Playwright, lyricist, musical collaborator.
Gene Bruskin is a life-long labor organizer and union campaigner. He is a poet, songwriter and now, with Pray for the Dead, a playwright, living in Silver Spring, MD.
Tom Smerling worked in public policy for years and has played music all his life. This is his first collaboration on a musical.
Michael Thornton, the Director, is a full-time performer with the Capitol Steps and an actor, producer and artistic director with a career that includes performances at theaters around the country. (Mike Thornton Agency, LLC)
GLENN PEARSON, Musical Director is a featured band and orchestra leader, pianist, performer, teacher and music coordinator in the DC metropolitan area. He is the President of Glenn Pearson Productions, a music and entertainment design company.
JON NAZDIN, Bass, is a native of Washington DC. A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston he plays all genres of music on double bass and electric bass.
MICHELLE KUCHINSKY, Company Manager is a director and actor who is adding her skills as a company manager as well as assisting with publicity. She recently directed Artful Justice with the Capital Fringe Festival. Her day job is now in NYC with the Directors Guild.
Sound production was done by John Narusiewicz of Naz Bros Production.
Cast Bios (Summer 2016)
Theresa Cunningham* (Narrator, TV announcer) studied musical theatre at Syracuse University. She performed and taught in Atlanta before moving to Baltimore. Favorite DC area roles: Imagination Stage: Wiley and the Hairy Man (Mama); Stillpointe Theatre: Caroline or Change (Caroline); Compass Rose Theatre: A Raisin in the Sun (Lena); Olney Theatre Center: Once On This Island (Asaka); Riverside Center: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Armelia); Toby’s Dinner Theatre: Les Miserables (Mme. Thenardier). Theresa won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical for her portrayal of Sofia in Toby’s production of The Color Purple.
Dexter Hamlett (Dug Graves, Speaker Joseph Ladin, Parham, Prime Minister Odom, General Merciless, Chancellor Conrad Balder): Named Best Performance by DCMTA 2015 for Frank in Educating Rita with Peters Alley. He will return to this company Sept 9 as Gabe in Dinner with Friends. He has worked on the east coast with Active Cultures, Heritage O'Neill, Factory 449, and Force Collision where he performed at La Mamma Off Broadway in the world Premier of Shape. He worked in LA as a founding member of Sphere Artists in Madwoman of Chaillot and as a company member of the Will Geer Theatricum since 1985, and in R&J, Lysistrada 2003, Skin of Our Teeth, Tempest and As You Like It for which he was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Theater Award. Film work includes Return to Horror High which truly is frightening.
Ari Jacobson* (Johann, Galen, Rusty Chrome) DC credits include Swing Time (Vance/Sylvie; Burke Theatre), Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (Gregor; Woolly Mammoth, Capital Fringe Theatre, Prague Fringe Festival), and R.U.R. (Radius; Kennedy Center Page 2 Stage Festival). Other credits include Hershele Ostropolyer (National Yiddish Theatre, NYC), South Pacific (Reagle Music Theatre, MA), a year-long tour of Hamlet/R&G are Dead/Comedy of Errors with the VA-based American Shakespeare Center, and several years as a solo guitarist on Carnival/P&O Cruiselines. Also a singer/songwriter, you can hear Ari’s original work at www.arijacobson.com. Proud member of Actor’s Equity.
Anne Kight Lloyd (Old Lady) has been acting since the age of three when she starred as the Littlest Angel in a church production called, coincidentally, "The Littlest Angel." Years of dance and drama classes, music lessons, recitals and theatrical performances followed, leadin g her to pursue a BA in Theater. She is fortunate to have acted professionally off-Broadway in the NYC area, on television and in some films, and in regional theater. Anne's grateful to be working with such a talented cast, director, musicians and crew. Anne is married to Trip and they have two teenagers.
Lucia LaNave (Helene) is a 16 year old actress who goes to Lake Braddock Secondary School and, starting in the fall, Fairfax Academy for the Performing Arts. She has recently played Dorothy in Zemfira Stage's "The Wizard of Oz", Wednesday in The Alliance Theatre's "The Addams Family", and was a featured soloist in this past year's Washington Christmas Revels. She'd like to thank Mike Thornton, Gene Bruskin, and Tom Smerling for giving her the chance to do this wonderful show.
Jenna Murphy (Marna, Parliamentary Police Officer) graduated from Drury University with a B.A. in Theatre. She was most recently seen in Off the Quill's Timon 2016 as part of the Capitol Fringe festival. Other credits include Fiona in Shrek the Musical (Black Hills Playhouse), Amalia in She Loves Me (Black Hills Playhouse), Annie in Annie Get Your Gun (Way Off Broadway) and Dragon in Shrek the Musical (Way Off Broadway). Jenna is a proud princess with Princess Parties Virginia as well as a teaching artist with Arena Stage.
Christopher Overly (Harmon, Arkin) has performed professionally as an actor, ballet dancer and opera singer all over the world. He has performed in the castles of Germany and the smallest of NY and LA theaters. His day job is as a computer engineer with Microsoft. But he is most alive when treading the boards with his fellow actors. This experience with Pray for the Dead has been an exciting and wonderful one. He can be seen next as the lead, Oran, in an original musical, Memories and Legends, with the Wolf Pack Theater at Greenbelt Arts Center opening September 23rd.
Brian J. Shaw is a member of Pallas Theatre Collective, and works as an Artistic Associate of DC's In Series. Past performances include roles in 22 different productions of operetta & classic music theatre with Cape Cod’s acclaimed College Light Opera Company from 2010-2012. Brian also currently appears in SwingTime: The Musical at the US Navy Memorial, and works also as a freelance costume designer. He holds a BA in Theatre from Baldwin-Wallace College’ 12.
Dana Wilson* (Benita): Recent DC area transplant. Credits include 7 seasons touring as a featured vocalist with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, production shows aboard Celebrity and Holland America Cruise Lines, and many regional theatre credits across the country. Graduate of the College of William and Mary and proud member of Actors Equity
*Member of Actors Equity