Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.
Aaron Blakely* (Marc/Pinkerton/Ensemble)
was last seen at South Coast Repertory in How to Write a New Book for the Bible. His other regional productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Photograph 51, Clybourne Park and How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Seattle Repertory Theatre; Oslo, Other Desert Cities and Middletown at A Contemporary Theatre; How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Sense and Sensibility at Book-It Repertory Theatre; The Lion in Winter at Shakespeare Santa Cruz; as well as productions with A Noise Within, Idaho Repertory Theatre and Southern Rep Theatre (New Orleans). His film credits include Outside In, We Need to Talk About Kevin and We Go Way Back. On television, he appeared in “Z Nation” (Syfy), “Grimm” (NBC), “The Librarians” (TNT), “Leverage” (TNT) and recurred for three seasons in Amazon Studios’ Emmy Award-winning, “The Man in the High Castle.” Blakely holds an MFA in acting from the University of Washington.
Melody Butiu* (Comrade Chin/Ensemble)
returns to SCR where her credits include Sheepdog (featured voice), 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: The Musical and Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells. Her New York credits include Doctor Zhivago (on Broadway) and David Byrne’s Here Lies Love (off-Broadway, The Public Theater). Her regional theatre credits include Vietgone (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), Ripe Frenzy (Greenway Court), Enchanted Nightingale (Garry Marshall Theatre), 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 Theatre), A Little Night Music and Golden Child (East West Players), 36 Views (Portland Center Stage), Hair (Reprise Theatre Company) and Dogeaters and Boy (La Jolla Playhouse). Her film and television credits include The Patients, A Mother’s Greatest Fear, Untold, Blood Ransom, “The Kominsky Method,” “NCIS: LA,” “Kingdom,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Gotham,” “NCIS” and “Modern Family.” She earned an MFA from UC-San Diego. melodybutiu.com, Instagram: @mellowdeebee
Stephen Caffrey* (Tuolon/Judge/Sharpless/Ensemble)
appeared previously at SCR in SHREW!, Shakespeare in Love and Bach at Leipzig. His other credits include Stage Kiss and Yes, Prime Minister (Geffen Playhouse), The Seafarer and 36 Views (Laguna Playhouse), Fuddy Meers (Rubicon Theatre Company), Red (Geva Theatre Center and PlayMakers Repertory Company), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Portland Center Stage), Galileo (Cleveland Playhouse), Heartbreak House (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), A Doll’s House, Singers Boy, The Real Thing and The Voysey Inheritance (ACT, San Francisco), Victoria Musica (Cincinnati Playhouse), Restoration Comedy (Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Miser (Hartford Stage), The Body of Bourne (Mark Taper Forum), The Constant Wife (Pasadena Play House), Bargains (The Old Globe), The Cripple of Inishmaan and Falstaff in Henry IV (Antaeus Theatre Company), I Hate Hamlet (The Royal George), All’s Well that Ends Well and Bach at Leipzig (Santa Cruz Shakespeare), The Scarlet Letter (Classic Stage Company) and What You Get and Expect (New York Theatre Workshop). His film and television credits include Longtime Companion, Cinema Verite (HBO), “Tour of Duty” (series regular for three seasons and director, CBS) “Columbo,” “Seinfeld” (yada yada), “Nothing Lasts Forever” (mini-series), “All My Children” (Emmy Award nominee), “The Profiler,” “NCIS,” The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Hollywood Follies, Murder of Innocence, Buried Alive, “CSI Miami,” “American Odyssey.” He has been a member of Actors Equity since 1982.
Nike Doukas* (Agnes/Ensemble)
returns to SCR after appearing in Sense and Sensibility, Yoga Play, All the Way, The Prince of Atlantis, The Happy Ones, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Ridiculous Fraud, Cyrano de Bergerac, Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, Everett Beekin, The Beard of Avon, Round and Round the Garden, Pygmalion, How the Other Half Loves, Arms and the Man, Blithe Spirit, Green Icebergs, The Company of Heaven and Loot. She most recently appeared in Three Days in the Country at The Antaeus Company, where she is a member, and where, earlier last year, she directed Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse. This summer she will direct King Lear at the Harold Clurman Theatre in Hollywood. Her other regional acting credits include the Pasadena Playhouse, Kinetic Theatre and PICT (both in Pittsburgh), Jewel Theatre Company (Santa Cruz), The Old Globe, A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle), Mark Taper Forum, Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Berkeley Shakespeare Festival and American Conservatory Theatre. Her numerous television guest spots include a recurring role on “Desperate Housewives.” She is a recipient of the 2011 Lunt Fontanne Fellowship, and holds an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater.
Juliana Hansen* (Renee/Pinup Girl/Ensemble)
is thrilled to be back at SCR, after portraying Johanna in Sweeney Todd earlier this season. Her favorite credits include the first national tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie (as Millie), Saved (Lana, Playwrights Horizons), Mary Poppins (Mary, Cabrillo Playhouse), Les Misérables (Eponine, Sacramento Music Circus), The Fantasticks (Louisa, Gateway Playhouse), and West Side Story with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (Rosalia, Grammy Award nomination). She created, produced and starred in the comedy webseries, “Finding Fillion,” directed by Joel Zwick (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). She was awarded a best actress award for her work in the film Here (168 Film Project). Her television credits include “Every Other Holiday” (Rebecca, MarVista Entertainment) “Richard Sherman: Songs of a Lifetime” (PBS), and “Grease: You’re The One That I Want” (finalist, NBC), working with Tony Award-winning director Kathleen Marshall and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. As a voice actor, she can be heard on “Star vs. The Forces of Evil” (Disney XD), “Unikitty” (Warner Brothers) and the upcoming Toy Story 4 (Pixar). She’s the new voice of Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins: Legacy Collection) and Cinderella (Cinderella: The Lost Chords) and frequently works alongside Disney legend Richard M. Sherman. Hansen holds an MA in acting from Guildford School of Acting in England. JulianaHansen.com
Jake Manabat* (Song Liling)
is making his SCR debut. His theatre credits include M. Butterfly (Song Liling understudy, directed by Julie Taymor and starring Clive Owen and Jin Ha, Broadway), RENT (national tour, directed by Michael Greif, Benny Company), The White Snake (written and directed by Mary Zimmerman, Guthrie Theatre and Wuzhen Theatre Festival), The Provok’d Wife (directed by Mark Wing-Davey, American Repertory Theater), M. Butterfly (directed by Derek Charles Livingston, The Production Company, LA Weekly Theatre Award nomination, Best Actor), M. Butterfly (directed by Nick Mangano, Capital Repertory Theatre), Thoroughly Modern Millie (directed by Bob Durkin, West Virginia Public Theatre), Jen Silverman’s Crane Story (directed by Katherine Kovner, Playwrights Realm), Charles Mee’s Gone (directed by Ken Watt, 59E59 Theatres), Milk-N-Honey (directed by Ellen Beckerman, 3-Legged Dog), workshops of Philip Himberg’s Paper Dolls (directed by Mark Brokaw, The Public Theater), Chay Yew and Fabian Obispo’s The Long Season (directed by Peter DuBois, Huntington Theatre Company), and readings with The Lark and Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood playwrights collective. His television credits include “Bored to Death” (HBO, GLAAD Media Award nomination, Outstanding Individual Episode), “Madam Secretary” (CBS), “Dietland” (AMC), “Lilyhammer” (Netflix), “Hunting Season” (Vimeo, Independent Series Award, Best Ensemble), “The Lair” (HereTV) and “The Neighborhood” (Pilot). Manabat received his MFA from the A.R.T. Institute/Moscow Art Theatre School Institute at Harvard University.
Lucas Verbrugghe* (Rene Gallimard)
is making his SCR debut. He most recently appeared in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of An Entomologist’s Love Story by Melissa Ross. His Los Angeles theatre credits include Alena Smith’s Icebergs at Geffen Playhouse (Ovation Award nomination), Seminar at the Ahmanson Theatre and Jon Caren’s Need to Know at Rogue Machine Theatre. His New York credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Ritz on Broadway; Love Labour’s Lost and Macbeth at The Public Theater; Robert Askins’ Permission at MCC Theater; The Common Pursuit at Roundabout Theatre Company; Leslye Hedland’s Assistance at Playwrights Horizons; and the world premieres of boom by Peter Sinn-Nachtreib and Oohrah! by Bekah Brunstetter. His film credits include Our Idiot Brother; Lazy Eye; A Woman, a Part; A Birder’s Guide to Everything; and Point and Shoot (short). His television credits include the upcoming “Dickinson,” “Splitting Up Together,” “Ten Days in the Valley,” “Grimm,” “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU.” He has an MFA from New York University.
Annika Alejo (Dancer)
is making her SCR debut. She is a recent graduate from the University California, Irvine, where she double-majored and earned a BFA in dance performance and a BA in anthropology. She was a soloist and a member of the final Etude Ensemble to work with the late Donald McKayle; she performed McKayle’s historic works at his final memorial concert. Additionally, she has worked with Lar Lubovitch, performing his iconic repertory Marimba at the Irvine Barclay Theater. Last summer, Alejo trained globally with Vertigo Dance Company in Israel. In addition to concert dance, she has performed in musical theatre productions at The GEM Theater. She is represented by Go2Talent, one of Los Angeles’ leading commercial dance talent agencies. Outside of the arts, she is a certified yoga and pilates trainer.
Yoko Hasebe (Dancer)
is making her SCR debut. She started her dance training at the age of 7 at Koshizuka Natsuko Ballet Atelier (Saitama City, Japan), which gave her a strong foundation and formed her work ethic. She trained in ballet, contemporary dance and jazz. After graduating from high school, she attended the Japan University College of Arts as a dance major, where her passion for dance kept growing, as did her hunger to excel and learn different dance styles. When she learned about the large dance community in Los Angeles, and in order to broaden her experiences and accelerate her dance ability, she moved to the United States five years ago. She says it was the best decision she ever made because it gave her the opportunity to be featured in many performances here. After graduating Palomar College (San Marcos), she moved to Los Angeles and participated in the EDGE Performing Arts Center’s scholarship program. After finishing this program and signing with The Movement Talent Agency, she is excited to see where her career takes her.
Andres Lagang (Dancer)
is making both his South Coast Repertory and his professional debut. He recently earned his BA in theatre from UC-San Diego.
Sophy Zhao (Dancer)
is making her SCR debut. In New York, she was a dancer for Arim Dance Company and the Second Avenue Dance Company. She was also a dancer in Grammy Award-winning violinist Miri Ben Ari’s latest music video, Quiet Storm. She recently graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in dance and a minor in anthropology. While at Tisch, she had the opportunity to perform works by Sean Curran, Pamela Pietro and Paul Taylor. During that time, she spent a summer studying in Berlin, Germany, and worked with renowned dancers and choreographers including Johannes Weiland, Ayman Harper, Meg Stuart, Judith Sánchez Ruíz and Dominique Duszynski.
Desdemona Chiang (Director) is a stage director based in Seattle and Ashland, Ore., and is co-founder of Azeotrope (Seattle). Her directing credits include Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, California Shakespeare Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, Long Wharf Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, ACT Theatre Seattle, American Shakespeare Center, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Heritage Theatre Festival, Book-It Repertory, Aurora Theatre Company, Seattle Public Theatre, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Azeotrope, Impact Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, One Minute Play Festival, Ohio Northern University, University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts. Her assistant directing and dramaturgy credits include work at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Playmakers Repertory Company, A Contemporary Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Arizona Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Magic Theatre, Theatreworks and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre. She is an Intersection for the Arts Triangle Lab Artist-Investigator and an adjunct faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts. Her awards and honors include the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, the Gregory Award for Outstanding Direction, a Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellowship, a Drama League Directing Fellowship and she is a Young Leader of Color (Theatre Communications Group). She is affiliated with Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. She earned a BA at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA in directing from University of Washington School of Drama.
Ralph Funicello (Scenic Design) returns for his 31st season. Among his many SCR credits are designs for SHREW!, Shakespeare in Love, Once, All the Way, Red, Zealot, 4000 Miles, Elemeno Pea, Misalliance, Hamlet, Brooklyn Boy, Major Barbara, The Circle, Private Lives, Six Degrees of Separation, She Stoops to Folly, Buried Child, Good and Da. His work has been seen on and off-Broadway and at many resident theatres including Lincoln Center Theater, Mark Taper Forum, The American Conservatory Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, McCarter Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada, Royal Shakespeare Company, Theatre Royal Bath and The Old Globe, where he is an associate artist. He has designed for New York City Opera, LA Opera and San Diego Opera. He has been nominated for New York Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and Tony awards. He received the Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration (Chicago) and his designs have been recognized by the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Drama-Logue, Backstage West and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Funicello is the Powell Chair in Set Design at San Diego State University.
Sara Ryung Clement (Costume Design) returns to SCR where her past projects include costumes for Cambodian Rock Band, A Doll’s House, Part 2, 4000 Miles, Completeness and Becky Shaw; sets and costumes for How the World Began; and the set design for Absurd Person Singular. Her upcoming projects include Human Error at the Denver Center Theatre Company and the world premiere of Idris Goodwin’s The Way the Mountain Moved at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her work has been seen off-Broadway at Second Stage Uptown and regionally at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse POP Tour, Mixed Blood, TheatreWorks, Center Stage Baltimore, Boston Court Pasadena, Perseverance Theatre, East West Players, Cornerstone Theater Company, A Noise Within, Yale Repertory Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry and others. She is on the set design faculty at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and is a recipient of the Donald and Zorca Oenslager Fellowship in Design. She earned a MFA at Yale School of Drama and an AB from Princeton University. sararyungclement.com
Josh Epstein (Lighting Design) has designed lighting at many of the top regional theatres in the country. His recent productions include The Legend of Georgia McBride (Geffen Playhouse), Indecent (Arena Stage), Romeo and Juliet (Guthrie Theater) and The Humans (Geva Theatre Center). His work has also been seen at the Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Kansas City Repertory, Long Wharf Theater, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Paper Mill Playhouse. In addition, Epstein is an ensemble member at IAMA Theatre Company (Los Angeles) and on faculty at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is an LA Ovation Award winner, a Knight of Illumination nominee and a Helen Hayes Award nominee. He was a recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers and currently serves on the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference Artistic Council. Epstein received his MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three daughters. joshepsteindesign.com
Andre J. Pluess (Sound Design/Original Music) is making his SCR design debut. His Broadway credits include 33 Variations, I Am My Own Wife, Metamorphoses and The Clean House. In regional theatre, his credits include After the Quake, Angels in America, Arabian Nights, Argonautika, Ghost Light, The Secret in the Wings, Treasure Island, The White Snake (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Cymbeline and Pericles (Shakespeare Theatre Company); Equivocation, Smart People, Indecent (Arena Stage); The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Macbeth, Titus Andronicus (California Shakespeare Theater); Palomino (Center Theatre Group); The Minutes, The Children, Kafka on the Shore (Steppenwolf Theatre); Stage Kiss, Lottery Day, Jungle Book (Goodman Theatre); Vietgone (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre); and The Steadfast Tin Soldier, (Lookingglass Theatre Company, artistic associate). His film scores include The Business of Being Born. Among his many honors are Barrymore Awards; a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award; Jeff Awards; Ovation Awards; and nominations for a Drama Desk Award and a Lucille Lortel Award for composition and sound design.
Jeff Polunas (Associate Sound Design) is thrilled to be returning to SCR for the third time this season, having previously designed Nate the Great and Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience. Last season, he designed for The Sisters Rosensweig, Shakespeare in Love and Ella Enchanted. Polunas received his MFA in sound design at UC-Irvine and is currently the production sound supervisor at the university’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. He has designed more than 130 productions during his career including Venus in Fur, Flora & Ulysses, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Ivy & Bean and Between Us Chickens (SCR); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Antaeus Theatre Company); Silent Sky, Fences, Abigail/1702, A Walk in the Woods and Uncanny Valley (International City Theatre); Passion Play, Seminar and A Bright New Boise (Chance Theater); The Full Monty, Peter Pan, The Wedding Singer and The Producers (Summer Repertory Theatre); and Company, Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest (PCPA Theaterfest). He received Scenie Awards (StageSceneLA) for Sound Design in 2015 and 2017 and has been nominated for NAACP, Stage Raw and Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival awards.
Annie Yee (Choreography) is thrilled to be returning to SCR, having acted in The Ballad of Yachiyo. Most recently, she choreographed King of the Yees at Baltimore Center Stage and at ACT Theatre (Seattle directed by Desdemona Chiang). Her other choreography includes The Golden Dragon at Boston Court Pasadena, directed by Michael Michetti, where she won a Scenie Award and was nominated for an Ovation Award, Broadway World-Los Angeles for Best Choreography and a Stage Raw Group Award nomination for production design; The World of Extreme Happiness at Seattle Public Theater, directed by Desdemona Chiang; Made in Bangkok at the Mark Taper Forum, directed by Robert Egan; and I Don’t Have to Show You No Stinking Badges at Los Angeles Theatre Center, directed by Luis Valdez. She was the Chinese dance consultant for Pearl at Lincoln Center Theater, directed and choreographed by Daniel Ezralow. For television, Yee choreographed the season finale of “The Drew Carey Show.” She is a former Los Angeles Lakers Girl and Los Angeles Rams cheerleader. She was awarded a Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Foundation Observership for Soft Power at the Ahmanson Theatre, directed by Leigh Silverman. Yee is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Moira Gleason* (Stage Manager) is excited to return to SCR for her second production after working earlier this season on Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She previously stage-managed Julius Caesar, The River Bride, Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Count of Monte Cristo, Water by the Spoonful, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet and assistant stage-managed UniSon, Twelfth Night, Cymbeline and As You Like It at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; stage-managed Alive and Well, Since Africa, Back, Back, Back and assistant stage-managed King Lear, The Madness of King George III, The Taming of the Shrew, Whisper House, Cyrano De Bergerac, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sea of Tranquility, Hamlet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, The Sisters Rosensweig, The Constant Wife, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, The Comedy of Errors, The Winter’s Tale and Macbeth at The Old Globe Theatre; and she stage-managed Adoption Project: Triad at Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company and Miss Witherspoon at San Diego Repertory Theatre.
Alyssa Escalante* (Assistant Stage Manager) continues her work at SCR following last season’s Gem of the Ocean and this season’s Photograph 51 and Culture Clash (Still) in America. Her other recent credits include The Bacchae (SITI Company/Getty Villa); theatre is a blank page (SITI Company); A Streetcar Named Desire (Boston Court Pasadena); Hold These Truths (Pasadena Playhouse); The Haunted House Party (Troubadour Theatre Company/Getty Villa); Criers for Hire (East West Players); Mojada: a Medea in Los Angeles (Boston Court Pasadena/Getty Villa); Cash on Delivery (El Portal Theatre); Happy Days (Boston Court Pasadena, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); and Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo (U.S. tour). Much love and gratitude to Mom, Dad and Hannah Minerva.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.