Dog Sees God

A Note From the Director

 

Dog Sees God is a theatrical adaptation of the Peanuts comics by Charles Schultz into a perspective of a group of modern high school students. This show explores themes of sexuality, mental health, and facing mortality. We follow a 17-year-old Charlie Brown, now going by CB, as he navigates his life beyond the shocking and eye-opening death of his family dog. This show has been set in the early 2000s as an homage to high school movies of its era and as a reflection on the attitude adjustment regarding teen bullying and identity issues that began at the time. This show came to me at a time when I was responding to the passing of my grandfather and CB’s journey through the script mirrored my own inner monologue regarding the meaning of life and death. Directing this show has been such an enriching opportunity that has helped me validate my experiences and accept my circumstances just as CB does throughout the story.

We began production in early September of last year with a blank stage and a script. As a first time director, most of my tools and experience were on an academic basis. Though I had some previous experience with smaller projects, this show is by all means my directorial debut. Having such an important debut during a pandemic is a truly unique experience. Running rehearsals partially online and partially in person was challenging as I had to get creative on teaching blocking and acting with emotion through the screen. But through this experience, I have learned that theatre exists and thrives in the darkest of places and with dedication can still be as inspiring as it has always been and always will be. This show has been made possible through the support and commitment of the cast and production team. Through these past four and a half months, we have created a show that is nostalgic but reminds us of the adversity of adolescence.

Jasmine Ridler

Cast

CB ........................................................................................................... Nick Talion

Beethoven ................................................................................................ Ben Pollizi

Matt ..................................................................................................... Isaac Hulbert

Van ................................................................................................... Caleb Goldstein

CB's Sister ........................................................................................... Sarah Zapola

Tricia .......................................................................................................... Bri Clark

Marcy ............................................................................................. Gretta Griesbach

Van's Sister .................................................................................... Martina Dimiduk

Crew

Director ............................................................................................. Jasmine Ridler

Stage Manager .............................................................................. Allison Gonzales

Assistant Stage Manager/Female Swing ........................................... Riley Gibson

Costume Designer .......................................................................... Lo Erin Jackson

Set Designer ........................................................................................... Nick Talion

Props Master ................................................................................ Martina Dimiduk

Light Board Operator ..................................................................... Zach Abraham

Sound Designer ................................................................................... Anna Gerber

Sound Board Operator ..................................................................... Kam Mohney

Dramaturg .................................................................................. Taylor Richardson

Production Manager ........................................................................... David Cotter

Producer/Lighting Designer ........................................................ Stephen Svoboda

Meet the Cast

Bri Clark is a sophomore Musical Theater major and is on track to get her MBA. She has participated in theatrical shows pretty much her whole life. Bri has been in multiple shows here at Heidelberg including Cabaret, Oedipus, She Kills Monsters, Freaky Friday, and Elf. She has also been scenic charge and scenic assistant for some of the shows and is grateful for the experience she has gained. Bri is excited for her future here at Heidelberg as well as what will follow once she graduates.

 

Martina Dimiduk is a third-year theatre and video game production double major from Dayton, Ohio. This will be their 7th show at Heidelberg. You may have seen them on stage hiding in the ensemble of various shows such as The Music Man, or maybe you've seen the weapons they made used to fight evil in She Kills Monsters? Whatever the case may be, Martina hopes you enjoy the show and go on to tell your friends about the great things that happen here at Heidelberg University.

 

Caleb Goldstein is a Freshman musical theatre major at Heidelberg University. This is his third performance at Heidelberg and is excited to be involved in the program. He was in past productions of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Footloose, and The Pajama Game at Oak Harbor High School and Genoa Community Theatre. He has been in Freaky Friday and Elf at Heidelberg. He hopes you enjoy the show.

 

Gretta Griesbach is a sophomore 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, Freaky Friday, and Elf. Gretta is super excited to be back acting on the stage and would like to thank everyone for their support for this production! She wants to especially thank the cast and crew for their hard work and dedication towards this amazing show!

 

Isaac Hulbert has always loved doing work behind the scenes making costumes and props. He has always loved cosplay, comic books, movies, and especially plays and musicals. Isaac is very excited and honored to be playing Matt in this show. He is honored to work alongside this amazing team. 

 

Ben Pollizi is so excited to be back again on the Gundlach stage as Beethoven in Dog Sees God! Some of his past roles include Steve in She Kills Monsters and Grandpa/Mr. Blumen/Señor O’Brien/Parker’s Dad in Freaky Friday. He also serves as the current master electrician for the theater. He will be seen later this semester as Oliver Rivers in Puffs, as well as in Heathers and 9 to 5. Ben wants to thank everyone involved with this show for all of their hard work to keep this show going, and he hopes you enjoy the show!

 


Sarah Zapola is a junior History and English Writing Double Major with a minor in Acting. She’s also the vice president of the Heidelberg Historians. Her debut at Heidelberg was in Mamma Mia! as a Yia-Yia and since then has performed in Oedipus Rex as a chorus member and Lysistrata as Ismenia. She lives in Huron, Ohio. She’s very excited to play CB’s sister in Dog Sees God and hopes you’ll enjoy the show!

Meet the Production Team

David Cotter previously served as the Managing Artistic Director of Town Hall Theatre, the only theatre in Dayton, Ohio, exclusively presenting work for young audiences. While at Town Hall Theatre, David oversaw the redevelopment of the education programs, developed programming for adults with special needs, and created and implemented a facilities upgrade plan for the theatre which included new lighting, sound and audience seating upgrades. David was the Director of Education at The Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, N.Y. where he oversaw a $3.2 million education collaboration program that focused arts integration and collaboration with students in the Syracuse City School District. In addition, he oversaw programming that included the Rock Camp experience, programming for adults with special needs and communications training for graduate and doctoral students in the medical fields. David is a certified music educator in Ohio and New York and spent time in the middle school classroom. David is a frequent presenter at conferences, which include the Southeastern Theatre Conference, American Alliance for Theatre Education, Florida Theatre Conference and Tedx. He is an avid musical theatre performer, director, and music director.

 

Anna Gerber is a junior theatre and English major from Richfield, Ohio. She is very excited to be working on Dog Sees God as the sound designer and board operator. In the past she has been stage manager for Cabaret, Fun Home, and Elf  at Heidelberg. She has also previously done sound design on Oedipus and Lysistrata. She would like to thank her friends and family for all their support. 

Riley Gibson is a junior at Heidelberg University majoring in musical theatre. She has participated in 10 musicals throughout her middle school, high school, and college career. At Heidelberg, she has been in The Music Man, Macbeth, Mamma Mia, Cabaret, She Kills Monsters, Freaky Friday and Elf. She has also been in Titanic at The Ritz Theatre. She worked on the production team for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Penguin Tango, and Dog Sees God. She has also assistant directed Lysistrata, Oedipus and Elf. 

 

Allison Gonzales is a junior studying theatre with a concentration in production. She is the Stage Manager, Assistant Director, and Production Manager for Dog Sees God. She will also be Stage Manager for Puffs and Heathers in the upcoming season. She would like to thank her amazing director, cast, and crew for working so hard on this production and her family for always supporting her. 

Lo Erin Jackson is a recent Musical Theatre graduate from Heidelberg and a current student in the MBA program. Many of her credits include performances on the stage, however, she has thoroughly enjoyed her role behind the scenes as the designer for costumes, hair, and makeup for this performance. Previously at Heidelberg, she has worked as an assistant director, assistant costume designer, photographer, company manager, and a few other roles in the production area. This show has been a pleasure to work on, and she wishes the best to the Peanuts gang in tackling this nostalgic show!

 

Kamryn Mohney is an accounting and musical theater double major at Heidelberg University. Kamryn is a second year student and debuted on the Gundlach Theatre stage as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret as a freshman. Kamryn recently played the role of Ellie Blake in Freaky Friday. However, she is excited to work on the production team for the first time as sound board operator!

 

Jasmine Ridler is a junior Theatre and History double major, and Business and Theatre Education minor. She is delighted and inspired for her directorial debut of Dog Sees God. She has recently been noted for her acting work as Deb in Elf and her production work as Assistant Music Director and understudy for Ellie in Freaky Friday. Her next projects at HU include being the Dramaturg and Assistant Director of Puffs, as well as returning to the stage as Ms. Fleming in Heathers and Roz in 9 to 5. Outside of theatre, Jasmine is the President of Berg Allies, the Founder and President of the Body Positivity Club, Game Master of Make-A-Scene Improv Comedy Troupe, and a proud member of her sorority Kappa Psi Omega. She would like to thank Stephen Svoboda and David Cotter for their belief in her and passion for helping her grow. And she would like to thank her partner Em Swain for their love and support.

 

Stephen Svoboda is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Heidelberg University, where he teaches coursework in acting, script analysis, musical theatre direction, play direction, theatre history and criticism. He is responsible for curriculum and course development in The School of Music & Theatre as well as being responsible for the artistic and programmatic development of Gundlach Theatre. He served as the Executive Artistic Director of the Redhouse Arts Center from 2011-2016. Previously, he served as the Executive Artistic Director of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. While at the Redhouse Arts Center, Stephen developed unique partnerships with a variety of organizations throughout the state, including a multi-million-dollar contract with the Syracuse City Schools that made The Redhouse the regional leader in arts education and integration. In addition, while at the Redhouse he created a repertory company of artists, designers and community members that enabled him to produce, in a typical year, over 16 productions, 300 classes and cultivate relationships with communities typically underserved by arts including urban youth and families and adults with disabilities. Prior to working in regional arts centers, Stephen taught at the University of Miami, where his students and colleagues ranked him as one of the best teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences. He created a BFA in Playwriting and Directing track that focused on developing young dramatists through devising, growing, and staging new works, while celebrating the great diversity of student voices.

His play, Odysseus Died from AIDS, was developed in Miami and received its world premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival, where the production was awarded “Best Ensemble.“ Odysseus Died from AIDS was published in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2005, by the New York Theatre Experience, and received its international premiere in 2007 in Athens, Greece with a subsequent production in Seoul, South Korea in 2008. In March 2011, the Red House production of Odysseus DOA had a limited engagement run at Theatre Row Studios in NYC. Odysseus DOA had its regional premiere in 2012 at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, where the production was awarded “Best Play in Connecticut” by Broadway World. The Penguin Tango, premiered at the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival in The Actor’s Playhouse. The production was awarded “Best of the Festival” and extended as part of the Fringe Encore Series in the Lion Theater at Theatre Row. It was recently revived and revised on the Redhouse stage as part of the 2014-2015 season. Reconstructing Mama, a new musical written with N. David Williams, premiered Off Broadway at The Theatre Row Studios in August 2006. Stephen works internationally with The Harambe Project to help do HIV/AIDS education and prevention and orphan care throughout Africa.

Heidelberg University School of Music and Theatre

310 E. Market Street

Tiffin, OH 44883

(419)-448-2305
 

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