Every year, we ask a small group of gifted theatre artists to join our Half Moon Company. These talented individuals share our commitment to see Half Moon grow and thrive and we are lucky to have them. You will see Company Members in many of our productions, readings, and outreach events.
HMT Company Members for the 2012-2013 Season are…
ROSALIND ASHFORD was born, raised and trained in the UK, earning degrees in Dramatic Arts and in Performance/Education from Madeley College and Keele University. In the US, she first appeared professionally in 1982 at the Woodstock Playhouse and later worked with such notable actors as Mercedes Ruehl, James Handy, John Glover and Stephen McKinley Henderson in shows ranging from the classics to Christie. After a hiatus from performing, during which time she worked at several theatres as a set/décor designer, she returned to the NY stage last year in the Off Broadway staged reading of Forgiving John Lennon at the Signature Theatre. She was in Half Moon’s reading of Is He Dead?, the salon piece Mom’s The Word and, most recently, the company’s 10 Minute Play Festival. Many years of voiceover work includes live radio, audio books for Audible, and numerous commercial, video and industrial projects for such companies as Microsoft, Unilever, RedPrairie, UBS and ExxonMobil. TV/Film: Healthline, Royal Inquest, Ugly Betty and various Industrials. Set/Décor Design for Half Moon: Almost Maine, Circle Mirror Transformation and Dutchess Divas 2011. Other designs: Six Rms, Harvey, Lend Me A Tenor, La Cage, Jekyll & Hyde, Woman in Black, String of Pearls, Importance of Being Earnest.
DARRAH CLOUD: Musicals, with Kim D. Sherman, include Makeover, O Pioneers!, Heartland, Honor Song For Crazy Horse and The Boxcar Children. Her play, WHAT’S BUGGIN’ GREG, won the Macy’s Award for Young Audiences this year, produced by Cincinnati Playhouse. In development: Our Suburb, Sabina (musical), Club California (musical) and The Posthumous Democrat. She is the author of many other plays as well as numerous made-for-TV movies for CBS, NBC and Fox. Her stage adaptation of Disney’s classic, Snow White, played at Disneyland for 5 years. She has won a NAMT Development grant, a Rockefeller grant, an NEA and a Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Award. She is an alumna of the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa (poetry and playwriting) and New Dramatists in New York City. She teaches at Goddard College and lives in Pine Plains.
FRANK DENDANTO III: Lighting Design and visual artist, received his MFA in Design from NYU’s Tisch School. Some NYC credits include Full Circle’s Solar Powered at the New Victory Theater, Blind Alley at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Only You at the Jewish American Theater, Shadow Box at the Hudson Guild Theater, Title of Show for NYMF, People Are Wrong at PS122 and Acts of Love at the Kirk Theater. He has designed for Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, Karen Finely, Tim Miller, Holly Hughes, John Fleck, Deb Margolin, Ann Magnuson, John Kelly, Sarah Michelson, Lava Love, Stacy Dawson, David Neumann, Bridgman/Packer Dance and the White Oak Dance Project. His regional credits include work at Stageworks in Hudson NY, the Berkshire Theater Festival, New York Stage and Film and Delaware Valley Opera. Awards for his light installation/sculptures include First Runner Up in Light Forums 98, and a Jerome commission in 2002. His work and designs have been displayed at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, The Museum of Art and Architecture and The New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC. He is co-founder of the not for profit arts support organization, based north of NYC, that supplies production support, workshop rehearsal space where artists can fully integrate all the components of a new work prior to moving into a rented venue.
TIM DOWD is an actor, writer, and producer from Millbrook, New York. He is the founder of the independent film company Plan Z Productions which is currently producing their first feature length film. His previous theatre credits include: Macbeth, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Boys Next Door, Tartuffe, Fool for Love, and the original production of Jim Knable’s Emerson High with Half Moon Theatre amongst others. He was trained at Binghamton University and Shakespeare and Company before moving to New York City and now studies with Tom Todoroff.
DARREL JAMES has worked in theater, film, television, and radio. Most recently he could be seen as the Father in the independent film Indianapolis (with Bill Pullman and Gabby Sidibe); Bastien Andre in Is He Dead? (Half Moon Theater, NY); the Critic in Conor McPherson’s one-person show St. Nicholas, for which the New York Independent Theatre Awards nominated him as Outstanding Solo Performer (Theatre of the Expendable, NY) and as The Man in 7 Stories (Half Moon Theater, NY); King Simonides in Pericles and Hippolito in Women beware Women (Washington, DC); as the Captain in Widows (Greece/Tour); Daniel Lucas in The Reader (NY FRINGE Festival); as the Scoutmaster in Badge (Beacon Productions, NY); and as Oedipus in Oedipus at Colonus (Experimental Theater of Vassar College). Other credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol, As You Like It, and Mad Forest – directed by Christopher Grabowski (Denver Center); Dial ‘M’ for Murder and SLEUTH – for which he won the Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Award for Best Actor (Pasadena Playhouse); The Importance of Being Earnest and Tales of Washington Irving – directed by Bart Sher (Portland Stage Company); and more. He holds an MFA in Acting from The National Theatre Conservatory in Denver Colorado (with Cicely Berry, Tony Church, Patrick Stewart) and a second MFA in Classical Acting from The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University (with Michael Kahn, Gary Logan, Rob Clare). He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Drama at Vassar College. He is a member of Actor’s Equity and the Screen Actor’s Guild.
PAUL KASSEL is Associate Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz and an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts. He teaches all levels of acting, play analysis, and directs plays. His book, Acting: An Introduction to the Art and Craft of Playing, was published by Allyn & Bacon in April 2006. Last fall, he directed Almost, Maine and in March 2009 he appeared in a production of 7 Stories at the Cuneen-Hackett Arts Center in Poughkeepsie, both for Half Moon Theatre Company. Prior to coming to New Paltz, Paul worked at SUNY Stony Brook, where he taught acting, voice, movement, directing, and directed plays. He was Head of Acting at Bradley University from 1993-1998. In New York City for eleven years as a professional actor, director, and writer, Paul worked off, and off-off Broadway, in regional theaters, and as a guest artist. In addition, he has appeared in a number of films, several television shows, and industrials. Paul has directed in New York City (most often with emerging playwrights), regionally, and at several Universities. He has written four original plays (including The Velvet Pumpernickel, produced at the Sanford Meisner Theatre) and several adaptations, including an updated, musical version of Lysistrata. In addition to his book, Paul’s scholarly work includes “The Four Fundamental Verbs (Theatre Topics) and “Random Acts”–an essay in Method Acting Reconsidered: Theory, Practice, Future (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). Paul is currently the Managing Editor for a new e-journal by and for actors, The Players’ Journal (theplayersjournal.org). His current research involves mirror neurons and evolutionary studies and their relation to art, theatre and performance. Paul received his M.F.A. in Performance from the Florida State/Asolo Conservatory of Professional Actor Training. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors’ Guild.
RYAN R. KATZER is a member of Actor’s Equity and the Screen Actor’s Guild. His credits with Half Moon include various staged readings and improvisational performances, Rodney/Marshal/Percy in 7 Stories, and Chicago in Is He Dead?. Ryan performed in various characters in New York City’s Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding, both in Manhattan and with several tours of the production. He also played several roles in Stageworks Hudson’s Play By Play; a premier of original short plays produced in Hudson and Schenectady’s GE Theatre. Some of his other favorite rolls include Andrew in I Hate Hamlet, Hal in Proof, Richard in The Lion in Winter, Mark in The Shadow Box, and originated the role of Rick in The Foot Shooters which debuted in Poughkeepsie before moving to Manhattan. Ryan trained under mentor and acting coach Ron Mombello and is currently in pre-production for one of his own films as well as working on completing his first novel.
JEN MILLE has been a techie in the Hudson Valley for the last 21 years. You’ll never see her in front of the footlights, but in the wings she is everywhere, having worked on over 60 productions in 10 years, predominantly as Stage Manager or set Designer. Audrey Hepburn said “the important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” There is nothing better than the joy of theater. Jen is a legal assistant in Poughkeepsie and has recently collaborated with fellow Half Mooner Ryan Katzer on his original short film Jack is Pretty.
AMY LEMON OLSON has acted on stage in New York and Los Angeles in many different roles and theatre companies. Her favorites were playing Joanna in Lanford Wilson’s Home Free Off- Broadway, and Jean in The Early Girl by Caroline Kava at the Skylight Theatre in LA, for which she won a Drama-Logue Award. She appeared on television in the comedy series Life Goes On and can be seen on film being seduced by an alien in The Arrival. She suggests you can miss this film and still have lived a full life. With Half Moon Theatre, she was in their productions of Almost, Maine as well as their staged readings, Is He Dead?, Reach for the Sky, Good Deeds for a Weary World and Boycotting Captain Boycott. She was part of Half Moon’s inaugural 10 Minute Play Festival where she performed in two works, Rustic Rodent Kitck and Open Arms and she is part of the new salon series Mom’s The Word. She trained with Uta Hagen, Geraldine Page, Milton Katselas, Susan Batson and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Amy is on the Board and Executive Committee for The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse in Poughkeepsie.
ALEXAS ORCUTT is originally from California where she grew up in the bay area theatre community, working with children’s theatre and community playhouses. While attending a performing arts high school, she appeared in the West Coast Premiere of Take It From The Top by Ruby Dee and served on Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s educational outreach committee. She attended Foothill Theatre Conservatory in Los Altos, CA and worked extensively with the Los Altos Conservatory Theatre. She received a BFA in acting with a concentration in costume design from Emerson College in Boston. She was the assistant costume designer for the world premiere production of The Song of Jacob Zulu with Emerson Stage, designed costumes for Curly the Musical for InStages Musical Theatre and appeared in Portland Stage Company’s one-page play festival and in numerous New England regional commercials and industrial videos. Alexas served as the President of the Millbrook Book Festival for two years and coordinated the Half Moon Theatre’s New Play Development Unit staged reading series.
WAYNE PYLE Prior to moving to the Hudson Valley, Wayne toured for five years with Broadway’s The Lion King playing Ed the hyena, Timon and Zazu and appeared at various Regional theatres and Shakespeare Festivals around the country and abroad. After getting off the road, Wayne appeared in the films Predisposed starring Melissa Leo, Return starring Linda Cardellini, Dare starring Emmy Rossum, Limbo written and directed by Mark Finguerra (and other films with more than one word in the title), acted, directed and produced plays, voice over and films with his lovely and talented wife, Heidi Eklund, and their production company, And They Flew Productions, appeared Off-Broadway with the Classical Theatre of Harlem and locally with Walking the Dog Theatre and River Valley Rep, developed animated children’s television programs with Oliver Animation and Ty Jones of Gussy Charles Productions, teaches acting, production and writing in the Theatre and Media Departments at SUNY Dutchess and was honored and thrilled to become a company member of Half Moon Theatre. He also welcomed his son, Willoughby, to the world and continues to have many wonderful adventures with his older sons, Alexander and Stephen. Wayne received his M.F.A. in acting from the Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) at the University of Delaware. He’s a member of AEA, AFTRA, and SAG. http://imdb.me/waynepyle
BARBARA RANKIN has been living and performing in the Hudson Valley for over 20 years, having relocated from New York City where she worked as a professional singer with her jazz quintet, The New Wave, in cabaret and nightclubs, and as an actress in commercials, soap operas, industrial & independent films. Barbara has starred in many shows with the Rhinebeck Theater Society, Gilbert & sullivan Musical Theater Group and CENTERstage productions. She is currently a company member of Half Moon Theatre, having performed in Three Viewings, Is He Dead?, A Family Celebration of Broadway, 10 Minute Play Festival and as a proud Dutchess Diva.
MOE SCHELL (Costume Designer) Moe is the head of costumes at Bard College. At Bard, Moe designs with student choreographers to teach them real world skills to help realize their work and its potential. She has designed the past three seasons at the Bard Dance Department and The Judson School 40th Anniversary at Bard and at The Judson Church in NYC . This fall, she designed The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project 10 Years Later with Moises Kaufman and members of The Tectonic Theater Project . Some favorite designs include: Little Red, Emerson High, 7 Stories and Almost Maine with Half Moon Theater; The Good Person of Sechuan at the Atlantic Theater; the original production The Laramie Project with the Tectonic Theater Company, Denver, NYC, LaJolla Playhouse; Pentecost with the Barrow Group directed by Seth Barish (Drama Desk Nomination) and Benten Kozo at the Flea directed by Jim Simpson (Obie Award). She is a graduate of Rutgers University with an MFA in costume design in 1994.
NANCY SCRIVNER has been involved with local theater since the 1990′s. Most of this has been with County Players as props mistress & crew (over 20 shows.) Among her favorites are 1776, String Of Pearls, Greater Tuna, I Hate Hamlet and Noises Off. She has also assisted in independent production of new plays, the most recent being the off-Broadway production of The Foot Shooters by Paul Coleman. She has been involved with Half Moon since their production of Emerson High. She followed that with 7 Stories, Almost Maine, and Circle Mirror Transformation. She has enjoyed every one of them and looks forward to many more. She has also been involved in numerous children programs.
ROGER HENDRICKS SIMON For Half Moon Theatre Roger directed 7 Stories, Mom’s the World Salon, Gary Sunshine’s Good Deeds For A Weary World, and selections in 10 Minute Play Festival (Actor and Director). He recently played Bernie Jacobs in Oliver Stone’s latest film Wall Street II opposite Michael Douglas, received critical acclaim as the star of the award winning feature film The Sublet and currently co-produces and directs (with son Daniel) wife Sarah Levine Simon’s new film series Bread Today for Emerging Pictures’ Opera In Cinema program of La Scala and other international opera productions as TV broadcasts in U.S. movie theatres. A graduate of Yale School of Drama and founding member of Yale Rep Co, he has directed, produced and acted for Joe Papp’s N.Y. Shakespeare Festival, London’s Royal Court Theatre, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Lincoln Center Theatre and BAM as well as PBS, Metromedia and BBC TV and NPR. Elected to Notable Names in American Theatre, Mr. Simon has directed London, NYC and International premiers by Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, David Hare, Michael Weller and William Saroyan and actors John Lithgow, James Earl Jones, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, James Woods and Tovah Feldshuh. Since 1978 he has taught and directed at his Simon Studio in NYC and Poughkeepsie as well as in London, Europe, India, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria and South Africa. Locally Mr. Simon and The Simon Studio have produced for Time Warner TV and a series of site specific historical dramas with the City of Poughkeepsie and Hudson Valley Quadricentennial Committee: The Deciding Vote, Land of the Free, The Revolutionary Shipyards Pageant and Shining Shoes and Sinatra starring Tom Dreesen. www.simonstudio.com
DAVID SIMPATICO playwright, has been presented at major theatres around the globe, including Lincoln Center, NYC Town Hall, Edinburgh Fringe, the Hammersmith Apollo (London), Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the New York Shakespeare Festival, the New York Theatre Workshop, English National Opera, the Boston Conservatory of Music and Franklin Furnace. Using the safety net of comedy to explore life-and-death issues, his work examines man’s struggle to claim his place in a chaotic universe. Upcoming events include: The Waiting Room (Half Moon Theatre’s Ten Minute Play Festival, Poughkeepsie, Spring ‘13); Diesal Jeans, one act play with TimeWave Festival, Sping ‘13 (performed and live streamed between London and Los Angeles); and a concert presentation of the full length opera, The Transfiguration of Alan Turing (w/composer Justine Chen; American Lyric Theatre, NYC, Spring ‘13). Recent work includes: LifeAfterLife (Virtuality Sal/Whida Peru) w/composer Josh Schmidt; Cruel Shoes, a backstage murder mystery musical comedy w/composer Ross Patterson; The Screams of Kitty Genovese, w/composer Will Todd; The Transfiguration of Alan Turing, a full length opera w/composer Justine Chen; Seed, a one act opera, w/composer Gerald Cohen High School Musical 1 and 2 for the Disney national tour and international productions;. David also writes, directs, edits and stars in Zombie Hideaway, a webisodic series, as well as Rev. Jimmy’s Lake of Fire, both of which are featured on his new Youtube channel, Noise Ball. He currently lives in Rhinebeck, NY with his husband and muse, Robert Strickstein, and wonder-dog, Elmo.
DENISE SUMMERFORD has appeared on Broadway in such shows as the Rosie O’Donnell/Boy George musical Taboo, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Saturday Night Fever and Grease. She has played leading roles in the Broadway touring companies of Leader of the Pack, Grease, Company and The Who’s Tommy. Denise received a Drama Desk Award for her work in the hit a cappella musical In Transit and was also in the original cast of the Off Broadway musical Shout!. Regionally, she has performed at The Ford’s Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, Trinity Rep, and The McCarter Theatre, and worked for many years with the sketch comedy group The Water Coolers. She has created roles in the development of many new plays and musicals most notably In Transit and Duncan Sheik /Steven Sater’s The Nightingale at The O’Neill Theatre Center as well as Dollface and Behind the Limelight at Powerhouse Theatre/New York Stage and Film. With Half Moon Theatre, she has performed as one of the Dutchess Divas and in the new salon show Mom’s the Word. A dynamic singer, Denise has drawn praise from around the music scene with her series of solo concerts in and around NYC and can be heard on various voice-overs, jingles and recordings. She has had the distinguished honor of singing at the White House for the President and First Lady and has sung with many national and international recording artists. Denise currently sings with the legendary Lou Christie. She has a BFA in acting and has taught master classes at the Governor’s School in NJ, Rosie’s Broadway Kids in NYC, and is a private acting coach for adults and children. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, SAG and AFTRA as well as the musicians union Local 802. www.DeniseSummerford.com
JOHN SUMMERFORD has appeared in Half Moon Theatre’s Reach for the Sky and 10 Minute Play Festival. John has also performed locally with Powerhouse Theater/New York Stage and Film (Hello, My Baby!) and with River Valley Repertory (Dinner with Friends). John has performed in New York City and across the country in numerous productions including Company (National Tour) Twelfth Night (Orsino), Godspell (Jesus), The Room (Emile Bernard), Bye Bye Birdie (Albert), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Santa. yes, really), A Chorus Line (Zach) and Sweeney Todd (Sweeney) at theaters which include Trinity Repertory Company, The York Theatre Company, The New Harmony Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse and The Cape Playhouse. He can also be heard singing with Faith Prince on bonus tracks of Fynsworth Alley’s re-release of the original Gwen Verdon Cast Recording of Redhead. Off-Broadway, John has served as Assistant Director on Sin: A Cardinal Deposed starring John Cullum for The New Group (OBIE Award & 2 Drama Desk Nominations) and Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano & The Lesson for Atlantic Theater Company. Other Directing credits include productions of Design for Living, Anything Goes, Babes in Arms, as well as numerous Benefit Galas and One-Act Festivals. John is an alumnus of the Atlantic Theater Company Acting Program and proudly carries union cards for Actors Equity Association, SAG and AGVA. John has taught acting at Usdan Center for the Performing Arts as well as privately in New York City. In addition, he holds a degree in Economics from Trinity College and has great memories of his year at La Universitá Cattolica in Milan. www.JohnSummerford.com