Meet the Cast: Jonathan Davis

Life imitates art imitating life in Proud Mary Theatre Company’s first-ever holiday production, The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!, streaming over the Christmas holiday weekend December 23-27. ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT The Uplift Outreach Center in Spartanburg – the only organization in Upstate South Carolina devoted to serving LGBTQ+ youth.

Jonathan Davis plays Rod, playwright and producer of the Triangle Theatre Company in WeHo (West Hollywood). He is appearing in his fifth Proud Mary virtual production and can usually be found in local Shakespeare performances, including last year’s Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest (Upstate Shakespeare Festival), and has been acting in the area since 1997 in various productions. He also enjoys the odd film role now and again. When not acting, he spends his time reading and painting

Written by Joe Marshall, this South Carolina (and Virtual) premiere is about a struggling gay theatre company and its efforts to produce a great holiday play with a crazy, drama-addicted team that has just a few weeks to produce…the gayest Christmas pageant ever! This holiday camp-fest is a fast-paced comedy packed with hilarious dialogue and 40 over-the-top characters meant for non-conservative adults of all ages!

Streaming kicks off at 8 am on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Reserve your merry and gay holiday tickets now at Eventbrite.

Meet the Cast: Ava Davis

Life imitates art imitating life in Proud Mary Theatre Company’s first-ever holiday production, The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!, streaming over the Christmas holiday weekend December 23-27. ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT The Uplift Outreach Center in Spartanburg – the only organization in Upstate South Carolina devoted to serving LGBTQ+ youth.

J.R. Bloomer plays the romantic lead Jim, and STD (Straight Technical Director) of the Triangle Theatre Company in WeHo (West Hollywood).

Ava Davis, also known as the Duchess of Grant Park, plays the roles of Tyrone & Tyrone’s mother and is an actor, producer & writer, working and living in Atlanta. 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia, and has made Atlanta her home, along with her partner, two standard poodles and one bengal cat. 

Recently in Proud Mary Theatre’s production of The Laramie Project, Ava has acted in, written and produced several short films, including Feast, The Decision and the upcoming short film, Duchess of Grant Park. She has performed with the One Minute Play Fest, including a special performance in collaboration with the Queens Theater in New York City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride. In addition, she does sketch comedy with Critical Crop Top. 

Ava is a trans actress, and an advocate for increasing trans and queer representation, especially that of black and other minorities. She also loves jellybeans and coffee, and is always happiest when she finds herself with the privilege, honor, and sublime state of performing. 

Written by Joe Marshall, this South Carolina (and Virtual) premiere is about a struggling gay theatre company and its efforts to produce a great holiday play with a crazy, drama-addicted team that has just a few weeks to produce…the gayest Christmas pageant ever! This holiday camp-fest is a fast-paced comedy packed with hilarious dialogue and 40 over-the-top characters meant for non-conservative adults of all ages!

Streaming kicks off at 8 am on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Reserve your merry and gay holiday tickets now at Eventbrite.

Meet the Cast: J.R. Bloomer

JR-Bloomer
JR-Bloomer

Life imitates art imitating life in Proud Mary Theatre Company’s first-ever holiday production, The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!, streaming over the Christmas holiday weekend December 23-27. ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT The Uplift Outreach Center in Spartanburg – the only organization in Upstate South Carolina devoted to serving LGBTQ+ youth.

J.R. Bloomer plays the romantic lead Jim, and STD (Straight Technical Director) of the Triangle Theatre Company in WeHo (West Hollywood).

J.R. is a recent BFA Musical Theatre graduate at Limestone College. Recent credits include Dan in Next to Normal, Ernie Mac in Puffs, and Angelo on Measure for Measure at Limestone College Theatre. He has also appeared as Hysterium in A Funny Thing… Forum and Frank in Rock of Ages with the Spartanburg Little Theatre. J.R. is excited to be a part of his fourth Zoom Reading with the Proud Mary Theatre after Blue Camp, The Vultures and C’est La Vie.

Written by Joe Marshall, this South Carolina (and Virtual) premiere is about a struggling gay theatre company and its efforts to produce a great holiday play with a crazy, drama-addicted team that has just a few weeks to produce…the gayest Christmas pageant ever! This holiday camp-fest is a fast-paced comedy packed with hilarious dialogue and 40 over-the-top characters meant for non-conservative adults of all ages!

Streaming kicks off at 8 am on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Reserve your merry and gay holiday tickets now at Eventbrite.

Meet the Cast: Sun Jane Schwalm

Life imitates art imitating life in Proud Mary Theatre Company’s first-ever holiday production, The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!, streaming over the Christmas holiday weekend December 23-27. ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT The Uplift Outreach Center in Spartanburg – the only organization in Upstate South Carolina devoted to serving LGBTQ+ youth.

Sun Jane Schwalm plays the romantic lead Janet, stage manager of the Triangle Theatre Company in WeHo (West Hollywood).

Sun J Schwalm is delighted to be returning to Proud Mary Theatre Company! Favorite credits include VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, TWELVE ANGRY MEN, JULIUS CAESER, SPRING AWAKENING, HELLO DOLLY, HAMLET, and VELVET CURTAINS. From Valparaiso, Florida, Sun is currently a Photography and Graphic Design student in Greenville, South Carolina. She hopes to someday disappear mysteriously.

Written by Joe Marshall, this South Carolina (and Virtual) premiere is about a struggling gay theatre company and its efforts to produce a great holiday play with a crazy, drama-addicted team that has just a few weeks to produce…the gayest Christmas pageant ever! This holiday camp-fest is a fast-paced comedy packed with hilarious dialogue and 40 over-the-top characters meant for non-conservative adults of all ages!

Streaming kicks off at 8 am on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Reserve your merry and gay holiday tickets now at Eventbrite.

Interview with ‘Laramie’ Priest: Ryan Barry

RYAN BARRY

Proud Mary Theatre Company launches its fourth season on October 6 with the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the powerful and award-winning play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in 1998.

The Laramie Project will be presented as a Theatrical Documentary Experience available for streaming Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s attack in Laramie, Wyoming, and ending on October 12, the day Shepard died and became a martyr for hate crime legislation and the gay rights movement in the United States.

Suggested donation of $10 for unlimited streaming. More info is available at proudmarytheatre.com.

Ryan Barry (Jedadiah Schultz / Father Roger Schmit / Jeffrey Lockwood / Newsperson #4 / Priest / Juror #4)Ryan is honored to be part of this production! Ryan made his debut with the Proud Mary Theatre with the virtual online production of Blue Camp. He was in Tryon Little Theatre’s production of Bright Star as Max and played over a dozen roles in The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time. Last summer he performed with The Upstate Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Tempest as Stephano in Greenville’s Falls Park. You may have also seen Ryan in Spartanburg Little Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None as Doctor Armstrong. He has also appeared in Spartanburg Little Theatre’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher as Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher, Disney’s The Little Mermaid as Scuttle. He is a USC Upstate graduate with a degree in theatre. He would like to thank Ben Dawkins, his family and all his friends for their wonderful support.

Why did you audition for THE LARAMIE PROJECT?

-The reason I joined The Laramie Project was to simply tell the truth! To present an accurate portrayal of the hate and violence that still goes on to this very day in America.

How does the murder of Matthew Shepard affect you personally?

-The murder of Matthew Shepard, to me, makes me cringe every time I hear about this terrible crime. How it affected me personally is that from listening and reading from the interviews that the playwright and the company presents in the play is that there is a lesson that needs to be taught to generation after generation that just because someone looks differently than you or thinks differently than you doesn’t mean you should be angry at them. You should learn how to accept them as who they are and how they feel in order to understand that if they need help, you help them. That is what a human being needs to do!

What is the allure of The Laramie Project as an actor?

– The Laramie Project, for me as an actor, is an interesting character study of people and their surroundings. The characters are all conducted from over two hundred interviews during the two years after the murder. From the viewers perspective you get to see how they interact with the other people and how they give you a structure of their environment.

What roles so you play in Laramie?

-The roles I play in Laramie are Jedediah Schultz, Jeffery Lockwood, Father Roger Schmit, Newsperson #4, Priest, and Juror #4.

When did you first learn of Matthew Shepard?

-It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I first heard about this play and about the murder of Matthew Shepard. My first thoughts were after I saw the photograph of Matthew that I thought to myself “Why would someone hurt this boy?” and “Why are people so cruel?”.

What have you learned from this play since you first began rehearsals?

-I learned after the first rehearsals began that this was going to be a great collaboration of some of the best theatre artists in the Upstate.

What can you tell is about your experiences in virtual theatre? And this hybrid virtual/in-person rehearsal process?

From the virtual experience it took some adjusting but I managed to follow through and work like any other rehearsal. I’ll admit not having to move in space or interacting with a cast mate in person does find it to be challenging but I think it works for this piece of theatre. 

Obviously, streaming is not Live Theatre, but what do you hope people can still learn from this unique production of The Laramie Project?

-I hope people will watch and listen and ask themselves ” How do we as a society make you to be the best person that you can be?” and see where that takes you.

Directed by Ben Dawkins, The Laramie Project features an amazing diverse cast of 14 Upstate actors in some 60 roles: Ryan Barry, Michele Colletti, Ava Davis, Jonathan Davis, Kelly Davis, Doug Egge, Samantha Eyler, Darryl Harmon, Jim Huber, Dave LaPage, Rebecca Schledwitz, Tyler Smith, Audrey Waldrop and Chase Wolfe. Ashley Zimmerman is stage manager.

Meet Our Youngest Member of ‘Laramie’: Rebecca Schledwitz

Rebecca Schledwitz

Proud Mary Theatre Company continues to push the boundaries of theatre during the Covid-19 crisis as we open our 4th season with the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the award-winning play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

This is a FULL PRODUCTION (not a ZOOM reading) and will be presented as a Virtual Multimedia Experience available for streaming Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and ends on October 12, the day Shepard died and became a martyr for establishing hate crime legislation in the gay rights movement.

Rebecca Schledwitz is a 9th grader at Dorman High School. She has been performing in community and professional theatre in South Carolina and Florida since she was 7 years old. Some of her favorite roles have been Betty Parish in The Crucible, Brigatta in Sound of Music, Elsa in Frozen Jr., Annie in Annie, and the young girl in The Big Meal. She has also performed in A Christmas Story, Metamorphoses, Willy Wonka, and Shrek. Rebecca would like to thank Sandy Staggs and Ben Dawkins for allowing her this amazing opportunity to work with a talented cast and a wonderful theatre.

Directed by Ben Dawkins, The Laramie Project features a Who’s Who? cast of 14 amazing Upstate actors in some 60 roles: Ryan Barry, Michele Colletti, Ava Davis, Jonathan Davis, Kelly Davis, Doug Egge, Samantha Eyler, Darryl Harmon, Jim Huber, Dave LaPage, Rebecca Schledwitz, Tyler Smith, Audrey Waldrop and Chase Wolfe. Ashley Zimmerman is stage manager.

Suggested donation of $10 for unlimited streaming. More info is available at proudmarytheatre.com.

Opia Arts Co-Founder Sam Eyler Goes to ‘Laramie’

Samantha Eyler

Proud Mary Theatre Company continues to push the boundaries of theatre during the Covid-19 crisis as we open our 4th season with the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the award-winning play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

This is a FULL PRODUCTION (not a ZOOM reading) and will be presented as a Virtual Multimedia Experience available for streaming Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and ends on October 12, the day Shepard died and became a martyr for establishing hate crime legislation in the gay rights movement.

Samantha is a performer, costume/graphic designer, and licensed Zumba instructor based in Greenville, SC. She has been teaching and performing professionally for over 8 years and has worked with a variety of students from kindergarten all the way up to adulthood. She earned her BA in Musical Theatre from Marywood University with minors in both Graphic Design and Dance. She has performed with numerous companies across several states. Locally, she most recently performed as The Witch in Into the Woods with Market Theatre and as Marg Hamilton in The Inspector of Oz with Misfit Theatre.  

Directed by Ben Dawkins, The Laramie Project features a Who’s Who? cast of 14 amazing Upstate actors in some 60 roles: Ryan Barry, Michele Colletti, Ava Davis, Jonathan Davis, Kelly Davis, Doug Egge, Samantha Eyler, Darryl Harmon, Jim Huber, Dave LaPage, Rebecca Schledwitz, Tyler Smith, Audrey Waldrop and Chase Wolfe. Ashley Zimmerman is stage manager.

Suggested donation of $10 for unlimited streaming. More info is available at proudmarytheatre.com.

Jim Huber Portrays Matthew Shepard’s Dad in ‘Laramie’

Jim Huber

Proud Mary Theatre Company continues to push the boundaries of theatre during the Covid-19 crisis as we open our 4th season with the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the award-winning play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

This is a FULL PRODUCTION (not a ZOOM reading) and will be presented as a Virtual Multimedia Experience available for streaming Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and ends on October 12, the day Shepard died and became a martyr for establishing hate crime legislation in the gay rights movement.

This is Jim’s first experience with Proud Mary and he couldn’t be more proud of this piece and this cast!  Most recently, Jim has had the immense pleasure and honor of performing with Spartanburg Little Theatre. Most recently, he portrayed the Narrator in “The Rocky Horror Show”, as well as SLT’s holiday production- “Every Christmas Story Ever Told- and Then Some!”, and “Rock of Ages” (Dennis DuPree). His first show with SLT was in the ensemble of “Spamalot”, followed by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Dr. Spivey). He has also had the pleasure of working backstage on “Xanadu” and “Guys and Dolls”. Jim is super excited to be a part of this wonderful theater community.

A transplant from the Orlando area almost 5 years ago, Jim had been seen in “12 Angry Men”, “Looking for Normal”, “I Hate Hamlet”, “Lafferty’s Wake”, & “The Lion In Winter”- just to name a few. 32 years ago, he was also a cast member of “Up with People!” Jim would like to send his gratitude to the ridiculously talented cast and crew of this production for their welcoming nature, support and their general awesomeness! All his love and appreciation to his wife, Jess- Best of wives- Best of women, and his son Daniel. And a Baba Boey to You all!”

Directed by Ben Dawkins, The Laramie Project features a Who’s Who? cast of 14 amazing Upstate actors in some 60 roles: Ryan Barry, Michele Colletti, Ava Davis, Jonathan Davis, Kelly Davis, Doug Egge, Samantha Eyler, Darryl Harmon, Jim Huber, Dave LaPage, Rebecca Schledwitz, Tyler Smith, Audrey Waldrop and Chase Wolfe. Ashley Zimmerman is stage manager.

Suggested donation of $10 for unlimited streaming. More info is available at proudmarytheatre.com.

Audrey Zongrone Waldrop Takes on Multiple Roles in ‘Laramie Project’

Audrey Zongrone Waldrop

Proud Mary Theatre Company continues to push the boundaries of theatre during the Covid-19 crisis as we open our 4th season with the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the award-winning play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

This is a FULL PRODUCTION (not a ZOOM reading) and will be presented as a Virtual Multimedia Experience available for streaming Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and ends on October 12, the day Shepard died and became a martyr for establishing hate crime legislation in the gay rights movement.

Audrey Zongrone Waldrop is a Licensed Massage Therapist who has worked in pain management and physical rehabilitation since 2003. Originally from New York, she came to the upstate in 1998. She is a long time visual artist, mother and grandmother to 6 brilliant and hilarious people, and first time actor. I also am grateful to Ben for the shot, and am honored to be included in such a talented group! 

Directed by Ben Dawkins, The Laramie Project features a Who’s Who? cast of 14 amazing Upstate actors in some 60 roles: Ryan Barry, Michele Colletti, Ava Davis, Jonathan Davis, Kelly Davis, Doug Egge, Samantha Eyler, Darryl Harmon, Jim Huber, Dave LaPage, Rebecca Schledwitz, Tyler Smith, Audrey Waldrop and Chase Wolfe. Ashley Zimmerman is stage manager.

Suggested donation of $10 for unlimited streaming. More info is available at proudmarytheatre.com.

Upstate’s Chase Wolfe Tackles ‘Laramie Project’

Proud Mary Theatre Company continues to push the boundaries of theatre during the Covid-19 crisis as we open our 4th season with the 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the award-winning play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

This is a FULL PRODUCTION (not a ZOOM reading) and will be presented as a Virtual Multimedia Experience available for streaming Tuesday, October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and ends on October 12, the day Shepard died and became a martyr for establishing hate crime legislation in the gay rights movement.

After a 3 year stint of traveling and performing out of town, Chase is back and couldn’t be more excited about this show and the unique/new way of presenting a story that matters. A local boy, Chase is a graduate of Wofford College with degrees in both Chemistry and Chinese. He has spent much of the last 2 years performing on ships and recently finished a run of Footloose the Musical on the Norwegian Joy. Best known in the Upstate for his portrayal of Bert in Mary Poppins (SLT) and The Beast in Beauty and the Beast (SCCT), he is excited to be making his Proud Mary Theatre debut and could not be happier to be a part of this cast and creative team.

Directed by Ben Dawkins, The Laramie Project features a Who’s Who? cast of 14 amazing Upstate actors in some 60 roles: Ryan Barry, Michele Colletti, Ava Davis, Jonathan Davis, Kelly Davis, Doug Egge, Samantha Eyler, Darryl Harmon, Jim Huber, Dave LaPage, Rebecca Schledwitz, Tyler Smith, Audrey Waldrop and Chase Wolfe. Ashley Zimmerman is stage manager.

Suggested donation of $10 for unlimited streaming. More info is available at proudmarytheatre.com.