Mark Nutter, Co-Creator
MARK NUTTER grew up in a motel near Joliet, Illinois, which is not as glamorous as it sounds. He started playing piano when he was seven, and before long he was playing in church. He wrote his first play when he was thirteen, called The Christmas Pizza, which was also performed in church (the same church). Much later, Mark wrote and performed music and comedy in Chicago with The Second City and the critically acclaimed group Friends of the Zoo. He went on to write for television (Saturday Night Live, Third Rock from the Sun) and movies (Almost Heroes starring the late Chris Farley). He wrote the songs for Wild Men!, a send-up of the men’s movement that featured George Wendt. Mark wrote the music and lyrics, co-wrote the book, and performed in the four-man absurd musical The Bicycle Men, which was named Outstanding Overall Production at the New York Fringe Festival and played in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Edinburgh. He is the winner of both the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and the LA Weekly Theater Award for his music & lyrics for ReAnimator: The Musical. When he was told that he should meet Cynthia Carle because “she’s seen The Bicycle Men seven times,” he responded, “Why would I want to meet her? She sounds insane.” Eventually he DID meet her and discovered that she WAS insane – but insane in a creative and endearing way, the same type of insane that Nutter aspires to, although he’s having trouble with the endearing part. Together they went on to create a bunch of stuff together, including Christmas Smackdown and Dr. Dung Beetle’s House of Dreams. Yeah, probably his sister.
CYNTHIA CARLE, Co-Creator
CYNTHIA CARLE has screenwriting credits including The Sixth Man, You Wish, for which she was a Humanitas Award finalist, and the upcoming revenge road-trip comedy Sharkpunching in America. As an actor, she’s been on Broadway (where she was once drawn by Al Hirschfeld in the NY Times with a Nina in her hair), Off-Broadway, and at theaters including the Taper, the Guthrie and Actors Theatre of Louisville, whooshing around in long dresses with corsets and fancy accents which they trained her to do at Carnegie Mellon University by tossing small fish as rewards. In Louis Malle’s film Alamo Bay she played the doomed wife of Ed Harris. Singing her own songs, on topics ranging from love to artificial dog testicles, and accompanying herself on guitar, ukelele, or plastic Slinky, she has appeared at venues including Comedy Central Stage's Sit 'n Spin, TopTune, Mbar, Genghis Cohen, Molly Malone's, the Fanatic Salon, Bob Stane’s Coffee Gallery, the West Bank in NY and in Paul Provenza’s ¡Satiristas! For Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator the Musical, whose brilliant score was written by the redoubtable Mark Nutter, she played the downer Dr. Harrod at the Steve Allen, the Hayworth, New York Musical Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, and Las Vegas’s Smith Center, and was nominated by LA Weekly for best choreography. As choral geek, she's sung alto in Beethoven's Ninth under Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel (not all at the same time). Christmas Smackdown is one of three shows she’s created with Mark Nutter, who may or may not turn out to be her brother. The others are In Alphabetical Order and Dr. Dung Beetle’s House of Dreams. She does not know what “redoubtable” means.
BRIAN GILLESPIE is a producer, writer, and performer based in Los Angeles. He’s currently working on a new series called The Next Marijuana Millionaire. Or, he’s back at Celebrity Big Brother for season 2…depending on how late in the run you’ve come. And now, a smattering of recent jobs producing television: Very Cavallari, Big Brother, Better Late Than Never, This Is Life: Live, Catching Kelce, The Quick And The Curious, Close Before Midnight, Natural Born Monsters. Some of his theatrical endeavors include co-creating the live musical event Hipsteret, with Brent Kyle, and producing the horror-rock-circus, Shapeshifter: The Carnival Underneath. Oh, and he once wrote and illustrated a book of creepy poetry called The Smiling Man: And Other Weird Works (makes an excellent gift!) THANK YOU Cynthia and Mark for sharing your bonkers genius and inviting me back for the Christmas miracle that is THE CHRISTMAS SMACKDOWN!
LIESEL HANSON’s favorite holiday tradition is Smackdown, and she is so happy to be performing in it again this year! Previous projects include the Lionsgate horror film Children of Sorrow and the original cast of Re-animator the Musical. You can also catch her onstage as a Theatre of Note company member, and in the action/thriller feature Happy Hunting (now streaming on Netflix). Oh and PS...Bah humbug.
GRAHAM SKIPPER is thrilled to be returning to Christmas Smackdown, to spread holiday cheer and easily returnable gifts! He is best known for originating the role of Herbert West in Stuart Gordon's Re-animator the Musical, as well as starring in Almost Human, The Mind’s Eye, Beyond the Gates, and most recently the Christmas horror film All The Creatures Were Stirring. Graham's feature directorial debut Sequence Break.