A Christmas Carol 2023 Bios

Creative Team

Rick Lombardo

Adaptation & Original Lyrics

Original Music

Rick is an award-winning American Stage Director, Artistic Director and Adapter. He is the Director of the School of Theatre at Penn State University where is a Professor of Practice, as well as the Artistic Director for Penn State Centre Stage. He previously served for six seasons as the Artistic Director at San Jose Repertory Theatre (LORT B), as well as the Producing Artistic Director at Boston's New Repertory Theatre for thirteen seasons. For more information, visit www.ricklombardo.net

Anna Lackaff

Original Music

Musical Arrangements







Anna tours nationwide as a member and keyboardist of Mannheim Steamroller. She has served as music director/conductor/pianist at San Jose Repertory Theatre, New Repertory Theatre, Encore Musical Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Off-Broadway, Performance Network Theatre, Des Moines Playhouse, and many others. She was formerly voice faculty at Minnesota State University Mankato; adjunct faculty at Drake University, IA; instructor at Simpson College, IA; Resident Music Director of Carousel Theatre, ME; and Program Music Director of Walnut Hill School Theatre Academy, MA. Compositions include the musical Thank You for Being a Friend (Off-Broadway and others); music for public television; pop and art songs; and choral music, including her Ave Maria performed by The Western Wind. As a singer, she has performed with i Sebastiani and Nebraska Chamber Players. A visual artist, she illustrated Virginia Tufte's memoir Pieces with 60+ drawings (Graphics Press), and her work has been cover art for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Lackaff has performed in 48 states and lives in Iowa with husband Dr. Aaron Santos. Her original score for A Christmas Carol, as presented here, was composed and first produced in 2005. For more information, please visit www.AnnaLackaff.com 

Charles Grant He/Him

Director

Charles is a multi-hyphenate artist who is completely honored and excited to serve as Director for A Christmas Carol. He’s worked with various theatre/arts companies over the years including Portland Center Stage, Many Hats Collaboration, Third Rail, Fuse Theatre Ensemble, Kryptic Films, Confrontation Theatre and of course Portland Playhouse, where he is currently in the role of Producing Director. Some directing highlights include: Great Wide Open (Co-Director), Chicken and Biscuits at Portland Playhouse (AD), Barbecue at Portland Playhouse (AD), Loch Lomond at Broadway Rose (AD), and the staged reading of Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You Too, August Wilson) as a part of Fuse Theatre Ensemble's OUTwright Theatre Festival (co-dir.). He is grateful to be a part of manifesting this story with an absolutely brilliant and generous team. May we continue to share our stories on our terms. More at www.thecharlesgrant.com 

Benjamin Tissell He/Him

Music Director

Ben is a Portland-based actor, director and musician, previously seen at the Playhouse in A Christmas Carol, Peter and the Starcatcher and Titus Andronicus. Locally, Ben has also performed at Portland Center Stage, Third Rail Repertory, Broadway Rose and others. Ben currently serves as artistic director of George Fox University Theatre. Ben‘s original music, upcoming performances, and other info can be found at BenTissell.com. 

Elleon Dobias She/Her

Assistant Music Director

Originally from Colorado, Elleon’s work as an actor, musician, and writer has kept her traveling for a handful of years, and she is grateful to return to Portland for another holiday season. She is especially fond of instrumental improvisation and is always humbled by the opportunity to engage her background in music with her passion for stories and how we choose to tell them. Aside from performing, Elleon is a lover of long walks, backpacking, anything homemade, and everything spread on toast. 

Cassie Greer* She/Her

Stage Manager & Covid Compliance

Cassie (@cassiegreer) began her professional career as a stage manager, and after spending the bulk of the past 20 years as an actor, director, and theatre educator, is thrilled to be returning to her roots with this incredible cast and crew! Cassie received her training in the MFA Acting program at Florida Atlantic University; the BA Theatre, History, and Music programs at Goshen College; and in the 9th Certification group of Fitzmaurice Voicework® teachers. In Oregon, she spent 11 years with Bag&Baggage Productions, working in a variety of capacities on more than 30 shows and serving as Artistic Director from 2019-2022. Find more details on all her various interests and past projects at cassiegreer.com. Huge love and thanks to the Playhouse team, and to her family and friends around the country for their continual love, support, and energy.

Thyra Hartshorn* She/Her

Costume Designer

Thyra is a production manager, stage manager and technical director. Her training includes an MFA in production and design with a concentration in stage management from the University of California, Irvine, as well as almost two decades in ballet production. Thyra has toured and worked with companies around the world including San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet. Locally she’s also worked with Oregon Ballet Theatre, Profile Theatre, White Bird, Portland Taiko and Northwest Dance Project. Thyra has taught high school stagecraft as well as college-level stage management locally.  

Dayna Lucas
She/Her

Costume Designer

Dayna is an accomplished costume assistant and designer with a passion for bringing characters to life through clothing. She is known for her creative flair and attention to detail. A Fashion Design graduate from FIDM in Los Angeles, Dayna has worked in costume design for both film and theatre over the past nine years. Her most recent theatre collaborations include Argonautika (2019) for A Noise Within Theatre in Pasadena, CA and A Christmas Carol (2022) at the Portland Playhouse. She is excited be a part of Matilda: The Musical and very thankful for such a talented and hardworking cast and crew.

Maia Denzler She/Her

Costume Assistant

Maia is a costume, theater, and textile artist based in the Portland Metro area. Recently, her costume designs were on stage at Portland State University in the opera Good Country, and she will be returning to PSU to design the spring production A Dream Play. Previously at Portland Playhouse, Maia has worked on A Christmas Carol (Assistant Costumer) and Chicken and Biscuits (Props, Assistant Costumer), as well as being a member of the Season 14 Apprentice Company. Her textile art was be on display at Patricia Reser Center for The Arts in the gallery as part of The Born Project (www.thebornproject.org). For more information, visit her website at www.maiadenzler.com.

Solomon Weisbard He/Him

Co Lighting Designer

Originally from Portland, Solomon has created original works in drama, opera, dance, installation, and music across the U.S., Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, and Slovenia. Highlights include Otello (Festspielhaus Baden Baden, Germany); Il Trovatore (Teatro Comunale di Bologna and Teatro Regio di Parma, Italy);  Oedipus (Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Greece; Ancient Theatre of Pompeii, Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza, and Teatro Mercadante di Napoli, Italy) all with Robert Wilson; Macbeth (directed by John Doyle at Classic Stage Company, NYC); The Shape of Things (created by Carrie Mae Weems at the Park Avenue Armory, NYC); Duat (Soho Rep, NYC); and Men on Boats (World Premiere: Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb, NYC). Solomon is Assistant Professor of Scenic/Lighting Design at Portland State University and earned his MFA from the Yale School of Drama. www.solweisbard.com

Samantha Kemp She/Her

Co Lighting Designer

Born in Lindenhurst, New York and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sam has always managed to weasel her way into artful spaces despite cultural pressures to conform to more traditional expectations. While attending the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, Sam served as a member and leader of the Costume, Makeup and Hair crews for ten productions at the Academy, including Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, and Shakespeare's Macbeth. Sam is now double-majoring in Psychology and Communications at Portland State University. Now in her fifth and final year, she has returned to her theatre roots and discovered a passion for lighting design. She recently served as Assistant Lighting Designer for PSU's production of Frontières Sans Frontières, and is excited to work on future projects. In her free time, you can find her collecting Pokemon cards, hiking solo, or laying in a hammock somewhere.rtland area, in theatre, dance, and performance art. Recent designs include The Winter's Tale with the Portland Shakespeare Project, Camelot with the Lakewood Center for the Arts, and Open Space Dance's first company performance, Sheen. In addition to design work, Allison is Playhouse's lead electrician, and this fall was the lighting lead for the 2022 Time Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.
 

Keela Johnson She/Her

Cultural Competency Consultant

Keela works as a Cultural Competency Consultant for Portland Playhouse. She began her work in this role during the 21/22 production season and is continuing in her role for the 22/23 season. Keela also works as a private consultant for non-profit and other organizations, as well as an educator at Portland State University. She specializes in institutional, structural, and inter/intrapersonal oppressive ideologies, frameworks, policies, and narratives with an emphasis on healing spaces for all.  Her work over the past 7 years with Portland Playhouse has consisted of providing workshops and other facilitations for staff, critical dialogic spaces for the greater community and critical dialogic spaces for affinity groups. She is moving into her second production year in this role and is so happy, honored and humbled to be on this wonderful journey.

Tabitha Wells-Benitez She/Her

Child Wrangler

Tabitha is so grateful to be returning to this beautiful production again. Past theater performances include Something Rotten! (Lakewood Theatre Company), Annie Get Your Gun and A Christmas Story: The Musical (Elsinore Theatrical Productions), The Peppermint Bear (Lakewood Theatre Company), Hello Dolly! (Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Tabitha is also finishing up her senior year majoring in Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies. She would like to thank the artistic team for this opportunity, and her family for their love and support.

Negasi Brown They/Them

Dramaturg

Ryann St Julien They/He

Carpentry and Props

Ryann  is a theatre technician based in Portland, Oregon.  They recently received a B.A. in theater from Lewis and Clark College, where their credits include props master for The Secretaries, (Lewis and Clark College); and Medea (Lewis and Clark College).  They were a member of the scene shop crew for Lewis and Clark productions of Medea, Passion Play, The Secretaries, Cabaret, The Christians, Stupid Fucking Bird, and Sweeney Todd.  They have worked around Portland on productions such as King of the Yees (Profile Theater), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Profile Theater), Chicken and Biscuits (Portland Playhouse), and Home/Land (Hand2Mouth). Check out their website at https://www.ryannstjulien.com/

Allison Knight-Blaine

Head Electrician

Allison is a lighting designer around the Portland area, in theatre, dance, and performance art. Recent designs include The Winter's Tale with the Portland Shakespeare Project, Camelot with the Lakewood Center for the Arts, and Open Space Dance's first company performance, Sheen. In addition to design work, Allison is Playhouse's lead electrician, and this fall was the lighting lead for the 2022 Time Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

BeiYi Teo^

Scenic Artist

Bei is overjoyed to be back in the Portland Playhouse. She is a scenic artist and propmaker who made her prop design theater debut for Bella: An American Tall Tale! Some of her favorite projects include, Don’t Hug Me and Loch Lomond at Broadway Rose Theater Company, The Found Dog Ribbon Dance at CoHo Theater and Amazon Prime’s Somebody I used to Know. She thanks her husband for being the greatest support in her pursuit of art.

Dylan Nebeker+ they/them

Design Apprentice+

Dylan got their associates degree in theater design and technology from Santa Barbara City College then transferred to the University of California Santa Cruz to finish their B.A. in theater arts, focusing on scenic and prop design/fabrication. Then subsequently returned to UCSC to get their Masters Degree. For their thesis they studied immersive theater and transgender storytelling. They are excited to be working with Portland Playhouse to craft the world of these stories, and to make the most out of this amazing opportunity. If you want to follow their work they can be found on Instagram @dylannebekerdesign
 

Cast

Lester Purry*
He/Him

Ebenezer Scrooge

Lester  most recently performed  the role J.P. Madison in What I Learned in Paris at Portland Playhouse he just closed Thurgood at Cleveland Playhouse and he performed the role of August Wilson in his one man show How I Learned What I Learned at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, he has performed in regional theatre across the country including a national tour as Othello in Othello, and as Augustus Newcastle in The Darker Face of the Earth and Lester Mason in The Big White Fog, all with The Guthrie Theatre. A long time company member with Penumbra Theatre where August Wilson was discovered, Purry has played the roles of Cory in Fences, Clay in Dutchman, Hambone in Two Trains Running, Lymon in The Piano Lesson the production that Wilson said was the best he’d ever seen, Hedley in King Hedley II, and Booster in Jitney, to name a few. At Baltimore Center Stage Purry was Marvell Thunder in Thunder Knocking on the Door, as well as King of the Hill in You Can Stop On a Dime. He played Lymon in The Piano Lesson, Scarus in Antony and Cleopatra, and Mordred in Camelot at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Purry performed at Philadelphia Theatre Company as Floyd Barton in Seven Guitars, Arizona Theatre Company as Wolf in Two Trains Running, and as Troy Maxson in Fences at Portland Playhouse, Palm Beach Dramaworks and Los Angeles Performing Arts Center. He also played the role of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Children’s Theatre Company,  Most recently he performed the role of Charles Grace in Fireflies at South Coast Repertory Theatre and in Thurgood, as Thurgood Marshall at Geva Theatre Center, Portland Playhouse and Penumbra Theatre.

Benjamin Tissell*
He/Him

Marley, Past, Present, Businessman 1 Understudy - Ebenezer Scrooge

Ben is a Portland-based actor, director and musician, previously seen at the Playhouse in A Christmas Carol, “Peter and the Starcatcher” and “Titus Andronicus”. Locally, Ben has also performed at Portland Center Stage, Third Rail Repertory, Broadway Rose and others. Ben currently serves as artistic director of George Fox University Theatre. Ben‘s original music, upcoming performances, and other info can be found at BenTissell.com. 

Delphon "DJ" Curtis Jr.*^
All Pronouns

Bob Cratchit, Mr. Fezziwig, Businessman 2
Understudy - Ghosts

DJ is thrilled to return to Portland Playhouse for this Christmas Classic. Last seen in Crowns as Pit Ensemble and Man Understudy, it is an absolute honor to return to this theatre. They graduated from William Peace University with a BFA in Musical theatre. You may have seen them as the title role in Hedwig (Portland Center Stage), Collins in Rent (Portland Center Stage), and David in Choir Boy (Portland Center Stage). They are so grateful for this wonderful cast and team that made this all possible. Follow their journey @heymr.deejay on Instagram!

Lauren Steele* She/Her

Mrs. Cratchit, Young Scrooge, Edna

Lauren is a multidisciplinary artist from Portland, Oregon with a BFA in Theatre from Southern Methodist University. Lauren is happy to be returning to Portland Playhouse after her role in What I Learned in Paris last season. You may have recently seen her at Portland Center Stage in Tick… Tick… Boom,  the ripple, the wave that carried me home, or in the first two installments of the Queen’s Girl Trilogy at Clackamas Repertory Theatre. Featured in Willammette Week’s 2022 list of  “Best New Bands”, Lauren also performs locally under the name Lo Steele at venues and festivals around town including 1905, Mississippi Studios, The Waterfront Blues Festival and Cathedral Park Jazz Festival. Check out @losteele on social media and any streaming platform to keep up with her upcoming performances! 

Claire Rigsby she/they

Fred, Molly, Businessman 3

Claire is thrilled to return to Portland Playhouse after recently appearing in Matilda the Musical. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Claire has called Portland her home for the past ten years.  Recent credits include Detective Hayden Quinn in Artist Rep’s True Story, or a multitude of characters in the ensemble of Portland Center Stage’s Rent. Previous credits include  The Alliance Theatre, Profile Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Broadway Rose Theatre Company, and B Street Theatre. Claire is a graduate of Emory University, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and the Institute for Contemporary Performance. Offstage, you can find Claire making experimental theater in fountains, plexiglass boxes, and public parks, or sitting with her kitty knitting, crocheting, or tufting. Thank you to all of my loved ones for the endless support and love. I couldn’t do it without you.

Tessa May
She/Her

Belle, Hermione, Old Joe

Tessa is pleased to return to Portland Playhouse after appearing in The Sounds Of Afrolitical Movement as OyaOther credits: Once on This Island (World Stage Theatre, Papa Ge); Matilda (Portland Playhouse, Hair and Make-up); Black when I'm singing blue when I ain't (Third Rail Repertory, U/S) Blink (Third Rail Repertory, Sophie); Troy USA (Bag and Baggage, Cassandra); The Adventures of the Tartor Patrol (Oregon Children's Theater, Alex); as well as work with The Acting for Kids and Teen – Oregon and Fertile Grounds Film Festival – Oregon. Tessa is an Alumni of The American Musical and Dramatics Academy – NYC (AMDA) and a proud Open space company member at Third Rail Repertory and a Teaching Artist at Portland Drama Club. She would also like to thank her grandmother for her consistent support!

Anthony Michael Shepard^
He/Him

Collecting Man 1, Dick Wilkins, Topper
Understudy - Bob Cratchit

Anthony is honored to return to the Playhouse for another round of holiday cheer. Anthony is a St. Louis native, former Playhouse Apprentice, Black Theatre United Rise Mentee, and a graduate of the Dobbins Conservatory. He has appeared in local productions such as Blood Wedding (Shaking the Tree), Great Wide Open(Portland Playhouse and May Hats Collaborations), American Fast (Artists Repertory Theater) F*****g A (Shaking The Tree), Bella: An American Tall Tale (Portland Playhouse), and Titus Andronicus (Portland Playhouse). He thanks you all for supporting the arts with your time, resources, and presence. As always, Anthony gives honor, love, and gratitude to his friends, family, and mentors; who continue to inspire and elevate his artistry to new heights. Special thanks to Delphon “DJ” Curtis – as they were the first actor Anthony connected with virtually while contemplating a move to Portland; working with such an inspiration and a powerhouse of talent and kindness is not only a a full circle moment, but a true honor.   Anthony is the co-host of Genesis: A Subsequent Elevation- found wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow him on Insta: anthony.shepard and TikTok: blackboysong to stay up to date with his shenanigans. “From the river to sea, Palestine will be free.”

Elleon Dobias She/Her

Collecting Man 2, Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Dilber, Elizabeth
Understudy - Fred

Originally from Colorado, Elleon’s work as an actor, musician, and writer has kept her traveling for a handful of years, and she is grateful to return to Portland for another holiday season. She is especially fond of instrumental improvisation and is always humbled by the opportunity to engage her background in music with her passion for stories and how we choose to tell them. Aside from performing, Elleon is a lover of long walks, backpacking, anything homemade, and everything spread on toast. 

Tabitha Wells-Benitez She/Her

Martha/Ensemble

Tabitha is so grateful to be returning to this beautiful production again. Past theater performances include Something Rotten! (Lakewood Theatre Company), Annie Get Your Gun and A Christmas Story: The Musical (Elsinore Theatrical Productions), The Peppermint Bear (Lakewood Theatre Company), Hello Dolly! (Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Tabitha is also finishing up her senior year majoring in Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies. She would like to thank the artistic team for this opportunity, and her family for their love and support.

Divine Crane

Fan, Belinda, Fezziwig Guest

Divine is ecstatic to be back at Portland playhouse in another production of A Christmas CarolDivine is high school student at Aloha high school. She was previously in last year’s production of A Christmas Carol as Belinda. Some of her other works from her high school theater department include Agnes from “She Kills Monsters”, Long John Silver “ Treasure Island”, Sister Margaretta “The Sound Of Music” and Nina “Lost girl”. She would like to thank her family for supporting her and Portland Playhouse for being welcoming. IG @divinesoncloud9

Imani Hill

Fan, Belinda, Fezziwig Guest

Imani is a 13 year old actress with the heart of a giant. She loves to sing, dance, and make others laugh. She was blessed to begin acting at the age of 6 with World Stage Theatre, who assisted in developing her gift through various roles in their annual stage play; Who I am, Celebrating Me,  and VanportImani has also been cast in the Portland Playhouse production of Fences, and this year's A Christmas Carol will be her 3rd time in that production. In addition to acting, Imani is an entrepreneur, who started her own cookie business, Synai's Sweets LLC, in May of 2020. Imani continues to be excited about the opportunities she is blessed with, and looks forward to future endeavors. 

Mila Kashiwabara She/Her/Ella

Carol Child, Peter, Want, Turkey Girl

Mila is thrilled to be returning to the Portland Playhouse as part of this amazing production, Most recently you may have seen her as Hortensia in Matilda the Musical (Portland Playhouse, 2023) or as Pipe’s Little Sister in Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Crave Theatre, 2023) or as Dog in Dragons Love Tacos (Oregon Children’s Theatre, 2023). Her Portland Playhouse credits include A Christmas Carol (various roles 2019, 2021, 2022), Young Lucius in Titus Andronicus (2022), and the role of Oli in the filmed piece 545 (2020). When she isn’t acting, she can be found dancing (especially hip hop), researching fashion
trends and drawing. She thanks Charles Grant and the entire creative team for this opportunity, as well as the cast and crew for being so incredible to work with. She also thanks her family for their love and support.

Margot Weaver She/Her

Carol Child, Peter, Want, Turkey Girl

Margot has been acting in plays at the Playhouse since she was 5 years old, most often in A Christmas Carol, and more recently in Titus Andronicus and Matilda the Musical. She has a great love for stories, books, movies, plays, musicals, anything that tells a story she is ALL about! Ask her a question about a book and expect the entire detailed story to be told to you. She has a passion for soccer and baking. Margot loves this story and plans to tell it for as long as she can!

Mingus Smithingham He/Him

Willie, Ignorance, Fezziwig Child

Mingus is excited to join this fun production again, after being an understudy last year. He loves the popcorn, and thanks everyone for all the treats – being in this play is a lot of fun. He's in 5th grade and keeps busy playing soccer with The Saints and ultimate frisbee with The Kenton Swifts. Mingus has a playful imagination, and enjoys Lego, video games, and reading.

Zahara Beamer

Willie, Ignorance, Fezziwig Child

Zahara is a sixth grader at Harriet Tubman Middle School (go Legends!) In her free time she enjoys knitting, playing with her Calico Critters, and lounging around listening to podcasts. She's very excited to be back at Portland Playhouse for another production of A Christmas Carol. She hopes you enjoy it!

Ellis Robinson

Tiny Tim, Boy Scrooge, Fezziwig Guest

Ellis has seen A Christmas Carol with his family on Christmas Eve since 2019, and he’s excited to continue this tradition on the stage in his professional theater debut. Ellis is currently a 4th grader at Sabin Elementary. He enjoys reading, Legos, and Minecraft. His favorite TV show is Teen Titans. He’d like to thank his friends and family for supporting him.

Inara Elorreaga

Tiny Tim, Boy Scrooge, Fezziwig Guest

Inara is excited to be in a play. She brings curiosity and drive to her interests and activities. Wanting to be the best she can be is rooted in her desire to have fun. She lives with her mama, papa, little brother, and granny and loves her family and home very much.

 

Jasmyn Tilford^ She/Her

Understudy - Mrs Cratchit, Collecting Man & others

Jasmyn Unique Tilford (understudy Mrs. Cratchit and Collecting Man 2 Tracks ), is a graduate of Howard University’s Department of Theatre where she received her B.F.A in Theatre Arts. Her credits include: Erzulie, Once on This Island, (World Stage Theatre); Daphne, The Gods of Comedy, (Clackamas Repertory Theatre); Ensemble/Josephine, I’m Black When I’m Singing, I’m Blue When I Aint, (Third Rail Repertory Theatre); Dick Wilkins/ Hermione, A Christmas Carol, (Portland Playhouse); Simone & Latrice Understudy, Chicken & Biscuits, (Portland Playhouse); Mrs. Dinwiddie/ Ensemble, Bella: An American Tall Tale, ( Portland Playhouse); Lavinia

Brave Zamogogo Sohacki
They/Them

Understudy - Fred, Collecting Man 1 & others

Brave jest amerykańskim artystą z polskimi i meksykańskimi korzeniami. Nacido en el medio oeste, Brave has called the confluence of the Wallamt and Wimahl rivers their home for over a decade. Classically trained by The Actors Conservatory, Stella Adler's Conservatory, and PETE, they are grateful to the many teachers who have helped shape their craft over the last four years. They aspire to continue devising new work with their friends and collaborators Dylan Hankins, Kasia Caravello, and Rocco Weyer. Brave is overjoyed to return to the ensemble at Portland Playhouse for A Christmas Carol and celebrate the close of another spectacular year of Portland-based productions. Catch them this winter at Experience Theatre’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Third Rail’s production of Martyna Majok’s Sanctuary City this spring. Check them out @bravezamogogo on Instagram where they’re a private dancer, a dancer for money.

Kathryn Hasson+ She/Her

Understudy - Martha & others

Kathryn is a Bay Area-raised, Portland-based performer, writer, and artist. She has been singing and acting professionally since the age of 7 and has trained with the American Conservatory Theater and the Vassar College Drama and Music departments. She received her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College, where she also extensively studied Ancient Greek theater, history, mythology, and the work of contemporary female writers and scholars in those fields. She is a trained dramaturg, published poet, and experienced improviser. As a proud alum of Til Dawn Acapella, the Vassar Devils, and the Vassar Jazz Ensemble, she has experience as a vocalist in a range of styles including classical, jazz, musical theater, folk, blues, and soul. Notable theatrical roles include Else Kolemeier (Homefront), Ma Joad (Grapes of Wrath), Angela (Natural Shocks), Feste (Twelfth Night), Emily Webb (Our Town), Dolly (Safe Hands), and the Nurse (Sunday in the Park With George). She is incredibly honored and grateful to be a current member of the Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company.

Monic M. Milani+ She/They

Understudy - Belle & Others

Monika is a queer Filipino-Persian American artist from San Jose, California. Despite having a multi-year background in studying anthropology and several branches of theatre design, she ultimately chose to pursue her strongest passion and comfort in the vocal arts and acting. She is a recent Theater Arts B.A. graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also worked with the music department to develop her mezzo-soprano voice in Opera and Musical Theater performance. Outside of her professional interests, she is a new-hobby and learning “connoisseur” from both her natural, often insatiable curiosity and in her pursuit of becoming a well rounded artist and human. One could find her working on her voice acting skills and career, making cosplays, going to anime and video game conventions, and getting in touch with her cultural roots through dance, music, cooking, and research. She hopes that her freshly-unapologetic pursuit of the arts will inspire young POC kids like her to feel affirmed, empowered, and secure in their sense of belonging in the arts. Through her background in student advocacy and organization, she learned the power that a vision, community, and a single voice can have. Monika is incredibly grateful to be a part of Portland Playhouse’s 2023-2024 small but mighty cohort of apprentices where she can continue to integrate these life lessons into her art and be a part of the impactful work that Portland Playhouse produces. 

Ayo Slizewski She/Her

Youth Understudy - Tiny Tim & others

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