The Tree Play

Who's Who among the Creative Team and Cast

Click here to read the online playbill from the August 2015 presentation of The Tree Play.

The Tree Play has been blessed by the participation of some of the best area artists a new play could wish for. Because this is a play about preserving the rainforest it would be insane to hand out paper playbills. Instead, please scroll down to learn more about the artists who have come together to make this play.

The Ensemble

The Tree: Susan Peterson, Bird Caviel, Blake Robbins
Girl: April Perez
Father: Kevin Gates
Boy: Jonathan Salazar
Journalist: Huck Huckaby
Logger: Nathan Porteshawver
Hunter: John Grewell
Forest Chorus: Toni Baum, Corinne Franks Oh (and members of the ensemble)

Creative Team

In case you were unaware of the depth of talent among the folks behind the scenes, have a gander at this list of Who's Who among Austin's elite creatives:

Choreographer: Toni Bravo
Set Design: Ia Enstera
Costume Design: Buffy Manners
Lighting Design: Jennifer Rogers
Sound/Projections: Lowell Bartholomee
Technical Director: Cameron Allen
Stage Manager: Alyssa Dillard
Lighting Crew: Eric Johnson, Monica Kurtz, Adam Gunderson, Pixie Avent
Dramaturg: Michelle Polgar
Director: Robi Polgar

Read on for more details on our terrific team

Susan Peterson (The Tree)

Susan Peterson has performed in Austin with Rubber Repertory (Jubilee, B. Iden Payne award for Outstanding Cast Performance) and Tongue & Groove (Seven Wonders), and has also worked with Glass Half Full (Once There Were Six Seasons). A budding storyteller, she recounts true, personal tales, and has recently told one at a Grownup Lady Story Company house concert. By day, Susan works as the Green Initiatives director for affordable housing developer Foundation Communities. She has lived and worked in Guinea, Senegal, Morocco and France, is a transportation cyclist and loves to cook with leftovers.

Bird Caviel (The Tree)

Crystal Bird Caviel is a unicorn (a native Austinite). She is currently pursuing a Performance degree from Texas State University. She has most recently appeared in The Mountaintop in Philadelphia, and in Beauty is the Best Priest, Babel for Your Soul and Love, Anarchy and Other Affairs in Austin. She is a passionate death penalty abolitionist, community organizer and is writing a one woman show about capital punishment. She loves exploring how art can be used as a tool for social justice and intends to implement theatre rehabilitation programs in prisons. When she's not acting or protesting, she can be found galavanting around town with her fantastic five-year old, Osira.

Blake Robbins (The Tree)

Blake Robbins is a native of Austin, Texas. He performed most recently as Haemon in Antigone (ACC); other credits include Antipholus in The Commedia of Errors (Vortex) and, at Anderson High School he played George in Moon Over Buffalo, for which he won All Star Cast at UIL State. Blake was an assistant director at Hyde Park Theatre for their production of Port Authority. He is currently writing a comic series with Blake Bohls that will be published by Raw Paw Press in the near future, and he can also be seen performing in the disgustingly misguided rock group Smith + Robot. Blake enjoys the films of Krzysztof Kiewslowski. He is very excited to be acting in this play — hey, how are you doing?

April Perez Moore (Girl)

April Perez Moore received a BA in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas at Austin and has been performing on Austin stages on and off since 2001 (Austin Critics Table nomination for Best Actress in a Drama in 2006, B. Iden Payne Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical in 2007). She took a hiatus from Austin to perform and continue her studies at dance schools and festivals in New York City (The Ailey School), Massachusetts (Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival), Maine (Bates Dance Festival) and Madrid, Spain (Karen Taft Estudio de Danza). April is a member of the Austin-based theatre company paper chairs, as well as a member of the local folk-rock-punk band East Cameron Folkcore. When not creating and performing, she can be found working as a Certified Pilates Instructor and studying to become an Osteopathic Physician.

Kevin Gates (Father)

Kevin Gates holds an M.A. in Theatre from Texas State University, where he teaches Theatre History. Recent acting credits include Hamlet (EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens), Creon (Antigone, ACC) and Richard of York (II Henry VI, Roving Shakespeare). Kevin also directed the award-winning Macbeth at City Theatre. Although these classic works still speak to our times, it's a refreshing change to participate on a new work that directly addresses contemporary concerns, and especially so with such a talented and generous team.

Jonathan Salazar (Boy)

Jonathan Salazar is an Austin native and, for the past two years, a student at Texas State University. He moves to New York at the end of August to attend Pace University to pursue a dual degree in performance and business. Favorite roles include the lead as the ridiculous Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, Tommy Boatwright in The Normal Heart, the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, a member of the ensemble of Catch Me if You Can and as part of the award winning Rocky Horror Picture Show in San Antonio. He's excited about his new journey in New York and would like to thank his friends and family, ". . . for supporting me, and my crazy dreams!"

Huck Huckaby (Journalist)

Huck Huckaby has trod the boards for 25 years in Austin, appearing in a ton a shows . . . too numerous to count. As an acting company member at Austin Playhouse, Huck has appeared in Chicago, Time Stand Still, A Lion in Winter, Noises Off, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Dead President's Club and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, just to name a few. He has appeared on the Zilker hillside for five summer musicals, including The Secret Garden, Big River and Into the Woods. Last summer he appeared as Hannibal Lector in the Doctuh Mistuh production of Silence, the Musical.

Nathan Porteshawver (Logger)

Nathan Porteshawver is a playwright, actor, director, producer, data scientist, educator and co-author of the children's book, Little Cheese. He is the founder and artistic director of the Internet Players, a non-profit theater company dedicated to the production of new and original theater works. The German American Heritage Center, New Ground Theater Company, Davenport Jr. Theatre, Soren Bennick and Waltham Playback Society have produced some of his plays. He was last seen on stage as the Butler at the Vortex Repertory Company's original production of Salvador Dali's Naked Feast. While he finishes his M.S. in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern University you can find him managing The Butterfly Bar at The VORTEX.

John Grewell (Hunter/Forest Chorus)

John Grewell got his start in theatre at a young age, lighting up the stage with his carefree personality in church productions and eventually Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci with the Dayton Opera. In high school he performed in Singin' in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan, he wrote, directed and acted in The Looney Bin while in college. John has dabbled in all forms of creativity: film, art, music, fashion; and he has recently found a love for modern dance, which he believes was always trying to find its way out. John is currently finishing his bachelor's degree in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and hopes to use his experience to study how we (humans) use the arts to tell stories.

Toni Baum (Forest Chorus)

Toni Leanne Baum is a classically trained actor and physical theatre practitioner, as well as a spoken poet, fiction writer and technical writer. She received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Vassar College and trained at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Toni has performed around Austin most recently in Paradox Players' New Jerusalem, City Theatre's Julius Caesar and Something for Nothing Theater's Henry IV part I. Favorite past roles include Caliban in The Tempest, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and Angie/Dull Griet in Caryl Churchill's Top Girls. When not creating or performing Toni can be found hiking in Austin's greenbelts, traveling the world (Japan is next in 2016) or curled up with a good book.

Corinne Franks Oh (Forest Chorus)

Corinne Oh is a cast member of the Fé Fit home fitness program for women, a lead talent for Fé Fit online streaming workouts, and she has made numerous appearances on local television as a women's fitness expert. Past theatre experience includes holding "applause" and "boo" signs in her 8th grade production of Robin Hood. (See why I led with my fitness resume?) Corinne is ecstatic to make her stage debut in this production.

Toni Bravo (Choreographer)

Ia Enstera (Set Design)

Buffy Manners (Costume Design)

Jennifer Rogers (Lighting Design)

Jen Rogers has been designing lights in Austin for over 10 years and is a partner in the design firm Light Bastard Amber (LBA). She is a company member at The Vortex and a resident designer with Fusebox Festival. Some of her favorite designs include: Sweeney Todd with Summer Stock Austin; the B. Iden Payne nominated The North Project with Refraction Arts; The Mariachi Girl with Teatro Vivo; The Suicide with Paper Chairs, for which she was recognized in American Theatre Magazine; and Patience and Princess Ida with GSSA.

Lowell Bartholomee (Sound Design/Projections)

Lowell Bartholomee created his first video design in 2004 for Robi's The Road to Wigan Pier for which he was nominated for Best Video Design by the Austin Critics Table. Other nominations followed and he finally won the Critics Award (and the B. Iden Payne) for his video work on Breaking String's Vodka Fucking Television in 2013. When not creating video pieces for companies like Rude Mechs, Salvage Vanguard, Whirligig, and others, he occasionally shows up on stage as an actor, even more occasionally writes and directs plays, and he has recently started working in sound design (recipient of the Payne Award for Outstanding Sound Design for Capital T's Detroit). He hardly ever turns work down. Give him a call.

Michelle Polgar (Dramaturg)

Robi Polgar (Writer/Director)

Playwright Robi Polgar is a writer, director, musician and unrepentant soccer junkie, who lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and three children. In addition to penning and producing several stage plays he spent 16 years as a contributing writer for The Austin Chronicle. Robi often performs solo or as the frontman for a pair of musical acts, The Late Joys and The Study Session. He has just completed the manuscript for his first novel, a soccer murder-mystery, set in post-punk UK, circa 1978. Read more...

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