WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST

Shawn J. GoudieSHAWN J. GOUDIE (Foley) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He is excited to continue his role as Foley Artist for It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Most recently he could be seen in Monster Bash at the first ever Chicago Horror Fest. In January his sketch comedy group “The Dolphins of Damnation” will reunite for the 15th annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. Shawn would like to thank his parents for their support and his wife Jaclyn, their son Wiles and daughter Petra for all of their love.

 

James JosephJAMES JOSEPH (Uncle Billy) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He returns for his sixth season of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! at American Blues where he appeared in Tobacco Road, performed voiceovers for Hank Williams: Lost Highway and American Myth, and written for the Ripped Festival. He has performed on Chicago stages for over fifteen years, including with City Lit, Eclipse, First Folio, Illinois Theatre Center, the Ivanhoe, Live Bait, Metropolis, Next, Northlight, Prop Thtr, Shakespeare on the Green, Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, Steppenwolf, Strawdog, TimeLine, and Victory Gardens. He was nominated for a Non-Equity Jeff Award (Supporting Actor) for his role in Faith Healer with UMA Productions.

Zach KenneyZACH KENNEY (George Bailey) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. Previous work with Blues includes It’s a Wonderful Life and Waiting for Lefty. Chicago credits include: Hair (American Theatre Company), Hit the Wall (The Inconvenience), Chicago Boys (Goodman Theatre New Stages), The Gospel According to James (Victory Gardens Theater), The Farnsworth Invention, Not Enough Air (TimeLine Theatre Company). Regional credits include: “Nick Carraway” in The Great Gatsby, Red, Who Am I This Time?, Mary’s Wedding (Indiana Repertory Theatre); A Little Night Music (U/S), 1776 (American Conservatory Theater); 1776 (Asolo Repertory Theatre); An Immaculate Misconception (Eureka Theatre Company). Zach has appeared on Chicago Fire (NBC). A San Francisco native, he trained at A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory (originating the title role in Horton Foote’s The Actor in 2002) before attending The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Michael MahlerMICHAEL MAHLER (Announcer/Pianist) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is thrilled and delighted to return to his holiday family. He was most recently seen by American Blues audiences as “Clifford” in Side Man and “Jimmy” in Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Previous credits include: City of Angels (Marriott); The March (Steppenwolf); Working (Broadway in Chicago); The Fox on the Fairway, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Jeff award nomination), and The Producers (Theatre at the Center); They’re Playing Our Song (Fox Valley Repertory); and The Illusion (Court). Michael is the Jeff award-winning composer/lyricist of October Sky and Hero, and contributed additional lyrics to Cameron Mackintosh’s new West End production of Boublil and Schönberg’s Miss Saigon. Coming up, catch Michael as “Seymour Krelborn” in American Blues’ production of Little Shop of Horrors.

John MohrleinJOHN MOHRLEIN (Clarence/Mr. Potter) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. This is his 14th season as “Clarence” and “Mr. Potter”. He loves getting to revisit and reinvent these characters year after year. At American Blues, he’s appeared in Half of Plenty, It’s a Wonderful Life, A View from the Bridge, Strictly Dishonorable, American Dead, The Hairy Ape, A Lie of the Mind, Endgame, American Buffalo, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Threepenny Opera, A Stone Carver (Joseph Jefferson nomination for Best Actor, After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance), and directed Catch-22. Other credits: The Glass House at the Art Institute of Chicago; nine productions at Goodman Theatre, Cripple of Inishmaan, Heart of a Dog, and Murder of Cardinal Tosca at Northlight Theatre. His extensive television and film work includes Golden Boy, Good Night Sweet Wife, Dillinger, Killing Floor, Early Edition, Crime Story (recurring role), Untouchables, Devil’s Dominoes, Stranger Than Fiction, No Place to be Somebody, Hellcab, Hero, and Cold Justice.

Camille RobinsonCAMILLE ROBINSON (Violet) is thrilled to be making her American Blues Theater debut in this timeless holiday classic. The biggest hugs and kisses go to her beautiful family for their unwavering love and support. Recent theater credits include: For Her as a Piano (Pegasus Theatre Chicago), Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse), Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago), and More Than A Miracle: A Nativity Story (Congo Square Theatre). Coming up, catch her as “Crystal” in American Blues’ production of Little Shop of Horrors.

 

Amanda TanguayAMANDA TANGUAY (Mary Bailey) is thrilled to spend her holidays with Blues! Regional credits include Follies (Young Carlotta/Margie) at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Mary Poppins at The Muny; CATS, The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Nutcracker, South Pacific, The Music Man (Zaneeta), Legally Blonde, and Guys and Dolls at Marriott Theatre; Singin’ in The Rain, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, The Goodbye Girl, Meet Me in St. Louis, It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman!, and Oklahoma! at Drury Lane; The Tempest (Miranda) at Shakespeare Project of Chicago; and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ole Opry. A graduate of Indiana University with degrees in Theatre and Dance Performance, she is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA and recently choreographed Pinocchio at the Marriott. She is in her 8th year choreographing and 2nd year directing musicals at Lemont High. Thanks to the artistic staff at Blues, Zimms and Tangs, Ceebee, and husband, Jarrod.

Jarrod ZimmermanJARROD ZIMMERMAN (Harry) is very happy to be making his American Blues Theater debut and to be working once again with his wife, Amanda Tanguay. Chicago credits include: Spamalot (Theatre at the Center); Days Like Today, Sweet Charity (Writers Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre); Shakespeare in the Parks: The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Pinocchio, City of Angels, The Music Man, Little Women, Into the Woods (Marriott Theatre); Merrily We Roll Along (The Music Theatre Company); Gypsy (Drury Lane Theatre). Regional credits include: A Minister’s Wife (San Jose Repertory Theatre); 1776 (Asolo Repertory Theatre and American Conservatory Theater); A Day in Hollywood… (Peninsula Players); Big! the musical, Proof, The Mousetrap, Little Women (Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre); I Love You… Now Change (Totem Pole Playhouse). Television credits include: Chicago Fire (NBCUniversal) and Boss (STARZ). Jarrod is a graduate of Northwestern University. Much love to his family and wife. www.jarrodzimmerman.com

WHO’S WHO IN THE CREATIVE TEAM

GWENDOLYN WHITESIDE (Producing Artistic Director & Director) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater and has served as Producing Artistic Director since 2010. Under her leadership, American Blues has nearly doubled the size of its Ensemble, added 27 Artistic Affiliates, and diversified its base of artists. She created the nationally-recognized annual Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Blueprint Development for new work, implemented community service into the company’s mission, and adapted the arts education program The Lincoln Project for Chicago Public Schools which serves over 1,000 students annually. She fiscally led American Blues through its 2009 rebirth and built the operational budget from zero to $700,000 in five (5) years. Whiteside served numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and sat on the national Board of Directors for Network of Ensemble Theaters. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University (cum laude), The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA), and a Kellogg Executive Scholar in Nonprofit management (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University). She was nominated for “Chicagoan of the Year” in Chicago Magazine and twice named in Newcity’s annual Players list. In five years, five (5) American Blues’ shows were nominated for production by the Joseph Jefferson Award committee. She’s received 11 Joseph Jefferson Awards, Citations, and nominations. She’s the recipient of two (2) After Dark Awards, and numerous Broadway Chicago Awards and nominations.

MICHAEL MAHLER (Music Director & Jingle Composer) See cast.

MARTY HIGGINBOTHAM (Original Direction) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. American Blues acting credits include: Desire Under the Elms, Monsters, On the Waterfront, Tom and Jerry, The Homage that Follows, Stalag 17, Bus Stop, The Three Penny Opera, Working, The Trip to Bountiful, American Dead, and Oklahoma; American Blues sound design/original score credits: Monsters, Monsters II, and Monsters III, Food from Trash, The Homage That Follows, The Million Bells of Ocean, and A Lie of the Mind. Marty has also worked on and off stage at The Old Globe, The Prince Music Theatre, The Goodman, Northlight, Oak Park Festival Theater, Circle Theatre, and the Organic. Marty directed the original full production of It’s a Wonderful: A Live Radio Play in 2004 and continued to helm the production up to 2008, moving with the Ensemble in 2009 to the Biograph, and remounting at the Greenhouse. Marty is also Founder and President of The Stage Channel, a video production company serving the Arts in Chicago and across the country since 2001. The Stage Channel, to date, has produced over 1700 promotional videos for music, theater and dance. And finally, all my love to my wife Ashley Bishop and son Liam for the love, support, strength, humor and joy they share on a daily basis.

AUSTIN COOK (Score Composer) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is an award-winning music director, musician, actor and producer currently residing in Chicago, IL. Recent credits: 1st/4th National Tour Million Dollar Quartet (Music Director/Music Supervisor); Sondheim on Sondheim (Music Director/Pianist)* Jeff Award Winner; Ring of Fire (Piano, Guitar, Dobro, Bass); Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Pianist)* Jeff Award Winner; Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Hoss); Putting It Together (MD/Pianist)*Jeff Award Nominee; Some Enchanted Evening (music director/pianist)*Jeff Award Winner. Chicago Theater credits include: American Blues Theater, Writers Theater, Mercury Theater, Theater at the Center, Porchlight Theatre, Second City. Music Producer credits: Billy Woodward, John Michael Presney, Yuleberry’s and Friends. Austin’s most recently produced album “The Beast in Me” won the Independent Music Award for Best Roots EP and is featured on PBS nationally in Sun Studio Sessions.

GRANT SABIN (Scenic Design) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. A native of rural Illinois, Grant blends his rural roots with urban art. He’s a recipient of the 2015 Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. He’s a graduate of Columbia College with a BFA in theatre design where he was awarded the 2005 Michael Merritt student scholarship for collaboration in theatre design. He is known throughout Chicago for his keen eye in capturing atmospheric detail and his ability to design “impressively executed sets” on a storefront-theater budget. His designs have been seen at Northlight, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Next, The Royal George, Overture Center (WI), Theatre Wit, Gallagher Bluedorn (IA), American Blues, ATC, Christina Isabelle Dance, The Seldoms Dance, and A Red Orchid. He was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for his design of Yankee Tavern (American Blues Theater), The Sea Horse (A Red Orchid), and Mr. Marmalade (Dog & Pony’s). He was recently named one of the Top 50 Players in Chicago Theatre by Newcity Magazine. Grant is currently a part-time faculty member at Columbia College.

CHRISTOPHER J. NEVILLE (Costume Design) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He is elated to be back for his second year of It’s a Wonderful Life. Previous Blues productions include: Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Yankee Tavern, Side Man, and The Rainmaker. Christopher has worked with costumes at Victory Gardens Theater, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago Opera Theater, Theatre at the Center, and Signal Ensemble. He has also designed properties for Congo Square Theater, Griffin Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and assisted designed at Lookingglass Theatre Company and Paramount Theater. Christopher trained at Peninsula Players Theatre as a production intern and received his BFA in Theatre Design & Technology from Oakland University in Rochester, MI. www.cjnevilledesigns.com

SAMANTHA C. JONES (Costume Design) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. As a designer, her work has been seen at American Blues Theater (Collected Stories, Illegal Use of Hands, Waiting for Lefty, Rantoul and Die, It’s a Wonderful Life), 16th Street Theatre (Menorca, Fires in the Mirror, Unveiled, and The End of the Tour), Chicago Dramatists (Hickorydickory, Jade Heart), Remy Bumppo Theatre Co. (Mourning Becomes Electra, Night and Day, Heroes, American Ethnic), Peninsula Players Theatre (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Wait Until Dark, Around the World in 80 Days, Heroes, Over the Tavern), and Congo Square Theatre (Brothers of the Dust, A Colored Museum BTAA nominated for Best Costume Design).

KATY PETERSON (Lighting Design) is thrilled to design lights for It’s a Wonderful Life with American Blues again. Past designs have been seen at the Chopin Theatre, the Athenaeum, The Building Stage, Prop Theatre, Viaduct, Stage Left, The Side Project, Profiles, Theatre at the Center (Indiana), The State Theatre, Lab Theatre (Texas), among others. Favorite shows include eight years of It’s a Wonderful Life with American Blues Theater Ensemble, Nebraska (BOTC), Playing With Fire (BoHo), The Glorious Ones, and I Am My Own Wife (Jeff nomination) for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. Katy spent seven seasons in Lighting/Production Design for “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, and now resides in on a farm in Ohio with her dogs and loving husband Ben, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in Architecture at OSU. Sincerest thanks to Marty, Ashley, Wendy, and Jax: it’s always an honor to work with you.

ELYSE DOLAN (Properties Design) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater and serves as the Executive Assistant. At Blues she has had the honor of directing pieces by Larissa FastHorse, M.E.H. Lewis, and Susan Soon He Stanton in past Ripped festivals, as well as assisting Kimberly Senior on the reading of Other Than Honorable and assisting Ed Blatchford on The Rainmaker. Since moving to Chicago, she has directed stage-readings for Pride Films & Plays, Three Cat Productions, and the Greenhouse Theater Center. She’s served as Assistant Director on productions at Raven Theatre, Oracle Theatre, 16th Street Theater, and Redtwist Theatre. She is currently directing Here After with The New Colony’s Associate Company. Elyse earned her B.A. in Theater and English Literature from Denison University. Thanks & love to Wendy & everyone at Blues for bringing her into the family!

KATHRYN LOCHERT (Stage Manager) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She is delighted to spend another holiday season with her American Blues Theater family. Kathryn’s previous American Blues Theater stage management credits include The Rainmaker, Yankee Tavern, It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (2014), Hank Williams: Lost Highway (remount and original production), and American Myth. Other Chicago credits include The Happiest Song Plays Last, Teddy Ferrara, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre); and Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks: The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Kathryn received her B.F.A. in Stage Management from the University of Southern California and is a proud member of AEA. Fight on, y’all! Love to Christopher.

PAT FRIES (Production Manager) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater and serves as the Executive Assistant. At Blues she has had the honor of directing pieces by Larissa FastHorse, M.E.H. Lewis, and Susan Soon He Stanton in past Ripped festivals, as well as assisting Kimberly Senior on the reading of Other Than Honorable and assisting Ed Blatchford on The Rainmaker. Since moving to Chicago, she has directed stage-readings for Pride Films & Plays, Three Cat Productions, and the Greenhouse Theater Center. She’s served as Assistant Director on productions at Raven Theatre, Oracle Theatre, 16th Street Theater, and Redtwist Theatre. She is currently directing Here After with The New Colony’s Associate Company. Elyse earned her B.A. in Theater and English Literature from Denison University. Thanks & love to Wendy & everyone at Blues for bringing her into the family!

ELLIE HUMPHRYS (Associate Lighting Designer) is delighted to be back for another production with American Blues Theater. Previously with American Blues, Ellie has worked as Master Electrician on Yankee Tavern and Hank Williams: Lost Highway, and as Assistant Lighting Designer for It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (2014). Some of her recent Lighting Design credits include Collected Stories with Triton Community College, Truth in Context with The Agency Theatre Collective, and Fugue for Particle Accelerator with 20% Theatre Company. ellielightstheatre.com

MORGAN LAKE (Sound Engineer) is a Chicago-based Sound Designer and recent graduate of the Theatre School at DePaul University. Recent designs include Juicy and Delicious and The Day John Henry Came to School at The Theatre School. Morgan’s portfolio can be heard at SoundsLikeMorgan.com.

AMANDA HERMANN (Props/Foley Manager) is pleased be working with American Blues again. Previously she was the Assistant Scenic Designer for Collected Stories. Other Chicago credits include: Fallen Angels (Remy Bumppo), Treasure Island (Lookingglass Theater), Moby Dick (Lookingglass Theater), Alice (Lookingglass Theater), Balm in Gilead (Griffin Theater), The Sweeter Option (Strawdog Theater), The Apple Family Plays (Timeline Theater), Velveteen Rabbit (Lifeline Theater), Tin Woman (Peninsula Players Theater). Amanda is a graduate of Ripon College with a BA in Theater and Art.

SHAWN GOUDIE (Foley Design) See cast.

PAUL DEZIEL (Video Associate) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He freelances as a Projection/Video Designer throughout Chicagoland. Design Credits include : Churchill (SoloChicago), Twisted Melodies (Congo Square Theatre), Quiz Show (Strawdog Theatre Company), Redletter (The Neo-Futurists), Badfic Love (Strange Bedfellows Theatre), Heatwave, Point & Shoot (Cold Basement Dramatics), Titanic (Griffin Theater), Forgotten Futures (Collaboraction), Anna in the Afterlife (Polarity Ensemble Theatre), and Terminal One (Dublin Institute of Technology/Columbia College Chicago). Upcoming Designs include MUTT (Red Tape Theatre/Stage Left Theatre) and The Glass Menagerie (The Hypocrites). This is his 3rd year on It’s a Wonderful Life with American Blues Theater. Paul holds a degree in Technical Theatre from Columbia College Chicago and is a member of the MegaGame Society of Chicago. Outside of theatre, he enjoys table-top gaming and eating ramen. For more info on his design work, visit pauldeziel.com.

ANNA MICALE (Assistant Stage Manager) is ecstatic to be back with It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! for the third year. Her previous credits include Guardians and The December Man (Mary-Arrchie Theater), The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (No Stakes Theater Project), Dancing on the Ceiling and Other Moments of Connection (the Neapolitans), Yankee Tavern (American Blues Theater), Flare Path and The Burnt Part Boys (Griffin Theatre), Into the Woods (Columbia College Chicago), Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Park), The Sweat Girls Are… 21 And Finally Legal! (The Sweat Girls), and Nocturne (Prospect Hills Entertainment).

MICHAEL TRUDEAU (Technical Director & ME) is thrilled to be working with American Blues Theater again this season after serving as Technical Director for Yankee Tavern and Side Man last season. Previous Chicago productions also include technical director for Emergent Theater, Livewire Theater Company, and American Theater Company. He has also designed lights for several shows at Kaukauna High School and Musical Masquers in Wisconsin, as well as many productions at his alma mater the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During the summer he is the Master Electrician for Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. http://mrtrudeau23.wix.com/mtrudeaudesigns

EILEEN ROZYCKI (Scenic Painter)

JACLYN HOLSEY (General Manager) is a proud Ensemble member and General Manager of American Blues Theater. She’s an Equity stage manager and worked with Chicago theaters such as TimeLine, Victory Gardens Theater, Teatro Vista, Rivendell Theatre Company, Collaboraction, and here at American Blues Theater since 2001. American Blues Theater credits: Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Grounded, Collected Stories, Illegal Use of Hands, Tobacco Road, Half of Plenty, St. Scarlet, and five years of It’s a Wonderful Life. She’s worked with American Blues since 2005 as a stage manager, then an Artistic Affiliate, Ensemble member, Business Manager, and now General Manager. Before coming to American Blues, she worked as the Regional Operations and Programs Coordinator for First Nonprofit Insurance. Jaclyn also served as the Executive Assistant at Victory Gardens Theater under the leadership of Marcie McVay from 2003-2008. She graduated from Otterbein College with a BA in Theater and received her Certificate in Nonprofit Management through the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spends her spare time raising her 4-year old son and brand new baby daughter. Thankfully, she has the world’s best husband to help her out.

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