David Geffen School of Drama 2019-20 Season

It is our pleasure to introduce to you Danilo Gambini, Kat Yen, and Logan Ellis, three outstanding young directors who will graduate in May from our three-year Master of Fine Arts program in Directing.

Danilo Gambini

Danilo Gambini is a third-year M.F.A. candidate at Yale School of Drama from São Paulo, Brazil. At Yale, he directed William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Noah Diaz’s Rock Egg Spoon in the Langston Hughes Festival, and Margaret E. Douglas’s Rest I’m Peace as part of the New Play Lab. At Yale Cabaret, he directed Agreste (Drylands) by Newton Moreno, Ni Mi Madre by Arturo Luís Soria III, and Truck (parts I and II) by Margaret E. Douglas. He also acted in The Apple Tree by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick and The Ugly One by Marius Von Mayenburg.

With Jecamiah M. Ybañez, Danilo served as the Co-Artistic Director of the 2019 Yale Summer Cabaret. Their season, Verano Cabaret, focused on exploring and expanding what it means to be Latino/a/x on a local, national, and global level. He directed an all-female cast in Anne Carson’s new adaptation of Euripides’s Bakkhai, and adapted and directed the Brazilian children’s book The Swallow and the Tomcat (O Gato Malhado e a Andorinha Sinhá) by Jorge Amado. At Yale Repertory Theatre, Danilo served as assistant director to Laurie Woolery for the world premiere of El Huracán by Charise Castro Smith.

Prior to Yale, Danilo directed opera and musical theater in Brazil, and worked as a casting director for film and television. Directing credits include Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Ariadne Auf Naxos by Strauss, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Theatro São Pedro); and the rock-opera The Who's Tommy by Pete Townshend (Memorial da América Latina). He served as assistant director to Fernando Meirelles on Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Theatro da Paz); Iacov Hillel on Pélleas et Mélisande (Theatro Municipal de São Paulo), Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and an adaptation of the French film The Intouchables by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano; Mauro Wrona on Otello, Die Fledermaus, and on the world premiere of Boy and Freedom (O Menino e a Liberdade) by Ronaldo Miranda (Theatro São Pedro); and to Caetano Vilela on Mefistofele. At the renowned Teatro Amazonas opera house, Danilo served as assistant director to Caetano Pimentel on Tannhhäuser by Wagner.

Danilo holds a B.A. in film and television (Curso Superior do Audiovisual), and an artist diploma as actor from the School of Dramatic Art (Escola de Arte Dramática–EAD), from the University of São Paulo (ECA-USP).

Danilo’s production of Fun Home, a musical adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, will be presented at Yale School of Drama December 14-20, 2019.


Kat Yen

Kat Yen is a third-year M.F.A. candidate who hails from Queens and the Bronx in New York City. At Yale School of Drama, she directed Shakespeare’s Othello, Shoot Her, Shooter by Margaret E. Douglas, and The Two Sisters; Or the Devil Beats His Wife by Christopher Audley Puglisi as part of the New Play Lab, which she later workshopped with The Wild Project in New York. At Yale Cabaret, she directed Fade by Tanya Saracho and wrote and performed This Is Not Art, It's Just Asian during the 2019 Satellite Festival.

Prior to Yale, Kat was the Artistic Director of Spookfish Theatre Company for seven years, directing, producing, and designing sets for new plays written by Spookfish’s co-founder Ming Peiffer, including Usual Girls (Signature Theatre for Columbia University), Destination: Oasis (Columbia University), i wrote on ur wall and now i regret it (The Wild Project), The ABC's Guide to Getting Famous (FringeNYC), Advance Guard (Horse Trade), Relax! Alice (June Havoc Theater), Pornography for the People (HEREArts), and Wabi Sabi! Not Wasabi (Theater for a New City).

Other New York and regional productions include I Am This For You by Emily Gardner Xu Hall (Ars Nova), The Other Kids Ran Away by Maiken Wiese (New Ohio), Fall of a Sparrow (Alvin Ailey), Charlotte by José Rivera (The Wild Project), Everyday Afroplay (JACK and Bushwick Starr), Static by Daaimah Mubashshir (Dixon Place), and am i? am i? am i? by Ming Peiffer (The Flea Theater). Kat devised and co-directed Nowhere/Now-Here with John Gould Rubin (TheaterLab). She also directed a previously unproduced draft of References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot by José Rivera (Harvard University Visiting Director's Project at American Repertory Theater).

Kat has assisted directors May Adrales on Somebody's Daughter (Second Stage) and Liz Diamond on Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 (Yale Repertory Theatre and American Conservatory Theater). She is an alumna of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a former Resident Director at The Flea Theater, a member of New Georges, and was the 2016–2017 Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theater. Kat currently serves as head of the Asian and Asian American Affinity Group at Yale School of Drama. Her studies at Yale are generously supported by the Mary Jean Parson Scholarship and the Cullman Scholarship in Directing.

Kat's production of Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, a post-electric play will be presented at Yale School of Drama October 26–November 1, 2019.


Logan Ellis

Logan Ellis is a third-year M.F.A. candidate from Kent, Washington. At Yale School of Drama, Logan has directed Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare and Blues for Miss Lucille by Christopher Audley Puglisi. He has also directed Walt McGough’s Non-Player Character at Yale Cabaret and assisted Kenny Leon on Good Faith at Yale Repertory Theatre.

Logan is the Producing Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Theatre Battery in his hometown of Kent, Washington. Theatre Battery produces plays for social justice and practices radical hospitality, offering free admissions for all programming. Directing credits at Theatre Battery include We Are Pussy Riot, or Everything Is P.R. by Barbara Hammond; Hooded or Being Black for Dummies by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm; A Maze by Rob Handel; and Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge. His producing work at the company includes developmental readings of new work by local playwrights, 24-hour play festivals, an acting lab, and workshop productions of Benjamin Benne’s Alma (or #nowall) and Danielle Alexis Nicole Mitchell’s Shame. In the summer of 2020, Theatre Battery will create a devised work about the victims of the Green River Killer.

Prior to Yale, Logan served as the Producer in Residence at Magic Theatre and the Literary Manager of Playwrights Foundation in San Francisco. Freelance directing credits in the Bay Area include The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid (Marin Theatre Company); The Firefly Project, IVANKA (Magic Theatre); Water by the Spoonful (Dirty Hands Ensemble); Year of the Rooster (Impact Theatre); dark play or stories for boys (Do It Live!), Nanay’s Lullaby (Bindlestiff Studio); and Homeless in the Afterlife (University of San Francisco). Logan has assisted directors including Loretta Greco, Daniella Topol, Carey Perloff, Jon Tracy, Jasson Minadakis, and Jonathan Moscone. Logan also played viola in the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony under conductor Dawn Harms.

Logan received a B.A. in drama from Ithaca College, where he directed Fat Pig and Far Away. He is also a graduate of Green River Community College and Kent-Meridian High School, where he works as a guest lecturer.

His production of Alice, conceived by Robert Wilson, with a libretto by Paul Schmidt and music by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, will be performed at Yale School of Drama from February 1–7, 2020.