Akeelah and the Bee Cast

La Shone T. Kelly (Akeelah) is an aspiring artist, coming from a family of fifteen. She has always loved anything connected with art and literature since a young age. La Shone comes from a musical background; having a family band “The Chicago Kellys” who have been interviewed by Steve Harvey, The Ellen DeGeneres, NBC Nightly News, and WGN; among other local news outlets. New to the theater scene, she has played in Adventure Stage Chicago’s Reprise, getting a chance to participate in Scotland National Theater’s “Home Away” showcase.

Gabrielle Lott-Rogers (Gail) is thrilled to be making her Adventure Stage Chicago debut. Most recent theatrical credits include: Because...I Love You, The Color Purple, By The Way Meet Vera Stark, The Wiz, and Gidion's Knot. Gabrielle recently made her big screen debut in the Miramax film, Southside with You, about the 1st date of President and Michelle Obama. She is honored to work with the wonderfully talented director, cast and crew of this production. She gives special thanks to her family and friends for their unwavering love and support. Gabrielle is signed with Shirley Hamilton Talent.

Eric Gerard (Reggie) is grateful to be working with Adventure Stage Chicago for the first time. Other Chicago credits include: King Liz (Windy City Playhouse) Octagon (Jackalope Theatre), My Mañana Comes (Teatro Vista), The Paranoid Style in American Politics (First Floor Theater), and The Royale (American Theatre Co.). Eric is an Instructor, and proud graduate of THE ACADEMY at BlackBox Acting. He is represented by Gill-Hayes Talent.

Michael Anthony Rawlins (Dr. Larabee) makes his sophomore appearance at Adventure Stage, having crossed the boards here in the 2015 production of Sight Unseen. Other forays into theatre include The Piano Lesson, For Black Who Have Considered Homicide When the Streets Were Too Much, and most recently going on as Doc in Blues for an Alabama Sky at the Court Theatre. Film and television credits include Chicago P.D., Blade Trinity, Criminal Minds, Intelligence, Beverly Hills 90210, and series regular roles on SOUL and Total Recall 2070 for Showtime. This performance is dedicated to his wife Denise and son Kei, a fine little actor in his own right!

Brandi Lee (Georgia) is thrilled to be performing with Adventure Stage for the first time! She is a theater graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a concentration in acting. Recent credits include a collaboration with The Dublin Institute of Technology on the devised piece, Terminal One, and Thumbelina at Lifeline Theatre. Brandi is a teaching artist all over the city and has worked with numerous organizations including FYI (For Youth Inquiry), Story Catchers, and Lifeline Theater. She is currently the Education Associate/Internship Coordinator at the Goodman Theatre.

Yahdina U-Deen (Batty Ruth) is a mother, grandmother and a professional singer/actor excited to be playing the role of Batty Ruth. You may recognize her from several hit plays around the Chicagoland area and abroad. Performances include: Alberta Gaye in Black Ensemble's Marvin Gaye Story, Nina Simone: The High Priestess Speaks, and At Last: A Tribute to Etta James. She’s also performed at ETA Creative Arts Agency, Victory Gardens, The South Shore Drill Team, and much more. With such fine talent on stage, she trusts you will enjoy this production of Akeelah and the Bee!

Kyra Jones (Ratchet Ronda) is excited to work with ASC for the first time. Past Theatre for Young Audiences work includes The Bluest Eye (Northwestern University), Red Kite, Blue Sky (Chicago Children's Theatre) and Expectation (For Youth Inquiry). Other theatre credits include El Stories (Waltzing Mechanics) and Outside Agitators (20% Theatre Company). Television credits include Chicago Justice. Kyra also plays Maya in the new webseries, Seeds (Shatterglass Films). Kyra is an alumnus of Northwestern University and is represented by Stewart Talent.

Glenn Obrero (Dylan/JT) is thrilled to be a part of the cast in Akeelah and the Bee. Previous credits include: A Wrinkle In Time (Lifeline Theatre), How We Got On (u/s - Haven Theatre), Unto These Hills (Mountainside Theatre). TV Credits: Chicago Fire (NBC), Controversy (FOX). Glenn received a BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Brandon Rivera (Javier/Chucky) makes his Adventure Stage Chicago debut. Previous Chicago credits include Into the Beautiful North (16th Street Theatre), Brilliant Adventures (Steep Theatre Company), Dog Sees God (Eclectic Theatre), and The Memory Tour (Pivot Arts). He received his BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign.

Arvin Jalandoon (Dylan’s Dad/Pronouncer) feels very privileged to join this cast. Past theatre credits include Family Devotions (Halcyon Theatre), Mahal (The Bailiwick), The Loss of Henry Moss (The Artistic Home) and Chimerica (Timeline Theatre). Arvin has appeared in commercials for Shell, Sprint, Central Du Page, American Cancer Society, Kimberly Clarke, Instant Care and Le Cordon Bleu. Films include Art of Pain, Deacon's Choice, and Google Me Love. TV credits include Chicago Med. He wishes love and light to the cast and crew.

Gaby FeBland (Trish/Mohawk Girl) is thrilled to be returning to Adventure Stage after working on Worthy. Since graduating from Northwestern, she's performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Children's Theater, Emerald City Theater, Navy Pier, and Rabid Bat Theatricals, where she's devised public access theatre in parks for the past three summers. As a playwright, her work has been produced Off-Broadway, at the Frontier Theater, Two Pence Theatre, and Northwestern University. She's currently in the New Colony Writers' Room. Gaby plays accordion and sings in the folk rock band, Friends of the Bog. She is proudly represented by Big Mouth Talent.

Michelle Thompson-Hay (Understudy) has a BFA in Theatre Performance from Otterbein University, in Ohio. After moving to Chicago, she became a founding member of Corn Productions, where she acted, directed, choreographed and wrote several plays. Michelle trained at The Second City’s Conservatory and can currently be seen in several of their “Bizco” videos, as well as web videos for the Onion and Clickhole. Other Chicago credits include: Oprah, A Comedy. Live Your Best Laugh (Annoyance Theatre), Bible Bingo (Royal George Theatre), Sunday School Cinema (Royal George Theatre), and The Real Housewives of Oak Park (Open Door Repertory).

Almanya Narula (Understudy) is an actor, combatant, and fight choreographer from Bangkok, currently residing in Chicago. Recently, she appeared in Nickelback’s Feed the Machine, doubling as Fight Choreographer. Her resume includes being Stunt Coordinator for the film Mollywood and Fight Choreographer on Luz Estrada (Mercy Street Theatre). Upcoming projects include The Invisible Hand (Steep Theatre), 1980 (Jackalope Theatre), and The Good Fight (Babes With Blades). She has been seen in Captain Blood (First Folio Theatre), and understudied productions with American Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, and more. Bollywood credits include Pyaar Ke Geet and Say Na Something To Anupum Uncle. Almanya is represented by Big Mouth Talent.