The members of this traveling troupe come from Washington, D.C.: Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California and New York State with performance credentials in drama, comedy, dance and children’s theater, to name just a few.
Fred Michael Beam
Fred Michael Beam is the outreach coordinator for Sunshine 2.0. He is an experienced performer with acting credits that include Nicholas in “By the Music of the Spheres” at the Goodman Theater, Harry in “Harry the Dirty Dog” at the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts; Witness in “Miracle Workers” and Stranger in “Mad Dancer” at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; “Fall Out Shelter,” “The Dirt Maker” and “The Underachiever” at the Kennedy Center; the title character in “Othello” at Gallaudet University; and Steve in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at SignRise Cultural Arts in Washington, D.C. He also performs in his one-man shows, “Fred Michael Beam: Sign Me a Story” and “Black, Deaf Male: Who Am I?,” which toured nationwide. He was a member of “I Didn't Hear That Color,” the first black deaf play ever produced. His television and film credits include “If You Could Hear My Own Tune,” “The West Wing,” “Secret Dream,” “Little Lonely Monster,” “Deaf Mosaic” and “The New Captain Kangaroo,” for which he won the 2000 Media Access Award.
A dancer, director and choreographer, Beam has worked with the Gallaudet Dance Company, the National Deaf Dance Theatre, the DuPont Dance Company, the Penn Vision Dance Company and the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts. He has performed around the globe, including in Africa, Australia, Egypt, England, France, Jamaica, Japan, Sweden, South America and the Virgin Islands. He also was choreographer for the production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Open Circle Theater in Washington, D.C.
He is executive director of Invisible Hands, Inc., which promotes deaf awareness through performing arts and was a founding member of The Wild Zappers, an all deaf male dance company. He also established Theater Arts Leadership Training for Deaf People of Color at Gallaudet University. Beam established the Black Deaf Expo and has hosted it since 2003, providing the Deaf Black Community the opportunity to stand proud, displaying their culture.
Beam also was a board member of Quest for Arts, Inc., the Governor's Advisory Committee on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities in Maryland and a former president of District of Columbia Black Deaf Advocates. For his outstanding work with the deaf community, Beam was chosen one of “Essence Magazine’s” Real Men of the Year, and has been “DEAF LIFE” magazine’s Deaf Person of the Month.
Shiann is a Cleveland native who recently relocated to Rochester to join the Sunshine 2.0 team. Shiann went to Cleveland School of the Arts where she studied dance under the instruction of former Dayton Contemporary Dance Company member, Terrance Greene. She has performed at the International Association of Black Dance conference in Denver, Colorado, and has traveled around the country performing professionally. Shiann also studied theater for two years under the leadership of Dr. Scott Miller and Nina Domingue- Glover where she was taught African American theater, classical theater and how to direct, write and produce her own plays. Shiann grew up in church praise dancing under the leadership of her mother Selena Pittman, who eventually gave Shiann the opportunity to teach and choreograph for the ministry. Shiann loves singing, dancing and acting but apart from that she enjoys watching movies and spending time with family and friends.
Jerald is a true traveler. He was born in Richmond, Virginia, and lived in Frankfort, Germany, for few years. Jerald then moved back to America, at age 5. Growing up, Jerald attended a mainstreamed school program in the south, where he lived with his family. He lived in Rochester, New York, most of his young adult life. Jerald graduated from RIT with Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Master of Science in Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (MSSE) degrees. He has been acting and dancing since the age of 6. His strengths in dance include Ballet and Jazz among others. Career highlights include his participation in programs with the Garth Fagan Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance, Rochester Association Performing Arts (RAPA Playhouse) and RIT Dance Company.
Many of Jerald's friends and other professionals say, he should be in show business. His goal is to become famous in the Black Entertainment Industry.
Hayden Orr grew up performing and working on the West Coast. He describes himself as a typical Portlander who spends most of his free time studying and creating art or reading literature. He actually performed in “Portlandia,”a sketch-comedy series that parodies life in Portland, Oregon. He performed in various ASL Poetry competitions in the Northwest before deciding to go into theatre and is a recent graduate of Vancouver School of Art and Academics where he studied physical theatre, traditional theatre and dance, and did a little mask making as well. Some of his productions include “Guys and Dolls,” “Little Women,” “The Boyfriends,” and Vital Force's “The Inevitable Consequence of Gravity, or There Once Was a Fish,” and many other shows. He also has worked with many physical theatre and physical-based performance companies such as Imago, Vital Force, and PTC. His specialty is physical theatre and non-traditional theatre. He has had experience working backstage countless times in various job positions.
In the past, Orr often has been the only Deaf person in a hearing cast or theater company, so he decided to take a break from that experience and audition for Sunshine 2.0 so he could work with other Deaf artists and grow his skills as a dancer. Orr says he always has enjoyed dancing and studying dance, so performing with Sunshine 2.0 gives him the opportunity to study under two very accomplished Deaf dancers.
Lauren “Ren” Putz
Lauren “Ren” Putz is a Chicago native who grew up performing in ASL with the International Center on Deafness and the Arts in addition to touring with their Traveling Hands Troupe. She studied film at Rochester Institute of Technology before leaving to join the Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening on Broadway under the direction of Tony nominee Michael Arden. As a swing for Spring Awakening, Ren made her professional acting debut as Thea and ultimately understudied five different roles. Ren was featured along with her Spring Awakening cohorts in singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson’s music video, Hell No, which they also performed on The Today Show. Her most recent credits include The Public’s production of Liz Swados’ RUNAWAYS at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, under the direction of Tony-nominated choreographer Sam Pinkleton. Ren is deeply passionate about the empowerment of young Deaf artists, and she is thrilled to join Sunshine 2.0 this season!