The Open Fist Theatre Company is a community of actors, playwrights, designers, and directors who believe that to realize the force and potential of a relevant, contemporary, living theatre it is necessary to create, nurture, and unite a company founded on the pursuit of artistic excellence. We seek through diverse styles and forms to illuminate the essential relationships that connect individuals and their societies as we forge our own collective identity through our work.
For more information on each company member, please click on their name below.
After graduating from the University of Southern California’s School of Theatre, Allison studied Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England and then moved to New York to continue working in theater. At Open Fist, Allison has performed in Short Ends, Dear John Mayer, Drive, and Quake (u/s). Other favorite stage roles include Natalya in A Month in the Country (USC) and Chick in Crimes of the Heart (Little Fish Theatre). She has been in several Independent features and shorts including “Shades of Hope” (Cannes Film Festival) and the XFX web series “Secret Weapon.” www.allisonmattox.com
Don’t miss Andrew as “Erie” in Eugene O’Neill’s HUGHIE, directed by Martha Demson, set to open at the Fist in September. Andrew’s OFTC credits include: Machinal, Getting Frankie Married and Afterwards, Do Do Love, St. Joan and the Dancing Sickness, Elephant’s Graveyard, Blue Night in the Heart of the West, The Illusion, Macbeth, Comedy of Errors, FoodSexWorkSleepGod. Chicago theatre credits include: Of Mice and Men as “George” - Organic Theatre, Let Me Live - Goodman Theatre, The Horn - Steppenwolf Theatre, Hellcab - Famous Door Theatre, To Kill a Mockingbird, Strange Interlude, Vieux Carre, Julius Caesar. Film credits include: “The Artist”, “J. Edgar”, “For the Love of Money”, “Divorce Invitation”, “This is 40”, “Seven Psychopaths”, “The Master”, “Wikus and Charlize”, and “Wrigley Field Beyond the Ivy”. Episodic: “Private Practice”, “Entourage”, “Pretend Time”. TV Movies: “All Signs of Death”, “Grace”, “The Council of Dads”, and “Death Valley”. AEA-SAG-AFTRA member
Amanda’s most recent OFTC credits include playing Ms. Lowell in Moss Hart's Light Up The Sky, Dorothy Thompson in Michael Franco’s The Room (World Premiere), Stephanie in Michael Elyanow’s The Idiot Box (West Coast Premiere), and Sasha in Matai Visniec’s How To Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients (Edinburgh Festival Fringe.) Directing credits include the Los Angeles Premiere of James Stock's Blue Night In The Heart of the West, the West Coast Premiere of Neil LaBute’s Autobahn, and Directors Fest productions of I Stand Before You Naked by Joyce Carol Oates, and Never Swim Alone by Daniel MacIvor. Amanda was also proud to serve as assistant director for the World Premiere of Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage. Amanda holds a B.S. degree in Theatre & Creative Writing from Northwestern University and a Certificate in Directing from The Royal Court’s International School.
Barbara Schofield has worked as director or actor for New York’s Roundabout/Susan Bloch Theatre, Jean Cocteau Rep., Westbeth Theatre Center, The Kitchen, Boston’s Lyric Stage, Missouri Repertory Theatre, California’s Sierra Madre Playhouse and for her LA artistic home at Open Fist. She received her MA and PhD. in Theatre from Tufts University, and spent many years abroad performing in Germany and England and completing her undergraduate degree in Drama. Barbara has taught acting, directing, stage voice and theatre history at Tufts, University of Missouri, the University of California and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where she is currently a master acting teacher, director and theatre history instructor.
Proud to have studied Improv with Viola Spolin (the queen), The Groundlings and Stephen Book. Roles at Open Fist: Eleanor (Rock and Roll), Mrs. Shin (Good Woman of Shetzuan), Karen (Everything is Enough), Estelle (Drive). Other faves...Sara Jane Moore (Assassins), Gussie (Merrily We Roll Along) and Ethel Banks (Barefoot in the Park). She toured the country in I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road and received rave reviews for her one woman show Heaven Knows. Two award winning films for AFI, Wet Fur and Left at the Rio Grande. She has shot over 300 commercials and she was one of the first actresses to play a lesbian on daytime TV on All my Children in the 80’s. Because of her winning performance she received many requests from women in prison to be their pen pal. She still corresponds with several.
In his more than quarter century as an actor in L.A. Bill has been a member of five different theater groups. He gets lucky now and then and gets a paying gig- he's done a few direct to video movies and festival winning shorts; some TV, a couple of commercials. But the best luck he's ever had was getting hooked up with The Open Fist Theatre Company. His people skills are better, his painting and set building skills have improved and they even let him act in some marvelous productions- The Cowboy Scottish Play (Duncan) The Room (Dalton) The Comedy of Errors (Aegeon), The Devil with Boobs (probably the most fun he's ever had doing a play) (Geron de la Noche and the priest.) Thanks, guys.
Bryan Bertone is an actor.
Caitlin Renée, Actress/Producer, has produced THEATRE~NY: Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, Gogol’s The Marriage, and Pinter's One for the Road, to name a few. LA: Arthur Miller's After the Fall, directed by LA Weekly Award-winning director Bjorn Johnson. OFTC's Summer Shakespeare Festival including 2008 Ovation nominee deLearious, for Best Musical in a Small Theatre, written by Ron West and Phil Swann. She was Marketing Producer for the World Premiere of Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage, which garnered 8 LA Weekly nominations, for Mr. Johnson’s 2009 helming of Moss Hart's Light Up the Sky, and for LoveWater, a joint theatrical production with The Open Fist Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA.
INT’L THEATRE: Coordinating Producer for The Medea Project, a co-production with Zoo District and The Deaf Theatre School of Athens, slated to commence late September 2009 in Cave Davelli, in Athens, Greece; returning to Los Angeles for January/February 2010 performances at The Rialto Theatre.
FILM: Assistant Director: Fully Loaded, The Clear Horizon, Scream at the Sound of the Beep, “gAg,” Kemo Sabe (AFI-DWW Project) and Piranhas (pilot). She has produced both exclusive and public events for: ARTists in Need, Make it Happen Productions, Liquid Feast and fundraising events for artists & production companies. Currently Caitlin Renée is: in pre-production on Neil LaBute's new One Acts The Jesus Play and Helter Skelter slated for World Premiere in the OFTC Summer New Works Festival; and I HATE TV, Jennifer Lettelleir’s Rock Operetta. She produced & ADed the short film, Captain, the dark-comedy is currently making the film festival circuit, and most recently was accepted at Dances With Films Festival and IndieFest.
As an Actress, cRc was part of the OFTC Comedy of Errors ensemble, and in original works: Play Rough and Anne Droid & the Last Transport with the Dillon Street Players. She is an alumnus of California Institute of the Arts, and graduated with a dual Masters from the joint program with The Moscow Art Theatre and Carnegie Mellon University. Roles performed in Moscow included Abigail in The Crucible and Madame Glafira in Ostrovsky's Diary of a Scoundrel. LA & NY/regional theater: LA WEEKLY winner J.O.B. ... the Movie, Sondheim's The Frogs, directed by Michael Michetti, and John Gagliano’s The Bodoni County Songbook Anthology, Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, and Gogol’s The Marriage, to name a few. TV: Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and a recurring role on Guiding Light.
Charles Otte (Board Member/Producer/Director/Designer), Co-Founder of Velocity Productions, has over twenty years experience producing and creating award-winning content for theatre, film, special events, and multi-media presentations. As a producer and director his clients include 7th Level Interactive, A&E Television, HDTV, M.T.V., the Sundance Institute, Roger Corman Films, Lincoln Center, Traveling Light Media, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, the Texas State History Museum, BRC Imagination Arts, Resorts World, Sam Adams Brewery, NASCAR, TEA, and IAAPA.
His theatre work for the Open Fist includes directing King Stag, Flight by Michael Bulgakov, Threepenny Opera by Brecht, Xmass, Tom Stoppard’s Travesties (LA Weekly Best Director), and James Joyce’s The Dead. In addition, he has designed and produced multiple productions. Some of his favorite New York productions include Flood by Guntar Grass, Moliere’sImaginary Invalid, Brecht’s Baal, Mikhail Bulgokov's Bliss, as well as Songs from Liquid Days by Philip Glass. Additional New York productions include The Cuchulain Cycle (based on the writings by W.B. Yeates), the multi-media production This is a Test and restaging The Civil Wars and Einstein on the Beach for Robert Wilson.
Other Notable productions include creative direction for the CD-rom game Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, La Belle Et La Bete for Oscar nominee Philip Glass, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Holy Grail was named best CD-ROM of 1996, and Otte was named one of the top AV producers of the year. He was honored in 2001 and again in 2005 with the award for Outstanding Achievement presented by the Themed Entertainment Association for his work on the Texas State History Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Conor Lane is pleased to be an open fist member for a little over 2 years now after living in L.A. a little over 3. He studied Communications at Marquette University then moved to London for 3 years where he received his Masters in Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Productions at the Fist include James Joyce in Travesties, Raymond/Ramona in The Idiot Box (world premiere), Pinch in The Comedy of Errors, and Andrews/Albany in Delearious (world premiere). While not onstage he continues to pursue TV and Film which have included several Independent features, a new series for the Oxygen network, and a national commercial campaign for Aquafina.
Dylan has been called "One of the GREATEST actors of his generation" by family members. Close friends say he's "Not bad". He spent his childhood building snow forts in Alaska before living and performing in Seattle, WA. He then graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of Southern California and has since continued to perform and produce in Los Angeles, New York, and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Efrain is a director, producer and freelance theatre artist. He received his MFA in Directing from UCLA's School of Theatre/Film/Television and has directed and produced theatre across Los Angeles. Among his favorite directing credits are The Rose Tree for Open Fist/L'enfant Terrible; Trafficking in Broken Hearts and America's Next Top Bottom Cycles 1-5 for Celebration Theatre, and A Giant Arc in the Skyspace of Directions for Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble. He has directed and produced shows that have traveled to Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Trog and Clay: An Imagined History of the Electric Chair, 2011), New York International Fringe Festival (America's Next Top Bottom Cycle 5!, 2009), and Hollywood Fringe Festival (Fancy: A Southern Gothic Camp Parable, 2013). He is cowriter and director of a new musical, The Incredibly Depraved and Nearly True Tale of Lydia Trueblood, The Black Widow of the Atlantic Coast which hopes to go to Edinburgh this summer. He is also the creator/director of the underground cult telenovela spoof web series Stallions de Amor starring Drew Droege. .
Elizabeth Greer (BFA NYU, MFA Yale) has been cast in guest starring roles on many TV series, including Cold Case, The Shield, My Own Worst Enemy, Charmed, Rendez-View and West Wing. She was also cast in such films as The Gunrunner Billy Kane (web series), Interference, Transformers 1.5 (Blu-Ray Disc), Meet Market, and Cahoots. She appeared in the awarded short, Sexting, written and directed by Neil LaBute. Most recently, she shot a short for the web entitled Djinn, written and directed by Guy Zimmerman. Elizabeth works regularly in theater in LA and recently appeared in many of the EST-LA festivals, such as Winterfest, Plays du Jour, and fESTivity. She appeared in the Murray Mednick world premiere, Daddy-O Dies Well, produced by Padua Playwrights. She has performed leading roles in over 70 plays at venues such as the Yale Repertory Theater, Lincoln Center, and The American Jewish Theater, the Skirball Center, and many more. For further information on Lizzy, visit www.ElizabethGreer.com. She is honored to be in her first play at OFTC.
Hilary J. Schwartz hails from the small town of Murphys, California. Haven't heard of it? That's alright. The guy next to you hasn't either. She has a foundation in classical training, studying with various Shakespeare acting programs both in California and abroad. After attending the Idyllwild Arts Academy, she went on to receive a B.A. in Drama from the University of California, Irvine. During that time she also studied Shakespeare and Modern Drama at the British American Drama Academy in London, England. She is more then excited to be joining Open Fist's ensemble of actors!
Time flies when you're having fun.
Jeremy Guskin received his Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Carnegie Mellon University and also completed a second MFA in Acting from the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. He has also studied at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O'Neil Center, HB Studios in NY, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and the Stanislavski Summer School at Harvard. Jeremy is the star and one of the creators of "Shakespearience", the most popular educational theatre program in California. Credits include: Film: Art School Confidential, Pulse, Simone; TV: General Hospital, The Mentalist, 'Til Death (recurring), Breaking In, The Finder, Aspen (lead), Blackout, Life, No Ordinary Family, Alias, NCIS, Six Feet Under, NYPD Blue, Roswell (recurring), ER; Voice-over (Cal Phil; Audiobooks; Animation); Theatre: "Nothing Sacred" (South Coast Rep), "Nobody Likes Jews When They're Winning" (Open Fist), "Uncle Jermy's Smyle Hour" (Open Fist); The Curse Of Ravensdurn (The New Comedy). Jeremy was born and raised in New York City and is represented by the Geddes Agency.
John Bobek is honored to be a member of the Open Fist. As an actor, his TV work includes The West Wing, Happy Endings, Criminal Minds. Film: Snitch, Night Of The Punks!, When A Stranger Calls. Onstage: Athena Theatre's Proof, Edgemar Center's Mental: The Musical, and Open Fist's Curse Of The Starving Class, for which he also wrote an original score. As a singer/songwriter, his Debut EP I Will Be Yours can be found on iTunes and other online outlets. All other info can be found at IMDb or at his website, johnbobek.com . He is represented by The Glick Agency and managed by Perry Zimel.
John D. LeMay has been a working actor in Los Angeles since 1985 after studying music and theatre at Illinois State University. His television credits include Parks and Recreation, E-Ring, Providence, Sisters, Eddie Dodd, Over My Dead Body, Tour of Duty, Remington Steele, The Facts of Life, and Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. It was his two years starring as antique sleuth ‘Ryan Dallion’ in the influential Friday the 13th: The Series that propelled John towards film roles such as Jason Goes to Hell, Normal Life, and the indie hit Without a Map. John has also appeared in numerous television commercials, and recently returned to his musical theatre roots, featured in the Cabrillo Music Theatre productions of, 42nd Street and the award winning Jekyll and Hyde and 1776. He is a proud member of the Open Fist Theatre Company, appearing in the critically acclaimed stagings of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, Moon Over Buffalo, and Early and Often, and Foote Notes. johndlemay.com
Laetitia majored in theatre at St. Edwards University in Austin,TX for two years, RADA and AIU in London and earned her B.A. in Theatre at Fordham University in NYC. She attended the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in 2007, and also studied improvisation at UCB NY and performed with several different improv troops. Some of her NYC credits are Peter and the Star Catchers (Dir. by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers), The Civil Wargasm, and a few independent short films. Other of her favorite stage credits include: Amadeus, Autobahn and Pride & Prejudice. She continues to pursue work in film, television and commericals as well. She is so happy to be apart of The Open Fist!
Laura joined the Fist in November of 2008. Shows w/ the Fist include Light Up The Sky (March 2009) and Goliath (July 2009) In addition to many Off and Off-Off Broadway productions she has performed regionally at The Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey, the Florida Stage, The Magic Theater in SF, The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, and the Williamstown Theater Festival. She was part of Obie Award winning Salt Theater in New York and won the 2006 Charles Bowden Award for Acting from New Dramatists in New York. She holds and MFA from Carnegie Mellon and the Moscow Art Theater and a BA from Yale College and currently is on faculty at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Hollywood.
In 2009 Richardson latest play, Come Back, Little Horny, premiered at The Lost Studios and was directed by Open Fist’s very own Martha Demson, and received a WOW! In Stage Scene LA . Richardson’s theatrical play, Do Do Love, premiered at The Open Fist Theatre in 2007 and received a Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice review. Her one woman show, Sweety’s Big Experiment, had its world premiere in Los Angeles at Actors Art Theatre where it garnered a “Critics Pick of the Week.” Most recently Richardson’s play, Chronic Pain, ran at the award winning Theatre East, her play, Lady Liberty was chosen for a reading at The Abington Theatre in New York City, Life Eats Mikey and Kitty Cornered were both recognized by the Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Network play contests, and her screenplay, Do Do Love, placed in the Scriptapalooza contest. Along with writing, Laura is also an actor and has done a lot of theatre in LA, including the world premiere of Horton Foote’s play, Harrison, Texas and The Roads to Home at The Lost Studios. Recent film and television credits include Desperate Housewives, Windfall, Invisible Man, Judging Amy, and Jack and Bobby. She is a graduate of Playhouse West, holds a BA in Theatre Arts, and is a company member at Open Fist Theatre, Actors Art Theatre, Playwrights 6, Second Story Theatre, and The Dramatists Guild
Michael is a proud member of The Open Fist and works as a writer, director, actor, producer
and designer. He has received LA Weekly, LADCC, Ovation and Garland Awards for his work on Nosferatu, The Master and Margarita, Pathe 'X, Uppa Creek, Noche Negro, The Slow and Painful Death of Sam Shepard, Heart of a Dog, Gorey Stories, The Swine Show, The Room and Joe's Garage. As an actor with The Open Fist, The Time of Your Life, How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients, Autobahn, James Joyce's The Dead. Michael is an alum of the famed Second City in Chicago. Michael toured the former Soviet Republics with The Despoiled Shore - Medea Material - Landscape of the Argonauts performing notably at The Lenin Theatre in Moscow and The Octobrynskaya Theater in Saint Petersburg. His adaptation of Heart of a Dog had it's world premiere at the Ivan Franko National Theatre of Ukraine in Kiev. Michael has also performed in Canada, Scotland, Ireland and England. Currently, Michael is directing Elephant's Graveyard and acting in Saint Joan and the Dancing Sickness.
Richard Michael Knolla is currently working on Karen Hartman’s Goliath as part of The Open Fist’s New Works Festival. He was last seen here on the Open Fist stage as the long suffering and insufferable Tyler Rayburn in last season’s Moss Hart comedy Light Up The Sky and before that as Nelson Doubleday in the 2007 production of The Room. In the last year he has also been plying his trade on other LA stages as a member of the original cast of I Want it All, a new musical review based on the collected works of Maltby and Shire and as Nick Sakisian in Baby, also from the talent duo of Maltby and Shire. Additionally, Richard can currently be heard on television and online as the” voice” of Kabillion, a children’s network. Richard would like to thank his wife, Margaret and two children, Avi and Lev, for their patience and understanding as he continues to devote time otherwise spent with them pursuing his artistic endeavors. Enjoy the Show!
In Los Angeles he has appeared in Room Service, Both, and Fernando at the Open Fist Theatre, the operetta Charlotte: Life? Or Theatre? at The Met Theatre, and in The Heiress, Iphigenia In Aulis, and The Circle at Circus Theatricals. Regional theatre appearances in Washington, D.C. include Undiscovered Country, Galileo, and After The Fall at Arena Stage, Richard III at The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, and The Miser and The Tenth Man at Olney Theatre. Other regional productions include Macbeth, The Seagull, A Man For All Seasons, Stephan D., Antony and Cleopatra, Ivy Day In The Committee Room, and King Lear. TV and film credits include CBS’s “The Young And The Restless,” HBO’s “Countdown To Looking Glass,” “The Passion According to John,” and “One Problem Leads To Another,.” He also played the title role in the short film “The Toy Maker,” and appeared in the feature films “Who Flew” and “TV Virus.” He received his MFA from The Catholic University. He is a long-time member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA..
Shawn was born and raised on a farm near Alexandria, Minnesota. He fled rural life at 18 to study theater and chemistry at St.Olaf college, then used his education as a springboard into the Seattle theater scene where he co-founded Theatre Paradox. Recent theatrical credits include: Love's Old Sweet Song, by William Saroyan; Blue Night in the Heart of the West, by James Stock; the world premiers of The Room, by Michael Franco and Little Golden Fish, by Jamie Duneier; the U.S. premier of Tender, by Abi Morgan; How to Explain the History of Communism to Mental Patients, adapted by Jeremy Lawrence (both in LA. and in Edinburgh); and Voices from Chornobyl, adapted by Cindy Jenkins.
Stephen is originally from the Boston area having grown up in Los Angeles and has worked on over 100 movies and T.V. Productions with many uncredited roles, however the theater is where the real action is and he is honored to be part of Open Fist Theatre and it's talented members. When not working he can be found cycling or flying planes upside down. www.stephenriceinfo.com
Stephanie Crothers is excited to be a brand new member at The Open Fist. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephanie began training in dance at the age of 5. Promptly after high school she moved to Santa Cruz, CA to work and volunteer on and off stage with theater artists in San Francisco, Downtown Santa Cruz, and Aptos. After a handful of years, she returned to her hometown to study in the B.A. program at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts and to pursue a professional acting career. Her most memorable role was Beatrice in the lively production of Much Ado About Nothing at Cabrillo College in Aptos. Stephanie is learning the guitar, writing, occasionally performing as a modern dancer, and is dedicated to her new artistic OFTC family!