You Can’t Put on an Amazing Event Without an Amazing Event Committee

David Johnston

We are almost SOLD OUT of tickets for next Monday’s EtM Autumn Soiree.  (But you can STILL buy raffle tickets for DEAR EVAN HANSEN.)

So it seems like the right time to take a moment to thank the awesome colleagues, friends and compatriots that comprise our Event Committee for the Autumn Soiree.

They have contributed ideas, sold tickets, rounded up silent auction items, hauled, lifted, networked, cajoled, boosted, harangued and cheered. We couldn’t have done it without them. Huzzah!



Sarah Benvenuti earned her B.M in Music Education from Mercyhurst University and M.A. in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Having been the Director of Future Tenant Art Space in Pittsburgh, Special Events Manager at Arena Stage in D.C., Managing Director of Curious Theatre Company in Denver, and Director of Development of The Civilians in Brooklyn, she founded Benvenuti Arts, specializing in fundraising and management consulting for small and midsize nonprofits. Benvenuti has participated in the Arts Leadership Institute of the New York Arts and Business Council, Impact Denver of the Denver Metro Chamber, and was an Emerging Leaders of New York Arts Fellow. She recently rolled off the CMU Heinz College Alumni Association Board to serve as the first chair of CMU’s Future Tenant Alumni Network. Sarah has sat on various panels concerning arts management, real estate, emerging leadership, and creative partnership, and works with individual artists to help them fundraise directly for their art.


Lisa Johnson, Director of Music Administration at the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School of Lighthouse Guild, holds a doctorate from City University of New York, where she specialized in woodwind performance and analysis for performers. She was most recently Music Program Director at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). Previously, Dr. Johnson was for ten years the Associate Dean of the Mannes College of Music of New School University, and was also a tenured Associate Professor at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, teaching clarinet, saxophone, jazz, and music business. She has long been active as a free-lance and Broadway orchestra performer.


Shawn E. Milnes is a native New Yorker, arts journalist and regular contributor to The Daily Beast. He also blogs about opera, sex, and movies at Schleppy Nabucco’s. He is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, East and currently at work on a memoir. Shawn lives in Manhattan with his partner, Elizabeth, and their two cats.


Matthew Principe is a producer of works spanning various disciplines. Regularly working with international performers of the highest caliber, Matthew is the Associate Producer for the intermission content of the Metropolitan Opera’s Grammy, Emmy, and Peabody Award-winning Live in HD series, which transmits live opera performances to movie theaters in 70 countries around the world. He is also Associate Producer of the Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcasts on SIRIUS / XM Satellite Radio, broadcasting over 1000 live broadcasts throughout North America as well as via the Met’s website.

After graduating from Temple University with a degree in Vocal Performance, Matthew served as the Assistant/Acting Orchestra Personnel Manager for The Philadelphia Orchestra, producing over 120 performances in 5 venues annually, as well as international tours, under the batons of Music Directors Wolfgang Sawallisch, Christoph Eschenbach, and Charles Dutoit. He has also collaborated with arts institutions such as the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Orlando, The Cleveland Orchestra, National Sawdust, American Composers Forum, and Columbia Artists Management Inc., where he scouted emerging talent for their roster. A graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute, Matthew serves on the board of the art song platform Sparks and Wiry Cries and the Artistic Advisory committee for MasterVoices.

As an independent producer, Matthew oversees development, production, and distribution for projects such as the short film, Monsura is Waiting, directed by frequent collaborator Kevin Newbury, winner of Best Fantasy Film at the Mexico International Film Festival and Best Cinematography at the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival; and is now available on digital platforms in over 84 countries. Stag, starring Sarah Steele (The Good Wife, Girls) and written by Donna DiNovelli, is also available on digital platforms. His latest film project, Epiphany V, is a narrative told through dance inspired by the music of Peruvian composer Jimmy López. Matthew has three feature films in development and is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

Matthew’s stage projects include the GLAAD Media Award-winning production of Candy & Dorothy (Drama Desk nominee, Best Actor), a play written by David Johnston as well as various endeavors on Broadway and off-Broadway, including the avant grade monster opera, Sasquatch, written by Roddy Bottum, keyboardist for the rock group Faith No More. A new opera by Cuban-American composer Armando Bayolo on the complicated story of the polarizing political figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara is in development.

As a performer, Matthew appeared in over fifty productions of musical theater and opera. He has served as a Philadelphia representative of the American Guild of Musical Artists. In 2001, under the auspices of American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, he was one of the first recitalists to perform in the rebuilt Graz Synagogue.


Marni Raab As an actress, Marni Raab is best known for her extended run as Christine Daaé in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater on Broadway. She is the fourth-longest running actor to play the role in New York history. She has also toured in the role, both in the U.S. and Canada, and in Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, and Hong Kong. Other performance credits include Jellylorum in Cats (Hamburg, Germany), Julie Jordan in Carousel, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Lily in The Secret Garden, Guinevere in Camelot, an original one-woman show featured at LA’s Show at Barre. Concert engagements include appearances with the South Dakota Symphony, Christmas at the Cathedral, and Douglas Tappin’s operatic memoir of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I Dream, at the Kennedy Center. Marni holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Oberlin Conservatory and a Masters in theater history from Brooklyn College. She serves as Literary Manager for Midtown Direct Rep in Maplewood, NJ where she programs and co-produces a new play reading series featuring extraordinary local talent. Marni also works as a story analyst for Amazon Studios. She recently taught acting at the Joffrey summer musical theater intensive and is a faculty member at The Institute for American Musical Theatre. Marni currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and three amazing step kids.


Jeffrey Dennis Smith was a Resident Composer with the EtM Con Edison Composer’s Residency and a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater. His opera with librettist David Johnston, WHY IS EARTHA KITT TRYING TO KILL ME?: A LOVE STORY, will be premiered in July 2018 by UrbanArias in D.C. A concert version was at (Le) Poisson Rouge in 2015. He participated in the 2015 New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, and in 2013 he received a scholarship to study at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris. His musical LIGHTNING MAN was presented as part of the ANT Fest 2011 at Ars Nova. He holds degrees from Tisch School of the Arts, Northwestern University and the University of Northern Iowa.



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