Meet the Judges

Osh Ghanimah

Educator and Actor


Osh is a proud Teach for America alum who holds degrees in Theatre, English Lit, and Secondary Education from Loyola University Chicago and an MFA in Acting from Harvard/ART. He is the recipient of a Harvard University Presidential Fellowship, a former Guest Lecturer of Acting at the university’s Office of the Arts, and the Founder and CEO of Broadway For All, a not-for-profit with a mission to diversify the American stage and screen. Stage acting credits include: Vagabond Trilogy workshop (The Public), Refugia (The Guthrie), Sama: An American Requiem (Davenport Theater), Scheherazade: A New Musical (Prospect Theatre), Made in the USA (Garis & Hahn). Regional: Mud (Dramanauts), Hansel & Gretel (ART). International: The Imaginary Invalid, The Proposal (Moscow Art Theatre). TV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Blacklist, Happyish, Deadbeat, Sneaky Pete, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Law & Order: SVU. Upcoming film: All We Had, starring and directed by Katie Holmes.


Jim Kierstead

Theatre and Film Producer


Jim Kierstead is a two-time Tony® Award-winning producer of the Broadway, touring, Toronto, and London productions of Kinky Boots and the revival of Pippin. He also is a co-producer of the 2016 Broadway musicals Waitress and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and The Visit, You Can’t Take It With You, Side Show, It Shoulda Been You, and Rocky. Jim has worked in New York theatre since 2000 for shows including Something Rotten, The Glass Menagerie, and Hair (Best Revival), among others. Off-Broadway, Jim developed and produced Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story and Yank! A World War II Love Story. He has been an Executive Producer on the films Between Love and Goodbye, Kiss Me, Kill Me, and Wakefield starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner. Jim is on the Board of Directors of the York Theatre Company and the New York Theatre Barn.


Leah Natasha Thomas

Film Producer


Leah Natasha Thomas started her career at Revolution Studios, where she worked on Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts and Little Black Book with Brittany Murphy. During her tenure as the Director of Industry Relations for Ghetto Film School, GFS received the Mayor’s Award for Art & Culture, and has since grown into a national organization. She recently produced 25 to Life, winner of the CNN Grand Jury Prize at American Black Film Festival 2014 (AFFRM), and 3½ Minutes, which won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact at Sundance 2015 and was shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Awards. She was named one of the Top Ten Rising Women Executives in Entertainment by Uptown Magazine, is the 2016 recipient of the NYU-Critical Collaboration Fellowship, and has been accepted into the 2016 Sundance Creative Producers Lab Fellowship. She holds a BFA in Drama and Politics and an MA in Art and Public Policy from NYU-Tisch School of the Arts.


Frederick Zollo

Theatre and Film Producer


Frederick Zollo, an American film and theatre producer, has produced more than 100 plays in New York, London, and on tour. He is an 18-time Tony® nominee, winning the award six times. Fred is best known for his film work on Best Picture Oscar Nominees Mississippi Burning (1988) and Quiz Show (1994). His producing credits include Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) and the popular Broadway musical Once. Fred has been an Executive Producer on the films The Paper (1994), Resurrecting the Champ (2007) and Hurlyburly (1998) starring Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey. Currently, Fred is producing a movie entitled Till to tell the story of Emmett Louis Till, whose death galvanized the civil rights movement in America.


Meg Chorlian

Editor, COBBLESTONE Magazine


As the editor of COBBLESTONE, Meg Chorlian has enjoyed a personalized tour of the White House, a trip on the USS Constitution during its centennial, a visit to Jamestown, and the opportunity to research materials at the National Archives, where she came across a letter handwritten by Eleanor Roosevelt. She finds history fascinating. She wanted to take the Hamilton Challenge and write a rap, but she couldn’t think of any words that rhyme with “Sacagawea.”