PCS Blog

Twist Your Dickens: Cast and Creative Team

Posted by Claudie Fisher | 04 November 2013

The Second City's A Christmas Carol:
TWIST YOUR DICKENS
Cast
 
Craig Cackowski*..........................................................Scrooge
 
Chantal DeGroat*................................................Belle and others
 
Sam Dinkowitz*.....................................................Past and others
 
Nicholas Kessler*..............................................Bob Cratchit and others
 
Beth Melewski*...........................................................Present and others
 
Lauren Modica*....................................................Mrs. Cratchit and others
 
John San Nicolas*......................................................Marley and others
 
 
Creative Team
 
Peter Gwinn...........................................................Co-Writer
 
Bobby Mort...........................................................Co-Writer
 
Matt Hovde........................................................Director
 
Tom Buderwitz..........................................................Scenic Designer
 
Jeff Cone.................................................................Costume Designer
 
Daniel Meeker..........................................................Lighting Designer
 
Casi Pacilio..............................................................Sound Designer
 
Rick Lewis..............................................................Music Consultant
 
Emily N. Wells*..........................................................Stage Manager
 
Stephen Kriz Gardner.......................................................Production Assistant
 
 
*Member of the Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
 
 
Cast Biographies

Craig Cackowski (Scrooge)
Craig Cackowski is excited to be making his Portland Center Stage debut. 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 their National Touring Company and on their Equity stages in Chicago. Craig has also toured the country with his long-running improv group Dasariski, and in 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, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Kings Of Summer, 21 and Over, and Year of the Dog.
 
Chantal DeGroat (Belle and others)
Chantal is delighted to return to PCS after performing in this year’s JAW Festival. Favorite local performances include INVASION! (Badass Theatre Co), Complex (JAW Fest), 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). She trained at Shakespeare & Co. 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 coaches for the August Wilson Monologue Competition and PlayWrite, Inc, and is excited to perform 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 (Past and others)
This is Sam's first production with PCS and he is happy to make his debut with this hilarious script.  Recent local credits include Hortensio in Portland Shakespeare Project's Taming of the Shrew, Ishak in Mary Zimmerman's Arabian Nights at Post5 Theatre, and Dr. John Seward in Stumptown’s Dracula: A Musical Nightmare. Sam has also worked with the Utah Shakespeare Festival (Pericles, Diary of Anne Frank), Idaho Rep. Theatre (Taming of the Shrew), the Oregon Cabaret Theatre (Whodunit: The Musical), and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Othello, Coriolanus, A View from the Bridge, Macbeth, The Servant of Two Masters).  Sam received his B.F.A. from Southern Oregon University in 2009, and he dedicates his performance to his parents Barbara and Steve.
 
 
Nicholas Kessler (Bob Cratchit and others)
Nicholas Kessler is thrilled to make his mainstage debut at Portland Center Stage. 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 Survive the Invasion (Bob). Nicholas regularly performs at PCS as part of the Improv All-Stars, and the Slingshot Comedy Series. He is soon to celebrate his eight-year anniversary performing with Portland’s most beloved improv group, The Liberators.

Beth Melewski (Present and others)
Beth Melewski adores Portland and is thrilled to be here! She has been a proud member of The Second City Chicago family for almost 10 years. She wrote and performed in the Jefferson Award-nominated Second City shows, The Second City Guide to the Opera and The Absolute Best Friggin’ Time of Your Life in addition to the Jefferson Award-winning Studs Terkel’s Not Working. She improvises regularly in Chicago at iO and The Annoyance theaters. TV credits include one season as the host of Chicago Cash Cab for the Discovery Channel, and Arrested Development. She loves time-spending with Josie the dog and TJ the guy. www.bethmelewski.com
 
Lauren Modica (Mrs. Cratchit and others)
Lauren is beyond thrilled to be making her PCS debut. 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 most recently Queen/Belarius in Cymbeline (Portland Actors Ensemble). Her love and gratitude fall at the feet of many: Matt, cast and crew of Dickens; Rose, Chris, Brandon and everyone at PCS for their incredible support and generosity; Beloved family and friends, educators and mentors; And Mom, Dad, Rachel, Naomi – who are the best at being the Best. This one is for Liz, Jenny V. and Royal. Lauren can next be seen as The Fool in Northwest Classical Theatre Company's King Lear this spring.

John San Nicolas (Marley and others)
Born and raised in San Diego and trained in New York, John has resided in Portland since 2005. His Dickens is twisted to make its return to the PCS stage, having previously appeared as the hillbilly brother, the oversexed Italian and the Ugly Queen in Shakespeare's Amazing Cymbeline. Other recent appearances include Buckingham in Richard III (Northwest Classical Theatre Company), Invasion! (Badass Theatre Company), A Noble Failure and The Pain and the Itch (Third Rail Repertory Theatre), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Bingo with the Indians (Portland Playhouse), Far Away (Shaking the Tree), Reasons to Be Pretty (CoHo/Lucky Apple), the television series Portlandia, and Jack Goes Boating at Artists Repertory Theatre-where he'll be performing as Jackie in The Motherf**ker with the Hat, opening February 25.
 
 
Creative Team Biographies

 
Peter Gwinn (Co-Writer)
Peter Gwinn is one of the original writers for The Colbert Report (2 Emmy Awards) and a writer for the upcoming Amazon series Alpha House.  Other written works: Moulin Scrooge! (WreckingBall Theater Lab, Denver; iO Chicago), Listen Kid! (UCB Theater, NYC; iO Chicago), Peter Gwinn’s The Confidence Ladder (UCB Theater), 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), The Armando Diaz Experience (iO), The Second City National Touring Company. 
 
Bobby Mort (Co-Writer)
Bobby Mort recently returned to Los Angeles after writing for The Colbert Report during the 2012-2013 Season (one Emmy Award). 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 can currently be seen as part of the online comedy group Titled Sketch Project and improvising at theaters around LA. Bobby is extremely excited to be working with Peter Gwinn and the fine folks of The Second City on Twist Your Dickens.
 
Matt Hovde (Director)
Matt Hovde has been directing for The Second City since 2004. Credits include eight original resident revues for The Second City in Chicago, including Let Them Eat Chaos, Sky’s The Limit (Weather Permitting), Studs Terkel’s Not Working, Rod Blagojevich Superstar! and Between Barack and a Hard Place. He has directed productions for The Second City in Atlanta, Detroit, Denver, Baltimore, Vienna, Brussels and many touring productions of the Best of the Second City. When not directing, he serves as the Artistic Director of the Second City Training Center. Matt was born in Chicago, grew up in Omaha, and graduated from TCU. He enjoys games, science, and sandwiches. He would like to thank Dennis, Jackie, Megan, Brynne, and the great folks at Portland Center Stage for their support.
 
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 Theater Group at The Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles last year. Tom has designed for South Coast Repertory, Geffen Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre Company, Intiman Theater, Laguna Playhouse, Chautauqua Theater Company, Arizona Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory, The Antaeus Company, Reprise Theatre, The Theatre @ Boston Court, P.C.P.A. Theaterfest, Riverside Theater, Florida Studio Theater, Rogue Machine, DeafWest Theatre and A Noise Within, among many others. Tom has been honored with four Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards (24 nominations) and the 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)
This is Jeff’s 15th season at PCS. In that time he has designed costumes for over 65 productions. Of those shows, 40 have been in the last six seasons at the Armory. Favorite productions include West Side Story, Cabaret, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Imaginary Invalid and Sweeney Todd.Jeff received Drammy Awards for his costume designs for Dirty Blonde, Act A Lady and Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline. In addition to his resident costume designer duties, Jeff is happy to manage the costume shop here at Portland Center Stage.
 
Daniel Meeker (Lighting Designer)
Previously at PCS, Dan designed the set for The People's Republic of Portland and Red (Drammy Award), the lighting for I Love to Eat, and the set and lighting for The Mountaintop, The Real Americans and Mike's Incredible Indian Adventure. Other recent credits include lighting design for the Pickathon Festival; lighting design for Crooked at COHO; lighting design for Disconnect at San Jose Repertory Theatre; set and lighting design for DetroitMother Teresa is Dead, The Huntsmen and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Portland Playhouse and set design for The Stinky Cheese Man for Oregon Children's Theatre. Upcoming projects include The Light in the Piazza at the Portland Playhouse; Bo-nita, The Last Five Years and Lizzie here at PCS and Fancy Nancy for Oregon Children's Theater. Daniel is a member of the faculty of Portland State University. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and the Yale School of Drama and a member of United Scenic Artists.
 
Casi Pacilio (Sound Designer)
Casi feels so lucky to be in Portland, working at one of the best regional theaters and doing a job she loves. Portland Center Stage credits include The Mountaintop, 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, The Chosen, Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Snow Falling on Cedars, Crazy Enough, The Little Dog Laughed, Sometimes a Great Notion, The Beard of Avon, Twelfth Night, Cabaret, The Pillowman, Act a Lady, I Am My Own Wife, West Side Story, Celebrity Row and seven seasons of JAW. Hand2Mouth Theatre credits are: My Mind is Like an Open Meadow (Drammy Award 2011), Something’s Got Ahold Of My Heart and the upcoming PEP TALK. Other theatrical credits include Squonk Opera’s Bigsmorgasbord-WunderWerk (national and international touring); I Am My Own Wife, I Think I Like Girls and Burning Deck (La Jolla Playhouse); and Playland, 10 Fingers and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (City Theatre, PA). Film credits include Creation of Destiny, Out of Our Time and A Powerful Thang. Recordings: Glitterfruit‘s fruit snacks.
 
Rick Lewis (Music Consultant)
Rick’s previous PCS shows are The Fiddler on the Roof, 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 forthe West Coast regional premiere of Next to Normal (ArtistsRepertory Theatre). He was assistant conductor/vocal directorfor the pre-Broadway workshop of Cy Coleman's The Life. Rickhas written for Disney Live Family Entertainment, AmericanHawaii Cruises, American West Steamboat Company, AmericanClassic Voyages and the Portland Spirit (Cinnamon BearCruise). Rick is a private vocal coach, concentrating on musicaltheater audition and performance. www.rlewismusic.com.
 

Emily N. Wells (Stage Manager)
Emily is in her third season at PCS. Favorite shows have been Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline and Venus in Fur. Proud Equity member for 17 years, spent in NYC, on tour and regionally. Highlights on Broadway include Electra, Swan Lake and Jersey Boys. Off-Broadway credits include Adrift in Macao; Dedication, or the Stuff of Dreams (with Nathan Lane and Marian Seldes); and String of Pearls at Primary Stages. Other off-Broadway credits are Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky at Playwrights Horizons and Summer of the Swans and Sarah, Plain & Tall at the Lucille Lortel. She has also stage managed readings and workshops for Playwrights Horizons, NAMT and North Shore Music Theatre. National tours include Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Regional theater work includes Ordway Center, Ogunquit Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse and Theatreworks/USA, among others. In her spare time Emily writes, directs, bakes, hikes, drinks coffee and raises funds for the Adult Congenital Heart Association. www.achaheart.org
 
Stephen Kriz Gardner (Production Assistant)
Stephen is excited to be spending his first full season with Portland Center Stage. Most recently, he was the production assistant for PCS's The Mountaintop and Somewhere in Time. In Portland, Stephen has 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. He has been a production assistant on One Singular Sensation: Celebrating Marvin Hamlisch, Sondheim! The Birthday Concert and Company at Lincoln Center. His internship credits include the Goodman Theatre on Candide and A Christmas Carol, and Broadway's Wicked.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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