The 2013 Festival Guest Actors
To view artist biographies for 2014, visit our 2014 Season Page
Jon made his film-making debut as director and co-writer of the Lions Gate release Urbania. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Urbania made its international debut at the Toronto Film Festival and won Best Film &/or Best Actor at nine other film festivals. Urbania was named “Best Film of the Year” by Movieline, Box Office Magazine, and the Baltimore City Paper and “One of the Year’s Best Films” in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Time Out New York, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others.
A native of Brooklyn and the son of a bookie and FBI operative, Shear is a graduate of Harvard University, where he won the Harvard Prize for writing and the McDonnell Award for directing. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked primarily as an actor under the pseudonym Jon Matthews. (He follows a family tradition of using different names for each profession.)
His acting credits include, on film and TV, Independence Day, And the Band Played On, and Heathers. His extensive stage credits include, on Broadway: Runaways, Shimada, and Six Degrees of Separation and, in Los Angeles, the premiere of the Pulitzer-Prize winning Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. His acting roles have earned him three LA Dramalogue Awards and the San Diego Drama Critics Circle Award. Shear segued into directing by working for three years as a creative consultant and dialogue director on Nickelodeon’s Secret World of Alex Mack and The Journey of Allen Strange.
On stage he recently directed Jeremy Sisto in the premiere of Sanguine, produced by Noah Wyle, and co-wrote Young King Arthur, which had its acclaimed off-Broadway premiere at the Vital Theater Company and won the Children’s Theater Festival Award as best new musical. His current film projects include Pursuit of Pleasure, to be executive produced by Akiva Goldsman (the Academy Award winning A Beautiful Mind), and Brian Wilson, to be produced by Lawrence Inglee (the Academy Award nominated The Messenger).
Anne Gee just finished a run of Three Views of the Same Object at the Rogue Machine Theater. Before that, The Savanna Disputation at the Colony Theatre and before that she played Kate in All My Sons at the Matrix Theater for which she won a Drama Critics Circle award. Other recent stage work includes Breadcrumbs at Theater 150 in Ojai preceded by I Never Sang For My Father with The New American Theater Company and Autumn Garden with the Antaeus Company prior to that she was in the award winning production of Four Places at the Rogue Machine playing Peggy for which she received the Drama Critics award for best actress. She is known to LA theatre goers for appearances at the Mark Taper Forum, the Geffen Playhouse, the Pasadena Playhouse, L.A. Theater Works, the Odyssey, the Andak Stage Co. and her work with the Antaeus Theater Company. She has worked in many of the major repertory theatres across the country including South Coast Repertory, The Old Globe, San Diego, Seattle Rep, La Jolla, ACT, San Francisco, The American Shakespeare Festival , Connecticut, the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, the McCarter, Princeton, etc. She has also had a long television and film career most recently Law and Order L.A., The Mentalist, Medium, Southland and Monk. She was named best leading actress by the LA Weekly for her work as Mother Courage with the Antaeus Company.
Anne Gee Byrd is joining us again! Take a look at the 2014 Season Page for her updated biography!
Trent made his Broadway debut in The Herbal Bed and appeared Off Broadway in Maple and Vine at Playwright’s Horizon The Memorandum (Beckett), and Macbeth (SOHO Rep). Also in NYC, The Revival (IT Nomination), many works of Shakespeare with American Globe, and The Way of the World and Altitude Sickness with his own company, Blue Coat Rep.
Major regional credits include The Homecoming, Lady Windermere’s Fan, and Missalliance with Baltimore Center Stage; The School for Scandal at MacCarter Theatre, Beyond Therapy at Westport Country Playhouse, Cyrano at The Fulton Opera House, The Miser at Geva, and the title role in Pal Joey at the Prince Music Theatre.
Trent earned his BFA in Acting from the University of Colorado. His first few years after graduation were spent performing in nearly 20 productions of Shakespeare across the country with theatres like First Stage Milwaukee, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, and American Stage.
In television and film, Trent has appeared in The Good Wife, Homeland, Guiding Light, Men in Black III and he received three Emmy nominations for his role as Henry Coleman on As the World Turns.
Arye is a former Artistic Director of Stages Theatre Center in Hollywood, Ca, where between 2000 and 2003 he produced over 20 plays; new works and classics, musicals and pantomimes, including several Ovation, LADCC, Garland, LA WEEKLY and NAACP Theatre awards nominated/winning productions. During this time Arye also held an Adjunct Professorship at the University of Southern California, teaching acting in the School of Theater. From 1995 through 1998 he served as a member of the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild. Mr. Gross has been a professional actor for 30 years, regularly appearing in feature films, series television, Broadway, Regional, and Los Angeles area theatre, and is heard regularly on public radio across the country. He was an Associate Artistic Director of The Antaeus Company in Los Angeles and currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation of The Verdugos. A native Angelino, Arye studied at UC Irvine and received his training at South Coast Repertory Theatre. Arye was recently elected as a member of the National Board of Screen Actors Guild.
Don Michael Paul grew up in Laguna Beach, California. He attended California State University, Fullerton where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts. Don’s most known for his performance as Young Wright in the Kurt Russell, Kelly McGillis movie Winter People and Craig Bodi on the FOX TV series Models, Inc. Don began writing early in his career and soon he co-produced his original screenplay, Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man with Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson. Alongside his mentors and producing partners, Jere Henshaw and Stephen Cannell, Don gained valuable onset experience. From there, he’s gone on to act, write and direct in both mediums. His feature film directing career began with his screenplay Half Past Dead, which he made for Screen Gems and Clint Culpepper. His second film The Garden stars Lance Henriksen and Sean Young and premiered at “The Brussels International Film Festival” in March of 2006. Don loves working in the entertainment business and has several films in development, including a a kids superhero movie called Furious Five, a Border Patrol comedy, Gringos, and a teenage coming of age comedy entitled BoyToy.
is the winner of the George E. Oppenheimer/Newsday Award for Best New Play (Joined at the Head), the Kennedy Center-American Express award for Outstanding Promise as a Playwright, the Kaufman & Hart Award for Best New American Comedy (The Sleeper), and the Davie Award for Best New Play in Regional Theatre (Life in the Trees). Joined at the Head, in which she also starred at the Manhattan Theatre Club, has been produced regionally at the Pasadena Playhouse and Laguna Playhouse. It was nominated for a Drama Desk award for Outstanding New Play and an Obie Award. Her plays includeBrownstone, The Sleeper, Where the Truth Lies, Snowing at Delphi, Life in the Trees, Joined at the Head, and the one-act plays John’s Hand, Terrible Beauty and The Backflip.
She has been a writer and/or producer for many televsion shows including Grimm, Ghost Whisperer, Party of Five and Fame LA. She directed the film adaptation of her play John’s Hand. Catherine earned her BFA in acting from Southern Methodist University and has performed as an actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Long Wharf.
John is an actor, director and teacher. He is a master teacher of the commedia dell’Arte, which he studied under the late Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, and with whom he helped found the noted Dell’Arte School in Humboldt County.
LA stage: Synesthesia LA, 2012 (Athena/Bootleg), The Seagull, The Malcontent (Antaeus) The Capulets & Montagues (ANDAK),The Importance of Being Earnest (LA Women’s Shakespeare), The Arsonists (Odyssey), Golden State(Dell’Arte/24th Street), Fafalo! (Ziggurat), Master Class and The Wood Demon (Mark Taper), La Bête(Stages/John Anson Ford), Mercadet, Mysteries and Mayhem, and Norman Corwin’s The Plot to Overthrow Christmas (Antaeus Company), Bullshot Crummond, Footlight Frenzy (Low Moan Spectacular), plus productions at the Virginia Avenue Project, Powerhouse, Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, The Magic Theatre (S.F.).
Film: Almost Broadway, Born Yesterday, Book of Love, Night of the Comet, Beverly Hills Cop, The Incredible Shrinking Woman
TV: Talk Show With Spike Feresten, Days of Our Lives, McBride, Lazarus Man, Quantum Leap, Fresh Prince, Murphy Brown, Golden Girls, Newhart and the role of Don Kipper on the CBS sitcom Bailey Kipper’s P.O.V.
He has been seen in numerous commercials, and done voice work in many films.
John is also currently teaching various classes at Santa Monica Emeritus College and the Virginia Avenue Project. He is also a founding member of Studio Zanni, a commedia dell’Arte Company in Los Angeles. He has also taught acting and directed at University of Redlands, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Current projects include a documentary on the late Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, and the translation & adaptation of A Sensible Girl, a comedy written in 1692 by Jean de Palaprat for the Theatre Italien in Paris. He is a long-standing member of The Antaeus Company.
Stephanie just finished a successful run of the premiere of THE BELLFLOWER SESSIONS in LA at the Whitefire Theatre playing the twisted Dr. Wendy Bellflower. In LA, she has worked at Sierra Madre Playhouse (Lily in TWENTIETH CENTURY – Scenie Award for best Actress in a Comedy), The Open Fist (Judith in STAGE DOOR – nominated for LA WEEKLY for Best Ensemble, and others), The Actor’s Gang (MEDEA/MACBETH/CINDERELLA – LA Weekly Award- Best Ensemble, and others) , Circus Theatricals (MAN.GOVas Anne), Moving Arts (Car Plays – LEONARD’S VOICE by EM Lewis, and THE INCIDENT REPORT, also by EM Lewis which was also performed as a finalist in the Samuel French Playwriting Contest in NYC), Shakespeare LA (Beatrice in MUCH ADO), Interact Theatre, and more. In NY and the regions, she has performed with The Acting Company (ROMEO AND JULIET and TWO GENTS), and in such places as Arena Stage (Silvia in TWO GENTS), The Cleveland Playhouse (full season), Pittsburgh Public (Emilie in LES LIAISONS) , Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Shelby in STEEL MAGNOLIAS) , Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Utah Shakespearean Festival (Elvira in BLITHE SPIRIT), Dallas Shakespeare Festival, etc, and not necessarily in that order!
On TV, Stephanie has performed in recurring roles on TRUE BLOOD(Luellen) , WEEDS (Mags), 24 (Sue), FREAKS AND GEEKS (Ms Yeats) and ELLEN (Denise) as well as over fifty guest stars on shows such as THE MENTALIST, BONES, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, TWO AND A HALF MEN, PARKS AND REC, NUMB3RS, and HOUSE, to name a few. Film credits include Peter Weir’s FEARLESS, Gore Verbinski’s THE RING, Nora Ephron’s LUCKY NUMBERS, and Verhoeven’s STARSHIP TROOPERS. She thanks her babies Arthur and Stephanie for letting her out to play on occasion. And she thanks EM Lewis for great writing. www.stephanieerb.com.
Joseph Bottoms made his first appearance in the birthing theatre of the former St. Francis Hospital on the Riviera of Santa Barbara in 1954, much to the delight of his mother Elizabeth. Equally entertained was the attending doctor, Thomas Paul, who years later would appear as Joseph’s father in a production of THE FANTASTICKS at The Biltmore’s Coral Casino Club in Santa Barbara.
His local theatrical roots were established on the respective stages of Roosevelt Elementary School, Santa Barbara Junior High School, and Santa Barbara Senior High School. He participated in various musical and play productions of the local Youth Theatre Productions over five consecutive seasons. In 1971, as a junior at SBHS, Joseph was cast as George Willard in the west coast premiere of Sherwood Anderson’s WINESBERG, OHIO at the school’s new Santa Barbara Performing Arts Center. He joined Eva Marie Saint, James Broderick and Louis Gossett, Jr. The high school production was the fourth production in a series that combined professional and amateur talents. The first of its kind in the United States. In 1973 he was asked to recreate his role for a televised production of the play on KCET with Jean Peters, Albert Salmi and William Windom.
In 1981, Joseph made his broadway debut as Kenneth Talley, Jr. in Lanford Wison’s pulitzer prize winning, FIFTH OF JULY. His debut to summer stock theatre was at Westport Country Playhouse in a production of A. R. Gurney’s THE MIDDLE AGES, as Barney Rusher.
Joseph has also appeared in over 50 productions of various motion picture and television productions. He won a Golden Globe Award for his motion picture debut as Robin Lee Graham in THE DOVE. Some of his combined credits include; FAMILY, UNWED FATHER, HOLOCAUST, THE BLACK HOLE, MURDER SHE WROTE, RETURN ENGAGEMENT, CELEBRITY, SANTA BARBARA, PROFILER, THE NET.
Additionally, Joseph has appeared in numerous theatrical and filmed productions with his talented brothers, Tim, Sam and Ben.
He is proudest of his daughters, Katherine Mary and Elizabeth Anne, and the full-time home they have created together over the last 8 years. ” It is with your encouragement that I now take this time to return to my gift and passion. Thank you! “
This Santa Barbara native considers it a privilege to participate in the inaugural PlayFest Santa Barbara, and challenges the already amazing, and ever growing, local theatrical community to support this remarkable event on the campus of Santa Barbara City College.
Mitchell. is an award-winning actor, director, and teacher, and current Chair of the Westmont College Theatre Arts department. Recent acting projects include Indy award winning performances as Gustav in the Ensemble Theatre production of Strindberg’s Creditors and the Troll King in Lit Moon’s production of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Mitchell also just concluded a year long run of Wallace Shawn’s Obie award winning one-person play, The Fever, which included performances in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and London. Other recent credits include playing the title role in the world premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s Nils Holgersson and the Wild Geese with the Lit Moon Theatre Company, and being chosen to be the first-ever artist in residence with the Ensemble theatre company of Santa Barbara, where he worked as resident actor and associate producer. Other acting credits include Our Town with the Santa Barbara Theatre, the Memory of Water opposite Stephanie Zimbalist with the Ensemble Theatre Company, Othello/Measure4Measure directed by Lilia Abedjieva of the Bulgarian National Theatre, and Queen C and Richard II (Indy Award, performance) with the Lit Moon Theatre Company, and performances at South Coast Repertory Theatre, A Noise Within, the Pasadena Playhouse, Circle X, Blank Theatre Company, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Idaho Repertory Theatre, Interplayers, and PCPA Theaterfest.
Mitchell was the winner of the 2008 Arlin G. Meyer Prize for his direction of Erik Ehn’s The Saint Plays. Mitchell also received a 2010 Indy Award for his direction of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano at Westmont. Mitchell specializes in devised theatre and working with playwrights to develop new work. Since 2005, Mitchell has created or commissioned over 25 original full-length and short works, including Ablaze, Big Tent Love, Rogue, The Car Play Project, The Earthquake Predictor Rides the Bus, Don’t Be Fooled by Me, Fortune’s Fool: stop the violence or I’ll kill you, Muéveme. Muévete., GLIMPSE: beyond, and Celluloid. He was also proud to produce a co-production of Tim Crouch’s devastating play, England, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where he has also directed and produced staged readings and alternative programming.
Mitchell received his M.F.A. from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington, and is grateful to call Santa Barbara home, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and his three daughters, Madeleine, Zoe, and Gwyneth.
Maria is a second-year student at Santa Barbara City College pursing a degree in Theatre Arts. She has been studying theatre since high school and has experience in acting, technical theatre, and choreographing. Currently, she works in the Scene Shop at SBCC where she helps build and paint sets for productions at the college. You may have seen Maria in the City College productions of Trojan Barbie and August: Osage County. In March, you can see her in a production of Circle Mirror Transformation put on by DramaDogs, a Theater Company.
E. Bonnie has experienced a broad and varied background in the performing arts and education for over 30 years. Her love of dance led her to study, and eventually teach in the High Schools, Modern Dance and Improvisation. Theater also beckoned and E. Bonnie expanded her studies and experiences to include participation in South Coast Reps Acting Conservatory, workshops in Commedia Del Arte in Paris, France and the opportunity to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
In Santa Barbara, E. Bonnie has been active in the theatre and dance communities. She has been the recipient of an Artist in Residence grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, a California Arts Council, A-I-R, grant, and an Organizational Development Grant. She has collaborated with SBCC in their recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and created many artistic alliances with local performing arts companies, all of which enabled E. Bonnie and DramaDogs to create and educate through theater, dance, and the performing arts.
Ken Gilbert, MA, is a Theater Artist and Somatic Educator. Ken received his MA in Dramatic Arts at U.C. Davis. During a seventeen-year hiatus from theatre, Ken pursued and developed his teaching style and capabilities. Currently with DramaDogs, a Theater Company, along with E. Bonnie Lewis, he co-founded DramaDogs in 1999, formerly Slightly Askew Players. He is a physical-based actor/director in the theater; directing and performing; having directed Joyce Carol Oates’ “I Stand Before You Naked” which received a ‘Garland’ from Backstage West citing the production as “bold, innovative theatre,” filled with “strong, compelling performances.” Ken acted, produced and co-directed “Taut Wires: three by Lanford Wilson” which garnered him an Independent Theatre Award for his performance.
Ken is known for his ingenuity in integrating material from various fields and creating dynamic presentations and sentient experiences; pursuing issues with depth and vision, he revels in the art of collaboration. Theater and teaching provide him finding new ways to understand himself and the people in his life.