Chris Pazdernik (Artistic Director) is a director/choreographer with “a near encyclopedic knowledge of musicals” (NewCity Stage), best known for his critically acclaimed production of High Fidelity (Jef Awards, Best Director & Best Production of a Musical) which pioneered the site-specific productions here at Refuge Theatre Project. Recent credits also include Merrily We Roll Along (Porchlight Music Theatre); The Spitfire Grill (Refuge Theatre Project); Carrie (Ohio Northern University); Do Re Mi, The Rink, Anyone Can Whistle,City of Angels and Applause (Porchlight Revisits). By day, he is the Casting Associate & Company Manager at Porchlight Music Theatre.
Jon Schneidman (Music Director) is thrilled to be returning to Refuge Theatre Project and his beloved Christopher once again after his Jeff-nominated work on recent productions of High Fidelity and Spitfire Grill. Other credits include The Nutcracker (House Theatre of Chicago), Knuffle Bunny (Emerald City Theatre), The Civility of Albert Cashier (Promoveo Productions), and Thaddeus and Slocum (Lookingglass Theatre). Jon currently serves as music director for Barrel of Monkeys, a non-profit serving CPS students. For Ally. shatterproof.org
Ariel Triunfo (Choreographer) is currently a Junior in Columbia College Chicago's Musical Theatre program. She has performed in Chicago with Porchlight Music Theatre and Bittersweet Arts Company. Favorite choreography credits include "Hark and Hush" (A Choreographers' Showcase 2015, Nevada Ballet Theatre/Cirque du Soleil) and "Dark to go Light" (The Studio Series 2016, Nevada Ballet Theatre). Ariel is delighted to be working with Refuge Theatre Project on this human drama kind of thing. @etana_ariel
Sean Michael Mohler (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be joining Refuge Theatre Project for the first time, especially since it is for one of his favorite, lesser-known musicals! Most recently, he worked with Random Acts Chicago on the US premiere of The Bone House and the world premiere of Strangest Things! The Musical (Best Production of a Musical - Chicago Theatre Award). He hopes you leave tonight feeling recharged for the endurance competition we call life and remember to keep your hands on it, whatever that “it” may be for you!
Collin G. Helou (Managing Director/Co-Lighting Designer) is excited to continue with Refuge Theatre Project. Other Chicago credits include work with The Hypocrites, Eclipse Theatre Company, Brown Paper Box Co., Visceral, Chicago Theatre Workshop, Li'l Buds Theatre, and The Casting Auction, as well as an extensive list of Chicagoland dance companies and academic institutions. In addition to his work in Chicagoland and the United Kingdom, Collin has worked extensively in Appalachia – working with PUSH: Physical Theatre, Liz Callaway, Paul Taylor's Taylor II, Heritage Theatre Festival, The Barter Players, Barter Theatre and as the Resident Lighting Designer for Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre. Thanks to the production team and cast for their support and continual tolerance of his sarcasm. www.collinghelou.com
Evan Frank (Scenic Designer/Props Master) is excited to be returning to Refuge where he is a company member and designed the set for Lysistrata Jones and props for Spitfire Grill and The Last Session. Other scenic designs include Airline Highway and Les Miserables (ChiArts), A Little Night Music (Boho) and May the Road Rise Up (Factory Theater). Next up is Buyer and Cellar at Pride Films and Plays and Two Days in Court with City Lit Theatre. Efrankdesign.com
Jennifer Kules (Co-Lighting Designer) is excited to be a part of Hands on a Hardbody She serves as the resident designer at Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck MI. Her designs credits include: Steam Heat (World Premiere), Memphis: The Musical, Avenue Q, Chicago, The Full Monty, Altar Boyz, Evita, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Richard Malty Jr. Dir.), The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Urinetown the Musical!, What a Glorious Feeling (World Premiere) The 39 Steps, Cabaret, TrainSpotting USA (American Premiere), Wicked City, Merrily We Roll Along, Every Christmas Story Ever Told, The Exonerated and numerous worldwide tours of Girls Night! The (Smash Hit) Musical and CUFF ME! The Unauthorized 50 Shades of Grey Musical.
Isaac Mandel (Sound Design/Audio Engineer) is so happy to be continuing his work with Refuge. In Chicago he has most recently worked on Girl in the Red Corner and The Last Session. Before coming to Chicago, Isaac was living in upstate NY and designed in NJ, where he was nominated for his design of Brother Size. A thank you to his wife for dealing with all of his shenanigans.
Uriel Gómez (Costume Design) Design credits include the Chicago premieres of The Madres, The Wolf At The End Of The Block, Parachute Men (Teatro Vista); De Troya, The River Bride (Halcyon Theatre); Mike Pence Sex Dream, Refrigerator, Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (First Floor Theatre) and many more. He would like to thank his friends, and family for all their support. For more information & designs please visit ugomez.com
Matt Dominguez (Associate Director) is the Associate Artistic Director of Refuge Theatre Project. Other RTP credits include THINGS TO RUIN, the critically acclaimed bare, and the Midwest premier of GLORY DAYS. Directing/Assisting credits include hang (Remy Bumppo), THE NANCE and MEN ON THE VERGE...(Pride Films & Plays), THE GREAT GOD PAN (Next Theatre), A BODY OF WATER (Redtwist Theatre), THE WHIPPING MAN (Northlight Theatre), THE CATHOLIC REP: DOUBT & AGNES OF GOD (American Theater Co.), as well as readings and Play Festivals at Commission Theatre and American Theater Co.
Brendan Siddall (Assistant Stage Manager) feels the joy to have his hands on a Refuge production for his behind-the-scenes Chicago debut. He is pursuing a BFA in Theatre Management at DePaul University, where he also works as an RA. Outside of prep periods, he can be found making spreadsheets, playing Pocket Frogs, or singing with the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus. Writing a satisfactory bio? That’s his problem right there.
Team Vodka Lighting (Lighting Production Services) Team Vodka Lighting was conceived in 1908 when the Cubs won their first World Series, then mostly forgotten until 2016, upon the rainy evening of Game 7 the full potential was revealed. Jennifer Kules & Collin “Sweet” Helou have been making magic lights ever since. They are so besotted to be back together at Refuge Theatre Project, they would like to share a recipe for the THE MATILDA: 2 oz Absolut Mandarin, ½ oz Moët & Chandon, splash of triple sec and freshly squeezed orange juice; served straight up in a blue cocktail glass. We’ll drink to that!