Wing & A Prayer Pittsburgh Players

Established in 2006 by Sheila K. Collins, the mission of this InterPlay – based performance troupe is to use the improvisational arts of dance, song, and story-telling for social and individual transformation. The Pittsburgh troupe’s specific goals include assisting human service agencies in the Pittsburgh area to achieve their noble purposes.

The company has brought their unique model of art-based service to five UPMC hospitals to celebrate Black History Month, to Persad Center’s program for persons dealing with HIV-AIDS and to the Area Agency on Aging Caregivers’ Conference. They’ve performed and taught at the Sarah Heinz House and annually at the SHH Girls’ Camp and responded to art shows at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and recently at the opening weekend of the Contemporary Craft Center’s show, ENOUGH Violence: Artists Speak Out.


Company Members
Sheila Collins Richard Citrin | Lynn Coghill | Amy Couch | Jim Holland | LaVerne Darnell | Lois McClendon Pam Meadowcroft | Gail Ransom | Neil Straub | Laurie Tarter 
Frequent Guest Artists
Benjamin Saalbach-Walsh | Shari Karn Mastalski | Elizabeth “Jett” Downey | Kelli E. Parker | Jesse Landis-Eigsti | Lori Russo
Richard Citrin Richard has been doing InterPlay for 20 years and traveled the world to do it. His InterPlay performance credits include The Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human in Sidney, Australia, and Edinburgh Scotland, and Seeding Cultures of Peace and Amandla! A Celebration of African Arts in Pittsburgh. Richard likes to bring the improvisational tools of Interplay into his work as an organizational psychologist and corporate consultant.

Lynn CoghillIMG_1459 Lynn came to Pittsburgh originally as a member of the Pittsburgh Ballet. She currently directs the MSW program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Recently she received top honors in Pennsylvania as Social Worker of the Year.  She is a certified cognitive therapist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and complicated bereavement. Lynn explores using dance as a part of worship and using the arts to heal trauma in international settings.

Amy CouchIMG_7276 Amy is a former model and professional dancer with a Master of Arts in Communication and Theater. She has taught Oral Communication for 35 years at the Community College of Allegheny County where she uses InterPlay tools to convince her students that every person has something special to offer. She is a graduate of the Pittsburgh InterPlay Life Practice program and a Certified InterPlay teacher.

Jim Holland Jim Holland is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. His numerous publications established successful applications for the field of behavioral psychology, and in his tenure as Faculty Senate President, he was a strong voice for shared-governance. Being a member of an InterPlay improv troupe is outside of anything Jim’s ever done, but he figures that’s what retirement is all about.

LaVerne Darnell (formerly Baker-Hotep)Laverne When not discussing interesting topics with insightful guests as producer and host of her Internet program, WellWoman Radio Retreat, LaVerne provides guidance and inspiration as an Intuitive Numerologist and Coach, and teaches a much sought after class, Numerology for Enlightened Living. She is an ambassador for InterPlay, continually finding places for InterPlay to serve individuals and communities.

Sheila Collins Sheila K. Collins is a writer, dancer, social worker, and improvisational performance artist. She founded InterPlay Pittsburgh when she came to Pittsburgh in 2005, after having started InterPlay communities in four cities in Texas. She currently directs the Wing and A Prayer Pittsburgh Players, an InterPlay-based performance troupe that assists human service agencies to accomplish their noble purposes in the Pittsburgh community.

Pam Meadowcroft Pam is a research psychologist and program evaluation specialist. Experiencing the fun and growth across generations at the Sarah Heinz House, convinced Pam to stay involved with InterPlay and become a master storyteller. Pam’s business, Meadowcroft and Associates provides consultation in organizational effectiveness to nonprofit groups. She is an InterPlay Life Practice graduate.

Gail Ransom Gail is a singer, minister, and creative worship specialist. She co-leads the Wednesday night Worship Jam at First United Methodist Church where she uses InterPlay and other art forms to co-create engaging worship experiences. She holds a Doctorate of Ministry from Wisdom University, and is a graduate of the InterPlay Life Practice Program.

Neil Straub Neil was drawn to Pittsburgh because of its vibrant non-profit sector and dance scene. After completing a Masters of International Development he became a Data Analyst for the Pittsburgh Foundation. InterPlay has suddenly and recently become an important part of his life and activism in building intentional communities.

Laurie TarterIMG_7379 Laurie joined the troupe in 2013, bringing advanced movement skills as a dancer, yoga teacher, choreographer and early childhood specialist. She is a graduate of Centenary College for Women in NJ, was a founding member of Dance Alloy in Pittsburgh, and for two seasons, a participant in the Liz Lerman Choreography Exchange in Washington DC.

Jesse Landis-Eigsti10a4e2c Jesse Landis-Eigsti is a Pittsburgh transplant, originally from Lakewood, Colorado. He graduated from Goshen College with a degree in music composition in 2009, and moved to Pittsburgh. Here, he has worked as a tutor, Waldorf School teacher, church and band musician, and accompanist to various improv groups. Prior to coming to Pittsburgh he was the keyboardist for the Goshen InterPlay troupe in Indiana. Jesse is current working at the Labs @CLP program (of the Carnegie Library) where he helps teenagers pursue their creative passions.

Benjamin Saalbach-WalshBenjamin Walsh (Resized)

Benjamin is a singer-songwriter, writer, and pianist. He directs the socially-conscious piano rock project For Greater Consciousness.  A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Creative Writing program, he is drawn to music’s potential to affect positive individual transformation and thus social change. In addition to his work with InterPlay, Benjamin has improvised piano accompaniment for many troupes in Pittsburgh’s lively musical improv comedy scene, including Always B Sharp, Wünderstudies, The Nebby Spectres, Premiere, and The LuPones. He is a keyboardist for New Life Family Worship Center.


Shari Karn Mastalski Shari is a graduate of Slippery Rock University where she earned a Masters of Science in Sustainable Systems. She is a dancing storyteller, creative collaborator and frequent artist-in-residence in the schools.  Her connection with InterPlay fuels her passion to engage everyone in active arts to set their Dreams in Motion. She is a graduate of the Pittsburgh InterPlay Life Practice Program and a Certified InterPlay Leader.

Elizabeth “Jett” Downeyimgres Elizabeth directs the East End Song Studio. She uses skills gained as an opera singer as she assists students in finding their own voices. We rely on Jett’s creativity on the keyboard whenever we can entice her away from her busy schedule.

Kelli E Parkerkelly-e-drumming Kelli teaches drumming, directs the women’s drumming group, ABAFASSI and makes her own drums.  She and members of her company have provided music for InterPlay performances at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the Community College of Allegheny County, north campus, and at the Center for Victims of Violent Crimes.

Lori Russo

 

lori-russo-keyboardist

Lori is a multi-talented vocalist and musician residing in Pittsburgh. A few of her many accomplishments as a musical artist and teacher: Number #1 jazz CD in Paris 2007; 8 CD recordings with the greatest jazz musicians of Pittsburgh; Opened up for RAY CHARLES  in 2000, and SPYROGYRA in 1993; Sang with KENNY ROGERS in 1994; Sang back up vocals for LOU CHRISTY; Toured with JIM NABORS & The MAGUIRE SISTERS; Instrumental music teacher for the Pittsburgh Public schools for 21 years and current; Currently performing with ABAFASI, female West African drum ensemble, UNDERCOVER blues band and the KEPFLOW acoustic trio.