John WalcuttCEO, Producing Artistic Director
John Walcutt has been a professional actor, director, writer and producer, since graduating with his MFA from The Professional Actor Training Program at USC. His long list of credits as an actor stretch from his very first season at SOC (then called The Grove Shakespeare Festival) in 1982, and span nearly 200 film and TV projects as well as most of America’s great regional theaters, LA, and New York. His great roles onstage have included Macbeth, Malvolio, Richard III, Cassius, and Mercurio (here at SOC), as well as Henry V, Richard II, Both Prince Hals, Romeo, new works by playwrights such as Beth Henley, Michael Ondaatje, and Stephen Metcalfe, and many, many more, on such fine stages as South Coast Rep, The Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe, and The La Jolla Playhouse. He is a founding member of both The Antaeus Company and The Matrix Theatre Company in LA, and a long-time member of The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.
John received The Golden Ace Award for Director of The Best Feature Comedy for the film The Alpha Geek at The Las Vegas Film Festival, Best Director Award and Best Feature from The Indie Fest Awards for directing Termite: The Walls Have Eyes, and his feature film Nicky’s Birthday Camera (which he wrote and produced) has won dozens of film festival prizes. He produced Sex and a Girl for Lifetime TV, starring Robert Hays, Ellen Green and Danny Masterson.
John received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his ensemble acting work in Little Miss Sunshine, and is most known for films such as Titanic, Mulan, and a very long list of television roles. He is currently a Professor of Film Studies at Miracosta College in Oceanside, and is the Director of The Acting Conservatory at The Orange County School of The Arts.
He was named by The Orange County Register as ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN ARTS AND CULTURE for 2014.
Duck Soon WalcuttCFO, Board Member, Head of Audience Development
Duck Soon Walcutt grew up in South Korea and lives in Garden Grove. She is a professional yoga teacher, and worked for years at Hanmi Bank. She is currently President of The Korean Social Club of Orange County, and is very active in her church, The Church of Latter-Day Saints. She is bilingual and is married to John Walcutt.
Tess LinaBoard Member, Managing Director, Associate Artist
Tess Lina is an accomplished theater and film actress. In Los Angeles, she has worked regularly with Chalk Rep, and most recently appeared in Animals Out of Paper at East West Players. Regionally she has worked at the Mark Taper Forum, the Guthrie Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, San Jose Rep, Laguna Playhouse, Indiana Rep, and notably at the Denver Center in a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, during which she had the honor of working with Sir Peter Hall and John Barton on the world premiere of Tantalus. In New York, she has worked with Ma-Yi Theater Company, NAATCO, and MudBone Theatre Collective. Film and TV credits include: Danika with Marisa Tomei, Revenge, House, Mental, CSI, CSI: Miami, NCIS, and Las Vegas. She is a graduate of Juilliard.
Eugene Godwin, Esq.Board Member, Associate Artist
Eugene Godwin is a licensed, practicing Attorney at Law. He is a director of our board and he currently holds the corporate officer position of secretary. On our stage, he has played roles such as Governor Lamson in The Tavern, Tom Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Sir William Stanley in Richard III. Elsewhere, he has starred in Deathtrap at the Long Beach Playhouse, and played the Future President of the United States in the audio drama The 2038 State of the Union for the podcast Earbud Theater, for which he was nominated for an Audio Verse Award.
David DenmanBoard Member, Associate Artist
David trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco before studying drama at Julliard. He has appeared in films such as The Replacements, Big Fish, After Earth, and Jobs; while guest-starring on TV shows such as ER, CSI: Miami, Crossing Jordan, Bones, Parenthood, and How to Get Away With Murder. He is perhaps best known for his role as “Roy”, the warehouse worker engaged to Pam in the early seasons of The Office on NBC. At SOC he played the title role in Hamlet and Henry V, Brutus in Julius Caesar, and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.
Bo FoxworthBoard Member, Associate Artist
Bo’s SOC credits include MacBeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, the title role in Hamlet, The Vagabond in 2014’s production of The Tavern, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. He was most recently seen in Disconnection with The Skylight Theatre and Amadeus with ETC. He is a member of The Antaeus Theater Company where he appeared in Henry IV, The Liar and The Crucible (for which he received an Ovation nomination for Best Lead Actor in 2013), the title role in Macbeth, The Seagull and The Malcontent. Bo has also worked at La Mirada, Laguna Playhouse, The Geffen, Disney Hall, LATW, Theater @Boston Court, The Hollywood Bowl and A Noise Within, where he received an Ovation nomination for Measure for Measure (featured) and As You Like It (ensemble). New York and Regional theaters include: The Off-Broadway hit As Bees in Honey Drown at The Lucile Lortel; The Century Theater; HERE, The Pearl Theater; The Shakespeare Theater in Washington D.C., Vienna’s English Theater in Vienna, Austria, The Long Wharf, Baltimore Center Stage, Playmakers Rep, The Old Globe, The Yale Rep and many others. He teaches acting Shakespeare with the at-risk youths of Aggeler High School in Chatsworth and is an original company member of Will and Company. Bo has numerous film and television credits most recently appearing in Castle, and will appear as Robert McNamara in the upcoming prestige HBO biopic All the Way, adapted from Robert Schenkkan’s Tony-nominated play, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Emmy winner Jay Roach and featuring an all-star cast headlined by Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Frank Langella, Melissa Leo, and Bradley Whitford. He is a graduate of UCLA and received his Masters at Yale School of Drama.
Elyse MirtoBoard Member, Associate Artist, Event Coordinator
Elyse is a Detroit native who has lived and worked professionally in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Some theatre credits are – Off Broadway, White’s Lies, New World Stages. Manhattan Theatre Source, Any Day Now, (New York Innovative Theatre Award winner, Best Actress). New School for Drama, Catch the Fish. Workshop Theatre Company, Next Year in Jerusalem, (NYITA nominee, Best Actress). LaMama, New York International Fringe Festival. Laguna Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, A Noise Within, The Rubicon, The Secret Rose, Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Film: Of Two Minds, Disturbia, Cowboy Junction, Double Bang, Penny Dreadful, Man of Faith, Avenge, Waiting for the Man, Crescent Heart. TV: The Last Ship, 24, Numbers, Cold Case, Malcolm in the Middle, JAG, Law and Order: SVU. Education/Training: BFA, Western Michigan University; Royal National Theatre of Great Britain; Meisner Academy. Producing credits include, The original play The King’s Speech in the West End, Becoming Dr. Ruth Off Broadway, Nat Cassidy’s The Eternal Husband NY International Fringe Fest. The award winning short films “Solo Forever” and “What Future”.
James BerrierBoard Member, Associate Artist
James Berrier is a published novelist (The Burning Lake) and English teacher, who has taught English at Vanguard University and Coastline College, and also at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove the last twenty-one years. While a student at UCLA, Jim was active in Musical-Comedy Workshop and in the Opera Workshop (in which he played onstage in the West Coast Premiere of Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny). He earned his master’s degree in English in 1984, was a Fellow in the UCI Writing Project in 1991, and participated in the UCLA Shakespeare Symposium in 1994. He has also directed community theater and several high-school productions in Orange County. He currently resides in Mission Viejo with his lovely wife Trena and their four beautiful children.
Dianne ManasterBoard Member, Associate Artist/Musical Director
Dianne Manaster began oboe and drama studies in her native Toronto, Canada in high school. She then attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her teachers have included members of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Met Opera Orchestra. Since arriving in Southern California, she has performed with the Pacific Symphony, Opera Pacific, Pacific Chorale, and the L.A. Philharmonic. She has had a private oboe teaching studio for over 20 years.
She studies vocally with Susan Miller, formerly of Opera Paris, and has sung with Class Act Chamber Series and Pacific Symphony. She has been an actor for Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings, and currently is script advisor/actor for Class Act Interactive Musical Experience shows throughout Orange County Schools. As an educator, she was also a Teaching Artist in Pacific Symphony’s Class Act School Partnership Program for 12 years.
As an actress, Ms. Manaster has worked with Chance Theater, Long Beach Playhouse, and Theatricum Botanicum, becoming a company member of Theaticum Botanicumin 2010. Last year, she was appointed Music Director of Shakespeare|Summerfest Orange County in 2014 by Artistic Director John Walcutt, and was part of the cast of The Tavern in their 2014 Season.
Paul ManasterBoard Member
Paul Manaster is a concert violinist who has served as the Associate Concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony since 1998. He previously held positions with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the San Antonio Symphony. In addition, he plays in the Pageant of the Masters Orchestra in the summer. He has taught students at all levels for many years, and served as a violin instructor at Trinity University in San Antonio. He currently teaches privately and in the Junior Chamber Music program in Orange County. While he has never acted himself, he is an avid theater-goer and is honored to be a board member of SOC.
Rob OdishooBoard Member, Head Usher, House Team
Rob Odishoo brings a wealth of experience to the business of SOC with over 15 years in financial services, banking and website technology. A graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business, Rob is a successful entrepreneur. The skills and business connections he acquired while funding and building his own business are invaluable to SOC’s future and growth.
Rob’s only stage credit is his grade school production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream in which he did play what was arguably the best Bottom his school had ever seen. But alas, acting was not his calling. His family fell in love with SOC after visiting for the first time in 2014. Having personally witnessed the Company’s commitment to “One Big Family”, Rob knew that this was no ordinary theater and felt compelled to get involved to help bring John Walcutt’s vision to reality. Rob and his lovely wife Janelle live in Costa Mesa with their talented young daughter, Jessica who is currently studying Acting at the Orange County School of the Arts.
Emily Anne GibsonDirector of Development, Grant Writer
Emily Anne Gibson is an East Coast transplant to California, coming here after studying and working in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/New York/DC Region. She holds degrees in history, English studies, and dramaturgy from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Her work, both academically and theatrically, focuses on the intersection of the arts, research, and the community. As an artist and dramaturg, she has worked in Pittsburgh, New York, Washington DC, and Northern New Jersey, as well as Southern California. Her previous work has included production dramaturgy, critical analysis, community engagement, and education programming. Emily currently works in development and education with Shakespeare Orange County and in ticket services at South Coast Repertory. In addition, she continues to pursue freelance dramaturgy in Southern California and beyond.
Mike PeeblerAssociate Artistic Director
Mike Peebler made his acting debut at age 7 as a circus ringmaster in Houston, TX. He continued to work in theater, film and commercials throughout his childhood. His serious study of the craft began with pursuit of an Acting degree at Northwestern University, followed by earning his MFA from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. He has guest-starred on TV series such as Chicago PD, Masters of Sex, Mad Men, The Mentalist, and American Horror Story, and shared the screen with Tom Cruise in Valkyrie. Mike’s independent feature A Lonely Place For Dying is currently enjoying a successful run on the festival circuit, showing in 21 festivals and garnering 4 Best Picture honors.
At SOC he has played roles such as Buckingham in Richard III and MacDuff in Macbeth, and directed 2014’s rollicking production of The Tavern. He has also worked extensively with Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, playing Hamlet, Brutus in Julius Caesar, Orlando in As You Like It, and Edmund in King Lear. More contemporary credits include the West Coast premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s Omnium Gatherum, and a world premiere adaptation of Dracula. In 2015, after co-directing SOC’s landmark production of Romeo and Juliet, he branched out into film, directing the shorts The God Chair and Out With a Bang, which will play film festivals in 2016.
Mike’s workshop, The Actor’s Guide to Shakespeare, has been featured at thespian festivals in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Georgia, California and New York.
Andrew TraisterAssociate Artist/Management Advisor
From 1987-89 Andrew was Artistic Director of Alaska Repertory Theatre. He served as The Old Globe Literary Manager from 1980-84. In 1980 Andrew was the recipient of an NEA Directing Fellowship. He directed The Actor’s Playpen’s inaugural productions of Lolita and Road to Nirvana in Los Angeles. He has directed at The Old Globe, Alaska Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Tacoma Actors Guild, Geva Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Diego Repertory Theatre and many others across the country. He has taught at Cornish College of the Arts, California Institute of the Arts, SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Brockport.
For The Seagull at Antaeus Theatre, LA WEEKLY nominated Andrew for Best Director. His critically acclaimed production of Awake and Sing at A Noise Within was nominated for Best Revival (Ovation Awards 2009), and Best Production (LA Drama Critics 2009). Waiting for Godot at A Noise Within, was nominated for two 2007 LA Drama Critics Awards: “Best Ensemble” and “Best Revival”.
In 2006 Andrew directed Nicky’s Birthday Camera, his first feature film. He has also directed the award-winning shorts The Silence of Bees, and Just Out of Reach. Some of the actors that Andrew has had the privilege of directing include Greg Itzin, John Walcutt, James Whitmore, Michael Lerned, Robert Foxworth, Hal Gould, J.D. Johnston, Ralph Waite, Betsy Palmer and Reed Diamond.
Michael FountainAssociate Artist/Technical Director
Michael Drace Fountain is an actor, writer, and director, and has been working – onstage and offstage – for Shakespeare Orange County since 1997. He has played roles such as the First Murderer in Richard III, the Sheriff in The Tavern, The Prince in Romeo and Juliet, Duke Senior in As You Like It, a Pirate in The Pirates of Penzance and starred in Tom Bradac’s adaptation of Venus and Adonis, which was traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic. Recently, he also started teaching theatre to students at the Orange County School of the Arts. He has been technical director for SOC for the past 10 years, designing and/or building sets and lights for countless productions. He’s on twitter at @akatzenshai
Janelle OdishooHouse Manager
An Orange County native, Janelle grew up in nearby Fountain Valley and attended FVHS at the same time as Board Member David Denman, and popular SOC Director, Pete Uribe. Janelle graduated top of her class from the University of Southern California in 1993 and received a bachelor’s degree in gerontology from the nationally acclaimed Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She is also a successful entrepreneur.
Although not an actor herself, Janelle met her husband Rob at USC, ironically while performing on stage at the world-famous Shrine Auditorium for a charity song and dance show call Song Fest. The couple celebrated 20 years of marriage recently, and live in Costa Mesa with their talented young daughter, Jessica who is currently studying Acting at the Orange County School of the Arts. When not at SOC, Janelle is probably at OCSA, assisting with the Acting Conservatory Volunteer Committee.
Joe StrattanVolunteer Coordinator, House Management Team
Joe is a native Californian and is a local Orange County resident, having attended Valencia HS, and later CSU Fullerton studying business finance with an emphasis in real estate. With an extensive sales and mortgage background, he currently works as a Senior Marketing & Loan Consultant with KMR Inc. specializing exclusively in educating and assisting senior homeowners in obtaining a HECM loan, better known as a Reverse Mortgage.
He and his wife Corazon of 27 years live in Huntington Beach with their very talented son, Noah who has been involved in SOC productions since the 2014 season. Noah, in his third year, currently studies Acting at the Orange County School of the Arts, where Joe is highly involved, helping with the Acting Conservatory Volunteer Committee as well as other leadership roles. When Joe is not supporting SOC, he currently enjoys real estate investing, fitness, outdoor activities and spending as much time with family!!