Meet the Team

Michael Counts – Creator and Co-Producer

Michael Counts is a theatrical designer and stage director, visual artist, and media and entertainment entrepreneur who has been focused on creating large-scale immersive installations, theatrical productions and innovative media and entertainment experiences, often in unconventional spaces, for the last 20 years. He is one of the early pioneers of immersive theater and has been called a “visionary” and a “mad genius” by the New York Times and “one of the most fertile imaginations working in New York City, today” by Time Out New York Magazine. Two of his recent productions were listed on the New York Times Top 10 Lists for 2011 and 2013 and his projects in a wide range of media have been critically acclaimed and featured in press and media around the world. His recent partnership with Skybound Entertainment (the LA based media company lead by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman) and The Walker Stalker Convention resulted in his creation of The Walking Dead Experience, an immersive touring attraction that has received broad critical acclaim since it began its national tour in the fall of 2015. (http://www.countsprojects.com). Contact

Jennifer Worthington – Co-Producer

Worthington joined Jerry Bruckheimer Films, one of most successful production companies in the motion picture industry, at just 21-years-old as a development assistant. In less than one year, she was promoted to a vice presidency position with the company and by the time she was 23-years-old, Worthington was promoted to senior vice president. While employed by Bruckheimer, she worked on numerous film projects including “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “The Rock,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Remember the Titans” and “Crimson Tide,” as well as “Dangerous Minds” and “Soldier of Fortune” in the television sector of the company. Worthington herself was the subject of an E! Entertainment Television documentary titled “The Women of Vegas,” as well as features in The Washington Post and W Magazine.

While producing the blockbuster film, “Coyote Ugly,” she envisioned a Hollywood version of the original Manhattan bar. She believed Las Vegas would be ideal for the concept and took a career gamble in leaving the film industry for the high-risk business of bar/nightclub ownership. She developed a plan with her partners to incorporate her background in entertainment, revolutionizing Las Vegas nightlife. In November 2001, Worthington turned her vision into reality with the grand opening of Coyote Ugly Las Vegas. Since then, she has opened four more successful projects in Las Vegas and range of immersive entertainment properties in New York. Contact

Taylor Myers – Co-Director

Taylor Myers is a theater director and actor living in New York City, specializing in large scale immersive work. He has directed work at strange times in strange places – from a river at dawn to a cemetery at three AM – and loves to stretch outside the normal parameters of theatrical experience. He has appeared as a performer in almost every long-running immersive show in NYC including Punchdrunk’s Hitchcock-meets-Shakespeare “Sleep No More”, Third RailProjects’ 1970’s tropical resort “The Grand Paradise”, and again for Third Rail Projects in their smash hit Alice in Wonderland tale “Then She Fell”. He serves as Artistic Director of Roll The Bones, an immersive theater company he co-founded in 2013. www.rollthebonestheatre.com

Rabbit Immersive – Production Partner

Rabbit Immersive is an early-stage entertainment, tech and brand development company formed through a partnership of Douglas Howell – one of the most accomplished and well regarded commercial and television production pioneers, Dan Morales – an award winning advertising creative director, and Michael Counts – a leading talent in the immersive entertainment and attractions business and a critically acclaimed stage, opera and experience director.

Designed as a nimble creative shop with a broad focus, Rabbit is a new breed of company with world-class creative talent, technology and production, all under one roof. The company’s ultimate mission is to capitalize on the sea change that is happening in the commercial, television, film and event production spheres due to fundamental changes happening within the “ad agency” business and creative model.

Rabbit’s talent pool has been responsible for some of the most innovative and critically acclaimed immersive and experiential art, entertainment and brand launches of recent years. The company includes Academy and Emmy Award winners, Cannes Grand Prix Lion winners, and leaders in digital and social media that have generated content that has garnered nearly half a billion views on YouTube and other social media channels. (http://www.rabbitcontent.com)

Lindsay Pitzer – Producer

Lindsay is a project manager and producer with a wide range of experience in the live events, theatrical entertainment, video, and interactive media fields. Having begun as an assistant during the startup phase of The Ride New York, Lindsay ended up running the day-to-day operations of that production which employed over 50 people and involved managing a production budget in excess of $10 million. Since the successful launch of The Ride New York in 2010, Lindsay has been the lead producer on large scale special events for leading financial and tech brands and has played a critical role in events including the opening of the Observation Deck of One World Trade Center.

Mikenzie Ames – General Manager

Mikenzie Ames first stepped into the world of immersive theater while stage-managing Sleep No More. Her commitment to creating mysterious and magical environments to ignite curiosity was so compelling that she began to consider the possibilities of theater beyond the traditional formats that had defined the genre to date. Branching out from proscenium theater, where she was technically trained, Mikenzie explored the community of artists growing under the traditional theatrical experience and was lead to PLAY/DATE. There she discovered that she could use her experience to create a life-changing experience in captivatingly intimate ways. She is proud to be continuing her work with Counts and the Paradiso team as the leader of the day-to-day operations of the project.

Katie Fleming – Associate Scenic Designer and Art Director

Katie Fleming is a production designer whose work spans traditional and experimental theatre as well as film and wide range of immersive and special events. She has collaborated on the creation of the tactile worlds that define the core of many immersive theatrical productions including Sleep No More (Boston and New York), Queen of the Night and The Empire Travel Agency. Driven by the belief that artists have always expanded the methods and form of storytelling and today that involves complete immersion. She his proud to work with the Paradiso team in building a thrilling and expansive world, and ultimately to elevating the puzzle-heavy escape room genre to a sensorial and narrative immersive experience.

Caleb Sharp – Associate Creative Director and Sound Designer

While pursuing an industrial engineering degree at Virginia Tech, Caleb Sharp landed unexpectedly on America’s Got Talent as a part of the black light illusion performance group Fighting Gravity. His non-traditional approach to theater led him to New York and working with Michael Counts on a variety of projects including Play/Date, The Beacon at the Lake Nona Town Center, and The Walking Dead Experience. Caleb is excited to contribute his longtime background in photography, film and sound to the production design and overall experience of Paradiso.

Gabriel Evansohn – Production and Technical Director

Gabriel Hainer Evansohn is a production designer and production manager specializing in creating immersive physical landscapes. For over 10 years he has worked to create interactive worlds for audiences and performers to inhabit, blurring the lines between everyday reality and fiction. He has created installations in theatrical spaces, boats, parks, museums, subways, nightclubs, churches, abandoned buildings and street corners. He is a founder and director of production of Woodshed Collective, where he designed and production managed, Empire Travel Agency, The Tenant, The Confidence Man, 12 Ophelias. He is a founder and partner of Iron Bloom Creative Production. He was the production manager for Queen of the Night at the Diamond Horseshoe and he is excited to continue pushing the boundaries of immersive experience design with Michael Counts on Paradiso.

Beside Digital – Video and Show Control

BeSide Digital (lead by video designers Matthew Haber and Phillip Gulley) is a video and show control design firm that combines extensive experience throughout the performance, event, and installation fields. Driven by an innovative approach to providing experiential design services Beside Digital created the 2015 tour for RATATAT, special events for GQ, Armani, and the Sundance Festival, as well as events and projects for The NYC Transit Museum, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With Michael Counts, Beside created a series of groundbreaking holographic visual effects and state-of-the-art show control systems for The Walking Dead Experience. They are proud to be joining Counts and his team again on Paradiso and are thrilled at the prospect of breaking new ground with this unique and innovative production. (http://www.besidedigital.com)

Ryan O’Gara – Lighting Designer

Ryan O’Gara is a top Broadway and Off-Broadway lighting designer who works independently and as the main assistant to Broadway legend Howell Binkley. With Howell, Ryan’s credits include the smash hit Hamilton, as well as other productions including Tony Award winner Avenue Q, Dr. Zhivago and Honeymoon in Las Vegas. Ryan’s independent credits include: The Little Prince, Santuary, Tail! Spin!, Useless, Lady Day at the Little Shubert Theatre, The Mysterious Hat, Brazil Brazil, Knuckle Heads Zoo and Black Violin at the New Victory Theatre, Michael Counts’ “Moses in Egypt” for New York City Opera, Play/Date at Fat Baby and THE RIDE New York, Andrea Thome’s Pinkolandia, Lourds Lane’s  Chix 6, John Maran’s A Raw Space and A Strange and Separate People, Stephen Stahl’s Straight to Hell and Norman Doesmen, David Straussman’s Dummy as well as various designs for The Sonnet Repertory Company, Lincoln Center Festival, NYU/Playwrights Horizons, and the Westbeth Theatre Center.

Conor Mulligan – Associate Lighting Designer

Conor Mulligan is a New York based lighting designer who spends his time freelancing between design and assistant design work. As an assistant designer Conor has worked with a wide range of top companies including: Lincoln Center Festival, San Francisco Opera, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and the New York City Ballet. While Conor’s work has been primarily in theatre, and in a traditional format, he is excited to be working on an immersive experience. The possibility for a visceral and tactile experience for an audience makes Paradiso a thrilling project that he is proud to work on.

Tricia Barsamain – Costume Designer

Tricia Barsamian is an artist and costume designer with a wide range of experience in traditional and immersive theater. As an associate costume designer for Susan Hilferty, Tricia worked on the Broadway productions of Annie, Hands on a Hardbody, Wonderland, Sondheim on Sondheim, The Marriage of Bette and Boo. Additionally, she served as the associate costume designer on the groundbreaking immersive theatrical nightclub production, The Queen of the Night at The Diamond Horseshoe.

CAST

Joe Laureiro

Joe is a native of Yonkers, NY and was most recently seen onstage at the Cutting Room in “Truffles: A Murder Mystery Jazz Dinner”.

A history buff, Joe dreams of returning to his new favorite place on earth, Venice, Italy. When he’s not onstage, Joe can be found in Harlem slinging coffee, or at home doing laundry. 

Karen Li

Karen Li is the founder and artistic director of Consume & Company, a New York based immersive dinner theater company. Their work incorporates food and drink in the telling of stories inspired by cultural legends and mythologies. In her spare time, Karen pines for the fish tacos in her home state of California. 

Tim Haber

From Hamburg, Germany. A graduate of Circle in the Square, recent credits include ‘Play/Date’, ‘Drunk Shakespeare’ and ‘A Different Sun’. Lover of puppies, HBO’s The Wire and all Boston Sports teams. 

Claire Sanderson

Claire is originally from England and has lived in New York for six years. Recent credits involve dancing around a Brooklyn warehouse in Othello and getting hit in the face with teabags for a commercial for Avon. When she’s not being abused by British-based beverages, she likes to run. Like, a lot. She’s ran two marathons so far this year and plans to add three more to that total in the fall. She’s very excited to be a part of Paradiso! Check out her website at www.clairesanderson.com

Sarah Jun

Sarah Jun is a New York City actress interested in all aspects of performance, film to theater to producing. She would like to thank the audience for coming out to this unique experience and hopes they enjoyed their time. www.sarah-jun.com

Macy Idzakovich

Hobbies include buying musical instruments without prior knowledge of how to play them, slowly prepping her dogs for West Minster greatness, loving New York City, and trying to be a tech-savvy millennial. Numerous NYC theatrical credits and degrees under her belt.

Caitlin Davis

Caitlin Davis is a Brooklyn based actor living with a karaoke addiction. Caitlin recently starred in the independent pilot Missionary Style based on the UCB musical, and was seen on stage at Signature Theatre in Usual Girls. Credits at CaitlinDavis.org

Brain Alford

Brian Alford is an actor/writer/translator/model who hails from New Mexico. He is a founding member of Decent Company, could be seen on stage most recently in Guests at Columbia University, and appears as various recurring characters in Lonely Cactus’ Cour de Bonheur webseries. brianjalford.com

Paris Crayton III

Paris Crayton III was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri. He is an award winning playwright/actor/director and the Artistic Director of Rising Sage theatre in Atlanta Georgia. Recent theatre credits include, Crazyanity, Chainz, Jitney, and Superior Donuts. Learn more about him at www.ParisCrayton3.com

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