Musical theatre workshops and productions

2015 Team Bios

David Kornfeld

David Kornfeld

David Kornfeld composes “engaging and original” (Chicago Theatre Beat) music that is lyrical, accessible, and above all emotionally moving, with an underlying structure driven by a narrative. Numbers Nerds marks his sixth musical composed with writing partners Laura Stratford and Alex Higgin-Houser, after Liberal Arts: the Musical!, Grind, Spa Fire: the Children of the One Percent, Pr0ne, a Hardcore, Amateur Musical, and Workingmen, to Arms!

Currently based in Chicago, David’s music directing, composing and arranging collaborations range from large theatres to sketch comedy groups, and everything in between, including Loyola University Chicago, Playhouse on the Square (Memphis, TN), Open Door Repertory Theatre, Theatre-Hikes, Hey Ladies, Ex-Pats Theatre Company, Whiskey Wry Productions, Summer Place Theatre, The Cabaret Project, Li’l Buds Theatre Company, and Underscore Theatre, of which he is a founding ensemble member, board member, and Resident Music Director. He is a licensed street performer and can occasionally be seen busking on keytar in downtown Chicago, and playing late night jazz gigs with his organ quartet, Jazzsquatch.

David is the recipient of such awards as the Sigrid and Erling Larsen Award in Creative and Performing Arts, finalist in the 2011 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards competition and a Kennedy Center commendation for Achievement in Music Composition in the 2012 American College Theatre Festival.

Apart from music, David loves the outdoors, cookery, and sustainable design.


Laura Stratford

Laura Stratford

Laura Stratford is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Underscore Theatre Company. “Numbers Nerds” marks her fifth world-premiere musical collaboration with Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld. With Higgin-Houser and Kornfeld, she toured Grind: The (coffee shop, comic book) Musical to four cities and rave reviews in the Midwest Fringe Tour in 2010.

The writing team’s first production including Brendan Siegfried, Liberal Arts: The Musical! premiered in Chicago April 2012, was lauded for “great dialogue and lyrics” (Chicago Theater Beat), and “a lot of talent on display in the writing” (Windy City Times).

In August 2012, the EX-Pats Theatre Company premiered their short musical, “Spa Fire: Children of the One Percent,” which performed again this spring in Underscore’s production of “STUCK: Four Short Original Musicals.” Most recently, they produced “pr0ne: a Hardcore Amateur Musical,” now in post-premiere workshops in Chicago.


Alex Higgin-Houser

Alex Higgin-Houser

Alex Higgin-Houser is the Artistic Director and founding ensemble member of Underscore Theatre Company, Alex has collaborated with ensemble members David Kornfeld, Brendan Siegfried, and Laura Stratford on the Midwest tour of Grind: the Coffee Shop, Comic Book Musical (co-author, director, 2010), Liberal Arts: The Musical! (co-author, director, 2008/2012), Spa Fire (co-author, AbbieFest 2012; “STUCK” new musical festival 2013), Prone: The Casting Couch Musical Comedy (co-author, director, 2013), as well as directing The Rocky Horror Show (2011/2012).

Apart from Borderlands, Alex is currently spearheading the second annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, an effort to highlight emerging musical theatre talent in Chicago, and writing a brand new musical about the events surrounding the Chicago Haymarket Affair. In his spare time, Alex is director of Group Sales at Victory Gardens Theatre.



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