Jacob Leon; by Shawn Poynter

Produced by special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois.

Advisories: Contains mature themes. Recommended for ages 10+.

Run time: 1 hour and 40 minutes with one intermission


Directed by Marti Gobel
Scenic Designer Michaela Lochen
Costume Designer Lauren T. Roark
Lighting Designer Mitch Wilson
Sound Designer Allison Bucher
Projection Designer Kenneth Martin
Dramaturg Gina M. Di Salvo
Stage Manager Martinique M. Barthel*
Managing Director Tom Cervone
Production Manager Susan L. McMillan

The Director is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical labor union.
‡ Represented by United Scenic Artists, local USA-829 of the IATSE.
* Members of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Marti Gobel

Marti Gobel (Director) A San Diego, California native, Marti Gobel is an Actor, Director and a John F. Kennedy trained Teaching Artist (with a focus on Effective Residency and Lesson Planning).  She is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. Ms. Gobel has performed routinely for every Equity house in Wisconsin in a variety of roles from Shakespeare to Morrisseau. Her critically acclaimed directing style has deepened her relationship with many theatre companies across the nation with works at Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Forward Theatre, Next Act Theatre , Scripps Ranch Theatre, Moxie Theatre, Cygnet Theatre, The La Jolla Playhouse, First Stage Children’s Theatre and A Red Orchid Theatre. Ms. Gobel returns to Clarence Brown Theatre after directing their 2023 production of Trouble in Mind.  Marti Gobel is a Jeff Award Nominee and recipient of a Black Excellence Award for Outstanding Direction of Is God Is by Alesha Harris.  

Michaela Lochen

Michaela Lochen (Scenic Designer) is a second-year Scenic Design MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a BFA in Scenic Design and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2020. Recent credits include scenic designs for The Pajama Game at Artistry in Bloomington, MN; It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at River & Rail in Knoxville, TN; Gingerbread at the Oak Ridge Playhouse in Oak Ridge, TN; and a seasonal position as the assistant prop shop supervisor at Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek, WI. More of her work can be found at michaelalochen.com.

Lauren T. Roark

Lauren T. Roark (Costume Designer) is the head of graduate costume design in the Department of Theatre at the University of Tennessee. She has previously designed King Charles III, Million Dollar Quartet, and Always…Patsy Cline at the Clarence Brown Theatre. Select regional credits include Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and the Tony Award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Her work has been featured in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s Young Designers’ Forum Exhibition and she was awarded the Barbizon Award for Theatrical Design Excellence. Lauren has worked in costume shops spanning three continents, including Brazil and Hong Kong. She holds an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Missouri–Kansas City and is a proud member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. To learn more, visit www.laurentroark.com.

Mitch Wilson

Mitch Wilson (Lighting Designer) Mitch is the current Lighting Design MFA candidate for the UT Theatre Department. This is his 7th show over the past year. He has just started his fourth semester of graduate school. He would like to thank his girlfriend Kiera and his family for their love and support.

Allison Bucher

Allison Bucher (Sound Designer) is from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a second-year MFA Candidate in Sound and Digital Media Design at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has previously earned a BFA in Theatre: Design and Technology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Recent Sound Design Credits include A Case for the Existence of God and Fun Home at River and Rail Theatre and Men on Boats at the Clarence Brown Theatre. More of her work can be found at www.allisonbucher.com

Kenneth Martin

Kenneth Martin (Projection Designer) is the Artistic Director of the Clarence Brown Theatre and Chair of the Department of Theatre. As a member of United Scenic Artists, Ken’s design work has been seen at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre, The New Theatre The Sacramento Theatre Company, Cleveland Ensemble Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Company, Ocean State Theatre Company, Surflight Theatre, Theatre by the Sea, Florida Repertory Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, among 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. Professor Martin has actively served his profession as a respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festivals, as a consultant for several regional theaters and through active participation in organizations like the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and University Resident Theatre Association.

Gina M. Di Salvo

Gina M. Di Salvo (Dramaturg) is Associate Professor of Theatre History and Dramaturgy at the University of Tennessee. At the Clarence Brown Theatre, she has dramaturged HAIRShe Kills Monsters, People Where They Are, and The Dream of the Burning Boy. As a dramaturg, Gina has worked with Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City as well as Sideshow, Rivendell, The Gift, and Strawdog theatre companies in Chicago. MA: Ohio State; PhD: Northwestern.

Martinique M. Barthel (Stage Manager) (She/Her) is thrilled to make her CBT debut! Other credits include: Romeo & Juliet, Sweeney Todd, All’s Well That Ends Well (Utah Shakespeare Festival); Hotter Than Egypt, A Christmas Carol (Denver Center for The Performing Arts); New Age, Toni Stone, The Niceties, The Nativity Variations (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre); Milwaukee Black Theatre Festival (2020 and 2021); Stew, Underneath the Lintel (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); The Gospel at Colonus (Skylight Music Theatre); Native Gardens, Sex With Strangers (Renaissance Theaterworks); Black Nativity (Black Arts Milwaukee, 2017 & 2018); A Christmas Carol (Children’s Theatre of Madison); Assassins, A Little Night Music, Spamalot, Big Fish, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha, The Light in The Piazza, Kiss Me, Kate (Four Seasons Theatre); Lines, Constellations, The Bed (Theatre LILA); The Mojo and The Sayso (Theatre LILA/Bronzeville Arts Ensemble); Change Your Mind, Change The World (2012) and The World We Make (2016) (panel discussions with His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama).  

Tom Cervone

Tom Cervone (Managing Director) Tom is grateful and honored to serve the Clarence Brown Theatre as Managing Director. Cervone has also served as executive director for both Dogwood Arts and the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation, but the CBT/UTK Theatre Department is Tom’s administrative and artistic home. Cervone arrived in Knoxville in 1989 as an MFA candidate in acting and was hired in May of 1993 as the company manager, then promoted to managing director in 1995. And for his brief foray downtown, Tom has been in this chair, blissfully, ever since. Tom is and has been very active within the UTK community, having served as Exempt Staff Council chair for many years, co-chair of the LGBT Commission, a member of the Diversity Council and many other UTK organizations. Cervone is a long-time board member of the WordPlayers and continues to evangelize on behalf of the art and culture community locally and nationally. Tom received the Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Service to the University in 2010. Cervone holds his undergraduate degree in Speech and English Education with an emphasis in Theatre from West Liberty University in West Virginia and a Master of Fine Arts and an MBA from UT. He is a graduate of and was selected as the Class Representative of the Leadership Knoxville class of 2011, the best class ever. Cervone was inducted into his undergraduate alma mater’s class of 2015 Wall of Honor and was appointed by the Governor of WV in 2021 to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees of WLU.

Susan L. McMillan

Susan L. McMillan (Production Manager) is in her tenth year as Production Manager at the 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 (B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Biology from Oregon State University) and music (cellist), Susan found her way into theatre (Minor in Theatre from OSU). She is incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and adventures along the way, inspirational mentors, artistic and talented colleagues, amazing students, and the love and support of her family and friends. And very grateful for Molly – woof!

The Cast

Father – Drew Drake*
Mother – Rachel Darden*
Lily – Allison Bunch
Jonas – Jasmine R. Handy
Asher – Jacob Leon
Fiona – Jenna Mitchell
Larissa – Carol Mayo Jenkins*
Chief Elder – Tarah Flanagan*
The Giver (Old Man) – David Cecsarini*
Rosemary / Ensemble / Understudy Larissa – Yashashvi Choudhary*
Ensemble / Understudy MotherGrace Belt*
Ensemble / Understudy Chief ElderGabriela Bulka*
Ensemble – Clay Cooper*
Ensemble / Understudy JonasCearan Jax Costello
Ensemble / Understudy FatherDenzel Dejournette*
Ensemble – Develyn Jayan*
Understudy Asher – J.D. Joiner
Ensemble /Understudy The Giver (Old Man) Sammy Pontello*
Ensemble – Ella Trisler

* The actors appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Grace Belt

Grace Belt (Ensemble / Understudy Mother) Selected credits include Laguna Playhouse, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Surflight Theatre, Fiasco Theater, River & Rail, and Clarence Brown Theatre. Grace is an alum of Fiasco Theater’s Conservatory in NYC and is currently a first-year MFA Acting Graduate Candidate at UT. Love you Griff, F&C, and always EGR. For more info, visit graciebelt.com and firsttakeco.com.

Allison Bunch

Allison Bunch (Lily) is a fourth-year undergrad at the University of Tennessee, where she is studying Theatre with an acting concentration and minoring in English. Allison is a Knoxville native and has participated in many productions throughout high school. She’s previously worked with the Clarence Brown Theatre, and is excited for her second performance role on the main stage. A few of her credits include Jenia in the CBT’s production of Hair, Lisa in Fame (Farragut High School), Gretle VonTrapp in The Sound of Music (Farragut High School), the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (Farragut High School), and Assistant Stage Manager for Always…Patsy Cline (Clarence Brown Theatre). Allison is very honored to be a part of this wonderful cast and show and would like to thank her friends, family, and mentors for all their support over the years.

Gabriela Bulka

Gabriela “Gabi” Bulka (Ensemble / Understudy Chief Elder) is a first-year MFA Acting Candidate at UT and is thrilled to be a member of the Clarence Brown Theatre. Native to Krakow, Poland she moved to New York City where she trained at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and received a Two-Year Conservatory Certificate. She is an actor, dancer, movement director and producer. Gabriela holds a Professional Dancer and Choreographer Diploma, as well as a degree in IP Law. Recent credits include: A Christmas Carol (Mrs. Cratchit/Mercy Miggot), Charlie (RJ Theatre Company producer/mov.dir.), Hamlet Split Apart (RJ Theatre Company producer/mov.dir); Short Films: Cortado (producer), Thoughts (Zen), Sloane & Dom (Julianne). Thank YOU all for supporting live theatre! There’s no show without you – our audience. @ga_bulka

David Cecsarini

David Cecsarini (The Giver – Old Man) This year begins David’s 46th year as a theatre professional, having debuted as a journeyman actor with the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in 1978. He was then selected as a founding company member of American Players Theatre (APT) in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where some of his favorite roles included Claudius in Hamlet, Marc Antony in Julius Caesar, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Master Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. After seven seasons at APT, he established a long-time Milwaukee residency, acting with many of its professional companies, and eventually becoming Producing Artistic Director of Next Act Theatre (NAT). Having proudly served for thirty-two seasons, he directed over forty NAT productions and acted in as many others. His most recent NAT directorial project was God’s Spies, by Bill Cain. Behind the scenes, David has created sound effects and scores for most of Next Act’s work, and for many other professional productions. He is delighted to make his acting debut at the Clarence Brown Theatre, working with long-time friend and colleague Marti Gobel and collaborating with the dozens of talented and dedicated artists who have brought this show to such vibrant life.

Yashashvi Choudhary

Yashashvi Choudhary (Rosemary / Ensemble / Understudy Larissa) is an MFA Acting student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She comes from the capital of her country New Delhi, India where she received her B.A.(honours) in English Literature from the University of Delhi. She was associated with “The Pierrot’s Troupe Theater Group” ( an internationally renowned theatre group formed in 1989) and performed various plays in her country. Her proudest moment was when she was crowned as the Miss Teen International India where she represented her nation. She feels honored to start her journey at UTK which will act as instrumental in helping her understand the core ideas and themes that define global theatre. Her recent role was as Miss Lucy and Mrs. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol at the Clarence Brown Theatre.

Clay Cooper

Clay Cooper (Ensemble) is so excited to be joining the cast of The Giver. Clay is a first year MFA Acting candidate originally from the small town of Pinehurst, North Carolina. Clay most recently had the opportunity to play Fezziwig in CBT’s production of A Christmas Carol. He holds a B.A in Theatre Education from Appalachian State University and previous stage credits include: Bright Star! (Jimmy Ray), The Moors (The Mastiff) and The {W}right Sister (Oriville Wright). In his free time he enjoys hiking, cooking and serenading his dog Sophie on guitar. To see what he is working on next follow his instagram @claycooper11.

Cearan Jax Costello

Cearan Jax Costello (Understudy Jonas) is in his fourth-year at UT. He is pursuing a dual degree in Civil Engineering and Theatre: Design and Technology. He is excited to be on the Clarence Brown stage for the first time! Since being at UT, he co-stage managed Blood at the Root (Clarence Brown Theatre); was assistant stage manager for Sweat (River & Rail); directed Twelfth Night (All Campus Theatre); assistant directed and was dramaturg for Men on Boats (Clarence Brown Theatre); stage managed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Tennessee Stage Company); assistant directed for The Moors (Clarence Brown Theatre); and designed and build the set and lights for The Wolves (All Campus Theatre). He hopes you all enjoy the show!

Rachel Darden

Rachel Darden (Mother) Rachel is a graduate of UT’s MFA acting program—class of ‘23. Her credits at the Clarence Brown Theatre include Greta in Murder on the Orient Express, Judy inTrouble in Mind, Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, and Agnes in She Kills Monsters (The Carosel Theatre). Rachel is returning to her home state of Colorado where she will appear as Miss Casewell in the Lonetree Art Center’s upcoming production of The Mousetrap. Find more at RachelDarden.com. Love you, Boomer.

Denzel Dejournette

Denzel Dejournette (Ensemble / Understudy Father) Denzel has had a unique path to acting. Originally, coming from the world of wrestling. He is a division I All-American wrestler and was a wrestler with the WWE. He is now an MFA Acting candidate here at the University of Tennessee to further the exploration of his passions, and to tell stories of everyday humanities.

Drew Drake

Drew Drake (Father) is an Actor, Poet, Hip Hop Artist, Director and Educator from Huntsville Alabama but currently residing in NYC; focused on creating art that facilitates healthy dialogue for people of color. Drew was last seen performing on TV in Roles such as “Lamar Cordell” in Law and Order Season 22 and stages such as Bonnaroo Music Festival, Barclays Center and Brooklyn Academy of Music’s production Word. Sound. Power. Drew also Directed Marisol by Jose Rivera for NYU Tisch’s MainStage Fall Undergraduate production in December. Drew is the former Poet-In-Residence and teaching artist with Urban Word NYC. Drew also a Professor at New York University (Martin Luther King Scholars Program and Tisch: Playwrights Horizon Theatre Studio), Columbia Law School, as well as teaching African American Theatre at Medgar Evers College. Drew is super thankful to be coming back to Knoxville to return as the Artist in Residence at the University of Tennessee, this Spring Semester.

Tarah Flanagan

Tarah Flanagan (Chief Elder) is delighted to return to the Clarence Brown Theatre having previously appeared in the CBT production of The Madwoman of Chaillot, staring the incomparable Carol Mayo Jenkins. New York Theatre: The Sheen Center, The Mint Theatre, and the Pearl Theatre with Hang a Tale Productios (titular role of The Little Prince, directed by Kim Martin-Cotten). Regional Theatre: Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Fest (world premier of Buzz, directed by Carrie Preston) Arkansas Rep. Theatre, Cleveland Play House (Every Brilliant Thing, An Iliad), Cincinnati Playhouse, Crossroads Theatre, Eugene O’Neil Theatre, Fulton Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, Public Theatre of Maine, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Studio Arena Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Fest., and the Rep.Theatre of St. Louis (titular role in St. Joan). TV/Film: Ramy, directed by Ramy Youssef (Hulu). As the World Turns (CBS), Futurestates (PBS), Mother’s Book, directed by Keith Joseph Atkins, and Darwin: the Series, directed by Carrie Preston. Tarah has been a company member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival since 2007, and is a graduate of Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Webster University (BFA) and the U.of Alabama-Alabama Shakespeare Festival (MFA). She is a proud member of AEA and SDC.

Jasmine R. Handy

Jasmine R. Handy (Jonas) is immensely grateful and overjoyed to be making her debut on the Clarence Brown Theatre main stage. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she is seeking to complete her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre with an Acting Concentration in May of 2024. Her previous training includes attending the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts. This will be her fifth show at the University of Tennessee Department of Theatre. Previous CBT credits include Blood at the Root (Raylynn); Adaptive Radiation (Olivia); Men on Boats (John Wesley Powell); and The Moors (Marjory/Mallory). She would like to extend special thanks to her loved ones for their unwavering support; to the tremendous cast and crew for their collaborative artistry; and to Marti Gobel, an inspirational visionary whose love for this art form never failed to set a stellar example.

Develyn Jayan

Develyn Jayan (Ensemble) Develyn is a first year MFA acting graduate student. She is also a resident actor at the Clarence Brown Theatre and a professional Indian dancer who made her first American Theatre debut as the Ghost of Christmas Past here at her home ground. Having been dedicated to a life on stage through various plays, dance-dramas as well as street plays back in India, she is here to make professional theatre her next home. She aspires to be an artist who can rise above the social standards and stereotypes, she’s grateful to the Clarence Brown Theatre for opening that path for her and supporting her in her journey.

J.D. Joiner

J.D. Joiner (Understudy Asher) J.D. is a senior at the University of Tennessee and is double majoring in Theatre and History. He is thrilled to be returning for his fourth appearance on the Clarence Brown main stage, previously appearing as “Steve” in Hair, a porter and soldier in Murder on the Orient Express, and most recently “Peter Cratchit” and “Dick Wilkins” in A Christmas Carol. He would like to thank the director for giving him this opportunity, and his parents for their constant and patient support.

Carol Mayo Jenkins

Carol Mayo Jenkins (Larissa) Broadway: The Three SistersPhiladelphia Here I ComeOedipus Rex (with John Cullum); There’s One In Every MarriageFirst Monday In October (with Henry Fonda); and The Suicide (with Derek Jacobi). Off-Broadway: Zinnia (Drama Desk nomination);  Moliere In Spite Of HimselfThe Lady’s Not For BurningLittle Eyolf, and The Old Ones. Regional Theatre: MacBethTwelfth NightThe Tempest, HamletOthelloKing LearMuch Ado About NothingA Midsummer’s Night DreamCymbalineLove’s Labour’s LostAs You Like ItThe Sea GullA Doll’s HouseLong Day’s Journey Into NightPygmalionLes Liaisons DangereuseWho’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf (directed by Edward Albee); Death of A SalesmanAmy’s ViewThe Retreat from MoscowOtherwise Engaged (with Dick Cavett); Present Laughter (with Louis Jourdan); Collected StoriesEnchanted April, among many others. Television: Fame (NBC); Another World (NBC); The Garden (CBC); MacBeth (PBS); Happy Endings (NBC);  MatlockMax Headroom, and Nightingales, among others. At CBT: The Glass MenagerieThe Road To MeccaTrojan WomenThe Dresser (with John Cullum), Arsenic and Old LaceMajor Barbara, All My SonsThe Music ManMoonlight and MagnoliasFuddy Meers4000 MilesThe Trip To BountifulOutside MullingarThe CrucibleThe Madwoman of ChaillotBlithe Spirit and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, among many others.

Jacob Leon

Jacob Leon (Asher) is a sophomore at UT majoring in Theatre, and he is very excited to be a part of this year’s production of The Giver. He has previously appeared on the Clarence Brown Theatre main stage in A Christmas Carol and Hair. He is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this production.

Jenna Mitchell

Jenna Mitchell (Fiona) is full of gratitude for the opportunity to act on CBT’s main stage. Here at CBT Jenna has worked on Adaptive Radiation as Understudy to Female Steve and ASM, Murder on The Orient Express Wardrobe Crew, and The Moors as Understudy to the Moorhen. Some of her other favorite roles include Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Gretl in The Sound of Music. Jenna attended Governor’s school for theatre in 2019 and is currently a junior here at UT pursuing a double major in Theatre and Fine Art.

Sammy Pontello

Sammy Pontello (Ensemble, Understudy The Giver) is a first year MFA Acting Candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Originally from Central Florida, they spent the last two seasons working with Florida Studio Theatre touring in TYA around the state, teaching acting and playwrighting, and working as an actor, director, and dramaturg in New Play Development. Prior to FST, Sammy also worked at the Orlando Shakes in New Play Development. He is thrilled to be joining the Clarence Brown Theatre community. IG: @sjpactor | sammypontello.com

Ella Trisler

Ella Trisler (Understudy Lilly / Fiona) is a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She studies Theatre with a concentration in acting, and is thrilled to be working on the Clarence Brown Theatre main stage for the first time! Most recently, she played Emilie in The Moors, and Hall in Men on Boats, both at the Lab Theatre. Some of her favorite roles so far include Mayella Ewell in To Kill A Mockingbird and Louisa Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. This summer, Ella studied acting for six weeks in New York City with NYU’s own Atlantic Acting School through their Summer Intensive.

Eric Coble; photo by Betsy MolnarEric Coble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and raised on the Navajo and Ute reservations in New Mexico and Colorado. His scripts for adults have been produced on Broadway (Tony- and Pulitzer-nominated The Velocity of Autumn), off-Broadway (Bright Ideas), in all 50 states of the U.S., and on several continents. His plays for young audiences include award-winning adaptations of Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Gathering Blue as well as The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, Ghosts in the Machine, Swagger, Cinderella Confidential and a dozen other published scripts that have been produced at The Kennedy Center, Dallas Children’s Theatre, Childsplay, Metro Theatre Company, Oregon Children’s Theatre, First Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Cleveland Play House, Adventure Stage, Alliance Theatre and many others. Awards include two AATE Distinguished Play Awards for Best Adaptation and the Charlotte Chorpenning Award for the body of work of a children’s playwright.

Lois LowryLois Lowry is the highly acclaimed author of more than 30 books for young people. Over the years, she has received numerous awards, including two Newbery Medals. Lowry has written such a wide range of books that her body of work cannot be categorized easily. Her genres range from contemporary fiction to historical fiction to fantasy to autobiographical. Her audiences range from elementary school children all the way up to young adults. Some of Lowry’s books are light-hearted, but others deal with serious and somber topics.  Lois Lowry’s first children’s book, A Summer to Die, was published in 1977. In 1979 Lowry finished Anastasia Krupnik, the story of a quirky 10-year-old girl who wants to become a writer. During the 1980s, Anastasia reappeared in numerous books. In 1990 Lowry’s novel, Number the Stars, received the prestigious Newbery Medal. Four years later, Lowry won a second Newbery Medal for her most well-known book, The Giver. More recently, Lois Lowry has been writing a lighthearted series for younger readers about a spirited second-grade girl named Gooney Bird Greene.

Marti GobelPart of the extreme pleasure I gain from directing plays is the challenge of crafting a production that resonates with an audience in two ways. The first being that the audience has a rich emotional experience in real time. Second, that said experience continues to echo in thought long after the final bow. The Giver by Eric Coble (adapted from the novel by Lois Lowry) was particularly challenging in moving towards these goals. How does one turn a well known story that is dependent on the thoughts and feelings of its characters into palpable action? In a fictional society that is reliant on tepid interpretations of horrific realities, what are the ways in which the actors can lean in to a visual give and take rather than verbal communication? The solution came to me in the form of American Sign Language…

American Sign Language (ASL) lives with the misconception that signs are philosophically self explanatory, that they are a crystalline reflection of what they mean. In may cases this is true because the medium of ASL is three-dimensional space and naturally allows more iconicity than oral language. But, in many instances (just as in spoken language) mapping between form and meaning can become completely arbitrary. Further, children do not always take advantage of the iconic properties of signs when they interpret their meaning. The sign we are using for “release” means “to let go”, however, in the context of The Giver the same sign means (at its root) “to euthanize”. We strove as a group to create a community that uses language in the form of both ASL (Visual) and Oral communication (Auditory) in order to cloud the true outcome of particular actions while simultaneously utilizing precise language. This led to the realization of a community and culture whose very existence is threatened day to day and yet the threat is not packaged in a way that correctly highlights the danger for what it is. We can find these examples in our current use of words such as Internment, Gentrification, War… This truth is applicable to non-threats, as well. We use words such as Equality and Freedom as if they have been achieved for all, constantly lulling ourselves in to the belief that we have reached these goals. And yet, we live in a society where we profess these very things! Terrifying, isn’t it?

As you take the ride that is The Giver with us, I hope you will find excitement in watching Jonas “see beyond” with more and more clarity through the course of the play. And, when he transcends, I hope you will collectively breathe a sigh of relief not only because our young protagonist completes his Hero’s Journey but because you now feel empowered to begin a journey of your own…

“I had a dream, a pleasant scene, where none were dunced and none were crowned. All there knew just who they were spoke with their eyes and sang out loud.” (Flowers from Fromb, Superunloader) 

Marti Gobel


Assistant Stage Managers
Belle Holmes
Rachel Winenger
Marcos Gonzalez
(swing crew)


Costume Design Assistant
Alex Heder
Wardrobe Supervisor
Stephanie Goad Hairston
Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor
Victoria Kahnle
Wardrobe Coordinator
Elizabeth Aaron
Wardrobe Crew
Laura Asmussen
Dottie Haller
Emrys Peterson
Catherine York


Deck Crew
Brooke Barowski
Abigail McCarter
Erica Zacharias


Light Board Operator
Joshua Rodriguez
Deck Electrician
Jamie Burnett


Sound Board Operator
Grace Roberts


Projection Operator
Alex Dally


Mia Hayes
Adella Rosendale


Artistic Director/Department Head – Kenneth Martin
Associate Artistic Director – Katie Lupica
Managing Director – Tom Cervone
Business Manager – Tara Halstead
Administrative Specialist – Emily Pope
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, Richard Escalante,
Izzy Fenech, Calvin Fillers, Tyler Glover,
Emma Massengill, Faith McManus ,
Joseph Molitor, Emmy Sinclair,
Jalen Smith, Savannah Smith,
Lilly Snead, Marissa Speck,
Justin Spinella
, Allisa Sullinger,
Devon Thompson, Jenna Tiger,
Camden Tripp, Madison Wall,
Sarah Wahrmund and Jamison Yeager

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
Costumers – Elizabeth Aaron, Amber Williams,
Ellen Bebb and Laura Clift
Costume Assistants – Alex Heder, Kaelyn Williams,
Laura Asmussen and Victoria Kahnle
Laundry Crew Anna Franz and Jasmine R. Handy
Wig Design – Siobian Jones

Electrics Shop Manager – Travis Gaboda
Lead Electrician – Jon Mohrman
Lighting Assistants – Lisa Bernard, Liv Jin,
Rachel Clift and Angelyn Baer

Technical Director – Jason Fogarty
Assistant Technical Director – George Hairston
Lead Carpenter – Jerry D. Winkle
Senior Carpenter – Kyle L. Hooks
Scene Shop Assistants – Grace Bartoo, Justice Morris,
Adelle Rosendale
, Serena Risin, Sophie Smrcka,
Becca Stockhaus
, Quin Tomlinson,
Christian Pence
and Didi Vermillion
Scenic Charge Artist – Isabel Isaac

Props Supervisor – Christy Fogarty
Lead Properties Artisan – Sarah Gaboda
Prop Assistants – Catherine Blevins, Iris Caldwell,
Katie DePriest
, Monica Gardiner, Ellary Hutsell,
Olivia Layman
, Michaela Lochen, Kamran Pickering,
and Rachel Winenger

Sound and Video Manager – Chris Walters
Sound Assistants – Allison Bucher
& Amoirie Perteet

Emilia KlinzingEmilia Klinzing (Interpreter)has felt honored to interpret many shows during her junior and senior years of college. Some of her favorite performances include Disney’s Newsies and Sweeny Todd with BCA. Other shows she has interpreted include UT’s A Christmas Carol and Murder on the Orient Express. After graduation, she intends to continue serving others through her profession as an ASL interpreter. Emilia is also the author of the T.S.O. series. She wants to thank her family and mentors for all their support in her journey through school and interpreting.



Catherine ObearCatherine Obear (Interpreter) is a Junior at the University of Tennessee in the Deaf Studies Educational Interpreting program. She currently serves as the University of Tennessee’s American Sign Language Club (ASLK) president. She intends to continue her work as an interpreter within the local community post-graduation. In the long term she hopes to go to graduate school at Gallaudet University to pursue a Master’s in ASL Linguistics.




Carol LaCavaCarol LaCava (Interpreter/Mentor) Carol has worked for thirty years as the Coordinator/Instructor in the UT Educational Interpreting Program. She has interpreted more than 100 theatrical productions including many at the CBT. She continues to work part time as an interpreter and mentor. She is thrilled to be able to share this experience with two promising new interpreters as her team members for this production.


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
Katie Lupica Directing
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


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

Artists Circle

Dr. Meagan Elizabeth Dennison
Mrs. Laura Kimsey Eshbaugh
Pamela and James Given
The Lederer Family
Cynthia Moxley and Alan Carmichael
Jeffrey W. Navel
Linda Brakebill Norris
Townes Lavidge Osborn and Robert S. Marquis
Linda & Terry Tyler

Directors Circle

Jeff and Marilyn Cheek
Joe Hoagland and Vickie Ellis
Donna R. and Randall L. Riggs
Robin C. Turner

Leading Player

Andrea Anderson
Ms. Virginia L. Caperton
Amy Caponetti
Joan A. Clevenger
Michael Combs
Dr. Tim and Pat Ezzell
Mr. Christopher Reed Herbstritt
Julie C. Lohnes
Calvin and Rebecca MacLean
John D North
Bonnie Ownley and Neil Quigley
Janet Parkey
Vladimir Protopopescu
Karen and Brooks Clark
Pedro Tomás and Roger Roark
Dr. Robert N.Trigiano
Georgiana Vines
Deborah and Chris Welsh

Producers Circle

Anne G. Armstrong
Jennifer S. Banner

Dr. John M. and Connie L. Begovich
Dr. Myrwood and Susan Besozzi
Larry and Jeanie Brakebill
Drs. John T. Bushore and Betsy Haughton
Dr. Peter J. Campbell

Bonnie C. Carroll
Elizabeth Carroll
Dr. Jimmy G. and Ileen Cheek
Roy H. Cooper, Jr.
Kenneth T. and Jane Creed

Drs. Joseph C. and Jayne C. De Fiore
Nancy Duckles and Cameron Sears
Dr. Jeffrey Eberting
Dr. Stuart B. Elston
Mrs. Patricia Ann Ezzell
Dr. R. Kent and Susan Farris
Dr. Stanton and Alison Garner
Margie Nichols and John Gill
Rosemary Gilliam
Tara and Scott Halstead
Michael J. Higdon
John and Susan Hoffman
Julie Howard and Ted Flickinger
Susan and Jerry Kornegay
Drs. Theresa Lee Love and Jacob F. Love
Maureen Dunn McBride and Neil G. McBride
Dr. Stanley and Hei Park
Dr. Vaughan and Meredith Peccolo
Dr. Lee Riedinger and Mary Zuhr
Patricia Roux-Sharp
Rev. Susan Sgarlat
Donna Geckler-Solod
John and Delores R. Sorey
Alice Torbett
Capt. Kenneth Stark and Nancy Voith
Donna WertzDr. Dale C. and Wendy Wortham

Rising Star

Jay and Sandra Aldrich
Jeffery and Laura Allen
Will and Rebecca Brewer
John L Butler
Drs. Reid and Olga Crumpton
Leann Dickson
Dr. Howard C. Filston and Sandra K. Stoutt
Dr. Thomas C. Hood
David and Nancy Keith
Dr. Jeffrey D. Kovac
Ms. Mary Clare Long
Sheena McCall
Tom Mercier
Marsha Mitchell
Dr. Samantha Ann Murphy
Sara A. Phillips
James D. and Emily J. Plemmons
Ms. Susan M. Roberts
Carol and Jeffrey Stratton
Alexander Waters

David Andrews
Gayle Burnett
Dennis Bussell
Jeff Cheek
Karen Clapp
Greg Congleton
Deborah Emery
Mardel Fehrenbach
Margie Nichols Gill
Pamela Given
John Hoffman
Julie Howard
Virginia Kerwin
Jerry Kornegay
Susan Kornegay
Sharon Kreis
Steve Krempasky
Stephen LaVie
Karen Lesieur
Angela Masini
Vanessa McAfee
Maureen McBride
Sheena McCall
Marty McCampbell
Jeffrey Navel
Linda Norris
Hei Park
Linda Parsons
James Peterson
Sara Phillips
Elizabeth Pollock
Donna Riggs
Helen Sirett
Robin Smith
Julie Thornburg
Alice Torbett
Linda Tyler
Terry Tyler
Georgiana Vines
Nancy Voith
Donna Wertz
Shelly Wilson
Cheryl Zamora