Producers Event Photo

The Producers
A Mel Brooks Musical

A Fan-Favorite Musical Spectacular
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Original Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman

I wanna be a producer! This smash hit is set to take the Forest Roberts Theatre stage by storm in the spring of 2022. Theatre producer Max Bialystock used to be the “King of Broadway,” but is disgraced after his newest show closes on its opening night. When his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom, discovers that a producer could theoretically make more on a flop than a hit, the two hatch a plan to produce the biggest flop in history. Winner of 12 Tony Awards and record holder for the most Tony wins ever, this hilarious show is one you won’t want to miss!

NOTE: This show is rated PG-13 and contains gunshots and some adult language/themes that may not be suitable for younger audience members.

The Producers is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

Friday, April 8th at 8:00pm - Opening Night Party
Saturday, April 9th at 8:00pm
Wednesday, April 13th at 8:00pm
Thursday, April 14th at 8:00pm
Friday, April 15th at 8:00pm
Saturday, April 16th at 2:00pm - THEATRE FOR ALL PERFORMANCE
Saturday, April 16th at 8:00pm

Location: Forest Roberts 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


Max Bialystock DaShawn Mitchell
Leo Bloom John Thomson
Ulla Hanna Numinen
Franz Liebkind Dawson Del Preto
Roger DeBris Benjamen Filipowicz
Carmen Ghia Quinn Skelly
Usherettes Beck Piepszak, Sophie Shrauger
News Vendor/Bryan/Jason/Sergeant Michael Ahlstrom
Cop/Kevin/Jack/Churchill Noah Proctor
Bum/Scott/O'Rourke/Jury Foreman William Squires IV
Workman/House Boy/Rolf/O'Houllihan/Bailiff Justin Atkinson
Street Cleaner/Sailor/Donald/Stalin/Guard Wyatt Schmitt
Blind Violinist/Mr. Marks/Gay Cop/Mel/O'Riley/Judge/Prison Trustee Bryson Krieger
Bag Lady Shannon Knowski
Shirley Gracie Fries
Hold Me - Touch Me Sophie Shrauger
Lick Me - Bite Me Beck Piepszak
Kiss Me - Feel Me Amarae' Robinson
First Nighters Michael Ahlstrom, Justin Atkinson, Emily Burbey, Gracie Fries, Megan Hibbard, Bryson Krieger,
Maya Moreau, Amarae' Robinson, Wyatt Schmitt, Logan Stoner, William Squires IV
Street Walkers Brigitte Bartesch, Emily Burbey, Gianna Daprai, Gracie Fries, Megan Hibbard, Amarae'
Robinson, Logan Stoner
Nuns Sylvia Gravel, Maisie James, Maya Moreau
Chorus Girls Brigitte Bartesch, Emily Burbey, Gianna Daprai, Gracie Fries, Sylvia Gravel, Megan Hibbard
Little Old Ladies Brigitte Bartesch, Emily Burbey, Gianna Daprai, Gracie Fries, Sylvia Gravel, Megan Hibbard,
Maisie James, Maya Moreau, Logan Stoner
Auditionees Brigitte Bartesch, Emily Burbey, Gianna Daprai, Gracie Fries, Sylvia Gravel, Megan Hibbard,
Shannon Knowski, Maya Moreau, Amarae' Robinson
Convicts Michael Ahlstrom, Justin Atkinson, Noah Proctor, Wyatt Schmitt, William Squires IV
Girl Prisoners Brigitte Bartesch, Emily Burbey, Gianna Daprai, Gracie Fries, Sylvia Gravel, Megan Hibbard

Michael Ahlstrom, Justin Atkinson, Brigitte Bartesch, Emily Burbey, Gianna Daprai, Gracie Fries,
Sylvia Gravel, Jill Grundstrom, Megan Hibbard, Maisie James, Shannon Knowski, Bryson Krieger,
Maya Moreau, Beck Piepszak, Noah Proctor, Amarae' Robinson, Wyatt Schmitt, Sophie Shrauger,
Logan Stoner, William Squires IV

Swings Jill Grundstrom, Logan Stoner

Creative Team


Director Paul Truckey
Music Director Donna Schaffer
Choreographer Jill Grundstrom
Assistant Choreographer Gracie Fries
Scenic Designer Lex van Blommestein
Lighting Designer David Pierce
Assistant Lighting Designer Avery Zahlmann
Costume Designer Joel Shinavier
Hair and Makeup Designer Gianna Bratke
Sound Designer Dan Zini
Assistant Sound Designer Ryan Harvey
Associate Sound Designers Lila Bartkowiak, Dane Krusick
Media Designers Lex van Blommestein, Dan Zini
Properties Designer Keli Crawford-Truckey
Properties Assistant Sam Wardisiani
Production Stage Manager Clair Kaminski
Technical Director Braeden Ingersoll

Additional Artistic Staff


Media Engineer Dan Zini
Assistant Media Engineer Ryan Harvey
Dance Captain Brigitte Bartesch
Stage Managers Sylvia Bednarczyk†, Toni Danz
Master Electrician Marla Alden
Spotlight Operators Sebastian DeWitt, Avery Zahlmann
Audio 1 Dane Krusick
Audio 2 Lila Bartkowiak
Media Playback Operator Donna Schaffer
Wardrobe/Hair/Makeup Crew Zoë Hajec, Rhiannyn McCauley, Elise Wilcox
Fly Rail Operators Sylvia Bednarczyk, Hayden Bruzewski, Dawson Del Preto, Elijah Fenske, Bryson Krieger, DaShawn Mitchell, Scott Rose, John Thomson
Run Crew Cassie Dupras, Elijah Fenske, Leo Keaton, Bryson Krieger, Isabella Manganello, Maria Paparella, Olivia Stewart


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

Forest Roberts Theatre Professional Staff


Producer Bill Digneit
Directors of Theatre and Dance Jill Grundstrom and Bill Digneit
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 Lilith Kontos

Forest Roberts Theatre Staff


Scene Shop Student Supervisor Seth Bowen
Scene Shop Technicians Sylvia Bednarczyk, Emma Block, Lance Bowler, Tyler Crowley, Emily Iszler, Bryson Krieger, Noah Proctor, Ethan Rickert, Samantha Wardisiani
Costume Shop Student Supervisor Joel Shinavier
Costume Shop Staff Gianna Bratke, Rhiannyn McCauley, Amelia Rhinerson, Suzanne Shahbazi, Elise Wilcox
Electrics Student Supervisors Marla Alden, Megan Hibbard
Sound/Media Student Supervisor William Squires IV
Electrics/Sound Technicians Ryan Harvey, Erin Hope, DaShawn Mitchell, Amarae' Robinson
Marketing/Box Office Staff Tyler Crowley, Toni Danz, Erin Hope, Clair Kaminski, Makenzie Rea, Sophie Sam, Logan Stoner


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

Cast Bios

DaShawn Mitchell (Max Bialystock) is a freshman in the BFA Musical Theatre program. DaShawn has a background in both vocal and instrumental music and has been involved in theatre since his freshman year of high school. This past year, he has played Sam in Above the Timberline, Walter in Elf the Musical, and Henry in Next to Normal, and worked as sound designer on The Wolves. The cast of the The Producers has been working hard since January to prepare for their April show, and at the same time DaShawn has also been employed in the electrics shop. He is excited to see what is next for his academic career, but until then he is proud to debut as Max Bialystock in The Producers.

Hanna Numinen (Ulla) is a senior at Northern Michigan University pursuing a BS in Theatre and Entertainment Arts and a minor in dance. In their free time, you can find Hanna painting at home with her two fluffy cats and her wonderfully supportive partner, Anthony. She would like to thank everyone who has supported her journey in the theatrical world and hopes you enjoy the show! 

Dawson Del Preto (Franz Liebkind) is finishing his fourth year at NMU. He is pursuing a major in piano performance and a minor in theatre. Some other roles he has performed in recent past include Fake Santa in Elf the Musical (Forest Roberts Theatre) and Maurice in Beauty and the Beast (Forest Roberts Theatre). Dawson is delighted and thrilled to be playing Franz Liebkind, and he can't wait to share his performance with you! He would like to thank his parents, siblings, cousins, and friends for their love and support.

Benjamen Filipowicz (Roger DeBris) is a seventh-grade English and drama teacher at Bothwell Middle School. He has played several roles at NMU and surrounding theaters, including Mark Cohen in RENT (NMU), Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd (NMU via The Vista Theater), Feste in Twelfth Night (NMU), Trinculo in The Tempest (NMU), Rapunzel’s Prince and The Wolf in Into The Woods (NMU), Papa Stahlbaum in The Nutcracker (Kaufman Auditorium), Saturninus in Titus Andronicus (UP Shakespeare Festival), Mr. Paravicini in The Mousetrap (NMU), Father Flynn in Doubt (NMU), Squire Trelawney in Treasure Island (Lake Superior Theater), and Albert Jr. in Escanaba in Love (LST).

Michael Ahlstrom (Ensemble) is a sophomore pursuing a BA in Theatre and Entertainment Arts at Northern Michigan University. The Producers will be Michael’s third show; he has previously performed in Above the Timberline as Galen and Next to Normal as Gabe. Michael was originally a digital cinema major but found his love for acting in the fall semester of 2021. He hopes you enjoy the show.

Justin Atkinson (Ensemble) is a freshman here at Northern Michigan University majoring in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. He has been doing musicals since sixth grade and is very excited to be in The Producers! Justin would like to thank his family for coming to support him and all the friends made along the way.

Gracie Fries (Assistant Choreographer/Ensemble) is a senior majoring in dance with a business concentration. Her most memorable moments were created within the walls of the Forest Roberts Theatre; she found her love for musicals in 2018 after performing as a gorilla in Tarzan, and since then, she has performed in over fifteen productions with NMU Theatre and Dance. Some of her favorite performances include: Elf the Musical (Mrs. Clause/Ensemble), CO/LAB COLLECTIVE (Choreographer/Performer in “Thunderstruck”), North Coast Dance Festival (Choreographer/Performer in “Fusion”), and Beauty and the Beast (Ensemble). Gracie has worked for U.P. Home Health and Hospice “Dancing with Our Stars: Marquette County Style" as a pro-dancer and as co-choreographer for SAYT’s Frozen Jr. Working on The Producers has been an unforgettable and humbling experience for Gracie. Her dreams are to someday expand her roots within the professional performance community. Her gratitude cannot be expressed enough to her family, friends, and the Theatre and Dance Department faculty who have supported her throughout these past five years. Gracie will always give "110%, 100% of the time..."

Gianna Daprai (Ensemble) is a first-year student with a double major in environmental science and dance. This is her first musical at Northern and her second show; she previously danced in CO/LAB COLLECTIVE. Before coming to NMU, Gianna danced competitively at a studio for fourteen years and was on the varsity dance team for two years. She is very excited to debut in her first musical at Northern; it has been an amazing experience between learning musical theatre technique and meeting new people in the theatre program.

Sylvia Gravel (Ensemble) is a third-year student studying dance with a minor in biology. She has previously performed at NMU in the Spotlight Variety Show, the North Coast Dance Festival, CO/LAB COLLECTIVE, and Elf the Musical. She is excited for everyone to see all the hard work that has been put into this show, and would like to thank the cast and crew for making the process so great!

Megan Hibbard (Ensemble) is a senior pursuing a BA in theatre with a focus in lighting design and a minor in art and design. She loves to be on and behind the FRT stage! In the past she has performed as Lisa in Mamma Mia!, Bombalurina in Cats, and Natalie in Next to Normal, and has also been a dancer/choreographer and assistant lighting designer for What We Leave Behind and assistant lighting designer for Cats. She would like to thank her friends and family for all of their support over the years, as well as the cast and crew for an incredible experience!

Maisie James (Ensemble) is a freshman secondary English education major with a minor in theatre at Northern Michigan University. She has been in two other productions this year, Above the Timberline and The Wolves.

Shannon Knowski (Ensemble) is a freshman BFA Musical Theatre student here at NMU. She has previously performed in NMU’s production of Above the Timberline. Before coming to college, she spent most of her time in community theaters in shows such as Man of La Mancha, The Marvelous Wonderettes, and The Christmas Gift with Memories Ballroom Dinner Theater in Port Washington, WI. Shannon also partook in her high school’s productions of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Tarzan, and Working. Her favorite role was as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz last summer.

Bryson Krieger (Ensemble) is double majoring in physics and mathematics and minoring in theatre and entertainment arts. This is his third production at NMU with some of his recent credits including Above the Timberline as the puppeteer for the head of Lump the polar bear and Elf the Musical as an assistant stage manager and deck chief. In addition to working on/backstage, Bryson also works in the Theatre and Dance Department’s scene shop helping to build the sets for all of NMU’s productions. Bryson would like to thank all of his friends, family, cast, and crew for supporting him throughout his theatrical endeavors.

Maya Moreau (Ensemble) is a freshman BFA Musical Theatre student here at Northern Michigan University. She has appeared in various shows here at NMU within her first year, including Above the Timberline (Captain Lathom), Elf the Musical (Mrs. Greenway), and The Wolves (#14). She was also recently elected to the Student Advisory Board for the Department of Theatre and Dance. In Maya's free time, she is diligently working to start a Metaphysical Company.

Beck Piepszak (Ensemble) is a sophomore at NMU and The Producers is her fifth show with the NMU Theatre and Dance Department. Her past roles include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Deb in Elf the Musical. She’s very excited for everyone to see The Producers, as the fun energy and humor is something you don’t want to miss!

Amarae’ Robinson (Ensemble) is a first year BFA Musical Theatre student who also works in technical theatre and has a background in music. She enjoys exploring her craft in all areas of theatre. In her time at the FRT, she has appeared onstage in Above the Timberline and Elf the Musical and worked as the assistant lighting designer for Next to Normal and The Wolves. She has previously performed with Crossroads Rep and the Avondale Theater. Amarae’ has enjoyed her time in the cast of The Producers; it’s been filled with fun, exciting opportunities and she couldn’t have picked a better group to work with.

Logan Stoner (Ensemble) is a junior dance major at Northern Michigan University from Kalamazoo, MI. She has been dancing for five years, and made her debut as a choreographer in CO/LAB COLLECTIVE with her piece "To Have a Body." She also appeared onstage in Elf the Musical, directed by Hunter Foster. Enjoy the show!

William F. Squires IV (Ensemble) is a senior thrilled to be making his NMU stage debut. He is the sound and media student supervisor for the Forest Roberts Theatre and a music producer. Usually, you can find him backstage or running sound from the back of the house. Recently, William worked as the sound designer for Elf the Musical, and he also mixed for nine solo plays at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA. His previous onstage appearances include Evita and Children of Eden with Hoffman Estates High School, where he shared the stage with his older brother and sister. He has also appeared as The Frog Prince in Thwacked!. William would like to thank his close friends for helping him with his audition. A special thanks goes out to his big brother Thomas Squires who has been a huge inspiration.

Creative Team Bios

Paul Truckey (Director) has been a member of the NMU Theatre faculty since 2003. While at NMU, he has directed numerous productions including Romeo and JulietCatsNoises OffBuilding MadnessInto the Woods, A Paper Tiger in the Rain – 2014 Panowski Playwriting Award (PPA) winner, The Comedy of Errors, 1776, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Flea in Her Ear, The Mousetrap, ACTletes, The Foreigner, The Full Monty, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tell-Tale – 2006 PPA winner, Closer Than Ever, Burning Mona Lisa in the Reptile House – 2004 PPA winner, and Our Town. Among his acting credits are leading roles in Les Miserables (Broadway and national touring companies, over 2,600 performances), A Little Night MusicRocklandThe FantasticksThe Problem, Utah! The Musical (Original Company), Sunday in the Park with George, Guys and Dolls, Romeo and Juliet, Nine, Three Sisters, The Mikado, and She Stoops to Conquer. His TV credits include The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Today Show, and the 1998 NBA All-Star Game Halftime show. Paul is a member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Jill Grundstrom (Choreographer) has a B.S. from NMU in Secondary Education with majors in English and French, a M.A. in Dance Education from New York University, and an Ed.S. from NMU in Educational Leadership. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Dance Education with a concentration in Movement Science at Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as assisting with new Character Dance and Partnering curricula for American Ballet Theatre (America’s National Ballet Company®) in New York City. She is certified in the Luigi Jazz Technique, American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum, is a Certified FLX Conditioning Specialist, and a Hamrick Method Master Trainer. Jill has choreographed over 30 full-length musical and dance productions in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, and here in the Upper Peninsula, including a full-length, original ballet, East of the Sun, West of the Moon (NMU). She also choreographed an independent feature-length film, Our State Fair. She has previously worked with Superior Arts Youth Theatre, the National Dance Education Organization, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance

Donna Schaffer (Music Director) is currently serving as the Choir Director at Ishpeming Public Schools and Assistant Professor of Voice at Northern Michigan University. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director of Choral Activities at Allen University in Columbia, SC, Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Instructor at Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS, a lecturer in voice at the University of Connecticut, and Music Director for the Shreveport Opera, among other positions. Ms. Schaffer holds fast to the simple teaching philosophy of Nelson Mandela. This proverb states, “Each one teach one.” Donna holds a Bachelor's of Music from the University of Michigan, a Master's of Music from the University of Connecticut, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting at USC under the tutelage of Dr. Larry Wyatt.

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.

David Pierce (Lighting Designer) is a lighting designer and educator based out of Marquette, MI.  Previous design credits include 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.

Joel Shinavier (Costume Designer) is a senior BFA Theatre Technology and Design student. He has worked backstage on many shows at Northern, including Sweeney Todd, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Beauty and the Beast, and The Full Monty. Joel has also worked with Mason Street Warehouse Theater in Saugatuck, MI as a dresser for two summers. Additionally, he has designed costumes at NMU for Significant Other, an/one's ivory tower, and Elf the Musical. Looking forward, Joel plans to work for a year, then attend grad school to continue his studies in costume design/production.

Keli Crawford-Truckey (Properties Designer) serves as a teacher, director, and properties master at NMU. Recent FRT directing credits include The Full MontyProofSweeney ToddBearsDoubtHarvey, and Into the Woods. She has worked as a stage manager/staff member on the Broadway and national touring companies of Les Miserables, and on off-Broadway productions including And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little at the Producers Club and Cloud Nine at the Bank Street Theatre in NYC. Keli holds a degree in Directing and Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

Clair Kaminski (Production Stage Manager) is a senior BFA Theatre Technology and Design student with a concentration in stage management. She has worked on many shows at NMU including What We Leave Behind, Significant Other, Spotlight Variety Show, and Above the Timberline, to name a few. THe Producers has produced a lot of laughs and learning opportunities for Clair, and she is so grateful that it is the show she will finish her collegiate theatre experience with. She would like to thank her family, friends, and the theatre and dance faculty for supporting her during this show and throughout the past three years.

Sylvia Bednarczyk (Stage Manager) is a junior BFA Theatre Technology and Design student studying stage management and scenic carpentry. Previously, Sylvia has worked as the production stage manager for Northern Michigan University’s production of Next to Normal, assistant stage manager for Oak Park Festival Theatre’s The Tempest, and assistant stage manager for NMU’s Romeo and Juliet. Other credits include assistant technical director for Above the Timberline and assistant scenic designer for Elf the Musical. Sylvia is also an active member of the Student Leader Fellowship Program, Conspectus Borealis, and Alpha Psi Omega, where she serves as Vice President.

Toni Danz (Stage Manager) is a senior at Northern Michigan University. This will be her final show at NMU as she is graduating at the end of April. Toni will be graduating with a BFA in Theatre Technology and Design with a concentration in stage management. She has worked on many shows over the past four years and she's excited to end with such a fun one. Toni would like to thank the NMU Theatre and Dance Department for all of their support and guidance over the years. She would also like to thank her family and friends for all of the laughs and love. Toni hopes you all enjoy the show... everyone has worked so hard on making it nothing short of spectacular! See if you've got what it takes to be a producer!

Dane Krusick (Audio 1/Sound Board Operator) is a first year in the BFA Theatre Technology and Design program focusing on sound design. He has so far worked on Above the Timberline as a run crew member, Elf the Musical as a spotlight operator, and Next to Normal as Audio 2.

Lila Bartkowiak (Audio 2) is a freshman majoring in theatre technology and design here at NMU. This is her second show, Elf the Musical being her first within the department. She previously helped on shows such as Aida (Owatonna Senior High School), Mary Poppins (OHS), Shrek (Little Theatre of Owatonna), Murder Inn (LTO), Sylvia (OHS), Once on This Island (LTO), and plenty of others within her community and high school in Minnesota. She is so excited about this show and hopes you all enjoy it!

Zoë Hajec (Wardrobe/Hair/Makeup Crew) is a first-generation student in her family and is working on finishing her first year at Northern. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre. She has been performed in Above the Timberline, Elf the Musical, and The Wolves in ensemble/featured roles. Zoë is excited to learn new skills working as part of the wardrobe, hair, and makeup team!