Brigitte Ditmars - Mother / Wife
Steve O'Connell - Jim
Simone Roos*- Jennifer
Dave Skvarla - Father
Joseph Stearns* - Frontman / Son


Dolan McMillan - Drums
Brent Moore - Guitars
Jon Steinhagen*- Piano
Chris Wysoglad - Bass

Production Team

Director - Ronan Marra*

Costumes - Elsa Hiltner
Lighting - Mark Hurni †
Media Relations - Shout Marketing & Media Relations
Music Direction - Jon Steinhagen*
Properties - Mary O'Dowd †
Sound Design / T.D. - Anthony Ingram*
Stage Manager - Michelle Carlene Roth

* Indicates An Ensemble Member   † Indicates An Artistic Associate

Bios Presented In Alphabetical Order

Clay McLeod Chapman (Book) is the creator of the rigorous storytelling session THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW. He is the author of REST AREA, a collection of short stories, and MISS CORPUS, a novel. Currently, he is writing a trilogy of middle-grade children's novels titled THE TRIBE — book one, HOMEROOM HEADHUNTERS, hits the shelves in 2013 from Hyperion books. Currently he is writing the book for the new original musical STRANGER with Grammy-award winner Bruce Hornsby. His two film collaborations with director Craig Macneill, LATE BLOOMER and HENLEY, were chosen as official selections of the Sundance Film Festivals. He teaches writing at The Actors Studio MFA Program at Pace University. Visit him at:

Brigitte Ditmars (Mother / Wife) returns to Signal Ensemble Theatre after appearing as Ms. Mackay in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Mrs. Peterson in The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Favorite Chicago credits include Crystal Allen in The Women, Dorothy Shaw in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Lottie Ames in Mack and Mabel with Circle Theatre, Stephanie Necrophorus in Nine with Porchlight Music Theatre, and Suzanne Liff in Dating Walter Dante at Raven Theatre. Brigitte is also a Jeff Award winning choreographer, an Artistic Associate with Hell in a Handbag Productions, and a member of the Dead Writers Theatre Collective. She holds a BFA in Acting from Wright State University.

Elsa Hiltner (Costume Design) is delighted to design with Signal Ensemble again! Past design, and The Birthday Party. Other favorite credits include One Time (Next Act Theatre); Tea at Five, Driving Miss Daisy (Nominated for a Jeff Award for Best Costume Design), A Moon for the Misbegotten, Twelfth Night (First Folio Theatre); The Autumn Garden and Bourbon at the Border (Eclipse Theatre); Jon, 1001 and Be a Good Little Widow (Collaboraction); El Grito del Bronx (Collaboraction/Teatro Vista/The Goodman Theatre). For more information about her designs please visit

Mark J Hurni† (Lighting Design) is very excited to be working with Signal, again. His recent lighting designs include Signal Ensemble’s East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Aftermath, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Six Degrees of Separation, as well as Right Brain’s Modern Prometheus. His Chicago stage manager credits include the Nine’s Radio Silence and subUrbia, the independently produced Sandoval at La Costa Theatre, Bohemian Theatre’s Gross Indecency and Right Brain’s A Devil Inside. Thanks to the company for always making this a fun experience.

Anthony Ingram* (Sound Design/TD) is in his seventh season as an ensemble member with Signal where he recently directed Accidental Death of an Anarchist. His sound designs with the company include Motion, East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, Aftermath, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Six Degrees of Separation, The Birthday Party, Old Wicked Songs, Fool for Love, Hamlet, The Weir, Closer, The Dumb Waiter and The Zoo Story, She Stoops to Conquer and Seascape. He has stage-managed prior Signal Ensemble productions including Catch- 22 and the original run of Waiting for Godot as well as performing as Lucky in the remount of Godot. He has been building, designing, performing in, directing and stage-managing productions in the Chicagoland area since his arrival in 2002. His other recent sound designs include The Factory’s Dead Wrong, Right Brain Project’s And They Put Handcuffs On The Flowers, Shattered Globe’s The Little Foxes, and (The Old) Bailiwick’s Thrill Me. He would like to thank Jill, Kyle and Stephanie for their love and support, and dedicates his work to Marlene.

Kyle Jarrow (Music & Lyrics) is a NYC-based writer and musician who has been called “NYC’s hipster playwright” by the New York Times and “an iconoclast” by the Los Angeles Times. He writes for film and television as well as for the stage, and he plays in the rock bands Sky-Pony and Super Mirage. His film Armless was an official selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Kyle won an OBIE Award for his Off-Broadway play A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, which has subsequently been produced all over the country. Other plays include Love Kills, Trigger, Rip Me Open, Gorilla Man, and Whisper House (written with Tony winner Duncan Sheik). More info on Kyle at

Ronan Marra* (Director) is a co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Signal Ensemble Theatre. Directing credits with the company include East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, his own Aftermath, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Six Degrees of Separation, 1776 (Jeff Award, Best Production, Jeff Nomination, Best Director), Fool for Love, Hamlet, Closer, The Zoo Story, Seascape (1 Jeff Citation), Waiting for Godot, (Jeff Recommended), his own Landslide (Jeff Nomination, New Work), She Stoops to Conquer, Much Ado About Nothing and his own Learning to Fly. As a writer, Ronan's plays have been produced or workshopped in Chicago, NYC, LA and Cleveland. Ronan is a recipient of the 2006 Illinois Arts Council Finalist Award in Scriptworks. Please feel free to e-mail him at

Dolan McMillan (Drums) is a Chicago-based session drummer and is pleased to join Signal for this very special rock musical. Previously, Dolan has brought the rock to such performances as Grease, Urinetown, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, bare, Les Miserables, and All Shook Up. With degrees in both music (Illinois Wesleyan University, ’95) and civil engineering (Washington University in St. Louis, ‘97), Dolan enjoys balancing his project management career with the wonderful opportunities for recording and live performances in Chicago. Dolan draws inspiration from his beautiful bride, his dog, and not coal-mining.

Brent Moore (Guitars) From Brent’s earliest childhood memories, the study of guitar and music has captured his attention and imagination. After attaining a degree in Composition and Arranging-Electric Guitar Performance from Belmont University in Nashville, he continued his studies in Classical Guitar at California State University, Northridge. After moving to Chicago, Brent found a great creative musical outlet within the local theatre companies. Whether playing guitar, playing bass, composing, arranging, or musical directing, the theatre continues to be a great adventure. Brent is thrilled and honored to add Signal Ensemble Theatre to his list of collaborators.

Steve O’Connell (Jim) Chicago and regional credits include work with Chicago Dramatists, Timeline, BoHo, Red Tape, Circle, Metropolis, Infusion, Madison Rep, and The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Film credits include the Chicago indie, Masterz In Motion and the Lifetime original, Last Man Standing. As a writer, Steve’s work has been performed at both the Chicago and New York Fringe Festivals and most recently at City Lit Theatre, where his adaptation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner took first prize at the 2011 Art of Adaptation Festival. Love and thanks to Megan and Will.

Mary O’Dowd† (Props) was seen in Signal’s productions of The Real Inspector Hound, The Birthday Party and Seascape. Her props most recently appeared here for Motion, East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Real Inspector Hound and Aftermath. Favorite prop/set dressing credits include Columbinus, Death of Salesman and The Odd Couple (Raven), On Golden Pond and Enchanted April (Theatre of Western Springs), and Ballad of the Sad Cafe (Signal). Thanks to John for love, support and all that jazz.

Simone Roos* (Jennifer) has been an ensemble member of Signal and served as Guest Liaison since 2008. Her Signal credits include Fool for Love (May), Six Degrees of Separation (Elizabeth), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Sandy), The Ballad of the Sad Café (Miss Amelia), Aftermath (Anita), Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Maria Feletti,) and Aces (Samantha Martin). Other Chicago credits include Dancing at Lughnasa with Seanachai, Noises Off! and The Melville Boys with Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with First Folio Shakespeare Festival, Escanaba in Love and Design for Living with Circle Theatre, and Hunger with Lifeline Theatre. Simone earned her BFA in Theatre Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University. Many thanks and much love to her ever-supportive family and friends and especially to Aaron.

Michelle Carlene Roth (Stage Manager) is a graduate of North Dakota State University where she earned her BFA in Theatre in 2005 before relocating to Chicago. Also a performer, she was seen as Latrelle in The Easy Street Players production of Sordid Lives in 2007 before taking a hiatus from the spotlight to pursue stage management. She has stage managed for The Right Brain Project’s productions of: We Are Not These Hands, My Filthy Hunt, Halfshut, Pretty Penny and The Modern Prometheus. Michelle was seen on stage again last April as the Ostrich/ Bathing Beauty in The Nine’s Radio Silence. This is her first production with Signal Ensemble Theater and she is so grateful for the opportunity! Much love to her family and Colby!

Dave Skvarla (Father) recently played King Henry in The Lion in Winter with Idle Muse Theatre (2012 Honor Award Finalist- Best Actor), was seen in Watership Down & The Moonstone, at Lifeline Theatre, New Adventures of Popeye, & Dirty Diamonds with The Factory Theater, & has played Lenny Smalls in Of Mice & Men at Oak Park Festival Theatre, Captain Cat in UNDER MILK WOOD at Caffeine Theatre, & Calico Jack in BLOODY BESS with Backstage Theatre. Dave has also performed with City Lit, Mary-Arrchie, The Hypocrites, Open Eye Productions, Shaw Chicago, Defiant, Open Cage Ensemble, Rising Moon, and Careening Theatre.

Joe Stearns* (Frontman/Son) is a co-founder and the co-artistic director of Signal Ensemble Theatre. He has most recently appeared in Signal’s Aces, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Aftermath, The Real Inspector Hound, Ballad of the Sad Cafe, 1776, The Birthday Party, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and many others. Joe has also worked with The Right Brain Project, appearing in And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers, Chalk, and A Devil Inside. Most recently he was an understudy for Hunger at Lifeline Theatre. Joe will next appear in Goodbye Cruel World with The Strange Tree Group.

Jon Steinhagen* (Musical Direction/Keyboard) is a Signal company member; he previously appeared in the Signal productions of 1776, Six Degrees of Separation, The Real Inspector Hound, and ACES (which he also wrote). Jon has been the musical director of more than thirty Chicago productions and wrote the music and lyrics for many musicals (particularly The Teapot Scandals, for which he also wrote the book) aside from his writing and acting credits. He is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Recent productions of his plays include Blizzard ’67 and Dating Walter Dante.

Chris Wysoglad (Bass) is thrilled to be working on his first production at Signal. Previously, he played bass for Legally Blonde, All Shook Up, Evil Dead: The Musical, The Wedding Singer, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and The Who's Tommy, although he began as a drummer in Circle Theatre's Thou Shalt Not. Thanks to everyone at Signal, Carolyn Brady-Riley, Josh Walker, Brent, Dolan, and his best pal Jon, Mom & Dad, and special thanks to Teresa & Jack for letting me come out and play!


$10,000 and up

Margery Krevsky
Barbara & Richard Lambrecht
Ronan Marra, Sr.
Garry & Sharon Snook
Joseph Stearns

$5,000 - $9,999

Signal Ensemble Members

$1,000 - $4,999

Jane & John Brown
Mansquito FrankenfIsh
Harris Bank
Melanie Keller
Paul Keller
Bob & Amy Paschich
Neal Robinson
Ross $ Mary Shuman
Jim Sink
Robert & Rose Wagner 

Members Of
The Signal Society

$500 - $999

Daniel Alvarez

$250 - $499

Randa Lancy
James Simon & Andra Velis Simon
Tracey Button & Susan Werner

$100 - $24

Susan & Richard Bagby
Bentley Bunny
Karen Callaway
Judy Keller
Barbara & Daniel Roos
Anne Sanders
Karen & Frank Schneider
Craig Steadman
Richard Woodbury