Milwaukee Repertory Theater Presents “So Thrive My Soul”


Presents So Thrive My Soul Performed By the Inaugural Class Of the


July 13 – 16, 2017

June 2 2017– [Milwaukee, WI] Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents the inaugural Professional Training Institute’s production of So Thrive My Soul, in the Stiemke Studio July 13 – 16, 2017.   The Professional Training Institute (PTI) is a free yearlong advance actor training program for students in 8th-12th grade who may have an interest in pursuing a career as a professional theater artist.


The PTI ensemble were chosen out of hundreds of exceptional young talented students from all across Milwaukee.  They spent the school year training with leading theater artists including Tony Award-winner Anthony Crivello, 10-time Joseph Jefferson Award-winner Hollis Resnik, Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Casting Director JC Clementz, Broadway star Nathaniel Stampley, Milwaukee Rep Artistic Director Mark Clements, Guthrie Theater’s Director of Company Development/Movement Director Marcela Lorca, Olivier Award nominee Frank Ferrante, Jefferson Award-winner Alexis J. Roston, renowned Director and Playwright KJ Sanchez and Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink.  


Moving at the speed of love at first sight, and performed with passion by 14 of Milwaukee’s brightest young stars, So Thrive My Soul cuts Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet down to its very core, leaving 70 minutes of heart filled exuberance with star crossed lovers and cross gendered casting.  So Thrive My Soul lives somewhere between the musical Spring Awakening, Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam, and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.  PTI presents the greatest love story told again for the first time.  


So Thrive My Soul is adapted and directed by Wisconsin native Ryan Quinn who was last seen at The Rep in Yellowman.    It features costume design by Leslie Vaglica (Grounded), lighting design by Jason Fassl (Man of La Mancha), sound design by Erin Paige (McGuire), and stage managed by Nabra Nelson The Rep’s Community Engagement Associate.   The production is produced by Leda Hoffmann, the Director of Community Engagement at The Rep.


The PTI So Thrive My Soul ensemble includes Luke Brotherhood, Jack Burns, Joenecia Cook, Meghan DeRoche, Cole Hines, Samuel Landmak, Kai Liebenstein, Alexis Monroe, Max Pink, Zoe Powell, Dominic Schiro, Jason Schlaman, Megan Watson and Saleaqua Winston.


So Thrive My Soul will be performed in the Stiemke Studio July 13 at 7pm, July 14 at 7pm, July 15 and 2pm/7pm, and July 16 at 2pm.   Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 414-224-9490, or at the Ticket Office at 108 E Wells Street, Milwaukee.

Support for this program is provided by funders of The Rep’s new community engagement initiative Mpact, which is designed to further the theater’s mission of creating positive change in the cultural, social and economic vitality of Milwaukee.   Funding for MPS Arts Interns is provided by MPS and Milwaukee Recreation.



So Thrive My Soul Cast and Creative Team Bios


Ryan Quinn, Adaptor and Director

Ryan is a freelance actor, director, and teaching artist based in New York City.  He lives in Manhattan with his wife Katie, and one-year-old daughter Zoë.  In New York, Ryan serves as the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Esperance Theater Company (  For Esperance he has directed Twelfth Night, and Youth and Ambition, and later this fall will direct the world premiere of Brietwisch Farm by Wisconsin native Jeremy Kamps.  He has also directed for The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, TinyRhino, NYU’s Atlantic Acting School, and NYU’s MFA Playwriting Program.  As a teacher, he has worked with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Manhattanville College, The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Vassar College’s Powerhouse Apprentice Training Program, The National Shakespeare Company, The Shakespeare Academy and others, teaching classes in Acting, Text, Shakespeare, Stage Combat, Movement, Games, and Improvisation.  He is also an acting coach for BFA, and MFA bound students through MTCA (  As an actor, Ryan most recently worked Off-Broadway at The Pearl in the world premiere of Vanity Fair.  Other Off-Broadway credits include the world premiere of Whorl Inside a Loop (w/ Sherie Rene Scott) at Second Stage; The Killer (w/Michael Shannon), Antony and Cleopatra (w/Laila Robins), both directed by Darko Tresnjak, King Lear (w/Michael Pennington, dir. Arin Arbus), and Hamlet (w/Christian Camargo, dir. David Esbjornson) at Theater for a New Audience; and Dead Dog Park at 59E59th (dir. Eric Tucker).  As an actor, he is most proud of returning to Wisconsin to perform Eugene in Yellowman at Milwaukee Rep, and with his eight seasons with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.  Regionally, he has also worked at The Old Globe, Yale Repertory Theater, and many others.  Originally from Racine, Wisconsin, Ryan received his BA in Theater from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he was awarded the Smith and Butt prize for artistic achievement.  He then attended The Yale School of Drama, where he received his MFA in acting.


Leslie Vaglica, Costume Designer
Leslie Vaglica is a costumer based in Milwaukee. Recent favorites include Grounded for Milwaukee Rep, Dali’s Liquid Ladies for True Penny Theater, Leaving and Coming Back for Peter Stathas Dance, and Three Decembers for the Florentine Opera.  In addition to costuming, she does commercial styling and design consultation. She has a BA in Drawing and Political Science from UW Eau Claire as well as a certification in apparel design from Mt. Mary University.


Jason Fassl, Lighting Design

Jason has done over 20 productions at Milwaukee Rep including American Song, The Mousetrap, The Amish Project, Seascape and most recently Man of La Mancha.  Over the last decade, Mr. Fassl has consumed mass quantities of electricity at The Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, First Stage Children’s Theatre, American Players Theatre, Peninsula Players, Door Shakespeare, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Next Act Theatre, American Folklore Theatre, Forward Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre of Madison, The Pearl Theatre Company and many others.  Jason is a member of United Scenic Artists Local#829, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local#18 and proud to be an artist in this rich theatrical community. Portfolio and information at


Erin Paige, Sound Designer

Erin Paige recently designed An Evening with Groucho, McGuire, The Doyle & Debbie Show and I Left My Heart in the Stackner Cabaret. Other Milwaukee credits include Junie B Jones Is Not A Crook, Mole Hill Stories, Goldilocks, and Spookley the Square Pumpkin at First Stage, King Lear at The Alchemist, and Phaedra’s Love at The World’s Stage. She has previously composed for Annex Theatre in Seattle and Looking Glass Theater NYC. She holds a B.F.A. in Sound Design from Southern Oregon University.


Nabra Nelson, Stage Manager

Nabra is The Rep’s Community Engagement Associate and a former Directing Resident. Local theater work includes directing for Rep Lab 2016, readings of Death and the King’s Horseman at APT, Clarence at Ten Chimneys, and dramaturgy for the Br!NK Festival at Renaissance Theaterworks. Assistant Directing work includes Appoggiatura at DCPA, The Liar at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and Back Home Again, A Christmas Carol, Of Mice and Men, and American Song at Milwaukee Rep.

Leda Hoffmann, Producer
Leda is The Rep’s Director of Community Engagement.  Her directing work has been seen at Milwaukee Rep (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, The Amish Project, Rep Lab), Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Renaissance Theatreworks, Door Shakespeare, Luminous Theatre, Alchemist Theater, and Riverside Theater. Upcoming: Black Pearl Sings! in the Stackner Cabaret January

Luke Brotherhood, Juliet / Ensemble

A sophomore at University School of Milwaukee and has been involved in theater since age seven.  Luke was most recently Lucius in Julius Caesar and simultaneously a Fairy in A Midummer Night’s Dream at Door Shakespeare.  Previous Theatre credits include:  Jem Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (Delaware Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware), Boy Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep), James in James and the Giant Peach (First Stage), Billy Binder in A Snow Dragon (Siam Opera Bangkok, Thailand and World Premiere at Skylight Music Theater), Rudolph in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical (First Stage), Young Jerry in The History of Invulnerability (Milwaukee Rep), Paul in Anatole (First Stage), Gavroche in Les Miserables (Skylight Music Theatre), Little Boy in Ragtime (Milwaukee Rep), Smudge in A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep), Billy in Assassins (Milwaukee Rep), Bobby Jr. in Rep Lab’s Normal (Milwaukee Rep) and a Brooklyn Boy in Jackie and Me (First Stage).  Luke plays piano, guitar, ukulele and mandolin and enjoys film editing.

Jack Burns, Ensemble
Jack just finished 8th grade at Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa.  His past credits include, Just A Little Critter Musical, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical and Anatole at First Stage.  He has also performed in A Christmas Carol and The Gala at Milwaukee Rep. He enjoys golfing and spending time with friends and family on Lake Michigan.


Joenecia Cook, Ensemble

Joenecia is a 17-year-old junior at Milwaukee Collegiate Academy. She has dreamed of singing since the age of 3. She has auditioned for The Voice twice and has uplifted many with her beautiful voice. She is also an aspiring make-up artist. Joenecia lives in Riverwest with her mom, dad and two brothers.


Meghan DeRoche , Mercutio / Ensemble

Meghan just finished her sophomore year at Shorewood High School and she has been performing on stage since third grade.   This year she was featured as Sandrine and Rhonda in Almost, Maine and appeared in Sweeney Todd and The Secret Garden at Shorewood.  Other recent credits include First Stage productions of Antigone, All’s Well that Ends Well, and Working 2012.  Meghan also is a member of First Stage’s Young Company.  Last summer she studied musical theater at the Open Jar Institute in New York, and this summer she will train at the American Players Theatre in Spring Green.  In her free time, Meghan studies aerial arts, including silks, lyra and trapeze.


Cole Hines, Nurse / Ensemble

Cole will attend Marquette University in the fall. He loves to perform and has been actively involved in theater since elementary school. Cole recently appeared as Walter Lee Younger (Raisin In The Sun-Pius XI), Flick (Violet– Pius XI) and Tin Man (The Wizard Of Oz – Pius XI). He has appeared in numerous First Stage Theater productions including Seussical The Musical (JoJo), and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (Rudolph). Cole also appeared in Modjeska Theatre’s production of The Jungle Book as Mowgli. He is excited to have this opportunity with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater


Samuel Landmark, Ensemble

Samuel is an incoming senior at Tremper High School in Kenosha.  Sam has performed in over 30 musicals since he was 8 years old. Some of his favorite roles include: Snoopy in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Dream Ballet Dancer in Oklahoma and Horton in Seussical The Musical.  Sam enjoys singing in Chorale as well as the Madrigal Singers at Tremper. He loves dancing with Spotlight Youth Theater’s Project Dance, dance team.  As the youngest of 6 brothers he is happy to have the house (and his parents) to himself finally!


Kai Liebenstein, Benvolio/Ensemble

Kai is a rising senior at Milwaukee High School of the Arts (MHSA). She will attend as a Level 4 Theatre Production Major next year. Kai is excited to be a part of PTI’s So Thrive My Soul as an ensemble member. Notable credits include: Timekeeper/Ensemble member in A Christmas Carol 2015 and 2016 (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). She has played Christmas Eve from Avenue Q in Evolution: 100 Years Of Broadway (MHSA). Kai is honored to be serving for her fourth year on Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Teen Council leadership board.


Alexis Monroe, Prince/Ensemble
Alexis (18 years old) is a recent graduate from Rufus King International High School. She’s a singer/songwriter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Starting at an early age, Alexis sung in many competitions in her hometown and such events as “Back to School Festival” and “Garfield Days Festival.” In 2013, while attending Milwaukee Lincoln School of the Arts Middle School, Alexis performed in Capita Production’s play We Are the Drums, including securing a solo singing “Motherless Child.” She has also sung in Sophia’s Heart choir, which is founded by American Idol’s season 8 third place finalists, Danny Gokey. As Alexis Monroe works on her singing/theatre career, she continues to stay active at her church at St. Matthews CME Church. Alexis’ goal is to be an entertaining inspiration to everyone, but especially become the positive voice and role model for her generation.


Max Pink, Capulet/Ensemble

Max is going into 12th grade at Shorewood High School where he was most recently seen in the role of St. Jimmy in Shorewood High School’s American Idiot (Tommy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor’), as well as Dr. Jason Posner in Wit, and as Gee-Tar in West Side Story.  For First Stage he has performed the role of Char in Ella Enchanted, Wiggins in The Baker Street Irregulars, and also in Shrek the Musical.  For The Young Company he has appeared as Laertes in Hamlet, Howie Newsome in Our Town, The Minstrel in Once upon a Mattress, and Lewis in Maul of the Dead. For Milwaukee Rep he has performed in The History of Invulnerability and A Christmas Carol.


Zoe Powell, Romeo/Ensemble

Zoe begins her freshman year at Syracuse University in the fall of 2017, pursuing a BFA in Acting. Zoe has enjoyed performing onstage since the age of 8. Recently, she played the role of Pels in the world premiere of TXT U L8R with First Stage’s Young Company. In the summer of 2016, she played the role of a Dynamite in Hairspray (Divine Savior Holy Angels). She was also a member of the Black Nativity ensemble produced by Black Arts MKE performed at the Marcus Center in the fall of 2016. Zoe has also taken 10 years of ballet and jazz with the Milwaukee Ballet School.


Dominic Schiro, Lady Capulet/Ensemble
Dominic is a junior at Pius XI Catholic High School where he is a member of the Madrigal Choir and has played Kenickie in Grease, Dr. Horrible in a student directed production of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Joe Keller in All My Sons, Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night and Orestus in Electra. He has appeared at the Sunset Playhouse as Lucas Beineke in The Addams Family and was an ensemble member in Anything Goes. Last summer he had the opportunity to train as part of the Ten Chimneys High School Actor Fellowship program, and is happy to be returning this summer to the Rep where he performed as Smudge (2010) and Dick Wilkins (2013)  in A Christmas Carol.


Jason Schlaman, Friar/Ensemble

Jason recently graduated from Hamilton High School in Sussex, where he enjoyed performing with his drama club, choir, and barbershop quartet. Some of his favorite shows at Hamilton included The Addams Family, And Then There Were None, The Matchmaker, and Harvey.  Last summer, Jason studied acting at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts as a part of the 2016 actor training program. He will be attending Pace University NYC next fall, where he plans to get a BFA in Acting for Film, Television, Voiceover, and Commercials.  Jason is ecstatic to be working with Milwaukee Rep and thanks his incredibly supportive family for their encouragement, enthusiasm, and shared love for the theatre.


Megan Watson, Tybalt/Ensemble

Megan is an incoming senior at Wauwatosa East High School, is thrilled to be back in the rehearsal halls of Milwaukee Rep after being in A Christmas Carol from 2009-2012. Other credits include Sarah Miller in Holes, Diana in All’s Well that Ends Well, Marcellus in Hamlet, and Lady Lucille in Once Upon A Mattress for First Stage Children’s Theater; and Tara in From These Green Heights, Rebecca in Our Town, and Josie in By the Bog of Cats for UWM. Megan would like to thank all the people in her life that have encouraged and supported her through this whole experience.


Saleaqua Winston, Ensemble

Saleaqua is an incoming 12th grade theatre major at Milwaukee High School of the Arts. She is a local artist that lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mom, dad, and dog (Homie). She loves acting, music, writing and performing poetry. She played the role of Dr. Harper and Lt. Rooney in Arsenic and Old Lace (MHSA), was in A Skylight Musical (MHSA), and has also done mini shows in the black box theatre with just her classmates in which she played in scenes from Taming of the Shrew, The League of Semi Super Heroes and Ruined. She made it to regionals in Poetry Out Loud and competed in the 2016 Slam State Finals. She also competed in forensics and won first, second, and third place trophies in poetry and declamatory speech.


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About Milwaukee Repertory Theater

Milwaukee Rep is a nationally-recognized company that presents compelling dramas, powerful classics, award-winning contemporary works and full-scale musicals housed in its three unique performance venues – the Quadracci Powerhouse, Stiemke Studio and Stackner Cabaret.   The Rep also produces an annual A Christmas Carol, which featured a World Premiere of a new adaption in 2016, at the historic Pabst Theater.   Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Clements and Managing Director Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity.

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