Thursday, Sep 19 | 7:00 PM | FREE

Panache (noun): the verve, the style, the grand gesture signifying the glory of quixotic commitment to ideals. This evening of TED talks and conversation will invite the audience to explore the power of imagination to bring joy to the quests of our heroes, and ourselves.

Lead speaker Ken Womack, Dean of Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities & Social Sciences and Professor of English at Monmouth University will explore these values and how they create our joy in living. He will be joined by Dr. Lisa Dinella, the Principal Investigator of the Gender Development Laboratory at Monmouth University as well as a member of the artistic team from Two River Theater’s upcoming production of Cyrano. The follow up conversation will be moderated by TEDxAsburyPark founder, Brian Smiga. Audience participation, nosh and a beer tasting included.


Taylor Barfield  serves as the Literary Manager for Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ. Before that he was the Associate Artistic Director at Collaboraction Theatre Company in Chicago, IL. Select freelance dramaturgy credits include Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains)(Second City/Wooly Mammoth), Electra (Court Theatre), Cymbeline (Yale Repertory Theatre), Barbecue (Strawdog), and Megastasis (Eclipse Theatre Company). Taylor also served as assistant director for the world premiere productions of Cadillac Crew (Yale Repertory Theatre), Man in the Ring (Court Theatre), and War (Yale Repertory Theatre), the Midwest premiere of Paradise Blue (Timeline Theatre), and the east coast premiere of Native Son (Yale Repertory Theatre). He received his M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama in 2016 and his B.A. in molecular/cellular biology and English literature from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. He is currently a D.F.A. candidate at the Yale School of Drama where his dissertation explores how contemporary African American playwrights re-imagine and re-stage black theater history.

Dr. Lisa M. Dinella is a Professor of Psychology at Monmouth University who studies how gendered experiences shape our lives. She researches how children learn gender stereotypes while playing with toys and from the media, and she uses science to create learning experiences that are equitable and fun for all. Dr. Dinella shares her research as an author, speaker, and consultant. She has presented her research at the White House, Washington D.C. and works with global toy companies and media corporations such as Sesame Workshop. Dr. Dinella will discuss the topic of panache from a psychological viewpoint. She will consider how social isolation and the fear of rejection leads to panache serving as a coping strategy.

Dr. Kenneth Womack is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. He is an internationally acclaimed Beatles historian, having written numerous books about the band’s lives, works, and influence. His latest book, Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles, will be published this fall by Cornell University Press in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary. Dr. Womack will explore the places that creative style and artistic panache hold in the making of great works that stand the test of time—such as Cyrano and the Beatles’ Abbey Road.