You asked, and we listened! The Q Brothers dazzled our audiences in 2015 with Q Gents, their hilarious hip-hop adaption of Two Gentlemen of Verona, and we are delighted to include their latest world premiere, I Heart Juliet, in our 40th anniversary season. This time with ten actors, the Q Brothers Collective is at it again, bringing their incredible energy, humor, and hip-hop verse to Shakespeare’s timeless masterpiece, Romeo & Juliet.
Production sponsors: Paul and Sandra Harmon
Kevin Rich (Director) This is Kevin’s fifth and final season as Artistic Director of ISF. Recent directing credits include I Heart Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Rodeo, and The Magical Mind of Billy Shakespeare at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival; The Importance of Being Earnest at the American Shakespeare Center; Romeo & Juliet at Illinois State University; and As You Like It at Bradley University. ISF appearances as an actor include the title roles in Richard II and Richard III, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and both Dromios in Comedy of Errors. BA Grinnell College, MFA Yale School of Drama.
Joe C. Klug (Scenic Designer) is delighted to be working with Illinois Shakespeare Festival. His previous work includes A Midsummer Nights Dream, Merry Wives of Windsor (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Conway), Devil's Music, The Doyle and Debbie Show (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), The Life of Galileo and Our Class (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Chicago), The Little Mermaid (Orlando Rep), Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Junie B. Jones is not a Crook (First Stage Theatre), Black Comedy and What the Butler Saw (Bristol Valley Theatre, NY). He currently is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at University of Arizona and is a proud member of USA Local 829.
Christina Leinicke (Costume Designer) Off Broadway: Othello: the Remix (Westside Theater) Regional Credits: Q-Gents (ISF), The Importance of Being Earnest (ASC), Star Girl (FSM), Educational Tours of Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet (USF). Costume Design Assistant and Wardrobe Coordinator Paramount Theatre, Aurora. Design Artist in residence Concordia University, Chicago. M.F.A. University of Alabama. www.christinaleinicke.com
Dan Ozminkowski (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to make his ISF debut. Regional designs include Smokey Joe’s Café (Arena Stage), Treasure Island, A New Musical (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), Let Me Down Easy (Wexner Center for the Arts, Philadelphia Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and the U.S. Premiere of From Here to Eternity (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse). Tours: Spirit of Uganda (2010, 2012, 2014). Associate/assistant design credits: A Night With Janis Joplin (Broadway); Impressionism (Broadway); and Le Rêve (Wynn, Las Vegas). Nominated: Barrymore PECO Award for Outstanding Lighting Design. USA 829. B.F.A. Purchase College; M.F.A. Parson. Dan is the Head of Lighting Design at Illinois State University.
Kieran Periera (Sound Designer) is back for fourth year at the festival. Kieran finished his M.A. in Sound Design for Animation in 2015 at ISU. Last year he designed Hamlet, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Twelfth Night. He looks forward to another great summer and thanks you all for supporting the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
Jesse Bhamrah (Romeo/Sheriff) is extremely excited to join ISF for the first time this season! Originally from around DC, Jesse earned his BA in Theater from James Madison University. He just finished a season with Milwaukee Rep in their Emerging Professional Residency program. Roles at The Rep included Juan in Man of La Mancha and Ensemble tracks in A Christmas Carol and Jane Eyre. Understudy roles included Amir in Disgraced, Sancho in Man of La Mancha, Jim in The Glass Menagerie, and Froggy in The Foreigner. He would like to thank everyone who has made this season possible!
Joe Bianco (Monte/Larry/Rosaline) is happy to make his ISF debut. Working primarily out of Chicago, he has worked with: Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Othello: The Remix, Merry Wives...), The House Theatre (Hammer Trinity), Lifeline (Tale of Two Cities), Door Shakespeare (Caesar, Lear, Midsummer, Comedy...), MPAC (Spamalot!, Christmas Carol), Other Theater Company (Bent), Oak Park Festival (Henry V, Richard III, Amadeus) and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks where he recently appeared as Claudius in Bill Brown’s Hamlet. Voiceover: McDonalds, Dean Foods, The Onion, Lays, Porsche, Ducati, Dollywood and many more. TV: Chicago Fire. Love to the incredible women at Shirley Hamilton Talent. www.actorjoebianco.com
Madeleine Calais (DJ) Madeline Calais just completed her third year as a BFA Acting Major at the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance. She has been a part of Houston's Shakespeare Outreach Group for two years and the following shows at UH: Julius Caesar (Julius Caesar), Circle Mirror Transformation (Theresa), Intimate Apparel (Mayme understudy), and Broken Horizon (Caregiver).
Mehry Eslamina (Lady Monte/Nanna/Broadcaster 3) Denver based, Mehry is thrilled to experience her first out of state contract with ISF. Select CO Regional Credits include the world premier of Appoggiatura (Kate/Musician), and A Christmas Carol with The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Happiest Song Plays Last (Shar) with Curious Theatre Co., The Taming Of The Shrew (Kate/Grumio) with Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Violence Prevention Tour, and Guys And Dolls (Adelaide), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Jolene), August: Osage County (Johnna), Our Town (Mrs. Soames) with Creede Repertory Theater. After ISF, you can catch her with Indiana Rep and Syracuse Stage through the end of the year.
Christian Frieden (Tybalt/Servant/Penguin) Christian Frieden is a Junior at Illinois State University studying Theatre Education and Acting. He joins ISF as an Acting intern and the recipient of the 2017 Sutter Family Shakespeare Scholarship. Past roles include Ensemble/Apothecary in Romeo & Juliet, Jeff in Kimberly Akimbo, and Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, for which he received an Irene Ryan Scholarship nomination. He is excited to be a part of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival for their 40th anniversary season!
Mark Tyler Miller (Capulet/Announcer) is joyfully returning to ISF for a second season. He holds his B.F.A. in Theatre from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and is currently pursuing his M.F.A. in Acting at the University of Illinois. He has performed across the country in musicals, contemporary plays, Shakespeare and new works. Previous roles include: Orsino in Twelfth Night and Slank/Hawking Clam in Peter and the Starcatcher (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), Claude in Hair (Artswest Playhouse), Richard Mason in Jane Eyre (Taproot Theatre Company), and Bobby in Postcards from Hotel Cassiopeia (NYC Strawberry Theatre Festival).
Jose Nateras (Parry/Pigeon/Broadcaster 1) is a Chicago based Actor and Writer. Recent credits include: Picnic (American Theatre Company), Cymbeline (Strawdog), Reprise (Adventure Stage Chicago), The Van Gogh Cafe (Filament Theatre), The Grapes of Wrath (The Gift Theatre), Othello (u/s*), Since I Suppose (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), My Soul's Shadow (Manual Cinema), Balm in Gilead (u/s Griffin Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Teatro Vista); among others. He's toured with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (Hamlet, Twelfth Night) and appeared on NBC's Chicago Fire. He’s pursuing his MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Susie Parr (Juliet/Donna) She has recently returned to her home in Kalamazoo, Michigan after spending several years working with the American Shakespeare Center’s touring company. Some of her ASC credits include: Ophelia in Hamlet, Louka in Arms and the Man, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. Her other credits include Katherine in Henry V (Houston Shakespeare Festival), Marty in Grease (Crain River Theater), Kate in The Beaux Stratagem (University of Houston) and Irina in Three Sisters (University of Houston). She enjoys hiking, acro yoga, slacklining, birth work, and spending time with her nephews.
Christian Strange (Mercutio/Broadcaster 2) is excited to be making his Illinois Shakespeare Festival debut this summer! He is a rising senior Musical Theatre student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Some of his favorite theatre credits include South Pacific and The King and I at Town Theatre in South Carolina as well as Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. He would like to give thanks to God, as well as his family and friends for supporting him throughout his artistic journey.
Chris Vizurraga (Benny V) Chicago stage credits include Pirandello's Henry IV (Remy Bumppo), Captain Blood (First Folio), A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol (Chicago Shakespeare), One Man, Two Guv'nors (Court Theater), Miss Buncle's Book and Lester's Dreadful Sweaters (Lifeline Theatre), The Drowsy Chaperone (Metropolis), Pr0ne: the Musical (Underscore), and Tamer of Horses (Stone Soup Theatre Project). As a former resident acting intern at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, he has performed in Ragtime, A Christmas Carol, End of the Rainbow, and The History of Invulnerability. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shorter College.
Emily Wold (Lady Capulet/Shady Uncle Mary) is a native Arkansan who recently moved to Chicago. Favorite roles include Viola in Twelfth Night (Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre), Regan in King Lear (Studio 208), and Widow Quin in The Playboy Of The Western World (University of Houston PATP). Emily also enjoys working as a voiceover artist, and has done so for companies like McDonald’s, Mountain Valley Spring Water, and Illinois Valley Community Hospital. When she’s not working, Emily enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her family.