Finding Home

November 4-5 and 9-12
A World Premiere Devised Production
Developed by the Students of Northern Michigan University

An exciting theatre experience is born in our intimate Panowski Black Box Theatre as our students, along with a guest director, create a brand-new show through creative collaboration. Centering on the stories of historically marginalized communities, this devised piece will take shape over the course of the fall 2022 semester and attempt to highlight what it’s like to work/live in Marquette. More details to come… please stay tuned!   

Friday, November 4th at 7:30pm - Opening Night Party
Saturday November 5th at 1:00pm - THEATRE FOR ALL PERFORMANCE
Saturday, November 5th at 7:30pm

Wednesday, November 9th at 7:30pm
Thursday, November 10th at 7:30pm
Friday, November 11th at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 12th at 7:30pm

Location: James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre

Tickets are $17 for General Public, $12 for NMU Faculty/Staff, Seniors, and Military, $10 for Students, and $5 for NMU Students.


Cast List

Zoe Hajec

DaShawn Mitchell
Maya Moreau
Cassidy Hope Olson
Dorothy Paad
Eric Paad
Noah Proctor
Angel Rivera
Amarae' Robinson
Phillip Smith

Creative Team

Director Michael Blatt
Scenic Designer Lex van Blommestein
Lighting Designer David Pierce & Amarae' Robinson
Costume Designer Em Rossi & Elise Wilcox
Sound Designer Ryan Harvey
Media Designer Erin Hope
Properties Designer Keli Crawford-Truckey
Production Stage Manager Sylvia Bednarczyk
Technical Director Braeden Ingersoll

Additional Artistic Staff

Additional Writers Aja Alise Miller, Aster Bechek, William Genschow
Stage Manager Isabella Manganello
Asst. Stage Manager Elijah Fenske

Supervising Sound/Media Designer

Dan Zini
Integration Programmer Dan Zini
Audio 1 Meara Kronsperger
Control Operation Sebastian DeWitt


Forest Roberts Theatre Professional Staff


Producer Bill Digneit
Directors of Theatre and Dance Jill Grundstrom 
Production Manager David Pierce
Technical Director and Scene Shop Supervisor Braeden Ingersoll
Properties Artisan Keli Crawford-Truckey
Scenic/Paint Supervisor Lex van Blommestein
Master Carpenter Emily Kendall
Costume Shop Supervisor Ann Juidici
Lighting Supervisor David Pierce
Sound and Media Supervisor Dan Zini
Marketing/Box Office Manager Emily Burbey

Forest Roberts Theatre Staff


Scene Shop Student Supervisor Ethan Noel-Rickert
Scene Shop Technicians

Lance Bowler, Tyler Crowley, Emily Iszler, Bryson Krieger, Noah Proctor, Carl Swanson, Sam Wardisiani

Costume Shop Staff

Gianna Bratke, Zephyrus Choberka, Rhiannyn  McCauley, Aja Miller, Alistair Nehmeh, Suzanne Shahbazi, Elise Wilcox

Electrics Student Supervisors Marla Alden
Sound/Media Student Supervisor Ryan Harvey
Electrics/Sound Technicians

Cassie Bowler, Erin Hope, Dane Krusick, William Squires IV, Cyrus Cohen

Marketing/Box Office Staff

Tyler Crowley, Maddie Greenleaf, Keely-Shaye Hanson, Erin Hope†, Bryson Krieger


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

Cast Bios


Zoë Hajec is a sophomore BFA Acting student with a minor in Deaf Studies at NMU. She is interested in writing and sign language in addition to her work as a growing actor. Theatre has been a huge part of Zoë's childhood and has brought so many meaningful connections into her life. She is excited to be a part of the Finding Home production and see what this year will bring into this new chapter of her life. Zoë would like to thank her professors, friends and family for all the support they have given her.

DaShawn Mitchell is a Sophomore at NMU. In his time here he has played roles such as Walter Hobbs in Elf, Henry in Next To Normal, and Max in The Producers. He has been training as a musician, focusing on voice and percussion, since he was in sixth grade and has been in theatre since his freshman year of high school. He is extremely excited to get back onto the stage and show the work the cast has put into devising this show.

Maya Moreau is a Sophomore Musical Theater BFA here at Northern Michigan University. In her most recent show, she played ‘Olive Ostrovsky’ in NMU’s Production of ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’. Slowly growing her professional career and musical theater prowess, this summer she performed in NMU’s North Coast Theater and Dance festival, and began an internship position at U.P. Summer Theater Institute in Houghton. She is on track to become a fully weaponized actress, and incredibly successful.

Cassidy Hope Olson is in their 4th year at Northern Michigan University, and is creating their own degree via the independently created program at NMU, called Multi Modal Content Creation for the Stage and Screen, studying theatre, film, and script writing. Outside of the classroom, Cassidy is also focused on their process of song writing. Previous rolls in include: Patch in Above the Timberline, Dr.Roundy in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, and Tiny Tom In Urinetown.

Dorothy Paad is an Instructional Coach in NMU’s School of Education where she helps instruct future teachers. She has appeared in two university productions of Scrooge; studied ballet, jazz, and theatre; and has been a member of the university choir. Dorothy is also the author of Dance Your Dance, Sing Your Song, a nonfiction children’s book focused on her love of dance that inspires others to overcome challenges and pursue their dreams. She is the recipient of a MI-UCP (United Cerebral Palsy Association) Closing the Disability Divide Award and a volunteer with Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice.

Eric Paad, Founder and President, Caregiver Incentive Project Inspired by the needs of his daughter, Eric founded the 501(c) (3) nonprofit the Caregiver Incentive Project in 2019, with the mission of improving the lives of the cared for by supporting caregivers. Eric grew up on a dairy farm in Northeastern Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Aeronautics and a minor in Aviation Business Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Eric served in the U. S. Air Force for twenty-two years. Eric lives with his wife, Alice in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They have two children.

Noah Proctor

Angel Rivera is a freshman at NMU from Marquette, MI. She is a musical theatre major and this is her first show at Northern. After recently returning to the area, this is one of Angel’s first productions in a few years. Past productions include: The Little Mermaid (Ursula), Matilda (Trunchbull), Elf Jr (Walter Hobbs), Cinderella (Lionel), High School Musical (Ryan), Newsies (2 productions), and RENT (ensemble). She hopes you love the show!

Amarae’ Robinson is a BFA Musical Theater Major who also works in technical theater and has a background in music. She enjoys building her craft in all areas of theater. In her time at NMU, she has worked onstage and backstage in several productions such as Producers (Ensemble) and Next to Normal (Asst. Light Designer). She previously performed with Crossroads Rep and the Avondale Theater. While working as Co-Light Designer, Amarae’ accidentally made her way into the cast of Finding Home. She has thus enjoyed all that she has learned and is proud of the ensemble for their creativity and teamwork.

Phillip Smith is a freshman musical theater BFA here at NMU. Previous roles include 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Swing), Honk! (Ugly), Pippin! (Pippin), and Marry Poppins (Bert). He is very excited to be a part of this wonderful project.



Creative Team Bios

Michael Blatt (Diretor)* Michael is a New York City based director and actor and theatre educator. As a Director, Michael has worked in Bergen, Norway where he directed a new Norwegian translation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. Michael Produced/Directed Hello Again by Michael John LaChiusa and Thrill Me: the Leopold & Loeb Story with Little Red Light Theatre Off Off Broadway. He directed/choregraphed and All Kinds of People which toured NYC schools. Other directing credits include The Big Bang, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Actors Theatre of Indiana. He directed the world premiere of a new play Where a Certain Future by James Howard Carr at Northern Michigan University. Michael is a recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Director Award for his work in Wimberley at The Mid-town International Theatre Festival and a member of The Playwriting and Directing Workshop at The Actors Studio. Michael is currently an adjunct Professor at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC directing/teaching in the Acting Department. 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 SDC. * a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

Sylvia Bednarczyk (she/her) (Production Stage Manager) is a senior BFA Theatre Technology and Design student studying stage management and scenic carpentry. Sylvia’s recent credits include: scenic carpenter for Texas Shakespeare Festival, assistant stage manager for Oak Park Festival Theatre’s The Tempest, and production stage manager for Northern Michigan University’s production of Next to Normal. Finding Home is Sylvia’s last production with Northern Michigan University! She is grateful that she has had the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive in the professional field after spending her time at Northern. Once she graduates, she plans to return to Chicago to begin working in theatres professionally.

Erin Hope (Media Designer) is from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she will be graduating in December with a BA in Theatre and Entertainment Arts as well as minors in English and Deaf Studies. She has worked on shows in the Forest Roberts Theatre that included Cats (Makeup Artist), Romeo & Juliet (Script Supervisor), Twelfth Night (Building, Painting, Run Crew), Above the Timberline (Assistant Media Designer), Elf the Musical (Assistant Scenic Designer), Next to Normal (Stage Manager), North Coast Theatre Festival (Electrician & Front of House), and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Hair & Makeup Designer). This will be Erin's final show as a student, and would like to thank her family for her support as well as the faculty and staff who guided her throughout her journey at NMU.

Braeden Ingersoll (Technical Director), originally from Des Moines, Iowa, received his MFA in Technical Production from Florida State University where he focused on Technical Direction, Team & Production Management, and teaching. Braeden also has certifications in OSHA-10 “General Entertainment Safety” (OSHA 1910), 3M™ Fall Protection Competent Person, Genie Lift-Pro™ Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) Classes 1A & 3A, and American Red Cross CPR/First Aid & AED. Additional professional credits include Technical Director with Des Moines Metro Opera and Theatre Aspen, and Assistant Technical Director with Creede Repertory Theatre.

Isabella Manganello (Stage Manager) is a 3rd year NMU student. She is a Biochemistry Major and Theatre minor. She has been a part of Elf (run crew), Producers (run crew), Sister Act (light board operator), The Secret Garden (featured dancer/dance captain), and The Little Mermaid (featured dancer). She can’t wait to see all the pieces fall into place.

David Pierce (Lighting Designer) is a lighting designer and educator based out of Marquette, MI. Previous design credits include A Chorus Line, Footloose, Above the Timberline, Mamma Mia!, Sweeney Todd, What We Leave Behind, Into the Woods, Building Madness, and Tarzan. He has also partnered with UP Home Health and Hospice as Lighting Designer for Dancing with Our Stars as well as worked as Production Manager for the Adirondack Theater Festival in Glens Falls, NY. David is also an Associate Professor and Production Manager for the Department of Theatre and Dance at NMU and teaches courses in stage electrics, lighting design, and stage management.

Em Rossi (Costume Co-Designer) is an NMU alumnus (2004 BS, 2006 MA). After designing many productions at FRT and other theaters in the Marquette area, she relocated to Detroit where she obtained an MFA in Costume Design from Wayne State University. Em is adjunct faculty in costumes and makeup and also serves as a mentor for costume, hair and makeup design students. Recent and upcoming designs include costumes and puppets for Above the Timberline, costumes for Next to Normal, costumes for Salome, and costumes for Grease.

Lex van Blommestein (Scenic Designer) is a theatre designer based out of Marquette, MI. While he currently teaches at Northern, he also maintains a prolific national and international design career. Lex earned his MFA from Wayne State University's Hilberry Repertory Program in Detroit, and has lived, designed, and taught in Edwardsville, IL; St. Louis, MO; Cincinatti, OH; Raleigh, NC; Memphis, TN; Milwaukee, WI; Detroit, MI; Lansing, MI; Windsor, ON; and Amsterdam, NL, to name a few. In addition to his love for scenic design, he enjoys using design to explore audience reaction, interaction, and emotion, and to create experiences involving virtual reality and augmented reality as well as immersive design.

Elise Wilcox (costume codesigner) is a sophomore NMU student who hopes to join the Theatre BFA program this winter. This is her first time co-costuming a show and she has loved watching it come together! Previous work includes costume shop work on Above the Timberline, Elf, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and beading work on The Producers. She would like to thank her family for always being so supportive of her creative endeavors!

Dan Zini (Supervising Sound and Media Designer/Integration Programmer) is an award-winning designer and engineer in both live and broadcast sound and media with over a decade of professional experience. He also works as a composer, producer, studio engineer, musician, and programmer, holding many internationally recognized certifications. Dan’s credit list is extensive and includes Andy Grammar, Keith Secola, Samantha Fish, Carlos Nunez, Alash, Sandra Joseph, Joshua Davis, LDI Las Vegas, Hershey Entertainment, and various theatre companies serving as a designer and/or engineer on over 100 theatrical productions. Dan currently teaches live, studio and theatrical sound and media design at the Northern Michigan University School of Music Theatre and Dance and Media Studies Departments in which he also serves as Supervisor and Engineer of Sound and Media. In addition, Dan serves as Owner of Talking Turtle Productions and Co-Owner of Steady Stone Productions.