2008 After Dark Awards

By Venus Zarris except where noted (*Jonathan Lewis)


“Passion Play: A Cycle in Three Parts” (Goodman Theatre) – This brilliantly innovative dramatic rapture was a prime example of theater’s ability to exonerate us from the banal indulgences of our ever-growing collective superficiality.

The profundity and reach of the writing was matched by the excellence of the Goodman Theatre’s production thereby constructing a convergence of creation that represents theater’s potential to engage us in ways that not only entertain and enlighten but effect a change in the individual conscience that can subsequently impact the collective one.

Normally, if someone yells fire in a theater you should get out. But Ruhl’s amazing script, Mark Wing-Davey’s astonishing direction and the brilliant kaleidoscope perfect ensemble set the Goodman Theater on fire with a blaze that you enthusiatically tossed yourself onto.

Playwritght – Sarah Ruhl

Direction – Mark Wing-Davey

CAST: Brendan Averett, Joaquin Torres, Keith Kupferer, Brian Sgambati, Alan Cox, Polly Noonan, Craig Spidle, Nicole Wiesner, Kristen Bush, John Hoogenakker, T. Ryder Smith, Tiffany Bedwell, Jeremy Clark, Kyle Lemieux, Ron Rains, Jayce Ryan

Set Design – Allen Moyer

Costume Design – Gabriel Berry

Lighting design – James F. Ingalls

Sound Design – Cecil Averett

Projection Design – Ruppert Bohle

Dramaturg – Tanya Palmer

Production Stage Manager – Joseph Drummond

Stage Manager – T. Paul Lynch

Casting – Adam Belcoure, Vince Liebhart

Vocal/Dialect Coach – Linda Gates

Fight Consultant – Nick Sandys

Artistic Director – Robert Falls

Executive Director – Roche Schulfer

“The Mark of Zorro” (Lifeline Theatre) – Seldom do you ride a continual and exhilarating wave of energetic entertainment during an entire production but Lifeline Theatre’s world premier adaptation of ‘The Mark of Zorro’ delivered a tsunami of charming delight!

This show had everything going for it, both creatively and technically. This magnificently lovable ensemble’s depiction of Katie McLean’s thrilling adaptation, polished off with Dorothy Milne’s brilliantly ingenious direction, created an all ages laugh festival extravaganza that was CRAZY FUN!Adaptation – Katie McLean

Direction – Dorothy Milne

CAST: Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, Robert Kauzlaric, Manny Tamayo, James Elly, Don Bender, Larry Baldacci, Allison Cain, Rosa de Guindos, B. Diego Colon, Eduardo Garcia, Jonathan Helvey, Brian Kilborn, Jennifer Munoz, (understudy) Nilsa Reyna

Choreography/Assistant Direction – Jasmin Cardenas

Scenic & Props Design – Alan Donahue

Lighting Design – John Sanchez

Costume Design – Branimira Ivanova

Original Music & Sound Design – Victoria Delorio

Sound Design – Victoria Delorio

Fight Choreography – Geoff Coates

Dialect Coach – Elise Kauzlaric

Stage Manager – Erica Foster

Production Manager – Cortney Hurley

Technical Directors – Charlie Olson & Joe Schermoly

Scenic Artist – Morgan Cromwell

Sound Board Operator – Robert Ellis

Master Electrician – Brandon Stock

Photography – Suzanne Plunkett

Graphic Design – Kathleen Powers & Rob McLean

“Hunchback” (Redmoon Theater) – Redmoon delivered a beautiful and beguiling, gritty and grotesque, creatively spellbinding triumphant reinvention of Victor Hugo’s classic.

This was a visionary experience that had to be seen to fully grasp its unconventionally unique and glorious achievement. Incomparable conceptualization combined with outstanding puppetry and performance created an emotional “labyrinth of fantastic forms.” It was funny, frightening, heartbreaking and ‘beauty that did not sacrifice the grotesque.’

Conceived and Designed by Jim Lasko

Directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig

CAST: Matt Hawkins, Mary Winn Heider, Katie Rose McLaughlin, Alden Moore, Jeremy Sher, Samuel Taylor, Jay Torrence, Leah Urzendowski, (understudies) Cortney McKenna, Zeke Sulkes

Original Music – Michael Zerang

Spoken Text – Mickle Maher

Assistant Director – Mikalina Rabinsky

Technical Director – Andrei Onegin

Costume Designer – Joel Klaff

Lighting Designer – Ben Wilhelm

Sound Designer – Mikhail Fiskel

Fight Choreographer – Matt Hawkins

Assistant to the Costume Designer – Aay Preston-Myint

Production Director – Rebecca Hunter

Production Manager – Adam Fox

Production Manager & SM Swing – Caitlin Montanye Parrish

Stage Manager – Denise Olivieri

Assistant Stage Manager – Anna Ashley

Master Electrician – Dustin L. Derry

Build Shop Manager – Michael O’Neill

Build Shop Intern Manager – Samuel Polce

Costume Shop Manager – Anna Glowaki

Production Intern – Caitlin Shaw

Marketing Materials Design – Kass Copeland

Marketing Materials Layout – Donny Harder

House Manager – Sarah Leahy

Box Office Manager – Tristan Tom

Bar Manager – Andrew Wagner

Bar Staff – Brook Stokes


Sarah Ruhl, “Passion Play: A Cycle in Three Parts” (Goodman Theatre) – Ruhl reincarnated sixteen characters and our collective consciousness through three different time periods to create a hilarious, haunting and at times horrifying masterpiece. ‘Passion Play’ was epic in scale, scope and impact. This was an emotional and cerebral journey that planted itself deeply and firmly into your psyche while beguiling your senses.

Ruhl’s writing has the ability to not only observe and duplicate but to distill and deviate the human experience on visceral and existential levels, inducing illuminations that connect this transcendence to the ground by way of humor, drama and passion. She facilitated this collective experience of tribal catharsis and epiphany in a way that was subversively powerful yet beguilingly entertaining.

Anna Carini, “Sweet Confinement” (SiNNERMAN Ensemble) – “There is nothing in this room that can be fixed. We are all fucking broken.”

Playwright Anna Carini did not attempt to illustrate the depression that causes a sudden suicide, but rather brilliantly depicted the aftermath of its effect on those left behind. Her script was clever and terse without being abrupt or ambiguous. Her characters were natural, flawed and compelling creating a story that was realistically startling and emotionally staggering.

Tracy Letts, “Superior Donuts” (Steppenwolf) – Filled with hysterical dialogue, poignant observations and compelling relationships, Letts conveyed a bittersweet and melancholy empathy with this city. There are subtle hints of Algren hidden under his witty sarcasm. It was nostalgic without being maudlin. Every character in ‘Superior Donuts’ is someone that you have met in real life, be that a neighbor, a crazy person on the train or a chatty stranger at a coffee shop or late night diner. He captured today’s Chicago like no other play has done to date. Lett’s personified the city in his charming script but his absorbing story transcended location.


Shishir Kurup, “Merchant On Venice” (Silk Road Theatre Project) – Kurup created a deceptively profound adaptation, using iambic pentameter as well as Bollywood musical/dance numbers, that was playfully entertaining as well as exceptionally relevant. As much an amusing spectacle of cultural intersections as it was a polemic on theological and ethnic collisions, Kurup’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic took on a critically contemporary life of its own.

Devon de Mayo and Ensemble, “As Told By the Vivian Girls” (Dog & Pony Theatre Company) – This adaptation, of reclusive and obsessively prolific outsider artist Henry Darger’s 15,000 page illustrated manuscript, created a theatrically unique experience that was otherworldly and incomparably ambitious.

It is impossible to fully grasp the source material but de Mayo and his ensemble managed to bring this realm of the unreal to corporal existence. There is a way to rip through the dimensional fabric of reality and visit alternative worlds. You don’t need to master quantum physics. You simply need attend exceptional theater such as this.


“Old Town” (Strawdog Theatre) – With terrific songs and solid performances, this brand new musical about the backroom mechanics of a Chicago political campaign was especially relevant in this election year and actually made politics entertaining. (*Jonathan Lewis)


David Cromer, “Our Town” (The Hypocrites) – Cromer masterfully crafted a poignant production with amazing honesty that was painful, charming and profound. He captured small town America with compelling warmth, photographic vision and subversive sophistication creating a heart rendering theatrical triumph.

John Mossman, “Juno and the Paycock” (Artistic Home) – Mossman executed a deceptively intricate, playful and tragic script with complete success and remarkable connection. He took an obscure classic and brought it to heartbreaking life with profound warmth and humor.

Anna C. Bahow, “Sweet Confinement” (SiNNERMAN Ensemble) – Bahow directed with impressive restraint, avoiding potential melodrama while infusing the production with subtle builds and believably explosive pressure releases. She led her young cast to deliver a remarkable and intense realization of this compelling story.

Peter Robel, “The Merchant of Venice” (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble) – Robel created an amazingly intimate chemistry between his cast members as well as between the ensemble and the audience. He crafted an extremely accessible and enthralling revision that focused on the duality of themes and characters creating something fresh from Shakespeare’s classic.


Fred Anzevino, “Jaques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night” & “Cabaret” (Theo Ubique) – Director Anzevino and his eloquent company created rare gifts for their audience and exceptional contributions to the exclusive theatrical choices that Chicago has to offer. ‘Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers Of The Night’ was a lovely homage to Brel’s talent and ‘Cabaret’ was a revival that swept spectators away. Both were perfect vehicles for Theo Ubique’s incomparable imagination.

Anzevino proved that he could take a musical classic or a musical obscurity and deliver an engaging evening of incomparable dramatic impact and evocative atmosphere.


Tony Lewis, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Queer Tale” (MidTangent Productions) – “Some are born gay. Some achieve gayness. And some have gayness thrust upon them.”

Filled with writhing bodies engaged in undulating erotic naughtiness, this spin on the Bard’s classic made you wish that all of the Shakespeare library could be retold with as much homoerotic delight. Lewis took Shakespeare’s classic comedy, placed it in Chicago’s Boystown, reminded us of how fun it is to be gay and infused the production with a magical red-light cabaret atmosphere complete with some of the best dance numbers seen in any musical. Lewis’s work was visionary on many levels as well as thoroughly engaging, proving him to be a real triple threat!


Marc Robin, “The Full Monty” (Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire) – Although about Chippendales-like dancers, this musical isn’t really a dance show, but Robin gave it a sense of fluid motion rarely seen in even the most lavishly choreographed shows. (*Jonathan Lewis)

Mitzi Hamilton, “Sweet Charity” (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace) – From the limbs akimbo of Big Spender to the joyous I’m A Brass Band, Hamilton came up with some of Chicago’s best stage dancing all year. (*Jonathan Lewis)


Geoff Coates, “The Mark of Zorro” (Lifeline Theatre) – Coates’s gifted and dazzling fight choreography delivered perhaps the most believable and invigorating swordplay ever seen on a Chicago stage and he accomplished this with a large cast in a relatively small venue.

Normally even the best staged fight scenes tend to break the suspension of disbelief. They look telegraphed, rehearsed and contrived. But Geoff Coates’s thrilling fight choreography added an unparalleled excitement to the action and adventure. Long hours of rehearsal, dedicated exclusively to the fight scenes, paid of in terms of childlike thrills for the audience.


Alison Chesley, “Beholder” (Trap Door) – Chesley created a beautifully haunting and exceptionally evocative ethereal cello requiem that traveled through moods of subtle sadness and atmospheres of reflective sorrow. Her exquisite contribution to the production proved to be crucially salient before the characters spoke a word.

Annah Zaman, “Questa” (People*s Theater of Chicago) – Zaman’s subtly lovely and simply compelling original music infused the production with an appropriately overwhelming melancholy. It was beguiling, evocative and instinctively elegant.


“Love Is Dead: A NecRomantic Musical Comedy” (The Annoyance Theatre) Music by Julie Nichols; Lyrics by James Asmus and Andrew Hobgood – Rather than just the standard Annoyance bizarre bill of fair, these songs were mischievously amusing, providing great comic scenes as well as good tunes and the incidental scene change music was fantastic.

“Old Town” (Strawdog Theatre) Music by Mikhail Fiksel; Lyrics by Brett Neveu – Neveu’s lyrics blended political commentary with juicy character revelations, and Fiksel’s music included some torchy ballads and satirical specialty numbers, most notably a press conference played as a tango. (*Jonathan Lewis)


Joshua Stephen Kartes, “Jaques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night” (Theo Ubique) – Kartes’s brilliant musical direction elevated the experience by infusing the performances and production with raw musical vulnerability as well as flawless execution of the deceptively complicated torch songs, ballads and anthems.


“Love Is Dead: A NecRomantic Musical Comedy” (Annoyance) – Jamie Martines’s superb bass work, Jeff DeRoche’s simply sublime drums and Julie Nichols, direction and piano/keyboards, created music that accented the production perfectly as well as stood on it’s own as remarkably excellent incidental jazz.


Jennifer Grace, “Our Town” (The Hypocrites) – Grace’s performance elevated the production to the highest levels of emotional and human honesty. Her depiction took us on a journey from endearing to engaging and finally to heartbreaking, creating an experience that was truly outstanding in an already outstanding production.

Mark Ulrich, “Juno and the Paycock” (The Artistic Home) – Ulrich’s eccentrically hysterical depiction lit up the audience with laughter by completely immersing himself in the part. He created a character that suspended the disbelief of theater and carried us away with delight. His non-verbal reactions alone were more powerfully captivating and entertaining than most actors can achieve while speaking.

Nicole Wiesner, “Passion Play: A Cycle in Three Parts” (Goodman Theatre) – Wiesner’s multi-leveled, funny, melancholy, intuitive and emotionally evocative performance added uncanny depth and delicate intensity to an already overwhelming theatrical triumph. It is hard to imagine that a performance could add so much to a script that was already so remarkable, but Wiesner’s performance was profoundly beguiling.

Keland Scher, “Much Ado About Nothing” (First Folio Theatre) – Before the play’s exposition even got started the audience was warmed up by and drawn in to Scher’s engaging charm and sweetness. Oftentimes, interactive audience participation roles can prove to be obnoxious, corny or embarrassing but Scher was brimming with playful talent and was as lovable as a cartoon bunny.

Madeline Long, “Soldiers: The Desert Stand” (LiveWire Chicago Theatre) – Long’s dead on performance was both mesmerizing and hysterical, leaving the audience delighted long after leaving the theater. Her depiction of a frenetic adolescent was exhilarating, hilarious and amazingly accurate.

Sadieh Rafai, “Speech and Debate” (American Theater Company) – Rafai’s subtle and broad, physical and intellectual, sarcastic and self-effacing performance accomplished humor on so many levels that it was hysterically beguiling. She created the most eccentric and uniquely hilarious performance realized in a play.

Jerermy Sher, “Hunchback” (Redmoon Theater) – Sher’s spellbinding delivery of the narrative author transcended the already transfixing experience of the production by creating levels of unpredictable nuance, humor and direct connection between the story and audience.

Annabel Armour,“Fiction” (Remy Bumppo) – In a city filled with astounding acting talent, Armour’s versatile skills are exceptional and beguiling. Her honest and commanding performance in ‘Fiction’ took the production to another level of excellence and emotional connection.

Jenn Remke, “Resort 76” (Infamous Commonwealth) – Remke’s portrayal achieved the clarity, chemistry and truth of the script with the most impressive level of effectiveness and showed a glimpse of the excellent production’s even greater potential. Her performance was beautifully staggering.

Andy Hager, “Red Light Winter” (Thunder and Lightning Ensemble) – Hager’s cerebral, idiosyncratic, vulnerable, pathetic and delightful characterization provided the backbone for this production by infusing his performance with heartbreaking honesty.

Polly Noonan, “Passion Play: A Cycle in Three Parts” Goodman Theatre – Noonan created a hysterically beguiling and tragically spellbinding thread that connected this three-act epic to something even more dramatically transformative. She conveyed delicate innocence and profound depth with brilliant humor and honest melancholy.Nick Vatterott, “Love Is Dead: A NecRomantic Musical Comedy” (The Annoyance Theatre) – Vatterott took Don Knotts’s Barney Fife character as a base line and exploded with absurd, idiosyncratic, irreverently astonishing and idiotic foolishness that brilliantly and hysterically stole the show. His performance was something extraordinary in the midst of something delightful.

Adam Kander, “The Merchant of Venice” (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble) – Kander was amazing and commanding in all of his four distinct roles, lighting up the stage with inconspicuous confidence, remarkable presence and enchanting charm.


E. Faye Butler, “Ain’t Misbehavin” (Goodman Theatre) – Butler stole the show with her hysterically charming humor, remarkable singing and intoxicating presence. She embodied the bawdy and irreverent comedy as well as the vulnerable humanity of Waller’s compositions.Kat McDonnell, “Old Town” (Strawdog Theatre) – As the unhappy adult daughter of a political candidate, McDonnell’s was a touching portrait of a woman trying to define her identity and strike out on her own. (*Jonathan Lewis)

Summer Smart, “Sweet Charity” (Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace) – Watching Smart high-kick, wiggle her tush and strut her stuff was to witness the makings of a musical comedy star. (*Jonathan Lewis)

Bethany Thomas, “Nine” (Porchlight Music Theatre) – Stepping out of the ensemble to exuberantly belt out the show’s best number Be Italian, Thomas proved the old stage adage that there are no small roles. (*Jonathan Lewis)


“Emma” (Trap Door Theatre) Beata Pilch, David Bettino, Kevin Cox, Gary Damico, Geraldine Dulex, Noah Durham, Jen Ellison, Carolyn Hoerdeman, Jason Huysman and John Kahara – This exceptionally captivating ensemble brought Emma Goldman’s story to life with unwavering confidence, conviction and compassionate truth. It would have been easy to come away from this politically charged material feeling preached to or sermonized but this cast made it real as well as beguiling.

“As Told By the Vivian Girls” (Dog and Pony Theatre company) Jamie Abelson, John Blick, Missi Davis, John Dixon, Matthew Fletcher, Blayne Greneir, Greg Hardigan, Sarra Kaufman, Teeny Lamothe, Nick Leininger, Elizabeth Levy, Laura Mahler, Michael Salinas, Josh Volkers, Marta Juaniza and Sarah Winkler – The dedicated cast created a living-breathing homage to Darger’s bizarre work, bringing his fantastical world to life while embodying his astonishing imagination. This was not a scripted play in the standard sense but rather a manifestation of another realm and this ensemble took on the daunting task, creating scenes both intimate and epic that physically traveled through this inane playground.

“Juno and the Paycock” (The Artistic Home) – Kathy Scambiatterra, Frank Nall, Mark Ulrich, Vic Doylida, Marta Evans, Joe McCauley, Miranda Zola, Daniel Evashevski, Jim Lynch, Darrelyn Marx, Tom McGregor and Matt Roben – This first rate ensemble captured all of the nuance and drama of the simply compelling and eccentrically complex characters with heartbreaking depth and explosive humor. Avoiding melodrama, they delivered a riveting theatrical triumph.

“Sweet Confinement” (SINNerman Ensemble) Cyd Blakewell, Marisa Clement, Dominica Fisher, Jeremy Fisher and Levi Petree – This gifted young cast created bold and provocative, glaringly intimate and urgently powerful theater. Their characters were human and enthralling, leaving the audience jolted by the force of their collective story telling.

“Superior Donuts” (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) Yasen Peyankov, Kate Buddeke, James Vincent Meredith, Jane Alderman, Michael McKean, Jon Michael Hill, Robert Maffia, Cliff Chamberlain, Michael Garvey – This picture perfect ensemble treated the characters as old friends, flawlessly executing the beguiling humor with depth and restrained intensity. They brought Lett’s story to life with fantastic individual performances that created a completely captivating delight.


Megan Wilkerson, “Psalms of a Questionable Nature” (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble) – Before the action started Wilkerson achieved an ambiguous tension and eerie atmosphere that drew audiences in and lingered long after the production ended. If you already thought that basements were creepy this frightening set proved you right and if not, you found yourself thinking twice before investigating an unfamiliar cellar.

Chelsea Meyers, “Juno and the Paycock” (The Artistic Home) – Meyers’s design was picture perfect, rich, warm and made complete use of the limited space available in the small theater. You were not watching actors on a set, you were peering into the lives of characters in their home.

Kevin Hagan, “A Taste of Honey” (Shattered Globe) & “Candles to the Sun” (Eclipse Theatre Company) – From the wood cabin of “Candles” that beautifully demonstrated the Spartan existence of mining families, to the beautifully dingy and shabby apartment in “Honey,” Hagan’s visual depth and versatility created innovative and exceptionally compelling settings. Excellent detail and impeccable technical execution created complete visual experiences.

Joe Schermoly, “Sweet Confinement” (SiNNERMAN Enesemble) – Schermoly’s striking and realistic rendering of a bright, clean white bathroom displayed in the, black floor-to-ceiling black box setting of The Side Project theater was dazzling. This visual contrast created an indelible impact as the location was suspended in our minds, which foreshadowed the indelible impact of the realistically powerful drama that unfolded.


Kimberly G. Morris, “The Island of Dr. Moreau” (Lifeline) – Morris’s costume, mask and make-up design realized the creatures with splendid creativity and variation while capturing the period and mood of the classic story.

The distraction of unbelievable monsters is normally encountered in B-movies but rather on screen or stage, fake effects do the same damage. Morris was able to create distinctly different abominations that worked for the actors playing the parts as well as the audience enjoying the magic.


Andre Pluess, “Much Ado About Nothing” (First Folio Theatre) – Andre Pluess’s sound design and original composition added even more texture and subtle elegance to this outdoor production, naturally filling the open air with the perfect auditory experience.

There is a lot of competition for your ear while crickets chirp, birds sing, bats click and breezes blow through the trees of this lovely al fresco setting. But Pluess’s incomparable artistry delightfully rose above the organic chorus to gently capture our attention.


Lee Keenan, “Noir” (The Building Stage) & “Around The World In 80 Days” (LookingglassTheatre) – Keenan’s incomparable work ranged from an atmospheric and shadowy black-and-white film rendering in “Noir” to an explosion of evocative color in “80 Days,” displaying an incredible visual range with equally spellbinding effect.

When Keenan steps in visual wonders are sure to follow and the spellbinding scope of his creative vision is matched by his flawless technical execution.


Patricia Perez, “Questa” (People*s Theater of Chicago) – An urban landscape was simply and immediately rendered by Perez’s exceptional mural design, starkly yet warmly depicting a skyline in ruins. It was a beautiful rendering of something stark and bleak, creating instant atmosphere.

James Scalfani, “Questa” (People*s Theater of Chicago) – Scalfani’s explosive interior cityscape design of neon color on black box walls created homage to the vibrancy of New York with a black light painting on black velvet effect which evoked a contrast of vitality and desolation. This evoked the city’s heartbeat as well as the contrasting emotions in the lives of Bumbalo’s characters before the play even began.


“Noir” (The Building Stage) – The awe-inspiring rendering of a black-and-white cinematic setting created a celluloid illusion that was so complete you wondered where the projection booth was located?

Film can oftentimes seem theatrical but seldom does theater seem so cinematic and never to this detailed extent. The ONLY thing that slightly broke the ‘black and white film’ impression was the inside of the actor’s mouths. The beautiful and incredibly stylized atmosphere was absolute.

Conception and Direction – Blake Montgomery

Creation – David Amaral, Eddie Bennett, Sarah Goeden, Fannie Hungerford, Chelsea Keenan, Daiva Olson

Costume Design – Meghan Raham

Lighting Design – Lee Keenan

Sound Design – Kevin O’Donnell

Scenic Design – Lee Keenan, Meghan Raham, Blake Montgomery

Stage Management – Sheena L. Young

Assistant Lighting Design – Ryan Williams

House Management – Max Wirt

“The Island of Dr. Moreau” (Lifeline Theatre) – From the visually spectacular opening storm and shipwreck, complete with frightening lightning and thunder, to the fantastically grotesque creatures to the evocative original music and sound design, this show was a visceral transportation to a frightening world.

Bringing a monster filled fantasy so vividly and believably to life requires exceptional artistry. Lifeline Theater stranded us on an island of ghastly delights!

Adapted by – Robert Kauzlaric

Directed by – Paul S. Holmquist

Scenic Design – Tom Burch

Lighting Design – Kevin D. Gawley

Costume & Mask Design – Kimberly G. Morris

Original Music & Sound Design – Victoria Delorio

Props Design – John Henningsen

Violence Design – Richard Gilbert/David Gregory

Dialect Coach – Elise Kauzlaric

Assistant Lighting Designer – Stephen T. Sorenson

Assistant Sound Designer – Tim Hill

Stage Manager – Kimberly Percell

Production Manager – Cortney Hurely

Technical Director – Charlie Olson

Sound Board Operator – Robert Ellis

Master Electrician – Brandon Stock

Photography – Suzanne Plunkett

Graphic Design – Kthleen Powers/Rob McLean

“As Told By the Vivian Girls” (Dog and Pony Theatre Company) – Dog and Pony created a paradigm shift to another realm by transforming the Theater on the Lake building into a live-action fun/haunted house adventure that brought artist Henry Darger’s 15,000+ page illustrated manuscript to three dimensional life.

They endeavored a project as exigent as Darger’s work is unique. You entered the Theater on the Lake and, in this choose-your-own-adventure staging, your paradigm shifted to another reality. “As Told By The Vivian Girls” was a Darger inspired experience that stretched the boundaries of conventional theater by creating a journey through one artist’s conceptualization of another artist’s imagination. You followed 15 characters on separate, overlapping scenes that depict war, play, obsession and fantasy.

The scale and execution of this undertaking was nothing less than extraordinary.

Devised by Devon de Mayo and Dog and Pony’s Ensemble

Directed by Devon de Mayo with Krissy Vanderwarker & Heather Rafferty

Stage Manager – Farah Joyner

Set Design – Vanessa Conway

Costume Design – Catherine Tantillo & Erin Fast

Costume Construction – Carissa Sexton

Assistant Stage Manager – Elfira Karim

Choreographer – Allison Kurtz

Lighting Design – Matthew Gawryk, Bryan Back, Liz Cooper

Projections – Heather Jones-Pryor, Joanna Jones

Props Design – Judi Gottberg, Dan Pellant, Megan Razzo

Fight Choreographer – Shannon O’Neill

Sound Design – Steven Ptacek

Production Manager – Beth Stegman

Set Consultant – Chad Kouri

Costume Technician – Carrisa Sexton

Publicity – Marta Juaniza

Casting Director – David Dieterich

Graphic Designer – Rod Hunting

Event Coordinator & Fight Consultant – Faith Noelle Hurley

Photography – Timmy Samuels, Starbelly Studios

Box Office Manager – Jon Ravenscroft

Assistant Projections Designer – Joanna Jones

“A Passage to India” (Vitalist Theatre of Chicago in association with Premiere Theatre & Performance) – The splendid technical design and execution of this epic production created the world of the story beautifully with compelling versatility and engaging atmosphere.

‘Passage’ took the audience on an ambitious journey, no passport required. Every element of this production transported us to another time and place with vivid stylized texture and warmth. The cultural, locational, and emotional rendering was lavish. And as if traveling to 1920s India on-stage wasn’t enough, the experience was complete with a thrilling elephant ride, courtesy of Ron Naversen’s thrilling life sized puppetry.

Adapted by Marin Sherman

Directed by Elizabeth Carlin-Metz

Producer for Vitalist Theatre – Robin Metz

Producer for Premiere Theatre & Performance – Patricia Acerra

Scenic Design – Craig Choma

Lighting Design – Richard Norwood

Costume Design/Prop Manager – Rachel Sypniewski

Sound Design – Gregor Mortis

Choreography – Alka Nayyar

Associate Director – Jaclynn M. Jutting

Assistant Director – Brian Conley

Stage Manager – Heather Courtney

Associate Producer for Vitalist Theatre – Max Traux

Dialect Consultant – Tenera Marshall

Cultural Consultants – Kamal Hans & Alka Nayyar

Stage Violence – Christopher Hiiard

Technical Director – John Szasz

Master Electrician – Kyle Anderson

Master Carpenter – Jake Hebert

Textiles Artists – Allison Smith (lead artist), Margo Shively, Mikah Berkey

Wardrobe – Broadway Costume & Knox College Department of Theatre

Properties – Knox College Department of Theatre

Special Properties – Zarda King, Ltd.

Puppetry – Ron Naversen

Sound Board Operator – Brian Conley

Marketing and PR Director – Helen H. Drysdale

Production Photography – Bonnie Bandurski

Videography – Vince Singleton

Production Assistants – Saras Gil, Samantha Newport, Tali Haberkamp

Graphics – Reed Studios