The Orchard Project Announces Participants In New Episodic Lab For TV Writers
Tom Toro
For Immediate Release: The Orchard Project Announces Participants In New Episodic Lab For TV Writers


Writers to Develop Pilots on Celebrity Cruises, Hip-Hop, The Las Vegas Strip, a 1960s Immigrant Soccer Club, and More

Saratoga Springs, NY (June 21, 2018) — The Orchard Project, a nationally renowned performance laboratory, today announced the six original, independent pilots selected to participate in its first annual Episodic Lab. More than 430 artists applied to the inaugural year of the Episodic Lab, which will help writers develop television and episodic content, working with accomplished showrunners and producers as mentors. The pioneer artists include playwrights, cartoonist, and screenwriters — and they are working on a diverse set of pilots, focusing on everything from the world of rap to the world of celebrity cruises. Selected artists and projects include: BRIGHTSTAR! By Michael Cyril Creighton; CRACK'D by Nako Adodoadji; THE PARK by Amy Jephta; THE SHAMROCKS by Chris Sharp and Kate Barry; THE STRIP by Tom Toro; and TINO & HEDDY by Patricia Scanlon and Louis Mustillo.

“With our Episodic Lab, the Orchard Project will do more of what we do best: giving artists access to top-notch peers and leaders eager to share ideas, plus the time, space, and support they need to accelerate their their ideas and take them to the next level,” Orchard Project Artistic Director Ari Edelson said. “Storytellers are moving between forms, more now than ever, and we are excited to expand our already bustling ecosystem of artists to include the next generation of great episodic storytellers.”

From July 9 - 21, 2018, Episodic Lab participants will have time and space to work and the opportunity to participate in one-on-one creative story meetings with industry leaders, pitching sessions, mock writers’ rooms, and collaboration sessions with peers. Writers will arrive to the Episodic Lab in Saratoga Springs, NY with a draft pilot script and leave with a refined draft and a show bible.

Industry professionals, including television and film producers, directors, and show-runners culled from the program’s advisory committee, will be matched with each participant to read scripts and provide ongoing feedback and mentorship. Advisors include  Warren Leight (Law & Order, SVU), David Mandel (Veep), Bekah Brunstetter (This is Us), Theresa Rebeck (Smash), Etan Frankel (Shameless), Dan Dietz (Westworld), Jamie Pachino (Halt and Catch Fire), Robert Schenkkan (The Pacific), Andrew Guest (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Gabrielle Allan (Veep), Jennifer Crittenden (Veep), Neena Beber (Strangers), Rodrigo Garcia (In Treatment). The Lab will culminate with the opportunity for participants to present new work to TV executives.


The projects and artists selected to participate in the first year of the Episodic Lab include:



Written by Michael Cyril Creighton

BRIGHTSTAR! is a workplace comedy about a glamorous cruise ship and the hard partying, sex-obsessed staff that keeps the perfect illusion afloat. Sudden deaths, unexpected promotions, and the inability to stop partying won't get in the way of their quest to make your time at sea perfect-ish, even during the occasional medical emergency, AKA: a BRIGHTSTAR!

Michael Cyril Creighton is an actor and writer based in New York City. MCC created and starred in Jack in a Box (2013 WGA Award for Original New Media, Best Web Series at the 2010 NYTV Fest). He wrote the teleplay for an early web episode of High Maintenance titled “Helen” and guest-starred as Patrick, the lovable agoraphobic, who returns in HBO’s season one finale. He is best known for playing the clergy abuse survivor Joe Crowley in Spotlight (Academy Award for Best Picture, Robert Altman Ensemble Award.) His other films include Steven Spielberg’s The Post, Home Again, Game Night, Can You Ever Forgive Me? TV: Bob’s Burgers, Billions, Graves, 30 Rock, The Good Fight, Horace & Pete, Nurse Jackie, Louie, OITNB, Person of Interest, 2 Broke Girls, Neon Joe. On Stage: The Amateurs (Vineyard), Stage Kiss (Playwrights Horizons) and several plays with The Debate Society.



Written by Nako Adodoadji

Allison thinks she’s going crazy when she sees Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Shirley, and Janie Crawford in her town. But she soon discovers that she’s not the only one who can see the fictional characters as something dark and supernatural overtakes her hometown.

Nako Adodoadji is a writer, actor, and multi-disciplinary artist. Most recently, Columbia Stages presented her play Kill Hamlet at Signature Theatre, and she worked as script consultant/acting coach for the award winning short film The Cage (2017 Oscar qualifier — Best Narrative Short). She was a finalist for the 2017 Downtown Urban Arts Festival for her play Protest, which was performed at Cherry Lane Theatre and placed second in the Best Short Play Category. She was a finalist for the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship and was nominated for the inaugural Mabou Mines Suite Space artist residency program. Additionally, her play A Lonely Light was presented in the 2015 Women Playwrights International Conference in Cape Town, South Africa and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. She is currently developing a solo show titled The Celibate Life. Adodoadji earned an M.F.A. in Playwriting (Columbia University) and a B.F.A. in Acting (University of the Arts).



Written by Amy Jephta

In South Africa’s notorious Cape Flats ghetto, an all-female hip-hop crew navigate friendship, love, and their hostile environment while trying to rise to the top of a burgeoning underground rap scene.

Amy Jephta is a writer from Cape Town, South Africa. An alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, she has had her work performed at the Riksteatern in Stockholm as well as the Bush Theatre, Theatre 503, and the Jermyn Street Theatres in London. Her writing was directed by Danny Boyle and performed by James McAvoy as part of The Children's Monologues at the Royal Court Theatre in 2015 and at Carnegie Hall in 2017. Amy’s screenwriting credits include Ellen (Official selection: International Film Festival, Rotterdam; Seattle International Film Festival; and Afrykamera Festival, Poland). She has been an international artist in residence at the Afrovibes festival in Amsterdam and at the Royal Court Theatre, serves as chairperson of global NPO Women Playwrights International and is the editor of Contemporary Plays by African Women, published by Methuen. She is currently developing a feature film for M-Net and a series for Showmax South Africa.



Written by Chris Sharp and Kate Barry

With a hunger for life, fun, and fair play, 23-year-old Billy Barron leads a cobbled together group of recent Irish immigrants in New York City to form The Shamrocks Soccer Club and compete in an all immigrant soccer league in 1960.

Chris Sharp is the author of the novels Cold Counsel and The Elementalists. He was producer of Murder Party, and associate producer of Blue Ruin, both directed by Jeremy Saulnier. Chris is currently developing projects for producers Alex Orr (Atlanta) and Macon Blair (I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore). Previously, he spent 14 years at Ogilvy, New York, and is now the head copywriter for a marketing firm in Massachusetts.

Kate Barry’s recent producing roles include Supervising Producer for Michael Moore, Producer of Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca’s Cinema Eye-nominated debut feature The Pearl, and various producing roles on HBO projects, including the Emmy Nominated Series The Weight of the Nation, Atomic Homefront, and Word’s That Built America. Kate's executive titles include VP of Production for Pulse Films (VICE) and Line Producer for National Geographic Channel. Kate began her career in scripted feature films in London and NYC.


Written by Tom Toro

In a heightened world where cartoon characters and humans coexist, a caricature artist working on the Las Vegas Strip struggles to advance her career while repaying a gambling debt to an animated gangster and conducting a taboo romance with a toon.

Tom Toro is a cartoonist for the New Yorker and a freelance writer. His cartoons also appear in Playboy, the Paris Review, the New York Times, and elsewhere. His fiction has been shortlisted for the Disquiet International Literary Prize. Tom co-wrote an award-winning feature screenplay currently in development for production by BaseFX, and he co-wrote a short film optioned by NBC Universal for television. Tom went to NYU Graduate Film School where he was cinematographer for films that played at Sundance, Tribeca, and Cannes. He graduated from Yale cum laude with a degree in cinema studies.



Written by Patricia Scanlon and Louis Mustillo

Once close, high-strung siblings, TINO & HEDDY, thrust together again, after inheriting their dysfunctional family’s defunct wing joint in Buffalo, NY, struggle to reassemble/reimagine the restaurant, their relationship, and their lives.

Patricia Scanlon is an actor and writer. She had a recurring role as Paula Pepperell on HBO'S Getting On and as Joy on FX’s Better Things. Her critically acclaimed play Death of a Salesgirl premiered at LA’s Bootleg Theater, garnering seven LA Weekly Award nominations. Hildy Hildy, Scanlon’s weekly theater episodic, which she penned and starred in, ran for three seasons in New York and was produced as a play at New York’s Soho Rep, co-starring John C. Reilly. Hildy Hildy went on to run for three seasons in Los Angeles, where material from the serial was later produced as a play, presented by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner. Throughout Hildy Hildy’s run, the show attracted guest stars, including Laurie Metcalf, Kevin Corrigan, Jane Lynch, Joanna Cassidy, and Kate Flannery. Scanlon and animator Dan Lund co-created an animated version of the show, produced by Flody Suarez (The Cher Show) and Courtney Conte, which was in development at TBS.

Louis Mustillo is a Buffalo, NY-born actor and writer, who attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Currently, he has a recurring role on CBS’s Strange Angel. Previously, he was a regular on Mike & Molly for all of its six seasons. Mustillo has guest starred in more than 50 episodes of television, along with playing a number of series regular and recurring roles, and has appeared in more than 20 films. His one man show Bartenders, which he wrote and starred in, ran for a year at the John Houseman Theatre in New York.





The Orchard Project is a development workshop, where many of America's boldest theatre companies and artists to create new work. Since it was founded in 2007, the Orchard Project has supported more than 1,000 artists and 200 shows. Work created at the Orchard Project been seen by at least 2,000,000 people in New York, Boston, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, Washington D.C., and beyond. From All the Way to Amelie, The Musical and from 33 Variations to Posh, the Orchard Project has played a significant role in the development of new works that have been, or will be, produced on and off Broadway and at theaters including St. Ann's Warehouse, MCC Theatre, BAM, Arena Stage, Philly Live Arts, PS122, The Public Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, the Edinburgh Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep, the Royal Court, and beyond. Work created at the Orchard Project also been turned into films distributed through HBO Films (All The Way), Universal (The Riot Club), and optioned into television projects at HBO, Netflix, and AMC Networks.