The Cast and Directors:
James Critchfield (Robert)– James has a wonderful son, Matthew, but has always wanted a daughter as well and is thrilled that he gets to be dad to “two beautiful daughters” in this production. Though no daughters in real life, he’s had lots of experience playing a proud papa onstage, having played Tevye twice in Fiddler on the Roof for Pittsburgh Musical Theatre. James is no stranger to playing roles multiple times, as he has played Scrooge in A Christmas Carol eighteen times and the Stage Manager in Our Town twice (both with Actor’s Civic Theatre). Though this is James’ first time performing on the Little Lake stage, he directed last season’s production of Last Train to Nibroc. This season, James will direct our productions of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. and A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing.
Mary Meyer (Claire)– Having lived in the Windy City for many years, Mary is thrilled to finally be in a play that takes place in Chicago so “no one can make fun of [her] Chicago accent.” This Midwest native has certainly made a home at Little Lake, appearing in over 20 plays on our stage. Some of her favorite roles include Sarah Goodwin in Time Stands Still, Sonia in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Lusia in A Shayna Maidel. Later this season Mary can be seen as Mrs. Swanson in Middletown. Mary is also making her directing debut this season at the Lake with our production of Rapunzel. She would like to thank her husband, David, and two sons for all of their wonderful support.
Jena Oberg (Catherine)– Unlike her character, Jena’s education was at Northwestern University, where she, also unlike her character, avoided the math building on campus like the plague. After graduation, Jena returned to Pittsburgh and Little Lake, where she now serves as Artistic Director and directs (and acts every once in a while). Jena last appeared on our stage three seasons ago in Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Other favorite roles include; Rosalind in As You Like It, Helen in And a Nightingale Sang, Lenny in Crimes of the Heart and Pauline in Dividing the Estate. Recently, Jena directed our season opener, Peter and the Starcatcher. Later this season, she will direct Wonder of the World and The Crucible. She dedicates her performance to her genius dad.
Jared Pfennigwerth (Hal)– Jared is definitely the math genius of the cast, having earned a nearly perfect score on his math SATs in high school. He tells us he even loved math class. Luckily for us, he also really enjoyed studying theatre, and gets to use both of these skills as our resident tech director. When he hasn’t been busy in our light booth, Jared could be seen as Harry in Little Lake’s touring production of Letters to Sala and recently as Mac/ Edward in The Philadelphia Story. Elsewhere, Jared has appeared as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rudy in Over the Tavern, both at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. On film, Jared can be seen as a Stygian Triplet in Dogma, Darren in One for the Money, and Young Laborer in Outsiders. And if Jared isn’t busy enough, he can also be found teaching acting and film for Act One Theatre School.
Art DeConciliis (Director)– Art has spent much of this year doing math, partially in preparation for this play, but mostly in calculating the mounting expenses from his youngest daughter’s upcoming wedding and counting the days until his summer vacation (where he will relax after all that wedding planning.) Art won’t be able to relax for too long, because he will be appearing as Jerry Cobb in A Masterpiece of Comic…Timing, directing Clue: the Musical, teaching our “I Can Do That Too!” acting class and donning a dress and heels as half of the residents of Tuna, Texas in A Tuna Christmas. In his 33 years with us, Art has performed in over 100 plays and directed over 40. As a director, his favorites include Proof, The Glass Menagerie, Apartment 3A, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The History Boys.
Jeff Johnston (Assistant Director)– Earlier this season, Jeff was busy being a tropical king and pirate (in our production of Peter and the Starcatcher, that is). Now he is enjoying his new role behind the scenes as the assistant director and light/sound board operator for Proof. Jeff is in Little Lake’s emerging director program, and as part of this training he will be directing one of our upcoming apprentice productions and Little Lake’s new works play later this summer. Jeff will also be returning to the Little Lake stage later this season as Mr. Green in Clue: The Musical. Last season Jeff appeared as Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Meadows in Loot (in addition to being one of the directing interns on the project).
The Artistic Staff:
Jeff Johnston, Assistant Director and Light/ Sound Board Operator; Jared Pfennigwerth, Technical Director; Pam Pasternak, Properties Manager; Sophia Englesberg, Stage Manager; Max Andrae, Lizzie Antol, and Andrew Hunt, Production Run Crew; James Orr, Production Photographer