"Connect" Bios

Allan Baker (playwright) Allan has been a gay political activist in Austin for many years.  He served as chair of the Austin Lesbian/Gay Political Caucus for ten years and on the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (now Equality Texas) for eleven.  In 2002 he received the Human Rights Campaign’s Political Activism award at Austin’s HRC Black Tie event.

After retiring from a career in environmental health, he began writing in 2004 and has written eight plays. His first play was All the Saints, a full-length, modern re-telling of Dumas’ Lady of the Camellias and Verdi’s La Traviata, with gay characters.  This play was given a well-received staged reading at Zach Scott Theatre Center in January 2008.  His second play, Five Minutes, was named “Best of the Fest” for the FronteraFest short fringe festival at Hyde Park Theatre in 2006 and was selected for the Emerging Artists Theatre’s Fall Festival of Short Plays in New York City in November 2006.  Nominated by Emerging Artists Theatre as part of a nation-wide competition, this play was selected to be part of the Samuel French, Inc. Festival of Off Off-Broadway One-Act Plays in June 2007.

Allan’s play, ...last and always, based on the final short scene of Five Minutes, was a finalist for the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre’s Fall Festival of Ten Minute Plays in 2008. This play was produced by NativeAliens Theatre Collective as part of their Short Stories 10 program during New York City’s 2009 Pride Celebration.  A short version of Voices, was produced as part of Austin’s FronteraFest in 2007.  The current version was a finalist for Emerging Artists Theatre’s 2009 Spring Festival of Short Plays in New York City.  Click was first produced in FronteraFest 2008.  Allan has written another full-length, modern re-telling of a story found in opera:  Eskandar, inspired by Bizet’s Carmen, set in today’s Afghanistan. 

A Midsummer Night’s Conversation is a world premiere.  A companion play, A Midwinter Night’s Conversation, has not yet been produced.  Allan’s next play will be another modern re-telling of a story from opera...in this case Verdi’s Rigoletto.

According to Allan, “My favorite New Yorker cartoon has two young men examining a marquee listing of movies outside the local cineplex, as one exclaims to the other ‘Not another movie about straight people in love.  I’m sick of extrapolating.’  So am I.  In my plays I focus on gay characters and themes because these are the stories I know best and the stories that are all too often the least often told.  The theatre is a wonderful place to tell these stories.”


Kirk Burg.  (Stage Manager/Cole in Voices)  Kirk is thrilled that Allan and Theresa have asked him to revisit the role of Cole in Voices as a part of Connect.  Theresa has also directed Kirk as Man in Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild, for which he received a Critic’s Table nomination for Best Lead Actor in A Comedy.  Other favorite roles include Ben in Loose Ends, Miss Great Plains in Pageant, Schroeder in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Aggie #17 in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Ruben/Potiphar in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Diesel in West Side Story, Obadiah in 999 BC and Aristocrat in Evita.


Alexa Doggett (Jeannie in Voices) is beyond excited to be a part of this wonderful collection of plays, a theatrical experience she has never had before! Alexi recently originated the role of Alice in Chaotic Theatre Company's production of Alice! at the Vortex in December.  She has just competed one of her dream roles, Fredrika Armfeldt, in A Little Night Music with the Palace Theatre in Georgetown. Past performances include Evil Dead: the Musical at Salvage Vanguard and Little Shop of Horrors with Summer Stock Austin. A senior in high school, she is currently auditioning for BFA Musical Theatre programs all over the country in hopes of attending one next year. She hopes you enjoy the show!


Sharon Elmore (Martha in Voices) Sharon’s roles have run the gamut from the infamous Lady Macbeth to the hilarious Sister Mary Ignatius. Her absolute favorite role was Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter  - what delicious language and complex characters! Other favorites include Lady Angatall in The Hollow (2006 B. Iden Payne Award), Amanda in Glass Menagerie, Dotty in Noises Off,  Mrs. Beckoff in Torch Song Trilogy, Halie in Buried Child , LaVonda in Sordid Lives, Sister in Wallpaper PsalmsMiss Tasman in Hedda Gabler , Lady Anne in Richard IIISiri Strindberg in The Night of the Tribades, Cornelia in Something Unspoken, Bonnie in Holy Ghosts, Margaret in The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and the Stage Manager in Our Town. Yes, that role is traditionally played by a man, but she had a blast playing it as a mysterious shaman. Now that doesn’t surprise anyone who knows Sharon!


Franc Frye (Tad in Five Minutes) Franc is honored to live a moment in Five Minutes. Since arriving in Austin in June of 2009 he has appeared in Gary Clark’s Murder at Midnight, Chaotic Theatre Company’s Alice! and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Off stage, Franc is involved in the cinematic endeavors of Cosmic Mammoth Productions.


Gina Houston (Corrine in Five Minutes) has a degree in Theatre Arts (Acting) and a minor in Music (Vocal) from St. Edward’s University. In the 2006 FronteraFest production of Five Minutes, she played Betty and is thrilled to approach this wonderful piece through the eyes of Corinne. An Austin native, Gina is a member of ProArts Collective and appeared in King Hedley II, Twilight: L.A. - 1992, and Kissing the Goodbye. She was the recipient of the 2004 Austin Critic’s Table Award for “Outstanding Student Work” and has received B. Iden Payne nominations for her ensemble work as well as for individual characterizations. Gina has participated in numerous full-length productions, readings, staged readings, and workshops, including Sharon Bridgforth’s love/conjure, blues, Leticia Rodriguez’s Home Entertainment: 2009 and City Theatre’s 2009 production of August Wilson’s Fences. “Having the opportunity to work on Five Minutes again is truly a gift.” peace & joy ... g~


Jude Hickey (Kevin in Five Minutes and Ben in A Midsummer Night’s Conversation) Jude is grateful to be working with Allan and Theresa again, where he is reprising the role of Kevin in the 2006 FronteraFest “Best of the Fest” production of Five Minutes.  You may also have seen Jude in Salvage Vanguard Theatre’s Thrush, Hamilton Township, Iphigenia, Shrewd Productions Trash Anthems and Austin playwright Michael Mitchell’s Still Fountains.  Jude has also appeared in Hyde Park Theatre’s productions of Martin McDonagh’s brilliant Lonesome West and Pillowman, for which he received a B. Iden Payne Award “Best Actor (Drama)” nomination.  And he was a fabulous Pandora in DA! Theatre Collective’s Leave it to Beverly at the Off Center!


Suzanne Kennedy (Peggy in Voices) Graduating from Texas Tech University, Suzanne Kennedy moved to New York where she acted, sang and danced her way onstage in tours and regional theaters as Catherine in Pippin, Rose in Meet Me in St. Louis, and a Kit Kat girl in Cabaret.  Off Broadway:  Who Knocks at My Door? by Tom Donaghy and A Different Kind of Dog by Kate Browne.  Moving to Los Angeles, Suzanne appeared in television shows, Dark Skies, Just Shoot Me, and a video docudrama she produced, Welcome to Reality.  She produced/acted in a staged reading of Horton Foote’s play Talking Pictures, starring Jean Smart.  After moving back to Texas, Suzanne wrote/acted:  Opening Entertainment for the 2004 Austin Greater Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, and her one-woman show, Not Quite Broadway.  In 2007 Suzanne had the pleasure of doing Voices for the first time in FronteraFest, and then collaborating with Theresa Leckbee in Artspark where they created Upsetting the Applecart.  Currently, Suzanne is producing her thriller feature film, Escape From Black Gully Marsh which will be shot this fall.  Giving heartfelt thanks to Allan and Theresa, she is proud to once again join the cast of Voices.


James Jackson Leach  (Michael in Click and Colin in A Midsummer Night’s Conversation) is tickled to death to be performing in Connect.  An actor, playwright and producer, in early 2009 he co-founded Chaotic Theatre Company in Austin.  Under Chaotic, he has produced his own, original Alice! at The Vortex Theatre last year and quite recently Shakespeare’s  A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Off Center.  When not involved with theatre, James enjoys rock-climbing and camping. Being a playwright, producer and actor, James is eager to work with and learn from Allan.    Look for upcoming Chaotic Theatre productions at www.chaotictheatre.com.


Theresa Leckbee (Director)  Theresa's theatrical roles have varied greatly over her many years in the arts. She has worked in almost every capacity available in the theater world including direction, stage managing, acting, props design, marketing, fund raising, and producing.  Some of her favorite productions include: A, My Name is Alice, Five Minutes, Pinocchio Commedia, Antigone, Romeo and Juliet, Laughing Wild, 6 Women with Brain Death, Ain't Misbehavin’, Will Roger's Follies, Burn This, Cabaret, Life with Father, and Laundry and Bourbon.  She is thrilled to collaborate with Allan and this amazing group of actors. Theresa received her Theater degree from Texas Tech University and has worked in Austin theater for over 12 years.  She would like to thank her wonderful husband and amazing family and friends for their support.


Feliz Dia McDonald (Betty in Five Minutes) Feliz Dia is very active in Austin theatre, having performed in Pro-Arts Collective’s Common Ground and Funnyhouse of a Negro, for which she received a B. Iden Payne nomination for Lead Actress (Drama).  Other work has included Tongue and Groove Theatre’s The Red and An Arabian Midsummer Night’s DreamShe has studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and with ACC in Austin, where she received the Austin Critic’s Table W. H. “Deacon” Crain Award for student work (’06-’07).


Adam Pearson (Jason in Click) Adam is very happy to be returning to Click after his debut in the show at Frontera Fest in 2008.  His most recent theatrical appearance was in the new play House of Several Stories in 2009.  Adam continues to work in film and television, including the short film Ping, which won "Best Horror" at the Palm Beach Film Festival and for which he not only performed in the lead role but also served as Director of Photography and Editor.


Blake Smith (Matt in Five Minutes) Blake has been acting in and around Austin for about five years. He has most recently acted in Capital T's production of Sick.  He has also appeared in Zoo Story, The Bird and the Bee, The Three Cuckolds, and The Head, Hands and Toe Show.  Blake is presently working on several short films with more to come. He is excited to be working with Abby Productions and has loved both the experience and opportunity.



Sean Stogner (Paul in Five Minutes) Having recently moved here from NYC, Sean is delighted to be a part of Five Minutes and Connect by Allan Baker. A recent graduate of NYU, with a B.F.A. in Theatre through Tisch School of the Arts, Sean spent his college years studying primarily at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. His past performances include: A Midnight's Dream for NYU and the Lee Strasberg Institute (adapted from Shakespeare's classic by Michael Ryan), Dancing at Lughnasa, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Unseen Hand. His film and television work includes Sinead O'Connor's Blood.


Trey Townsend (Glen in Voices) Trey is a senior at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and has been involved with the Theatre Focus program there for four years.  He has also performed at the Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas as a part of their New Works Festival for the past two years.  This last summer he attended the National High School Institute for theatre arts at Northwestern University commonly referred to as “Cherubs”, a five-week theatre intensive.  He also had the esteemed honor of performing Red Noses in Edinburgh as a part of the American High School Theatre Festival.  His most recent roles include Ringmaster in Elephant’s Graveyard by another Austin playwright, George Brandt, and Pascal in Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka.  He is very excited to be a part of Connect and Voices and has thoroughly enjoyed the journey and working with such beautiful people.