Awkward At Best is comprised of Leah James Abel, Cody Jessica Schreger, Olivia Hallie Lehrman, and Rebecca Houlihan, and is visited by numerous guest stars. As a member of Cirque Boom’s casting panel, Ms. Abel warily accepted Ms. Lehrman into that New York-based circus-theatre company, whereafter Ms. Lehrman promptly lied to the director in order to wrangle Ms. Schreger into the ranks, where the three performed together for the first time in 2002. Since then, they have created, performed, and travelled together throughout America, the Caribbean, and mainland China. Ms. Houlihan got lost one day and stumbled upon them. After that she kinda just started showing up to the meetings.
LEAH JAMES ABEL
(co-creator/performer) sprang about in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has continued performing and teaching from New York to China and Korea — dancing, clowning, stilting, twisting around trapezes, or parading around with someone standing on her shoulders. She performs on a wide variety of aerial equipment -- including a cargo net strung 40 feet in the air -- but fancies performing doubles trapeze. Leah performed and taught in Haiti with the nonprofit charity, Clowns Without Borders (clownswithoutborders.org). Leah has also freelanced in New York City and as company member of two smaller companies as a funny persona and aerialist (Cirque Boom and Kirkos). For two years she frolicked with the Imago troupe (www.imagotheatre.com), a Portland, Oregon-based mask and puppet theater, in their performances of Frogz and Biglittlethings. Currently Leah works as a coach and as the Manager of Education at Aircraft Aerial Arts (aircraftaerialarts.com). Leah strangely completed her Masters in Environmental Law and Policy at Vermont Law School. With her degree, she re-joined the circus world and is happy about doing so. Also- Leah is a budding cartoonist (see here)
(co-creator/performer) Acrobat/comedienne Olivia Hallie Lehrman enjoys creating original circus theatre pieces, both solo and in ensemble. Swinging from Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus flying trapezes to character work with Naropa University Masters students, she has trained within a tight community of friends in Boulder and NY, and from Master teachers including Giovanni Fusetti, Franco Dragone, NY Goofs, and Avner the Eccentric. Whether performing aerial silks or clowning on a cruise ship, she loves the unique moments of interaction with each new audience. She has performed at the NY Clown Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Andy Kaufman Awards, Asheville Burlesque Festival, FrigidFest, and twice at Carnegie Hall (she was twelve). She attended Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre &Vassar College. For mo’livia, take a trip to www.landinthe.net
(co-creator/performer) was first introduced to physical theatre by Renee Bailargeon while getting her BA in Theatre at Niagara University. After graduating she auditioned for Imago Theatre. Luckily, Leah James Abel had some pull and thought she had some snazz. She was hired as a performer and spent a year touring throughout the US of A and even performed in Hong Kong with Imago Theatre's Frogz & Biglittle Things. After Imago she studied improv at New York's Upright Citizen's Brigade. She has also performed in a few moderately awkward independent films and one badly casted regional commercial called "Safetly Mom". She is currently writing, directing and filming her own webisodes with comedic actress Cassie Cruz in NYC.
(co-creator/performer) is a New York City-based performing artist, choreographer and instructor. She has studied a wide range of creative arts from modern and flamenco dance to clown, Commedia Dell' Arte, traditional theater, gymnastics and aerial arts. In 2005 Cody graduated Bard College with a BA in dance choreography and has since performed with companies such as Cirque Dreams, Cirque Boom, Lumins Circus, and the International circus festivals of Albacete, Spain and Latina, Italy. While in NYC she performs and choreographs for local events and shows, and teaches ongoing classes in aerial arts. Cody also works as an acrobat on Robert LePage's production of "The Ring Cycle" at the Metropolitan Opera.
(the wild card) is best known for her show stopping performance in "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" for the Pittsburg, California Community Theatre as "mauve" in that song about his coat. She was 8. Kate left the public eye soon after and has only recently returned from obscurity to appease the Paparazzi and to perform with Leah Abel doing whatever it takes for a laugh.
Kate Mills received her Bachelor of Arts in the visual arts for painting and cartooning and is certified in Museum and Gallery Practices. She is the co-founder of the Door 3 Gallery in Cambridge, Ma which stunned the New England arts community by becoming Cambridge's Most Intimate Gallery. It is located inside a bathroom.
She is a teacher of many things including bicycle mechanics and is the first instructor to host an All Women's and Trans Advanced Mechanic's Course at the Broadway Bicycle School (broadwaybicycleschool.com). She annually teaches home tattooing at the Boston Skillshare (bostonskillshare.org), is an instructor of Aerial Yoga at various times and locations, is an honored Reverend on the Online Universal Life Church in order to help loved ones perform the marriage ceremonies of their perverted dreams, and can recite all 50 states in alphabetical order..
She has been a janitor at Aircraft Aerial Arts in Somerville, MA (aircraftaerialarts.com) since 2011. Somewhere between hope and a mop head she was "discovered" by Leah Abel and welcomed into the Awkward At Best family as an independent contractor so they did not have to offer her health care. Lastly, Kate Mills can beat up your dad.
note: all the best photos were taken by Diego Navarro and Kirk Lawrence. Hoping to be so successful we can sell out!