The Icing on the Cake
Founded in 2009 by Francesca Day Larson and Marta Kuersten, Cake Productions opened the curtain on its inaugural production, Modern Dance for Beginners by Sarah Phelps at the Cherry Lane Studio. Following this debut endeavor, the company doubled in size to include Brooke Berry and Sarah Brill. The quartet then went on to produce Psych by Evan Smith and Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell on the Fourth Arts Block in the East Village, as well as Swimming in the Shallows by Adam Bock at The West 52nd Street Theatre. In the fall of 2011, the company expanded to include four additional company members. Cake Productions is currently launching production on the New York premiere of In the Company of Jane Doe by Tiffany Antone at New York Theatre Workshop’s 4th Street Theatre, set to open in May 2012.
This female-founded theatre company produces Off-Off-Broadway pieces that are culturally significant to modern, urban audiences. Winner of the 2010 NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Featured Actor (Amir Darvish) and nominated for Outstanding Costume Design (Brooke Berry and Mark Mears), Cake Productions is geared towards commercially appealing, thought-provoking, edgy plays. In addition to creating opportunities for women as performers, administrators and designers, Cake focuses heavily on production values and presents their work in welcoming, accessible venues. The company also produces readings of potential new or adapted material for future mainstage productions and offers practical educational workshops for theater students and professionals.
Producers & Staff
Co-Founder, Co-Executive Producer
Founded Cake in 2009 with Marta Kuersten and has been an active member ever since. Roles with Cake include: Lorraine in Modern Dance for Beginners at the Cherry Lane Studio Theater, Sunny in Psych at The Paradise Factory Theater, Sonja in Speaking in Tongues at New York Theater Workshop’s 4th Street Theater, and CarlaCarla in Swimming in the Shallows at the 52nd St Theater and will be appearing as Ruby in In The Company of Jane Doe at New York Theater Workshop’s 4th Street Theater. Other theater roles include: Touchstone in As You Like It at RSC’s Dell Theater in Stratford, Lady Macbeth and Helena in The Rutgers Classical Showcase at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Mrs. Smith in Baby Boom at the George Street Playhouse Studio, Aemillius in Titus Andronicus at the Arclight Theater, and Klara in The Sandman with Terra Firma Dance Theater. Film credits include: The Orange Paper, Mud and Roses, and Leaving Circadia, among others. She has also appeared in various industrials, commercials and music videos. In addition in aiding to produce Cake’s mainstage plays and staged readings, she is also heavily involved in developing Cake’s education for students and professionals. She has directed projects both at Rutgers University and the 78th Street Theater Lab. She holds a BFA in Acting from Rutgers University, and an MA in Classical Acting from The Central School of Speech and Drama in London
Co-Founder, Co-Executive Producer, Director of Development
Marta originally hails from Chicago, and is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied with the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has appeared in New York with theatre companies such as Milk Can, Inverse, RoundTable, (re:)Directions, and others. Favorite productions include Comedy of Errors with Lake George Theatre Lab and Really Rosie with Atlantic Theater for Kids. In 2009 she co-founded Cake Productions with Francesca Day, with the goal of bringing high-quality, accessible theatre to off-off-Broadway venues. She went on to star in Cake’s first show, Modern Dance for Beginners, which had its New York premiere at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre in July 2009. She made her directorial debut with Cake’s next full-length production, Psych in May 2010; other credits with Cake include Speaking in Tongues and Swimming in the Shallows. She has hosted monthly segments for the Epix channel on Dish Network, and provides voiceovers for MLB.com and the Ice Network. She is excited to begin work on In the Company of Jane Doe!
Associate Producer, Marketing Director
A native of Colorado, Brooke earned her BA in Musical Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado and then trekked across the country to reside in Manhattan. She has spent many years traveling the country and the world performing – favorite roles include: Sarah in Sarah, Plain and Tall, Irene in Crazy for You and The Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. She joined the Cake Productions team following the premiere performance of Modern Dance for Beginners. She has since produced and performed in Cake’s mainstage productions of Psych and Speaking in Tongues, as well as the Reading Series productions of A Boy Called Newfoundland and In the Company of Jane Doe. Brooke has ventured into several other aspects of theatre, as well, including Company Management with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Casting with Dave Clemmons Casting and Production Assisting/Stage Management with Troika Entertainment. She also received a 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Awards Nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for her work on Cake’s production of Psych. Brooke is infinitely proud of the accomplishments of Cake Productions and her amazing associates within the company’s first three years of operation. Proud Equity member.
Associate Producer, General Manager
Sarah hails from Minnesota where she began studying and performing theatre at Minneapolis’ Stages Theatre Company and the Tony Award winning Children’s Theatre Company. Sarah received her BFA in theatre from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While there she studied at David Mamet’s Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School, Stonestreet Studio for Film and Television, Tisch’s own Classical Studio and in Dublin, Ireland through a partnership with Trinity College. Upon graduation Sarah received the drama department’s award for Outstanding Classical Actress. Since then she has been performing in New York and around the country, including two national children’s theatre tours, on the mainstage at Atlantic Theatre Company (in Strega Nona), and in many downtown Off-Off theatre houses. She joined Cake’s staff after appearing in their inaugural production of Modern Dance for Beginners, and has since performed with Cake in every mainstage production. Sarah draws on her experience interning in Company Management at the prestigious Guthrie Theatre to perform her role as Cake’s General Manager.
Resident Stage Manager, Production Assistant
Courtney began stage managing during college, after working on theatre productions throughout her youth in New Jersey, Colorado and Long Island. Since moving to New York, Courtney has stage managed for (re:)directions Theatre Company, Atlantic Acting School at NYU, Manhattan Childrens Theatre, Dark Luna Productions, Lively Productions, and each of Cake Productions’ shows. Courtney is the Math Department Head, Data Specialist and Programmer at Bronx Theatre High School, where she has been teaching since 2006. She has directed four of the student productions there and has taught and helped develop curriculum for a Production Management class. Courtney holds a Masters in Math Education from Teachers College at Columbia, and feels incredibly blessed to work with such charismatic and brilliant students each year.
Resident Actor, Artistic Associate
New York Theatre Credits include: Taxi To Janna, Falling, Homeland, Shoes, Dinner with Ahmed, 1001, Monas Dream, and the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway one man show about Freddie Mercury titled: Mercury: The Afterlife & Times of a Rock God. Regional Theatre Credits include: Single Lives at Boston Playwrites Theatre, Suburbia at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Rafta, Rafta at the Old Globe Theatre & The Golden Dragon at the Studio Theatre in DC. Mr. Darvish is the recipient of the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in Psych & a 2009 NY Midtown International Theatre Best Actor Nominee for The Higher Education of Khalid Amir. In addition to voice-over & commercial work, Amir has appeared in numerous Film & Television productions including Bar Karma, Running Wilde, Love Magical, Month to Month, The Colbert Report, Charlie Wilsons War, Law & Order, The Daily Show, Human Giant, Confessions, Trooper, October Haze, Atlas Mountains, The Pink Panther, David Letterman, Spin City, SVU, The Unusuals, NYPD Blue and Damages. For more information you can visit www.AmirDarvish.com.
Christina began writing during college at Hofstra University where she contributed to the student newspaper, the Long Island Press as a photographer and journalist and Newsday as a “Review Crew” intern. Following graduation, she interned at her favorite horror magazine, Fangoria, writing photo captions and DVD reviews and worked in event marketing for Alure Home Improvements. In recent years, Christina volunteered as a make-up artist for The Morning After: Art Show and has been working as a social media marketing manager at 1-877-SPIRITS.COM for the past two years. She manages the brand’s social media presence, email marketing campaigns and does SEO writing for their website. Christina is passionate about the arts and is thrilled to work with Cake Productions as their Social Media Director!
Jessica Burgess, Resident Designer
Dante Olivia Smith, Resident Designer
Recent Production: Swimming in the Shallows
Directed by Maria Aladren
A HUGE Thank you to all who attended and supported Swimming in the Shallows!
Cake Productions closed the curtain on Swimming in the Shallows in October, 2011 after its two week run at The West 52nd Street Theatre. We are so grateful to all who attended and also, to those who supported the fund-raising effort.