Monday, October 27, 2014

"Charlotte’s Web:" Six Actors Spin a Beloved Tale of Friendship

The cast of Charlotte's Web: (left to right) Zilah Mendoza, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper, Lovelle Liquigan, Brad Culver, Fran De Leon, Larry Bates.
E.B. White’s cherished classic, Charlotte’s Web adapted by Joseph Robinette, will be brought to life and kick off SCR’s 2014-15 Theatre for Young Audiences series. The cast is a mix of new and familiar faces including an actress who has performed for the United Nations Associations, three actors returning from The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and an actress who works with an organization that uses the arts to enrich youth in communities.

Larry Bates (Wilbur) returns to South Coast Repertory where he has appeared in numerous productions—including Mr. Marmalade by Noah Haidle, Jitney by August Wilson and Top Dog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks—and he has been in Theatre for Young Audiences productions such as Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing and last season’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. He says he loves being part of productions that reach out to younger audiences. His television credits include “NYPD Blue,” “The Unit,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “Huff,” “Dark Blue,” “Numb3rs” and “Boston Public.”

Brad Culver (Mr. Arable/Templeton/Lurvy/Judge) returns to South Coast Repertory after his debut in last season’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. He started acting when he was a child. At the age of five, he appeared in The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and fell in love with the stage. He is active in theatre, film and television, and has voiced characters on Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show.” He has performed in around the world, in venues in Croatia, Germany and Scotland. He writes music and is a bass player in a band. Culver grew up in Pasadena and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts.

Fran De Leon (Mrs. Arable/Sheep/Edith Zuckerman/Reporter/Spectator) is making her South Coast Repertory debut. She was inspired to act when her mother took her to see Jesus Christ Superstar. She enjoys traveling and recently was able to tour her one person show Faces of America across the United States and for the United Nations Associations. She runs Will & Company with her husband Colin which performs at schools in the L.A. and Orange County areas. Her television credits include “Charmed,” “Titus” and “That’s So Raven.”

Lovelle Liquigan (Fern/Goose/Spectator) returns to South Coast Repertory after last appearing in Life is a Dream. Past credits include Romeo and Juliet at the Independent Shakespeare Company, Steel Magnolias at East West Players and Cymbeline at Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival. She credits SCR for reinvigorating her as an actress after taking the advanced actors workshop lead by Karen Hensel.

Zilah Mendoza (Charlotte) is making her South Coast Repertory debut. She has performed across the country and has toured with MAPP (Mentor Artists Playwrights Project) whose focus is arts enrichment for youth and developing programs in their communities. MAPP has taken her to places such Idaho (Lapwai and Coeur d’Alene), Alaska and Canada. Her television credits include “The King of Queens,” “Modern Family” and “One on One.”

Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper (Avery/Homer/Gander/Uncle the Pig) is a Theatre for Young Audiences veteran at SCR. He appeared last season as a gaggle of characters in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Mongiardo-Cooper also appeared at SCR in The Night Fairy, adapted by John Glore, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, adapted by Charles Way; Lucky Duck by Bill Russell and Jeffrey Hatcher, music by Henry Krieger and lyrics by Bill Russell; and Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business by Joan Cushing. A favorite production of his was Ferdinand the Bull—where he portrayed Ferdinand—at the Lewis Family Playhouse. Born in New York City, Mongiardo-Cooper appeared there in numerous plays and musicals before moving to California. He attended the High School of Performing Arts and New York University.

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