Meg Berger (Playwright) is excited to work with Open Book Theatre for the first time. She has been a part of the Metro Detroit theatre community for the last decade as an actor, writer, stage manager, costumer, and director. Her one-acts have been performed at the Rosedale Community Players One-Act Festival, Ridgedale Community Players One-Act Festival, and BoxFest Detroit. When she isn’t writing scripts, she toils away on the manuscript for her romance novel, which is untitled, but features plenty of consensual smooching!
Celah Convis (Performer) will most likely die next to a pile of books she was meaning to read. But as that has yet to happen, she has attended Eastern Michigan University to study Theatre Arts, with an acting focus, and is currently in her senior year. Performing is one of her greatest joys in life, along with her cat Charlie, handwritten letters, and keeping old bottles that look cool, and she is grateful for every opportunity she gets to perform. In 2020, Celah acted in EMU’s virtual production of Richard III as the Duke of Buckingham, as well as co-writing and acting in the short film Loch Lomond, which won first place at the Detroit 48hr Film Festival.
Dale Dobson (Performer) is a character actor based in southeast Michigan who often plays irritable professors, mad archaeologists, and easily-angered scientists. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where his childhood interest in puppetry and magic eventually drew him out of his shell and into the theatre. Since 2015 he has appeared in productions at Open Book Theatre, The Dio Dining & Entertainment, The Encore Musical Theatre, Penny Seats, The Ringwald, The Riverbank, and The Snug, where he earned a 2019/2020 Season Wilde Award for his portrayal of Boolie in Driving Miss Daisy. He has also appeared as a guest artist at University of Detroit-Mercy. Dale’s on-camera work includes the television series Detroiters and A Haunting and upcoming feature films FU*AB, BLAME and Ghoster. He has also written, drawn and animated for National Lampoon, Cracked and The Wittenburg Door.
Nicole Marie Hunt (Performer) is a Meisner trained theatre & film actor, writer and activist from New York & DC. Having acted most of her life, she took a break in 2008 to work with the Obama campaigns as a Field Director and later, with the administration, as a Community and Labor Organizer. In 2015, Nicole relocated to Detroit to be closer to her own artistic family. Since her Detroit stage debut at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, Nicole has performed on over 15 stages in 20+ productions, in 6 independent feature films, several shorts, commercials and web series, in Michigan alone. Always the activist, Nicole is especially drawn to theatre and film projects that are social-justice and issue driven. She says, “…that type of work feels like home…As an actor, it’s a blessing to get to pursue work that I am deeply passionate about in the company of some phenomenal artists and truly visionary communities.”
Allison Megroet (Performer) is grateful for this opportunity to be involved in such a unique creative process. She has worked in Michigan theater for over 15 years and has acted in many productions, most recently Theatre33’s The Shape of Things (Jenny), Haunted: The Great Lakes Ghost Project at Roustabout Theatre Troupe, Open Book Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Rosedale Community Players Stop Kiss (Sara). Many heartfelt thanks to her sister Andrea for her strength, love, and support; and to Mom, her ever present Guardian Angel.
Sonja Marquis (Director) has worked at numerous theaters in the region as a director, sound designer, and award-winning actor. Directing credits include Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) (Tipping Point Theatre), Reap the Grove (Matrix Theatre Company), Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol (The Dio Theatre), Minor Deviations (TPT’s 2018 Sandbox Festival), and Charlotte’s Web (Wild Swan Theater), which received a Wilde Award nomination for Best Theater for Young Audiences. She also helps to encourage the next generation of creatives as part of the directing team of Brighton High School Musical Theatre and as the director of Plymouth Uptown Players (PUPs), a youth theater organization run by Plymouth Community Arts Council in cooperation with Tipping Point Theatre. Big thanks to Open Book’s Krista and Maria for the opportunity to get the creative juices flowing again during this great pause.
Sean Paraventi (Playwright)-Sean has worked with Open Book in the capacity as an actor, playwright, improviser and usher. He was part of Open Book’s first production (Sylvia), he was there opening night in the current space when the women’s bathroom exploded (Peter and the Starcatcher) and he was there when Covid kicked us outside (2020, The Year They Cancelled Everything) and he plans on sticking around until Krista throws him out.
Danielle Peck (Performer) has performed with several companies across Southeast Michigan. Some of her notable credits are Karen in The Interference at Matrix Theatre and Malvolio in Twelfth Night with Shakespeare in Detroit. Since the pandemic hit, Danielle has appeared in The Crowded Hour, a radio play with the Michigan Irish Rep, and in Theatre Nova’s Zoom Play Series’ River’s Message. In addition, she directed and produced a podcast version of Macbeth with a talented group of students GP South High School. She also teaches English to high school students and acted as a Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Fellow at London’s Globe Theatre. Her website is: daniellecpeck.com
Sarah Hawkins Rusk (Director), a native of Indiana, has been working as an actress, director, and educator across the country for the last thirteen years. Sarah received her MFA from Wayne State University and BA from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Previously Open Book, Sarah directed Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Wonder of the World, and Emilie, and performed as Ada Lovelace in Ada and the Engine. She also adapted and directed last fall’s Haunted: Window Theatre. Sarah is a certified teacher in the Michael Chekhov technique and teaches theatre at University of Detroit-Mercy.
Tiaja Sabrie (Performer) is an actor and sometimes-costume designer living in Detroit, and has been spotted on stage all over Metro Detroit, but mostly at Slipstream Theatre Initiative. Tiaja’s Open Book debut came this summer in the Driveway Theatre production 2020: The Year They Cancelled Everything.
Carrie Sayer (Director) is delighted to participate in Weekend Wonders! While Open Book audiences may remember her as the mother in Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Carrie is also an experienced director of plays, musicals, cabarets, comedy shows, and forensics events. Carrie is the former Drama Director for Chelsea High School and Lumen Christi Catholic School. She has directed for Michigan Playwrights Festival at Theatre NOVA and the Fireside Festival at Performance Network. Carrie has experience producing, co-authoring, workshopping, performing in, and directing original works at such places as Boarshead Professional Theatre (Lansing, MI), Eastern Michigan University, and her own studio. When not directing and/or performing, Carrie teaches private acting and singing lessons (www.CarrieJayStudio.com). Carrie’s training includes Michigan State University, Meadowbrook, and Purple Rose Theatre Company. She gives thanks to Krista for this opportunity, and to her family and friends for their ongoing, loving support.
Jade Sibert (Perfromer) is an upcoming actress/singer/songwriter who hails from Detroit, Michigan. Jade was featured in her first film, the inspired urban drama Annabelle & Bear (2010), and the urban inspired comedy The Climb (2017), both of which were created and filmed in Detroit. In the former, Jade played a character by the name of Jade, the strong story line focuses on a little girl who renews her relationship with her estranged biker father when her mother spirals into drugs. Fences (2020), Jade’s impressive sophomore film, tells another tale of family struggle that takes place in the 1950s. Jade is currently a second-year student at the University of Detroit Mercy . In her first year at Detroit Mercy she starred in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Field of Blue Children. When she is not performing, she spends her time working in the costume shop designing for shows. Her love for acting has pushed her to pursue a MFA in theatre after graduation.
Nick Szczerba (Performer) is thrilled to be back at the Open Book Theatre in his hometown of Trenton, Michigan. Nick was last seen here as Alf in Peter and the Starcatcher. As a retired Software Engineer, Nick spends his time performing on area stages such as the Players Guild of Dearborn (Martin Vanderhof in You Can’t Take It With You), Stagecrafters in Royal Oak (Vanya in Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike) and Brighton’s A Wilde Theatre (Ensemble in Leaving Iowa). Nick doesn’t have a favorite role —- he has favorite casts. And his favorite show? The next one.
Sara Vazquez (Director)-Sara is an eclectic theatre artist currently based in the Chicago area. As a Michigan native who graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Sara is delighted for the opportunity to (virtually) create in her home state again! Sara has previously directed for New American Folk Theatre in Chicago, the American Shakespeare Theatre in Virginia, and Lexington Children’s Theatre in Kentucky, among other wonderful companies. She has also directed countless young people in theatre classes and workshops across the country and treasures helping young artists find their voice. She also has extensive professional experience as a stage manager and theatre technician. Sara is grateful to Maria Tejada and Open Book Theatre Company for innovating and facilitating new avenues of creative expression for us all to engage in!
Jennifer Ward (Playwright)-While pursuing her BA in Theatre at Oakland University, Jennifer started writing for the stage in classes with the acclaimed playwright, Kitty Dubin. Since graduating in 2016, she has been busy directing musicals and plays for Clarkston High School, where she also offers an afterschool playwriting workshop. She serves on JET’s New Works play reading committee, is a member of Playwrights @ Work at Village Players and in her spare time even writes some of her own work, notably First Christmas, which earned a staged reading with the Ant Farm, and No Going Back and Walk-N-Talk, staged at Ridgedale Players in Troy. She also created and directed The Bible on Broadway, Around the World in 88 Keys and Weather or Not, cabaret style shows to benefit The Welcome Inn Homeless Shelter. On occasion, Jennifer has even been seen on stage; as Esther in Two by Two, Aunt Eller in Oklahoma and most recently in the ensemble of Ragtime with Stagecrafters in Royal Oak, where she lives with her ever-patient muse and spouse, Daniel.
Jacob Zinke (Playwright) is a Michigan playwright, who works as a Speech-Language Pathologist by day and also serves as the President of St. Dunstan’s Theatre. Writing plays is his favorite hobby, and he has enjoyed seeing local productions of several of his plays, including: Zom-Bride at St. Dunstan’s Theatre, and Peck as part of the Ridgedale Players’ Virtual Performance Series. Mostly due to his passion for teaching language to children (but, also due to his fervor for entertaining and enlightening others), Jake has written and produced several original children’s plays, including “The Candy Mansion Caper” and “The Three Little Pigs’ Christmas.” He thanks his husband, Jeff, and his son, Daniel, for supporting and joining him in his love of theatre.