Alexis Barrera (Cassandra) 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.
Connie Cowper (Masha) is thrilled to return to Open Book, where she last performed in Dead Man’s Cell Phone. She also portrayed Kim in Kimberley Akimbo, for which she was nominated for a Wilde Award as Best Actress in a Comedy. She has worked at the Detroit Repertory Theatre and Tipping Point, as well as Shakespeare in Detroit, Puzzle Piece, Flint Youth Theatre and others. In addition to theatre, Connie has worked in both independent and feature films and on voice overs and in commercials. Connie is part of the Jewish Ensemble Theatre’s Educational Outreach and performs in a short play with an anti-bullying theme in middle and elementary schools. She also works for Henry Ford Hospital in the medical education department, using her acting skills to teach communication techniques to doctors. With gratitude to Angie and this marvelous cast, much love to my Richard, and thanks to you, dear audience, for supporting local professional theatre!
Anna Doyle (Nina) was born and raised in Maine, and ventured out to Michigan last year for an apprenticeship at The Purple Rose Theatre. She attended Colby College, and has also studied at the Eugene O’Neill Center and The Barrow Group. Anna is so excited to join the Michigan theater community. Most recently, she played Marianne in Constellations at Outvisible Theatre Company, and next up is Time Stands Still right here at Open Book! Big thanks and hugs to Krista, Angie, Danielle, and the whole cast and crew. As always, all the love and gratitude to Mom and Dad, and Michael. Anna also does film, voiceover, and audiobook work– learn more at annadoyleactor.com.
Wendy Katz Hiller (Masha) is excited to return to Open Book after performing in Independence and The Shadow Box. Winner of a Wilde Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Wendy has appeared with a variety of theatre companies in the area including Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Encore Musical Theatre Company, The Matrix Theatre and Performance Network. Wendy is also thrilled that she’ll be directing Open Book’s next production, Time Stands Still running May 11-June2. “Thanks to Angie, Krista, Danielle and the rest of the Open Book Theatre family. And special thanks to Steve for putting up with my crazy rehearsal schedule.”
Kyle Kelley (Spike) is super stoked to be making his Open Book debut. Kyle is an alumni of Central Michigan University as well as the Purple Rose Theatre Company Apprenticeship. He is a resident of Los Angeles pursuing film acting, personal training, Love, and enjoys any distance of walks on the beach. Kyle would love to send his gratitude to all his people: My family for supporting all the tangents I go out on, my friends for all the things, Angie for being unending, my cast mates for leaping and laughing, and the crew for building the ship.
Lindel Salow (Vanya) has appeared in numerous productions throughout the Metro Detroit Area. Most recently in the Puzzle Piece Theatre Production of The People’s Temple. This is his third appearance with Open Book Theatre, his previous shows being Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Bauer. Other theatres include: The JET, Performance Network, AKT Theatre and the Attic Theatre. Outside of the theatre, Lindel spends his time restoring vintage fans and clocks and also works as a freelance make-up artist! He resides in Dearborn with his wonderful spouse, Chuck, who is a constant source of love, laughter and unwavering support.
Angie Kane Ferrante (Director, Sound Designer) is thrilled to be back at Open Book this season! She has directed and choreographed over 20 plays and musicals in the last ten years. Some of her favorite experiences include, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at Tipping Point, Spring Awakening at AKT Theatre, Talley’s Folley at the Purple Rose Theatre, and Calypso’s Corner at Open Book. She is a proud Resident Artist of the Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, MI where she serves as an AEA stage manager, director, and vocal/movement coach. This summer she will be directing and vocal coaching Willow Run at the Purple Rose! She couldn’t do what she does without the love and support of her family, and most of all Bradley. She would like to extend her love and gratitude to the cast and production team of (Nina) Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (and Cassandra) for their incredible work. And to you, our audience- Thank you for being here. You make life in the arts possible.
Danielle Gilbert (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be working on another show with Open Book! She started stage managing with us in the last show of our second season, Calypso’s Corner, and has been a part of every show since. Most recently she tried her hand at house managing in our last show, Emilie, and really enjoyed the challenge! 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 would like to thank her Mom and Dad, for coming to every show and always supporting her future, whatever it may change to, her best friend of 8 years, Jordan, for sticking around through it all, and Kevin, for his unwavering support in her passions even when those passions lead to a schedule that’s hard to work around.
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 across the country, and the chief lighting designer for IKO Global Productions. Harley is the resident lighting designer for Open Book, and has been involved in the technical design of our new performance space from the ground up. He has designed the lights for all of the shows in Open Book’s first two seasons and earned a Wilde Award for Best Design – Lights for his work on Red in 2015. He is also the resident lighting designer for the AKT Theatre Project in Wyandotte, and Outvisible Theatre Company in Allen Park. When not in the theater, Harley spends his time painting, building Lego stages, loitering in museums, and riding his bicycle on the mean streets of Downriver.
Cheryl Zemke (Costume Designer) is an award-winning fashion designer and owner of C. Creations Custom Sewing & Design. This is her third show with Open Book: she designed the costumes for Emilie and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. She loves working alongside directors and actors to help develop characters. Cheryl has her own garment label, C3, and sells her designs at shows and by private appointment, as well as provides custom fashion design and alterations (follow her on Facebook @c3fashions or www.cherylzemke.webs.com). Cheryl produces her own runway shows and participates in area shows like Fashion Massacre, Fashion in Detroit, Michigan Fashion Week, and RAINN. She was featured as one of the top Detroit area designers in the DIA: Samurai Beyond the Armor challenge. Awards include 2016 Best of Show and Judge’s Choice Stand Up Fashion Show, 3rd place Runway Repurposed, and 5 awards from the American Sewing Expo (2009-2012) Passion for Fashion.
Krista Schafer Ewbank (Producer) is the founding Artistic Director of Open Book. This season she directed Life Sucks, appeared in the title role of Emilie, and can be seen as Sarah in Time Stands Still. Last season she was nominated for Wilde Awards for her direction of Peter and the Starcatcher and her performance in Boy Gets Girl. A native Michigander, Krista holds a degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has worked in theatres large and small across the country. She is also the drama director at Grosse Ile High School and is spending the spring with them in the Merry Old Land of Oz (Join us April 20 and 21!). She is grateful every day for the amazing artists she works with, the wonderful theatrical home we share, the audiences who engage in this conversation with us, and her family who makes it all possible.