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.
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.
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.thefarmatz.com.
Shaun has been in Austin and working with Esther’s Follies since 1998. He writes, build props, performs, and is the director of the Esther’s Follies School of Comedy, a summer camp for students ages 8-16. When he’s not at Esther’s, he builds puppets and performs with Fragile Rock, the world’s greatest emo puppet band.
Steven has been the lead writer for Esther’s Follies for four years. He has contributed countless jokes and gags to the show. A New York transplant, Steve is also a guitarist, singer/songwriter and guitar instructor.
Ted’s life is an answer to the question, “What would happen if Jon Lovitz & Gene Wilder had a love-child?” He teaches improv at The Institution.Theater, has appeared in commercials, webseries, and films you’ve never seen, and has not yet been banned from Twitter (@Tedgar3). Ted says”Follow your dreams, and if that doesn’t work, follow someone else’s dreams.”
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 road shows. In Austin, Billy has done improv and stand up comedy shows, and is thrilled to be at Esther’s doing what he loves best.
Born and raised a small town girl from Wisconsin, Ellana stayed in the Midwest for her BFA Music Theatre degree from Western Michigan and MMA Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago. Austin, Texas has truly become home, she’s a Follies veteran, performed all around town on stage, on camera and in studio. She enjoys teaching all ages a love for the arts. The Follies has captured her heart for its live vaudeville antics, especially in the warm-up act and as magician’s assistant…taadaa!
Raymond Gutierrez began his professional comedy/acting career at the age of 17, is an accredited writer/producer/director and holds a MBA and a MFA- which means he paid a lot of money for 6 letters. Raymond has performed with several theatre companies in Austin, Los Angeles, Houston and Corpus Christi. Follow him on @rayrayshonuff
Rachel is thrilled to be a joining Esther’s Follies as their newest member. Rachel spent the previous 3 years performing all over Chicago in cabarets, playhouses, and singing in a Grateful Dead band. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts.
Neill BeckiJo 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.
Tickling the ivories is Esther’s musical director, Doug Ewart, who sounds like a one man orchestra with his amazing keyboard arrangements. Doug made his way to Esther’s by directing and performing music for Second City in Chicago, as well as working with John Goodman, Amy Sedaris and even Mistress of the Dark-Elvira.