Anthony Roberts (adaptor/composer/executive producer/ensemble) is silly, a trait that has served him well as the adaptor and composer of Letters/X™ since the show’s inception in 2004. He is a Chicago-based playwright, composer, singer, guitarist, and actor whose writing and acting have seen at many theaters, including American Blues Theater, Chicago Dramatists, GroundUp, Serendipity, and American Theater Company, where he served as Managing Director and an Associate Artist. He performed around the Midwest for nearly ten years with the award-winning vocal band Vocal Chaos, for which he sang bass and baritone and also arranged and composed music. His solo performances as a guitar-slinging singer-songwriter have been seen across Chicago and even internationally, if you count photos on the internet as “international.” When not writing or performing, Anthony keeps busy with a career in arts management, having spent daylight hours living the dream at Northwestern University, the Goodman Theatre, and American Theater Company. He currently serves the Ravinia Festival as director of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, the festival’s summer conservatory for young professional classical and jazz musicians. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Midwest Independent Film Festival and is a proud, purple-passioned alumnus of Northwestern University. Anthony is grateful to the many talented collaborators who have worked on Letters/X™ over the years, especially Sabrina Lloyd and Molly Neylan, who handed him a stack of breakup letters in fall of 2003 and said, “write a show.” He is eternally grateful to his wonderful wife, who strangely still thinks that his silliness is endearing after several years of marriage; if you see her at a Letters/X™ performance, please don’t tell her that he’s really just a big dork.
Erica Weiss is thrilled to helm Letters/X 2014! She is a freelance director and also the proud associate artistic director of Chicago’s Route 66 Theatre Company. Erica is the director and co-creator of the hit world-premiere production of A Twist of Water, and made her off-Broadway debut directing the play’s New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters. Along with playwright Caitlin Parrish, she was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work for A Twist of Water. For Route 66’s 2014 Season at the Greenhouse Theater Center, Erica will direct the Chicago Premiere of Cicada by Jerre Dye and the world premiere of The Downpour by Caitlin Parrish. She will also co-direct her first feature film. As a freelance director, recent projects include Making Noise Quietly with Steep Theatre Company, Vigils with The Gift Theatre, and the World Premiere of Mahal with Bailiwick Chicago. She served as assistant director to Barbara Gaines on Timon of Athens and the Chicago Premiere of Elizabeth Rex at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Erica is a graduate of the Theatre School at DePaul University, where she earned her degree in theatre studies with an emphasis on directing and new play development.
Austin has been seen on stage with The Nine, Red Tape Theatre, Project 891, New Leaf, Halcyon Theatre, Redmoon, Quest Theatre Ensemble, LiveWire Theatre, Tantalus Theatre Group, as well as in several independent films. He holds a degree in theatre performance and business management from Bradley University. Austin’s fingers are picking the first banjo to be seen or heard in a Letters/X™ production.
Mikey Harnichar is an actor, singer, and musician originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to Chicago to get a musical theater degree from Columbia College. Chicago stage credits include Black Ensemble Theatre’s All in Love is Fair (Venie); Theo Ubique’s Evita (Magaldi), Cabaret (Bobby) and Man of La Mancha (Dr. Carassco); Light Opera Works’ Camelot (Merlyn) and Man of La Mancha (Anselmo); and (the former) Bailiwick Repertory’s Parade, Jerry Springer The Opera, It’s a Fabulous Life and Dennis DeYoung’s Hunchback of Notre Dame (Sgt. Gudule). Mikey just spent a year with The New Colony in Rise of the Numberless (Silas), B-Side Studio (Marvin) and was the accompanist and AD for The Bear Suit of Happiness. This winter season he made his drag debut as Amy Winehouse, Ghost of Christmas Present, in A Diva’s Carol as a fundraiser for the Chicago recovery community and as Michael McDonald in Dawn Bless’ one-night-only Patti LaBelle Live show.
Julia Merchant is thrilled to be making her Letters/X™ debut. She was last seen in Arnie the Doughnut at Lifeline Theatre, which was selected for the 2012 NYMF. Julia has previously worked with Chicago Shakespeare, Emerald City, Collaboraction, and has been seen in several cabaret productions at Davenport’s Piano Bar, The Willmette Theatre, and The Mayne Stage. Julia has worked as a VO for companies such as McDonald’s, Walgreen’s, Sears, and Proctor and Gamble. In her spare time, Julia teaches and plays any instrument she can get her hands on. Big thanks to Erica, Mooz, and Mom. Go Blue!*
*The opinions expressed in this bio are not necessarily those of the producers of Letters/X™.
Blair most recently worked with Erica Weiss on Bailiwick Chicago’s world premiere production of Mahal. Regional Theatre: The Game’s Afoot at The New Theatre (Kansas City). Chicago Credits Include: Victory Gardens Theater (The Snow Queen, My Children! My Africa!) The Goodman Theatre (A Christmas Carol), Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Seussical), Notre Dame Summer Shakespeare Festival (Kiss Me Kate, The Romeo and Juliet Story), Route 66 Theatre Company (Next Stop, McMeekin Finds Out, High Fidelity), Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (Brighton Beach Memoirs), InFusion Theatre Company (The Last Supper) and Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (The Wild Party). Film: Contagion. Blair is married to actor Jürgen Hooper.
Stephanie Clark (stage manager) is sticking around for her fourth year with Letters/X™! An Appalachian State graduate from North Carolina, she moved to Chicago to follow her passion for the performing arts. As a former ASM for Sweeney Todd, Rabbit Hole, Darwin in Malibu, and Glengarry Glen Ross at Tennessee Rep Theatre in Nashville, she is so excited to have another opportunity to pursue her love for theater. Chicago is like a second home for her, after workingwith the Lyric Opera, Harpo Studios, and Ravinia. She is delighted to be working with such a talented and hilarious group of people! She would like to thank her friends for being a second family while her adventure continues in Chicago.