About SOPAC’s Creative Community Brain Trust

SOPAC’s groundbreaking Creative Community Brain Trust is a committee of five advisors and industry experts that will guide SOPAC toward inclusively excellent, radically creative, and community-powered programming.

Each expert focuses on one of SOPAC’s five pillars of programming: for Experiential and Immersive, artist, performer and curator Adam Rei Siegel; for Kids + Family, Founding Mothers Founder Dr. Alissa D. Gardenhire; for Broadway in Concert and New Musicals Development, Dana Spialter & SOMA Stage; for Comedy, Comedian Liz Glazer; and for Music, bassist and producer Mike Griot.

“This moment for SOPAC is about radically reimagining our relationship with our regional community, and lifting up voices and visions to power transformational change,” says SOPAC Executive Director Stephen Beaudoin. “These five individuals were selected for the SOPAC Creative Community Brain Trust to animate our community-powered programming.  Each bring a commitment to inclusive excellence, as well as significant industry and community capital to the assignment. Both individually and together, this Brain Trust will envision an ever more creative, community-centric, connected, and empathic northern New Jersey, with SOPAC as its central beating heart.”

SOPAC launched it’s Creative Community Brain Trust in the spirit of community curation, which it would like to embrace in upcoming seasons. The five Brain Trust members will work as individuals and as a collective to create and curate SOPAC experiences, artists, acts, and gatherings across the SOPAC campus in the creatively kinetic downtown Village of South Orange, including on the SOPAC mainstage, in the Loft at SOPAC, and additional spaces across the campus.



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Meet the Brain Trust Members

Click on Brain Trust members’ photos to view their bios


Adam Rei Siegel

Adam Rei Siegel

Experiential & Immersive

Adam has curated immersive experiences at House of Yes, Public Hotel, Norwood Club, and Spring Studios. He is widely regarded in the industry as an artist, performer, curator, and producer working in the vanguard of experiential and immersive live performance. Based in Brooklyn, Adam is proud to be connected with the SOPAC regional community through this role.

Dr. Gardenhire started her career supporting social policy research at Harvard and MDRC. She is the founding executive of the South Orange/Maplewood branch of Best in Class Education, an organization dedicated to supporting all kids in achieving their fullest potential as learners and leaders. Her creative approach to community and change centers on breaking down paradigms and reconsidering norms.

Dana Spialter & SOMA Stage

Dana Spialter & SOMA Stage

Broadway in Concert + New Musicals Development

Dana aims to make her theater company SOMA Stage the hub of live theatre and the development of important new theatrical works in South Orange/Maplewood, Essex County, and beyond. Her experiences include Creative Coordinator to acclaimed Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler, and producer of Broadway talent at industry staples such as 54 Below and Webster Hall in New York City. She is a proud Maplewood resident.

About SOMA Stage

SOMA Stage is a new non-profit theater company based in the South Orange/ Maplewood (aka SOMA), NJ area that provides our many local professional theater artists with a creative home in their backyard and allows our community to support and enjoy the talent of their neighbors.

Liz is an award-winning standup comedian, actor, and writer. She won first place in the Boston Comedy Festival and Ladies of Laughter of Competition and will be part of the upcoming HBO Women in Comedy Festival. Drawing from her own life as a lesbian, a rabbi’s wife, and a former lawyer, Liz uses her self-proclaimed “loud, unsecretive, and bold” style to connect with all those who simply want to FEEL. Liz and her wife call West Orange home.

An internationally sought-after bass player and producer, Mike has toured Europe and performed with the likes of Queen Latifah and Hezekiah Walker. Mike is proud to have founded SOPAC’s “In the Loft” series, and served for many years as curator of our “Blues in the Loft” events. He received the 2014 HANDS Community Leadership Award. Mike is proud to call Orange Valley his home.

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