Direction by
Derek Van Barham & Brittney Brown

Music Direction by
Heidi Joosten

Choreography by
Derek Van Barham

Book by
Steven Sater & Jessie Nelson

Music by
Duncan Sheik

Lyrics by
Steven Sater

Orchestrations by
Duncan Sheik

Additional Orchestrations by
Simon Hale

Vocal Arrangements by
Jason Hart

Alice by Heart was first commissioned and produced by
National Theatre Connections in 2012

Developed with the Assistance of Theatre Aspen, Aspen, Colorado

A workshop production of Alice by Heart was presented by
New York Stage and Film & Vassar at The Powerhouse Theater, Summer 2018

New York Premiere at the MCC Theater February 26, 2019
Artistic Directors: Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, & William Canter
Executive Director: Blake West

Any video and/or audio recording of this performance is strictly prohibited. 

ALICE BY HEART is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com

SPREAD THE WORD!

As a storefront company, Kokandy relies on word of mouth, especially social media, to fill seats. Click the icons below to visit our social media sites, and tag us on one of the platforms below, using #AliceByHeartChi to spread the word!

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If you enjoyed Alice By Heart and would like to become a donor, you can stop by our donation box on your way out or click the donate button below to securely donate through PayPal.

Kokandy Productions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. By making a tax-deductible gift to Kokandy Productions, you are assisting the advancement of musical theater in Chicago.

CAST

Ezra Borrero

Sophia Mae Brenner

Caitlyn Cerza

Elliot Esquivel

Niki-Charisse Franco

Joe Giovannetti

Darian Goulding

Will Lidke

Emily Ling Mei

Victor Lopez

Patrick O’Keefe

Mizha Lee Overn

Kevin Parra

Alex Stetkevich

Jack Saunders

Peter Stielstra

Ava Stovall

Ezra Borrero, Nigel/Dormouse
Sophia Mae Brenner, Swing (Alice/Young Alice/Clarissa)
Caitlyn Cerza, Alice
Elliot Esquivel, Angus/Catepillar, U/S Alfred
Niki-Charise Franco, Red Cross Nurse/Queen of Hearts
Joe Giovannetti, Alfred
Darian Goulding, Dr. Butridge/King of Hearts/Jabberwocky
Will Lidke, Harold Pudding/Mad Hatter
Emily Ling Mei, Young Alice
Victor Lopez, Swing (Caterpillar/Dr. Butridge)
Patrick O’Keefe, Dodgy/Duchess
Mizha Lee Overn, Tabatha/Cheshire Cat
Kevin Parra, Swing (Dodgy/Duchess, Nigel/Dormouse)
Alex Stetkevich, Clarissa/Mock Turtle/Queen of Diamonds
Jack Saunders, Swing (Young Alfred/Mad Hatter)
Peter Stielstra, Young Alfred
Ava Stovall, Swing (Tabatha/Chesire, Nurse/Queen of Hearts)

BAND

Craig Buckner, Drums
Sophie Creutz, Reeds
Heidi Joosten, Keyboard/Conductor
Rachel Schuldt, Cello
Samuel Stein, Guitars

PRODUCTION TEAM

G “Max” Maxin IV, Scenic Design and Lighting Design
Matt Reich, Sound Design
Mike Patrick, Sound Consultant
Jakob Abderhalden, Properties Design
Rachel Sypniewski, Costume Design
Syd Genco, Makeup Design
Keith Ryan, Wig Design
Heidi Joosten, Electronic Music Design
Nicholas Reinhart, Production Manager
Shane Roberie, Casting Associate
David Moreland, Technical Director
Lynsy Folckomer, Sound Engineer
Shelby Burgus, Stage Manager
Mikaley Lane, Assistant Stage Manager
Anna Wegener, Associate Music Director/Associate Conductor

KOKANDY STAFF

Derek Van Barham, Producing Artistic Director
Adrian Abel Azevedo, Leda Hoffmann, Artistic Associates
Scot Kokandy, Executive Producer
Ben Hinc, Technical Consultant
David Rosenberg, Public Relations
Jeff Meyer, Graphic Designer

Board of Directors: Preston Cropp, Danielle Sparklin, Scot T. Kokandy, Katie Svaicer 

Kokandy Productions was founded in 2012 by Allison Hendrix, John Glover, and Scot Kokandy. 

SONG LIST

“West of Words”
“Down the Hole”
“Still”
“Chillin’ The Regrets”
“The Key Is”
“Those Long Eyes”
“Manage Your Flamingo”
“Sick to Death of Alice-ness”
“Brillig Braelig”
“Some Things Fall Away”
“Your Shell of Grief”
“Another Room in Your Head”
“Isn’t It a Trial?”
“Do You Think We Think You’re Alice?”
“I’ve Shrunk Enough”
“Afternoon”
“Winter Blooms”

UP NEXT FOR KOKANDY

CAST BIOS

EZRA BORRERO (Nigel/Dormouse)

Ezra Borrero is an actor born and raised in Chicago. He is excited to make his on stage debut and could not have asked for a better company to do so. He would like to thank his friends and family for their support and is looking forward to sharing the magic of wonderland with everyone.

SOPHIA MAE BRENNER (Swing - Alice/Young, Alice/Clarissa)

Sophia Mae Brenner is a Chicago based actor originally from up north in Duluth, Minnesota! Sophia is a recent graduate of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she gained her BFA in Musical Theatre. Recent Credits Include: Xanadu (“Kira”), Batboy (“Ensemble, Shelley U/S”), Merrily We Roll Along (Meg, Gussie U/S”), Mother Courage and Her Children (“The Cook”), and The Wolves (#8, #46 U/S). She sends all her love and gratitude to her Mama, her family, her friends, and Sam!

CAITLYN CERZA (Alice)

Caitlyn Cerza is so excited to spend her summer in Wonderland! It’s been a few years since she has been on stage, but she is so so so happy to be on THIS stage with THESE people doing THIS show for YOU. Some previous Chicago credits include Head Over Heels & Heathers (Kokandy), Promises, Promises (Blank), Violet (Griffin), and Thrones! The Musical Parody (Apollo Theatre). Love love love to the fam, the friends, and the MG.

ELLIOT ESQUIVEL (Angus/Catepillar U/S Alfred)

Elliot Esquivel is an actor and musician originally from Austin, TX. He studied at Texas Tech University where he received his BFA in Musical Theatre. After making the move to Chicago a few months ago, Elliot is super hype to be making his Chicago theatre debut with Kokandy! He could not be more grateful for this opportunity.

NIKI-CHARISSE FRANCO (Red Cross Nurse/Queen of Hearts)

Niki-Charisse Franco is a Chicago native and a University of Iowa Theatre Alumni. She is so excited to be joining Kokandy for a second time this summer! Her favorite past credits include: Hair (“Dionne”), Heather’s: The Musical (“Heather Chandler”), American Idiot (“Whatsername”), Striking 12 (“The Little Match Girl”) and Spring Awakening (“Ilse”). As always, Niki-Charisse would like to thank her family and friends who have supported her all these years!

JOE GIOVANNETTI (Alfred)

Joe Giovannetti (he/him) is excited to make his Kokandy debut in Alice By Heart. Chicago credits: Sondheim Tribute Revue, “Malcolm” in The Full Monty, “Herman” in The Most Happy Fella (Jeff nom., Supporting Performer) at Theo; “Artie Green” in Sunset Boulevard, “Frank” in A Chorus Line (Jeff nom., Ensemble) at Porchlight Music Theatre; “The Lover” in All That He Was at PrideArts. Joe is the director of annual giving at UChicago’s Laboratory Schools and has worked in communications and/or development for the City of Chicago, Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Goodman Theatre. MS Leadership for Creative Enterprises, Northwestern University; BME Music Education, Indiana University. joe-giovannetti.com | @joegio

DARIAN GOULDING (Dr. Butridge/King of Hearts/Jabberwocky)

Darian Goulding is so ecstatic to be making his Kokandy debut. Darian, originally from Chicago IL, is a graduate of Belmont University with a BFA in Musical Theater. Represented by Stewart Talent, Darian was last seen in Marriott’s The Music Man as well as a part of the ensemble in Paramount’s Little Shop Of Horrors, Into The Woods, Sipos in Citadel’s She Loves Me and was in Broadway in Chicago’s Children of Eden as Seth/Shem! He has also portrayed roles such as Officer Lockstock in Urinetown, Plankton in The Spongebob Musical, and Man 2 in Songs For A New World. Darian would like to thank his family, friends, Em, and the cast and crew of Alice By Heart. For more info on Darian Check out his website @ dariangoulding.com

WILL LIDKE (Harold Pudding/Mad Hatter)

Will Lidke returns to Kokandy after appearing in their Jeff Award-winning production of AMERICAN PYSCHO. Other Chicago credits include: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (Theo Ubique, Jeff Award Winner Principal Performer in a Musical); LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (Drury Lane); VIOLET (Griffin Theater); as well as work with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Mercury Theater and Rhino Fest. TV credits include: Chicago Justice, Chicago PD (NBC). Will holds a BFA in Acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and is represented by DDO Artists Agency. He also creates music, available on all streaming platforms under the name Leo Rising. Insta: @leorising93 www.will-lidke.com

EMILY LING MEI (Young Alice)

Emily Ling Mei (she/her) is thrilled to be making her Kokandy debut! Recent credits include Anything Goes (Chastity) at Porchlight Music Theatre, Next to Normal (Natalie US) at Paramount Theatre, R+H’s Cinderella (Ella) at The Barn Theatre, and Kendra in Gloria (CCPA). Endless thanks to her family and friends for their unending support! BFA MTD at CCPA. Rep: Stewart Talent. IG: @emily.lingmei

VICTOR LOPEZ (Swing - Caterpillar/Dr. Butridge)

Victor Lopez is making his Kokandy debut! He’s thrilled to be working on a show that is near and dear to his heart, and thankful to be returning to the stage! Most recently seen as Angel in Rent with PSBLT Theater Co, and in Zorro: The Musical at Music Theatre Works. A proud ensemble member of The Impostors Theater Company, they’ve costumed designed 3 of the company’s world premiere shows, and played Gonzalez in Summer & Smoke by Tennessee Williams. Thanks to all who have led me to where I am now! Support Latine Art! For more personal information, write to his mother. @victor_lopez3

PATRICK O’KEEFE (Dodgy/Duchess)

Patrick O’Keefe feels right at home at Kokandy, having previously been seen in Head Over Heels and Sweeney Todd (Jeff Award, Supporting Performer). Other credits include Assassins (Jeff nom, Principal) and 8-Track: The Sounds of the 70’s with Theo (both winning Jeff Award, Best Ensemble); Poor People! and The Drag Seed with Hell in a Handbag; Mamma Mia! with Music Theatre Works; and New Faces Sing Broadway: 1984 with Porchlight Music Theatre. Proudly represented by DDO. Insta: @pat_okeefe

MIZHA LEE OVERN (Tabatha/Cheshire Cate)

Mizha Lee Overn makes her Kokandy debut. CHICAGO: A Little Night Music (Theo Ubique). REGIONAL: A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep), Dial ‘M’ for Murder (Milwaukee Rep), Little Women (Milwaukee Rep). From Minnesota, is a 2023 graduate of Bethany Lutheran College earning her degree in Theatre and Media Arts. After finding success at The Open Jar Institute in NYC and the Emerging Professional Residency Program at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, she’s thrilled to jump start her career by moving to Chicago. She’d like to express her gratitude to all her loved ones. She wouldn’t be here without them.

KEVIN PARRA (Swing - Dodgy/Duchess, Nigel/Dormouse)

Kevin Parra (He/Him) is very excited to return to Kokandy Productions! Regional credits: Otto/Ulbrecht in Spring Awakening (Flint Repertory Theater), Chip and Leaf u/s in Spelling Bee (Music Theater Works), Sean Bateman in the Jeff Award-winning Chicago Premiere of American Psycho (Kokandy Productions), Judah in Joseph… (Big Noise Theatre). A very special thanks to his partner, Kevin, for his never-ending love and support. Kevin is represented by Gray Talent Group. Instagram: @KPYouKnowMe

ALEX STETKEVICH (Clarissa/Mock Turtle/Queen of Diamonds)

Alex Stetkevich is thrilled to make her Kokandy debut and join the fabulous cast of Alice By Heart! She is a Chicago-based artist, originally from Southern California, and received her BFA in Musical Theatre at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Recent theatre credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive), Into the Woods (Rapunzel), Pirates of Penzance (Kate), and Ragtime: In Concert (Ensemble). Much love to her family and friends. This one’s for Grams!

JACK SAUNDERS (Swing - Young Alfred/Mad Hatter)

Jack Saunders is thrilled to be making his Chicago debut with Kokandy Productions! Since graduating in 2020, he has been traveling the country for different theatre related opportunities, and most recently returned from exploring the world as a lead vocalist for Royal Caribbean. He’s ecstatic about performing with the first company he ever saw in Chicago when he was still in high school. (shout out Heathers cast of 2016) He would like to thank his family and friends for their constant support. Enjoy Wonderland! insta: @thejacksaunders

PETER STIELSTRA (Young Alfred)

Peter Stielstra (he/him) is a Chicago based actor and singer, and a company member of PlayGround-Chicago. He is glad to be making his Kokandy debut. Recent credits include Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Max/Guitarist) with Strawdog, The Threepenny Opera (Ensemble, u/s Macheath) with Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, and Girlfriend (Mike) with PrideArts. Before moving to Chicago from San Francisco, some of his favorite credits include: As You Like It (Orlando u/s and ensemble) with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and The House of the Spirits (Barrabas) at UC Berkeley.

AVA STOVALL (Swing - Tabatha/Chesire, Nurse/Queen of Hearts)

Ava Stovall (she/her) is equally humbled and thrilled to be making her CHICAGO DEBUT with Kokandy! Ava’s favorite credits include: Emma Carew (Jekyll and Hyde), Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Jo March (Little Women), Miss Andrew (Mary Poppins), and Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing). When behind the curtain, Ava is an avid devourer of cheese and crackers, a multi-instrumentalist, and furious opponent in games made for five year olds. First and foremost, Ava is a vocal teacher to the most wonderful and attentive students in this world. She dedicates her role in this production to her them, as well as her loving family and friends, and reminds them and you that dreams really can come true. Find her on instagram to see what’s next! @ava.stovall

PRODUCTION TEAM BIOS

BRITTNEY BROWN (Director)

Brittney Brown (she/her) is a Chicago-based actor and director. Some select Chicago acting credits include: Raven Theatre’s brother sister cyborg space, Blank Theatre’s Merrily We Roll Along, Theo Ubique’s AssassinsHedwig & the Angry Inch and Sweeney Todd, Kokandy Productions’ Sweeney Todd and Bonnie & Clyde, Pride Arts’ All That He Was (Jeff Nomination—Best Performer in a Supporting Role), Factory Theater’s Kelly Girls (Jeff Nomination—Best Performer in a Principal Role), and Griffin Theatre’s Ragtime and Violet. Brittney was also the associate director for The Story Theatre’s Marie Antoinette and the Magical Negroes, Factory Theater’s May the Road Rise Up and Exit 63’s Wolves. She was a featured director in Broken Nose Theatre’s Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum and directed a staged reading of Paul Michael Thomson’s Artemis Books & the Well-Meaning Man for Avalanche Theatre, as well as the audio drama Primer for Broken Nose Theatre. She has also directed productions of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Calvin Berger.

SHELBY BURGUS (Stage Manager)

Shelby Burgus (she/her) is absolutely honored to help bring this piece of beautiful theatre to life! Recent credits include: Sondheim Tribute Revue (Theo Ubique), The Kelly Girls (Factory Theater), Last Night in Karaoke Town (Factory Theater), Happy Birthday Mars Rover (Passage Theatre), Human Resource(s) (Theatre Evolve), Southern Comfort (Pride Arts), Scraps (NAFT) and The Spitfire Grill (Refuge Theatre Project). Shelby would like to thank her chosen family (near and far) and her girlfriend, Ellie, for their endless love and support.

LYNSY FOLCKOMER (Sound Engineer)

Lynsy Folckomer (she/her/hers) is a Chicago-based actor and sound artist from Brevard, North Carolina. She is a resident ensemble member of the Jones Classical Theatre and has engineered several shows in the Chicagoland area, most recently Ernest Shackleton Loves Me with Porchlight Music Theatre and Tick, Tick… Boom! with Boho Theatre. This is her second season engineering for Kokandy!

SYD GENCO (Makeup Design)

Syd Genco is thrilled to be back designing for Kokandy after designing last years hit SWEENEY TODD and this summers splashy SPONGEBOB THE MUSICAL (where she not only designed, but also performed in the role of Perch Perkins!) Syd is an ensemble member, Company Manager, and Company Makeup Designer for Hell in a Handbag Productions, where she has performed and designed for the past 11 years. Past favorites with HIAH include SNOWGIRLS (Ice Crystal), THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE (Roxanne), RUDOLPH THE RED HOSED REINDEER (Elfina). She designed for many other companies, including Trap Door, Highland Park Players, Glass Apple Theatre, and more! She’s a graduate of The Chicago College of Performing Arts with a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. She is a freelance makeup designer and artist, certified at Make Up First School Chicago www.madcbs.com

SIMON HALE (ORCHESTRATIONS)

After graduating from the University of London with an honors degree in composition, Simon Hale’s acclaimed solo album, East Fifteen, led to recordings with many artists, including George Benson, Simply Red, Jamiroquai and Björk. In 1996 he orchestrated Duncan Sheik’s first album, and their musical collaboration has continued ever since. Simon’s involvement with Spring Awakening marked his Broadway debut and the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations in 2007. He continues to work with Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik on other projects. For more information please visit www.simonhale.co.uk.

HEIDI JOOSTEN (Music Director)

Heidi Joosten (She/her/hers) is a Chicago-based composer, lyricist, pianist, harpist, orchestrator, sound designer, music director, vocal coach, and conductor. She is absolutely thrilled and grateful to be collaborating with Kokandy Productions and this stellar cast/team on this production of AMERICAN PSYCHO. Since 2014, Heidi has collaborated on over 100 new theatrical, comedic, and concert productions in the Chicagoland area. Recent theatrical contracts include GREASE (Drury Lane, orchestrator) BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, AMD/associate conductor/orchestrator), DON’T QUIT YOUR DAYDREAM (Second City Mainstage, understudy music director), ASSASSINS (Theo Ubique, music director), SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (national tour, associate conductor) and CHILDREN OF EDEN (Chicagoland Theatre Fund, music director/conductor). Notable theatrical writing collaborations include: THE BONE HARP, QUEER EYE: THE MUSICAL PARODY, SAINT HILDEGARD, and MICRO.  Heidi is a highly sought after classical composer with over 200 works to her name, and her award-winning music has been performed across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Heidi holds composition degrees from UW-Eau Claire and CCPA. She is an adjunct professor at North Park University and also works as an MD in the Second City Training Center. Heidi is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. www.heidijoosten.com | @heidijoosten

G “MAX” MAXIN IV (Scenic Design and Lighting Design)

After over a decade in Chicago, Max (he/him) has created over 250 designs on over 150 professional & educational productions. He teaches and is the Resident Lighting Designer for the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and was an instructor at Northeastern Illinois University for 7 years, receiving an Instructor Excellence Award in 2019. One of the founding members of Another Door Theatre Project, Max worked for 3 years as Head of Production/Resident Scenographer. He also spent 2 summers designing lighting for La Musica Lirica, a touring opera company in Novafeltria, Italy. He has received a Lou Award for Best Lighting on Into the Woods (Big Noise), has 1 Equity, & 5 Non-Equity Jeff nominations. Max designed set & lights on the 2022 Non-Equity Jeff Award winner for Best Musical, Kokandy’s Sweeney Todd; as well as light & projections on the 2019 Non-Equity Jeff Award winner for Best Musical, BoHo’s Big Fish. Favorite design projects at Porchlight, Kokandy, Mercury, Black Ensemble, American Blues, Cincinnati Shakespeare, Theatre at the Center, Black Button Eyes, BoHo, Steppenwolf Garage, Another Door, CCPA, NEIU, Northwestern, & DePaul. www.ivMaxin.com

DAVID MORELAND (Technical Director)

David is a Chicago-based performer most recently seen as Drew in ‘Rock of Ages’ at Mercury Theater, before that he was Mark in ‘RENT’ with Porchlight Music Theatre and Sebastian in Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical with Kokandy Productions, for which he received a Jeff Nomination. Previous credits include: Don’t Dress for Dinner, Bridges of Madison County (Brightside Theater); Noises Off, Mousetrap, A Christmas Carol (Metropolis Performing Arts) The Last Five Years, Big Fish (Big Noise Theater).

JESSIE NELSON (Book)

Jessie Nelson wrote the musical Waitress with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. The show played on Broadway for 4 years and moved to the West End in London. Sara and Jessie went on to create the show Little Voice which they Executive Produced with JJ Abrams for Apple TV. Jessie wrote, directed and produced Corrina Corrina and I Am Samstaring Sean Penn, who received an Academy Award nomination for his performance. Among her other directing credits are Curb Your Enthusiasm and Love, the Coopers with Diane Keaton. Her writing credits include Step Mom and The Story of Us . She produced Fred Clausand Danny Collins . In London, Jessie directed Alice By Heart which she co-wrote with Steven Sater with music by Duncan Sheik at the National Theater Connections Program and again at MCC in NYC. She began her career as an actress at the Public Theater working with the award-winning experimental theater Mabou Mines and at the New York Shakespeare Festival. She wrote the children’s book Labracadabra. She has been the artistic Director of the Sundance Screen Writers Lab.

MIKE PATRICK (Sound Consultant)

Bio coming soon!

NICHOLAS REINHART (Production Manager)(He/Him)

Nicholas Reinhart (he/him) NYC: Jungle Jim: A Musical Wildlife Adventure (Theatre Row). CHICAGO: American Psycho (2024 Jeff Award – Best Production of a Musical,) The SpongeBob Musical, Hundred Days, Head Over Heels (Kokandy Productions); A Little Night Music, Godspell, Once Upon a Mattress, 8-TRACK, Songs for a New World (Theo Ubique); Get Out Alive, Titus Andronicus (Haven); PROXY (Underscore Theatre Company); The Mystery of Custodia, The Moment, Miley Chase: The Science Ace (CPA Theatricals). Upcoming: Festival Producer for the 2024 return of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (Kokandy Productions); SENTINELS: A Play with Music (CPA Theatricals). Nicholas was previously named as one of Windy City Times’ 30 Under 30, honoring the best and brightest individuals in Chicago’s LGBTQIA+ youth community, and currently serves as the Productions Manager at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

MATTHEW REICH (Sound Designer)

Matt Reich (he/him) is so thrilled to be designing his first show with KoKandy. He is a Chicago-based audio engineer and sound designer for theatre. He has sound-designed over sixty theatrical productions and received two Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for his work. He is an A1 for musical theatre and has mixed shows with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Theatro ZinZani & Manual Cinema  He is currently the Sound Supervisor for Chicago Children’s Theatre and he has a degree in Sound Design for Theatre from The Theatre School at Depaul University.

SHANE ROBERIE (Casting Associate)

Bio coming soon!

KEITH RYAN (Wig Design)

Keith is the Wig Designer for the Fabulous, and is so happy to be designing American Psycho! Keith is a 2020 Jeff Award winner for Artistic Specialization,Wig Deseign, for Hedwig and The Angry Inch. With over 140 shows to his credit, he created magic last season with Jeff Award winner Sweeney Todd;  Black Ensemble Theater: The Real Housewives of Motown,  Reasons, A Tribute to Earth Wind and Fire,  Blue Heaven; Hell In A Handbag Productions, I Promised Myself to Live Faster, Frankenstriesand, The Golden Girls Christmas, The Drag Seed, (the Chicago run and the New York City run); Mercury Theater Chicago, Big River, Lady Day, Clue, Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Oak Lawn Park District Theater, You Can’t Take it Witk You, Spongebob The Musical and Cinderella; Alex Grelle Productions, StepMom, Floor Show; Sweetback Productions, Tooth of Crime; Marian Catholic High School, Chicago;Theo Ubique Theatre; Firebrand Theatre; New American Folk Theater; Big Noise Theater.

STEVEN SATER (Book, Lyrics)

Steven Sater won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Score, as well as the Grammy Award, both the NY and UK Drama Critics’ Circle, and the Olivier Award for Best New Musical for Spring Awakening. A revival of Spring Awakening, produced by Deaf West Theatre, was Tony-nominated for Best Musical Revival. The recent Almeida Theatre revival received the London Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical. In November 2021, the original Broadway cast reunited for a one-night benefit, which is now the subject of the HBO documentary, Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known . Sater’s other musicals include Alice by Heart (National Theatre of London, MCC Theater, novel version from Razorbill/Penguin Random House); The Nightingale (La Jolla Playhouse); Prometheus Bound (A.R.T.); Nero (Magic Theatre, NYSAF, forthcoming in London); and Some Lovers (music by Burt Bacharach, The Old Globe, Grammy-nominated album from Broadway Records). His pop songs have been recorded by artists such as Michael Bublé, Dionne Warwick, and Leslie Odom Jr. TikTok: @steven_sater. Instagram: @stevensater

DUNCAN SHEIK (Music)

DUNCAN SHEIK is a Grammy and Tony Award-winning artist who launched his career in 1996 with his Grammy nominated self-titled debut album. Sheik is the composer for the critically acclaimed musicalSpring Awakening, which went on to win eight Tony Awards in 2007, including awards for Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score. The album earned Sheik a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. In years since, Sheik has released multiple albums, most recently Claptrapin 2022 and American Psycho: Original London Cast Recording, with lyrics and music written by Sheik, premiered in the U.S. on Broadway in 2016 after a sold-out London run. His most recent theater projects include Alice By HeartThe Secret Life of BeesBecause of Winn DixieBob & Carol & Ted & AliceNero, and Noir.

Theatre credits include; Spring Awakening (2006) Tony Awards for “Best Original Score” and “Best

Orchestrations,” 2008 Grammy Award for “Best Musical Show Album”, The Secret Life of Bees (Almeida Theatre in London April 2023, Atlantic Theatre Company 2019), Noir (The Alley Theatre 2022), Nero (London 2023), Memoirs of An Amorous Gentleman (In Development), Alice by Heart (MCC Theater 2019), Because of Winn-Dixie (Goodspeed Opera House 2019, Alabama Shakespeare Festival 2017, Delaware Theatre Company 2015), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (The New Group 2020), Whisper House (London 2017, Old Globe Theater 2011), American Psycho (2016).

Recordings include; Claptrap (2022) American Psycho Original London Cast Recording (2016), Legerdemain (2015) Covers 80s (Sneaky Records 2011), Whisper House (Sony 2009), Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2006), White Limousine (Rounder 2006), Daylight (Atlantic Records 2002), Phantom Moon (Nonesuch 2001), Humming (Atlantic Records 1998), Duncan Sheik (Atlantic Records 1996).

RACHEL SYPNIEWSKI (Costume Design)

Rachel is grateful to be back with Kokandy, previously designing “American Psycho” and “Sweeney Todd”. Other companies she has worked with include Goodman, Music Theater Works, Midsommer Flight, Trap Door, Oak Park Festival Theater, Black Button Eyes, Jackalope, Lifeline, Porchlight, Griffin, Chopin, Compass, Strawdog, the Factory and Redtwist. She also has designed at Wheaton College, Governor’s State University, North Central College, St. Patrick’s High School, Indiana University Northwest, Loyola Academy, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. She is an eight-time Non-equity Jeff nominee, having been awarded one for “La Bete” at Trap Door. More info at www.rachelsyp.com

DEREK VAN BARHAM (Director)

Derek Van Barham (he/him) is the Producing Artistic Director of Kokandy Productions. Directing credits include Children of Eden in Concert (Broadway In Chicago), Sweeney ToddAmerican Psycho and Head Over Heels (Jeff Awards and Jeff nomination, Kokandy); The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre); Miracle by Dan Savage, Poseidon (Hell in a Handbag). Choreography credits include Evil Dead (Jeff nomination), Coraline the MusicalGhost QuartetShockheaded Peter and Coraline the Musical (Black Button Eyes). He was previously named one of Windy City Times’ 30 Under 30, and one of Newcity Magazine’s 50 Players 2024. MFA: CCPA/Roosevelt University. derekvanbarham.com | IG @dvbarham

DONORS

Allison Hendrix
Ana DeJesus
Angela Pasyk
Babs Maltenfort
Barbara McBlain
Bob & Pat Kokandy
Brenda Didier
Brittney Brown
Bruce & Nancy Stolman
Cole Stolman
Corky Bellile & Jim DeNuccio
Court Theater
Craig Leslie
Dan Cohn
Daniel & Courtney Markovich
Deb Milne
Debbie & Phil Brown
Dell & Susan Bellile
Derrick Everett
Don & Ann Bellile
Eddie Castellanos
Elizabeth Seff
Elizabeth Zilis
Ernie Lopez
Fran & Chuck Licht
Frank Meccia
Gitta Jacobs

 Hubbard Street
Jack Piliponis
James Johnson
James Schulman
Jayson Van Deel
Jean Klingenstein
Jeff & Amy Losh
Jeremy Wechsler
Jerry Miller
Joanne Leslie
Jodeen Benjamin
John D. Glover
Jonathan Schwart
Katherine Smith
Katie Jane
Kenn & Peggy Sinko
La Voute Bistro & Bar
Lance Wolfe
Laura Reali
Laura Spearman
Lauren Taslitz
L.C. Bernadine
Lettuce Entertain You
Liz Norton
Marian & Stan Kaderbek
Marilyn E. Barrett
Marnie Warner
Martin Till
Matthew Huston
Matthew Johnston

Mel Katz
Michael Maltenfort
Nancy Woodruff
Natalie Swinnea
Peter Janssen Phil & Karen Kokandy
Phillip Joseph
Rochelle Hochman
Robert Ollis
Sandra Boves
Scot T. Kokandy
Seymour Zitomersky
Steep Theater
Stephen Stanko
Susan Haimes
Susan Wishnick & Allen Steinberg
Swasti Shah
The Cottage on Dixie
The Second City
Thomas & Donna Ray
Tilly Wilhoite
Timothy Comar
Timothy Ledna
Tom & Jan Kokandy
Victor Giannini
William Szany
Youth Guidance
Zach’s Metalz / Zach Larks 

Matching gifts received from: Caterpillar Foundation, PNC Bank, The Saints

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

SPECIAL THANKS

Hell in a Handbag Productions, David Rosenberg, Quinn Simmons