Creative Expressions: Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope - June 18, 2020
Featured this week is “Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope,” a collaborative online, theatrical performance of health, recovery and hope during COVID-19. The work includes material by Buffalo Project partners Subversive Theatre as well as community actors and SUNY Empire faculty, students, alumni who have responded to this complex moment in our lives. The idea for the project was sparked in a Living Through COVID-19 (SUNY Empire Connects) writing session, run by Rhianna Rogers. Some material is drawn from that session while the rest was created in a subsequent writing sessions and further developed by the participants. We are happy to share this range of creative responses to the isolation, grief, hope and even humor of the pandemic.
Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope
Rhianna Rogers and Mike Redick
Job Ethan Christenson
A SUNY Empire Connects/ Creative Expressions/Buffalo Project Collaboration
Rhianna Rogers, Mike Redick, Jeff Caldwell, Sarah McMichael, Patrice Lebron, Sarah Jeanne, Bambi Everson
The Cast (in order of appearance)
Ross G Hewitt
Jeffrey C. Wolf
Job Ethan Christenson
Annie DiMarco Reeves
Rhianna C. Rogers - Dr. Rhianna C. Rogers is an award-winning scholar, writer, and cultural advocate born in Los Angeles, CA and currently residing in Buffalo, NY. As the creator of COVID-19 stories, screenwriter and co-producer of Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope, Rhianna is excited to be working with a talented group of actors and community members on such an important, timely piece. She would like to thank her friends and partner for their support. “We can make the world better together!”
Michael Redick is excited to co-produce and act in Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope. Mike recently discovered a talent for acting and filmmaking after spending most of his career writing software. You may remember him from such films as "The Cure (2019)" and "Not Another Monster Movie." Well, if you're a fan of INDIE films from Buffalo, NY!
Job Ethan Christenson is a playwright, director and
performer in New York City. Job performed as an actor in CATS, RAGTIME, JESUS
CHRIST SUPERSTAR, JOSEPH, VICTOR/VICTORIA and BILLY ELLIOT just to name a few.
He then worked in Chicago doing productions at Marriott Lincolnshire, Chicago
Shakespeare, and his very own cabaret show at the Gentry, as well as
Davenports. He has also performed with various symphonies including Ann Arbor,
Grant Park, Bismarck and Grand Forks Symphonies as a soloist.
He was the artistic director for 6 years of the ND
Ballet Company and Apprentice School and Crimson Creek Players, and the
Artistic Director/Development Director for Sleepy Hollow Theatre and Arts Park
for the past five years.
Bernadette Drayton: is a singer/actor/writer/floral designer. A 2019 graduate of Empire State College. Bernadette has written four plays and completed a thesis/outline for a book, “What’s Going On – The Parallels. Artists as Activist,” a contextualization of Marvin Gaye’s album, “What’s Going On,” focused on the 1960s and the lives of African Americans from a political, economic, social and cultural construct. Proud member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA. Bernadette is ever grateful to the love and support of family and dear friends. She is happily Auntie Bern to Everly and Jade, and the proud mother of Yasmine.
Bambi Everson is a teacher, actor, playwright and proud alumni of Empire State College, Class of 2016. Her full-length Hammet-Chekhov mashup, THE THIN MAN IN THE CHERRY ORCHARD, which was born at ESC, was featured in the 2019 NY Fringe Festival at the Metropolitan Playhouse. Thanks to the encouragement of mentors, Lynda Crawford and Lucy Winner, she has now written upwards of 20 plays and has been produced at Manhattan Repertory Theater, Hudson Guild Theater, and Emerging Artists Theater where she is also a member. She delights in teaching a playwriting lab with middle schoolers at the Professional Performing Arts School, and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. She is grateful to be a part of Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope with so many of her former classmates and friends.
Helene Galek is honored to be a part of this dynamic presentation, Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope, after being connected to Empire State College through the Yip Harburg Foundation Partnership. Most recently, she has appeared in “Faces of America”, an evening of personal monologues with The PlayGround Experiment, which now has their own YouTube channel. Helene is part of two web series that have transitioned to the online TV format: “That Reminds Me” can be found on Amazon Prime and “Working Out the Kinks” is now on Black Oak TV! Helene is also a freelance casting director and has cast 2 projects this month and has been writing several original pieces for various writing groups. A special thank you to Job Ethan Christensen!
Ross Hewitt is an associate member of the American Dramatists Guild. His produced full-length plays are When October Goes (Ujima Theatre Co, Buffalo, NY) and Echoes in the Garden (American Bard Theater Co, New York, NY). His produced one-act plays include Booties, Quicksand, Mother Knows Best, and Crossover. His jukebox musical Rainbows & Ribbons premiered at Don’t Tell Mama in 2017. Ross directed the world premiere of Shawn Nacol's The Trophy Wife (Buffalo Ensemble Theatre), as well as some of his own works. Favorite roles include Richard Banor in You Wouldn’t Expect, Albany in King Lear, Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing (American Bard), Sir Hugh Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare in Delaware Park), Dr. Hubert Bonney in It Runs in the Family (Cortland Repertory Theatre).
Ross G. Hewitt
Core Company Member
American Bard Theater Company
Sarah Jeanne: Born in Tongyeong, South Korea,
Sarah Jeanne, who plays the role is Sophie in Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery &
Hope, was adopted and grew up in Rochester, New York and now resides
in Tonawanda, New York. She is delighted to be performing/writing for her very
first Zoom production. Recent film and television acting credits include:
Captain Isotope and the Enemy of Space, Nuclear Key Codes, Not Another Monster
Movie, Til’ Death Do We Rot, and Turn Up the Night. In addition to acting,
Sarah also enjoys writing and has contributed to several productions, such as
Ashes to Ashes, The Cure, and Unchaste. Gracing the independent film scene
since late 2017, Sarah has been involved in over 50 film and television
productions, working both as an actor and behind the scenes. When not involved
in film productions, Sarah enjoys spending time with her dog, yoga, and travel.
Stacy Kowal began to indulge herself with a passion for acting over 13 years ago, and her background includes community theater, film, and commercial work. She works in the field of Human Resources and has always lived in the Buffalo, NY area. Stacy is excited to be involved with the Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope, and is grateful for the opportunity.
Curt Markham is an actor and filmmaker in Western New York. He has appeared in independent comedy features including The Tomorrow Man, A Christmas Monstrosity, and Post-Apocalyptic Commando Shark. He played zombies in The Plague, The Plague 2, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, and the RIT student-produced anthology feature Project 9. As an animator, he created the hour-long animated feature The Search for Silverspear as well as the animated sequences for the comedy feature Lonely Bananas. He has worked for Kodak, Xerox, and the PBS station WXXI-TV in Rochester, New York.
Calli Medley is a working artist in New York City. She is an actress, singer, dancer, musician and songwriter, professionally playing piano, guitar, ukulele, and cajon. Calli attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, for Theatre Arts; as well as the Open Jar Residency's 2019 class, led by Jeff Whiting. Recent credits include MADDIE, Forget Me Not (Joey Contreras/Kate Thomas); PENELOPE, Bye, Bye, Birdie (Minnesota State University, Mankato); and TAMMY, Hairspray (Empire Arts Center). Calli is excited and honored to be a part of Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope. @callimedley callimedley.com
Annie DiMarco Reeves was born in Thorold, Ontario and became an American citizen in 2004. She has had a long career in the legal industry as a legal administrative assistant. Admittedly, Annie is starstruck, so when the opportunity presented itself to be a part of a Hollywood project, Cold Brook directed by William Fichtner, she was ecstatic. Since that time, she has also had the pleasure of working on other projects such as the First Purge directed by Gerard McMurray, Staged Killer, directed by Chris Olen Ray and winner of the 41st annual Telly Award for Viewer's Choice, as well as a number of endeavors including music videos and streaming series. Annie loves to travel and has visited many of the Caribbean islands and Hawaii. When she can't be on a tropical beach, Annie enjoys a good romantic movie.
Alka Sahay is making her acting debut in Enduring COVID-19: Health, Recovery & Hope. She is a migrant from India ‘Eastern Part of – City Jamshedpur to the US. Alka works for SEI Investments and I lives in Downingtown PA - a suburb of Philly.
Jeffrey C. Wolf has acted regionally in such plays as ROUNDING THIRD (Riverside Theatre), WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE and BOEING BOEING at the Arrow Rock Lyceum, as well as originating the roles in such plays as CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY (world premiere, NYC), AMERICA’S BRIGHTEST STAR (world premiere, Railroad Playhouse), and GOD AND MR. SMITH (world premiere, Kaleidoscope Theatre, NYC). Look for Jeffrey as a supporting lead in the Sci-Fi film, ALTERSCAPE, opposite Charles Baker (BREAKING BAD) and Michael Ironside (TOTAL RECALL), available now on all the major digital platforms. ALTERSCAPE is a recipient of the Best Feature Film award at the Phillip K. Dick Film Festival in NYC. Jeffrey is a graduate of the William Esper Studio, having studied with Bruce McCarty in the two year acting program teaching the Meisner technique. www.jeffreyCwolf.com @jeffreyCwolf