By Lucas Hnath
Twenty years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was a modest storefront. Now it houses thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. But on the day they celebrate the end of their indebtedness, Pastor Paul is about to share some news his congregation isn’t used to hearing. It is a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs. How could one’s convictions change overnight? From one of America’s new, exciting playwrights, comes this mesmerizing play about faith and redemption and its power to unite or divide.
Some performances may include a Q&A "Talkback" with the cast!
"For a thought provoking evening, challenge your faith to a multi-question test… "The Christians" I can’t promise you’ll find answers, but you’ll enjoy the opportunity to ponder the questions." – Sally Dillon from PlanetVero.com
"There are no heroes or villains in this deep examination of religious morality. Director Allen Cornell honors the playwright’s words by steering far clear of making these characters into the caricatures they could easily become." –Paige Van Antwerp, The Newsweekly
"The Christians' stays with you after leaving the theater."– Angela Smith, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers
*Members of the Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
Jewel Blakeslee* (Congregant) is originally from Sebastian, Florida. She is proud to be making her professional debut so close to home at Riverside Theatre! She holds BFAs in Acting and Technical Theatre from Florida Southern College and is currently a Performance Apprentice at Riverside. Jewel has most recently been seen in Theatre for Young Audience shows such as The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley and Poodleful. She would like to thank the cast, crew, and director for their support. Many thanks to her family for their endless love and encouragement.
Brian Myers Cooper* (Pastor) is thrilled to return to the Waxlax Stage, having played Claude the headwaiter in An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf earlier this season. Brian created Sonnet Play, a one-man play told entirely with Shakespeare’s sonnets, which he developed with Bedlam Theatre Company's MadLAB! residency, and performed in NYC and San Francisco. Follow his journey through all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets at TheSonnetJourney.brianmyerscooper.com. Stage highlights: Miss Saigon (2nd Nat’l.), Galileo (Moisés Kaufman, dir.), James Baldwin's Blues for Mr. Charlie (Parnel), End of the World Party (original Off-Broadway cast), I Love You, You’re Perfect... (x3), Billy Roche’s The Cavalcaders (American premiere, Florida Stage). Proud Equity member and trustee of the Equity-League Pension & Health Funds. Find dozens of his recipes at MyTinyKitchen.us.
Ryan George* (Associate) is a Miami raised, NYC based actor, with a BFA from the University of Florida. His NYC credits include the title role of OTHELLO (Alchemical Theater Laboratory) and Jeb in RUSH (Paradise Factory Theater). His Regional Credits include Oshoosi Size in THE BROTHERS SIZE (Gablestage), Fish in THE ROYALE (Gablestage), Spike in VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE (Florida Rep), Monk in FAULT (TheatreSquared), Caliban in THE TEMPEST (The Hippodrome), and most recently as Timmy in HAND TO GOD (The Hippodrome). Ryan is excited to make his debut at Riverside Theatre! He's forever grateful to his family and friends for their constant love and support.
Vanessa Kai* (Wife) is thrilled to make her Riverside Theatre Debut! Favorite New York Theatre: The Architecture of Becoming (Women’s Project Theater), What We Know (One Year Lease Theater), Soot and Spit (Our Voices Theatre). Regional: Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray) (Seattle Repertory Theatre), Far East (Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Debut by Connecticut Critics Circle) and An Infinite Ache (both Stamford Theatreworks). Vanessa has also helped develop new works at the Lark Play Development Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Civilians, The Working Theater, Center Stage Baltimore, TheatreWorks USA and Flux Theatre Ensemble. TV: “The Blacklist,” “Gotham,” “The Mysteries of Laura,” “Orange Is The New Black,” “The Leftovers,” “Law & Order:SVU.” Film: “Derailed,” “Old Acquaintance Be Forgot,” “Behind The Mirror.” Many thanks to Allen D. Cornell for this wonderful opportunity. www.vanessakai.com
Mitch Tebo* (Elder) Recent credits include LBJ in All The Way (TheatreSquared), Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Palace Theatre), Duncan in Macbeth (Arkansas Rep) and Andrew Carnes in Oklahoma! (Bard College Summerscape). Additional NYC and regional credits include Prospero in The Tempest (Inwood Shakespeare), Moses in Moses, The Author (NYC Fringe Festival), plus Fix Me Jesus (Abingdon Theatre), Passion of Dracula (Cherry Lane), The Revenger’s Tragedy (CSC Rep), Big Bad Burlesque (Orpheum Theatre), King Lear (Inwood Shakespeare), Moby Dick – Rehearsed (Brave New World Rep), Richard III (HB Ensemble), Henry V (Arkansas Rep), Windy City (Paper Mill Playhouse) and The Importance of Being Earnest (George St. Playhouse). A founding member of the NYC classical production company, The New Rude Mechanicals, where he performed in The Misanthrope, The Winter's Tale, Bloody Poetry, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth and Measure For Measure.
Director / Scenic Designer: Allen D. Cornell
Costume Designer: Anna Hillbery
Lighting Designer: Richard Crowell
Sound Designer: Andrew Stroud
Stage Manager: Kristin Sutter*