top of page


The Process

 “A” TRAIN was born out of a mom’s desire to share the messiness of life and the search for happiness in grappling with her son’s autism diagnosis. 

Annie knew she had a story to tell: one that would illuminate, educate, and of course entertain. (Irreverent potty-mouth included). She believed that in telling it, she could help create a softer landing for her son and all who’ve been touched by autism, while shining a light on the search for happiness we all face.

Annie received several grants to support her research on the project including a Hellman Family Fund Fellowship, and proceeded to attend conferences, collecting taped interviews with numerous individuals: parents, teachers, researchers... and especially those who identify as autistic. After transcribing the interviews, she set off to cull through the material. 

Armed with pages upon pages of transcriptions and her own writing, Annie began to develop the piece with colleague and frequent collaborator, Risa Brainin, as director, and Liz Engelman, dramaturg, at The Tofte Lake Center. Risa, artistic director of the nationally recognized new play development program, LAUNCH PAD, at UCSB, supported Annie’s vision through several workshops including a reading with The Lark in NYC.

Composer Brad Carroll and designer Michael Klaers joined the team and “A” Train continued to grow. A big part of Annie’s mission with this project has been to give voice to the voiceless and she has striven to honor all those she’s met along the way. She brought The Art of Autism and their amazing artists onboard with a montage of their gorgeous images, curated by Keri Bowers.

Working with Brad, Risa, and Michael, Annie continued to revise and workshop “A” Train over the next two years under the umbrella of LAUNCH PAD experimenting with both format and cast size.

In the near future, they plan to add an onstage three-piece band composed of musicians who identify as autistic.

They also want to promote more dialogue about autism through community engagement events, talk-backs, and art installations/exhibitions connected to performances of “A” Train.

bottom of page