Playwright & Actor
Norwegian born Ivar Nelson Heggen is a multi-talented theatre artist who has been seen on many of Houston's stages playing such diverse roles as Doug Roberts in Mr. Roberts, Dr. Wickstead in Habeas Corpus, and Walt in Lanford Wilson's Book of Days. As a company member of the former Actors Theatre of Houston, Nelson created roles for the Houston or World Premieres of many plays. He continued his affinity for developing new works as a member of the Edward Albee New Play Festival at the University of Houston, and now as a founding member of Lanfour Productions.
Playwright, Poet & Lyricist
A graduate of Princeton University, Joe Barnes is a former career diplomat with the U.S. State Department. In 1995 he became Rice University's Bonner Means Baker Fellow. A writer at home in multiple media, Joe has written extensively on international economics, and his essays have appeared in many newspapers including the Houston Chronicle and New York Times. He is also a published poet and lyricist. His friendship and association with Lanford Wilson was the beginning of Joe's new writing venture, as one of Houston's premiere playwrights.
MJ Wilson Emig
Director, Actor & Playwright
A New York native, MJ earned her BA in Theatre from De Sales University in PA and her MFA from the University of Houston. She acted and directed professionally for over 30 years working primarily in NY, PA, and FL before coming to TX. At the University of Houston MJ served as Producer for the Edward Albee New Play Festival under Lanford Wilson. Their association led to the creation of Lanfour Productions. MJ is committed to carrying on Lanford's legacy--developing new works for the American theatre.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Missouri, Lanford later moved to California, where he studied art and art history at San Diego State College. From California he moved to Chicago where he worked as a graphic artist and studied playwriting at the University of Chicago. In 1962, Wilson moved to New York City. He began his professional career as a playwright writing one-act plays for Joe Cino, a pioneer of the Off-Off Broadway theatre movement. Wilson's The Madness of Lady Bright premiered at Caffe Cino in May 1964 and was the venue's first significant success. Lanford's early full-length plays premiered at La Ma Ma Experimental Theatre including Balm in Gilead which was directed by Marshall W. Mason with whom he was a co-founder of the Circle Repertory Company. Lanford's Fifth of July, Tally's Folly, and Angel's Fall were Tony Award Nominee's for Best Play. In 1980 Tally's Folly earned Lanford Wilson the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.