Profile cover photo
Profile photo
VH Theatrical Development Foundation
theatre, broadway, women, musical
theatre, broadway, women, musical


Post has attachment
For Immediate Release

Press Contact:  Bill Coyle / COYLE ENTERTAINMENT
917-279-6044 /

PHOTOS (credit - John Quilty):


“A worthy addition to theatrical family dramas.
The writing is sharp and well observed.  The staging is skillful and the actors excellent.”



BY Laura Pedersen

DIRECTED BY Ludovica Villar-Hauser


ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 2015 AT 4:40 PM AND 11:25 PM



After an acclaimed Off-Broadway engagement, THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN, a new play by best-selling author Laura Pedersen, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser, will soon be presented in regional productions, and will start the new year with two presentations at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) on Saturday, January 10, 2015 at the Hilton NY Midtown (1335 Avenue of the Americas) in the Regents Parlor (scheduled for 4:40 PM and 11:25 PM).  Regional productions will be announced in the new year.  More information and updates can be found at

A witty drama about Family, Faith, and the ties that bind, THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN is set in 1974 Buffalo.  The play follows the Kilgannons, who are as typical an Irish family one would expect to find during the era -- when the world outside the home was changing fast, and the generation gap inside the home was widening just as fast . . . and the future was up for grabs. 

The upcoming Buffalo engagement marks a homecoming for playwright and acclaimed author Laura Pedersen.   “Buffalo was 80% Catholic when I was growing up there in the 1970s,” says Ms. Pedersen. “It was a hotbed of anti-abortion protests, church basement Bingo and Friday night fish fries.  While the church was still reeling from the Second Vatican Council, society was being rocked by the Vietnam War, Watergate, birth control, a recession, an oil crisis, and various progressive movements championing African-Americans, women, Native Americans and the environment.  It was a time of religious, political, and cultural upheaval that placed young people in opposition to their elders more than at any other moment in recent history.  Hair length alone was responsible for thousands of dinner table fights.  Almost all the families I knew were struggling to find their way forward and make sense of a way of life that was unraveling before their eyes.  It turns out that mood rings, smiley faces, pet rocks and fuzzy dice affect people in all sorts of different ways.”

Laura Pedersen began her career as the youngest person, at age 20, to become a partner in a Wall Street trading firm.  Glamour magazine named her one of ten "Outstanding Young Working Women" in 1990. Her first book, Play Money (1991), about being the youngest trader on the floor of the American Stock Exchange, became a bestseller, and she appeared on CNN, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,”  “Primetime Live,” “David Letterman,” and other television programs.  In 1994, President Clinton honored Ms. Pedersen as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. She was a columnist for The New York Times from 1995 to 2002, and the host of her own television show on the Oxygen Channel from 1999-2002. She is the author of several best-selling and award-winning books, including the Hallie Palmer Series: Beginner’s Luck, Heart’s Desire, The Big Shuffle; and Best Bet; as well as Going Away Party; Last Call; Fool’s Mate; The Sweetest Hours; Buffalo Gal; Buffalo Unbound; and most recently, Planes, Trains, and Auto-Rickshaws.   Her first children's book, Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back, was published in 2012 and became a Mom's Choice Awards Gold recipient; another children's book, Ava's Adventure, has just been released.  Ms. Pedersen's one-act play A Dozen Perfect Moments was performed as part of the 2012 Midtown International Theatre Festival at the June Havoc Theatre. The play was also a winner of the Doc Jim Martin Playwright Competition and a semi-finalist in the Drury University One-Act Playwriting Competition.  Other stage works include the one-act play Living Arrangements and the full-length musical This Will All Be Yours (music and lyrics by Charles Bloom).  Visit and

THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN is directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser, whose other credits include: Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night in London’s West End; three productions at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival; the premiere of Gregory Murphy's The Countess, which ran Off-Broadway for 634 performances and in the West End; Rona Munro's Bold Girls at the 29th St. Rep.; the NYC premiere of Otho Eskin’s Duet, a new play about Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse; the North American premiere of Leaves of Glass by Philip Ridley, as part of Origin’s First Irish Festival, Derek Murphy's A Short Wake; As It Is In Heaven by Arlene Hutton, produced by 3 Graces Theater Co. at The Cherry Lane Theatre; A Dozen Perfect Moments, The Brightness of Heaven, Living Arrangements and This Will All be Yours by Laura Pedersen; the Off-Broadway production of Final Analysis by Otho Eskin at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Ludovica is the Founder of Works by Women, and has served on the Board of The League of Professional Theatre Women.  Visit

THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN was the finalist in the Maxim Mazumder New Play Competition, a finalist in the Ashland New Plays Festival, and a finalist in The Hudson Valley Writers' Center New Play Reading Series. It was first staged as a developmental production, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser, presented at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in 2012.  The play made its Off-Broadway premiere at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre (38 Commerce Street, NYC), where it was performed October 16th through December 14th, 2014 (Opening on October 26, 2014). 

The Off-Broadway cast of THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN featured Mark Banik, Emily Batsford, Peter Cormican, Bill Coyne, Paula Ewin, James Michael Lambert, Kate Kearney-Patch, Kendall Rileigh, as well as Kendra Jo Brook, who provided live music.  The production had set and costume design by Meganne George, lighting design by Natalie Robin, and sound design by Janie Bullard.  Amy Stoller was the dialect designer.  

Acclaim for the Off-Broadway premiere of THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN:

“Laura Pedersen does a great job of mining a topic that many perceive as being far from black and white.  Sharp direction . . . Witty banter, good performances, and polished production.”
- THEATRE IS EASY (Cindy Pierre)

“An intriguing and incisive comedic-dramatic play. Exceptionally directed.”
- BLOG CRITICS (Carole Di Tosti)

“A beautifully written piece that really makes you think.”

“Poignant and heartfelt.”

“A worthy addition to theatrical family dramas.
The writing is  sharp and well observed.  The staging is skillful and the actors excellent.”
- THEATRE SCENE .NET (Darryl Reilly)

“The writing and the acting is so good and the direction so subtle that you root for everyone
in different ways and for different reasons.”

“A delightful comedic drama. A marvelous cast, adroitly directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser.”
- THE FRONT ROW CENTER (Michael Hillyer)

“The play provides ample laughs along with the twists and turns
that come with the revelation of family secrets, each bigger than the last.”
- NY THEATRE NOW (Aimee Todoroff)

“A delightful comedy of Faith vs. Reality with an impressive cast and succinct direction.
Pedersen has perfectly captured the 1970s.”

The Off-Broadway cast of THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN will perform during the APAP presentations.

For more information about THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN and its presentations at APAP in January, please contact VH Theatrical Development Foundation at

For more information, visit:

# # #
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN - Coalition Night 11/25
a new play by Laura Pederson
directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street

Tuesday, November 25 at 7 p.m.

Performance plus Talkback on Collaboration
(leading up to the start of our next Collaboration Award submission!)
with collaborators from Brightness of Heaven, and others
including Lorca Peress, honoree at two Collaboration Awards Events

$38 per ticket with our special code: BHWAM
(a portion of your ticket price will be donated to the Coalition)

The Kilgannons are a typical Irish family in 1974 Buffalo. However, the world is changing fast, the generation gap is widening, and the future is up for grabs. Will the Kilgannons find the serenity to accept the things they cannot change and the wisdom to know that what needs changing most is sitting around the dinner table? THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN is a witty drama about Family, Faith, and the ties that bind - sometimes too tightly.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
The cast and creative team of #SheCallsMeFirefly are ready for their reading today! #breaklegs #theater #NYC — with Julia Osen Averill, Ludovica Villar-Hauser and Teresa Lotz.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Happy Birthday to our very own Peter Cormican! We hope you have a day full of single malt, singing and family. #TheBrightnessOfHeaven
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
We will be having a staged reading of Soundview Summer as part of the Tongues: Cherry Lane Reading Series on Tuesday December 9th, at 2PM. It is free, but you must RSVP to

by Kate Gill
directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser 

Billy and Jack thought it was a good-paying summer job. Now years later, both men are sick. They deal in their own ways with what happened after “cleaning” the Soundview Nuclear Power Plant. Jack seeks justice but Billy inexplicably ignores the reason for his illness. The cause of Billy’s reluctance emerges in a series of flashbacks to that summer as pressure mounts from Jack’s media campaign. 

Susan Barrett* Sharon Hope* Josh Powell* 
Annie McGovern* Brian Richardson* Dared Wright*

Production Stage Manager: Jenny Waletzky
Sound Design: Janie Bullard

*These Actors appear courtesy of Actors Equity.
2 Photos - View album
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Join us at The Cherry Lane Theatre Tuesday November 18th at 2pm for a reading of "She Calls Me Firefly", a new play by Teresa Lotz. 

TONGUES readings are free and open to the public. 
Reservations required at
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Come to see 'She Calls Me Firefly"

Cherry Lane Theatre’s TONGUES: a readings series and VH Theatrical Development Foundation present

She Calls Me Firefly
a new play by Teresa Lotz
Directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser

Tuesday, November 18th, 2:00pm
Cherry Lane Studio Theatre
38 Commerce Street

Matthew J. Harris*, Autumn Kioti*, Skyler Pinkerton, Jack Weppler*

Stage Manager: Jenny Waletzky 

TONGUES readings are free and open to the public. 
Reservations required at

In a bar in a remote town in Kentucky, a man arrives, looking for something he can’t express. Ken has the makings of a good life: a job, a home, and a loving boyfriend. Though however hard he tries, demons from his past keep him from embracing the positive things in his life. Can Ken deal with his past before it destroys his chance for a better future?
Add a comment...

This week's #luckyseat prize is a gift card to Joy Burger Bar in the West Village! Come to The Cherry Lane Theatre this week for your chance to win! 

Joy Burger is also offering a 10% discount for theater goers! Just present your ticket stub from #TheBrightnessOfHeaven to the cashier and they will deduct 10% from your meal!
Add a comment...

Join us tomorrow after the evening performance of #TheBrightnessOfHeaven for a talk back discussion with Jeff Stone of DignityUSA/New York. We hope to see you at The Cherry Lane Theatre! 

Established in 1972, Dignity/New York, a chapter member of Dignity USA, is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to encourage gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT) persons and their friends to express their sexuality in a manner consonant with Christ's teachings. Dignity helps people to become more active members of the Roman Catholic Church and society, and works through education and legal reforms for justice and the social acceptance of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.

Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded