By Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Margot Bordelon
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
It’s classic rom-com. Beguiling Lane works in a bakery and in short order wins over cool customer Steph with her warmth, wit, and homemade desserts. Their blossoming relationship also opens the door to romance for Lane’s older sister Della, who hasn’t been on a date in years. But the skies dramatically darken as each woman must come to terms with her own limitations. The Brightest Thing in the World is a funny and compassionate new play about people we all know and people we all love.
The Brightest Thing in the World includes content related to and depictions of the disease of addiction and recovery.
The play contains profanity, sexual situations, and sexual innuendo.
Please contact the Box Office at 203-432-1234 if you have further questions about the themes or content of this production.
Meet the Artists
Leah Nanako Winkler
Leah Nanako Winkler
Leah Nanako Winkler is a Japanese American playwright from Kamakura, Japan, and Lexington, Kentucky. Her plays include Kentucky (Page 73/Ensemble Studio Theater), God Said This (Primary Stages/Humana Festival of New American Plays), Death for Sydney Black (terraNova Collective), Two Mile Hollow (simultaneous world premiere: First Floor Theater, Artist’s at Play, Theater Mu/Mixed Blood, Ferocious Lotus), Hot Asian Doctor Husband (Theater Mu), and Nevada-Tan (Audible), and more. Accolades include the Yale Drama Series Prize, Peabody Award, the Francesca Primus Prize, the Mark O’Donnell Prize, the Jerome New York Fellowship, and most recently a Steinberg Playwright Award. TV: Ramy, New Amsterdam, Love Life. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, Ma Yi Lab, East West Players Writers Group. She serves on the board of Page 73. MFA: Brooklyn College.
Margot Bordelon is a New York-based director who specializes in new work. Yale Rep: peerless by Jiehae Park. Off-Broadway and New York: peerless (Primary Stages); …what the end will be (Roundabout Theatre Company); Do You Feel Anger? (Vineyard Theatre); Eddie and Dave (Atlantic Theater Company); Plot Points in Our Sexual Development (LCT3); Something Clean, Too Heavy for Your Pocket (Roundabout Underground); The Pen (Premieres NYC); A Delicate Ship (Playwrights Realm); Still (Juilliard); Wilder Gone (Clubbed Thumb); The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play (DODO). Margot has directed productions regionally at ACT Seattle, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alliance Theatre, American Theater Company, Denver Center, Marin Theater Company, and Steppenwolf. She has developed work at Ars Nova, Berkeley Rep, Cherry Lane, The Lark, Ma-Yi, MTC, New Dramatists, NYTW, P73, Playwrights Horizons, Portland Center Stage, Primary Stages, The Public, PWC, Rattlestick, the Wilma, and Woolly Mammoth. B.F.A., Cornish College of the Arts; M.F.A., David Geffen School of Drama.
Nate Angrick is in his fourth year of the technical design and production program at David Geffen School of Drama, where his credits include She Kills Monsters, Twelfth Night, and Affinity. He also recently served as technical director for The Brightest Thing in the World and assistant technical director for The Plot at Yale Rep. He received his B.F.A. in technical theater and design from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. He worked as technical director of Payomet Performing Arts Center in Massachusetts and Peninsula Players in Wisconsin. Before attending Yale, he worked as a scenic carpenter at The Juilliard School.
Travis Chinick (he/him/his) is thrilled to be a part of this team. He is in his final year at the David Geffen School of Drama and works as a freelance designer and painter across the country. His credits at the Geffen School include Bodas de sangre/Blood Wedding and Love’s Labor’s Lost. Other design highlights include Cinderella (Trollwood Performing Arts), A Dog Story (Seaglass Theatrical), Mysterio! Magic Rocks the Night! (RWS Entertainment Group), That Bachelorette Show (Davenport Theatrical), The Mnemonist of Duchess County (Attic Theatre Company), Strictly Dishonorable (Attic Theatre Company), Les Misérables (Assistant Designer, 2014 Broadway Revival), and others. Travis has also worked at the Metropolitan Opera, The Jim Henson Company, and RWS Entertainment Group. His work can be seen at tchinick.com.
Andrew Petrick is a fourth-year M.F.A. candidate at David Geffen School of Drama, where his credits include Manning and Measure for Measure, both directed by Alex Keegan, and In His Hands, or the gay christian play, directed by Maeli Goren. Other stage management credits include The Brightest Thing in the World (Yale Repertory Theatre); The Blacker the Berry, directed by Stew, and Harmless, directed by Dan Hurlin (Sarah Lawrence College); Pride and Prejudice, directed by Christopher Edwards, and Cry It Out, directed by Marc Masterson (Dorset Theatre Festival); Jack and the Beanstalk, directed by Julie Atlas Muz (Abrons Art Center); and When We Were Young and Unafraid, directed by Spencer Knoll (Downstage Theatre Company). B.A., Sarah Lawrence College. Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Assistant Stage Manager
Charlie Lovejoy is a third-year M.F.A. candidate at David Geffen School of Drama. Off-Broadway and NYC: Kimberly Akimbo (Atlantic Theater Company), The Seagull (Elevator Repair Service). Chicago: The Santaland Diaries, Incendiary, graveyard shift (Goodman Theatre); Miracle: A Musical 108 Years in the Making (Royal George Theater); La Ronde (American Theater Company); Corduroy, Fantastic Mr. Fox (Emerald City Theatre); Hooded, Two Mile Hollow, American Hero (First Floor Theater); You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites). Academic: BURNBABYBURN: an american dream (Yale Cabaret); Romeo and Juliet, Bodas de sangre (David Geffen School of Drama). B.A., University of Chicago. Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Cat Raynor is a set and production designer for stage and film, and a fourth-year M.F.A. candidate in set design at David Geffen School of Drama. Recent design credits include Affinity, Twelfth Night (David Geffen School of Drama); Iris & Maggie, A Doll’s House, Love Songs (Yale Cabaret); You Don’t Have to Do Anything (IRT Theater), and short films MAJOR directed by Christopher Betts and Good Taste directed by Seonjae Kim. Cat previously worked in the art department of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She is a Yale Cabaret Advisory Board member for the 2022–2023 season Yale Cabaret 55: Parachute. Cat holds a B.A. in fine art from Kenyon College. More of her work can be seen at catraynor.com!
Fight and Intimacy Director
Michael Rossmy is a Resident Fight and Intimacy Director for Yale Rep, a lecturer in acting at David Geffen School of Drama, and the Stage Combat and Intimacy Advisor for Yale College. Broadway credits include A Tale of Two Cities, Cymbeline, and Superior Donuts. Regional theater credits include The Public Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, Goodspeed Musicals, Paper Mill Playhouse, Asolo Rep, The Old Globe, TheaterWorks Hartford, Princeton University, The Acting Company, Soho Rep, the Geffen Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Kansas City Rep, People’s Light & Theatre, and others. He was nominated for a 2017 Drama Desk Award for his work on Troilus and Cressida for The Public Theater’s production in Central Park. Recent credits include Cyrano De Bergerac at Kansas City Rep directed by Nelson T. Eusebio III and the world premiere of Bonez written and directed by Steve Broadnax III. Upcoming is the New York premiere of Sally & Tom by Suzan-Lori Parks.
Emily Duncan Wilson
Emily Duncan Wilson
Emily Duncan Wilson returns to Yale Rep, where she was the sound designer for The Plot and assistant sound designer and engineer for El Huracán. Her other credits include YELL: a “documentary” of my time here, Trouble in Mind, blues for miss lucille, Death of Yazdgerd, Tent Revival (David Geffen School of Drama); benjisun presents: bodyssey, Truck II (Yale Cabaret); Shakespeare in the Dark: Macbeth (Past is Prologue Productions); American Girl Live! (Mills Entertainment); and Twin Size Beds (The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival). Emily played reeds for Fun Home (David Geffen School of Drama), The Pajama Game (New London Barn Playhouse), and 42nd Street (Palace Theatre). She holds a B.A. in music with a concentration in multiple woodwind performance from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and an M.F.A. in sound design from David Geffen School of Drama at Yale.
Grace Zandarski is Associate Chair of the Acting program and Head of Voice and Text at David Geffen School of Drama, where she has taught Voice since 2002. She has coached numerous productions at Yale Rep and the Geffen School including The Brightest Thing in the World, An Enemy of the People, Hamlet, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Between Two Knees. New York coaching credits include Mike Nichols’s productions of Death of a Salesman and Betrayal (Broadway), The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide… (The Public Theater), and Homebody/Kabul (BAM). She was named Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework in 1998. Grace is Co-Artistic Director of The Actors Center Workshop Company, a company member of Pantheatre (Paris), SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and VASTA. Acting credits include McCarter Theatre, OSF Ashland, Wilma Theatre, and ACT. Directing credits include the Peer Gynt Project and Chekhov Shorts. M.F.A., American Conservatory Theater; B.A., Princeton University.
Graham Zellers is a fourth-year lighting design student at David Geffen School of Drama, where his credits include Affinity, Bodas de sangre/Blood Wedding, and Hamlet, as well as We are Proud to Present…, and There’s a Thing at the End of the Loop at Yale Cabaret. Other previous positions held include Lighting Director at Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, FL and Lighting Supervisor at Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY. Graham received his B.A. in theater design and technology from Ball State University. Other work can be found at zellersdesign.com.
Matthew Armentrout previously worked at Yale Rep on The Brightest Thing in the World, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Today Is My Birthday, and Manahatta. Broadway: Birthday Candles, Paradise Square, Flying Over Sunset, and Bernhardt/Hamlet. Off Broadway: Merrily We Roll Along (Roundabout), Othello (Shakespeare in the Park). Regional: Bliss (The 5th Avenue Theatre), Jitney (National Tour), Paradise Square (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).
Amy Boratko is the Senior Artistic Producer at Yale Rep and has previously served as dramaturg on the Yale Rep productions of The Brightest Thing in the World, The Plot, Girls, Cadillac Crew, Good Faith, Field Guide, Mary Jane, Imogen Says Nothing, peerless, Indecent, War, The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, Dear Elizabeth, The Realistic Joneses, Good Goods, Belleville, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Compulsion, Notes from Underground, and Eurydice, among others. Other credits include dramaturging new play workshops at New Dramatists, the Acting Company, and Voice and Vision’s ENVISION Retreat. She is a lecturer at David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. B.A., Rice University; M.F.A., David Geffen School of Drama.
Lily Haje is a theater maker and fourth-year M.F.A. candidate in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at David Geffen School of Drama, where her credits include Romeo and Juliet directed by Leyla Levi and Swimmers directed by Jackson Gay. Other recent dramaturgical work includes There is a Thing at the End of the Loop written by Dylan Guerra and #4 written by Abigail C. Onwunali at Yale Cabaret. She is the co-curator of Love Songs, a multimedia art and performance project, also at Yale Cabaret, and a former managing editor of Theater magazine. Previously, she worked in producing and production management with companies including Music-Theatre Group, Woodshed Collective, and Iron Bloom Creative Production. She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University in theater and study of religion.
Tara Rubin, C.S.A.
Tara Rubin, C.S.A.
Tara Rubin, C.S.A. has been casting at Yale Rep since 2004. Selected Broadway/National Tours: KPOP, Mr. Saturday Night, Six, Ain’t Too Proud, King Kong, The Band’s Visit, Prince of Broadway, Indecent, Bandstand, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon, Dear Evan Hansen, A Bronx Tale, Cats, Falsettos, School of Rock, Les Misérables, The Heiress, The Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot, Shrek, Spamalot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Producers, Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys. Off-Broadway: Gloria: A Life, Smokey Joe’s Café, Jersey Boys, Here Lies Love. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Bucks County Playhouse, Westport Country Playhouse. Film: Billy Crystal’s Here Today. tararubincasting.com
Michele Selene Ang
Michele Selene Ang
Michele Selene Ang is a Chinese American actor, writer, and filmmaker with Indonesian roots. She was born in Surabaya, raised in San Francisco, educated in New York, and is currently based in Los Angeles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater performance from Fordham University, and she was chosen as a 2012 YoungArts winner and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Her work can be found on Netflix’s hit drama 13 Reasons Why and CBS’s Elementary. She is thrilled to make her Yale Rep debut in this beautiful new play. You can check her out at michelesang.com!
Megan Hill is delighted to be making her Yale Rep debut and to be in collaboration again with both Leah and Margot. Megan is a Brooklyn-based actor and writer. As an actor, she specializes in new work and has originated roles in the world premieres of Open and Cut (both by Crystal Skillman), Amy Staats’s Eddie And Dave, Mara Nelson Greenberg’s Do You Feel Anger?, Leah Nanako Winkler’s Kentucky, and Rob Askins’ Hand To God, to name a few. As a writer, she has been published in Ms. Magazine and CultureBot; she co-wrote the play Lonesome Winter with Joshua Conkel; and her play The Last Class: A Jazzercize Play has had acclaimed runs in New York, DC, and Seattle. In 2019, Megan was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her portrayal of David Lee Roth in Eddie And Dave and was also named one of the Best Comedic Performances of the Year by The New York Times. B.F.A. in acting and original works, Cornish College of the Arts; M.F.A. in acting: ART/MXAT IATT at Harvard. For more info visit: meganhill.net or follow on Instagram: @meganhillwhat Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Katherine Romans is excited to be making her Yale Rep debut. Most recently, she played Reality Winner in the international tour of Is This a Room after understudying the role on Broadway. Other theater includes Men on Boats (ACT) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Livermore Shakespeare). Television: The Gilded Age (HBO). Katherine is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at ACT. katherineromans.com
Rebecca Kent is a fourth-year M.F.A. candidate at David Geffen School of Drama, where she was seen in Ghosts, Affinity, She Kills Monsters, and Love’s Labor’s Lost.
Maggie McCaffery is a fourth-year M.F.A. candidate at David Geffen School of Drama, where she was seen in Affinity, The Cherry Orchard, and She Kills Monsters. She received her B.F.A. from Boston University.
Olivia Oguma won a CT Critics Circle Award for BFE at Long Wharf Theatre. Broadway: Mamma Mia!, A Christmas Carol, Les Misérables. Off-Broadway: Letters of Suresh (Second Stage), Addressless (Rattlestick), Hello From… (Playwrights Realm), Luce (LCT3), Emotional Creature (Signature), BFE (Playwrights Horizons), The Dispute (NAATCO). Regional: LaJolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Portland Center Stage, Philadelphia Theater Co. Film/Television: This is Where I Leave You, Strangers with Candy, Like Father, Instinct, FBI, Odd Mom Out, Younger, Law & Order, The Good Wife, The Big C, Great News, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Thanks to Mom, Oliver, Luigi from Lima and EJ (the best reader!). @olioguma Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.