Jane Morris, director
Founder of the Second City ETC stage in Chicago, Jane is a writer, performer and director. She has taught improvisation for the Second City and in her own venues for the past 20 years. Jane and her husband Jeff Michalski have owned and operated UpFront Comedy and the Comedy Underground in Santa Monica and is currently the owner and managing director of the fanaticSalon in Culver City.
Sara Fenton, Executive Producer/Assistant Director
Sara Fenton is a Meisner and Groundlings trained actor, choreographer and filmmaker originally from Toronto, Canada. Her alter ego “Ms. Mighty” is a founding member of Toronto’s all female breakdancing crew ‘shebang!’.
She has performed with the Beastie Boys, Nelly Furtado, Diavolo Dance Theater, Antics Performance, Lux Aeterna Dance Theater, and appeared in Kickin’ it Old Skool, TalkShow with Spike Feresten and a number of commercials and industrials.
Sara is the Co-Artistic Director of the Gabriella Company K!ds and co-directed The Real Humpty Dumpty and The Magical Mystery Tour for the Children’s Arts Institute. She is the artistic director of “just add…DANCE”, offering choreography and movement coaching to the LA market.
Rafael Casal, dramaturge
From humble beginnings championing the National Poetry Slam as a teen, featuring on 3 seasons of Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry on HBO, & performing at hundreds of Universities and venues all over the country, Rafael Casal declared himself early as a force to be reckoned with. In recent years he has released 2 full-length music projects THE MONSTER LP and THE BAY BOY MIXTAPE, spent 3 years teaching poetry and theater to undergraduates as Creative Director of the First Wave program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. There he oversaw the artistic careers of 60 students, directed 19 stage productions, designed the first 4-year undergraduate Hip Hop Theater diversity scholarship curriculum, and developed/premiered his first 1-act commissioned solo work The Limp.
Recently, his music has featured on MTV’s The Buried Life and Showtime’s The Real L Word, his written work has been published in The Handbook of Social Justice by Bill Ayers and The Limp has been commissioned by Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s The Living Word Projects for expanded development. In 2011, Casal was named one of the Bay Area’s Freshmen 10 musicians to watch for by leading radio station 106.1 KMEL, and featured at SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. He has shared the stage with heavy hitters like Carole King, Kanye West, Ludacris, Lauren Hill, Alanis Morissette, and George Clinton, and continues to cultivate and capture his audience through mediums like youtube, where over 2 million have witnessed his music, poetry, and creative/comedic shorts.
Rafael relocated to Los Angeles, CA. in 2012, where he is recording/releasing new music, redeveloping and expanding THE LIMP, and working in film. www.getrafael.com
Fred Kaz, composer
As a young man Fred played with many of the greatest names in the Chicago Jazz scene where he was introduced to improvisational comedy. He then spent nearly 30 years as the Musical Director of the Second City in Chicago deeply influencing many of the funniest people in the world. He’s has developed his very own signature style of Jazz that has always sounded to me as if Fred plays the piano like a horn. A close friend and colleague of Fred’s, Jane Morris explains:
“…one of his signature techniques (and maybe why it gives you the impression of a horn) is that Fred realized that the piano is the only instrument that can’t change volume during a note. Once you strike the note, that’s the volume. So he developed that hammer technique to bring a tone up and down.”
For his many, many fans and admirers it has been hard to find his music if you weren’t in contact with him directly. Here now are a few songs from an album he and some colleges produced in the late 80s as well as a few very personal stories told in Fred’s own wonderful voice from his album “Once.”
You can read more about Fred, in his own words, here.
James Jolly, producer (social media)
James Jolly (pronounced “joe lee”) most recently appeared in the Lifetime channel remake of The Blue Lagoon: The Awakening. He is known for the Slamdance festival winner, The Scenesters directed by Todd Berger (The Happytime Murders) and the Comedy Central web series 00bama (Double Obama). Jolly also stars in the drama The Custom Mary along with Alicia Sixtos, and Janina Gavankar (True Blood). The film premiered at the HBO New York Latino film fest and ended it’s festival run at the prestigious Oaxaca Film fest in Mexico this past fall. It will be released in 2013. Film and TV credits
Hope Olaide, producer (outreach)
Nigerian actress, producer and writer Hope Olaidé Wilson earned critical praise for her performance in the Lionsgate feature I Can Do Bad All By Myself in a lead role opposite Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson. Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Hope has won a succession of exciting roles in films such as Solace, The Philosophers, Life Is Hot In Cracktown, and Crenshaw Nights. Her television credits include: Lie To Me (FOX), Cold Case (CBS), Glee (FOX), Dark Blue (TNT), and The Unit (CBS).
Having spent her formative years between London and Lagos (Nigeria), Hope’s upbringing has given her a unique perspective that greatly influences her work. In 2011, Hope founded Indigo Veil Media & Entertainment (IVME), a multimedia production company dedicated to the development of compelling and innovative projects with universal appeal, social purpose, and cultural relevance. In 2012 IVME launched Local Literati (www.LocalLiterati.com) a website and mobile application (coming 2013) that serves as an entertainment hub, resource, and social network for bibliophiles worldwide, while fulfilling a philanthropic aim to promote global literacy.
As a producer, Hope aims to develop and produce compelling depictions of the human experience, particularly within the African Diaspora.
Ochuwa Oghie, producer (technical)
Ochuwa Oghie is a Nigerian American Actress, Producer, and Writer. She graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara in Theatre Arts and went on to LAMDA in United Kingdom to earn her postgraduate in Classical Theatre. Ochuwa has appeared in several TV shows (Grey’s Anatomy, Touch, Just Jordan), Film (Dream in American), national commercials (PlayStation, Mead “Five Star Band”, Sprint, SunTrust Bank) and in too many stage productions to count. She started her own production company “Osquared Productions” and has produced the film (The Interns). Ochuwa is excited to produce, “Take me to the Poorhouse”. She looks forward to having a long impactful career in the entertainment industry. Film and TV credits
An actor and producer, Adam’s producing and associate producing credits include a series of short films called The Pilot Season Survival Guide; concerts: A Thong for Hope (BC/EFA), Drinking with Music, a musical cabernet; Bard, Band & Boozed: a night [in:verse]; Love Springs Occasional; and plays Rehearsal for Murder, and Hamlet (Empirical Rogue). Works in development include The Water Dream – a new musical by Shawn Cody, starring Anthony Rapp, and a feature film The Victims, a middle eastern comedy. TS Eliot Fellow – Old Vic, London. MFA – A.R.T. Institute at Harvard. BFA – Kent State University. www.adam-kern.com
Wille Pena (tech and video guru)
Willie Pena is a prolific freelance writer, artist, and video producer originally from the concrete jungles of Weehawken and Union City, New Jersey. There, the B-Boy and dance music culture inspired a 20-plus-year run as a professional club and mobile disc jockey prior to his current endeavors.
In addition to freelance work for clients such as IBM, Colgate, TransUnion, Webroot, and VMWare, he currently executive produces, shoots and edits the entertainment journalism web series called Teens Wanna Know, program directs its Internet radio station, and manages its website at teenswannaknow.com. Oh yeah, and in his non-existent spare time he also likes to produce techno and house music. And make crazy short films like “Nerd Wars” http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Suzzane Brown (voice and speech) Robert Woodruff (mentor) Eric Trules (dramaturge), Njal Mjoes