ViacomCBS’ 2021 Showcase is going virtual this year — and they have set the producing team for the annual event that highlights diverse talent in the industry. Tess Paras will executive produce and direct while Tien Tran will serve as executive produce and return as head writer. Frank Garcia-Hejl joins as producer and associate director and rounding out the team is Tyler Davis who will serve as producer and associate head writer. This year’s group of performers and event date will be announced at a later date.
Showcase has developed into a hybrid comedy show with Broadway-worthy live performances and original, creative writing. The show is attended by senior-level executives, showrunners and casting directors from ViacomCBS properties, as well as other networks and talent agents/managers from across the entertainment industry. Alumni of the Showcase include Emmy Award winners Kate McKinnon and Tiffany Haddish as well as Diona Reasonover (NCIS), Justin Hires (MacGyver), Geoffrey Arend (Madam Secretary), Nico Santos (Superstore, Crazy Rich Asians), Nicole Byer (Nailed It!) and Ego Nwodim (Saturday Night Live), among others.
“This year has certainly brought its challenges and we’re so proud of what Tess, Tien, Frank and Tyler have been able to accomplish with the show going virtual,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Diversity and Inclusion, Global Inclusion, ViacomCBS. “The creative team has worked around the clock to ensure the virtual experience will be as remarkable as the live events in the past.”
“The ingenuity that our creative team has brought to this year’s production is remarkable,” said Claudia Lyon, Executive Vice President, Talent and Casting, CBS Entertainment. “Not only are Tess, Tien, Frank and Tyler gifted multi-hyphenates in their own right, but they’ve excelled in motivating and inspiring our talented cast to realize their limitless potential.”
The creative team members are all previous participants of the ViacomCBS showcase. To help the cast prepare for this year’s virtual platform, the producers have introduced weekly filmmaking lessons to the rehearsal process in addition to providing each performer with their own production equipment. These additions will help the actors achieve a more cinematic performance since they won’t be playing to a live audience.
Read bios of the production team below.
Paras is an actress, writer and director based in Los Angeles. Paras was a performer and writer in the 2014 Showcase and was the associate director for the 2019 and 2020 Showcase. Currently, she stars as Erin Chua on Amazon’s new spinoff Just Add Magic: Mystery City after heavily recurring on the Daytime Emmy-nominated season of Just Add Magic (Amazon). Paras is most recognized for her recurring role on the critically acclaimed musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW). Her other television credits include The Good Wife” on the Network, Grimm, Girl Meets World and Reno 911. Also, she will be in the upcoming Iliza Shlesinger film Good On Paper. In 2019, Paras completed production on The Patients, a short film she wrote, directed and starred in opposite Jon Jon Briones. Paras is also known for the viral videos Trumping Makeup Tutorial (Fusion Digital Comedy), Typecast and What If Catcalls Were Cheeseburgers? She performs with Quick and Funny Musicals! and the Asian AF Show at The Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB – LA). Paras is repped by Gersh and Haven Entertainment.
Tran is a Los Angeles-based comedian, actor and writer. Her stand-up has been featured on Comedy Central’s Taking the Stage and at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal as part of the 2019 New Faces of Comedy showcase. Currently, she is a writer on Work in Progress” (Showtime). She was also an actor and writer for the Second City’s 106th Mainstage revue, Dream Freaks Fall from Space, and the Second City’s 41st etc. revue, Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno. Her credits include Space Force (Netflix), Easy (Netflix), Hot Date (PopTV), A Legendary Christmas (NBC), Sherman’s Showcase (IFC), and Southside (Comedy Central). She was also the head writer for the 2020 Showcase and a performer in the 2019 Showcase. She also co-hosts Crooked Media’s Hysteria podcast. She is repped by CAA and Mosaic.
Garcia-Hejl is a writer, actor and director who studied and performed improv and sketch comedy at Four Day Weekend in Fort Worth, Texas and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City and Los Angeles. Garcia-Hejl is most recognized for his work as a writer and actor for Broadway Video’s Latino internet channel Más Mejor and USA’s First Impressions with Dana Carvey. He performed in the 2018 Showcase and returned in 2020 as a writer. This is his first year as associate director for the Showcase. He has written and appeared in material for NBC, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Comedy Central, IFC, MTV, TruTV, USA and A&E. Currently, he is co-writing and co-starring in a segment with Noah Segan (Knives Out, Looper) for the comedy/horror anthology movie Scare Package on Shudder. Garcia-Hejl is repped by ICM and managed by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Davis is an actor, comedian, filmmaker and musician in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. He co-wrote and performed in the 2020 Showcase. Back in Chicago, he starred in two mainstage sketch revues with The Second City Chicago as well as created online sketches for Comedy Central. Currently, he is a Production Consultant and guest-stars on the Showtime series Work In Progress, voices the character of Jonnit on the podcast Campaign Skyjacks” and has recently begun directing commercials with TESSA films. Davis is repped by DPN Talent and managed by El Centro Management.
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