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Meet the 'Meaningful Conversation' Team


Owen Panettieri

Owen is the writer of the award-winning Vestments of the Gods (Overall Excellence in Ensemble, 2014 FringeNYC) and The Timing of a Day (Outstanding New Play 2010, Talkin' Broadway, Summer Theatre Festival Citations). His additional full-length plays include Whatever The Weather (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwrights Conference Finalist) and Who’s There? (The Fresh Fruit Festival’s 2018 Outwright Developmental Play Reading Selection). Short plays produced across the United States include More Than a Memory, Processing, Searching, Our View From Paradise, Calendar Girl, A Charmed Life and The President is Gay! (And Other Delicious Scandals). Owen was a contributing Writer/Performer for four seasons with The Nitestar Program (currently known as S.T.A.R. at the Directors Company) creating original health education theater pieces for primary school, secondary school and college audiences. He co-wrote the web series "Legally Brown: The Search for the Next Piragua Guy" with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Owen is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Conservatory Program at The Actors Center. He is currently a member of the Playwrights Gallery Writers Group. He lives in New York City. For NLTP: A Burial Place (2016, Dorothy Strelsin Theatre.)

Anaïs Koivisto

Anaïs is an NY-based freelance director, and the Artistic Director of Everyday Inferno Theatre Company. She has directed for Pipeline Theatre Company, FringeAL FRESCO, Hunger & Thirst, Match:Lit, Spicy Witch Productions, the FRIGID Festival, CORE Artists' Ensemble, and is currently in her second year of developmental residence at The Access Theater. BFA: Boston University. New York Affiliate member of Seiche Productions.

Leila Ben-Abdallah
Prop Designer

Leila is a props designer, puppeteer, and performer. She has designed and constructed props for New Light (the hollower, Less Than 50%), The Flea Theater, The Box Show (, and her original comedic solo shows. As a performer, Leila contributed writing and hosted the upcoming series Preggo Nancy for

Nikki Castle*
Production Stage Manager

Nikki holds a BA in Theatre from CU Boulder and is a member of New Light Theater Project. For NLTP: Hal & Bee, Breeders, and Omega Kids. Previous credits: Universal Robots, Sovereign, Frankenstein Upstairs (Gideon Productions); Bible Study for Heathens (New York Neo Futurists); Utility (The Amoralists); Dear Albert Einstein (New York City Children’s Theater); Sleep No More (PunchdrunkNYC); Have Mercy (Manhattan Theatre Source).

Andy Evan Cohen
Sound Designer

Andy is a member of New Light Theater Project. Credits include: The Property,  the hollower, Hal & Bee, Time Stands Still, Sight Unseen, Still Dance The Stars, Strange Country, and In The Soundless Awe. Other recent credits: Swipe (BMCC), Amparo (Havana Club), Mr. Chekhov & Mr. Porter (Medicine Show), If Only (Cherry Lane), Hamlet and Sense & Sensibility(Aquila Theatre).

Matthew S. Crane
Scenic Designer

Matthew is a Brooklyn based scenic designer.  Matthew is a previous scenic design fellow at the Hangar Theatre, and served as a resident scenic designer at the Monomoy Theatre. His designs have also been seen at the Hartt School, the WorkShop Theater, Theatre Row, The Gallery Players, Theater for the New City, Axial Theatre, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, the Forestburgh Playhouse, Rutgers University, and Gettysburg College. MFA Mason Gross School of the Arts.

John-Peter Cruz

John-Peter is thrilled to be a part of this production! His recent credits include Honorable Distinction (Mt. Pisgah) and Sketch of New York (Producers Club). Trained at UCB, T. Schreiber, Atlantic Theater Company, and HB Studio. He returned from Afghanistan and Kuwait this January serving with the U.S. Army Reserves.

Bethany Geraghty

Bethany is a resident artist with NLTP and is delighted to be joining the cast of Meaningful Conversations. Past shows have included the critically acclaimed Strange Country and Still Dance the Stars. Bethany’s webseries MEET, which she co-created, is now streaming. For more info, visit her website:

SJ Hannah*

SJ's select credits include: Hercules Didn't Wade  In The Water (The Negro Ensemble Co.),  Strings (DUAF.), Basement (Shetler Studios), On Striver's Row (Metropolitan Playhouse), and The Lion King (Gazelle Tour). He will be featured in the upcoming webseries Curvy Girls Rock.  He dedicates this performance to his mother, the perfect fan. @sjyogi

Lindsey Hurley
Assistant Stage Manager

Lindsey is a NYC based stage manager and is a member of New Light Theater Project. NLTP: the hollower (PSM), The Property, Hal & Bee, Breeders, Time Stands Still, Two of Us, Sight Unseen, Omega Kids. Other credits include: Divine Horsemen, Fringe of Humanity (Primitive Grace - PSM), Lucky Chick (Lucky Chick LLC - PSM).

Hahnji Jang
Costume Designer

Hahnji is excited to collaborate with the New Light Theater Project for the first time. Hahnji comes to New Light after she recently assisted on Broadway productions such as Spongebob Squarepants, Amelie, and The Cher Show. Select Off-Broadway design work includes Incident at Hidden Temple and No-No Boy with Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, as well as the upcoming Mobile Unit production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The Public.

Bertha Leal*

Bertha has a BFA from Florida International University. Off-Broadway: Lucy Loves Me (INTAR Theatre) Other credits include: Amparo (Juggerknot Theatre), Honeybee (Furiex Films), Love Asterisk (3tO5 Productions), Oleanna (Pinecrest Theatre Rep), Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Alliance Theatre Lab), References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot (Unhinged Theatre Company). IG: @bea_leal

Denver Milord*

Denver is thrilled to be working on this exciting new play with New Light Theatre Project! Off-Broadway: Terms of Endearment (59E59). FILM: Jack Reacher, The Last Witch Hunter, Like You Mean It  TV: Blue Bloods, Blacklist, Southland, Outsiders, Full Circle.  Carnegie Mellon BFA. Thank you to all my teachers, Family & Friends, Owen & NLTP.

Christina Tang
Lighting Designer

Christina is a lighting designer based in NYC. Recent design credits include The Maid's Tragedy (Pocket Universe), Hair (York College), Assembled Identity (HERE Arts Center), skin flick city (Columbia Stages), and SOMEONEPLEASELISTENANDUNDERSTAND (The Brick). She was recently the assistant lighting designer on Eve Ensler's Fruit Trilogy (Abingdon Theatre Company) and is the resident technical director of the Corkscrew Theater Festival. She is thrilled to design for NLTP after 2 seasons assisting on their productions!

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TJ Craftsman
Technical Directors

TJ Craftsman is a company created in Manhattan by ToniAnne DiFilippo and Jordan Cavanaugh, a newly engaged couple who would love to thank New Light for this opportunity. This is their first official show as TJ Craftsman, but they have worked together on: the hollower, Time Stands Still, & Mamma Mia! and have two more shows with New Light coming up. They would like to thank their friends and family for their support! Here’s to the next one!

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