MEET THE CAST
OF THE FUNNIEST SHOW IN AUSTIN
Known as the Mom of the Follies, Shannon manages to produce the show, wrangle the writer's meeting and meet/greet every audience member coming and going through Esther's doors. Her favorite characters are strong political ladies, like Ann Richards, Hillary Clinton, and her all-time front runner, Patsy Cline. Keeping an eye on downtown politics is her secondary career, as Chair of the 6ixth Street Austin and President of the Old Pecan Street Association. Shannon thinks it's almost criminal that she's able to make a living doing what she loves.
Ray Anderson, the featured performer in the show, has blended illusion, comedy, and audience participation into one of the most carefully constructed performances in the magic world. There isn't a dull moment when Anderson is onstage. Performing immaculate and inventive large-scale illusions, or parodying the genre, his talent shines as a Follies treasure.
Shaun is a 22 year veteran of the Follies- he is the resident prop maker and the director of the Esthers Follies school of comedy. When he isn’t down on sixth street, he’s designing and building puppets, most notably for ‘Fragile Rock,’ the world's greatest emo puppet band.
Karl has decades of experience in the Austin music and theater scene, including 35 years as Principal Accompanist and Associate Director of the Austin Gay Men's Chorus, Music Director with City Theatre, Accompanist for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin, and evening founding the Inversion Repertory Company in the 80's (and coincidentally performing three shows in Esther's theater!). He is a prolific composer and arranger, having published nearly 100 arrangements and original works. He has a Bachelor of Arts, having studied piano performance at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and UT Austin and Communications at St. Edward's University.
Dallas-born Ted Meredith graduated with a BFA in acting from Southwestern University and continued heading down I-35 to Austin. He’s been a cast member at Esther’s Follies for over a decade portraying iconic American heroes such as Donald Trump, Honey Boo-boo, and Vladimir Putin. From improv to Shakespeare, Ted enjoys flexing all of his acting muscles, even though his personal trainer constantly insists that acting muscles “don’t count.”
Billy is an Austin native who followed his dream to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. He spent 8 years in Los Angeles, doing national commercials, TV guest-starring roles, and musical comedy roadshows. In Austin, Billy has done improv and stand up comedy shows, and is thrilled to be at Esther's doing what he loves best.
Beckijo Neill was born and raised in Kansas City. She attended Kansas State University to study Theatre. After several years performing in theatre, she took a hiatus to make films all over the world. She is absolutely thrilled to be back on stage, performing with this incredibly talented cast.
Jill has been gracing the stages of Austin Theatre for the last few decades, primarily at ZACH Theatre where she has played title roles in dozens of productions, most recently Mary Poppins, Sunday in the Park with George, and The Rocky Horror Show. She has also made several tv and film appearances, including the role of Belinda Miltenberger in NatGeo’s award winning series “The Long Road Home”. Jill is a member of the Austin based folk band, The Magnolia Blue Trio which recently released their first single "Better Without You" on all of the major streaming platforms. She is also a mother of two teenage boys which provides her with endless comedic inspiration. She is so thrilled to be making her debut at Esther’s Follies where all of the real fun is happening!
Ellana Kelter is a long time Follies veteran and always happy to back on the iconic Sixth Street stage. Originally from small town Wisconsin, she received a BFA from Western Michigan University and MAM from Columbia College. She co-founded the School of Comedy and continues to teach and work with kids all around Austin. Ellana dabbles in wellness as a facilitator for sound healing, massage therapy and reiki. Take care of yourselves y’all! Most of all Ellana loves the magic that Esther’s provides. Sit back and enjoy! There truly is nothing else like it.
Keyshaan is an Austin native who's grown up always wanting to be onstage or on-camera! He graduated from Southwestern University after playing football and studying theatre. He spends his free time he watches anime and training for iron chef. He thanks all of his family and friends for him being here!
Behind the Scenes
The man behind the scenes, Michael has built the theatre form top to bottom with its colorful lobby, stage in the windows, and two arenas for comedy, Esther's Follies, and the Velveeta Room. He used his architectural chops designing and creating Austin’s Liberty Lunch, The Tavern at 12th and Lamar, and Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe. Michael remodels East Austin homes during the week and moves the most dilapidated ones to the Follies Art Farm, on 50 acres in far east Austin. You can follow the progress on www.thefarmatx.com or on Facebook & Instagram below.
Douglas is the Musical Director of Esther’s Follies. He’s directed music for The Second City International Tour, ComedySportz, The Improv Olympic, Lonestar Comedy, and countless theater and comedy troupes across the US. He was the Artistic Director for Dallas’ West End Comedy Theater, produced the 2005 Dallas Comedy Festival, and currently produces/directs The Arena improv comedy show in Branson, Missouri. Also, the creator of the interactive theater productions Bubba and Babe’s Backwoods Texas Wedding and The Texcentric Radio Hour and founder of the four piece female vocal group, Buster Park and the founder of the Austin based hokum band, Hillbilly Honey.