Jess Benson co-leads WSRep Comedy Sketch and Improv with The Other Jess. She has been a member of this ever evolving troupe since January 2014. Jess lives and performs in Chicago with an indie troupe called Atomic Barbie. She graduated with a BA in Theatre from Augustana College, Rock Island.
Phil C. Denofrio graduated from Columbia College in Chicago. He’s a poet, playwright and puppeteer who has been known to toss out a sonnet without warning to unsuspecting women. Phil has worked at Raue Center for several years in various capacities. Currently, he’s in the marketing department as well as being Raue Center’s Poet-in-Residence. Phil is happy to be showing off his quick wit with WSRep Comedy.
Trace Gamache is an alumna of McHenry County College and Illinois State University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in performance art. Trace made her debut at age 8 and fell in love with the stage. Since graduating she’s had the opportunity to reach audiences in Bloomington and Richmond Illinois as well as New York City. Her recent addition to the WSRep Comedy has been incredibly rewarding as a new challenge and learning experience. Laugh loud and prosper!
Matt Hellyer developed a strong appreciation in his early schooling for “winging it” during class presentations, thriving when projects culminated in a skit. Never particularly known for the gift of gab, he nonetheless found success ad-libbing in between readings of liturgy and as the MC to many Boy Scout Courts of Honor. Matt’s talents were cultivated and cultured during his study of the liberal arts at Carthage College. There, a hobby in amateur videos led to a more refined improviser. WSRep Comedy is the newest outlet for his little white light of improv and sketch.
Brian Freeman lives and Woodstock with a roommate, one of his four daughters and a cat that he is deathly allergic to. In recent years he discovered improv and WSRep Comedy has become a great outlet. “I have been made to feel very welcome. It’s like a second or third family really. And I’m so proud to work alongside some of the greats like what’s his name and blonde girl. Yes, I plan on being with the improv team for many, many weeks. Unless, of course, I get bored or something better comes along.”
Tracey Lanman has been thinking on her feet since she could walk and enjoys making people laugh, so improv seemed like a natural extension of her abilities. In addition to being a mom of six, she is a massage therapist and a certified Netflix binge watcher. She’s excited to be able to perform with a fantastic group of individuals and hopes you enjoy their work.
David Marr grew up watching comedians like Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams and admired their style of comedy and impersonation. He’s been involved with theater and the performing arts since childhood. He enjoys improvisation and is learning a lot from the group. He hopes you’ll have as much fun watching as he has performing.
Kenzie Parry has been involved in the performing arts for as long as she can remember and loves having the opportunity to grow as a comedian with WSRep Comedy. A Skokie native, Kenzie moved to Crystal Lake soon after completing her B.M. in Music Education at Elmhurst College. She currently teaches elementary music, and enjoys performing in musicals at various local theaters. In her spare time, Kenzie enjoys conversing with her long-haired cat, Harrison, and her two parakeets, Tazer and Rizzo.
Kevin “Slim” Slimko grew up in nearby Algonquin. He played basketball and had a sketch comedy TV show in college at Benedictine University. He currently works as a barber in downtown Crystal Lake where his wit is tested every day by keeping up with the barbershop banter. With two kids and a business to run, he doesn’t have much spare time, but enjoys fishing and playing basketball whenever possible. Turned on to making people laugh at an early age, he credits his parents, Carl Sagan for his sense of humor and Eleanor Roosevelt for his height. His favorite vacation destination is Fort Wayne, IN.
Jess Smith(aka The Other Jess) has been improvising since 2008. She is thankful for having the opportunity to perform at the Raue Center with a talented group of friends. Clearly, the stars have aligned, Venus is in retrograde, and the gypsy curse didn’t work. Jess currently teaches theatre and improvisation in South Elgin.
Williams Street Rep | 108 Minnie Street | Crystal Lake, IL 60014
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