The Armory

"Tiny Beautiful Things" Cast & Creative Team

Posted 31 January 2019

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The cast and members of the creative team of Tiny Beautiful Things with author Cheryl Strayed (third from the left on the bottom row).

Tiny Beautiful Things

Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed
Adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos
Co-conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos
Directed by Rose Riordan

The Cast

Dana GreenSugar
Leif NorbyLetter Writer #1
Lisa Renee PittsLetter Writer #2
Brian Michael SmithLetter Writer #3

The Creative Team

Rose RiordanDirector
Megan WilkersonScenic Designer
Jacqueline FirkinsCostume Designer
Kristeen CrosserLighting Designer
Casi PacilioSound Designer
Janine VanderhoffStage Manager
Sarah StarkProduction Assistant
Will CotterCasting
Brandon WoolleyCasting

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.

Meet the Cast

Dana Green, Sugar
Dana Green, Sugar

Dana is delighted to be back at Portland Center Stage at The Armory. Other credits at The Armory include A Life, Major Barbara, Constellations, Great Expectations, Othello, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Portland credits include Scarlet (Portland Playhouse); d.b. (CoHo Productions); Gidion's Knot and The Realistic Joneses (Third Rail Repertory Theatre); and Dead Man's Cell Phone (Profile Theatre). She has spent four seasons with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and has performed at numerous regional theaters including The Old Globe, South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, California Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Court Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre, and Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. Television credits include Early Edition, Grimm, The Librarians, Here and Now, and the upcoming Netflix premiere of Trinkets. 

Leif Norby, Letter Writer #1
Leif Norby, Letter Writer #1

Leif was last seen at Portland Center Stage at The Armory in A Christmas Memory/Winter Song. Other appearances at The Armory include: Astoria: Part One and Two, Wild and Reckless, The Oregon Trail, Our TownCyranoOthelloAnna Karenina, Sunset BoulevardThe 39 StepsRagtime, and Guys and Dolls. Other recent Portland appearances include: Adroit Maneuvers (Lighthouse Productions); Man of La Mancha (Lakewood Theatre Company); In the Next Room (Profile Theatre); The God Game (Brandon Woolley prod.); Mr. Kolpert and Mystery of Irma Vep (Third Rail Repertory Theatre); And So It Goes ... and Red Herring (Artists Repertory Theatre); and Beauty and the Beast (Pixie Dust). Television credits include Portlandia and Leverage. Leif is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and sends love to his wife, Susie.

Lisa Renee Pitts, Letter Writer #2
Lisa Renee Pitts, Letter Writer #2

Lisa is overjoyed to return to Portland Center Stage at The Armory! She was most recently seen in JAW (2018 and 2015) and won a Drammy Award in 2008 for her performance as Mrs. Muller in Doubt. In 2017, Lisa made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-nominated Sweat by Lynn Nottage. Favorite credits include A Raisin in the Sun (Virginia Stage Company), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Syracuse Stage), Intimate Apparel (San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award), and Watching O.J. (Ensemble Studio Theater/LA). Film/television credits include the role of Dr. Dre’s mother, Verna, in Straight Outta Compton (Dir. F. Gary Gray); True to the Game (Dir. Preston Whitmore); XX (Dir. Karyn Kusama); Baselines (Pilot); Workaholics (Comedy Central); and General Hospital (ABC). Her extensive voiceover work includes narrating more than 80 audiobooks spanning all genres. Lisa holds a B.F.A. from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. lisareneepitts.com    

Brian Michael Smith, Letter Writer #3
Brian Michael Smith, Letter Writer #3

Brian is most known for his groundbreaking role as transgender police officer, Toine Wilkins, on Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar (OWN). Recent TV appearances include Chicago P.D. (NBC), Homeland (FOX), and a recurring role on Blue Bloods (CBS). Recent theater credits include A Real Boy (Ivy Theatre Company at 59E59 Theaters); Mitch Albom’s Duck Hunter Shoots Angel (Penobscot Theatre Company); and Brad T. Gottfred’s Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**Holes (June Havoc Theatre). Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he studied theater at Kent State University and trained with Terry Knickerbocker at William Esper Studio in New York City. Brian is a teaching artist, youth mentor, and an advocate for LGBTQ youth and better representation on television and film. 

Meet the Creative Team

Cheryl Strayed, Author
Cheryl is the author of the number one The New York Times bestselling memoir Wild, The New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, and the novel Torch. Strayed's books have been translated into nearly forty languages around the world and have been adapted for both the screen and the stage. The Oscar-nominated movie adaptation of Wild stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl and Laura Dern as Cheryl's mother, Bobbi. The film was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Tiny Beautiful Things was adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, who also starred in the role of Sugar. The play was directed by Thomas Kail and debuted at The Public Theater in New York City to a sold-out run in 2016. Strayed's essays have been published in The Best American Essays, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Sun, Tin House, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. Strayed holds an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, the filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, and their two children.

Nia Vardalos, Adaptor & Co-Creator
Nia is a Canadian-born actor, writer, and director for both film and stage. She wrote and starred in the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and its sequel, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and an Independent Spirit and People’s Choice Award. Stage credits include Jennie in Theatre20’s Company, directed by Gary Griffin, and writer and actor for twelve of The Second City’s revues (Jeff Award winner). Additional writing and acting film credits include Connie and Carla and I Hate Valentine’s Day. Film and television acting credits include My Life in Ruins; For a Good Time, Call …; Graves; The Catch; Jane the Virgin; and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. She is the author of Instant Mom.

 Marshall Heyman, Co-Creator
Marshall is an editor and writer living in New York City. He writes the daily “Heard and Scene” social column for Wall Street Journal. Over the years, he has contributed to such publications as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Glamour, InStyle, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, New York, Slate, and many others. He has also written for television.

Thomas Kail, Co-Creator
Thomas directed the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights and Hamilton, for which he received the 2018 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. Other Broadway credits include Lombardi and Magic/Bird. Off-Broadway credits include Faust, The Wiz, Broke-ology, When I Come to Die, Family Furniture, and The Tutors. He co-created and directed the world premiere of Tiny Beautiful Things, adapted by and starring Nia Vardalos, and directed the world premiere of Dry Powder, starring Hank Azaria, Claire Danes, John Krasinski, and Sanjit De Silva at The Public Theater. In addition to numerous awards, he was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 2018.

Rose Riordan, Director
Rose is in her 21st season at Portland Center Stage at The Armory, where she serves as associate artistic director. She most recently directed A Life, Kodachrome, Our Town, and The Oregon Trail. Other directing favorites include: The Typographer’s DreamLIZZIEThe MountaintopThe Whipping ManThe North PlanOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestA Christmas StoryThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeThe ReceptionistHow to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, and The Pillowman. In 1999, she founded the annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival. JAW has been instrumental in developing new work for The Armory repertory, including this season’s production of A Life and Storm Large’s Crazy Enough, as well as Kodachrome, The People’s Republic of PortlandThe North PlanThe Thugs, and A Feminine Ending. She enjoys being part of a company committed to new play development and having a beautiful building in which to work. 

Megan Wilkerson, Scenic Designer
Megan is thrilled to make her Portland Center Stage at The Armory debut. Portland credits include designs at Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Teatro Milagro, Profile Theatre, Portland Playhouse, and Artists Repertory Theatre. Regional credits include shows with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Michigan Opera Theatre, to name a few. Outside of theater, she works as a commercial exhibit and environments designer, as well as an educator. A resident artist at Artists Repertory Theatre, Megan’s work has been most recently seen for Skeleton Crew and Small Mouth Sounds, and for the upcoming A Doll’s House, Part 2 and The Revolutionists. Megan is a proud member of United Scenic Artist Local 829. meganwilkerson.com

Jacqueline Firkins, Costume Designer
Jacqueline is excited to return to Portland Center Stage at The Armory this season. Set and costume designs include work for Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre, J. Paul Getty Museum, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The House Theatre of Chicago, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Portland Stage Company, Arts Club Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Westport Country Playhouse, Shakespeare & Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Jacqueline is a recipient of a Princess Grace Award, as well as Black Theatre Alliance, Jessie Richardson, Elizabeth Sterling Haynes, and SAT awards for excellence in costume design. She’s on the fulltime faculty at the University of British Columbia.

Kristeen Willis Crosser, Lighting Designer
Kristeen is thrilled to return to Portland Center Stage at The Armory after designing lighting for Buyer & Cellar, Sex with Strangers, and Mary's Wedding. Regional theater credits include lighting designs for A Contemporary Theatre and Triad Stage. Her Portland area design credits include work at designs for I and You and Between Riverside and Crazy at Artists Repertory Theatre; The Night Alive and Or, at Third Rail Repertory Theatre; Snow White and Little Red “Riding Hood” at Northwest Children's Theater and School; Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium and Fly Guy: The Musical at Oregon Children’s Theatre; Buried Child and Thief River at Profile Theatre; The Outgoing Tide and Luna Gale at CoHo Productions; and Oedipus El Rey at Milagro Theatre.

Casi Pacilio, Sound Designer
Casi’s home base is The Armory, where credits include sound design for over 40 productions and 12 seasons of JAW: A Playwrights Festival. National shows: Holcombe Waller's Surfacing and Wayfinders; Left Hand of Darkness, My Mind is Like an Open Meadow (Drammy Award, 2011), Something’s Got Ahold Of My Heart, and PEP TALK for Hand2Mouth Theatre. Other credits include Squonk Opera’s Bigsmorgasbord-WunderWerk (Broadway, PS122, national and international tours); I Am My Own Wife, I Think I Like Girls (La Jolla Playhouse); Playland, 10 Fingers, and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (City Theatre, PA); 2.5 Minute Ride and Fires in the Mirror (Profile Theatre). Film credits include Creation of Destiny, Out of Our Time, and A Powerful Thang. Imagineer/maker of the Eat Me Machine, a dessert vending machine.

Janine Vanderhoff, Stage Manager
Janine is thrilled to be back for her fourth season at Portland Center Stage at The Armory. She recently stage managed A Christmas Memory/Winter Song, The Color Purple, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Other favorites include: Wild and Reckless, The Oregon Trail, and Great Expectations. In New York, Janine worked on The Lion King, as well as with many Off-Broadway and regional companies. Portland credits: Sweeney Todd (Portland Opera), PlayHow to End Poverty in 90 Minutes, and The Other Place (Portland Playhouse). Touring: The GraduateCatsThe Vagina MonologuesJekyll & Hyde, and Show Boat. Production management: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart “Democalypse 2012 Republican National Convention” (Tampa, FL); Straz Center (Tampa, FL); The Fox Theatre (Atlanta, GA). Proud NYU graduate and AEA member.

Sarah Stark, Production Assistant
Sarah is a recent Portland transplant from Chicago, where she graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in theater studies. She has previously worked as a production assistant at The Armory for productions of Twist Your Dickens and A Life. Regional and Chicago stage management credits include: Silent Night, The Cunning Little Vixen, Porgy and Bess (The Glimmerglass Festival), Little Shop of Horrors (American Blues Theater); Civility! (The Syndicate); Ellen Bond, Union Spy (The House Theatre of Chicago); Love’s Labour’s Lost, She Kills Monsters, Belleville, Urinetown: The Musical (The University of Chicago). Sarah is thrilled to be continuing her work and education as a stage management apprentice at The Armory this season!   

Don't miss Tiny Beautiful Things.
Running February 23 to March 31 on the U.S. Bank Main Stage.

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