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Apr 14 — Apr 16

Big Machine (fka The Butterfly Room)

COCAwrites Festival

At home in 1924, a girl has big dreams of going to college and breaking free of the factory town. Her brother takes a day job at a New Jersey oil refinery where he meets a rag-tag group of young workers for whom America is anything but booming. Big Machine recounts the real-life events surrounding the 1924 incident at Bayway Standard Oil through the lens of both those who worked there and those responsible. Big Machine is written by St. Louisan and Music Director of COCA’s Vocal Company Colin Healy. 

Big Machine is a musical about the potential of youth amidst the degradation of the American working machine. While clocking in for a company with big dreams and harmful tactics, the young people in Big Machine must choose how to respond to the world which seeks to extract their childhood and all of their best intentions. Big Machine asks us how labor across the last 100 years has evolved in the US and what remains the same.  

Big Machine is created in the COCAwrites program which seeks to tell stories for multi-generational audiences with youth at the center. Student artists work with a company of professionals to gain training and develop the new work together. Student dramaturgy and feedback is at the core of the new work development process. Under the guidance of COCAwrites Festival Producer and Lead Teaching Artist Delaney Piggins, students participate in all areas of production from Acting, Directing, Music Directing, Design, and Production.

The COCAwrites program is part of COCA’s Pre-Professional Division Theatre Artist Program, under the direction of Artistic Director of Theatre Jennifer Wintzer. Contact jwintzer@cocastl.org for more information.

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About COCAwrites

COCAwrites focuses on the writing and development of new plays for multi-generational theatre audiences through collaboration and learning among professional and student playwrights and composers. Students in this program will workshop new plays and musicals written by professional composers and playwrights from around the country while having the chance to develop their own new plays and musicals with the mentorship of these leaders. Performance and Design-tech students will also have the chance to grow their skill in the new play development space, by experimenting with new performance techniques, theatrical designs and functions by applying them to never-before-produced plays. COCA is thrilled to offer this training to students as new work gains attention and priority on all stages across America’s theatres.

$5 Student Rush Tickets

Available for purchase in person only at the Box Office, one hour prior to showtime.

Vaccination Policy for Theatre Audiences

All patrons must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the ticketed performance. Face masks are required in the theatre. Click here for a full list of COCA’s protocols and what patrons should expect.


Jennifer Wintzer

Artistic Director of Theatre

Jennifer Wintzer is the Artistic Director of Theatre at COCA (Center of Creative Arts) where she oversees COCApresents and the COCA Pre-Professional Division training program for emerging theatre artists.

Jennifer joined COCA’s team from Shakespeare Festival St. Louis where she served as Director of Education/Associate Artistic Director. Under Jennifer’s leadership, the Festival was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Missouri Arts Council, and FOCUS St. Louis, as well as St. Louis Theatre Circle nominations and awards, including best new play and scenic design. In 2018, as lead producer for the launch of the Festival’s new works series, her producing work received four St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards with the regional premiere of Into the Breeches! by George Brant, including Best Production.

Before relocating to St. Louis, Jennifer worked with Lincoln Center Theater, Second Stage Theatre, and MCC Theater.

Jennifer is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Program in Arts and Cultural Strategy. She earned an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at Shakespeare Theatre Company and George Washington University, and a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. She is a recipient of the Actor’s Fund Scholarship for the Marymount Manhattan College Arts Ed Program. She is a proud member of AEA, a RAC CAT Fellow, and serves as adjunct faculty in the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.

Colin Healy

Composer

Colin Healy serves as Music Director for COCA’s Vocal Company. He is a composer, music director, and the artistic director of Fly North Theatricals. Starting at age 15, as a touring singer/songwriter with South Florida-based rock band The Republik, Colin’s work as a recording artist spans five full-length studio albums—three as a performer (Last Chance Planet, 2006; The Unexpected Answer, 2010; We Are The Wild Things, 2012) and two as a producer (The Gringo: Original St. Louis Cast Album, 2017; Seeing Other People: A New Musical Concept, 2021). We Are The Wild Things was recorded at Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne, Crybaby: The Musical) and James Iha’s (Smashing Pumpkins) legendary Stratosphere Studios in New York and was produced by Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls). Colin’s body of studio work has been recognized by Billboard and College Music Journal and has received radio play nationwide. His work as a composer includes ForgottoniaThe GringoMadam, and Seeing Other People. Notables: The Gringo headlined the 2018 St. Louis Fringe Festival and became the best-selling show in festival history; Seeing Other People was produced in collaboration with Saint Louis University where he was the Artist-In-Residence.

Nancy Bell

Director

Nancy Bell is a multidisciplinary theatre artist and educator whose body of work comprises directing, playwriting, acting, and producing. She is known nationally and locally as the founding Playwright-In-Residence of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s award-winning community-based theatre project, Shakespeare in the Streets. Her other plays have been produced regionally and at many local theatres.

Favorite directing credits include Into the Breeches at STL Shakespeare and The How and the Why at the New Jewish Theatre. She is the recipient of the St. Louis Visionary Award for Outstanding Arts Professional and the Scholarly Works Award from Saint Louis University, where she directs the Theatre program.

Jermaine Manor

Music Director

Jermaine D. Manor is a singer, pianist, vocal coach, and Worship & Arts director, currently residing in Belleville, Illinois. He is a native of Miami and a graduate of New World School of the Performing Arts and an alum of Auburn University where he earned his B.M. (music education and vocal pedagogy) and M.M. (performance and choral conducting).

​As a former student of Juilliard alumni Elisabeth Braden and Eric Caldwell, Jermaine brings to his singing and voice instruction a special understanding of the way the voice and body works. This knowledge sets him apart in his ability to communicate pedagogically and artistically. As a singer, it has allowed him a large musical vocabulary and success across genres. From opera to jazz, classical, gospel and musical theatre.

C. Anthony Cole

Choreographer

C. Anthony Cole has been a dance artist and arts educator since attending the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and the Boston Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Theater.

C. Anthony has produced and directed Collaborations Dance concerts and has been a Guest Choreographer and Teacher at SDSCPA from 1993–2012. He has created work for local theater companies Common Ground Theater, Black Storytellers of San Diego, and the Ira Aldridge Repertory Players. C. Anthony was also the Co-Director and Choreographer of the Gospel Messiah, 2006–2009.

Currently, he serves on the faculty at COCA. He also held a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bloomsburg University. Additionally, he choreographed, directed, and produced Three for Daniel, a dance film, which documents the creation of three original works for Daniel Marshall, a former member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

He has worked as a consultant for start-up dance companies and has produced, stage managed, and directed for Unity Dance Ensemble, LaDiego Dance Theater, The Garage Project, and the Foster-King Dance Collection. C. Anthony has had the privilege of training dancers who have gone on to attend University of the Arts, Ailey-Fordham, and University of California, Irvine. He is pleased to be a new faculty member at Stages. C. Anthony earned his M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and a B.S. in Human Services from the University of Phoenix.

Delaney Piggins

Producer and Dramaturg

Delaney Piggins is a St. Louis Theatre Artist, Playwright, and Producer. She currently serves as the Artistic Producer at COCA, where her work as producer, artist, and teacher has shaped the programming and productions of COCAwrites, which aims to develop plays for multi-generational audiences by a multi-generational team of artists. She also teaches playwriting and acting at COCA.

Delaney previously served as an Associate Producer on St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare in The Streets, and Lead Teaching Artist for their community engagement and education programming.

She is a member 2021 Confluence Regional Writers Cohort at St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. Her play HOMES will premiere at the Festival in January of 2022. Delaney’s play Burden of Proof premiered at SATE in 2018 and was produced in November of 2020 by Exit Left Theatre Company. As an intimacy choreographer, Delaney collaborates with various companies and educational institutions including St. Louis University. As an actor, Delaney has worked with companies including The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, The New Jewish Theatre, and Bread and Roses, MO. She earned a B.F.A. in Acting from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.

COCA Big Machine

Apr 14 — Apr 16

Big Machine (fka The Butterfly Room)

COCAwrites Festival

April 14 April 16

6880 Washington Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63130
+ Google Map
314.725.6555

Big Machine Cast

Abi Loiterstein, Lighting Apprentice & Musical Dramaturg
Alexander Johnson, Ensemble
Brea Johnson, Ethel
Colin McLaughlin, Kettering
D’Aura Tatum, Ensemble & Costume Design Apprentice
DeKylah Epps, Ensemble
Eileen Engle, Ensemble
Elisha Johnson, Production Assistant & Dramaturg
Bradford Rolen, Charles Thomas/Ensemble
Julia Nelson, Scenic Apprentice & Sound Apprentice
Matt Ingram, Midgley
Kennedy Jenkins, Ensemble
Kimmie Kidd Booker, Ensemble
Laila Varner, Grace
Laine Auffenberg, CC
Lauren Perry, Gilda
Lizi Watt, Evelyn/Ensemble
Parker Collier, Junior
Kaitlin Oliver, Rosie
Miles Brenton, Methuselah
Peyton Webster, Assistant Director
Sanara Maasera, Assistant Choreographer
Matt Billings, Ernest/Ensemble
Sarah Brown, Ensemble
Soph Levinson, Ensemble
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