Meet the cast of Sylvia!
Melissa Beckwith (Tom/Phyllis/Leslie) is very excited to be working with Open Book Theatre Company! She was last seen on stage at GoComedy! Improv Theater in The Worst Noël. Her other credits include August: Osage County (Karen), Silent Night of the Lambs (Clarice Starling), A Bright Room Called Day (Annabella Gotchling), House of Blue Leaves (Bunny), Southern Baptist Sissies (Odette), Trainspotting (Allison), Die Mommie Die! (Edith), Sordid Lives: It’s a Drag (Brother Boy) and Love and Human Remains (Candy) at The Ringwald; Action Sports News (Jeanette) at Planet Ant; Wings (Emily Stilson) and The Empire Builders (Mother) with the UDM Theatre Company; and the original comedy White Elephant (Sharon) at GoComedy!
Jan Cartwright (Kate) is honored to be a part of Open Book Theatre’s inaugural production! She trained at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago and has worked on stages in many different parts of the country, most recently performing at Ringwald, The Dio, Two Muses, Performance Network, Matrix Theatre and JET. A few favorite stage roles include Emily in Greetings, Grandma Kurnitz in Lost in Yonkers, Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire, Truvy in Steel Magnolias, Donna in Defying Gravity and and The Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz. Jan also works in film and TV, having appeared in feature films such as “Stone” and in television shows including “Detroit 187” and “The Wannabes.” In addition to acting, Jan is a professional photographer. Cartwright Photography and Communications specializes in commercial photography, portraits and headshots, photojournalism and event coverage. Jan lives in Novi with her husband Jerry, their crazy 85 pound dog Wrigley and three disapproving cats (they love the humans, it’s the dog they disapprove of).
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Sylvia) 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. She is the Artistic Director of Open Book Theatre Company. Krista grew up with dogs but currently has two cats: the crazy kitten Luna and the enormously fluffy Marlowe.
Sean Paraventi (Greg) is an actor and a playwright who currently resides in the pseudo-suburb of Redford. He is very pleased to be part of Open Book’s inaugural production and he would like to thank Topher and Krista for the opportunity. Sean likes all animals other than Canadian Geese (which he is deathly afraid of) and he would like to dedicate this show to his “doggy nieces”.
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 and his dog Oliver for the unending supply of inspiration!