Behind the Scenes

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Richard Kuranda
founding artistic director

Richard got his start at the age of 12 in Northeastern Pa. acting for Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller in a production of That Championship Season.  He attended WVU for undergraduate work and then went on to NYC’s burgeoning independent film scene in 1990’s where he worked with Bill Plypmton, Sydney Lumet and Eduardo Machado.  He then attended the New School for Social Research/Actors Studio Drama School where he earned two Masters degrees under Arthur Penn and Romulus Linney.

After school, he served as the Head of Operations at NY’s Signature Theater Company under James Houghton for 2 years here he managed two Theaters on 42nd St. before accepting a senior administrator post at The New School/ASDS with James Lipton.  During a 5-year period he worked towards the expansion of the Repertory season, television show as well as the expansion of the campus to include the Westbeth Theater Complex.  Kuranda co-founded Epic Repertory Theater in NYC and in a three-year span produced nearly 24 Off Broadway plays including premieres by David Auburn, JT Rogers, Romulus Linney and Lee Blessing.  He went on to become the Associate Artistic Director, Interim Artistic Director and then Producing Director for the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theatre Center. While at the O’Neill, Kuranda was credited by the New York Times as restoring confidence to its national programs with the addition of Michael Bush, Wendy C. Goldberg and Oz Scott. Projects developed under his tenure at the O’Neill included In The Heights and {title of show} amongst others which have debuted at nearly every major regional theater in the US.

He is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio (early work at the Actors Studio included a 6 month development of Oedipus Rex with Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Estelle Parsons).  His film work is a permanent part of the MOMA Collection; he’s a former advocate for the United Nations, Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona 2004. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and The Stage Directors and Choreographers.  Kuranda serves as a Mentor for the Kennedy Center, Arts In Crisis program. Five years ago, Richard moved to Crystal Lake and started a family with his wife Alicia.  They are very proud of their four children and the community.

   


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Mike Vandercook
producing director

Mike began his journey to theatre by earning an M.A. literary and rhetorical theory from the University of New Orleans. He has an MFA in Technical Design and Production from Yale School of Drama. He has served as the Director of Operations and Technical Director for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, working with The National Theater Institute, National Puppetry Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Playwright’s Conference. He has been a Technical Director for the Dorset Playhouse, the Elm Shakespeare Company, and Yale Repertory Theatre, and Lehigh University. He has been Production Coordinator for the MFA program at Towson University and Production Manager for Baltimore Theatre Project. Mike has been a technical consultant for many artists and institutions including Eliza Jane Schneider, Lee Breuer, and the Raue Center for the Arts. He proudly served as an interim Operations Manager for Yale Repertory Theatre and Yale School of Drama. Mike has served as Executive Director and is a founding member of Generous Company and the Managing Director for WordBRIDGE Playwright’s Laboratory. He is thrilled to be the new Director of Production for the Raue Center for the Arts and William Street Rep.


Caitlin Quinn headshotCaitlin I. Quinn
production stage manager

Caitlin wanted to be a stage manager before she even knew exactly what a stage manager was. She walked into the recruiting meeting of her high school drama club her freshman year, said, "Yeah, I want to do that." and she hasn't looked back since.

Caitlin completed a double major in English: Creative Writing and theatre at Towson University in four years. She has found a passion for new play development and stage combat. One of her favorite projects to date has been The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy which combined those two loves. 
 
Caitlin has worked as a stage manager or as a part of the stage management team for Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Live Action Theatre, Red Branch Theatre Company, Pumpkin Theatre and Generous Company. She has also worked in corporate events for the global marketing company Viva Creative, based out of Rockville, Maryland. She is proud to be the production stage manager for Williams Street Repertory.
 

Mik_HIT1578-Edite Potts
resident musical director

 
Mike Potts, born and raised in Crystal Lake, has devoted his life to the pursuit of great music and entertainment.  After graduating from Prairie Ridge High School, Mike began his Jazz Performance degree at Roosevelt's Chicago College of Performing Arts, studying with greats such as Mike Smith and Jeremy Kahn.  Graduating in just three years, he then took to the high seas as a cruise ship musician performing in the ship orchestras for three years.  This is where he really became familiar with professional theater and headline entertainment acts, which he backed up on a nightly basis.  His ship career took Mike to 45 different countries and 5 continents.
 
After cruise ships, Mike returned to Crystal Lake to further pursue a career in music.  Following a couple years as a piano entertainer, Mike started the dueling pianos company "Felix and Fingers" (www.felixandfingers.com), which is now a nationally touring act he performs with regularly. 
 
Mike joined up with Raue Center and WSRep on their first musical production, "Rocky Horror,"in 2011 and has been the resident musical director ever since.  He also frequently assists in the Sage Studio camps along with other Raue Center events and functions. 
 
Mike received a Broadway World award in 2014 for WSRep's Sweeney Todd.  Mike is also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and vocalist.  
 

William Schmiel
resident scenic artist

William Schmiel earned his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, Goodman School  of Drama.  He has more than 40 years of professional design experience.  He worked at Insight Theatre, The Municipal Opera, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Stages, The St. Louis Ballet Company, The New Theatre, Theatre Project Company;  as well as at Starlight Theatre  in Kansas City.  For WSRep, he last designed  DEATH OF A SALESMAN , ART, [TITLE OF SHOW] and painted PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE, CHRISTMAS SURVIVAL GUIDE.

 


 

WSR Production Staff

Mike Vandercook, producing director
Caitlin I. Quinn, production stage manager
Carolyn Voss, lighting supervisor/ATD
Lindsay Wolf, sound supervisor/production assistant
William Schmiel, resident scenic artist
Mike Potts, resident musical director

WSR Administrative Staff

Alicia Regan, grants coordinator
Kate Wilford, company manager
Miriam Naponelli, marketing director
Michele Vazquez Knight, marketing manager
Amanda Dunal, corporate relations associate
James Knight, economic development manager

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