Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Press Release

Milwaukee Repertory Theater Announces 2019/20 Emerging Professional Residents (EPRs)

Residents Will Participate in the 10th Annual Rep Lab

By - Aug 29th, 2019 03:35 pm
Milwaukee Repertory Theater 2019/20 Emerging Professional Residents. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater 2019/20 Emerging Professional Residents. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

August 29, 2019 – (Milwaukee) Milwaukee Repertory Theater is pleased to announce its 2019/20 Emerging Professional Residents (EPRs).

For over 50 years, Milwaukee Rep has hosted one of regional theater’s most highly respected programs for emerging professionals. Designed for artists and technicians with a firm commitment to a career in theater, the program serves as an entry into the world of professional theater by offering young professionals an opportunity to make connections with directors and actors from across the country, providing an invaluable step towards obtaining an Equity card, and giving residents the chance to spend a season working in one of the country’s foremost regional theaters.

Milwaukee Rep will welcome Isabella Abel-Suarez, Carly Christensen, Olivia DeLuca, Elizabeth Gerwick, Lauryn Glenn, Josh Hart, Alex Hatcher, Abbi Hess, Jonathan Hetler, Brooke Johnson, Krista Kanderski, Thaddeus Kaszuba, Sydney Kirkegaard, AJ Morales, Nicholas Parrott, Joshua Ponce, Kelsey Robins, Gilberto Saenz, Nadja Simmonds, Denzel Taylor, Veronica Vickas, Sage Weber-Shirk and Austin Winter.

EPRs will train with leading theater artists including Rep Associate Artistic Director May Adrales, original Hamilton and In the Heights cast member and choreographer of Milwaukee Rep’s upcoming production of West Side Story Jon Rua, Rep Associate Artist and West Side Story music director Dan Kazemi, drag performer (as Tempest du Jour) and costume designer for the upcoming Rep production The Legend of Georgia McBride Patrick Holt, director of upcoming Rep production The Niceties Annika Boras, lighting designer Annie Wiegand (Broadway revival of Spring Awakening), costume designer Kara Harmon (The Wiz) and founder of the Latino Theater Initiative and director of upcoming Rep production Destiny of Desire Jose Luis Valenzuela.

In April 2020 residents will participate in the 10th annual Rep Lab, Milwaukee Rep’s limited engagement short-play festival.

For more information, please visit our website

2019/20 Emerging Professional Resident Bios

Isabella Abel-Suarez, Acting(Las Vegas, NV) recently graduated from Southern Utah University with her BFA in theatre and a minor in dance performance. At SUU, she played Alexi Darling in (and was dance captain for) Rent, various roles in The Laramie Project, Bielke in Fiddler on the Roof, Veronica Sawyer in Heathers and Charles Guiteau in Assassins. She won acting awards for her work in The Laramie Project and Assassins. Isabella spent her senior year as artistic director of Second Studio, a student-run theatre company. While in school, she also played Marina in Women of Will’s production of Pericles. She spent an amazing summer at the Utah Shakespeare Festival where she was in the ensemble of The Greenshow and Launcelot Gobbo in an acclaimed production of The Merchant of Venice. Isabella also works as Executive Assistant for StateraArts, an organization dedicated to bringing women+ into full and equal participation in the arts. Residency sponsored by Connie and John Kordsmeier.

Carly Christensen, Acting (Duvall, WA) is an actor and aspiring intimacy choreographer. Recently equipped with an MFA, select university credits include Diana in next to normal, Miss Casewell in The Mousetrap, Mrs. Kate Sullen in The Beaux’ Stratagem and Bev/Kathy in Clybourne Park. Past roles also include assistant violence designer, intimacy coordinator and fight captain. Carly is an alumna of Purdue and Willamette University.

Olivia DeLuca, Lighting Design (Cincinnati, OH) recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Drama with an emphasis on Lighting Design. Her design credits at the University of Oklahoma include Grand HotelI RiseAlice in Wonderland, and City of Angels. Olivia is thrilled to join Milwaukee Rep as the Assistant Lighting Design Resident for the 2019/20 Season.

Elizabeth Gerwick, Wardrobe (Bloomington, IL) is a recent graduate of University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a BFA in Design Tech. She has worked in both the costume, wardrobe and even hair/makeup departments at various theatres in her career. Most recently, she was hair and makeup designer for Heathers during her senior year, as well as Wardrobe Supervisor for Macbeth and Amour. This is her first year being a part of Milwaukee Rep and is ecstatic to work with the EPR program this season.

Lauryn Glenn, Acting (Cleveland, OH) is an actress from Cleveland, Ohio. She has recently completed her BFA in Performance at Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. She is ecstatic to be joining Milwaukee Rep for the 2019/20 Season! During her academic career at Ohio University, Lauryn played Holly in Holly Down in Heaven, #11 in The Wolves, Anita/Rita/Reporter #1 in La Mujer Barbuda (World Premiere) and Win/Waitress in Top Girls. Lauryn completed a summer internship with Tantrum Theater, during which she understudied Jen in The Cake.

Josh Hart, Stage Management (Charleston, SC) is delighted to return to Milwaukee Rep as the Stage Management Fellow this season. Last season, as a Stage Management Resident, he worked on a variety of shows, including In the HeightsA Christmas CarolThe Chinese Lady and Rep Lab. Before coming to Milwaukee, he attended the University of Chicago, where he stage managed such shows as Peter and the StarcatcherFor Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf and a burlesque-inspired circus showcase.

Alex Hatcher, Acting (Ripon, WI) recently graduated from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts with a BFA in Acting and concentrations in Dance and Musical Theater. He also studied classical acting for one semester at the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts. Some of his recent stage credits include 1776 (Lyman Hall), Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Gibson/Homer) and Hamlet (Hamlet). Originally from Wisconsin, Alex is very excited to return to the Midwest as an Emerging Professional Resident with Milwaukee Rep. He used to perform on many different stages in his beautiful home state as a featured dancer and singer of the “Kids from Wisconsin” touring troupe and as a young performer with First Stage and Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee. Residency sponsored by Catherine and Buddy Robinson.

Abbi Hess, Stage Management (Waukesha, WI) is a graduate of Carroll University’s Theatre Arts and History departments. A Waukesha native, she has spent the last five years working with theatres in the area, especially with Outskirts Theatre Co. Her favorite past stage management credits include: Bare and Wonderland (Outskirts Theatre Co.), Next to Normal and Hamlet: A Cover (Carroll University), and Mary Poppins (Sunset Playhouse). She is very excited and honored to be working at Milwaukee Rep!

Jonathan Hetler, Directing (Montoursville, PA) is honored to be joining The Rep for their 66th season! Directing credits include: Romeo and Juliet, Venus in Fur, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Glengarry Glen Ross (Ohio University), Pippin (OVST), Career Opportunities (The NYC Jensen Fest), Annie Get Your Gun, Hairspray, Godspell, Legally Blonde (SCCT), Guys and Dolls, Beauty and the Beast (BAHS) and the world premiere of La Mujer Barbuda (Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights’ Festival). He recently served as Assistant Director on Next to Normal (Tantrum Theater) under Robert Barry Fleming. Jonathan is a proud graduate of Ohio University, where he earned his MFA in Directing under Dennis Lee Delaney. He also holds his MBA and MA in Theatre, both from Regent University. Jonathan is an associate member of SDC.

Brooke Johnson, Acting (Moorpark, CA) is excited to be making her debut with Milwaukee Repertory Theater this 2019/20 Season. She originally hails from the sunny central coast of California and is a recent alum of The Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s Professional Actor training program. Her most recent roles on PCPA’s mainstage include: #11 in The Wolves, Woman #2/Lady Eugenia in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Brave Girl/ Mrs. Darling (u/s) in Peter Pan, Ancestor/Swing in The Addams Family and Programmer in The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. Residency sponsored by David and Madeleine Lubar.

Krista Kanderski, Stage Management (Milwaukee, WI) is delighted to join Milwaukee Rep as an Emerging Professional Resident this season. She is a recent graduate of Marquette University with a BA in Sociology and minors in Theatre Arts; Biology; and Culture, Health and Illness. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she has worked with several companies in the area including Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, The Constructivists and Voices Found Repertory. Recent stage management credits include Truth: The Testimonial of Sojourner TruthShakespeare in Love and Murder for Two (Hope Summer Repertory Theatre).

Thaddeus Kaszuba, Casting (Lake in the Hills, IL) is honored to be part of the 2019/20 Milwaukee Rep Casting EPR Program. Thaddeus received his BFA in Acting at The University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program and is a camp and academy alumni of Interlochen Center for the Arts. Thaddeus is a former Casting/Artistic Intern at Steppenwolf Theatre, as well as a casting associate with Two Thumbs Up Media and The Harold Ramis Film School at The Second City Chicago. Thaddeus has been working in the theater since age eight and continues his work as an actor on stage and screen. Recent Credits include Lucius in Boudica (Guthrie Theater), Edward IV/Ratcliff in Richard III (Interlochen Shakespeare Festival) and Kyzen in the episodic short The Bomb Shelter (produced by Francois Rudaz).

Sydney Kirkegaard, Acting (Milwaukee, WI) is thrilled to return to Milwaukee Rep! Past Rep shows include three productions of A Christmas Carol (Fan, Martha, Smudge). Sydney received her BFA in musical theater at Texas Christian University. Most recent credits include Kiss Me Kate at the Skylight Music Theatre and A Chorus Line (Bebe) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Sarah) at the Riverside Theater. Other credits include: Pure Country, Anything Goes at Lyric Stage in Dallas. Sydney’s dance training includes: YDA (Milwaukee), Steps on Broadway & BDC (NYC).

AJ Morales, Acting (Los Angeles, CA) is thrilled to be making his debut at Milwaukee Rep! After completing the two-year acting program at PCPA, AJ signed with Trinity Artists International and began his journey auditioning in Los Angeles, where he currently resides. He recently finished an internship with PCPA where he did an outreach tour of Oliver Button is a Sissy. Other PCPA credits include Ensemble/Quasimodo (u/s) in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Angel in Rent and Carpet/Ensemble in Beauty and the Beast.

Nicholas Parrott, Acting (Gurnee, IL) is originally from Gurnee, Illinois, and is a recent graduate from Marquette University, where he received his BA in Theatre Arts and Dance. He is thrilled to be joining the Emerging Professional Residency. Recent credits include: West Side Story, The Old Man and the Old Moon, Shakespeare in Love (Hope Summer Repertory Theatre), Twelfth Night (Summit Players Theatre), Hairspray (Skylight Music Theatre), and Little Women and Anything Goes (Marquette University). Later this fall, Nick will be seen as Davey in Newsies at Skylight Music Theatre.

Joshua Ponce, Acting (Simi Valley, CA) is stoked to be making his Milwaukee Rep debut in this exciting season! He is fresh off the plane from California, where he spent the last two years with PCPA Theaterfest training and appearing in Freaky Friday the Musical (Ensemble), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Ensemble), Peter Pan (Twin 1), The Theory of Relativity (Curtis) and The Addams Family (Matador Ancestor).

Kelsey Robins, Directing (New York City, NY) is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she majored in Theatre and Legal Studies, and minored Comparative Literature. Directing highlights included Cabaret, Ghost Quartet, and an all-female production of 1776. She also served as the Executive Director of Northwestern’s classic and classically inspired theatre group, Lovers & Madmen. As an Assistant Director, Kelsey has worked on King Lear, All’s Well That Ends Well (Hip to Hip), A Chorus Line, Vinegar Tom (Northwestern University) and as Assistant to the Director on The Music Man (Goodman Theatre, dir. Mary Zimmerman).

Gilberto Saenz, Acting (Donna, TX) is thrilled to be making his debut at Milwaukee Repertory Theater! Originally from Donna, Texas, Gilberto graduated with a BA in Theater Studies from Yale University. Previous credits include Chuck Biggs in She Kills Monsters (Yale DRAMAT/Yale Rep), Prior Walter in Angels in America, Archie Nunn in So, I Killed A Few People… and Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. Gilberto is an alumnus of the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center (Theatermakers Ensemble, 2018).

Nadja Simmonds, Acting (Cincinnati, OH) is incredibly excited to join the Emerging Professional Residency for this 2019/20 Season! Originally hailing from Cincinnati, Nadja moved to Milwaukee and received her theater arts degree from Marquette University in 2018. Regional credits include Mary Jane (Forward Theater), Romeo and Juliet (Summit Players Theatre), Boxcar and Muskie Love (Northern Sky Theater) and Locomotion (First Stage). Favorite roles include Alex in On the Verge, Pilot in Grounded, Tommy in Wine in the Wilderness and Celia in As You Like It. She was last at Milwaukee Rep as Assistant Director for Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley.

Denzel Taylor, Education/Acting (Milwaukee, WI) is a Wisconsin native excited to continue his passion for acting and theater with Milwaukee Repertory Theater. As a proud alum of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the First Wave – Hip Hop and Urban Arts scholarship program, Denzel immediately dove into his inaugural professional year as an artist in 2018. He has worked with several companies in the Madison area, notably with the Children’s Theater of Madison, Theater Lila and Madison Shakespeare Company. In addition, Denzel has been blessed with several teaching opportunities, including a residency at Capital High School, with Theater Lila as a co-teacher and with First Wave as a co-facilitator of their summer programming. Residency sponsored by John and Linda Mellowes.

Veronica Vickas, Costume Construction (Chicago, IL) is thrilled to join Milwaukee Rep as an Emerging Professional Resident this season! This past May, she graduated from Carthage College with a double major in Psychology and Theatre, with an emphasis in Costume Design. While at Carthage, Veronica designed several shows, including Twin Set by MT Cozzola and Marie Antoinette written by David Adjmi, winning a KCACTF Certificate of Merit for both productions. She was also assistant costume designer at the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre for Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily, by Katie Forgette, and for the Kenosha Unified School District production of The Lion King.

Sage Weber-Shirk, Production Electrician (Ithaca, NY) is honored and excited to be joining Milwaukee Rep as an EPR this season. Originally from Ithaca, New York, they are a recent graduate of Earlham College, where they earned their BA in Theatre Arts with a focus in Lighting Design and Technology. While at Earlham, they worked as an electrician, lighting designer, scenic carpenter, stagehand, audio technician and more. Favorite college credits include their lighting design work for Macbeth and Dance Alloy, the student-run dance showcase. Most recently, they have been working as an electrician and carpenter at New Harmony Theatre.

Austin Winter, Acting (Milwaukee, WI) is happy to join Milwaukee Rep this season as an Emerging Professional Resident. Past credits include Matilda, Romeo and Juliet and A Midnight Cry (First Stage); The Wiz and Godspell (Hope Summer Repertory Theater); Chicago (Broadway Theater Project); and Seussical (Carthage China Tour). Austin has originated roles in A Seat at the Table (by Regina Taylor), The Breath of Stars (by Caridad Svich) and Wherever You’ve Been (by Caitlin DiGiacomo). Favorites from school include Sideshow (Jake), Drood (Durdles), Marriage a la Mode (Leonidas) and The Little Mermaid (Sebastian). Austin is a proud graduate of Carthage College and The Open Jar Residency in New York. Off the stage, he is a costume designer and a multimedia studio artist. Residency sponsored by Four Four Foundation.

About Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Milwaukee Rep is the largest performing arts organization in Wisconsin in terms of audiences served and one of the largest professional theaters in the country. Each year, The Rep welcomes up to 275,000 people at nearly 700 performances of 15 productions ranging from compelling dramas, powerful classics, new plays and full-scale musicals in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret.   For over 65 years, The Rep has gained a national reputation as an incubator of new work, an agent of community change and a forward-thinking provider of vital arts education programs. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Executive Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity.

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