Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It Takes a Creative and Magical Village for This "Tempest"

THE CAST—Front row: Joby Earle, Eric Hissom, Jonathan M. Kim, Liz Filios, Miche Braden; Second Row: Christopher Rose, Manelich Minniefee, Charlotte Graham, Nate Dendy; Third row: Tom Nelis, Zachary Eisenstat, Joel Davel, Dawn Didawick; Back Row: Edmund Lewis, Mike McShane, Louis Butelli, Matt Spencer.
Seventeen actors, magicians and musicians join forces to bring the creative vision of Aaron Posner and Teller to life—Shakespeare’s The Tempest as you’ve never seen it before. The cast includes a musician who did vocal arrangements for Spike Lee’s latest work; an actor/dancer with an engineering degree from MIT; a Las Vegas-based mystery entertainer called “the greatest living mind reader;” and an actor who worked with Laurie Anderson and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Their many awards—from Obie to Lucile Lortel—could easily fill the stage. Read on to learn more about the “magnificent seventeen” cast members.

Miche Braden (Rough Magic/Music Direction) is making her SCR debut. She is a product of the rich musical heritage of her hometown, Detroit, Mich., where she was the founder and former lead singer of the women’s jazz band, Straight Ahead. She was a protégé of Motown musicians Thomas “Beans” Bowles and Earl Van Dyke—leader of The Funk Brothers—and jazz master composer Harold McKinney. Braden is a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominee for her lead and musical direction role in The Devil’s Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith (New York City). She recently did vocal arrangements for Spike Lee’s newest joint, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus and a vocal over-dub for Queen Latifah’s HBO movie Bessie.

Louis Butelli (Antonio) is making his SCR debut. His off-Broadway credits include I Am The Wind (59E59); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The New Victory Theater); and CYCLOPS: A Rock Opera (Ars Nova, 47th Street Theater, The New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Outstanding Individual Performer and a Pulitzer Prize jury nomination). His regional credits include The Tempest (A.R.T., The Smith Center), Henry VIII (Folger Theatre, Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor), Twelfth Night (Folger Theatre, Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor). His television credits include “The Knick,” “All My Children” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He is the executive director of Psittacus Productions.

Joel Davel (Rough Magic) is making his SCR debut. With a focus on original music and creative collaboration, Davel has collaborated with composer Paul Dresher for 16 years as part of his Electro-Acoustic Band, Davel/Dresher Duo, and with the international touring Double Duo quartet. This includes performances at Disney Hall, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and tours in Australia and Russia. Davel’s percussion career also includes performance and recording credits with groups led by electronic-diva Amy X Neuburg, percussionist William Winant, violinist Kaila Flexer, guitarist Jack West and David Tanenbaum. As a composer, music director, soloist and improviser, Davel has appeared solo on-stage for numerous productions for choreographer Claudine Naganuma, the Cream City Semi-Circus, and the California Shakespeare Theater.

Nate Dendy (Ariel) returns to SCR after appearing as The Mute in The Fantasticks (LA Drama Critics Circle and Helen Hayes Award nominations). His New York and regional credits include The Tempest (A.R.T., Cambridge; The Smith Center, Las Vegas), Angels in America (Risk Theatre Initiative), Doctor Faustus, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Faultline Theatre), Ivanov (Hunger & Thirst Theatre) and Twelfth Night (Dallas Shakespeare Festival). He also has appeared onstage at Trinity Repertory Company, The Public Theater, MCC Theater and Arena Stage, among others. His film credits include Turtle Hill: Brooklyn. Dendy earned his MFA from Brown University/Trinity Repertory.

Dawn Didawick (Gonzala) is making her SCR debut and has been with The Tempest from Las Vegas to Cambridge. Her varied credits include the Broadway production of All My Sons (Tony Award Best Revival); the films Erin Brockovich, Christmas with the Kranks, The Amateurs, Breakfast of Champions, I am I and the upcoming Bread and Butter; and on television in Almost a Woman (Peabody Award), “Pretty Little Liars” and “Hart of Dixie.” Other regional credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Globe Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Her multiple productions with The Antaeus Company include The Crucible, Autumn Garden, The Seagull, The Bear, Pera Palas, The Man Who Had All the Luck, The Glass Menagerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the Classic Fest series. She is an honorary board member of The Alpine Theatre project in Whitefish, Montana.

Joby Earle (Ferdinand) is making his SCR debut. His previous credits include on Broadway in War Horse; off-Broadway in Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet (Smith Street Stage); and regionally in The Tempest (A.R.T), Owners (Yale Repertory Theatre), The Puppetmaster of Lodz (Berkshire Theatre Group) and The Pitmen Painters (Palm Beach Dramaworks). He is a company member of Smith Street Stage.

Zachary Eisenstat (Caliban) is making his SCR debut. His regional credits include The Tempest, The Heart of Robin Hood and The Donkey Show (A.R.T.); On the Town and The Chosen (Lyric Stage); Coriolanus (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); and The Play About the Baby (Exquisite Corps Theatre). His other theatre credits include Matchmaker, Matchmaker I’m Willing to Settle (New York Musical Theatre Festival) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Boston Landmarks Orchestra). Eisenstat holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Liz Filios (Rough Magic) is making her SCR debut. She is a Philadelphia-based actress, musician and teaching artist. She has had the opportunity to perform with the Arden Theatre, The Wilma Theater, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Walnut Street Theatre, Bang On A Can, Inis Nua and the national children’s television network, PBS Kids Sprout. Her international credits include Cape Town Opera, Teatro Avvaloranti, San Juan de Dios Hospital and Celebrity Cruises. Filios also writes and performs with the experimental cabaret troupe The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, the funk band Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket, and the roots/punk collective Old Town Wake. She studied Suzuki piano with Sharon Rae and voice with David Smukler at Canada’s National Voice Intensive.

Charlotte Graham (Miranda) is making her SCR debut. Her New York credits include Amandine (workshop) at Cherry Lane Theatre and The Importance of Being Ernest Hemingway at Access Theater. Her regional theatre credits include The Tempest at A.R.T.; Three Sisters, Build and Love’s Labour’s Lost at Chautauqua Theater Company; Camelot at Trinity Repertory Company; Beast at New York Stage & Film; and Life Science at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep. She appeared in the films The Hot Flashes, Beijing, New York and on television in “Gossip Girl,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Hart of Dixie” and “Joe, Joe & Jane” (NBC pilot).

Eric Hissom (Stephano) is thrilled be part of this tempest-uous tour and to be making his SCR debut. His theatrical credits include the national tour of The Thirty-Nine Steps, and appearances in sundry productions at La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Asolo Repertory, Syracuse Stage, Cape Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Folger Theatre, Round House Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Two River Theater, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Signature Theatre and many others. He is a director, playwright and a long-time artistic associate of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, where he was founding director of the Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays. His television credits include “One Tree Hill,” “Mortal Kombat,” and “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.”

Jonathan M. Kim (Trinculo) is making his SCR debut. His off-Broadway credits include In Masks Outrageous and Austere (he originated the role of the Interpreter) and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (principal/soloist). His film credits include The New Guy, Second Hand Lions and Pastor Sheperd. He has appeared on television in “Boardwalk Empire” and “Barney and Friends.” He earned a bachelor of arts in theatre and dance from the University of Texas.

Edmund Lewis (Sebastian) is making his first SCR appearance. He played the role of Sebastian in both of the original productions of The Tempest at The Smith Center in Las Vegas and A.R.T. in Cambridge. Previously, he appeared off-Broadway in Bedlam Theatre’s acclaimed productions of Saint Joan and Hamlet (Lynn Redgrave Theater). His other New York credits include Sackville and The Libertine (Fools Theatre); The Misanthrope, Waiting For Godot, Antigone (Pilot House); One Way to Babylon, Macbeth (Chimera Theatre); and 95% Chance They’ll Wind Up Like Larvae (New York Fringe Festival). His television credits include “All My Children” (ABC Television) and voices on “Pokemon” and “Yugioh!”

Mike McShane (Alonso) returns to SCR after appearing in Cyrano De Bergerac and Dumb Show. He was an original cast member of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” (UK) and appeared in Little Shop of Horrors, Tailor Made Man and Pocket Dream (West End UK); and La Cage aux Folles and Taller Than a Dwarf on Broadway. His film credits include Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Richie Rich, Tom and Huck, Office Space and Big Trouble. His television appearances include “Seinfeld,” “ER,” “Brotherly Love,” “Frasier,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” the soon to be released “Wayward Pines” as well as the British shows “Doctor Who,” “A Summer Days’ Dream,” “The Big One” and “S&M.” McShane is a proud member of Impro Theater and The Antaeus Company in Los Angeles.

Manelich Minniefee (Caliban) is an actor and physical performer living in Brooklyn, NY. In 2003, Manelich received his BFA in dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Later that same year he joined Pilobolus Dance Theater, where he toured full-time for six years, two years as the dance captain. Minniefee currently works as a freelance performer in New York City and has worked with artists and companies such as Tino Sehgal, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Inbal Pinto, Alison Chase Performance Group, Yara Travieso and The Greenwich Opera Company, as well as continuing to perform and teach with Pilobolus. His television appearances include the 2007 Academy Awards telecast, “Ellen,” “Live with Regis and Kelly,” “Sesame Street” and commercials for the NFL Network and BBVA Bank (Spain).

Tom Nelis (Prospero) is making his SCR debut. His previous credits include the Broadway productions of Enron, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial and Aida. Off-Broadway, he appeared in Road Show, Richard III, Henry VI, Henry IV, ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore, American Document and The Merchant of Venice (The Public Theater); Doris to Darlene (Playwrights Horizons); Ipheginia 2.0, Hot ‘N’ Throbbing (Signature Theater); Passion, Orlando (Classic Stage Company); The Merchant of Venice, The Broken Heart, The Jew of Malta (Theatre for a New Audience); The Medium, Score (New York Theatre Workshop); War of the Worlds (Brooklyn Academy of Music); Lilith (New York City Opera); and Hot Mouth (Manhattan Theater Club). He has worked internationally with Richard Foreman, Laurie Anderson, SITI Company, The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Suzuki Company of Toga. He is the recipient of Obie (The Medium) and San Diego Critics Ensemble (Wintertime) awards, and Drama League (Score) and Barrymore Award (Candide) nominations.

Christopher Rose (Minion/Ariel Understudy) is making his SCR debut. He is a magician and mystery entertainer in Las Vegas. He has performed his private show at numerous hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, including The Royal Resort, The Orleans Hotel and The Harmon Theater, which is part of Planet Hollywood. Tony Hassini, president of the International Magician Society, calls him, “The greatest living mind reader.” In addition, Rose has worked as a part of the production team (magic design) on several shows including WonderGround and Jeff McBride’s Magic at the Edge.

Matt Spencer (Rough Magic) is making his SCR debut. Born in Long Beach, Calif., he has played music professionally for more than 25 years. Spencer is a multi-instrumentalist musician, who plays bass, guitar and percussion and specializes in a variety of world music. He studied jazz performance at the University of North Texas and teaches, records, writes and tours internationally, playing many different styles. He is a dance accompanist for modern dance classes at Chapman University and at UC Irvine. He was musical director for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company, Md., for his own 10-piece salsa orchestra and has toured with the renowned tap dance company, Rhapsody in Taps. Spencer plays salsa, jazz, Latin jazz and contemporary music locally in Los Angeles and Orange County.

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1 comment:

  1. Congrats to all the cast! Can't wait to see it! NJ