Meet Our Creative Team
Ryan Emens (Scenic Designer) moved to the rhythmic city of Chicago in late 2011, where he wanted to make his new theatre home. Last year he designed the set for the Chicago premier of The Rubenstein Kiss with Coriolis Theatre. Currently, Ryan works with Thin Ice Theater as their Resident Scenic Designer, where he has designed such shows as James and the Giant Peach, Pride and Prejudice, and Romeo and Juliet. Ryan is also designing for a new musical Jim and Dave's Blood Meets Jupiter, with Project 891 this summer. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Design / Technical Theatre from the University of Central Florida. Other favorite design credits include Jake's Women (UCF 2008), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Orlando REP 2011), and She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Garage Rep 2013). He enjoys board games, playing his ukulele, and the perfect cup of Earl Grey tea.
Cate Gillespie (Dialect Coach) is the Managing Director of The Viola Project, which runs Shakespeare empowerment programs for girls (www.violaproject.org). She currently teaches Voice at Columbia College Chicago, and has also taught for the City of Evanston’s summer Young Artists Program as well as the Music Prep Division of Oakland University's Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. As a professional dialect coach, Cate has contributed to recent productions with Red Theater Chicago, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, City Lit Theater and Haven Theatre. She is also a proud new mom and sends much love to the sweet gentlemen in her life, Russell and little Quinn.
Rachelle "Rocky" Kolecke
Rocky Kolecke (Props Designer) is a freelance prop/puppet/set designer. Recent credits: The Diary of Anne Frank, Enfrascada, and A Christmas Carol 2012/2013 at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, Victory Gardens Biograph, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and Glimmerglass Opera. As a Stage Manager; she has worked with Ghostlight, 16th Street, City Lit, Bailiwick Chicago, Red Tape, The Mime Company at Studio Be, Neo-Futurists, and Gorilla Tango. Rocky also is a prop carpenter at Illumivation studio and MPAC. She is Graduate of Northern Illinois University.
Beth Laske-Miller (Costume Designer) costume design credits include; Lay Me Down Softly, The Seafarer, In Pigeon House, A Moon for the Misbegotten and That was Then at Seanachai Theatre Company, Romeo & Juliet at Midsommer Flight, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, A Study in Scarlet and The Caucasian Chalk Circle at Promethean Ensemble Theatre, L’Imitation of Life at Hell in a Handbag, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning and Take Her to See the Maco Lights at Prologue Theatre Co. Beth was recently nominated for a 2013 Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Award in Costume Design for A Study in Scarlet with Promethean Theatre Ensemble. She holds a BA in Costume/Fashion Design from Indiana University – Bloomington, and an MFA in Costume Design from CalArts.
Chazz Malott (Lighting Designer) originally worked as a freelance designer in Ann Arbor. Chazz moved to Chicago last September and began working with Lookingglass, Provision, Prologue and several other groups. Recent credits include Jacob, Pinocchio, Trafford Tanzi, and In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Before the move Chazz was working at the O'Neill Theater Center and designing at the University of Michigan where he won regional awards at KCACTF and for ETC's Student Sponsorship to LDI in Las Vegas.
Kate Merena (Marketing/PR Director) exists in the synergy between visual art and performing art. She is owner and curator of Sacred Art Gallery in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, where she represents over 100 independent, primarily local artists and provides clients with a down-to-earth environment in which to experience art. Kate also has a long history as a freelance writer, including magazine columns, op-eds and a children's book for Disney, and as a marketing consultant for theater, most recently serving as marketing director and associate producer for Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins in 2012. An avid Neil Gaiman fan, she is excited to be working with Ed, Nick and the Coraline team on this fantastic production.
Nathaniel Nashiem-Case (Stage Manager) is a stage manager, actor, and all-around theater busybody. He has worked on nearly a hundred shows in the past 15 years, and is delighted to be working on this wonderful production. He also insists that you have a pleasant day, and would like to remind you that the Earth is a Libra.
Ed Rutherford (Director) grew up on fantasy novels including the works of Neil Gaiman, Peter S. Beagle, John Collier and more. Ed graduated from Northwestern University’s theater program, and has been active in Chicago as a director, actor and writer ever since. Previous directing projects include his world premiere stage adaptation of the beloved Peter S. Beagle fantasy novel The Last Unicorn and a production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, both for Promethean Theatre Ensemble, where he is an artistic associate and emeritus ensemble member. He also directed Promethean’s inaugural production, Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy. As an actor he has worked with Drury Lane Oakbrook, Porchlight, Theater Wit, Strange Tree Group, and many others. In addition to Coraline his latest adventure is working on his MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Nick Sula (Music Director) is a pianist, composer, arranger, and award-winning music director for theatre and cabaret. Most recently, he was musical director for Myths and Hymns with Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, where he has served as musical director for Pippin, Hello Again, The Glorious Ones (Jeff Nomination), La Cage aux Folles, and Jekyll & Hyde, as well as pianist for Songs for a New World, The Life, and Side Show. Other theatre credits include Porchlight Music Theatre (The Teapot Scandals, pianist: Ragtime, Secret Garden, Sweeney Todd), Light Opera Works (chorusmaster: Oklahoma!, The Music Man; pianist: Side by Side by Sondheim), Chicago Opera Vanguard (Orpheus & Euridice, pianist: Reagan's Children), White Horse (Merrily We Roll Along [Jeff Citation for Music Direction]). Recent cabaret projects include musical direction and arrangements for the vocal group With a Twist, and WOZ, a rock/pop retelling of the Wizard of Oz. Nick performs regularly at Davenport's Piano Bar, and with entertainer Scott Gryder in Simply Scotty at 3160 Piano Cabaret. www.nicksula.com
Derek Van Barham
Derek Van Barham (Movement Director) is a Pride Films & Plays Artistic Associate and Literary Manager for The Ruckus Theatre. He most recently directed and choreographed PFP's Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination: Best Director of a Musical or Revue) and Kill Your Boyfriends, a contribution to National Pastime Theatre’s Naked July Festival. He has worked with BoHo Theatre (Hauptmann), Red Tape Theatre (The Skriker, Stadium Devildare, The Life & Death of Madame Barker), and The Island Theatre (Wallace Shawn’s The Fever). He can currently be seen improvising with the gentle gentlemen of ThoraBirch. He has choreographed for The Plagiarists, Brain Surgeon Theatre, and Salonathon, and is the founder of the Crush Dance Collective. MFA: Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.