Blood at the Root playbill

Land Acknowledgement and DEI

We acknowledge that we live, work, and create art on the traditional lands of the Tsalagi peoples (now the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians) and the Tsoyaha peoples (Yuchi and Muscogee Creek).

We are indebted to these indigenous peoples for their stewardship, both past and present, of this beautiful land.


We recognize and value diversity in all forms, including age, ethnicity, family structure, gender identity, national origin, race religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and veteran status.

We believe inclusivity and diversity in our workplace should reflect the increasing multicultural and global society in which we live. We seek to foster excellent creative research, scholarship and professional practice by creating a welcoming environment, ethical recruitment practices, and a diverse student body who will have lives of awareness and understanding through their creative research, teaching, practicing and advocating for others in a diverse world.

Detailed information on our DEI initiatives can be found here: https://theatre.utk.edu/diversity-inclusion/

About the Author

Dominque MorisseauDominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle), which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the Tony-nominated book writer on the new Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre).

Dominique is alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, Women’s Project Lab and Lark Playwrights Workshop, and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series Shameless
(3 seasons).

Additional awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, Obie Award (2), Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18, and a recent MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.

From the Director

The Old Oak Tree didn’t have a sign saying “Whites Only” but it was known that only whites sat under it. One day, three black students decided to sit under that tree in the shade. The next day, three nooses were hanging from it. This set off a series of events starting with a fight between football players and ending with six black male teens on trial for attempted murder.

Playwright Dominique Morisseau based Blood at the Root on true events that took place in 2006 at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana. More than just a historical account of real events, the play takes us on a journey that questions how we feel about justice, bias, and identity. It asks the question, “Where do I belong?”

In 2014 when the play premiered, we had a black President and were loving — as some would call it — a “post racial” America. It was before Ahmaud Aubrey and George Floyd and Donald Trump. Perception is reality and our world was rocked with the reality that there has always been a group of people who never felt they belonged. That  — from beauty products, to movies, to toys, to leadership — there were not people who looked like them. The Covid 2020 spring and summer was a wakeup call for some and a “finally you see” from others.  So now the question is, “What are we going to do about what we know?” Our society is so polarized. We’ve become so black and white in our thinking in a world that is so full of color.

An actor is taught never to judge a character, but rather to step inside that person’s skin — into their soul — to try to see why they are the way they are, believe the way they believe, and experience life the way they do. An actor can never say, “I would never do that,” nor can he or she try to clean up a character to make them what the actor wants.

As I worked on Blood at the Root these thoughts crossed my mind: What if we all lived life the way the actor works? What if — instead of looking at one’s hat, shirt, bumper sticker, religious affiliation, gender, or race — we looked inside a person and based our decisions simply on who that person is. What if, instead of judgement, we looked at each other with curiosity and wonder? I wonder why you think that way? I wonder what happened in your life to make you believe the things you believe? I wonder who you really are? What if we opened our dinner tables? Have a meal with me and let’s talk about it. Man! Our world would look so different right now.

Blood at the Root takes the story of the Jena 6 and gives it a deeper meaning:  Where do I belong and how can I make others feel like they belong?

We have a lot of information now. There are no more excuses.  What are we going to do?

~ Tracey Copeland Halter

Jena 6 Timeline - The Events

Aug 31, 2006:  During a Jena High School assembly, a black male freshman student asked permission to sit in the shade of the “white tree” (where traditionally only white students sat). The principal responded that the students could “sit wherever they wanted”. That afternoon, he and his friends sat under the tree.

Sep 1, 2006:  That morning, three nooses were found hanging from the tree – a clear reference to the historical lynching of blacks once widely practiced by white racists, especially in the southern states of the US.

When the principal learned that three white students were responsible, he recommended expulsion from the school which was overruled by the local Board of Education. They were instead punished with a three day in-school suspension.

School Superintendent Roy Breithaupt agreed with the Board and said, “Adolescents play pranks. I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”

Local black residents said this further inflamed racial tensions in the town.

Sep 6, 2006:  The principal called a student assembly, in which students sat in segregated black and white sections. LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters addressed the assembly and is alleged to have threatened the protesters that if they didn’t stop complaining about an “innocent prank”, he could “take [their] lives away with the stroke of a pen”.

Sep 7, 2006:  Police began patrolling the halls of Jena High School.

Sep 8, 2006:  The school was declared to be in “total lockdown”.

Sep 10, 2006:  Dozens of black students attempted to address the school board but were refused because the board believed “the noose issue” had been resolved.

Racially charged confrontations between white and black students continued throughout the fall.

Nov 30, 2006:  The main building of Jena High School was set on fire and later needed to be gutted and demolished. Black and white students blamed each other for the arson.

Dec 1, 2006: At a mostly-white party held at the Fair Barn, five black students attempted to enter the party but were told they were not allowed in without an invitation. They persisted and said they had friends who were already at the party. A white man confronted the students and a fight ensued, which caused him to also be banned from the party.

Outside, the black students became involved in another fight with a group of white men (not students). Sixteen year-old Robert Bailey (later one of the Jena Six) alleged that a beer bottle had been broken over his head, although there are no medical records to indicate treatment was provided.

Dec 2, 2006: A white student who had attended the previous night’s party encountered Mr Bailey and his friends at a convenience store. An argument ensued and the white student is alleged to have run back to his pickup truck and produced a 12-gauge shotgun. Mr Bailey said he wrested the gun from the white student and took it home with him. Because the white and black students’ versions of events contradicted each other, police formed a report based on the testimony of an independent witness.

Mr Bailey was charged with theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery and disturbing the peace. The white student was not charged.

Dec 4, 2006: Jena High School student Justin Barker, 17, was allegedly beaten unconscious by black students including Mr Bailey. It was reported that Mr Barker had boasted earlier in the day that Mr Bailey had been beaten by a white man at the party on Dec 1, which Mr Barker denied. Mr Barker was treated at the local hospital and released after two hours. He attended a school function that evening.

Meanwhile, the six black students accused of the attack were arrested. Robert Bailey, Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw were initially charged with assault. The sixth suspect, Jesse Ray Beard, was charged as a juvenile because he was 14 years old.

District Attorney Walters upgraded the assault charges to attempted murder.

June 26, 2007:  On the first day of Mychal Bell’s trial, in which he was tried as an adult, Mr Walters agreed to reduce the charges for Mr Bell to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same crime, arguing that the “deadly weapon” used was Mr Bell’s tennis shoes, to which the jury agreed. There were conflicting witness accounts on whether Mr Bell had been involved in the attack.

Mr Bell was found guilty and faced a sentence of up to 22 years in prison. He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on September 20, 2007. There was public outcry because Mr Bell’s public defender did not call any witnesses in his attempt to defend his client.

Later, Mr Bell received new defense attorneys who requested a new trial on the grounds that Mr Bell, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, should not have been tried as an adult. They also argued that the new trial should be held in another parish.

Aug 24, 2007: A request to lower Mr Bell’s $90,000 bond was denied due to his juvenile record, which showed that he had been previously convicted of four violent crimes.

Sep 4, 2007: A judge dismissed the conspiracy charge but upheld the battery conviction, although he agreed that Mr Bell should have been tried as a juvenile.

On this day, charges against Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy.

Sep 10, 2007: Charges against Robert Bailey were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy.

Sep 14, 2007: Mr Bell’s conviction for battery was overturned by Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Lake Charles on the grounds that he should not have been tried as an adult. District Attorney Reed appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Sep 20, 2007: On the day Mr Bell was initially due to be sentenced, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles ordered a district judge to hold a hearing on why Mr Bell is still being held in jail.

Jena 6 Timeline – The Events; September 21, 2007; by Elaine McKewon in Louisiana, US Politics


5 Years Later - Jena 6 Move On   read more

“What Does Systemic Racism Look Like to You?” Photo Exhibit

March 2-13  |  CBT Lobby
Noon - 5 pm and prior to the performances of Blood at the Root

Join us to view a series of photos created by 15 area high school youth answering that question.

Photo: Rondre’a Peebles
Photo: Rondre’a Peebles

The Youth PhotoVoice Project is an expressive opportunity provided through a partnership of the City of Knoxville's Empower Knox Initiative and the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, funded by a Social Justice Innovation Initiative Grant through the College of Social Work. Fifteen high school students were selected to participate in the six-week project that began January 19 and included weekly discussions on how they are affected by systemic racism, and how to capture those experiences in photos. All sessions were held at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center, and each youth was provided a camera to keep at the end of the project. Special guests for sessions included Saray Taylor-Roman, a Knoxville-based world renowned portrait photographer, and Joe Woods (professionally know as Black Atticus) who is a spoken word artist and poet. These guests helped advise on how to create impact in photos and narratives for PhotoVoice and shared their own experiences of systemic racism as well.

The exhibit will remain in the lobby of the Clarence Brown Theatre for the duration of the theatre's performances of Blood at the Root, a production centered around the story of the Jena 6 that addresses systemic racism experienced by a group of high schoolers in Louisiana in 2006. At the end of the show's run, the exhibit will be shown in the City County Building in the Mayor's corridor.


The Youth PhotoVoice Project is provided by Empower Knox and funded by a Social Justice Innovation Grant from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.


Advisory: This production uses strong language, racial slurs, and symbols of violence to accurately depict the story of the Jena Six. Recommended for ages 14+.

Running Time: This production is 90 minutes and has no intermission.


Blood at the Root was commissioned by the Penn State School of Theatre, and was first produced by Penn State Centre Stage, Dan Carter, Producing Artistic Director. The New York Premiere of Blood at the Root was produced by Penn State Centre Stage and presented by Hi-ARTS and the National Black Theatre, Inc.
The videotaping or making of electronic or other audio and/or visual recordings of this production or distributing recordings on any medium, including the internet, is strictly prohibited, a violation of the author’s rights and actionable under united states copyright law.


CAST

Order of Appearance

Jasmine R. Handy - Raylynn
Peter Mayer Klepchick - Colin
LoRen Seagrave - De'Andre
Bethany Moon - Asha
Alan Toney - Justin
Abigail McCarter - Toria
Guthrie Butler - Ensemble/Understudy
Nevaeh Daniel - Ensemble / Understudy

Guthrie ButlerGuthrie Butler (Ensemble/Understudy) Guthrie is a fourth year undergraduate at the University and is a Theatre major. This is the second show he has had the pleasure of being a part of with the Clarence Brown, the first being A Christmas Carol in 2019. And he hopes you enjoy the show!

 

 

Nevaeh DanielNevaeh Daniel (Ensemble/Understudy) is a sophomore here at UT and is excited to make her Clarence Brown debut, although this is her first stage production Nevaeh has been studying and performing competitively for 9 years; even winning the ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘Best in Show’ categories in the 2020 ACE Awards hosted at the Clarence Brown Theatre. After college she plans to pursue a full time acting career. Her hope is to inspire her audience with every perfomance like many of her idols she grew up watching. She would like to thank the teachers and family members that have helped cultivate the actress she is today and thank herself for taking the risks that put her on this path.

Jasmine R. HandyJasmine R. Handy (Raylynn) is both honored and elated to be onstage again after an almost 10 year hiatus. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she is seeking to complete her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre with an Acting Concentration along with a minor in Psychology. Her previous training includes a year at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. This will be her first show at the University of Tennessee Department of Theatre. She would like to give a special thank you to Tracey Copeland Halter for the opportunity as well as her incredible artistic vision.

 

Peter Mayer KlepchickPeter Mayer Klepchick (Colin) Originally from Frenchtown, NJ, he received his BA in International Law at Rider University where he played Division One baseball, but ultimately resigned his senior year after an impromptu acting class. Previous film credits include Mac in The Girl on the Train, Brad in Groupers, Bradley in The Beautiful Ones are All Mad and a half-dozen festival winning short films.

 

Abagail McCarterAbigail McCarter (Toria) is a Freshman in the UTK Theatre and Psychology Departments. She is thrilled to be a part of Blood at the Root. While she acted throughout high school, this will be her first production with Clarence Brown. She would like to thank Tracy Copeland Halter for the amazing opportunity. She would also like to thank her parents, especially her mom, for supporting her through the late rehearsals and early mornings.

 

Bethany MoonBethany Moon (Asha) is a senior majoring in Finance, with a collateral in Accounting and a minor in Theatre. She has been involved locally with the Knoxville Children’s Theatre for years in multiple capacities, working as an actor, costume designer, and now as an instructor in their Academy. She is thrilled to be making her CBT debut with this production. Bethany would like to thank her parents for their constant support and her brother for continuously inspiring her to be creative. She is also thankful for her mentors, Dennis Perkins and the late Zack Allen, who believed in her as a shy, eight-year-old and fostered her love for the arts.

 

LoRen Seagrave (De’Andre) is a Freshmen attending UTK who started acting in the Clarence Brown Theatre’s acting workshop that they hold during the summer and continued to go year after year until COVID. He was adamant to go after seeing A Lesson Before Dying and getting to talk to the lead, Jude, who spoke with him after the show and became his first acting teacher at the summer camp. He started working at Austin-East on competition pieces for local tournaments and brought one to districts and state and won first place. In the next couple of years, he volunteered in community plays held by local theatres and got a lead role in his first professional play at the start of 2020. He also has won the Clarence Brown Theatre’s ACE awards for Dramatic Monologue and Contemporary Monologue. He loves Dominique Morisuue’s work while being really connected to Omari from Pipeline, pushing his school to put it on as a one-act. He wants to embody the misunderstood and outcasted in his work and was ecstatic to be a part of this show. He believes there is an unmeasurable amount of pain and hurt in those who have been forgotten and wants to tell their stories. What he wants people to take away from his work is, “I want to be the thing that moves the person watching me to be human and really challenge them to think about life other than their own. Just because not all of us can see the pain doesn’t mean it’s not still there.”

Alan ToneyAlan Toney (Justin) Alan could not be more excited to begin wrapping up his time at UTK by being a part of this important production at the Clarence Brown Theatre. He is an undergraduate senior from Memphis, Tennessee studying both Communication Studies and Theatre. He is the founder and director of the All Campus Theatre: Musical Theatre Revue, which is now going on its third successful year. He is also a part of the UTK Ambassadors, Student Government Association, and the Communication Studies club. Some of his previous theatrical credits include Exit, Pursued by a Bear (CBT), Pippin (Stephens College), Songs for a New World (Mizzou Theatre), and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Hear Me Roar Theatre Co.). Alan would like to give a special and heartfelt thank you to Tracey Copeland Halter for this amazing opportunity, and a big thank you to this inspiring group of artists, creators, and crew members, He would also like to thank his mom, dad, Jaxon, Victor, Mrs. Auta, and Jaleyn for their endless love and support.


ARTISTIC TEAM

Director - Tracey Copeland Halter
Scenic Designer - Kirsten Jolly
Scenic Consultant - Christopher Pickart 
Costume Designer - Katie Carrillo
Costume Consultant - Neno Russell
Lighting Designer - Kaylin Gess
Sound Designer - Amoirie Perteet
Choreographer - Danny Leitao
Co-Stage Manager - Cearan Jax Costello
Co-Stage Manager - Will Waring
Interim Artistic Director - Kate Buckley
Interim Department Head - Casey Sams
Managing Director - Tom Cervone
Production Manager - Susan L. McMillan

Tracey Copeland HalterTracey Copeland Halter (Director) has a BA in Theatre from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Acting from New York University. She teaches Theatre 100, Acting 220 and 221 and co teaches a special topics class, in diverse acting methods. Her professional acting credits include Seven Guitars, (Broadway) Richard III and Two Gentlemen of Verona, (New York Shakespeare Festival); Two Trains Running, (Denver Center); Once On This Island, Much Ado About Nothing, and 4 productions of A Christmas Carol, (The Alliance Theatre); Cymbeline, Much Ado About Nothing, School for Wives, and Midsummer Night’s Dream, (GA Shakespeare Festival.) The Hot Mikado, (Houston/Pittsburgh tour), and Spunk and Jar the Floor, (Jomandi Theatre); Fences, Intimate Apparel, Ain’t Misbehavin’, A Christmas Carol, Black Pearl Sings, The Miracle Worker, Violet, and Candide (Clarence Brown Theatre). She has directed at Ball State University, The Word Players and Clarence Brown Theatre.

Kirsten JollyKirsten Jolly (Scenic Designer) is a Scenic Designer hailing from Baltimore, MD. She graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2020 with a BA in Theatre, Design and Production. Recent credits include Trouble in Mind and Anon(ymous) both at UMBC.

 

 

Katie CarrilloKatie Carrillo (Costume Designer) is a Knoxville based artist and seamstress. Right now, she is focusing on finding creative ways to repurpose fabric to reduce textile waste. She has always had a passion for creating and telling stories. Katie would like to thank her friends and family for always supporting her, as well as local community members who support the arts.

 

 

Neno RussellNeno Russell (Costume Consultant) Neno Russell is a professional pattern maker and costume designer. Neno’s academic career includes teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University for 11 years and 8 summers of teaching at The Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts before coming to The University of Tennessee in the fall of 2021. His Broadway Credits include Paradise Square, Flying over Sunset, Amazing Grace, Finian’s Rainbow, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, Footloose, Bring in da’ Noise Bring in da’ Funk, and The Rose Tattoo. National and International Tours: Footloose, 4 companies of Come from Away. Film, TV, and Commercials: The Black Phone, Tomb of Joseph, Good Lord Bird, Loving, 2 seasons of Mercy Street, 4 seasons of Turn: Washington’s Spies, more than 70 national commercials for brands such as MTV, VH1, Journeys, Thomasville, Petsmart, NFL Films, The History Channel and Old Navy, and designed 7 documentaries for the History Channel.

Kaylin GessKaylin Gess (Lighting Designer) is a 2nd 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: 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 Associate Lighting Designer on the Clarence Brown Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and was the Assistant Lighting Designer on Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s world premier of Rooted. Kaylin holds a B.A. in Theatre from Davidson College. 

Amoirie PerteetAmoirie Perteet (Sound Designer) Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she is currently a graduating senior at the University of Tennessee creating a Sound Production and Business degree through the College Scholars Program. She first started producing music in 2018 and has largely focused on Hip Hop production ever since. As a first-time sound designer for the Clarence Brown Theatre, she is delighted to join such an outstanding cast and crew. Her music can be found on beatstars.com/amoirie. 

 

Danny LeitaoDanny Leitao (Choreographer) Danny is a Knoxville native who fell in love with dance at a young age. Finding early love in hip hop dance, it became his vehicle of expression for love and during hard times.

 

 

Cearan Jax CostelloCearan Jax Costello (Co-Stage Manager) is a second year student at UTK, pursuing a dual degree in Civil Engineering and Theatre: Design and Technology. He operated projections on CBT’s 2021 production of A Christmas Carol. He also is the Production Manager of All Campus Theatre at UTK, where he has directed and written many pieces, his favorite being When Bad Things Happen, an original one act play that he directed as a Zoom performance in the fall of 2020. He is honoured to get to work on such a beautiful show with an incredible artistic team and cast.

 

Wil WaringWil Waring (Co-Stage Manager) is thrilled to be making their stage management debut with Blood at the Root! A senior with a Linguistics major and a Theatre minor, Wil has worked on several productions at the CBT. Most recently, they were a Stage Management Assistant on Blithe Spirit. In addition to theatre, they are a trombonist and have a passion for sociophonetics, dialectology, and voice coaching. They would like to thank Patrick Lanczki and Katie Cunningham for being incredible mentors to them during their time at the CBT.

 

Kate BuckleyKate Buckley (Interim Artistic Director) Ms. Buckley is a founding member of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and served as the Artistic Director of The Next Theatre in Evanston Illinois. She has been a Guest Lecturer on Shakespeare at universities and arts organizations nationally and abroad, most notably at Charles University in Prague and Yale University. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Barat College, Roosevelt University, DePaul University and Northwestern University. She received four Best Director nominations from the Joseph Jefferson Committee, her productions have won four consecutive Jefferson Awards for Best Ensemble and she has won two After Dark Awards for Outstanding Direction. In 2006 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Aurora University and a Creative Research Award from the University of TN. 

Casey SamsCasey Sams (Interim Department Head) is the Interim Department Head and a Professor of Theatre specializing in movement. She teaches movement, acting, period dance and musical theatre to both undergraduate and graduate students. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Penn State and completed the Certification in Laban Movement Analysis at the Laban/ Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies. Prior to arriving in Tennessee, Casey served as the Education Director for Virginia Stage Company, where she created programming for students from pre-k to post-graduate. She has worked as a Director, Choreographer, Movement Coach, and Intimacy Choreographer at theatres across the country including The Clarence Brown Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Roundhouse Theatre, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, North Carolina Stage Company, PlayMakers Repertory, Virginia Stage Company, Pennsylvania Musical Theatre, The Knoxville Opera Company, and Vermont Stage Company. She is also a certified meditation instructor with The American Meditation Society and Koru Mindfulness.

Tom CervoneTom 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 eighth 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 Stage 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.


Production Crew

COSTUMES
Wardrobe Supervisor   ...
...Elizabeth Aaron
Wardrobe Crew
...Che Davis
...Aaron Winn

SCENERY
Deck Crew
...Bo Choate
...Ariana Dotson

LIGHTING
Assistant Lighting Designer
...Josh Mullady
Assistants to the Lighting Designer
...Joseph Coram
...Blake Julian
Production LX/Board Operator
...Jacob Cottrell

SOUND
Sound Board Operator
...Graham Schober

SWING CREW
...Caroline Bradley

SPECIAL THANKS
...Maranda DeBusk
...John Sipes

CBT Production Staff

ADMINISTRATION

Interim Artistic Director - Kate Buckley
Interim Department Head- Casey Sams
Managing Director - Tom Cervone
Business Manager - Tara Halstead
Accounting Specialist - Sarah Odio
Administrative Specialist - Bee Caruthers
Marketing & Communications Director - Robin Conklin
General Manager - Shelly Payne
IT Specialist - Mark Spurlock
Graphic Designer - Julie Anna Summers

PATRON SERVICES

Manager of Ticketing and Sales - Sarah Burton
Box Office Manager - Callie Bacon
Lead House Manager - David Ratliff
Patron Service Associates - Faridat Akindele,
....Jacob Curry, Tyler Glover,
....Ona Linna-Hipp, Anderson McNeil,
....Tucker Miller, Ariella Mingo,
....Amoirie Perteet, Emily Pope,
....and Jenna Tiger

ENGAGEMENT/DEVELOPMENT

External Relations & Community Development Manager -
....Amanda Middleton
Grants, Education, and Outreach Manager - Hana Sherman
Tours, Workshops - David Brian Alley
Summer Acting Workshops, Talk Backs - Terry D. Alford

PRODUCTION

Production Manager - Susan L. McMillan
Rental Coordinator/Assistant Production Manager -
....Phyllis Belanger
Production Stage Manager - Patrick Lanczki

COSTUMES

Costume Shop Manager - Melissa Caldwell-Weddig
Cutter/Draper - Kyle Andrew Schellinger
Draper - Neno Russell
Costumers - Elizabeth Aaron, Ellen Bebb
....and Amber Williams

ELECTRICS

Electrics Shop Manager - Travis Gaboda
Lead Electrician - Jon Mohrman
Lighting Assistants - Joseph Coram,
....Kaylin Gess, Josh Mullady and My’Chyl Purr

SCENERY

Technical Director - Jason Fogarty
Assistant Technical Director - George Hairston
Lead Carpenter - Jerry D. Winkle
Senior Carpenter - Kyle Hooks
Scene Shop Assistant - Justin South
Scenic Charge Artist - Jillie Eves

PROPERTIES

Props Supervisor - Christy Fogarty
Lead Properties Artisan -  Sarah Gaboda
Prop Assistants - Katie Stepanek and
....Ellary Hutsell

SOUND

Sound Supervisor - Mike Ponder
Assistant Sound Engineers - Tate E. Thompson
....and Lucas Swinehart

Theatre Faculty

Kate Buckley
....Interim Artistic Director / Professor, Directing
Katie Cunningham
....Assistant Professor, Voice and Speech, and Acting
Jed Diamond
....Associate Professor, Acting
Gina Di Salvo
....
Director of Graduate Studies / Assistant Professor,
....Theatre History and Dramaturgy
Shinnerrie Jackson
....
Assistant Professor, Acting
Joe Payne
....
Associate Professor, Sound and Media
Christopher Pickart
....
Associate Professor, Scene Design
Lauren T. Roark
....
Assistant Professor, Costume Design
Neno Russell
....
Assistant Professor, Costume Technology
Casey Sams
....
Interim Department Head / Professor,
....Movement and Musical Theatre
John Sipes
....
Professor, Acting and Movement
Kenton Yeager
....
Director of Undergraduate Studies /
....Professor, Lighting Design

Terry D. Alford
....
Distinguished Lecturer in Musical Theatre and Acting
David Brian Alley
....
Senior Lecturer, Acting
Tracy Copeland Halter
....
Lecturer, Acting
Steve Sherman
....
Lecturer, Acting
Laura Beth Wells
....
Lecturer, Acting
Katy Wolfe
....
Lecturer, Singing

Carol Mayo Jenkins....
Artist-in-Residence, Acting

Misty G. Anderson
....
Professor of English and Theatre,
....English Department Allen C. Carroll
....Chair of Teaching, Adjunct Faculty
Stanton B. Garner, Jr.
....
Professor of English and Theatre,
....Chair, Department of English,
....Adjunct Faculty

CBT Advisory Board

Chair: Margie Nichols
Chair Elect: Julie Howard
Immediate Past Chair: Lyle Irish

Jennifer Banner
Larry Brakebill
Amy Caponetti
Lisa Carroll
Jeff Cheek
Brooks Clark
Ramsey Cohen
Katharine Pearson Criss
Steve Drevik
Danielle Ely
Pamela Given *
Amy Morris Hess
Diane Humphreys-Barlow
Erica Lyon
Angela Masini
Maureen Dunn McBride
John North
Sara Phillips
Vladimir Protopopescu
Lee Riedinger
CortneyJo Sandidge *
Susan Sgarlat
Linda Shahinian
Steve Smith
Kay Stoutt
Pedro Tomás *
Alice Torbett
Robin Turner
Terry Tyler *
Georgiana Vines
Alexander Waters
Melanie Wood
Wendy Wortham

Emeritus

Charlie Brakebill
Joe De Fiore
Susan Farris
Townes Lavidge Osborn

Ex Officio

Kate Buckley
Casey Sams
Tom Cervone
Andrew Sheehy
Holly Jackson-Sullivan
Jan Simek
Stephanie Wall

*New Board Member
◊ Deceased