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Gloria: A Life Cast & Crew

Gloria: A Life

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Summer Baer (Liz) is honored to be back at New Jewish Theatre! Summer studied Theatre Performance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is a St. Louis-based actor and teaching artist. Some of her favorite roles have been Catherine in Proof with Moonstone Theater Company, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Stroll, Gena Scott in Action, Nora in New Jewish Theatre’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Charlotte Goodall in Tennessee Williams Festival STL’s Night of the Iguana. You may have also seen her in shows such as Rodney’s Wife (Lee), As You Like It (Rosalind), Elsinore (Ophelia), Jailbird (Lucy Robbins), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), and Gruesome Playground Injuries (Kayleen).  

Kayla Ailee Bush (Fedna) is an STL-based actor originally from Chicago, IL. She studied Theater at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and has been involved in theater since early high school, throughout college, and beyond. Some of her favorite productions include The Women, AreUR, Chicago, Xtigone, and ACTION! Kayla has also worked behind the scenes with Union Avenue Opera and Stage Play Theater. She has worked as a stage manager and assistant director with Tesseract Theatre on their production of Feast. Kayla is working towards becoming an intimacy and film director, as well as continuing to act. She thanks her mother for being her biggest supporter, her friends for always being a shoulder to lean on during the hard times and New Jewish Theatre for allowing me to join this fantastic show! Follow Kayla on Instagram to keep up with future shows @Kaylaaileebush  

Chrissie Watkins (Patrena) is a blooming actress in the Midwest. She is always striving to expand her horizon within the theatre and film industry. Her work in Sylvia as the title role was recognized with a Theatre Mask Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy. She also received a nomination nod for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy as well as a win for her ensemble work in It Is Magic. Chrissie has also starred in several short films and commercial projects while also writing and producing a few projects of her own. You can catch her next in the films The Company You Keep and Pitiful, Lost Creature. You’ll see her next on stage at Tesseract Theatre in Red Curtain Rivalry. Follow @Rissierice on Instagram for more info. 

Lizi Watt (Delanna) is the Managing Director of Tennessee Williams St. Louis and a freelance performer, director and theatre educator. Since earning her MFA in Theatre: Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, she has taught acting at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing, Naropa University, Rhodes College, Acrobatics of the Heart at Earthdance, the National Alliance of Acting Teachers: Teacher Development Program, Marlborough School (LA) and COCA, and has regional directing credits across the country. Some performance credits include Digging Up Dessa with Metro Theatre and Fiction at St. Louis Actors Studio (both STL), Alarm at Blue Roof Studios (LA), Daedalus’ Daughter at REDCAT (LA), Hamlet with Prison Performing Arts (featured on This American Life), Weetzie Bat at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2.5 years touring with Metro Theatre Company (US and Taiwan), The Lysistrata Project (part of the Global Peace Initiative) and Big Love and Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boulder/Denver-based theatre, Band of Toughs. She is the author of House of Daughters, It’s a Girl and mama, a solo performance piece. She has also contributed to many devised works, including  Saltwater, with the International Theatre Collective, The Blind Watchmaker, at the Bug Theatre (Denver), and (Re)Production, at Fools FURY (SF), with her best-most-best original creations being Oliver, Inez, and Sabine. Though she has travelled far and wide, lived here and there, and done this and that, Lizi is particularly grateful for her roots as a St. Louisan, as a member of the Wyandot Nation, and as a lineage holder in the postmodern theatre.  

Carmen Retzer (Francesca) is thrilled to be making her New Jewish Theatre debut! Carmen is a recent graduate from The Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University where she received her BFA in Acting. Select credits include Hero in Much Ado About Nothing (St. Louis Shakespeare Festival), Murder on the Orient Express (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Burial at Thebes (Webster University), Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Webster University), Water by the Spoonful (Webster University), and Dear Kitty…Querida Ana (In the Margin). Many thanks to the St. Louis theatre community! | @carmenretzer  

Sarah Gene Dowling (Joanna) is so elated to be making her debut with New Jewish Theatre. For more than a decade Sarah Gene has worked as a professional performer and has traveled the country working for many different companies. In addition to performance, Sarah Gene co-runs Stray Pups Youth Theatre at Stray Dog Theatre. Most recently, she has begun working as a wig designer ( Some of Sarah Gene’s favorite roles include Petra in A Little Night Music, Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown, Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show. Later this year you can see her in Godspell (Stray Dog Theatre), The Mad Ones (Tesseract Theatre), and returning to New Jewish Theatre as the Witch in Into the Woods. 

Jenni Ryan

Jenni Ryan (Gloria) is thrilled to be returning to NJT where she last appeared as Kate in this season’s Broadway Bound. Her favorite roles include Olympe de Gouges (The Revolutionists); M’Lynn (Steel Magnolias); Jen (John and Jen); Charlotte (Moon Over Buffalo); Sarah Daniels (Spinning into Butter); Shelby (The Spitfire Grill); Sarah (Time Stands Still); Faye (Chapter Two); Tessie Tura (Gypsy); Rosemary (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying); Alex (On the Verge, or The Geography of Yearning); Ilona (She Loves Me); and Gloria (Grace & Glorie), which earned her a Kevin Kline Award. 


Creative Team and Tech Crew

Denisse Chavez (Lighting Designer) received her BA in Theatre Arts from The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX and her lighting design MFA from Purdue University. Her design work has been recognized by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology with the Jonathan Resnick Lighting Design Award. Her credits include Everybody with Saint Louis University, Mojada with the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company, and Jesus Christ Superstar with The Playhouse San Antonio.  


Amanda Werre (Sound Designer) is excited to be back at The New Jewish Theatre as the sound designer for Gloria: A Life. Previously at New Jewish she has designed Jerry’s Girls, Dear Jack, Dear Louise, An Act of God, Life Sucks, Tuesdays with Morrie, Intimate Apparel, Yentl and My Mothers Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. A St. Louis based sound designer, her work has been heard locally at Moonstone Theatre Company, The Tennessee Williams Festival, COCA, Max and Louie Productions, The St. Louis Zoo, Metro Theatre Company, and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Outside of the St. Louis, her work has been heard at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, Hope College, The University of Toledo, Cider Mill Playhouse, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theatre. Amanda has a BFA in Sound Design.  

Fallon Podrazik (Scenic Designer) is a recent graduate from Webster University with a BFA in both Scenic Design and Graphic Design. Originally raised in Wyoming, Fallon has always held a deep passion for theater, she has been working in the St. Louis area for the past three years working as a scenic designer and an assistant on many shows. Recently Fallon has finished designing The Crucible and Clown of God at Chaminade collage predatory. She hopes to continue to work in the St. Louis area and grow as a designer. 


Michele Friedman Siler (Costume Designer) has been designing costumes for NJT since 2001, productions including Broadway Bound, The Bee Play, Dear Jack, Dear Louise, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Brighton Beach Memoirs (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nominee), Never the Sinner, Intimate Apparel, The Whipping Man, and Shlemiel, The First (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nominee). Recent St. Louis credits include The Rose Tattoo, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire for the Tennessee Williams Festival (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nominee), Barefoot in the Park, Proof, Jake’s Women (Moonstone Theatre), The Tempest, The Heir Apparent (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nominee) for St. Louis Shakespeare, Into the Breeches (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nominee) Shakespeare in the Streets: Winds of Change for the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, A Human Being Died That Night, The Death of Atahualpa (Kevin Kline Award Nominee) for Upstream Theater, Blithe Spirit (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nominee) and Waiting for Godot for St. Louis Actors’ Studio. Michele was named “Best St. Louis Costume Designer” in the 2016 Post- Dispatch GO! List and recently named a 2022 “Unsung Hero” by the St. Louis Jewish Light.  

Joy Addler (Stage Manager) is a St. Louis area stage manager, company manager, and event professional. A proud graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, she has BFA in Stage Management and has been working as a professional stage manager throughout the St. Louis region for over 10 years. 

Currently, she works as an Event Coordinator for Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to her full-time job, Joy is the co-founder, co-producer, Managing Director, and Stage Manager for Prism Theatre Company here in St. Louis. She also works as a freelance stage manager throughout the St. Louis area.  

A special thanks to her mom for always encouraging her dreams, and to Evan for his constant support in everything. 

HaasSammie Haas (Assistant Stage Manager) is super excited to be working on her first production at the J! A recent Graduate of the Sargent Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, Some of Sammie’s favorite projects include American Idiot (Production Stage Manager), Amelie (Assistant Stage Manager) and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Production Stage Manager). She has also had the pleasure of working with companies such as COCA & The Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis. When she is not stage managing, Sammie enjoys digital photography, long walks on the sidewalk, watching reality television and playing animal crossing.    

Sharon Hunter (Director) is thrilled to be back directing for the New Jewish Theatre! She directed last season’s award-winning Dear Jack, Dear Louise. She is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Moonstone Theatre Company. Most recently she directed the critically acclaimed Grand Horizons, Barefoot in the Park, and Proof at Moonstone. She has acted on stages in New York City and regionally and toured with the Imaginary Theatre Company of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Some of Sharon’s favorite credits are The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bad Seed, The House of Bernarda Alba, Working and at New Jewish Theatre, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah and Falsettos. Sharon performed her one-woman cabaret show in NYC at the Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama and the Triad, and in St. Louis at The Monocle. Sharon will play Genie Klein in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at The Muny this summer.  

Katie Orr (Props Supervisor) is a designer, painter, theatre-marketing aficionado, and graduate from Stephens College. As a theatre advocate and native St. Louisan, it’s her passion to highlight local theatre. There are so many incredible unsung companies, and that is why she came back to STL to further her mission as a committed designer, artist, and advocate in the St. Louis community. Some design credits include: Broadway Bound (New Jewish Theatre Company), Spells of the Sea (Metro Theatre Company), Proof (Moonstone Theatre Company), Forgottonia (Fly North Theatricals), and Dress the Part (The Q Brothers – STL Shakespeare Festival).

Sean Seifert (Production Manager) is thrilled to be working with The New Jewish Theatre and jumping in on his first production with Gloria: A Life. Sean is a local theatre artist who is an alum from Southeast Missouri State and has worked with Moonstone Theatre company (Production Manager), Ignite Theatre Company (Director), & STAGES Performing Arts Academy (Director). You can also find Sean working at the Center of Creative Arts this summer along with STAGES & Ignite again. Sean will also be back on the stage acting with Stray Dog Theatre in their summer production. To be up to date with Sean’s career, make sure to follow him @Perfect_Sean