Chicago

A Note From the Director

What is the Musical Chicago all about? What story or important message is it promoting?
Some say that it is based on real life reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins of the Chicago Tribune, who was assigned to cover the 1924 trials of accused murderers Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner. Others see it as a satirical look at America and the notion that corruption touches our everyday life specifically through our media and our judicial system. “Murder’s a form of entertainment,” We buy crime novels, watch crime shows, and love them. Notorious killers become household names, sometimes overshadowing the names of important world enriching scientists, teachers and activists. Some believe that the show makes reference to “reality” stars, displaying what some people will do to earn their 15 minutes of fame. There are those who see the story as a story about feminism and the rights of women. And some fans of the musical believe it to be a fun story filled with great songs, great dances and plenty of laughs. And you know what? I think everyone's right. That is the beauty of theatre. I hope you walk away after the show affected in some way. That is the intimacy of theatre.
So, join our little vaudeville troupe as we tell timeless tales, explain our need for Jazz and perform a little Razzle Dazzle.

Lisa L Wiley & Jackson Helmholtz

Cast List

Principle Characters 

Velma Kelly, Kam Mohney

Roxie Hart, Elayna Brock

Billy Flynn, Jacob Reuter

Amos Hart, Garrett Hummel

Mary Sunshine, Lexi Lang

"Mama" Morton, Natalie Joritz

Liz "Pop", Audrey Warren

Annie "Six", Zaria Keys

June "Squish", Solana Petrone

Hunyak "Uh Oh", Sarah Jewell

Mona "Lipshitz", Riley Ameel

Ensemble

Amelia Hammond

Benjamin Neiberlein

Ben Pollizi

Bri Clark

Chantress Dewitt

Dermot, Healy

Gretta Griesbach

Jackson Helmholtz

Jacob Frankart

Khadijah Kennedy

Kylee Kent

Lexy Saxon

Mina Opferman

Rebecca Eppard

Serria Allen

Vaidon Mallonn

Zach Abraham

Pit Orchestra

Conductor, Michael Shirtz

Piano/Rehearsal Accompanist, Morgan Noon

Reed I, Jody Chaffee

Reed II, Sheryl Cawrse

Reed III, Andrew Lieberman

Violin, Gina Buzzelli

Trumpet I, Joe Gozdowski

Trumpet II, Steven Cozzuli

Trombone I, Bob Hoff

Bass, Perry Kral

Drums, Steve Berry

Production/Creative Team

Director, Lisa L Wiley

Assistant Director, Jackson Helmholtz

Music Director, Michael Shirtz

Assistant Music Director, Zach Abraham

Technical Director, Ben Bodart

Stage Manager, Autumn Perry

Assistant Stage Managers, Jack Mills & Emily Garberich

Choreographer, Pamela Shirtz

Dance Captains, Chantress DeWitt & Rebecca Eppard

Lighting Designer/Master Electrician, Ben Pollizi

Co-Lighting Designer, Lexy Saxon

Light Board Operator, Krista Hagans

Spot Light Operator, Paul Pospisil & Emily Garberich

Sound Board Operator, Ben Bodart

Costume/Scenic Designer, Mark Kobak

Costume Shop Manager, Hannah Schoen

Hair & Makeup, Bri Clark & Elayna Brock

Assistant Scenic Designers, Nick Talion & Solana Petrone

Scenic Charge, Bri Clark

Props Master, Zaria Keys

Marketing, Gavin Buurma

Meet the Cast

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Zach Abraham is a junior at Heidelberg University this fall. He is currently pursuing a degree in both Musical Theatre as well as Accounting. Zach is beyond excited to play Fred Casely and be in the ensemble in this production. Zach is also the Assistant Music Director. Zach would like to thank his family in Marion, as well as his musical theatre family here in Tiffin. Zach wishes everyone to break a leg with Ebb and Fosse’s Chicago!

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Serria Allen, she/her (Select Dance Ensemble) is a sophomore English and Integrated Media major and is glad to perform again on the Gundlach stage. She was previously in Addams Family (Ensemble) and Cinderella (Assistant Stage Manager). Serria has also taken pictures for previous main stage shows such as Eurydice and Midsummer. She has also taken photos for several of the black box shows. Serria would like to thank Autumn for doing such an amazing job managing her first main stage show at Gundlach.

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Elayna Brock she/her (Roxie Hart) is excited to be back on the Gundlach stage for her senior year. She has previously performed in A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Titania/ Hippolyta), Addams Family (Alice Beinike), as well as other shows, while also working alongside her fellow cast mate, Bri Clark, as the hair and makeup assistant. Elayna would like to thank her friends and family for the continuous love and support throughout her theater journey.

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Bri Clark she/her (Ensemble) is a junior Musical Theater major and is on track to get her MBA. She has participated in theatrical shows pretty much her entire life. Bri has been a part of more than fourteen productions here at Heidelberg including The Addams Family (Pugsley) and She Kills Monsters (Lilith). She also participates as the Scenic Charge and Graphic Designer for the theater department. Bri is excited about what the future holds for her!

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Chantress DeWitt is a junior musical theatre major here at Heidelberg. During their time here at Heidelberg they have been involved in many productions both on and off stage. Some of their favorite shows have been Heathers (ensemble), 9 to 5 (ensemble), Addams Family (dance captain/ ensemble), Pride & Prejudice (Assistant Stage Manager), The Cake (Stage Manager), Cinderella (dance captain/ ensemble), and now Chicago (dance captain/ ensemble)! They would like to thank their support system for always being there. Enjoy the show!

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Rebecca Eppard (Baby & Ensemble) is excited to be performing again in Gundlach Theater for her junior year. This is only her second show on this stage, her first being in Cinderella (Ensemble). Rebeca is very active on campus and you can find her all over the music department performing in the Marching Band, Concert Choir, and the Chamber Singers. Rebecca would love to thank her family for always supporting her through everything, Carol for putting up with her in voice lessons, and her friends here at Heidelberg for keeping her sane.

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Jacob Frankart he/him (Harry/Juror/Ens.#7) is thrilled to begin his Heidelberg Theatre experience with the musical Chicago! Before taking the stage here at Heidelberg, he has been in a number of shows including Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour Krelborn), Mamma Mia! (Sky), and Arsenic and Old Lace (Dr. Einstein). Along with his acting work, Jacob has also assisted in lighting and building the set for many productions. Jacob would like to thank his wonderful friends and family for their constant support and love. He would not be where he is today without them!

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Gretta Griesbach is a Senior Theatre Major here at Heidelberg University. She has been performing in productions all throughout middle school and high school. She has performed on the Heidelberg stage in She Kills Monsters (Farrah/Evil Tina), Freaky Friday (Ensemble), Elf (Ensemble), Dog Sees God (Marcy), Heather’s (Republicanette), 9 to 5 (Ensemble), Addams Family (Ensemble), My First Time, Pride and Prejudice (Caroline Bingley), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), and Cinderella (Madame). Gretta is super excited for her senior year and what amazing opportunities will be offered. She would like to thank her friends and family for all their support in everything she does and loves them all!

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Amelia Hammond she/her (Reporter 2/Ensemble) is very excited to perform in her first show at Heidelberg. She is a first-year Musical Theater major and Theater Education minor. At her high school, she has previously performed in The Little Mermaid (Ariel), Once Upon a Mattress (Minstrel), and is thrilled to move her live theater career to the Gundlach stage. Amelia would also like to thank all of the upperclassmen for welcoming her into their community with open arms.

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Dermot Healy he/him (Ensemble) is excited to be a part of this production. This is his first year at Heidelberg, and he is looking forward to a great four years here.

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Sarah Jewell she/her (Hunyak/Ensemble Member #11) is a freshman musical theatre major and Spanish minor. She is so excited to make her debut on the Gundlach stage this year. Sarah has previously performed in Cinderella (Marie), Willy Wonka (Mrs. Bucket), among other shows at her highschool. She would like to dedicate this show to her family and her friends who continue to support her dreams.

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Natalie Joritz (Mama Morton) is thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful show. She is currently a junior from Garfield Heights, Ohio. Previously, she took the stage as Charlotte in Cinderella, and Kitty Bennet/Georgiana Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Offstage, she served as the music director for The Saga, and the assistant stage manager for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Outside of theatre, Natalie is a member of Zeta Theta Psi, Alpha Psi Omega, the honors program, Make-A-Scene improv troupe, and the combined ensemble that doesn’t have a name yet. Love goes out to her friends and family for all their support, her roommate Rebecca for being such a badass, and the creative team for taking a chance on her and this program. Enjoy the show!

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Khadijah Kennedy was born and raised in Louisiana, but moved to Ohio a few years ago. She is a musical theatre Sophomore. Enjoy the show!

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Kylee Kent (Ensemble) is a sophomore Musical Theatre and Early Childhood Education major here at Heidelberg and is so excited to be in her third production here. She would like to thank Dr. Carol Dusdieker for putting on so many hats and helping to bring back the community in the School of Music and Theatre. Enjoy the show!

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Zaria Keys (Annie “Six”) is a Sophomore and is currently double majoring in Psychology and Theatre with a concentration in Acting. This is Zaria’s eighth performance returning to Heidelberg’s Theatre Program. She is originally from Lima, OH and is so excited for this year's season! Some of her favorite past roles have been Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice and Macy in The Cake. She would love to give a special thank you to Autumn Perry for her zealous diligence and going above and beyond every night as Stage Manager. Thank you lastly to the audience for your support, hope you all enjoy the show!

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Lexi Lang she/her (Mary Sunshine) is happy to be back on the Gundlach stage this fall. She has previously performed in her own show The Saga (Amelia Cullen), Pride and Prejudice (Mary Bennet), and Heathers the Musical (Martha's Understudy) here at Heidelberg. Lexi would like to thank her castmates and family, the production team/leaders, and Dr. Carol Dusdeiker for believing in her and helping her grow as a performer.

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Vaiden Mallonn she/her (Ensemble) is excited to make her debut on the Gundlach stage. This is her first show at Heidelberg and she is thrilled to be a part of this cast! She is also involved in Berg Events Council, Delta Sigma Chi, Student Alumni Association, and CRU, in addition to majoring in Middle Childhood and Special Education. Vaiden would like to thank her family, friends and the theatre department for believing in her as she begins this new endeavor.

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Kamryn Mohney is a musical theatre major and a business minor hoping to achieve her MBA at Heidelberg University. Kamryn is a senior and debuted on the Gundlach Theater stage as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret as a freshman. A few other roles Kamryn has enjoyed while being at Heidelberg, are Medium Allison in Fun Home, Ellie Blake in Freaky Friday, Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her favorite role was Heather McNamara in Heathers. Offstage, Kamryn has assistant stage managed Pride & Prejudice and was the head stage manager for Rodger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Kamryn would love to thank her friends and family for all of their support. She has been involved with theatre since the seventh grade and is delighted to continue her journey at Heidelberg.

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Benjamin Neiberlein he/him (Sergeant Fogarty/Ensemble Member #4) is a Junior majoring in Theater at Heidelberg University. He has been in productions before at his local hometown theater, Young Actors Studio including productions of Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Mama Mia, and Aladdin. This is his 10th production at Heidelberg. His favorite roles performed were Count Dracula and Sweeney Todd. When not on stage, he enjoys painting and playing piano. He has also done volunteer work for Weathervane Community Playhouse in Akron, Ohio, helping out with set construction of Kinky Boots. He is also associated with Sigma Tau Nu Fraternity. He has previously played in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon/Theseus) at Gundlach Theater.

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Wilhelmina Opferman she/her (Ensemble) is a freshman and stoked to make her Gundlach debut! She has most recently performed in Letters To Sala (Frymka) and Crazy For You (Follies Girl/Margie) at her high school, as well as done props crew for multiple shows there. Outside of theatre, she is a member of the Heidelberg Concert Choir and on the color guard of the Heidelberg University Marching Band. Wilhelmina would like to thank her friends and family for supporting her, and especially her cat for being so cute.

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Solana Petrone she/her (June/Ensemble Member #10) is thrilled to be back on the Gundlach stage for her senior year. She has previously performed in 9 to 5 (Violet Newstead), Dance Nation (Zuzu), as well as other shows, while also serving as the student scene shop foreman here at Heidelberg. Solana would like to thank Dr. Carol Dusdeiker for believing in the theatre department and helping us rebuild our family.

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Ben Pollizi He/Him (Lighting Designer/Master Electrician/Harrison/Ensemble Member 6) is a senior musical theatre major and is so excited to be back for his final Gundlach season! He has previously performed in Dog Sees God (Beethoven), Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Collins), Puffs (Oliver Rivers), as well as many other shows. He also has served as the resident Master Electrician for theater for the last three years. He runs the Make-A-Scene Improv Troupe as well as he is co-presidents of Alpha Psi Omega with Bri Clark. He would like to thank Carol Dusdieker for her constant support.

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Jacob Reuter he/him (Billy Flynn) is excited to be performing at Gundlach for the first time. He would like to thank Dr. Carol Dusdeiker for helping him find his way onto the Gundlach stage and the theatre department for fostering such a kind and supportive environment.

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Lexy Saxon she/her (ensemble/assistant lighting designer) is very excited to be in another production in the Gundlach Theater! She has appeared in The Addams Family, A Midsummer Night's Dream and she also appeared in the first ever student directed production in the black box theater called My First Time. Lexy is also the lighting assistant here at Heidelberg University. She would like to thank her friends and family for always supporting her and she hopes you enjoy the show!

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Audrey Warren (she/they) (Liz ”Pop”/Select Dance Ensemble) is a sophomore Musical Theatre major and Visual Art minor. Some previous roles here at Heidelberg include Gabrielle (Cinderella), Frog (A Year With Frog and Toad), Philostrate/Elvis Fairy (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Prairie Woman Ancestor (The Addams Family), and one of the people in (My First Time). Audrey is honored to share the stage with a group of such strong, charismatic and enthusiastic performers and friends. As always, a big thanks to “the lovers, the dreamers, and you!”

Meet the Production/Creative Team

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Emily Garberich she/her (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to start her Gundlach career. She is currently working in the costume and scene shops here at Heidelberg. Emily would like to thank everyone who showed her the ropes in the theatre department.

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Jackson Helmholtz he/him (Assistant Director/Aaron/Doctor/Ensemble #5) is a sophomore acting major. He has been in multiple productions at Heidelberg University including My First Time, Pride and Prejudice (Ensemble), The Cake (The Voice), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Flute/Thisbe), Eurydice (Light board operator) Cinderella (Ensemble/Dance Captain), and now Chicago! This is his first time assistant directing a production. He hopes you enjoy the show!

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Mark Kobak is grateful, for the opportunity to work with the wonderful students, faculty and staff at Heidelberg University. He has served as a production manager for theatre, dance, and opera for academic and professional organizations such as BH Studio (NYC), Bay Street Theatre (NY) Opera Santa Barbara (CA), Ogunquit Playhouse (ME), Dancing Wheels (OH), Opera in the Heights (TX), Bay View Music Festival (MI), and the Cleveland Institute of Music (OH). His scenic design and scenic art work have been seen at Great Lakes Theatre Festival (OH), Kansas City Repertory (MO), Arkansas Repertory, Theatre of Chester (VT), Dorset Theatre Festival (VT), West Virginia Public Theatre, American Stage (FL), Bristol Valley Theatre (NY), Ohio Dance Theatre, Cleveland Contemporary Dance (OH), Sorg/Whitewater Opera (OH), Miami Grand Opera (FL), Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Lyric Opera Kansas City (MO), Westside Repertory (NYC), and Pulse Theatre Ensemble (NYC). Mark has taught as a visiting professor at the College of Wooster (OH), Ashland University (OH), and Snow College (UT). He has worked as a design assistant on and Off-Broadway in TV and Film. Mark would like to thank Carol, Karla, Bruce, Marble, and HP for their continued support.

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Jack Mills he/him (Assistant Stage Manager) is a Junior musical theatre major. He has performed in Heidelberg’s production’s Dance Nation (Luke), The Addams Family (Lucas), A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Puck). He assistant directed a student directed play in the Blackbox theater called My First Time, and will be codirecting Misery in the Blackbox theater with Nick Talion. He is very excited to be assistant stage manager for the first time in Heidelberg’s production of Chicago. He wants to thank his friends and family for their continuous support. He would also like to thank the cast and crew of Chicago for their hard work, dedication, and being such great role models, and great people to work with. Hope you enjoy the show!

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Autumn Perry she/her (Stage Manager) is a sophomore Theatre Production and English major and is extremely excited to stage manage her first main stage musical this Fall. Autumn has previously been involved in Heidelberg's production of Addams Family, (Assistant Stage Manager) and Eurydice (Stage Manager). Autumn is very grateful for her production roles this semester and is looking forward to another amazing year in the theater. Autumn would also like to thank her loved ones for all the support they offer her, as she would not be where she is today, all on her own.

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Michael Shirtz is a performer, composer, conductor, and educator. Shirtz is known for his versatility with jazz, contemporary, and classical music audiences. Credited as a “songsmith,” his work as a director and recording artist include tribute concerts, festivals, and projects with such singers as Melissa Manchester, Elizabeth von Trapp, and his work as director/producer for actress and recording artist Maureen McGovern. 

 

His compositions include works for choirs, orchestras, jazz bands, and theater, including the musical Headliner and extended works The Solemn Blessings and To Rise Above. His conducting credits include vocal coaching and directing educational, repertory theatre, masterwork, and pops music organizations. Shirtz has music directed such shows as Sound of Music, Legally Blonde, A Chorus Line, among others, and award-nominated for his work conducting West Side Story and Little Shop of Horrors.

 

Holding degrees in jazz studies and conducting from Capital University Conservatory of Music and California State University, Los Angeles, Shirtz has served on the faculty for Capital University, American Music Academy, Terra State Community College, director in residence for Pellissippi State-Knoxville, and Tri-C Jazz Fest. Currently he is the conductor of the Symphony Chorale with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra & School of Music, serves as the interim executive director of the global Jazz Education Network, and teaches at Heidelberg University School of Music & Theatre.

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Pamela Shirtz has spent her life following her passion for performance and education, becoming a strong advocate for the arts both in the classroom and the community. Pamela began her passion for the stage while dancing with D&D Dance in Toledo, which led to opportunities to perform at Disney World and eventually becoming a noted choreographer in her own right. She choreographs for professional venues, community theaters, colleges, and high schools throughout northern Ohio. Her choreography is a unique combination of traditional dance steps with contemporary moves, showcasing the work of renowned entertainers, such as Fred Astaire or Michael Jackson, and develops them into a dance with the same energy and glamour of a Broadway chorus line; receiving overwhelming response from the performers she has worked with and the audiences she has entertained. Pamela is the proud recipient of the 2015 & 2016 Choreographer of the Year award from BroadwayWorld.com for her her choreography in Footloose and Into the Woods. She was nominated for a Playhouse Square Dazzle Award for her choreography in Mama Mia

 

Her interests in acting and theatre have led her to play character roles from the community theatre stage to professional repertory work; starring in such diverse roles as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, Judy Haynes in White Christmas, Roxie in Chicago, Maria in The Sound of Music, Natalie in Next to Normal, and many more. Pamela originated the role of Sadie in the new musical Sophie's Light in 2018. As a singer, Pamela has enjoyed frequent invitations to sing for various engagements; her most honored performance was singing for the NYPD Port Authority following September 11th. 

 

A passionate educator when not on the stage, Pamela is a first grade teacher. In 2005, Pamela served as an education specialist with the Amy Biehl Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, working in developing educational programs and opportunities for both the students and teachers in several township schools. Pamela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education & Reading and a Masters of Educational Administration from Bowling Green State University. She has been a guest speaker for both school and thespian conferences throughout the State of Ohio regarding family engagement and dance. Pamela was the recipient of the 2016 ACE Educator of the Year award for Erie County and was presented with the Terrific Teacher Award for the Radio Station 102.7 in 2018. In 2020, Shirtz achieved National Board Certification, the highest honor in education. Pamela also serves on the boards of The Lange Trust, The Sandusky Library, and Lorain Community Music Theater.

 

Pamela would like to thank this amazing cast and production team for making Chicago come to life on stage. Your hard work and dedication was inspiring and never went unnoticed.

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Lisa L Wiley is a working Actor, Designer, Storyteller and Director currently living in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Ashland University she toured the Eastern U.S. with American Family Theatre, and after three tours decided to stay on the Northcoast of Ohio for a bit. She has walked the boards on several Cleveland area theatres including, Cleveland Public Theatre, convergence-continuum, Clague Playhouse, Cassidy Theatre, Ohio City Theatre, Playwrights Local and TrueNorth. Some favorite roles include: “Tami” from Falling, “Kate” in Broadway Bound and “Penny Bingo” in Style is the Answer to Everything. She is also a performer for Women In History. Recreating the stories of Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton and Alice Paul. Lisa has directed in several theatres in the Cleveland area and in northern Ohio as well. Some select credits include: Westside Story, A Chorus Line and The 39 Steps (Huron Playhouse). Ravenscroft, and The Guys (Harlequins Theatre in Sandusky). Night Mother and Love Letters (Rising Star Productions) Grease and The Sound of Music (Sandusky State Theatre) and Swimming in the Shallows (convergence-continuum). When not directing she is a voice over artist and has narrated several audiobooks and several e-learning courses.

 

“What a pleasure it has been to spend time with such a hardworking and talented group of

artists and creators. I have very much enjoyed and grown from our collaboration. Thank you to

the cast, crew, and production team. Thank you for welcoming me into your family these last

few weeks. I wish you all the very best.”

 

“And to the audience, Thank you for joining us and for supporting live theatre”.-L.L.W.