Johnny was recently in THE HUMANS at Redtwist Theatre, where he is the Development Outreach Coordinator. Some of his favorite roles include: Papa Pepe Hernandez in EL GRANDE DE COCA-COLA, Sr. Costa in THE RIVER BRIDE, Kevin Rosario in IN THE HEIGHTS, Ariel in THE PILLOWMAN, Austin in TRUE WEST, and others. He wrote and performed his one-man show THAT’S F’D UP at Redtwist, the Fringe Festival, and Carl Schurz high school and Wilbur Wright college. Thank you, Lindsey, and Violet Sky for the opportunity to collaborate with such a wonderfully talented group.
Reginald is a Chicago based actor excited to work with Violet Sky Productions as Archie Kramer in their production of Summer and Smoke. His recent credits include N (Deshaun) (GLP Productions), Romeo and Juliet (Ensemble) (Kane Repertory Theatre) and Roast (Keith Cross) (The Comrades). Reginald is currently represented by Actors Talent Group.
Selena is a co-founder and Artistic Director of Three Crows Theatre. She has an BA in Theatre from UW-Whitewater and an MFA from The New School for Drama in NYC. She’s graced stages in the Midwest and NYC. Favorite roles include: The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Maureen), Silent Sky (Henrietta), Our Country’s Good (Liz Morden), The Trojan Women (Andromache), and Othello (Iago). Selena is also a full-time voice actor, having worked on projects for Nike, KFC, and Cräveble, selenavox.com
Hanna Beth Mitchell
Hanna is a Chicago actress who is delighted to be collaborating with such a wonderful company in her first post pandemic show! She is originally from Southern California where she grew up doing summer stock with her family and founded the Three Masketeers theater company. Favorite credits include: Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet), Susy Hendrix (Wait Until Dark) and Emily Bronte (Bronte). When not onstage she loves reading, cooking and sword fighting with the Society of American Fight Directors. "Thank you AJ for supporting my calling and loving me more deeply each day." sDg Instagram: @hannabethmitchell
Chuck was most recently seen in Hamlet with Invictus Theatre, where he is also a company member. He has also appeared in Invictus productions of The Merchant of Venice and Raisin in the Sun. Chuck is a Tampa native, where he appeared in A Man’s A Man, The Rivals, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Zoo Story, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cyrano de Bergerac and Loose Ends. In Chicago, he appeared in The Cherry Orchard (Center Theatre), The Killing Game (Alliance Theatre), and The Chicago premiere of the musical A Dance Against Darkness.
Reid is happy to be onstage with Violet Sky in Summer and Smoke. Chicago credits include Butterflies Are Free and Jesus Christ Superstar (Big Noise Theatre), Scrooge! The Musical, The Producers, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, and It’s A Wonderful Life (Theatre at the Center), and Picnic, Kuni-Leml, Babes In Arms, and Fiddler on the Roof (Illinois Theatre Center). He sends gratitude and love to Mom and Dad.
Sasha Rechler graduated with a BA in Theatre from Northwestern University this June where she appeared in numerous productions including playing Stephanie in Outdoor Bird and Desdemona in Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief. She was also an improviser on The Titanic Players and an ensemble member on Griffin’s Tale Children’s Repertory Theatre. She is excited to start out as a Chicago actor in Summer and Smoke, and will continue to do improv on a house team at the Comedy Clubhouse.
Debra is a long-time member of Redtwist Theatre appeared there most recently in THE HUMANS, SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, REALIZATION OF EMILY LINDER, THE AMERICAN CLOCK and favorites EQUUS, GEEZERS and CRIPPLE OF IRISHMAN. Chicago credits include CROSSING DELANCEY (MadKap), ROSE TATTOO (Shattered Globe), VIEUX CARRE (Raven), BEAU JEST (Big Noise), RABBIT HOLE (BTE), CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (NightBlue) and more. She recently filmed a lead role in the award winning film GINGER and a Webisode Series WHAT DID CLYDE HIDE. Fun fact: also did a zany Webisode for True Blood (HBO).
(Dr John Buchanan Sr)
Mike has worked at several Chicago-area theaters, including Timeline Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Victory Gardens Theatre and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture, where he portrayed Virgil in the Center’s production Dante 360 last year. Rogalski is the creator of a staged rendering of T. S. Eliot's masterwork Four Quartets, which he has performed in St. Louis and Chicago, and his play Alpha Zulu was produced at The Artistic Home’s Cut to the Chase Festival. He is at work on a play about logician-philosopher Janina Hossiason-Lindenbaum and her colleagues.
Jill is a rising senior B.F.A. Acting major at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She was born and raised in southern Virginia where she got her start performing. Her recent credits include “Civics and Humanities for Non Majors” and “Mother Courage and her Children”. She would like to thank her parents, Jack, and all her teachers past and present.
Joshua J. Volkers
(John Buchanan Jr)
Josh is happy to be playing John Buchanan Jr. in Summer and Smoke. Previous credits include The Layover with The Comrades, Through The Elevated Line with Silk Road Rising, Not About Nightingales with Raven Theatre, and Watch On The Rhine with The Artistic Home.
Lindsey is thrilled to be playing Alma, alongside so many talented artists. She has previously worked with many companies around town, including Oil Lamp, The Artistic Home, The Arc Theatre, Accidental Shakespeare and Aleatoric Theatre Company. She would like to thank each member of the cast and production team for their incredible support along this journey.
Eden Blattner (Director)
Isabella Van Houzen (Assistant Director)
Isabella Van Houzen is an actress/writer/director from Holland, MI and a 2020 graduate from Loyola University Chicago. You may have seen her act in THE ODYSSEY by Mary Zimmerman at LUC, her writing in BEVERLY ARTS CENTER’S NEW PLAYWRIGHT FESTIVAL, and direct in SAPPHEST for the VIOLET SURPRISE THEATRE. Isabella also works front of house at STEPPENWOLF THEATRE CO. She is delighted to share in live performance once again. Isabella extends her thanks to the wonderfully talented cast for their work, Eden for being a great example of a director, and her loving friends and family for their support, making this all possible.
William Dole (Stage Manager)
William is happy to call Summer and Smoke their first production as a stage manager in the Chicago theatre community. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, William received their BA in Theatre Performance from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2018. They co-founded and operated as Executive Director for Middle Ground Theatre, a collective of UNM theatre alumni who went on to put on a series of festivals and stage productions from 2017-2019. This included Gruesome Playground Injuries, William’s first production as a stage manager. After moving to Chicago in late 2019, William is ecstatic to be jumping back into theatre work with the Violet Sky Theatre Team.
Kevin Rolfs (Scenic Design)
Kevin is a Chicago-based theater maker and artist originally from Wisconsin. Thrilled to have this opportunity to work on a Tennessee piece! A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Kevin has had the good fortune of working with a few of Chicagos incredible theaters including American Blues, Steep Theater, and The Artistic Home. His design work was last seen in Invictus’s Jeff recommended productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Ruined. Kevin serves as props designer for Columbia College Chicago.
Petter Wahlback (Sound Design)
Petter Wahlbäck is an award-winning Swedish composer and sound designer working out of Chicago. Petter’s main areas of focus are music for media and performing arts. Recent theater sound and music credits include: Walk on the Wild Side (Pale Horse Playhouse),The Pavilion, Eurydice, Requiem for a Heavyweight (Jeff Award Winner), By the Bog of Cats, Ada and the Engine, and Vanya on the Plains (the Artistic Home), By the Skin of Our Teeth (ChiArts), Defacing Michael Jackson and The Book of Merman (Flying Elephant Productions), and The My Way Residential (The Irish Theatre).
Chad Lussier (Lighting Design)
Chad Lussier is thrilled to be working with the Violet Sky Theatre team on Summer and Smoke. Chad is a lighting designer and media server programmer with a BA in Technical Theatre from UW Green Bay. Notable credits include Chi-Town Rising, Trumpet Awards, and Farm-Aid (media servers), Vex Robotic World Championships and First Robotics National Championship (master electrician), Ideal National Championship (lighting designer), Invictus Theatre Company’s Hamlet, Night Mother and Infinite Jest and Eclectic Full Contact Theatre’s Mother Goose Lost! (technical director), and PBS’s Donkey Hodie (board programmer.)
Kristina Newcomb (Costumer)
Kristina is an actor, writer, and costumer. Her play, Co- written with Isabella Van Houzen, The Sometimes Inaccurate (but Mostly Accurate) History of the World, has received staged readings at the Beverly Arts Center, Violet Surprise theater, and virtual productions in the city of Chicago. She was most recently seen in That Thing in the Bathroom with BYOT productions (company member), and in Arrows and Apples (KOR Productions) and enjoys kayaking on the Chicago River with Urban Kayaks, and shooting bow and arrow with the Lincoln Park Archery Club.
Katy Blaustein (Costumer)
Katy earned a B.A. in theatre and psychology from the University of Portland. After living in France for two years, she moved to Chicago, where she has appeared in BYOT’s 24-hour theatre festivals, the Elgin Fringe Festival, and various independent productions (that you’ve probably never heard of).
Lana Whittington (Fight/Intimacy Design)
Lana Whittington (fight director/ intimacy designer) is thrilled to be working with Violet Sky! Her recent credits include Ruined with Invictus theatre and Poison with The Plagiarists. Lana has trained with Fight Directors of Canada and Intimacy Directors And Coordinators (formally IDI). She would like to thank her husband for all of his support!
August Rain Stamper (Dialect Design)
August is a Chicago transplant hailing from Louisiana. She is excited to join the Invictus Theatre team, and is honored to work with such talented artists. Other credits include: The Luckiest (Raven Theatre), My Dad Wrote a Porno: Dialect Coach Minisode (podcast), Sweet Science of Bruising (Thornton Fractional North HS).