Press Release: Film & Stage Actor’s Homecoming Performance in Tiny Beautiful Things with Austin Theatre

Press Contact:
Dr. Brian A. Cheslik, Artistic Director of Deaf Austin Theatre
[email protected]



AUSTIN (April 8, 2024) – Deaf Austin Theatre (DAT) opens their production of Tiny Beautiful Things this weekend, based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Strayed (known for her memoir, Wild), adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos.

Russell Harvard, a native Austin resident who founded Deaf Austin Theatre back in 2017 is excited to perform in Tiny Beautiful Things. This production marks not only his first DAT production, but also his first time performing in his hometown of Austin. Harvard began his film career in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-winning “There Will Be Blood” as Daniel-Day Lewis’ son, H.W. He played the title role in “The Hammer,” a multi film festival Audience Award winner and recently portrayed Jennifer Lawrence’s brother in Apple TV+’s “Causeway.” He had a multi-season arc on FX’s “Fargo” as the murderous Mr. Wrench, recurred on ABC Family’s “Switched At Birth,” and guest starred in “Odd Mom Out,” “Fringe,” and “CSI: NY.” A trailblazing veteran of the NY stage, Russell was recently in dual roles in Broadway’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.” He also starred in Playwrights Horizons’ “I Was Most Alive with You” earning Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations. He played the Duke of Cornwall opposite Glenda Jackson in Sam Gold’s landmark production of “King Lear.” In 2012, he made his off-Broadway debut in “Tribes,” earning a Theatre World award and receiving Drama League, Outer Critics and Lucille Lortel nominations.

Tiny Beautiful Things follows the relationships between an anonymous advice columnist named Sugar and the many real-life readers who pour out their hearts to her. Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) adapts Strayed’s book into an enrapturing and uplifting play that surges with emotion and is called by Variety “a theatrical hug in turbulent times.” Tiny Beautiful Things is about reaching when you’re stuck, recovering when you’re broken, and finding the courage to ask the questions that are hardest to answer.

Deaf Austin Theatre will be performing Tiny Beautiful Things at Sterling Stage Austin, a new performing arts venue in Austin, formerly known as Sterling Event Center, located at 6134 E Us 290 Service Rd. Tiny Beautiful Things will be the premiere unveiling event of this newly renovated black box theater. (

Tiny Beautiful Things will run from May 10 to 25, 2024, with one online streaming performance on May 26, 2024. Produced in both American Sign Language with spoken English and supertitles. Tickets will be on sale, starting at $25.00, and can be purchased online at DAT web site. Running time: One hour and 20 minutes. There is no intermission. The cast also includes Leila Hanaumi (Sugar), most known for her work ASL interpreting the movie Barbie on HBO MAX and DAT’s The Laramie Project, Bethany Borsotti, and Tyler James Fortson.

Directed by Brian Cheslik** (R&H’s Cinderella with ZACH Theatre ‘23 and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma ‘24), with ASL Consultant Sandra Mae Frank* from NBC’s New Amsterdam. Voice acting provided by Ashlea Hayes, known for her work in DAT’s The Laramie Project and stage managed by John Cartwright II. The dynamic production includes a set designed by Cheyenne Turner, lighting designed by Jacqueline Sindelar, sound by Rodd Simonsen, and projections by Juese Cutler.

Funding for Tiny Beautiful Things is provided by the City of Austin Economic Division.
* denotes members of Actors Equity Association (AEA)
**denotes members of Stage Directors & Choreographers Society (SDC)

OPENS ON Friday, May 10, 2024

Tickets, starting at $25, can be purchased online:

VIRTUAL LIVE STREAM Sunday, May 26, 2024


To learn more about Deaf Austin Theatre’s production of Tiny Beautiful Things, please visit

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As a non-profit organization, Deaf Austin Theatre’s purpose is to enrich, inspire, educate, create and entertain the Austin community and beyond by using American Sign Language (ASL) within all of our theatrical productions that range from classics to new works. We strive to impact our community, our audience members, and to create an accessible stage for all future artists. Deaf Austin Theatre strives to create a world where theatre is accessible to everyone.


Facebook: @DeafAustinTheatre
Instagram: @DeafAustinTheatre

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