January 15, 2016

Design for Murder

Design for Murder

Jan 15
8:00 PM


When a young maid is killed, Celia Granger finds herself living in a violent present.

Suspicion falls on every member of the cast.

The climax finds Celia alone in the house and the murderer ready to strike again…

Cast & Crew

MONA LEWIS (Celia Granger), with over 50 stage roles in SE Wisconsin to her credit, was last seen on the RTG stage as Lexie in The Dixie Swim Club in our previous season. She then followed that serving as Production Stage Manager for Spamalot. Mona has worked extensively in all areas of live theatre and even taught creative dramatics at one point in her teaching career.  In 2014 Mona was honored with RTG’s highest honor, Lifetime Member Award.  She has performed with Over Our Head Players (Sixth Street), Cabbage City Theatre, Grant Park Players and Actor’s Craft Studio. Favorite theatre memories include performing in England and Austria as part of RTG’s first overseas collaboration in 1979, and performing in the held-over show of No Sex Please, We’re British which closed our old theatre on High Street. Mona has served on the Board of Directors for RTG, the personnel committee for HALO and a volunteer librarian for Cops ‘N Kids.  Mona treasures her daughter, Meredith, and husband, Tom, and all the wonderful memories of friendships nurtured through theatre and teaching.  She also says she still feels the excitement of “the magic of telling delicious stories in the dark” from both sides of the stage after 43 years.

ZAC COOPER (David Granger) is a Racine native and a recent graduate of UW Parkside’s Theatre Arts Department.  In addition to his time at Parkside, Zac also attended the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center at the State Theatre Arts Academy at St. Petersburg, Russia for a time.  His recent roles have been East, Jimmy, Chad, Phil, and Dave in Almost, Maine, Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Vice Principal Panch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jake Laurents/George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life: a Radio Show, and Greg in Reasons to be Pretty.  This is his first show at the Racine Theater Guild.

BRUCE VARNER (Dan Carlin) was last seen on the RTG stage in The Curious Savage. He recently played Barb Tylla’s grandfather in her play The Cedar Chest Letters at 6th Street.  Before that, his theatre credits were in the Chicago area, where he had roles in Do Not Go Gentle, Art, Laura, Jungalbook (that is the correct spelling), Hamlet, Fool for Love, The Laramie Project, Later Life, Off The Map and Promises, Promises. Bruce is employed by Rust-Oleum Corporation. He enjoys playing violin, photography, reading, golf, and volunteering as a tutor with the Racine Literacy Council. He grew up in Texas and New Mexico, and graduated from Texas Tech in Chemical Engineering.

SCOTT KOVACIK (Moreno) was last seen as Father in The Giver. In 1989, he played Gilly in I’m Not Rappaport, and in 2000, he played Paul in Moon Over Buffalo. He filled a spot on crew once, that of sound technician for Living Together (1999). As he recalls, his first acting role came in 3rd grade, when he got to be Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Scott received his BS in psychology from UW-Parkside and then went to Gateway Technical College to study networking. He’s currently employed by Meridian IT as a system engineer. He volunteers as a technology advisor to Racine Unified School District. A self-taught guitarist, Scott would like to one day get his awesome band back together. His family consists of wife Stacey, son Dylan, and daughters Kathryn and Georgia.

KAREN MAGEE (Louisa Cortland) has been a volunteer at RTG for 18 years and has held 26 crew positions (in every single area) and has had 12 acting roles, including Lady Cravenshire in Calendar Girls, Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music, Grandma Josephine in Willy Wonka and Ma Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.  She also ushers, staffs the box office, and has been seen as Packy for Racine Children’s Theatre.  As a retired teacher, Karen enjoys traveling (she went to London with RTG in February and Greece in July) and volunteering at her church and the local food pantry.  She is the mother of four grown children (and three cats) and is the grandma of four delightful grandchildren, who are a never-ending source of pride and joy.

LORI RUSS (Martha Brand) has had 11 main-stage and 26 crew positions. She also ushers, house manages, paints sets, works in the box office, and organizes people to pose nude for charity calendars.   It’s no wonder she was volunteer of the year in 2012.  When she’s not at the Theatre Guild she works at BRP US Inc., and is a new grandmother to Caden who she loves more than words.

OLIVIA JARDAS (Kathy) is making her RTG debut in Design for Murder.  Olivia began her theater career playing the lead role in CCYM’s Cinderella and was recently seen in The Tempest, Midsummer Night’s Dream, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Murder by Poe, and Middletown.  A sophomore at UW-Parkside, Olivia plays intermural basketball, works as a scribe a disability services, and is a campus ambassador who is often seen giving tours to perspective UWP students.

ANNA MARIE HOEFT SMETANA (Mrs. Hamilton) was last seen on RTG’s stage in Deathtrap; she has also had roles in Three Musketeers, Comic Potential, and Southern Hospitality. She can often be seen on crew in almost any role. Costume designing last year’s Spamalot with over 140 costumes was her most massive undertaking. It’s no wonder she was the 2015 RTG John Maccanelli Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient – an award she says “I will cherish forever.” Anna Marie thanks her husband and sons for indulging her passion for theater!

SUZANNE MAKI (Nora Taylor) was last seen in RTG’s production of Calendar Girls (she didn’t get naked) and in RCT’s production of Snow White (she didn’t get naked in that either).  Other credits include Rocky Horror Show, Laughing Stock and RCT’s Frog Prince.   Suzanne’s husband Len is also a RTG volunteer and together they have a beautiful boy, Logan. As a family they all share their common love for super heroes, Star Wars, and Dr. Who.

KEVIN SUSTACHEK (Brent) had stage roles at the Racine Theatre Guild in Guys and Dolls (2008), The Uneasy Chair (2007), Scrooge (2005 and 2006) and Anything Goes (2003). He was in the 2015 ensemble of Snowdance and played Van in Dog Sees God at the Sixth Street Theatre. Kevin was on props crews for Marvelous Wonderettes (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2008), Steel Magnolias (2008), Gypsy (2007), and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (2007). Kevin works at Rasmussen Diamonds, a RTG sponsor.  He’s married to Samantha (Maria from The Sound of Music) and is dad to Everett, age 5, and Avery, 2.



MICHAEL CLICKNER (Director) started volunteering at RTG in 1975 and he literally helped build the RTG building here on Northwestern Ave.  As emeritus staff at UW-Parkside and Fireside, Michael has built sets for 100+ shows.  He was UWP’s 2014 Graduate of Distinction, is on the RTG Board of Directors, has been a technical director at RTG for 5 years and has been seen on stage in multiple productions including Taking of the Shrew, How the Other Half Loves, Of Mice and Men and Greater Tuna.  He met his wife, Joyce Woodward, at RTG and they have two adult children, Henry and Ellen.

JILL DEXTER (Stage Manager) and her husband, Art, both started volunteering at RTG when we moved to Northwestern Ave. in 1976. She was season chair of costumes for a lengthy period and has since gravitated to working in the booth and stage management.  She is also involved with Cabbage City Theatre. The Dexters enjoyed being foster parents and adopting their three children, who have provided them with added enjoyment via six grandkids.  After 32 years with AOA Ortho, Jill is enjoying retirement and her new puppy.

FRAN MACCANELLI (ASM) got her start in 1987 as an usher and now heads a regular crew. She’s been an assistant stage manager, costume designer, wardrobe chair, makeup chair, technician, house manager and board member. Fran is an RN at WF Healthcare-All Saints, her employer of 43 years.

KAREN HAMILTON (ASM) a RTG volunteer since 1988 and volunteer of the year 2012-13, has experience in most areas of production, as well as front of house positions ushering and house managing. She is also the secretary on the board of directors. Karen recently did prop crew for Mary Poppins, worked sound tech for Werewolf’s Curse and The Sound of Music, and light tech for Arsenic and Old Lace and The Giver and also was ASM for The Dixie Swim Club. After retiring from CNH, she began working part-time at Gateway Tech, where she’s been for 14 years now. At RTG, says Karen, she’s met great people, some becoming lifelong friends.

MICHELLE MILLER (ASM) began volunteering at the Theatre Guild in 2003 as a light technician.  Since that time, she has worked on productions of My Way, Visiting Mr. Green, Music Man and Packer Fans from Outer Space. Occasionally, she will take a job out of town, but she always comes back to her RTG home.

LAUREN HAUMERSEN (ASM) was last seen on stage at RTG in Spamalot and thanks her parents for putting up with the crazy schedule. She appreciates her co-workers at ClearCom Inc., family, and friends who have come to the show to support her. Lauren studied musical theatre in college and sings at church services, weddings and funerals.

SHANNON THILL (Makeup Designer) has been volunteering behind the scenes since 2008 in many shows including Arsenic and Old Lace, Spamalot, Dixie Swim Club, Les Miserables, Suite Surrender, Be My Baby, A Night at the Nutcracker, A Nice Family Gathering, and Glorious.  Shannon was thrilled to finally show her large…um… talents on the RTG stage as Celia in Calendar Girls (Calendars are still available for sale in the box office).  When not at RTG, she is working at Racine Industries, married to Aaron and/or rooting for the Packers.

CYNTHY MCCRORY (Costume Designer) was last season’s co-chair of costumes, and designed the costumes for The Sound of Music, which was no small task. Since 1975, except for light tech and assistant stage manager, Cynthy has served in most capacities. She was on stage in three productions. She’s been on the board and on play reading committee. She is on an ushering crew, and has been for many years. Since retiring from a 35-year teaching career with Racine Unified School District, she’s been teaching and coordinating tutors at Cops ‘n Kids Reading Center.

SAM SHELBY (Costume Designer) is taking a “stab” at costume design for the first time at RTG. Sam has enjoyed her on-stage history in The Nerd, Hotbed Hotel, Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and Elvis has Left the Building. Sam was recently in Shrek at the PM&L Theatre & Sex Please, We’re Sixty in Kenosha. She has also performed for the Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa and The Root River Theatre. Sam received an award for her costuming in Fiddler on the Roof at the PM&L Theatre last year and also assisted this fall with costuming for Shrek. Sam is very excited to be back at RTG working with a lot of her “old” pals! Thank you, Cynthy, for sharing this with me.

BETTY PETERSEN (Wardrobe Supervisor) was in the cast of Mary Poppins, The Music Man, The Producers and Laughing Stock, plus a children’s play. She’s had two stage roles at the Sixth Street Theatre, as well. She’s also worked in behind the scenes in multiple productions at RTG. Betty teaches music at Stocker Elementary in Kenosha.

LAURA CHARTRAND (Wardrobe Supervisor) has appeared on RTG’s main stage in The Werewolf’s Curse or Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (2014) and Stand and Deliver (2007). She was costume designer and wardrobe supervisor for The Miracle Worker (2014). She’s a 2013 graduate of UW-Parkside (BA, Theatre Arts). Laura’s acting earned her an Irene Ryan nomination for her role of Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa. Another role she played in college was Maria in Twelfth Night. Earlier this year she designed costumes for Oklahoma! at Park High School and played Hamlet for the Lakeside Players.

JANET PETRIK (Sound Designer) started in sound design with The Gamester in 2008 after she retired as IT Manager at Walker Mfg./Tenneco Automotive. Her sound credits are more than 20 shows including Mary Poppins,Doubt, Glorious! and Deathtrap. She was a member of the play reading committee in 2009 and chaired it in 2010. Janet is a violinist in UW-Parkside’s community orchestra. She likes to read, golf, bike ride and garden.

BRIAN HRPCEK (Lighting Designer) designed lights for Sound of Music, Miracle Worker, Spelling Bee, Les Miserables,A Night at the Nutcracker, Suite Surrender and Almost, Maine and helped to light The Rocky Horror Show. Brian is technical director for theatre departments at Park and Horlick High Schools. He’s a theatre major at UW-Parkside and on changeover crew for Fireside Dinner Theatre. Though he’s no longer employed by the Boy Scouts, he remains a Scout leader.

ELISA WEEKS (Props Designer) first worked at RTG in 1978 doing props for Let’s Get a Divorce.  More recently she was on the props running crew for Glorious. In between those two, she volunteered as an usher, including on her late father, Clarence Peterson’s Sunday night crew for many years and more recently for the “Comedy Tonight” shows.  When Elisa is not designing props, she is a personal gardener at Elisa’s Garden Service.

BRANDON LAFRANCE (Props Designer) played Nick Gillette in The Werewolf’s Curse or Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow in 2014 and served as a technician for Suite Surrender in 2013. At Case High School in 2002, he played Joe and a ballet dancer in Fame. Brandon has an associate degree in graphic design and works at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, helping to maintain electronic health records. In his spare time (approximately 10 minutes per week), Brandon likes to go off and get electrocuted and burned for charity while running races like Rugged Maniac and Tough Mudder. Monster Energy drinks fuel him. He also enjoys tearing old computers apart and putting them back together again, usually with minimal success.

JAMES CHRISTENSEN (Props Designer) has had plenty of on-stage roles, including Baron Biteronderneck in The Werewolf’s Curse or Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow; Otis in Suite Surrender; and Elya Yelnats in Holes. He’s been in two Packy Plays and the ensembles of Scrooge, Beauty and the Beast (2008), Miracle on 34th Street and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He was heavily involved in theatre during high school and his association with RTG began with our Student Performing Arts Kompany in 2006. James just graduated from UW-Milwaukee in December 2015. James does not like to be “accused of being John,” his twin brother.

SUE BLAHA (Sound Technician) was sound technician for The Giver and  Deathtrap, and sometimes occupies the stage manager chair in the booth. Starting in makeup with The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1984), she participated in every single show for the next three years. She’s since been involved in most production areas, though not quite so often now as then. In addition, she ushers at two performance times and frequently bartends with Russ, her husband. Sue is retired from the Village of Mt. Pleasant and likes spending time with her grandsons.

CINDY DAVID (Light Technician) was the production stage manager for Arsenic and Old Lace and The Giver, chaired makeup for One Slight Hitch and was sound tech for Duck Hunter Shoots Angel last season. She is a former secretary of our board and continues to serve on board committees. Since Communicating Doors in 2001, she’s been one of our most active members and was named volunteer of the year in 2010-11. She’s a 2007 graduate of Leadership Racine and recently retired from Lincoln Lutheran. Cindy loves cooking with Chloe, Samantha and Isabella, her granddaughters.

CHRISTIE MARTINO (PSM) says “Being backstage is just as much fun as being on stage. I’m so grateful that the RTG family gives me the opportunity to feel like I’m making a difference.” Christie has played some awesome roles on our stage: Fantine in Les Miserables, Babette in Beauty and the Beast (2013), Christine Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Peggy Jones in The Andrews Brothers, Usherette in The Producers, Star-to-Be in Annie (2001), Velma in West Side Story and Bet in Oliver! (2000), and looks forward to her upcoming role of mother in real life (she plans to go into labor as soon as we strike the set for this show!). Christie is a talent coordinator for Lori Lins Ltd.

DAN MARTINO (PSM) first worked on a crew in 2010 when he volunteered to be an assistant stage manager for The Andrews Brothers, presumably to be near Christie, whom he’d met during The Producers. They are now husband and wife. He was a flyer for Beauty and the Beast and ran sound for The Three Musketeers. The bulk of his theatre work has been on stage. He’s remembered as King Arthur in Spamalot, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Andre in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Max Bialystock in The Producers, to name a few. Three of his many notable roles with the Lakeside Players were The Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Mitch Mahoney in Spelling Bee, and the Baker in Into the Woods. Dan is the owner of Martino’s Cleaners, one of RTG’s fabulous advertisers, with five locations in Kenosha.

Call Now Button