LabWorks 2021 Cast
Derek Lynch (Director, Nine December)
Derek has been involved with the Pittsburgh New Works Festival in various capacities in the past as a playwright, actor, producer, and director. He is happy to expand the interest in theatrical endeavors to as many people who may have even a passing interest as possible. He has designs on world domination but doesn't want that getting out there, so please keep it on the down low.
Ashley Grese (Richard, Nine December)
Ashley Grese (Richard) is delighted to be making her debut with The Jesters' Guild in her first on-stage production. She studied acting with Donna Perkins at CCAC where she performed in an interactive showcase, "An Evening of Ephemeral Theatre." She has a BA in English from California University of Pennsylvania and is a volunteer English language tutor for Literacy Pittsburgh.
Emily Stokoski (Jack, Nine December)
Emily is excited to make her New Works Festival debut with The Jesters' Guild. She is a classically trained dancer and has enjoyed performing throughout her life. She recently transitioned to acting and has loved her training through Donna Belajac Casting Studio. When not acting or dancing, she works as a mental health counselor.
Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre (Director, The Room of Truth)
Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre (Director) is pleased to be back for a third year directing in the Labworks program! She most recently directed Zoom theatre productions of The Dragon and The Importance of Being Earnest: a trivial comedy for serious people in a pandemic; both for Ashcat Theatre in cooperation with the Dept. of Arts and Humanities at Robert Morris University. She regularly performs with the Dinner Detective at Pittsburgh’s Omni Penn. Barbara has directed for Split Stage, Iron Horse, and Bobcat Players, among others. Barbara is an associate professor in Theatre and English at RMU and holds an M.F.A in Directing from Illinois State University. Favorite productions include Assassins, Titanic, Amadeus, Balm in Gilead, and Love’s Labours Lost. Thanks to Jack, Bennett, and Johnna for everything.
Jack Lefebvre (Angelo, The Room of Truth)
Jack Lefebvre (Angelo) earned a BFA in Performance Studies from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and has appeared locally in productions with the Colonial Theatre of Robert Morris University, The Bobcat Players, Iron Horse, Comtra, and R-Act Theatre. Jack is a founding ensemble member of the Ashcat Theatre Company. He is the Brand Content Director for Chekout Services in NYC. This is his first production with PNWF.
EmmaKate Angelo (Alex, The Room of Truth)
EmmaKate Angelo (Alex) is excited to make her debut with Ashcat Theatre. Some favorite credits include Scuttle in The Little Mermaid with Stage Right Professional Theatre Company, Pepper in Annie with the State Theatre, and Morticia in her High School's production of The Addams Family. She is a student at Greensburg Central Catholic and trains with Stage Right School of Performing Arts.
Michael Church (John, The Room of Truth)
Michael Church (John) is delighted to return to the stage with Ashcat Theatre after the last year away. He has most recently appeared as Bill Ray in On Golden Pond at the Iron Horse Theatre, Stan Up in The Up & Down Detective Agency at the Red Barn Theatre, and Fred Gailey in Miracle on 34th Street at the Comtra Theatre. He thanks Barbara for the opportunity to return to the stage, the rest of the cast and crew, and his fiance, Cory, for his constant support and encouragement to seek out the stage.
Frances Chao (Camille, The Room of Truth)
Frances Chao (Camille) is thrilled to be making her debut with Ashcat Theatre and performing in the Pittsburgh New Works Festival for the first time. She recently appeared in the short film "Succhialo" for the Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project. Later this month she will begin filming the web series, Pittsburgh SOAPranos. When she is not acting, she enjoys traveling, working on her vegetable garden, and watching lots of stand-up.
Frederick Coleman (Gift Card Dealer, The Room of Truth)
Frederick Coleman (Gift Card Dealer) is delighted to be making his debut with Ashcat Theater Company. He is excited for his first live performance on a Pittsburgh stage, previously performing virtually in A Christmas Carol as Nephew Fred and as Technical Director for Clue with Riverfront Theater Company. Other acting and directorial credits include numerous plays at Franklin University Switzerland where he graduated in 2019.
Amy Ellefson (Director, Complicated Equations)
Amy is honored to represent Iron Horse Theatre Company at the 30th season of PNWF! A graduate of Edinboro University or Pennsylvania, her theatre habit is supported by her primary gig as Registered Nurse Care Manager at UPMC Health Plan. In addition directing Complicated Equations for LabWorks, Amy is rehearsing for her role as Pam Webster in the new play “12-52 The Mike Webster Story” which opens in September (Iron Horse Theatre Company). Her favorite recent theater activities include assistant director The Whipping Man (Iron Horse Theatre) Veta Louise, Harvey ( Iron Horse Theatre ) Vivian, Wit (Iron Horse Theatre), Sarah, Columbus Day (Pittsburgh New Works Festival), Petunia Clark,Drift (BA Creators 48-hr film project),Frankie, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Iron Horse Theatre).
Michele Morris-Donner (Assistant Director/Producer, Complicated Equations)
Michele Donner(assistant director/producer) is a veteran stage actor and more recently independent films actor, trying on a new hat with the help and encouragement of the Iron Horse Theatre, where she serves on the board. Check out the shenanigans at ironhorsetheatrecompany.com
Johnna A. Pro (Woman with Casserole, Complicated Equations)
Johnna A. Pro (Woman with Casserole) is making her New Works debut with Iron Horse Theatre Company. She is a former Pittsburgh media personality known for her work as a journalist, TV pundit, and radio host. She now enjoys a second career with Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. Johnna has stage credits with Little Lake Theatre, Off the Record, Greensburg Civic Theatre, McKeesport Little Theater, Old Schoolhouse Players, Baldwin Players, and Veronica’s Veil Players. She appears regularly as Mama DeMedio in Top of Line Entertainment’s interactive show, “Arrivederci Al: Dinner with the Godfather.” On film, she most recently appeared in “Love the Coopers.” In 2020, Johnna's portrayal of Sarah Bernhardt won the adult monologue competition in Prime Stage's "15 Minutes of Fame."
Jeremy Ernstoff (Frat Boy, Complicated Equations)
Jeremy Ernstoff is excited to make to participate in his first run in the PNWF. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, he performed in Mamma Mia at Comtra Theatre, The Drowsy Chaperone at Little Lake Theatre, and The Whipping Man at Iron Horse Theatre. He also participated in The Dinner Detective in Pittsburgh as a cast member. He is currently working towards his degree in Fiction Writing. While not working in IT, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, and enjoys a board game here and there.
Linda Haston (Director, He. She. Us. Them.)
Linda Haston, – (Director) is an Actors’ Equity performer, and teaching artist. She has performed/directed in New York and locally with City, Public, Quantum, PICT, Prime Stage and Off the Wall Theatres. In 2018 she performed her one woman show Mother Lode, on Off-Broadway in New York. She has directed for several season with Off the Wall Theatre Productions. Most currently she directed the production Sojourner Truth for Prime Stage Theatre. She has been an adjunct theater professor at Point Park Conservatory Theatre and University of Pittsburgh. She is the Education Director & Teaching Artist for Prime Stage Theatre, which includes her overseeing the Teacher’s Advisory Council and Literacy in ACTion Program. This is her proud fifth show, HE.SHE.US.THEM directing in PNWF representing Prime Stage.
Wayne Brinda, Ed. D. (Producing Artistic Director, He. She. Us. Them.)
Wayne is Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of Prime Stage where he directed Twelve Angry Men, I Never Saw Another Butterfly and The Terezin Promise, and the premiere of The Giver. He is Associate Professor of Secondary Education at Pitt Bradford where he teaches and conducts research on adolescent literacy. Prior to Pitt, he was Director of Playhouse Jr., Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Duquesne University, and Director of the Theatre Department at Sewickley Academy. As a Museum Teaching Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, Wayne produces Holocaust theatre productions and conducts presentations to teach the Holocaust. Locally, he has directed for Apple Hill Playhouse, Little Lake Theatre, Red Barn Theatre in Allison Park, and South Park Theatre.
Sofia Serge (Eden, He. She. Us. Them.)
Sofia is seventeen years old and a senior at Greater Latrobe School District. Sofia is very excited to be a part of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival this year. Sofia has been doing theatre for about five years now and she recently began acting for TV and Film. She is also treasurer of her school’s drama club and a part of the International Thespian Society. In her free time, Sofia loves to play the piano, rollerblade and write. Sofia also wrote “The Room of Truth”, which is being performed in the Pittsburgh New Works Festival as a Labworks Production. Sofia would like to thank her family and friends for their continuous support, the cast and crew, and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival for this opportunity.
Pharaoh Amenrah Imhotep (Jake, He. She. Us. Them.)
Pharaoh is making their acting debut with PNWF! A student at Donna Belegac Acting and Casting.
Erin J. Fulton (Director, The High Ground)
Erin J Fulton (Director) is pleased to represent The Summer Company. She has been seen on the stage with the Duquesne Red Masquers in Dames at Sea and Savage Lands, in addition to The Summer Company's renditions of American Idiot and Heathers: The Musical. She has been on the production team of numerous Red Masquer 'Play in a Day' productions & has directed 'One Acts for Charity'. She received her BA in Integrated Marketing Communication & Theater Arts in 2020 from Duquesne University. Erin is a fulltime stained glass artist & small business owner of Flora & Fringe Artisan. You can view her original handcrafted creations at florafringeartisan.com
Travis Barkefelt (Stage Manager, The High Ground)
Travis Barkefelt is excited to make his debut with The Summer Company as stage manager for The High Ground. Travis previously has served a number of roles both on and off stage for the Duquesne University Red Masquers having experience as a writer, actor, board operator and run crew member, as well as having leadership positions as President and Vice President on the organization’s Executive Board.
Sarah Deasy (Hillary, The High Ground)
Sarah Deasy (Hillary) an art school drop out, Sarah is thrilled to be back in front of a live audience. Other highlights of her illustrious theatre experiment include; 4D Productions, Pittsburgh New Works Reading Series, Throughline Theatre Company, The Theatre Factory, Gemini Children's Theatre, and The Summer Company. When Sarah’s not acting she can be found in Yoga class, trying to do handstands, or at a coffee shop, trying to write a novel. Thanks to Erin, Travis, and Connor for making this whole experience awesome.
Connor McNelis (Simon, The High Ground)
Connor was most recently on stage at Little Lake Theatre as Robbie in Bloomsday. Other credits include Tagged (awarded Best Labworks Production) by Split Stage Productions with the 2018 Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Prime Stage Theatre’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Titus Andronicus with Cup-a-Jo Productions, Spring Awakening with Comtra Theatre, and Steel with Pittsburgh CLO. His film work includes the short films “A Funny Man”, which he co-wrote and produced, his LGBTQ-film and directorial debut “Santorum”, and his role in the Best Film winner of Pittsburgh’s 48 Hour Film Project for 2021, “The Young One-Two”. connormcnelis.com