Alexis Barrera (Harriet) is a recent graduate of Wayne State University’s Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting program. Through this program she was able to hone her physical, vocal, and psycho-physical skills, as well as gain a greater understanding of the composition of a theatre performance. Two defining moments in Alexis’ career are her two study abroad trips to Moscow, Russia, where she had the fortunate opportunity to train with Russian theatre masters. Here, her awareness of theatre was expanded as she took in not only the Russian process and aesthetic but also the many theatrical performances of Moscow professionals. Alexis considers the incorporation of heightened movement a key component of her aesthetic (being a trained gymnast) and finds her love of theatre from her simple love of humanity.
Jan Cartwright (Detective Beck) always enjoys performing at Open Book Theatre Company and is especially excited to work in their spiffy new space for the first time. Jan has appeared in several Open Book productions, playing in Sylvia as Kate, The Interviewer in The Shadow Box and Hilla Rebay in last season’s Michigan premiere of Bauer. She has worked locally at the Ringwald, The Dio, Performance Network, Matrix and JET, and on stages in Denver and Chicago. A few other favorite roles include Mattie Fae in August: Osage County, Grandma Kurnitz in Lost in Yonkers, Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire and Truvy in Steel Magnolias. Jan is also a film and television actor and a professional photographer. She owns and operates Cartwright Photography in Novi. Jan would like to thank Krista for creating such a wonderful theatre in which to work, Topher for his always insightful and supportive direction, Harley for his stellar lighting and sound and this wonderfully talented cast and crew, with special gratitude to family and friends who support local theatre. So many family members and friends consistently show up, ticket in hand, and that means everything to us. Thank you for being here!
Jeff Fritz (Mercer) has been an actor for over 20 years he has been teaching acting and improv to children and adults for nearly 15 years. Jeff is the current director of talent development at ComedySportz Detroit as well as a member of the main stage. Jeff also teaches acting and improv at the Michigan Actors Studio in Ferndale Michigan. He is also proud to be an instructor for the Detroit Creativity Project a nonprofit that teaches arts in the Detroit schools. Jeff began his career at The Second City in Detroit. He has been a tour co member, director,writer and member of the SC Detroit main stage. Jeff was also a part of The Second City Chicago’s tour co as well as an instructor in the Conservatory.
Dan Jaroslaw ( Les Kennkat ) would like to thank the Open Book Theatre and this wonderful company. Dan has been involved performing and working in many productions and various aspects of the creative realm and in 2016 added Tipping Point of Northville and UDM Theatre Company. 2017 is off to a good start at Open Book Theatre. Thank You all !!!! each and everyone !!!
Dennis Kleinsmith (Howard) is very excited to be returning to the Open Book stage after appearing here as Lord Aster in Peter and the Starcatcher, Mark Rothko in Red and Brian in The Shadow Box. After graduating from Wayne State University, Dennis went on to work at various Detroit-area theatres such as Meadowbrook, Plowshares, and the Jewish Ensemble Theatre before moving west. Between Seattle and Los Angeles he accrued dozens of professional stage and film credits (all of which were memorable and important to him so none are listed here so none get left out) and in the years he’s been back home he’s added Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare in Detroit, the Abreact and memorably, the role of Roy Cohn in the Ringwald Theatre’s productions of Angels in America. He would like to dedicate this performance to Frank & Annachie.
David Moan (Tony) is incredibly excited to be making his Open Book Theatre debut as Tony in Boy Gets Girl. Originally from Pittsburgh, David received a BA in Music: Vocal Performance from Manchester University in North Manchester, IN, before moving to Detroit in 2012 with his lovely wife, Sarah. Since moving here, David has been making his way into the performance scene in Detroit with performances as Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf/Florinda in Into the Woods with the Ringwald Theater, Edward G. Robinson in Frida and St. Brioche in The Merry Widow with the Michigan Opera Theater, John Wilkes Booth in Assassins at the Encore Musical Theatre, and has received Wilde Award Nominations for his performances as Ash in Evil Dead: The Musical and Bob Morton/Emil in Robocop The Musical. David Would like to thank “Topher and Krista for putting such faith and trust in me; My wife, Sarah, and the rest of my friends and family for their continuing love and support; and Batman for being the Hero we should all strive to be.”
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Theresa) is the founding Artistic Director of Open Book. She has been on stage in Calypso’s Corner, Who Am I This Time, The Shadow Box, Sylvia, Independence and Kimberly Akimbo. and directed Peter and the Starcatcher, Wiley and the Hairy Man, and Bauer Krista is the new drama director at Grosse Ile High school, and directed The Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival – with a cast, choirs, orchestra and crew of around 400 people. A native Michigander, Krista holds a degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has worked in theatres large and small across the country. Krista can be seen as The Statue of Liberty on the cover of Cootie Shots (published by TCG), in which she was an original cast member, and has appeared in national and regional radio and television commercials.
Topher Alan Payne (Director) is a Michigan-based actor and director. He is an Associate Director at Open Book, and this is the 9th show he’s directed here. Originally hailing from Lubbock, Texas, Topher has a BFA in Acting Performance from Texas Tech University and an MFA in Acting from Wayne State University. Additionally, he has worked on stage with Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Tulsa’s American Theatre Company, Lubbock Moonlight Musicals, The Angel Fire Mountain Theatre Company, and The Berkshire Fringe Festival. He is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University and a teaching artist with Michigan Actor’s Studio. He is excited to be a part of Open Book’s third season and to get the opportunity to work in this delightful new space. He wants to thank Jeff for all of his love and support.
Harley Miah (Lighting and Sound Designer) is a professional in the entertainment technology industry. He is a freelance lighting programmer for a large number of nightclubs, concerts and festivals in the Detroit area, and across the country. Harley is Open Book’s resident lighting designer and has designed all their shows, and earned a Wilde Award for Best Design – Lights for his work on Red. He works with the RHS Theatre program and is a proud member of, and lighting designer for, AKT Theatre Project in Wyandotte, MI. He also designs the lights for Outvisible Theatre. In the summer he loves to ride his bike and Slow Roll on Monday nights.
Danielle Gilbert (Stage Manager) is ecstatic to be working on her fourth show with Open Book! She started stage managing with them in the last show of their second season, Calypso’s Corner, and has been a part of every show since. Danielle has loved stories since a really young age, when she would often find herself daydreaming of her doll’s backstories. In her spare time she also has a job in a bookstore, the perfect place for her passion of stories to be let loose. She hopes that one day she might be able to see her own show come to life, but for now she is content following the crazy path on which theatre is taking her so far.