Meet the Cast: people, places & Things!

Meet the Cast: people, places & Things!

August 10, 2021

MARIANNA BASSHAM* (Emma) has appeared with SpeakEasy in BlackbirdA Future PerfectRecklessIn The Next Room (or the vibrator play), AdmissionsHand to God, and Small Mouth Sounds (as the teacher!) She has appeared at the Huntington, Playwrights Horizons, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Underground Railway Theater, Greater Boston Stage Company, and many others. Film: Moonrise Kingdom and Don’t Look Up. Television: Olive Kitteridge and Hulu’s Castle Rock. She teaches acting at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and is the recipient of Elliot Norton and IRNE awards. (she/her)

KADAHJ BENNETT  (Foster) is thrilled to be returning to SpeakEasy Stage. Previous works include Isolated Incidents Broadway Podcast Network; Regional: Hype Man: Film, A.R.T; Watertown Historical Moving Plays: The Charles W. Lenox Experience, New Rep; Pass Over, SpeakEasy Stage; Dream BostonRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Huntington Theatre Company; This Place Displaced, Artists’ Theater of Boston; Hype ManPeerlessThe T PartyAn OctoroonDry LandHow We Got On, Company One; Akeelah and the Bee, Wheelock Family Theatre. Web Series: The Halls, Beyond Measure Productions. Music: Music Director: Company One, Front Porch Arts Collective; Dancelujah (Writer/Lyricist/Vocalist), Zumix (Songwriting and Performance Manage). Luminary Artist, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Education: Hamilton College, Boston Arts Academy. (he/him)

DARYA DENISOVA (Jodi/Ensemble) is excited to return to SpeakEasy, having recently appeared in Magda Romanska’s Life is Elsewhere as part of The Boston Project: Project Resilience. Darya received the 2020 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress for her work in Arlekin Players Theatre’s The Stone. She has performed in Arlekin’s Dead Man’s DiaryThe SeagullState VS Natasha Banina and more. She taught acting at the Startalk School at Harvard University and Stanislavsky System at the Igor Golyak Acting Studio. Her solo performance in State vs Natasha Banina has been awarded the New York Times Critic’s Pick. Her latest appearance is with (zero-g) virtual theater lab as Natasha Prozorov in chekhovOS alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht. (she/her)

EVELYN HOWE* (Charlotte/Ensemble) is thrilled to be returning to Speakeasy Stage after appearing as Veronica in The Motherf*cker With the Hat (Elliot Norton Award) and as Midge/Faye in John Kuntz’s Necessary Monsters. Other Boston area credits include Yerma (Huntington Theatre Company); Arabian Nights (Central Square Theater); Lost Tempo (Boston Playwrights Theatre). She has also worked on various TV/Film projects recently including a recurring role in Showtime’s SMILF; Defending Jacob (Apple TV) and the film I Care A Lot on Netflix. (she/her)

ADRIANNE KRSTANSKY* (Doctor/Therapist/Ensemble) returns to SpeakEasy having previously appeared in Every Brilliant Thing, Tribes, Body Awareness and Snakebit. In New England she has appeared at The Huntington Theater, American Repertory Theater, New Repertory Theater, Lyric Stage Company, Boston Playwrights Theater, Gloucester Stage Company among others. Film credits include Little Women, American Woman, Olive Kitteridge and Company Men. She is a recipient of the Elliot Norton Award. (she/her)

JOHN KUNTZ* (Paul/Dad) has worked with SpeakEasy since their beginnings and has appeared in their productions of Fifth of JulyJeffreyPorcelainThe SantaLand DiariesBalm in GileadThe Whale, and BootyCandy — as well as his own plays FreaksParty PoopersActorz…with a ZStarfuckers, and Necessary Monsters.  Recent credits include The Tempest with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and Frankensteinat Central Square Theatre (directed by David Gammons). He is the author of over 15 full-length plays including The Hotel NepentheThe Salt GirlSing Me To SleepJump/RopeJasper Lake, and The Annotated History of the American Muskrat.  He is the recipient of five Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, a New York International Fringe Festival Award, the Michael Kanin and Paula Vogel Playwrighting Awards, and a 2015 MCC Fellowship Award in Dramatic Writing.  He is a lecturer in Theatre, Dance and Media at Harvard University and is an Associate Professor of Theatre at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is grateful to SpeakEasy for their stewardship of The Thomas Derrah Emerging Artist Award, in memory of his amazing and brilliant husband. (he/him)

NAEL NACER* (Mark) returns to SpeakEasy having previously appeared in Small Mouth Sounds, A Future Perfect, and Tribes. Other credits include: The Tempest (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Equivocation (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Romeo and Juliet, A Doll’s House, Bedroom Farce, Awake and Sing!, Our Town (Huntington Theatre), The Return (Israeli Stage), Chekhov OS, The Seagull (Arlekin Players Theatre),Tiny Beautiful Things, True West,The Flick (Gloucester Stage), Constellations (Central Square Theatre), Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Intimate Apparel (Lyric Stage), A Number, Lungs (New Repertory Theatre), Rhinoceros, Windowmen (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre). Nael is the recipient of Elliot Norton and IRNE awards, and is a resident acting company member of Actors’ Shakespeare Project. (he/him)

SHANELLE CHLOE VILLEGAS (Laura/Ensemble) returns to SpeakEasy having previously appeared in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Nana) for which she was a 2020 Elliot Norton Nominee for Best Ensemble. Other Credits include: American Repertory Theatre’s The Arboretum Experience (Ramona/Emcee/Major), Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s Othello (Montano), Shakespeare & Company’s Autumn (Melissa Longley), and New Repertory Theatre’s Classic Repertory CompanyWhen Shanelle is not on stage, she can be found teaching, writing, painting and living her best life! She is a proud graduate of Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Contemporary Theatre program. (she/her)

SHARMARKE YUSUF (T/Ensemble) is thrilled to be making his SpeakEasy debut! He is an actor and writer born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Sharmarke graduated from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a BFA in Contemporary Theater. He has appeared in several Boston-area theater productions including #RomeoJuliet(New Rep), as Aaron in Titus Andronicus (Earthstone Theater Company), Buckingham/Ensemble in The Three Musketeers (Front Porch Arts Collective), Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Boston Conservatory at Berklee), and on television, most recently as Axmed in season two of Castle Rock on Hulu. He can be found on instagram @sharmarke_y. (he/him)

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