Pegasus Theatre Chicago Announces Actors for Young Playwright Festival

The festival is streaming Jan. 7-31, 2021.

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Pegasus Theatre Chicago has announced the actor lineup for the 34th Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) streaming virtually January 7 - 31, 2021. This year's Festival features three one-act plays, written by students from Kenwood Academy, Lane Tech College Prep and The University of Chicago Laboratory, sharing at their core a mystery discovered, unearthed or realized. The 34th YPF streams, performed in tandem, Thursdays - Sundays. School matinee performances are available for teachers via Opening ceremony is Sunday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. Ticket holders will have until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. to view content. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for students ages 22 and under, and are available at

The 2021 Festival actors include: Josh Bernaski, John Drea, Gabriel Fries, Nastacia Guimont, James Lewis, Victor Musoni, and Vinithra Raj.

This year's winning plays are:

A Lady's Facade by Aisha Ziad, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Teacher-Christine Himmelfarb | directed by Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke

After being fired, fine arts historian and curator Hayley tries to earn her job back when she uncovers a secret behind the Mona Lisa that could change history.

Containment by Lincoln Gaw | Lane Tech College Prep, Teacher-Brian Telles | directed by Alex Levy

In this satire, Ohio has invaded its neighboring states, spreading like a plague, and the Centers for Disease Control has dispatched armed rapid response teams to the Illinois border to try and contain the threat.

These Glass Lives by Jake Florell, Kenwood Academy, Teacher-Jon Nemeth | directed by Ilesa Duncan

A panicked teen sneaks into a man's home seeking refuge as police are actively pursuing a suspect. The two men discover the fragile nature of their connection.


Josh Bernaski has worked with Lifeline Theatre, Drury Lane, Theatre at the Center, First Folio, Akvavit Theatre, and The Shakespeare Project. Outside of Chicago, Bernaski has performed at regional theatres across the country, and toured four years throughout South America and the Middle East performing with Artspot Educational Theatre. He is the founder of The Connecting Routes Project.

John Drea's Chicago credits include "Whose Body?" (Lifeline), "Free Space" (Possibilities), "Much Ado About Nothing" (Goodly Creatures); New York: "OneIronaut" (Outer Loop). Film/TV work includes "Ashley Green", "Storm Stories", and "The Shadows".

Gabriel Fries has appeared in "It's a Wonderful Life" (Oil Lamp Theater), "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile" (Lifeline Theatre), "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" (Metropolis PAC), "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (Adventure Stage), "The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier" (Permoveo Productions/PFP), "Peter and the Starcatcher" (E.D.G.E. Theatre), "Do Re Mi" (Porchlight Music Theatre), and "The Kid Thing" (Nothing Without a Company).

Nastacia Guimont graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a BA in Theatre. Regional Credits: Guthrie Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, MN Fringe Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, ACT Theatre. She has played television roles on both GRIMM and CHICAGO MED.

James Lewis was last seen in Haven's "Titus Andronicus" and Brown Paper Box's "Grace or the Art of Climbing." He was also in BROOKLYN 99, 2 BROKE GIRLS and TRUE BLOOD. He is represented by DDO Artist Agency

Victor Musoni's Chicago credits include "La Havana Madrid" (The Den Theater); "Luck of the Irish", "The Q Brother's Rome Sweet Rome", "Back The Night" (UIC); "Fun Harmless War Machine" (The New Colony); "No child" (Definition Theatre Company); "Blood at the Root" (Jackalope); "Columbinus" (Steppenwolf/The Yard); "The Toilet" (Haven Theatre) and "How We Got On" (Haven Theatre u/s). TV/Film credits include "Chicago Med" and "6x9". Web Series credits include "Brujos". Music videos credits include Young Lost Love, Sinner.

Vinithra Raj has performed in various productions and readings for companies including Collaboraction, MPAACT, Corn Productions, and Rockwell Theatre Bandits. She has appeared on television in Fox's "Empire" and various commercials.

Professionally produced by Pegasus Theatre Chicago, YPF is the second oldest such festival in the country. This annual competition enhances language arts, encourages independent, high-level thinking, strong personal values and influences career development for Chicago's teens. YPF routinely receives more than 500 submissions from Chicago area teens, three of which are selected for production.


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