Our Company

The Commonweal Resident Ensemble 2019

Our unique artist administrator model allows us to employee more than a dozen theater professionals annually.

Commonweal Resident Ensemble

Lizzy AndrettaLIZZY ANDRETTA is in her fourth season at the Commonweal. Past roles here include Mrs. Kendal in The Elephant Man, Schwartzy in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Mina in Dracula: Prince of Blood and Sally in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Favorite credits elsewhere include The Secret Garden, Bottled Up and Othello. Originally from New Jersey, Lizzy received a B.S. in Theatre from Skidmore College and her M.F.A. in Acting from the East 15 Acting School in England.

Stela BurdtSTELA BURDT has been with the Commonweal since 2000. Theatregoers may remember her from 2106’s Souvenir. Past Commonweal work includes roles in 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 her onstage work, Stela manages the Commonweal box office and is a freelance vocalist, pianist and music director. Currently in the role of a lifetime as mom to Kieran, Stela has a degree in Theatre from Luther College. Both Stela and Kieran will forever and always be #TeamScotty.

Hal CroppHAL CROPP is in his 27th season, where favorite roles include Outside Mullingar, Around the World in 80 Days, Sherlock Holmes, The Drawer Boy, To Kill a Mockingbird, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Christmas Carol, Groucho and Talley’s Folly. Selected directing credits include Brand, Bullshot Crummond, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Wild Duck, Charley’s Aunt, Hedda Gabler, Midnight DrearyEnchanted April and Little Shop of Horrors. Hal holds his B.A. from Brown University, M.B.A. from Santa Clara University and M.F.A. from National Theater Conservatory. Originally from New York State, Hal now calls Lanesboro home and looks forward to many more Commonweal adventures.

Elizabeth DunnELIZABETH DUNN is grateful to be joining the Commonweal for a sixth season. Favorite credits include The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge, Scotland Road, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Dracula: Prince of Blood. She has done multiple tours with Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre, and lived in Chicago for a stint, where she studied improvisation at iO (formerly ImprovOlympic). Originally hailing from Georgia, Elizabeth is a 2010 graduate of Valdosta State University where she earned her B.F.A. in Theatre Arts.

Ben GormanBEN GORMAN joined the Commonweal ensemble in 2016, having previously performed next door at the St. Mane as a seasonal actor in ’01, ’02, ’05. Favorite roles and productions here include An Iliad (Wealhouse), The Elephant Man, Scrooge (twice), Pride’s Crossing; elsewhere, Hamlet and King Claudius in Hamlet, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Hannay in The 39 Steps and Torvald Helmer in A Doll’s House. In 2014-15, he toured with the American Shakespeare Center, indulging his lifelong passion for Shakespeare. Ben eagerly promotes sustainable living and renewable energy.

KELSEY HEATHCOTE serves on the Commonweal’s production team. Since completing her apprenticeship in 2018, her work here has been seen onstage in Silent Sky, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Dracula: Prince of Blood and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, for which she constructed the set and created the sound design. In 2019, Kelsey designed the set for the Wealhouse production Bakersfield Mist and served as tech director for the apprentice show in a word. Kelsey has her B.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in Design and Production from the University of Northern Iowa.

David HennesseyDAVID HENNESSEY serves on the Commonweal’s development team and has appeared in more than 50 shows over two decades, including It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play last year. Other favorites: Around the World in 80 Days, Ghosts, The Drawer Boy and The Rainmaker. He designed costumes for Ice Maidens and A Streetcar Named Desire and provides audio descriptions of shows for the visually impaired. He has performed at In Heart Theatre in Rochester, Park Square Theatre, Jungle Theatre and American Players Theatre, among others. He lives in Preston with Linda, his favorite scene partner for nearly 45 years.

Jaclyn June JohnsonJACLYN JUNE JOHNSON is delighted to be joining Commonweal Theatre in her first season. 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, husband, and their cats for their encouragement and love; and you for your support to the arts and specifically to the uniquely healing community of theatre.

Rachel KuhnleRACHEL KUHNLE is happy to return to the Commonweal seven years after completing her acting apprenticeship in 2011-2012 when she performed in To Kill a Mockingbird, Parfumerie, and the apprentice capstone project The Metal Children. Since then, she’s performed and directed regionally with St. Croix Festival Theatre, Savage Umbrella, WLDRNSS, Pacific Performance Project/East, Theatre South Carolina, and Trustus Theatre. Rachel completed her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of South Carolina in 2017. She loves her cat, Suzuki, and is grateful to her husband, Josiah, for being awesome.

Josiah LaubensteinJOSIAH LAUBENSTEIN joined the Commonweal late in 2018. Before moving here, Josiah worked for two years 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.

Philip MuehePHILIP MUEHE proudly rejoins the Commonweal for his six season! Audiences may remember him as Leaf from 2018’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, or his work as director for It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Other favorite directing credits include Constellations, I Am My Own Wife and Tigers Be Still. He holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of North Dakota. He is also the producing artistic director of In Heart Theatre, based in Rochester, and a proud associate member of SDC. Hugs and thanks to his loved ones!

Brandt RobertsBRANDT ROBERTS is in his seventh season at the Commonweal. Favorite roles include John Merrick in The Elephant Man, D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers, Ragnar Brovik in The Master Builder, Fancourt Babberley in Charley’s Aunt, Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace. Cherished regional credits include The Woman in Black and Treasure Island at the Shawnee Theatre and Measure for Measure and Henry IV Part I at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Roberts holds a B.A. from Harding University and an M.F.A. in Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

JODI RUSHING is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi, where they received a B.A. in Theater and Film and a minor in Business. Their past credits include stage manager for Eurydice and Assassins, conference manager for American College Dance Association 2019 South, and makeup designer for Macbeth and She Kills Monsters. They thank their family, friends, and college professors for all of their support as they continues to grow as an artist at Commonweal.

Adrienne SweeneyADRIENNE SWEENEY is grateful to be in her 19th 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 Silent Sky (director), 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 she learned from her dear friend Scott Dixon. She dedicates this season to his memory.

Jeremy van MeterJEREMY van METER is enjoying his eighth season in residence at the Commonweal. Favorite credits here include 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. His 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 wife, Catherine Glynn.

In Memoriam

Scott DixonSCOTT R. DIXON was 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.