Initial casting for Local Lab 2017 announced

This morning, we are thrilled (thrilled, we say!) to announce initial casting for Local Lab 2017: New Play Festival, which will be presented March 17-19, 2017 at Dairy Arts Center. The company of actors include Drama Desk Award winners, performers who have appeared with some of our country's most respected theater companies (The Goodman, Steppenwolf, and The Public as just a few examples), plus some of our favorite artists from the Denver/Boulder area.

These actors will be joined by additional performers, to be announced shortly. Many actors will perform in more than one of the readings. Tickets to the shows and festival passes to the entire weekend are available here.

Anthony Adu was last seen as a Soloist in The Christians (Denver Center for the Performing Arts). More regional/local credits include: Tartuffe (Arvada Center), Porgy and Bess, How the Cookie Crumbled: Musical Reading (Aurora Fox), To Kill A Mockingbird (Spotlight Theatre), Psycho Beach Party (Crossroads Theatre), The Golden Years (Avenue Theatre). Educational credits include: Little Shop of Horrors, Macbeth, Sylvia, Stage Door, I’m Not Stupid, Woyzeck, True West (staged reading). Anthony is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre at the University of Denver.


Leonard E. Barrett Jr. has been seen as Porgy in Porgy and Bess, Dracula in Dracula the Musical, Peron in Evita, Branton in Catch Me If You Can, Narrator in Colorado Symphony’s Lincoln Portrait, A Fiddler’s Tale, and Holtz The Planets, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. He has spent 13 years with Atlantic City Casino Stages.


Amy J. Carle lives in Chicago, where her credits include Wonderful Town, The Sins of Sor Juana, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Desire Under the Elms (Goodman Theatre); The Book Thief, The Internationalist, Animals Out of Paper, Sex With Strangers, Hedda Gabler (Steppenwolf); North China Lover, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Peter Pan, and Trust (Lookingglass); The Book of Joseph (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Season’s Greetings (Northlight); Orlando (Court Theatre); Chapter Two (Windy City Playhouse); Luce (Next Theatre), Gidion’s Knot (Profiles); Refuge (CollaborAction); SubUrbia, The Lights, Ecstasy, WAS, The Planets (Roadworks Productions). Off-Broadway national tour: The Vagina Monologues. Regional credits: The Profane (Chautauqua Theatre Company); Fully Committed and The Diary of Anne Frank (Madison Rep.); Or, (Forward Theatre); Morning Star (Kansas City Rep.). Television: “Boss” (STARZ), “Chicago Code” (FOX), “Law & Order,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” “CRISIS” (NBC). Film: Who Gets the Dog?

John DiAntonio is thrilled to be back at Local Lab. His recent acting credits include: Human Error (Denver New Play Summit), The Game of Love and Chance and The Liar (Theatreworks), Cyrano (BETC), Private Lives and Kind of Red (Creede Repertory Theatre), The 39 Steps (Lone Tree Arts Center), Is He Dead? and Good on Paper (Arvada Center), Othello and A Christmas Carol (Denver Center), Romeo and Juliet (Cleveland Shakespeare Festival), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Cleveland Play House). John is the associate artistic director of Creede Repertory Theatre. He received his MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory.

Mehry Eslaminia has performed for Local Theater Company as Esperanza in Home in the Heart, a one-woman adaptation for students of Sandra Cisneros' “The House on Mango Street,” and as Lottie in the Local Lab 2016 show Lottie in the Late Afternoon. Regional credits: Shar in The Happiest Song Plays Last (Curious Theatre Company); Kate/Musician in Appoggiatura, A Christmas Carol, and the past four New Play Summits (The Denver Center for Performing Arts); Kate/Grumio in Taming of the Shrew (Colorado Shakespeare Festival); Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Jolene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Rosalita in Kind of Red, Johnna in August: Osage County, Mrs. Soames in Our Town, Sandy in Good on Paper, as well as two bi-lingual youth audience outreach tours (Creede Repertory Theater).

Tara Falk is thrilled to be a part of Local Lab. She was last seen, locally, in Hand to God at Curious Theatre. Broadway: Metamorphoses, The Constant Wife, and Enchanted April. Off-Broadway: This Is Our Youth and There’s the Story. Regional: Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theater, McCarter Theater, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, Pioneer Theater, Curious Theater and many more. TV: "The Black Donnellys," "Guiding Light," "As the World Turns" and many commercials and voice overs. BFA from Boston University School for the Arts. Teaching: DCPA and Girs Athletic Leadership School through Athena Project.

Hossein Forouzandeh is a Persian born, Colorado grown actor and activist holds a bachelor's in visualand performing arts from the University of Colorado. He recently played Ali in the Curious Theatre's production of The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Alegria Hudes, and is currently involved with the Athena Project's "Plays in Progress" Series. Last year, Hossein debuted at the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company in Ideation as Sandeep, and as a guest artist playing Warren in After at Pikes Peak Community College. Other favorite roles include Alcandre in Theatre'd Art's The Illusion, and the Musketeer in TheatreWorks' Cyrano de Bergerac.

William Hahn is a longtime resident of the theatrical community. He has appeared on many of the Denver stages over the past 15 years. Most recently he appeared as Pale in Burn This at the Edge Theater, and as Fountainhead in Water By The Spoonful with Curious Theater Company, where he is an artistic company member. Some of his favorite roles over the years have been Max in Becky Shaw, Dorian in Opus, with Curious Theater Company, Mike in A Lie Of The Mind with Paragon, Max in Bent with Hunger Artists, and Jimmer in 3 separate production of Escanaba in Da Moonlight at the Fox. In 2006 he was given the Henry Award for his performance as Ralph in Frozen at Curious Theater Company.

Lameece Issaq is an actor and writer, and Founding Artistic Director of the Obie-winning company Noor Theatre. She has appeared in several regional and off-Broadway productions, including: When The Lights Went Out (New York Stage and Film); Food and Fadwa (New York Theatre Workshop); The Fever Chart (The Public Theatre); The Black Eyed (NYTW); Stuff Happens (Public Theater, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble). As a playwright, she’s written Nooha’s List, part of the compilation play, Motherhood Outloud (Hartford Stage, Primary Stages); and Food and Fadwa, 2011 recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award (Noor Theatre and NYTW co-production, Spring 2012). Member of the The Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG-AFTRA. 2016 NYFA Finalist in Playwriting/Screenwriting.

Desirée Mee Jung is a Los Angeles based actor. She is a member of LA’s classical theatre ensemble, Antaeus Theatre Company, where she recently played Lady Percy in Henry IV, Part I starring Greg Itzin. Other select credits include Supper (Theatre of NOTE), Rose and the Rime (Sacred Fools), Colony Collapse (Theatre@Boston Court), The Curse of Oedipus (Antaeus Company), reasons to be pretty (Paragon Theatre), and Anton in Show Business (Openstage Theatre). She holds a B.A. and B.S. from the University of Northern Colorado and has trained with Shakespeare & Company, Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, and Oz Frank Theatre.

Shishir Kurup is anactor-writer-director-composer born in Bombay, raised in Kenya and ensemble member of the Internationally renowned Cornerstone Theater Company, with nominations and wins for Ovation, Garland and Dramalogue Awards in acting, composing and directing. He’s written over 250 songs for Cornerstone, nominated for Best Musical of the Year, 2010 top three finalist for the Alan Schneider Award, Princess Grace fellow and one of only six artists to receive the TIME Grant (called the mini Macarthur) from Audrey Skirball Foundation in recognition of his body of work. His productions of Quaira Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer winning Water by the Spoonful and The Happiest Song Plays Last at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, were both audience favorites in 2014 and 2015.

Iona Leighton earned a BFA from the State University of New York at Purchase Acting Conservatory. Her New York City credits include Hermia from A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Parking Lot series, Mrs. Lascalzo in Awesome 80's Prom, off-Broadway, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing with TheatreSmarts. Her voiceover credits include Pandora, Similac, and Cadillac. Her Denver credits include Perception with Denver Center/off-Center, Leslie in the world premiere of The Firestorm with Local Theater Company, and she worked as a teaching artist with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Iona also holds a master's degree in special education.

Gustavo Marquez has been seen as Cassius in Julius Caesar, Adriano in Comedy of Errors (Colorado Shakespeare Festival Tour); Renfield in Dracula (Aurora Fox); Caliban in The Tempest, Danny in Grease, Monostatos in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Vertumnus in Metamorphoses (MSUDENVER). In September, Gustavo played the role of Kourken in a new musical called I Am Alive, performed at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California. In May, he graduated from the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a bachelor of fine arts in music theater. When he is not acting he works at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Sunil Malhotra loves telling stories in front of the camera, behind the mic, onstage, and to his son. Favorite credits: "Maron," "NCIS: New Orleans;" Fair Game; Dude, Where’s The Party?; "The Legend of Korra;" "Blaze and the Monster Machines;" "The Powerpuff Girls;" "House;" "24;" "Star Wars: The Clone Wars;" "Halo: Reach;" and Why Torture Is Wrong and The People Who Love Them. He’s also an award-winning audiobook narrator, including "Cutting For Stone," "Eleanor and Park," and "When Breath Becomes Air." Raised in Skokie, Illinois, trained at Indiana University’s School of Theater and Drama, molded in New York City, and working in Los Angeles. Find him at @ThatSunil or

Kevin Rich has served as artistic director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival since 2013. He launched a new work initiative, leading to productions such as Failure: A Love Story by Philip Dawkins, Love's Labor's Won by Scott Kaiser, and a hip-hop adaptation of Two Gentlemen of VeronaQ Gents, by the internationally-acclaimed Q Brothers. He also co-created a new Halloween tradition, "ShakesFEAR," with director Andy Park. Professional acting experience includes Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Kentucky Shakespeare, Shakespeare & Company, Portland Center Stage, San Jose Rep, Yale Rep and the American Theatre Company.

Jeffrey Roark is excited to be working with Local Lab for the first time. Regional credits include Sweeney Todd, All The Way, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol, King Lear, White Christmas, Gross Indecency, Hamlet (Denver Center); The Crucible, Evita, Harvey, A Man For All Seasons, Cabaret, Legally Blonde, Curtains (Arvada Center); An Ideal Husband (Papermill Playhouse); My Fair Lady, HMS Pinafore (Berkshire); Sorrows of Stephen (Blue Heron); Drood, Life is a Dream (Creede); My Way, Doyle and Debbie Show (Denver Center Attractions); The Last Five Years (Modern Muse). Training: BFA Acting (Miami University), MFA Acting (National Theatre Conservatory).

Mackenzie Sherburne is thrilled to be a part of the Local Lab this year. She is currently performing the role of The Hatter in Then She Fell with Third Rail Projects in NYC. At the Denver Center: Original company member of Sweet & Lucky with Third Rail Projects, Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, The Three Musketeers, Romeo and Juliet and Death of a Salesman. Other favorite productions include: The 39 Steps, Avenue Q, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, White Christmas, As You Like It, Gruesome Playground Injuries and Putting It Together. She holds a BFA from NYU.