Performance & Speaker Guide

Below you’ll find the available UPAF Cornerstone and Member Group options for interactive speakers and entertainment during your Workplace Giving Campaign. Offerings are exclusively virtual, to be held on Zoom or other teleconferencing software.  

Be sure to also look at our robust library of pre-recorded options, including performances and testimonials from each Member Group.  



Life Skills through Stage Skills Workshop 

Ever wonder what it would be like to attend First Stage Academy? Engage employees in your workplace giving campaign as a First Stage Teaching Artist leads them through an interactive workshop. Employees may learn warm up techniques, play improv games, and see firsthand the life skills through stage skills taught to young people through the First Stage Academy Program. 

Length: 15-45 minutes (customizable) 

Audience: Maximum of 50 participants 
Booking time: At least 3 weeks prior to event 

Speakers Available:  

  • Betsy Corry, Managing Director 

  • Jeff Frank, Artistic Director 

  • Nancy Clarkin, Development Director 

  • JT Backes, First Stage Theater Academy Director 

  • Julia Magnasco, Education Director 



“I Hate Opera” 

Performance of some of the great arias, duets, and ensembles from opera, you'll go in hating opera, but come out an opera lover/appreciator.   


“Break A Leg” 

A quick dive into all of the traditions, terms, and expectations when seeing an opera.  Terms such as "Break a leg" literally means, I hope you break a leg (the side of a stage) and get on to stage tonight and make money. 


“Opera 101” 

Take a deeper dive into specific operas, composers, and singers. Pick any show or topic from Florentine Operas Quarantine Opera Page and get insider knowledge about the show, we promise, this isn't a stuffy history course! 


“Meet the Creative Team” 

Ever wonder how a show gets built?  Learn more by talking to the creative teams that design a show (performers, costume/wig designer, or set designer) 


“Athletes and Training Camp” 

Think you can be an opera singer?  Opera Singers train for years honing their craft, this interactive program will teach you some of the basics to becoming the next great opera singer with warm-up exercises that engage muscles from the throat, diaphragm, intercostals, mouth, and tongue. 


“Are You Ready for Your Closeup?” 

How do the performers look so fabulous? Erica Cartledge, Resident Wig & Makeup designer, shows you first-hand the intricacies and delicacies of hand-made wigs and incredible make-up artistry.   *Please note, this would need a volunteer to adhere to Florentine's Covid policies and come into our Opera Center to be transformed by Erica, we could record the transformation to show to their company.   


Speaker Available:  

Arts, business, and community - and how they all matter to each other (20 min) 

Maggey Oplinger, Florentine Opera’s General Director and CEO, will share her passion of all things ART. From her beginning in Milwaukee, taking her around the world, and back to her hometown of Milwaukee, how do opera, the arts and UPAF make a difference - and why all of that should matter to you. 



Speakers Available: 

  • Michael Pink, Artistic Director 

  • Anne Metcalfe, Managing Director 

Topics include: 

  • The Impact of the Arts on Our Community 

  • The Power of Community Outreach 

  • Get to Know YOUR Milwaukee Ballet                                                                                                                                 


MILWAUKEE REP                  

Technical Demonstrations: 

  • Makeup and Costumes  

  • Explore about the different facets that go into creating the looks you see onstage. Potential presentations include: 

  • Bruise and Gore Makeup 

  • How to prepare a head for a wig 

  • How to dress a female character from A Christmas Carol 

  • The technology behind quick costume changes 

  • The making of bound feet from The Chinese Lady 

  • Props  

  • Learn the attention to detail that goes into prop design from Jim Guy, Milwaukee Rep’s prop master, as he showcases actual production props. 

  • Set Design and Construction 

  • Hear about what it takes to design a theatrical set and how our artisans bring scale drawings to life with Co-Technical Director John Houlter-McCoy. 

LENGTH: 15-30 minutes 

AUDIENCE SIZE: Ideal for any audience size 

BOOKING TIME: At least 2 weeks prior to event 


Various Theater Workshops: 

  • Corporate Theater Training Workshop 

  • Director of Education Jenny Toutant will lead your team in a workshop using theater to improve communication skills, creative thinking, team building and leadership.  

  • General Workshops 

  • Associate Director of Education Jeff Mosser will teach your group various theater skills. Sample workshops include “Physical Theater for the Smallest Screen”, “Basic Acting”, and “Writing Your First Play”. 

LENGTH: 20 minutes-2 hours 

AUDIENCE SIZE: Small (less than 20) 

BOOKING TIME: A least 2 weeks before event 


Speakers Available: 

  • Mark Clements, Artistic Director  

“UPAF support is essential to creating world-class theater at Milwaukee Repertory Theater” 

  • Chad Bauman, Executive Director  

“The Financial Impact of the Arts in Milwaukee” 

  • Laura Braza, Associate Artistic Director 

“New Play Development – Putting Milwaukee’s voice on the map” 

  • Jenny Toutant, Chief Engagement and Education Officer  

“The Power of Arts-Integrated Education” 

  • Tammy Belton-Davis, Chief Diversity Officer  

“Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through the Arts” 

  • Jared Clarkin, Director of Production 

“Beyond the Actors – the art of putting together the technical elements of a production.” 

LENGTH: 15-30 minutes  

AUDIENCE SIZE: Small or Medium 

BOOKING TIME: At least 2 weeks prior  



Speaker Available: 

  • Mark Niehaus 

America is brimming with extraordinary musicians, live concerts, and orchestras as unique as the communities they serve. Orchestral music making is flourishing in our country, encouraging creativity and bringing people together to share the experience of live music. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra President & Executive Director Mark Niehaus will share how symphony orchestras fuel local economies, attract new business development, educate young people, and—through the power of music—unite individuals and cultures in times of public celebration and healing.  




This lighthearted virtual presentation highlights the importance of arts education. Members of Skylight’s education department will captivate your imagination as singers perform highlights from KidsWrites, a show with stories and songs written by 3rd - 8th grade students, giving you a sample of the creative minds of Milwaukee’s youth. 

LENGTH: 15-30 minutes 

AUDIENCE SIZE: Ideal for any audience size 

BOOKING TIME: At least 2 weeks prior to the event 


Speakers Available: 

  • Michael Unger, Artistic Director 

  • Jack R. Lemmon, Executive Director 



Speaker Available: 

  • Kate Schmitt, Executive Director 




Spoken Word, Art Therapy, Dance, Drumming, Teaching Artist/Young Performer led activity  


Speakers Available: 

  • BAMKE Executive or Performing Artist to speak to the power of the arts  




Let Danceworks lead your employees through a mindful movement practice including gentle stretching, breathing, and guided meditation all from the comfort of their home. Learn how a few minutes can revive you mind and spirit. Would you like to hear about how the arts create ritual and deeper connection to self and the community? Just ask to add a speaker.  

LENGTH: 10-20 minutes, but can customize to suit the company’s needs  


Mad Hot Rhythm Lesson:  

Get up and moving with Mad Hot Rhythm faculty as they lead you through a dance lesson using this year’s energizing choreography. Would you like to hear about how arts education impacts our youth? Just ask to book a speaker.  

LENGTH: 15-30 minutes depending on company’s request 


Pick a Style!:  

Give your employees the gift of movement with an introductory class to a dance style of your choice. Pick from Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Salsa, or Tap.  

LENGTH: 30-60 minutes depending on company’s request  


Speakers Available: 

  • Amy Brinkman-Sustache, Director of Education: The Impact of the Arts Education on the Individual 

  • Kim Johnson, Director of Engagement: How the Arts Create Ritual and a Deeper Connection to Self and the Community  

  • Maggie Seer, Director of Development: A Day in the Life of a Working Artist 



Interactive Workshops & Performances: 

Write A Play in 20 Minutes 

Let your right (write?) brain run rampant on a coffee break as you learn the art of writing a short play. Building characters through dialogue and dropping them into a conflict, you’ll sign off this virtual workshop with your own two-minute play ready for office antics, home adventures, or your own memory-box of life in 2021. 

LENGTH: 25-30 minutes max 

PARTICIPANTS: Any number (smaller sizes more effective) 

ARTIST: Marcella Kearns or MCT Teaching Artist 


In the Style of… 

Ready to wordsmith with the best of playwrights and screenwriters? This casual writing workshop leapfrogs through styles of masters and genres. You’ll take a bland piece of dialogue and shape it into your own favorite kind of story. Have a pencil, paper, and your favorite warm beverage at the ready. 

LENGTH: 30-60 minutes 

PARTICIPANTS: Any number (smaller sizes more effective) 

ARTIST: Marcella Kearns or MCT Teaching Artist 


Twist Your Tongue 

Ever wonder what it takes for an actor from Milwaukee to sound like a kid in Brooklyn or a princess in France? Break down sound and learn a dialect with one of Milwaukee’s masters of verbal disguise. 

LENGTH: 30-60 minutes 

PARTICIPANTS: (TBD, smaller group would be more effective) 
ARTIST: Elyse Edelman 


Matt Daniels on the Ukulele 

Actor Matt Daniels sings popular favorites accompanied by his ukulele. Using his signature vocal stylings, he presents tunes from old time Vaudeville all the way up to today’s biggest pop hits…. And he’s no Tiny Tim: the novelty of the uke disappears almost immediately as audiences fall under the spell of these expertly arranged and skillfully performed songs. You can sing along or sit back and listen; the ukulele is a guaranteed good time! 

LENGTH: 5 minutes– 2 hours 
AUDIENCE SIZE: Ideal for any audience size 
BOOKING TIME: At least 2 weeks prior to event 


Kat Wodtke  

Kat Wodtke is an actor, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter hailing from Milwaukee and raised on jazz, folk, country, R&B, and everything in between. Her original songs are smart, honest, and tender, while her performances of classic favorites feel like old friends.  

LENGTH: 5 minutes - 2 hours 
AUDIENCE SIZE: Ideal for any audience size. 
BOOKING TIME: At least 1 week prior to event.   


Steve Watts – Piano/Vocals  

Steve is a Milwaukee-based actor/singer/musician who plays and sings primarily pop and rock classics, but also incorporates many other genres into a request-based piano bar style show.  He has performed for many years in theatres and clubs internationally, and as a result has accumulated an extensive repertoire of songs.   

LENGTH: 5-90 minutes 

AUDIENCE SIZE: ideal for any audience size 

BOOKING TIME: at least two weeks prior to event 


Speakers Available: 

  • Brent Hazelton, Artistic Director 

  • Marcella Kearns, Associate Artistic Director 

  • Malkia Stampley, Milwaukee Black Theater Festival Artistic Producer 

  • DiMonte Henning, Actor 

  • Elyse Edelman, Actor 



Speakers Available: 

  • Linda Edelstein, Executive Director, MYSO Alumna 

  • “The Community Impact of Music Education at MYSO” 

  • "MYSO's Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Development of Young People" 

  • Carter Simmons, Artistic and Music Director 

  • Sabrina Raber - Community Liaison 

  • Guillermo Baena-Director of Development 

  • “The Effect of Performing Music on Young People” 

  • MYSO Current Students and/or Alumni “How MYSO Changed My Life” 



*Activities only available in person when it’s possible to safely gather again* 


Deep Listening Workshop 

In this participatory workshop, Milwaukee composer Lawton Hall will lead participants in a series of collective sound exercises that bridge mindfulness and listening. A protegé of the late American composer Pauline Oliveros, Hall is an expert in her technique of Deep Listening, which she called “a non-verbal creative expression of experience, to be received with embodiedunderstanding, that may bring a sense of well-being. 

Length: 30 – 45 minutes Audience: any audience size 
Booking time: at least 2 weeks’ notice 


Speakers Available: 

  • David Bloom, co-artistic director of Present Music 

  • Eric Segnitz, co-artistic director of Present Music  



Speakers Available: 

  • Suzan Fete, Artistic Director / Co-Founder / Stage Director 

  • Lisa Rasmussen, Managing Director 

Subjects include: 

  • The history of women in the theater (Renaissance Theaterworks is the second oldest theater in the nation founded to create gender balance) 

  • Renaissance Theaterworks through the years 

  • Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic 

  • A deeper look at their production of Neat, a streaming performance that was taken to South Africa after its original run in 2012