IAN PAUL CUSTER (Harry) is a proud artistic affiliate at American Blues Theater. He’s excited to return to It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! for his second straight year. Recent Chicago credits include: To Master the Art (Broadway Playhouse/TimeLine Theatre); Annie Bosh is Missing (Steppenwolf – First Look Rep ‘13); 33 Variations and Weekend at TimeLine Theatre; High Holidays at Goodman Theatre; Fiddler on the Roof at Paramount Theatre; 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Fox Valley Repertory. Ian previously worked with Route 66 Theatre Company, The Inconvenience, and Raven Theatre. Regional credits: Cloten in Cymbeline (Notre Dame Shakespeare); Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (Cardinal Stage). National Tour: 360 Entertainment’s Peter Pan (Cookson). Ian received his B.F.A. from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Special thanks to American Blues and my wonderful family.
SHAWN J. GOUDIE (Foley) is really excited to return to Foley for It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! This is his fifth anniversary year back with American Blues. He’s also been the Foley artist for Sleepy Hollow at City Lit. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Shawn has been seen in a variety of productions, including being a founding member of the sketch comedy group, “The Dolphins of Damnation”. He would like to thank his parents and especially his wonderful wife, Jaclyn, for her patience, support, and the gift of their mohawked toddler boy, Wiles.
JAMES JOSEPH (Uncle Billy) is a proud artistic affiliate at American Blues Theater. He returns with his fourth season of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! At American Blues, he also appeared in Tobacco Road and provided the voiceovers for Hank Williams: Lost Highway. He’s 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.
KEVIN R. KELLY (George Bailey) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. American Blues’ credits include George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (5 seasons), St. Scarlet, The Skin of Our Teeth, Scapin, Stalag 17, One Day Only, Monsters III, Flight of The Phoenix, and On The Waterfront. Kevin has worked at many theaters in Chicago & Los Angeles, including Odyssey Theatre, Steppenwolf Theater, Pegasus Players, Lifeline Theatre, Bailiwick Rep and City Lit Theater among others. Feature Films include THE EXPRESS, CA$H, BAD NEWS BEARS (remake), OF BOYS AND MEN, AMERICAN DREAMZ, THE PROMOTION, A LOT LIKE LOVE, LIGHT IT UP and many independent films. Television credits include CHICAGO FIRE, SIRENS, BOSS, PRISON BREAK, BOSTON LEGAL, 7TH HEAVEN, THE INSIDE, CHARMED, CLUBHOUSE, EARLY EDITION, and SPIN CITY. Kevin is a native Chicagoan and would like to thank his wife, Cathy and his twins, Griffin & Sienna, for all their love and support.
DENICE MAHLER (Violet) is new to Chicago and excited for her first production with American Blues Theater. Originally from California, she’s spent the last four years working as an actor and teacher for the American Shakespeare Center. With the ASC: Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Rosalind in As You Like It, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Henry IV part 1, Henry VI part 2, The Roman Actor, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Chicago Productions: King Lear, Other People’s Money, Caligula. Other credits: Theatre Faculty, WVU; Co-founder of Checkered Flag Players, CA; teacher for Citadel Theatre, IL; understudy, Marriot Theatre, IL. Love to her husband Jake, and Lefty & Rupert. Thank you, Dara.
MICHAEL MAHLER (Announcer/Pianist) is a proud Ensemble member at American Blues Theater and delighted to return to Bedford Falls for a third season. He most recently appeared as “Jimmy” in American Blues Theater’s hit production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Previous Chicagoland credits include The March (Steppenwolf); Working (Broadway Playhouse); 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 Rep); The Illusion (Court); and High Fidelity (Route 66). Michael is a Jeff-award-winning composer/lyricist. Visit www.michaelmahler.com
JOHN MOHRLEIN (Clarence/Mr. Potter) is a proud Ensemble member at American Blues Theater. This is his 12th year as Clarence and Mr. Potter. 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.
GWENDOLYN WHITESIDE (Mary Bailey) is a proud Ensemble member and producing artistic director of American Blues Theater. Theater credits: American Blues Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Indiana Repertory Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, About Face Theatre, Chicago Humanities Festival, and Los Angeles theaters. She’s received eight (8) Joseph Jefferson Awards, Citations, and nominations. She’s the recipient of two (2) After Dark Awards and numerous Broadway World Chicago Awards for producing and acting. She was named in the top 5 performances (Mary’s Wedding) of 2010 by Indianapolis Star. Producing Artistic Director Whiteside ushered in the annual Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Blueprint Play development, implemented community outreach into the company’s mission, and adapted the education outreach program The Lincoln Project for Chicago Public Schools. She served numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts in DC and 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 listed in Newcity’s Players list.