Behind The Scenes

THE THANKSGIVING PLAY Cast + Creative Team

Creative Team

Jessica Holt †

(Director | she/her/hers) is thrilled to return to Virginia Stage Company to direct Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play. This marks her fifth time collaborating with VSC. Previous productions include Kate Hamill’s Sense and Sensibility, Fun Home, Venus in Fur, and the recent virtual production of Something Delightful. Additional selected directing credits include: Ironbound by Martyna Majok (A.C.T.), The Resting Place, Bright Half Life, The Lily's Revenge (Magic Theatre), Speech and Debate (Barrington Stage Company), Rich Girl (Florida Studio Theatre), The Daughters (San Francisco Playhouse), and Ugly Lies the Bone (Alliance Theater). She has also developed and directed work at Cape Cod Theatre Project, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, Magic Theatre, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, Rivendell Theatre, NYU, Pocono Mountains Music Festival, Sewanee Writers Conference, among others. She is a proud graduate of the Yale School of Drama, where she received her MFA in Directing. Projects there include: The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and the hip-hop musical The Children by Phillip Howze. She served as the Co-Artistic Director of the 2014 Yale Summer Cabaret, producing and directing a season of adventurous and daring work by contemporary American playwrights. Jessica is a 2016 National Directors Fellow with the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, NNPN, the Kennedy Center, and SDCF, as well as a proud member of the following organizations: SDC, Ring of Keys, and Wingspace where she is a mentor for early career directors. For the last three years, she has directed the A.C.T. MFA Actor Showcase and looks forward to directing the Class of 2022 this spring. www.jessicaholt.org

Larissa Fasthorse

(Playwright | she/her/hers) is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow, award winning writer/choreographer, and co-founder of Indigenous Direction, the nation’s leading consulting company for Indigenous arts and audiences. Her satirical comedy, The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons/Geffen Playhouse), is one of the top ten most produced plays in America this season. She is the first Native American playwright in the history of American theater on that list. Additional produced plays include What Would Crazy Horse Do? (KCRep), Landless and Cow Pie Bingo (AlterTheater), Average Family (Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis), Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation (Native Voices at the Autry), Vanishing Point (Eagle Project), and Cherokee Family Reunion (Mountainside Theater). hoganhorsestudio.com/about-larissa

Charlotte Bydwell

(Choreographer | she/her/hers) is thrilled to be returning for her fourth production with Virginia Stage Company and with director, Jessica Holt. Previous VSC credits include the role of Vanda in Venus in Fur and the choreography for Sense & Sensibility. Charlotte has performed & choreographed at other leading theaters around the country, including The Old Globe, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Public Theater and the Maltz Jupiter Theater. She most recently served as choreographer for the 2021 National Tour, New York City and Chappaqua Performing Arts Center productions of A Charlie Brown Christmas. She has also worked on camera in recognized film/TV productions, most notably as the season choreographer on Comedy Central’s series Alternatino. Charlotte created and teaches ‘Moving into Language’, an approach to acting that uses movement as a launching pad for building character, unlocking scenes and arriving at a unique interpretation of spoken material. The course has been offered through Gibney Dance, BeMoving and Dance Device Lab. Professional dance credits include: Monica Bill Barnes & Co. (The Joyce, American Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow), Keigwin + Co (The Joyce). Education: Juilliard School, Dance BFA. The Old Globe/USD Graduate Acting Program, Acting MFA.

Dr. Courtney Elkin Mohler

(Cultural Consultant | she/her/hers) is delighted to have the opportunity to give dramaturgical support to VSC’s production of one of her favorite plays by one of her favorite Indigenous artists! As a stage director and dramaturg, Mohler concentrates on new works that push aesthetic and political boundaries aimed to affect a more equitable world and is dedicated to supporting new work by Indigenous playwrights. Some recent dramaturgy credits include Lying with Badgers by Jason Grasl (Blackfeet) at Native Voices at the Autry (NVA), Desert Stories for Lost Girls by Lily Rushing in a co-produced staged reading with PlayPenn and NVA, and Yu-Che-Wah-Kehn (Bitter) by Vickie Ramirez (Tuscarora)recipient of the National New Play Network’s Smith Prize for Political Theatre. When not in rehearsal, Courtney spends her time serving as Associate Professor of Theatre and Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in Jordan College or the Arts at Butler University where she teaches Theatre History, Performance Studies, and directs. Specializing in Critical Race Theory, Native American Theater, and Performance Studies, she has published articles in Theatre Topics, Modern Drama, Text and Presentation, Platform, and Ecumenica, and has contributed chapters to numerous edited anthologies.  She also co-authored Critical Companion to Native American and First Nations Theatre and Performance: Indigenous Spaces (2020 Bloomsbury-Metheun Press), and holds a doctorate in Critical Studies in Theatre from UCLA.

David Castaneda

(Lighting Designer | he/him/his) has shed light on more than 500 productions around the country including Parchman Hour and The Bluest Eye for VSC and will illuminate the upcoming Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Some bright moments in NYC: Broadway: Irena’s Vow (Tovah Feldshuh), Helen Hayes: Marvin’s Room (T.R. Knight), The Directors Company: Murder in the First (Chad Kimball), Public Theatre, Peculiar Works Project, Abingdon Theatre, NY Fringe Festival. Regional illuminations include Albany/Berkshire Ballet (NY/VT), Cape Fear Regional Theatre (NC), Broadway Rose (OR), Theatre Winter Haven (FL), Round Barn Theatre (IN), Temple Theatre (NC), Carousel Dinner Theatre (OH), Venice Stage(FL), Merrimack Rep (MA), ArtisTree Theatre Festival(VT), Seacoast Rep (NH), Millbrook Playhouse (PA), and many musicals in Spanish by ‘Misi’ in Bogota, Colombia. David radiates from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Michael Costagliola

(Sound Designer | he/him/his) is a New York-based sound designer and composer. His work has been heard in New York in productions by The Public, New York Theatre Workshop, La MaMa, Rattlestick, and Ars Nova among others, as well as regionally at Two River Theater, Yale Rep, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Rep, and at various other theaters across the U.S., Europe, and India. BA in Music from Brown University, MFA in Sound Design from Yale School of Drama. michaelcostagliola.com

An-Lin Dauber

(Costume Designer | she/her/hers) is a New York based set and costume designer. Notable set and costume designs include Seven Guitars (Yale Repertory Theatre), Paul Swan is Dead and Gone (The Civilians), A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play (Alliance Theatre), It’s A Wonderful Life (Hartford Stage), And Then They Came For Me (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), The Song of Summer (Mixed Blood Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show (Park Square Theater), Macbeth (Theater Alaska), An Acorn; The Good Person of Szechwan (Brown/Trinity Rep), Marisol, Blood Wedding; The Bar Plays: Small Craft Warnings and The Time of Your Life; A Bright Room Called Day (The Williams Project), The Seagull (Serenbe Playhouse), Displaced: A Response to Qurban (Boston Conservatory at Berklee). She is a company member of The Williams Project, a living wage theater company committed to radical hospitality. MFA Yale School of Drama. www.anlindauber.com.

Edward Morris §

(Set Designer | he/him/his) Is a set and projections designer for live performance and a sustainability consultant. He believes in the power of art and design to increase empathy and facilitate positive social change. A member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and Wingspace Theatrical Design, he graduated from University of Michigan with a BFA and holds an MFA in Scenic Design from the Yale School of Drama and has taught at The New School and Connecticut College. He keeps offices in New York and Oklahoma City where his wife Kelly Kerwin is the artistic director of Oklahoma City Repertory Theater. Edward has designed for Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Yale Repertory Theatre, Martha Graham Dance Company, LaMama, The Barrow Group, Goodspeed Opera House, Cherry Lane Theater, Opera Memphis, Parallel 45, Magic Theatre, Interlochen Shakespeare Festival, University of Michigan, Princeton University, and Columbia University among many others. Edward designed Halloween decorations for President Obama’s White House in 2015. https://www.edwardtmorris.com/

Kate Wellhofer *

(Stage Manager | she/her/hers) is thrilled to be making her Virginia Stage Company debut. Select past credits include: New York: Choir Boy (Manhattan Theatre Club); Kimberly Akimbo (Atlantic Theater Company); Merry Wives (Shakespeare in the Park: The Public Theater). Regional: One Man, Two Guvnors; A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chautauqua Theater Company); Romeo and Juliet; Measure for Measure (Santa Cruz Shakespeare). BFA in Drama from New York University.

Cast

Lauren Blumenfeld *

(Logan) (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be reuniting with her former middle school drama teacher, Tom Quaintance, in her VSC debut. Some of Lauren's favorite theater credits include The Assembled Parties (Broadway), We are Proud to Present . . . (Soho Rep), and Sailor Man (NYC Fringe Award). She has performed abroad at the Old Vic (London) and regionally at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Old Globe (San Diego), and the Pittsburgh Public. Lauren was a series regular on the satirical television comedy Nightcap and has appeared in recurring roles on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Limitless, Doubt, and Deadbeat. Lauren's voice is featured as a unicorn on Tony Hale's animated series Archibald's Next Big Thing (Netflix). Her short film, Stepdaddy, premiered at SXSW and won the Golden Space Needle Award at SIFF. Lauren is an Orchard Project Episodic Television Writing Fellow, as well as a proud volunteer at the 52nd Street Project (New York) and School on Wheels (Los Angeles).

Ryan Clemens *

(Jaxton) (he/him/his) is proud to work both on the main stage and with VSC's Education Department. VSC patrons may remember Ryan as Mr. Wormwood in Matilda; Trinculo in The Tempest; Lieutenant Brannigan in Guys & Dolls; Vinnie in The Odd Couple; Mortimer in The Fantasticks; Bob Cratchit, Old Joe, or Ghost of Christmas Present in several years' versions of A Christmas Carol; or as his famous relative Sam Clemens in his one-man show Meet Mark Twain. Originally from Wyoming, Ryan began his career in a travelling Wild West show. He has worked at theaters around the country, including several seasons locally with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and Tidewater Stage Company. He performs with Plan B Comedy at Zeider's American Dream Theatre. Ryan holds a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University and an MFA in Acting from Regent University. He also teaches at ODU. www.clemensistwain.com

Julian Stetkevych *

(Caden) (he/him/his) is happy to be back with this wonderful cast and team. At VSC he has appeared in Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. Off-off Broadway: Richard III and The Two Gentlemen of Verona with Oxford Shakespeare Co., Dog Act with Flux Theatre Ensemble, The Silent Concerto at NY Fringe Festival, and staged workshops and readings at Playwright’s Horizons, Classic Stage Company, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Regional: A Christmas Carol at American Conservatory Theater, The Berlin Circle at Steppenwolf Theater, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Theo Ubique. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and an Assistant Professor of Acting at Christopher Newport University. He holds MFAs from the American Conservatory Theater and the University of Pittsburgh.

Jenny Hickman *

(Alicia) (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be making her Virginia Stage Company debut! A New York City-based actor and classically trained singer, she was previously seen on the Broadway national tour of Hello, Dolly! (ensemble, u/s Irene, u/s Ernestina). Other recent credits include: Bull, What We're Up Against (both with New Wave Theater Collective), Mary Poppins (West Virginia Public Theater), Witches of Eastwick (Ogunquit Playhouse), Parade (The Carnegie Theater), Carrie (CCM, League of Cincinnati Theaters Award). Jenny holds a BFA in Musical Theater from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a BA in Psychology from the State University of New York. Love and thanks to her amazing family and her partner Nathan.

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
† Member of the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent labor union
§ Member of United Scenic Artist Association, a labor union and association for Stage Artists, Craftspeople, and Department Coordinators.