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DEANA VELANDRA is excited to make her debut with Traveling Lantern! Deana grew up in southeast Michigan. This May, she graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a BA in Theatre. Some of her favorite artistic endeavors from college include Hamlet, Under Construction, The Tempest, a devised project called The Line Between, and a play she wrote and directed last year, Her Real Name Was. Right after graduation Deana got to go on tour with a Sonder Theatre Company. Deana is new to Chicago, having just moved there in June to pursue her dreams as an actress and playwright.
DJ COPLAND is excited to be returning to Traveling Lantern for his second year! A 2013 graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, DJ has appeared in several festival shows throughout Manhattan and has even won a Supporting Actor Award with Square One Theatre Company. DJ is looking forward to once again helping to make kids laugh, cheer and learn all over the east coast!
Jason Buttafoco
JASON BUTTAFOCO is honored to be working for Traveling Lantern. After a few years of halfhearted attempts, in 2014 he quit his high paying 9- 5 job to pursue a full time career in the arts, beginning his career a bit later than most at the age of 28. Born and raised in San Francisco, he believes his unique upbringing in one of the most diverse cities in the world has given him the tools to connect with all different kinds of audiences. He looks forward to bringing his talents on the road and entertaining kids (and hopefully adults too) all over the bay area!
Kourtney Smith
KOURTNEY SMITH is delighted to be joining Traveling Lantern for another season of shows; but on another coast this time! She first joined TL in Portland, OR performing in The Sword in the Stone, A Christmas Carol and The Ribbles Build a Residence. Previous credits include Ellie the Elemental in the Rudie-Decarlo original Annabelle and the Snow Queen Express at the Santa Monica Playhouse, Michael Darling in Margaret Larlham’s Peter Pan + Wendy and as Princess Penelope in the Elly-nominated Princess and the Pea at the 24th Street Theatre. In addition to performing, Kourtney was a teaching artist at the Northwest Children’s Theatre outreach program. She hopes every school and library loves our shows as much as she loves being involved in them!
RORY PATTISON is excited to begin his first season with Traveling Lantern! An ICU nurse on the side, it has been his longtime dream to return to his theater roots and play among the thespians. With credits ranging from Atticus Finch to Danny Zuko, Rory is honored to join the cast and crew of A Christmas Carol in one of the greatest stories ever written. Born in Eugene, OR, he lives in Portland with his lovely wife and cats.
Samantha Nakagaki
SAMANTHA NAKAGAKI is thrilled to be joining the Traveling Lantern family! It has been quite an acting journey for Samantha—starting college at UC Davis as a chemical engineer and graduating with a BA in Theatre made a pretty big impact on her life. To this day, it has been the best decision she has ever made because she feels Theatre is really what helped her grown as a person. She hopes she can spread and share this magical experience with everyone she encounters. And TL is the perfect place to do so! And to make it even better, she gets to act with her best friend and partner in crime, Jason Buttafoco.
SAM LEVI As a TL veteran, Sam is ecstatic to be back and touring his favorite show: A Christmas Carol! Other TL credits include Ranger Ned's Big Adventure, Benjamin Franklin, Johnny Appleseed, Greek Mythology, and more! When not with TL, Sam is an active member of the Portland, OR acting and stage managing scene. Some favorite shows include Sense and Sensibility, Antony and Cleopatra, One Slight Hitch, The Taming of The Shrew, Three Sisters, Good People, The Foreigner, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Urinetown.
Taylor Pittman
TAYLOR PITTMAN begins his second tour with Traveling Lantern this Winter season. He made his debut in 2016’s Vladimir Goes for Gold. His love for performing came at a young age when his preschool teachers would make him and the other students perform short holiday pieces for visiting parents. The idea of getting to pretend all day appealed to him so much that he decided to make a living out of it. In 2017, he began touring with Historical Perspectives for Children, playing Benjamin Franklin. After many positive responses HPC asked Taylor if he would like to continue for another year, an offer that he accepted on the spot.
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