PCS Blog

Twist Your Dickens: 2014 Cast and Creative team

Posted by Allyson Walters | 28 October 2014

Twist Your Dickens
By Peter Gwinn & Bobby Mort 
Directed by Ron West


Craig Cackowski......................Scrooge  

Chantal DeGroat.....................Belle and others             

Sam Dinkowitz........................Ghost of Christmas Past and others             

Nicolas Kessler.......................Ghost of Christmas Future, Bob Cratchit and others               

Lauren Modica.......................Mrs. Cratchit and others

Jaime Moyer..........................Ghost of Christmas Present and others        

John San Nicolas....................Marley and others


Creative Team

Peter Gwinn............................Co-Writer

Bobby Mort.............................Co-Writer             

Ron West..................................Director             

Tom Buderwitz...........................Scenic Designer                

Jeff Cone.....................................Costume Designer

Daniel Meeker..............................Lighting Designer        

Casi Pacilio....................................Sound Designer

Rick Lewis......................................Vocal Arranger and Music Consultant 

Liam Kaas-Lentz..............................Stage Manager 

Bailey Anne Maxwell........................Production Assistant

Stephan Kriz Gardner........................Production Assistant #2

Second City Theatricals 

The Actors and Stage Manager employed in this production are members of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Cast Biographies

Craig Cackowski
Craig Cackowski is excited to be returning to Portland Center Stage and reprising his role as Scrooge in Twist Your Dickens. He has been seen on TV as "Officer Cackowski" on Community and as a member of the ensemble of Comedy Central's Drunk History. He has performed with The Second City as a member of its National Touring Company and on its Equity stages in Chicago. Craig has also toured the country with his long-running improv group Dasariski, and as the cast of the acclaimed podcast The Thrilling Adventure Hour. Other film and TV appearances include Veep, Welcome to the Family, How I Met Your Mother, Comedy Bang Bang, Newsreaders, Maker Shack Agency, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiam, The Kings of Summer, 21 and Over, and Year of the Dog.

Chantal DeGroat
Belle and others
Chantal is over the moon to return to PCS for round two of Twist Your Dickens! Local performances also include The Liar (upcoming at Artists Repertory Theatre), The Piano Lesson (Portland Playhouse), INVASION! (Badass Theatre Company), Complex (JAW Festival, PCS), Valley Song (Profile Theatre), God of Carnage (Chahalem Players), For Better (Clackamas Rep). East Coast favorites are: A Midsummer…(Hermia), Much Ado...(Hero), FAME the Musical-Boston Premiere (Carmen Diaz), Hair (Dionne). Chantal trained at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, studied under Kristin Linklater and received her B.F.A. from Emerson College. Chantal recorded vocals for Grammy Nominee Sam Sparro and teaches voice workshops locally and abroad. She is Portland's lead coach for the August Wilson Monologue Competition (August Wilson Red Door Project), coaches for PlayWrite, Inc., and performs in PCS’s All’s Fair in Love and Shakespeare school and community tour. Bottomless love and gratitude to her family and friends! www.chantaldegroat.com

Sam Dinkowitz
Ghost of Christmas Past and others
Sam Dinkowitz is beyond twisted with Christmas joy, to be back at PCS with this production. Recent local credits include: Wait Until Dark with Northwest Classical Theatre, The Tempest with Portland Shakespeare Project, Lost Boy with Artists Repertory Theatre and Dracula: A Musical Nightmare with Stumptown Stages. Other credits include: The Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Post5 Theatre and Jewish Theatre Collaborative. Sam is also the writer and director of Portland’s own SPECTRAVAGASM, a late-night sketch show currently housed at Post5 Theatre. Upcoming performances include Static at Third Rail Repertory Theatre. TV credits include a guest star role on Leverage. Sam's performance is brought to you by the undying love and support of his parents Steve and Barbara.

Nicholas Kessler
Ghost of Christmas Future, Bob Cratchit and others
Nicholas Kessler is thrilled to reprise his roles in Twist Your Dickens at PCS. Nicholas has been performing sketch comedy (Slingshot Comedy, Bad Reputation Productions, Lone Wolves) and improvisation comedy (The Liberators, Stumptown Improv Fest) throughout Portland for the past ten years. He is the host, and regular contributor, of Portland radio's The Moth StorySLAM, and a featured speaker at the Portland Film Festival. Previous theater roles include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon), The Merchant of Venice (Antonio), Much Ado About Nothing (Claudio), Titus Andronicus (Bassanius), Hello Dolly (Cornelius Hackl), Bus Stop (Bo Decker), Roadhouse: The Play (Emmett). On TV: Portlandia, Seasons 2 and 3 (Big Chad). Commercials: Intel’s Monster Truck (Hero) and Intel's Survive the Invasion (Bob). Nicholas is proud to be continuing his work for his 9th season with Portland Center Stage, with Twist Your Dickens, the PCS Improv All-Stars, and as a lead educator for the All’s Fair in Love and Shakespeare and Stage Door programs. 

Lauren Modica
Mrs. Cratchit and others
Lauren Modica is elated to be returning to PCS, after last season's production of Twist Your Dickens and JAW 2014 (Promising Playwrights). She was last seen in the West Coast Premiere of In The Forest She Grew Fangs as Ruth (Defunkt), The Crucible as Tituba (Theatre Vertigo/Anonymous Theatre), and The Fool in King Lear (Northwest Classical). Area roles include Rose in Gretchen Icenogle’s Trailing Colors, Lena Younger in A Raisin in the Sun (Public House Theatre), Agnes in Silence (Jakers Productions), Verges in Much Ado About Nothing (Willamette Shakespeare), and Queen/Belarius in Cymbeline (Portland Actors Ensemble). Love and appreciation to her family, friends, cast and crew, Rose, Chris, Brandon, and all of the beautiful, generous spirits at PCS who've made this second-helping of The D just as lovely as the first. Future shameful activities can be found at www.shortloudbrown.com.

Jaime Moyer 
Ghost of Christmas Present and others
Jaime Moyer is an alum of The Second City Detroit, currently teaches for The Second City Hollywood, and is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.  She is the creator of the viral hit "Fancy Catz" which can be seen on YouTube at The Second City Network, and has appeared in several short and feature length films.  She was awarded the sole prize of Maestro at The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas in 2011. Jaime can be seen performing weekly at The Second City Hollywood and iO West.  She appeared on Parks and Recreation as mail lady Roz Degrandis, was seen on the red carpet for The Oscars in a video with Jimmy Kimmel, and had a recurring role as Doreen on TV Land's Jennifer Falls. She is delighted to perform here in Portland, and would like to thank everyone involved in this production, her family and friends! 

John San Nicolas
Marley and others
John is proud to be returning to Twist Your Dickens for a second run. He has previously performed at Portland Center Stage in Shakespeare's Amazing Cymbeline. Other recent credits include Exiles and The Motherfucker with the Hat at Artists Repertory Theatre, Three Sisters with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Invasion! with Badass Theatre Company, Richard III with Northwest Classical Theatre, A Noble Failure and The Pain and the Itch with Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Bingo with the Indians at Portland Playhouse, and Reasons To Be Pretty with CoHo/Lucky Apple Productions. He has also participated numerous times in Anonymous Theatre (most recently as Reverend Hale in The Crucible) and has appeared on the television shows Leverage and Portlandia. John is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

Creative Team Biographies

Peter Gwinn 
Peter Gwinn is one of the original writers for The Colbert Report (two Emmy Awards) and the Amazon original series Alpha House. Other written works: Moulin Scrooge! (WreckingBall Theater Lab, Denver; iO Chicago), Listen Kid ... (Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, NYC; iO Chicago), Peter Gwinn’s The Confidence Ladder (UCB Theatre), The Awesome Show (iO Chicago). Founding Member of Baby Wants Candy, a troupe that improvises one-act musicals (NY Times Critics’ Pick). Other performer credits: Late Night with Conan O’Brien, ASSSSCAT (UCB), Gravid Water (UCB), The Armando Diaz Experience (iO), The Second City National Touring Company, and, as we speak, Twist Your Dickens (Goodman Theatre, Chicago).

Bobby Mort
Bobby Mort wrote for The Colbert Report during the 2012-2013 Season (one Emmy Award) and currently resides in Los Angeles. He grew up in South Carolina before moving to Chicago where he trained at iO Chicago and performed for a number of years with the improv group People of Earth and sketch comedy trio Maximum Party Zone. Bobby is extremely excited to be working with Peter Gwinn, the fine folks of The Second City, and Portland Center Stage on Twist Your Dickens.

Ron West
This production marks Ron West’s directing debut at Portland Center Stage. Earlier this fall, he directed The 39 Steps at the Malibu Playhouse, Quick and Dirty (which he also wrote) at The Second City Hollywood, and Fun & Other Traumatic Events (which he wrote with the renowned playwright Catherine Butterfield) at the same venue. Ron has directed more shows than he can count for The Second City, including the award-winning Curious George Goes to War and the international tour of Sex & The Second City. He and Phil Swann wrote the Shakespeare-based musicals The People vs. Friar Laurence and deLEARious. They also collaborated on Musical Fools, based on the play by Neil Simon. On TV, Ron usually plays a guy whose first name is Doctor. He is happy to report that the power of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol withstands and even supports the irreverent treatment you are about to witness. Ron bats right/left and throws right and played SS for Anger Management last year.

Tom Buderwitz 
Scenic Designer 
Previously designed “I Love To Eat” for Portland Center Stage. Tom designed the world premiere of The Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens for Center Theatre Group at The Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles and is currently designing the Chicago production, a co-production with The Second City and the Goodman Theatre. Tom has also designed for South Coast Repertory, Geffen Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Chautauqua Theater Company, Arizona Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory, Artists Repertory, The Antaeus Company, Reprise Theatre, Boston Court Theatre, P.C.P.A. Theaterfest, Riverside Theater, Florida Studio Theatre, Rogue Machine, DeafWest Theatre and A Noise Within, among many others. Tom has been honored with four Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards (26 nominations) and three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards. For television, Tom has designed specials and series for every major broadcast and cable network and has three Emmy Award nominations and an Art Director’s Guild Award nomination. www.tombuderwitz.com

Jeff Cone
Costume Designer
Jeff Cone is the costume shop manager at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Before moving to Atlanta, Jeff spent 16 seasons as PCS’s resident costume designer and costume shop manager. In that time he designed costumes for over 75 productions. Of those shows, over 50 were in the last eight seasons at the Armory. Favorite PCS productions include West Side Story, Cabaret, The 39 Steps, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Imaginary Invalid, Black Pearl Sings!, Venus in Fur and Clybourne Park. Jeff received Drammy Awards for his costume designs for Dirty Blonde, Act A Lady and Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline

Daniel Meeker 
Lighting Designer 
Previously at PCS, Dan designed the set and lighting for The Typographer’s Dream, LIZZIE, The Last Five Years, Bo-Nita, The Mountaintop, The Real Americans, Mike's Incredible Indian Adventure; as well as the set for The People's Republic of Portland and Red (Drammy Award); and the lighting for Twist Your Dickens and I Love to Eat. Other recent credits include: Set design for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for the Pioneer Theatre Company; lighting design for the Pickathon Festival; set and lighting design for The Light in the Piazza, Detroit, Mother Teresa is Dead, The Huntsmen and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Portland Playhouse; set design for Fancy Nancy and The Stinky Cheese Man for Oregon Children's Theatre. Upcoming projects include: The Other Place at Portland Playhouse, Ramona Quimby for Oregon Children's Theatre, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and The People’s Republic of Portland for Portland Center Stage. Daniel is also a faculty member of Portland State University. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and the Yale School of Drama and also a member of United Scenic Artists.

Casi Pacilio 
Sound and Video Designer   
Casi keeps busy with a variety of work and play in Portland and around the country. PCS credits include DreamgirlsThe Last Five YearsOthelloA Small Fire,ChinglishTwist Your DickensThe MountaintopFiddler on the Roof,Oklahoma!, The North Plan, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, Black Pearl Sings!, Opus, futura (with composer Jana Losey), Ragtime (PAMTA Award 2010), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Snow Falling on Cedars, Crazy Enough, The Little Dog Laughed, Sometimes a Great Notion, Cabaret, The Pillowman, I Am My Own Wife, West Side Story, Celebrity Row and eight seasons of JAW. National shows: Holcombe Waller Surfacing and Wayfinders; Hand2Mouth Theatre credits: Left Hand of DarknessMy Mind is Like an Open Meadow (Drammy Award 2011),Something’s Got Ahold Of My Heart and PEP TALK. Other theatrical credits include Squonk Opera’s Bigsmorgasbord-WunderWerk (Broadway, PS122, national and international touring); I Am My Own Wife, I Think I Like Girls (La Jolla Playhouse); Playland10 Fingers and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (City Theatre, PA). Film credits include Creation of DestinyOut of Our Time and A Powerful Thang. Recordings: Glitterfruit’s fruit snacks.

Rick Lewis
Vocal Arranger and Music Consultant 
Rick’s previous PCS shows are Dreamgirls, The Last Five Years, Fiddler on the Roof (PAMTA nomination, Musical Direction), Somewhere in Time, Sweeney Todd (Drammy Award, Musical Director), Black Pearl Sings!, Oklahoma!, The Huntsmen (JAW), The Imaginary Invalid, Sunset Boulevard, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ragtime (Drammy Award), Grey Gardens, A Christmas Carol (Composer), Guys and Dolls (Drammy Award), Cabaret, West Side Story (Drammy Award), The Fantasticks and Bat Boy. He is the creator of the hit Off-Broadway musicals The Taffetas, Have a Nice Day! and The Cardigans (NYC Bistro Award, “Outstanding Musical Review”). Rick was musical supervisor for the West Coast regional premiere of Next to Normal (Artists Repertory Theatre). He was assistant conductor and vocal director for the pre-Broadway workshop of Cy Coleman’s The Life. Rick has written for Disney Live Family Entertainment, American Hawaii Cruises, American West Steamboat Company, American Classic Voyages and the Portland Spirit (Cinnamon Bear Cruise). He has served as musical director for Susan Egan, Jody Benson, Michael Maguire, Debbie Gravitte and the late Allan Jones. Rick is a private vocal coach, concentrating on musical theater audition and performance. www.rlewismusic.com

Liam Kaas-Lentz
Stage Manager
Liam is a native of Bellingham, WA. He is an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre, having served as their stage and production manager for the past ten years and thirteen productions. He has also stage managed for Hand2Mouth Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Artists Repertory Theatre, the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Geva Theatre Center, Oregon Children's Theatre, Pixie Dust Productions, The Kitchen, River to River Festival, Teatro Milagro, and many others. He received his B.F.A. in stage management from Southern Oregon University and his M.Ed in curriculum and instruction from Portland State University. Liam has also taught stage and production management with a focus on ensemble, devised, and site-specific contexts and methodologies at Georgetown University, Northwestern University, Portland State University, Reed College and Lewis and Clark College. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, and lives with his wife and two cats in southeast Portland. 

Bailey Anne Maxwell
Production Assistant
Bailey Anne Maxwell is thrilled to be joining Portland Center Stage this season. Bailey has most recently worked as a Production Assistant with Artists Repertory Theatre on The Motherfucker with the Hat, Foxfinder, Ten Chimneys, The Lost Boy and Seven Guitars. Bailey has recently enjoyed being the Stage Manager on Tamer Tamed and the Assistant Stage Manager on Taming of the Shrew with Portland Shakespeare Project. She has also worked with Profile Theatre as a Stage Management Apprentice on Buried Child and Eyes for Consuela. Bailey is a Linfield College graduate and a proud member of the EMC program.   

Stephen Kriz Gardner 
Production Assistant #2
Previously at Portland Center Stage, Stephen was the production assistant for Othello, Chinglish, Twist Your Dickens, The Mountaintop and Somewhere in Time. In Portland, Stephen has also worked as a stage manager for Oregon Children's Theatre on Pinkalicious (remount), The Magic School Bus: Climate Challenge and Locomotion, as well as assistant stage managed Pinkalicious and Duck for President. Stephen also stage managed Spring Awakening with Live On Stage Theatre Company. His credits outside of Portland include stage managing Black Comedy for No Rules Theatre Company in Washington DC and assisting on Camp Wanatachi at La Mama Experimental Theatre in New York.          

Second City Theatricals
Second City Theatricals is the live entertainment arm of the legendary comedy institution that produces an eclectic array of entertainment in venues worldwide. Recent productions include the Jeff Award Winning Second City Guide to the Opera with Lyric Opera Chicago; and The Helen Hayes Award nominated production America All Better!! at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC. Other productions include a collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago that premiered at the Harris Theater in October 2014 and a new play Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf premiering in 2015. Second City Theatricals also maintains five full time ensembles aboard Norwegian Cruise Line.

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