On the Square Productions was formed by two alumni of the University of Wisconsin (Rachel McPhee and Jackie LaVanway).
On The Square Productions discovers and cultivates original works by established and emerging playwrights. Through our unique developmental laboratory, playwrights experiment to transform ideas into fully mounted productions. We are imaginative and innovative yet socially relevant and accessible. We produce work that is reflective of the world we live in, mindful of the past, with an eye focused on the future.
Executive Director / Co-Founder
Rachel McPhee is originally from Racine, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Theatre-Acting Specialist and History in 2005. After that she spent a year rolling around on the floor, mincing in restoration costumes, brandishing swords, and spouting Shakespeare at the Drama Studio London where incidentally met her husband, playwright and actor Rob Benson. Favorite acting credits in New York include: Vieux Carre at The Pearl Theatre directed by Austin Pendleton, the world premiere of The Footage at the Flea, a few apperances on Guiding Light, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with OTSP. She is also an Acting Company Member of Maiuetic Theatre Works. There is more to be found about Rachel at www.rachelmcphee.com.
Artistic Director / Co-Founder
Jackie LaVanway hails from Mandeville, Louisiana and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Theatre and Communication Arts in 2006. Upon moving to NYC, Jackie attended the acting conservatory at Michael Howard Studios. Producing Credits: Quake for the Midtown International Theatre Festival- 2008, Ingenue– 2008, America: A Problem Play for the Planet Connections Festival- 2009, the OTSP Developmental Play Reading Series, A Midsummer Night’s Dream– 2010, and most recently, Monroe, Illinois: Over Here/Townie– The Flea Theater, 2010, In Your Image– 59E59, 2011. As an Associate General Manager, Jackie has worked Heading East, a musical starring BD Wong at The Asia Society. Jackie currently works for New World Stages/Stage Entertainment USA on Sister Act: The Musical.
Director of Development
Rob Benson is an actor and playwright from the U.K. He trained as an actor at the Drama Studio London and studied Theatre studies and creative writing at the University of Derby. As an actor he has performed all over the U.K with highlights being, Richard III (lead), his one-man show Borderline (Edinburgh, London and New York), the 400th Celebration of Macbeth at Hampton Court Palace and Brave at the Bristol Old Vic. His plays include: Borderline, Jollity Farm (Devised with Myrtle Theatre Company) and In Your Image which won the Dialogue competition at Salisbury Playhouse, a reading at Bath Theatre Royal and a full performance run at 59e59. Rob also has lots of experience in education, running his own youth theatre group for three years and has worked with Shakespeare for schools, Bristol Old Vic Youth Theatre and The Kingswood Foundation Arts Charity. He enjoys new writing and devised work and loves to see the kernel of an idea grow into something great.
Director of External Relations
Leone is originally from the UK where she earned a master’s in performance from Goldsmiths London. She has performed in over twenty countries around the world in a variety of productions for an array of diverse audiences, from seasoned theatre-goers at an opera house in Berlin to a group of first-timers in a brand new space in Dubai. Currently Leone lives and works in New York as an acting & dialect coach for The Drama Continues as well as doing performance/voice-over/print work. She happily joins On The Square Productions in their mission to bring theatre to diverse communities across the city.
Associate Artistic Director
Michael Swartz is an actor and director based in Astoria, New York. He was trained in a cornfield in Pennsylvania (DeSales University) where he had the pleasure of working with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. As an actor, Michael has appeared in numerous productions in NYC, including: In Fields Where They Lay (Dreamscape Theater); America: A Problem Play (OTSP); The Tamer Tamed (Misfit Toys Rep); Iphigenia in Tauris (American Theatre of Actors); Midsummer (Flux Theatre Ensemble); and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day (Manhattan Children’s Theater, w/Rachel McPhee). Michael made his NY directorial debut in 2007 with a staged reading of Steven Bost’s The Minervae. He has since directed a number of staged readings, a world premier solo show, and OTSP’s sold-out run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As a member of the New York Choral Society, Michael has had the privilege of singing at such historic venues as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. In his spare time, Michael maintains his enormous collection of fabulous shoes, dreams up ideas for future theatrical projects, and continues his education with the Einhorn School of Performing Arts at Primary Stages.
Logan Tracey is an actress and singer based in NYC. With a background in musical theatre & improv/comedy Logan has shot a number feature films and shorts screened at national festivals and has worked on All My Children and Guiding Light. Logan is working on her first studio album and has sang multiple tracks for the feature film, A Novel Romance starring Steve Guttenberg. Some fun projects with College Humor, MTV, NBC.com and performing in the NY Underground Comedy Festival led Logan to the ladies of On the Square Productions. She is thrilled to be a part of the OTSP team and is so excited for the 2011-2012 season. Updates and Info always found at www.logantracey.com.
Director of Education and Outreach
Emily is so happy to work with her friends at On the Square Productions. Emily hails from Wisconsin, where she received her BA in Acting in Dec. 07. She has been living and acting in NYC ever since. Emily spent the last year puppeteering on the First National/International tour of John Tartaglia’s ImaginOcean, a black light puppet musical for kids. Some favorite stage roles in NY: Hattie in Laundry and Bourbon (The Jalopy Theater), Emily in One (Nicu’s Spoon). She has also done stand up comedy at Caroline’s on Broadway, Stand Up NY, and New York Comedy Club. Emily was previously the director of Education and Outreach for Left Hip Productions and is excited to continue to create and implement theatre education programs in schools all over NYC, with a focus on reaching under-served communities and filling holes in arts curriculum. Get to know Emily better at www.emtucker.com. Emily is currently on tour with ImaginOcean through Spring 2013.
Deborah Wolfson is delighted to be a member of On the Square. Favorite directing credits include the The Bobbed Haired Bandit- A New Musical (director/choreographer, NYIFF), In Your Image (59 E 59), The Continuing Story of Carla Rhodes (Arlene’s Grocery), Eschaton Cabaret (Bowery Poetry Club, choreographer), Monroe, IL: Over Here/Townie (On the Square at the Flea), Twelfth Night (the What You Will Speakeasy), America: A Problem Play (Planet Connections Festivity), Williamsburg! The Musical (also choreographer, NYIFF and FringeBENEFIT Reading Series), and Brecht’s Drums in the Night (Bee Sting at The Flea). Other credits include: Red Bull Theater’s The Maids, The Witch of Edmonton and Revelation Readings, The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys (Broadway, Chicago, Vegas) and seasons at the Berkshire and Williamstown Theatre Festivals as well as the Flea Theater in TriBeCa. This is her second season choreographing half-time shows for the Gotham Girl Roller Derby Jeerleaders. Deborah is a graduate of the University of Chicago and an Associate Member of the SDC.