Foundation for Laughter

Artist Bios

riley-monday

Tiffany Riley and Dick Monday

Dick Monday has many years of experience performing in and directing circuses around the country, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. In 1990, he helped found the LA Circus in Los Angeles, California. Supported by the city’s Cultural Affairs Department, the LA Circus provided circus performances and education to communities that needed it the most. During that time, Monday joined forces with Tiffany Riley, who brought with her performance and production skills gained while touring with Sesame Street Live. From 1994 until 1998, the team of Monday and Riley directed and operated the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. From there, they moved to New York to write and produce several circus-oriented shows and festivals under the company name of New York Goofs. After 10 years and hundreds of shows at renowned institutions such as the Big Apple Circus, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, Riley and Monday headed to Dallas to open their own family theater, Slappy’s Playhouse. Today, they continue their legacy as the performance team Slappy & Monday, but also develop and train the next generation of artists and performers.

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson's love of clowning is seen in some of his performances as an actor. One of his favorite roles is Yukon Cornelius/Boss Elf in Wishing Star Productions' Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. He also spent his summer entertaining audiences of all ages as a puppeteer in Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live at the Dallas Zoo. Other credits include appearing as Yukon Cornelius in the 2014 Children’s Health Holiday Parade, as a clown in the 2013 Children’s Arts and Literacy Festival Parade in Abilene, TX, and Annie Get Your Gun with Lyric Stage. While Jeremiah has wanted to be a clown since he was a young boy, that passion was rekindled as he pursued his BFA in Theatre from Hardin-Simmons University.

Julio Ramazini

Julio Ramazini

Julio Ramazini is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He attended circus school in Rio De Janiero for four years, where a Ringling Bros. talent scout offered him a contract immediately. In circus school, Julio studied an array of skills, but preferred juggling, stilt walking, unicyling, rolling globe, canastilia, perch and trapeze. He has many physical skills, but his natural knack for comedy outshines everything. Julio is also an instructor at Lone Star Circus School, teaching clowning, juggling, unicyling, rolling globe and silks.

Kelli Brown

Kelli Brown

A Dallas native, Kelli Brown joined the circus at the young age of 19. She hadn't ever been to the circus until her 19th birthday, where she fell in love with circus. Two weeks later, she auditioned for The Greatest Show On Earth and made it! Since then, Kelli has studied and practiced circus skills daily. Her greatest female inspirations are Annie Fratellini and Lucille Ball. She pulls her humor from the everyday mundane and learns from observing people interacting with one another. Children are her greatest inspirations! In addition to working with the Foundation for Laughter, Kelli teaches aerial silks, lyra, trapeze, juggling and contortion at Lone Star Circus School.

Sam Cress

Sam Cress

Sam Cress is a professional actor and clown based in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas with a BFA in Acting. He started his clowning career as a Therapeutic Clown at Funnyatrics at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. He is excited to expand his career and work with Slappy and Monday’s Foundation for Laughter!

Shawn Patrello

Shawn Patrello

Shawn Patrello has been performing and teaching improvisational comedy for 25 years. He has performed with Comedy Sportz and Ad-Libs, as well as creating and directing his own improv comedy troupe, Rubber Chicken. He currently performs Himprov, a Christian-based comedy troupe in Dallas, Texas. Shawn joined Funnyatrics, the professional therapeutic clown program at Children's Medical Center in 2006. In addition to his other clowning pursuits, Shawn is a character actor in the Dallas area, as well as a cartoonist and a ventriloquist.