Thanks so much for joining us for a new venture… not just theatre online, but theatre that is very personal! As theatres across the nation, and the world, struggle to find ways to bring live theatre to our audiences in a way that is safe, exciting and relevant we dug into our mission and the feedback we receive from our audience to guide us. Our mission is to promote connection through theatrical storytelling. Our audience loves the intimate nature of our space and the way our performances make them think and feel deeply. How could we hold true to those things in this new, online medium? We landed on short plays, written specifically for this medium, that rely on a connection between the performer and the audience.
And, due to the wonders of virtual theatre, we’re thrilled to be able to work again with director Topher Alan Payne, who was instrumental in getting Open Book off the ground in our first three seasons…before he left us for the Big Apple. What a joy to get to work with him again!
-Krista Schafer Ewbank, OBTC Artistic Director
Meet the Team
Marcela Garzaro (Poppy Esperanza) is very excited to be working with Open Book Theatre Company and all the talented artists involved in this production. It is a very exciting venture to be doing theatre online, and she couldn’t be prouder of the work. Marcela is a current MFA Acting student at Wayne State University. Her credits include The Fox in The Sea Brothers, Antonia in The Man of La Mancha, Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Ana Sofia on Covert Affairs.
She’d like to thank her husband, Lee, for graciously dealing with the rehearsals at home, and her pup, Fiona, for always happily greeting her when she was done.
Topher Alan Payne (director) currently works in Human Resources for Cambridge University Press and moonlights as a freelance virtual theatre director. Open Book was his home for 3 glorious years, and he is ecstatic to be able to come back to work on such a wonderful and creative production. He wants to thank Krista for her leadership, Mario for his creativity and passion, and Matthew Braylon Haynes for being the love of his life and true partner.
M.X. Sotero (playwright) is a Native New Yorker born, raised and currently loving his home in the resiliently strong, diverse, colorful Big Apple! He is a life long Actor, Artist and Playwright who channels his energy into telling empowering stories about LGBTQ+, WOMEN, POC and about the LATINX Experience in America. He has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe in various musicals and is now proudly working on his own musicals, plays, and new found Voice Over career. Side note: As a V.O. comedy character actor he has yet to play an adult man. Strengths- Woodland Animals, inanimate objects and children. What is that about? It’s an unsolved mystery but if you need a Puerto Rican squirrel who talks like Colin Jost, he’s your man! The Influence of I Poppy is his 1st foray into the ten minute play genre and he loved it! He thanks Open Book Theater for bringing his madcap crazy imagination to life! Ay Papí…so good!
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Artistic Director, Props) is the founding Artistic Director of Open Book. She loves having an artistic home and providing a place for other artists to work and play, and has been particularly proud of keeping live performance going in new ways during a global pandemic. Krista received the Wilde Award for her performance in Emilie, and was previously nominated for her performance in Boy Gets Girl as well as for her direction of Peter and the Starcatcher. A native Michigander, Krista holds a degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has worked in theatres across the country acting, teaching, and directing.
Maria Tejada (Production Manager) is a professional stage manager who has worked with several Michigan theatres including Water Works Theatre, Planet Ant and six years at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC even traveling to Macao, China with the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Maria graduated from Grand Valley State University with degrees in Theater and Spanish. She is a facilitator with Detroit Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in Prison program, the Company Manager for Roustabout Theatre Troupe and she is so excited to now be a part of Open Book Theatre Company!
Check out our other theatre projects
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Haunted – peer through our windows as actors and shadows tell spooky stories!