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MEET THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST FOR MOTHER OF GOD!


"Michele A. Miller's new play, 'MOTHER OF GOD",directed by Melody Brooks and playing for one week more at the Richmond Shepard Theatre at 309 E. 26th St. is a re-telling of the Nativity that kept me engaged, amused, and ultimately moved. The acting, particularly that of Charles E. Gerber, fresh from his superb production of "MOLIERE'S TARTUFFE", and here brilliant, once again, as the deeply conflicted Joseph,and Keona Welch, adorable as Miriam, as well as the very funny Marisa Petsakos as Hannah, sexy Karin De La Penha as Elizabeth, and three not altogether wise/Wisemen, humorously portrayed by Ray Rodriguez, Erwin Falcon, and Keith Walker, create an atmosphere of irreverence, and deep sentiment skillfully balanced... a memory I'll not soon forget."

                                                                                        JOE FRANKLIN- BLOOMBERG RADIO- 3-21-11

 

CREATIVE TEAM

MICHELE A. MILLER (Playwright) is a mother, writer, and an archaeologist who has also worked in theatre administration and as a writer and editor.  Michele has a M.A. in Anthropology and Ph.D. in Archaeology and has conducted extensive field-work in the Greece, Israel, France and the U.S.  Her interest in human society throughout the past and in historical and mythological characters informs many of her plays.  Michele’s full-length play, Real Estate, was a semi-finalist in the 2002 American Theatre Coop Playwriting Contest and received readings at Women's Project & Productions, Word of Mouth and Vital Theatre workshops.  Products of Conception, a play featuring one couple’s journey through infertility and loss, was produced as part of the Estrogenius Festival at Manhattan Theatre Source in October, 2003, and as part of the Strawberry Festival in the summer of 2004, where it was reprised as a “Producer’s Choice”. Her play, Bedtime Stories was produced as part of the Development Series at Manhattan Theatre Source in May, 2004.  Her one-act plays have been seen as part of ‘New Acts’ at Boston Playwrights' Theatre, the Tandem Acts Festival of the Women’s Project Theatre, and Blueberry Pond Theatre’s 2006 Spring Sampler.  Her full-length play Choice was chosen in 2008 for development by New Perspectives’ Women’s Work program and her short play Power Girls Support Group was produced by the company in the summer of 2008.   FOLLOW MICHELE'S JOURNEY FROM PAGE TO STAGE!  www.motherofgod1play.wordpress.com

MELODY BROOKS (Director/Dramaturge) is the founder and Artistic Director of New Perspectives.  Ms. Brooks directs the Women’s Work LAB, currently managing the development of 6-10 short and full-length scripts a year; she also serves as Executive Producer for NPTC’s Voices From the Edge Festival, showcasing new works by African-American artists.  She has developed and directed a number of original scripts with the company, notably Exhibit #9 by Tracey Scott Wilson, (AUDELCO Award); Jihad by Ann Chamberlin, (OOBR Award); and Anatomy of a Love Affair by Deirdre Hollman, (optioned by Essence Entertainment). Other developmental directing credits include Finding Home by Keline Adams, starring Marcella Lowery (from The Cosby Show), Untitled and Unfinished, written and performed by Yolanda Wilkinson and presented at NPTC and the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival; and Touchscape, written and performed by James Scruggs for the Queer at HERE Festival. Ms. Brooks has also directed many of NPTC's innovative classic productions. Most recently she directed a workshop of Hamlet based on scholarship showing the script parallels the Book of Revelation.  A full production is planned for Fall 2011. 

MEGANNE GEORGE (Production Designer) Broadway: A Wonderful Life (Actor's Fund Benefit) Off-Broadway: For mabou mines: Dollhouse (international tour); Red Beads; Cara Lucia (American Theatre Wing Hewes Nomination), Two Little Indians, Superpowers, Orpheus and Eurydice; Hurray for Iceboy; International: Choeophorae (European Capital of Culture Festival 2006) Other NY: John Goldfarb Please Come Home (FringeNY Best Costume Design 2007) Seven seasons with Bronx Opera; Robin Becker Dance; Sal LaRussa Dance Theatre; Nicholas Andre Dance Theatre Film and Television: mabou mines' Dollhouse (producer, Arte, France); Don't Nobody Love the Game (PBS Independent Lens). Projects in Development: Everyday, Somewhere, Here: Letters From Palestine and Israel with New Perspectives Theatre Company; mabou mines' Finn (NYSCA commissioning grant recipient), Lee Breuer's The Crucifixion Project; mabou mines' Menagerie. Meganne was also a design professor for Hofstra University Department of Drama and Dance for 6 years. She has served as a teaching artist for Barnard College at Columbia University, the Mark Twain School of the Arts on Coney Island and currently with New Perspectives in two long-term Brooklyn public school Residencies.

JOYCE LIAO (Lighting Designer) Broadway: Marquis Theatre, where her work helped Soul of Shaolin to a 2009 Tony nomination in the category of Special Theatrical Event. Other New York Credits: Baruch Performing Arts Center, Cherry Lane Theatre, Henry Street Playhouse and Here Arts Center, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre. Regional: The Studio Theatre (DC), Le Petit Theatre (New Orleans), Jefferson Performing Arts Society (LA). Recent lighting design: Polanski Polanski and 7 Sins in 60 Minutes, Here Arts Center; Songs Of The Dragons Flying to Heaven, The Studio Theatre; Tosca, Amore Opera, Connelly Theatre. Joyce recently assisted Jennifer Tipton on The Glass Menagerie, first at New Haven's Longwharf Theater and again at the Laura Pels Theatre, when Roundabout brought this production to NYC. She also designed NPTC’s workshop of Hamlet and this year’s Women’s Work Short Play Festival. She is the winner of the Peggy Ezekiel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design for Caucasian Chalk Circle. MFA: Ohio University Theater School.

CAST

ERWIN FALCON (Balthasar) is pleased to be performing with New Perspectives again.  An old school NPTC companie member, Erwin has appeared in both their Youth & Community "Shakespeare Made Simple" and "World Voices" programs. He has also acted in their mainstage productions of Romeo & Juliet (Romeo), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), the OOBR award-winning Taming of the Shrew, and Macbeth.  Other NYC stage credits include:  Off-Broadway: Elizabeth Rex (Nicu’s Spoon) and Marat/Sade (Classical Theater of Harlem); Off-Off Broadway: Offending the Audience (Flea Theater), Welcome to Arroyo’s (Summer Play Festival 2005), In Case You Forget (Hip-Hop Theater Festival), Mass/Person (Manhattan Theatre Source), Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet (Pulse Ensemble Theatre), and Vince in Buried Child (Nicu’s Spoon); and readings for The Flea, Nicu’s Spoon, 2G, and Ma-Yi.  He can be seen in the upcoming HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce.

CHARLES E. GERBER (Joseph) is a 40-year veteran of stage, film, television, radio, and now, Webisodes! He's appeared on Broadway, Off-B'way, and Off-Off- B'way, as well as regional stages, and starred in two National Tours: Torch Song Trilogy, in the lead role of Arnold, and DISNEY'S Beauty And The Beast, co-starring as Maurice. In 1992 Mr.Gerber portrayed Osric in a Broadway production of Hamlet and two years later, his late wife, the brilliant director, Carol Bennett Gerber and he co-produced a critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare's Richard II, with Carol staging Charles in the title role at Ensemble Studio Theatre. One month later, they were among the founding members of the WorkShopTheater Company (then The 42nd St. WorkShop), of which Charles has become lately the Director of it's Classical Wing. From 1995 through 2003 they collaborated at the WorkShop with her directing him in Othello (Iago), Twelfth Night (Malvolio), which moved for a stint to Melody Brooks' Pelican Theater, Julius Caesar (Brutus), The Tempest (Trinculo), The Merchant Of Venice (Shylock), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bottom), as well a numerous new plays by such playwrights as Donald Steele, P. Seth Bauer, and Tony Sportiello.  For the past seven years Mr. Gerber has created an annual Shakespeare Festival, THE WILL-A-THON, during Will's birthday week in April featuring the professional troupe of Will's PlayShop Gerber teaches at TWS.  In 2007, he and David M. Mead (Tech Dir. for "M.O.G.") presented a remarkably well received Macbeth with Charles directing Mead in the title role.  On Film Mr. Gerber has appeared in such award-winning shorts and features as The Birthday Fish (Sundance Festival), The Dutch Master (Oscar nom. Best Short), Shooting Johnson Roebling (title role), Vote And Die:Liszt For President (Accolade Award for Excellence). TELEVISION: The Magic Door (starring and writing for seven years winning-CBS-Chicago's Emmy-Best Children's Show), Hothouse (ABC), Law And Order(s) (NBC), Third Watch (NBC), and now can be seen as Elliot on the Web Series :BN4REAL at www.bn4real.com as well as his own website www.charlesegerber.com.  Charles has also happily collaborated with Sandy Moore directing him in Langston Hughes’ Simple Stories around NY and the country, and quite recently with renowned concert pianist, Gayle Martin Henry for the Tennyson/Strauss, Enoch Arden at The Players for which there is a DVD available. He's recently collaborated with Delfeayo Marsalis on Sweet Thunder: Shakespeare And Duke Ellington which is presently touring. He's in his third year on the faculty teaching Shakespeare and the History of Acting at the Harlem School of the Arts, and just completed a run on the Main Stage of TWS.directing and portraying Moliere's Tartuffe via a new translation by Paul Weidner to unanimous raves and sold-out houses. (Praise Lord-No Jive!)

KARIN DE LA PENHA (Elizabeth) (www.KarindelaPenha.com) started in show business professionally as a child, working extensively in all the media as an actor, singer, and dancer in the US, Europe and the UK. For several years, she quit performing, returning in the late ‘90s, to co-found two Equity theater companies in Santa Barbara: www.SpeakingofStories.org and www.PantoProductions.com, for which she both directed, and performed in, several productions. She also acted with other LORT theaters in the area. She moved to NYC in 2008. Selected credits: Theater-NYC: Fallen Angels (The Players Club); The Fly in the Fridge (Solo Show @ Smoke, NYC; Edinburgh Fringe Festival--Winner 'The List' Award); Hassan & Sylvia, Cherry Lane Studio Th; Time Will Tell (EST); Sezze Sun (Walker Space); The Mushroom Pickers (Alloy Theatre); Seasons Greetings (Hudson Rep.). Theater-CA: Two Gentlemen of Verona (CTL, LA); Private Lives (Winner Independent Award; Dramalogue Hon. Mention), Old Times (Winner Independent Award), Moon Over Buffalo, Communicating Doors (ET, S.B). Film: Lock Out (Lead, Swan Dive Prods); Time After Time (Jenny, WB); Red Light in the White House (Lead, Paul Leder Prods); I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (Featured, IMOHR). Web: www.VelvetMoonChronicles.com (Lula Jade--Recurring). TV: The Onion (Guest Star, G4); All My Children (ABC); Eight Is Enough (Guest Star); Starsky & Hutch (Co-Star).

MARISA PETSAKOS (Hannah) is an actor and writer whose solo work has appeared at EAT’s Illuminating Artist Festival, The Double Helix ONE Festival, Estrogenius, Caroline’s and Metropolitan Playhouse, where she also participated in the Alphabet City Project with her piece Fireman, featured in the NY Daily News. She has performed improv at UCB as part of Team Harold Mother. Her latest work includes The Spring and Fall of Eve Adams, written and directed by award-winning Playwright Barbara Kahn, at Theater for the New City and her solo piece Searching for Soula at MITF.

 

 

RAY A. RODRIGUEZ (Melchior/Joachim, Fight Choreography) has been a core NPTC Companie Member since 1999, and has performed in numerous World Voices and Shakespeare Made Simple productions. He is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors currently teaching staged combat and movement classes at Adelphi University in Long Island, NY. He is a partner with Combat Inc. and is currently a Senior Teaching Artist for NPTC’s Residency with the School for Classics and a Guest Artist for Project Classics, NPTC’s collaboration with the Classical Theatre of Harlem.  He has also taught at Harlem School of the Arts, New York University and Muhlenberg College, and has conducted guest workshops at Watchung Hill Reg. High School and Teaneck High School in NJ. He is the resident fight director for NPTC and the Inwood Shakespeare Festival, where he has choreographed numerous productions of Shakespeare and other classics. Some acting credits include: Petruchio in NPTC's OOBR-winning Taming of the Shrew; Rodrigo (Othello) for NPTC Mainstage; Banquo (Macbeth), Mercutio (Romeo & Juliet) and a host of Fools and Villains for NPTC Shakespeare Made Simple Performances; Brutus (Julius Caesar), Porthos (Three Muskateers), Macduff (Macbeth), Long John Silver (Treasure Island) among others at Inwood Shakespeare Festival; Caliban (La Tempestad) with Resonance Ensemble and Jack Pinchwife in The Country Wife with HonkBark Productions

KEITH WALKER (Young Actor/Caspar) is a recent graduate of the School for Film and Television. He has performed in two productions at the Afrikan Womens Theatre and also appears in the upcoming film Red Hook Black in select theaters this spring. He would like to thank his family for all their love and support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEONA WELCH (Miriam) is a native of Washington DC. Her recent New York credits include Colored People's Time and Savanna Black & Blue with the Negro Ensemble Company; Subway Love at The Actors' Playhouse; The Cold Chill of Winter for The Strawberry Theatre Festival; and NPTC’s The Ritual. Her Film Credits include Candy, and Girl. She has appeared on Law and Order, and Law and Order SVU. She attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington DC, and has trained under the late Israel Hicks at Rutgers University, where she obtained her B.F.A in Theatre Arts. She has also received classical training at The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, England. Keona will be Starring as Sophie, in the Philidelphia Theatre Company's production of Ruined (Upcoming).