Meet the Cast & Creative Team of NEXT ACT! New Play Summit

Steven Peterson
Steven Peterson
Friday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 pm (at theREP) PARIS TIME by Steven Peterso Playwright Steven Peterson's recent full-length productions include AFFLUENCE (Theatre 40, Los Angeles), THE INVASION OF SKOKIE (Chicago Dramatists), and the workshop production of LENA LINDSTROM (Raven Theatre). His one-act plays have been produced by the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, The Artistic Home, and Step Up Productions. His plays in development have appeared at the new play festivals of Cleveland Play House, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Centre Stage (Greenville, SC), and Theatre Ariel (Philadelphia). Steve is a two-time winner of the Julie Harris Playwrights Award, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Michael Barakiva
Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 pm (at theREP) PLAN B Book by Michael Barakiva & Emily Mikesell, Music & Lyrics by Michael Hicks Michael Barakiva is an Armenian/Israeli theater director and writer based in New York City. His first novel, One Man Guy, published by Macmillan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), was ranked the #1 Gay Young Adult novel on Goodreads in 2014, was named to the Rainbow List and Family Equality Council’s Book Nook and was released in Brazil by LeYa. Michael also serves as the Artistic Director of The Upstart Creatures (, a theater company dedicated to creating (meta)physical feasts combining theater and food. As a director, Michael has worked in New York and across the country developing new plays and staging classics. Credits include White People by Neil Cuthbert (Ensemble Studio Theater), They Float Up by Jacquelyn Reingold (EST), UP by Bridget Carpenter (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Burn This by Lanford Wilson (Shakespeare Santa Cruz) and The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, Turn of the Screw by Jeffrey Hatcher and Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward (all at Syracuse Stage). Workshops/readings include the Roundabout Theater Company, ARS Nova, New Dramatists, NY Stage & Film, New York Theater Workshop, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and Playing on Air. Michael has also taught and directed at Vassar College, Bard College, Syracuse Drama, University of Rochester, U of U at Salt Lake City, National Theatre Institute, Fordham University and UC Davis. Upcoming projects include Don’t Listen To The Lyrics, by Michael Hicks and directing a musical in Bulgaria as part of an artist exchange through the Drama League. Michael is a recipient of the David Merrick Prize in Drama, a Drama League Summer Fellowship, a Granada Fellowship at UC Davis and the Phil Killian Fellowship in Directing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Vassar College and the Juilliard School, where he studied as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Directing.
Michael Hicks
Michael Hicks works as an actor, audition accompanist and vocal coach. He has appeared in two productions at Capital Repertory Theatre as Freddy in My Fair Lady and Michael in James Joyce’s The Dead. In addition to Plan B, he has written the score to Admissions for which he won Best Original Score in the West Village Musical Theatre Festival. He is on faculty at the CAP 21 conservatory and plays class for Craig Carnelia and David Brunetti. This summer, he was at The People’s Light performing in his fourth production of Ring of Fire. Michael has a BFA in Acting from New York University.
Emily Mikesell headshot
Emily Mikesell
Emily Mikesell is an actor/musician living the dream(?) in New York City. She is happy to return to the Rep, having enjoyed roles in Striking 12, James Joyce's The Dead, My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha andThe Piper. She would define her Non-Albany career high points as the times she was able to add her creative two cents to the musical mix for new shows: Radio Gals with Mike Craver, Mark Hardwick and Klea Blackhurst back in the day, Lone Star Love with The Red Clay Ramblers and most recently, Georama with Jack Herrick, Matt Schatz and West Hyler. Emily is honored to be part of the process that brings Michael Hicks' music to a wider audience.
Michael Erickson headshot
Michael Erickson
Sunday, Oct. 23 at 5 pm (at the GE Theatre at Proctors in Schenectday, NY) HONOR STUDENT by Michael Erickson Michael Erickson’s plays have been produced by the Ensemble Studio Theater, Mad Lab, A Director’s Theater, Moving Arts, the Imaginary Theater Company, Mixed Blood, Malashock Dance & Co., Tesseract Theater, and several other theaters and colleges. He was playwright-in-residence at the Nashville Repertory Theatre and Coe College. His awards include an NEA Fellowship in Playwriting, a California Arts Council Award, and the Mobil International Playwriting Prize (Royal Exchange Theatre, England). His Alien Hand Syndrome was published in Regional Best 2011, an anthology of new plays. Last Tree, Easter Island, will be published this fall in the Smith and Kraus, Inc. anthology, 105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance. Erickson is a graduate of the MFA Theater Program at the University of California, San Diego. He teaches playwriting at Webster University in St. Louis.
Joe Breen Headshot
Joe Breen
Monday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 pm (at theREP) THE HANDS THAT HOLD US by Joe Breen Joe Breen is a Berkshire born/New York based playwright, whose work has been seen at Primary Stages, Theatre in Asylum, and The Boston Center For The Arts. His play, THE HANDS THAT HOLD US, received its premier reading by the Bechdel Project in Brooklyn, and was a 2016 finalist for The Princess Grace Awards Playwriting Fellowship through New Dramatists. His most recent work, ALL MY LOVE, KATE, is currently being developed at the Einhorn School of Performing Arts in New York. He resides in Manhattan and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

October 21 – Friday (at theREP)

SECOND LOOK: Paris Time by Steven Peterson

Director – Christopher A. Innvar

Stage Manager – Tara Kelly*


Cast in order of appearance:

Deborah – Eileen Schuyler*

Reina – Lisa Bol*

Charlie – Robert LaPone*

Martin – Peter Rini*

Phillippe – Jean Brassard*

Stage Directions – Tony Pallone*


October 22 – Saturday (at theREP)


Director – Margaret Hall

Stage Manager – Melissa Richter


Ten Ways to Save a Support Group by Jaimie Gaskell


Cast in order of appearance:

Maggie – Sarah McGovern

Rose – Liesel Gerstenberger

Eleanor – Rachel Covey*

Thomas – Lucas Phayre-Gonzalez

Robin – Josh Powell

Peter – Oliver Nathanilesz

Vic – George Franklin*

Stage Directions: Katie Buddenhagen


Reflective by Alyssa HaddadCast in order of appearance:

Tayla – Sarah McGovern

Tayla’s Reflection – Liesel Gerstenberger

Stage Directions: George Franklin*


The End of a Chapter by Emily O’Brien


Cast in order of appearance:

Hailey Jennings – Liesel Gerstenberger

Justin Reese – Lucas Phayre-Gonzalez

Mabel Donor – Sarah McGovern

Mr. Canning – David Bunce*

Zach Oliver – Josh Powell

Richard “Richie” Baxter – George Franklin*

Ava Lynwood – Katie Buddenhagen

Stage Directions: Oliver Nthanilesz


Waiting Room by and starring Rachel Covey*

(Ms. Covey has acted on stage and screen, in fact, you might recall her in the film ENCHANTED, where she played Patrick Dempsey’s daughter.)


Musical Reading PLAN B Book by Michael Barakiva & Emily Mikesell, Music & Lyrics by Michael Hicks

Stage Manager – Tara Kelly*


Cast in order of appearance:

Michael - Michael Hicks*

Emily - Emily Mikesell*

Stage Directions: Shayne David Cameris  


October 23 – Sunday (at the GE Theatre, Proctors)

The First 15: Be a Literary Manager

Director – David Girard

Stage Manager – Elise Charlebois


Hard Cell by Brent Askari


Cast in order of appearance:

Jane Simons – Hillary Parker*

Nick Abtahi – Ranadeesh Kusuma

Evan Weathers – Patrick White


Under This Roof by Barbara Kingsley


Cast in order of appearance:

Raymond Warren – Mike Banks

Mamie Warren – Sadrina Reneé*

Bessie Washington – Patricia Reilly


To The Bone by Catherine Butterfield


Cast in order of appearance:

Kelly Moran – Hillary Parker*

Marion Dugan – To be announced

Sean Moran – Ranadeesh Kusuma

Geneva Finch – Elizabeth Pietrangelo

Monica – Emily Ha


Grass Island by Brian O’Neill


Cast in order of appearance:

Karla Elliot – Hillary Parker*

Rachel Weingarten – Emily Ha

John Elliot – Patrick White

Elizabeth Weingarten – Sadrina Reneé*

Maggie Elliot – Patricia Reilly


Breath Me In by Rachel Lynett


Cast in order of appearance:

Erin – Katrina Wilkins

Adam – Mike Banks


HONOR STUDENT by Michael Erickson

Director – Stephen Nachamie

Stage Manager – Tara Kelly*


Cast in order of appearance:

Naomi Orozoco-Wallace (a Latina woman) – Florencia Lozano*

Jason Kemp – Max Wolkowitz*

Davis Herring – David Kenner*

Donna Hellinger – Georga Osborne*

Stage Directions – Lucas Phayre-Gonzalez


October 24 – Monday (at theREP)


Director – Yvonne Perry

Stage Manager – Melissa Richter


Cast in order of appearance:

Alice Morgan – Kristyn Youngblood*

Lila Morgan – Leigh Strimbeck*

Geoffrey Morgan – Tom Templeton

Olivia Morgan – Jenny Strassburg*

Henry – Warren Jackson*

Stage Directions – Kathleen Carey


*Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association, The Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers of the United States

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