THE CREATIVE TEAM
Founder, Creative & Musical Director: Jason Grant Shela MBE FRSA MA
Jason was born and raised in London, England. He received his theatrical training at the Sir Michael Redgrave Theatre. He won an international scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baruch College, City University of New York. He then earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations from New York University. Jason received a Steven Spielberg Scholarship for international study at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland and a post graduate scholarship at Yale University. He became the first Englishman to be elected a Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in Washington D.C. Jason is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Golden Key and Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Academic Honor Society for Business Administration in the United States.
Jason is the Founder and Creative Director of My Generation Theatre and has written, directed and produced many live shows in New York, Memphis & Mississippi. He has received multiple ASCAP awards for original music composition. He has produced and composed original music for Fox Sports Channel and has licensed music for shows on HBO, Sirius and independent projects. He collaborated on an NPR Radio documentary about the Favelas during the World Cup. Jason is currently developing entertainment projects for the stage and the new alternative digital media arena. His production credits include: ‘And a Child Shall Lead,’ ‘Out of My Comfort Zone,’ ‘Secrets of Columbine,’ ‘Rock N Roll Dance Party,’ and The John Lennon 75th Birthday Tribute. He also wrote, directed and acted in ‘The Blitz,’ an original play about life in East London during World War 2. He was creative director for the stage production of ‘Mirror Mirror, The Other Side of Marilyn.’(A Drama about Marilyn Monroe) He directed and produced the audio sitcoms of Bless this House & Never Mind the Quality, based on the Classic British TV comedies scripted by his mentor Vince Powell, a legend of British Comedy.
Jason has been a community youth leader and social activist for over 30 years developing sports and arts programs in London & New York. In 2016 he founded My Generation Theatre as a creative, collaborative and educational organization of actors, writers and musicians. He is the founding producer & creator of The British Music & Theatre Festival, a live celebration of British music, theatre, comedy & culture. Jason has produced musical tributes to John Lennon, Mick Ronson & The British Invasion. He was creative director and producer for the special tribute to his friend & mentor Sid Bernstein (the man who brought the Beatles, Rolling Stones and many more to America and initiated the British Invasion) at the British Re-Invasion Musical Benefit at Morgan Freeman’s celebrated ‘Ground Zero Blues Club’ in Clarksdale, MS. Together with Sid Bernstein, he was Creative Director of the George Harrison Memorial Tribute Show.
A committed youth sports educator for many years, Jason founded The British Soccer Academy which has become one of the largest youth sports programs in New York City and was voted PSAA High School Coach of the year by his peers and led the Hunter Middle School Boys and Girls team to the NYC Public Schools City Championship & multiple Uptown City Championships. He also created The Soccer Goodwill Festival aimed at building links between players, their families and the wider community. He has developed a transformative soccer program for children with special needs across the spectrum. Jason has coached the University of Mississippi Rugby Team.
He served in the Royal Air Force Cadet Corps. Jason played competitive soccer for Wingate FC, and captained the Governor’s Island Championship team and coached & captained New York Select. He captained the Yale University Graduate Soccer team to victory over Harvard. He played rugby football in England for Wasps RFC, Fulham Rugby League FC and has represented Middlesex County, London and Great Britain at the Maccabiah Games. He created and developed innovative Creative Performance & Radio Broadcasting programs for Elementary School Children and started a Rock N Roll Creative Lab Program for Teenagers. Jason is currently spearheading the Social Enterprise Entertainment Project. Jason is committed to developing socially responsible initiatives within the framework of sports, music, theatre & the arts. In 2019 Jason was awarded the MBE from Queen Elizabeth II and in 2022 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.
Creative Director & General Manager: Rio Lujan
Rio was born to an arts family in Los Angeles, CA. He has been performing all his life. Growing up he was immersed in theatre and music, performing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the age of 12. He has studied at The Susan Batson Studios and with actor David Wenzel. Rio is a student at Baruch College, set to graduate in the summer of 2023. He is currently represented by Model & Talent Management, and has recently appeared on Hulu’s Class of 09′ and HBO’s Full Circle. He is currently working on several upcoming film and TV projects set to start production in 2023. He is also currently in a band with Director of Original Music Productions, Cliff Pfleger.
Director of Original Music Productions: Cliff Pfledger
As he started to sing and play guitar, he learned some crucial ideas. Music isn’t something you take for granted. It enters all of our lives, but some never cherish it enough. Music provides you with fulfillment, and once you learn how to create, it becomes a super power. Cliff has been working with Jason for over a year and entered the studio countless times, there is a new positive influence every time they meet. One must never be ashamed and always bring their all to a performance. By comfortably being yourself, the best music comes forward
Ivy Vale is a writer, musician, artist and native New Yorker. Her plays have been selected and produced by GI60: The World’s First International 60 Second Playwriting Festival, New York and the UK. She is the primary songwriter and founding member of The Wyld Olde Souls, a female-fronted psychedelic folk band, who recently received two Hollywood Music in Media Award nominations and a nomination for Best Folk Group by The Indie Music Channel Awards. Their CD Ensoulment received multiple five-star reviews nationally and internationally, and the band was recently featured in The Huffington Post. Ivy has experience as a concert promoter, event organizer and in public relations. In February 2012, Ivy (along with husband Rick Reil) co-produced a slideshow segment for the Davy Jones memorial concert at BB Kings. In 2015 Ivy wrote and directed the Off Broadway Musical, Out of My Comfort Zone.
Rick Reil is an accomplished singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, engineer and producer. He is a member of The Grip Weeds, a popular psychedelic pop-rock band which has released 7 full-length CDs, toured the US and Europe, and garnered significant radio/internet airplay, including songs on Little Steven’s Underground Garage and Sirius Satellite Radio. The Grip Weeds’ song “What’s in Your Mind” (written by Rick) was licensed by CBS Television to promote its critically acclaimed series “Criminal Minds.” Rick recently joined legendary 60s band The Left Banke as drummer for their Live Concerts and is currently touring with the Mark Lindsay band.
Mike is Director of Animation at the JSP and runs the creative media lab. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied Law and Art at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. While growing up in Johannesburg, he had a passion for music and started his very first rock band while in high school. He has spent his creative career as a graphic designer, artist and composer. Mike held the position of Art & Creative Director of the tourist weekly publication- “This week in Israel” ( a subsidiary of the Golden pages directory services.) As a political cartoonist and artist, Mike was published in Yediot Ha Acharonot , the Jerusalem Post, The Zionist Record (SA), The Jewish Herald (SA), The Financial Times (SA), & The Algemeiner Journal (New York). Mike presently resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and family. He spends most of his time working, painting, drawing cartoons, playing music at various bars and venues, and writing and composing songs.
Paul Sladkus (Executive Producer)
Paul Sladkus has over 40 years of diversified experience in the television and media/communications industry. Paul was a senior executive with CBS & PBS Television for fourteen years working on over 150 television shows and series. While at CBS, Paul oversaw $60 million dollar corporate departments and $20 million dollar media projects. Paul’s TV credits include: Emmy’s for Love of Life on CBS and The Nature Series and The Brain Series on PBS/NHK/French. Other credits: All in the Family, The Emmy’s and Oscars, Sonny and Cher, Good Times, AFI Salute to James Cagney and Orson Wells, Captain Kangaroo, Maude, Matchgame, Carol Burnett, WCBS News, LA Lakers, Tony Orlando, The Young and the Restless, Cronkite, The Price Is Right, Rose Bowl Parade, Shirley MacLaine, Innovation, The Pacific Century, All Time Music Songbook, Big Band Music, World Earth Day (with NHK), Environmental Specials, China/America, first national American music radio program in China and numerous ethnic radio and television commercials, print ads and brochures and many events. He is the founder & senior producer of Good News Corporation.
Andrew Hertz (Musical Director)
Andrew is a composer, pianist and music director from New York. He has worked with Ben Vereen, Jack Black, Stephen Sondheim, Jason Alexander, and Kate Burton, among others, both locally and regionally. He has garnered multiple awards for his writing and music directing, one in particular for his work with “The Apple Sisters” comedy group, performing with the likes of Chevy Chase, Seth Meyers, and the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” He has served on the faculties of Brown University, Montclair State University, and Hunter College. He received his BA: Brown University and MFA: Tisch School at NYU, Musical Theatre Writing.
Gianluca Tramontana (Director of Audio Programs & Senior Engineer)
Mr. Tramontana is an accomplished radio broadcaster and music journalist (US correspondent for JAM Magazine in Italy and contributor for MOJO Magazine and assorted others. His article on New Orleans R&B was mentioned in DaCapo Press’s “Best Music Writing of 2009”. He has written, produced and presented pieces for National Public Radio and has presented Untold Stories – international stories submitted by journalists abroad which is broadcast and streamed on KRCB in California. He has currently written and produced a documentary on the American hobo with Honey boy Edwards as the central figure for BBC Radio. Gianluca hosts a weekly interview radio show on London’s Resonance FM. Resonance FM’s awards include three Radio Academy Nations and Regions awards and runner-up for PRSF New Music Award 2008.The broadcast is called “Sitting With Gianluca from Country-Bluegrass-Blues to CBGBs” where musicians talk about their craft and then play a couple of songs. Former guests include The Proclaimers, Justin Townes Earle, Academy Award winner for best soundtrack, Ryan Bingham (Crazy Heart), William Elliott Whitmore and Texan songwriting legend Guy Clark.
Ms. Peila specializes in programs that develop innovative training processes across the performing arts spectrum and inspires professional skills development. She has created and taught national award winning dance arts programs in the United States, Israel, Poland and the E/CE. She has a duel BA in Performance Art/Art Production and Medical Anthropology from Western Washington University and a Masters in Cultural Policy & Arts Administration from The Ohio State University. She has worked with some of the world’s top visual and performing artists and entertainers. She continues to train in a variety of international performance systems to expand her knowledge and share mixed media and movement/theatre performing arts and entrepreneurship to all ages.
Mr. Brickman is a dual UK/US citizen. He grew up in 8 countries and speaks 10 languages. Earning degrees from both Johns Hopkins/School of International Studies and Columbia University (BA/MA in International Relations, and an MBA in International Finance), he subsequently worked in the City of London in Investment Banking/Emerging Markets Equity Sales at Lehman Bros and Morgan Stanley. Being a third-generation thespian, David has been acting since age 6. He took courses at RADA and Central School in London, and has performed in Classical/ Shakespearean comedy, drama, and musicals on stage. Moreover, he has acted in numerous TV shows (‘General Hospital’ and ’24’), Films, Commercials, and Voice-Overs in LA and NYC.
Mr. Puglisi is a New York based actor/writer/musician who has had his work showcased in variety venues. As an actor, he has had various supporting and speaking roles on TV shows such as Law and Order, Life on Mars where he played singer Jim Croce, the Golden Globe award winning HBO series, Boardwalk Empire and many others. As a voice over artist he has recorded announcer spots for McDonald’s, Oreo’s, Carmax, French’s and dozens of others. He has also voiced several animated series including many Japanese anime titles. As a musician, Don has licensed music from his first solo record Goodbye New York to Academy Award winning director Ang Lee’s film Taking Woodstock as well as for the documentary Houston We Have a Problem. Most recently Don has acted with Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis who played his mother in The Ballad of Salvatore Salustio. Currently, Don is in post production for his second directorial effort I Ate the Band and recording his second solo record. He recently starred in the HBO series, Vinyl.
Chris Savery’s first full-length play won the TSW/Southwest Arts Award for New Writing (UK). He formed the theatre company Plymouth Presents and staged his first production, ‘The Megahype,’ at The Academy Theatre, Plymouth, as well as ‘Oliver Cromwell’ at the Globe Theatre, ‘A Clash of Wills’ and ‘Peacocks and Hens’ at the Athenauem ‘Drake’ for the Drake 400 celebrations in conjunction with The Theatre Royal Plymouth ‘A Battle of Wits’ and ‘Marilyn’ at the Barbican Theatre. Chris is the Founder of ‘Playsonthenet’ (POTN) which was created to produce downloadable new plays for the Internet which he later sold. He produced over 50 hours of original drama for One word Radio and received 3 Sony nominations. He collaborated with The Old Vic on their ’24 Hour Plays’ project, recording a series of productions for broadcast on Channel 4’s One word radio. Chris is a Producer of ‘BritFest,’ a live celebration of British music, comedy, plays and culture held in New York City.
Mr. Verga has been published in more than 100 poetry venues, both here and abroad, and has been widely anthologized and translated. His seventh book is a new and selected volume, Long & Short, including The Street in Your Head (2016). He was an owner of The Cornelia Street Café, where his programs (1997-2015) created a home for poets and audiences from near and far, young and old, established and emerging.