Where a Certain Future

The Forest Roberts Theatre presents

Where a Certain Future graphic


by James Howard Carr


A historical drama by NMU alumnus James Howard Carr focuses on events that occurred on November 9, 1938, throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. Kristallnacht, or “The Night of the Broken Glass,” is one of the first manifestations of the Holocaust for a Jewish family in Austria. The story portrays two generations in conflict over whether or not to flee Europe to the safety of the United States. This production will be directed by New York-based guest director Michael Blatt.


This production of Where a Certain Future is dedicated to the memory of my long-time friend and mentor, Evan Keliher. A successful playwright in his own right, and a published author of nearly twenty books, Mr. Keliher was a bold, outspoken, creative critic of American public education and American society. Evan's sardonic wit and thought-provoking insights into life will be greatly missed by his family and friends.



Food for Thought: Want to learn more about the Jewish culture of real people like the Abramsons? Interested in finding out a bit about how Kristallnacht began? Curious about why this information is still important today? Check out the dramaturgical history information here.


October 2016








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Wednesday October 5th, Thursday October 6th, Friday October 7th, Saturday October 8th at 7:30pm

Saturday October 8th, Sunday October 9th, Saturday October 15th at 1:00pm

Thursday October 13th, Friday October 14th, Saturday October 15th at 7:30pm

Located in the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre

Tickets are $15 for general public, $10 for students and $5 for NMU students



Setting: The Abramson's dining room; Vienna, Austria

Time: November 9, 1938; Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.


Setting: Abramson's dining room; Vienna, Austria

Time: Kristallnacht, that same evening



Cast List

Levi Abramson Devin Murphy
Sarah Abramson Monica Nordeen  
Jacob Abramson Dane Wurmlinger
Deborah Abramson                                 Lilith Kontos
Amos Horowitz Chet DeFonso  
Nathan Horowitz Joseph Carlisle*
Samuel Rosenthal                                   Ethan Bott
Alfred Rosenthal Brian Czyzyk
Nazi Dakota Vogel


* Indicates work done in partial fulfillment of the senior capstone

† indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.



Creative Team

Director Michael Blatt
Playwright James Howard Carr
Scenic Designer Victor G. Holliday
Lighting Designer Victor G. Holliday
Sound Designer/Projection Designer Dan Zini
Costume Designer Shelley Russell
Properties  Master Hannah Cormier
Technical Director David Pierce
Production Stage Manager Liz Trueblood

* Indicates work done in partial fulfillment of the senior capstone

† indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.



Additional Artistic Staff

Assistant Director Dakota Vogel
Assistant Stage Managers Korinne Griffith, Tim Hollister
Assistant Properties Master Emily Kinne
Light Board Operator  TBA
Sound Board Operator Korinne Griffith
Run Crew Regan Mckay

† indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.



Forest Roberts Theatre Staff

Costume Shop Supervisor Ann Juidici
Costume Shop Crew

Helen Boburka, Hannah Danforth, Cecelia Holt, Regan McKay, Erin Perry, Carly Plasman

Scene Shop Foreman Steve McClain
Carpenters, Electricians and Painters

Dakota Vogel, Emily Kinne, Anna Labreche†, Dorsey Sprouls†, Emma Schroeder, Hannah Cormier, Coop Bicknell†, Emily Baker, Helen Boburka

Box Office Manager Morgan Waller
Assistant Box Office Manager Nathan Morgan
Box Office Staff Jill Vermeulen, Elizabeth Trueblood, Sam Cole, Lily Howder, Amber Urban, Regan McKay†, Tanner Schut
Photographers Leora Lancaster
Facebook Find us at Forest Roberts Theatre

† indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.


Cast Bios

Ethan Bott (Samuel Rosenthal) is a junior English Writing major at NMU. He enjoys acting and is looking forward to performing Where a Certain Future.

Joseph Carlisle (Nathan Horowitz) is a transfer student in NMU's theatre department. He has appeared in two shows since his arrival in Marquette, Neil LaBute's A Gaggle of Saints and Javonte Thompson's Love Notes. Joseph will be graduating in the spring--Where a Certain Future is his capstone project. Following his graduation, Joseph will move back out west, to pursue his career as a film actor. Look for him on the silver screen!

Brian Czyzyk (Alfred Rosenthal) is a senior English writing major from Traverse City, Michigan who is sad but excited for his final FRT season. Previous roles include Jimmy (Fit for Feet) and Man (Scheherazade) from the 2014 Ten Minute Play Festival, as well as Sir Andrew (Twelfth Night) and a puppet in Haunted Theatre. Following graduation, Brian will attend grad school where he will study writing with an emphasis on poetry. He would like to thank his family and friends for their support throughout the years. You mean more than the world to him!

Chet DeFonso (Amos Horowitz) is a familiar face on local stages, having appeared in such NMU theatre and music productions as Iolanthe, The Tempest, and A Comedy of Errors. His community theatre credits include 1776 and Dandelion Cottage at Lake Superior Theatre, and more recently Julius Caesar for the Westwood Shakespeare Company. Chet has been a member of the NMU Department of History for twenty-five years.

Lilith Kontos (Deborah Abramson) is a sophomore at NMU this year majoring in English and minoring in theatre and entertainment arts. She appeared as Lucinda in the Forest Roberts Theatre's production of Into the Woods last year, and was also featured in Alpha Psi Omega's Heroes and Villains Cabaret. Other, non-FRT performance credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Catch Me If You Can, Twelve Angry Jurors, and The Giver. Lilith is very thankful for this opportunity to be part of another production at Northern, and is excited to bring this amazing show to life!

Devin Murphy (Levi Abramson) is a theatre major and communications minor at Northern Michigan University. He has appeared in Les Miserables (Forest Roberts Theatre), Chicago (Forest Roberts Theatre), Spamalot (Lake Superior Theatre), King Lear (Lake Superior Theatre), The Ten Minute Play Festival (Black Box Theatre), Holdin' Our Own (Forest Roberts Theatre), The Secret Garden (Forest Roberts Theatre), The Producers (Lake Superior Theatre), and Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (Lake Superior Theatre).

Monica Nordeen (Sarah Abramson) is excited to be in the premiere of Where a Certain Future. Local roles: Maude Mix in A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, and Ariel in The Tempest at NMU; lead roles in Lake Superior Theatre's productions of A Thousand Clowns, Twelfth Night, and The Love List. Lead roles in NYC in: Hamlet, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Robin Hood, School for Scandal, Arsenic & Old Lace, and several original plays. Her B.A. in theatre and mathematics is from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Dakota Vogel (Nazi/Assistant Director) is a senior theatre major here at NMU. Dakota's performance credits include Player (A Comedy of Errors), Monster Chorus (She Kills Monsters), Antonio (Twelfth Night), and Ed (International Stud). His technical credits include assistant stage manager (Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors), production stage manager (California Suite), director (A House of Cards), and assistant director (Tribes, The Secret Garden). He would like to thank his friends and family for their support.

Dane Wurmlinger (Jacob Abramson) is thrilled to perform in this powerful, historical production. He is a theatre/media productions major from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and is a junior at NMU. At NMU, Dane is best known for his role as Jack in the Forest Roberts Theatre's production of Into the Woods. As an inducted member of Alpha Psi Omega, he acts as the Social Media Outreach Chair. Back in Idaho, Dane has performed at many regional and professional theatres. His favorite role so far was Kurt Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. He hopes you enjoy the show!

Creative Team Bios

Michael Blatt (Director) is a New York City based director and actor. As an actor, Michael has toured in the European tour of Hair, performed at the Kennedy Center Gala with Elaine Stritch and Marvin Hamlisch, and has appeared in numerous Broadway Bares. He was a guest panelist on the talk show Chat Zone and has been featured in commercial and print ads. As a director, Michael has directed a Norwegian translation of The Sound of Music, The Cougar Ball, a charity for The Actors Fund and The Phillis Newman Health Care Initiative; Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; An Infinite Ache; and Brigadoon. Future  projects include the permiere of a new play Wimberley at The Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City. Michael has an MFA in directing from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and a BFA from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. he is a proud member of AEA, SAG/AFTRA and an associate member of SDC.


James Howard Carr (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright and author of the children's book, Will My Daddy Ever Work Again? and the young reader's novel, The Beverly Hills Monster. Mr. Carr has also written numerous screenplays, film treatments, television sitcom and drama proposals, and short stories. he has also developed a children's educational science story series, entitled, Have You Ever? Mr. Carr has worked in a variety of professions throughout his life, from a college and high school instructor to newspaper reporter and magazine features writer, from corporate publications editor to legacy computer programmer. Presently, Mr. Carr occasionally acts onstage, in music videos, and in films and television series, portraying various unusual characters. For enjoyment, Mr. Carr travels to other countries, hikes in the mountains, and is a ballroom dancer.


Hannah Cormier (Properties Master) is a junior at NMU majoring in theatre technology and design and double minors in public relations and dance. Past technical credits include properties master for The Secret Garden (2016) and assistant stage manager for The Producers (2016). Future credits include properties master for The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon and The Addams Family, and stage manager for In a Mason Jar. She enjoys working in the scene shop at NMU and serving as dance captain in NMU's Lake Effect Show Choir. Hannah would like to thank her friends and family for their ever-present love and support. Enjoy the show!


Victor G. Holliday (Scenic Design/Light Design) has been the designer for the Forest Roberts Theatre since 1982, and also served as technical director from 1982-2000. He holds a 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 (no the College of New Jersey). Vic has also designed for summer and community theatre companies in Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Outside of the theatre, his major interests are history (particularly military and naval history), ship modeling (pre-deadnought steel navy), and he is an active ailurophile.


Regan McKay (Dramaturg) is a sophomore at NMU with majors in English and theatre and a minor in dance. She has greatly enjoyed exploring dramaturgy and hopes to take her work on Where a Certain Future to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. This fall, she will be performing in Alpha Psi Omega's The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon as well as the Forest Roberts Theatre's Scrooge! She'd like to thank Michael, her professors, her parents, boyfriend, and friends for all their constant encouragement and support.


David Pierce (Technical Director) 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 BS in construction management from Ferris State University and an MFA 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!


Shelley Russell (Costume Design) is a professor of theatre arts at NMU. Shelley teaches a variety of courses, including playwriting and stage combat. She's directed over fifty productions including Beauty and the Beast, RENT, Romeo and Juliet, Peter Pan and Legally Blonde. She enjoys all aspects of theatre, and 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, KCACTF, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the State of Michigan. She served as executive director for LST and in 2011 was honored by NMU with the Distinguished Faculty Award. Playwriting credits include Holdin' Our Own, Beacon on the Rock, Haywire, Points North, and Water, Woman.


Liz Trueblood (Stage Manager) is a senior at Northern Michigan University, majoring in English and minoring in theatre and writing. Production credits include Tribes (Stage Manager), The Fringe Festival (Production Manager), and Heroes and Villains (Director) at the Forest Roberts Theatre. Performance credits include A Kind of Alaska (Pauline), Les Miserables (Ensemble), A Paper Tiger in the Rain (Kelly Shagers), Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon), and The California Suite (Gert Franklyn) at the Forest Roberts Theatre. Liz would like to thank the cast and crew for all their hard work!


Dan Zini (Sound Design/Projection Design) is an audio/recording engineer, sound/lighting designer and bassist from Marquette. An alum of NMU, Dan has returned to the FRT while studying for an MA in English. Before returning to NMU, Dan served as technical director/production designer for the Besse Center Theatre. Apart from many shows with the FRT, his credits include sound design for Mary Poppins Jr. with SAYT and The Producers at Lake Superior Theatre, audio engineer for Josh Davis and Hershey Entertainment, lighting design for the 2016 Marquette Blues Fest and numerous other concert and theatre productions.