Just cast my three leads in Robert Koon's beautiful new play MENORCA and I am thrilled to announce the return of two actors: Kirsten D'Aurelio and Juan Gabriel Ruiz.
Kirsten D'Aurelio is one of those 'wow' actors who you think after working with her... "She can just do anything and make it multi-layered, full, honest and engaging." She was one of the powerhouse cast of our all-female FIRES IN THE MIRROR during our Season Two in 2009. She tore it up as Leonard Jeffries talking about the making of Roots. Made you squirm, she did. She will play Ollie, a woman misplaced.
Juan Gabriel Ruiz is a young man I first worked with when he was still a student at De Paul. It was my first time directing there and I had a blast working with 10 2nd year BFAs on Steven Dietz' THE NINA VARIATIONS. Gabe was a standout, not only acting in the piece but also creating the music for the sound design. So I was thrilled when he appeared in OUR LADY OF THE UNDERPASS in its original production with Teatro Vista and then followed them here to Berwyn. If you partook in any of the post-show dialogues you will remember Gabe's thoughtful, intelligent and passionate musings on Tanya's play of faith and desire under the interstate. He is a very gifted and funny actor. He will play border patrol agent, George.
And then today I had the pleasure of seeing Doug MacKechnie who I have known in name for a long, long time but only recently saw his work in Mia McCullough's knockout Lucinda's Bed at Chicago Dramatists last year. He and Kirsten erupted with an intense chemistry during the callback today. They are going to be great together. Playwright Rob and I could not be happier!
And by the way, on a side note, you can see Kirsten on stage now in PEOPLE YOU KNOW at side project acting with playwright Koon. Yes it is true Rob is back on stage.
Now onward to cast the students. I already cast Rachel Rizzuto (from UIC) who did the reading of MENORCA for us last year. She is fabulous, a smart actor and awesome to work with.
Casting always make a new play seem that much more real. 5 more roles to go. The biggest cast thus far at 16th Street. It will be very exciting to have all that energy up on stage.