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Production Information for Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking

By Tim Robbins

Directed by Russell Vandenbroucke


Produced by special arrangement with the Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project.


Time: 1984

Place: Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola


There will be one 10-minute intermission.


Information shown on slides is drawn from sources including the UN Human Development Report, US Bureau of Justice, and the script.




Sr. Helen Prejean, Sr. of St. Joseph: Megg Ward


Sr. Helen’s Co-workers, Neighbors at Hope House, Family


Sr. Marie Augusta Neal, Sr. of St. Joseph: Jennifer Cooper

Herbie, student tutored by Sr. Helen: Xavier Bleuel

Luis Montoya, Prison Reform Coalition: Crystian Wiltshire

Sr. Coleen, Sr. of St. Joseph: Renea Brown

Gusta Mae Prejean, mother of Sr. Helen: Hannah Greene


Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola


Matthew Poncelet, sentenced to death: David Galloway

Fr. Farley, prison chaplain: Gary Brice

Guard: Tamara Kamara

Guard: Matt Klemenz

Hilton Barber, death penalty lawyer: Richard VerWiebe


Reporters, Journalists, Broadcasters, Pardon Board  Members, Victims of Violence




The Poncelet Family


Lucille, Matt’s mother: Jennifer Cooper

Mitch, Matt’s brother: Matt Klemenz

Jamie, Matt’s sister: Hannah Greene

Troy, Matt’s little brother: Devin Ward


Pardon Board Hearing


Guy Gilardi, Assistant District Attorney: Phil Lynch

Joan Mirabeau, head of Pardon Board: Hannah Greene


The Delacroix Family


Earl, Walter’s father: Travis Stolp

Holly, Walter’s mother: Magnolia Hensley

Walter: Matt Klemenz


The Percy Family


Clyde, Hope’s father: Byron Coolie

Marybeth, Hope’s mother: Tia Davis

Emily, Hope’s sister: Tamara Kamara

Hope: Tamara Kamara


The Death House, Angola


Sgt. Beliveau, guard: Eric Knoppkie

Trapp, guard: Crystian Wiltshire

Nell Koch, nurse: Magnolia Hensley

Hartman, warden: Phil Lynch

Polygraph Operator: Xavier Bleuel

Doctor: Michael Hushebeck


Governor Fredericks: Phil Lynch

His Aide: Xavier Bleuel





Scenic Design: Michelle Gentry

Costume Design: Jennifer Siow

Lighting Design: Michael F. Hottois

Media Design: Megg Ward

Sound Design: Garry Brown

Dialect Coach: Rinda Frye

Stage Manager: Russel Willoughby

Assistant Stage Managers: Kathryn Spivey, Chenney Williams

Assistant Dialect Coaches: Byron Coolie, Tia Davis, David Galloway, Travis Stolp

Production Manager: Garry Brown

Technical Production Supervisor: Charles Nasby

Scene Shop Foremen: Michelle Gentry, Collin Sage

Scenic Carpenters: Phoebe Bell, Megan Fuller, Braden McCampbell, Anna Neikirk, TA 241 Stagecraft II

Production Buyer: Candice Handy

Costume Shop Manager: Melissa K. Shepherd

Costume Design Supervisor: Zhanna Goldentul

Costume Construction: James Ryan Coomer, Amy Davis, Anna Neikirk, Jennifer Siow, James Thompson, Gina Vito

Costume Shop Buyer: James Thompson

Wardrobe Master: James Ryan Coomer

Wardrobe Crew: Amy Davis

Properties Managers: Kathryn Spivey, Megg Ward

Properties Crew: Michael Hushebeck, Stephanie McKenzie, Ebony Wilhoite

Master Electricians: Jacob Bolton, Will Dyre

Lighting Operator: Alaina Watson

Sound Engineer: Alex Cooper

Sound & Media Operator: Megan Kubac

Box Office Manager: Melanie Henry

Box Office Staff: Chelsea Gilbert, Casey Moulton, Ashley Smith

House Manager: Nick Dalton

Acknowledgments: Erin Crites, Meg Dailey, Rinda Frye, David Galloway, Regina Harris, Daniel Hill, Ian Issitt, Lisetta Kenney, Kentucky-Indiana Productions, Phoenix Lighting and Sound, Megg Ward


Xavier Bleuel, Louisville, KY, is a junior Theatre Arts major. This is his debut performance at UofL. He recently appeared as Lette in The Ugly One at the Brown Theatre.


Gary Brice, Alton, IL, earned his MFA in Performance from UofL and his BA in Theatre Arts from Western Illinois University.  Past productions at UofL include Leland Cunningham in Blues for an Alabama Sky, James in A Perfect Wedding, various roles in The Colored Museum, and Voice II in Betty’s Summer Vacation. Past performances elsewhere include Peter in The Gospel Nativity and Colin in Views from the Back Pew with Rush Trowel Entertainment, and various roles in Blind Date and Malick in Letters 2 TuPac with The 502 Crew. He currently teaches Shakespeare for The Lincoln Foundation.


Renea Brown, Lexington, KY is a senior Theatre Arts major. Past performances at UofL include Dorinea in Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man, various roles in Sleep Rock Thy Brain, Mamma in Once on This Island, and Miss Corine in Shakin’ the Mess outta Misery. Past credits elsewhere include Juror #10 in Twelve Angry Women, McCavity in Cats, and Mrs. Dunbar in The Lottery, all at Lafayette High School.


Byron Coolie, New Orleans, LA, is a first-year MFA student in performance. He minored in Drama at Elizabeth City State University. He recently appeared as Gustave in Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man. Past credits elsewhere include Donald Sllab in Schizophrenia, Narrator #2 in Aesop’s Fables, Freddy Twinkles in The Lively Cabaret, and Birdie in Thaddeus and Tila, all as Elizabeth City State University.


Jennifer Cooper, Seattle, WA, is making her performance debut at UofL. Past credits elsewhere include Nancy in The Women with Purchase Players, Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music, and Lady Anne in Camelot, both at CStock. She also performed Most Unhappy Fact in The Vagina Monologues with Lowertown Arts and is an analyst at Humana Inc.


Tia Davis, Atlanta, GA, is a second-year MFA student in performance. She earned her BA in Theatre from Berea College. Past performances at UofL include Saraphina in Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man, Juno in The Tempest, various roles in Sleep Rock Thy Brain, and Storyteller in Once on This Island.


David Galloway, Clinton, SC, is a 3rd year MFA student in performance. He earned his BA in Theatre from Presbyterian College. Past productions at UofL include Caliban in The Tempest, Papa Gé in Once on This Island, Don Jon in Much Ado about Nothing, and Enrico Fermi in Atomic Bombers. Past credits elsewhere include various roles in Hairspray! and Sam Weinberg in A Few Good Men, both at the Workshop Theatre, Egeus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the South Carolina Shakespeare Company, and Leon Trotsky in Variations on the Death of Trotsky at the Greenville Little Theatre. This is his thesis performance.


Hannah Greene, Louisville, KY, is a senior Theatre Arts major. She recently appeared as Voice of Linda Lee in Advice from a Caterpillar and Woman in ‘Dentity Crisis (Studio Theatre).


Magnolia Hensley, Louisville, KY, is a junior Theatre Arts major. She recently appeared as Rebecca in Grande Finale (Studio Theatre) and Audrey in As You Like It at UofL. Past credits elsewhere include Renfield in Dracula at Walden School and Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit at Walden Theatre.


Tamara Kamara, Free-Town, Sierra Leone, is a senior with a double major in Theatre Arts and French. Previous productions at UofL include Storyteller in Once on This Island, Melba in The Big R, Moderator in The Great Debaters, and Ensemble in Mad at Miles. She recently appeared as Madeline in Blind Date and The Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol at University of the Cumberlands.


Matt Klemenz, Louisville, KY, earned a BS in Accounting from UofL. Past productions at UofL include Sebastian in The Tempest, Alexander Schmorell in The White Rose, and Police Officer in Bloody Mary (Studio Theatre).


Eric Knoppkie, Bloomington, IN, is a sophomore double majoring in Theatre Arts and History. Past productions at UofL include Bauer in The White Rose, Verges in Much Ado about Nothing, and Father in River’s under the Earth.


Phil Lynch, Louisville, KY, is the Director of Corporate Communications for Brown-Forman, and is making his debut performance at UofL. Past credits elsewhere include Duke Frederick/Duke Senior in As You Like It in Frankfort, KY, Frank Braddock in The Graduate at the MEX Theatre, John in Cocktail Hour, Father Tim Farley in Mass Appeal, and George in Same Time, Next Year.


Travis Stolp, Costa Mesa, CA, is a second-year MFA student in performance. He earned his BA in Drama from the University of California Irvine, and is a graduate of the Professional Intensive Acting Program at the South Coast Repertory. Past productions at UofL include Stephano in The Tempest, Armand in Once on This Island, and Leonato in Much Ado about Nothing. Past credits elsewhere include Horatio in Omlette: Prince of Denny’s at The Alley Theater, Judge Hathorne in The Crucible, Bellhop in Lend Me a Tenor, both at the Costa Mesa Playhouse, and Henry Harry in Brilliant Traces at Vanguard University.


Richard VerWiebe, Fort Wayne, IN, is a seventh-grade teacher at Now Middle School. He recently appeared as Hans Bethe in Atomic Bombers at UofL. He has performed extensively with the Fort Wayne Civic Youth Theater.


Megg Ward, Crestwood, KY is a senior triple majoring in Theatre Arts, Humanities, and Dramaturgy & Historical Analysis. Past productions at UofL include Miranda in The Tempest, various roles in Sleep Rock Thy Brain, Sexton in Much Ado about Nothing, and Megg in Plays: A Play. She served as the Props Master at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival this past summer, and is the Props Designer for Pandora Productions.


Devin Ward, Crestwood KY, is in sixth grade at South Oldham Middle School where he plays alto saxophone in the band and offensive guard for the JV football team. This is his first performance at UofL; however, he has grown up watching his sister, Megg, perform so he is no stranger to the theater.


Crystian Wiltshire, Brooklyn, New York, is a junior English major. He recently appeared as André in Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man at UofL. Past credits elsewhere include Tartuffe in Tartuffe at St. Francis College, Harmond Wilkes in Radio Golf, and Rutherford Selig in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, both at Norfolk State University, and Courier in 1776 at the Little Theatre of Virginia Beach.


Russell Vandenbroucke (Director) ran or helped to run professional theatres in Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles before joining UofL as Professor and Chair of Theatre Arts in 2001. As a producer, director, playwright, or dramaturg he has premiered scores of new American plays and was the dramaturg at the inception of the Sundance Playwrights Conference. His plays include: Eleanor: In Her Own Words, which won an Emmy and was broadcast by PBS; Atomic Bombers, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima and later opened Northlight Theatre's permanent home in Chicago; School Play, inspired by the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. The Board of Education; and Soldiers Circle. His adaptation in verse of The Trojan Women by Euripides premiered at UofL in 2004. Holiday Memories, his adaptation of two Truman Capote stories, has been produced at scores of theatres throughout the country. Books include Truths the Hand Can Touch: The Theatre of Athol Fugard, Contemporary Australian Plays (editor), and The Theatre Quotation Book: A Treasury of Insights and Insults. As a stage director and member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, he has mounted productions in California, Virginia, Indiana, St. Louis, and his native Chicago. Vandenbroucke has been a Fulbright Scholar in Australia and a World Peace Fellow at the Rotary Center for Peace and Conflict Studies in Bangkok Thailand. In addition to his work in Theatre Arts, he co-founded UofL's new program in Peace, Justice & Conflict Transformation, which he also serves as Director. Earlier this year he received Distinguished Service Awards for service to the College of Arts & Sciences and the University of Louisville.


Michelle Gentry (Scenic), Louisville, KY, is a junior Theatre Arts major. She is a graduate of the Youth Performing Arts School. She works as a carpenter in the Theatre Arts Scene Shop. This is her first scenic design at UofL. Previous production credits at UofL include Shop Forman for The Tempest, Fly Crew for Sleep Rock Thy Brain, Master Carpenter for Shakin' the Mess outta Misery, and Assistant to the Scenic Designer for Atomic Bombers.


Jennifer Siow (Costume), Louisville, KY, is a senior Biology Major with a Theatre Arts minor. She works in the Theatre Arts Costume Shop as a stitcher. This is her first costume design at UofL; the costume design for this show is the basis of her senior honors thesis.


Michael F. Hottois (Lighting) is in his 40th year as Production Designer. Professionally he has designed for such theatres as the Milwaukee Rep, the Sharon Playhouse, Stage One, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Circa ’21, Centre Stage, Theatre By The Sea and the Merry-go-Round Playhouse. Ballet companies include the Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Illinois, Fort Worth Ballet, Ballet Arts of Miami and the Louisville Ballet. Michael has also served as Master Scenic Artist on the films Boris and Natasha, Closetland, and Soul of the Game along with Roger Rabbit’s Christmas Factory at Disney Land. He is also a member of the United Scenic Artists Union, Local 829.


Garry Brown (Sound), Production Manager for UofL Theatre Arts,   supervises the production of scenery, properties, lighting, and sound. His design and production experience locally includes the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Stage One: Louisville Children’s Theatre, and Music Theatre Louisville. He holds an MFA from the University of   Memphis and teaches stagecraft, sound design, and welding.


Russel Willoughby (Stage Manager), Louisville, KY, earned his BS in Theatre Arts from UofL. He recently served as Scenic Designer for As You Like It and Stage Manager for Titus Andronicus and performed as Soldier Andrew J. DeKever in Soldier’s Circle and as Barnardo in Hamlet, all at the University of Louisville. He recently appeared as Michael in Lombardi at Actors Theatre of Louisville.


Facebook: University of Louisville-Department of Theatre Arts

Twitter: @UofLTheatre


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