Our journey begins at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration with Peter Boyer’s Fanfare for Tomorrow. We then journey back to the late 18th century and explore excerpts of writings and speeches by George Washington set to music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, an Afro-British composer of the time, in The American Rhapsody. One hundred years later, we meet seven immigrants who came through Ellis Island on their journey to America. Today, their stories are told via Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America. Spoken texts for the work come from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, and are performed by seven actors. With stage direction by Craig Jessen, celebrate our heritage and America’s journey with us.
ANNOUNCING OUR CAST AND CREW:
Craig Jessen, Stage Director
Craig Jessen is a proud alumni of Southern Oregon University where he trained as an actor, writer, and director. He has worked on stages in Oregon, New York, and Los Angeles. Craig has also made two feature films: A Promise of Time Travel and Beyond Methuselah. Craig’s Danish ancestors came through Ellis Island in 1904 and his mother immigrated from Argentina in 1969. www.craigjessen.com
Angela Rysk as Helen L
Angela Rysk is thrilled to be back on stage in Southern Oregon! She holds a BFA in Performance from SOU, and is currently living in Sonoma, CA working as a voice actor. She is an Audible Approved Narrator, where her voice can be heard on over 50 titles. Recent on camera work includes Beyond Methuselah, where she received Best Actress for her portrayal of Emma at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival.
April Grace Lowe as Helen R
April Grace Lowe has acted on stages in New York and Los Angeles. Some of her favorite roles include Medea, Beatrice, and Juliet. She is so excited to return to the Rogue Valley, where she received her BFA from Southern Oregon University. You can see her in the feature films Beyond Methuselah and A Promise of Time Travel and the upcoming web series Jaw Recorder.
Brooke Lynne Calcagno as Katherine
Brooke last appeared on a Southern Oregon stage roughly 20 years ago while studying acting at Southern Oregon University. Since then, she found a performance home in Portland, most often at Theatre Vertigo (Hunter Gatherers, Mother Courage and Her Children –Drammy Award, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and many more) where she was a company member, actor, and producer for over six years. Throughout the years, Brooke has also worked at other Portland theater companies including Profile Theatre, Northwest Classical Theatre Company, Lakewood Theatre, The CoHo, and Anonymous Theatre Company – where she is also a current company member. Brooke is grateful and honored for the opportunity to perform tonight after a long pause due to mommy duties and, you know, a global pandemic. Brooke would like to offer a special thanks to Craig for always having faith in her.
Douglas Killingtree as Lazarus
Douglas Killingtree is an actor, author, illustrator, and SOU alum. Credits include Hamlet in Hamlet (Portland Actors Ensemble),Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet and Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice (Vortex Theatre), Lord Edgar/Jane Twisden in The Mystery of Irma Vep (Oregon Cabaret Theatre), Jake in Pylon (Portland ETC), Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night and Candy in Of Mice & Men (SOU). Doug is immensely grateful to be back in he Rogue Valley working alongside some of the most talented people he has ever had the privilege to know. Shout out to his amazing boyfriend Calvin and their dog Harper! douglaskillingtree.com
Jessica Geffen as Lillian
Jessica is a proud graduate of Southern Oregon University, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. She recently worked for six years as a Resident Actor and Associate Artist with Hillsboro’s professional theatre company, Bag&Baggage Productions. She has also worked with PDX Playwrights, Well Arts, Public Playhouse, Portland Actors Ensemble, and Lunacy Stageworks. When not on stage or in front of the camera, Jessica works behind the mic as a voice over artist and audiobook narrator.
Matthew Arthur Brown as Manny
Matt is very excited to be back on stage in Southern Oregon. Matt received his BFA from SOU and an MFA in classical performance from Florida State. His past performances include the Asolo Rep, the Oregon Cabaret Theater, and five productions in two seasons at OSF. Matt would like to send his love and gratitude to his marvelous partner Marcella for her indefatigable support and to Coco and Gigi for their relentless joy and energy.
Scott Fullerton as James
Scott Fullerton studied theatre arts at Southern Oregon University before leaving to pursue a culinary career in Portland, Oregon. For the last 12 years he has been working there as a chef in various restaurants. He last appeared as Hortaio in Portland Actors Ensemble’s production of Hamlet. He’s excited and humbled for the chance to once again return to the stage.