MEET THE ARTISTS


brianna borger 

1. What was your first show/performance experience?

My parents were both singer-actors, so performance has always been a part of life. My earliest memories are singing with my mom in church and performing in a dance recital at age five on the Palace Theatre stage at Six Flags Over Texas, where my dad ran a performing arts school.

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?

Headlining the International Asian Tour of "The King & I"

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

Playing Lucille in "Parade" at Writers Theatre. Just the perfect storm of an insanely talented company, incredibly moving and socially relevant material, and getting to play such a fantastically multi-faceted, strong female character. 

4. What inspires you?

My friends and family. Seeing people you love do great things with their talents is always inspiring.


Felicia Filip Burkovskiy

Felicia Filip Burkovskiy is thrilled to return to the beautiful Arranmore Stage for her fifth CabCab season!  Her first musical was Fiddler on the Roof during her Freshman year of high school, but prior to that she would sing duets with her dad at his piano bar gigs in Chicago.  She is most proud, professionally, of playing Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Light Opera Works.  She is also proud of most recent role - becoming Mama to her two adopted sons, who just arrived from Ukraine this past February!  Felicia’s favorite project has been spending two and half years performing for Royal Caribbean cruise lines, because that is where she met her husband, “Big” Sasha.  Felicia is also an elementary school music teacher, and finds inspiration in watching children learn to express their creativity through music.  Much thanks to her family for their love and continuous support, and to Lara and Shannon for another CabCab opportunity!

 

 


jonathan butler-duplessis

Jonathan Butler-Duplessis is a native of Champaign, Ilinois and a proud alumni of The University of Illinois where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting.  He is also a former Acting Resident at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  His credits include: The Little Mermaid, In The Heights and Tommy at The Paramount Theater, Sister Act and Man of La Mancha at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire,  Parade at Writers Theater, Dreamgirls and Color Purple at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Actors Theatre of Louisville Merchent of Venice at Riverside Shakespeare Festival. Jonathan also starred in the World premeire of "Mr. Chickee's Funny Money" music by Lamont Dozier at Chicago Children's Theater.


Lillian Castillo

1. What was your first show/performance experience?  

The first show I ever did was The Wizard of Oz at the age of 14.  The bug bit me and it never let go.

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?  

I don’t think I have fancy credits… I guess Ride the Cyclone at MCC.

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

I have been very lucky I have three that are tied for first.  Hairspray at Phoenix Theater, Ride the Cyclone at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Mamma Mia at the Marriott Theater.

4. What inspires you?

I find a lot of inspiration in my fellow artists.  This acting community in Chicago is not only talented and smart, but generous, brave, original and adventuresome.  I am constantly moved and inspired by their work.


liz chidester

1. What was your first show/performance experience? I performed a solo for the church where my grandpa was a pastor when I was 4. I'm pretty sure it was the hymn "Morning Has Broken."

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date? Performing "Halleluiah" for Jeff Buckley's mom on what would have been his 50th birthday. 

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why? Working on My Fathers Daughters with Lara Filip, Jess Godwin, Diana Lawerence, Emily Rohm, and Keely Vasquez has inspired me greatly. They are strong, beautiful, dynamic women, and it warm and fun every time we come together.

4. What inspires you? The people who hold on to hope right now when its harder than ever. The people who continue to put themselves into their work and their family and communities to help make everything better. The people who aren't waiting for miracles, but are actually creating the miracles.


jim deselm

Jim DeSelm is so excited to be coming back to CabCab! Jim started performing in his family's church in Indiana, and did all sorts of plays and musicals growing up. Now based in Chicago, Jim is known for playing Tony in Drury Lane's production of West Side Story. He also recently worked with Steven Schwartz on his anthology musical Snapshots in Seattle, WA. His favorite project to date was playing Jaime in Kokandy's The Last Five Years, a production he co-music directed and co-accompanied. (Ask him about it, if you're curious!) Jim is inspired most by making music with other people. When people do something that surprises you, and it draws something new out of you, that electricity is truly unique. 


Lara Filip

Lara's career began at age 5, singing alongside her parents on commercial jingles. Lara attended The Chicago Academy for the Arts as a vocal performance major. She went on to travel the U.S. and Canada in leading roles with touring companies of EVITA and The WIZARD OF OZ. Settling back in the Chicagoland area, Filip has evolved into one of the region's most versatile artists. As an actor, she has been seen as the Narrator in JOSEPH at Paramount Theatre, Molly in JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD at Court Theatre and Berta in the world premiere musical, SIGNS OF LIFE at Victory Gardens. As a playwright, her children's shows currently tour to area schools and libraries and her new musical MY FATHER'S DAUGHTERS is going into workshop production with The Route 66 Theatre Company. Directing credits include projects with Pheasant Run, Theatre-Hikes and Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. Most recently, Filip spent the past year recording and releasing her first singer/songwriter solo album, "Stop Time". She is a proud member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA. Lara is also an avid equestrian, having lived and studied in Ireland, where she received certification from the British Horse Society. She is currently the Artistic Director of ArranmoreArts and Executive Producer for Arranmore Farm and Polo Club.

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Reed grimm

Reed Grimm is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter born into a musical family where he began performing at the age of 2. He successfully fronted multiple musical acts including 'Three Beers Till Dubuque' and 'Shoeless Revolution', before gaining national notoriety on season 11 of American Idol. The culmination of a diverse set of experiences brought the realization for Reed that music is more than simply entertainment. He believes that Music, and all Art, can be used not only as an expression of his own creativity, but as a bridge to connect with others and cultivate creativity in the people around him. Reed is using his platform as a springboard to allow others to explore limitless creative possibilities and realize their own full potential in whatever medium they so choose.

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heidi kettenring

1. What was your first show/performance experience?  

I was in a musical written by the nuns at my school. It was called "Finding Tomorrow" and in it Little Orphan Annie and Oliver Twist meet and go a journey--I have no memory why--and they meet all kids of crazy characters like Mary Poppins and Dorothy Gale. I was Dodrothy and sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow. My brother worked the "fly rail" and rolled crepe paper rainbows dow while I sang.

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?  

My fanciest credit would be Nessarose in the Chicago sit-down of the Broadway musical Wicked. I did that on and off for the entire four years it was here.

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

Ooooh my favorite project?? That is just too hard. But one of my favorite shows I did would be Little Women at The Marriott Theatre. I love the character of Jo March. I can relate quite a lot to her. And the cast was filled with people who either were already or became like family to me. It was very special. 

4. What inspires you?

Passion backed with kindness. Talent backed with graciousness. I find that the more I go along in this business--I am more and more inspired by people who use their talent to lead by positivity and light. We in the arts are doing what we love. I don't know too many people, specifically performers, who do this for ANY reason other that they love it and they MUST. Therefore-I have very little patience for negativity and bad attitude. I am actually inspired by loveliness. And a voice that will knock me flat.

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donica lynn

1. What was your first show/performance experience? 

My first theatre show/performance was Jenny in "Train Is Comin" with Chicago Theater Co. alongside Chester Gregory, Nambi Kelly, Melvin Abston, & Kimberly Herbert. A then friend asked me to participate in the reading, in the hopes of garnering funding, the piece was scheduled to run for a few months and ended up running for almost 1 1/2yrs. My first musical performance experience was singing background for Natalie Cole, she taught me poise and grace, individuality and how to nuance a song. Our first show was at at Drury Lane Everygreen Park for a crowd of no more than 120 ppl, and I learned that night what true vulnerability for your artistry is.

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?

The masses would say the "fanciest" credit is that which won me a Jeff award; Effie in Dreamgirls. I don't agree, for me it was working with Andre de Shields on at Victory Gardens. I'd been invited to take his master class in 2013, after which he not only became my mentor, but a dear friend. Two years later he phoned and asking if I'd collaborate with him on a passion project, to which I aptly replied "I'd collaborate with you on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich"  LOLOL. Musically, I was under a production contract with Ivory Pyramid Studios owner by jazz legend Ramsey Lewis. He asked me to be a featured vocalist on his "Dance of the Soul" LP remaking the hit Portuguese Love by soul singer Teena Marie. He ended up asking me to be on two other track "Fire and Rain" & "Fragile" (are you kidding me)

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

It would have to be my annual cancer benefit concert "Today's A Good Day", because it brings some of the people I love and care for the most from my theater and music community  together to help tell ANY medical journey in song. It's a night of selflessness and we raise money for the American Brain Tumor Association and American Cancer Society- and they all do it from and for LOVE

4. What inspires you?

This answer is easy- My children inspire me daily

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ericka mac

Ericka has been performing in Chicago theaters for 16 years. She has performed shows at the Rosemont Theatre (Radio City Christmas Spectacular), the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Ellie in Showboat; Oklahoma!); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Paramount Theatre, Writer’s Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theatre at the Center, Peninsula Players, and 27 shows at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Ericka has served as Associate Director/Choreographer for such shows as: Ride the Cyclone (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre- U.S. Premiere and Off Broadway through MCC Theatre), Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Musical (Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, World Premiere), The Little Mermaid (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure (Chicago Children’s Theatre, World Premiere) and Company (Writer’s Theatre). Choreography credits include: Parade (Writer’s Theatre); Mamma Mia, How Can You Run With AShell On Your Back? and SchoolHouse Rock Live! (The Marriott Theatre) as well as area high schools, colleges, community theaters, trade show events, and commercials. Ericka has been an Adjunct Professor of Ballet at Elmhurst College, a director/choreographer/teacher for the Performer’s School (Highland Park), and has taught master classes at Loyola College, Northwestern Universityand The Joffrey Ballet.  She has been a voiceover artist for companies such as Motorola, ESPN, Embassy Suites, John Frieda and The American Dental Association and asa singer/songwriter, Ericka has performed her original tunes at several Chicagoland venues. Proud member of AEA, AGMA, and AGVA. 

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christine mild

Christine Mild began performing at age 7 in "Search for Talent" in Las Vegas, NV. This led to a small, not-very-lucrative, career performing showtunes and pop hits wearing sparkly costumes in casinos. Hard to believe that 20 years later she would perform on the stage of the New Amsterdam theatre on Broadway alongside Paul McCartney, Audra McDonald, and Brian Stokes Mitchell in "Chance & Chemistry: a musical tribute to Frank Loesser." Christine made her first solo album last year ("Love Is Everything") and continues to be inspired by collaborating with her friends. Her band, Martin & Mild, is the result of that inspiration.

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andrew mueller

My first performance experience (or at least the first one I count) was being in my siblings' high school production of Oliver! I was still in middle school at the time, and the chubbiest little starving orphan.

My "fanciest" credit would either the Off-Broadway run of Peter and the Starcatcher or workshopping new musicals with Burt Bacharach or Duncan Sheik.

I almost daren't choose a "favorite" project, but a David Bowie/Prince tribute concert I got to be a part of the year of their deaths meant a lot to me.

But what inspires me most? Meeting and working with the incredibly talented people that each new project throws at me. 


matthew mueller

1. What was your first show/performance experience?

Half of a double act, entitled, "Surprise, Twins!"

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?

This one.

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

Dial M for Murder at Indiana Rep. Fun, fun show, and fabulous people all around.

4. What inspires you?

Great performances. And bikes. And coffee.


meghan murphy

1. What was your first show/performance experience?  

I was in 7th grade and the production was Gershwin's "Of Thee I Sing."  I had only really played sports up until then and they told me I had to go find a long, pink dress for my costume. I was pretty unenthused at that idea, until I found out who I was to play. I had gotten cast as Diana Deveraeux, the ex-beauty queen southern belle who takes advantage of the presidential candidate to try to become first lady. So, in other words....the bad guy. It's the funniest part in the show, as most villain characters in musical theatre are, and I remember the first time I made the whole audience laugh. I thought they were laughing AT me at first....but as the show went on, I realized how much joy I was giving them just by putting a southern accent on and acting like an idiot. So, nothing has really changed. My Grandma still brags about that show.

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?  

I was nominated for a Jeff Award back in 2015 for playing Oolie/Donna in City of Angels at the Marriott Theater. That was pretty fancy! Also, I just shot my first feature film called Captive State this spring. Also fancy! 

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

My favorite project is my long running, one-woman show The Big Red Show, which I am taking to Feinstein's/54 Below in NYC on July 19th. It's my favorite because I'm literally in charge of everything. Set list, production, direction...and there's never been anyone standing over my shoulder saying "don't do this or don't do that." It's my very own creation. I get to share the songs and messages I think are important, like being brave and living your authentic life outside the box. It's the most fulfilling performing I get to do.

4. What inspires you?

Originality inspires me. It's very hard to come up with a "new" idea these days. So when I see someone so unique or someone creating something so off-the-wall, it excites me and inspires me to create. Also, kindness. True kindness always inspires me. 


doug pawlik

1. What was your first show/performance experience?  

My first performance experience was in my 8th grade Christmas Show as one of the three wise-men. If I remember correctly it was a jazzy trio singing a song called "Check Out That Star". Hey, we all have to start somewhere.

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?  

My fanciest credit might be hard to nail down. I've performed as part of Cowboy Jukebox for several years, and we've played tons of places from the House of Blues in Cleveland to RiverEdge Park nearby in Aurora. But, I also recently performed at the intimate Feinstein's 54 Below cabaret in New York City. So, it's all fancy, just in different ways.

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

My favorite project to date might be a tie between two projects. One, as a part of the theater company, The Hypocrites, performing wild adaptations of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta's in a folk-music style that heavily involves the audience in the most unpredictable, giddy circumstances. And the other was at the Paramount Theatre in it's inaugural year in the show "Route 66", where I played basically every instrument I know while on stage. That was a blast!

4. What inspires you?

What inspires me is that there are just so many styles of music and so many ways in which to interpret each one of those styles. I heard someone say once, "There just can't be that much more new music to be written, there only so many notes. How can there be more?" To which I responded, "It's about way more than just the notes. And that's why music is Limitless!"

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keely vasquez

1. What was your first show/performance experience?

I really want it to say it was Annie in Annie, but it was kid #6 in Lil' Abner. 

2. What is your fanciest, most impressive credit to date?

I guess the obvious answer is touring with Barry Manilow but to put a finer point on it, while on the road I got to be a part of some of the most amazing performances ever. The Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, and The Emmys come to mind first. 

3. What has been your favorite project to date and why?

In The Heights at Porchlight Music Theatre. I think it changed the trajectory of where I'm going. 

4. What inspires you?

Hard work, watching my friends realize their dreams, love. 

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