Cast & Crew of "Escape From Happiness"
Gail (Caitlin Weber) & Junior (Aaron Henry)
Gail is the youngest (and most sane) member of this dysfunctional family. She and her sweet but slow husband, Junior, have been together since high school. They both want nothing more than to put their family back together but they have different ways of approaching the problem.
Caitlin Weber has been performing for the past six years with Black Dirt Theater, Locally Grown Theatre, and The Phipps. Some of her favorite roles include Elizabeth in The Crucible, Jan in Bedroom Farce, and as part of the ensemble of ‘Tis a Gift.
Aaron Henry is a Hastings native, and is very excited to be a founding company member of lumin(theater) lab. Aaron’s other twin cities credits include, The Awakening with Savage Umbrella, Murder on the Nile, Jeeves Intervenes, and The Secret Garden at Theatre in the Round, Bug with Shadow Horse Theatre LLC. He has been seen in Hauptmann as Bruno Hauptmann, and as Roche in Rat in the Skull, both with Candid Theater Co. He has also performed in Hastings with Black Dirt Theater. His credits there include: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Annie, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Black Dirt Improv. He graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. During his time at Saint Mary’s he appeared in Hamlet, Our Town, Guys and Dolls, Machinal, and All’s Well that Ends Well. Aaron spends his days as a laboratory analyst at Pace Analytical. When his is not working on a play he enjoys spending as much time as he can outside running, hiking, biking, etc.
Elizabeth (Libby Wasylik)
The character “Elizabeth” is driven; both to achieve great things in the future and to escape the traumas of her past. Her tenacious drive and determined work ethic can only be eclipsed by her love for her family whom she protects at call costs.
Libby Wasylik also is the director of "Escape From Happiness." She is a theater artist and creative junkie from the west side of Saint Paul. Her directing credits include “Hamlet” at the Hastings Art Center, “Guys And Dolls” for Black Dirt Theater and “The Crucible” for Locally Grown Theater. Libby’s passion for theater might only be eclipsed by her love for her husband Dave, her Dog Ozzy, and binge watching entire seasons of Parks and Recreation in one sitting.
Mary Ann (Leah Christine)
She is is the second oldest and second youngest child in the family. She’s potentially the least stable, most dramatic person you’ll ever meet. And don’t worry, she always brings a unique perspective to every situation (even if it might not have been her perspective to begin with).
Leah Christine graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in drama. In the 19 years she’s been acting, she has had many roles that she loved including: Ophelia in “Hamlet”, Dogberry in “Much Ado About Nothing”, and Rodica in “Mad Forest.”
Nora (Kelli Tatum) & Tom (Rob Andersen)
Home renovation and sending positivity out into the world are two of Nora's passions, along with caring for her daughters, son-in-law and two granddaughters. Her mantra is "A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." Tom is the epically-flawed and long-estranged patriarch of the family. Recent illness coupled with his desire for them all to be a family again has allowed him to return to the fold. Sadly, his wife Nora has not warmed to the idea yet.
Kelli Tatum has worn several different theater hats - writer, producer, director, actor, choreographer - but she loves acting most of all. She has worked in various capacities for the Refreshment Committee, Park Square Theater, Theater in the Round, Black Dirt, Jelli Role Productions, and a host of others. She lives in Hastings with her joyful, shaggy dog, Teddy.
Rob Andersen has been acting and writing for theater for several years. Most recently, he was Reverend Hale in Locally Grown Theatre’s “The Crucible” and King Claudius in Black Dirt Theater’s “Hamlet”. Two of Rob’s plays are currently in pre-production – set to see the stage in August and Fall of 2017. Rob is very excited to be part of (lumin)theater lab and this production of “Escape from Happiness.”
Dian (Jane Sterk) & Mike (Tom Sorenson)
Dian Black is a first year detective for the Ramsey County Organized Crime Squad. Dian has degrees in Sociology and Urban Planning from the University of Minnesota, where she was also on the varsity women’s swim team. She graduated from the police academy in 1993 at the top of her class and spent the next few years rapidly working her way up to become a detective for the O.C.S. In her free time, Dian enjoys organizing community volunteer events for kids in low income. Her partner, Mike, is a hard working, old-school and by-the-book cop whose unhappiness in his private life follows him to his work life and complicates the very things he believes should be black and white and obvious. He doesn’t fully understand his eccentric partner and the events happening with this odd family puts him very much out of his comfort zone.
Jane Sterk is from St. Paul. This is her first production with (lumin)theater lab. She most recently performed as Marianne Dashwood in Theatre in the Round’s production of “Sense and Sensibility.” You can see Jane perform next in Shakespeare and Company’s upcoming season in “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Scapin” and “Henry IV Part 1.”
Tom Sorenson plays “Mike.” Tom has done theater off and on since high school, taking part in a few shows at Augustana College. He then joined up with Black Dirt Theater upon his return to Hastings in 2012. He has done many shows, musicals and improv comedy with BDT as well as “Our Town” and “The Crucible” in with Locally Grown Theater in Cottage Grove, “Lend me a Tenor” with Woodbury Community Theater and most recently, he was in “The Three Musketeers” at Theatre in the Round.