NATIONAL AND LOCAL ACTORS ANNOUNCED AS CAST MEMBERS IN “THE 24 HOUR PLAYS” ON MARCH 26 AT THE PANTAGES THEATRE

February 21, 2018

Cast includes stars of stage and screen JOEL McKINNON MILLER, CHASE MASTERSON and MICHAEL GRUBER

MINNEAPOLIS—Hennepin Theatre Trust and University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) School of Fine Arts have announced casting for the second annual performance of THE 24 HOUR PLAYS® on Monday, March 26 at 8 p.m. at the historic Pantages Theatre (710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis).

The evening will feature stars of stage and screen, as well as the hottest theatrical talent in the Twin Cities. Minnesota native Joel McKinnon Miller is best known for his role as Detective Norman Scully on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Don Emby on Big Love. Chase Masterson starred as Leeta on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Broadway veteran Michael Gruber, from countless Broadway shows including Cats, A Chorus Line and Kiss Me, Kate also joins the cast.

Returning to THE 24 HOUR PLAYS are Twin Cities favorites including Tyler Michaels, Warren Bowles, Serena Brook, Tony Vierling and Kasano Mwanza. New cast members include Stephen Yoakam, Jeremy B. Cohen, Betti Battocletti and Dan Piering.

This unique and engaging theatrical experience brings together the extraordinary talent of locally and nationally known artists to create and perform six brand-new theatrical works within 24 hours with proceeds supporting programs for young up-and-coming musical theatre talent in Minnesota.

Tickets are $35.00 each.  A limited number of VIP packages are available for $75 which includes premium seating and admission to the pre-show VIP reception with food, drink and entertainment. A limited number of VIP packages are available for $100 which include all of the above and admission to the post-show cast party. All pricing includes a Building Restoration Fee of $4.00

Tickets are on sale now at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis), by calling (800) 982-2787 or by clicking to HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

On Sunday, March 25, the actors, writers and director meet in the evening to present props, ideas and inspirations. When the actors and directors leave for the night, the writers cast the actors and write all night to create six new plays. On Monday, March 26, the directors arrive at the theater in the morning to select their play. The actors arrive, find out their roles and rehearsals begin. Following a short technical run-through in the afternoon, the curtain rises at 8 p.m. for an evening of unique, theatrical performances.

THE 24 HOURS PLAYS is non-profit production based in New York City that raises millions of dollar for charities worldwide for more than 20 years. Mark Armstrong, executive director, is a UMD alum and scholarship recipient who believes that this support was critical to his career in professional theater.

Proceeds from THE 24 HOUR PLAYS support Spotlight Education, the Trust’s flagship education program that engages Minnesota high schools in the performing arts, and scholarships for students enrolled in the UMD Theatre program.

The Minneapolis performance of The 24 Hour Plays is made possible by Hilton Hotels, United Properties and Sherman Associates.

Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

Headshots available at bit.ly/24HRPlays2018

About Hennepin Theatre Trust
Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit organization that creates positive change through the arts by bringing together people, businesses and organizations in WeDo™, the West Downtown MPLS Cultural District, to create and enjoy cultural experiences. We want everyone who comes to WeDo to have a unique experience. Our historic theatres – the Orpheum, State and Pantages – light up Hennepin Avenue with the best of Broadway and world-class entertainment. Our Spotlight Education program inspires high school students through musical theatre. Beyond our theatre doors, we connect people to unexpected arts and cultural experiences like the iconic Bob Dylan mural and our art-in-underused spaces project, Made Here. Our collaborations with businesses, artists, local officials and other arts and culture organizations bring a wide range of quality activities and entertainment to downtown. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

 About UMD School of Fine Arts (Department of Theatre)
UMD’s Department of Theatre, providing academic and professional training in the theatre arts, is housed in the Marshall Performing Arts Center (MPAC), which includes a 550-seat flexible thrust/proscenium theatre, a black-box experimental theatre, fully equipped scenic and costume shops, computerized lighting control, digital and analog audio playback stations and studio space for acting, dance and design. The Department of Theatre offers two majors: a Theatre Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Theatre Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). In addition, we offer minors in dance, theatre and film studies. Throughout the year, UMD Theatre offers a variety of shows for the public.

About The 24 Hour Plays
The 24 Hour Plays® bring together extraordinary artists to create time-limited theater around the world. In addition to The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and The 24 Hour Musicals in New York City, regular events take place in London, Los Angeles, Dublin, Germany, Athens, Helsinki, Mexico City and Florence. Through collaborations with organizations including The Old Vic Theatre, Dublin Youth Theatre, Urban Arts Partnership, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Orchard Project, Bennington College and The Del Sole Foundation, The 24 Hour Company’s productions have raised millions of dollars for charities.

 

CAST BIOGRAPHIES

JOEL MCKINNON MILLER  A native of Minnesota, Joel McKinnon Miller had his first experiences as an actor in high school. He then went on to study opera and theatre at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After college, Joel was invited to join John Houseman’s The Acting Company, a classical theatre touring company based in New York City.

For three years, he toured the U.S. performing in plays which included The Skin of Our Teeth, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, A New Way to Pay Old Debts and the world premiere of Orchards, a collection of seven Chekhov short stories adapted into one-act plays by American playwrights John Guare, Spalding Gray, David Mamet, Michael Weller, Wendy Wasserstein, Samm-Art Williams and Cuban playwright Maria Irene Fornes. After touring, he continued to work off-Broadway at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, Classical Stage Company, Theatre for a New Audience and in regional theatres which included the Hartford Stage Company and the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C.

Joel moved to Los Angeles in 1991 and made his television debut on (the #1 rated show at that time), Murphy Brown. He has numerous television and film appearances to his credit, including – Everybody Loves Raymond, Cold Case, American Horror Story, Workaholics, Bones. Features – The Truman Show, Friday After Next, The Family Man as well as Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams.

In December 2010, Joel completed filming his fifth and final season on the HBO series Big Love.

Currently he can be seen playing the role of Detective Scully on the hit FOX comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

CHASE MASTERSON  Chase Masterson is best known for 5 years as Leeta on Star Trek DS9 and has the title role of the Doctor Who Big Finish audio spin-off VIENNA, currently in Season Four. Beginning with her first job, directed by Mel Brooks in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Chase’s list of film leads and TV Guest Stars includes starring opposite Bruce Campbell in SyFy’s Terminal Invasion, hosting Sunday Night at the Movies with Ryan Seacrest, playing opposite Jerry O’Connell in Sliders, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, General Hospital, the Emmy-winning episode of ER, and a lead in eOne’s critically acclaimed film noir, Yesterday Was a Lie, which she also produced. She was most recently seen on The Flash.

Theatre roles include leads in Cabaret, Quilters, Woyzeck, The Relapse, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anything Goes, The Fantasticks, The Boyfriend, Murderers Anonymous and Apostrophe 68.

Chase received her BFA in Acting from the University of Texas at Austin.

Chase is the Founder of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, the 1st organization to use stories from theatre, TV, comics and film to work against bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQIA-bullying and cyberbullying. The Coalition works in schools and pop culture cons; Chase serves on the Advisory Board for the United Nations Association, San Diego Chapter, for her work in this field.

Chase is grateful for her lifelong mentorship by UMD’s Ann Bergeron, without whom none of this would have been possible, truly.

MICHAEL GRUBER  Broadway: original companies of Miss Saigon, Swing!, Stairway to Paradise, Jackie Mason’s Laughing Room Only, and My Favorite Year, both Bill and Hortensio in Kiss Me, Kate!, the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz, Munkustrap in Cats, Mike in the final cast of A Chorus Line as well as Greg and Zach in the 2008 revival. Mr. Gruber also performed the role of Munkustrap in the movie of Cats, filmed at the Adephi Theater in London. Over the past 23 years, he has starred in over 50 regional productions. Notable roles include: Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and Gould in Grey Gardens (Ordway Center) Don Hewes in the world premier of Easter Parade (Chanhassen) both Phil Davis (Wang Center, Boston) and Bob Wallace (5th Ave. Theater, Seattle) in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Young Ben in the highly acclaimed production of Follies (Paper Mill Playhouse) Stanley Donan in the world premier of What A Glorious Feeling (Mason Street Warehouse) Harold Hill in The Music Man (Seattle Opera-conducted by Marvin Hamlisch) Wizzer in Falsettos (Alliance Theater, Atlanta) Joseph in Joseph…Dreamcoat (Alaska Opera) and both Riff and Tony in national and European tours of West Side Story. He also created the role of Tom Marlowe in the revival version of Good News (Music Theater of Wichita) Cast recording include: 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain, Wonderful Town, Good News, Swing!, Follies, The Most Happy Fella, My Favorite Year and The Music Man.

 TYLER MICHAELS  Tyler Michaels is a Twin Cities based performer, director, and improviser, and is the Artistic Director and Founder of Trademark Theater. He has worked and played with the Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theater Company, Hennepin Theater Trust, Theater Latte Da, History Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Illusion Theater, and Flying Foot Forum as well as many others. Tyler has also created shows with Live Action Set, 7th House Theater, and many projects for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He holds the 2014 Emerging Artist Ivey Award and the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Performance from the Kennedy Center National ACT Festival. Tyler is also a founding member of Bearded Men Improv. Tylermichaels.com

 WARREN C. BOWLES  Warren C. Bowles has experience as an actor, director, fight choreographer, and playwright at Mixed Blood Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, 10,000 Things Theater, A Contemporary Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Black Theater Alliance (NYC), American Players’ Theater, Park Square Theatre, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, San Diego Public Theatre, Interact Theater, and others across the country. His degrees come from the Universities of Minnesota and Notre Dame with studies at Universit Catholique de lâ Ouest. He recieved a 2005 McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists, in 2004 mayor R. T. Rybak proclaimed a “Warren Caesar Bowles Day” in Minneapolis, and in 2013 he was named a Local Legend at the annual MLK breakfast.

SERENA BROOK  Serena Brook’s voice can be heard on the nationally broadcast program as a member of the Radio Acting Company on Live from Here with Chris Thile (formerly A Prairie Home Companion). Originally from Eagan, Serena has performed Off-Broadway, on the National Tour circuit and on stage in the Twin Cities at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio and Chanhassen Dinner Theaters. Serena is psyched for another 24 Hour Play festival in Minneapolis, and is ready to get her adrenaline on. www.serenabrook.com

TONY VIERLING  Tony Vierling is a Minneapolis based actor, singer, dancer, as well as a choreographer and teacher. His Off-Broadway and National touring credits include WE THE PEOPLE at the Lucille Lortell, and the National Tours of A CHORUS LINE and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE MUSICAL. Regionally he has worked at The Papermill Playhouse NJ, TUTS Houston, Kansas City Starlight, Odyssey Theater Ensemble LA, Kentucky Opera, New Orleans Opera, Minnesota Opera, Ordway Center, and the Guthrie Theater. He has taught numerous workshops, summer camps, master classes, and choreographed at U of Minnesota, Mankato State, Concordia, and University of Tampa. LA credits include Disney and Holland America Cruises. He has been a proud member of Actor’s Equity for 32 years. Having appeared in over 40 productions at the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, he can currently be seen in their production of Disney’s NEWSIES. 

KASANO MWANZA  Kasano Mwanza – Take some funk & soul, rhythm & blues, stage theatre & dance, a tablespoon of life, mix them all together and you’ve got KASANO. He’s a singer, songwriter, recording artist, dancer, and an actor born in Lusaka, Zambia and raised in Minnesota.

Kasano has been seen on stages in and around the Twin Cities, performing as a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and dancing for a number of local dance companies in the Minneapolis area. He finished playing Teen Angel in Grease, and TJ in Sister Act at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. You can catch him playing Mush in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ production of NEWSIES!

STEPHEN YOAKAM  Stephen Yoakam is a longtime member of the Twin Cities theater community. He is a founding member of the Mixed Blood Theater appearing in over 30 productions, and has performed in over 75 productions at the Guthrie Theater, most recently as King Lear. He recently appeared in The Nether at the Jungle Theater.  Other work includes performances at The Goodman Theater, Arena Stage, The Minnesota Orchestra and many projects at The Playwrights Center.

JEREMY B. COHEN  Jeremy B. Cohen is in his eighth season as the Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center, having previously served as Associate Artistic Director/Director of New Play Development at Hartford Stage from 2003 to 2010, where he also directed several premieres. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of Naked Eye Theater Company in Chicago. Other Regional/NYC directing credits include productions at: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Alliance, Centerstage, Dorset Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Goodman, Kansas City Rep, McCarter, Mixed Blood, New Victory, Olney Theatre, Open Fist, Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Royal George, Steppenwolf Theatre, Theater J, Theater Latte Da, Victory Gardens, and Workhaus Collective; workshops at O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, New York Stage & Film, Pasadena Playhouse, Denver Center, New Harmony, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and Woolly Mammoth. As Founding Artistic Director of Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago, Cohen developed/directed more than 15 plays, including several premieres. He has received numerous directing awards, an NEA/TCG Directors Fellowship, and a Northwestern University grant for his play 12 VOLT HEART. His Off-Broadway production (The Duke on 42nd Street) of a new musical by singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke called My Mother Has Four Noses is currently touring the US, and this spring he’ll develop his co-written play (with Dipika Guha) MALICIOUS ANIMAL MAGNETISM with A.C.T./ZSpace in San Francisco.

BETTI BATTOCLETTI  Betti Battocletti has most recently performed in Steel Magnolias (Clairee) at The Commonweal Theater, The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical for Actors Theater and in Always … Patsy Cline (Louise) at Lyric Arts. Some of her favorite roles have been in The World Goes Round and Urinetown at The Jungle, Gypsy (Mazeppa) Paul Bunyan Playhouse, 42nd Street (Maggie Jones) BCT, and The Full Monty (Georgie Bukatinsky) for Theater Latte Da. She has also performed in Los Angeles with a Pump Boys and Dinettes National Tour, in Chicago with Bailiwick Rep and throughout MN. She has sung regionally, and nationally with a 10-piece showband, CBO, and danced as a company member with the MN Jazz Dance Co. She is also a lyricist, playwright, and owns a boutique Pilates Studio in Minnetonka, MN.

DAN PIERLING  Dan Piering is an actor, singer, musician, and writer from Minneapolis. Local theatre credits include South Pacific and Romeo and Juliet (Guthrie); Six Degrees of Separation and Song of Extinction (Theatre Latte Da); Earthquakes in London (Guthrie’s Dowling Studio/UMN); Sweet Land (History Theatre/L’Homme Dieu); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Artistry); Freckleface Strawberry (Old Log Theater); Much Ado About Nothing (Public Theater of Minnesota); and Escape from Alcina’s Island: A Picnic Operetta (Mixed Precipitation). Television credits include PBS’s Broadway or Bust and Theater People. Dan was the 2012 Spotlight Triple Threat award recipient. He has a BFA from the University of Minnesota Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program, and a BA from the University’s Hubbard school of journalism.