Getting to know the Cast and Staff

Noël Aper (Ensemble) is doing their first show with CUTC. She appeared in Machinal and most recently SpongeBob Squarepants. Noël is excited for people to see Shrek: the Musical.

Paige Bolen (Mama Bear) will be a sophomore this fall at Illinois State University. She is majoring in Acting and Accounting. Her favorite past performance is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Paige loves all things theatre and is thrilled her first musical is Shrek!

Brigitte Conrad (Scenic Designer) is delighted for the opportunity to work with CUTC and return to her first love: the theatre. An Illinois State University grad, she worked at Chicago Scenic, LaBrose Ltd. and Means of Productions with professional credits at Northlight Theatre, Peninsula Players, The Noble Fool Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre, The Lyric Opera among others. She thanks her beautiful family for all their love and support and is looking forward to many more productions with them at CUTC.

Ben Croft (Ensemble) is very grateful to have a chance to get involved with CUTC for the first time this summer. Now enrolled at Illinois State University, he took part in many productions in high school, including Our Town, The Little Mermaid, and The Sound of Music. He’d like to thank the entire production crew and all of his dedicated cast mates for providing a wonderful experience for him to take part in.

Jeff Dare (Producer/Tech Coordinator) is pleased to be serving CUTC again. Past directing credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (CUTC), The Wizard of Oz (CUTC), Avenue Q (CUTC), and Memphis (Parkland). He served as Interim Artistic Director for CUTC in 2019. Previous stage roles include Harold Hill in The Music Man, Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, and Zoser in Aida. In Spring 2023, he will direct Parkland Theatre's production of Sweeney Todd.

Abby Deptula (Featured Dancer/Rat Tapper/Fairytale Creature/Duloc Dancer/Dragon Puppeteer) is a natural on stage. The theater and performing runs in the Deptula family. From the time she donned her first tutu as a dancing bumblebee, Abby has charmed audiences. As a recent high school graduate, she looks forward to all the opportunities her upcoming gap year will give her. She wants to thank her friends and family for their continued support. And to the audience, thank you for supporting the theater arts, sit back and enjoy the show!

Angie Deptula (ASM) loves being backstage for CUTC. Past positions include Pirates of Penzance, Oliver, Hairspray, Grease, Beauty and the Beast, The Importance of Being Earnest, and You Can’t Take It With You. This fall, she and her husband become empty nesters so Angie took on a new position as Student Teacher on her way to becoming an elementary teacher. If it weren’t for Joe Murphy, Bernie Wolff, and Bob Weber, Angie would never have discovered the joy of backstage. Love to Kevin & girls.

Kevin Deptula (Set Construction) is the father of two Shrek performers and husband of the Assistant Stage Manager. He has helped build and set up many CUTC production sets over the past 9 years. He’d like to thank the Shrek performers and production staff for all of their hard work, help, and support. BREAK A LEG ALL!!


Natalie Deptula (Fairy Godmother/Featured Dancer) is ecstatic to be returning to the CUTC stage! She has been a part of numerous Kathy Murphy Student Productions in the past, including Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts). This production is especially meaningful to her, as she gets to share the stage with old friends and her younger sister, Abby. Natalie is a rising Junior studying Fashion Merchandising at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jacob Deters (Assistant Director) has been involved in over 30 productions around Central Illinois since 2005, most recently staring as Robert Kincaid in DLO’s Bridges of Madison County. He has directed, assistant directed, and vocal directed various shows, his favorite being co-directing The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Springfield Theatre Centre in 2019. Jacob is glad to join the CUTC family with Shrek: The Musical and sends his love to Jaime and his friends and family for always supporting him.

Brian Hagy (Lighting Designer) is known for his lighting design at the Station Theater and the old SoDo Theater (Class Act/Zoo Improv). He is honored to now be designing for CUTC. He is also known for directing of the Prompting Theater, a local acting/filmmaking company which provides adults with developmental disabilities a chance to learn both acting and tech skills. And, he himself will be seen acting on various stages from, as well as working on Indie films both locally and nationally.

Dani Hartt (Guard/Ensemble) is excited to be a part of her second show with CUTC after performing in All Together Now last fall. She is very grateful to be among so many talented people in this show and is having a blast!


Cindy Havice (Properties Designer/Set Decorator) has acted as Properties Designer/Set Decorator for 65+ theatrical productions in the C-U area. The majority have been Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company productions, but also many for Parkland College Theatre, Station Theatre, and the Virginia Theatre, just to name a few. She is excited to work with her amazing daughter, Whitney, who is directing Shrek. She sends great thanks and gratitude to Autumn for once again assisting her with this theater thing!

Whitney Havice (Director) is thrilled to return to the Virginia Theatre to direct Shrek: the Musical! She has directed, choreographed, or appeared in over seventy productions locally and regionally. Recent directing credits include Beauty and the Beast and Grease. She has served as Dance Rehearsal Director for LTI, and as the Musical Theatre Dance instructor at the Little Theatre on the Square. Whitney works at Krannert Center, and teaches Musical Theatre Dance for the Champaign Park District.

Sydney Hoel (Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy/Rat Tapper/Featured Dancer) is thrilled to be in her second CUTC production. She is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois where she studied Voice Performance under Professor Dawn Harris and Professor Sarah Wigley. Most recently, she was seen in Lyric Theatre @ Illinois’ Marvelous Wonderettes as Betty Jean. This fall, she will be attending New York University to pursue a dual master’s degree in Vocal Performance: Music Theatre and Vocal Pedagogy.

Emily Hogan (White Rabbit/Blind Mouse/Featured Dancer) can’t wait to be in her second CUTC performance this summer. Emily has participated in shows such as All Together Now and Rent but is so grateful and excited to be partaking in Shrek, which is one of her favorites!

Roger Holben (Little Pig 1) is thrilled to be in his third production with CUTC. He has been previously seen as Cogsworth In CUTC's Beauty and the Beast, Pippin in Unity High School's Pippin, and Glinda in Unity High School's The Wizard of Oz. Roger is involved in many clubs at his high school such as drama club, show choir, student council, and many more. He would like to shout out his other two pigs and the rest of the cast, crew, and directors for making this show such an amazing experience.

Summer Hollis (Baby Bear/Featured Dancer) is thrilled to be in her first CUTC production. She has previously been involved with the Champaign Park District Youth Theatre, and most recently played the role of Vi in Footloose. She is honored to be among a cast this amazingly talented and has had an absolute blast in the creation of this show!

Jamel Jones (Donkey) is very excited to be doing his first show with CUTC! He has been in Shrek before and and is even more exited this time around! He loves the message that the show sends about friendship and the importance of loving and expressing yourself. His favorite number of the show is “This is our story” because it shows how powerful unity can be and really brings the story to a happy ending.

Maggie Kinnamon (Tap Choreographer) is the Drama and Dance Teacher at Leal School in Urbana. She also taught dance at Twist and Shout in Mahomet for ten years. Maggie returned to the CUTC stage as M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias in 2020 after taking a long hiatus to raise three theater kids of her own. Her other favorite roles in CUTC productions have been Lola in Damn Yankees and Eva Perón in Evita. It has been a joy to work with the hard-working Rat Tappers in this production!

HeatherAnn Layman (Stage Manager) is the Operations Asst for Parkland Theatre and the Staerkel Planetarium. She has stage managed for both Parkland and CUTC since moving to Champaign in 2013. Some of her favorites include Noises Off! (Parkland, 2015) and Memphis (Parkland, 2018). With a background in technical theatre and music performance, HeatherAnn also enjoys being on the stage, having appeared in local productions of Joseph (CUTC, 2017), and Young Frankenstein (Parkland, 2019). Lots of love and many thanks to her husband Ben and their son Clark.

Alina Loewenstein (Dwarf/Featured Dancer) is honored to be playing Dwarf in Shrek for the second time. They would like to say thank you to all the rodents in the cast for inspiring them every day. They hope everyone enjoys the show!

Emma Loewenstein (Tinkerbell/Blind Mouse/Featured Dancer) knows they look like their mom.

Casey Long (Shrek) earned his BA in Acting from Columbia College Chicago, where he performed in Alice in Wonderland. Chicago credits: Our Town (The Den Theatre), The Exonerated (Loop Players), Much Ado About Nothing (Fury Theatre), Shakespeare All-Stars (Touring), Bloodsport! The Musical, and Escape from Chicago (Public House Theatre). Favorite C-U credits: The Little Dog Laughed (The Station Theatre), The Pillowman (Parkland Theatre), and Doubt (Twin City Theatre Company). Enjoy the show!

Liz Martin (Vocal Director) is grateful to have been part of this incredible production. After a 13-year career teaching music, Liz is working on a masters degree in social work at UIUC with a concentration in Leadership & Social Change. Liz works as the Director of Christian Education & Youth, the Contemporary Worship Leader, and Queer Space Facilitator for the Wesley United Methodist Church and Foundation at the University of Illinois. All my love & thanks to my chosen family!

Michael Miller (Sound Designer) received his Music degrees from U of Montana and Ohio State. 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 CUTC, 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 NCSA at the University of Illinois.

Victoria Morford (Mama Ogre/Townsperson/Ogress Body Double) graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University and will be a third-year music teacher in the Salt Fork District. Some favorite roles Victoria has previously played are Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Lucy in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! This is Victoria’s first show with CUTC!

Jason Morgan (Little Pig #2/Papa Ogre) is happy to be back on the stage. His previous CUTC shows include Man of La Mancha (Padre) and Into the Woods (Baker). Other local performances include HMS Pinafore (Prairie Fire), The Mikado (Station) and The Green Children (Granda). When not singing on the stage, he enjoys music directing musicals and teaching voice with his wife Nicole. He’s especially proud of his three children (one is Peter Pan!) who all love to sing and keep our house full of music.

Jasper Morgan (Peter Pan/Thelonious) is excited to return to theatre after a decade away. He has found a home in multiple choirs at Knox College and will be finishing a music composition degree when he returns to school. He notably will be singing with the professional group the Nova Singers in Galesburg for the 22-23 season.

Mike O'Brien (Prosthetics/Masks) is an accomplished teacher, director, actor, puppeteer, and inspired fool. He has been actively involved in the theatre arts for over forty years, with over twenty years as a theatre educator. As an artist he has tackled such projects as Servant of Two Masters, A Christmas Carol, Waiting for Godot, and She Kills Monsters. Mike has also written the puppet theatre plays Your Dream My Dream and Gra’ma for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.

Excellence Onalundula (Papa Bear/Dragon Trio/Townperson) is a student at Parkland College. He was Assistant Director of Machinal as well as Ensemble member for Chicago in spring 2020 at Parkland College. He also directed Malcom for Station Theatre's #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence. After 2 years, Excellence was back to the Parkland stage as The Iconic Pearl Krab in Spongebob SquarePants last Spring. This is his debut on the Virginia Theater stage.

Carrie Penning Bush (Duloc Townsperson) is a retired teacher of ESL returning to musical theater after a 42-year hiatus. She is delighted to be taking the stage with such an amazing cast. When asked about her favorite song from the show, the phrase, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll change your life!” comes to mind. These characters will have you howling. These songs grab you by the heartstrings. You’ll be standing proud and waving your own freak flag high! Truly, “what makes us special makes us strong!”

Jordan Rinkenberger (Mad Hatter/Duloc Dancer/Dancing Skeleton/Rat Tapper) is thrilled to be performing in his fourth production with CUTC! He is an upcoming freshman at Champaign Central High School and has been participating in CU community theatre since age six. He has most recently been seen on stage in CUTC’s Sister Act (Eddie), CPD’s High School Musical (Ryan), and CPD’s Footloose (Bickle/Featured Dancer). Jordan wishes to thank everyone for coming and hopes you enjoy the show!

Jess Schlipf (Makeup Designer) is excited to be designing makeup for their second show, the first being Parkland's Spongebob SquarePants. Outside of makeup design, they have performed as an actor in 50+ productions over the course of 24 years and are currently performing as a drag king under the moniker Spank Knightly. When they are not performing, you can find them here working in the Virginia Theatre box office!

Jason Brooks Shaw (Ugly Duckling/Ensemble) is excited to act in their first show at CUTC and to share this amazing story with you. They just played Sandy Cheeks in Spongebob SquarePants at Parkland College. They also perform in murder mysteries with CUTC's Seven Corpse Murder Mystery Dinners. They would like to thank the awesome team behind this show for their support and creativity, the cast for their hard work and friendship, and their family for their support and love.

Andrew Simek (Lord Farquaad) is thrilled to be making his Illinois musical theatre debut with CUTC. Originally from Binghamton, NY, he studied songwriting at Berklee: College of Music in Boston and performed regularly in the Broome County area of New York in various bands and musical projects, as well as in a plethora of musicals. Andrew would like to thank his friends and family for their support, and Emily for redefining love and the universe.

Kaila Simpson (Dragon) is excited to be in her first CUTC production and first show since high school. She was inspired to audition by her math students who participate in CUTC regularly and her voice teacher. She is incredibly honored to perform with this amazing and talented cast and hopes you enjoy the show!

Aliah Teclaw (Choreographer) is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance & is expected to receive her certification in yoga by 2023. Aliah’s most recent choreography credits include creating work for Still Inspired: Future Artists, a Chicago based company for promoting up-and-coming choreographers. She has also created various solo and group works through Dance at Illinois.

Alexis Webb (Elf/Featured Dancer) is grateful to be back performing on a stage since her last musical in 2018! This is her first show with CUTC, and has had a great time getting to work with so many wonderful people. Her previous roles include Pepa Marcos in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Adele Rice in A Man of No Importance, and Vivian Kensington in Legally Blonde. Congratulations to the creative team, cast, and crew for putting together such an amazing, joy-filled show!

Jacob Webber (Knight/Hair & Wigs Designer) is excited for his first performance with CUTC. He is a hair stylist and a waiter, and is going to school for business at Parkland. He is looking forward to more shows in the future. He's very excited for this role as a knight as well as doing the hair and wigs for the show. Can't wait for more opportunities in the future!

Tatum Wichus (Teen Fiona/Witch/Featured Dancer) is making her CUTC debut in Shrek: The Musical. Although it is her first CUTC production she has participated in many other shows in the past with other companies including playing Veruca in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and JoJo in Suessical: the Musical! She will be a Sophomore at Monticello High School in the fall. She is blown away by the talent in this production and can’t wait to share it with you!

Dean Willard (Young Shrek, Duloc Townsperson, and Traveling Puppeteer) is very excited to be in Shrek: The Musical. He has played as the Munchkin Mayor in The Wizard of Oz with CUTC, and in The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza and Brief Interviews with Internet Cats at his middle school. He can't wait for you to see this beautiful show!

Devin Williams (King Harold/Little Pig 3/Pied Piper) is excited to be in his first production with CUTC and his first show in over a decade due to his role as a father of four! He is even more excited to share the stage with his wife (Fiona) and daughter (Young Fiona). Other roles include Pippin in Pippin, George in She Loves Me, Tommy Keeler in Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma!, Joseph…, and more. Devin has a PhD from the Univ. of Florida and is an accounting professor at the Univ. of Illinois.

Andrea Williams (Princess Fiona) is thrilled to be back on the Virginia stage for her second show with CUTC. She holds a BFA in Music/Dance/Theater from BYU. Favorite roles include Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Laurey in Oklahoma!, and Cathy in The Last Five Years. Andrea can usually be found starring as Mom to her four amazing kiddos, and is so grateful for this opportunity to let a few extra “Dreams Come True” up here with Devin and Julia by her side!

Julia Williams (Young Fiona/Rat Tapper/Featured Dancer) is excited to be in her first musical ever! She has been dancing since she was three and is excited to add singing! She feels so lucky to share this experience with her mom and her dad, who are in the show too! Being her mom’s mini-me sure came in handy. :)

Anieya Wilson (Humpty Dumpty) is thrilled to be a part of CUTC's production of Shrek: The Musical! She was a part of Parkland's production of SpongeBob Squarepants this past May as Mrs.Puff, and enjoyed the feeling so much she couldn’t wait to hop back into another musical! She cannot wait for everyone to see the amazing show she and her other talented cast members have put together!

Delaney Wright (Duloc Townsperson/Morning Person/Tap Dancer) will be starting her fourth year of college at the U of I where she is majoring in Scenic Technology and Stage Management. She has appeared in many shows in the area (Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Ruth in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Young Woman in Machinal, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet) and is so excited to finally return to being onstage and not just behind the scenes. Enjoy the show!

Carissa Yau (Wicked Witch/Dragon Trio) is thrilled to be working with CUTC again on this production of Shrek! She acted with CUTC previously in The Tempest (dir. Latrelle Bright and Misty Martin) as Miranda. She has also performed at Krannert Center in LTI's production of Little Sharp Ears as Pepik/Fox Cub and participated in Illinois Theatre's New Works Festival as Morpheus in Jordan Ratliff's Fugitives in America. She thanks her friends, family, and the Shrek cast/crew for their support.

Brad "Gil" Yohnka (Bishop/Guard/Knight/Townsperson) is excited to act in his seventh CUTC show (Producers, Legally Blonde, How to Succeed, Les Mis, Guys & Dolls, Joseph). He has performed for several local theater companies and is on the Monticello Theatre Assoc. board. Gil is a retired Champaign Police Lieutenant. He thanks his wife Peg for her support of his community theater hobby. Gil is having a blast working with this talented cast and crew and he hopes the audiences feel well served by their efforts.

Alex Young (Ensemble) is so excited to be doing her first CUTC show! She is an acting major at Illinois State University and is a part of The Improv Mafia there. She’s been in many productions in the past 7 years that she’s done theatre. She can’t wait for you to laugh, cry, and be amazed by this wonderful show!!

Kevin Zhou (Pit Director/Rehearsal Accompanist) is excited to be part of his first CUTC production with Shrek: The Musical. He has been involved in many productions on the U of I campus, playing for shows through the Illini Student Musicals. He has played in the pit for Carrie: The Musical and A Chorus Line while also helping to music direct the Fall 2020 ISM Showcase, Little Women, and Into the Woods. He has also music directed The Marvelous Wonderettes with Lyric Theatre @ Illinois.

Benny Zielke (Pinocchio/Featured Dancer) is excited to be sharing the CUTC stage one last time with friends and family before moving to LA! They recently graduated from Millikin University with a BFA in Acting and will be pursuing a career in film, writing, and music. Past CUTC roles include Rizzo (Grease), Nancy (Oliver!), and Gavroche (Les Miserables). They hope you enjoy the show as much as they have enjoyed working with this wonderful team!

Susan Zielke (Queen Lillian/Cinderella's Mother/Dragon Puppeteer/Rat Tapper/Duloc Townsperson) is excited to return to the Virginia Theatre stage and perform with this cast - especially her child, Benny! Past roles include Marmee in Little Women, Mrs. Webb in Our Town, Florence Williams in The Curious Savage, Mrs. Kirby in You Can’t Take It With You, and a featured dancer in Anything Goes and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She thanks everyone for their support of Shrek and local theatre and hopes you enjoy the show!