Meet the 2014 Company!
Mark Baer (Director, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) always feels at home when returning to Festival. In addition to serving as Managing Directing in 2002-05, Mark directed the recent Festival productions of To Fool the Eye, Once Upon a Mattress, and Man of La Mancha. Originally from Ohio, Mark holds an MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. He is currently Asst. Professor of Acting and Directing at Indiana University Northwest, where he has recently produced and directed Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl, Dracula by Steven Dietz, and The Miser by Moliere. He is a founding member of Gary Shakespeare Company, where he will be directing Twelfth Night later this summer. He would like to thank his wife Kelly and daughter Samantha for their steadfast support.
Andrew Bradford Benson (Choreographer, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Costume Design, Almost, Maine; appearing in A Funny Thing, The 39 Steps, The Miser) is very happy to be spending his third season with Festival Theatre and the first year of his two-year Fellowship with the theatre. After graduating from St. Ambrose University in 2011, Andrew moved to New York City for a year where he performed his one-man cabaret. Then, in May 2012, he was offered a Guest Artist position with Festival for that summer which has blossomed into two wonderful years of theatre. Past roles at Festival include: Mark Twain, The Trial of Tom Sawyer; Professor Krempe, Playing with Fire; Rev. David Lee, The Foreigner; and directing James and the Giant Peach and Aesop’s Fables.
Isaac Bont (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; The Frogs; Assistant Stage Manager, The 39 Steps) has been a part of Festival Theatre’s Summer Company since 2011. Works with Festival Theatre have included Once Upon a Mattress, Man of La Mancha, Honk!, Devised Theatre, Crazy for You, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sew Good Improv, and Stage Manager of Seth Kaltwasser’s This Untoward Generation. Other favorite works include Dracula and A Man of No Importance with the UW-Eau Claire Theatre Department, and Cabaret, The Shadowbox, and The Underpants at UW-Stout. Isaac has a BFA-Psychology degree and is applying to Master’s programs in Vocal Performance this December.
Kathryn Cesarz (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Almost, Maine; The Miser) is excited to be returning for her third summer with St. Croix Festival Theatre. You might have seen her in 2011 playing Princess Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, but other roles at Festival have included anything from playing accordion to fooling around on the Sew Good Improv team. Recent other works include Love & Cthulhu at the Quasimondo in Milwaukee, and The Van Gogh Plays at Commedia Beauregard in Chicago. Kathryn has a B.S. in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville. She wants to thank her family and friends for all their love and support.
Steven Czajkowski (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Almost, Maine) is thrilled to be making his debut with Festival Theatre this summer. Steven has just finished his sophomore year at Illinois Wesleyan University where he is pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. At Illinois Wesleyan Steven performed in Treasure as James Monroe and in The Drowsy Chaperone as one of the Gangsters. He would like to thank his parents and brothers for their unending support and would also like to thank his high school theatre director and friend, Andy Sinclair, for all the support and inspiration he has provided.
Deanna Davis, (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs, The Miser, Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates) from Spokane, Washington, recently moved to the Minneapolis to pursue theater and music. Her favorite credits include Sarah in Company at Century College Theater, Madame Thenardiere in Les Misérables and Doralee Rhodes in 9-5 at the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Deanna also had the pleasure of playing Rose in a workshop production with Georgia Stitt and John Jiler in their new musical, Big Red Sun in Lincoln, Nebraska last year. Deanna has her MM in voice performance from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is honored to make her debut at St. Croix Festival Theater for their 2014 season.
George Free (Percussion, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) is a graduate of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago where he studied African poly-rhythms. This is his first Festival Theatre production.
Gregory Hilleren (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs) is proud to be making his Festival Theatre debut this summer. He has recently been in Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Skin of Our Teeth, and Antigone at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN where he just graduated having received a BA in mathematics and theater. He would especially like to thank the St. Olaf theater faculty for their continued support of him and the St. Croix Festival Theater for the opportunity to continue making theater.
Jaclyn Johnson (Director, The Miser, appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The 39 Steps) is a theatre and visual artist, and Festival Theatre’s Artistic Director. She holds a BA from Cornell College and credits across the country, including Riverside Theatre (IA) and Creede Rep (CO). Jaclyn came to Festival Theatre as an actor in 2008, and in addition to her administration leadership, Jaclyn shares her talents on stage, acting, directing and improvising, now in her seventh season at Festival. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Jaclyn now resides in Dresser, WI, where she lives with her two lovely cats and her equally lovely fiancé. When she is not in rehearsal or working at the theatre, which is rare, Jaclyn enjoys taking in the beauty of the St. Croix River Valley, painting, drawing and writing. Jaclyn wishes to send thanks to her lovely family, friends, colleagues, teammates and to you for your support and attention to the arts.
Seth Kaltwasser (Director, Almost, Maine; appearing in The 39 Steps, The Miser) is an actor, playwright, teaching artist, and arts administrator, currently serving as St. Croix Festival Theatre’s Director of Arts Education & Development. The world premiere of Seth’s new play, This Untoward Generation!, was staged at Festival Theatre in August 2013. When you can’t find Seth in the St. Croix Valley, he’s likely revisiting his stomping grounds around the Quad Cities, where he recently became a company member at The Curtainbox Theatre Company. Seth holds a B.A. in Theatre from St. Ambrose University.
Fizz Kizer (Master Carpenter) is a life long resident of western Wisconsin. He has been in the construction trade most of the last 35 years and came on board at Festival Theatre back in 2010. Also a long time singer/songwriter,he may be best known for his music showcase events called The Honkytonk Cafe. He now lives outside Star Prairie,Wi. and is still actively performing. He has released his second cd of all original songs titled, “In A Honkytonk Glow” You can catch up with him at www.fizzkizer.com.
Kayla Marie Klammer (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs) is ecstatic to be joining the Festival Theatre’s family for the first time this summer! She is currently pursing a double major in Theatre Performance and Dance at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her most recent roles include: Elizabeth Jelkes in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Inés Serrano in No Exit, and Leonora/Leonardo in Agravio – Courage, Betrayal, and a Woman Scorned. She would like to thank her mother, father, and brother for all of their love and support while she ventures into the unknown!
Jerry Kurek (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs, The Miser, Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates) is new to Festival Theatre, and recently graduated from Ripon College in Wisconsin with a double major in Theatre and English. While there, he had the opportunity of taking on roles such as Prospero in The Tempest, Dorante in The Liar, and Joe Sutter in The Spitfire Grill. He would like to give extra-special thanks to his professors, family and friends, who have given him the encouragement and guidance needed to discover his passion.
Madelyn Lego (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Stage Manager, The Frogs) is ecstatic to be spending her first summer with Festival Theatre! She is expected to receive her BFA in Musical Theatre in 2017 from Western Illinois University. Other theatre credits consist of Janet Van de Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone, title role in Peter Pan, and Little Red in Into the Woods. She would like to thank her family, Jamesy, friends, and Netflix for always helping and supporting her when needed most.
Carl Lindberg (Director, The 39 Steps) is thrilled to be back at Festival Theatre. Previous Festival directing credits include Is He Dead?, Inspecting Carol, A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, and The Duck Variations. And you may have seen Carl on stage in The Mystery of Irma Vep and A Christmas Carol here. Carl has acted, directed and designed in California, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Chicago, where he teaches acting at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and the College of DuPage. Chicago credits include work at Lookingglass, Remy Bumppo, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and many, many others.
David Markson (Scenic Design, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs, The 39 Steps) is in his 5th year lending his hand at set designing and scenic painting for Festival Theatre. David is a sign and mural painter by trade, in River Falls, WI, and cut his set designing/scenic painting teeth working with River Falls Community Theatre and River Falls High School, where he also coaches the varsity tennis teams. David grew up in North Minneapolis, but has resided in the River Falls community since 1977. He has no formal training in set design (or sign painting, for that matter), but has come to learn through experience and error, like most valuable learning is done. David is married to Barbara Anderson and has a daughter, Anna Markson, who lives and works in Ellsworth, WI.
Millicent Marter (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Almost, Maine) is performing at Festival Theater for the first time this season. She has previously appeared in Birthwitches at the Riverside Theater in Iowa City, IA. She has just completed her Junior year at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA where she appeared in The Elephant Man this past spring.
Ed Moersfelder (Director, Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates; appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Miser) is a community guest artist at Festival Theatre and first performed in the 2008 production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Since then, Ed has been seen in several shows, most recently, the 2013 productions of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, The Foreigner, and Crazy for You. In 2010, Ed interned at the Iowa Theatre Artists Company in Amana, Iowa. Ed has also directed It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, co-wrote Ichabod Crane, and wrote The Last Farmer, an adaptation of a short story of the same title by Will Weaver produced at Festival in 2012.
Kimberly Murphy (Costume Design, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Miser) graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel Design. One requirement of the program at Madison was to study at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, in their one year program. On completing FIT’s program she received a Associate in Applied Science /Fashion Design degree. After graduation Kimberly worked as a designer specializing in children’s wear. Presently she works with her husband James Shoop at their business Shoop Sculptural Design Inc. producing sculptures for the toy and gift industries.
Danette Olsen (Scenic Design, The Miser; Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates) studied Theatre at UWRF, cross-training in design, directing, and performance. For two summers she worked at St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre as assistant scenic designer and charge artist before freelancing in the Twin Cities. Though her design work has taken backstage to Danette’s passions for teaching and leading, she enjoys the opportunity to support making theatre art as set designer, scenic artist, and lighting designer. Her Festival Theatre scenic design credits are numerous, including two personal favorites: Is He Dead and Crimes of the Heart. From 2006 through 2012, Danette managed Festival Theatre and works now as an organizational & community development consultant.
Stephen Pearce (Director, The Frogs; Lighting Design, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Almost, Maine; appearing in A Funny Thing, The 39 Steps, The Miser) has performed vaudeville-style comedy on the Las Vegas strip, played Chekhov as a clown show in Bar Harbor, Maine and captained a crew of pirates at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Festival Theatre audiences have seen him as Mr. Potter and Clarence the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life, Pa in A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, Larry in Inspecting Carol and Victor in Playing With Fire. His twin cities credits include The Oldest Story in the World with Theatre Novi Most, Othello at Park Square Theatre and An Absolute Turkey at Gremlin.
Neil Powell (Music Director, Piano, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) is proud to be returning to Festival to music direct this talented company of actors. He has collaborated musically with Festival Theatre in the past while Music Directing the Conservatory production of Seussical the Musical and writing the music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and This Untoward Generation. Neil was also seen performing on the Festival stage as Bobby in Crazy for You and Sir Harry in Once Upon a Mattress. He studied Musical Theatre at Bowling Green State University and tours with CLIMB Theatre in the Twin Cities. He plans to pursue a career in Drama Therapy.
Joseph Pyfferoen (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs, The Miser) is excited to be making his debut with Festival Theatre and to return to one of his favorite composers, Stephen Sondheim. Joseph graduated in 2013 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Having just returned from a tour with National Theatre for Children, Joseph is ready for some musical comedy tonight! Want more info about Joseph? Please visit josephpyfferoen.com.
Laura Seed (Properties Design) grew up in Polk County WI, and was taught by her parents and herself about creating art since she could walk. Always loving to dress up herself and others, she has worked on short films, fashion runway shows and many photo shoots. She is looking forward to doing much more theater work. Laura paints, sculpts, models, sews and everything in between. Laura loves dolls, makes her own characters and makes dollhouses and other miniatures.
Paul Steffens (Appearing in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Almost, Maine; The Miser) is a Wisconsin native working in the Twin Cities, and is excited for his first season with Festival Theatre. He holds a BA in Theatre from Ripon College in Wisconsin and was part of the 2012 Apprentice Class at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minnesota. Favorite roles include: Arcadia (Septimus), Eurydice (Orpheus), The Imaginary Invalid (Argan), Miss Julie (Jean), and A Christmas Carol (Bob Cratchit, et al). He would like to thank his parents and sisters for their support.
Peter Weber (Technical Director, Stage Manager) is a St. Croix Falls native who graduated from Northland College in Superior, WI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Arts. Peter has explored photography, printmaking, and ceramics. Hired as Festival’s summer stage manager in 2008, Peter quickly attained the status of a much loved and much respected member of the production team. 2011 marks Peter’s entry into the management team at Festival Theatre where he is excited to help cultivate space for the theatre arts to flourish.