Eric Appleton (Playwright, Spotless) is an associate professor of scenic and lighting design at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. His ten minute plays have been performed at festivals in Chicago, Toronto, and Washington DC.  Full length work includes: Among the Squirrels, produced by Chicago’s The Black Ship Co. and which was also given a staged reading as part of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Monty Davis new play development program. homeland was produced by Buffalo’s Road Less Traveled Production and given a staged reading by Urban Stages (NY). Ghostbears! was produced this past summer at San Antonio's Overtime Theatre. He and his colleague Tracey Lyons just wrote a text book for teachers called Teaching Introduction to Theatrical Design, which is due out from Focal Press later this year. He and his husband live in Madison, WI.

Eric Brehm (Playwright, Doorways and Beginnings) is an indie author who publishes general fiction as Eric Brehm and fantasy as E. Michael Brehm. His books include Barefoot Toward Heaven and Pawns in a Larger Game. When not writing, he teaches high school for the Wisconsin Dells School District. This is his first dramatic work to be staged.

Coleman (Playwright, Enough Trouble in the World) is thrilled that this is his third time participating in Forward’s monologue festival (once as a director, and twice as a playwright). Coleman is the author of numerous plays and an award-winning memoir Spoke. He lives in Mineral Point but can frequently be found acting, directing or writing with Madison theatre.


Jamie Custer (Playwright, The Guard (The One Who Dies)) is honored to be featured by Forward Theater. Born and raised in Madison, and currently based out of Chicago, Jamie is thrilled to have his work produced in his hometown. Jamie's pieces have been featured at Hampshire College Theatre and Chicago Dramatists. He can also often be found performing improv in theaters around Chicago. Jamie would like to thank his incredibly supportive family and everyone at Forward.


Sandy Dietrick (Playwright, The Line) is a native Iowan and a graduate of the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Her work has been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and points in-between, including Madison (twice!) and many of the Midwest’s finer theater-producing correctional facilities. She is married to Robert Tuftee, a handsome fight choreographer (and native of Beloit). They happily (and scrappily) make their home in Brooklyn, New York.


Kelly Dwyer (Playwright, Just Waiting) is a novelist, playwright, and travel writer. A graduate of Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Kelly grew up in California and lives in Baraboo, where she teaches creative writing at UW-BSC. Like just about all writers, she has served her time in restaurants. She thanks Forward Theater Company for the opportunity, Maureen and Eva for their inspiration and hard work, and Louis and Alice for their support.


Greg Hudson (Playwright, Knowledge Worker) is a Madison playwright, actor, and improviser. In November, Cone Man Running Productions in Houston will produce his other monologue based on a job, Stripmall. He started playwriting with Are We Delicious? and Playwrights Ink. He owes a huge thanks to Atlas Improv for reigniting his passion for the stage, and will improvise his last shows there right after this festival. On Wednesday, he moves to NYC to attend the Atlantic Acting School.


Rachel Mann (Playwright, Bethany Speaking) Rachel's play, Class Mother, was nominated for best play at the Venus/ Adonis Theater Festival 2016. Her work has been seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre's First Brew, Naked Angels Tuesdays at 9, InViolet Theater, The PlayGround Experiment, Liars' League NYC, and the Manhattan Lit Crawl. Her writing has been published in The Forward, Kveller, and The Fish Anthology, and her debut novel, On Blackberry Hill, can be found on She lives in NYC. More info at


Karen Moeller (Playwright, Bitter Blind) has appeared on stage with Forward in In the Next Room, The Farnsworth Invention, Sons of the Prophet, and From Up Here. She makes her Forward playwrighting debut in Someone's Gotta Do It. Previous writing credits include The End of the World (produced by Mercury Players), and numerous short plays in Are We Delicious. Karen is also a commercial voice actor and will be appearing in Playscapes at Broom Street Theatre in October.


Jess Schuknecht (Playwright, Cave Men) A writer, actor and improviser, Jess performs with a multitude of Madison companies including Atlas Improv Co. (co-founder), The Bronze Medalists, The Bricks, Forward Theater, and others. He wrote Cave Men for Someone’s Gotta Do It, though you may remember him from the last monologue festival, Out of the Fire, as the children’s librarian in Singed. He plans to con his way into directing one next time to complete the Monologue Festival Grand Slam. He loves stories and hugs.


Amanda Schumacher (Playwright, Say No to the Dress) is glad her years spent working with wedding dresses led to the inspiration for this piece. Amanda was a 2016 fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute. This is Amanda’s first theatrical piece to ever be staged (if one doesn’t count Homecoming skits in high school). Amanda is beyond grateful to Jen and Forward Theater for this opportunity, and to Catie and Deb for bringing it to life.


Kimberly Megna Yarnall (Playwright, Talk to Me Maybe) Kimberly’s plays have been performed from NYC to Anchorage. Three-time finalist for the National Ten-Minute-Play Award, she's published by Smith & Krause. Kimberly worked on the Tony-nominated A Class Act. She holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, is a teaching artist at Portola Valley Theater Conservatory, and a contributing writer for San Francisco Moms Blog. She misses Madison: the coffee shops and lakes, but mostly her incredible colleagues.



Jen Plants (Director, Spotless) Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and the graduate Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies program at UW-Madison, Jen is also a director of the London-based ensemble No Feedback. Recent directing credits include No Feedback’s command performance for the Open Society Institute in Budapest, Hungary, and The Dragon, performing on UW-Madison’s campus and Frank Lloyd Wright’s theatre at Taliesin (October/November 2016.) Jen is currently at work on a documentary theatre project about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.


Jim Buske (Director, Doorways and Beginnings) is a founding member of the Forward Theater Company and serves on its Advisory Company. With Forward Theater, he has appeared in All About Eve, Moonlight & Magnolias, From Up Here and (briefly!) The Farnsworth Invention, as well as the staged readings of Kiritsis, Uncivil Disobedience, Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays and Oatsland. Jim was also an original member of the Madison Repertory Theatre’s acting company and appeared in 11 productions there.


Jake Penner (Director, Enough Trouble in the World) is a director, actor and Advisory Company member at Forward Theater. Previous FTC credits include Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric PlayOut of the Fire: The Banned Books MonologuesSons of the Prophet, and The Farnsworth Invention. He has acted previously at American Players Theatre and is a frequent collaborator at First Wave, the University of Wisconsin's hip hop & spoken word scholarship community. Thank you to David, Coleman, Zhalarina H. Sanders, and, as always, Jen Uphoff Gray for her unending guidance. For Mom.


Shannon Heibler (Director, The Guard (The One Who Dies)) cannot believe her good fortune to be working in theatre, writing a bio for you to read! It was a long time on a crooked road getting here. She studied theatre at University of Wisconsin-Madison and now finds employment in costumes & wardrobe, scenic design, dramaturgy, and directing. Shannon has worked at American Players Theatre, Forward Theater Company, Children's Theater of Madison, and other companies throughout southern Wisconsin. Many thanks to Jen and Forward for this incredible opportunity! Love and gratitude to her friends and family, and her incredible partner, Ben.


Dana Pellebon (Director, The Line) has acted, directed, and produced for a variety of local companies, including three productions for the New York International Fringe Festival. Her next production is Detroit 67 with Krass at the Bartell Theater opening October 28. This is her first time working with Forward Theater. She is thankful to Jen Uphoff Gray and Karen Moeller for their trust, help, and guidance throughout. Special thanks to Sandy and Liz whose talent made this possible. 


Maureen Janson (Director, Just Waiting) is a proud Forward Theater Advisory Company member. For FTC, she has contributed to Why Torture is Wrong..., The Farnsworth Invention, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, and Mr. Burns, and directed for the Banned Books Monologue Festival. For the past 30 years, her choreography has been a part of theatre, opera and dance productions throughout Madison, Chicago and the Midwest. She is also a freelance photographer and writer.


Stephen F. Murray (Director, Knowledge Worker) In Madison he has directed for TAPIT, Music Theatre Madison, and Mercury Players. In his eleven years in Chicago he was a member of Promethean Theatre Ensemble (Artistic Director), Strawdog Theatre (Assistant Artistic Director), and the side project (Artistic Associate). His directed The Darling Children at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. He was awarded an IAC individual artist grant (2011) and a DCASE residency (2014). For more information, please visit


Catie O'Donnell (Director, Say No to the Dress) is a freelance theater director and educator. Favorite credits include Arlington, 35mm and Nevermore with Music Theater Madison, In A Clearing with Forward Theater, The Mikado and Candide with Milwaukee Opera Theater, Amadeus with The World's Stage, A Klingon Christmas Carol with Commedia Beauregard, and directing intern for The Guthrie Theater. She has also been selected for the SDCF Observership pool and was a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab 2014 and Directors Lab Chicago 2013.

She is the co-founder of Center Stage Preforming Arts, a voice and theater coaching company in Madison, and is a Tommy Award reviewer through Overture Center.

Catie holds a BA in theater and music from the University of Miami, FL.


Miranda Hawk (Director, Bitter Blind) is faculty and department chair for the Madison College department of Communications and Performing Arts. In addition to directing and teaching at the college, she enjoys working with local theater companies in production and performance.


Suzan Kurry (Director, Bethany Speaking) is excited to be involved in Someone’s Gotta Do It with Forward. She thanks you for supporting the arts.


Mary Macdonald Kerr (Director, Cave Men) is thrilled to be working with Forward Theatre and with Angela Iannone on this project. Mary has been a theatre artist working in the Milwaukee area for twenty-one years. She has directed for Milwaukee Chamber, Renaissance Theatreworks, First Stage, In Tandem and Next Act Theatre. Favorite directing projects include The Glass Menagerie and Beast on the Moon at In Tandem, Going to St. Ives, Mercy of a Storm and No Child at Next Act Theatre. Mary is also an actor, performing in plays at Milwaukee Chamber, Milwaukee Rep, Renaissance Theatreworks, Milwaukee Shakespeare, First Stage and Next Act Theatre. She can be seen this season in The Few at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.


David Pausch (Director, Talk to Me Maybe) is a Madison-based actor and director. He has worked with many area companies, including The Bricks Theatre, Children's Theatre of Madison, Strollers Theater, Broken Dart Players, Alley Stage, and Mercury Players. He is thrilled and honored to be a part of his second Forward Theater Company Monologue Festival. 



Alistair Sewell (Actor, Spotless) is delighted to work with Forward againPast productions include The Farnsworth Invention and From Up Here. Other theater credits include A Streetcar Named Desire (American Players Theatre) Arcadia (Writers Theatre) and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre). Film credits include For the GloryInto the Wake, The Half of Me That’s Him, The Mourning Hour and Blame


Sam D. White (Actor, Doorways and Beginnings) has been part of every Monologue Festival thus far - twice as a playwright and twice as an actor. A 40-year-plus veteran of the Madison theater scene, he last appeared with Forward as Mr. Goldberg in From Up Here. He recently played Prospero in MTG’s The Tempest. Next up, directing Working, the Musical for Stoughton Village Players this spring. Sam’s proud to be a founding member of Forward Theater and serves on it Advisory Company.


Zhalarina H. Sanders (Actor, Enough Trouble in the World) is a playwright, actress, and Hip-Hop artist from Tampa, FL. She has written and performed works on stages such as The Apollo in Harlem and the Queen Elizabeth theatre in London. Her one-person play, Rose Gold exploring the frailties and triumphs of Black womanhood through Hip-Hop, has been mounted in Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, and New York, NY in the past year and will continue its circuit until 2018. 


Edric Johnson (Actor, The Guard (The One Who Dies)) is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he prepares classroom teachers to use theater and drama. Favorite credits include Uncle Peck in Madison Theatre Guild’s How I Learned to Drive, Clay in Strollers Theatre’s The Pain and the Itch, and Ben Weeks in Stage Q’s The Normal Heart. Edric will be writing and performing in Are We Delicious? SciFi Saga in October. Thanks to Shannon Heibler, Karen Moeller, and Carrie Sweet.


Liz Angle (Actor, The Line) has been a local actor in Madison, WI for over 15 years. She is a three-time Bartell Theatre Award winner for her acting in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Liz worked with Forward in their first monologue festival The Love That Changed My Life, and most recently was a part of their play reading series playing Abby in Babylon. She would like to thank Paul, Marilyn and Dana.


Eva Nimmer (Actor, Just Waiting) is thrilled to be working alongside so many artists she admires!  She recently completed her fourth season with Northern Sky Theater and is glad to be back in Madison, where she was last seen as Belle in CTM’s A Christmas Carol. She’ll return to CTM this October in The American Girls Revue. Next March, Eva will be working on a new play by James DeVita as part of the Montgomery Davis Play Development Series at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.


Dee King (Actor, Knowledge Worker) is a former Equity actor, and has performed throughout the country in regional theatre, summer stock, physical theatre, and Shakespeare. He is featured on the OCR of Diane Adams-McDowell’s The Wind in the Willows. His directing with Belligerent Muse has been called “… stunningly confident, virtuosic…” by the Philadelphia Weekly. Training: B.F.A, Musical Theatre, Syracuse University; PTTP, the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre. He is the owner/chiropractor at Pro Motion Chiropractic & Rehabilitation (608) 630-3925.


Deborah Hearst (Actor, Say No to the Dress) is a professional actor, theatre collaborator, writer, and storyteller. In Madison, she's worked with Children's Theater of Madison, TheatreLila, Strollers, Are We Delicious?, Madison Theatre Guild, Mercury Players, Bricks Theater, and UW Madison's Theater Department. Outside of Madison, she is best known for her portrayal of Helen in Profiles Theatre's Midwest premiere of Neil Labute's Fat Pig, for which she received a Joseph Jefferson Citation for Best Actress. Favorite local roles include Catherine in Rapture, Blister, Burn; Lavinia Goodell in Lavinia; and Kelly in The Pain and the Itch. This is her first time working with Forward Theater and she thanks them so much for the opportunity. Special thanks to her muse, best friend, and general partner in crime, Whitney Derendinger, for his love and support, always.


Deborah Clifton (Actor, Bitter Blind) is pleased to be returning to Forward Theater. She was last seen in Sons Of The Prophet. Ms. Clifton was a company member of Theatre X creating original works and performing in the US, Europe, Japan and India. She has worked regionally with Madison Rep, Next Act Theater, Milwaukee Rep, Chamber Theater, Theatre Gigante, First Stage Milwaukee, The Goodman Theater, Chicago Shakespeare, The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. 


Stephanie Frank (Actor, Bethany Speaking) is a graduate of UW Green Bay with a B.A. in Musical Theatre. Since graduating in 2015, Stephanie has been an extremely active member of the Madison theatre community, having worked with 10 different local theatre companies. She also works as a film actor, playwright, and model. Stephanie will be performing next in the world premiere of Alice with the Madison Theatre Guild.


Angela Iannone (Actor, Cave Men) Associate Artist-Milwaukee Rep Theatre. Lunt/Fontanne Fellow, Lunt/Fontanne Greek Fellow, Creative Achievement Award- UW-Whitewater, Joseph Jefferson Award (Best Actress in a Musical) Queen's NYC Kudos Award (Best Actress in a Supporting Role) Best of Milwaukee Best Actress Award (3 times). The Edwin Booth Plays playwright. Titan Theatre Co. NYC, SecondAct New Works (Utah), The Players NYC (home of Edwin Booth) TheaterRED Milwaukee.


Whitney Derendinger (Actor, Talk to Me Maybe) received his MFA in Acting from UW Madison in 2009, and since then has been working with theatres all throughout Madison. Recent acting credits include Stevie in Good People (Forward Theatre), Don in Rapture Blister Burn (Mercury Players Theatre), and Stephano in The Tempest (Madison Theatre Guild). He is currently teaching acting full time at UW Madison, as well as offering private coaching lessons to actors and doing fight choreography, movement, and voice coaching in the Madison theatre community. Much love to my wife Deb for her endless spirit and generous laugh; you'll have the pleasure of seeing her tonight!