National Council for the American Theatre

Founded in 1997 and comprised of leading trustees from member theatres across the country and other theatre supporters, the National Council for the American Theatre (NCAT) guides TCG’s programs on governance and board development and serves as a “brain trust” for the organization. Members are nominated by the artistic or managing leadership of their theatres and are requested to make a financial contribution to TCG (the suggested minimum amount of which is $6,500 annually) without compromising their giving to their home theatre. The Council meets three times yearly, including an annual meeting with TCG’s board of directors in New York. Members are invited to participate on TCG committees, grant selection panels and or/advisory groups, and host a trustee breakfast at the annual National Conference. Members are invited to all TCG events, workshops, and conferences. The co-chairs of the National Council are Judy Rubin, board chair at Playwrights Horizons and former TCG board member, and Jim Chosy, board member and past chair at the Guthrie Theater. For information on joining the National Council, please contact Lisa L. Patterson, Director of Individual Giving.

*Judith O. Rubin, CO-CHAIR, New York, NY

James L. Chosy, CO-CHAIR, Minneapolis, MN

*Eve Alvord, Seattle, WA

Jeffrey D. Bores, Minneapolis, MN

Michelle Branch, San Francisco, CA

Ralph Bryan, La Jolla, CA

Bunni Copaken, Kansas City, MO

Sophie Cripe, Costa Mesa, CA

Brad Edgerton, Los Angeles, CA

Ruth Hendel, Waterford, CT

Cynthia Huffman, Seattle, WA

Bruce E. H. Johnson, Seattle, WA

Myla Lerner, Hilton Head, SC

Lynelle Lynch, San Diego, CA

David Moore, Jr., Minneapolis, MN

Julie Morris, Raleigh, NC

*Eleanor Cook Nolan, Seattle, WA

Betsy Pitts, New York, NY

*Toni Rembe, San Francisco, CA

Rusty Rueff, San Francisco, CA

David Shiffrin, Washington, DC

Diane Whatton, Chicago, IL

Diane Yu, New York, NY


 *Founding Member


Judith O. Rubin (Playwrights Horizons) is chairman of the board of Playwrights Horizons and was a member of the board of TCG for six years. She served on the NEA's National Council on the Arts for eight years and on the New York State Council on the Arts for twenty-four years. She is a member of Tony Awards Administration Committee and the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, She is a trustee of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation that awards a major annual prize to a play by an emerging playwright, the Mount Sinai Health System, the New York Community Trust, and the Collegiate School, and is a former director of Public Radio International. She served as president of the 92nd Y from 1984 to 1988, was a member of the Board of Regents of New York State, representing Manhattan, and was Commissioner for Protocol during the administration of New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

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James L. Chosy
 (Guthrie Theater) is a member (and past Chair) of the Guthrie Theater’s Board of Directors. Jim is Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of U.S. Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States, where he manages the company’s legal affairs. He joined U.S. Bancorp in 2013 from Piper Jaffray Companies, a middle-market investment bank and asset management firm, where he had served as General Counsel since March 2001. In addition to serving on the Board of the Guthrie, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fund for Legal Aid and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA). He is also on the Board of Counselors of Equal Justice Works and is on the General Counsel Advisory Committee of the Bank Policy Institute. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Jim has previously served as a member and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Clearing House Association, the University of Minnesota Law School and the Children’s Theater Company.  His recognitions include the University of Minnesota’s Alumni Service Award (2012), the Lead by Example Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers (2019), the In-House Counsel Lifetime Achievement Award from Minnesota Lawyer (2020), the Exemplar Award from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (2021), and the shortlist for outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion (USA in-house) from Chambers D&I Awards (2021 and 2022). He received his law degree from the University of Minnesota and his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Eve Alvord
 (Seattle Children's Theatre) of Seattle, serves on the board of trustees of the Seattle Children's Theatre, where one of its two theatres is named for her. Alvord also serves on the board of trustees of the Seattle Art Museum and Cornish College of the Arts. She is on the advisory boards of Treehouse, a support organization for foster children and families, and the Pratt Fine Arts Center. Alvord is a founding member of Crescendo, a support group for the Seattle Symphony, and the Washington Women's Foundation.

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Jeffrey D. Bores
 (Playwrights’ Center) is currently a six-year board member of Playwrights’ Center and member of the executive committee. He is also the co-chair of A Campaign for All Narratives, a capital campaign to establish a new home for the Playwrights’ Center in St. Paul, Minnesota and to expanded programming.  Previously, he was chair of the board of directors of Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, during which time he oversaw the transition of a 25-year founding artistic director to a new artistic leader.  He also chaired the board of Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus for several years.  Jeffrey is Managing Partner of Chestnut Cambronne PA, a 32-attorney general practice law firm in Minneapolis, where he concentrates his practice on complex class action litigation representing plaintiffs in data breach, consumer fraud, antitrust, and securities litigation, as well as appellate advocacy with a special emphasis on representing law enforcement officers’ organizations as amicus curiae before Minnesota’s appellate courts.  Jeffrey also is the owner of and a yoga instructor at taraNa, a vinyasa studio in Minneapolis, where he also leads yoga retreats internationally.

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Michelle Branch
 Michelle Branch is based in San Francisco. She most recently served as Secretary and Nominating and Onboarding Committee Chair with Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Previously on the board of Berkeley Rep Theatre, Branch served as Governance and Nominating Committee Chair and as a member of the Artistic Director Search Committee there. 

With more than 15 years of nonprofit community and arts board experience, Branch currently serves on the boards of Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, the Institute for Contemporary Art San Jose,, and United Way Bay Area. From 2018 to 2022 as its Board President, Branch steered San Francisco Camerawork though a strategic restructure and the COVID-19 pandemic -- establishing SFC at its current home on the San Francisco waterfront at Fort Mason, securing increased institutional funding, and preparing for citywide recognition of SFC’s 50th anniversary and legacy. From 2019 to 2021, Branch led United Way Worldwide’s Global Women’s Leadership Council, focusing on women’s civic leadership and advocacy.

As an attorney, Branch is the founder and owner of Branch Law Group since 2005, where she provides expert legal counsel regarding organizational structure, fundraising, and strategic transactions to technology companies and investors. She holds over 25 years of experience in intellectual property and corporate law. Branch has represented Google, Twilio, Founders Fund, and Avestria Health VC, among other organizations, in numerous complex transactions. 

Branch holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in United States History from the University of California, Berkeley, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University. For several years, she taught as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and at New York University Law School.

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Ralph Bryan (La Jolla Playhouse, Tectonic Theater Project) currently serves on the board of New York's Tectonic Theater Project and is a current board member and former Chairman of the Board of La Jolla Playhouse. During his tenure at La Jolla Playhouse. Ralph helped successfully complete the organization's five year, $45 million capital campaign, restructured the organization to create working surpluses and created the first major working cash reserve. He as previously served on many boards including Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for American Theatre.


Ralph has been with Wells Fargo Advisors (and its predecessor firms) since 1991, holding the titles of Managing Director - Investments and Senior PIM Portfolio Manager. Ralph's team manages over $800 million of high net worth personal and endowment assets. In addition to driving the team's “top-down” market and strategy discussions, Ralph is deeply versed in issues related to concentrated stock and fixed income analysis. Ralph has been a continuous member of the Premier Advisors – Chairman's Council for the last 18 years. Ralph is a graduate of University of California, San Diego where he is a Chancellor's Associate. He has been married to Gail for 24 years. Ralph has competed in many triathlons, including the California Half-Ironman. Other personal interests include theater, wine collecting, photography, and travel.

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Bunni Copaken (Kansas City Repertory Theatre) is a board member and trustee of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, who supports new work through the Rep's downtown theater, The Copaken Stage.  She is past president of the Women's Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Junior Women's Symphony Association.  She is a founding and current board member of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, an organization celebrating 30 years as the official second home of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. KCFAA has impacted 1 million metropolitan Kansas City youth through the creation of innovative outreach programs, including the nationally replicated AileyCamp.  Other National Council Memberships include the Aspen Institute, Aspen Music Festival, Anderson Ranch and Theatre Aspen.

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Sophie Cripe
 (South Coast Repertory) an avid theatre fan, is Immediate Past President of the Board of Trustees of South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, CA. She has served in a variety of other leadership positions with SCR including chairing board development, fund development and the 2010 gala. Sophie and her husband, Larry, have been patrons of the annual Pacific Playwrights' Festival for six years.  Prior to being involved with SCR she was President of the Laguna Playhouse, as well as President of STOP GAP an organization that uses drama as a therapeutic tool in local schools, shelters and hospitals.  A life long community volunteer, Sophie is a 48 year member of the Junior League. She is also currently on the board of the National Choreographers Initiative, and the Friends of the Newport Beach Library. Sophie assists in Dramaturgical work for the Chance Theater in Anaheim as well as other Orange County theaters.Sophie has a BA and MA in Speech and Theater from the University of Illinois and she taught theatre at the high school level for many years. Her second career was as a professional fundraiser for the United Way of Orange County and Goodwill Industries.

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Brad Edgerton
MD (Geffen Playhouse and Center Theatre Group) He serves on the boards of these two theatres in Los Angeles. He is a retired reconstructive plastic surgeon.  He is the President of the Edgerton Foundation which has awarded Edgerton Foundation New Play Award grants since 2006 to art theatres nationwide to support the extension of rehearsal time of world premieres. He is also on the boards of Harvard-Westlake School and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

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Ruth Hendel 
(Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center) is a commercial theatre producer.  Residing near the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, her love for theatre blossomed because of her exposure to new American plays at the O’Neill conferences. After raising her three children, Ruth began producing with Metamorphoses on Broadway and consequently has co-produced over forty shows. Select credits include: Hedwig and the Angry InchA Raisin in the SunOf Mice and MenDeath of a Salesman, and Motherf**cker With the Hat. In 2009, she and her Stephen conceived and produced the musical, Fela! Off-Broadway, on Broadway, and at London’s National Theatre. She is currently represented on Broadway with Hello, Dolly!.  Ruth serves on the boards of The Play Company and the Yale School of Drama. She is Vice-Chair of the Eugene O’Neill Center. Ruth is currently developing four musicals: Monsoon Wedding, which recently finished a run at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; StilYagi, presented at NYSAF; A Walk On The Moon, premiering at ACT in spring 2018, and Open Road. She has six delightful grandchildren.

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Cynthia Huffman
 is Chair of the Board of Trustees of ACT Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. She served on the Board  of Intiman Theatre from 2007 to 2016 and was Chair from 2013-2016. She co-hosts the Trustee Exchange, a regularly scheduled virtual call with trustees from TCG theaters across the country, and for 10 years has hosted a quarterly call with board leaders of a group of Seattle theaters.  She was on the Board of Trustees of Seattle Children’s Hospital from 2009-2021 and she co-founded the Friends of Odessa Brown Children's Clinic Guild. Formerly, Cynthia was a member of the Board of Trustees of Childhaven, a center for treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect; served as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development at the University of Washington; was a member of the Development Committee at Thrive Washington; and served as Gala Co-Chair for Benaroya Research Institute. Before retiring, Cynthia was Administrative Director of Bank Street Head Start in New York City, a child life specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and had a business career in broadcast sales management. 

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Bruce E. H. Johnson 
(Seattle Repertory Theatre) of Seattle, has been a member of the Seattle Repertory Theatre board of trustees since 1992. A lawyer whose cases have involved defense of freedom of speech, freedom of press and other constitutional rights, he is a partner at the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and is the co-author of a major treatise on First Amendment protections for "commercial speech." Johnson has served as president of the Seattle Rep's board in 1999-2001, and as its chairman in 2004-2006. Since 2011, he has served as chairman of the SRT Foundation, which holds and manages the theatre’s endowment funds.

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Myla Lerner (Lean Ensemble Theater) currently divides her time between New York and Hilton Head, SC. In 2015, she helped found Lean Ensemble Theater and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Now in its fourth season, LET will present five productions this year, including a world premiere by Chicago Playwright Nora Anne Leahy. Myla is a Tony Award Winner Broadway Producer (Pippin- Best Musical Revival 2013). Other notable commercial productions in the past decade include: An American in Paris, The Heidi Chronicles, If/Then, Lady Day. Glengarry Glen Ross, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, End of the Rainbow, Lombardi and HAIR.

For the past 40 years Myla has sat on boards of arts and philanthropic causes in New York City and San Francisco (including Women in Need, San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, Music in the Schools) and continues to do so today in Hilton Head.

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Lynelle Lynch (La Jolla Playhouse) is an advocate for the arts and education, dedicated philanthropist and active business leader. Serving on the board of directors of the La Jolla Playhouse for more than two decades, Lynelle has chaired some of the renowned theatre company’s most successful fundraising campaigns and galas. She currently serves as Chairman of the Board, a role that she previously held from 2014 – 2016. In addition to her service and leadership in the arts community, Lynelle also has a heart for helping families and children. She founded the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation and serves on the boards of the Lynch Family Foundation, the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global, and the Career Education Colleges and Universities, where she is a frequent author and contributor.

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David Moore, Jr.
 Guthrie Theater, trustee 2013-19; currently serving on a fundraising committee Walker Art Center, trustee since 2007; co-chair, Producer's Council.

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Julie Morris
 (PlayMakers Repertory Theatre) is a member of the PlayMakers Advisory Council in Chapel Hill, NC, and a founding member and co-chair of The Women’s Point of View Leadership Council. In this role, she is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for arts and education, and providing a center of connection for women in the community to explore theatre and the arts. She is an active member of the Humber Society at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, where she also works to bring women together to support the arts. Julie serves on the Executive Committee and First Team for the Full Frame Film Festival and Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and each year participates in the Aspen Ideas Festival, where she is a Society of Fellows member at the Aspen Institute.

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Eleanor Cook Nolan
, (Seattle Children's Theatre) of Seattle, is Past President of the board of Seattle Children's Theatre and a Trustee of SCT for 23 years. A Regent of George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation, she is a trustee of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture/the State Museum of Washington.

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Elizabeth (Betsy) Pitts (Atlantic Theater Company) serves as Board Secretary of the Atlantic Theater Company. She is the former Women’s Board President of the Boys’ Club of New York, where she has been a Board member for over twenty years. For twelve years until 2019, she served on the Board of Trustees at the Spence School in New York, as Vice President and Co-chair of the school’s two most recent capital campaigns. Prior to joining the Spence board, she was President of the Parents’ Association. Betsy is an Executive Board member of Dedman College of Arts and Sciences at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), a member of the Administrative Board of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (NY), a Board member of the American Friends of the London Philharmonia and a member of the Dartmouth President’s Leadership Council.

Betsy is a former decorative arts historian and consultant and was awarded fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution to study at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and to work at the Yale University Art Gallery. In fall 2012, she co-launched Eponymous, a line of Italian-made luxury handbags. Betsy and her husband, Rob, live in Manhattan.

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Toni Rembe
, (American Conservatory Theater) is a past president and a member of the Emeritus Advisory Board of the American Conservatory Theater and a former board member of the Magic Theatre.  She is a retired partner at the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and president of the van Loben Sels-RembeRock Foundation, a private foundation promoting social justice by means of legal services and advocacy.  She is a past president of the Commonwealth Club of California, a former board chair of the Presidio Graduate School, and has served on the boards of other nonprofit organizations and public companies.

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Rusty Rueff (American Conservatory Theater) is excited to join the National Council for the American Theater. Rusty invests in, advises and governs startups and non-profit institutions. Rusty received a Presidential Appointment by President Barack Obama to The President’s Advisory Committee for the Arts for The Kennedy Center and was Coordinating National Co-Chair for Technology for Obama (2012 reelect). He is a corporate board Director and co-founder of numerous past and present companies, most notable being on the founding boards of Glassdoor (acquired 2018) and HireVue (acquired 2019).  Rusty was CEO of SNOCAP, Inc. through the sale of the company in 2008. Prior, his work history includes seven years at Electronic Arts (EA), departing as an Executive Vice President, 10 years of ascending positions for the PepsiCo companies and early years of training at Pratt & Whitney/United Technologies.  In addition, he spent six years in commercial radio as an on-air personality. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Hanover College, an M.S. in Counseling, and a B.A. in Radio & TV from Purdue University. He has been named a Distinguished Purdue Alumni. He and his wife are the named benefactors of Purdue’s Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art and Performance. He has served on higher education committees at both Purdue and the University of Rhode Island. He is a Trustee and Vice Chair (and former President) of the Board of The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), former Chair of The Grammy Foundation and a founding Board Member of The GRAMMY Music Education Coalition.  He co-founded Tech4America ( He co-authored Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business (Prentice-Hall, 2006). Rusty regularly speaks and writes for his own blog and is the co-host of a weekly podcast. He allocates his time between homes in northern California and Rhode Island.

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David Shiffrin (Arena Stage) is a former real estate attorney with over 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate field. He was a partner with the law firm of Linowes and Blocher until 1991 when he joined the Resolution Trust Corporation where he was Senior Counsel for Real Estate.  He also served in that capacity at the FDIC when the RTC completed its work.  After leaving the FDIC, Mr. Shiffrin was a Special Advisor to the FCC Auctions Division, assisting the Commission with its auction program of wireless telecommunications spectrum. Mr. Shiffrin served from 1999-2000 as the Interim Executive Director of CulturalDC (fka Cultural Development Corporation), a private nonprofit organization in Washington, DC, that engages in real estate development for the arts. Mr. Shiffrin serves on the Board of Trustees of Arena Stage in Washington, DC.  He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Greater Washington Community Foundation the Board of CulturalDC.   He co-chaired the capital campaign for the Source Theater, a project of CulturalDC.   He has been a member of the Boards of Trustees of WETA and Facilitating Leadership in Youth (FLY), served on the Clark University Board of Visitors, and served for many years at The Maret School as a senior advisor to the Scholarship Auction.  Mr. Shiffrin was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Arena Stage from 2010 until 2013 and currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Arena Board. Mr. Shiffrin has a B.A. from Clark University and a J.D. from the New England School of Law.   Mr. Shiffrin is married to the former Peggy Kobacker. 

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 Diane Whatton (Lookingglass Theatre Company) has served on the board of Lookingglass since 2006 and is currently Board Chair. Diane is the former head of Community Giving for BMO, a role in which she had responsibility for the bank’s philanthropic strategy and governance across the U.S. footprint, strengthening its social impact. Her team managed community partnerships spanning a diverse spectrum of nonprofits and whose work included corporate donations, charitable sponsorships, and nonprofit board placements. Prior to her tenure in philanthropy, Diane worked in Treasury Product Sales at BMO, partnering with the Commercial Banking relationship teams in construction, real estate, food, and asset-based lending. A native Californian, Diane has lived and worked in Chicago for over 30 years and considers it home. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory. Diane also serves on the board of Youth Guidance (Chicago). She is a 2017 recipient of Chicago United’s Benefactor Award.

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Diane C. Yu (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) is the Advisor to Leadership at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Executive Director of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs at NYUAD. She teaches leadership classes at NYU New York, the NYU Abu Dhabi Summer Academy, the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program, and NYU Shanghai. Previously she was the Deputy President of New York University, Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President of NYU, Managing Counsel at a Fortune 500 company, State Bar of California General Counsel (for whom she won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court), a White House Fellow, and a California Superior Court Commissioner. She attended Oberlin College (B.A.) and U.C. Berkeley School of Law (J.D.).

She sits on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Board of Directors, of which she is Chair and President. She previously was a member of the Boards of Soho Repertory Company, the American Management Association and Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. She served as President of the White House Fellows Foundation and Association, Vice Chair of the Oberlin College Board of Trustees, and Chair of both the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession and ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Among her numerous awards are Ten Outstanding Young Women of America, Women’s Leadership Award from the Asian American Bar Association of New York, Trailblazers Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, David Rockefeller Fellow, and an honorary doctorate from City University of New York.

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