Who's Who in Gem of the Ocean


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 JEROME PRESTON BATES (Eli) appeared on Broadway in American Son, Jitney, Stick Fly, and Seven Guitars. Off-Broadway credits include Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre Co., Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Negro Ensemble Co., and Billie Holiday Theatre, among others. Select regional credits include Yale Rep, Hartford Stage, Arena Stage, The Old Globe, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. TV credits: Law and Order, All My Children, and HBO’s OZ, among others. Selected film credits: Peeples, Musical Chairs, Tio Papi. As a writer: Augusta Brown, Electric Lady, and The Jimi Hendrix Experiment. As a director: August Wilson’s entire American Century Cycle for the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, The Man in Room 306 and Seven Guitars at Triad Stage, and A Salute to August Wilson and Religion for Billie Holiday Theatre.

EDWARD EWELL(Citizen Barlow) hails from Detroit, Michgan. He began acting in the Bay and recently completed his MFA at American Conservatory Theater. He has been blessed to work on some wonderful projects, including Ti Jean and His Brothers (Mi Jean), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon/ Demetrius), and Wintertime (Francois) at A.C.T.; We Are Proud to Present… (Actor 2) at San Jose Stage; Kill Move Paradise (Isa) at Shotgun Players; The Welkin (Frederick Poppy) and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Matthias of Galilee) with ARC/ Remote Theater; To Saints and Stars (Ken) with Playwrights Foundation; VS. (Tye) with TheatreFirst; Jitney (Youngblood) at African-American Shakespeare Co.; and most recently Pass Over (Moses) at Marin Theater Co.

DAN HIATT (Rutherford Selig) recently performed as Harvey Cobb in TheatreWorks’ They Promised Her the Moon. Other TheatreWorks favorites: Mark Twain’s River of Song, The 39 Steps, Upright/Grand, The Pitman Painters, Twentieth Century, and Ambition Facing West. Bay Area credits include Vanity Fair, Father Comes Home from the Wars, and The Birthday Party at American Conservatory Theater; Shoot Me When at SF Playhouse; Nicholas Nickleby, Hamlet, Pastures of Heaven, and Arms and the Man at California Shakespeare Theater; Wittenberg at Aurora Theatre; Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Dinner With Friends at Berkeley Rep; and Anne Boleyn at Marin Theatre Co. Regional credits include Yale Rep, Theatre Calgary, Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre Co., Pasadena Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, and Shakespeare Theatre Co. in Washington, D.C.

RODNEY HICKS (Caesar, he/they) was last seen on Broadway in Come From Away where he originated the role(s) of Bob & others. Previous Broadway credits include the 2000 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar; The Scottsboro Boys; and the Original and Closing casts of RENT. He is grateful to have over 25 years of regional theatre credits. Film credits include Paramount Pictures’ Mighty Oak (DB,Apple TV/Amazon); RENT: Live on Broadway (Benjamin Coffin III, Apple TV/Amazon); django. Television credits include Leverage; Grimm; Hope & Faith; Law and Order: Criminal Intent; Student Affairs (pilot); NYPD Blue. He is the playwright of 1968, The Flawed Play, Flame Broiled. or the ugly play (Local Theater Company); Just Press Save (2020 Pride Plays directed by Michael Greif); Ms. Pearl’s Cabaret. www.rodneyhicks.net

GRETA OGLESBY (Aunt Ester) is an esteemed veteran of the American theater community. Her performances have been described as “ravishing,” “indelible,” “powerful,” “magnificent,” “heartbreaking,” and “brilliant.” Credits include Thunder Knocking on the Door, Once on This Island, King Lear, and The Furies at Ten Thousand Things Theater; The Wiz, The Piano Lesson, Amen Corner, and A Love Song for Miss Lydia at Penumbra Theater; Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Crucible, Caroline, or Change, and Burial at Thebes at Guthrie Theater; Beggar’s Strike, Five Fingers of Funk, and Last Stop on Market Street at Children’s Theater. She is author of the book Mama ‘N ‘Nem, Handprints On My Life and its companion play, Handprints, which was produced as a film by Ten Thousand Things Theater and Free Style films.

PORSCHA SHAW (Black Mary) recently appeared as Belle in Beauty and the Beast at 5th Avenue Theatre. Other credits include Shout Sister Shout and Nina Simone: Four Women for Seattle Rep; Richard III with Seattle Shakespeare Co. and the upstart crow collective; Saint Joan and The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion for ArtsWest; Marisol with The Williams Project; and Hoodoo Love at Sound Theatre Co. Shaw is a graduate of the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington. She is a native of Richmond, Texas and a graduate of Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she majored in Drama under the training of Jon Jory.

KIM SULLIVAN (Solly Two Kings) is just back from France, Switzerland and Portugal, where he performed in Silence and Fear by David Geselon. He has performed in all ten of August Wilson's plays, including Winning Boy in The Piano Lesson, Cane Well in Seven Guitars, Bono and Lyons in Fences, and Stool Pigeon in King Hedley II. Mr. Sullivan received a Helen Hayes award for his role in Familiar at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC, and an Audelco award for his portrayal of Imamu Baraka aka Leroi Jones in Looking for Leroy at New Federal Theatre in New York City. Television credits include The Blacklist, Law and Order, Trial by Jury and One Life To Live. Mr. Sullivan is honored to revisit Solly Two Kings. Thanks Tim.

AUGUST WILSON (Playwright) (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of African-Americans, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His plays have been produced at regional theatres across the country and all over the world, as well as on Broadway. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. Mr. Wilson’s work garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987); and for The Piano Lesson (1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney; as well as eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, Jitney, and Radio Golf. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writer’s Award, 2003 Heinz Award, was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theatre located at 245 West 52nd Street - The August Wilson Theatre. Additionally, Mr. Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2007. Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and wife, costume designer Costanza Romero.

TIM BOND (Director) joined TheatreWorks as Artistic Director in July 2020. He is a nationally-known director and educator with past leadership roles as Producing Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage, Associate Artistic Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Artistic Director at Seattle Group Theatre, and tenured full Professor and Head of the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington School of Drama. Over the last 37 years Tim has directed at many theatres including the Market Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre, Guthrie Theater, Seattle Rep, Milwaukee Rep, The Wilma Theater, Arena Stage, GEVA Theatre Center, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, PCPA, Arizona Theatre Co., Portland Center Stage, Dallas Theater Center, A Contemporary Theatre, Empty Space Theatre, Paul Robeson Theatre, and Seattle Children’s Theatre. He is the recipient two Backstage West Garland Awards, two Syracuse Area Live Theatre (SALT) Awards, and a Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Forum Award.

LONNIE RAFAEL ALCARAZ (Lighting Design) is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he is the head of the lighting program. Recent designs include Curie Curie for Transversal Theatre Co. in Irvine, CA and Warsaw, Poland; A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center; American Mariachi and A Shot Rang Out at South Coast Rep; All is Calm at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Mojada at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Portland Center Stage. He is an associate artist at South Coast Repertory and Cornerstone Theater Co. and is the Resident Lighting Designer at South Coast Rep, Great River Shakespeare Festival, and Ballet Repertory Theatre.  He is a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829/International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. His complete design portfolio can be found at lradesigns.com.

KENDRA BARNES (Movement Consultant) is a Bay Area native, Contemporary and African Diasporic  choreographer, and instructor who recently choreographed California Shakespeare Theater’s Winter’s Tale, and as co-choreographer of Black Odyssey was a finalist for TBA’s Best Choreography Award. As Choreographer for the African-American Shakespeare Company she received a Broadway World award for best choreography and TBA Finalist for Outstanding Ensemble of a Play (For Colored Girls). She is founder of K*STAR*PRODUCTIONS, a dance space inside of  Flax Art & Design downtown Oakland and the presenting organization for KSP Studios, the Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble (KKDE), & co-presenter of the Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now. She currently teaches dance at UC Berkeley and is an Adjunct Professor at St. Mary’s College of CA’s LEAP Program.

WILLIAM BLOODGOOD (Scenic Designer) is pleased to design his first production for TheatreWorks. Well known in American regional theatres, he has worked in many, including Arena Stage in Washington, DC, Arizona Theatre Co., Berkeley Rep, the Alley Theatre in Houston, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Denver Center Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre in Seattle, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Rep, Syracuse Stage, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he has designed the scenery for 150 productions. In 2011 he was honored to design the United States national exhibit for the Prague Quadrennial of Performance and Space Design.  He is the recipient of many awards for his designs, including the Oregon Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2002.

CHERELLE GUYTON, MBA (Hair, Wig, and Makeup Designer) served as Wig/Hair Designer for regional productions of Beauty and the Beast (The 5th Avenue Theatre); Mother Road, Alice in Wonderland, How to Catch Creation, Romeo and Juliet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Citrus (Northern Stage); In the Heights, Penny Candy (Dallas Theatre  Center); School Girls… (Kansas City Repertory); A Wonder in My Soul (Baltimore Center Stage); Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in Detroit). Guyton was also Wig Master for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Copper Children, Destiny of Desire, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, UniSon (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Wig/Hair Designer for Beauty and the Beast (Ohio Northern University). ED&I Hair Master Class: Hair/Wig and Makeup Inclusive Design Training (Carnegie Mellon University). ED&I Consulting: The Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen (Disney Theatrical Group). ED&I Texture Consultant: The Wiz, Head Over Heels, Into the Woods (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).

MAYA HERBSMAN (Intimacy Coordinator) is a Middle Eastern Ohlone Land based intimacy director, director, arts administrator, and educator. Maya has been the first intimacy professional at theaters across Northern California including Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, San Francisco Playhouse, Shotgun Players, Golden Thread Productions, Z Space, Cutting Ball Theater, Crowded Fire Theater, and more. Her work has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, J. Magazine, and HowlRound. She is currently on faculty at Berkeley Rep, American Conservatory Theater, The Urban School of San Francisco, and is a recurring guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University. She holds a BA from Wesleyan University in Theater, with the Rachel Henderson Memorial Prize in Directing.

MICHAEL KECK (Original Music and Musical Direction) is a composer whose work has been heard across the country and internationally. Regional credits include Indiana Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, Seattle Rep, Pacific Conservatory for the Arts, Westport Country Playhouse, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Syracuse Stage/Wilma Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Portland Center Stage, Arena Stage, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Prince Music Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Co., Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Guthrie Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Cincinnati Playhouse, and Alliance Theater. International credits include Market Theatre in Johannesburg and Baxter Theatre Center in Cape Town, South Africa, The National Theater of Croatia, Barbican Theatre Centre in London and Bristol Old Vic in the UK. He is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, ASCAP, PEN, and The Dramatists Guild.

JEFFREY LO (Casting Director) directed TheatreWorks’ productions of The Language Archive and The Santaland Diaries. A Filipino-American director and playwright, his additional directing credits include Vietgone and The Great Leap at Capital Stage, Hold These Truths at San Francisco Playhouse, and Between Riverside and Crazy at San Jose Stage Co. He is the recipient of the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award, the Arts Council Silicon Valley Emerging Artist Laureate, and Theatre Bay Area Director’s TITAN Award. In addition to his work on stage, Mr. Lo does work nationally promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts. He is a graduate of the multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department. JeffreyWritesAPlay.com

TAYLOR MCQUESTEN (Production Stage Manager, she/her) works internationally as a stage and tour manager, electrician, and stuntwoman. Select credits include ten seasons at Tony Award-winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley (resident stage manager), tour manager for Evan Rachel Wood and Zane Carney’s band EVAN+ZANE, SF Sketchfest (assistant technical director), California Shakespeare Theater (production electrician), Legion A/V (head of lighting), Playfaire Productions (swordswoman), The Independent SF (lighting designer), Highlander Films (production assistant), American Conervatory Theater, Center REP, Cabrillo Stage, Hillbarn Theatre, and Magic Theatre. She also trains historic mêlée weapons at Davenriche European Martial Arts School under master swordsman, Sir Steaphen Fick. In June 2022, she will join Lizard Boy (production stage manager), last seen on the TheatreWorks stage in Mountain View, for its world tour to the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Australia!

JUDITH NIHEI (Artist Counselor) is a San Francisco Japantown native, and has spent many years in theatre as a director, dramaturg, writer, and administrator.  A founding member of Seattle’s Northwest Asian American Theatre, she returned to work with San Francisco’s Asian American Theatre Co. and joined the historic improv group, The Committee.  A licensed psychotherapist in private practice, Judi consults for schools and community-based organizations, facilitating the incorporation of stress-reduction and cultural humility as an integral part of trauma-informed services.  In 2021 her worlds converged, when she was one of four healers invited to support the Theatre Communications Group Rising Stars of Color.

JONATHAN RIDER (Fight Director) has been choreographing fights nationally and internationally for over 30 years, with 13 productions at TheatreWorks, including Archduke, Cyrano, Of Mice and Men, The Prince of Egypt, The Four Immigrants, Water by the Spoonful, and Superior Donuts. His 30 credits for American Conservatory Theater include Hamlet, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Orphan of Zhao, for which he received a Critics Circle award. He was the Resident Fight Director for the San Francisco Opera for 12 years. He has also directed fights for Gran Teatro Del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain (Tristan and Isolde); Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy (Faniciulla Del West); and Sante Fe Opera (including Maometto II, Wozzeck, Tosca). Mr. Rider holds a BA from Santa Clara University.

CHLOE ROSE SCHWEIZER (Assistant Stage Manager, she/ her) is looking forward to her third season at TheatreWorks, where her credits include Assistant Stage Manager for Lizard Boy, Production Assistant for The 39 Steps and They Promised Her The Moon, and Stage Management Intern for Frost/Nixon and Archduke. Other recent credits include A Christmas Carol presented by BroadwaySF (Assistant Stage Manager), Rock of Ages at Theatre Aspen (Assistant Stage Manager), and Cymbeline and Intimate Apparel at Utah Shakespeare Festival (Production Assistant). In addition, Ms. Schweizer works as an electrician throughout the SF Bay and Chicago at companies including Berkeley Rep, Smuin Ballet, Opera San José, Steppenwolf Theatre, Court Theatre, and others. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts, Summa Cum Laude from UC Santa Cruz.

LYDIA TANJI (Costume Designer) is delighted to work at TheatreWorks for the first time. Regional theater credits include Berkeley Rep, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, California Shakespeare Festival, Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Arena Stage, Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Indiana Rep, Children’s Theatre Co., Guthrie Theater, Court Theatre, Dallas Theater Group, Seattle Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, and South Coast Rep. She has been awarded six Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards and two Drama-logue Awards. Film credits include The Joy Luck Club and Hot Summer Winds. Recently, she co-produced Vanishing Chinatown: The World of The May’s Photo Studio which was aired on KQED, KVIE, and screened in six film festivals.

PHIL SANTORA (Executive Director) joined TheatreWorks in 2007. He has served as Managing Director of Northlight Theatre (Chicago) and Georgia Shakespeare Festival (Atlanta), as well as Development Director for Great Lakes Theatre Festival (Cleveland) and George Street Playhouse (New Brunswick). He holds an MFA in Theatre Administration from the Yale School of Drama and a BA in Drama from Duke University. He has served as Vice President of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Board. Prior board service includes the League of Chicago Theatres, Atlanta Coalition of Theatres, and the executive committee of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). He was named 2000’s Best Arts Administrator by Atlanta Magazine and received the Atlanta Arts and Business Council’s 1998 ABBY Award for Arts Administrator.