Cast & Creative

Creative Team

Javier Baca (Movement)

A native of California, Javier is a performer, dancer, educator and choreographer.  Moving to New York City to focus on the research of dance and the moving body,  Javier has performed with Shen Wei Dance Arts, HT Chen, Gibney Dance and many others. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in festivals and theaters including the American Dance Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Israel Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Silk Road Festival (Hong Kong), Mimar Sinan University (Turkey), and Monaco Dance Forum for Princess Caroline, and a number of others. As well as performing, Javier enjoys teaching and has taught as guest artist leading master classes, workshops and held residencies at Dans och Cirkushögskolan in Stockholm, Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, New York University, Pomona College, Dance Place San Diego, University of California at Irvine, Riverside Community College, Santa Ana College and the University of Redlands.

Personal statement:
For the past four years, I have worked with survivors of domestic violence and populations affected by HIV/AIDS, from young children to adults, teaching methods of relaxation. This work is seen as a supportive way for survivors to reconnect with themselves physically and to share the ability to laugh again. Working with these populations has been an incredible inspiration. The message Phoenix Rising is very dear to my heart. A warm and loving thank you to Laura for sharing her story and art and for allowing me to be part of this healing process.


Sheryl Liu (Set Design)

   Sheryl is a New York City based set designer who works in theater, opera, dance and musicals.  Her recent design credits include Off Broadway production of A Dream of Red Pavilions and new musical Ah! Kuling, which has been touring internationally since June of 2015.  Her designs for the Limón Dance Company on their revival of José Limón's masterpiece The Emperor Jones, opened for the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City and has been touring in the Americas and Europe since 2011.  She received an Overall Excellence Award in Scenic Design by NYC Fringe 2012, and her designs for Salome and La Boheme were selected to be part of EMERGE:2011 at the Prague Quadrennial, the world's top international stage design exhibition.

Upcoming productions in 2016: No No Boy at Theatre Row, Deep Are The Roots at West End Theatre, and Invincible Ones at Signature Theater.

Seth Reiser (Lighting Design)

Recent work in theatre includes: NYC: Charles Francis Chan’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery with NAATCo; Holden with George and Co.; Winners at Ensemble Studio Theatre; Matthew Passion at the Park Avenue Armory with Peter Sellars;Uncle Vanya at The Pearl Theatre Company; The Mysteries at the Flea; The Bad Guys at Second Stage; The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at The Public Theatre; the Obie Award winning production of The Lily’s Revenge at HERE Arts; Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith’s Radio Play at PS 122. Regional: Shakespeare Theater Center, A.C.T., Alliance, Dallas Theatre Center, Two River Theater Company, Portland Center Stage, Trinity Repertory, The Denver Center, American Repertory Theatre, and Playmakers Repertory, among others.  Seth received his MFA from NYU/Tisch.

Angela Harner (Costume Design)

Angela designs costumes for theater, film, and advertising.  She has designed productions for The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Crane School of Music, NYU Grad Acting, Fordham University, The Goodman Theater’s Yollocalli Youth Workshop, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks as well as several film projects.  Recent theater includes: OKAY by Taylor Mac with Ugly Rhino, Jupiter at LaMama, Utility with The Ammoralists, Blue StockingsNYU Stageworks, Kill Me Like You Mean It Stolen Chair, The American Clock NYU New Studio on Broadway, The Three Christs of Yipsilanti Peculiar Works Judson Church, The Wholehearted ArtsEmerson/HERE, and A Girl Without Wings Dramatic Adventure Theater/IATI.  BFA: The Theatre School at DePaul. MFA: Design for Theater & Film Tisch NYU.

Julian Evans (Sound Design)

Sound design for stage and screen. John & Jen (Theatre Row), Phoenix Rising (Theatre Row), Soulographie (La MaMa), The Good Girl (59e59), In the Summer Pavilion (59e59), Two Intimate (Abingdon Theater), The Golden Year (WorkShop Theater), Hard Times (The Cell), Paradox of the Urban Cliché (Wild Project), Crazy, Just Like Me (NYMF), Clown Play (Fringe), Parade (Gallery Players), Lines in the Dust (Luna Stage), Tilt the Unlit Candle (Luna Stage). BA: Carnegie Mellon.

Lena Gabrielle (Music Design)

Lena is thrilled to be part of the Phoenix Rising team! She currently freelances as a music director, composer, orchestrator, vocal coach, and actor, with an emphasis in new works development and multi-generational productions. Her newest original musical, Tink, will premiere at the New York Musical Festival at the end of July. Lena is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and the American Federation of Musicians.

Josh Sherer (Production Director)

Derek Bado (Stage Manager)

Derek is so excited and honored to be a part of bringing PHOENIX RISING to life again, this time for our Off-Broadway debut! He is a graduate of Hofstra University, with a degree in music and business, currently living his dream of pursuing theater in NYC.  As an actor, singer, and stage manager, Derek's recent credits include: Stage Manager for THE COMEDY OF ERRORS and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (The Fools & Kings Project), Barry/Syd in RAPUNZARELLA WHITE (13th Street Rep), and Princeton/Rod in AVENUE Q (Cameo Theater - Nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, San Antonio Broadway World Regional Awards). A huge thank you to Daniel and Laura for their love, guidance and friendship, and to all of my friends and family who have supported me throughout this journey.

Chloe Kaye (Assistant Stage Manager)

Laura Gosheff (Writer/Director)

Laura Gosheff is an artist and advocate.  As the author of PHOENIX RISING, Ms. Gosheff breaks the culture of silence around the affects of sexual assault, domestic violence, and abuse, in the hopes of raising awareness, and challenging long-standing societal norms around gender violence.
In September 2008, Ms. Gosheff began co-writing an early version of what is now the play, PHOENIX RISING: Girls and the Secrets We Keep, giving her a new outlet to further explore her own story of abuse and rape.  That artistic, non-linear exploration and creative writing experience helped her to embrace, and deeply love, the troubled teenager she was, and allowed her to integrate those parts of herself that she necessarily compartmentalized in order to survive.  PHOENIX RISING continues to be an uplifting and rewarding experience for her, and she is profoundly grateful to the women who have generously allowed her to retell their dreams and stories, and also to those who continue to explore their lives, and share their stories with her.
A Note from the Author:
          Writing this play has changed me.  'I sing my truth.'  'I found my fire.'  'I color my world.'  'I am not alone.'  As a woman who has survived rape and sexual assault, writing PHOENIX RISING has given me an exquisite opportunity to discover and reclaim many pieces of myself that I had rejected as shameful and unworthy.  In the process of integrating and healing these disparate parts, I found my voice.  Over the last eight years of writing this play, I have spoken with hundreds women who have endured emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.  In hopes of circumventing the cultural default of being shamed and blamed for their own assault, they keep their secrets; they maintain their silence.  I wrote PHOENIX RISING to give them voice.

         As a woman, I can tell the stories of women with an expertise and authenticity that I would not have were I trying to tell the stories of men, but I am keenly aware that women are not the only victims of abuse, trauma, and sexual violence.  A number of men have courageously shared their stories with me; each as heartbreaking and horrific as the stories I've heard from women; each with the common thread of betrayal, shame, and the lasting effects of trauma.  I am also keenly aware that most men are not abusers and rapists.  In fact, I'm counting on it, because this is not an either/or endeavor.  We need to come together as a community, a nation, a world, to eradicate abuse and sexual violence, and the culture that enables and condones it. 
          I have faith that the humor and humanity of PHOENIX RISING will alter the way society sees and treats victims of gender violence; that it will catalyze discussion and motivate people to get involved in creating change through intervention and activism.  In this hyper-aware climate, the time for change is now.

Jonathan Pennington (Associate Producer)

Jonathan has served as Producer/Director of more than 50 musical theatre productions, including: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY, HAIRSPRAY, THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, AVENUE Q, ROCKY HORROR SHOW LIVE: THE EXPERIENCE, RENT, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS, while owning his own production company, JP Studios, in San Antonio, Texas. He received People’s Choice Award for his production of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. Jonathan received the ATAC award for Best Direction of a Musical for AVENUE Q in San Antonio. The Cameo Theatre, under the direction of Jonathan Pennington won Broadway World Regional Award for Theatre of the Year 2014. 

June Rachelson-Ospa (Associate Producer)

June is the founder of Osparations. She co-wrote WELCOME TO TOURETTAVILLE (Kennedy Center), RAPUNZARELLA WHITE,  BOLLYWOOD AND VINE, STUPID WIG, and IMAGINARY BOY with Daniel Neiden. Other Musicals: YAKI YIM BAMBOO (now at 13th Street Rep), SWAK, TRUE COLORS OF WEEDLE,  TRIANGLE, Upcoming: HYDE AND SEEK, BREAKFAST WITH THE BIRDS, THE HOTEL BELLECLAIRE  and ROCKIN' THE BIBLE.  She is an investor in A CHRISTMAS STORY THE MUSICAL (Lunt Fontaine, Madison Square Garden) and GODSPELL (Circle in the Square).  June is the Artistic Director at Identity Theater.  Memberships: ASCAP, Dramatist's Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. Writer: The Telling Company.