Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.
Melody Butiu (Female Voices)
is grateful to return to South Coast Repertory to be a part of this production. Her other SCR credits include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience (Theatre for Young Audiences), A Christmas Carol (2018), Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, Ivy + Bean and Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells. Her Broadway credits include Doctor Zhivago and off-Broadway, David Byrne’s Here Lies Love (The Public Theater). Her regional theatre credits include Vietgone (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), Here Lies Love (Seattle Repertory Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along (Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts), Sunday in the Park with George (Huntington Theatre), Monstress (American Conservatory Theatre), Stage Kiss and Shipwrecked! (Geffen Playhouse), Helen (Getty Villa), A Perfect Wedding (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Long Story Short (San Diego Repertory), A Little Night Music and Golden Child (East West Players), 36 Views (Portland Center Stage), Dogeaters and Boy (La Jolla Playhouse). Her film and television credits include The Patients, A Mother’s Greatest Fear, “The Kominsky Method,” “NCIS: LA,” “Kingdom,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Gotham,” “NCIS” and “Modern Family.” She earned an MFA from UC-San Diego. melodybutiu.com, IG: @mellowdeebee
Lea Coco (Ryan)
is happy to be making his first SCR appearance. His notable theatre credits include work with The Public Theater in New York, Blue Man Group (as a Blue man), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre, among many others. His television credits include guest star and recurring roles on networks such as NBC, CBS, TNT, ABC and FOX. He can be seen in films such as Dorian Blues, J. Edgar, Sinister 2 and The Hallmark Channel’s highest-rated Christmas movie, The Sweetest Christmas. He recently finished filming his third season with Ava DuVerney’s hit show, “Queen Sugar,” as bad boy Jacob Beadreaux. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.
Erika LaVonn (Amina)
is making her SCR debut. She has worked on small and big screens, in soaps and dramas including “Law & Order: SVU” and War of the Worlds. From historical human to a fictional feral, LaVonn has portrayed the likes of Marian Anderson in My Lord, What a Night, to Nala and Serabi in Broadway’s The Lion King. She has had the privilege of working overseas and at numerous theatres from coast to coast including those located in Portland, Denver, Louisville, Kansas, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Delaware, Hartford, Boston, and at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She counts The Christians (The Wilma Theater, Syracuse Stage), What I Learned in Paris (Indiana Repertory Theatre), The Mountaintop (Guthrie Theater, Blumenthal Center, Arizona Theatre Company) and The Lion King amongst her favorites.
Ricardo Salinas (Male Voices)
is an original member of the critically acclaimed performance troupe Culture Clash, which has forged a unique role on the American stage. As a theatre artist, writer, social commentator and activist, he and his co-creators, Richard Montoya and Herbert Sigüenza, have written more than a dozen plays and performed more than 5,000 shows nationwide including several times at SCR. Salinas continues to tour his solo show 57 Chevy, written by Cris Franco, and will be performing at San Diego Repertory Theatre this fall in Bad Hombres, Good Wives written by Herbert Sigüenza. This spring, he’s keeping busy being on the faculty both at Occidental College and UCLA.
Leah C. Gardiner (Director) returns to SCR where she previously directed the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-finalist Blue Door. Most recently, her production of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka at Playwrights Horizons was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Her other New York credits include Generations and born bad (for which she received an Obie Award) at Soho Rep; The Ruins of Civilization at Manhattan Theatre Club; Wit starring Judith Light at the Union Square Theatre (plus the national tour); The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner at Atlantic Theatre Company; Fidelis at The Public Theater; Pitbulls at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater; Pulitzer Prize-finalist Bulrusher at Urban Stages; and Dead Are My People at New York Theatre Workshop/Noor Theatre. Her regional credits include Bread at WaterTower Theatre, Antony and Cleopatra and Othello at Houston Shakespeare Festival, The Normal Heart at ACT (San Francisco), Fences at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Alliance Theatre, Sucker Punch at Studio Theatre (Washington, D.C.) and Anna Deveare Smith’s Notes from the Field at Baltimore Center Stage/Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Gardiner has directed in both London and Japan, and has acted as herself in Ira Sachs’ feature film Little Men, opposite Greg Kinnear. She earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. LeahCGardiner.com
Myung Hee Cho (Scenic Design) is a set and costume designer for theatre, opera, dance and live entertainment. She designed Goldfish, The Piano Teacher, System Wonderland and others at SCR. Her recent credits include sets for Nikki Corona, Black Super Hero Magic Mama at Geffen Playhouse; Trojan Women, a new Korean opera, at the LIFT Festival (London), Holland Festival and Wiener Festwochen; set and costumes for In the Body of the World at Manhattan Theatre Club and American Repertory Theater; The Thieving Magpie at Glimmerglass Opera; The Marriage of Figaro at Washington National Opera and Golden Fairytale Fanfare at Shanghai Disney Resort. Her other selected credits include Trans Scripts at A.R.T.; Stuck Elevator at ACT; Emotional Creature at The Linney Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Market Theatre, Johannesburg; The Magic Flute at the Canadian Opera Company and The Good Person of Szechuan at the Landestheater Linz (Austria). She is professor of stage design at UCLA and a recipient of multiple Princess Grace Awards.
Leah Piehl (Costume Design) returns to SCR where she designed Kings, The Light in the Piazza, Mr. Wolf, The Motherf**ker with the Hat and the Theatre for Young Audiences productions of Pinocchio, Robin Hood and The Borrowers. Her other credits include Romeo and Juliet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), The Taming of the Shrew (Great Lakes Theater), Underneath the Lintel and Krapp’s Last Tape (Geffen Playhouse), Halfway to Dawn (BAM), Race and Twist Your Dickens (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Pygmalion, The Heiress, Intimate Apparel (Pasadena Playhouse), The Steward of Christendom (Mark Taper Forum); The Most Deserving (Denver Center for the Performing Arts); Stardust (REDCAT); Arcadia, The Doctor’s Dilemma and The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (A Noise Within); Paradise Lost (Intiman Theatre); Bars and Measures, Futura, The Pain and the Itch and Tartuffe (Boston Court Pasadena); and Hedda Gabler (Antaeus Theatre Company). She recently designed the feature film, All Stars. Her work has been featured at MOMA, Art Basel Miami and 2010 Whitney Biennial. Piehl has a BA from UC-Berkeley and an MFA in costume design from CalArts. leahpiehl.com
Cameron Jaye Mock (Lighting Design) has designed for opera, theatre, concert and dance throughout the United States and Europe, spanning the fields of scenic, lighting and projection design. Some of his most recent work includes scenic and lighting design for Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe’s Alcina and scenic design for San Francisco Symphony’s Boris Godunov. His other productions include Peter Grimes, Peer Gynt and On the Town (San Francisco Symphony), Iphigénie en Tauride (Teatro Nacional de São Carlos), Daphne (The Cleveland Orchestra), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (a co-production with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony), Hope, Faith, Charity, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Melancholia, Desert Rats and The Mother of Henry (The Latino Theater Company), Iris (Bard Summerscape), Semele, Agrippina and A Flowering Tree (Opera Omaha), Pelléas et Mélisande (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra), Don Giovanni (San Francisco Opera’s Merola program), Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels (LA Philharmonic), Radamisto and Jonathan Dove’s Flight (The Juilliard School), Turn of the Screw (Opera Columbus), a world premiere of The Classical Style (Ojai Music Festival), Saul (Trinity Wall Street) and La voix humaine and Il segreto di Susanna (Opera San Antonio). He is co-creator of Mac Moc Design LLC.
Martín Carrillo (Sound Design/Original Music) is an Ovation Award-winning sound designer (2004, 2007) and has created music and sound environments in a number of contexts since 1996. His sound design and original music for Pig Iron’s Tragedy of Joan of Arc (1998) received attention and critical acclaim in Philadelphia with a Barrymore Award nomination and was a preamble to collaborations with sound designer François Bergeron for six venues at Tokyo DisneySea (2001). He also was the audio designer for two main venues at Hong Kong Disneyland (2005). His Los Angeles theatrical credits include Eat Me (2004, LA Weekly Theater Award nomination), Have You Seen Alice (LA Weekly Theater Award for Sound Design, 2012; Ovation Award nomination), Buddy Buddette, Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans 1836 (Ovation Award, 2004), Heavier Than, American Misfit, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings (Ovation Award, 2007); Gifts of the Spirit (2018, Ron Athey and the Broad Museum); Karen O & Danger Mouse Present an Encounter with Lux Prima at the Marciano Art Foundation (2019, spatial sound engineer) and Baby It’s You (2010, NAACP Theatre Award for Sound Design, Large Venue). His first feature-length score for the film adaptation of Eat Me premiered in 2017. He is proud to be designing and composing during SCR’s 55th season after working here as an associate on The Education of Randy Newman (2000)—it seems like only yesterday.
Howard Fredrics (Original Music) is making his SCR design debut. His recent theatre credits include Billie, Malcom and Yusuf (Castillo Theatre), Dietrich Rides Again (United Solo Festival), Bulldozer: The Ballad of Robert Moses (St. Clement’s Theatre), The Sorceress (National Yiddish Theatre), the Drama Desk Award-nominated Threepenny Opera (Marvel Repertory Theatre), Sanctuary (Lion Theatre), Anna Nicole: Blonde Glory (Theater for A New City), Housewives of Secaucus (54 Below), Bright is The Ring of Words (NYC Fringe Festival), All Gone West (Teatro Circulo) and the film, Transatlantic Coffee. His musical works include an opera, The Whitechapel Whirlwind, on the life of boxer Jack “Kid” Berg; The Raven’s Kiss, a collaboration with poet Charles Bukowski; and Vagvisa För Mitt Ofödda Barn, a collaboration with Swedish poet Elsa Grave. His themes for the “Texas Parks & Wildlife” TV series received Emmy and Telly Awards. His electroacoustic music has received awards in the Musica Nova, Bourges and Luigi Russolo international competitions. howardfredrics.com
Jerry Patch (Dramaturg) was affiliated with SCR from 1967-2005 and returned in 2014 as literary consultant. He served as dramaturg on nearly 150 new plays developed and seen at SCR including the world premieres of Abundance, Freedomland, Golden Child, Intimate Apparel, Search and Destroy, Three Days of Rain and Wit. He was project director for the Pacific Playwrights Festival from its 1998 inception through 2005; and, for seven years, he served as artistic director of the theatre program of Sundance Institute. As a professor of theatre and film, he taught at Long Beach City College, UC-Irvine, UC-San Diego, CSU-Long Beach and other institutions. He was consulting dramaturg for Roundabout Theatre Company (New York) for nearly a decade and left SCR to become resident artistic director for The Old Globe in San Diego. Following seven seasons as director of artistic development for Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, he is now an artistic consultant for MTC, the Colorado New Play Festival and South Coast Repertory.
Sean Cawelti (Puppet Design and Direction) is a director, puppet/video designer and creator of immersive and site-specific experiences. He is a graduate from the University of California, Irvine, with honors in directing and he studied puppetry at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He is the founding artistic director of Rogue Artists Ensemble (Los Angeles) and has won awards for his work as a designer, director and playwright, including a UNIMA Citation of Excellence and the Sherwood Award from Center Theater Group (Los Angeles). His work has been seen at the Getty Villa, SCR, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Cornerstone Theater Company, Chicago Opera Theater, LA Theatre Works, Geffen Playhouse, Long Beach Opera, Imago Theatre (Portland), New York City Opera, Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta) and the Kanye West Yeezus world tour. Cawelti is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. seancawelti.com
Darlene Miyakawa (Stage Manager) last worked at SCR on Ella Enchanted. A member of Actors’ Equity Association and the American Guild of Musical Artists, she has worked around the U.S. in opera, theatre (primarily Shakespeare and new works) and recently started to delve into corporate events (Salesforce Conference, Miami; annual Gamestop Conference; and TD Bank WoW! Awards, a 12-city tour), one-night concerts and fundraisers. Her recent credits include Playwright’s Arena, Opera San Jose, California Symphony, Fort Worth Opera, Pasadena Playhouse, Tri-Cities Opera, New York City Opera, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, Opera San Antonio, The Getty Villa and East West Players. Miyakawa was also the director of production for 10 years at Long Beach Opera and served as production manager for Opera Maine, Opera Memphis, Opera Santa Barbara, Festival Opera and the inaugural year of Artists at Play.
The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.