Vitalist Theatre Celebrates Its 15th Year in Chicago
Embodying a distinctive fusion of physical theatre, psychological dynamism, and Expressionist Realism, Vitalist Theatre is committed to plays of international scope, compelling ideas, muscular language, visceral performances, and lyrical design.
(Co-Founder/Artistic Director/Director/Teaching Artist) For Vitalist Theatre: Life is a Dream (Jeff Nominated), The Night Season (Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actress), Mother Courage and Her Children (3 After Dark Awards including Best Direction), A Passage to India (Jeff Nominated; After Dark Award for All Around Technical Direction), Anung's First American Christmas (World Premiere), The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, The Mill on the Floss, King Lear, and Anna Karenina. She also served as an assistant director at the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles) and Directing Associate at California Shakespeare Festival where she directed As You Like It. Other directing credits include The Skriker, The Love of the Nightingale, Romeo and Juliet, Pygmalion, Macbeth, Woman In Mind, Two Rooms, On The Verge, A Lie of the Mind, Tartuffe, and her own adaptations of Henry IV Parts 1 & 2. She has worked as a voice director at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Tacoma Actor's Guild, Steppenwolf (Chicago and Off-Broadway), and Williamstown Theatre Festival (MA), where she also administered the Apprentice Program and directed Shakespeare and Moliere with the Act One Company. Liz has served on the Illinois Arts Council Theatre Panel, holds an MFA from Temple University, and is Professor of Theatre at Knox College.
(Co-Founder/Producer/Contributing Artist/Teaching Artist) Robin Metz has received the Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Prize for his book Unbidden Angel, and 16 additional international literary awards. His play Anung's First American Christmas (based on Ojibway legend) had its World Premiere at Theatre Building Chicago, 2008. His poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in numerous national/international journals, including Paris Review, Epoch, International Poetry Review, Rosebud, Fourth River, Oberon, Writers' Forum, Abiko Quarterly (Japan), New Welsh Review (Wales), The Wolf (UK), Van Gogh's Ear (France), NewsFront (Nepal), Seventh Quarry (Wales), Convorbiri Literare (Romania), Korean Expatriot Literature (Korea), and in various anthologies. He has presented his work in 70 US cities and 23 nations (most recently Kosovo, Cuba, India, Wales, Nepal). His 3D Art Installations for previous Vitalist productions include: "Harrowing Love" (Anna Karenina), "Securing the Peace" (Mother Courage), "Ganga Passes" (A Passage to India), "Weeds, Seeds, Skulls, and Trees" (Anung), "Sligo: Portals, Surf" (The Night Season). The recipient of awards/fellowships from PEN International, the National Endowment for the Arts, Illinois Arts Council, The Best American Short Stories, he is editor of the forthcoming anthology Chicagoland Poets and Director of Creative Writing at Knox College.
(Associate Artistic Director/Teaching Artist) For Vitalist: The Ghost is Here, The Bay at Nice, the Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Plays/365 Days Festival (Director), A Passage to India, Mother Courage and Her Children (Associate Director), Anna Karenina, and King Lear (Assistant Director). Other Chicago credits include Enola (the side project), The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild (Roosevelt University), Animals Out of Paper (Next Up: Steppenwolf Garage), Artist Descending a Staircase, Orlando, the Regina Taylor "States of America Project" (Northwestern University), Professions for Women (Bailiwick Repertory Director's Festival), Helen (Greasy Joan & Co.), and King of the Road (Around the Coyote). Assistant directing credits include Sex with Strangers (Jessica Thebus) & Up (Anna D. Shapiro) at Steppenwolf Theatre, Candide (Mary Zimmerman), and Sins of Sor Juana (Henry Godinez) at Goodman Theatre. Jaclynn received her B.A. from Knox College and is finishing her MFA in Directing from Northwestern University. She currently is an adjunct faculty member at Dominican University, Columbia College, and Roosevelt University.
For Vitalist Theatre: Multiple roles in The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, Edgar in King Lear, Steva in Anna Karenina, and the Priest in Mother Courage and Her Children. Originally from California, Rom has degrees in both Film Making and Theatre Production (Montana State University), and has been living and acting in Chicago since 1999. While most of that time has been spent in theatrical productions, he has also worked in film, television, print, voiceovers, video games and commercials. He has worked with many theatres in Chicago over the years, notably, The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Lifeline, Timeline, Eclipse (company member), Steep, Griffin, Greasy Joan (company member), Trap Door, City Lit, and Writer's theatre. Regionally, Rom has worked at Baltimore Stage and Kansas City Rep. Some of his favorite productions include Around the World in 80 days at Lookingglass Theatre, Mother Courage and Her Children and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, Halcyon Days and Not About Nightingales at Timeline Theatre.
For Vitalist Theatre the title character in King Lear and Patrick Kennedy in The Night Season. He was seen as Elyot in Private Lives and Deeley in Old Times (City Lit, 2009 Jeff Nomination for the Best Lead Performance--Male). Other recent credits include Our Enemies (Silk Road Theatre Project), The Mark Of Zorro and The Picture Of Dorian Gray (Lifeline Theatre), and The Little Foxes (Shattered Globe Theatre). He has also worked with Writers' Theatre, Next Theatre, Seanachai, Circle Theatre, Raven Theatre, Signal Ensemble, Eclipse, Stage Left, The Hypocrites, The Journeymen, and Shakespeare's Motley Crew, to name a few.
(Teaching Artist) For Vitalist Theatre: Eilef in Mother Courage and Her Children and Mr. Fielding in A Passage to India. Most recent Chicago credits include Ka-Tet Theatre (Side Man, In the Jungle of Cities, Sun Stand Thou Still, Road), Trap Door Theatre (They Are Dying Out), Chicago Shakespeare (Amadeus, Short Shakes! A Midsummer Night's Dream). Other Chicago credits include the Goodman, ATC, Oracle, and HCL. He has also worked in L.A., Colorado, Indiana, North Dakota, and three summers touring with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. Jeremy is the Artistic Director of Oracle Film with Oracle Productions and his film credits include the lead role in Prairie Love, an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
For Vitalist Theatre: Gary Malone in The Night Season, Segismundo in Life is a Dream, and Father in American Shot (International Voices Project: French Canadian entry). Originally from Detroit, Paul is a member of the Piven Theatre, ensemble where he has appeared in many productions including King Lear, Book of Days, Mad Forest, Our Country's Good, Great Expectations, American Voices and last fall's critically acclaimed, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me. He has also performed with Raven Theatre, Serendipity Theatre Co., Stage Left, Sinnerman Ensemble, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, among other Chicago companies. Favorite roles include the Reverend Shannon in The Night of the Iguana, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Trigorin in The Seagull, and Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Paul is thrilled to be making his Vitalist debut.
For Vitalist Theatre: Judith in The Night Season (Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actress), Rosaura in Life is a Dream (Jeff Nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Mother in American Shot (International Voices Project: French Canadian entry). Vanessa grew up in Eugene, Oregon and attended The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she received her BFA in Acting. Chicago credits include playing Jenny in The Threepenny Opera (The Hypocrites), Lady of the Spa in Nine (Porchlight Music Theatre), Olivia in Twelfth Night (City Lit), and Constance in The Constant Wife (Griffin Theatre, 2007-2008 Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award for principal actress). Other notable productions include Talley and Son (Eclipse Theatre), Vikings! A Musical in Two Axe (Noble Fool), and Stardust with Griffin Theatre, where she is an artistic associate.
(Teaching Artist) For Vtialist Theatre: Estrella in Life is a Dream. Lyndsay co- directed the original touring radio play Philip Marlow, The Hairpin Turn, and Hoppy Meets His Match and served as choreographer/movement director on Woyzeck and Blood Wedding (Oracle Theatre). She also directed the BAF performance of Box and Cox, and choreographed Anger/Fly, Hamletmachine, The Unconquered, Me Too I'm Catherine Denurvre, and No Darkness Round My Stone. Performance credits include Canary in Fucking A with UrbanTheater, Gertrude in Hamletmachine (Trap Door), Scotland Road and Zero (Oracle Theatre). She has also performed in works for the International Voices Project. She is a proud company member at Trap Door and Casting Director for Oracle Theatre. She holds a BA in Dance/Theater Directing from Macalester College and an MFA (Acting) from CalArts.
Vincent L. Lonergan
For Vitalist Theatre: Multiple roles in Mother Courage and Her Children, Karenin in Anna Karenina, and Gloucester in King Lear. Vince is a company member with Signal Ensemble Theatre where favorite credits include Motion, Aces, Aftermath, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, The Birthday Party, 1776 (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination, Best Supporting Actor), Old Wicked Songs (Non-Equity Jeff Nomination, Best Actor), Hamlet, and She Stoops to Conquer. Other production credits include Love and Drowning (16th Street Theatre); Marat/ Sade (The Right Brain Project); Krapp's Last Tape (The Ensemble Project); A Memory of Two Mondays (Eclipse); Enter Love and Into the Woods (Quest); A Wonderful Life (Porchlight); The Christmas Schooner (Bailiwick), Pacific Overtures and Anyone Can Whistle (Pegasus); A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Christmas Carol (Metropolis); Empress of China, Jacques and His Master, and Screwtape (TinFish).
For Vitalist Theatre: Mr. McBryde in A Passage to India and Swiss Cheese in Mother Courage and Her Children. Christopher has had the pleasure of working on The Christmas Schooner at the Bailiwick, Dustbowl Gothic at the Building Stage, Roshomon at Lincoln Square Theatre, and Disciples with SummerNITE. Christopher proudly received his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he had the opportunity to return as a teacher after he received his MFA from Northern Illinois University.
Kelly Lynn Hogan
(Inaugural Company Member/Teaching Artist) For Vitalist Theatre: Rose Kennedy in The Night Season (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Katrin in Mother Courage and Her Children, Second Maggie in The Mill on the Floss, Storm in Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man, Goneril in King Lear, and the title role in Anna Karenina. Other Chicago acting credits include Court Theatre, Live Bait, Chicago Dramatists, Body Politic, Piven Theatre, American Theatre Company, Oak Park Festival, Piccolo, and Raven, among many others. She earned an MFA at the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University, in affiliation with Washington DC's The Shakespeare Theatre. She also holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU and a BA in Theatre and Creative Writing from Knox College; she teaches acting, dramatic literature, and classical text through physical theatre techniques.
(Teaching Artist) For Vitalist Theatre: Countess Betsy and ensemble in Anna Karenina; Swan Woman and Ensemble in Anung's First American Christmas; and choreographer for Mother Courage and Her Children. Other Chicago credits include Lifeline Theatre, Greasy Joan & Co., Emerald City Theatre, Attic Playhouse, and New Millennium Theatre Company. Regional credits include Classical Performing Theatre Company (Athens, Greece/Detroit), Montana Repertory Theatre, and Montana Actors Theatre. Favorite roles include Gertrude (Hamlet), Gertie (Fuddy Meers), Emm (Grace, or the Art of Climbing) and Madame Ranevsky (The Cherry Orchard). She holds an MFA in acting (University of Montana), where she was also an instructor, a BFA in acting and dance (Adelphi University, NY), and has trained with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.
(Inaugural Company Member) has proudly collaborated with Vitalist Theatre over the last sixteen years. Favorite Vitalist roles include Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children (After Dark and Chicago Tribune awards for Outstanding Performance); Adela Quested in A Passage to India; The Fool and Cordelia in King Lear. She also played Mother in The Mill on the Floss and multiple roles in The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol (If you missed those…well, they were two amazing theatrical legends that we can only hope to see again one day.) Other credits include Theresa in the Chicago premiere of Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (Dexter Bullard: Victory Gardens Theater) and the Los Angeles incarnation of David Cromer's Our Town with Helen Hunt (Broad Stage). An original cast member of Cromer's record- breaking, award-winning, and critically acclaimed Our Town, Lori played Julia Gibbs-- yearning for Paris and making imaginary French toast in people's laps--over the course of two years in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Other work includes Gertrude in Hamlet (The Building Stage) and Xiang Xhang in White Boned Demon (Lee Breuer and Leslie Mohn: Kennedy Center). She has worked extensively in defunct and non- defunct Chicago theatre from basements, taverns, and back yards to Steppenwolf, Next Theatre, The Hypocrites, and Redmoon. London credits include Paula in Mrs. Klein, Aquilina in Venice Preserv'd (George Wood Theatre), Moll Cutpurse in The Roaring Girl (MAYDAYS), and Marina Oswald in The Happiness Compartment (Oval House). She holds an M.A. summa cum laude in Performance Studies from the University of London, Goldsmith's College.
For Vitalist Theatre: Maud Kennedy in The Night Season, Anung in Anung's First American Christmas and She in American Shot (International Voices Project: French Canadian entry). Since moving to Chicago after her graduation from Knox College in 2008, she has performed with Moving Dock Theatre Company, including its developmental workshop and full production of Unsung Stars. She has also performed with the Ohio Repertory Theatre Company, Trumpet in the Land, and at Knox College was seen as the Skriker in The Skriker, the Mouth in Not I, Phoebe in As You Like It, Emily in Our Town, and Blanca in the American premiere of Rosa and Blanca.
For Vitalist Theatre: Lily O'Hanlon in The Night Season and as Mrs. Moore in the award winning A Passage to India. Other favorite roles include Meg in The Birthday Party (Signal Ensemble), in which she was honored to work with Will Schutz, Ariel in The Tempest (Theatre of Western Springs), and the Frauen in All Through the Night (Chicago Jewish Theatre), for which she received a Jeff Citation nomination. She also is a properties master for various area theatre companies and has received Jeff Nominations for her work. Mary graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY and is developing a cable series about classic cars.
Madrid St. Angelo
For Vitalist Theatre: Professor Godbole in A Passage to India (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor) and King Basilio in Life is a Dream (Joseph Jefferson Award Recommended). Madrid is a Joseph Jefferson Award nominated and Award winning professional actor and theatrical director. A native New Yorker and graduate of New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse and The New School of Acting, he trained under William Alderson and Sandy Meisner. Gratefully, he has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Silk Road Rising, Bailiwick, Stage Left, and Next Theatre. He currently teaches at Chicago's Artistic Home. Film/Television credits include, Welcome Back to the Barrio, Cup of My Blood, The Lower Circle, and the upcoming Deadly Embrace and Blood Kin, NBC's ER, and Showtime's BOSS. He is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA, AEA, and GIAA, and a founding member of UrbanTheater.
(Actor) For Vitalist Jamie has performed Oba Sankichi in The Ghost is Here, Kent in King Lear, and Marius in The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol. As an ensemble member at Strawdog Theatre, he has appeared in Conquest of the South Pole, Cherry Orchard, The Three Sisters, A Lie of the Mind, True Ballad of Fall's Blessings, and Detective Story. He previously appeared in The Farnsworth Invention (TimeLine Theatre), The Overwhelming (Next Theatre), Bus Stop (Writer's Theatre), Lettice and Lovage (Court Theatre), Requiem for a Heavyweight (Shattered Globe) and Revenge of the Space Pandas (Goodman). He has also worked with Collaboraction, Raven, Lookingglass, Second City, Serendipity, AboutFace, Live Bait, and many other Chicago theatres.
Designers and Production Staff
(Teaching Artist) Vitalist Theatre is an associate company in partnership with Premiere Theatre and Performance for which Patrizia is producer, and the founder of The International Voices Project. She is a stage director, adapter, arts instructor, and producer with over 45 productions in the past 15 years. She worked with The English Theatre of Rome (Italy, 2000-01), Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Silk Road Theatre, Azusa Productions, Scott Dray Productions, Clock Productions, and served as an Artistic Associate with Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago and Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. Favorite projects include Iphegenia In Kingman (world premiere), Immaginalo (English Theatre of Rome), Right! (original translation of Pirandello's Cosi é se vi pare!), Ocean Sea and Einstein's Dreams, (artistic partnerships with Dawn Arnold and Moving Dock Theatre Company). Ms. Acerra holds Masters degrees in Theology, Directing, and Communications, and is an instructor of Theatre, Communications and English as a Second Language. She is Professional Advisor and Instructor for De Paul University, founder of PLAcerra Consultants, specializing in non-profit consulting, and a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. www.patriziaacerra.com.
(Video/Projection Design) Charlie made his debut with Vitalist Theatre on The Night Season and continues to serve as a consultant with the company. He has recently has toured nationally with Blue Man Group as the video master. He has designed Little Brother (Griffin Theatre Company) and Hope VI (Chicago Dramatists). He is a graduate of Lake Forest College where his past technical and design credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream (Video Design), Electra (Video/Sound Design), They're Playing Our Song (Set/Video/Sound Design), and Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show (Video/Sound Design).
Aly Greaves Amidei
(Costume Designer; Make-Up Design) has been designing costumes and makeup in Chicago for twelve years after receiving her B.A. from Knox and her M.F.A in costume design from Carnegie Mellon. She is the Artistic Director of WildClaw Theatre, dedicated to bringing horror to the stage. Aly also is an ensemble member at Strawdog Theatre Company and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble. She has designed award-winning productions for Lifelin Theatre Company, Seanachai, Lakeside Shakespeare, Artistic Home, Vitalist Theatre, and House Theatre. Aly is the Costume and Makeup Coordinator for the College of Dupage and when she is not in the theatre, she writes plays and knits.
(Scenic Designer/Inaugural Company Member/Teaching Artist) For Vitalist Theatre: The Ghost is Here, The Night Season (Jeff Nominated), A Passage To India (Jeff Nominated; After Dark Award for All Around Technical Achievement); Mother Courage and Her Children, Anna Karenina, Floating Rhoda and the Glue Man, King Lear (lighting), The Mill On The Floss (set and lighting), and the world premiere of Anung's First American Christmas. Other Chicago designs include Death And The Maiden (Timeline), Pippin, Night Sky, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Museum. Craig is Associate Professor of Theatre at Knox College where favorite designs include Medea, A Lie of the Mind, Angels in America, Intimate Apparel, The Skriker, As You Like It, The Grapes of Wrath, among others. Craig holds a BA (Knox College) and MFAs in both scenic and lighting design (Carnegie Mellon University).
(Marketing & Public Relations) Credits include Life is a Dream, The Night Season, Anung's First American Christmas, A Passage to India, Mother Courage and Her Children, and Anna Karenina. Helen is a freelance marketing consultant for small theatres in Chicago. A graduate of Knox College, her directing (and acting) experience includes her self- directed senior capstone experience, The Belle of Amherst, Proof, and assistant directing The Laramie Project with Elizabeth Carlin-Metz. Helen is an E-Communications Associate with Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
(Set Designer) For Vitalist Theatre: The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol and King Lear. Ron is a member of United Scenic Artists 829 and holds degrees from Miami University of Ohio, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he is Professor of Scenic Design. While teaching and designing full time, he freelances as a designer for professional and university theaters including New Harmony Theater (Indiana), the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Company, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Marquette, Milliken, and Wichita State Universities. He also is a mask designer earning certification in leather mask making from the Museo Internazionale Della Maschera and Balinese wooden mask carving with the Dell'Arte International. Ron was pleased to contribute masks to Vitalist's Passage to India, which garnered an After Dark Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement. View his design portfolio and academic syllabi at http://www.ronaldnaversen.com/
(Technical Director) For Vitalist Theatre: Life is a Dream (Asst. Production Manager, Deck Chief), The Ghost is Here (Asst. Technical Director), pool (no water) (Load- in Crew Chief). She has worked with various Chicago companies in various technical positions including American Theatre Company and Oracle. She currently is the staff Assistant Technical Director at Knox College and serves on the board of directors for Prairie Players Civic Theatre, where she is also an assistant director and production manager. Sam is pursuing a masters degree in Arts Administration at Goucher College (MD).
(Composer) For Vitalist Theatre: The Ghost is Here and Mother Courage and Her Children. As a composer, sound designer, and music director he has been nominated for 16 Jeff Awards, and received 6; additionally he has received 2 consecutive After Dark Awards for Outstanding Season. He is a company member with The House Theatre, and an artistic associate with The Hypocrites. He is an adjunct faculty member for the Northwestern MFA Theater Design program, and also a drummer. For theater, film, and music info: www.kevinodonnellmusic.com
Jacqueline Dehne Scafidi
(Production Stage Manager) For Vitalist Theatre: The Night Season and Life is a Dream. Prior Chicago credits include two years as Stage Manager, Run Crew, and Sound Operator at American Girl Theatre, Stage Manager/Light Board Operator for Corpus Delicti and Just Dessert (Local Infinities), Production Intern for Peter Pan and Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare), Red Moon's 11th Annual Winter Pageant, and lighting designer/Light Board Operator for Annie The Musical (Improv Playhouse). She is a graduate of Knox College where she stage managed numerous productions including the co-production with Prairie Players Civic Theatre of The Grapes of Wrath in which she managed 35 actors from both the college and the community.
Michael C. Smith
(Master Electrician, Lighting Designer) Michael is a Chicago free-lance lighting designer and master electrician and is happy to be back with Vitalist having worked on The Ghost is Here, Life is a Dream, and The Night Season. Chicago designs include The World Over (State Theatre of Chicago), The Boy in Black (Chicago Fusion Theatre), Apocolypso, and All The Girls Love Bobby Kennedy (Point of Contention), Radio Silence (The Nine), And He Flew Over the Forest, Two Afternoons of Dance, and Sticky Forest (Brain Surgeon Theater: artistic associate-resident lighting designer), and Halfshut, My Filthy Hunt, The Archivist, and We Are Not These Hands (Right Brain Project: company member). Mike is a graduate of Knox College.
Rachel M. Sypniewski
(Costume Designer) has designed over 100 shows in the Chicago storefront theatre community. Some favorites include Frankenstein in Love, Jack's Precious Moment (Will Act For Food), Hey! Dancin'! (Factory), The Starving Class (New Leaf), Resort 76, The Grapes of Wrath (Infamous Commonwealth), and Mother Courage and Her Children, A Passage to India, and Life is a Dream (Vitalist), Phantom of the Opera (St. Patrick's High School), The Improv Play (Infusion), Arcadia (New Leaf: Artistic Associate), and Wiley and the Hairy Man (Indiana University Northwest). Rachel has also worked throughout the Chicago area as a stage manager and production stage manager. She is a proud alumna of Knox College.