About Us

What Is The Big Bear Theatre Project?

Big Bear Theatre Project Mission Statement

The Big Bear Theatre Project is an ensemble dedicated to artistic excellence. Through our productions we will strive to fire the imagination and to celebrate what it is to be human. We will encourage and nurture new talent and maintain a commitment to cultivating the next generation of theatre artists. We seek to explore the limits of theatrical experience and to make theatre exhilarating, inspirational, and accessible to all.

Big Bear Theatre Project
… Featured Players …

Big Bear Theatre Project | Brian AdamsBRIAN ADAMS is a veteran of dozens of theatre roles and jobs, both on stage and behind the scenes. Brian has been the musical director for productions of “Hans Christian Anderson”, “Oliver!”, “Annie”, “Carousel”, “The Sound of Music”, and “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”. He has portrayed Curly in “Oklahoma!”, Pseudolus in “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum”, Uncle Max in “The Sound Of Music”, Marcellus in “The Music Man”, and Nicely-Nicely in “Guys and Dolls”. Brian is also the director for Simply Voices, a local a cappella octet. An educator for over 25 years, Brian lives in Big Bear with his wife, Helen, and son, Spencer.

Big Bear Theatre Project | Steve CasslingSTEVE CASSLING has been acting professionally for almost 30 years. He is a founding member of The Big Bear Theatre Project, whose first production was last year’s well-received “Almost, Maine”. After studying Theatre Performance at Boston University, Steve joined the acting company of the prestigious “Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, appearing in dozens of productions from “Cyrano de Bergerac” to “Pinocchio”. He spent twenty years in Los Angeles working in commercials and television shows such as “General Hospital”, “The Young and The Restless”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, “Murphy Brown”, “Murder She Wrote”, and “The Facts of Life”. He worked on several films including the horror classics, A Nightmare on Elm Street and “Re-Animator” and sang on the soundtracks for “X-Men 2” and “Dudley Do-Right”. His voice can be heard in numerous Anime series such as “Giant Robo” and “Ghost In The Shell, as well as a number of PlayStation and X-Box games.

Since moving with his family to Big Bear in 2004, Steve has appeared in local productions of “Carousel”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Guys and Dolls”, and “Fandance”. He directed and appeared as King Arthur in “Camelot” and brought Panto to Big Bear with his two-man versions of “Robin Hood” and “The Wizard of Oz” which he had previously performed at the Pasadena Playhouse. Steve also wrote, directed, and appeared in the hilarious Pantos, “A Christmas Carol Askew” and last summer’s “Treasure Island” at the Big Bear Discovery Center. This last Christmas season, Steve directed and starred in “It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play”, playing the role of George Bailey, and early this year played Richard Hannay in “The 39 Steps, the fourth production of The Big Bear Theatre Project. He also sings with the local a cappella group, Simply Voices. Steve, his beautiful wife Michelle, and their son Spencer own and operate No Name Pizza in Big Bear City.

Big Bear Theatre Project | Steve GaghagenSTEVE GAGHAGEN made his return to the Big Bear stage, after a hiatus of several years, with “Almost, Maine”, the premiere production of The Big Bear Theatre Project. Most anyone who attends theatre in Big Bear will be familiar with his name and the dramatic and comedic roles he’s brought to life for our Big Bear audiences. After studying at the renowned Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy, and also in private instruction with Lee Strasberg, one of the creators of “The Method“, Steve embarked on a long career “down the hill” playing in regional theatre productions of “Damn Yankees”, “42nd Street”, “Oliver!” and “The Music Man”. Along more serious lines, he was one of the founders of An Claidheahm Soluis – The Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles, and starred there in such well-received productions as “Famine”, “The Hostage”, and “Dylan”.

Upon moving to Big Bear, Steve became familiar to Big Bear audiences as Charlie in “Brigadoon”, Billy Bigelow in “Carousel”, Frank Butler in “Annie Get your Gun”, Felix Ungar in “The Odd Couple”, Harold Hill in “The Music Man”, Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady”, Fagin in “Oliver!”, El Gallo in “The Fantastiks”, Jud in “Oklahoma!”, Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, and, possibly most memorably, as Don Quixote/Cervantes in “Man of La Mancha”. Along the way, Steve also directed and starred in such memorable Big Bear productions as “The Miracle Worker”, “A Thousand Clowns”, “Life With Father”, “The Lion In Winter”, and the production he considers the high-point of his theatrical life, “The Laramie Project”. Last summer you may have enjoyed seeing “The Steves”, both Cassling and Gaghagen, as they presented their Panto version of “Treasure Island” at The Big Bear Discovery Center. Steve is proud to have lent his talents to last year’s Big Bear Theatre Project productions of “It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play”, playing the much-hated Mr. Potter, and Joseph, the angel, as well as the hilarious farce, “The 39 Steps”, in which he portrayed too many characters to count.

Big Bear Theatre Project | Dustin MurphyDUSTIN MURPHY was born and raised in southern California. He started performing at an early age, having been featured in a variety of theater groups spanning the Inland Empire of Southern California, including a few shows with CATS in the late 1990’s. Most notably, at the age of 14 he received an Inland Empire Theater League Award for his portrayal as the title role in “Tom Sawyer”.

It wasn’t long after his introduction to acting that he found his passion for film, performing a variety of technical and creative job titles in well over 20 of his own award-winning student films during his junior high and high school years. During his last year of high school, Murphy moved to Colorado, becoming a four-year regular performer, writer, director, and choreographer at the “Backstage Theatre” of Breckinridge, Colorado (Winner: Colorado Theater League’s 2010 Outstanding Regional Theater; a season where Murphy wrote, directed, and starred in his first play).

Since then, Murphy has moved back to California to pursue a career in film, having written several feature screenplays, some of which are currently under option awaiting production. In late 2010, Murphy embarked on his passion project, founding the online comedy show, Happy Hour Sketch Comedy, currently beginning its third season. You can also see a selection of Dustin Murphy’s highlights online at www.DustinMurphy.net. Dustin has appeared three times with the Big Bear Theatre project. He played multiple roles in “Almost, Maine”, the frantic Stage Manager in “It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Pla”, and multiple roles again in “The 39 Steps”.

Big Bear Theatre Project | Julisa Lyn SmiithJULISA LYN SMITH recently moved to Big Bear from Los Angeles, is excited about her participation with the Big Bear Theatre Project. If you saw “The 39 Steps”, you’ll remember Julisa’s wonderful performance as all 3 ladies Richard Hannay encounters in his travels. Falling in love with the theatre and performing at an early age, Julisa has explored the many facets of the theatre world. From hanging lights to spouting Shakespearian soliloquies, from painting sets to directing, she loves it all. Julisa recently expanded her performing to the big screen … and the small … while living in Hollywood, and has also been taken up with a love of silent film-making. In her free time she also teaches “Laughter Yoga“. No …seriously! She also writes and edits a really entertaining blog. You can find that at www.JulisaLyn.com.

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