Our Company

Commonweal Resident Ensemble

Lizzy Andretta

LIZZY ANDRETTA (she/her) is in her sixth season at the Commonweal. She appeared in Dancing Lessons and A Christmas Carol last season and has previously appeared onstage in shows such as The Elephant Man, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Dracula: Prince of Blood, Boeing Boeing, and Sanders Family Christmas, among others. Other Commonweal credits include Root River Anthology, Headspace and A Driftless Christmas as well as choreographing for Peter & the Starcatcher, Stones in His Pockets, Dancing Lessons and A Christmas Carol. Lizzy earned an M.F.A in Acting from the East 15 Acting School in England and a B.S. from Skidmore College. She is originally from New Jersey and now lives in Lanesboro with her beloved cat, Henry.

CODY BEYER (he/him) is thrilled to be joining this lovely community and extraordinary company for his first season at Commonweal. He received his B.A. in Theatre Honors from the University of Tennessee. Cody is an actor, designer, and builder who has been working in Chicago for the past 7 years. He worked mostly with Theatre-Y and Hell in a Handbag Productions, with his favorite credits being Macbeth and Stories of the Body. As most people have felt, these last few years have proved tremendously trying, but this Theatre and community have something truly special that Cody can’t wait to add to.

Stela BurdtSTELA BURDT (she/her) is grateful to celebrate her 22nd season with our Commonweal family. Past onstage work includes roles in Souvenir, Woody Guthrie’s American Song, Crimes of the Heart, Zombies from the Beyond, A Midnight Dreary, Harvey and Man of La Mancha. In addition to performing, Stela is a music director, sound designer, freelance vocalist and the Commonweal’s Patron Relations Manager. Currently, Stela is in the role of a lifetime as mom to Kieran. Love and Light, #TeamScottyForever.

Hal CroppHAL CROPP (he/him) is in his 31st season where favorite roles have been in Come Back, Ghostwriter, Dracula, Outside Mullingar, Sherlock Holmes, The Drawer Boy, To Kill A Mockingbird, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Christmas Carol, Groucho, and Talley’ Folly. Selected directing credits include I Love to Eat,  Headspace Theatre, Peter and the Starcatcher,Brand, Heartland Portrait, Wild Duck, Measure for Measure, Peer Gynt, A Midnight Dreary, Enchanted April, Ghosts, and Little Shop of Horrors. Hal holds a B.A. from Brown University, an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University,and an M.F.A.  from the National Theater Conservatory, He was the Sally Irvine Award winner for Initiative, 2006.

KELSEY HEATHCOTE (she/her) serves on the Commonweal’s production team as the Technical Director and Assistant Production Manager. Since completing her apprenticeship in 2018, her work here has been seen onstage in several shows, including The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Peter and the Starcatcher and Bakersfield Mist. In 2020, Kelsey designed the set, sound, and lighting for the Fully Committed and was one of the two audio engineers for A Driftless Christmas. She looks forward to many new and exciting challenges as we reopen our doors this year! 

David Hennessey

DAVID HENNESSEY (he/him) serves on our development team and has appeared in more than 50 shows over 23 years, including A Christmas Carol last season. Other favorites: Headspace Theatre, Holmes and Watson, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, The Drawer Boy, and The Rainmaker. He designed costumes for Ice Maidens and A Streetcar Named Desire, oversees our audio descriptions for the visually impaired, and has led our COVID mitigation protocols since 2020. Other acting credits include In Heart Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Jungle Theatre, and American Players Theatre. He lives in Preston with Linda, his favorite scene partner for 49 years.

Jaclyn June Johnson

JACLYN JUNE JOHNSON (she/they) joined the Commonweal Theatre Resident Ensemble at the start of 2020. An arts administrator, actor, director, playwright, costume designer and teaching artist, Jaclyn has credits across the country, performing and designing with companies such as St. Croix Festival Theatre, Children’s Theatre Madison, Creede Repertory, Riverside Shakespeare Festival, Riverside Theatre, Chicago’s UTG Improv Theatre. Jaclyn received her B.A. from Cornell College. She wishes to thank: her family, friends, spouse and their cats for their encouragement and love; and you for your support of the arts and specifically to the uniquely healing community of theatre.

RIVKA KELLY (she/her) joined the Commonweal family in 2020 as the Production Stage Manager. Rivka hails from California but has spent the last decade as a traveling stage manager – mostly around the midwest. Selected stage management experience includes shows with American Players Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Skylight Theatre and Two Crows Theatre. Rivka received her BA from the University of Vermont. She’s grateful for this welcoming community and her amazing family’s support.

Rachel KuhnleRACHEL KUHNLE (she/her) returned to the Commonweal in 2018, seven years after completing her acting apprenticeship in which she performed in Metamorphoses and To Kill a Mockingbird. She was last seen on stage as June in Sanders Family Christmas and directed last year’s production of Dancing Lessons. Rachel completed her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of South Carolina in 2017. She loves her cat, her baby, and is grateful to her husband, Josiah, for being awesome.

 

Josiah LaubensteinJOSIAH LAUBENSTEIN (he/him) joined the Commonweal late in 2018. He is the resident videographer and most recently appeared in Dancing Lessons. Before moving here, Josiah worked at Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls, WI, as their Marketing Director and acting in nine productions over two years. Prior to that Josiah lived in Columbia, SC where he earned his M.F.A. in Acting from the University of South Carolina. Josiah is a proud member of Glassbox Theatre Group, a co-founder of Highway Walkers Media Company and is happily married to Rachel Kuhnle. He is besotted with their first child, Franny.

LAURIE ROBERTS (she/her) is excited to join the Commonweal this season. Before moving to Lanesboro, Laurie worked with A Red Orchid Theatre, Hell in a Handbag, Facility Theatre, Theatre Y, and Red Tape Theatre in Chicago. Before then, she performed in Cincinnati at Know Theater and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Some of her favorite work has been devised and performed internationally in Pontlevoy, France and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Laurie has also worked as an acting teacher, movement director, and choreographer. She earned her M.F.A. in Acting at the University of South Carolina. Love to Duke Orsino.

JODI RUSHING (they/them)is in their fourth season at the Commonweal. Their favorite credits include An Iliad (Wealhouse), On The Verge, I Love to Eat, and Complete Works of Wm. Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]. Before their tech apprenticeship with the Commonweal in 2019, they stage managed for Doniphan Dance Project in Tupelo, MS, and served as the conference manager for the 2019 ACDA South Conference. Jodi holds a B.A. in Theatre and Film from the University of Mississippi.

TIM SAILER (he/him) started at the Commonweal as an apprentice in 2009 and is now in his fifth season with the company. He appeared in A Christmas Carol, The Rainmaker, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and An Enemy of the People. Other Minnesota work includes performances at Park Square Theatre, Theatre L’Homme Dieu, and the Orchard Theater Collective. He spent five years with the American Shakespeare Center (Staunton, VA), where he played more than 50 roles in 35 plays. Other regional work: Utah Shakespeare Festival, Texas Shakespeare Festival, Houston Shakespeare Festivals, and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Tim holds an M.F.A. from the University of Houston and is also an audiobook narrator.

Adrienne SweeneyADRIENNE SWEENEY (she/her) is grateful to be in her 22 season with the Commonweal, serving as the Assoc. Art. Dir. and Dir. of External Relations in addition to artistic roles. From Philadelphia, she holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the U/AZ. A commercial voice talent, she can be heard regionally on radio and TV. Favorite shows here include last season’s A Christmas Carol, in which she had the great fortune to play Scrooge. Other favorites: Silent Sky (director), Boeing Boeing, Steel Magnolias, Outside Mullingar, To Kill a Mockingbird and Sylvia. Adrienne believes that the act of sitting together in the dark, sharing stories, can help bring light to the world, something we all crave now more than ever. She looks forward to sharing time and space with you.

Jeremy van Meter

JEREMY van METER (he/him) is enjoying his 11th season in residence at the Commonweal. Favorite credits here include Sky in Come Back, C.K. Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story, Anthony Reilly in Outside Mullingar and the title role in Dracula: Prince of Blood by Scott Dixon. Jeremy’s professional career began at The Barter Theatre in Virginia and he has appeared regionally at Riverside Theatre, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Great River Shakespeare Festival. Jeremy holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the U. of Iowa and makes his home in Lanesboro with his lovely and extremely talented wife, Catherine Glynn.

In Memoriam

Scott DixonSCOTT R. DIXON (he/him) as a member of the Commonweal family from his first arrival, as a seasonal actor in 2001. He passed away in November, 2018, after a battle with cancer. He spent the last 17 years of his life at the Commonweal in Lanesboro, where he was an actor, playwright, director and served the company administratively in several capacities, last as Director of Development. He met and married his wife, Stela Burdt, here and they had a son, Kieran. Scott’s wit and capacity for understanding made him a friend to all. We will miss him and remember him with love. To read more about our friend Scott, CLICK HERE.

Seasonals/Apprentices/Designers

SEASONAL ARTIST BETTI BATTOCLETTI (she/her) has performed at the Commonweal in roles that include Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol, Vera in Sanders Family Christmas, Mary in On the Verge, Virginia in The Clean House, Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Clairee in Steel Magnolias. Other favorite credits include Always…Patsy Cline, The World Goes Round and Urinetown at The Jungle Theater in Mpls, 42nd Street, Prisoner of Second Avenue and as Cassie in A Chorus Line at Artistry as well as Georgie Bukatinsky in The Full Monty for Theater Latte Da. She is also a lyricist, playwright, choreographer and owns Bodiology Pilates in Minnetonka, MN.

SEASONAL ACTOR BRANDON CAYETANO (he/him) is thrilled to be coming back to the Commonweal after having been a part of the 2018-2019 apprentice class and appearing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and in a word. Since his apprenticeship, Brandon has appeared in many productions, including Newsies, Around the World in 80 Days, Legally Blonde the Musical and The Secret Garden. Brandon is also a writer, having won Best Short Screenplay at Emerging: A Virtual Film Festival and Screenwriting Contest for his short script, Guitar Girl. Brandon would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support. 

APPRENTICE MARIA CINA (she/her) is overflowing with gratitude for the opportunity to work with and learn from such a fantastic family of artists. She is honored to be a part of Commonweal Theatre Co.’s 2022-2023 Apprenticeship Class and hopes you enjoy the show!— Wow, is good to be back! Maria earned her AA in Commercial Photography from Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin and her Acting Certificate from The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently on hiatus from studying Theatre Arts and Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities with plans to resume post apprenticeship. Previous credits include Morticia Addams in The Addams Family Musical with Madison College Performing Arts (Robin Fonfara), Kendra in The Gulf with Rankin Theatre Guild (Corey Helser), Assistant Stage Manager for Romeo and Juliet with Theatre LILA (Jessica Lanius, Martinique Barthell), and US Marnie for Lewiston/Clarkston with Forward Theatre Co. (Jen Uphoff Gray).When not on stage, Maria can be found sipping tea and cuddling her cat Knives Meow in a sunny corner of the apartment, a fantasy novel close by. She sends love, hugs, and pinky promises to all her friends and family. instagram: @mariashe_

APPRENTICE GRACE CUMMINGS (she/her) has been acting and performing for almost a decade. She got her start performing in Monroe, Louisiana at Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts. From there, she moved to Natchitoches to join Northwestern State University’s Theatre & Dance program with a concentration in Performance and participate in the Louisiana Scholars’ College. Her philosophy as an artist is simple: art is about connection. No matter if she is writing, acting, singing, or painting, she aims to use her art to connect emotionally with those around her. Her one goal when she is onstage is always to tell a story that will not only connect her with her audience, but also with herself. Some of Grace’s previous roles include Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Prospero in The Tempest, and Deb in Ordinary Days. She was also able to debut two original roles, one written by the award-winning Del Shores in In Memoriam of Lena as Julia, and one written by herself in Emilia as Emilia Bassano. But right now, this Louisiana girl is just excited to be joining Commonweal in their apprenticeship and to be portraying Libby in I Ought to be in Pictures while getting to make new friendships and explore Minnesota! gracecummings.net | grace.cummings0403@gmail.com

SEASONAL ACTOR ERIKA DEGRAFF (she/her) is an actress originally from Chicago, Illinois where she began her acting career. In December of 2018, Erika made her theatre debut in New York and since then, she has had the greatest honor to grace the stages of the historic Thirteenth Street Repertory Theatre, AmericanTheatre of Actors amongst many others. Erika started the 2022 year in Sacramento, CA where she played the role of Mrs. Mueller in the play Doubt by John Patrick Shanley. Erika can be seen on Comedy Central’s Addiction Busters, Disney Plus: Pixar in Real Life and numerous other shows on BET and CBS in lead and supporting roles. Erika received her training from The Stellar Adler Studio of Acting in New York. As well as continues to study film/television intensives at The Stella Adler Art of Acting in Los Angeles. Erika Degraff is known for her versatility and ability to embody any character she plays. Outside of acting Erika is a former fashion stylist and fashion enthusiast with a streetwear line called French Vendette. She also is a philanthropist who enjoys feeding and clothing those that are less fortunate with her church.

SEASONAL DIRECTOR MICHAEL BIGELOW DIXON (he/him) is a director, playwright and teaching artist whose Commonweal directorial credits include On the Verge, Ghost-Writer, Outside Mullingar, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, Philadelphia Story, To Kill a Mockingbird, Turn of the Screw, A Christmas Carol and Beautiful Again.  Michael worked as Literary Director at the Guthrie Theater, Resident Director at The Playwrights’ Center, and Associate Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville.  He’s co-written more than two dozen published plays, co-edited more than 35 volumes of plays and criticism, and served as a Theatre Fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts.  He is currently a volunteer at the Primate Rescue Center in Kentucky.

SEASONAL DESIGNER PAUL EPTON (he/him) returns to Commonweal for a 7th time, having most recently lit Come Back, Dancing Lessons, Sanders Family Christmas and Silent Sky.  He started designing lights at Carleton College, spent 11 years in Detroit, Michigan, and returned to Minnesota in 1992.  He’s designed for the Six Points Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Jon Hassler Theater, and Paul Bunyan Playhouse.  A year-round bicyclist, one of his early designs was for Spokesong.  Awards: Lighting Designer, Ivey Award Honoree Ruined.  Lighting Designer, Ivey Award Honoree Psst!.  Detroit Free Press Theatre Excellence Award – Design.  Detroit News Drama Critics Award – Theatre Craft.

SEASONAL DESIGNER JUSTIN HOOPER (he/him)holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Augsburg College, where he minored in English and Dramaturgy.  He began his professional career as a Stage Manager for Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York.  He survived two seasons but ultimately succumbed to home-sickness and returned to Minneapolis to accept a job as a Scenic Artist for The Guthrie.  Later, he took side-gigs as History Theater’s Technical Director, Pioneer Place’s Production Manager, and an Audio-Visual Technician for AVEX. He has designed Scenery (and occasionally Lighting) for a myriad of Twin Cities companies, and has even branched into the world of Interior Design – his portfolio includes two restaurants, a liquor store, and a brew pub.  He is currently the Technical Director for Concordia University’s Theater Department in St Paul.

MUSIC DIRECTOR STEPHEN HOUTZ (he/him)is pleased to return to the Commonweal, where he last appeared in Souvenir. He was also music director for The Man of La Mancha and appeared in Uncle Vanya. He has music directed at Park Square, Lakeshore, History, and Ordway Theatres, among others. As a director and actor, he has worked for theatres and schools throughout the Twin Cities.  Active as an arts educator, he worked at MacPhail School of Music, SteppingStone Theatre, Children’s Theatre, Stages and Minnesota Opera. He currently teaches voice at his home studio. As a composer, his music has been heard throughout the country.

TECH APPRENTICE SARA HUESER (she/her) serves as the technical Apprentice for the 2022 season. Favorite credits include The Wild Party, My Way, and The Other Place. She has spent many seasons in Savannah GA and Greenville SC working on shows. Originally from Pennsylvania, Sara holds a bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and a B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing for Savannah College of Art and Design. 

SEASONAL DIRECTOR CRAIG JOHNSON (he/him) is delighted to be back at Commonweal Theatre Company having directed numerous productions over the past twenty years including last season’s Christmas Carol, Boeing Boeing, Dracula: Prince of Blood, When We Dead Awaken, Blithe Spirit, and others. Craig is a Minneapolis director and actor, and has worked at many Twin Cities theaters. Closer to Lanesboro, he has directed productions at Rochester Civic Theatre and Cedar Summerstock Theater in Osage, Iowa. 

SEASONAL DESIGNER KATHY KOHL (she/her) cheerfully returns to Commonweal, where her last gig was the zany Boeing Boeing. Over four decades she has designed costumes for most Twin Cities theaters, and is Resident Costumer for Frank Theatre.  2021 credits include Log Jam!, Open Eye, Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, Rough Magic, What to Send Up When it Goes Down, Pillsbury House, Christmas of Swing, History Theatre.  Kathy is an editor for Minnesota’s Theatrical Safety Standards, and is part-owner of The Costume Collective, a shared workspace & costume rental company. BA (Education): Beloit College; MFA (Theatre Design): U of M.

SEASONAL ADAM LENEHAN (he/him) is exultant to be joining Commonweal for his inaugural show, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Some favorite credits elsewhere include The Rocky Horror Show, The Crucible, Grand Tally, and Angels in America. Adam has a B.A. in Theatre from Barat College and a M.S. in Higher Education and presently works at Luther College as the Coordinator of Tutor and Academic Services. Residing in the one and only Spillville, Iowa, he would like to thank his husband, dogs, family, and friends for lifting him up and encouraging him to be his authentic self and pursuing what nourishes his spirit.

SEASONAL COSTUME DESIGNER KIMBERLEY K MURPHY (she/her) is excited to be joining Commonweal this season as costume designer for Leading Ladies. Kim has been a costume designer for St. Croix Festival Theatre since 2000. She and her husband James Shoop live and work in St. Croix Falls, WI were they cultivate their creativity and have raised two beautiful children Gabriel and Sienna. Kim received B.S. in Apparel Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and A.A.S. in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology-NYC. With both kids in college Kim is looking forward to new opportunities and cherishes the support of family and friends.

APPRENTICE JOHN B. NICOL (he/him) is incredibly excited to be returning to the theatre scene as an acting apprentice with the Commonweal. Born and raised in community theatres around Northeastern Iowa, he then went on to receive his B.S. in Theatre Arts from Minnesota State University, Mankato. While there he had the opportunity to play some fun roles including Matt Friedman in Talley’s Folly, and Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher. In regional theatres he had fun playing Willard Hewitt in Footloose at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Demetrius in Midsummer Night’s Dream with Free to the People Theatre.

SEASONAL DIRECTOR MEGAN K. PENCE (she/her) began as a Commonweal Directing Apprentice in 2011 and ended her tenure in the resident ensemble as the Director of Administration in 2018. Favorite directing projects at the Commonweal include The Clean House, The Elephant Man, and An Iliad (for the inaugural Wealhouse season). You may also remember her as Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky, or from Woody Guthrie’s American Song. Megan earned her MFA in Directing from Florida State University. Thrilled to return to Minnesota, she serves as the Managing Director of Lakeshore Players Theatre, and is on the Board of Directors for Girl Friday Productions. 

SEASONAL DESIGNER DIETRICH POPPEN (he/him)most recently designed the lights for Commonweal’s 2019 production of Peter and the Starcatcher. Previously, he lit Clean House, A Christmas Carol, Charley’s Aunt and Little Women. He holds a degree in Communication Studies and Theatre from SouthDakota State University. Dietrich spends his days as a scenic artist for the Guthrie Theatre, and his nights as a freelance scenic designer (Sweeney Todd, Chameleon Theatre Circle 2013), lighting designer (Urinetown, Ashland Productions 2014) and sound designer/composer (Beyond Therapy, Pioneer Place Theatre 2013).

SEASONAL DESIGNER JASON LEE RESLER (he/him) has designed eight productions with the Commonweal Theatre Company most recently It’ a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol (2016). Jason’s other designs include seven seasons with The Medora Musical in Medora, North Dakota as well as productions with Trollwood Performing Arts, Phoenix Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Hope Summer Repertory, Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Illusion Theater, Cortland Repertory, and Citadel Theatre Company. Jason is Associate Professor of Costume Design at Indiana University South Bend. www.jasonleeresler.com 

SEASONAL TINNE ROSENMEIER (TIN-ne) (she/her) is excited to join Commonweal Theater!  Minnesota performances include Park Square Theater, Pangea World Theater, Savage Umbrella, Wildwood Theater, Classical Actors Ensemble, Cromulent Shakespeare, Freshwater Theater, and Theater 55. Tinne toured nationally for TheaterworksUSA, performed off-off Broadway, and enjoyed three seasons in summer stock in Maine. Trained at the National Shakespeare Conservatory, she holds a BA, Carleton College, and MA, New York University. A retired drama/dance teacher, she lives in Saint Paul with her family and backyard chickens. A dream hatched on a family bicycle trip to Lanesboro eighteen years ago is finally coming true!! 

APPRENTICE TANNER SABOL (he/him) is thrilled to join the Commonweal Theatre for the first time! Growing up in Sioux Falls, SD, and graduating with a BFA in musical theatre from the University of North Dakota, he initially began acting in high school, being a part of the Oral Interpretation team for all four years. Since then, he has played roles such as Felix in the Odd Couple, Sweeney in Sweeney Todd, Richard Hannay in the 39 Steps, and was also a performer in the American College Theatre Festival’s 2020 Cabaret. He hopes to find another home away from home at the CTC!

COSTUME ASSISTANT ELEANOR SCHANILEC (she/her) Eleanor Schanilec is excited for her debut show with Commonweal! She’s designed or assistant designed costumes for Park Square Theater, Theatre Pro Rata, Open Window Theater, Sidekick Theater, Nautilus Music-Theater, Shakespeare Youth Theatre and Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. Eleanor has also stitched and crafted costumes for The Children’s Theater,  Mixed Blood, Mixed Precipitation, Wonderlust and more. She’s a member and a co-founder of The Costume Collective MN. She’s especially grateful for her kitty costume assistants, Dani and Zoe.

APPRENTICE ALEX SCHLESINGER (they/them) is ecstatic to be making their professional acting debut on the Commonweal Theatre’s stage. Alex graduated from Luther College in 2021 with a BA in Theatre, and they are delighted to join the Commonweal’s apprentice class this year. Favorite roles include Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, Florizell in The Winter’s Tale, and Amos Hart in Chicago. Alex would like to thank their mentor, professor, and good friend Jeff Dintaman for his years of support and sharing of knowledge that got Alex to where they are today.

SEASONAL SANDY WEBB (she/her) Since  moving to Lanesboro in 2010, Sandy has acted in many Lanesboro Community Theater productions, most recently The Dixie Swim Club. Her favorite roles include the Bird  Woman in Mary Poppins, and Mom in Leaving Iowa.  Also, collaborating with local talent to stage Over the Back Fence was just plain joy.  She loves watching and being part of a theater family that comes together to tell a story.  She is delighted to join the Commonweal family for this production.  Kudos to the Commomweal  for challenging hearts and minds and for celebrating being human.

SEASONAL DESIGNER THOMAS WHITE (he/him) Working again with his Commonweal family, Thomas is incredibly grateful that The Commonweal supported him through COVID and 2020. His day job involves daily deliveries of 900 gallons of milk from Hansen’s Dairy to happy people.  In his spare time, he consults on technical matters for local and regional theater. Originally from Ames, Iowa, Thomas was the resident lighting designer for the Oster Regent Theatre in Cedar Falls while earning a B.A. in technical theater from the University of Northern Iowa. Thomas is a founding member of Sissy’s Sircus, a burlesque troupe that pushes the boundaries of gender identity and sexuality through drag, dance, and theatre. His professional experience also includes work with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Telluride Film Festival. It’s great to be back in Lanesboro.