After professional careers in the performing arts, Nicole Kempskie and Robby Stamper met in 2004 as teaching artists, bringing musical theatre to underserved communities throughout New York City. During this time they created six original musicals for young performers that were produced by Brooklyn Children’s Theatre and in schools throughout the city. Their first full-length musical Helen on 86th St. premiered at the American Theatre of Actors in 2011. The one-hour school edition is published by Playscripts, Inc., and has been performed across the country and internationally. Other shows include Mother of the Year at the York Theatre's 4@15 in the spring of 2011, The Order of Things (2013/2015 O'Neill NMTC Semi-finalist), It's About Time (The Duplex, June 2014), and The Music of Stamper and Kempskie (The Duplex, June 2015). In addition to writing together, they've created and taught musical theater residencies for City Center Encores, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Arts Connection for over ten years. They are currently musically adapting Leslie Connor's young adult novel Dead on Town Line.
NICOLE KEMPSKIE (Producer, Book & Lyrics, Director, Screenplay adaptation) has worked extensively as a professional actor, director, choreographer, writer, theatre educator, media educator and consultant. She has performed professionally both regionally and in New York at Trinity Rep, the Huntington Theatre, Lyric Stage, the Atlantic, and the Lucille Lortel, among others, and was the resident children’s theatre director for three summers at North Shore Music Theatre (Dear Edwina, Rapunzel, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown). She has directed and choreographed over twenty-five musicals and straight plays both for professionals and young performers, and served as Associate Choreographer for TheatreworksUSA’s touring musical production of Max and Ruby. As a passionate advocate for arts education in New York City, Nicole has led master workshops and classes for the Broadway Teaching Group, Broadway Classroom, Arts Connection, City Center Encores, BAM, Music Theatre International, The Paley Center for Media, CCNY’s graduate Educational Theater program, and the Kaufman Center. She co-founded and was the artistic director of Brooklyn Children's Theatre for seven years, writing ten original musicals produced by the company. She is the author of forty theater and film Educational Resource guides for BAM and Lincoln Center Theater that include works by Beckett, Pinter, Odets, Ibsen, and Shakespeare. She has been awarded artist and writing residencies at The Marble House Project in Dorset, VT and the Noepe Literary Arts Center on Martha's Vineyrad, a fellowship (NewEnglandFilm.com) to the Stowe Story Labs, and was a finalist for the 2016 Kleban Prize for lyric writing. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Providence College and an MA in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies from NYU’s Gallatin School. www.nicolekempskie.com
ROBBY STAMPER (Music, Music Director, Pianist) is an alum of the Tony award-winning BMI Musical Theater Workshop, a 2012 MAC Award-winner for Best Song, a 2008-2009 Dramatist Guild Fellow (for Sister Aimee with lyricist/librettist Andrea Frierson), and the winner of the York Theatre Company’s 2007 NEO (New, Emerging and Outstanding) Award for excellence in composition. Composing credits: Where’s Miss Buttercup?, The Elephant Prince, The Princely Frog, Sunset Park, Moonlight and Bugtown (book & lyrics by Nicole Kempskie) produced by Brooklyn Children's Theatre and in schools throughout New York City; Picture Perfect, Dream Teen (book and lyrics by Arianna Rose), and Mother of the Year (book and lyrics by Nicole Kempskie) produced at The York Theater (NYC) as part of their 4@15 series. Musical director, composer and performer with Walt Disney Entertainment since 1991; Musical director for Disney Theatrical’s Cub School, preparing young performers for roles in The Lion King and Mary Poppins on Broadway, and teaching artist for TADA, Camp Broadway, Arts Connection and City Center’s Encores.
WENDI KAUFMAN (Author) Wendi Kaufman's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Fiction, and Other Voices, and her stories have been anthologized in Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops, Elements of Literature, and Faultlines: Stories of Divorce. She received a literary fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, was the winner of a Mary Roberts Rhinehart award for short fiction, and a Breadloaf Scholar in Fiction. From 2005-2009, Kaufman curated "The Happy Booker," a prominent Washington, DC-based book blog, and was a frequent contributor to The Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine. She graduated from George Mason University's MFA program in Creative Writing. Kaufman passed away in August 2014 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Her first anthology, Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories was published posthumously by Stillhouse Press in 2014.