WHO’S WHO IN THE CAST
MANNY BUCKLEY (Alonzo Fields) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is dedicated to performing in new and emerging plays and proud to share Looking Over the President’s Shoulder with Chicago for the first time. Most recently, Manny was seen in 1984 at Steppenwolf and Waiting For Lefty here at American Blues. He originated the role of “Carson” in Hit the Wall (The Inconvenience), which sold out houses in Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep and Theater on the Lake. His performance earned him the “Best Actor Award” from the Chicago Reader and a Black Theater Alliance Award as “Best Featured Actor”. Manny has also performed with Steppenwolf for Young Audiences (Of Mice and Men), House Theater of Chicago (Dorian), Chicago Dramatists (Southbridge), Profiles Theater (Hellcab), Next Theater (The Piano Teacher), Pavement Group (Harry and the Thief), City Lit (Comrades Mine) and Gift Theater (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Streamers). With a wicked fastball, Manny was on national tour as “Satchel Paige” in the original touring production of The Satchel Paige Story. He also had the privilege of performing at the Kennedy Center and in the only selection from the U.S. to appear in the English Language Theatre Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia. Film & television credits: “Chicago Fire”, “Under Covers”, “Sugar”, and “Pilgrim”. Manny is a proud member of Actor’s Equity, and represented by Paonessa Talent.
JAMES STILL (Playwright) His plays have been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China and Japan. Recent premieres include Appoggiatura at Denver Center, The Widow Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre, and Before We Forgot How to Dream at Indiana Repertory where he is the Playwright in Residence. His new play Miranda premieres later this year at Illusion in Minneapolis. He is a four-time Pulitzer Prize nominee for his work in the theater and a five-time Emmy nominee for his work in television. He received the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Festival, the Todd McNerney New Play Prize from Spoleto, and is an elected member of the National Theatre Conference in New York and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center. He is proud to be an Artistic Affiliate of American Blues. He lives in Los Angeles.
TIMOTHY DOUGLAS (Director) Chicago directing credits include Robert O’Hara’s Etiquette of Vigilance at Steppenwolf, Rajiv Joseph’s The Lake Effect at Silk Road Rising (Jeff Award – Best New Work), and Mourning Becomes Electra and Changes of Heart at Remy Bumppo. National credits include King Hedley II at Arena Stage, Father Comes Home From the Wars at Roundhouse Theatre, Bronte: A Portrait Of Charlotte off-Broadway, and the world premiere of August Wilson’s Radio Golf at Yale Rep. He currently serves as an Associate Artist at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park where he has directed Clybourne Park, Trip to Bountiful, The North Pool, Buzzer, and the world premiere of Safe House, and served as Associate Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville where he directed ten productions including three Humana Festival premieres. Timothy has directed over 100 projects for, American Conservatory Theater, Guthrie, Berkeley Rep, Center Theatre Group, South Coast Rep, Steppenwolf, Playmakers Rep, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Downstage (NZ), National Theatre (Norway), Milwaukee Rep (associate artist), and many others. MFA Yale.
BRIAN SIDNEY BEMBRIDGE (Scenic and Lighting Design) His extensive design credits in Chicago include work at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Timeline Theatre, The Second City, Lookingglass, Court Theatre, Writers, Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista, Northlight, Drury Lane, and Ravinia Festival. He has worked Off-Broadway at The Public Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre, Kids With Guns and Theatre at St. Clements. Internationally, Brian has designed at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London; Town Hall Theatre in Galway, Ireland; and Illawarra Performing Arts Centre and Platform Hip Hop Festival in Sydney, Australia. Regionally, his credits include the Guthrie Theatre and Children’s Theatre Company (Minneapolis); Asolo (Florida), St. Louis, Milwaukee and Madison repertory theatres; Pittsburgh Public Theater; Arden Theatre and Theatre Exile (Philadelphia); Actors Theatre of Louisville; Alliance Theatre (Atlanta); Cleveland Playhouse; Geffen Playhouse and Circle X Theatre (Los Angeles); Opera Omaha; and Virginia Opera. He is a multiple recipient of the Jeff Award, L.A. Drama Critic Circle Award, Garland Award as well as an L.A. Ovation Award and an L.A. Weekly Award. Brian represented the United States at the Prague Quadrennial in 2011 with The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Film production designs include “Marie and Bruce”, “Holding Out”, “Stray Dogs”, and “Late for Church”, and sets for “Muppets from Space”. Visit briansidneybembridge.com.
CHRISTOPHER J. NEVILLE (Costume Design) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues and elated to design for Looking Over the President’s Shoulder. Previous Blues productions include Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Yankee Tavern, Side Man, The Rainmaker, and It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! 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. Along with balancing design work, Christopher teaches yoga across the Chicagoland area. He 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
RICK SIMS (Sound Design) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. He has designed sound for numerous Chicago area theatres such as Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, American Blues Theater, Congo Square, Writers Theatre, Lifeline, Griffin, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Hypocrites, The House, Court, ATC, Victory Gardens, The Raven, Steep, Northlight and About Face. Out of town credits include Icarus at the Getty in L.A. with Lookingglass, Gary at Boston Playwrights, and Cat In the Hat at Arden Theatre Philadelphia. Rick has won a Jeff Award for lyrics in Hepheastus and a BTAA award for Congo Squares’ Brothers in the Dust and Bulrusher, and has received several nominations for both awards. Rick is an artistic associate of Lookingglass Theatre Company and an associate designer with Aria Music Designs (Ray Nardelli and Josh Horvath). Rick also wrote the book, music and lyrics for Lookingglass’ Hillbilly Antigone.
AUSTIN COOK (Vocal Consultant) 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; Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Pianist)* Jeff Award Winner; Ring of Fire (Piano, Guitar, Dobro, Bass); 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.
AMANDA HERRMANN (Properties Design) is pleased be working with American Blues again. Previously she worked on It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! and 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), and Tin Woman (Peninsula Players Theater). Amanda is a graduate of Ripon College with a BA in Theater and Art.
JACLYN HOLSEY (Stage Manager & 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: Live in Chicago! 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.
LUCY SCHUH (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to work on her first production with American Blues Theater. After serving as Floor Manager for Court Theatre in 2014, she served as Assistant Stage Manager for the new Assassination Theater. Lucy has worked with a variety of companies in Chicago including Steppenwolf (crew), Rivendell Theatre, and New Millennium Theatre. She thanks AJ for his support!
CHARLIE MARIE MCGRATH (Assistant Director) is thrilled to work with American Blues Theater for the first time, and grateful for the opportunity to assist Timothy. SDC Associate Member. Assistant director: Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Theatre at the Center, American Theatre Company, Redtwist Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company, Porchlight Music Theatre. SDCF Observer: A Time to Kill on Broadway. Director: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (AstonRep Theatre Company); Game of Love and Chance [Remount], House of Mirth (Dead Writers Theatre Collective); Game of Love and Chance, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks (Open Door Rep); The Ruby Sunrise, November, Dumb Waiter (Proud Kate Theatre Project); HMS Pinafore (G&S Opera Company); plus a myriad of festivals, readings and workshops. Upcoming: directing with Pride Films and Plays, Dead Writers Theatre Collective, One Minute Play Festival; assistant directing at Court Theatre. www.charliemariemcgrath.com
PAT FRIES (Production Manager) is thrilled to return to American Blues after serving as Production Manager for It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! Other credits include All Our Tragic, Glass Menagerie, American Idiot, and Coriolanus (The Hypocrites); Eat Your Heart Out, Rasheeda Speaking, These Shining Lives, The Walls, Mary’s Wedding, and 26 Miles (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); The UN Inspector, Dying City, Boom, End Days, War With The Newts, The Piano Teacher, and Madagascar (Next Theatre); Tick, Tick… Boom, A Class Act, Gifts of the Magi, and Pal Joey (Porchlight Music Theatre); Generic Latina 2010 and Lunatic(a)s (Teatro Luna); and Welcome Yule! 2009 and 2010 (Chicago Symphony Orchestra).
MICHAEL TRUDEAU (Technical Director) 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
JASON SHIVERS (Master Electrician)
EILEEN ROZYCKI (Scenic Painter)
GWENDOLYN WHITESIDE (Producing Artistic 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 24 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 listed in Newcity’s annual Players list. In five years, five American Blues’ productions won or were nominated for best production by the Joseph Jefferson Award committee. She’s received 11 Joseph Jefferson Awards, Citations, and nominations as an actress and Producing Artistic Director. Her favorite performances include Jeff Award for Solo Performance (Grounded), Jeff Award nomination for Solo Performance (the K of D), Mary’s Wedding (Top 5 performances in Indianapolis), and 6 years as “Mary Bailey” (It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!). She’s the recipient of two (2) After Dark Awards and numerous Broadway World Chicago Awards and nominations. She’s the director of Chicago’s holiday tradition It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!