Meet the Staff of Seussical Jr.

Dream Big is thrilled to announce the talented professionals who will be spearheading this summer’s four week long Seussical Jr. Production Camp. Read all about our exceptional team below.

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Managing Director, Michael Stoddard

Managing Director: Michael Stoddard works to not only connect the audience to the story and experience, but to create an artistic vision that challenges and inspires the production team, actors and audience. He believes, theatre should nourish our creativity and do so with bold invention and originality. As John F. Kennedy said, "If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him."

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Production Manager, Abby Doermann

Production Manager: Abby Doermann is an actor, stage manager, and teaching artist based in Chicago and Evanston. She is very excited to join the Dream Big production team for Seussical Jr, as she loves using theatre education to inspire young people. She studies theatre at Northwestern University, where she serves as Stage Management Chair for Arts Alliance and works with the Purple Crayon Players on their annual PLAYground Festival of fresh works for young audiences. She also works as a teaching artist in the Evanston area for Seesaw Theatre, visiting schools to create multi-sensory theatrical experiences for children on the autism spectrum.

 
 

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Director, Rachel Wilson

Director: Rachel Wilson loves making theater in Chicago, where she has worked with the Neo-Futurists, Northlight, Pegasus Players, Sprung, and InGen Productions to name a few. As a longtime company member with Barrel of Monkeys, Rachel teaches and adapts the writing of Chicago elementary school students for the stage, and she regularly performs in the long-running That's Weird, Grandma. Rachel has taught theater and directed young actors at the Actors Training Center in Wilmette, Pegasus Players, After-School Matters, and CAST in Oak Park. Rachel studied Theater at Northwestern University and received her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her young adult novel Don't Touch came out to great reviews from HarperTeen in 2014.

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Choreographer, Elisa Carlson

Choreographer: Elisa Carlson holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and theater from Indiana University. She is a dancer, choreographer, and member of the Artistic Board of Innervation Dance Cooperative (www.innervationdance.org) and a singer and multi-instrumentalist at Howl at the Moon Chicago, entertaining audiences nightly on the piano, violin, drums and bass. Other performing endeavors include the Chicago bands Mechanical Animals and Man Called Noon, for whom she contributes keyboard, fiddle, and vocals. She is also proud to be joining the Hypocrites’ cast of American Idiot this fall. Elisa is delighted to be choreographing Seussical Jr. for the Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop!

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Musical Director, Robbie Ellis

Musical Director: Robbie Ellis is brand new to the Dream Big team. He comes to /Seussical Jr/ fresh from a Second City Theatricals cruise ship contract as music director, performing sketch and improv aboard the Norwegian Dawn. Robbie works as a music director at The Second City Training Center, The Annoyance Theater, Windy City Music Theatre, ComedySportz Chicago, MCL Chicago, and more Chicago places besides. He is a regular music director for both the short-form musical improv show /VAMP/ and the weekly improvised Hitchcock thriller /Hitch-cocktails/. He trained as a composer at the University of Auckland, and has had three of his musicals performed in Chicago in the last year. Robbie is also a composer of concert music with works performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and works at 98.7 WFMT as a presenter and producer of classical music radio programmes. He spells it 'programmes' because he is from Auckland, New Zealand.

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Stage Manager, Sadie Rose

Stage Manager: Sadie Rose graduated with her BFA in Musical Theater from Roosevelt University, Chicago College of the Performing Arts in 2012. Since then, she has had the privilege of working with some amazing people in the Chicago theater community. While holding down a job as a preschool teacher at Jewish Community for Youth Services Lakeview Preschool, she has been able to audition all around the city. One of her favorite experiences in a show was performing as the Witch's violin playing cat in the new rock musical version of Hansel and Gretel with Emerald City Children's Theater this past winter. She continues to integrate theater throughout all of the different parts of her life. Spreading the joy and confidence that theater can bring to any person of any age is her absolute favorite thing to be able to do.

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Costume Designer, Amy Chmielewski

Costume Designer: Growing up delighting in Dr. Seuss stories, Amy Chmielewski has always longed to be able to design costumes as zany and creative as Dr. Seuss creations. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume Design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she has worked with many opera and period productions and is very excited to be part of the Seussical Jr team!
 
 
 

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Assistant Choreographer, Darcy Coussens

Assistant Choreographer: Darcy Coussens is a Chicago-based actress, choreographer and educator. She began performing professionally in Chicago at the age of ten and learned firsthand how theatre can empower young people whether in the classroom, on stage or from the audience. Darcy is a recent graduate of Northwestern University with a BA in Theatre. While at Northwestern, she directed the first campus production for young audiences on the Autism Spectrum and was awarded the Aurand Harris Award for Excellence in Children’s Theatre. She has been teaching in the arts for eight years and currently teaches with Mudlark Theatre Company and Windy City Music Theatre in addition to Dream Big.

 

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Assistant Director, Kelly Voke

Assistant Director: Kelly Voke is a Chicago actress, writer and teaching artist. She previously worked in Los Angeles where she trained, taught and performed professionally. Since moving to Chicago, Kelly has helped facilitate four different CPS theater education programs at Senn Arts, Kelvyn Park, Bronzeville Scholastic and Wells High Schools, and piloted a CPS elementary program at Gellespie Elementary. In addition to teaching with Dream Big, Kelly works with The American Theater Company and the Beverly Arts Center. She specializes in helping students devise their own work, and believes fully in the power of imagination, improvisation and fun. She received her BA in Acting from Emerson College in Boston, MA.
 

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Assistant Musical Director, Elizbeth Dauterman

Assistant Musical Director: Elizbeth Dauterman is both a teacher and a professional stage manager in Chicago. During the school year, she works as an Assistant Stage Manager with Chicago Children's Theatre and has also worked for Writers Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and the La Jolla Playhouse. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Theatre (concentrations in Music Theatre, Theatre for Young Audiences, and Arts Management) and just couldn't leave Chicago. Elizabeth found her own confidence in a drama class and loves working with kids as they use play to develop kindness and empathy. Elizabeth has also taught with Stomp and Shout Chicago and Mudlark Theater Company.