Meet the Cast of The Grace Of God & The Man Machine

About the Cast:

TAIT RUPPERT (Richard Middleman Sr.) Theatre credits include:  Broadway: Candida, Off-Broadway: Album (Cherry Lane Theatre), Lone Star.   Regional Theatre credits include: Another Country (Long Wharf Theatre), Anna Christie (Odyssey Theatre L.A.) The Matchmaker.  New Jersey Regional credits include:  Later Life, Accomplice, Our Mother’s Brief Affair, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Wizard of Oz.  Most recently appeared as Charlie in The Bridges of Madison County (SOPAC) and Sam in the world premiere of Lily (by Christopher Daftsios) at New Jersey Rep.   Film and TV credits include: Diner, Swordfish, Clean, Veronica’s Closet, Mad TV, Everything’s Fine (award winning short), Getting On.

SHEILA-JOON AZIM (Belle O’Brien) is thrilled to be reprising the role of Belle from the 2018 Fringe Production! Select stage credits include: The Blasphemer at The Duke Theatre, Carefully Taught & Astoria Stories at APAC, East Village Chronicles at The Metropolitan Playhouse, as well as Judith Shakespeare, Squeaky Bicycle, New Perspectives Theatre, The McCarter Theatre and George St. Playhouse. A Rockwell scholar at Primary Stages/ESPA she's been in several staged readings at The Cherry Lane, 59 e. 59, Rattlestick Theatre, Drama League, The Lark, etc. She lives in Brooklyn with her two loves: Miles the dog and Mac her husband.                       

DUKE WILLIAMS (Onaje William Claggett) was born and raised on Long Island. He attended Buffalo State University where he received a Bachelors in Economics & Finance with a minor in theater arts. He trains at The Acting Studio LLC. Theater credits include: Romeo & Juliet (Romeo), The Brothers Size (Elegba) & The Dumb Waiter (Ben).  Film: The Dirty Kind (Raymond Caine), Santa Maria (Emmet), and Pillow Talk (Marcus).  He would like to thank his family for their support. 


TONI SEAWRIGHT (Sarah Claggett)
Seawright was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She attended Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi, where she was the first African American to earn a degree in music at Mississippi University for Women, and majored in Vocal Music and Business at that university. Toni became the first African American to hold a recital in vocal music at MUW as well. She went on to compete for Miss W, the local chapter preliminary to the Miss America Pageant and won. This win put her in the position to compete for the state's Miss Mississippi Pageant in 1987. She went on to capture the coveted crown, making history as the very first African American to ever win. She was the fourth runner-up in the Miss America Pageant, representing the state of Mississippi in 1987.  Toni Seawright playing the mother of Parrish Diaz in Tony Clomax's 12 Steps to Recovery. Seawright sang background vocals for artists such as Teena Marie, Freddie Jackson, Tony Terry, RuPaul, Shaggy, and Laura Branigan. Seawright starred alongside Stephanie Mills and Andre DeShields in the musical The Wiz. Ms. Seawright made her Broadway debut in Street Corner Symphony and Delta Rising, both at the 651 Arts Theater. She also starred in the off-Broadway play Josh (The Black Babe Ruth)/Satchel (Requiem for Racism) at the National Federal Theater (also known as the Abron Arts Center), and Sister Ann in the AUDELCO award-winning play What Would Jesus Do? at the Billie Holiday Theater. Seawright most recently appeared starring as Miss Mamie in "The Widow and Miss Mamie" at the Harlem School of the Arts. Seawright is currently writing and producing material for her two sons, Qaasim Middleton and Khalil Middleton. The duo have worked with famed producers Full Force as well as Magick Blyss Entertainment, founded by Kevin Hunte, of So You Think You Can Dance fame. Seawright's ex-husband is Keith "Wild Child" Middleton, who starred in STOMP. The two had two sons together, Qaasim and Kahlil. Seawright has guest starred twice on the Nickelodeon musical comedy series The Naked Brothers Band, which co-stars her on-and-off-screen son, Qaasim, who appeared in HBO's The Music in Me. Seawright's younger son, Khalil, starred in Noggin's Jack's Big Music Show. Qaasim was a finalist on Season 14 of American Idol.

C.E. SMITH (Dan Claggett)
most recently seen in The Vineyard Theater’s production of ‘Low Down Dirty Blues’ directed and staged by Randal Mylar (Dir. Tony nominated ‘It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues’) and in Tracey Morgan’s TV show “The Last OG” as a featured singer. On stages across the country he was recently seen in ‘The Color Purple Broadway Revival National Tour’ as Ol’ Mister and the Preacher.  He was also seen in “Man of La Mancha” as the Padre’, in “Rock of Ages” as Ja’ Keith Gill and as Noah T .”Horse” Simmons in The Full Monty at the Alpine Theater Project in Whitefish, Montana.  He originated the role of Brother Amon in the Tony nominated musical ‘Leap of Faith’ on Broadway and is featured on the cast CD. He also starred as King Maximillian in the North Carolina Theater’s production of ‘Cinderella’. At the Milwaukee Rep he starred in the world premiere of ‘Soultime at the Apollo’ as the title character ‘Soultime’. C.E. was very honored to perform at the world renown Carnegie Hall with Chapman Roberts ‘Black Men on Broadway’ to recreate part the iconic number ‘Steppin’ To the Badside’ with Tony winner Ben Harney and Tony nominated Obba Babatunde. He also originated the character of Titus in the workshop of the Broadway bound musical ‘Leap of Faith’ and its World Premiere at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles that also starred Brook Shields. At the Maine State Musical Theater he was seen as Amonasro in ‘Aida’ and as Noah T. “Horse” Simmons in ‘The Full Monty”.  At the Denver Center Musical Theater he starred as ‘The Man’ in ‘Crowns, a role he also did in Philadelphia at the Prince Theater.    He was also a featured soloist in the world premier of ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ at the Auditorium de Lyon in Lyon France. He was also a featured soloist in a Motown Review at the world famous Sport Club in Monte Carlo.   C.E. appeared in the National Tour of 'Black Broadway' just after finishing the National Tour of ‘The Full Monty'.  He is also an original cast member of the Broadway production of 'The Full Monty’ that earned 10 Tony Awards nominations and was also in the San Diego Old Globe Theater World Premier.  He has appeared in the Broadway production of ‘It Ain't Nothing But the Blues’, which garnered 4 Tony nominations and is also a featured soloist on the Broadway cast album.  He has also starred in the Seattle Rep. Theater production of the Broadway musical " Play On' in the Tony nominated role of Jester.  In Cleveland, C.E. was featured in the Cleveland Playhouse production of 'Blues in the Night' as The Man in the Saloon.  C.E. also originated the role of C.J. in the Broadway premier of 'Street Corner Symphony.  His other Broadway, off-Broadway and touring credits include ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber'  (featured soloist), touring with the legendary Lena Horne in  ‘The Lady and Her Music', a National Tour of 'Ain't Misbehavin'', and 'Blues in the Night’ just to name a few.  In Europe he was seen as Jim in the hit musical 'Bubblin' Brown Sugar' (Royal Command Performance), 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Hair'.  In Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong he toured with and was the dance captain for a production of 'Ain't Misbehavin', in Japan with ' Blues in the Night', and in Melbourne Australia with 'Five Guys Named Moe' as Four-Eyed-Moe.  Back in the States he was seen as the diabolical Poppa Ge in ' Once On This Island' at the American Musical Theater in San Jose. At the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, C.E. originated the role of Senator Pullman in Jimmy Buffet's World Premier musical ' Don't Stop the Carnival’ written by the late Herman Wouk and is featured on the CD that went Gold soon after its release.  He also has under his belt many soap appearances, movies, and 17 national principal commercials.  He has also performed with many recording artists from Cee-Lo Green to Jimmy Buffet.

(Richard Middleman Jr.) is an actor and playwright in New York City. He's worked with the Riant Theatre before as the writer of BLANK GENERATION which semi-finalist in the Strawberry One-Act Festival. He hopes you enjoy the reading and stay safe creating out there.






is an actor based in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Boston, he began acting in high school often working with Greater Boston Stage Company. Haag studied musical theatre at CAP 21 Conservatory in New York City.







PETER MENDES (Henderson)
is a resident of Vermont; performing in regional theater and films throughout New England.  Stage roles include: Lucky in Waiting for Godot, Jack Mullen in The Weir, Ben Loman Death of a Salesman and Thomas Jefferson in 1776.  Recent film projects include: Charles in Brutus’ Bounty (Shades Repertory Theater); Bernard in In The Weeds (Pilot – Wilco Productions) and Lucy’s Dad in Kings and Queens (Thrive Productions).  Peter is pleased to join this talented team to tell this story at a very important time in our history.





(Narrator) is a veteran performer with over 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry. As the front man for his band “Reporter.,” as well as other music groups, he has logged thousands of live performances. He is also a songwriter, specializing in music for children. Rich has been a contestant on Ed McMahon’s “Star Search” and SONY Pictures’ “Jeopardy!” He has made appearances on local television in the Rochester, NY area and in several regional community theater productions.  Rich recently retired from a long term gig as an elementary school teacher and principal. In his spare time - which he has quite a lot of these days - he enjoys doing voiceover work for commercial and non-profit organizations.


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Donation: $15.00 to benefit Riant Theatre.

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