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Susan Zielke, President

Susan Zielke is the Managing Attorney of the Eastern Regional Office of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, located in Champaign. She and her staff provide free civil legal assistance to low income individuals in 14 counties. She is on the Board of Directors for PILI (the Public Interest Law Initiative); is a member of the ISBA (Illinois State Bar Association) and serves on their Delivery of Legal Services and Military Affairs Committees; and is a member of the East Central Illinois Women Attorneys Association, and the Champaign County, Vermilion County, and DeWitt County Bar Associations. She earned her B.S. in English and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Illinois. Her husband, Tom, is a secondary history teacher at Judah Christian School, her daughter, Ruth, is at Millikin University pursuing a degree in acting with minors in vocal and oboe performance, and her son, Josiah, is at Central High School.

Michael Miller, Secretary

Michael received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Montana and his Master of Music degree from The Ohio State University. He has performed throughout the midwest with regional theatre companies in a wide variety of shows. He has designed sound for productions of Oklahoma, Annie, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Wizard of Oz for the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company among others. Michael has recorded local bands and is currently working with Spectrum on their upcoming album. Michael lives in Champaign IL and works for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois.

Whitney Havice - Artistic Director

Whitney Havice is a director, choreographer, and performer from Champaign, IL and has been involved in approximately seventy productions locally and in the Chicago area for various companies including the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Co., Parkland College Theatre, the Station Theatre, Armory Free Theatre, Twin City Theatre Co., and the Brown Paper Box Co., among others. Her first theatrical experience was with the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Co.'s production of The King and I in 1994, and she's been involved with the company ever since.  Graduating magna cum laude with a BA in English and minor in journalism from Bradley University, Whitney currently works in arts administration and serves as the Assistant Director of Ticketing Services at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, also helping to cultivate engagement work there, including the Dance for People with Parkinsons project. She has served as the Dance Rehearsal Director for Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, as Musical Theatre Dance instructor at the Little Theatre on the Square, and as dance instructor in a number of other styles for various studios and venues in the area, including the Champaign Park District.  Whitney is trained in the Vaganova ballet method.

Aaron Kaplan

Aaron Kaplan, conductor and cellist, began taking cello lessons at the age of five and has become an active conductor, performer, teacher, arranger, and arts administrator.  Aaron earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Donald Schleicher. He also earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from the University of Illinois with a double degree in cello performance and music education. In 2013, Aaron was appointed the co-director of orchestras at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High School in Northbrook and Glenview, IL.  Prior to that, Aaron was music director and conductor for the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony and Community Orchestra in Springfield, Illinois where he conducted three youth orchestras, a community orchestra and oversaw the beginning strings program. An avid promoter of musical theatre, he has been the music director/conductor for over 25 musicals including Chess, West Side Story, RENT, Guys & Dolls, and The Producers.

Maggie Flanagin

Jan Weber 

Jan Weber received a degree in zoology from Iowa State University and taught at St. Matthews before retiring. Her involvement with CUTC came about because her husband, Bob, was very involved in the organization and it was something they could do together. She has been involved in painting sets, helping with lighting, setting up scene shops and working backstage and front of house since 2001. She also has done singing valentines,the Dickensian Singers and has been in a few murder mysteries. She was also in our first production of Oliver. Her favorite hobby is singing barbershop harmony with the Toast of Champaign Sweet Adelines, something she has enjoyed for 50 years. 

Laura Vavrin

Laura recollects her first stitch at ten years old— a simple pattern— but a moment that grew into a love and passion for costuming. Her passion followed her throughout life as she graduated from Murray State University with a B.S. in Consumer and Family Science to perfect this the art of sewing and creative arts. Laura got involved with CUTC. In 2015 a friend asked if she would do costumes for a production of Pirates of Penzance. She was excited, nervous, and ready for a new challenge as big as CUTC.  After the show was over, she got the costuming bug and hasn’t stopped . One of her favorite shows so far has been the Wizard of Oz. It challenged her creative spirit to craft and create unique costumes. Particularly, the Tin Man costume sticks out. It was a doozy. Try combining vinyl, wiring, and sliver spray paint— not your convention sewing project! She has lived in CU for 20+ years and has shared her passion for sewing and costuming with others. Laura is lucky to have support from her husband, John, and two

adult children, Sarah and Will, who support her passion.

Phil Strang

Born and raised in NYC, Phil came to Urbana-Champaign in 1967 to attend the University and graduated in 1972. He helped create Record Service and was co-owner for 33 years. At the same time Phil was acting, singing, dancing and directing in 0ver 50 productions at the Station Theatre, Armory Free Theatre, Virginia Theatre, Parkland Theatre, Sunshine Dinner Theatre and Krannert Center. He also managed to raise two kids as a single parent between 1991 and now. From 2004 until 2016 when he retired, he worked for the University of Illinois, as Facility Manager for Foellinger Auditorium, Lincoln Hall Theatre and Greg Hall Theatre. Now Phil spends most of his time painting and writing and traveling with Mary.

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