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-Wolf 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 and then produced the New York premiere of In the Company of Jane Doe by Tiffany Antone at New York Theatre Workshop’s 4th Street Theatre, followed by a special one-night production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry. Cake recently closed the curtain on an All-Female production of Moliere’s The Learned Ladies, translated and adapted by Freyda Thomas in October, 2013 at The Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex.
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-Wolf 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, Producer, Creative Director
Francesca founded Cake Productions in 2009 with Marta Kuersten and has been an active member ever since. Credits with Cake include: Modern Dance for Beginners at the Cherry Lane Studio Theater, Psych at The Paradise Factory Theater, Speaking in Tongues at New York Theater Workshop’s 4th Street Theater, Swimming in the Shallows at the 52nd St Theater and In The Company of Jane Doe at New York Theater Workshop’s 4th Street Theater. Other theater credits include: As You Like It at RSC’s Dell Theater in Stratford, The Rutgers Classical Showcase at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Baby Boom at the George Street Playhouse Studio, Titus Andronicus at the Arclight Theater, The Sandman with Terra Firma Dance Theater. Film credits include: “The Orange Paper,” “Mud and Roses,” and “Leaving Circadia,” among others. She is also a stand-up comedian performing throughout the US. She holds a BFA in Acting from Rutgers University, and a MA in Classical Acting from The Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
Co-Founder, 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 ATC and RADA. 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, Swimming in the Shallows and In the Company of Jane Doe. She has hosted monthly segments for the Epix channel on Dish Network, and provides voice overs for MLB.com and the Ice Network.
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 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 during the premiere performance of Modern Dance for Beginners. She has since produced and performed in Cake’s mainstage productions of Psych, Speaking in Tongues and In the Company of Jane Doe, as well as the holiday production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play and the Reading Series production of A Boy Called Newfoundland. 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 four years of operation. Proud Equity member.
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, spending a semester abroad in Ireland with Trinity College. Upon graduation Sarah received NYU 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, the Atlantic Theater Company mainstage (Strega Nona) and many downtown Off-Off Broadway productions. She joined Cake’s staff after appearing in Modern Dance for Beginners, and has since performed in Cake’s Psych, Speaking in Tongues, Swimming in the Shallows and In the Company of Jane Doe. 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.
Resident Actor, Artistic Associate
New York Theatre Credits include: Blizzard ’67, The Abduction of Becky Morris, 1001, The Soldier Dreams, Eye of God and working with such companies as Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, New Georges, Theatre East, and others. With Cake Productions he appeared in the inaugural production, Modern Dance for Beginners, as well as Psych and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (as George Bailey in 2013 after directing Cake’s first production of it in 2012). Back in his native Minneapolis, he has worked with The Jungle Theater, Park Square, and many others. He’s also worked with Out to Lunch Theater in Berlin, Germany. TV: All My Children, As The World Turns, Law & Order: SVU, The Electric Company, Z Rock, Living In Captivity (pilot). Film: Alone, After You’re Gone, If the Trees Could Talk, Smokers, and others. Member of AEA & SAG-AFTRA. More info at WilliamFranke.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!
Dante Olivia Smith, Resident Designer
Recent Production: The Learned Ladies by Moliere, Translated & Adapted by Freyda Thomas