John “JJ” Johnston
Executive Artistic Director
J.J. is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre Company. For CTC, he has directed Reading Series productions of Benedictus, Love’s Last Shift, and Prometheus Bound in addition to Mainstage productions of Tartuffe, Shylock, the Jew of Venice, Antigone, One-Man Hamlet, Ghosts, The Tempest, and The Merchant of Venice. Raised in Texas, he came home to Houston after spending a number of years between Boston, Washington D.C., and New York City. Throughout his professional career he has been active in the theatre community locally, nationally, and internationally as an actor, director, and educator. He has appeared in numerous productions around the Houston area with Stages Repertory Theatre, the Alley Theatre, Unity Theatre, Unhinged Productions, Theatre Under the Stars, the Children’s Theatre Festival, and the Great Caruso as well as the International Festival Institute at Round Top, and the Houston Shakespeare Festival. He has also worked in a number of theatres in Washington D.C., Boston, and elsewhere including the Bill W. and Dr. Bob Project, Theater J, the Greenbelt Arts Center, the Source Theatre Festival, and the Keegan Theatre. He has directed around the country at such theaters and universities as the Goddard Players, Creative Arts, Boston College, the Magic Circle Theater, and Tufts University. He has also directed and acted internationally at the National Theatre of Ireland through the Abbey Theatre Program. Currently a professor of drama at the University of Houston – Downtown, he has taught at all levels of education including Medford High School, Tufts University, Boston College, YES Prep Academy, San Jacinto College, and in Washington D.C. at the Catholic University of America. In addition to training at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, he holds a BA in Theater Arts from Boston College, and an MFA in Drama from the Catholic University of America.
Artistic Company Member
Julia Traber directed Classical Theatre Company’s productions of Miss Julie; The Triumph of Love; and Candida. Other directing credits include: Almost Maine; Greater Tuna; Angel Street; The Importance of Being Earnest; Enchanted April; Cyrano (Unity Theatre); The Lion in Winter; Art; Wit; The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Texas Repertory Theatre Company); The Art of Conversation (Musiqa); Good (staged reading at The Landing Company); O Mistress Mine (staged reading at Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Mauritius; The Bug; Private Eyes (Rice University); and The Nerd; Beyond Therapy (University of Houston). Assistant directing credits include: Bach at Leipzig; Cyrano; A Christmas Carol; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?; Yes, No, Maybe So (Milwaukee Repertory Theater); Hamlet (Houston Shakespeare Festival). She created and directed the Alley Theatre Young Performers Studio for several seasons, and developed an IB early childhood creative drama program for Aldine ISD. Julia is currently a guest lecturer and visiting director for Rice University’s Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts and a member of the performing arts faculty at St. Francis Episcopal Day School. She earned an MFA in theatre from the University of Houston.
Artistic Company Member
Philip was last seen directing Alfred Jarry’s UBU ROI for Classical Theatre Company in the company’s 2012-2013 season. He has previously directed the original collaborations Cut Down and IMAZO!!! for BooTown, Len Jenkin’s MargoVeil for Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company and his adaptation of Henry VI, Part 3 for Nova Arts Project’s War of the Roses cycle. As an actor he has appeared in the Classical Theatre Company’s productions of The Triumph of Love, Candida, and Tartuffe, as well as their collaborations with the Prague Shakespeare Festival, As You Like It and King Lear. Other recent credits include Love Goes to Press, Life Is a Dream, Dog Act, and The Coast of Utopia (Main Street Theater); Richard III (Main Street Theater/Prague Shakespeare Festival); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Prague Shakespeare Festival); The Barber of Seville (Houston Grand Opera); This Is Our Youth (Mosaic Theatre Company); Among the Thugs (Horse Head Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles, Twelfth Night, and Cymbeline (Houston Shakespeare Festival). He is a former company member of Teatro delle Due in Reggio Emilia, Italy, where he taught Shakespeare and performed for Italian high school students in The Tempest and Twelfth Night. Philip is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance. He has studied clown and physical acting with Jef Johnson and commedia dell’arte under Antonio Fava at the Scuola Internazionale dell’Attore Comico.
Artistic Company Member
Kalob has appeared on stage as Sly in CTC’s Reading Series production of Love’s Last Shift and on the Mainstage as Laurent inTartuffe. Also for CTC he has directed a reading of Clizia, and was Assistant Director on Antigone, Tartuffe, and One-Man Hamlet. Elsewhere on the Houston stage, he played Dr. Qari Shah in Homebody/Kabul at Main Street Theater, and Lenox in Macbeth at the Houston Shakespeare Festival. He has also played roles at the Alley Theatre, Main Street Youth Theater and Houston Grand Opera. His film and television credits include numerous independent films and commercials. Kalob is also a voice over artist for ADV Films where he can be heard in Tokyo Majin as Ryuta Yotsugi, Gilgamesh as Sex, and in The Place Promised in Our Early Days as Takuya Sawatari. He is a recognized Actor/Combatant in the Society of American Fight Directors and is proficient in seven weapons. Previous Fight Directing credits include productions at the Alley Theatre, Nova Arts Project, The Edward Albee New Playwright’s Workshop, Shakespeare Outreach, HITS, and various University of Houston productions. Kalob holds a BA in Acting and Directing from the University of Houston.
Internship Coordinator & Resident Acting Company
Classical Theatre Company: Gloucester in King Lear, Touchstone in As You Like It, the title role in Tartuffe, Morell in Candida, Prisoner #A6202 in Shylock: the Jew of Venice, Teiresias in Antigone and Hermocrates in Triumph of Love. Houston Shakespeare Festival: Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antonio in Twelfth Night, Cleon in Pericles, Pisanio in Cymbeline, Cicero/Conspirator in Julius Caesar, Costard in Love’s Labor’s Lost, Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Jaques in As You Like It and The Ghost in Hamlet. Stages Repertory Theatre: Panto Cinderella, Five Course Love, Searching for Eden, Spitfire Grill, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Convenience, Syncopation, Romance, Romance, Elizabeth Rex, Company and The Memory of Water. UH/Alley Theatre: All My Sons. Main Street Theater: Copenhagen, The Three-Cornered Hat. A.D. Players: The Winslow Boy, The Importance of Being Earnest, Sanders Family Christmas. The Barnstormers Theatre (Tamworth, NH): The Seagull, The Three Sisters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Playboy of the Western World, Death of a Salesman, Lend Me a Tenor, I Do! I Do!. Film and Television: Warning: Parental Advisory, Law and Order. Education: MFA, University of Houston; BFA, Carnegie-Mellon University. Thomas is proud to have worked/studied with the following: Sir Peter Hall, Stuart Ostrow, Bobby Lewis, Elizabeth Orion, Mel Shapiro, and Sidney Berger. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of the Department of Theatre at Sam Houston State University and is a proud 24-year member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Resident Acting Company
Holly has spent many years working in NYC and regionally. With CTC, she has been seen in Candida, Antigone and Tartuffe. Some of her favorite roles include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Luciana and the Abbess in The Comedy of Errors, Mytyl in The Bluebird, Alice Liddell in Wonderland, and What Was Found There (world premiere), The Little Miss in La Ronde, Moth in Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Gravedigger in Hamlet, Marie inCome Back, Little Sheba, C-boy in Signature (world premiere by Beth Henley), Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, and Pope Joan in Top Girls. She has worked in such theaters as The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Huntington Theatre Company, George Street Playhouse, The Utah Shakespearean Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Actor’s Shakespeare Company, Mermaid Theatre Company, Passages Theatre, and Aboutface Theatre Company. She has also appeared in films and on television. She holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity. Her favorite role, though, is Mommy to her three wonderful children, Lucy, Campbell, and Finney!
Resident Acting Company
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Matthew has worked with the Classical Theatre Company on the productions of Ghosts andAntigone. Currently being sponsored by The Keegan Theatre in Washington, D.C. to work in residency, he is a graduate from the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. Previous credits include:Dancing At Lughnasa (Gerry), Gdirl From Gdansk (Rich), The Rapture Index (Mark), Love Peace And Robbery (Darren), Stones In His Pockets(Jake), Translations (Doalty), The Shawl (Charles), The Departure Lounge (Frank), Don Carlos (Gabriel De La Cueva/Prince of Parma), A Christmas Carol(Dick Wilkins), Fusion (Jayo), Blue (Des), Romeo And Juliet (Romeo), Big Love (Oed), The B.F.G. (Danny/Bonecruncher), Massacre @ Paris (Various), and What The Dead Want(Bobby). Film and television credits include On Our Way, Henry And Sunny, The Tudors, The Clinic, The Big Bow, Camera Cafe, Bachelors Walk, and Bouncing Boy.
Resident Acting Company
With CTC: Merchant of Venice, Ghosts, Uncle Vanya, The Tempest. Philip is the Co-Executive Director of Stark Naked Theatre Company – with Stark Naked he has appeared in Macbeth, Debt Collectors(which he also co-directed) and Dinner With Friends, and directed Body Awareness. Last season, he appeared at the Alley Theatre in Clybourne Park, and Christmas Carol. Broadway: Blood Brothers, The Kentucky Cycle. Off-Broadway: Hundreds of Hats. National Tour: Titanic, the Musical. Since arriving in Texas in 2001: Stages: Oh, the Humanity, Yankee Tavern, I Am My Own Wife, Mr. Marmalade, Lady, Souvenir, Amy’s View, The Pavilion, Dirty Blonde. Over thirty productions at the Alley including: The Pillowman, The Farnsworth Invention, Eurydice, The Crucible, The Exonerated, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Mousetrap, Hamlet and The Invention of Love. Main Street Theatre: Arcadia. Houston Shakespeare Festival: King John, Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Julius Caesar, Cymbeline. TUTS: Wonderful Life, Sound of Music, and one memorable performance of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. Generations: Bat Boy, Spring Awakening, Our Town. BCCM: On the Town, Fiorello, Assassins, She Loves Me. EHS: The Tempest. Regional: St. Louis Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Missouri Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The New Harmony Theatre and Weston Playhouse. Film and TV:Tripwire, The Nanny, Martial Law and Hollywood Off-Ramp. Education: The Juilliard School, Drake University, NTI, Moscow Arts Theatre School. As a director: Almost Main, Reckless (Brave Dog Theatre), Ferdinand the Bull (Stages), On the Town (co-director, BCCM) Art (Generations) Teaching: Philip teaches several ongoing acting classes as well as private sessions – for more information,please visit kimtobinactingstudio.com. Lehl is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Artistic Company Member
Matthew Schlief is the Production Manager for the Rice Theatre Program as well as Lecturer in Theatrical Design (Scenic & Lighting). He also serves as Facilities Coordinator for Hamman Hall. Before his return to Houston in 2004, Matt was an Assistant Professor of Communications and served as the Scenic, Lighting, and Sound Designer at Augusta State University in Augusta, GA. He has been an instructor at St. John’s School, Mt. Pleasant High School, Klein High School, and the University of Houston. Matt received his BFA in Theatre from Southwestern University, and his MFA in Scenic and Lighting Design from the University of Houston. Outside of academia, he has designed for Main Street Theatre, Houston Shakespeare Festival, City Dance Company, Stage Left Productions, Brave Dog Theatre, West Virginia Public Theatre, Virginia Musical Theatre. He is a Company Member of Horsehead Theatre and Resident Designer for Generations A Theatre Co. Over the past 14 years, Matt’s design credits include: Forever Plaid, West Side Story, Dreamgirls, Urban Cowboy, True West, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Aida, Full Monty, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hecuba, No Exit, Cats, Odd Couple, Evita, Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Dr. Faustus, Harvey, Geurnica, The Music Man, Arcadia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, The Robber Bridegroom, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Chorus Line, Funny Girl, Ramona Quimby, Hello Dolly, Sweet Charity, Box Office of the Damned Part II, Top Girls, Chi, Steel Magnolias, Reckless, Miss Saigon, Private Eyes, Stop Kiss, The Threepenny Opera, Antigone, Twelfth Night, Pericles, Ruthless, The Bug, Noises Off, Ghosts, Among the Thugs, Triumph of Love, Spring Awakening, Art, Essential Self Defense, and various other performances and events.