The Forest Roberts Theatre presents


Chicago graphic

Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
in the Forest Roberts Theatre
November 19 - 22, 2014 
Showtimes: 7:30 PM Nightly and 1:00 PM on Saturday
Tickets are $15 for General Public, $10 for Students, and $5 for NMU Students 

Tickets are available at the Forest Roberts Theatre or any Ticket outlet. Or buy them ONLINE at

"Chicago" is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.


Questions? Call the FRT Box Office at 227-2082


Character Name Hometown Major Class Year
Velma Kelly Liza Hunter Marquette, MI Alumna 


Roxie Hart Erin Resteiner West Branch, MI Theater


Billy Flynn Anthony Pruett Marquette, MI Undeclared


Matron “Mama” Morton Alexandra Marks Beloit, WI Theater


Mary Sunshine/ Ensemble T. Patterson East Lansing, MI Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences


Amos Hart Christopher Leith Marquette, MI Alumnus


Mona Taylor Kulju Ishpeming, MI Theater         2015
Go-To-Hell-Kitty Laura Thompson Gwinn, MI Theater


Annie Jesse Morrow Kalamazoo, MI Theater


June Carly Bellock Wheaton, IL Communications


Hunyak Jill Vermeulen Marquette, MI Theater and Communication


Liz Jill Grundstrom Marquette, MI Faculty Member


Ensemble Alyssa Erspamer Marquette, MI Alumna


Fred Casely/Ensemble John Scheibe Iron Mountain, MI Theater


Martin Harrison/ Ensemble Sam Arsenault Linolakes, MN Digital Cinema


Judge/Ensemble Devin Murphy Ishpeming, MI Undeclared


Conductor/Sgt. Fogarty/
Ethan Burk Eaton Rapids, MI Zoology


Harry/Juror/Ensemble Luke Speicher Suttons Bay, MI Environmental Studies


Ensemble Shane O'Connor Lapae, MI Theater


Ensemble Donavon Chambers Ferndale, MI Theater





Creative Team

Director Ansley Valentine
Associate Director Martyn Martello
Choreographer Jill Grundstrom
Additional Choreography Jacob DeLong †
Music Director David Dagenais
Scenic and Lighting Designer Victor G. Holliday
Costume Designer Shelley Russell
Sound Designer Dan Zini​
Properties Master James Porras II †
Technical Director David Pierce
Production Stage Manager Emily Kinne
Assistant Stage Manager Claire Alves , Dakota Vogel 



Additional Staff

Assistant Sound Designer/Board Operator Coop Bicknell †
Assistant Properties Master Dakota Vogel †
Light Board Operator James Porras II †
Follow Spot Operator Patrick  Baird, Kaileena Haralson, Lily Howder, Calen Liverance
Wardrobe Korinne Griffith, Jackie Hegmegee
Run Crew Anna Morrison
Flight Operator Steve McClain, Jalina Olgren
Music Operator Jewell Mills
Faculty Technical Director David Pierce
  † indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.


After shooting her lover, Roxie Hart must prove her innocence in Chicago where the biggest celebrities are those with the heftiest crime careers. With the help—and lack thereof—from sexy murderesses, a big shot lawyer, and a nearly invisible husband, Roxie discovers what it means to kill for fame.

About the Show

Written by Maurine Dallas Watkins in 1926, Chicago was based off of two unrelated news stories about women committing murder. Chicago was originally named “Brave Little Women” and was written as a class assignment for Yale Drama School. The play first appeared on Broadway in late December of 1926 where it ran for 172 performances. (To not be confused with the musical Chicago, the play version is now called Play Ball when it is being performed.) In 1927, Cecil B. DeMille produced a silent film version of Chicago. In this version of Chicago it was seen more as a melodrama probably to appease the audience where Watkins’ original story was more cynical and harsh. William A. Wellman took the story in 1942, and created the movie Roxie Hart. In this version Roxie was accused of murder without really committing it.


Chicago Cast Bios

Sam Arsenault (Martin Harrison/Ensemble) is a sophomore majoring in digital cinema at NMU. His theater credits include John in DARK OF THE MOON, Cladwell in Urinetown: The Musical, The Stranger in Jack and the Bean Stalk and ensemble roles in Les Misérables and Comedy of Errors.

Carly Bellock (June) is new to the FRT as a transfer student at Northern Michigan University. Carly has been taking dance classes since she was three years old along with vocal lessons starting at age twelve. From ages thirteen to sixteen she was signed with acting agencies in Chicago such as Baker and Rowley, and John Casablancas. Throughout high school, she was in a competitive show choir ending her senior year with a national champion title. She has appeared in Curtains (Wheaton-Warrenville South High School), and Jack and the Beanstalk (Wheaton-Warrenville South High School).

Ethan Burk (Conductor/Sergeant Fogarty/Clerk/Aaron) is a senior zoology major with a pre-veterinary emphasis. He has appeared in Avenue Q, Les Misérables, and Comedy of Errors.

Donavon Chambers (Ensemble) is a sophomore at Northern Michigan University. He is a theater major and dance minor. Donavon has been in 10 different shows prior to NMU. He is currently working at Lake Superior Youth Theatre as a choreographer and will be house manager for Lake Superior Theatre this summer. Donavon has had fun with his first season in Northern’s theater program and would like to thank everyone who helped to get him where he is.

Alyssa Erspamer (Ensemble) is a graduate from Finlandia University with a physical therapist assistant degree. Alyssa has appeared in RENT (Forest Roberts Theatre) while she attended Northern Michigan University. Other childhood appearances include Guys and Dolls JR. (Vista Theatre), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Butterfly Garden Theatre) and The Chronicles of Narnia (Butterfly Garden Theatre).

Liza Hunter (Velma Kelly) has a bachelor of science in theater performance from Northern Michigan University and is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts. Theatre credits include Maureen in RENT (Vista Theatre), Linda in Blood Brothers (Vertigo Stage), Shelby in Steel Magnolias (Vista Theatre), Janet in The Rocky Horror Show (Vista Theatre), and Marta in Company (Forest Roberts Theatre). Professional circus credits include Club Med, Aerial Angels, Circus Circus Reno, and Dragone.

Taylor Kulju (Mona) is a senior theater major at NMU with a communication studies minor. Last year she spent most of her time on the stage as Miss Upper Peninsula 2013. However, some of her other roles consist of Maria in West Side Story (Vista Theatre), Janet in Rocky Horror (Vista Theatre), Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde (Forest Roberts Theatre), and Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q (James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre). Taylor is beyond excited to complete her final year at NMU with a cast and crew that she loves working with on such a fun and sexy show!

Christopher Scott Leith (Amos) is a graduate from Northern Michigan University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in theater. Christopher has appeared here as Ali Hakim in Oklahoma, Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, Madame Parnelle in Tartuffe, Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge. Chris has acted and directed around the country including stints at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Theater West Virginia, Michigan State University, Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council, EarthInstinct, Westwood Shakespeare, and Lake Superior Theater.

Alexandra Marks (Matron “Mama” Morton) is a theater major with minors in music and dance. She has performed at NMU as Abigail Adams (1776), Penny (Fallujah), Kate Monster (Avenue Q), Paulette (Legally Blonde), Ensemble (Les Misérables), Adriana (The Comedy Of Errors), The Narrator (She Kills Monsters), and Laura (A Paper Tiger In The Rain). She has also performed with the Lake Superior Theatre as Mama Gina (Beacon On The Rock), Ruth (The Pirates Of Penzance), and Fastrada (Pippin). She would like to thank her family for their love and support!   

Jesse Morrow (Annie) is a senior at Northern Michigan University studying theater. Her theater credits include Eponine in Les Misérables, Dromio of Ephesus in Comedy of Errors, Raja Englanderova in I Never Saw Another Butterfly, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, James Wilson in 1776 and the Iraqi women in Fallujah.

Devin Murphy (Judge/Ensemble) is an undeclared major, freshman at Northern Michigan University and is very excited to perform in Chicago. He has appeared in Les Misérables (Forest Roberts Theatre), King Lear (Lake Superior Theatre and Westwood Shakespeare Company), Guys and Dolls (Ishpeming High School), The Pirates of Penzance (Lake Superior Theatre), Beacon on the Rock (Lake Superior Theatre), and The Music Man (Ishpeming High School).

Shane O’Connor (Ensemble) is a senior theater major from Capac, MI. Though he loves the world of academia, he is excited to be graduating soon. Shane has performed and assisted on other Forest Roberts productions such as Les Misérables, Santaland Diaries, and She Kills Monsters. Shane is an active member in the Alpha Psi Omega honors fraternity and contributes to the First Nighters Club Haunted Theatre fundraiser.

T. Patterson (Mary Sunshine/Ensemble) is a freshman at Northern Michigan University majoring in speech, language, and hearing sciences and soon minoring in French. Trenton has been in very few shows such as Hairspray, The Wiz, Princess Bride, Annie and now Chicago!

Erin Resteiner (Roxie) is a senior theater major with a minor in English. She has appeared in Les Misérables, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and A Year With Frog and Toad (Forest Roberts Theatre), as well as Anything Goes, Beauty and the Beast, and Annie Get Your Gun (Ogemaw Heights Theatrical Troupe). Her role as Roxie is in partial fulfillment of the Senior Capstone.

John Scheibe (Fred Casely/Ensemble) John is a senior theater major at Northern Michigan University with a minor in music. He has most recently appeared on the FRT’s stage as Miles in She Kills Monsters. John has also appeared in various plays and musicals within the area which include Pippin, Comedy of Errors, Fallujah and will appear as Jules in the upcoming local film Marlon. After his graduation in May 2015, John will be moving to New York City to passionately pursue a career as an actor.

Luke Speicher (Harry/Juror/Ensemble) is a graduate of Leland High School where he performed in productions at the Leland Performing Arts Center, including Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy), Children of Eden (Adam/Noah), The Wiz (Scarecrow), and Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour). He was in the 2012 Miracle Production of Godspell and the 2013 production of Tarzan (Terk) in Traverse City, MI. At Northern, Luke studies environmental studies and sustainability.

Laura Thompson (Go-To-Hell-Kitty) is a sophomore theater major and has appeared in Les Misérables (Forest Roberts Theatre), Comedy of Errors (Black Box Theatre), She Kills Monsters (Forest Roberts Theatre), and Pippin (Lake Superior Theatre).

Jill Vermeulen (Hunyak) is a NMU sophomore majoring in theater and communications with a dance minor. Some of her recent performances include Ava in A Paper Tiger in the Rain (Forest Roberts Theatre), Player and dance captain in Pippin (Lake Superior Theatre), Kaliope in She Kills Monsters (Forest Roberts Theatre) Luce in Comedy of Errors (Forest Roberts Theatre), dancer in An American in Paris (Forest Roberts Theatre), Ensemble/Understudy Cosette in Les Misérables (Forest Roberts Theatre), and Lisa in Beacon on the Rock (Lake Superior Theatre). She recently directed Narnia (Lake Superior Youth Theatre), assistant directed Honk Jr. (Lake Superior Youth Theater), choreographed Shrek The Musical (Marquette Senior High School), and the Who choreographer for Seussical, Jr. (Lake Superior Youth Theater).

Chicago Creative Team Bios

Claire Alves (Assistant Stage Manageris a theater design and technology major with a minor in writing. She has worked on crew for Les Misérables and She Kills Monsters (Forest Roberts Theatre). She has also assistant stage managed Comedy of Errors and assistant sound designed for A Paper Tiger in the Rain (Black Box Theatre). 

David Dagenais (Music Directoris thrilled to be a member of the Chicago creative team.   Dave holds degrees in music from NMU and Kansas State University and has numerous directing credits including Lake Superior Theatre's Pippin1776A Funny...Forum, Gwinn High School's Little Shop of Horrors, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Footloose, and Shelley Russell's Haywire. Recent performances include Les Misérables (Forest Roberts Theatre), Willpower (Marquette Regional History Center), King Lear (Westwood Shakespeare Company), Anatomy of a Murder (Lake Superior Theatre), Joseph...Dreamcoat (PAAC).  Dave is also the Senior Choir Director at Messiah Lutheran Church.  

Jacob DeLong (Assistant Choreographer/Dance Captain) is a senior theater major with a dance minor here at Northern Michigan University. Some of his recent performances include White Rabbit/Pied Piper and dance captain in Shrek The Musical, Devil/Dance captain in All Shook Up, Corny Collins kid/Dancer in Hairspray at Elkhart Civic Theatre, Him in An American in Paris, Ensemble/Student in Les Misérables, Frat Boy/Dance captain in Legally Blonde, and George Reed in 1776 at Forest Roberts Theatre. He has recently been the assistant to the choreographer for Seussical Jr., and choreographed for Kids Sing Broadway for the Lake Superior Youth Theatre. Assistant choreographing is part of his Senior Capstone.

Jill Grundstrom (Choreographer/Liz) has a bachelor of science from Northern Michigan University in secondary education with majors in English and French, and a master of arts in dance education from New York University in New York City and Genoa, Italy. She continues to train with The PULSE, jazz dance legend Luigi in New York City and has worked, taught, and trained with American Ballet Theatre in New York City and is certified in their National Training Curriculum. She was also the author of the dance blog for Cat Deeley's Official Website (the host of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance) during seasons four through seven. She is the program director for and instructor in the dance minor at NMU and choreographs for the Lake Effect Show Choir, Forest Roberts Theatre, Lake Superior Youth Theatre, and Lake Superior Theatre. She was the recipient of the MACC Outstanding Performing Artist of the Year Award in 2011.

Victor G. Holliday (Scenic and Lighting Design) has been the designer for the Forest Roberts Theatre since 1982, and also served as technical director from 1982-2000. He earned his bachelor of arts in psychology from St. Johns University (Minnesota), and his master of fine arts in scenic design from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Before coming to NMU, he was designer and technical director at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). Vic has also designed for summer and community theatres and dance companies in Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Outside of the theater, his major interests are history (particularly military and naval history) and ship modeling (pre-dreadnought steel navy), and he is an active ailurophile.

Emily Kinne (Production Stage Manager) is a senior theater major at Northern Michigan University. She has been an assistant stage manager for many productions at the Forest Roberts Theatre including Les Misérables, Avenue Q, Legally Blonde, and Compleat Female Stage Beauty, and has stage managed Comedy of Errors, and Jack and the Beanstalk. She also worked as an ASM on the Lake Superior Theatre production of Pippin. She is also a stage properties designer, and has designed the props for Les Misérables, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and A Paper Tiger in the Rain.

Martyn Martello (Associate Director) Martyn has long been involved in local theater, having been in or directed productions for Marquette Community Theater (now defunct), PAAC, Marquette Senior High School, The Kaufman Players, Lake Superior Theatre, and Northern Michigan University. Notable roles include Arnold in A Thousand Clowns, Eddie/Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show, Jesus in Godspell, and Dr. Chumley in NMU’s production of Harvey. He has directed HAIR, Back to Reality, The Rocky Horror Show, Rumors and others. Technical credits include scenic/light/sound design for Sweeney Todd, scenic design for The Rocky Horror Show, Kiss Me, Kate, The Crucible, Ebenezer Scrooge, Escanaba in Da Moonlight, Diary of Anne Frank, and many others. He is also the creator and director of the Haunted Theatre, an annual haunted house experience at NMU.

David Pierce (Technical Director) David came to NMU from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. where he had been technical director for the Department of Theatre and Dance. Other TD credits include Adirondack Theatre Festival, Little Theatre on the Square, and Four Seasons Theatre Company. David holds a bachelor of science in construction management from Ferris State University and a master of fine arts in theatre technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In his spare time, he loves to be outdoors. He enjoys hiking, boating, fishing, biking, and bonfires. He’s also a boisterous Tigers fan!

James Porras II (Props Master) is a senior theater major here at NMU. This is James’ third time designing props at the Forest Roberts Theatre, the other two shows being Comedy of Errors, and She Kills Monsters. Outside of working in the scene shop and backstage, James has acted in many FRT and Lake Superior Theatre productions including 1776, The Pirates of Penzance, Les Misérables, and Comedy of Errors. He aspires to be on Broadway someday.

Shelley Russell (Costume Design) A professor of theater arts at NMU, Russell teaches a variety of courses, including playwriting and stage combat. She has directed over fifty productions including Beauty and the Beast, RENT, Romeo and Juliet, Peter Pan and Legally Blonde. Russell, who enjoys all aspects of the theater, has acted and sung in numerous productions, created dance and fight choreography, designed costumes and written plays and musicals which have been honored by the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award Competition, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, the National Endowment for the Arts and the State of Michigan. Dr. Russell also served as executive director for the Lake Superior Theatre and in 2011 Dr. Russell was honored by NMU with the Distinguished Faculty Award. Her dramatic works include Holdin’ Our Own, a drama about the final hours of the lake boat, Edmund Fitzgerald, and a musical trilogy of works based in the Upper Peninsula, Beacon on the Rock, Haywire and Points North. But the common thread is Lake Superior. Water, Woman, her most recent playscript, is set for performance at the INvisible Theatre in Boone, N.C. for summer of 2015. As her work suggests, her commitment to the region’s natural resources and to women finding their voice in environmental protection is unwavering.

Ansley Valentine (Director) is director of theatre at Northern Michigan University. A seasoned actor, director and choreographer, recent productions include Hello, Dolly!, Annie Get Your Gun, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The King and I, Sound of Music, and Mrs. Warren’s Profession. His resume boasts professional and academic theatres across the country (including productions with the Indianapolis, Detroit and Alabama Symphonies). He holds a master of fine arts from Indiana University and a bachelor of arts from Wabash College.

Dakota Vogel (Assistant Stage Manager/Assistant Props Master) is a sophomore here at NMU. Dakota is a performance track theater major, and this will be his first go as an assistant stage manager and assistant props master. Chicago will be the 6th production Dakota has participated in here at NMU. In his free time he enjoys long walks on the beach and frequent naps.

Dan Zini (Sound Design) is a media production major. At the FRT, Dan has worked on Legally Blonde (Sound Design) and Fallujah. Some of his favorite past projects include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Bay College, sound design), Chicago (Bay College, asst. technical director/sound design), The Drowsy Chaperone (William Bonifas Fine Arts Center, sound design) and Pirates of Penzance (Lake Superior Theatre, sound design).