Meet the Artists

From Left To Right: Carl Shutoff, Shellie Shulkin, David S. Klein, Laura Ferri

Tales of the Alchemysts Theatre is a performance company committed to bringing provocative and entertaining Jewish literature, Jewish writers and live music to those who have an interest in good storytelling, and a desire to explore ideas relevant to humanity.

Shellie Shulkin (she/her):  Executive/Managing Director/Actor, has been a theatre artist for nearly 40 years performing in numerous productions both locally and nationally.  She has held positions as Co-Artistic Director at Seattle Public Theatre with founding member Beth Amsbary, and Associate Artistic Director with Gael Force Irish Theatre.  Favorite plays and roles include:  August: Osage County as Violet Weston at Balagan Theatre, The Diary of Anne Frank as Mrs. Van Daan, at Intiman, The Birthday Party as Meg, at CHAC, Three Viewingsas Virginia, with theater simple at the Spoleto Festival in S. Carolina, Our Lady of Sligo as Mai, with Gael Force Theatre, and Raymond Carver’s I Could See The Smallest Things at Seattle Mime Theatre.  Ms. Shulkin is also the recipient of the 2013 Gregory Award, The Broadway World Critic’s Pick Award, and a Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role for her portrayal of Violet Weston in August: Osage County at Balagan Theatre.

Laura Ferri (she/her): Artistic Director/Adapter, is a freelance performing artist, whose work as an actor, playwright and director has been seen in theatres across the country.  Deeply interested in the stories of immigrants beginning with the histories of her three immigrant grandparents, Laura was thrilled to adapt and direct Dreaming In American for our company.  As a founding member of Book-It Repertory Theatre, she has adapted and directed multiple novels for their mainstage and touring programs and selections of novels for the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library in conjunction with their Big Read programs.  Her direction of Prairie Nocturne won a Seattle Times Footlight Award for Best Production in 2012 as did her adaptation for A Tale For The Time Being, which won for Best Production in 2016.  Specializing in transforming primary source documents into performing pieces, her work has been commissioned by both the Seattle and Tacoma Arts Museums, Seattle Arts and Lectures, the Women’s University Club, the JT News, and the O.S.P.I. where she was awarded a Kip Tokuda grant to write and direct Friends Across the Wires, an original play about the American Incarceration of the Japanese during WWII. Laura has directed multiple musicals for the Anything Is Possible Theatre Company. During the pandemic, she co-wrote and directed their production of Flying Blind!, an audio presentation about the joys and challenges of life in the blind/low vision community featuring a cast of mostly blind and visually impaired actors.  For TOTA, she wrote and directed the Monsters, Magic and Mysticism audio plays as well as adapting and directing our most recent production, Somewhere Very Far Away.  Profoundly moved by the literature from women writers on the Holocaust, Laura is looking forward to staging her adaptation of that material, The Ruins of Memory, for our return to live theatre in the fall of 2022. She was recently awarded a US/UK Fulbright and will spend the first half of 2022 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, researching, writing and directing a play about the American Military presence in the province during WWII.

David S. Klein (he/him):  Actor, has been a working theatre artist for  50 years, performing in over 150 professional productions, as well as directing and teaching.  Before moving to Seattle in 1985, highlights include running a touring children’s theater in rural New England and performing at international avant-garde festivals in Baltimore and in Wroclaw, Poland.  He has helped start five theaters, both here and in Boston, including Book-It and Tales of the Alchemysts.  Seattle roles include Shylock in Merchant of Venice at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Solomon in Arthur Miller’s play The Price, and Jack in Neil Simon’s autobiographical plays Broadway Bound and Brighton Beach Memoirs at Tacoma Actors’ Guild and at the Stroum Jewish Community Center.  He has also performed with Music of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall and read Chanukah stories with NPR’s Susan Stamberg, also at Benaroya.  He has performed in all of our shows – Lost and Found in Love; Dreaming in American; Monsters, Magic and Mysticism; and our upcoming audio show, Somewhere Very Far Away.

Carl Shutoff (he/him): Musician/Musical Director, is a retired teacher with a formal educational background in French Literature and Special Education. He has been a professional musician in the Seattle area for more than 20 years.  He serves as a docent at the Holocaust Center for Humanity and volunteers at East African Community Services where he helps immigrants and refugees prepare for their naturalization interviews.  In addition to being the musical director for Tales of the Alchemysts, he has played clarinet for the last 18 years in a local Klezmer duo, Kesselgarden, with his friend and associate, Laurie Andres performing throughout King County and yearly at the Folklife Festival.  Most recently Carl was seen playing clarinet in Seattle Jewish Theatre Company’s My Name is Asher Lev.