Lisa Scheps (Director) brings her multiple talents to Austin from a long career in New York and Chicago. She was born in Houston (a very good place to grow up). At the age of nine she began theatrical training at the Alley Theatre. In 1977, she moved to New York to achieve fame and fortune on the Great White Way.
In 1980 she received training in Stage Management (she read a ‘how to’ book) and began a new career as a theatrical stage manager and director. This was to be her path to success. She toured with such groups as The Joffrey Ballet, The Skitch Henderson Orchestra, and various pre–Broadway and non–Broadway productions. In 1981 she made her Broadway debut as a stage manger and chorus member (she had the distinct privilege of playing the rear end of a camel) in the 1981 flop, Oh Brother!
In 1984 she began her next career working in corporate communications or, as it was known in the industry...'business theatre'. These productions utilized all the theatrics and glitz of a Broadway show all the while creating a solid communications vehicle for Fortune 100 Companies. In this role, she became one of a handful of the top directors in the industry.
She began producing these events in 1992 and in 1994 she moved to Chicago and opened her own business theatre production company, Aileron Creative, Ltd. Aileron was immediately brought on to help produce the 1994 World Cup opening ceremonies at Soldier Field and within a year and a half it was grossing well over a million dollars. In 1996 Aileron Creative merged with Youngs Communication to form Concentrix Corp. Under Scheps’ leadership Concentrix quickly became one of the top companies in the industry, working with many of the biggest corporations in the world in such diverse industries as pharmaceuticals, travel and leisure, and telecommunications to name a few. In 1997 Concentrix opened an entertainment division and today has more than 16 shows running in theatres around the world.
In January of 2001 Scheps sold her interest in the company and re-invested her time, money, and interest in play! Theatre Group where she is enjoying producing and directing theatre and also (everything goes full circle) has been acting again. She has performed with The Coda Project’s productions of The House of Yes (Mrs. Pascal), 9 x 9 x 9 (Minerva), and The Play About the Baby (Woman). She is proud to be directing this show for The Coda Project and recognizes the bittersweet fact that this will be the last play in play! Theatre as the building has been sold.
Matthew Ervin (Producer, Dramaturg), a Central Texas native, was born at Fort Hood to parents from South–Central Illinois. He pursued undergraduate and graduate coursework simultaneously at Southern Methodist University—yes, he was there for more than the standard four. He studied Performance Studies with Gretchen Smith, Elizabethan drama with the late “Twinkie” Lawhon, Chaucer and Malory with the inimitable Bonnie Wheeler and everything in between with the brilliant Jeremy du Quesnay Adams and John Lewis. These days (in addition to fulfilling the role of Dramaturg for Coda, of Assistant Director for our productions of The House of Yes and the premiere of 9 x 9 x 9, and of President of our Board of Directors) he works in the Classics Department at UT. As a parting thought, some advice: talking about oneself is, at best, ill-advised.
Valerie Taylor (Stage Manager) is happy to be stage managing again for Lisa on this production. She was the Production Stage Manager for Marvin’s Room in spring 2005, which was also directed by Lisa and the debut of play! Theatre Group. Valerie has worked with a number of theatre organizations as director, choreographer, stage manager, and company manager. Her associations include the play! Theatre Group, Zachary Scott Theater, Arts-on-Real, Scottish Rite Children’s Theatre, Palace Theatre in Georgetown, Sam Bass Theatre, and Silverstar Productions.
Eric Virkkala (Set Designer) is a director, a set designer and a fight choreographer. When not doing theatre or working a day job, Eric likes to participate in full contact macramé.
Randy Cates (Costume Designer) is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma and has been involved in theatre since the age of 9. Cates moved to Austin in the summer of 1997 and began teaching in Eanes ISD in 1999. Most of his theatre experience has been on stage rather than backstage. He has had the good fortune to work with some of Austin’s favorite theatre folk including costumer extraordinaire Pam Friday and the director of this show, Lisa Scheps. To Randy Cates, theatre is both entertaining and fulfilling.