Carolyn Braver - Esme
Joe Stearns* - Fritz
Rob Fenton - Jim
Meredith Bell Alvarez* - Toasty

Production Team

Director - Bries Vannon*

Dialects - Lindsay Bartlett
Costumes - Carla Hamilton
Lighting - Michael C. Smith
Media Relations - Shout Marketing & Media Relations
Properties - Mary O'Dowd †
Setting - Melania Lancy*
Sound - Anthony Ingram*
Stage Manager - Stephanie Ingram*
Violence - Vanessa Passini

Permission granted by ABRAMS ARTISTS AGENCY, 275 Seventh Ave., 26th Floor, New York, NY 10001. All inquiries concerning rights to the Play shall be addressed to the above or to

Princes of Waco was originally produced by The Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York, NY

* Indicates An Ensemble Member   † Indicates An Artistic Associate

Bios Presented In Alphabetical Order

Meredith Bell Alvarez* (Toasty) has been a proud member of Signal Ensemble for the past ten years and is thrilled to be a part of this monumental anniversary season. She most recently appeared as Diane Renfeld in Signal's original production of Motion. Other Signal credits include Cynthia Muldoon in The Real Inspector Hound, Emma Hale in Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Constance Neville in She Stoops to Conquer, Luciana, Nurse Duckett, Nately's Whore, Mrs. Daneeka, and an Investigating Officer in Catch-22, and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing. Other Chicago credits include Rosalind in As You Like It, Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Rosaura in Life Is a Dream, Olivia in Twelfth Night, The Chorus in Medea, Hisperia in As You Like It, Stephanie in Losing Rachel, Elizabeth Almond in The Heiress, and Vincentio in The Taming of the Shrew. Meredith is a graduate of Northwestern University where she majored in theatre and history. Special thanks to Bries for bringing the world of Waco to her attention, to the entire Signal Family for making this theatre a home, to Mom and Dad for always believing in her, and to Dave and Cy, for making her favorite role in the world that of Wife/Mom.

Robert Askins (Playwright) was born in Cypress Texas in 1980. He moved to New York in 2005. Rob has received two EST/Sloan grants, and an Arch and Bruce Davis Award for Playwriting. He has been commissioned by Divercity Theatre and Baylor University. Rob’s play Princes of Waco was produced and developed by Youngblood. His play Matthew and the Pastor’s Wife was a part of Marathon 2010 at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Rob’s play Doll Parts was read with the Write Club sponsored by Arlene Dahl. This Summer he was a part of the 52nd Streets Heads or Tail: The Chancey Plays and he can be found on the second Sunday of every month running around a fancy greek restaurant for his sight specific brunch serial All the Little Fishes about the trials and tribulations of working fine dining in Manhattan with Greeks. Rob is an I-73 and Youngblood Alum.

Lindsay Bartlett (Dialects) is thrilled to be coaching with Signal Ensemble for the very first time. Her recent coaching credits include The Dumb Waiter (TUTA), Elephant's Graveyard (Red Tape Theatre), and Girl You Know It's True (Pavement Group). Her previous Dialect Coaching credits also include Tom Jones (Polarity Theatre Ensemble) That Face, Man from Nebraska, Shining City, Lettice & Lovage, and Shadowlands (Redtwist Theatre), Departure Lounge (Bailiwick Chicago), Side Man (Ka-Tet Theatre), Beyond the Horizon and The Fever Chart (Eclipse Theatre), The Man Who Was Thursday (New Leaf Theatre), Summer and Smoke (Den Theatre), The Hiding Place and Shadowlands (Provision Theatre). Lindsay also coached The Skriker (Red Tape Theatre) and Impenetrable (Stage Left Theatre). Lindsay is also very proud to be the Artistic Director of 20% Theatre which strives to set the stage for women in theatre; 20% will be opening The Rover by Aphra Behn this October.

Carolyn Braver (Esme) This is Carolyn's first professional credit and first play in Chicago, which obviously she is really excited about. She is originally from Arizona where her favorite credits include Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and Beth in Little Women. She went to theatre school for a year in Iowa where her favorite credits include Viola in Twelfth Night and Charlotte in A Brief History of Helen of Troy. She is a recent graduate of the Second City Improv Track. She would like to thank Signal Ensemble for the opportunity, her parents and brother, and every single person who has been kind to her and/or given her free food while scared and alone in Chicago, especially those who came to see her in this play. Enjoy the show!

Rob Fenton (Jim) is excited to appearing in his first production with the fine folk of Signal Ensemble. Rob moved to Chicago to be in Timeline Theatre's production of The History Boys and then fell in love with the city. He was last seen in MixTape Vol. 2 with The Alluvium Group of which he is a proud ensemble member. He has also worked with Dog and Pony, Griffin, Mary Arrchie, The Neo-Futurists, Sinnerman, and Steppenwolf Theatre companies. Thanks so much to Bries for the opportunity and all the love I have to the cast and crew, Aria Talent, and all his friends and family.

Carla Hamilton (Costumes) is ecstatic to work with Signal! She graduated from Knox College in 2010 and has since been pursuing her passion for costuming in Chicago. Her design work has been seen in California Suite (Black Elephant Theatre); Tom Jones (Polarity); We Are Not These Hands & Fall of Man(Right Brain Project); Through the Middle Ground (Side Project Theatre); Black and Blue (The Factory Theatre); Eiffel Tower Wedding Party (The Nine); and The Balcony (Goat Song). She has also served as stitcher for Vitalist Theatre and at North Park University. Much love (as always) to Mom and her fantastic friends!

Anthony Ingram* (Sound) 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.

Stephanie Ingram* (Stage Manager) is in an ensemble member, Managing Director and resident stage manager with Signal. Company credits include stage manager for Motion, East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Aftermath, The Real Inspector Hound, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Birthday Party, 1776, Fool for Love, Hamlet, The Weir, Closer, She Stoops to Conquer and the remount of Waiting for Godot; as well as props design for Old Wicked Songs. Other Chicago credits include Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Caliban and Mariette in Ecstasy at Lifeline, and also productions with First Folio, Bailiwick and Big Picture Group. Stephanie holds a BA in Theatre and Business from Illinois Wesleyan University. Thanks and love to Tony.

Melania Lancy* (Setting) ) Melania is the resident scenic designer for Signal Ensemble where her designs include: The Weir (2007 Jeff Nomination for Best Scenic Design), Motion, East of Berlin/The Russian Play, Aces, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Aftermath, The Real Inspector Hound, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Catch-22, Landslide, Seascape, She Stoops to Conquer, Closer, Hamlet, Fool for Love, 1776 (2008 Jeff Award for Outstanding Musical Production), The Birthday Party, Six Degrees of Separation, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Some of Melania's other Chicago credits include: The Little Foxes (2009 Equity Jeff Nomination for Best Scenic Design in a mid-size theatre),Pride and Prejudice, A Devil Inside, You Never Can Tell, Half Life, Nefertiti the Musical, The Sound of Music, Cinderella, The Wiz, Aida, Brigadoon, Clue, Antigone, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Noises Off. Melania has also worked on commercial sculptures for the Shedd Aquarium, Brookfield Zoo, Sea World of Texas, and the Museum of Science and Industry. To learn more about Melania please visit

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 Hostage Song, 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.

Vanessa Passini (Violence) has had a blast working with her Signal friends for Princes of Waco. A freelance choreographer/director/acting coach, she received her MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. While in Virginia, she worked with the Richmond Shakespeare Festival as their first female fight director earning critical acclaim for her work Henry V and Hamlet, winning the very first Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fight Direction for her work on Henry V. She studied choreography for musical theatre with Patti D'Beck, assisting her on Chicago and The Producers at the Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT and Morning Overture for the Richmond Ballet. Locally, Vanessa has partnered with The Living Canvas, City Lit Theatre, and Chicago Opera Theatre.

Michael C. Smith (Lighting) is happy to work with Signal for his first time. He has worked previously the Right Brain Project on Halfshut, My Filthy Hunt, The Archivist, We Are Not These Hands, Fall of Man, Marat/Sade and is also a company member. Other design credits include The Boy In Black and Las Hermanas Padilla with Chicago Fusion Theater. The World Over with the State Theatre of Chicago, Apocolypso, with Point of Contention, Radio Silence with The Nine, and He Flew Over the Forest with Brain Surgeon Theater. He is a graduate of Knox College where he discovered a love for lighting, and has been running with it since.

Joseph Stearns* (Fritz) Joe is a co-founder and the co-artistic director of Signal Ensemble Theatre. He has most recently appeared in Signal's Hostage Song, 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 and appeared in Goodbye Cruel World with The Strange Tree Group.


$10,000 and up

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

$5,000 - $9,999

Robert & Rose Wagner
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

Members Of
The Signal Society

$500 - $999

Daniel Alvarez

$250 - $499

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

$100 - $24

Susan & Richard Bagby
Bentley Bunny
Karen Callaway
Georgann & Randy Diderrich
Judy Keller
Chuck & Fran Licht
Barbara & Daniel Roos
Anne Sanders
Karen & Frank Schneider
William Sciortino
Craig Steadman
Richard Woodbury