Independence by Lee Blessing runs February 27 – March 1.
In the small town of Independence, Iowa, Evelyn Briggs might be losing her mind. As her three daughters attempt to come together to make a family decision, each must find their own independence.
Learn more and order tickets HERE.
Dani Cochrane (Jo) is a recent graduate from The Hilberry Repertory Company at Wayne state, where she received her MFA in Theatre. This is her first production with Open Book and she is thrilled to be a part of it. She was last seen as Olivia in Things My Mother Taught Me at Meadow Brook Theatre and as Lizzie in The Rainmaker at Tipping Point Theatre. Hilberry Theatre credits include: Barbara (August: Osage County), Roz (Moon Over Buffalo), Sharon (Detroit), and Emilia (Othello). “Thank you to my Moog for helping me find heart and a sense of play in everything I do.”
Wendy Katz Hiller (Evelyn) is excited to be making her Open Book debut in Independence. Trained at New York’s National Shakespeare Conservatory, Wendy was most recently seen in The Matrix Theatre’s feminist comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn. Last summer, she played Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest with The Michigan Shakespeare Festival where she has also performed as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Margaret in Richard III. She has appeared at The Performance Network, Planet Ant, The Encore Theatre, Michigan Classical Repertory Theatre and in the recent film Open House. She would like to thank her husband, Steve, and daughters, Lydia and Maddy, for their love and support.
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Kess) is the Artistic Director of Open Book Theatre Company and played the title role in Sylvia. She earned her degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has performed on stages large and small across the country. Since returning to her home state of Michigan she has worked with AKT Theatre Project, The Abreact, Shakespeare in Detroit, Matrix Theatre Company, Drastic Theater Company, Broadway OnStage, KHOROS Inc., and the Gottlieb Music Festival. Some favorite roles she’s played include Veronica in God of Carnage, Catherine in Proof, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Fiona in Flanagan’s Wake, The Angel in Angels in America, Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa, and Mrs. Pinkerton in Pinkalicious! The Musical. 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.
Katie Terpstra (Sherry) is originally from Zeeland, MI and has a BA in Theatre from Hope College. Her other training includes a year-long apprenticeship with the Purple Rose Theatre Company and a summer acting apprenticeship with the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Katie has performed in theatres across the state of Michigan and along the East Coast, and has done work on several commercial and film projects. She grew up with mostly boys, so the sudden sisterhood of Independence, Katie’s debut with Open Book Theatre, has been quite an enlightening experience. Thanks to everyone involved in this production!
Topher Alan Payne (Director) is a Michigan based actor and director. 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. 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 has also taught high school theatre, and directed many productions on the high school level and in various storefront spaces in Texas, Oklahoma, and Michigan. He wants to thank his boyfriend Jeff for all of his love and support.
Harley Miah (Lighting 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. He works with the RHS Theatre program and is a proud member of, and lighting designer for, AKT Theatre Project in Wyandotte, MI. Harley is very excited to be part of Open Book’s inaugural season, having also designed Sylvia and Red. In the summer he loves to ride his bike and Slow Roll on Monday nights.
Brandy Joe Plambeck (Sound Designer) is absolutely thrilled to be a part of Open Book’s first season! Co-founder and Media Director of Ferndale’s Ringwald Theatre, Brandy Joe has previously created soundscapes for BUG, KILLER JOE, MERCURY FUR, and INTO THE WOODS to name a few. In May, Brandy Joe will have an MFA in acting from Wayne State’s Hilberry Theatre and is excited to be getting back to the awesome Detroit theatre scene! Brandy Joe also did the sound design for Open Book’s SYLVIA and RED.