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Free Online Forum: Diversity In The Entertainment Industry w/ Rance Wright (New York Performance Coach), Joe Barros (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, Touring and International Director/Choreographer), Elena Gutierrez (Broadway Performer), Christian Bufford (Equity Performer), Gregory Pitcher-Gulley II (Manager at MAXX Management), Nicole Santiago (Equity Performer) and Jennifer Kumiyama (Equity Performer)
June 18 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pmFree
Rance Wright and Joe Barros will be offering a class devoted to all things Diversity In The Entertainment Industry! We are excited to be inviting industry professionals, Elena Gutierrez, Christian Bufford, Gregory Pitcher-Gulley II, Nicole Santiago, and Jennifer Kumiyama who understand the importance of diversity to the conversation to be in a panel to help get real and honest points of view. Now, more than ever, we need to understand the value of diversity and how it benefits all involved in theater and the Entertainment Industry.
This forum will last about an hour long. So join on Thursday for what promises to be a very exciting hour about all things DIVERSITY!
Check out Christian Bufford’s Bio:
Christian Bufford (he/they) is a Chicago based multidisciplinary artist who blends the lines of theatre, dance, and film. Theatre credits include the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center, national tours, and many more. Most recent producing credits include “The Straights” by T. Adamson at Jack Theatre in Brooklyn and the original dance series “The Amy Diaries”. As a playwright, Christian has written and developed a new play called “Franklin” which serves as a queer guide to black trauma. Christian is a graduate of the drama school at the University of NC School of the Arts and also holds a BFA from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Check out Elena Gutierrez’s Bio:
Elena has had the privilege to work with the likes of Meryl Streep, Ben Stiller, Natalie Portman, Marvin Hamlisch, Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo, Cynthia Nixon, Idina Menzel, and Savion Glover. A Cum Laude graduate of The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Elena stays connected to her alma mater by being a member of the Alumni Affairs Committee. Elena has also been on faculty for elite summer programs including the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and the Boston Conservatory Musical Theatre Dance Intensive. Elena has also served as a member of the musical theatre dance faculty at Marymount Manhattan College and Wagner College. She is also a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association and a recipient of a Project Plie Scholarship from ABT, awarded to teachers of color in the dance world. Currently, Elena is a Performing Arts teacher at Uncommon Schools-North Star Academy in Newark, NJ. This organization, dedicated to closing the achievement gap, uses the arts for social justice, with the intention of creating equity and leveling the playing field.
skills that revolutionized his work within the community, and ultimately leading him to create his first Non-Profit Business Model LMBMe (Let Me Be Me). LMBMe, promoted the visibility of underrepresented individuals and giving them a “voice” to share their experiences and personal identity with the world.
over 10,000 homeless and at-risk individuals off the streets of Las Vegas and preparing them to succeed in the work-force from 2009 to today, all-the-while giving voice to thousands of underrepresented groups of people. Gregory has since worked in many industries and positions ranging from Sales, Customer Service, Food & Beverage, Non-Profit, Coaching and Development, and now Entertainment.
Check out Jennifer Kumiyama’s Bio:
Jennifer Kumiyama was born with Arthrogryposis and uses a wheelchair daily. Kumiyama received voice lessons at Long Beach City College and the California State University of Long Beach. In 2000, Jennifer earned a spot on Warner Bros. reality TV show “Popstars 2” and earned national accolades from many publications including Variety Magazine and TV Guide – referring to her as “the girl in the wheelchair, who’s voice blew everyone out of the water”. Shortly after that in 2002 – Jennifer was cast in Disney’s “Aladdin; a Musical Spectacular” at Disney California Adventure Theme Park, where she is the first performer in a wheelchair to ever be on any Disney stage in the world. She performed 4 times a day for 8,000 guests a day, who visit from every corner of the world. It was at Disney that Jennifer took on her real role as an advocate for people living with disabilities – showing the entire world that talent sees no boundaries. This motivated her to become a speaker – sharing her story with schools, social groups, and major businesses. Her new passion, in addition to singing – is being a voice for people living with disabilities by breaking attitudinal and architectural barriers. “Aladdin; a Musical Spectacular” closed on January 10, 2016.
In 2010, Jennifer was crowned Ms. Wheelchair California and Ms. Wheelchair America 2011, 1st Runner Up. During her reign, she spread the message of hope through her platform “Empowering Children with Disabilities to Make Their Own Dreams Come True”.
Jennifer was cast in a major role as ‘Carmen’ in Sundance Film Festival hit and Academy Award Nominated film “The Sessions”, MTV’s teen sensation “Awkward” and became the founder and owner of The Ms. Wheelchair California Foundation in 2011 and has since retired as the State Coordinator in 2016.