Artistic Staff Bios
KAREN AZENBERG (Director) This marks Karen Azenberg’s seventh season as Artistic Director at PTC. Favorite projects include the world premieres of Alabama Story and “i”; the regional premieres of Sting’s The Last Ship and Les Misérables; and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Newsies, Sweet Charity and The Rocky Horror Show. Originally from New York, her work there includes Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd St. Y), Blocks (a collaboration with Johnathan Larson), Prom Queens Unchained and choreography for Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle (Roundabout Theatre Company). Among her other credits are National Tours of Carousel and Brigadoon, West Side Story (over 15 productions), and productions at Indiana Repertory, Geva Theatre Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Goodspeed and Utah Shakespeare Festival. Karen is a past president of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). Her favorite productions are her son Alexander and her daughter Emelia.
HELEN GREGORY (Musical Director/Conductor) is returning for her twelfth production for the Pioneer Theatre Company and was last seen riding the turntable on La Cage aux Folles! She is always glad to return to PTC and wishes to thank the many people that make these productions possible: sponsors, donors, designers, cast, crew, the talented musicians, staff and Artistic Director, Karen Azenberg. Gregory has conducted, performed and arranged for regional productions, national tours, Off-Broadway, industrials, educational theatre and yes, dinner theatre. She currently lives in Durango, CO with her partner, Keith. Thank you for supporting live theatre. A wop bop a loo bop!
JAMES NOONE (Scenic Designer) returns after 2016’s Cowgirls, and has worked for some of NYC’s most prestigious theatre companies including Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company and numerous others. Off-Broadway he designed the original productions of Terrance McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Three Tall Women, the long-running solo shows Full Gallop and Fully Committed, Cowgirls and Breaking Legs, A Bronx Tale, Boys in the Band and the musical Ruthless. Broadway productions include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Jekyll and Hyde, Class Act, The Persians, Judgment at Nuremberg, Night Must Fall, The Sunshine Boys, The Gin Game, A Bronx Tale and Come Back Little Sheba. He has designed national tours and at leading regional theatres across the country. His work in opera has been seen at Glimmerglass, NYC Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera and others. For television he designed Sweeney Todd, Candide, Passion, Camelot, Stephen Sondheim’s 80th Birthday Concert for PBS and Company, seen in select movie theaters, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill for HBO. Awards include the Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing Design Award, two Helen Hayes Awards (DC), the LA Ovation Award and two NAACP Theatre Design Awards.
PATRICK HOLT (Costume Designer) returns after designing for Will Roger’s Follies and La Cage aux Folles. Holt’s work has been seen at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The John Houseman Theater, Kansas City Rep, Playmakers Rep, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, HBO, CBS, A & E Network, The American Dance Festival and World of Wonder Productions. World premiere designs include Romulus Linney’s Gint and Tazewell Thompson’s Constant Star. He is a professor of costume design at the University of Arizona and resident designer at the Arizona Repertory Theater. Holt also appeared on season seven of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and in the recent film Cherry Pop.
JAX MESSENGER (Lighting Designer) maintains a successful career as a lighting professional.
He has lit productions for such companies as Curtis Institute (Doctor Atomic, Impressions de Pelléas),The Philadelphia Opera (Wake World), Austin Lyric Opera (Carmen), The Canadian Opera Company (Pyramus and Thisbe), Boston Lyric Opera (In the Penal Colony), Bard SummerScape (Oresteia, The Wreckers, The Turendot Project, The Demon), R. B. Schlather (Alcina, Orlando, The House Taken Over, The Mother of Us All), Adam H. Weinert (Monument), Wanda Culture Industry Group (Princess Butterfly), Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (Laurencia, Waltzpurgisnacht, Majisimas), Merola Opera (The Barber of Seville, Transformations), The Washington Ballet (Sleeping Beauty, Fluctuating Hemlines, Shostakovich Concerto, Don Quixote), The San Francisco Opera (Requiem, The Elixir of Love for Families).
ALLAN BRANSON (Resident Sound Designer) is thrilled to be a part of the Pioneer Theatre Company. He previously worked at The Arkansas Repertory Theatre as their resident sound designer for six seasons, where he designed such shows as Because of Winn-Dixie (world premiere), The Bridges of Madison County (regional premiere) and Memphis (regional premiere). Branson is a proud member of The Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association.
AMANDA FRENCH (Hair and Makeup Designer) has been a makeup and hair designer for over 28 years. She has worked for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Utah Opera, Egyptian Theatre Company and the University of Texas at Austin. She is a contributing writer in the tenth edition of Stage Makeup by Corson, Glavan and Norcross and her workcan also be seen in The Costume Technician’s Handbook by Ingham and Covey and Wig Making and Styling: A Complete Guide for Theatre and Film by Ruskai and Lowery, first edition. She attended the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati where she studied with Hair and Makeup Designer Lenna Kaleva. She is a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and a current University of Utah adjunct assistant professor of wigs and makeup.
MARY P. COSTELLO (Production Stage Manager) has worked on over 40 productions during eight seasons with PTC. Favorites include Sting’s The Last Ship, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Les Misèrables, In the Heights, Next to Normal and Rent. Other stage management teams: Indiana Repertory Theatre, Connecticut RepertoryTheatre, Boston Theatre Works, Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Proud Equity member.
BECKY LYNN DAWSON (Stage Manager) joins Pioneer Theatre Company for her second season. She holds an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts and a BFA from Utah State University. Selected stage management credits include From Here to Eternity, Saturday Night Fever (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse), The Spitfire Grill, Chicago, M. Butterfly (Northern Stage), The Christians (Gulfshore Playhouse) and Divinamente New York 2009 & 2010 (EH Arts International). She would like to send many thanks to her family for their continuing support.
KALLIE ERICKSON (1st Assistant Stage Manager) is a recent grad from the University of Utah with a BFA in Stage Management. Recent assistant stage management credits include Sweat, Once, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Lion in Winter and In the Heights—Concert Production (PTC). Stage management credits include: form of a girl unknown and Stags Leap (SLAC) and You Never Can Tell and Dogfight (U of U Theatre). Love to the fam, Tim and her pup.
ALLISON HARKNESS (2nd Assistant Stage Manager) is a senior in the Stage Management program at the U and grateful for the opportu-nity to work with PTC. Past university credits include Assistant Stage Manager for Self Defense…, The Two Noble Kinsmen, You Never Can Tell and Chess. She has also served as the Stage Manager for Up…, And Here We Are and The Rivals with U of U Theatre.
JIM JACOBS (Book, Music and Lyrics) who created Grease (in 1970) with Warren Casey, was born and raised on the mean streets of Chicago’s far northwest side. During the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll (1956-1960) he was a guitar-playing “greaser” student at Taft High School. In 1963, Jacobs met Warren Casey when they were bothcast in a local theatre production of A Shot in the Dark. Seven years later they wrote what was to become one of the greatest musicals of all time. Grease opened in 1971 in a former trolley barn called the Kingston Mines Theatre in Chicago. A year later, Grease made it to Broadway and “Greasemania” took off, resulting in one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. The 1978 movie became and remains the highest grossing movie musical of all time. Originally an actor, Jacobs has been seen on television, in motion pictures, regional theatre, national tours, and on Broadway. He is the co-author of several other plays and musicals including Island of Lost Coeds, a musical spoof of the low budget sci-fi/horror/jungle movies of the 1950s, which he wrote with Warren Casey. In May 2014, Mr. Jacobs was presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Columbia College in Chicago. He currently resides in Southern California and remains active in the theatre, especially with the American Theatre Company of Chicago.
WARREN CASEY (Author, Composer and Lyricist) was born in Yonkers, New York, and attended Syracuse University. During the late ‘50s, he learned all about “greasers” while working as an art teacher in upstate New York. He moved to Chicago in 1962, where he hoped to pursue an acting career. He appeared in dozens of productions, including creating the role of Bernie Litko in David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago. He supported himself with jobs in retail, including working as an assistant manager of a chain of apparel stores, and as a record salesman. In the meantime, he taught himself how to play the guitar and began writing songs. Mr. Casey acted with the Chicago Stage Guild (where he met Jim Jacobs), the Old Town Players, and the Kinston Mines Theatre. The latter company staged the original production of Grease which he wrote with Jim Jacobs. After the incredible success of both the musical and the movie, the two collaborated on Island of Lost Coeds, a musical satire of the B-movies of the 1950s. Mr. Casey died in 1988.