Much Ado About Nothing, August 2004
Meet the Cast:
Leonato - Jesse Bates Jesse is delighted to be working in a park doing Shakespeare again! The last time he did it, he showed everyone his Bottom. Chair of the Theatre Arts Dept at The Alabama School of Fine Arts, Jesse is active in local and regional theatre. He is on the board for Summerfest and is chair of the High School Play Festival for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. His biggest concerns right now, through are, are his daughter’s upcoming wedding and his son Shawn’s starting Georgetown Law School.
Hero - Lauren Kraselsky Lauren is thrilled to make her Park Players debut in Much Ado! Lauren has returned to Birmingham, though briefly, from Texas- where she spent the last 4 years earning her BA in Theatre at UT Austin and she'll be moving to NYC in September. In Birmingham, she was last seen a million years ago as Kim MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, and before that as the bride of Mr. Ted O'Brien himself (swoon!) as Polly Peachum in BFT's The Threepenny Opera. Thanks, always, to her family and friends. xxxooo
Beatrice - Ellise Mayor Ellise is excited to return for another Park Players production, following last summer's Taming of The Shrew. Most recently, she was seen in The Cherry Orchard at the Virginia Samford Theatre and last fall at TNT in Blown Sideways Through Life.
What a wonderful way to end the summer!!!
Don Pedro - Jack Heidt This will be Jacks' third appearance on a Birmingham stage. He was recently seen in the BFT production of TOM JONES and South City Theaters' production of ROMEO AND JULIET as Friar Laurence. Previous roles ( In Connecticut ) include parts in SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, BENT, NEVER THE SINNER and MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM. In real life he is a neuromuscular massage therapist, practicing in Homewood. He really thinks he is a prince, although of a region somewhat larger that Aragorn.
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Don John/Verges - Norman Ferguson Jr. Originally from Birmingham. Performed with Park Players last year in their production of TAMING OF THE SHREW and COMEDY OF ERRORS and in Terrific New Theatre productions of LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE and SORDID LIVES.
Benidick - Jack Cannon Jack is known to Birmingham audiences as both an actor and director. He teaches for the Department of Theatre at UAB. Jack has directed for UAB, Birmingham Children’s Theatre and Birmingham Festival Theatre. In addition to directing TWELFTH NIGHT for the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York, Jack has directed ROMEO AND JULIET, THE TEMPEST, as well as MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. He received his Masters in Acting and Directing from the University of Arizona. This October he will be directing A. R. Gurney’s THE FOURTH WALL for BFT.
Claudio - Grey Tilden This past June, Grey played Flenton in Park Players production of MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. He would like to dedicate this performance to his younger sister, Kate, who will be going back to school this fall.
Margaret - Gabrielle Metz is very excited to be performing her 3rd play with the Park Players. She really enjoyed being a part of the Park Players inaugural season's performance of The Taming of the Shrew last summer as well as this years Merry Wives of Windsor. She has also starred as Mollie Ralston in the Mousetrap (November 2002) and been in Amadeus (December 2000) and Cabaret (May 2003) at Theater LJCC, as well as in many other local plays and musicals. When not working on the stage, Gabrielle is employed as a clinical social worker.
Borachio - Tanner McCracken This production is Tanner's Second production with Park Players, having played Sr. Hugh Evans in Merry Wives of Windsor. Previous credits include Arcadia, once upon a Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie and Godspell. In his real life, he makes his living begging for hand outs (sometimes called waiting tables) at a resteraunt in Pelham. He resides partly in Columbiana, partly in his own head.
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Dogberry - Cindy Barr is a nurse and mother of Joy, 18 and Zachary, 8. Her heart belongs to her husband, Mark, but her time goes to the theatre! This is her fourth Park Players show and thanks her family for letting her spend so much time away from home.
Antonio - Terry Hermes Terry was a performer in his college days as a philosophy major at Spring Hill College. After threatening for years to return to the theater, he did so in a recent production of Lysistrata, and he joined Park Players in our production of Merry Wives of Windsor.
Ursula - Donna Love Donna is making her first appearance with Park Players, although she is not a novice to the stage. She has appeared in such productions as Our Town, The Farndale Series, The Deviners, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Spiral Staircase. Recently she was seen as Dr.Tracey Lake in the psychological thriller: Night Watch. She orignated the role of Becky Lee Dish in the southern comedy Covering Dish. Donna also directs and performs in commercials. She is delighted to be performing with such a wonderfully talented and professional cast.
Lennox/Balthasar - Micah Allen Micah is a theater student at the University of Montevallo. He plans to become an accomplished actor, singer and dancer. He has been an extra in films such as Boycott and Juana Man, and has had leading roles in Two Girls inc. Films. His theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, 'Black Nativity, Dream Girls, Four Little Girls, Christ Child, Savage Love, Every Moment Heaven, The Colored Museum, and Benjamin Franklin.
Brutas - Jim Ruth This is Jim’s debut with Park Players. He has performed locally in Annie, Sound of Music, Once in a Lifetime, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Off Broadway, West Side Story, Shenandoah, Gypsy and The Odd Couple. He has also performed in BFT’s production of Spinning into Butter and Tom Jones. His most recent role was as G.W. in TNT’s production of Sordid Lives.
Seacoal - Steven Ross One of the Founding Members of Park Players Steven is a Birmingham Native and works as a computer programmer for Comforce. This is Steven third production with Park Players.
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Conrad - James Ward is an aspiring writer and co-owner of a restaurant. In twenty years of on-and-off stage work, this is his second Shakespeare experience and James couldn’t be happier. James also does television commercial work and appeared in the locally filmed movie ‘Under The Sidewalk Moon’.
Friar Francis - Hilbun Adams is very thrilled to be a part of this endeavor. His ambition is to one day portray a rock or tree on stage, as his degree is in stillness. He would like to dedicate his performance in this play to his daughters Emma and Abigail.
Sexton - A.Clark Vines is a native of Alabama having been born in Happy Home (yes, it exists) and raised in Graysville. He holds an M.A. in History and is in pursuit of other advanced degrees at this time. He was most recently seen as Curtis Appleby in ACTA's production of NIGHTWATCH and as Preacher Haggler in South City's production of DARK OF THE MOON. When not acting or directing he pursues writing having had several of his short plays produced and poems published.
Musician - Christine Patko Christine is a student at Briarwood Christian High School. She plays the flute and the piccolo. She has been involved in many "Kids on Stage" plays at UAB, and of most recently, Fiddler on the Roof, Jr., she played the part of Tzeitel. This is her first Park Players appearance and she is very excited to be in a professional environment.
Director - Edward T. O’Brien began his professional career in
NYC, where he appeared in Romeo and Juliet and L'Histoire Du Soldat at
Lincoln Center, Glengarry Glen Ross at Circle Repertory Theatre, and Take A
Giant Step with The Negro Theatre Ensemble Company. His national tour credits
include The Celebrant in Leonard Bernstein's Mass and Mercutio in Romeo and
Juliet. He has appeared extensively on network television in NYC and LA,
including 5 years as Chip Davis on ‘All My Children'. As a director for stage
and TV, his work includes Betrayal, Suddenly Last Summer in NYC and Blind
Justice and Secret Lives for the Lifetime Channel. Last summer, he directed
Taming of the Shrew for Park Players. He has taught a variety of acting
classes through the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Birmingham Children's
Theatre educational outreach programs, and worked this past year at University of Montevallo doing voice, movement, and stage
combat. Mr. O'Brien is a member of all the major acting unions.
Stage Manager - Debrah Fisher This is Debrah's first production with Park Players, her first time doing theatre in the Park, her first Shakespeare experience, and her first endeavor in Birmingham theatre. Recently from Rochester, MN, she acquired A LOT of stage managing experience with local community theatres as well as one year professionally as Production Manager/Head Stage Manager at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN. While still trying to adjust to life in the South, Debrah is thrilled to be again living near her sister Lori and niece Kyia (who is the love of her life!). When not pursuing her passion for theatre, Debrah is Coordinator of Member Services &Special Projects for the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education.
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Music Coordinator - D. Glenn Day serves as Director of Music and Fine Arts at Mountain Chapel United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned a BM in Performance in Organ and Harpsichord from the University of Montevallo where also a Masters of Performance in Organ was earned under the direction of Dr. Betty Louise Lumby. Mr. Day has studied with Marie-Clare Alain of Paris, David Craighead of The Eastman School of Music and Jeanette Fischell at East Carolina. Along with concert dates throughout the Southeast, he also composes
for the programs at his current post.
Choreographer - Tom Blessing Former student of the American Ballet Theatre
Principle dancer with the Vienna Ballet in Austria
Guest teacher all across the US for most of the Mjor Ballet Companies
have performed in many musicals including Man of La Mancha, Carousel, Oklahoma, Hello Dolly, Mame and many more Professional Ballroom Competitor, Teacher, and Coach for 33 years, with several titles in the American Smooth and the Nine DanceChampionships, Latin, and the Theartre Arts Divisions A Principle in the Siegfried and Roy Show in Las Vegas Choreographer and Principle Dancer with the Johson City Ballet Company in Johnson City, Tn