Ian Ruskin
Project Director, Actor

Ian Ruskin trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then worked for the next 15 years in England in repertory companies, London’s West End, and in television and film. Highlights included working in the Laurence Olivier “King Lear” for Granada Television and playing Jack in “Jack the Ripper” at the Players Theatre, London.

He came to Los Angeles in 1985. A pattern developed of guest star roles, usually playing the intelligent bad guy, in shows such as “Murder She Wrote”, “Scarecrow and Mrs. King”, and “MacGyver.” While this work paid the rent, it did not in any way fulfill his dream as a student at RADA – to be involved in great plays that could not only move audiences but could shine a light on their shared humanity, not happening on “MacGyver.” 

In 1994 he was cast to play a real-life character by the name of Harry Bridges and his life changed. He discovered that Bridges was a man whose beliefs and values inspired him. The cast performed a reading for Bridges’ union, the ILWU, and received a ten-minute standing ovation. Ian realized that he had found a way to “shine a light” again.

So Ian wrote "From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks", which had its world premieres at the University of Washington, Seattle and at the Warner Grand Theatre, San Pedro. He has since performed it over 250 times to approximately 50,000 people. This led to a film of a live performance, directed by legendary filmmaker Haskell Wexler, which aired across America on PBS for four years, making it available to 150 million Americans. Then he discovered Thomas Paine. Now, with To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine complete, filmed and airing on public television stations, he has turned to his most challenging project to date, getting into the mind of Nikola Tesla. 

To visit Ian Ruskin's personal website, please go to: www.ianruskin.org

June Stoddard

June Stoddard is Producing Partner, Prop Master and Costume Designer for Magic & Lightning: into the Mind of Nikola Tesla. In 2006, she produced the Los Angeles run of Ian’s play To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine, bringing enthusiastic standing ovation audiences to the run and gaining many reviews, including the LA Times. The run closed with performances in London at RADA and Conway Hall. Most recently June raised funds through a successful Indiegogo Campaign to film a live performance of To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine with legendary Director of Photography Haskell Wexler. The film is currently airing on Public Television stations nationwide. June is president of JS Executive Search and an alumna of UW-Madison and the American Conservatory Theatre.

Daniel Hagen
Actor, Voice of Johnnie B.

Dan recently appeared at the Echo Theater in LA in Dry Land and Laileen on the Way Down. And not so recently on Broadway in Charles Nelson Reilly’s production of The Nerd. Off Broadway he performed in plays by the likes of David Ives, Jeffrey Hatcher and Peter Tolan at the Manhattan Punchline. Regional Theatres include The Long Wharf, The Hippodrome, The New Ground and the Burt Reynolds Theater. Film credits include The Informant! Ten Til Noon and Bonfire of the Vanities. Old TV credits: Seinfeld, Friends and Mad About You. Newer TV: Rizzoli and Isles, CSI and NCIS. And Video Games: Skylanders, Ratchet and Clank and many Star Wars. Mr. Hagen is an award winning Radio performer, director and producer, also a performer of Shakespeare, Parisian street theatre, improv and hand puppetry.

Keith Robinson

Keith was in charge of technical effects for David Bowie's Sound and Vision Tour, which required the synchronous interfacing of Mr. Bowie's performance with forty-foot film projections, and in charge of technical effects and projections for Sinatra at the London Palladium. He ran the first digital audio mixing and sound editing facility in New York and has maintained a creative environment accessed by both independents and studios, including sixteen Academy Award winners. He discovered the raw footage of the event known as The Rumble in the Jungle and resurrected the project, leading to When We Were Kings, a 1997 Academy Award winner. He has worked with Ian as an Editor and Special Effects consultant on his Harry Bridges and Thomas Paine films and put together the 73 and counting cues, visual and audio, for Magic and Lightning.


Joe Romano
Composer, Sound designer, Musician

Theaters include Mark Taper Forum, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Actors Gang, The Tiffany Theater, The Coronet Theater, John Ansen Ford Theater, San Gabriel Civic Light Opera, Los Angeles Theater Company, East West Players, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Shakespeare Theater Washington D.C., Arena Stage, A Company Of Angels. Film credits as a composer: Strapped (HBO), John Henry (Disney), Feat, Anxiety and Depression (Propaganda Films), Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall (Academy Award winner Best Live Action Short), When The Party's Over (Indi).  Recording Credits: (trumpet, keyboards, arranging, orchestrations); The Beach Boys, Ray Charles, The Whispers, The Checkmates LTD., Christina Aguilara, Tom Waits, Smokey Robinson, Tina Turner, J.J. Cale, David Cassidy, Mike Love, Leon Russell, Harry Connick Jr, The Jazz Crusaders, Eddie Harris. As a studio musician in Los Angeles he has recorded on several hundred albums and film scores. He composed, and performed much of, the original music for To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine.

Jessica Richards
Production Assistant

Jessica started working in professionally in regional theatre at the age of 14, and has never looked back. Favorite credits include: Will Rogers Follies, As it is in Heaven, King Lear and the PBS/UNC-TV broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing where she was fortunate enough to perform Hero alongside the U.S. Premiere of Korngold's wonderful score. BFA Acting North Carolina School of the Arts. Apprentice with Williamstown Theatre Festival, and intern with Morman/Boling Casting. Her feature film debut in the coming of age comedy Opening Night is now available on iTunes, Netflix, and other digital media platforms. To visit Jessica's personal website, please go to: www.jessica-richards.com

Our Consultants

Peter H. Fisher – Professor of Physics; Department Head of Physics; MIT

David Kaiser – Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science; Program in Science, Technology and Society; Professor of Physics; MIT 

Steve Leeb – Instructional Lab Ofc; Professor of EECS and Mechanical Engineering; MacVicar Faculty Fellow; MIT

A. David Wunsch – Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; University of Massachusetts Lowell

Dr. Larry Beeferman - Doctorate in Applied Physics; Harvard University; Tesla Scholar


Looking to Join the Team?