Fran Kirmser has worked with artists and arts organizations for 20 years and has facilitated the work of hundreds of artists to stage. She began her professional career at the age of 14 as a dancer. After a career ending injury she started working on the other side of the stage. In 1997 she founded Fran Kirmser LLC, one of the first consulting companies dedicated to the emerging artist. In 2000 she co-founded, Manhattan Theatre Source, a theater and playground for passion in Greenwich Village. In 2002 she launched The Biography Project, a series of biographical plays that tell the stories of artists in an effort to recognize their voices, better archive their creations and explore their influence on culture. The first was Isadora …No Apologies about American Dance Icon and Feminist Isadora Duncan.
On Broadway Kirmser co-produced the award-winning Radio Golf, the last play and final chapter in an epic ten-play cycle by August Wilson, one of our nation’s greatest playwrights. Kirmser was a producer on the 2009 Tony Award-Winner for Best Musical Revival, Hair. In 2008, off the heels of the financial crisis, Kirmser conceived a sports series for stage to explore leadership, competition, teamwork, drive and resilience. Developing first Lombardi, a new play based on the life of the Iconic Leader and renowned Football Coach Vince Lombardi, starring Dan Lauria and Judith Light. Produced by Kirmser/Ponturo Group and in association with the NFL, Lombardi opened in 2010 and was the longest running play of the 2010-2011 Season where it brought an estimated 146,000 new patrons to the theater for the first time.
Additional Broadway credits include Magic/Bird, Bronx Bombers, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which earned the 2013 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. She is represented in Annie and Lucky Guy. Fran serves as Executive Producer of the feature film Lombardi, based on the Broadway play and produced by Legendary Pictures, and the feature film Louis Vs. Schmeling.
An Arts Advocate, she has served on funding panels in the fine and performing arts such as New York Foundation for the Arts and has taught master classes at Columbia University, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and Universities across the country as well as Commercial Theater Institute and HB Studio where she serves on the Artistic Council. Fran is currently a member of the Broadway League and a Tony Voter. She has co-authored the book A Life In Dance: a practical guide for a dancer’s career now available on Amazon.
Christopher Burney is the Tony nominated Artistic Producer of New York’s Second Stage Theatre where he has worked since 1996. Of the over 100 productions he has shepherded at Second Stage: Tony-winning best musical Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Bachelorette by Leslye Headland, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin and James Lapine, Notes from the Field and Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith and the upcoming musical Superhero by Tom Kitt and John Logan. As a champion of emerging artists, he has launched the careers of Rajiv Joseph, Leslye Headland, Michael Golamco, Kenneth Lin, Marisa Wegrzyn, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Brooke Berman, Adam Bock, amongst many others.
As an educator, he currently teaches at Columbia University in the graduate theater program. He has lectured at Kenyon College, Marymount Manhattan College, Barnard College, The Einhorn School for the Performing Arts and the Juilliard School.
Previously, he worked at Lincoln Center Theater as the Assistant to the Director of Musical Theatre where he worked with leading musical theater writers including Stephen Sondheim, Michael John LaChiusa, William Finn, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.
He has consulted for various organizations including the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the Kesselring Prize, the Kurt Weill Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Jerome Foundation.
He is a graduate of Brandeis University, B.A., and Columbia University, M.F.A.