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"Oak, which has been in development at Urbanite since receiving the organization’s 2020 Charles Rowan Beye New Play Commission, is a Southern Gothic horror at its core, mixing bone-chilling scares with themes of racial identity and prejudice." - SRQ Daily

OAK by Terry Guest

Directed by Mikael Burke

A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

May 31 to June 30, 2024


It’s 7pm. Do you know where your children are? It’s snatching season, and town-wide curfew regulations have fostered a culture of fear in the community along Odella Creek. Too many have fallen victim to the freedoms promised by the red-eyed monster...Will cousins Suga, Big Man, and Pickle resist temptation, or become the next names in the morning news? Step into the darkness and experience the terror firsthand in the new Southern Gothic horror, OAK.

Headshot of playwright Terry Guest

Meet the Playwright


Terry Guest is a 3-time Jeff Award-winning playwright, actor, director, and teaching artist. His play THE MAGNOLIA BALLET had its National New Play Network (NNPN) rolling world premiere in 2022 and has since gone on to win two Jeff Awards, the NNPN Best New American Play Award, and was featured on NPR. Terry went on to direct his play MARIE ANTOINETTE AND THE MAGICAL NEGROS at the Story Theatre, which won three Jeff Awards (including Best Director and Best New Play for Terry).


Other works include: AT THE WAKE OF A DEAD DRAG QUEEN, THE MADNESS OF MARY TODD (Goodman Playwrights Unit Commission), and A GHOST IN SATIN (Williamstown Theatre Festival). As an actor, Terry has worked at regional theatres including Goodman Thetare, Steppenwolf, Alliance Theatre, About Face Theatre, and Actors Express.

Meet the Director


Mikael Burke is a Chicago-based director, deviser, and educator. A Princess Grace Award-winner in Theatre and Jeff Award-nominated director, Mikael has worked with Goodman Theatre, About Face Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Raven Theatre, Jackalope Theatre Company, First Floor Theater, American Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, The Story Theatre, Refracted Theatre Company, and Windy City Playhouse in Chicago, and regionally with Yale Repertory Theatre, Theatreworks Hartford, Forward Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Phoenix Theatre - Indianapolis, and Third Avenue Playworks. Mikael previously served as Associate Artistic Director of About Face Theatre and has taught at Depaul, Roosevelt, and Butler Universities. Recent directing credits include Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler; the American premiere of Routes by Rachel De-Lahay, The Wanderers by Anna Ziegler, Shakespeare’s Richard III, The Magnolia Ballet by Terry Guest (2022 Jeff Award – Production, Short Run); Fireflies by Donna R. Love (Black Theatre Alliance Award – Best Direction of an Ensemble)

Headshot of director Mikael Burke, taken by Collin Quinn Rice + Syd Genco
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Jaeda LaVonne

Playing Suga

(she/her) Jaeda LaVonne is a Chicago-based actress with recent credits that include: RICHARD III, TWELFTH NIGHT (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); THE OCTOBER STORM (Raven Theatre); CHLORINESKY (U/S) (Steppenwolf Theatre Company). Other Regional Theater credits include: TONI STONE, DANCE NATION (Unicorn Theatre); THE TEMPEST (Heart of America Shakespeare Festival). LaVonne has an MFA in Acting from University of Missouri-Kansas City. LaVonne is an adjunct professor at Morton College and represented by GrayTalent Group.

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William Rose II

Playing Big Man

(he/him) This will be William’s very first production outside of Chicago, and he could not be more excited for it to be on the Urbanite stage! Embracing a brand-new era in his artistic world, most recent credits include: the adorably charming nerd Kevin in INANIMATE (Theater Wit), Jeff Award-winning Performance for Performer in a Principle Role for a hypnotizing Tambo in TAMBO & BONES (Refracted Theater Co), a sweetly troubled Lyons in FENCES (American Blues Theater), a regal and explosively passionate King Christophe in THE TRAGEDY OF KING CHRISTOPHE (The House Theater Chicago), and a score of others! In addition to his work onstage, he can also be seen in a few commercials and films, as well as doing some work as a voiceover actor, and dabbling in writing. William is so excited for the chance to share what he loves to do most and to tell you a story. Please enjoy.

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Trezure B. Coles

Playing Pickle

(she/her) Originally from Newport News, Virginia, Trezure is a recent MFA graduate of FSU Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Some of her works include: INTIMATE APPAREL, INHERIT THE WIND, & EUREKA DAY (Asolo Rep), STICK FLY, LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST (FSU Conservatory), ANTONY & CLEOPATRA, EURYDICE (TAM), COMEDY OF ERRORS (VA Stage Company), ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, THE COLOR PURPLE (NSU Theatre Company). She would like to give thanks and send her deepest gratitude to her family near and far, the Coles and Tillery family.

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DeAnna Wright*

Playing Peaches

(she/her) Originally brought up in High Springs, FL, DeAnna S. Wright has lived in several places that have helped cultivate her artistry and humanity, including Philadelphia, New Jersey/NYC, and Sarasota. As an overall artist, DeAnna engages in acting, singing, and rhythmic movement, which all help to bring a blend of skills to her artistry. A graduate of the FSU Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, DeAnna now serves on the faculty of her alma mater. Her journey in the theater world has taken her to regional theaters across the country, where she has portrayed a diverse range of characters. Notable credits include Jane Bennet in PRIDE & PREJUDICE at Creede Repertory Theatre in Colorado, Sophie in FLYIN' WEST at Quintessence Theatre in Philadelphia, and Angela in NATURAL SHOCKS, a one-woman show held at Hope Repertory Theatre in Michigan. DeAnna has recently garnered attention for her performance as the leading lady in the award-winning full-length feature film ALONE|TOGETHER, which premiered at the prestigious Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA. She is moved to be invited back to Urbanite for this dynamic production.

*Member of Actors Equity Association 

Meet the Cast




Director & Video Designer


Production Stage Manager/ Prop Designer


Production Manager/Technical Director/Light Designer


Assistant Stage Manager


Sound Designer


Costume Designer


Scenic Designer


Master Carpenter


Scenic Charge


Graffiti Artist



May 31 to June 30, 2024









Content Note: haze, fog, flashing lights, gunshot sounds, discussions of slavery and racism, sexual violence, and adult language. 

*Thursday performances are part of our Talkback Thursday series. Talkbacks are moderated discussions with the cast that take place after the performance, offering audiences an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the show.

**Must present valid ID.

Special Thanks to Our Producers

Producing Partner

George Steitz

Anne & Tony Serdula
Barbara & Daniel O’Keefe
Dick & Betty Watt Nitmz
Jorgen & Esther Jensen
Miriam & Charles Wood
Smile Sarasota
Executive Producers
Gulf Coast Community Foundation
Associate Producers

All We Are

Emilie Robinson

Georgia Higgins

Jill & Stephen Bell

Karen & Werner Gundersheimer

Nanette Crist

Scott Talbot Lewis & Tony Gibbons

Susan Talarico & Mike Sundermeyer

Urbanite Theatre is dedicated to telling new, evocative stories that tackle complex topics. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis or needs assistance, please visit the link below.
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