Cornerstone Theater Company

Ensemble

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Ash Nichols

Ash Nichols
Stage Manager

Ash Nichols
Stage Manager

Ash Nichols
Ash began working with Cornerstone on the third play in the Hunger Cycle, Lunch Lady Courage, after stage managing for Michael John Garcés on an outside project.  Ash became entranced with the work that Cornerstone was doing as well as the city of LA, and decided to make the move from San Francisco.  Since then, Ash has worked on Love on San PedroBliss Point and currently the bridge tour California: The Tempest.  Ash has been a stage manager ever since discovering what the job was at the age of 14, earning a B.A. from SFSU in Stage Management (double major with Human Sexuality), while working as the Associate Production Manager at the University.  Fresh from college, Ash trained at American Conservatory Theater as an Intern and worked for several years professionally at ACT and around the Bay Area, including: Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Z Space, Shotgun Players, The Jewish Theatre, and Lamplighters.  Other LA credits include Center Theatre Group and the Bootleg Theatre.  Ash is excited to be a part of the Cornerstone family and looks forward to learning from each community, with each new production.

Nephelie Andonyadis
Designer

Nephelie Andonyadis
(Designer) With a background in performance and architecture, Nephelie made the transition to stage design at Yale University’s  School of Drama where she earned her M.F.A. She was an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and joined the faculty of University of Redlands in 2001. Concurrent with her teaching, she maintains actively engaged with many regional and ensemble theatre companies with whom she designs sets and/or costumes. At Cornerstone, she has designed Jason in Eureka, Los Illegals, 3/7/11: A Lincoln Heights Tale, Boda de Luna Nueva and Sid Arthur. Through her ongoing relationship with South Coast Repertory, she has designed in every season since 1998 including Saturn Returns. Other theaters include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Center Theatre Group, The Acting Company, The Guthrie Lab, The Court theatre and many others. She is the recipient of the University of Redlands’ Hunsaker Innovative Teaching Award and the NEA/TCG Design Fellowship.

Juliette Carrillo
Director

Juliette Carrillo
For Cornerstone, Juliette has directed community collaborations Los Faustinos by Bernardo Solano (Watts), As Vishnu Dreams by Shishir Kurup, (Hindu community) Touch the Water by Julie Hebert (LA River community), Lethe by Octavio Solis  (seniors and their caregivers) and It's All Bueno by Sigrid Gilmer (Pacoima). Juliette was an Artistic Associate at South Coast Repertory Theatre for seven years. She directed regularly in their season and ran the Hispanic Playwright's Project, collaborating with Latino writers across the country. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, she has directed theater extensively throughout the US. Some of her favorite collaborations have been directing the  World Premiere of Lydia, by Octavio Solis,  West Coast premiere of  Pulitzer Prize winner, Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz, the World Premiere of References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot by Jose Rivera, and the West Coast premiere of Sam Shepard's Eyes for Consuela. She has directed for South Coast Repertory, the Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory, Denver Theater Center, Yale Repertory Theater, Arizona Theater Company,  Alliance Theatre, TheatreWorks, Laguna Playhouse, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Actor's Theatre of Louisville an as well as workshops in New York theatres such as New York Theatre Workshop, The Public, INTAR and The Women's Project. Juliette is a recipient of several awards, including the prestigious National Endowment of the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Directing Fellowship and the Princess Grace Award. She also participated in American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women, where she wrote and directed her first short film, Spiral, which played in nine film festivals around the country and in Europe, garnering finalist recognition in several. She is currently developing a full-length screenplay and developing several theater projects in the Los Angeles area and nationwide. Plumas Negras is her first full-length play. www.juliettecarrillo.com

Sage Alia Clemenco

Sage Alia Clemenco
Manager of Community Partnerships

Sage Alia Clemenco
Manager of Community Partnerships

Sage Alia Clemenco
Sage began working with Cornerstone Theater as a institute student in 2007 in Holtville, CA. She has since been on staff for 5 summer Institutes, working as a Company Manager in Eureka, Pacoima, Fowler, Arvin and East Salinas. She recently completed the Master's program in Applied Theatre at CUNY School of Professional Studies in NYC where she was an apprentice in the Early Learning Through the Arts program at the Creative Arts Team. Sage has facilitated theater-based residencies with students from Kindergarten through high school and served as the Education Associate for Vital Theatre Company from 2011 to 2013.

Paula Donnelly

Paula Donnelly
Director of Engagement

Paula Donnelly
Director of Engagement

Paula Donnelly
Paula Donnelly began working with Cornerstone in 1998 as a stage manager and joined Cornerstone's Ensemble in 2000. Community-collaborations she stage managed for Cornerstone include Los Biombos in Boyle Heights, AKA in Beverly HillsFor Here or To Go?, a city-wide bridge show, at the Mark Taper Forum, Peter Pan in Cleveland, and Crossings at St Vibiana's Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. She also was the stage manager for Cornerstone Ensemble shows Foot/Mouth (produced in multiple malls around Southern California) and Erik Ehn's Mary Shelley's Santa Claus. As a stage manager she has worked with Taper, Too, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PCPA TheaterFest and other regional theaters. In 2003 Paula became Cornerstone’s Institute Director, planning and producing the annual Institute Summer Residency and Intensives. As Director of Engagement, Paula teaches and shares Cornerstone’s methodology, works to strengthen community relationships post-production, and to contribute to the expansion of community-engagement practices in theater. She helps imagine and implement engagement values in all aspects of our work. Paula loves the state of California, her home city of Los Angeles and the many people and stories contained therein.

Marcenus “M.C.” Earl
Actor

Marcenus “M.C.” Earl
M.C. first came to Cornerstone as a community member back in 1993 during the company's Watts Residency when he appeared in Love of a Nightingale and Breaking Plates. Other community collaborations M.C. has appeared in include Broken Hearts, For Here or To Go?, For All Time and the ongoing Beyond the Diagnosis, Cornerstone's partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to promote HIV/AIDS awareness through theater. M.C. is a graduate of USIU San Diego's B.F.A. Acting Program.

Michael John Garcés

Michael John Garcés
Artistic Director

Michael John Garcés
Artistic Director

Michael John Garcés
Michael has been at Cornerstone since 2006. Directing credits at the company include Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo, Café Vida by Lisa Loomer, Making Paradise by Tom Jacobson, Shishir Kurup and Deborah Wicks La Puma, 3 Truths by Naomi Iizuka, Someday by Julie Marie Myatt, attraction by Page Leong, and The Falls by Jeffrey Hatcher (at the Guthrie Theater). For Cornerstone he has also written Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County, and Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers. Los Illegals was subsequently produced by Teatro Bravo in Phoenix; it is published in Theatre Magazine (Yale School of Drama/Duke University Press - More info on this Publication). WP white line space template Directing credits at other theaters include, most recently Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman (Intersection for the Arts), We Are Proud to Present… by Jackie Sibblies Drury (Woolly Mammoth Theatre), The Convert by Danai Gurira (Wilma Theater), Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherfucker with the Hat (South Coast Repertory) and red, black and GREEN: a blues by Marc Bamuthi Joseph (REDCAT and The Brooklyn Academy of Music), and he has worked at many theaters across the country. His full-length plays include THE WEB (needtheatre), points of departure and customs (INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center) and Acts of Mercy (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); a solo performance, agua ardiente (The American Place); short plays include Grief (Active Cultures), hymn in three parts (Chalk Rep), inhabited and in the Zone (Red Fern Theatre Co.), tostitos (EST Marathon of One-Act Plays), on edge and the ride (Humana Fest.), audiovideo (The Directors Project) and sandlot ball (Mile Square). He collaborated with composer Alexandra Vrebalov on the oratorio Stations, which received its premiere at the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and was also performed at the NOMUS Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.   Michael is on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.  He is a recipient of the Rockwood Arts and Culture Fellowship, the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, a TCG/New Generations Grant, the Non-Profit Excellence Award from the Center of Non-Profit Management and is a Southern California Leadership Network Fellow. He is a company member at Woolly Mammoth and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists.

Peter Howard

Peter Howard
Actor, Playwright

Peter Howard
Actor, Playwright

Peter Howard
Peter is a founding member of Cornerstone Theater Company. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English and American Literature and holds a M.F.A. from the Department of Drama of the University of Virginia. With Cornerstone, Peter has performed in, written or otherwise collaborated on scores of productions in Los Angeles and around the country. As a playwright, his Cornerstone credits include Zones (an original, audience-interactive play exploring interfaith themes), an American Muslim adaptation of You Can't Take It with You (the first adaptation ever approved by the Kaufman and Hart estate) and a bilingual adaptation of Lorca's Blood Wedding (Boda de Luna Nueva: New Moon Wedding, created for the small California agricultural communities of Western Stanislaus County as part of the company's 2005 Summer Institute). His regional theater work includes productions at the Mark Taper Forum, Williamstown Theatre Festival, American Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Peter has served on staff of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), working as a facilitator, playwright and director in a variety of youth arts programs that use theater as a springboard for dialogue on challenging human relations topics. He has directed the participatory youth script development and performance programs of a number of regional theatres including the Mark Taper Forum (The Speak to Me program) and Shakespeare Festival/LA (Will Power to Youth). Peter is also the author of three plays (collectively known as the Compassion Plays series) now touring southern California high schools, colleges and community groups through ENCOMPASS, a youth development organization based in the San Gabriel Valley: Wheels explores youth attitudes toward immigration; Kick explores the Native American mascot issue in high school sports; Horizon Line explores the root causes and impact of bias-motivated crime.

Nikki Hyde

Nikki Hyde
Stage Manager

Nikki Hyde
Stage Manager

Nikki Hyde
Nikki began her relationship with Cornerstone as a LA County intern in 2005 during the Faith Cycle Bridge show, A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters. Since then, Nikki has served on the stage management teams of over 10 Cornerstone shows, spanning the Justice and Hunger cycles, and the Institute Summer Residency. She has also had the pleasure of working for Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Merola Opera Program, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, among other companies. She is a proud Michigan native and a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Lynn Jeffries

Lynn Jeffries
Costume/Scenic/Puppet Designer

Lynn Jeffries
Costume/Scenic/Puppet Designer

Lynn Jeffries
Lynn Jeffries has been a member of Cornerstone Theater since 1986, and has designed sets, costumes or puppets for over 60 Cornerstone productions. Her regional theater work includes designs for Arena Stage, The Guthrie, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, and TheatreWorks. In an ongoing collaboration with puppeteer/performance artist Paul Zaloom, she has built puppets, dramaturged, designed, and puppeteered on numerous projects, including The Mother of All Enemies, The Abecedarium, The Adventures of White-Man, and the film Dante's Inferno. She also performs solo shadow puppet shows in nightclubs with the neo-vaudevillian folk/jazz band, The Ditty Bops. Other recent puppet designs include Culture Clash's Peace at the Getty Villa, Project Wonderland and The Gogol Project at the Bootleg Theater, and To Kill a Mockingbird and Don Quixote at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lynn has won a Theatre LA Ovation Honor and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for puppet design; a Backstage West Garland Award and a Drama-Logue Award for scenic design; and a Backstage West Garland Award for costume design.

Geoff Korf

Geoff Korf
Lighting Designer

Geoff Korf
Lighting Designer

Geoff Korf
Geoff has worked professionally as a free-lance lighting designer for the past twenty years. His designs have appeared on Broadway as well as at many regional theatres including The Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory, The Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Long Beach Opera, The Minneapolis Children's Theatre Company, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Goodman Theatre and The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Geoff first came to Cornerstone as the lighting designer for Rushing Waters in 1992. Since then he has designed more than 20 Cornerstone productions including: An Antigone Story, Los Biombos/The Screens, and For Here or To Go?I. Geoff is the head of the design program at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he teaches lighting design. He is a native of Southern California, and a graduate of California State University, Chico, and the Yale School of Drama.

Shishir Kurup

Shishir Kurup
Actor, Writer, Director, Composer

Shishir Kurup
Actor, Writer, Director, Composer

Shishir Kurup
Over the past few years Shishir directed Michael Garces' first play for Cornerstone, Los Illegals, wrote and directed On Caring for the Beast, was the lyricist for Cornerstone's Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical and in Spring '11 directed Lynn Manning's The Unrequited in the community of Watts. He will be writing the Hunger of Addiction play which goes up in '14. Shishir has acted in numerous Cornerstone shows, currently in Lisa Loomer's "Cafe Vida and has written over a 150 songs for various Cornerstone productions. The songs he wrote for the Medea portion of MedeaMacbethCinderella (MMC), a production originally created as a collaboration between Cornerstone Theater and The Actor's Gang in 1998, will be part of the 2012 Oregon Shakespeare Festival's season running from late April to late November 2012. He is also a solo performer and a founding faculty member of the new Applied Theatre Arts MA program in the School of Theatre at USC. Shishir’s play Merchant on Venice premiered in Chicago and appears in the anthology Beyond Bollywood and Broadway.  He recieved the TIME (Time for Inspiration, Motivation and Exploration) Grant from the Audrey Skirball Foundation for his body of work. He's a Princess Grace Fellow, TCG/Alan Schneider directing finalist, two-time Herb Alpert nominee and MAP grantee. His feature film Sharif Don’t Like It (writer/director) is about the loss of Habeas Corpus and most recently the short documentary Amu's Kitchen about his mother which was created for Cornerstone's "Creative Seeds," both of which will soon be seen on Vimeo. Shishir's TV and film credits include: Bones, Lost, Sleeper Cell, Alias, Monk, Surface, Heroes, various pilots and most recently the Disney Channel movie musical, Lemonade Mouth. His most profound, instructive and daily inspiration, however, is his daughter Tala Claye Ananya Perl Kurup.

Page Leong

Page Leong
Actor, Director, Choreographer

Page Leong
Actor, Director, Choreographer

Page Leong

Page Leong has been a member of Cornerstone’s Ensemble since 1994, acting, writing, directing, and choreographing over 60 productions. As a performer, she has played at the Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, The Public Theater, Classical Stage Company, the Joyce Theater, A.R.T., LATC, Doolittle Theater, Getty Center, Long Wharf Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, MOCA, Actors’ Gang, Singapore Rep, East West Players, Highways Performance Space and in vibrant communities across Los Angeles and the nation.
 
Favorite roles include Medea in Bill Rauch and Tracy Young's Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, Nina and Maddy in Alison Carey’s A California Seagull, Antigone in Shishir Kurup’s An Antigone Story, Olivia in Carey’s Twelfth Night or As You Were, Ling in Chay Yew's RED, Cosmic Clown in Murray Mednick’s Coyote Cycle, and The Therapist/Singer in Lisa Loomer’s Café Vida. She has garnered Dramalogue and Garland awards, and Ovation and LA Weekly nominations for her performances. Her recent film and television credits include Argo, Bourne Legacy, NCIS, The Fosters, Whitney, and Revenge, among others. She holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in Dance from UCLA.
 
Page directed Kurup’s one-man shows, Assimilation and Exile: Ruminations on a Reluctant Martyr, at the Mark Taper Forum, The Public, and Highways. She also directed her play, Afloat, Kurup’s Sid Arthur, and Suzan-Lori Park’s 365 Plays for Cornerstone, as well her short films Glimpse and Potluck, and Sigrid Gilmer’s short films, Head Trip and Long Term. In addition, she has directed readings for the Music Center and HBO, and co-directed Dan Kwong’s What No Ping Pong Balls? at Highways.
 
Other writing includes adapting her play, In a WORD, for HIV/AIDS communities in eight cities across the country. Her play, atTraction, in the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District, was featured on the cover of American Theater.
 

Daniel Penilla

Daniel Penilla
Artistic Associate

Daniel Penilla
Artistic Associate

Daniel Penilla
Daniel moved to Los Angeles from the gritty suburban streets of Orange County to continue his journey as a storyteller. He came to Cornerstone in 2011 as a student at the Summer Institute in Fowler and instantly felt connected to the work. He has worked with Cornerstone as an actor in Café Vida and assistant director for SEED: A Weird Act of Faith. He trained as an actor at Circle In The Square Theatre School and Labyrinth Theater Company and has a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in race, class, and gender from Cal State Fullerton. His experiences as a storyteller and love of creating and discovering have led him to work and develop relationships with various organizations and companies in many capacities. From acting, directing, and producing, to working as a theater consultant with the Santa Ana High School District to develop and implement curriculum that incorporates theater and ensemble models, he is always driven by the connection that the work brings. Daniel is excited to be a part of a team that creates opportunities with communities and individuals in a way that opens discussion for change.

Bahni Turpin

Bahni Turpin
Actor

Bahni Turpin
Actor

Bahni Turpin
Bahni trained at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and later at the Lee Strassberg Theatre Institute. While in NY she appeared in productions at Crossroads Theater, American Place Theater, New York Renaissance Festival, and also began her film and television career with appearances on Law and Order and in the films Daughters of the Dust, The Saint of Fort Washington, Rain Without Thunder, Getting In and Theory of Achievement. Since moving to LA Bahni has become a yoga teacher, and has had numerous guest spots on television including E.R., Judging Amy, Seinfeld, The Parkers, Star Trek Voyager and Girlfriends, to name a few. Additional film credits include Brokedown Palace and Crossroads. Bahni has also had the good fortune to participate in a number of theatrical productions in Los Angeles. She was awarded a Dramalogue award for her work in Mules at the Mark Taper Forum and has appeared in several other productions at the Taper. Just prior to joining Cornerstone, Bahni became a working finalist at The Actors Studio. In joining Cornerstone, Bahni hopes to cover some new ground and bring her work to more people in new ways.

Megan Wanlass

Megan Wanlass
Managing Director

Megan Wanlass
Managing Director

Megan Wanlass
Megan Wanlass most recently joined Cornerstone Theater Company as its Managing Director in January 2014.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ms. Wanlass was the Executive Director of SITI Company in New York. In her tenure with SITI, Megan helped to create over 35 productions touring to 88 cities, 32 states and 19 countries.  She began working with Anne Bogart and SITI Company in 1995 during The Adding Machine at Actors Theatre of Louisville for the Modern Masters Festival.  She has an Arts Administration Certificate from New York University, attended the Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders at Stanford University Business School, was a member of the Arts Leadership Institute Charter Class at Teachers College, Columbia University, participated in the National Arts Strategies Executive Leadership Program and holds a B.A. in Theater from Occidental College in Los Angeles. Megan currently serves on the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG).

Co-Founders


Bill Rauch

Bill Rauch
Co-Founder, Founding Artistic Director

Alison Carey

Alison Carey
Playwright, Co-Founder

Past Members


  • Christopher Acebo
  • 2000-2006
  • Nephelie Andonyadis
  • 2009-Present
  • Tim Banker *
  • 1986-87, 1991, 1996
  • Gail Berrigan
  • 1987-1988
  • John Bellucci *
  • 1986
  • Michelle Blair
  • 2004-2010
  • Paul Bostwick
  • 1988-1989
  • Loren Brame
  • 1988-1992
  • Amy Brenneman*
  • 1986-1994
  • Gracy (Brown) Keirstead
  • 2000-2001
  • James Bundy
  • 1988-1991
  • Alison Carey *
  • 1986-2002
  • Juliette Carrillo
  • 2004-Present
  • Benajah Cobb
  • 1987-1999
  • Jonathan DelArco
  • 2004-2007
  • Jarrin Davis
  • 1990-1991
  • Paula Donnelly
  • 2000-Present
  • Marcenus “MC” Earl
  • 2008-Present
  • Michael John Garcés
  • 2006-Present
  • Sigrid Gilmer
  • 2009-2013
  • Elizabeth Gonzalez
  • 2003-2004
  • Mary-Ann Greanier
  • 1988-1991
  • Raquel Gutierrez
  • 2010–2013
  • Stephen Gutwillig
  • 1988-1995
  • Peter Howard *
  • 1986-1994, 1999-Present
  • Alice Hutchins
  • 1989-1990
  • Nikki Hyde
  • 2010-Present
  • Lynn Jeffries *
  • 1986-Present
  • Bridget Kirkpatrick
  • 2000-2004
  • Geoff Korf
  • 1996-Present
  • Shishir Kurup
  • 1994-Present
  • Page Leong
  • 1994-Present
  • Donal Logue
  • 1989-1990
  • Janice Mabry
  • 1995-1996
  • Armando Molina
  • 1996-2003
  • Christopher Liam Moore *
  • 1986-2006
  • Andres Munar **
  • 2007-2009
  • Julie Marie Myatt
  • 2009-2013
  • Beth Nathanson
  • 1990-1991
  • Alejandra (Gonzalez) Navarro
  • 2005-2008
  • Damien Teeko Parran
  • 1999-2002
  • Catherine Patterson
  • 1989-1990
  • Patty Payette
  • 1989-1990
  • Sabrina Peck
  • 1988-1994
  • Douglas Petrie *
  • 1986-1987
  • Debra Piver
  • 2003-2009
  • Adina Porter
  • 2002-2004
  • Paul James Prendergast
  • 1999-2002
  • Tali Pressman
  • 2009-2013
  • Bill Rauch *
  • 1986-2006
  • David Reiffel *
  • 1986-1991
  • Susan Rosen
  • 1987-1988
  • Miriam Schmir
  • 1988
  • Ashby Semple
  • 1988-1995
  • Jay Skriletz
  • 1990
  • Chuck Smith
  • 1990 - 1991
  • Sal Taschetta
  • 1988
  • Leslie Tamaribuchi
  • 1993-2001
  • Anne Tofflemire
  • 1990
  • Bahni Turpin
  • 2005-Present
  • Sal Velasquez
  • 1992-1993
  • Mark Valdez
  • 2000-2004
  • Shay Wafer
  • 2002-2007
  • Nela Wagman
  • 1987-1988
  • Molly White (aka Emily Herzog) *
  • 1986
  • Laurie Woolery
  • 2004-2012

** denotes “guest” status
* denotes founding member