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


Emily Moisant* 

Stage Manager
Petr Jaros-Vitacco* 

Directing Advisor
Brian Gill

*Theatre Arts Student 

Emily Moisant


Cultural representation is not just important, it is vital. Without representation those who belong to marginalized groups are often made to feel alone. There is also a danger in letting representation fall to the wayside. If there is no representation for queer people, then it is much easier for others to dismiss or ignore the queer community and for society at large to turn a blind eye to acts of physical or emotional violence against the LGBTQIA+ folks. 

Recently, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts—a high school in Jacksonville, FL—was set to produce Indecent by Paula Vogel. This contemporary play, which opened on Broadway in 2017, sheds light upon little-known episodes of queer history in America and prominently features a queer relationship. The production at DASOTA was ultimately canceled, and many students have speculated that it is a direct result of the The Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, recently passed by the Florida legislation.  

Whether the cancellation of Indecent is due solely to this infamous bill remains hard to decipher. Yet, the situation shows that there is enormous room for progress in the normalization of the portrayal of queer people and their relationships. Another area in which representation for queer people can greatly improve is when it comes to gender identity. Not only are the voices of transgender individuals rarely included in storytelling, transgender characters are often portrayed by cisgender actors. It is important to have representation in storytelling and it is important to have representation when it comes to the people who are telling those stories. 


Avyn Holliday

AVYN HOLIDAY (Paige) is a first-year student with a major in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Previous credits include The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (U/S #2, #46, Soccer Mom). 

Star Howard

STAR HOWARD (Max) is a senior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Stage Management. Previous credits include As You Like It (Assistant Director and Assistant Head Electrician), The Wolves (Stage Manager), She Kills Monsters (Stage Manager), The Penelopiad (Stage Manager), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Assistant Stage Manager), Romeo and Juliet (Assistant Stage Manager), Stupid F##king Bird (Assistant Sound Designer), and Silent Sky (Deck Chief) at UW-Parkside. Additional credits include Love Stings (Production Intern) and Fishing for the Moon (Production Intern) at Northern Sky Theater. 


ALEX ORTIZ (Isaac) is a junior Theatre Arts major from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Previous acting credits include As You Like It (Touchstone) and The Tourists (Dmetri). 

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LUCAS PITT (Arnold) is a first-year student at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. This is his debut on the university stage!  

Kalyn Diercks

KALYN DIERCKS (Narrator) is a junior Theatre Arts major with concentrations in Acting and Design and Technology. Previous acting credits include The Wolves (Soccer Mom, U/S #8, #11), Indecent (U/S The Middle), and The Penelopiad (Maid/Naiad Mother) at UW-Parkside.   

J Lofty

J LOFTY (U/S Max) is a sophomore Theatre Arts major with a minor in International Studies. Previous credits include As You Like It (Assistant Props Head) and She Kills Monsters (Assistant Props Head) at UW-Parkside. Additional credits include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at STEPS Performing Arts (Props Head) and Brighton Beach Memoirs (Assistant Stage Manager) at Lakeside Players.


Emily Moisant

EMILY MOISANT (Director) is a junior Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Directing. Previous credits include The Wolves (Wardrobe Supervisor), Circle Mirror Transformation (Stage Manager), and The Penelopiad (Dramaturg) at UW-Parkside, as well as In the Next Room (Wardrobe Crew) at UW-Milwaukee. Recently, Emily served as Wardrobe Supervisor for Maples Repertory Theatre in Macon, Missouri. 

Petr Jaros

PETR JAROS-VITACCO (Stage Manager) is a sophomore Theatre Arts major with a concentration in Design and Technology. Past credits include The Wolves (Assistant Lighting Designer), She Kills Monsters (Head Electrician), Circle Mirror Transformation (Lighting Designer), and The Mad Ones (Adam U/S). Recently, Petr directed Anne of Green Gables and a Playwriting Showcase at Racine Lutheran High School. 


BRIAN J. GILL (Faculty Directing Advisor) is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts. UW-Parkside Theatre directing credits include Book of Days, Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire, Midnight and Moll Flanders, Love's Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, and The Thanksgiving Play. As a member of the adjunct faculty of the College of Lake County, Professor Gill directed Crimes of the Heart, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, She Kills Monsters, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Chicago acting credits include Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens, Drury Lane Oakbrook, and Remy Bumppo. Milwaukee acting credits include Next Act Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Renaissance Theaterworks, First Stage and Milwaukee Repertory. Regionally, Brian has performed with the Illinois and Texas Shakespeare Festivals, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Theatre at the Center, Allenberry Playhouse, and the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. Internationally, he has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre where he trained as a member of the first International Artistic Fellowship. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, and the Society of American Fight Directors where he holds the rank of Advanced Actor-Combatant. 

Casa Capri for ongoing support 

Sound Faculty Advisor
Kevin Gray

Stage Management Faculty Advisor 
Misti Bradford 

Poster Design and Prgram Layout
Kim Sekas

Production Photographer
Alyssa Nepper, Laura Mason

Department Administrative Assisstants
Joe Lambin, Edson Melendez

Theatre Arts Department Chair 
Misti Bradford 

Theatre Arts Artistic Director 
Fabrice Conte-Williamson 

Playwrights Horizons, Inc., New York City, produced the New York City Premiere of HIR Off-Broadway in 2015.

HIR was developed and given its world premiere at Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA. Loretta Greco, Producing Artistic Director. Opening Night was February 4, 2014.

HIR was workshopped as part of the Creativity Fund, a program of New Dramatists.


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*
Marie Kohler & Brian Mani*
Patricia Petretti*

Laurie & Steve Feiler
Shirley Warter

Debra Karp & Stephen Smiley
David R. Koss '06

Darleen Chiappetta
Barbara DeLaney
Ruth A. Frear
Dr. Claire M. Hicks
Lisa & Mike Humke
Karen MacKinnon
Jeff & Lynn Skatrud
Melissa Smyth

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, 2020-Sep 30, 2021. 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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