Committee on Theater & Performance Studies
Terrance T. Brown
Matthew Van Colton
Devon de Mayo
Jessica Kuehnau Wardell
Greg Allen is the Founding Director of all three nationwide branches of The Neo-Futurists and creator of "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind" and over sixty other productions. His work as director and playwright has been seen at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, The Public, Lincoln Center, HERE, Woolly Mammoth, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as well as in dozens of store-front theaters in Chicago, all over North America, and around the world (just this year he had productions in Tokyo, Rome, Edinburgh, Korea, Australia, and Tanzania). His scripts include "The Strange and Terrible True Tale of Pinocchio (the Wooden Boy) as Told by Frankenstein's Monster (the Wretched Creature)", "Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious", "The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen", and "K.", his award-winning adaptation of Kafka's The Trial. Greg’s show “The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (partially burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled “Never to be performed. Never. Ever. EVER! Or I’ll Sue! I’LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!!!” has had eleven international productions, and his adaptation of all 9 acts and 7 hours of “Strange Interlude” was met with hecklers and instantaneous standing ovations as part of the Goodman Theatre’s Eugene O’Neill Festival. His play "What Happened in Pinkville? (A Cubist Dialectic on the Massacre at My Lai)" was a finalist for the 2015 National Playwright's Conference, and this season his original adaptations of “Ibsen’s Ghosts” and “Moby-Dick” premiered in Chicago and Virginia. His current projects include adapting the works of Kafka for master-puppeteer Michael Montenegro and creating a show based on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe with Blair Thomas and Company. Greg teaches performance and playwriting at University of Chicago, The Theatre School at Depaul University, and at the National Theater Institute at the O’Neill Center in Connecticut, as well as at his Neo-Futurist branches and in residencies worldwide.
Seth Bockley's writing credits include Cut The Old Moon Into Stars, or Rip Van Winkle (commissioned by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival); 2666 (Jeff award for Best New Adaptation with co-adapter Robert Falls, from the novel by Roberto Bolaño); Wilderness with En Garde Arts, February House, a collaboration with lyricist and composer Gabriel Kahane, which premiered at The Public Theater in 2012 under the direction of Davis McCallum; Ask Aunt Susan (premiered at the Goodman in June 2014), The Elephant & The Whale (with Redmoon and Chicago Children’s Theatre); adaptations of George Saunders’ short stories CommComm and Jon, which won the 2008 Equity Jeff Citation for Best New Adaptation, and sketches for A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile. Directing credits include En Garde Arts’ Wilderness and Basetrack Live; 2666, co-directed with Robert Falls; the English-language premiere of Ewald Palmetshofer’s hamlet is dead. no gravity with Red Tape Theater; Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story with Victory Gardens Theater; Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) with Clubbed Thumb; Jon and Jason Grote’s 1001; numerous events and spectacles with Chicago’s Redmoon; and the clown play Guerra, developed with Devon de Mayo and Mexico City-based troupe La Piara. He is a recipient of TCG’s New Generations and On The Road grants.
Terrance T. Brown is a screenwriter and playwright in Chicago, IL. He is a graduate of both Vanderbilt University's Film Studies BA program (2007) and Northwestern University's Writing For the Screen + Stage MFA program (2011). He has taught television and film writing at The Second City Training Center (2012-2016) in Chicago as well as at Northwestern (2011). He has also taught a film appreciation course; "Black Films Matter" at The Second City (2016) in addition to his teaching at The Harold Ramis Flim School (2017).
Aaron Carter is currently an artistic producer at Steppenwolf Theater Company where he has served as artistic producer or dramaturg on such projects as Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu, The Minutes by Tracy Letts, The Fundamentals by Erika Sheffer, The Way West by Mona Mansour, and Airline Highway by Lisa D’Amour. Previously, he served as the Literary Manager at Victory Gardens Theater where he played a key role in the IGNITION Festival, and was involved in the production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Year Zero, Love Person and Living Green, among others. As a new play developer and dramaturg, Aaron has worked with many theaters and labs including WordBRIDGE, the Kennedy Center, Timeline Theater, Route 66 and Chicago Dramatists. Aaron also was taught courses in playwriting, dramaturgy and dramatic literature at Northwestern University, De Paul University, Roosevelt University and Grinnell College. As a playwright, Aaron’s work focuses on race, faith and obscure performance skills. Aaron’s play Gospel of Franklin was part of First Look 2013 at Steppenwolf. His latest play is Start Fair.
Heidi Coleman, Director of University Theater and Director of Undergraduate Studies for Theater and Performance Studies, has worked professionally as a director and dramaturg in New York City and San Francisco as well as Chicago. She has collaborated with Anne Bogart, Andrei Serban, Tina Landau, Frank Galati, and Tony Kushner; taught in Columbia University’s Theater MFA and English departments; and most recently participated in Steppenwolf’s First Look Series. At the University Theater she has curated the New Work Week and initiated the summer arts residency program, Summer Inc., and co-curated the University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts Program as well as the TAPS Commissioning Project. Her work focuses on the integration of theory and practice, in both artistic and programmatic arenas.
Matthew Van Colton is a Chicago-based performer, instructor & director. Partial credits include Second City Theatricals, the Musical Improv House Ensemble at Second City, Best Musical, One Night Only, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight, Porchlight, UP Comedy Club, Victory Gardens, iO, and TUTA. He is a founding member of Mansical and the Improvised Sondheim Project and a cast member of Blank! The Musical, the first improvised musical to appear Off-Broadway, at New World Stages in New York. He is a faculty member at Second City, where he teachesin the Advanced, Teen & Youth and Music Improv Conservatory. Additionally, Matt has facilitated, taught or coached for Columbia College Chicago, Family Haircut (NYC), Evanston Township High School, Annoyance Theatre New York, Acting Studio Chicago, North Coast (NYC), and many workshops for businesses and learning institutions. Matt is the “man” in the one-man improvised musical, The Answer is Yes, and a member of Actor’s Equity. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of MCL Theatre Chicago.
Adrian Danzig produced and performed with 500 Clown for 15 years and liked it. 500 Clown produced 500 Clown Macbeth, 500 Clown Frankenstein, 500 Clown Christmas, 500 Clown and The Elephant Deal and 500 Clown Trapped and performed all over the country in addition to many home runs in Chicago. Recent credits include The Year I Didn't Go To School (Chicago Childrens' Theater/Actors Gymnasium), A Comedical Tragedy for Mr. Punch (The House Theatre), Richard III (The Gift), A Comedy of Errors (California Shakespeare Festival), The Seagull (Lake Lucille N.Y.), Feast (Chicago Shakespeare), and Orlando (Court Theater). He has performed in shows at The Goodman, The Second City, Berkeley Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Public Theater, and with Shakespeare & Company and Lookingglass. He has performed his solo works at The Kitchen, P.S. 122, The Ontological Hysteric Theater and Soho Rep. (all in NYC). He was an early Neo-futurist and a founding member of Redmoon Theater and Hubinspoke Theater. He graduated from NYC’s High School of Performing Arts, received his BA from Oberlin College and his MFA from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He studied clown with Ctibor Turba, Philippe Gaulier, Ronlin Foreman, Dominique Jando, Els Comediants, David Shiner, and Avner the Eccentric, and was a clown with Big Apple Circus Clown Care for seven years. Adrian currently teaches Physical Theater in the full-time student training program at ALOFT Circus.
Will Davis is a Chicago-based director and the Artistic Director of American Theater Company. He received an MFA in Directing in 2013 from the University of Texas, Austin and a BFA from the Theatre School at DePaul in 2005. His most recent directing credits include Philip Dawkins’ Charm for MCC, William Inge’s Picnic for ATC, Daniel Alexander Jones’ DUAT for Soho Rep, Jaclyn Backhaus’ Men on Boats for ATC, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita for Olney Theater Center, and Andrew Hinderaker’s Colossal for Olney and Mixed Blood Theater, which earned him a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Directing. Mr. Davis has taught directing and served as a directing mentor at DePaul University, Fordham University, and University of Texas, Austin. He also spent three years as the Co-Artistic Producer at The Lab Theatre, with a focus on creating space and resources for undergraduate students to develop and hone their work.
Devon de Mayo is a director, devisor and teacher. She is currently directing You on the Moors Now for The Hypocrites. Most recently, she directed Animals Out of Paper for Shattered Globe Theatre and You Can't Take it With You for Northlight Theatre. Last year, Devon worked as the Resident Director under Stephen Daldry on the Broadway production of The Audience. Other Directing credits: Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Clouds (Dog & Pony); Infiltrating Bounce (Luminaria, San Antonio); and 52 (Canal Café, London). Directing & devising credits: Guerra: A Clown Play (performances in Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, Madrid, Bogota, and Mexico City); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls (Dog & Pony), and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony, Steppenwolf Garage Rep). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London with further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali. She has been a Lecturer at the University of Chicago since 2012 where she also directed An Actor Prepares.
Drew Dir is a director, designer, and co-artistic director of Manual Cinema, a live cinematic shadow puppetry and music theater company. His theatrical directing work with Manual Cinema has been presented at the Festival Off d’Avignon (France), Adelaide Festival (Australia), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Noorderzon Festival (Netherlands), Spoleto Festival USA, The Tehran International Puppet Festival (Iran), and elsewhere around the world. As a designer, Drew has created puppetry for the New York Times, Invisibilia, Pop-Up Magazine, the Poetry Foundation, and the Chicago History Museum. Most recently, he directed and designed Manual Cinema’s The Magic City (Chicago Children’s Theatre) and Hansel and Gretel (La Monnaie / De Munt Opera in Brussels). Previous to Manual Cinema, Drew served as the Resident Dramaturg of Court Theatre in Chicago.
Mike Durst has designed the lighting for plays at venues including The Huntington Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Broad Stage, The Black Dahlia, Theater Wit, Remy Bumppo, The Neo-Futurists, About Face Theatre, and A Red Orchid Theatre, where he is an ensemble member. His work has been seen Off-Broadway with Primary Stages, Cherry Lane, and 59e59. His national Tours include 'It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s' The Nightman Cometh and Buyer&Cellar as Associate Designer. His RocknRoll work includes Pete Townshend in concert at La Jolla Playhouse and X 25th Anniversary Live at The House of Blues Sunset Blvd. Mike has also served as a lighting consultant for theatrical renovations including The Gray Center at The University of Chicago and The Circle Theater in Los Angeles. His awards include Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award, Los Angeles’s Ovation Award, and San Diego’s Craig Noel Award. Mike is a member of I.A.T.S.E Local #2 and United Scenic Artists #829.
Audrey Francis, founder and owner of Black Box Acting, has worked as an actor, director, and instructor for nearly ten years. In addition to teaching at Black Box Acting’s ACADEMY, Audrey also teaches advanced acting at the University of Chicago as well as the the Meisner Technique and Ensemble Scene Study at the School at Steppenwolf. Audrey is a Jeff Nominated actor who was has worked at Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Victory Gardens, Writers Theatre, Northlight, The Hypocrites, and American Theater Company. Audrey has worked on several television shows, most recently including the NBC Network Series Chicago Med and Chicago Fire (Seasons 1 &2). Film credits include: Signature Move, Medal of Victory, Dig Two Graves, Dustclouds, and Chicago Overcoat. Voice Over work includes campaigns for: Kenmore, Moen, Verizon, Citibank, Ford, Quaker Oats, American Family Insurance, and K-12 Online Education. Audrey has also directed multiple Chicago productions, most recently with the University of Chicago, Pine Box Theatre, Step Up Productions, and First Floor Theater. Audrey is a graduate of Colorado State University and couldn't be more proud to bring Black Box Acting to artists.
Sarah Geis is an independent audio producer and a former artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. She began her career traveling the country with the StoryCorps oral history project, and has spent the past decade evangelizing on behalf of narrative audio around the globe. She lectures in radio and podcasting at Northwestern University and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Recent work has aired on WBEZ, BBC Radio 4, and Radiotopia podcasts.
Sean Graney is a Chicago-based director who concentrates on staging modern versions of classic plays to create relevant theatrical pieces for our contemporary society. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, a company he founded in 1997. In 2013 he was fortunate enough to be a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University where he completed writing All Our Tragic, a twelve-hour adaptation combining all thirty-two surviving Greek Tragedies, which was presented by The Hypocrites the summer of 2014 and remounted during the summer of 2015. It garnered six Joseph Jefferson Awards, including best Director and Best Adaptation. Most recently he adapted and directed Yeomen of the Guard at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival completing the direction of his fourth highly-popular Gilbert & Sullivan operetta. He attended Emerson College and taught at University of Chicago, DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago. Other works include Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses, an adaptation of all seven surviving texts of Sophocles, which had successful runs in Chicago, Providence and at the Flea in NY. As a director, Sean has helmed over 75 productions. He was a participant in the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors in 2004. He has won four Joseph Jefferson Awards. His directing work has been seen at American Repertory Theater, Actors' Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Rep, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Court Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Steppenwolf for Young Audiences, Chicago Children’s Theatre and currently running at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival until October 2016.
Timothy Edward Kane has been living and working as an actor and as a teacher in Chicago for 18 years. Chicago credits include: One Man, Two Guvnors, An Iliad (2011 & 2013), The Illusion, Wild Duck, Titus Andronicus, Uncle Vanya, The Romance Cycle and Hamlet (Court Theatre), the Midwest premiere of Blood and Gifts (Timeline Theatre Company), Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Arms and the Man (Writers’ Theatre), The North Plan (Steppenwolf Garage: 1st Look Rep), Lost in Yonkers, The Miser, She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre), and more than a dozen productions at Chicago Shakespeare including: Tug of War: Civil Strife, Comedy of Errors, A Flea in Her Ear, and Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (CST & Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK). Regional credits include work at: The Mark Taper Forum, Notre Dame Shakespeare, Peninsula Players, & Illinois Shakespeare Festival. TV: Chicago Fire. He received his MFA from Northern Illinois University. Awards include: 2012 Joseph Jefferson Award, 2012 Chicago Magazine’s Best Actor, 2007 After Dark Award, and Newcity’s 2014: 50 People Who Really Perform in Chicago.
Mr. Kane has taught at DePaul University, The University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University: NHSI and Oakton Community College.
Emily Hooper Lansana is an arts administrator, educator and performing artist, she is Associate Director of Community Arts Engagement at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. She performs with In the Spirit. She has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, the National Association of Black Storytellers Festival, and at many venues. She enjoys passing on traditions as a coach and mentor with Ase Youth Group and Rebirth Poetry Ensemble. She received her BA in Theater Studies from Yale University and MA in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
Evan Linder is a founding member and the Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. He works as a playwright, actor and director and also teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago. Evan’s first play produced in Chicago, FRAT, was named as one of the Best of 2009 in the Chicago Tribune, Windy City Times and Newcity. His other works include 11:11, The Warriors, The Bear Suit of Happiness, B-Side Studio and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which was named Best Overall Production at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival and published by Samuel French. 5 Lesbians also enjoyed an Off-Broadway run as part of the Soho Playhouse’s 2012-2013 season. In 2013, he was listed on Chicago Magazine’s Power List of Theater Scene Stealers. In 2014, Evan originated the roles of Jonathan in The New Colony's reWILDing Genius for Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep and Orville in Orville and Wilbur Did It! with The New Colony. 2014 also saw his play The Bear Suit of Happiness published by Chicago Dramaworks and his play Byhalia, Mississippi named the winner of the New Works Competition at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. Seven North American cities will participate in a World Premiere Conversation of Byhalia, Mississippi in January 2016 when it receives three simultaneous world premieres and four staged readings at theatres around the country. Works in development include The Hunted, co-written with Paul Oakley Stovall, and The Issue, which is in currently in workshops with The New Colony. www.evanlinder.com
Marti Lyons is a Chicago-based director and ensemble member of The Gift Theatre. Her most recent credits include Native Gardens at Victory Gardens Theatre, The Mystery of Love and Sex at Writers’ Theatre, Short Shakes! Romeo And Juliet for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in the schools and in the parks, Wit for The Hypocrites, Give It All Back for Sideshow Theatre, and The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina for Northlight Theatre Company. She directed Wondrous Strange, by Meg Miroshnik, Martyna Majok, Jen Silverman, and Jiehae Park for the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, starring the theatre's Apprentice Company, and a reading of Meg Miroshnik's Lady Tattoo for the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory Theatre. Marti has also directed Will Eno’s Title and Deed for Lookingglass Theatre Company and a reading of Martín Zimmerman's On the Exhale for the New Stages Festival at Goodman Theatre where she received the 2015 Maggio Directing Fellowship. Other projects include Laura Marks’ Bethany and Mine, and Will Nedved’s Body and Blood for The Gift Theatre; Prowess by Ike Holter, The Peacock by Calamity West, and The Last Duck by Lucas Neff for Jackalope Theatre; The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew for Raven Theatre; Mai Dang Lao by David Jacobi, 9 Circles by Bill Cain, Maria/Stuart by Jason Grote, and co-direction of The Golden Dragon for Sideshow Theatre, where she is an Artistic Associate.
Frank Maugeri is a designer of community, art, education, and events. Maugeri’s life revolves around the arts and how the arts brings people together. As an artist, his work is visual and interactive, ranging from intimate productions to mammoth spectacles. When he’s not bringing art to life, he’s bringing art to lives through his work as an expert collaborator, community builder, ritual maker, educator, and innovator of curriculum and artistic programming. Prior to his appointment as the Community Programs Artistic Director at Chicago Children’s Theatre, Maugeri spent two decades as Producing Artistic Director at Redmoon Theater, where he mentored hundreds of young designers, artists, performers and educators from across the nation, while simultaneously helping to guide the institution's art, education, and community engagement. Maugeri proudly co-directed a number of Chicago-centric events, such as the culminating ritual of the 2016 Great Chicago Fire Festival and created art and experiences for The White House, City of Chicago, Los Angeles Music Center and other cultural institutions. In his time at Redmoon Theater, Frank authored, designed, and created Redmoon's longest running production, The Cabinet, and led Redmoon’s celebrated annual events Boneshaker and New Year’s Revolution, employing objects of his own creation, including his inventions The Momentary Opera, Nickelodeon’s, Mechanical Scrolls, The Libation Machine, The Bubble Man, Cake Hats, Redmoon’s interactive installations, and collaborative objects like The Drum Cart. Collaborative credits include directing productions which toured to Charleville-Mézières, Brazil, Japan, and Amsterdam as well as original works developed for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Maugeri is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and trained in animation, sculpture and object design. He currently makes his teaching home at The University of Chicago.
Derek Matson is a dramaturg and translator of theater and opera. His dramaturgical work has included productions for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Metropolitan Opera, Lookingglass Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, About Face Theatre, American Theater Company, the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Strawdog Theatre, Vancouver Opera, Chicago Opera Vanguard, DePaul University, and Northwestern University. Derek studied acting at the Cours Florent in Paris, France. His translations of French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, and Catalan have been featured at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wolf Trap Opera, the Montreux Comedy Festival, and Cornell University, where he earned his M.A. in Theater and Performance Studies.
Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen have been musical collaborators on and off since they were in high school. Broadway credits include music composition and sound for No Man’s Land & Waiting for Godot, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Miracle Worker, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Speed of Darkness; music for My Thing of Love; and sound for Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, This Is Our Youth, Of Mice and Men, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Superior Donuts, reasons to be pretty, A Year with Frog and Toad, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Hollywood Arms, King Hedley II, Buried Child, The Song of Jacob Zulu and The Grapes of Wrath. Off Broadway credits include music and sound for Guards at the Taj, Sticks and Bones, Checkers, How I Learned to Drive, Inked Baby, After Ashley, Boy Gets Girl, Red, Space, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Marvin's Room; sound for The Spoils, Brundibar, The Pain and the Itch and Jitney; and music direction and sound for Eyes for Consuela and Ruined. Recent collaborators include directors Amy Morton, Anna Shapiro, Sean Mathias, Pam MacKinnon, Kate Whoriskey, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Terry Kinney, Tina Landau, Maria Aitken, Emily Mann, Greg Boyd, Chey Yew, Scott Elliot, Jonathan Demme, Theresa Rebeck, Eric Ting, David Esbjornson, Marion McClinton, Sharon Ott, James Black, Joe Hanreddy, Richard E.T. White, and Gary Griffin. They have created music and sound at many of America's resident theatres (often with Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre) including the Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre and Arena Stage in D.C., Guthrie Theatre and the Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis, Huntington Theatre in Boston, the Public Theatre, The New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, Circle in the Square, Second Stage, Atlantic Theatre Company and Playwrights Horizons in New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, Baltimore’s Center Stage, the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Dallas Theater Center, Hartford Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep., Seattle Rep., Yale Rep., Trinity Rep., Arizona Rep., Milwaukee Rep., Rep. of St. Louis, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Writer’s Theatre, Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, ACT in SanFrancisco, Geffen Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson in L.A., Their music or sound have traveled to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End, The Barbican Center, the National Theatre of Great Britain, the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv, the Subaru Acting Company in Japan and festivals in Toronto, Dublin, Galway, Perth and Sydney. Please visit milbomusic.com
Shade Murray's directing credits include work at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, Writers' Theatre, Second City, The Inconvenience, Wildclaw, Next Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Roadworks, the MCA, Shattered Globe, About Face Theatre and Chicago Moving Company. Shade has collaborated on the workshop and development of new work with playwrights Marisa Wegyrzyn, Carlos Murillo, Joel Drake Johnston, Brett Neveu, John Fournier, Janine Nabers and Scott Barsotti. Shade is an MFA candidate in directing at Northwestern University, an associate artist with A Red Orchid and has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Act One Studios, National Louis University, National High School Institute, Piven Workshop and the Actor's Gym.
Darci Nalepa has been acting in Chicago for over ten years. In 2009, she was fortunate enough to start her Meisner training with Audrey Francis and Laura Hooper and find a place to call home at Black Box Acting. In 2010, she continued her training in Meisner and Viewpoints at The School at Steppenwolf. She is now an Instructor at both Black Box Acting and The School at Steppenwolf. She is a Jeff-nominated actress and is an ensemble member with The Gift Theatre Company. She has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Theatre Company, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, American Blues Theatre, Steep Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Griffin Theatre and many others in Chicago. She can be seen in Stephen Cone’s feature film, Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and has appeared on Chicago Fire, Shameless and Patriot.
David New graduated from The Goodman School of Drama, DePaul University with a BFA in acting. Since then he has worked in Chicago and regionally as an actor, director, arts educator, and administrator. He has appeared in over 70 productions at theatres such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight, Marriott Lincolnshire, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, Writer’s Theatre of Chicago, Apple Tree Theatre, Body Politic, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, and Wisdom Bridge. Regionally, he has appeared in productions at the Ontario Stratford Festival, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and Peninsula Players. In addition, he has appeared on Broadway in Thou Shalt Not (Lincoln Center) and in the National Tour of Scrooge with Richard Chamberlain. David’s television credits include: Law & Order SVU, All My Children, Walker, Texas Ranger, and the NBC mini-series A Will of Their Own. He was associate artistic director at Steppenwolf Theatre Company from 2004-2009. He is a multiple-time Jeff Award nominee, Sarah Siddons Award recipient, Chicago Stratford Associates Fellow.
Julie Nichols is a composer, musical director and sound designer based in Chicago. She recently finished a four year run as the Musical Director for The Second City Mainstage, composing and sound designing four revues. Prior to life on the Mainstage, Julie was the Associate Musical Director at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. While at Boom, she learned production skills for the highly technical, multi-media theater, while composing and sound designing three of their mainstage revues. Julie currently plays keyboards in The Dead River Revival, composes for commercials and freelances for Second City. She has composed music for corporate videos and events, independent films, TV pilots, musicals, plays, and everything in between.
Pamela Pascoe is a member of AEA and SAG since 1979, her New York performances include Broadway as well as Off- Broadway productions at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Dramatists, Writers’ Theater, Theater for the New City, Primary Stages, Lamb’s Theater, Lincoln Center Lab, and the Women’s Project, and comedy clubs such as Caroline’s and the Comic Strip. Regional appearances include the Williamstown Festival, the Berkshire Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, San Diego Repertory, and the Huntington Theater. With a BA from UCSD in Drama (Presidential Fellowship) and MFA from Brandeis (Shubert Fellowship), among her teachers were Arthur Wagner, Eric Christmas, Richard Foreman, Ted Kazanoff, Nola Chilton, and Charles Marowitz.
Upon moving to Chicago in 1996 to teach at U of C, her focus shifted to adapting works from Euripides, Calderon, Chekhov, Odets, Shepard, Melville, Steinbeck and other canonical literature. Devised in collaboration with students and exploring myths, dreams, topical events and themes, she has directed and occasionally performed in over 40 plays, site-specific pieces and performance art installations at U of C. Her ongoing collaboration with the creative team at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in NYC has produced, most recently, an adaptation of Measure for Measure; an adaptation of Miss Julie is in development.
Thom Pasculli is a director, performer, and movement teacher in Chicago. Currently the co-artistic director of Walkabout Theater, he creates original work rooted in a laboratory theatre process. He is also the artistic director of the artists’ collective, Vox Theater, and he recently created VoxFest, a festival of innovative works-in-progress at Dartmouth College. Mr. Pasculli graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Dartmouth and trained at the Eugene O’Neill National Theatre Institute in Connecticut before studying laboratory theater in Europe. Thom trained at the Odin Teatret and the International School of Theatre Anthropology’s conference at the Grotowski Center, and then worked for three years as an apprentice and company member of Double Edge Theatre in Massachusetts. Other performance credits include the Moscow Arts School Studio in Russia, the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Hilton Arts Festival in South Africa. In Chicago Thom directs and performs with Walkabout Theater Company and worked recently with Oracle Productions, Trap Door Theatre, Steppenwolf, and Redmoon.
John Petrakis is an associate adjunct professor in the Film, Video and New Media Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he has been teaching screenwriting since 1993. He is currently teaching a lecture class at The Gene Siskel Film Center at SAIC on “The History Of The European Art Film.” Previously, John taught screenwriting at Chicago Filmmakers, The Center for New Television and the Chicago Dramatists Workshop. John was a regular film reviewer for the Chicago Tribune for 10 years, including three years writing the weekly “Screen Gems” column. He currently writes film essays for Christian Century Magazine and was the lead critic at New City from 1988 through 1993. John is a member of the Writers Guild of America, East. His script for Song of Songs, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, played on Showtime as part of its “Picture Windows” series.
Julia Rhoads is the founding Artistic Director of Lucky Plush Productions, a dance-theater company recognized for its layered choreography, nuanced dialogue, surprising humor, and socially relevant content. Lucky Plush has been presented in over 40 US and international cities, and commissioning partners include Harris Theater (IL), Krannert Center at University of Illinois, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (IL), Clarice Smith Center (MD), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), and Links Hall (IL). Independent choreography credits include Steppenwolf Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon, and River North Chicago Dance Company.
Lucky Plush received the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award, and the company’s work has been been supported by National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, National Performance Network, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, and Illinois Arts Council. Rhoads was also awarded a 2013 Alpert Award in Dance and a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for spearheading a shared fundraising model between Lucky Plush, Grammy-winning Eighth Blackbird, and puppet theater company Blair Thomas & Company. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University and her MFA in Performance from School of the Art Institute Chicago, and is Part-Time Lecturer and Dance Advisor in Theater and Performance Studies.
Jessica Kuehnau Wardell is a Chicago based scenic, costume and puppet designer, as well as a scenic and fine art painter. Her Chicago credits include Steep Theatre, Hypocrites, Lifeline Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Griffin Theatre, A Red Orchid, The Building Stage, Pegasus Players, Circle Theatre and Metropolis Performing Arts Center. International credits include set/costume design for the UK premiere of Andras Visky’s Juliet presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland). Jessica is a founding ensemble member of Adventure Stage Chicago and artistic associate with MPAACT where she was awarded the Black Theatre Alliance Award for the best scenic design (2012). Jessica earned her MFA from Northwestern University, and is currently lecturer and Director of Design for TAPS at University of Chicago. Her online portfolio can be found at jesskdesign.com.
Sandor Weisz is the commissioner of The Mystery League, a company of creative puzzle makers. He’s built puzzles for Google, Chicago Architecture Foundation, The University of Chicago, The House Theatre, The Art Institute of Chicago, Marbles Game Store, NPR, and Cards Against Humanity. He’s spoken about puzzles at TEDx, the Cusp Conference, and Creative Mornings. He has been making puzzles and games since he was a teenager. His previous career was designing for the web. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two kids.
Calamity West is a Chicago-based, Kilroys-cited, award-winning playwright. Her new play HINTER is scheduled for its world-premier at Steep Theatre Company in the winter of 2018. Her newest play IN THE CANYON is currently in development at Jackalope Theater Company and she recently joined TimeLine Theatre Company’s Playwrights Collective where she will be in residency for the next two years. Other full-length plays by Ms. West include: Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia by Calamity West (2017); Rolling (2016); Give It All Back (Kilroy-cited 2015); Ibsen is Dead (2014); The Peacock (2013, Kilroys honorable mention); The Gacy Play (2012); and Common Hatred (2012). Calamity is a company member of Jackalope Theatre Company and an artistic associate of Sideshow Theatre Company. She teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago, Webster University, and is represented by The Gersh Agency.