The School of Theatre and Dance at NIU presents William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Black Box Theatre of the NIU Stevens Building with performances Friday, November 10, Saturday, November 11, Thursday, November 16 and Friday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. each night and with 2 p.m. matinees Sunday, November 12 and Saturday, November 18. Tickets are available online at go.niu.edu/arts-tickets.
The production is directed by Chicago based actor and director Melanie Keller. Keller has numerous theater and television credits, and serves as the associate artistic director of First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook. Keller says that a high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was her first acting experience. “Back then, I didn’t know the first thing about Shakespeare, the man or the genre, nor anything about iambic pentameter, nor frankly much about acting,” she said. “But I knew that I understood the circumstances and the desires of the characters. And I knew that every time I watched the Mechanicals perform the tragicomedy Pyramus and Thisbe all of us on stage and in the audience experienced genuine, rollicking laughter.”
NIU School of Theatre and Dance presents
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare
Black Box Theatre, Nov. 10, 11, 16, 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 18, 2 p.m.
Director: Melanie Keller
Assistant Director: Riley Scifo
Scenic Designer: Eric Brockmeier
Costume Designer: Elias Dennis
Lighting Designer: Timothy Peters
Technical Director: Adam Rager
Properties Designer: Ski Sciaraffa
Fight Choreographer: Stanton Davis
Flight Designer: Tracy Nunnally
Intimacy Choreographer: Bethany Mangum-Oles
Movement Director: Maya Paletta
Stage Manager: Sarah Blickem
This production is approximately two hours and will have one intermission.
Theseus – King Johnson
Hippolyta – Skylee Pierce
Egeus – Maya Paletta
Lysander – Emma Vaughn
Demetrius – Brennan Olson
Philostrate – Avery Flores
Hermia – Abby Lamoreaux
Helena – Kyara Chisolm
Peter Quince – Cornelia Hayes
Snug – Sophia Dimond
Nick Bottom – Tyler Page
Francis Flute – Tonio Horn
Tom Snout – Rylan Johnson
Robin Starveling – Raeanna Tremethick
Oberon – Hardy Louihis
Titania – Sydney Hamill
Puck – Audrey Geysbeek
First Fairy – Skylee Pierce
Cobweb – David Alvarado
Mustard-Seed – Destiny Davis
Pease-Blossom – Maya Paletta
Moth – Derek May
Written around 1595, few plays are as produced or adored as A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Chances are if you’ve only ever seen one Shakespeare play, it’s probably this one. It seems an incredible thing to say about a play that is over 400 years old, but the reason it’s so beloved is because it’s very nearly a perfect play. It’s magical, relatable and so very, very funny.
While we may not have had any personal encounters with fairies in an enchanted forest, most of us have imagined such magical moments. While we may not have a parent who has threatened us with death if we don’t do what they want, we all know what it’s like to fight with a parent and to rebel against them. And there is nothing more universal than the experience of love gone wrong, like an unrequited crush or a falling-out with your partner. Add to that an endearing band of bumbling actors who just want to put on the best play ever, and you have A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Love, desire, youthful rebellion, magic and a play within a play; it’s the perfect recipe for a play that continues to delight and enchant generation after generation.
I performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in high school. It was the first Shakespeare play I ever acted in, and the joy of that experience sparked my lifelong love for Shakespeare. Back then, I didn’t know the first thing about Shakespeare — the man or the genre — nor anything about iambic pentameter, nor frankly much about acting. But I knew that I understood the circumstances and desires of the characters. And I knew that every time I watched the Mechanicals perform the tragicomedy Pyramus and Thisbe, all of us on stage and in the audience experienced genuine, rollicking laughter.
Whether this is your first time seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream or your fifth or even 15th, I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we have enjoyed putting it together for you. I hope you will recognize in this fantastical world people you know, choices you have made and perhaps even a bit of yourself. In a time when the real world is full of difficult news, I hope that your visit to this magical place will offer you some respite and pleasure, as in a joyful dream. As Puck says: “Think but this and all is mended: that you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear.” Thank you.
David Alvarado (Cobweb) is a second-year B.F.A. acting candidate. This is his first production at NIU and he’s so excited for you to see all the hard work the cast has put in. His most recent project was over the summer working with Point2productions where he could be seen as Kurt Kelly in a production of Heathers: The Musical. He would like to give a thanks to his family and friends for always being supportive.
Kyara Chisolm (Helena) is a third-year B.F.A. acting major. Her previous roles at NIU include Peggy Rogers (The Children’s Hour) directed by Andrea Dymond and Verges (Much Ado about Nothing) directed by Kay Martinovich. She is delighted to be in this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is one of her absolute favorite Shakespeare plays and she cannot wait to share it with you all. Chisolm would like to give a shoutout to everyone involved in the show for making this such a memorable experience, and her loved ones for always supporting her dream. Love to all of you.
Destiny Davis (Mustard-Seed) is a second-year B.F.A. acting student, and this is her first play so she is very excited to be a part of this beautiful and fun production. She truly enjoys working with everyone and is most definitely looking forward to being a part of many more.
Sophia Dimond (Snug) (She / Her) is a second-year B.F.A. acting major at Northern Illinois University and is so excited to be in her first acting role here. Along with being the secretary for Bolingbrook High School’s thespian society, she has been in multiple productions at BHS including Desdemona in Othello, Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor and many others. She has also participated in the VVSD Stages summer programs, being assistant stage manager for James and the Giant Peach Jr. and portraying Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid Jr. Dimond has had a wonderful time participating in the putting together of this show, and hopes you have a great time experiencing the magical world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Avery Flores (Philostrate) is a third-year B.F.A. acting candidate and psychology minor at Northern Illinois University. His recent acting credits include Steve in She Kills Monsters and Oed in Big Love. He is honored and privileged to be able to share his artistry along his cast and crew. Flores would also like to dedicate his performance to his family, friends and professors for helping him along this journey. He hopes you enjoy this amazing performance.
Audrey Geysbeek (Puck/Robin Goodfellow) (She / They) is a second-year M.F.A. acting candidate from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received her B.F.A. in acting from Western Michigan University. Go Broncos. Some of Geysbeek’s most memorable theatre credits include, Hermia in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, #8 in The Wolves, Helen in The Women of Troy, William Dunn in Men On Boats and Martha in The Children’s Hour. You may also see her in some Zoom commercials and ads with Rhino Productions. Geysbeek would like to thank her family and friends for their endless love and support. Instagram: @audaudiee.
Sydney Hamill (Titania) is a senior B.F.A. acting candidate and is excited to be in the Black Box at Northern Illinois University’s School of Theatre and Dance. Recent NIU credits include The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman and directed by Andrea J. Dymond; She Kills Monsters by Qui Ngyuen and directed by Kendra Holton; Town Hall by Caridad Svich and directed by Azar Kazemi; and Bird in the Hand by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas and directed by Bethany Mangum. She would love to thank everyone involved in this production, including Melanie Keller for being a fabulous director. She would also like to dedicate this performance to her family for their unwavering support and encouragement. She hopes they and everyone watching enjoys the performance. Koham cię.
Cornelia Hayes (Peter Quince) is a second-year M.F.A. acting candidate. She most recently played Fiona in In a Word on the NIU stage. She graduated with a B.A. from Northwestern College in 2020, double-majoring in theatre and marketing. She also holds a diploma in classic acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Hayes has worked professionally across the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and London. Before coming to NIU, she toured with Taproot Theatre Company, a regional theatre in Seattle. Stage credits include: The Last Five Years (Cathy), Next to Normal (Diana), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Rosaline), The Changeling (Beatrice), Shrek: The Musical (Fiona), Noises Off (Belinda), Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Siobhan). Film/commercial credits include: The Alternative, Washington State Department of Health commercial, Real Northwestern. Thanks to my family and my husband Harry for the continual love and support. Instagram: @iamunicornelia.
Antonio Horn (Francis Flute) (He / Him) is a second-year B.F.A. acting candidate. This is his first production with NIU and within a theatre space. He was on a journey of becoming an athlete, but always was inspired to transition to acting. Ever since suffering an ankle injury, he has been on a journey with God on what he should embark on, and has been led to a path of acting. It has been hard work for him and full of tough times, but he is loving every step of the way.
King Johnson (Theseus) is a B.F.A. acting major in his third year from Chicago and Tampa, Florida. He’s excited to be in his third year and to continue to be a part of as many projects as possible here. He’s honored to be amongst his cast mates and directors, and to take the stage in his first funded production at NIU. This will be his second show here and second Shakespeare show. He played Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. He has also starred in two short films called Penance and We Live Together during his time at NIU, as well as helped produce and direct other projects in his free time. He wants to thank his friends and family for always supporting him through his artistic ventures and his whole Midsummer cast and crew for making his second show a thrilling journey and pushing him to give his best.
Rylan Johnson (Tom Snout/Wall) is a fourth-year B.F.A. acting candidate. Previous notable performances are Clotaldo in Life is a Dream (NIU), Michael Novak in God of Carnage (NIU), Tyler in You are You (NIU), Banquo in Macbeth (College of DuPage), Sir Sebastion in Cinderella (CYT Chicago), Santa Claus in Elf the Musical (CYT Chicago) and Mayor Shinn in The Music Man (CYT Chicago). Johnson would like to thank everyone involved in the creation of this show for making it a fun and enjoyable process. He would also like to thank his family for always supporting him. Enjoy the show.
Abby Lamoreaux (Hermia) is a fourth-year B.F.A. acting candidate from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Past NIU credits: Piero/Leo in Big Love, Ursula/Balthasar in Much Ado About Nothing and Goldfinch/movement captain in The Conference of the Birds. You may have also seen Lamoreaux in NIU’s promotional video for Huskies United. Over the summer, Lamoreaux took classes at Second City and wrote a rough first draft for an original work titled Titans Will Fall (And Take You Down With Them). Lamoreaux is also the editorial assistant at the Racine County Eye, a prominent news source in southeast Wisconsin. “Thank you to Stanton Davis for teaching me how to break down and speak Shakespearean text. Thank you to my roommates for always having my back and supporting me throughout this process. Thank you to my mom for, well, everything. I love you all.”
Hardy Louihis (Oberon) is a year-two M.F.A. acting candidate at Northern Illinois University. Hardy received his Bachelor of Arts in theatre from the Metropolitan State University of Denver. He was in the NIU production of In A Word (Guy), directed by Kay Martinovich. He is happy and grateful to work with such a talented cast, an outstanding crew and a phenomenal design team for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Derek May (Moth) is a senior transfer student and B.A. theatre studies major. He is thrilled to be in his first official acting role at NIU. He has had many experiences acting throughout his life. His first major production was Christmas Schooner (2014), performed
at Cutting Hall in Palatine, Illinois. While attending NIU, he’s had experience mostly behind the scenes including props crew, wardrobe crew and assistant directing two shows. He’s also performed in two senior capstone projects, which he had a blast doing. Brennan Olson (Demetrius) is a fourth-year B.F.A. acting candidate from Fargo, North Dakota. He was seen most recently in Big Love
as Nikos directed by Bethany Mangum. He is excited to share this experience with you as this is his last show at NIU. Lastly, he wants to thank his parents who have been always supportive of him during his time here at NIU.
Tyler Page (Nick Bottom) is a second-year M.F.A. actor and is thrilled to be returning to the NIU stage after first appearing as Constantine in NIU’s production of Big Love by Charles Mee. Page’s past professional credits include Feste in Twelfth Night and Bernard in Death of a Salesman at The Rogue Theatre in Tucson, Arizona. He holds a B.F.A. in acting from the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University where his stage credits include Josh in If / Then, Martin in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Richard in Hayfever and Male Understudy in Hedda Gabler. Other credits include Demetrius in Titus Andronicus where he was nominated for an Irene Ryan Award, Judas in Godspell and Grantiare in Les Misérables. Page would like to thank the director, Melanie Keller, and the performance faculty for the opportunity to play a dream role of his in this very special production.
Maya Paletta (Egeus, Peaseblossom, movement director) is a fourth-year B.F.A. acting candidate with a minor in dance performance. Previous NIU SoTD credits include Big Love (Olympia), She Kills Monsters (Agnes Evans), Hit the Wall (A-Gay) and Best of Broadway Dance Concert (dancer). Choreography credits include NIU’s Life is a Dream (movement director, swing) and the upcoming fall ’23 Art for Life Dance Concert (dancer, choreographer). Paletta would like to thank her NIU SoTD faculty for their continuous support, her family, friends and all who come to enjoy the show. Instagram: @mayapapaya5678.
Skylee Pierce (Hippolyta, First Fairy) this is Pierce’s first production at NIU, and she couldn’t be more excited. This is also her first Shakespeare production and she’s very honored to play Hippolyta and First Fairy. Her past works include Mayzie La’Bird in Suessical, Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Schroeder in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and many more. She would like to thank her family and friends for their never-ending love, her boyfriend for loving and supporting her, her professors and cohort for being by her side, and the cast and crew for their hard work. A special shoutout to the director Melanie Keller for giving her this opportunity. She hopes you enjoy this wild and fantastic show.
Tobias is a special guest making an appearance with his trusty owner, Moonshine. He is ecstatic to be here in Athens and cannot stop wagging his tail. He hopes you enjoy his first play ever.
Raeanna Tremethick (Robin Starveling) is a third-year B.F.A. acting candidate at Northern Illinois University. Her recent credits include She Kills Monsters and The Children’s Hour. She is incredibly grateful to this cast and crew for sharing their artistry. Tremethick would like to dedicate this performance to her parents and aunt for their endless support and love. She hopes you enjoy the show.
Emma Vaughn (Lysander) is a senior B.F.A. actor at NIU, and she is so jazzed to be playing Lysander in this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She was previously seen at NIU as Rosaura in Life is a Dream, Lillith in She Kills Monsters and Mockingbird in The Conference of the Birds. She recently studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and spends the rest of her time studying music as a music minor here at NIU. Vaughn would like to thank her director, cast, crew, professors, classmates, family and friends for all the fun times, learning and support while she’s been at NIU. She’s stoked for you to see this heartfelt and funny show.
Production Team Bios
Sarah Blickem (Stage Manager) is a fourth-year B.A. theatre studies candidate at Northern Illinois University. Credits include stage manager for RUR, Melancholy Play and The Children’s Hour at NIU; Sizwe Banzi is Dead with Outer Loop Theater Company; On an Average Day with Kane Repertory Theatre; and assistant stage manager for Escape to Margaritaville, Lend Me A Tenor, Annie, Legally Blonde, Nunsense, We Will Rock You and Jersey Boys at Timber Lake Playhouse. They are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to create with such an amazing team. She would like to thank her parents and partner for their unwavering love and support.
Eric Brockmeier (Scenic Designer) is a third-year M.F.A. scenic design graduate student. His previous credits include scenic designer for Melancholy Play (NIU 2022), scenic designer for Exit the King (Rockford University 2023), scenic designer for Hecuba (Beloit College 2022), assistant scenic designer for She Kills Monsters (NIU 2022), scenic designer for the Fall Dance Concert (NIU 2021), scenic designer for The Game’s Afoot (Elgin Community College 2022), assistant scenic designer for The Conference of the Birds (NIU 2022), charge artist for Twelfth Night (NIU 2021), scenic designer for the University of Northern Colorado’s production of The Heiress (2020), assistant scenic designer for The Cherry Orchard (2019 UNCO) and assistant charge artist for The Imaginary Invalid (2018 UNCO). He would like to thank his friends, family and professors for their support in getting him to this point. Enjoy the show.
Stanton Davis (Fight Choreographer) serves as the head of voice, speech and dialects at Northern Illinois University. He studied at the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware. He has acted, directed, coached and taught at theater institutions across the United States. Davis’ specialty is classical theater, and so he is especially happy to be working on this production with his longtime associate Melanie Keller. We met many years ago over goats and Shakespeare.
Elias Dennis (Costume Designer) (They / Them) is a third-year M.F.A. costume design student. They have a bachelor’s in theater from Southern Illinois University. After traveling the Midwest, south and parts of the southwest pursuing dreams of freelance costuming, Dennis has returned to theatre and academia. Their credits include costume design for Hit the Wall and She Kills Monsters at Northern Illinois University, and costume design assistant for King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Three Musketeers and Measure for Measure at Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. Elidennis.com
Melanie Keller (Director) (She / Her) is delighted to be teaming up with the talented students and faculty at Northern Illinois University. An actor and director based in Chicago, Keller was the associate artistic director of First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook for seven years where she directed Little Women, Silent Sky and Mary’s Wedding among others, and where she acted in more than 10 productions including The Merchant of Venice and Blithe Spirit. As a member of Signal Ensemble, she directed the Jeff-nominated The Drowning Girls. Acting credits with Signal include East of Berlin and The Russian Play (Jeff Award for Best Actress), and Jeff Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. For Oak Park Festival, she has directed multiple productions and played Lady Macbeth. Other directing credits include projects with Peninsula Players, Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Irish Theatre of Chicago, Fraud and Phony, and Chicago Dramatists. Additional acting credits include productions at Chicago Shakespeare, Waterfront Playhouse of Key West, Peninsula Players, Goodman Theatre, Northlight, seasons at the Stratford Festival of Canada, Lakeside Shakespeare and the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. She has appeared on TV’s Chicago Med, Fire and PD, and in the films UberEx and Sin Eater. melaniejeankeller.com
Bethany Mangum-Oles (Intimacy Choreographer) is thrilled to have collaborated on this production. She is an actor, director, educator and mama of two born and raised in southern California. Mangum-Oles holds a B.F.A. in acting from California State University, Fullerton, and an M.F.A. in acting from Northern Illinois University. While at NIU, her studies took her internationally to the Moscow Art Theater School in Moscow, Russia, and the Adana International Theatre Festival in Adana, Turkey. Mangum-Oles is a certified intimacy captain and currently in pursuit of her trauma-informed yoga and yoga nidra certifications. She has made her artistic home at NIU as full-time, performance-area faculty and head of B.F.A. acting recruitment. Mangum-Oles also has
the unique privilege of serving as rotating voice and movement faculty at the renowned Gately-Poole Acting Conservatory and was recently named artistic director of Kane Repertory Theatre. bethanymangum.com.
Tracy Nunnally (Flying Designer) received his M.F.A. from Florida State University and has worked in professional entertainment since the 1980s. His professional credits as a technical director span the full spectrum of genres, continents and spaces, and include the world tour and Broadway production of Medea.
He is an active member of IATSE local 212, the USITT, ESTA and the EdTA, as well as a lifetime member, corporate sponsor and the professional rep for the board of directors of ITA and a member of the board of directors for URTA. He is also a voting member of the ANSI-accredited ESTA Technical Standards Program, and was one of the first 45 professional riggers to be certified by the ETCP in both theatrical and arena rigging, and is an ETCP subject matter expert. He also is an ETCP recognized trainer, OSHA MEWP trainer, OSHA forklift trainer and an ETCP recognized employer.
Professor Nunnally is the owner of Vertigo™, a performer flying effects and specialty rigging company through which he provides flying effects for live events, TV and movies. His most notable professional credits include the Broadway tours of Camelot, Dr. Dolittle, Tarzan, and 9 to 5, the Broadway production of Curtains, a zip line for Machine Gun Kelly’s Sold Out Tour across the Cleveland Browns Stadium, and the splashdown party for SpaceX’s Inspiration 4 astronauts.
In addition to his professional work, Nunnally can also be found leading sessions and master classes on a wide variety of topics at national and international conferences such as LDI, USITT, SETC, FILO and URTA, as well as numerous EdTA festivals and events across the country.
Timothy Peters (Lighting Designer) is a fourth-year B.F.A. design and tech major with a lighting focus. He recently designed/worked on the productions of In A Word at Northern Illinois University, Almost Maine at Indian Trail High School Academy, and Much Ado About Nothing and Mamma Mia! during the 2022 Season of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. He wants to thank his boyfriend Cameron for their unrelenting love and support as well as his high school theatre director Bob Allen for teaching him his love of theatre.
Ski Sciaraffa (Properties Designer) is a first-year M.F.A. costume and props design candidate. Though they have worked in the shops at NIU for several shows in the past year, they are excited to have their first official design credit as a graduate student for this show. Previous works include costume craftsperson for The Three Musketeers (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks) and She Kills Monsters (NIU 2022); draper and stitcher for The Children’s Hour (NIU 2023); props designer for Just a Dream: The Green Play (Augustana College) and Anon(ymous) (NEIU); and costume designer for The Actor’s Garden’s productions of Becky Thatcher, Off to Olympus, Just So and Pots & Pan. They would like to thank their family, friends, professors and colleagues for their immense love and support.
Riley Scifo (Assistant Director) is a B.A. student hoping to become a director and playwright in the future and has worked on a few local shows in Chicago. This is her second show, and she was an AD last time here in the SoTD. She had an amazing time working on this show with everyone, and this show has been truly magical watching it unfold.
Scenic Coordinator – Sahin Sahingolu
Scene Shop Supervisor – Adam Rager
Scene Shop Graduate Employees – J. Cody Hunt, Paul Lang, Alicia Margerum, Tyler Page
Scene Shop Undergraduate Employees – Mike Kozel, Jade Doherty
Student Technicians – THEA 295 students
Run Crew – Molly Dingman-Root, Gabriel Ford, MaKena Mueller, Jaylin Turner Flight Crew – Emelia Barrera, Bea Friesen, Sasha Norman, Elizabeth Nowak, Kairin Rozenfeld-Mayberg
Costume Design Advisor – Jeremy W. Floyd
Costume Director – Lori Hartenhoff
Costume Shop Supervisor – Elizabeth Galba
Costume Shop Graduate Employees – Elias Dennis, Ski Sciaraffa
Costume Shop Employees – Alyssa Altadonna, Alix Burkhardt, Bea Thompson Costume Shop 395 Students – Alix Burkhardt, Emily Christanson
Student Technicians – THEA 210, 235 and 295 students
Costume Crew – Sunshine Despeines, Albert Fly, Caitlyn George, Jamel Hill, Briana Leni, Lilly Montemayor, Natalie Olson
Lighting Design Advisor – Brandon Wardell
Resident Head Electrician – Chris Kurszewski
Sound Board Operator – Tianna Stubbs
Light Board Operator – Max Garcia
Lighting Shop Graduate Assistants – J. Cody Hunt, Paul Lang, Tyler Page Lighting Shop Employees – Logan Bryant, Conall Doherty, Tim Peters Student Electricians – THEA 210, 241 and 295 students
Properties Director – Dave Doherty
Properties Graduate Assistants – Eric Brockmeier, Alicia Margerum, Ski Sciaraffa
Properties Shop Employees – Sarah Blickem Properties Shop 295 and 395 Employees – Kane Crotty,
Danisha Gilmore, Carrie Szostak
Technical Direction Advisor – Tracy Nunnally
Production Assistant – Jordan Clifton
House Management Supervisor – Cornelia Hayes