Adaptive Radiation was developed in association with Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland, OR, The Playwrights Center, Minneapolis, MN and Denizen Theatre, New Paltz, NY. Adaptive Radiation is produced by special arrangement with the Playwright and Elaine Devlin Literary, Inc., 1115 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10010
About the Author
Hannah Benitez is a native Miamian now residing between New York and LA. She made the Kilroy’s List with her play, GringoLandia, which was commissioned and premiered by Zoetic Stage for their 2022 season. She’s currently a finalist for American Shakespeare Center’s - Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries Prize - with her adaptation of Henry 6. Other of her produced plays include: Adaptive Radiation (Denizen Theatre and American Academy for the Dramatic Arts), Ashe In Johannesburg (Burning Coal Theatre), Dike (NYTW, Urbanite Theatre and Hofstra University [upcoming]), and coming up, Killing Fidel (Miami New Drama [upcoming]). Dike, was originally developed with The New York Theatre Workshop. She’s had workshops and readings with The Playwrights’ Center, Artists’ Repertory Theater, The Maltz Jupiter Theater and others. She was featured in American Theatre Magazine 6 Theatre Workers You Should Know. She is represented for Theatre by Elaine Devlin Literary Inc, for film/tv by Bash Naran (WME) and managed by Michael Claassen (Writ Large).
From the Director
Millennials and Magic
What is a Millennial?
The Millennial generation, or Generation Y, is a generation born between the years of 1981-96. They were the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, until Generation Z. Compared to the Baby Boomers and Generation X, they are mostly likely to live in poverty. The generation is slower to get married, have kids or buy a home. Outside of economic dread being a source for the existential crisis and anxiety in millennials, this generation has grown up with a strict idea of what success is defined as and how to achieve it. The formula for success was to get good grades and have overachievement in extracurriculars, which would lead to a fulfilling life.
What is Magic?
Magic is defined as the “application of beliefs, rituals or actions employed in the belief that they can manipulate natural or supernatural beings or forces. It is a category into which have been placed various beliefs and practices sometimes considered separate from both religion and science”.
Meet Melanie, Olivia, Steve, and Robert, the four Millennials in our play. At the start they share one thing in common. They have lost the magic they had from their youth. Their “baggage” and search for economic and personal satisfaction have led them to an existential crisis. They claim that they’ve “done all the right things” for success, and yet their lives are unfulfilled. They are at a turning point. Magic is nowhere to be found. Or is it?
Adaptive Radiation is about a journey. What our four Millennials discover during this journey is what you are about to see. This play is a play. It is also magic. Enjoy!
Terry Alford, Director
Special thanks and appreciation for an especially creative and collaborative design team. Your work is magical!
About the Play
Adaptive radiation is a scientific term that defines a process in which organisms rapidly diversify from their ancestral species into a multitude of new forms. This happens when a change in the environment makes new resources available, alters the biotic interactions or releases new environmental niches. Simply put, there must be a change in the environment of the species to change. With that change comes a better chance of survival within the new environment.
This term is often associated with Charles Darwin and the Galapagos finches. A singular species over the course of time developed into six different types of finches with their own unique beaks and dietary needs from the adaption to the change.
In this play, the environmental change is the Spec, a little orb of something other worldly. The catalyst is undefined, unknown, and takes the four millennials on a journey of magical proportions. The Spec remains undefined to both us and the characters in question. If the millennial spiral and existentialism are core antagonists to the show, the Spec is the foil. Its journey from Mel to Olivia, to Steve and Robert’s rediscovery of his Spec radiates change in each individual’s character arc, while connecting them through a new environmental change.
This combination of the scientific reality and the surrealism of what is means to be in a generation defined by upheaval and ruin create a world much like our own, and not in Benitez’s Adaptive Radiation.
Madison M. Mansouri, Dramaturg
Director Terry D. Alford
Scenic Designer Michaela Lochen
Costume Designer Alex Heder
Lighting Designer Mitch Wilson
Sound Designer Lucas Swinehart
Projection Designer Kaylin Gess
Dramaturg/Assistant Director Madison M. Mansouri
Intimacy Choreographer Casey Sams
Voice/Speech Coach Carol Mayo Jenkins
Magic Consultant Robert Kalina
Stage Manager Blake Julian
Artistic Director and Department Head Kenneth Martin
Managing Director Tom Cervone
Production Manager Susan L. McMillan
Terry D. Alford (Director) Terry is a Distinguished Lecturer in Theatre and teaches Musical Theatre Performance and Honor’s Introduction to the Theatre and Acting. Prior to joining the UT faculty Mr. Alford held the positions of Director of Musical Theatre at The University of Tulsa, and Director of Musical Theatre at The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. He has worked professionally as a performer, director, musical director, and composer at theaters across the country, including the California Theatre Center, Madison Repertory, Omaha Playhouse, Augusta Barn, Fireside Theatre, Light Opera of Oklahoma, and the Clarence Brown Theatre. Terry has directed or musically directed numerous productions and has created the scores for four original musicals and a variety of chamber and vocal music pieces. He is a member of the Clarence Brown Professional Company and regularly directs and musically directs for the Clarence Brown Theatre. Terry is the director of the CBT Summer Acting Workshop and serves as co-facilitator of Outreach and Education hosting Theatre Tours and Talk Backs.
Michaela Lochen (Scenic Designer) is from St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a BFA in Scenic Design and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2020. She is now a first-year MFA candidate in Scenic Design at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Adaptive Radiation is Michaela's first show with the Clarence Brown Theatre, and also her first show outside of the state of Minnesota. More of her work can be found at michaelalochen.com.
Alex Heder (Costume Designer) Alex is a first-year graduate student from Northern Utah. He has a BFA in costuming from Utah State University, and also has a robust background in scenic and properties design. He designed the costumes for a film adaptation of Monteverdi's opera L'incoronazione di Poppea and the world premiere of an original opera based on the book Uncovered by Leah Lax. Adaptive Radiation is his 4th realized design. Outside of theatre Alex spends most of his time attending conventions, renaissance fairs, participating in buhurt armored combat, and crafting related things. He is a certified blacksmith and a leather artisan among other things and his work can be viewed at www.alexheder.com
Mitch Wilson (Lighting Designer) is in his first year of his graduate studies, this is his first design at the Clarence Brown Theatre. Mitch graduated last semester from Colorado State University, and would love to thank the UTK family for all their kind words and the ability to attend this fantastic program. He would specifically like to thank his partner, Kiera and his family for their constant love and support.
Lucas Swinehart (Sound Designer) is currently a Senior at the University of Tennessee pursuing a BA in Theatre Technology and Design. Lucas worked as an audio technician at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for the 2022 season. Recent design and assistant credits include Murder on the Orient Express, Our Tempest, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and A Christmas Carol. Lucas will be sound designing for River and Rail Theatre’s production of The Wolves this winter and projections designing for Men On Boats at the Clarence Brown Theatre in Spring 2023.
Kaylin Gess (Projection Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate in Lighting Design at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Gess was previously a Charlotte-based Lighting Designer, Scenic Designer, and Scenic Painter who worked as the Assistant Technical Director at Davidson College, her alma mater from 2017-2020. Professional design credits include: NC Stage Company, Adjusted Realists (NYC), River and Rail Theatre, Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, Jobsite Theatre, Hat Trick Theatre, Patel Conservatory, M.A.D. Theatre of Tampa, and Davidson College. Gess most recently served as Lighting Designer on last season’s Blood at the Root, and was the Associate LD for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Kaylin holds a B.A. in Theatre from Davidson College.
Madison M. Mansouri (Dramatrug/Assistant Director) is a current English and Theatre undergrad at UTK, and is thrilled to be working on Adaptive Radiation. She currently serves on All Campus Theatre as the Marketing Director. She would like to give thanks to her parents, brother, and friends that have continually given support.
Casey Sams (Intimacy Choreographer) Casey teaches movement for actors, musical theatre, and serves as the Associate Chair for the theatre department. She regularly directs and choreographs for the CBT, and has served as Intimacy Choreographer for the CBT, River and Rail Theatre Company, First Take Productions, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She has had the great good fortune to work as a choreographer or director at such theaters as Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, PlayMakers Repertory Theatre, The Roundhouse Theatre, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Vermont Stage, The Utah Shakespearian Festival, Great River Shakespeare Festival, North Carolina Stage, and Knoxville Opera, among others. Her Undergraduate and Graduate degrees are from Penn State, she is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York, and she is a member of the inaugural class of Education Advocates with Theatrical Intimacy Educators.
Carol Mayo Jenkins (Voice/Speech Coach) is an actress currently working as Artist In Residence with the UT Department of Theatre. She has served as Voice and Speech Coach for Exit, Persued by a Bear, A Christmas
Carol, Of Mice and Men, and Peter and the Starcatcher.
Robert Kalina (Magic Consultant) currently creates magic routines for numerous Magicians and Illusionists at regional theaters, cruise ships and theme parks. Career highlights include contributions to David Copperfield’s Dream’s and Nightmares, Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and re-staging several of Siegfried and Roy’s illusions. Favorite productions featuring his effects include Pippin, Angels in America, The Thin Place and Children of Eden. Robert hopes that through Adaptive Radiation you will experience child-like wonder and be inspired to “remember and restore any of YOUR MAGIC you may have lost.”
Blake Julian (Stage Manager) is a Junior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, receiving a BA in Theatre with a concentration in design and technology. He has recently been able to work as the Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor for She Kills Monsters. Blake also has experience as a Dresser for A Christmas Carol, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Always... Patsy Cline. He is very appreciative of the opportunity to stage manage this production of Adaptive Radiation and is looking forward to continuing training at the Clarence Brown Theatre. Blake dedicates his work on this production to his parents, Brad and Karen, and his sister, Libby, who have shown their continued support through all his endeavors.
Kenneth Martin (Department Head, Artistic Director) Ken comes from the University of Missouri, at Kansas City, where he was the Patricia Mcllrath Endowed Professor and Chair of the Theatre Division. His 26-year career in academia also included nearly 18 years serving as chair of the theater departments of Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina and Ashland University in Ohio. Tremendously successful as an administrator at both institutions, Martin navigated curricular revisions and development, managed resources effectively and efficiently, created innovative collaborations, cultivated significant enrollment growth, and forged international partnerships. A member of United Scenic Artists, his designs have been seen at theatres across the country including Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Florida Repertory Theatre, New Theatre, Ohio Light Opera, Cleveland Ensemble Theatre, Ocean State Theatre and many others. He has also designed shows for many colleges and universities including Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Coastal Carolina University, Cuyahoga Community College, and The Ohio State University. Martin has actively served his profession as a respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, as a consultant for several regional theaters and through active participation in organizations like the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Educational Theatre Association and the Southeastern Theatre Conference.
Tom Cervone (Managing Director) has dedicated most of his professional career (and life) advocating for and working in the best interests of the arts and culture industry, 25 years (and counting) serving proudly as the managing director for the Clarence Brown Theatre/Department of Theatre at UTK. He previously served as the first executive director of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation and the executive director for Dogwood Arts. Cervone spent many years on the board of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Greater Knoxville, and currently serves on the boards of the WordPlayers, the Knoxville Children’s Theatre, Department of Theatre and recently appointed to the Board of Governors of West Liberty University. Cervone remains active within the UTK community as a member of the Exempt Staff Council and Chancellor’s Commission for LGBTQ people. He received the Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Service to the University in 2010. He is a longtime member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Cervone holds his undergraduate degree in Speech and English Education with an emphasis in Theatre from West Liberty University in West Virginia and an MFA (1993) and MBA (2010) from UTK. He is a graduate of and was selected as the Class Representative of the Leadership Knoxville class of 2011. Cervone is a member of his undergraduate alma mater’s class of 2015 Alumni Wall of Honor.
Susan L. McMillan
(Production Manager) is in her ninth year as Production Manager at CBT and UT Department of Theatre. In addition, she teaches Stage Management. Prior, Susan was the Production Manager and Stage Management Instructor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for 6 years. Susan is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, and was a Stage Manager at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 18 years. Additionally, she has stage managed at the Guthrie Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, PCPA, Rogue Valley Opera, Portland Civic Theatre, and has toured to the Kennedy Center. Through science and music (B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Biology from Oregon State University), Susan found her passion in theatre. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunities and adventures, inspirational mentors, artistic and talented colleagues, amazing students, and the love and support of her family and friends.
Mel – Sarah Wahrmund
Olivia – Jasmine R. Handy
Robert – Chris Verrier
Steve – Greg Jordan
Female Steve – Cameron Skillen
Assistant Stage Manager / Female Steve Understudy – Jenna Mitchell
Jasmine R. Handy (Olivia) is thrilled to be back in the CBT Lab Theatre for Adaptive Radiation. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she is seeking to complete her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre with an Acting Concentration. Her previous training includes a year at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Her previous credits at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Theatre include Blood at the Root (Raylynn). She would like to give a special thank you to Terry D. Alford for the amazing opportunity.
Greg Jordan (Steve) is a sophomore studying Political Science and International Affairs here at the University of Tennessee. He is ecstatic to be a part of this production of Adaptive Radiation, his first acting role since the beginning of the pandemic. Previously, Greg played Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and the Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He also performed in last year’s Musical Theatre Revue for ACT. He would like to thank his directors from Walker Valley High School and his family for their support and the team at the Clarence Brown Theatre for this magical show.
Jenna Mitchell (Assistant Stage Manager, Female Steve Understudy) is a sophomore getting her undergraduate degree in Fine art (2D) and Theatre (acting) with a minor in Italian. She has been acting since she was six years old, some roles include: Rooney (Arsenic and Old Lace), Gretl (Sound of Music), Ann (Callaway), and Molly (Annie). She also attended Middle Tennessee's Governor's school for the arts for theatre in 2019. She is so incredibly thankful for this opportunity, and to her cast and crew mates especially the fabulous SM Blake.
Cameron Skillen (Female Steve) Cameron is absolutely thrilled to be working on this production of Adaptive Radiation! Cameron is a senior at UT, majoring in Theatre and minoring in Religious Studies and Nonprofit Organization. She has been involved in several productions around Knoxville since she has lived here, including the Clarence Brown Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol in 2019, and Theatre Knoxville Downtown's production of The Haunting of Hill House in 2021. Most recently, she has been seen in All Campus Theatre's original production of Callaway as Mama. She would like to thank her partner, her family, and her cat for their unwavering support in everything she does. Enjoy the magic!
Chris Verrier (Robert) Chris is very excited to be apart of this production. He is a sophomore at the College of Business majoring in Finance. He wants to thank all his family and friends for being supportive. See you TT.
Sarah Wahrmund (Mel) is a junior at UTK and is thrilled to be acting in her first CBT show! She is pursuing a BA in Theatre with an Acting concentration and an Applied Music minor. They have previously worked with All Campus Theatre, the UTK student theatre organization, and the East Brainerd Community Theatre in Chattanooga. Some of her favorite roles include Mama (Chicago), #4 (Twelve Angry Men), and Irene (Radium Girls). Sarah hopes to get more involved in the Knoxville theatre scene soon. In her free time, they enjoy singing, playing DnD, and sleeping in!
...Assistant Stage Management
...Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor
...Production LX/Board Operator
...Sound Board Operator
CBT Production Staff
Artistic Director/Department Head - Kenneth Martin
Managing Director - Tom Cervone
Business Manager - Tara Halstead
Accounting Specialist - Le Anna Jacobson
Administrative Specialist - Bee Caruthers
Marketing & Communications Director - Robin Conklin
General Manager - Vickie Carter
IT Specialist - Mark Spurlock
Graphic Designer - Julie Anna Summers
Manager of Ticketing and Sales - Sarah Burton
Box Office Manager - Callie Bacon
Lead House Manager - David Ratliff
Patron Service Associates - Faridat Akindele, George Bull, Desirea Burke, Jordan Gatton-Bumpus, Kidist Girmai, Diamond Leonard, Jordan McCready, Faith McManus, Anderson McNeil, Ariella Mingo, Whitney Priest, Brana Shankle, Ariyana Shaw, Emmy Sinclair, Savannah Smith, Lillian Snead, Justin Spinella, Emily Stone, Jenna Tiger, Jacob Toran and Avalon Trunzo
External Relations Manager - Shelly Payne
Grants, Education, and Outreach Manager - Hana Sherman
Tours, Workshops - David Brian Alley
Summer Acting Workshops, Actor Talk Backs - Terry D. Alford
Production Manager - Susan L. McMillan
Rental Coordinator/Assistant Production Manager - Phyllis Belanger
Production Stage Manager - Patrick Lanczki
Costume Shop Manager - Melissa Caldwell-Weddig
Cutter/Draper - Kyle Andrew Schellinger
Costume Assistants - Alex Heder, M.J. Hromek and Kaelyn Williams
Costume Maintenance Crew - Catherine Blevins and Chase Miller
Electrics Shop Manager - Travis Gaboda
Lead Electrician - Jon Mohrman
Lighting Assistants - Lisa Bernard, Rachel Clift and Caroline Bradley
Technical Director - Jason Fogarty
Assistant Technical Director - George Hairston
Lead Carpenter - Jerry D. Winkle
Senior Carpenter - Kyle L. Hooks
Scene Shop Assistants - Grace Bartoo, Jack Ingeneri and Justin South
Scenic Charge Artist - Jillie Eves
Scenic Painter - Michaela Lochen
Painters - Laura Cliff and Wesley Smith
Props Supervisor - Christy Fogarty
Lead Properties Artisan - Sarah Gaboda
Prop Assistants - Graham Brewer, Monica Gardiner, Michaela Lochen, Sophie Smrcka and Katie Stepanek
Sound Supervisor - Mike Ponder
Sound Assistants - Allison Bucher and Amoirie Perteet
CBT Advisory Board
Julie Howard, Chair
Margie Nichols, Immediate Past Chair
Steve Drevik, At-Large
Alexander Waters, At-Large
Katharine Pearson Criss
Amy Morris Hess
Maureen Dunn McBride
Joe De Fiore
Townes Lavidge Osborn
Kenneth Martin Department Head, CBT Artistic Director
Casey Sams Movement & Musical Theatre, Associate Department Head
Kenton Yeager Lighting Design, Head of Graduate Studies
Jed Diamond Acting
Joe Payne Sound and Media Design
Christopher Pickart Scenic Design
Kathryn Cunningham Voice and Speech
Gina Di Salvo Theatre History and Dramaturgy
Shinnerrie Jackson Acting
Lauren T. Roark Costume Design
Neno Russell Costume Technology
David Brian Alley Senior Lecturer in Acting, Head of Undergraduate Studies
Terry D. Alford Distinguished Lecturer in Music Theatre
Tracy Copeland Halter Acting
Steve Sherman Acting
Laura Beth Wells Acting
Katy Wolfe Voice
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Carol Mayo Jenkins Acting
Misty Anderson Professor of English and Theatre, English Department, Allen C. Carroll Chair of Teaching
Stanton B. Garner, Jr. Professor of English and Theatre, Chair, Department of English
Bill Black Costume Design & Technology Professor Emeritus
Kate Buckley Directing Professor Emeritus
Marianne Custer Costume Design Professor Emeritus
Calvin MacLean Department Head, CBT Artistic Director, Professor Emeritus
John Sipes Acting, Directing & Movement Professor Emeritus
Terry Weber Acting, Voice Professor Emeritus
CBT Society Members
James Alan Carmichael and Cynthia Moxley
Dr. Jeffrey and Virginia Eberting
Laura Kimsey Eshbaugh
Pamela and James Given
The Lederer Family
Theresa Lee and Jacob Love
Mrs. Townes Lavidge Osborn and Robert S. Marquis
Linda and Terry Tyler
Larry and Jeanie Brakebill
Sandra and Peter Campbell
Dr. Jimmy and Ileen Cheek
Susan and Kent Farris
Drs. Joe and Jayne De Fiore
Drs. Nancy Duckles and Cameron Sears
Steve Drevik and Le Ann Rogers
Stanton and Alison Garner
Tara and Scott Halstead
Vickie Ellis and Joe Hoagland
Prof. Amy Morris Hess
John and Susan Hoffman
Julie Howard and Ted Flickinger
Susan and Jerry Kornegay
Robert and Brenda Madigan
Maureen Dunn McBride and Neil McBride
Mr. Arthur G. Mitchell
Margie Nichols and John Gill
Linda B. Norris
Meredith Peccolo and James Vaughan
Jan and Mary Ann Simek
Nancy Voith and Kenneth Stark
Donna and Terry Wertz
Wendy and Dale Wortham
Donna and Randall Riggs
Brooks and Karen Clark
Jeff and Laura Allen
Will and Rebecca Brewer
Mr. John L. Butler, Sr.
Clay S. Davis, Jr.
Christopher and Kelly Herbstritt
Dr. Jeffrey D. Kovac
Dr. Samantha Murphy and Mr. Justin Roby
Anne G. Armstrong
Leann and James Dickson
Dr. Stuart B. Elston
Dennis F. Hayward
Lyle and Trish Irish
Michael and Nancy Lofaro
John D. North
CortneyJo and Calvin Sandidge
Alexander Oaks Waters