For Oak Park Festival Theatre Belinda has seen both sides of the stage as an actor and director. As an Actor: Maudie Atkinson in To Kill a Mockingbird, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, and The Chorus in Henry V. As a Director: Dancing at Lughnasa, Of Mice and Men(Jeff Nominated), Richard III, Faith Healer, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Jeff NOMINATED), as well as her own works, Mrs. Coney, Midwinter’s Tales and the WVOP radio programs Hound of the Baskervilles and The Picture of Dorian Gray
She is a former OPFT Board member and Board Co-Chair. A Jeff winning actor/director/playwright/teacher and co-founder of ShawChicagowhere she appeared in scores of productions, Bremner has worked with such theatres as Northlight, Court, Victory Gardens, Bailiwick, St. Nicholas, Stories on Stage and was a founding Body Politic Ensemble member. For more than 20 years she taught in the Theatre Conservatory of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
This season he is appearing in HAMLET ( Bernardo/Gravedigger), and the IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Jack). John was seen last year on the OPFT stage as Sir Andrew in Lavina Jawdhwani’s Twelth Night, and he is honored to return this year. John received his MFA in Acting from the Theater School at DePaul University. John has appeared in several independent films (the Dark Hunger, Citizen in the Temple, the Orders, Goldie), television shows (Double Cross, I Almost Got Away With it) and theater productions (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Collaboration, American Blues Theater) since graduating. John is an Improvisor and has performed locally with his long form troupe The Regulars and in Northern California where he was a company member of ComedySportz Sacramento.
Mary Michell has worked with OPTF since 2008, when she appeared as Kate in our acclaimed production of Dancing at Lughnasa, directed by Belinda Bremner, Since then, OPTF audiences have seen her in 2011’s Faith Healer, also directed by Ms Bremner and last season’s Seascape by Edward Albee. Mary has been performing with ShawChicago since 1999, when she played Mrs. Erlynne in Lady Windemere’s Fan. Since then, she’s appeared in many of Shaw’s plays, including Major Barbara, the Doctor’s Dilemma, Pygmalion, The Millionairess and Man and Superman. For the Shakespeare Project of Chicago, she has played Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the Duckess of Gloucester in Richard II. .Other local credits include work with Chicago Dramatists, Illinois Theatre Center, Drury Lane, The Harper Theatre, The Ivanhoe Theatre, and the Academy Playhouse. Regional theatre credits include What the Butler Saw at Arena Stage in Washington D.C.; A Man for All Seasons and Bedtime Story at Mummers Theatre in Oklahoma City; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at Actors Theatre of Louisville; and Butterflies are Free at Cherry County Playhouse. At Ravinia, Mary performed the narration to Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to a Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Chicago Symphony.
Mark Richard is happy to join OPFT as an artistic associate. Past productions with OPFT include Richard III, Beyond the Fringe, and Betrayal, in which he appeared, and last summer’s production of Amadeus, which he directed.
In Chicago he was seen most recently in Shaw’s St. Joan with Shaw Chicago, where he has also appeared in Widowers’ Houses and Androcles and the Lion. Elsewhere in Chicago he has worked with Timeline Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Remy Bumppo, Steppenwolf, Writers’ Theatre, Theatre Mir, About Face, Live Bait, Lifeline, City Lit, and Commons Theatre.
He served as City Lit Theater’s artistic director for seven years, where he adapted and/or directed works by Toni Cade Bambara, Donald Barthelme, Martha Bergland, Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Laurie Colwin, John Clellon Holmes, Kafka, Garrison Keillor, W.P. Kinsella, W. Somerset Maugham, Frank O’Connor, Damon Runyon, Saki, James Stephens, John Updike, W.D. Wetherell, Edith Wharton, P.G. Wodehouse, and others. He is currently an artistic associate at TimeLine Theatre. He studied at Northwestern University and in London. He is the recipient of one “Jeff” Citation for performance and two for new work/adaptation.
Lavina is thrilled to join the Oak Park Festival Theatre family, where she has directed Hamlet and Twelfth Night. Other recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Rasaka Theatre Company), Cherry Smoke (the side project), Love’s Labour’s Lost and Assassins (The Theatre School at DePaul University). Lavina has received the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship, an SDCF Observership, and an LMDA Residency Award for MERCHANT ON VENICE at Silk Road Rising, where she is an Artistic Associate. Proud graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Currently pursuing an MFA in Directing from DePaul. Lavina was recently named Time Out Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director.”www.lavinajadhwani.com
An Oak Park resident since 1992, Tony’s relationship with OPFT began with the 1996 production of HAMLET in which he played both Polonius and The First Grave Digger. In 1997 he played Leonato in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. 2001 saw Tony as Baptista in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. Most recently, Tony was Lord Stanley in the 2012 production of RICHARD III. In addition to his Austin Gardens appearances, Tony has also performed in the annual OPFT and PREVAIL (and its previous incarnation) 9 holiday benefits of MRS. CONEY and MIDWINTER’S TALES. He performed as a part of OPFT “Radio Acting Company” in its inaugural performance of HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and assayed the role of Oscar Wilde (as narrator) in THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. Last Fall, Tony appeared in Edgar Allan Poe’s TALES OF TERROR. A former costume designer and long-time jewelry designer, Tony’s creations have graced numerous OPFT fundraisers. Tony appears regularly with The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. Chicago acting credits include productions with The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, First Folio Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Illinois Theatre Center, Marriot Lincolnshire, Northlight, National Jewish Theatre and more than thirty productions with Shaw Chicago. Regional credits include Madison Rep (WI); Boars Head Theatre, Jewish Ensemble Theatre and Meadow Brook Theatre (MI). Tony has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1989.
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MAJOR DONORS AND SPONSORS
Oak Park Area Arts Council • Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest • Village of Oak Park • Park District of Oak Park • Austin Trust • Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation • Richard H. Driehaus Foundation • Illinois Arts Council • Chicago Saints • Lois Ebinger Charitable Fund