At the Rita: Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities

In the Emerald Triangle, Northern California 
Summer, 2019 


1. “Way Back Home” — Rosie, Nat 
2. “Round Here” — Tracy, Gerry 
3. “Life on the Road” — Nat 
4. “Thick and Thin” — Tracy 
5. “Someone Like Me” — Gerry 
6. “The Little Bigfoot” — Rosie, Tracy 
7. “Neck of the Woods” — Dustin, Nat 
8. “Burn Scar” — Tracy, Rosie 
9. “Someone Like Him” — Walt 
10. “When the Wind Changes” — Tracy, Gerry, All 

------ 10-Minute Intermission ------  


11. “Us Against the World” — Tracy, Gerry, Walt, All 
12. “The Lonely Girl” — Rosie 
13.  “When We’re Together” — Gerry, Walt 
14.   “Thick and Thin (Reprise)” — Tracy, Rosie 
15.   “If Not Now” — Gerry, Walt 
16. “Move On” — Nat 
16a. “When the Wind Changes (Reprise)” — Tracy, Rosie, Nat 
17. “Take Me” — Tracy 
18. Us Against the World (Finale)” — All 


Rachael Swartz

Music Director
Ryan Cappleman

Lighting Designer
Jessica Baker

Sound Designer
Kevin Gray

Stage Manager
Taylor Ireland*

Assistant Stage Manager
Lea Perry*

Sound Mixer
Maggie Jay*

Original Orchestrations/Guitar
Charlie Collins

J Lofty*

* Undergraduate Student 



The FreshInk series at UW-Parkside are staged readings of new plays providing opportunities for student performers, directors, stage managers, designers, and technicians to practice their craft outside of the standard mainstage season. 

Burn: a folk musical marks UW-Parkside's second FreshInk Musical, though the first opportunity to serve the mission for its creation – the support of new work. Crafted after the new musical workshop programs at Millikin and Baldwin Wallace University, the Fresh Ink Musical program offers students and faculty opportunities to collaborate with professional writing and producing teams as they develop new musicals intended for commercial production. These collaborative experiences offer student performers, stage managers and technicians a first-hand look into the process of developing and rehearsing a new musical, while providing the writers with a safe laboratory environment. 


Our work in bringing burn to UW-Parkside began in February of 2023 ensuring we could provide the creative team with support in the development of this exciting new musical. To follow burn after our production, look to Instagram (@burnmusical) or to their website 


burn: a folk musical Development History: 

  • Fall 2021 - began as a duet between two aging weed farmers, an assignment for a songwriting class at Berklee NYC  
  • June 2022 - Berklee NYC Showcase of New Musicals presentation November, 2022 - First industry table read  
  • July 2023 - Three-week developmental workshop in Peoria, Illinois  
  • October 2023 - Concert at The Cutting Room, NYC  
  • November 2023 - Two-week reading at University of Wisconsin-Parkside 



GAVIN CASILLAS (Walt) is a first-year Elementary Education major. Previous acting credits include Spring Awakening (Ernst/Reinhold) at UW-Parkside, and Something Rotten (Minstrel/Bard Boy) at Sunset Playhouse.


ANNAGRACE MCCURDY (Rosie) is a sophomore Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include As You Like It (U/S Rosalind), The Wolves (Sound Board Operator), The Laramie Project (Sound Board Operator) and Spring Awakening (Wendla). 


ALISTAIR WEIME (Gerry) is a Junior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Acting. Previous credits include As You Like It (Duke Frederick/Corin), She Kills Monsters (U/S Chuck, U/S Vera), Circle Mirror Transformation (James), The Penelopiad (Swing) and Spring Awakening (Hanschen/Rupert) at UW-Parkside, and Romeo and Juliet (Gregory) at Fleeing Artists. 


ALLISON HAYES (Tracy) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include Circle Mirror Transformation (Swing and Sound Designer), The Penelopiad (Maid/Iole) and The Wolves (Sound Designer) at UW-Parkside, James and The Giant Peach (James), She Kills Monsters (Farrah) at State Fair Community College, and The Addams Family (Pugsley) at Next Generation Performing Arts Camp. Most recently, Allison was a Character Performer at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. 



AUSTIN VOYLES (Dustin) is a senior with a major in Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) and a member of Parkside Range, Parkside Jazz Band, and Parkside Jazz Combo. Recent credits include Rent at Lakeside Players and Spring Awakening (Otto/Ulbrecht) at UW-Parkside. Austin is also a collaborative saxophonist and is often seen performing in gigs alongside his friends. 


LEXI ROGERS (Natasha) is a junior Theatre Arts Major with a concentration in Musical Theatre. Previous credits include Disaster! (Marianne Wilson, Paint Charge), The Robber Bridegroom (Rosamund), The Addams Family (Pugsley Addams, Paint Charge) and Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Girl) at Cowley College Theatre, and A 1940’s Christmas Carol (Judy Miller) and Flora and Ulysses (Tootie Tickham) at Act One Productions. 


MYKAH MELONE (U/S Gerry & Walt) is a junior with a double major in Theatre Arts and English. They recently came to us from Carthage College where they were Props Designer for Legally Blonde, and Assistant Stage Manager for Betrayal. They served as the Assistant Fight Director for Shakespeare in Love at Harper College, and their acting credits include Puppet Corps (Silas Cybin) at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, Hair (Paul / Woof) at Carthage College, She Kills Monsters (Farrah the Faerie) at Elgin Community College, Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Ensemble) at Lake Zurich Players, and Macbeth (u/s Angus & Witch) at Theatre Lab. Most recently, Mykah was the Prop Lead for The Laramie Project at UW-Parkside. 


ALISON PINCHARD (U/S Rose & Tracy) is a junior with a major in English, a concentration in Film and Cultural Studies, and a minor in Theatre Arts. Previous credits include As You Like It (Props Crew) and Spring Awakening (Ensemble, Anna cover) at UW-Parkside. 


DEDRICK WOODS (U/S Dustin) is a first-year Theatre Arts Major. 


HADLEY RUETTEN (U/S Natasha) is a first-year Theater Major with concentrations in Musical Theatre and Acting. She has performed and worked backstage in numerous productions in the Oshkosh area. Most recently, Hadley was the Deck Crew for The Laramie Project at UW-Parkside. 



RACHAEL SWARTZ (Director) teaches musical theatre, voice, movement, and on-camera acting at UW-Parkside and during the summer serves on the Acting and Musical Theatre faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Rachael is a proud union member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Some of her recent regional performance credits include: The 39 Steps (Annabella/Pamela/Margaret), The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess), and Romeo and Juliet (Nurse). Recent on-camera credits include work with the Travel Channel, ID, Oxygen and TV One. She holds an undergraduate degree from Baldwin Wallace University and her MFA in Theatre Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi. 

Ryan Cappleman

RYAN CAPPLEMAN (Music Director) is a performer, choreographer, musician and teaching artist from Milwaukee. Here at UW-Parkside, Ryan teaches Voice, Dance for Musical Theatre, and Musical Theatre Appreciation, and worked on the productions of Spring Awakening, Indecent, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Ryan has performed professionally at Skylight Music Theater, Forte Theater, Third Avenue Playworks, and Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater. As a choreographer, Ryan has earned three Footlights Awards for Outstanding Choreography in a Professional Musical, as well as numerous Jerry Awards. As a musician, Ryan has collaborated with artists ranging from students to Broadway stars, to Grammy Award winners. He has been lucky enough to educate young performers locally and around the country including the Milwaukee Ballet, UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, First Stage, Danceworks, the Minnesota Conservatory of the Arts, the Virginia State Thespian Conference, and many high schools. 

Taylor Ireland

TAYLOR IRELAND (Stage Manager) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Stage Management. Recent UW-Parkside credits include The Laramie Project (Stage Manager), Spring Awakening (Spotlight Operator), The Aliens (Stage Manager), As You Like It (Assistant Stage Manager) and The Wolves (Assistant Stage Manager). Taylor was also the Stage Manager for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales at Cyclopedic Ensemble, and most recently was Assistant Stage Manager for The Old Man and The Old Moon and As You Like It at Door Shakespeare. 


LEA PERRY (Assistant Stage Manager) is a first-year Theatre Arts Major with a Concentration in Stage Management. 

Jessica Baker

JESSICA BAKER (Lighting Designer) is the Arts Technician at UW-Parkside and has been designing lights for Parkside since 2018. Recently she was the lighting associate for Fireside Dinner Theatre’s performance of Titanic the Musical. In the summer of 2023, she worked at First Stage Children’s Theatre as the assistant teacher for playwriting/design class and was the lighting designer for the company class. In the summer of 2022, she worked at The Santa Fe Opera as a lighting apprentice working on the operas Carmen, The Barber of Seville, Tristan und Isolde, and Falstaff

Kevin Gray

KEVIN GRAY (Sound Designer) is UW-Parkside’s Sound Manager and Instructor, working with both the Theatre Arts and Music departments to produce art and events on campus. Kevin received a BA in Sound Design with a minor in Music Composition from Michigan Technological University. Design credits include The Aliens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Cinderella, and Stupid F##king Bird, for which he received a national award. 



Pennsylvania-raised and NYC-based, composer/lyricist Mason Emmert writes, sings, plays, arranges, music-directs, and otherwise oversees musical storytelling across media. His work draws on a variety of styles, from folk and pop singersongwriters (Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor) to musical theater classic and contemporary (Stephen Schwartz, Howard Ashman, Anais Mitchell). Mason’s undergraduate thesis, Three Psalms, a four-movement work for SATB unaccompanied choir, premiered in 2017 at Haverford College. The following spring, he composed an original score for Bryn Mawr College’s production of Mr Burns: a post-electric play. Since then, Mason has performed and music directed in educational, religious, and elder care settings in the Philadelphia area, with a focus on teaching and empowering expression for performers of every age. 


Patrick Deane Greeley is a NYC- based songwriter and composer. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Patrick began composing music as an undergraduate at Emerson College. His first show, The Shakespearean Jazz Show, toured Boston, New Orleans, and New York City for 8 years. Notable productions include the 2017 New York Musical Festival (NYMF), performances at the McKittrick Hotel, and at 54 Below. Following the success of The Shakespearean Jazz Show, Patrick began composing orchestral pieces for his project, Soundtrack For An Exhibition. This project focuses on creating symphonic soundscapes for museums and specific exhibitions, enhancing the experience of the viewer by immersing them in the world of the artwork. Patrick also recorded and released his first EP - “The Twenties”. This album consists of the folk music that he wrote throughout his twenties, finally releasing at the end of the decade. 

To burn’s producers – Brian Haas & Frank Monier 

Charlie Collins for additional orchestrations and cultivation of the Guitar book for this production. 

Casa Capri for ongoing support  

Jody Sekas 

Poster and Program Design 
Kim Sekas 

Department Administrative Assistants 
Joe Lambin, Edson Melendez 

Theatre Arts Production Manager 
Misti Bradford 

Theatre Arts Department Chair 
Fabrice Conte-Williamson 


The College of Arts and Humanities with the UW-Parkside Foundation gratefully acknowledges the following individuals for their investment in the Theatre Arts Department and students.

Susan M. Cable, D.D.S. '81 *
Dr. Donald A. Cress *
William Dienhart *
Marie Kohler & Brian Mani *
Patricia Petretti *
Shirley Warter *

Keith Harris

David R. Koss, '06
Dr. Lesley Heins Walker

Darleen Chiappetta
Edwin & Flora Doody
Calvin Kaplan '71
Debra Karp & Stephen Smiley
Frances M. Kavenik
Heather McGee '90

You can enhance Theatre Arts Education.

In the same way that mounting a play requires a team, funding it is likewise a team effort. To produce our amazing shows, we rely on a combination of sources—ticket sales, the University, and private funding.

Play a part in advancing the student experience through your one-time or recurring contribution to the Dr. Donald A. Cress Theatre Production Enhancement Fund.

Donate today

Donations listed were received Jul 1, 2022-Aug 30, 2023. For omissions or changes to this donor list, please contact

*Denotes members of the UW-Parkside Chancellor’s Society.

About UW-Parkside

Since 1968, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has continued to build a reputation as an outstanding liberal arts institution with particularly strong fine arts programs. With The Rita Tallent Picken Center for Arts & Humanities, our state-of-the-art instructional facilities and stunning performance venues match our award-winning academic programs and provide even greater community access. UW-Parkside offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as specialized online programs. Each year, more than 100 College of Lake County graduates transfer to UW-Parkside to pursue a four-year degree. The award-winning Theatre Arts program is a popular destination for transfer students.

Theatre Arts Major  |  Theatre Arts Department  |  The Rita

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