American Wisdom: Bios

Josh_2Josh Lay (performer) is an actor, writer, comedian and video producer living in New York City. His work has been seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, VH1’s Best Week Ever, and Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. He performs both solo and with his sketch comedy group, Awful DJ, in various theaters around NYC including the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and The Peoples Improv Theatre. He is also a performer and teaching artist for the nationally respected education and media organization Story Pirates. His project Model Wife, a web series that he co-created, co-wrote, co-produced and stars in was nominated for a WGA award for Outstanding Writing in Original New Media, was an official selection of the New York Television Festival Independent Pilot competition and is an official YouTube content partner with Broadway Video’s Above Average. He was a collegiate mascot for the University of Tennessee as well as a professional mascot for the New Jersey Devils. He is on the internet:

Paul McElwee (performer) is happy to be making his debut with SmokeyScout Productions, sharing some American wisdom. He has been performing in the Philadelphia area for over 20 years. Of course he started at the age of four, but one never reveals one’s true age, especially in this business. He has worked with 11th Hour Theatre Company, Montgomery Theater, Theatre Horizon, Azuka Theatre, The Ritz Theatre Company and City Theatre among others. Recent credits include Herbie, Mazeppa (yes, and more) in Gypsy, Bill Fordham in August: Osage County, Dr. Parker in Batboy, Harry in Luv, Lawrence in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Norbert in The Great American Trailer Park Musical.

Ed Miller is happy to be working again with SmokeyScout Productions: he previously appeared in the staged reading of Arthur’s House, and helped workshop the play’s development, and in the short The Bright Side as well as starring as Gary Pierce in the video series The Wonderful World of Gary Pierced (Creeks and Bridges). He was most recently seen in Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s Ondine. This past fall he performed in Swim Pony’s The Ballad of Joe Hill at Eastern State Penitentiary (Fringe Festival 2013). Also a writer and director, Ed has worked with the Arden Theatre, Theatre Exile, Montgomery Theater, and Secret Room Theatre.

IMG_3010Valerie O’Hara (performer) started acting following an extended run in Corporate America.  She has spent the past several years playing mothers, grandmothers, and other women (and sometimes men) in and around New York in Off-off-Broadway and community theater productions of classics and new works, as well as a handful of student films.  Favorite roles include Amanda Wingfield (The Glass Menagerie), Kate Keller (All My Sons), Nat (Rabbit Hole), Nurse (Romeo and Juliet), and the Duchess of York (Richard III).

fall2013 084Anna Watson (performer) is a German born Actress, living and working in Philadelphia. She has appeared in classical and contemporary theater productions throughout Europe as well as in several Philadelphia productions. Including her own production of Teenager: Anne Frank, for the Philly Fringe, Lady M for Swim Pony Performing Arts (Live Arts Festival), and The Queen of All Weapons for Hella Fresh Theater. She previously worked with Josh McIlvain and SmokeyScout Productions, starring in Merry Fucking Christmas and Stratagems for Common People.

photo 5Christopher Czyz (director) has previously worked with SmokeyScout Productions, on Confessions of a Plate and Shoe and For the Love of Ms. Bishop. He is currently preparing the world premiere of Turtleback High, to be performed in New York City in May.

Josh McIlvain _ Nice and FreshJosh McIlvain (playwright, director) is a Philadelphia-based playwright and theater artist. He has had more than 115 productions of some 70 plays throughout the U.S., including more than 38 New York City productions. He lives with his wife Deborah Crocker and children Jasper and Ginger. In 2008, Josh and Deborah started their own theater company SmokeyScout Productions (, and have produced eight major shows, numerous one-off evenings, and produce the Nice and Fresh performing arts series of new theater, dance and circus arts. Their spring 2013 production, Return of Confessions of a Plate and Shoe, an evening of short comic works written and directed by Josh McIlvain, was hailed by theater critic Jessica Foley ( as “the greatest show of the 2012/13 theater season.”

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