Who’s Who: Once Cast

Who’s Who: Once Cast

August 24, 2018

JACOB BRANDT* (Andrej) returns to SpeakEasy having previously appeared in Caroline, or Change in 2006. Jacob is an actor, composer, and director in New York, and has worked in various capacities with New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, The Flea, and many others. He has appeared as an actor on such  regional stages as Weston Playhouse (Once, US Regional Premiere), Williamstown Theatre Festival,  the Huntington, Company One, and Wheelock Family Theatre. Jacob’s own actor-musician musical 1969: The Second Man received its World Premiere at New York Theatre Workshop last year. He is a current member of The Civilians R&D Group, where he is developing a new musical about the history of the subway. Jacob attended Harvard, where he studied acting and playwriting.

BILLY BUTLER (Billy) is a Boston native excited to make his SpeakEasy debut. He is a performer, writer, and theatre-maker who has appeared at New England Light Opera, Greater Boston Stage Company, Seacoast Repertory, The Players’ Ring, Barnstormers, New York Musical Theatre Festival, St Clement’s Theatre, Abraxas Stage, and Interborough Theatre Company.  Billy also wrote the music and lyrics for Titus Andronicus Musicus and Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic; and the book, music, and lyrics for Gay Bride of FrankensteinMissing: Wynter; Bitter Pill; and The Brechtones. Currently, Billy is the 2018/19 Artist-in-Residence for the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra.

CLARA COCHRAN (Ivonka at certain performances) is delighted to make her SpeakEasy debut!  Clara has performed in 10 youth theatre musicals in her hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, including roles as Gretl in The Sound of Music and July in Annie.  Other favorite performances include High School Musical and The Little Mermaid.  Clara is a student at Thoreau Elementary School.  She enjoys singing in choir, jazz dance, and writing and illustrating stories. Clara thanks all of her teachers, friends and family for their support and encouragement.

CHRIS COFFEY (Svec) is so excited to make his SpeakEasy debut! New Jersey born-and-bred. Recently (in residence at Redhouse Arts Center): A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck) & Into The Woods (Jack) in Rep, The Cherry Orchard (Trofimov), Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio/Verges), & Juliet (Benvolio/Paris/Lady Cap [SALT Award: Ensemble of the Year]), and many moreOther favorites: The Who’s Tommy (Tommy), Reefer Madness (Jack), Godspell (Jesus), & others. He is also a music and stage director with regional and festival credits. Manhattanville College & National Theater Institute alumnus. Love to Erin, his parents, and his puppies. www.chris-coffey.com

REAGAN GARDINER (Ivonka at certain performances) is thrilled to make her SpeakEasy debut in Once, her first professional show!  She recently appeared at The Un-Common Theatre as Molly in Annie. She is a third grader in Cambridge, a Brownie in the Girl Scouts, and plays on her school’s basketball team.  Reagan would like to thank her family, friends, and teachers for all their love and support on this fantastic adventure.

NILE SCOTT HAWVER* (Guy) is thrilled to return to SpeakEasy, having previously appeared as Monty in Violet and Will in Mothers and Sons. Boston: Lyric Stage, Greater Boston Stage Company, New Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Central Square Theater, Huntington Theatre, Boston Theater Company, Boston Lyric Opera, Commonwealth Shakespeare. Regional: Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Ocean State Theatre Company, and more. MFA: Acting; University of IL at Urbana-Champaign. BFA: Acting, University of RI. Love and thanks to Maggie and Flo St. Jean. Proud AEA member. Upcoming: Million Dollar Quartet at Greater Boston Stage Company.  www.NileHawver.com; nilescottstudios.com .

MACKENZIE LESSER-ROY* (Girl) is thrilled to be back in Boston and making her SpeakEasy debut. Mackenzie played Girl in the ’16-’17 national tour of Once and most recently played the lead role of Jovie in the national tour of Elf.  She can be seen in several episodes of NBC’s “Rise” and has worked with renowned directors such as Jerry Mitchell and Rebecca Taichman.  She is a proud alum of The Boston Conservatory. Many thanks to Paul Melone, Paul Daigneault, and the cast and crew. Love to M&D. Follow her on Instagram mlesserroy.

BILLY MELEADY* (Da) returns to SpeakEasy having previously appeared in The Seafarer [Elliot Norton Award—Best Ensemble] and A Man of No Importance (co-production: Súgán). He has been absent from Boston stages for a number of years and is delighted to return and very pleased to be working with SpeakEasy once again. Billy was a “resident Irish actor” with the Súgán Theatre Company at the BCA for many years and received both Elliot Norton and IRNE awards for his work with Súgán as well as New Repertory Theatre and Boston Playwrights Theatre. He last appeared onstage with The Irish Rep (NYC) in the East Coast premiere of The Belle of Belfast as Father Behan (a role he reprised from the world premiere with Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA for which he received an LA Ovation Award nomination for Featured Actor). Thanks to Paul, Paul, the cast and all at SpeakEasy Stage Company!

ROBERT X. NEWMAN (Emcee) is pleased to make his SpeakEasy debut in a show that helped inspire him to become a performer. Born in Juneau, Alaska, Robert has been listening to and playing folk music from the age of four, when he got his first violin.  He would like to thank his first music teacher, Lisa Miles, as well as his parents, Tony and Linda, for helping him find the passion (and courage) to play music onstage. Robert is currently a senior at The Boston Conservatory where he is finishing a BFA in Musical Theater.

MARTA RYMER (Reza) is delighted to make her SpeakEasy debut. She is a Boston native who received her preparatory violin training at Longy School of Music and New England Conservatory. She is also an alumnus of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Recent theatrical appearances include: West Side Story (Fiddlehead Theatre); A Tale of Two Cities (York Theatre); Manuel vs. the Statue of Liberty (Gallery Players); The New Electric Ballroom (ACKtors Table); and Wild Women of Planet Wongo (Parkside Lounge). Marta spends a portion of each summer at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in Nelson, NH. Love to Ben, Mom, and Tony.  www.MartaRymer.com

STEPHEN SHORE (Eamon) is thrilled to make his SpeakEasy debut!  Select NY Credits: Getting Married (Project Shaw); Smoke (T. Schreiber Theatre); and Romeo & Juliet (Barefoot Shakes).  Select regional credits: Treasure Island (Fulton); Oklahoma! (Roxy Regional); Million Dollar Quartet (Encore Musical); Taming of the Shrew (TX Shakes); Cymbeline (VA Shakes); Of Mice and Men (Cardinal Stage); The Legend of Jim Cullen (Heartwood Regional); and Much Ado About Nothing (GA Shakes). Proud graduate of the UNC School of the Arts (BFA). Stephen would like to thank his Mom, Nana, and Gracie for all their love and support. For Dad. www.StephenShore.com

JEFF SONG* (Bank Manager) makes his SpeakEasy debut with Once. Regional acting credits include work with Fresh Ink Theatre, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Wheelock Family Theatre, Company One, American Repertory Theater, and the WBUR storytelling podcast Circle Round.  Credits as Composer/Music Director/Musician include Vietgone (Studio Theatre) and The White Snake (Baltimore Center Stage).  Jeff is also a music and songwriting consultant for Imagination Stage.  He has appeared at numerous music festivals, and on over a dozen recordings.  In addition, his original music has been featured on radio, TV, and at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.  As bassist for Ute Lemper, Jeff performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival, L’Opéra de Vichy, and Palermo Festival Di Verdura.  A New England Foundation for the Arts grant recipient, Jeff holds an MM from the New England Conservatory of Music.

KATHY ST. GEORGE* (Baruska).  SpeakEasy:  VioletSignificant OtherXanaduJohnny GuitarRuthless!; and The Divine Sister [Elliot Norton Award]. Broadway credits:  two productions of Fiddler on the Roof, including the Tony Award-winning revival at the Gershwin Theatre, directed by Jerome Robbins. Off Broadway:  I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and six national tours. Local credits include: Peter Pan9 to 5 (North Shore Music Theatre); MameDear Miss GarlandThoroughly Modern Millie (Greater Boston Stage Company); GypsyFolliesLight Up The Sky (Lyric Stage Company); Showboat (Fiddlehead); Closer Than EverDas Barbecu [IRNE Award] (New Repertory Theatre); And Now… Miss Judy Garland [IRNE Award], Menopause The Musical, and more. BS, M.Ed. –  Salem State. www.kathystgeorge.com

ELLIE VAN AMERONGEN (Ex-Girlfriend) is incredibly excited to be back at SpeakEasy. She was previously seen in Fun Home as Medium Alison and in Men on Boats as Seneca Howland. Ellie graduated from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee in May where she studied Musical Theater with an emphasis in songwriting. You can find her music on SoundCloud or on YouTube. Ellie would like to thank her family, her teachers, and her girlfriend for their endless support. www.ellievanam.com


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