Ken Ludwig’s winner of 3 Tony and 4 Drama Desk awards.
The Cleveland Grand Opera Company’s gala season opener is centered on world famous tenor Tito Morelli performing “Otello,” his greatest role. But the opera is jeopardized when Morelli falls into a drunken stupor. In a panic, the opera company’s diminutive assistant grabs a costume and make up, pretends to be the famous Morelli, and goes on as Otello. The masquerade works until Morelli awakens and the chaos of mistaken identities ensues involving two Otellos, a volatile Italian wife, an outrageous bellhop, a cynical impresario and two lingerie-clad ladies trying to seduce the tenor.
Audience Suggestion: Due to adult content, this show is rated PG-13.
Max (Rob Kroes) and Tito (Davidson Kane) show off their opera skills in “Lend Me A Tenor.” Listen to them here:
Special Thanks to Artistic Recording & Sound, LLC – Eric Carlson for the music recording.
ROBERT KROES (Max) previously played Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Bert in Mary Poppins, Patsy in Spamalot, Enjolras in Les Mis and Eddie in A Night at the Nutcracker on our main stage and was in several Packy Plays. He had singing roles at UW-Stevens Point in Die Fledermaus, The Tenderland, The Zoo and The Marriage of Figaro. Rob is an Encore Award winning teacher (2016) for Racine Unified, and he will serve as the new Union Grove High School choral director starting this fall.
BRYANNA VANCASTER (Maggie) began her RTG career in the ensemble of Oliver! (1999), and since then has played Eponine in Les Miserables, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Janet in The Rocky Horror Show and Edie in A Night at the Nutcracker, and was in several Packy Plays. She also appeared in The Wedding Singer and Songs for a New World with Greendale Community Theatre and The Addam’s Family with Theatre Unchained. Bryanna teaches art at SC Johnson Elementary School in Racine, and she would like to dedicate this performance to the funniest person she knows, her grammy. “I love you more!”
PAUL WEIR (Saunders) portrayed Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof, Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, the Historian/Guard/Monk in Spamalot, Raynerd Chisum in Southern Hospitality, Chandler Tate in Comic Potential, Sen. Titus Savage in The Curious Savage, Selsdon Mowbray in Noises Off, and Bernard Dunlap in Suite Surrender at RTG. Other recent stage roles include Sweeney Todd, Spamalot, Diary of Anne Frank and Assassins at Lake Country Playhouse. In the real world, Paul is a 41 year employee at PPG, and he and his wife, Terry, are first-time Grandparents to little Mikaela Weir.
DAVIDSON KANE (Tito) was last seen on the RTG stage as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. He also played multiple roles in Spamalot and The Werewolf’s Curse and Almost, Maine. Other RTG shows with only one role include: Thenardier is Les Miserables, Cogsworth in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, Rasputin in A Night at the Nutcracker, Larrabee in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, and the Candy Man in Willy Wonka. And he’s had several Children’s Theatre roles. In the 1990s, he acted with the Penobscot Theatre Co. and Maine Shakespeare Festival in Bangor. Dave is the owner of mediaspirits and Director of Video Production Services for Kane Communications Group.
SHANNON THILL (Maria/Hair and Make-up) has been volunteering behind the scenes since 2008 in many shows including Fiddler on the Roof, Design for Murder, 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. Other favorite parts include Ouiser in Steel Magnolias, Joanie in The Full Monty, Lady Rowena in Once Upon a Mattress, Wendy in Peter Pan, and Ellie Banks in Father of the Bride. She has trained at the St. Croix Festival Theatre and Duluth Renegade Theatre Company and was happy to show her large…um… talents on the RTG stage in last season’s Calendar Girls. When not at RTG, she is working at Racine Industries, married to Aaron and/or rooting for the Packers.
JOHN CHRISTENSEN (Bellhop) played Harry in Werewolf’s Curse, Leaf Coneybear in Spelling Bee, Lefou in Beauty and the Beast, Francis in Suite Surrender, D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, and Stanley Yelnats in Holes. He’s been in four Packy Plays and the musicals Scrooge, Beauty and the Beast, Miracle on 34th Street, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Chicago. John recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee and is currently working as an 11th Grade English teacher at HOPE Christian High School in Milwaukee. He has a twin of brother, James, who has also performed on the RTG stage. And John is a certified reverend, able to perform marriage ceremonies.
CHRISTIE BURGESS-MARTINO (Diana) is making her “straight play debut” on the RTG stage. RTG musical theatre roles include: Fantine in Les Miserables (2014), Babette in Beauty and the Beast (2013), Christine Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2011), Peggy Jones in The Andrews Brothers (2010), Usherette in The Producers (2010), Star-to-Be in Annie (2001), Velma in West Side Story (2001) and Bet in Oliver! (2000). She also works consistently behind-the scenes, most recently as production stage manager for Design for Murder and costume crew for Calendar Girls . But her favorite roles are that of mother to Hugh and wife to Daniel.
JENNIFER A. LARSEN (Julia) This is Jen’s second appearance on the RTG stage; you may have seen her as Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins last December. She is having a blast playing the madcap matron! Other favorite roles include Martha inWhite Christmas, Ms. Hannigan in Annie, and Sister Hubert in Nunsense. She considers the performing arts one of her two true passions; the other is teaching. Jen teaches Pre-K at The Goddard School of Pleasant Prairie and lives in Kenosha (born and raised). She wants to thank her family, friends, and colleagues for being so supportive of her theatrical endeavors.
DOUGLAS INSTENES (Director and Managing/Artistic Director) had been associate director at RTG for eight years before moving up to the top staff position in 2001. He has an MA in Drama (directing emphasis) from UW-Superior and an MFA in Theatre from Ohio University. Before landing at RTG, he worked at Arena Stage in DC, Monomoy Theatre in Ohio, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, St. Croix Valley Theatre, The Great American Children’s Theatre, and DanceCircus. Doug is married to Kim, an associate professor at Carthage College. They are empty-nesters, as son Dalen, begins his second year at Lewis University in the fall and daughter Lauren begins her fourth year at Wittenberg University in Ohio.
IAN ANDERSON (PSM) recently played the killer plant, Audrey II, in Little Shop of Horrors (puppeteer). He also was in Mary Poppins and Les Miserables and played Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show. He has been in numerous RCT productions and has worked backstage in Spamalot, Spelling Bee and Almost, Maine. Ian graduated from the University of Illinois (BS, Molecular and Cellular Biology) and has a new job with AbbVie, where he manages clinical trials. When Ian is not at RTG or at work, he loves to spend time with friends, and hang out with his niece Kadi.
ROSE BLISS (Stage Manager) was Stage Manager for Bridge to Terabithia, and ASM for Mary Poppins, The Giver, The Werewolf’s Curse, Deathtrap and Beauty and the Beast. She’s been involved in at least one play per year, since the 1975-76 season. So far she’s acted in 18 RTG shows, one for RCT, and she often appears as Packy, the RCT mascot. She’s a past member of our board, has served on the play reading committee five times, and remains on the long-range planning committee. Rose is a Life Member and is the 2001 recipient of our Maccanelli Award.
LAUREN HAUMERSEN (ASM) has appeared on the Racine Theatre Guild in Fiddler on the Roof and Spamalot. She has also worked as stage crew and ASM for Calendar Girls and Mary Poppins. Lauren has enjoyed learning new aspects of the theatre which you will never know how hard a job that is until you experience the work first hand. Lauren studied musical theatre at Viterbo University and sings at church services, weddings and funerals. During the day, she is a project coordinator for ClearCom Inc. She would like to thank her family, friends, and co-workers for their constant support and encouragement!
LIZZ OTTO-CRAMER (Set Design) designed RTG sets in the early 2000s, and then moved to LA. She’s back now and teaching theatre classes at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Lizz received her undergraduate degree from UW-Parkside and her MFA from North Carolina School of the Arts. She previously designed sets for RTG’s Calendar Girls, Anne Frank & Me, The Affections of May, I Ought To Be In Pictures, A Christmas Story and Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got the Will?). She’s also done work for First Stage Children’s Theatre, Fireside Dinner Theatre, the Milwaukee Rep and the Kennedy Center.
JANET PETRIK (Sound Design) 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 Jeeves Intervenes, Design for Murder, 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.
KAREN MAGEE (Sound Tech) has been a volunteer at RTG for 18 years, has held 31 crew positions (in every single area) and has had 15 acting roles, including Louisa Cortland in Design for Murder, 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 (last spring she visited northern France, went on an international music tour to Vienna in June, and just returned from a road trip through the western states on the way to Seattle with her daughter) 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.
KIM STARR (Light Tech) recently played Yente in Fiddler on the Roof and is currently on our play-reading committee. She has done props, painted sets and served on the Recreation Department Board for Sheboygan Theater Company. At the Kenosha Little Theatre, she performed in The Mikado, was the understudy for Amahl in Amahl and The Night Visitors and was chosen to be in the inaugural high school group which eventually became Kids of Wisconsin. Moving out of town she performed as an ensemble member in George M, Hello Dolly, had bit roles in My Fair Lady,Guys and Dolls, then Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. She sang as a chorus member in Verdi’s Aida with Florentine Opera, Milwaukee. Her grown daughters performed in children’s theater, high school show choir and theater.
ERIN BARNLUND (Props) has been in RTGs productions of Bridge to Terabithia, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Off-stage, Erin recently designed props for Jeeves Intervenes and is costumes for Bridge to Terabithia. She has been involved in costumes and props since she was very young. She learned to sew by helping her mother, a music teacher, with winter and spring shows. She would like to thank her family for their support and patience which allows her to do what she loves!
KATIE KOWBEL (Costume Design) is the theater instructor and director of Horlick Theatre Arts at Horlick High School. She has directed Almost, Maine for RTG, as well as Pinocchio and The Tale of Peter Rabbit (and Benjamin Bunny) for RCT. She first became involved with the Guild in high school when she was cast in HONK! Since then she has participated in over 50 of our productions. This past spring, Kate was nominated for the Excellence in Theater Education award through the TONYs.
JODI GEMENT (Wardrobe) has been a season ticket holder for four years, but just recently starting volunteering at RTG. Last season she ushered for Design for Murder, and then she did wardrobe for Little Shop of Horrors. Jodi is a homemaker, wife to David, and mom to Jacob, Nicholas, Tara and Grace.
CHRIS REINHARDT (Technical Director) completing his third season at RTG, is from Wisconsin, but his previous theatre jobs were in New England at the Dorset Theater Festival, Portland Stage Company and Winnipesaukee Playhouse. Along with his technical responsibilities, Chris has designed two RTG productions, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and the Marvelous Wonderettes.
SUSAN SANDVICK (Marketing/Development) survived her first year at RTG that included selling nude calendars, poisoning old men, flying nannies, dead maids, omniscient man-servants, deadly rope swings, religious persecution and man-eating plants. She recently played the witch in Racine Children’s Theatre’s Pale Pink Dragon, and years ago she graced our stage as a dwarf, a flower, the mock turtle, a beetle, a dog and a princess who cried a lot with the RCT’s Junior Production Company (pre-SPArK). Subscribe for season 16/17 and buy flex passes and individual tickets!
TERI KARPINSKI (Business Manager) spent 10 years as the RTG’s Box Office Manager before taking over her new duties last season. Teri and her husband Will are also on an ushering crew, and have a theatrical dog, Wanda, who has been in numerous RTG productions. When not at the RTG, Teri plays the role of grandma to Anthony.
TINA PAUKSTELIS (Season Ticket Coordinator) graduated from UW-Parkside with a degree in theatre and has spent three years working in the RTG box office. RTG audiences have seen her in The Glass Menagerie and Dancing at Lughnasa. She was voted best actress for her portrayal of Margie Walsh in Good People at the 2016 Over Our Head Players awards banquet.
Artistic Recording & Sound, LLC – Eric Carlson . . . . . . Music Recording