Coming Up Roses: Meet the Cast

Posted: November 21st, 2013 | 1 Comment »

This week is the opening of The Rose Tree! Our workshop production marks L’Enfant Terrible’s first full length original play. It will be presented in partnership with Artworks Theatre and the Open Fist. For more information and tickets click here. But before you do, why don’t you find out where all of our talented actors are from. They have included a little secret about themselves so read on! (Then go buy your tickets.)

Lindsey, Stephanie and Jordana

Lindsey, Stephanie and Jordana

Lindsey Andersen plays Astrid

I’ve spent my life mostly building imaginative things and characters – a consequence of being born to an architect & fairy-believing new-ager in Woodacre, CA. Six months ago I moved to Los Angeles after living in NYC for 12 years. The New York theater world was wonderful, but I liked it here when I visited so I stayed. I love my improv team, Feminist Boy, writing sketch comedy, and have my own company, Wild Town Productions. You can creep on me at

No one in the cast knows, I make little personalized dolls – often for wedding cakes.

Stephanie Crothers plays Jane

I am the oldest of 3 children born and raised in Los Angeles. As a creative kid, if I wasn’t in dance class, soccer or swim practice, I was drawing, writing, and performing comedy sketches for my family. I studied at the USC School of Theater and later became a member of The Open Fist Theater Company where I have been for almost a year. I am so grateful to be part of the LA theater community where the diversity of artistic passion and skill continues to inspire me.

Secretly, I hope someday to give a home to many different kinds of animals, including a pet crow.

Jordana Berliner plays The Nymphean Fairy Star of the South

I grew up in Petaluma, California. I have a B.A. in theatre from UCSD and a M.A. in psychology from Pacifica. I trained to be a therapist, working primarily with people with dementia. My master’s thesis dealt with certain defense mechanisms in response to early childhood trauma. The thesis, in part, inspired the role of The Nymphean Fairy Star of the South. I believe The Rose Tree is a timeless play that gives a voice to children who have been abandoned, abused, and/or neglected. The Rose Tree is important to me because it shows the significance of healthy interpersonal relationships in healing past abuses.

When I was 11, I was the female California state bowling champion.

Shannon Nicola and Nook

Shannon, Nicola and Yancy (aka Nook)

Shannon Dieriex plays Crumbcake

I was born in Anaheim, CA with the acting gene it’s on the 21st chromosome. I am a member of SAG-AFTRA and the Born to Act Players. I appear in the new Cher video Women’s World. I attended Cypress College where I studied theater arts and participated in several of their stage productions. I have done a lot of background work in movies and TV. I’ve won over 40 gold medals in Special Olympics mostly in swimming and gymnastics. I am so excited to play the role of Crumbcake in The Rose Tree. I love the people I am working with. It’s going to be a great show.

Nicola Hersh plays Mother Mayi

I have been a member of the Open Fist Theatre Company for over 11 years and performed in over 15 productions. A personal favorite was A LIFE OF EASE. I originally came from the San Francisco Bay Area where I was a member of the Actor’s Theatre of San Francisco and acted in and directed numerous productions. Stage: Death of A Salesman, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, The Dead, Escape from Happiness, Playhouse Creatures, and Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean to name a few. TV: Monk, Providence, Shameless. Film: 50 First Date, Apartment 206. I am a member of SAG/AFTRA

Oh, and I went around the world for my 50th birthday!

Yancy Holmes plays John Strong

Yancy Holmes is from Long Beach, California and his interest in theater sparked at the age of seventeen performing in high school. He went on to attend UCLA’s theater program graduating in 2008 and his time at the university only served to pique the passion of his curiosity in the acting world. “The Rose Tree” is Yancy’s fourth collaboration with Efrain Schunior performing in past plays such as Mosquito Bites (which Angela Berliner also wrote), Marisol, and A Mouthful of Birds. He is blessed and happy to be a part of this energetic and magical cast.

No one else knows that when I was a small child my dad compared me to a tiny nook & cranny. So my family nickname is Nook. They still call me this today!

Alex Monica and Elizabeth

Alex, Monica and Elizabeth

Alex Marshall-Brown plays Jzon D’o

Hey! I’m expanding my definition of myself as a person in this world and pursuing all things that interest me. This mindset allows me to DO the activities I’ve always wanted to; from Muay Thai, to Fire Dancing, & perhaps even stunt driving soon! Acting has always been a given, but now that I’m making FUN a priority in my life, living onstage or on set is all the more thrilling. I’m grateful for that refreshed perspective on Life.

Fun fact: Since the age of five, I used to be my father’s hostess at high end government cocktail parties. Most sophisticated moment: when I opened my first bottle of wine for some dignitaries. First party foul: seconds later when I shattered the bottle and spilled all the red wine onto my father’s carpet.

Monica Lawson plays Rosie

Monica is super excited to be playing Rosie in The Rose Tree! Before she made her way into the magical world of the Rose Tree, she fell in love with acting when she performed in her first school play at the age of 8! Several plays continued thereafter at church & throughout high school when she decided to take acting on full time & enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Having performed throughout the city doing theater, film, comedy improv, & voiceover, Monica decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue film, television, & her love of improv at the Groundlings School. Visit

I had a phobia of puppets as a child.

Elizabeth Pan plays Sarah

I grew up in the glamorous town of Thousand Oaks, CA. My first acting gig was that of the butt end of Nana the Dog in Westlake Elementary’s production of Peter Pan. It’s been all downhill from there. I couldn’t be more excited to be in The Rose Tree and having the pleasure to work with such talented and fun people. The cast cracks me up every day.

One secret that the cast doesn’t know about me is that I am going to backpack through Patagonia two weeks after the show closes! And that I always brake for ice cream. Ok, that’s two secrets.

Mary Ann Karthik and Angela

Mary Ann, Karthik and Angela (as Ophelia)

Mary Ann Pianka plays Wretch

Having been born and raised in Lancaster, PA, I grew up around lots of trees that I always thought were magical. I am as grateful for that childhood as I am for being able to pursue acting. In lieu of my senior year of high school, I moved to LA for a year to work before college. Now a recent graduate from Syracuse University’s Drama Department, I am back in LA and working in the entertainment industry. I am proud to call The Rose Tree my first theatrical production on the west coast.

Finding an ancient coin is a life goal of mine.

Karthik Srinivasan plays Hanzi

Originally from New Delhi, Karthik stumbled into acting while pursuing his Electrical Engineering degree at Virginia Tech (go Hokies!). With numerous thespian adventures on the east coast under his belt, his west coast exploits  have, fortunately enough, led to work on television (How I Met Your Mother, The Bold & Beautiful), commercials (HP, Verizon), voiceover (Medal of Honor), as well as on stage (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity). Karthik is here: Follow him @KarthikVasan

Random secret trivia: Besides English, I can speak 5 other languages.

Angela Berliner is the Playwright

I was born and raised in Petaluma, CA. The first play I ever wrote was an adaptation of the Perseus story which I directed for my first grade talent show. Since then, I have been lucky enough to have had several plays produced at The Actors’ Gang, including Little, Scrooge Must Die and my family-friendly plays Pericles on the High Seas, Titus the Clownicus, King O’Leary, and Cymbeline the Puppet King. I then co-founded L’Enfant Terrible where we produced the Fun Family Festival of Tragedy at the Bootleg Theater which included Titus and O’Leary, but also Hamlet, Prince of Puddles and Macbeth and the Monster. Macbeth has also been performed at the Madcat Theater in Miami and Hamlet toured to the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana. The Rose Tree was born from all the sad stories, fictional and real, of the lost, missing, and unwanted kids in the world. I wanted to give them a safe place to go; a home. And that became the Rose Tree.

Secret no one else in The Rose Tree knows about me: All my secrets can be found locked away somewhere in my plays.

a magical place...

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