Academics

Guest Artists

Scott T. Barsotti is a Chicago playwright originally from Pittsburgh, PA.  Scott writes plays of all kinds, but has a particular emphasis on works in, and inspired by, the Horror genre.

Scott is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, a company member of WildClaw Theatre, and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. He recently completed a season-long residency at the Goodman Theatre as part of the 2014/2015 Goodman Playwrights Unit.

 Scott’s plays include The Revenants, Kill Me, Jet Black Chevrolet, Brewed, Jagoff, Facing Angela, and adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Body Snatcher and H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth.  Scott’s work has been performed all around Chicago and nationwide, produced and/or developed by WildClaw Theatre, Curious Theatre Branch, The Route 66 Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, Lifeline Theatre, Roundelay Theatre Company, Stage Left Theatre, The Ruckus, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Tympanic Theatre, the side project, Steep Theatre, Happy Medium Theatre Company, and The Visceral Company among others. His plays have been seen at the New York International Fringe Festival and the Rhinoceros Theater Festival, as well as festivals produced by SCI-FEST Los Angeles, Collaboraction, American Theater Company and many more, as well as live events such as the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), WildClaw’s DEATHSCRIBE, and the Paper Machete. Scott received an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 
Ben Crystal is an actor, author, producer, and explorer in original practices of Shakespeare rehearsal and production. He performed the title role in the world contemporary premier of Hamlet in Original Pronunciation, and in 2012 was the curator and creative director for a CD of Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation for the British Library.
He has led original practice explorations for Shakespeare’s Globe, the British Library, and the British Council, and staged Pericles for the conductor Daniel Harding’s Interplay Festival at the Berwaldhallen in Stockholm. Pericles: Recomposed was raised in three days, underscored by Max Richter’s Four Seasons: Recomposed, played live by the Trondheim Soloists, led by the violinist Daniel Hope. 
He co-authored the glossary Shakespeare’s Words with his father, David Crystal, and his first solo book, Shakespeare on Toast – Getting a Taste for the Bard (Icon) was shortlisted for the 2010 Educational Writer of the Year Award.
He wrote Springboard Shakespeare, a quartet series of introductions, for Arden Shakespeare and An Illustrated Dictionary of Shakespeare was published with OUP (writing again with his father) and was shortlisted for the 2016 Educational Writer of the Year Award.
Ben has presented his work in Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan, India, and New Zealand. 

 

Stephanie Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago. She divides her time between acting work, puppetry projects and writing short fiction and poetry. She is an Associate Artist and Casting Director with the award-winning 16th Street Theater and a founding member of The Chicago Inclusion Project. As an actor, she has been seen at regional theatres in Chicago and throughout the US, on television, and in independent film. Her busy voiceover career includes commercial, industrial and video game clients. She is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association.

Her work as a performer has been recognized by the Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, WBEZ, and with two consecutive nominations (and one Honorable Mention) for Chicago’s prestigious 3Arts Award. Her casting work champions diversity and was recognized in Chicago Magazine’s 2013 “Best Of” issue. As a puppeteer, she specializes in Bunraku-style tabletop and shadow puppetry, and works primarily with found materials (organic and manmade), paper, wood and wire, and is influenced by the Quay Brothers, David Bowie, Marta Carrasco, Guillermo del Toro, silent-era film and Butoh. Her critically-acclaimed, full-length puppet piece, Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych, opened the 2015 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to sold-out houses and has enjoyed runs at 16th Street Theater and Free Street Theater. She has designed puppets and masks for Strawdog Theater, Cock and Bull, A Red Orchid, Lookingglass, Collaboraction, The Goodman Theatre’s Latino Fest, Prop Thtr, The Paper Machete Show, Links Hall and Cards Against Humanity. Her writing work includes humorous, politically-charged essays for Chicago’s acclaimed Paper Machete Show, where she has been a regularly-featured performer. She was a 2012 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence, a 2014 Ragdale Artist-in-Residence (writing), and was recently published in Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology . She is a recipient of a 2014 Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, and was one of 21 Chicagoans featured in the Chicago Reader’s 2015 People Issue. She will next be seen in Brecht’s The Life of Galileo at Remy Bumppo (for which she will also design puppets) and as a 2016 Artist-in-Residence for the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. She is a founder and co-director of Portmanteau, an experimental object and film-based performance project, with collaborator, Jessica Mondres.


Will Dunne is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists where he is now developing plays and teaching workshops. He is also the author of the bestseller The Dramatic Writer's Companion (2009) and newly released The Architecture of Story (2016), both published by the University of Chicago Press. His plays have been staged internationally in three languages.

Chicago area productions of his plays include Deep Gardens at Second City (2006), The Ascension of Carlotta at 16th Street Theatre (2008), How I Became an Interesting Person at Chicago Dramatists (2009), Two Men on a Train Platform Just Before The Apocalypse at Artistic Home (2012), In The Dark at Intuit (2012), Love and Drowning at 16th Street Theater (2012), and The Roper at The Den Theatre (2014) which was nominated for a 2014 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work.

Mr. Dunne has twice been a finalist for the Heideman Award at the Actors Theatre of Louisville for his short plays Moonrise and Good Morning, Romeo. West Coast productions of his work -- such as Eleventh Hour, I Married A Werewolf, Between Quakes, and The Bridge -- have received four Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, two DramaLogue Playwriting Awards, and a Best-of-Year mention from the San Francisco Examiner.

 

Jason A. Fleece is a freelance director and theater educator in the Chicagoland area, and Associate Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre.  Most recently, Jason served as dramaturg for Soon I Will Be Invincible for Lifeline Theatre, as dialect coach for All's Well That Ends Well at Stage Left, and directed Ordinary Days at BoHo Theatre.  This fall, Jason will be directing The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Oakton Community College, and in the spring he will direct the Chicago Premiere of Body of an American by Dan O'Brien at Stage Left Theatre.  At Concordia, Jason previously served as dialect coach for The Beauty Queen of Leenane.  Jason holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Point Park University and an M.F.A. in Directing from the Theatre School at DePaul University.

  Jeff Glass is a Chicago-based lighting designer and master electrician. Currently the Lighting Supervisor at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Jeff previously served as master electrician at Lookingglass Theatre Company. He has also had the pleasure of working as master electrician for the House Theatre, The Waa-Mu Show at Northwestern University, and The Hypocrites' Mikado at the Steppenwolf Garage Theatre.

As a lighting designer, his work has been seen onstage with The Inconvenience, Emerald City Theatre, Buzz 22 Theatre, Redmoon, The New Colony, Strawdog Theatre, Dog and Pony Theatre Company, and others. His work on Sweet Bird of Youth with The Artistic Home Theatre was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2011.

Mr. Glass was also named the Michael Merritt Emerging Technical Collaborator for 2016. Further work can be seen online at www.jeffglass.info

Rachel Edwards Harvith has worked as a director, actor, literary manager, and dramaturg. The constant? A passion for new play development. Representative Chicago-area directing credits include Bombs, Babes and Bingo, I Am Montana, and Under America (Mortar Theatre); Mother's House (Raven Theatre, Workshop Series); Our Kind of Violence (Stage Left, LeapFest); The Body Snatcher and The Blue Hotel (City Lit Theater Company, Art of Adaptation Festival); Historic Election (American Theatre Company, Silver Project); Chiaroscuro: A Study in Shadow (Bailiwick Repertory); Moonlight and Magnolias (Riverfront Theatre); and Next Stop Spinsterland (Not Quite Coy Productions); as well as numerous staged readings and workshops with such companies as Chicago Dramatists, American Blues Theatre, Teatro Luna, and Bailiwick Chicago. Outside of Chicago, Rachel has directed for Iowa Summer Rep, Syracuse Stage, Hedgerow Theatre, and Dreamwell Theatre, among others. She has also served as dramatic literary manager for Bailiwick Chicago and interim literary manager for Long Wharf Theatre and Syracuse Stage. This spring, Rachel will be directing The Invasion of Skokie for ShPIeL - Performing Identity. A founding company member of Mortar Theatre and an associate artist at Chicago Dramatists, Rachel has a BA in Theatre from Grinnell College and an MFA in Directing from the University of Iowa.


Emmi Hilger is the Artistic Director of Something Marvelous, a Chicago festival of magical realism.  For Something Marvelous, Emmi has directed The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot by José Rivera, the workshop of Koalas by J. Joseph Cox, Sunrise: Ardmore Beach by Hallie Palladino, and Sheltered by Laura Nessler. Recent directing credits also include Love in the Time of Bumblehive by Jeff Tabnick (Stage Left's Leapfest), Sand Castles by John Green (RhinoFest), 10 Things by Scott Tobin (Collaboraction's Sketchbook), The Lover by Harold Pinter which she co-produced in association with Walkabout Theater Company and Punk Grandpa, a one woman show by Laura Scruggs that has performed across the country. Emmi loves Chicago and has also worked extensively on new plays with Chicago Dramatists, The Fine Print Theatre Company, Piccolo Theatre, 20% Theatre Company, Women's Theatre Alliance, The Arc Theatre, Pegasus Players, the Side Project, and Strangeloop Theatre. Emmi has recently joined The Fine Print Theatre Company as Associate Artistic Director, and she is a proud graduate of Northwestern University.  


 

Allison Hendrix is a Chicago music director, pianist and actor. Recent credits include Music Director for Kokandy Productions' The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Associate MD/Conductor for Boho Theatre's Floyd Collins, and Pianist/Actor for Piven Theatre Workshop's Cities of Light. Upcoming projects include Kokandy Productions' The Last Five Years August 2013. 


Halena Kays is the Artistic Director of The Hypocrites where she both performs and directs. She is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Barrel of Monkeys, where she created and directed the majority of their public performances. She is a founding member of the newly formed, artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, and directed their recent hit production of Torrence’s Burning Bluebeard. She is a UT-Austin grad, former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, Co-artistic Curator for Theatre on the Lake and a professor at The University of Chicago.  Halena is an Artistic Associate with the Neo-Futurists, where she directed 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, and co-created and directed Daredevils and Daredevils Hamlet, and the sight specific extravaganza Fake Lake.  

Halena has been nominated for a Jefferson Citation for Best Supporting Actress and Best Direction, named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theatre by NewCity, and received a signed letter from Mr. Rogers saying she was “special” in 1978. She also recently made an awesome kid named Ripley Rose.

 Halena is equally proud to have worked with many other respectable and disreputable theatre companies in Chicago over the years. For a full list, visit www.halenakays.com.


Robert Kuhn is a freelance costume and scenic designer based in Chicago. Recent design credits include The Last Five Years (Kokandy Production), The Cat in the Hat, The Frog Prince Continued, Knuffle Bunny, Alice in Wonderland (Emerald City Theatre), Cabaret and Romeo and Juliet (Concordia University - Chicago), Wonka Ball: Circus Maximus and We Three Lizas  (About Face Theatre), CPS Hamlet  and CPS Othello (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Upcoming projects include the remount of We 3 Lizas (About Face Theatre).  Robert has his BA in Studio Art from the University of Central Arkansas and MFA in Costume Design from Penn State University. 

Robertskuhn.com


Melissa Lorraine became a company member of Studio K in Budapest, Hungary upon graduating from Northern Illinois University in 2002 with a B.F.A. in acting. During that year she was handed the newly-translated Juliet, and András Visky proposed that she perform the English premiere when she returned to the States. Three years later, she co-founded Theatre Y with director Christopher Markle, and Juliet began her international tour, which has included over two hundred performances worldwide. I Killed my Mother, written by András for Melissa, premiered in Chicago at the Greenhouse Theater (Chicago's Best Actress Orgie award), and most recently ran at LaMama ETC in New York. She created a new production of Juliet with Karin Coonrod for Theatre Y at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago last September. She played Bertha in Exiles by James Joyce, Martha in The Misunderstanding by Albert Camus, and directed the critically acclaimed Vincent River by Philip Ridley in the Theatre Y's summer Exiled Trilogy. She played the title role in Porn: 1989. A Butterfly, by András Visky, and just directed The Binding by Evan Hill. 

Meghan Beals McCarthy is a Chicago-based director and dramaturg.  Recent directing credits include Me, My Mom and Sharmila Tagore (Fawzia Mirza), Freshly Fallen Snow and Bordello (Chicago Dramatists), Wild Nights with Emily (Caffeine Theatre), Keys to the Kingdom (Stage Left’s Leapfest), Arrangements (Pavement Group) and Kingsville (Stage Left’s Leapfest). Additional workshop and reading credits include work with Goodman, Steppenwolf, Northlight, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left, Collaboraction, Pavement Group, Caffeine Theatre and Theatre Seven (Chicago) and the Women’s Project, Abingdon Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Pearl (New York), among others.   Meghan is the Curator and Producer for the Chicago Park District/DCASE’s Classics in the Parks.  Previously, she served as the Associate Artistic Director at Chicago Dramatists, the 2012 co-curator for Theater on the Lake, as Literary Manager and Resident Dramaturg at Northlight Theatre, as Project Assistant for the First Look Repertory of New Work at Steppenwolf and as Interim Artistic Director for Caffeine Theatre.  Before Chicago, Meghan was the Artistic Associate at the Pearl Theatre Company, a classical theatre company in New York City. Meghan earned her B.A. in Theatre at the University of Southern California and her M.F.A. in Directing at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, IL.  She was the recent grant recipient of TCG’s Leadership U Continuing Education Grant, which allowed her to visit new play development centers across the country.


Eric John Meyer's plays include The Apocryphal Tragedy of King Michael, about the death of Michael Jackson, The Broken Umbrella, and The Sister, which premiered at NYTW's Fourth Street Theater in 2013. These and other plays by Eric have been developed or presented by Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea, IRT, PRELUDE, Dutch Kills Theater Company, and Caps Lock Theatre Company. Together with Jean Ann Douglass, he is a co-founder of The Truck Project and Human Head Performance Group, which recently premiered the "terrific and very funny" (Culture Catch) play Due to Events at The Brick Theater in New York.


 Kat Pleviak photo

 Kat Pleviak has been a professional puppeteer and member of the Puppeteers of America since 2002. She has an MFA In Youth Theatre and Puppetry from the University of Hawaii Manoa and is the founder and Artistic Director of Sea Beast Puppet Company in Chicago, IL. Under Kat's direction Sea Beast has initiated a number of exciting puppetry projects including a series of original works including “The Shadow Puppet Conspiracy”, “The History of Light” and their most recent production “Méfiez-Vous de la Vache-Garou” which won best in show at the Chicago Fringe 2013. Besides performing Kat has experience in company management and flexes these muscles by hosting the "Puppet Meltdown Puppet Slam" and presenting out of town artists in such events as "Oddities: A Collection of Curious Puppetry".  Kat’s work has been seen at regional, national, and international festivals including the Motor City Puppet Blast, the Chicago Humanities Festival, The Chicago Improv Festival, The National Puppetry Festival, Potlatch Puppetry Festival, Port City Puppet Festival, UNIMA Congress, and the Illinois Story Telling Festival. She has been published multiple times in the Puppetry Journal and writes a regular column for the publication titled "Time Machine." Her work has been showcased many times in print including being a featured artist in Puppetry International’s issue of “40 under 40.” Currently Kat serves the P of A as a board member, is on both the Archival and Scholarship committees, and is an active member in the Chicago Puppetry Guild. 


 

Brian Plocharczyk has designed fights for The Collective's Crawling Between Heaven and Earth and HellFire.  Brian is an emeritus ensemble member at Stage Left Theatre, where he designed most of the violence for the company’s shows during his tenure.  He has also served as fight choreographer for Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Romeo and Juliet, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Sweeney Todd at Oakton College.

In addition to his work in theatre, Brian has served as Stunt Coordinator for the feature films Absolution, Graybeard, and the short film And …Action.   

In addition to fight work Brian is an actor and martial artist, who’s latest work includes appearances on Shameless, Empire, and a commercial for Dairy Queen. Check out www.brianplo.com/blog for more info. 


 

Jay Torrence is a Chicago based writer and performer. He has written three critically acclaimed plays: Roustabout, Burning Bluebeard and Ivywild. Torrence is the former Neo-Futurists artistic director and a 12-year Neo-Futurist ensemble member. He received an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and his writing has won the Prairie Fire Award for Creative Non Fiction and The Annie Dillard Award for Creative Non Fiction. Torrence is also a founding member of the Chicago based artistic collective The Ruffians and currently teaches writing and performance at The University of Chicago.


Josh Walker is thrilled to be making his Concordia University debut!  Josh is a Music Director for both Mainstage and CTEYA shows at Circle Theatre. Past Circle music directing credits include: A Little Night MusicBest Little Whorehouse in TexasLegally BlondeSeussicalHairsprayDrowsy ChaperoneRagtime, and Les Miserables. Jeff nominated Sexy BabyScarrieThe Birds (Hell in a Handbag), CT-Hey!, Bright Lights Dark City & Friends of Dorothy (Chicago Cabaret Project). Acting credits include: Sideshow  (Kennedy Center), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall) 2005-2013. Composition credits include: Toulouse! (NY Theatre Barn/Cameo Center) Six   Stories Up on Ellis Island, Six Stories Up on Mt Olympus, Six Stories Up in the Windy City (Tellin’ Tales Theatre) and Maxwell, Toulouse! (Midwest New Musicals). Music Arranger for John Hersey High School and Euclid High School.

 www.joshwalkertheatricsonline.com


Stephanie Alison Walker is an award-winning and published playwright whose work has been produced around the world. American Home was the 2011 winner of the Blue Ink Award and a semi-finalist for the 2010 Princess Grace Award for playwriting. Her play Three Fittings was the winner of the 2008 South Florida Theatre Festival Audience Favorite Grand Prize for The Women’s Theatre Project production, The Art of Disappearing was a finalist for the Princess Grace Award for playwriting in 2008 and a semi-finalist for the 2009 HotCity Greenhouse Festival of New Plays in St. Louis. Stephanie is also a three-time Heideman Award Finalist for the National Ten-Minute Play Competition.

In print, her play The Chocolate Affair is published in Ten 10-Minute Plays (Black Box Press) and 2009: The Best Ten Minute Plays for Two or More Actors (Smith & Kraus). Hollywood Hills is published in Best Ten Minute Plays 2008: 2 Actors (Smith & Kraus). On screen, her play Back Roads was turned into a short film that premiered at the 2008 Women’s Int’l Film Festival in Miami.

 In 2008 Stephanie faced foreclosure and lived to tell the tale on her blog Love In The Time of Foreclosure which has been called “A heartbreaking work of staggering acceptance” and has been featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, NPR’s Planet Money, American Public Media’s The Story with Dick Gordon, Business Week Magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Huffington Post and ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer. Love in the Time of Foreclosure is also published as an ebook by Outpost19 and is available at all major online retailers. Stephanie was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband Bob, toddler Malcolm and Pug Dog Pablo. She is a member of Lizard Claw Playwrights, Chicago Dramatists Network Playwrights and The Dramatists Guild of America.

http://stephaniealisonwalker.com/