2021-spring-festival-press-kit

Under Milk Wood
Unexpected by John Perovich
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Bill Robison Stageshow

Originally commissioned by the BBC and

described by Dylan Thomas as ‘a play for voices’, UNDER MILK WOOD is a nuanced, provocative and hilarious account of a spring day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub. We learn of the inhabitants’ dreams and desires, their loves and regrets. The play introduces us to characters such as Captain Cat who dreams of his drowned former seafellows and Nogood Boyo who dreams of nothing at all. It is a unique and touching depiction of a village that has fallen head over bells in love’. The First Voice narration reveals the ordinary world of daily happenings and events, while the Second Voice conveys the intimate, innermost thoughts of the fascinating folk of Llareggub.

Ken Welsh Headshot

KEN WELSH

First Voice, Captain Cat

Ken first encountered Under Milkwood on the original recording of Dylan Thomas’ reading at the YMCA in New York. He loved it immediately. In his first year in the theatre program at the University of Alberta, one of his assignments was to run the lighting for this remarkable piece. Then, at the National Theatre School of Canada, he played the First Voice in a workshop study. Then, in his third year, he once again played the same role, that time in a public performance. He directed Under Milkwood at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 1974, and then again at the Denver Center in 1975. In 2006 he performed this lovely piece at the Glenn Gould Centre in Toronto, with well-known actor/comedian Mary Walsh. Then in 2009, he created a one-man performance of the play at the Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto, with composed music and a group of foley artists onstage with him. Ken has been in over a hundred plays, including the Broadway production of The Real Thing, directed by Mike Nichols, and the premiere of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, with Kathy Bates, at the Manhattan Theater Club in 1987. He has appeared in over 250 films and television productions in his 55 years as a professional actor and has received a number of awards and honours over the decades.

Elizabeth Saunders

ELIZABETH SAUNDERS

Second Voice, Ensemble

Elizabeth has played roles in theatres throughout Canada. Theatre credits include As You Like it, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Glengarry Glen Ross, 4:48 Psychosis, The Vibrator Play, Dock Mother God Society, StopHeart, 6 Essential Questions, The Stone Angel, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Crucible, La Bete, Transit of Venus, Goodnight Desdemona…, Dinner With Friends, Amadeus, Doc, Confederation (Dora Award nomination), Unidentified Human Remains, and 27 Wagons Full of Cotton (Sterling Award Nomination) as well as 4 seasons at the Shaw Festival. Film and television work includes Mary Kills People (Gemini Award nomination), Clarice, Girl, IT, Alias Grace, Schitt’s Creek. Disappearance at Clifton Hill, Orphan Black, When Hope Calls, Saving Hope, Slings and Arrows, Imposters, Frankie Drake Mysteries and Murdoch Mysteries. She plays the role of Emma Child in the recently released videogame Watchdog Legion and has numerous voiceovers credits to her name, including the voice of Mrs. Turtle in the long-running cartoon Franklin the Turtle. Liz’s theatre directing credits include Holy Mothers (Divine Bovine), One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Highland’s Summer Festival), and A Good Death (Cool Meg Prod.) She holds a BFA in acting and an MA in theatre and performance. Liz is also an acting instructor and coach, fledgling writer, and veteran mother.
Lynne Griffin Headshot

LYNNE GRIFFIN

Under Milk Wood – Ensemble

Lynne’s acting credits span forty years, appearing in film, television, and theatre in Canada and the U.S. In the theatre world, Lynne’s several seasons at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals include playing opposite both Sir Peter Ustinov in King Lear and Sir Ian Richardson in Man and Superman. Her favourite role on stage remains The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, which she has played four times. One of those productions was with the Nevada Shakespeare Company, which is when Lynne first met and worked with Jeanmarie Simpson. Lynne is delighted to be continuing their working relationship on Pineapple and Other Options, Bambino Mio, Churchyards Yawn, and Under Milk Wood. Lynne fondly remembers playing leading roles [A Doll’s House, Antigone, and The Lark] at Toronto’s Theatre Plus, under the direction of Marion Andre. Film credits include Fahrenheit 451 and the cult hits Black Christmas, Strange Brew and Curtains, which have led to numerous appearances at horror and comi-cons around North America. Her TV series’ include Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Happy Town, Wind At My Back, and Riverdale. She has played Mrs. Santa Claus in two ABC-TV movies, Santa Baby and Santa Baby 2, which air every Christmas, as well as the Hallmark Christmas movies Fir Crazy and The Christmas Market. She has guest starred in numerous t.v. series’, including The Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake, Lost Girl, Call Me Fitz, Warehouse 13, and Remedy. Recently she was seen as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie in Sydney, NS and Vancouver, BC and as Dottore in The Servant Of Two Masters [Odyssey Theatre, Ottawa]. Recent Toronto productions include Harper Regan, (Canadian Stage), Hamlet, (Theatre Machine), The Merry Wives of Windsor, (Shakespere Bash’d), The Seagull with The Chekhov Collective and The Beauty Queen of Leenane, (Red Sandcastle Theatre). Lynne’s work as a director includes directing her husband Sean Sullivan in the award-winning, critically-acclaimed solo play Baby Redboots’ Revenge’ [by Philip-Dimitri Galas], which has played in New York [P.S. 122] and on tour in Poland and the Czech Republic. They were invited back to Poland to present Mr. Galas’ Performance Hell in which they both performed. Other directing credits include The Voice Of The Prairie [North Coast Repertory, San Diego] Alice In Wonderland [Dancemakers, Toronto], and A Christmas Carol Comedy [Solar Stage and Southern Ontario tour]in which her husband plays all 25 characters, except Scrooge. When the current crisis abates, Lynne will be playing The Clown Mother in her husband Sean Sullivan’s new hysterical tragedy The Slaughter Brothers Dime Circus. 

 

SEAN SULLIVAN

Ensemble

Dubbed ‘a virtual Nijinsky of performance art’ by the New York Times, Sean has toured North America and Central Europe in the solo play ‘Baby Redboots’ Revenge’, winning awards and accolades in Poland, The Czech Republic, New York City, (at P.S. 122, the alternative theatre mecca in NYC), Los Angeles and San Diego. Sean is currently involved in the radio and podcast production of his musical dark comedy/horror production of The Slaughter Brothers Dime Circus. The stage play was scheduled to premiere last March in Toronto under the auspices of the Canada Council For The Arts, and was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elsewhere as an actor, Sean has appeared in 12 productions at the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA. Favorite roles include Norman in The Dresser and Davey/Leon in The Voice of the Prairie. Recent productions include Criminals In Love in Sydney, NS and A Servant Of Two Masters in Ottawa, and in Toronto The Castle, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Liver, Out At Sea, A Midsummer Nightmare, Potosi and The Seagull. Selected film credits: God and Country,

Foolproof, Wayne’s World, Back To The Future III, Who’s That Girl?, and The Howling VI. Selected TV credits: Current: The Umbrella Academy (Netflix/NBC, recurring). Others: Damien, Hemlock Grove, Good God, Across The River To Motor City, Poor Tom is Cold. Sean won the inaugural Masters In Mime Tournament in California and went on to study, then tour with Richmond Shepard, (‘American’s Foremost Mime’). He studied classical theatre in the Professional Training Program at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. As a musician and composer, he has written theatre scores for North Coast Repertory, Persephone Theatre, ShakespeareWorks, Humber College, and on tv for CTV’s dramatic series ‘The Associates’. Sean was the Sound Designer for Theatre Aquarius’ production of ‘Amadeus’. He is a dual Canadian/US citizen who has lived in Toronto for 24 years with his wife Lynne Griffin.

 

MACKENZIE GRAY

A professional actor for over 40 years, Mackenzie Gray has appeared in over 200 films and television shows and has acted in or directed hundreds of plays, musicals and cabarets.  He was recently a series Regular on the Marvel/FX Series LEGION, playing “THE EYE” and has recurring roles on THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA, RIVERDALE, NANCY DREW, DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. Since moving to Vancouver in 1998 as a series lead for the TV series THE NET, he has appeared as a guest star in scores of West Coast productions, recently including DIRK GENTLY, FARGO, THE HAUNTING HOUR and IF THERE BE THORNS. Mackenzie was recently seen on the big screen in WARCRAFT, and was celebrated for his portrayal of “JAX-UR” in MAN OF STEEL. In another Superman project, SMALLVILLE, Gray played super-villain Lex Luthor in the final season. Other popular films include GRAVE ENCOUNTERS, METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS and STRIP SEARCH. He co-produced and acted in the upcoming feature film HEART OF CLAY and the award-winning feature POE: LAST DAYS OF THE RAVEN. Animation work includes MY LITTLE PONY, NINJAGO, IRONMAN:ARMORED ADVENTURES, LOLIROCKS, TETSUJIN and TONY HAWK. Mackenzie has written and directed 7 short films. His Award-winning Crazy 8’s Film  UNDER THE BRIDGE OF FEAR screened at The Cannes Film Festival and was broadcast by the CBC. He wrote for Sesame Street for 4 years. Stage work includes the Canadian Premiere of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, the Tom Waits/William S. Burroughs hit rock opera THE BLACK RIDER,  THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, BLOODY POETRY, RUMOURS OF OUR DEATH, JACOB TWO-TWO MEETS THE HOODED FANG, BOXING SHAKESPEARE, PLAYING WITH FIRE, THE THREEPENNY OPERA, DANTON’S DEATH and Videocabaret’s multiple-award-winning plays THE GREAT WAR and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MACKENZIE KING. Shakespearean work includes lead roles in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, MACBETH, THE WINTER’S TALE, TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, and ROMEO AND JULIET.  Mackenzie wrote, scored and directed the play/musical MATH OUT LOUD, he has directed at The Stratford Festival and the Canadian Stage Company, wrote and directed the Ballet/Opera THE SNOW MAIDEN at The Royal Alexandra Theatre, produced the award-winning hit play UNIDENTIFIED HUMAN REMAINS AND THE TRUE NATURE OF LOVE in Toronto, was a founding member of The Canadian Stage Company and has directed and produced over 25 plays. Mackenzie is a 21-time Leo Award “Best Actor” nominee, recently winning three Leos for his work on the TV series DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY, SPOOKSVILLE and BITTEN and has won or been nominated for many awards in his various disciplines.

Tim Fitzgerald Walker

TIM FITZGERALD WALKER

ENSEMBLE

Tim was born and raised in the jewel of the Kawarthas: Peterborough Ontario. He graduated from George Brown’s Theatre Arts program in 2007, he is a graduate of Italy’s prestigious International school for comedic acting where he trained in mask and physical comedy. He is a two time Dora nominee and a recipient of the Second City’s Tim Sims award for comedy (George Brown) He has been working in theatre, film and television and voice work since graduating in 2007. Recent theatre credits include: Mules (Hit and Myth/Bygone theatre) Dryland (Cue6) Punch Up (Theatre Brouhaha) Penible : A Canadian tale of Tartuffian Magnitude (Centre for Indigenous Theatre) Northern Lights (Theatre by the Bay) The Libertine (Talk is free) White Heat (Presgang theatre) Slaughter Brothers Dime Circus (Baby Monster Productions) Recent film credits : The Neddeaus of Duquesne Island (CBC Gems) Solitude by Black Sabbath (Pagliacci Prod – Toronto short film fest – National Screen Institute – Real to Reel Fest North Carolina ) American Gothic (ABC Television) L’dor V’dor (Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Forest City Film Festival)

In a village by the sea, an overprotective mother struggles to keep her three daughters from ever falling in love. The mother’s wishes are met with resistance when a mysterious merchant washes ashore. Love is in the air as each person struggles to listen to the love in their heart. UNEXPECTED is a dark comedy about curiosity, disobedience, honesty, and family – the one we have and the one we choose. A pastiche of Greek and Roman mythological love tales, UNEXPECTED is a piece about choice. This one loves that one, that one dumps this one, another runs off in fear, another chooses to go on, no matter what, and her progeny live, grow up and love in the wake of heartbreak which indelibly marks them and all who love them, leave them or are – most painfully of all – indifferent to them.

John Perovich Headshot

PLAYWRIGHT

John is a playwright, dramaturg, educator, theatre-maker and occasional actor living in Phoenix, AZ. Although you can mostly find him performing stage directions in workshops of new plays, John’s past roles include ASH in The Jewish Question (Arizona Theatre Matters), LORD ASTOR in Peter & the Starcatcher and GONZALO in The Tempest (Brelby Theatre Company), CONRAD in Much Ado About Nothing (Ritz Theatre), and ROSS in Red Sky (Provincetown Playhouse). He serves as the Dramatists Guild Ambassador for Arizona in the Southwest Region. He is the founding Artistic Director of Now & Then Creative Company, whose mission focuses on the “now”—new play development and productions of new works, while also celebrating the “then”—classics for the stage. He is also the Director of New Work Development at Brelby Theatre Company in Glendale, AZ. John’s plays have been performed at Arizona Theatre Matters, B3 Theater, Brelby Theatre Company, Laughing Pig Theatre, Space 55, Arizona State University, Cumberland County Community College, Safe Mode Productions, Little Fish Theatre Collaborative, and New York University. Additionally, Perovich’s work has been selected and presented at the Valdez Theatre Conference, Festival of New American Theatre at The Phoenix Theatre Company, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and Mid-America Theatre Conference. Perovich earned his B.A. in Communications: Radio/TV/Film from Rowan University, M.A. in Educational Theatre from New York University, and his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Arizona State University.

 

Debra Lyman

DEBRA LYMAN

VICKIE

Debra is from Phoenix, Arizona and appeared in Pineapple and Other Options in ATM’s Fall Festival last year and will appear in Unexpected in ATM’s Spring Festival. Her previous credits in local Valley theatre include Tea for Three (Stage Left), Classic Tales of Fright (Davisson Entertainment), The Laramie Project (Virtual Theatre Lab & MET); Last Romance (Stage Left), Tis a Pity (Space 55), Something Wicked (Davisson Entertainment), 

Medea (Now and Then), Whisper Sweetly (Brelby),  

John (Stray Cat) & AriZoni recipient, Death Trap (MET), 

Manifesto of a Militant (Outloud 2016 2nd Annual New Plays),  Julius Caesar (Class 6).

Gerald Thomson Headshot

GERALD THOMSON

MERCHANT

Gerald is excited to be acting in unexpected, having had the privilege of directing the original production at Brelby Theatre Company.  Past acting credits include General Treville in Beyond Musketeers: Utopia Lost (BTC), Sheriff Earl in All Shook Up (Theater Works), Ladislav Sipos in She Loves Me (TW) and Edward Raynor in Black Coffee (Orinda Village Players).  Directing credits include The Elephant Man (Stagebrush Theatre), Getting Away With Murder (TW), Plaza Suite (Foothills Community Theatre) and Mass Appeal (Todd James Smeltzer Productions).  Gerald is also the author of Word Selfies, a collection of comic essays.  Love to Julia.

Mia Passarella
MIA PASSARELLA

EMMA

Mia is an LA-based actor and artist. Originally from Phoenix, Mia earned her BA in Theatre (minor in Justice Studies) from Arizona State University. After college, Mia spent some time in the Arizona theatre community, where she helped bring to life several world premiere productions and gained a deep passion for new play development. These days, you can find Mia at home, working as a visual artist and lending her voice to various narrative and commercial voiceover projects. Mia is so excited to return to this wonderful play and reprise the same role she played in the World Premiere five years ago.

ANABEL OLGUIN
Penelope

Anabel Olguin is a theatre educator, director, and performer from Phoenix, Arizona. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education in 2015. She currently works as a high school theatre teacher and director in central Phoenix. Recent theatre credits include: Zombie Prom the Musical (director), Luna and Solis (Pithy), Alice’s Canvas (The Red Knight), Wolves of Sherwood (Malbete). Anabel has also been a Company Member at a Brelby Theatre Company in Glendale, Arizona for the past few years and was previously a member of their resident improv troupe ”Results May Vary”.

BERTHA ALICIA CORTES

BERTHA ALICIA CORTES
Phoebe

Bertha Alicia Cortes has been working in youth theatre around the valley for over ten years. She received her Bachelor’s in Theatre Education from Grand Canyon University in 2015 and  is currently teaching theatre at The Academies at South Mountain in Phoenix. Previously she taught grades Pre-K through 6th at Black Mountain Elementary School in Cave Creek. Bertha has been the improv coach for CYT Phoenix for three years and recently received the Best Director in Youth Musical ariZoni Award in 2020 for her work on CYT’s The Addams Family.

DEVON MAHON

Taylor

Devon graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre with a Performance emphasis and a minor in Electronic Media and Film. Up in Flagstaff, Devon performed in Mother Hicks, Pride and Prejudice, Spring Awakening, The Shape of Things, and Josephina Javelina/The Three Javelinas. Down in Phoenix he has focused a lot more of his attention on new works, but has done other popular shows such as Fools and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Devon recenty received his first Zoni nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Brelby’s production of The Oz Chronicles. He continues to explore art in the valley and in addition to acting has dabbled in performance art, improv, design work (costume, makeup, sound, props, scenic – soon lighting), stage management, film, spray paint art, pipe cleaner art, and, most recently, playwriting.

MAYBE STEWART
Connor

Maybe Stewart (they/them) is a novelist, poet, director, playwright, and all-around utility belt of a theatre person from Tempe, AZ, where they received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Theatre from Grand Canyon University. Their writing has been produced at theatres from AZ to NY. Some of their proudest credits include writer and director of JUST BE — a play commissioned by The Bridge Initiative, writer of ALL THE WRONG PLACES, stage manager of I AM MY OWN WIFE and SH!TFACED SHAKESPEARE at BLK BOX PHX, and director of movement for SENSE & SENSIBILITY at Southwest Shakespeare Company. You can learn more about their work at http://www.maybestewart

artist.com.

Marina Headshot

MARINA SHARPE
Olivia
Video Editor

Marina is so excited to be reprising her role as Olivia in this beautiful work, and to have contributed to the editing of this presentation! Previous credits include Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Hedy Lamarr in Return to Rosie’s Pub, and Evelyn in The Shape of Things. All of my love to the wonderful Thomas for his endless support.

CAROLYN PLATT MCBURNEY

Ann

Carolyn is thrilled to reprise her role as Ann in John Perovich’s “unexpected”, with whom she has collaborated on a number of his original works, both onstage and as director. She joins Arizona Theatre Matters Spring Festival from Wyoming, where she was recently involved in the world premiere of “Night Witches” just over the state line in nearby Nebraska. She began her theatre career in Texas, where she studied acting, and worked with several startup theatre companies who focus on new and underperformed scripts. She subsequently acted and directed in theatre companies in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas. Eventually, she settled in Arizona, where she worked on a Masters in Theatre at Arizona State University. Somewhere along the line, she detoured into television, where she worked for over 20 years, doing theatre on the side as she was able. Carolyn returned to the stage in 2005 and has been performing, designing and directing since! When not working on a show, Carolyn enjoys reading, Zooming with her kid and going on walks with her dog, Olive.

Robyn McBurney

ROBYN MCBURNEY
Video Editor

Robyn McBurney is a freelance audio engineer in Los Angeles, CA. She grew up in the theatre and it holds a special place in her heart. When she’s not playing with sound she’s playing with dice or with her wonderful snake, Chuck.

Jeanmarie Simpson

JEANMARIE SIMPSON

Festival Director

Jeanmarie is the Founding Artistic Director of Arizona Theatre Matters. Previously, she founded and ran for more than two decades the Nevada Shakespeare Company. She has acted in or directed, at least once, every play in Shakespeare’s canon. Jeanmarie appeared as Anne Hathaway in the American premiere of Vern Thiessen’s highly acclaimed solo work, Shakespeare’s Will, directed by Leonard Nimoy. In a rare venture into directing, Tony Award-winner Zakes Mokae cast Jeanmarie in Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca as Elsa. She toured the world with her shows A Single Woman and Heretic – the Mary Dyer Story. She also wrote and starred in the film, A Single Woman featuring Judd Nelson, the voices of Martin Sheen, Peter Coyote, Patricia Arquette, Frances Fisher, Mimi Kennedy, Margot Kidder, Elizabeth Peña, Chandra Wilson and iconic music by Joni Mitchell. She’s a prolific director, playwright and teacher and has appeared in hundreds of television commercials. She’s a mother of three, grandmother of five and counting, and lives in a garden cottage in Arizona with her husband and cats.

Hermia loves Lysander, Demetrius loves Hermia, Helena loves Demetrius, Theseus and Hippolyta are almost newlyweds and the already-complex marriage of the immortal queen and king of Fairyland is further complicated when one of them falls for an amateur actor-turned-ass. Intrigued by the theory that Shakespeare wrote this play as a wedding gift ATM probes the pitfalls and pay-offs of relationships, be they budding or eternal. Seeking out the grace, beauty and delight embedded in the comedy, this joyful, music-laden production invites us to feel as well as laugh.

Samantha King

SAMANTHA KING
Hippolyta/Titania

Samantha was last seen in ATM’s PINEAPPLE AND OTHER OPTIONS as Helen. She hails from Northern California, where she studied at The American Conservatory Theatre, The Academy of Media and Theatre Arts, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She did educational children’s theatre for ten years touring schools in Northern California, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta. She then wrote THE BEST ME which, before COVID, toured as part of Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs. Her play CHICKEN DANCE was performed at The Edmonton Fringe Festival. She was a member of The Actor’s Ensemble of Berkeley, where she choreographed and played Velma Kelly in CHICAGO. She also appeared as Lorraine Sheldon in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, Kitty Duvall in THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE, and choreographed KISS ME KATE. At The Masquer’s Playhouse, she choreographed NEW GIRL IN TOWN and KISMET. She was a founding member of Central Works in Berkeley, CA, where she was in HALCYON DAYS, TWO PRECIOUS MAIDENS RIDICULED, GOLDEN ERA, and wrote ROUX. Her friendship with ATM’s Jeanmarie Simpson took her to Pullman, Washington, where she played Truvy in Jeanmarie’s STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Flo in THE ODD COUPLE, Bonnie in ANYTHING GOES, and Rosie in BYE BYE, BIRDIE. In Reno, Nevada, Samantha choreographed and appeared as Ariel in Nevada Shakespeare Company’s version of THE TEMPEST interwoven to the soundtrack of HAIR. In 2019, Samantha appeared at historic Spring Friends Meeting House in a series of performances of Jeanmarie’s HERETIC – THE MARY DYER STORY. Samantha has been teaching theatre in New Orleans Public Schools since 2000. Trained in Arts Integration at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, she developed the elementary theatre program at Lusher Charter School where she taught elementary, middle, and high school students for 14 years. Currently an Arts Coach with KID smART, she develops and implements Arts Integration professional development, and has an Arts Literacy residency at Langston Hughes Academy. She is also a member of The Greater New Orleans Writing Project and has taught Creative Writing at Tulane’s Upward Bound program.

MICHAEL RAWLEY
Theseus/Oberon

Michael is a Canadian actor and director. He earned a BFA in Dramatic Art at the University of Windsor in 1979. Michael went to work right away at the Moonlight Melodrama in Thunder Bay. His favorite roles include Captain Hook, Scar, Jafar, Ebenezer Scrooge – see a pattern here? He plays villains. He spent two years with Disney’s The Lion King playing Scar – the final year in the Toronto production and one year on the road with the American national tour. Since 2013, He has been the Managing Artistic Director of the LaSalle theatre and the charity SaveTheLaSalle in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. SaveTheLaSalle is a charity devoted to the complete restoration of the historic 1939 Streamline Moderne Art Deco LaSalle Theatre in Kirkland Lake Ontario. Michael has directed and produced six seasons of Shakespeare in the park, six seasons of the annual Christmas production of Scrooge: a Christmas Carol. He has adapted A Christmas Carol many times for casts of two up to a company of 19. He has also adapted Dracula, the Wizard of Oz, The Haunting Of Hill House, and It’s A Wonderful Life. Upcoming: The Importance Of Being Earnest directing and playing Lady Bracknell, directing Love’s Labour’s Lost for the seventh season of Shakespeare In The Park, and adapting and directing Winnie the Pooh for the children’s company.

KEN LOVE

KEN LOVE
Egeus/Quince

Ken Born in New Rochelle NY, Mr. Love has worked as a professional actor (A.E.A.) for over 30 years in a number of stage productions. Among them: “Blood Knot”, “A Raisin in the Sun”, “King Hedley II”, & “Fences” (Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix AZ), “My Children! My Africa!” (Actors’ Lab, Scottsdale AZ), “Confessional” – a one-man play written and directed by former Negro Ensemble playwright Gus Edwards (The Working Theatre, New York, NY), “The Merchant of Venice” and “Julius Caesar” (Southwest Shakespeare), “Othello” and “All’s Well That Ends Well” (w/ Michael Learned at Shakespeare Sedona), “The Essential Henry V”, “A Christmas Carol” & “White Picket Fence” (Actors Theatre of Phx), “The Comedy of Errors” (New Stage Theatre, Jackson MS), “Shadowlands” & “Much Ado About Nothing” (AZ Theatre Company), “Amadeus” and “Miss Evers’ Boys” (Phoenix Theatre), “August in April” (Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Valdez AK), “Macbeth (Voices of Evil)” (Theatre Artists Studio), “Boesman & Lena” (dir. by Walter Dallas, ASU Theatre/Black Theatre Troupe). He spent 2 years at Childsplay, performing in – among other productions – “La Masquerada de la VIda” which had a run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Mr. Love has also served on theater panels for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Having hit his writing “sweet spot” ten years ago (a late bloomer), he has had readings/productions of a number of 10 minute plays. His full-length play, “Black River” was given a reading at the Phoenix Theatre New Works Festival, Phoenix AZ in 2009. His full-length play “Default” was an alternate selection at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Valdez AK. “Default” also received a virtual reading sponsored by the Dramatists Guild for their DG Footlights 2020 Virtual Reading Series. His play “Moonlight Over L.A.” was part of the Connect Virtual Reading Series, 5/2020. Mr. Love is happy to embark upon his 3rd Act as an artist of the theater!

Sarah Hourigan Headshot

SARAH HOURIGAN

Hermia

Sarah is excited to join Arizona Theatre Matters for this production! Sarah’s parents were very involved in theatre as she was growing up, and put her in dance lessons at a young age. She grew up on the stage; sometimes as an actor, sometimes as a dancer, and other times as a techie! She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t consistently involved in one production or another! Her adoration for all things theatre was particularly honed in during her time at Arizona Conservatory for the Arts and Academics, and later during her time at Arizona Christian University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in music composition, and produced her own original musical for her senior project! While she was in college, Sarah had the opportunity to choreograph, costume design, direct, and perform in various shows for her university and surrounding community theatres. In recent years, she has been seen as Aunt Eller in Arizona Christian University’s production of “Oklahoma,” Beth in MoezArt Productions’ production of “God’s Favorite,” and as chorus in Arizona Christian University’s productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and “The Music Man.” For the last year and a half, Sarah has had the honor of sharing her passion for all things theatre with her students as the drama teacher at Lincoln Preparatory Academy. She has directed productions of “Twelfth Night,” “Antigone,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” and “Agamemnon;” and is currently directing a production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” as well as two more productions of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “Agamemnon”! Sarah can’t wait to see what the future holds for her as a performer and as a director.

VICTOR YANG

Lysander

Victor is a classically trained actor based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a Core Company Member at the Southwest Shakespeare Company and a fourth-year theatre student at Arizona State University. Notable roles include: Jorgen Tesman(Hedda Gabler), John Hale (The Crucible), Claudio (Much Ado About Nothing), and Odysseus (Ajax). His work is present in many student films and commercials around Arizona alongside an appearance in Fox Studio’s TV series, Run Coyote Run.

JAREN NAVENMA

Demetrius

Jaren is an actor/theatre-maker based in Phoenix, AZ, and is excited to return to one of their favorite productions! Previous credits include Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing,” Angel in “Jesus Hopped The A Train,” and Laurie in “Little Women: The Musical”. When not performing, they enjoy creating art (digital, painting, drawing) and cooking.

KILEY BISHOP
Helena

Kiley is delighted to take another crack at her favorite Shakespearean romp. She is a native resident of the Phoenix area, and was most recently seen on the stage as Miss Gardner in Carrie the Musical (Brelby Theatre Company) and in Feminist Horror Stories (Now & Then Creative Company). Other “career” highlights include performing with Farce Side Sketch Comedy (ASU) and her improvisation teams Barren Mind (ASU) and Joey’s Wet Dream (The Torch Theatre). Kiley works as a graphic designer, moonlights as a social media manager for her ferrets, and spends her free time with eight wheels attached to her feet.

SEAN SULLIVAN
Bottom

Dubbed ‘a virtual Nijinsky of performance art’ by the New York Times, Sean has toured North America and Central Europe in the solo play ‘Baby Redboots’ Revenge’, winning awards and accolades in Poland, The Czech Republic, New York City, (at P.S. 122, the alternative theatre mecca in NYC), Los Angeles and San Diego. Sean is currently involved in the radio and podcast production of his musical dark comedy/horror production of The Slaughter Brothers Dime Circus. The stage play was scheduled to premiere last March in Toronto under the auspices of the Canada Council For The Arts, and was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elsewhere as an actor, Sean has appeared in 12 productions at the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA. Favorite roles include Norman in The Dresser and Davey/Leon in The Voice of the Prairie. Recent productions include Criminals In Love in Sydney, NS and A Servant Of Two Masters in Ottawa, and in Toronto The Castle, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Liver, Out At Sea, A Midsummer Nightmare, Potosi and The Seagull. Selected film credits: God and Country, Foolproof, Wayne’s World, Back To The Future III, Who’s That Girl?, and The Howling VI. Selected TV credits: Current: The Umbrella Academy (Netflix/NBC, recurring). Others: Damien, Hemlock Grove, Good God, Across The River To Motor City, Poor Tom is Cold. Sean won the inaugural Masters In Mime Tournament in California and went on to study, then tour with Richmond Shepard, (‘American’s Foremost Mime’). He studied classical theatre in the Professional Training Program at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. As a musician and composer, he has written theatre scores for North Coast Repertory, Persephone Theatre, ShakespeareWorks, Humber College, and on tv for CTV’s dramatic series ‘The Associates’. Sean was the Sound Designer for Theatre Aquarius’ production of ‘Amadeus’. He is a dual Canadian/US citizen who has lived in Toronto for 24 years with his wife Lynne Griffin.

MONROE SHEP
Flute/Cobweb

Monroe is an itinerant performer. Not only has he worked in different US states and done traveling shows that have taken him to others, but he has also performed in Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland and Cornwall. Monroe has worked in various formats including tv, voice-over, theatre, theatre for children, film, audiobooks, radio and sundry different types and styles of live, interpretative performance. Along the way, Monroe has learned the wisdom of the old adage of not working with children or animals, especially when they are many times larger and stronger than yourself. Animals, not children. Well, them, too, I suppose. This is his first time working with Arizona Theatre Matters, looking forward to ‘meeting’ everyone there. Prior to this engagement, he has worked with Jeanmarie Simpson, the director of this performance, both as a fellow thespian and under her direction. Monroe is so pleased to be doing so again, that he looks forward to doing it even more in the future.

IAN REY SAUSEDO
Snout, First Fairy, Peaseblossom

Ian Rey Sausedo is an actress, makeup artist, and burlesque dancer who is delighted to be a part of the festivities! Ian Rey joins us from Phoenix, Arizona. Recent credits include Marie’s Reverie (Madame Mouserinks) Luna and Solis (Prop Designer), Evil Dead (Makeup), Alice’s Canvas (Mad Hatter), As You Like It (Touchstone), and Sylvia Rivera (Return to Rosie’s Pub). Ian Rey is also a company member of the Brelby Theatre Company! When off stage, Ian Rey is a florist, so no matter what she is always making something beautiful!

CARLOYN PLATT MCBURNEY
Snug, Second Fairy, Moth

Carolyn joins Arizona Theatre Matters Spring Festival from Wyoming, where she was recently involved in the world premiere of “Night Witches” just over the state line in nearby Nebraska. She began her theatre career in Texas, where she studied acting, and worked with several startup theatre companies who focus on new and underperformed scripts. She subsequently acted and directed in theatre companies in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas. Eventually, she settled in Arizona, where she worked on a Masters in Theatre at Arizona State University. Somewhere along the line, she detoured into television, where she worked for over 20 years, doing theatre on the side as she was able. Carolyn returned to the stage in 2005 and has been performing, designing and directing since! When not working on a show, Carolyn enjoys reading, Zooming with her kid and going on walks with her dog, Olive.

Evan Dangle Headshot

EVAN DANGEL

Starveling/

Mustardseed

Evan is so happy to be here! Evan did not like 2020. But Evan does love theatre and is excited to make a debut at Arizona Theatre Matters. Evan thanks Jeanmarie for the invitation to be a part of this reading! Evan is a queer performer of color who is excited that other queer performers of color get to see themselves in these roles. Also, Evan is a plus-sized beauty and is very excited for other plus-sized beauties to see themselves in these roles. Evan’s first introduction to theatre was looking at the behind the scenes footage of Hairspray and learning that it was based on a stage musical, and Evan just had to find out what the heck a stage musical is. And Evan may or not have found a YouTube video featuring Kristen Chenoweth’s last performance in Wicked around the same time that influenced a love for Live Theatre. Although honestly, Evan has had that sort of influence since birth, having grown up with various Rodger and Hammerstein productions because Mom is just a little bit old school. It just took Hairspray and Kristen Chenoweth for the clue by four to hit Evan in the thick head. Evan is currently studying to obtain a theatre degree (associate’s) and hopes all of the hard work and dedication reflects in tonight’s performance!!

Jen Gantwerker Headshot

JEN GANTWERKER
Puck

Jen made her theatrical debut at age eight in a summer camp production of Prejudice is an Ugly Color. Her performance of “Let it Be Me” by the Indigo Girls was surely responsible for her acceptance into the theatre program at the University of Southern California years later. After receiving her BA in Theatre and International Relations from USC, she spent several years acting, directing, and props-mastering on the East Coast before heading for the warmth of Arizona. These days, Jen is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Brelby Theatre Company, Murder and a Meal Dinner Theatre, and The Cosmonauts sketch comedy troupe. She has been lucky enough to perform at the Tucson Fringe Festival and SF Sketchfest, and was selected to perform a monologue for the Arizona edition of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues in July of 2020. Jen is also an AriZoni Award-winning writer for her work on Return to Rosie’s Pub at Brelby Theatre, which she also co-directed. At present, she spends most of her time on Zoom, working as a teaching artist for Childsplay and a yoga teacher for Yoga Village. Jen had the great honor of playing Rebecca in ATM’s fall production of The Jewish Question, and is so grateful for the opportunity to work with Jeanmarie again – and on one of her favorite Shakespeare plays, no less!

Bill Robison’s stage show sweeps his audience along on a non-stop journey where microphones come to life, music stands disintegrate and old suitcases have a mind of their own- including a pesky fly that intervenes and just the wrong moment! This non-stop, family-friendly show intertwines comedy mayhem and audience participation with wacky music, characters, costumes and hilarious sound effects. Bill’s Stage Shows combine outstanding physical comedy, audience interaction and are suitable for any type of audience. He has performed on stages large and small at Fairs and Festivals, Cruise Ships, Television, German Variete Theatres, Comedy Clubs Cabarets, Schools, Private Events and much more.

Bill Robison is an actor, physical comedian, vaudevillian, mask performer, musical theatre artist, mime and clown living in Seattle Washington. He started out in Arizona in theatre, both in musicals and plays. His early love for physical theatre and physical comedy led him to more comedic roles over the years. He began his interest in theatre at a very young age and that continued through high school, college and professionally. Early influences were seeing Marcel Marceau many times on stage as well as watching Red Skelton and Dick Van Dyke. He studied mask, movement and mime with many varied teachers. After two different seasons performing musicals at Coeur d’Alene summer theatre, he moved to Seattle and began working in theatre there. He then joined Imago, The Theater Mask Ensemble based in Portland Oregon and toured with them for three years across 38 states, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. He was a Frog, a Slinky, a Backwards Man, a Giant Orb, a Pig and a Monkey, among other characters. In 1993 he began performing at fairs, festivals, family events, schools and libraries. He performed his family-friendly physical comedy stage show along with strolling entertainment including an interactive singing puppet stage, a 6-foot floating boat and a Steampunk airship. He was the opening act for concerts at fairs across the country and Canada. He has opened for Frank Sinatra, Peter Paul and Mary, Willie Nelson and literally 350 other artists and appearances for over 25 years too numerous to mention. In Seattle, he appeared in roles at the Seattle Repertory Theater, Intiman, Seattle Children’s Theater and the 5th Avenue Theater. He teamed up with physical comedian Wolfe Bowart to create the comedy/clown duo The Shneedles. They toured their full-length evening show in venues across Germany, Australia, Austria, Japan, Iceland, Singapore, Spain and the United States. They begin then working in Variete’ Theaters across Germany for over a decade. Recently, he has written and performed Professor Ficklestein’s Physics Phactory for schools and libraries for age ranges from kindergarten through sixth grade. He’s proud and honored and humbled to be a lifelong friend of Jeanmarie Simpson, having done more than 20 shows with her, spanning decades. Their crowning achievement, however, was when they were only 19 years of age. They both dressed up in whiteface and performed what can only be described as, “a monumental triumph in musical theatre”. Accompanied only on the piano, she voiced a soaring, heartfelt, uplifting and rousing rendition of “New York New York” whilst he performed a nimble and deft hat and cane routine with the aplomb, style, grace and dexterity of a true master of his art. The critics raved and hailed that performance as perhaps, “The most astonishing singular performance [they had] ever witnessed.” Robison and Simpson basked in the warmth of their much-deserved glory. The rest is history….