David Schein: Playwright/Co-composer
David Schein has played many roles in the theater: actor, director, playwright, producer, composer and producer. He is the cofounder of the Grotofski-based Iowa Theater Lab, the acclaimed Berkeley-based performance ensemble, The Blake Street Hawkeyes, and also of One Love HIV/AIDS Awareness Theater in Ethiopia. Highlights of his theater career include writing for Hanna-Barbera, writing for and performing with Whoopi Goldberg, writing co-composing and producing the award-winning Tokens: A Play on the Plague, and writing, performing and touring internationally, his solo show, Out Comes Butch. Schein has a 30-year history of collaboration with Theater in Pumpenhaus in Münster, Germany. He is a poet and novelist; His book of performance poems, “My Murder and Other Local News", and his novel, "The Adoption", were published by Fomite Press and are available on Amazon. http://davidschein.com/
Candace English aka Natvig: Co-composer
Candace English, aka Natvig, was born in Compton, CA, raised in a musical family, with a grandma who played ragtime piano and had Liberace for a friend. Life at home, at the family business-Tiny Town Kiddieland Park, at school and church, music was always there. After attending University of Iowa, Candace married Jon English and moved to Europe, where she was a leading interpreter of modern vocal music, and active improviser in various formations. Returning to San Francisco in the 80s she reconnected with friends from the Iowa days, including David Schein and Bob Ernst. “When David showed me the ensemble concept he was developing for Tokens, I really did see that as music and set out to create a musical. I had no experience in theater, and found the whole experience absolutely grueling, but I’m very proud of what we achieved.” Out of the cast of Tokens grew the choir, Music in the Blood, which thrived as a neighborhood arts/theater community icon until the mid-nineties. The mission was to perpetuate the music of Bay Area theater composers, and theater music in general. Candace English has also worked as a German-English translator, substitute school teacher, licensed marriage and family therapist, sacred passage doula, and aspiring jazz violinist. Further information about her life and creative achievements can be found at:
candacenatvigenglish.com musicintheblood.com tinytownpark.com candacenenglish.com
Robert Ernst: Original Director
,Robert is a co-founder of The Iowa Theater Lab (1968-1972). He did his first solo performance
at 2019 Blake St. in Berkeley in 1973. In 1975, he co-founded The Blake St. Hawkeyes, a theater
collective devoted to ensemble and the development of original works. During this time, he also
created a half dozen more solo works. In 1984, he won a Dramalogue for best director and best
over-all production for the musical, Tokens, a 65-person cast, which was performed in this very
space In 1987, he performed a solo that lasted for 24 hours and 12 minutes. which was voted
one of the “Best 10” performances of the year by Dennis Harvey/Boulevards. His pocket opera,
Catherine's Care at Alter-Theater was voted Best of the Year by The Guardian in 2007.
Recently he has had a solo show, Towards a Way, produced at The San Francisco
international Arts Festival, performed & added material to Kim Epifano’s The Blue Couch, and Janet Koike’s Island City Waterways with Rhythmix Cultural Works. The Buck & Bill Show, a trailer of
a larger musical episodic work in development with composer Mark Malmberg, was
performed at The Above Ground Festival. Some more traditionally based performances include: Road at the Eureka Theater, Speed of Darkness at Berkeley Rep., King-fish, Playland, Joy of Going Somewhere Definite, The Late Henry Moss (understudy for Nick Nolte) at The Magic Theater, Audience at Life on the Water, Time of Your Life at ACT & Seattle Rep., & Glenngarry Glenn Ross at Arizona Rep.
Kari Wishingrad: Original Cast/Production Assistant
Kari Wishingrad grew up in NYC - performing at young age and attending SUNY New Paltz. After moving to San Francisco, Kari was cast in the original production of Tokens in 1985. She has since acted in dozens of features and short independent films, many of which have been in the national and international festival circuit and may be seen on DVD via Netflix and Amazon. She has been seen nationally in commercials and has voiced animation, training videos and numerous industrials. Kari is currently producing a narrative film based on her poem, “SHE”, that celebrates the women of the Beat Generation. She is thrilled to be reunited with many of her Tokens colleagues to bring this amazing theatrical accomplishment back to the stage.
Sarah Bryant: Original Cast/Production Assistant
Sarah Bryant was in the original cast and has written about The Relevance of Tokens in the time of COVID.
Allyson Erick: Music/Production Assistant
Allyson holds a masters from San Francisco State University in producing and directing performance arts. She was not in the original Tokens, due to pregnancy….. however she has worked with David Schein/Candace Natvig English throughout the years. She was a theater specialist for the City of Berkeley, founding Live Oak Youth Theater, whilst performing with Dances with Words, and doing independent film productions. Her latest film productions have been with Sanelle Sibanda, whose film “Zola: the bicycle Thief” was an official selection at Cannes. Allyson is the co-founder of Global Recording Artists, and she has filmed, directed and edited videos for large live music festivals. She has also produced music albums, and currently works as an adjunct to the international jazz trombonist and director, Charles Hamilton, who directs the UCSC Jazz Big Band.