar. Two soul mates who are separated by time. Lamar is 15 years older than Sara. They can’t be together, but can’t help but fall in love. It’s like whenever they are together times stands still. This story explores immigration reform, women supporting women, equal rights, love, life, and death. For this production, the entire creative team is made up of WOMEN OF COLOR. 

Stillness of July: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. March 3rd @ 6:15 pm, March 6th @ 4:00pm – and March 7th @ 9:00pm

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NY WinterFest

New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Gavino Villapiano A Computer Wiz Who Studied at Julliard



Gavino Villapiano (Pop, playwright, director, producer) – is thrilled to have his first stage play presented in front of a live audience. Although he is the author of 4 screenplays, this is his first opus on the boards. He has always had a need to write, while pursuing a “day job”, a career in the computer industry. What motivates people, what drives people, it what has always interested him and the characters he writes about, in fiction and performance – from searches for identity, to striving for acceptance, to longings to put closure on the past, including unresolved grief and loss.  He was a triple major (Mathematics/Physics/English) as an undergrad, the first two being “practical”, the love being poetry, fiction and drama being the motivation for the third. He studied film at New York University and music composition at Juilliard. He has written three novels, several non-fiction tomes, a viola concerto, a requiem mass and a string quartet. The practicality of a career was driven by the fact that he is the father of 5 children, ranging in age from 22 to 43. They are truly his life’s work. (Obviously, he ain’t afraid of work…). 

In Backyard, a middle aged man drops by to visit his father in the backyard of his childhood home. The two men have a superficial conversation, appointed by flashbacks that illuminate the references they make. Ultimately, the real reason for the visit is revealed, leading to a flash forward to the old man’s wake. In the end, however, they part ways for the day, a little richer in understanding of each other.

Backyard: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 20, 2020 @ 9pm, Feb. 22, 2020 @ 2:15pm – Sat. and Feb. 23, 2020 @ 6pm 

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