Buoyant Sea
An original play by Hiawatha Project
Conceived and Written by Anya Martin
Music and Lyrics Monica Stephenson

MC ……………………………………Alex Manalo
CC……………………………Laura Lee Anderson
Swing……………………..……….Carissa Wonder

Artistic Team

Director……………………………….Anya Martin
Production Stage Manager……….…Caitlin Skaff
Assistant Stage Manager………Carly Thompson
Vocal Coach..…………………Monica Stephenson

Scenic Design…..……..………..Sasha Schwartz
Props Master… …………..Katie Mikula-Wineman
Lighting Design……….…………….…..Cat Wilson
Media Design……………………….…..Cat Wilson
Sound Design…….……………..Ryan McMasters
Costume Design…………..Katie Mikula-Wineman

Technical Director………….………James Dworek
Scenic Painter…………………………Toni Woods

Hiawatha Project
Founding Artistic Director and Producer…Anya Martin
Executive Producer……………………Heather Irwin

Special Thanks: Pam Komar and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Flyspace Productions, Sarah Beitler

Presented with support from The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, The McKinney Charitable Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments

Laura Lee Anderson (formerly Brautigam) is thrilled to make her return to the professional Pittsburgh stage after a seven-year hiatus. During her time away, she got a YA novel traditionally published (Song of Summer, Bloomsbury), taught acting for at-risk youth with Urban Impact, and started a freelance editing business. In addition, she currently spends countless hours singing lullabies, nursing babies, and making snacks as she raises her four children with her brilliant (and patient) husband. Previous credits include PICT, Pittsburgh CLO, The REP, Bricolage, and City Theatre Company. This is her second show with Hiawatha Project, and she’s grateful to be back!

HEATHER IRWIN – Executive Producer
Heather Irwin (Executive Producer) is the Artistic Associate Producer for Hiawatha Project and Executive Producer for Buoyant SEA. She has been part of the production and artistic team for the premier of Hiawatha Project’s JH: Mechanics of a Legend (2017) at the August Wilson Center, as well as My Traveling Song (2019) at Carnegie Stage. In addition to her role with Hiawatha Project, Irwin is a Program Manager for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust with a focus on Theater, Music and Youth Programming.  She is also a theater and commercial actor represented by the Talent Group, and has performed in theater companies across the country.

Prior to relocating to Pittsburgh, Heather was the Patron Services Manager for the Chicago Humanities Festival and TYA festival Stage, Sights and Sounds. She has worked in arts administration roles for The Kings Head Theater (London, England), City Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA), Porthouse Theatre (Kent, OH), the Chicago Humanities Festival (Chicago, IL) and Sideshow Theatre Company (Chicago, IL). Irwin is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

Alex Manalo (MC) is overjoyed to take part in a show with the Cultural Trust’s Children’s Festival and (finally) Hiawatha Project. She is a musical theater graduate from Point Park University. Since graduating, Alex has been grateful to work and perform with several theater companies in the Pittsburgh area such as CLO, MTAP, Pittsburgh Public, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Arcade Comedy Theater, RealTime Interventions, Front Porch, Academy Theater, and City Theatre. She is also a proud member of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh. While her passion is performing, Alex also enjoys teaching theater and dance. She believes that it is incredibly important for children to see diversity on stage and in the classroom because it reflects the mosaic of the world around us. She loves being able to educate and inspire youth through a sense of community, movement, and song, hence why Buoyant Sea has brought her so much joy. Hats off to the amazing cast and creative team. Mabuhay! IG: @alexmanalo_

ANYA MARTIN – Playwright, Director, Producer
Founding Artistic Director and Producer of Hiawatha Project Playwright, Director, and Producer for BUOYANT SEA Anya Martin is the Founding Artistic Director and Producer of Hiawatha Project and a playwright, director, producer and theater-thinker. Her work with Hiawatha has described “smart, sharp and witty, not to mention spoken in three languages” (City Paper) with “scenes of imagination and poetic insight.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Under her leadership and direction Hiawatha Project has received funding awards from AER Capacity Building, The August Wilson Center Legacy Fund, August Wilson Center Programing, Brooks Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Heinz Small Arts Initiative, The McKinney Foundation, The Opportunity Fund, Spout Fund, PA Council of the Arts, The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Recent credits include her play “Helen at the Gym” as a 2018 winner in RedBull Theater’s Annual Short Play Festival in NYC, which is published with Stage Rights. In 2021, she won the Silver Ear in the international Hear Me Out Monologue Competition for “Motherland Will Teach You That.” In 2023, her monologue “The Coochie” was selected and presented in the Some1Speaking Series. Martin’s full length play, “The President’s Pants” recently won the the Madison New Works Lab and will be developed for 2 weeks at James Madison University in August of 2023, and her play, “Helen at the Gym ” won the New Play Development Workshop with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and will be presented the ATHE national conference in Austin.

This fall of 2023, Martin looks forward to developing “In Our Time” which she wrote and developed with Hiawatha Project, a new play inspired by Hemingway’s novel In Our Time and interviews with ICU women physicians during the height of COVID. A reading of this play was recently presented at the Theatre Communications Group’s national conference in June of 2022 Martin earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, where she also taught directing for 7 years, and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a member of The New Play Exchange, The Playwrights’ Center, and The Dramatists Guild. You can check out more of her work at AnyaMartinPlays.com and HiawathaProject.org.

Ryan McMASTERS is a music maker in Pittsburgh whose work focuses on accessibility for both audience and performer, including the use of Open Source and adaptive technologies in performance and education and the development of OREAD, a musical programming language for both human and computer interpretation that replaces the need for traditional musical literacy standards with vernacular language and syntax. Recent commissions include pieces for Spacepants, EAR/L, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. He is a founding member of WOLFTRAP, a band that focuses on the history and development of oral traditions in new music making. A frequent collaborator for theater and dance, Ryan’s work has supported productions by off the Wall, City Theatre, Quantum Theatre, No Name Players, Seton Hill University, and others. His research focuses on the physical phenomena of sound and sensory saturation. Ryan is married to violinist and educator Kathleen Andrews they are teaching and learning about music from their daughter, Betty.

KATIE MIKULA-WINEMAN – Costume Designer and Props Master
Katie Mikula-Wineman (she/her)- Prop Manager & Costume Designer. Katie is thrilled to return with The Hiawatha Project to collaborate on such a playful production. She is the resident Prop Shop Manager at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and teaches stage properties at Point Park University. Outside of the Playhouse, she has worked at various theatres including Kinetic Theatre, Prime Stage, Bricolage, Attack Theatre, South Park Theatre, Ohio Light Opera, Olney Theatre Center and the Old Town Playhouse. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University and is a member of S*P*M Society of Props Managers. She hails from her home state of Michigan with her loving husband Isaac, proud pet parent to kitties JiJi Louise & Peridot plus her one-eyed wonder-dog Zuko. Katie dedicates this special production to her adorable nephew Tristan and his loving parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. Sail on, sailor boy. @winekula18

CAITLIN SKAFF – Production Stage Manager
Caitlin Skaff, GPC (Production Stage Manager) has over ten years of experience working with nonprofits and arts organizations in Pittsburgh as an actor, stage manager, production manager, arts administrator, advocate, fundraiser, and volunteer.  As a stage manager in Pittsburgh, she has worked on more than 30 productions with 12 Peers Theater, City Theatre, Mon River Arts, Pittsburgh Playwrights, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Prime Stage Theatre, South Park Theatre, Stage 62, and the Theatre Factory.  She was the assistant director for the world premiere production of The Perks of Being a Wallflower for Prime Stage Theatre.  Caitlin has also performed in numerous productions at South Park Theatre, Mon River Arts, Stage 62, and Pittsburgh Savoyards, and she has been a performing member of Pittsburgh Playback Theatre since 2014.   She currently works as the Manager of Individual Giving for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and is on the Board for 12 Peers Theater. 

MONICA STEPHENSON – Composter, Lyricist, and Vocal Coach
Monica Stephenson is a composer, performer, and educator.  Favorite composing credits include: My Traveling Song, Hiawatha Project; a musical adaptation of This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries,This Girl Does Nothing, in collaboration with students at Hope Academy; The Carols, 1812 Productions; and Tyndale Place, which was honored as part of The Kilroys List for 2020.  Monica is based in Pittsburgh with her son, Samuel, her partner, Rachel and their two very nosey dogs, Penny & Alma. You can visit her online at www.monistephenson.com.

SASHA SCHWARTZ – Scenic Design
Sasha Schwartz: Scenic Designer (she/her) is a theater scenic designer and artist inspired by family and how spaces tell stories. Selected designs: What the Constitution Means to Me (City Theatre), The Devil Is A Lie (Quantum Theatre), Kentucky (Pittsburgh Playhouse), the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table (Kelly Strayhorn Theater), Terminer (New Hazlett Theater), Heisenberg (Northern Stage), Off Peak (59e59), My Cousin Nelu is Not Gay (The Brick), Pippin (Dartmouth). Recognition: 2023 Prague Quadrennial Featured Emerging Designer, 2022 Theatre Communications Group Rising Leaders of Color Cohort, 2019 USITT Young Designers and Technicians Forum, 2019 Lloyd Weninger Award for Stage Design, 2019 Scenic Design Fellowship at Chautauqua Theater Company, featured fine artist at Pittsburgh MuseumLab and JadedPGH. Sasha is an advocate for inclusivity and accessibility within theater teams and more representation of BIPOC and queer voices in the arts industries. Education: BFA Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama. www.sashaschwartzscenic.com

CARLY THOMPSON – Assistant Stage Manager
Carly Thompson (Assistant Stage Manager) is honored to be working alongside such talented performers, designers, and theater artists to create this production of Buoyant Sea. CREDITS: Kinky Boots, Godspell, Mandy Patinkin: Being Alive at Pittsburgh CLO. The Nutcracker and Dracula at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Rapunzel at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Host and Guest, Dracula at Synetic Theater in Washington DC. Dance Nation, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Curtains, Cabaret at Pittsburgh Playhouse. PPU COPA Alum.

CAT WILSON – Lighting and Media Design
CAT WILSON (Lighting Designer and Projection Designer), is pleased to be working with Hiawatha on their third collaboration. Previous productions include Camino and My Traveling Song. Cat is a lighting and projection designer based in Pittsburgh where she also is the Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at Point Park University. Her work has been seen around the country with companies such as Goodman Theatre, Paramount Theatre (Aurora, IL), Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, City Theatre, TheatreSquared, Portland Stage Theatre of Maine, TimeLine Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet Academy, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Point Park University, University of Illinois Chicago, and many other wonderful collaborators. She was Live Design Magazine’s 2015 Young Designer to Watch, and received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a proud member of USA 829 www.catwilsondesigns.com

CARISSA WONDER – Actor Swing for MC and CC
Carissa (Swing) is thrilled to be able to be a part of such a dynamic production with the Cultural Trust and Hiawatha Project. She is currently finishing up her studies at Point Park University as a BFA Acting Major and Music Minor. Carissa was most recently seen as Glass Girl in Glass in the RLM One Acts before taking on the role of Dramaturg and Swing for the Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Sense and Sensibility. This project brings Carissa back to her love of working with children and getting to bring an accessible show to them, one that they can participate in. Carissa would like to thank her director, production team, castmates, family, and friends for pushing her and believing in her.