WIPP Team

Dwight R.B. Cook, Director-Production Manager

Mr. Cook brings an extensive skill set to HJ/WIPP’s creative and technical arsenal. Widely recognized for his operational acumen, Mr. Cook manages and executes all technical aspects of HJ/WIPP’s productions, including touring, production management, directing which would include coordination and supervision of all facets of production; music, sound, lighting, costume, and set design. He brings a long and exceptional body of experience, which includes; managing and/or directing productions for stages from Broadway and National Tours, to his current capacity as production manager for the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD – home of the 2,000 seat, state-of-the-art Gilliam Concert Hall.

A union member of AEA and DGA, Mr. Cook has worked with many of the leading figures in contemporary theater, including Debbie Allen, Woodie King, Jr., George Faison, Dr. Walter Turnbull, Suzanne dePasse, Phil Rose and Noel Pointer. His production credits include (Broadway) Gospel at Colonus, Into the Woods, and Amen Corner. Notable regional work includes; The Public Theatre, National Black Theatre Festival, National Black Touring Circuit, Crossroads. Mr. Cook directing talents have garnered him two AUDELCO nominations. As such, he has applied his craft for many leading theater entities, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., Harlem Theatre Company, Ford’s Theatre, the Apollo Theatre, New York Shakespeare Festival, Billie Holliday Theatre, and more.

His scope of his responsibilities covers the full spectrum of artistic and technical disciplines. He has served as stage manager, program coordinator, company manager, artistic director, road manager, production manager, house manager, production coordinator, and sound operator. Over the span of his career, he has evolved into an expert in the use and manipulation of technical assets to help create outstanding productions.

In fulfilling his duties, he has managed all aspects of production relating to pre-rehearsal, rehearsal, scheduled run and post-run obligations, as well as script development. As Stage manager (2nd) for dePasse Entertainment, he assisted the 1st stage manager and director in the production of the popular TV Sitcom, Sister, Sister. With Carsey-Werner Company, he assisted in the production of A Different World, also a popular TV Sitcom. While he was with Univision Productions Unlimited, he assisted the president in formulating programs for events to promote the company’s projects.

On the creative side, Mr. Cook has served as an artistic director, drama director, teacher, actor, and playwright. His unique blend of technical and creative talent make him an exceptional addition to the HJ/WIPP core team. His contacts in the industry, familiarity with cutting edge techniques in production, and creative instincts are vital to the organization’s mission to provide top-shelf, legitimate theatre.

Mr. Cook received his B.A. in Theatre from Herbert H. Lehman College in Bronx, New York. He also studied at Barrington College, Barrington, Rhode Island, where he served as chair of the Academic Board. He received his voice and acting training in Rhode Island and New York City.
Mr. Cook resides in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Antonio “Tony” Lawson, Director of Fundraising and Corporate Sponsorship

Mr. Lawson brings a diverse background and prized skill set to the HJ/WIPP group, as he is equally adept in business and theatre. As the past Director of Institutional Partnerships for one of the nation’s flagship theatres, The Alliance Theatre-Atlanta, he was responsible for increasing corporate giving to a 9 year high during his 4 year tenure, garnering new corporate sponsors, such as, Target, American Intercontinental University, Newell Rubbermaid, Cooper Transportation, and BARCO. He also created and developed the Alliance’s first junior board.

Prior to this position, Mr. Lawson’s success with corporate giving was demonstrated in his capacity as the Director of Corporate Relations for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO). At the ASO, he was responsible for managing the $1.7 million dollar corporate annual fund.  His work included obtaining and servicing the sponsorships of all 72 performances at Symphony Hall and 27 performances at Chastain Park. In 2003, he successfully obtained the symphony’s largest annual corporate sponsorship.

An accomplished musician, Mr. Lawson was the recipient of a musical scholarship and studied classical piano with plans to pursue a career as a concert pianist and music educator. He attended the University of Central Florida where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Public Administration.  His deep appreciation and love for music and the arts has made him a very effective conduit between the corporate and art sectors. His ability to navigate these two worlds so effortlessly has benefitted company after company including: Georgia-Pacific, Mead, the Hit Mecca-Atlanta, and other business interests, including The Miles Cameron Group of Keller Williams Realty where he and his wife serve as principals.