Michael Hollinger (Playwright) is the author of GHOST-WRITER, OPUS, TOOTH AND CLAW, RED HERRING, INCORRUPTIBLE, AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFE DU GRAND BOEUF, and TINY ISLAND, all of which premiered at Philadelphia's Arden Theatre Company. These plays have enjoyed numerous productions around the country, in New York City, and abroad. His musical A WONDERFUL NOISE (co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl) has received the Frederick Loewe Award for Musical Theatre, the “In the Spirit of America” Award from the Barbara Barondess MacLean Foundation, and a developmental production at Creede Repertory Theatre. His translation/co-adaptation (with Aaron Posner) of CYRANO DE BERGERAC premiered in 2011 at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. Other awards include a Harold & Mimi Steinberg New Play Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association, a Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award, an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award, the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, three Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, nominations for Lucille Lortel and John Gassner Awards, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Michael is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University, and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists. 

 


Deb Schrager (Director) is a physician and director who has worked with several area community theater groups. She has directed for Methacton Community Theater for the past 7 years, most recently She Loves Me. This is her 5th year directing for Jenkintown Music Theater, having performed with that company for many years before taking over directing responsibilities. JMT was only two weeks away from performing  a musical version of Twelfth Night under her leadership when COVID struck. She decided to undertake a livestream theatrical production both as a creative outlet for artists who were missing theater as much as she was and as a charitable effort in support of Black Lives Matter.



 

Jennifer Abrevaya (Deborah) is thrilled to be working with this talented Hope and Gravity ensemble!  During this shelter-in-place period, she's been grateful for the opportunity to perform in several virtual settings -- this Spring she acted in two online short-play readings produced by Black Ice Theater Company in Lake Tahoe, and also joined 17,500 other singers around the world as part of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 6.  Jennifer's last in-person show was in JMT's 2019 production of Mamma Mia! (Ensemble).  Other performances include Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and singing the role of Madame Thenardier in Philly Performance Network's Les Miserables in Concert.  Jenn would like to give a shout-out to her amazing husband Jack, her family, and friends for all of their love and support...  and a big THANK YOU to director Deb Schrager and playwright Michael Hollinger, for allowing her the opportunity to play the original role of "Douglas" as Deborah.

 



Nicolette Adams (Barb) is so excited to be "on stage" again, even though this time is much different than the last! Previously, Nicolette could be found in musicals at MCT in roles like Ilona Ritter (She Loves Me), Meg March (Little Women), Cinderella (Into The Woods), Princess Fiona (Shrek the Musical), and Maria Rainer (The Sound of Music). She is thrilled to finally be able to put her extremely expressive face to good use in this new style of performing. Thank you to Deb and the team for this incredible opportunity and to her fellow castmates for always being just a video call away! Love to Jude and Rosie!




Tyler Ball (Hal) is excited be appearing in his first ever straight play and honored to be part of this amazing and talented cast! Tyler most recently played Mr. Wormwood in Matilda at Sine Timore Theatre. Previous favorite roles include Sam in Mamma Mia, Marley’s Ghost in A Christmas Carol, Rapunzel's Prince in Into the Woods, Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Smudge in Forever Plaid. Many thanks to his friends and family, especially his wife Jenny and his kids for their love and support!



 


Jennifer Corsanico Berger (Nan/Co-Producer) is so excited to be working on Hope and Gravity with the talented cast and creative team as they explore the opportunities and challenges of presenting theater during this time of social distancing. Jennifer has been involved with JMT for almost 20 years, both on stage and as a JMT Board Member and Co-Producer. Favorite roles include Beggar Woman (Sweeny Todd), Rosie (Mamma Mia!), Penelope Pennywise (Urinetown), Emma Goldman (Ragtime), Mrs. Potts (BATB), and Miss Hannigan (Annie). Thank you to Michael Hollinger for this thoughtful and funny piece and for working with us to bring this unique production to life. As always, thank you to Deb Schrager for her direction and wisdom and for giving us a platform to stay creative and support Black Lives Matter. Jennifer would also like to thank the creative team for all of their hard work and dedication and Methacton Community Theater for partnering with JMT to produce this virtual production. Love and thanks to Phil, Sophie, and Max.




 Jim Fryer (Marty)
This is Jim’s first appearance with JMT. He recently portrayed Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing (Stagecrafters), the Monster in Young Frankenstein (Everybody’s Theatre Company), Trekkie in Avenue Q (KOP Players), Big Jule in Guys and Dolls (Players Club of Swarthmore), Ziggy in Side Man and Lord of the Underworld in Eurydice (both at Second Stage PCS). Film credits include Slave Catcher in “Sisters in Freedom” and Francis Pastorius, “Philadelphia, the Great Experiment” both for Sam Katz’ History Making Productions. Thanks Deb for this great role. Love to Jane, Chris and “Zyggy”.

 



Matt Lake (Peter) has portrayed a bewildering range of characters onstage in the greater Philadelphia area, from Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird and the Reverend Chasuble in The Importance of being Earnest to The title role in Dracula. Hope and Gravity is his second Michael Hollinger production: his performance as Charles in Incorruptible earned him the 2017 BroadwayWorld Philadelphia Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, though his roles in the musicals Disney’s Little Mermaid and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum were rewarding in other ways. Matt is better known as a writer than as an actor: His articles have appeared above the fold in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, and San Francisco Chronicle, and he contributed to more than a dozen books in the Weird US book series.

 


Carlene Lawson (Tanya) is thrilled to be part of theater again and has been a part of MCT for the past 4 years. This is her first time working with Jenkintown. Being in love with the power of theater, she is proud to be involved in a show that is donating all proceeds to BLM and other organizations dedicated to social justice. Carlene would like to thank Deb Schrager for her wonderful and thoughtful direction, Michael Hollinger for his inspired and brilliant playwriting, and Jaedto Israel for making me one proud momma.




Dustin Lee Yenser (Steve) is glad to be involved in his fifth show with MCT. He previously appeared as Captain Hook in "Peter Pan", and was in the ensemble for "My Fair Lady" and "Beauty and the Beast". He served as a producer for "SHOUT! The Mod Musical". He would like to thank his wife, Becky, for her support.

 




Rebecca “Becky” Yenser (Jill) is thrilled to return for her seventh show with MCT. She received her BA degree from Penn State University in Theatre/Dance Performance. Some of her favorite roles and shows with MCT include Peter Pan (Peter Pan), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (ensemble), My Fair Lady (ensemble), Beauty and the Beast (choreography), The Addams Family (choreography), and SHOUT! The Mod Musical (choreography). Becky would like to thank the production team and cast for their hard work, patience, and support. And a special thank you to her husband, Dustin, for all he does!




Mia Curtis (Set Design) has been involved in theater for the past seven years and is currently pursuing a BA degree in Theater Design and English at Temple University. They are interested in many facets of theatrical design and have worked on productions in various capacities. With Temple Theaters, Mia was a set builder for Sunday in the Park with George, and the Assistant Props Master for Sweet Charity, Men on Boats, and Peter & The Starcatcher. Mia was also a set painter for JMT’s Mamma Mia! and MCT’s She Loves Me, and was a member of the stage crew for WMP’s A Christmas Carol. Thank you to everyone involved in the making of Hope and Gravity and a special thanks to Harvey, Deb, and my mom for continuing to invite me back!

 



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Kelly Curtis (Graphic Design) is excited to be returning to JMT, this time behind the scenes as Graphic Designer. She was last seen onstage in the WMP production of A Christmas Carol, and the JMT production of Mamma Mia!. Kelly is a freelance web designer and her work can be viewed at https://kellyscurtis.com/ .



Jaedto Israel (He/She) is a Philadelphia-based playwright and composer currently studying theater production at The University of the Arts. She has previously composed music for DCP’s production of The Giver back in 2018, and is so filled with joy to have the opportunity to work on a project like this! Jaedto also writes her own shows, currently working on her senior project, Overgrown: A Character Creation Musical, slated to perform in March of 2021.


Elisabeth Majewski (Costume Designer) is a native from The Netherlands and credits Dutch thriftiness to her love for sewing. After being quoted $75 for putting a hem in her daughter’s school uniform, she decided to sew it herself and hasn’t stopped since. She’d like to thank Sandy, Eileen, Kate and Emily for their artistic insight, costume expertise, as well as countless hours of taking in/letting out, and sends huge thank-you’s to Deb for her patience, humor and friendship.



Alexandra Ortiz (Composer) is excited to be creating an original work for Hope and Gravity.  She is currently in 7th grade at Holy Child School at Rosemont. She would like to thank her family for their love and support - she is having so much fun working on this project. Thank you, Deb, for the opportunity.



Ilene Perekman (Props) is Props Mistress for both JMT & MCT productions. She is happy to be working with Harvey and Deb and the talented cast and  crew of this unique and exciting production.



Harvey Perelman (Stage Manager/Set Design) is stage manager and set design/build for JMT & MCT. He is excited to be working with Ilene and Deb and the rest of the talented production team and cast to bring this virtual production to life.



Carolyn Riley (Co-Producer) has been with JMT since 2002 and is thrilled to be Co-Producing Hope and Gravity. Sincere thanks to her co-producers, Deb, and everyone involved in bringing this wonderful production to the "stage." 





Kate McShane


Filming and Editing  - Mike Addice