Lookingglass Theatre Company Welcomes New Ensemble Members and Artistic Associates

By: Dec. 11, 2019
Lookingglass Theatre Company Welcomes New Ensemble Members and Artistic Associates

Lookingglass Theatre Company welcomes five new Ensemble Members and four new Artistic Associates into the Lookingglass family. Joining the Ensemble are Walter Briggs (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Moby Dick), Kasey Foster (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas), circus choreographer Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein), Anthony Irons (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Act(s) of God), and composer and sound designer Andre Pluess (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Eastland). New Artistic Associates include Cordelia Dewdney (Moby Dick, Hard Times), Wendy Mateo (Big Lake Big City, Beyond Caring), costume designer Sully Ratke (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas) and Matthew C. Yee (Treasure Island, Moby Dick).

Artistic Director Heidi Stillman comments, "The Lookingglass Ensemble is thrilled to expand our ranks with these brilliant artists, who have shaped our past and will help drive our future."

Lookingglass is also pleased to announce that Ensemble Member Kareem Bandealy is now serving as the company's New Works Manager.

About the Artists

Ensemble Members

Walter Briggs has appeared with the company in Act(s) of God, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The North China Lover, the remount of Moby Dick, and its touring production to Alliance Theatre, South Coast Repertory, and Arena Stage. He most recently played Percy Shelley in Lookingglass' production of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein both in Chicago and at the McCarter Theatre Center. He has worked with many companies in the Chicago theatre scene since 2004 including the world premiere of Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience) at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, All Our Tragic (The Hypocrites), The Glass Menagerie (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co), Victory Gardens Theater, A Red Orchid Theatre, Steep Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, and The House Theatre of Chicago.

Kasey Foster is a performer, choreographer, producer, and director. She is currently performing on the Lookingglass stage in The Steadfast Tin Soldier and has previously appeared in 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, Treasure Island, Moby Dick, and The Little Prince. Kasey sings with bands Babe-alon 5, Grood, Old Timey, This Must be the Band, and Nasty Buoy. She has created over fifty original works, and produces two annual series called Dance Tribute and The ACTual Show.

SYLVIA HERNANDEZ-DISTASI came to Chicago in 1990 after running away from the circus. In 1995 she co-founded The Actors Gymnasium Circus School and Theatre Company where she currently serves as Artistic Director, master teacher, and choreographer. Her first production with Lookingglass was in 1993 and has since worked on 25 productions with the company. Her most recent work includes The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas.

Anthony Irons is an actor, writer, and director who has lived and worked in Chicago since 2002. Anthony's Lookingglass appearances include Treasure Island, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, and Act(s) of God. He has performed with Shattered Globe Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, American Theater Company, and The Second City. Anthony is also an Ensemble Member of Congo Square Theatre Company, where he has performed in over a dozen productions. He's received Black Theatre Alliance Awards, African American Arts Alliance Awards, and three Jeff Award nominations. Regionally, Anthony has worked with Alliance Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and the Shakespeare Companies of North Carolina, Georgia, and Illinois. In addition to performing onstage, Anthony has worked as a professional Storyteller.

Andre Pluess Broadway credits include Metamorphoses, I Am My Own Wife, 33 Variations, The Minutes (upcoming), and The Clean House (at Lincoln Center). Based in Chicago, his credits include composition and sound design for numerous productions at Lookingglass Theatre Company (Artistic Associate since 2002), Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, About Face Theatre, and many other Chicago theatres. His work has appeared regionally at Center Theatre Group, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, and many others.

The Lookingglass Theatre Company Ensemble includes Kareem Bandealy, Mara Blumenfeld, Walter Briggs, J. Nicole Brooks, David Catlin, Thomas J. Cox, Lawrence DiStasi, Kevin Douglas, Christine Mary Dunford, Laura Eason, Anthony Fleming III, Kasey Foster, Raymond Fox, Joy Gregory, Doug Hara, Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Anthony Irons, David Kersnar, Louise Lamson, Daniel Ostling, Andre Pluess, David Schwimmer, Joey Slotnick, Philip R. Smith, Heidi Stillman, Tracy Walsh, Andrew White, Temple Williams III and Mary Zimmerman.

Artistic Associates

Cordelia Dewdney is a Chicago-based actor and graduate of Northwestern University where she studied Theatre and English Literature. Previous Lookingglass credits include the national tour of Moby Dick as well as the 2017 production, Hard Times, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which recently closed at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. Working with Lookingglass has simultaneously ignited and fulfilled her passion for telling timeless stories in a new light. She is represented by Stewart Talent.

Wendy Mateo is a Chicago-based comedian, actor, writer, director, and filmmaker. Wendy has worked the boards at Lookingglass Theatre in Big Lake Big City, Blood Wedding, and Beyond Caring; those roles for her, impacted the direction of what it means to be an artist. Wendy is committed to rewriting the narrative of theater and media, holding space for important dialogue, and creating more opportunities for underrepresented stories to be told.

SULLY RATKE is a theatre artist with a background in painting, drawing, music, and performance. Previous Lookingglass credits include costume design for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, and Moby Dick. She loves the relationships between art and action, and uses it as a basis for her designs. She takes on the responsibility of a reflection-striving to reflect honestly the much Good she finds around herself. It keeps her looking for it, at any rate! And there is much to see!

MATTHEW C. YEE has been a part of the Chicago theatre community since 2013. Previous Lookingglass credits include Treasure Island and Moby Dick. He has also appeared in productions at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater. In addition to being an actor, Matthew is a musician, playwright, and filmmaker, having contributed multiple short stop-motion films to Lookingglass' annual gala.

Lookingglass Theatre Company Artistic Associates include Atra Asdou, Christine A. Binder, Cordelia Dewdney, Christopher Donahue, Deanna Dunagan, Sara Gmitter, Tony Hernandez, Lauren Hirte, Joshua Horvath, J. Salomé Martinez, Jr., Wendy Mateo, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Ericka Ratcliff, Sully Ratke, Brian Sydney Bembridge, Scott Silberstein, Rick Sims, Alison Siple, Samuel Taylor, Lisa Tejero, Troy West and Matthew C. Yee.

Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 32nd Season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago's landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 69 world premieres, received 161 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres' Artistic Achievement Award.

Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Director of Community Engagement Andrew White, General Manager Michele Anderson, a 29-member artistic ensemble, 22 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Nancy Timmers and President Richard Chapman. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.

BroadwayWorld Awards Voting


5th Installment Of THE HOLIDAY CABERNET is Coming to Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro Photo
5th Installment Of THE HOLIDAY CABERNET is Coming to Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro

Join us for the fifth installment of the Holiday Cabernet on December 17. Tickets available now.

BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards December 5th Standings; I LOVE YOU, YOURE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE Photo
BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards December 5th Standings; I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE Leads Best Musical!

It's December, and the first standings of the month have been announced as of Tuesday, December 5th for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards! Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

Photos: First Look at Blank Theatre Companys PROMISES, PROMISES Photo
Photos: First Look at Blank Theatre Company's PROMISES, PROMISES

Blank Theatre Company presents the second and final show of their 2023 season, “Promises, Promises”, running this month. Check out all new production photos here!

Paul Williams And Henson Puppeteers Post-Show Talkback This Friday Following EMMET OTTERS  Photo
Paul Williams And Henson Puppeteers Post-Show Talkback This Friday Following EMMET OTTER'S JUG BAND Performance

Join legendary composer Paul Williams and the puppeteers of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas for a post-show talkback on Friday, December 8 at Chicago's Studebaker Theater.

More Hot Stories For You


It's a Wonderful Life! in Chicago It's a Wonderful Life!
Improv Playhouse Radio Theater (12/08-12/16)
Christmas From the Farm 2023 in Chicago Christmas From the Farm 2023
Theatre at the Center (12/01-12/10)
On Your Feet (Non-Equity) in Chicago On Your Feet (Non-Equity)
Sangamon Auditorium (3/05-3/05)
Derrick Procell in Chicago Derrick Procell
Raue Center For The Arts (2/15-2/15)
Music of the Baroque: Mullova Plays Bach in Chicago Music of the Baroque: Mullova Plays Bach
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (1/28-1/28)
Aida in Chicago Aida
Lyric Opera House - Chicago (3/09-4/07)
Home Alone in Concert in Chicago Home Alone in Concert
Chicago Symphony Center (12/08-12/10)
Sunday Night Standup Comedy at Laugh Factory Chicago in Chicago Sunday Night Standup Comedy at Laugh Factory Chicago
Laugh Factory Chicago (5/21-12/17)
The Gift of the Magi in Chicago The Gift of the Magi
Oil Lamp Theater (11/16-12/30)
Live Comedy at Laugh Factory in Chicago Live Comedy at Laugh Factory
Laugh Factory Chicago (9/09-12/25)

Recommended For You