Production Bios


Production

Karen Fowler
Executive Producer

The Electric Companyhas been a passion for Fowler since she began spearheading its reinvention four years ago. As a Development Executive at Sesame Workshop, she began to explore her vision for this multi-media project that brings playful, musical stories and sketches to serve the literacy needs of 6 to 9-year-olds. 

Fowler recently delivered 40 episodes of The Electric Company to PBS and two nationally broadcasted Public Service Announcements packed with celebrities.  

Previously, Fowler worked on a variety of properties for Sesame Workshop including: leading the launch of the Japanese co-production of Sesame Street; co-developing and overseeing production on twenty-six 30-minute episodes of Sponk! (aired on Noggin); and co-developing Pinky Dinky Doo airing on Nogin.
 
Before joining the Workshop, Fowler worked as Senior Producer/Development Executive at Nickelodeon’s Creative Lab, where she developed and produced over 30 character-driven live action and animated films, all of which premiered on Saturday Night Nickelodeon. At Nick, Fowler co-created and produced the network's first web/TV series called Natalie's Backseat Traveling Webshow.  

Raised in a mining town in northern Canada with two TV stations and a whole lot of hockey, Fowler has been happily working in New York City for over 15 years.


Willie Reale

Head Writer & Co-Executive Producer

Willie Reale’s work has been recognized with both Academy Award and Tony Award nominations. He wrote the lyrics for the song “Patience” (music Henry Krieger) for the movie Dreamgirls which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Song category in 2007. He co-wrote A Year With Frog and Toad with his brother, Robert Reale. The show was performed at the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, the New Victory Theater and at the Cort Theater on Broadway and Reale was nominated for two Tony Awards for book and lyrics. Other collaborations with his brother include the musicals Once Around The City (Second Stage Theatre in New York) Quark Victory (Williamstown Theatre Festival) and The Dinosaur Musical (The Arden in Philadelphia). Other plays have been produced at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Circle Repertory Company.

In 1981, Reale founded The 52nd Street Project, an organization that brings inner-city children together with professional theater artists. He served as the theater’s artistic director for 18 years. For the Project’s students, he has written over 50 plays and the lyrics to hundreds of songs. He also wrote “52 Pick Up,” the Project’s how-to manual. The 52nd Street Project’s programs are currently being replicated at 14 sites across country and in Europe. In June of 1994, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his ingenuity in creating theater and theater education programs for young people.

For television, Reale has written for Damages on FX, and the NBC dramas Homicide: Life on the Streets, Deadline and Mr. Sterling. For Fox he has written for Keen Eddie and The Jury and served as Writer/Producer for the limited series, Tilt, on ESPN. He developed a number of pilots for the networks and created a series called Out There for Sesame Workshop, the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Company. His work on the show was recognized with an Australian Film Institute Award (The Australian Emmy) and by Prix Jeunesse and Writers’ Guild of America with nominations. He has taught at New York University and the Yale School of Drama.

Reale’s new musical Red Sox Nation will open at the American Repertory Theater in Boston in the spring of 2010.

Reale is married to theater producer, Jenny Gersten. They have two children, Augustus and Leonardo.


Dionne Nosek

Narrative Producer


Dionne Nosek is Vice President of Creative Development at Sesame Workshop and has a long record of producing award-winning content for Sesame Workshop’s Global Television group. Nosek has served as a leading creative voice on a variety of Sesame Workshop projects: Sesame Street
podcasts, Executive Producer of international Sesame Street animations and Pinky Dinky Doo. Nosek also developed and produced over a dozen Sesame Street home videos including Elmo’s Potty Time and the Sesame Beginnings series.

Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, Nosek worked on Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? and The Late Show with David Letterman.

 
Carol Klein
Supervising Producer
 

Klein began her career as a stage manager, working on several off-Broadway shows as well as at the Circle in the Square Theater. She moved to television for the '80s staple, The Cosby Show, followed by MTV’s first non-musical program, Remote Control. She started line producing for the Comedy Central specials the Denis Leary Roast and Bar Mitzvah Bash. Klein has since produced series for The Food Network, Bravo, The Style Network, and others. Most recently, Klein was the Supervising Producer for nine seasons of the award-winning Between the Lions, a children’s puppet and live-action show designed to promote reading. She is delighted to continue and expand that mission with The Electric Company.


Chris Sullivan
Producer


As well as playing Shock in the narrative format of The Electric Company
, Chris Sullivan served as a producer of his short-form green screen and live-action segment. Sullivan has also produced comedy and music shows throughout New York City including The BEATdown at Mo Pitkins and The Upright Citizen Brigade Theater, The MIXTAPE at The Ars Nova Theater, The 8-Track at The Green Room at 45 Bleecker and Character Dogville at The People's Improv Theater. Prior to his New York City productions, he co-created the long-form improvisational comedy troupe, TOAST! at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and founded The Foxboro Fun Foundation, a youth event and service organization in his hometown.

 
Jodi Nussbaum
Project Director
 

With 25 years of producing and launching experience behind her, The Electric Company marks a return to Sesame Workshop for Nussbaum. There, she spent 15 years developing, producing and launching all of the company’s video properties.   She was the Executive Producer of the PBS KIDS hit Dragon Tales, Executive in Charge of Production for Noggin’s popular Pinky Dinky Doo and The Upside Down Show. She most recently was at the Workshop as Group VP for Global Production, where she oversaw worldwide media production including all of the international Sesame Street co-productions. Prior to Sesame Workshop, Nussbaum worked in varying capacities on films, sitcoms, documentaries and commercials.


Education & Research


Scott Cameron
Director of Education and Research
 

Scott Cameron oversees the educational integrity of all The Electric Company materials, including the TV show, broadband games, comic books and outreach activities.

A former English teacher, Cameron has worked in children’s educational media as a curriculum specialist, researcher and writer. In the mid-1990s, he was part of the team that developed the Israeli-Palestinian Sesame Street co-production. He also worked on the Mexican, Canadian, Polish and Japanese versions of Sesame Street and was the Director of Content for the series Sesame English, which combined classic Sesame Street segments with new narrative material to teach English to non-native speakers.Cameron has written and edited over 20 educational books including: nonfiction readers for Time for Kids; early readers for Rigby/CTW’s City Stories series; and Hemispheres, an English-learning series for McGraw-Hill. As a television writer, Cameron wrote for educational programs such as Noggin’s award-winning Oobi and PBS’s Special Good Night. He has served as an educational consultant for Leapfrog, Disney Publishing and other multimedia educational companies.

Cameron holds a Master’s degree in international education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and television from Boston University.

 
Randell Marie Bynum
Director of Outreach
 

As Director, Randell Bynum manages all community activities for Sesame Workshop’s The Electric Company. This includes community events, partnerships and the development of literacy materials for both children and educators. The program’s outreach initiative supports and enhances The Electric Company’s broadcast and broadband components.

Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, Bynum was an independent consultant at her own firm marieimage inc. serving non-profits and other organizations in support of positive youth image. Her clients included Unilever’s Dove brand Campaign for Real Beauty; Illinois’ Robert Crown Center for Health Education; and NYC Office of the Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues and Department Of Youth and Community Development—NYC GirlsREACH Program.


Bynum is a former social worker with over 15 years experience of working with youth in various settings, providing both direct service and program development. She also worked at the Girl Scouts of the USA both locally and nationally where she was responsible for the implementation of The Dove Self-Esteem Fund partnership in the United States and the development of uniquely ME!, The Girl Scout/Dove self-esteem program. She is the co-author of Dove’s true you!, Sometimes I Feel Ugly and Other Truths about Growing Up workbook for mothers and daughters.

Bynum received a Master of Social Work with a planning, administration and research concentration from Stony Brook University. She also holds a B.A. from Binghamton University in Psychology and African & Afro-American studies.


Website

Erica Branch-Ridley
Broadband Supervising Producer
 

Erica Branch-Ridley is the Broadband Supervising Producer for Sesame Workshop where she oversees all creative and production for interactive and digital initiatives for The Electric Company.

Before joining Sesame Workshop, Branch-Ridley served as the Executive Producer and Sr. Director of TV Land Digital where she oversaw the creative direction, content development, design and production for both the TV Land and Nick-at-Nite websites. Branch-Ridley has won numerous awards for her work at TV Land including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television and was twice nominated for a Technology Emmy Award in 2004 and 2005.

Prior to her position with TV Land, Branch-Ridley was the Senior Producer for Nickelodeon Online. She was the lead producer for the first ever-successful TV/Web convergent effort for preschoolers with Dora the Explorer! The Dora online launch went on to be voted “best use of online” by Kidscreen Magazine in 2000.

Previous to working in the Internet industry, Branch-Ridley spent 10 years in television. She worked six years at CBS on 48 Hours working with Dan Rather. She also worked at BET, where she created and produced the children’s television show Storyporch that featured notable celebrities including Maya Angelou and Bill Cosby. Storyporch won her a National Education Association Award and two nominations from the NAACP for an Image Award.

In 2007, Branch-Ridley was one of 30 people from across the country chosen by the National Association of Multi-ethnicity in Cable to participate in their prestigious Executive Leadership Development Program at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA where she graduated prior to joining Sesame Workshop. She holds a B.S. degree from Syracuse University from their S.I. Newhouse School in Speech Communications and Television Production.

Branch-Ridley resides in New Jersey with her husband and three children.



The Music Team

Christopher Jackson
Music Director


An award-winning actor, musician and lyricist, Jackson is currently starring as “Benny” in the Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights. He has also starred as “Simba” in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. His regional theatre work includes: “Clay Harris” in Comfortable Shoes (Jefferson Award, Black Theater Alliance Award nomination ‘03) and “Happy Mac” in Beggar’s Holiday (BATC nomination ‘05). Jackson is a 2007 Drama Desk Award recipient for Outstanding Ensemble Performance for In the Heights. He is a Charter Member of the hip-hop comedy improv group, Freestyle Love Supreme, that has performed in comedy festivals around the world. 

Jackson received the Song of the Month Award from BMI with his song “Be a Light” and has recently written and arranged songs for Crystal Waters, Veronica, and Andrea Burns as well as many other artists. With his partner Bill Sherman, he wrote music for the popular MTV show Gamekillers in 2007. He is currently working on his first solo album, as well as developing a new stage musical. He lives in New York with his wife and their two children.


Bill Sherman
Music Director

Bill Sherman won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for the musical, In the Heights, and the 2008 Grammy Award as the co-producer of the In The Heights Original Broadway Cast Album. He also earned a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Orchestrations for In the Heights Off-Broadway and contributed songs to Chasing Broadway Dreams, a documentary about In The Heights on its road to Broadway. He was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for AMC’s Storymakers. Additionally, Sherman is the head composer of the second season of MTV's Gamekillers, as well as Nike’s Kobe Mentu. Sherman is the composer for Barrio Grrrl!, a children’s musical commissioned by The Kennedy Center with book and lyrics by Quiara Alegria Hudes. In August 2009, Sherman partnered with Michael Croiter, to launch YELLOW SOUND LABEL, a new record label that produces an eclectic array of albums from some of today’s biggest talents from Broadway and beyond. Most recently, Sherman became the Music Director and composer for Sesame Street. He is a proud member of NYC’s premier hip-hop, improv and comedy group, Freestyle Love Supreme, that has traveled to the Aspen, Edinburgh, Melbourne and Montreal comedy festivals. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University.

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