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Performance Network Theatre Presents RICHARD III, Now thru 6/1

From today, April 24 through June 1, one of William Shakespeare's most famous histories "Richard III" gets an innovative PNT treatment in this boldly re-imagined tale of power, treachery, seduction, and fate.

Directed by Julia Glander, this revolutionary take on the age-old classic explores the themes and fate of gender, power, and government set in the distant yet ominous future. This is an exciting first-time collaboration between student actors and the faculty of Eastern Michigan University Theatre and the artists of Performance Network Theatre.

Tickets are available now at, over the phone at 734-663-0681, or at the theatre at 120 East Huron in Downtown Ann Arbor.

In this gender-fluid rendition of "Richard III", Associate Artistic Director Carla Milarch stars as Richard III, the ruthless and conniving Plantagenet, whose ascent to power is littered with corpses. By casting this show in a gender blind style, Performance Network's production of "Richard III" seeks to examine the relationship between gender, identity, and power. Carla Milarch's rendition of "Richard III" is a transgender man who was born in a female body. Other examples of gender-fluid casting include John Seibert as Queen Margaret and Alysia Kolascz as Hastings. Other characters were cast that matched the gender of the actors, such as Terry Heck as the Duchess of York, and Logan Ricket as Catesby.

"The quest for power (the crown) really felt like a means of survival - a perfect setting, actually, for a villain to take advantage of a disheartened people. Make our villain a female who openly identifies as a male, and it opens up possibilities for a time period in which gender fluidity comes to the forefront. I am particularly excited to have Carla Milarch bring a new, outrageous, audacious, and humorous re-imagining to Shakespeare's 'Richard III.' " said Director, Julia Glander.

Performance Network's production of "Richard III" may intrigue students, intellectuals, theatre lovers, and countless others with this dystopian interpretation of a Shakespearean classic. Patrons will be immersed into the future by direction from Julia Glander, set, props, and projections design by Monika Essen, lighting design by Daniel C. Walker, costume design by Katherine Nelson, and sound design by Will Myers.

About the "Richard III" team:

Director Julia Glander's love for Shakespeare began many years ago as a graduate student at the University of Iowa. Upon graduating, she moved to New York City and became a founding member of a new company, The New Rude Mechanicals, an acting troupe devoted to reinventing the classics in a lively and accessible way. This early training continued as she performed in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "As You Like It", "The Winter's Tale", and "King Lear". Julia is both excited and grateful to work another production of Shakespeare in this challenging opportunity directing "Richard III". Other recent directing credits include: "Ebenezer", "Importance of Being Earnest", and "A Sleeping Country", all at Tipping Point Theatre. Since returning to her home state almost seven years ago, and residing in Ann Arbor, Julia has acted on many of the Michigan stages, including the recent world premiere of "County Line", by David Wells, at Performance Network. Michigan audiences may also know her as "Shirley Valentine" (Pulsar and Thespie Awards) from Williamston Theatre, as Ann Landers in "Lady With All The Answers" (Wilde Award) from Tipping Point Theatre, and the title role in "Mary Stuart" (Wilde Award Nomination) from Meadow Brook Theatre, among others. She has played leading roles across the country, Off-Broadway to the Hollywood Bowl, and many regional theaters in between, including: Asolo Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and American Stage.

Starring as Richard III, Carla Milarch has filled many roles in her thirteen years with Performance Network including: Actress, Director, Sound Designer, Dramaturg, TreeTown Festival Producer, Development Director, Artistic Director and Executive Director. As an actor, Carla's playography at Performance network includes roles in "Dirty Blonde" (Best Actress, Wilde Awards), "A Doll's House", "Boston Marriage", "Spike Heels", "Defying Gravity", "The Spirit House", "Necessary Targets", "Sin, Elizabeth Rex","The Glass Menagerie" (Best Actress in a Drama, Rogue Critic's Award), "It's All True", "Stop Kiss", "The Maiden's Prayer", "Struggling Truths", "As Bees in Honey Drown", "Not Waving, Picasso at the Lapin Agile", "...And Associates", "Some of My Best Friends Are", and "Inverted Pyramid", as well as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Outstanding Ensemble Performance - Oakland Press). Other awards include "Best Overall Season/Artistic Direction" and "Most Valuable Performer" from the Oakland Press, "Outstanding Contributions to an Ensemble" from The Detroit Free Press, and the Between the Lines "Angel" award for outstanding contributions to the LGBT community. Carla is the Board Chair of the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance, a member of Actor's Equity Association, the Cultural Alliance of Southeast Michigan, and the National Showcase selection committee of the National New Play Network. Recent projects and accomplishments include organizing a performance of the Vagina Monologues on the Capital Steps in Lansing and celebrating the fifth birthday of her son. She received her conservatory training in acting at Interlochen Arts Academy and State University of New York at Purchase. Carla lives in Ann Arbor with her husband Phil Powers and son, William Tyrone.

Starring as Queen Elizabeth, Janet Haley is an Artistic Associate with Michigan Shakespeare Festival and will begin her ninth season this summer as Gertrude in "Hamlet" and Queen in "Cymbeline". Previous roles with MSF include "Twelfth Night" (Olivia), "King John" (Constance), "Love's Labour's Lost" (Princess), "Midsummer" (Titania), "Pygmalion" (Mrs. Pearce), "Winter's Tale" (Paulina), "Merchant of Venice" (Portia), "Hamlet" (Gertrude)," Much Ado About Nothing" (Beatrice), and Moliere's "Tartuffe" (Madame Pernelle). Other acting credits include Book-It Rep in Seattle, Idaho Rep, Seattle Public Theatre and Boise Contemporary Theater. Janet is an alumna of Cornerstone Theater, L.A.'s 2010 summer institute in community-based performance practices. She is the recipient of an Arts of Citizenship fellowship with UM-Ann Arbor for the Glenwood Cemetery Site-specific Theatre Project. Janet is currently working with Michael Rohd of Sojourn Theatre/Northwestern University, Flint Youth Theatre, and a collective of community artists to develop a new site-specific production at the Flint Farmers' Market, which will showcase how local food and local markets nourish a community (opening Fall 2014). Janet is Associate Professor of Theatre at The University of Michigan-Flint, is a proud member of AEA, and holds an MFA in Acting from The University of Texas at Austin.

Starring as Buckingham, Brian Sage graduated with a BA in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University (1999) and an MFA in Acting from The Hilberry Repertory Theatre at Wayne State University (2011). In the years between his studies, he worked professionally as an actor and director in both West Michigan and Chicago with such theatres as The Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, First Folio Shakespeare, Tibbits Opera House, Theatre Building Chicago, and Metropolis Performing Arts Center. He served as Producing Artistic Director of the Whole Art Theatre in Kalamazoo, MI for three seasons. Brian is currently a part-time lecturer in theatre at Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. Brian has appeared regularly on local stages such as Tipping Point Theatre, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, and the Encore Musical Theatre.

Starring as Queen Margaret/Mayor/Oxford, John Seibert is an Associate Artist with Performance Network where his most recent appearances include The Men in "My Name is Asher Lev", Fredrik in "A Little Night Music" and Dr. Givings in "In The Next Room/Vibrator Play". Other credits include work with The Purple Rose, Alabama Shakespeare Fest, Meadow Brook, and Actors Theatre of St. Paul among others. Film credits include Supersucker (with Jeff Daniels) and Kill The Irishman (with Val Kilmer). John serves as a lecturer in Communication, Media and Theatre Arts at Eastern Michigan University.

Starring as Clarence/Stanley, Drew Parker is thankful to be returning to Performance Network. A graduate from the University Of Detroit, he was most recently seen in "Twenty Seven" at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and "The Vast Difference" at The Purple Rose Theatre. Other favorite regional credits include the Williamston Theatre/Performance Network joint production of "Dead Man's Shoes", "I Hate Hamlet" at Tipping Point Theatre,"The Weir" at the Abreact Theatre, "Death of a Salesman" at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and "Crimes of the Heart" at Syracuse Stage.

Starring as Lady Anne/Richmond, Joanna Bronson is a native of Miami, Florida and a graduate of College for Creative Studies. She spent this past season at the Detroit Ensemble Theatre and recently performed in Box Fest 2013 and the Kitchen Plays. She is excited and grateful to join the Performance Network Theatre this season in their production of "Richard III". She spent her life as visual artist and now is ecstatic to evolve her creativity on stage.

Starring as the Duchess of York, Terry Heck is thrilled to be a part this year's acting company at Performance Network. Recent favorite roles include Lady Bracknell in "The Importance of Being Earnest" (Rogue Award 2012), Marty in "Circle Mirror Transformation" (2011 Wilde Award for Best Comedy), and Laura in Joe Zettlemaier's "Language Lessons". Awards include The Dean Goodman Award for Acting Excellence in San Francisco for her role as Suzie in "Don't Dress For Dinner", and a Detroit Free Press Award for her performance as Zlata in "Necessary Targets" by Eve Ensler. Professional credits include an Off-Broadway production of Howard Korders's "Episode 26" at the Lamb's Theatre as well as professional regional theatre work at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Center Repertory in San Francisco, and Actor's Theatre of St. Paul. Locally, she has been seen at Performance Network (where she is an associate artist), the Purple Rose Theatre, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Meadowbrook Theatre and Jewish Ensemble Theatre. Terry is Co-director of Theatre/Professor the in Communication, Media and Theatre Arts Department at Eastern Michigan University. She is also the proud wife of actor/director, John Seibert, and mom of actor Joe.

Starring as Catesby, Logan Ricket received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Dance from Alma College in 2011. Since his graduation, he has performed twice in Tipping Point Theatre's Sandbox Festival, and the Raw Festival in Detroit. At Performance Network, he was most recently seen as Stevie in "Good People" (Subscriber's Choice Award, Best Supporting Actor) and Biff in "Big Bully: The Rock Musical". His most recent directing credits include assistant directing "Brill" and "Becky Shaw" last season, as well as a number of new plays in the Fireside New Play Festival. He also serves on the Performance Network staff as the Associate Development Director.

Starring as Prince Edward, Justin Dietzel recently moved to Ann Arbor. He is ecstatic about joining Performance Network for their 2013-2014 season in two Children's Network shows and "Richard III" in the spring. Justin has been busy at What A Do Theatre in Battle Creek, MI for the past two years working as a stage manager and actor on many of their shows including "A Few Good Men", "This is Our Youth", "Sweeney Todd", and "Back County Crimes". While living in San Francisco, he played a one-legged asylum patient in a German expressionist show, "Caligari", Vince in Stephen Belber's "Tape", and landed a principal role in Discovery Channel's "I Almost Got Away With It".

Starring as Hastings, Alysia Kolascz is thrilled to return to the Performance Network stage after last being seen in "It Came From Mars". Some of Alysia's previous credits include "Ebenezer", "I Hate Hamlet", "Fiction", "The Altruists", "Salvage", "Equus" and "Jack Goes Boating".

Starring as Mistress Shore/Rivers/Brakenbury/Blunt, Derek Ridge is proud to make his first appearance on the Performance Network Stage. He is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University and is currently working with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival high school tour, playing Banquo/Doctor in "Macbeth" and Balthazar/Romeo in "Romeo & Juliet".

Starring as Young Duke of York/Page, Francisco Fiori is a 12-year-old seventh grader at Slauson Middle School in Ann Arbor. He is a member of the Ann Arbor Boychoir and the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra. He also plays both the violin and the oboe. Theater and music has always been a big part of his life, but prior to his role in this play, Francisco was part of the cast in the musical "Johnny Pye" (as young Johnny) and "Alice in Wonderland", both with Concordia University Theater. He sang in the role of Amahl in "Amahl and The Night Visitors" with the Main Street Opera Theater in 2012 and 2013. He has also played the role of Ham in Benjamin Britten's opera "Noye's Fludde". He is also doing a production of "The Sound of Music" with Arbor Opera Theater premiering in June.

Starring as King Edward/Ratcliff/Cardinal Bourchier, Jonathan West is a native to Detroit who has worked with Ann Arbor's Blackbird Theatre as Macduff in their 2012 "Macbeth" and Ypsilanti's Threefold Productions as Titus Andronicus in their 2013 adaptation, "Andronicus Bound". He began 2014 in New York, performing in Empirical Rogue's "Suicide!?" as Alexander Bushkin, and in Big Intimacy Group's short play cycle "Autobahn" as the husband in the vignette Autobahn. Having just finished working with Damon Horowitz and Sybille Bruun-Moss in The Ocular Theatre's "Julius Caesar" as Julius Caesar, Jonathan is enjoying his time back in Michigan.

Starring as Murderer 2/Vaughn/Archbishop of York/Dorset/Tyrell/Bishop of Ely, Jason Tomalia studied Theatre at Gustavus Adolphus College. After getting his B.A., he studied improv at the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, where he was hired as a front-of-house staff member, and writer/actor/improviser. In 2007, he moved back to his home state after his marriage to start a family in Ann Arbor. Jason got an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Full Sail University, and is currently working on an M.A. in Theatre Arts at Eastern Michigan University.

Lee Stille, Dramaturge, is thrilled to contribute as dramaturge for this production of "Richard III". Lee has worked consistently over the last 35+ years in various capacities (voice/dialect coach, dramaturge, director and actor) having been involved in more than 150 productions. As a member of the Voice & Speech Trainers Association, his previous work at Performance Network was as dialect coach for "The Seafarer", "Candida", and "I Am My Own Wife". Among his various local acting roles is Martin Dysart in "Equus" at Ann Arbor's Blackbird Theatre, for which he received a Wilde Award nomination. Lee is a professor and co-director of Theatre Arts at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches voice/dialects, dramaturgy, and performing Shakespeare.

Anna Simmons, Assistant Director, is excited to serve as Assistant Director for this production of "Richard III". A graduate of Kalamazoo College, Anna focused her theatre degree in Shakespeare, completed her senior thesis project on directing Shakespeare under the tutelage of Karen Berthel, and has maintained a love for Shakespeare ever since. A former Performance Network staff member, Anna has had the honor of working on past Performance Network productions including "Jerry's Girls," "My Name is Asher Lev," "Good People," "Red," and "God of Carnage" as Stage Manager; "Circle Mirror Transformation," and "The Drowsy Chaperone" as Assistant Stage Manager; and "Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh," and "Dead Man's Shoes," as Assistant Director.

Michelle Bryan, Stage Manager, hails from Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatrical Design and Production. She has since been living her dream in Ann Arbor, working with IATSE Local # 395 as a Stagehand and an Electrician, and with Actor's Equity Stage Managing at the Performance Network. Recently, Michelle has branched out to being a freelance artist, scenic painting and making props for theatre as well as making props for film, and just for fun.

Jahmeel Powers, Assistant Stage Manager, is beyond ecstatic to be working for the Performance Network. A recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University, he has been involved in many productions, both onstage and behind the scenes, even creating a brand-new comedy troupe on campus, Laugh-a-minute Enterprises. Since his graduation, he has recently acted in productions put on by local theatre groups such as the Brass Tacks Ensemble, Emergent Arts, and Threefold Productions. He also recently just moved back up from Orlando, Florida, where he was involved in the Disney College Program. He is pursuing to become a college professor.

Monika Essen, Set/Projection/Props Designer, is an award winning, nationally recognized artist and designer having just received another Wilde Award and The Rogue Critic Award for her designs for "RED"; and is the recipient of the prestigious Detroit Free Press Lawrence DeVine Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre. She studied interior architecture and environmental design at Parsons School of Design NYC, and received her MFA in sceneography from the renowned Hilberry Repertory Co., attending on a full fellowship. She has designed sets, costumes and props for countless productions in theatre, opera and film. Some of her recent favorites include "Murder at The Howard Johnson's" at Tipping Point Theatre, "God of Carnage", a joint production between The Jewish Ensemble Theatre and Performance Network, and "Amadeus", "Little Shop of Horrors", "Woman Before a Glass", "Marie Antoinette, Color of Flesh" , "An Iliad" and "RED" here at Perfotmance Network. Currently she is the Resident Designer at the Michigan Opera Theatre, having just designed the nationally acclaimed production of "Carmina Burana" and " The Medium." Additionally, she creates interiors and full sensory, multi-media environments for residential and commercial clients, including the Detroit Zoo. She also designs and creates a custom furniture line called "Mococo" with her husband Kurt Kastner at her company Epoque Design. You can see Monika's design work at

Daniel C. Walker, Lighting Designer, is excited to be designing again for Performance Network, having just designed set and lights for "Venus In Fur". Last year, he designed sets and lights for "Brill", and "Good People", as well as lights for "A Little Night Music". He currently makes his living designing sets and lights throughout southeast Michigan. In addition to being a Resident Artist at Performance Network, he frequently designs for Williamston Theatre, Encore Musical Theatre and other theaters in the area.

Katherine Nelson, Costume Designer, is thrilled to be making her design debut at Performance Network after stitching for "The Mountaintop" and "Jerry's Girls". She attended Cedarville University, and is a proud graduate of the Purple Rose Theatre Company apprenticeship program. Katherine is a Resident Artist and Costume Designer at the Purple Rose. She has also designed costumes recently with the Flint Youth Theatre, Young People's Theatre, Waterworks Theatre Company, and the Wild Swan Theatre, and is a stitcher with the Michigan Opera Theatre.

Will Myers, Sound Designer, is a local actor, sound designer, and recording artist. An associate artist of the Performance Network, recent sound designs include "Brill", "RED", "The War Since Eve", "Fences", and Wilde Award nominations for "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" and "Doubt" among others. Most recently, Will contributed sound to "Tuna Does Vegas" at the Williamston Theatre and was nominated by the Lansing City Pulse for the co-productions of Joseph Zettelmaier's "Dead Man's Shoes" and "It Came From Mars" at the Williamston and Performance Network.

Joshua M. Parker, Technical Director, attended Albion College, receiving a degree in Philosophy. Joshua has been actively involved with set design and construction for over a decade. He spent a year working in Chicago as a stage carpenter for various companies including the University of Chicago's Court Theatre and the Steppenwolf Theatre. He has previously worked as resident designer and Technical Director for Ann Arbor's Blackbird Theatre. Joshua also attended the University of Michigan School of Engineering where he obtained both a bachelors and masters degree in Civil Engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, but left the field to return to work in theatre in 2013. Joshua is originally from Ann Arbor, and designed the Performance Network's production of "Take Me Out" in 2005.

"Richard III" by William Shakespeare runs at Performance Network Theatre from April 24 - June 1, 2014. Regular tickets are $27 - $46 with discounts for students, seniors, children under the age of 16, and military and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 734-663-0681.

Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's resident professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge, and inspire audiences and artists.

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