Pass it on …



  • Live Jazz Music

  • Games of Chance

  • Previews of the 2015 Season

  • Prizes To Die For

  • Dance The Night Away At King’s Club in the Teatro Zuccone

  • And plenty of drinks … we mean tea! It’s just TEA Johnny Law!









The Great Gatsby – Cast List

As always, we have to thank all the wonderful actors who came out and auditioned for our upcoming April production of THE GREAT GATSBY. And we are beyond excited to share our cast with you:


Jay Gatsby – Jason Page
Nick Carraway – Andy Bennett
Daisy Buchanan – Mary Fox
Tom Buchanan – Zachary Stofer
Jordan Baker – Sarah Lueck
Myrtle Wilson – Maria DePesa
George Wilson – Cory Anderson
Wolfsheim – Sunny Helbacka
Mr. McKee/Dancer – Bryan Burns
Mrs. McKee/Dancer – Lauren Schulke
Mrs. Michaelis/Dancer – Sarah Hinz
Policeman/Dancer – Tyler Goebel


That’s a pretty incredible group of talent, and we can’t wait to get started!


If you missed out on auditions for Gatsby, but still want to take part in our 2015 season, don’t forget that AUDITIONS FOR EASTLAND: THE MUSICAL are December 16th and 17th. All the info you could ever need is below:


Written by Andy White
Music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman

Directed by Peter Froehlingsdorf / Music Director Tyler Pimm

Performance Dates:  
August 6-8, 13-15 & 20-22, 2015

WHEN: Tuesday, December 16th 7pm-9pm (5 min time slot)
CALLBACKS: Wednesday, December 17th 7pm-9pm (by Director’s invitation only) You may be cast in the show without needing to attend callbacks.
WHERE:Teatro Zuccone in downtown Duluth
PREPARE: Monologue for your gender/age, found below. 1 song selection from the show found below. Accompaniment will be provided as will sheet music provided. Adult men and women should use the finale of the show, “Only The River Remains” (download below).

Rene’Giving 2014 – Colleen Smith and Zeitgeist Center for Arts & Community







Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. In case you can’t tell from our blog posts this month, we’re feeling pretty lucky and very grateful. We’ve taken time to thank the directors, the casts, the crews, the designers and the people who make us look very cool. But no Rene’Giving would be complete without a thank you Zeitgeist Arts and the House Manager of our home theater, Colleen Smith.


Colleen is a Godsend. Since she took the reigns at the Teatro it’s been nothing but smooth sailing. She works just as well with our casts and crews as she does with our audiences and if you have a good experience when you attend one of our shows, that is due in no small part to her and professionalism. She’s also just a really, really nice person. We like her a lot. And we are very grateful that we get to work with her.


And the Zeitgeist Center for Arts & Community. We really can’t thank this organization enough. They’ve given us a home and the type of support most theater companies can only dream of. They encourage us to be bold and take risks. And it’s not just us. They support this community in ways that most people will never truly know. Renegade, and this community, are better because the Zeitgeist Center for Arts & Community exists. Thank them if you get a chance.


Happy Rene’Giving everyone. Thanks for an incredible 2014, and here’s to an even better 2015.


Rene’Giving 2014 – Our Casts and Crews





Here’s some numbers for you:

  • Six shows in our 2014 season.
  • 32 performances by local actors
  • 6 Stage Managers
  • 6 Crew Members
  • 3 Choreographers
  • 2 Assistant Stage Managers
  • 2 Music Directors
  • Hundreds of hours of work


We’ve talked about our directors, our designers and the people responsible for our photos, videos and graphic design. But no Rene’Giving would be complete without a giant, massive and overly affectionate thank you to the casts and crews of our 2014 season. Here we go:



  • Tonya Porter not only was a perfect stage manager, she also was a board op AND a cast member. Come on. That’s crazy.
  • Dereck Williams did the Assistant Stage Management duties as well as ran crew and helped out with the board op when Tonya was onstage. Equally Crazy.
  • Alexander Houlson continued to offer to help out backstage in a crew role that doesn’t get to bow, but earns our never-ending appreciation.
  • Josh Stenvick, Katy Helbacka, Zach Stofer, Nikki Tatge, Cory Anderson and Tonya Porter made up the cast. According to director Andy Bennett, they were hysterical, professional and made his job ridiculously easy. Andy claims it was the most fun, laid-back time he’s ever had as a director. He would do this show again in a heartbeat.



  • Patrick Colvin taught 6 actors an incredibly complex, complicated score and then led them and the band through 9 performances. His contribution to this wonderful show cannot be overstated. He is amazing.
  • Andy Frye joined us for the first time as a choreographer, while serving double-duty as a cast member. He’s a hyper-creative, hyper-passionate dream to work with.
  • Tonya Porter served as Stage Manager for her second show in a row. As well as board op for her second show in a row. Show off.
  • Erin Ohland took a break from scenic painting and props design to run the sound board. There is nothing that girl can’t do.
  • Dereck Williams and Alexander Houlson reprised their All New People roles on Next To Normal, as well. We don’t know what we did to deserve them, but we are beyond grateful for them.
  • Doug Quance, Cory Clay, John Cox, Rebecca Farmer and Macaulley Whitlock rounded out our incredible band and brought the score to life. The night the cast sang with the band for the first time is one of our favorite nights in recent memory.
  • Carolyn LePine, Andy Bennett, Andy Frye, Maria DePesa, Adam Sippola and Joey Brueske made up the cast. It is an exhausting show both emotionally, physically and vocally, and they turned in real, honest and heartbreaking performances. We are forever in their debt.



  • Kaci Brock took over the Stage Management and Board Op reigns on this one, and did an incredible job. Not the first time we’ve worked with her, and we pray it’s not the last. She’s awesome.
  • Andy Frye served as choreographer again, developing a fantasy sequence to close act one that was part hysterical, part horrifying, and wholly unforgettable.
  • Kyle McMillan and Rylee Kubera, as our crew, donned scrubs and found a way to not only make our transitions smooth and fast, but also become a vital part of the production, characters in their own right.
  • Mary Fox, Cory Anderson, Katy Helbacka, Zach Stofer, Cathy Berggren and Blake Thomas brought their characters to life in ways that were humorous yet honest, satirical yet real and just all-around endearing. We loved this romantic comedy and we loved this cast.



  • Tonya Porter was back at it again. This time she added Prop Designer to her standard Stage Management and Board Op combo. She’s a flat-out rockstar.
  • Andy Frye took a break from choreographing to create replica Rothko’s for our production. How one person is this talented at this many different things not only confounds us, it makes us very jealous.
  • Jamie Lind and Kyle Anderson joined us as crew members and the amount of prep and clean-up that went into this show means we will never be able to say this enough: THANK YOU.
  • Jody Kujawa and Paul LaNave. Seriously. These two. What incredible performances. We’d watch them read Justin Bieber lyrics.



  • Amber Burns and Evan Kelly not only paired up to direct this show, they co-choreographed it as well. And they did an incredible job at all of it.
  • Tyler Pimm taught the cast the music, led the band, and even sang a solo in the show. He’s a total pro and he’s a blast to work with. We hope he will never leave us.
  • Tessa Bakken joined us a Stage Manager for the first time and did an absolutely flawless job. We can’t wait to work with her again on MURDER BALLAD. She’s the tops.
  • Hallie Rogers came on board as our Assistant Stage Manager and proved vital to the success of the show.
  • Doug Quance, Tyler Kaiser and Kyle Anderson rounded out the band and made the Teatro rock. We can only hope they had as much fun playing as the audience had listening to them.
  • Cory Anderson, Vanessa Barr, Bryan Burns, Jake Caceres, Maria DePesa, Tyler Goebel, Kristen Parizek and Sara Wabrowetz sang and danced their hearts out and turned Things To Ruin into the coolest party in town.



  • Jamie Lind stepped in as Stage Manager and brought this show through rehearsals to performances with total professionalism. She’s also an absolute joy to work with and a valuable addition to this community.
  • Hallie Rogers came on board again as Assistant Stage Manager. She’s since left us for California, and we will miss her talents. We’ll also just miss her. She’s awesome.
  • Rob Larson, Mary Fox, Zach Stofer and Jack Setterlund took a challenging script and turned in jaw-dropping performances. This was a show that moved people and made them think. This was a cast that made us proud.


There is NO WAY Renegade would be the company it is without these people. That we get to live and work in a community filled with talent and skill like this is something we are beyond thankful for. We are lucky, and we know it. Thank you, 2014 casts and crews. You are all amazing and we can never repay you for your time and talent.


If you want to help us support the artists who live and work in our community, there’s just TWO DAYS left to do so. Every dollar donated during Rene’Giving goes directly to the people who give so freely of their time and talent to make our shows what they are.


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Rene’Giving 2014 – Miller and the Matts






No, that’s not the name of our new favorite Indie band, though they do sound like they could play a mean banjo, huh? We’re referring to Andy Miller, Matt Helbacka and Matt Olin. What do they do you ask?


Basically, they make us look WAY cooler than we are.



Andy Miller has been our photographer for years now. He comes to every show and every event and captures the unique and interesting moments and then hands the photos over to us to use as we see fit. There’s a wall in the Teatro (by the bathrooms) showcasing Renegade’s work over the past 6 years, but really it’s a showcase of his awesome photography. He comes to our previews and shoots live. This means our production photos aren’t staged. There is no posing. They are real, raw and in the moment. And they are awesome. He is awesome. Here are just a few of the shots he took this season alone:













Matt Helbacka has been our trailer director since February of 2010 with our production of THE SPARROW. He’s provided us with dozens of trailers that we’ve spread around the web and the airwaves. He comes and watches a run, spends a few days coming up with a concept and storyboards, and then grabs the cast and gets the shots he needs. He works fast, his end product is awesome, and he’s a flat-out pro. We adore him for lots of reasons, and this is just one. Check out the ad he created for the first show of our 2014 season, ALL NEW PEOPLE. He was tasked with getting the audience in the mood to see a comedy about a guy trying to hang himself and the people who interrupt him to throw a party. So he decided to show Duluth in all its winter glory. If anything will make you want to self-medicate, it’s that.



Last, but CERTAINLY not least, we come to Matt Olin. Our fearless, peerless graphic designer. Since 2010 and DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, he has been the artist behind our visual presence. Our shows, our Improv program, Dink Tank, our special events, our season brochures, our website and this blog – it’s all the work of Matt Olin. He has helped us not only promote our work but define who we are. Matt makes us bolder, braver and better. We wouldn’t be Renegade without him. Below are the posters he created for our 2014 season, and they are all kinds of awesome:












These three gentlemen are indispensable to Renegade Theater Company. This year, and every year, we are so, so thankful to have them as a part of our family.


And, don’t forget, there’s just 3 DAYS left to donate to Rene’Giving 2014. Any amount helps us get closer to our goal of paying our local artists better in 2015.


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Rene’Giving 2014 – Our Designers




We’re not sure, but we think it was Euripides who said: “A show ain’t shit without a killer design team.” And we couldn’t agree more. Thankfully, over the years, Renegade has been blessed to work with some incredible designers who’ve done incredible things in our little space, and they are the reason we’re basically not afraid of anything a playwright can throw at us. Time and time again we’ve brought a script to the table and had designers not only say we could pull off something daunting, but be downright giddy at the opportunity. Thank you, designers.


Here’s a little bit about what each design role brings to a production (just outright stolen from THIS website because we have a lot of other important things to do)


SET - ”The set designer’s job is to design the physical surroundings in which the action will take place. The overall look of the set also gives the audience information about the director’s concept of the production.”


LIGHTS - ”Lighting designers know how to make the best use of the subtle and powerful medium of light, creating effects that can be changed at will to match the mood of the action.”


SOUND – “The sound designer plans and provides the sound effects in the play. All the music and/or effects in a play considered as a whole make up the ‘soundscape.’”


COSTUMES – “Costume designers create the look of each character by designing clothes and accessories the actors will wear in performance. Depending on their style and complexity, costumes may be made, bought, revamped out of existing stock or rented. Their designs need to faithfully reflect the personalities of the characters in the script.”


PROPS – “Most productions use a properties master to deal with the large number of small items that a play needs. In larger shows, there may also be a props designer who decides what the props should look like and how they will function, in coordination with the director and set designers.”


And here’s those ideas in practice through the incredible work of our 2014 design teams.






First off, the set: This year there was only one name in set design. EVAN KELLY. This dude designed and built every single one of the six sets in our 2014 season. We cannot express enough just how lucky we are to have him on our team and how vital his work is to our productions. In All New People, he transformed the Teatro into a Long Beach Island getaway complete with noose.


Jon Brophy kicked off an incredible season of work with a rich design full of subtle transition and nuance. Erin Ohland dealt with everything from booze to cocaine to a pink dildo as props designer, and pulled it all off flawlessly. Andy Bennett did double duty as director and sound designer.






Evan Kelly built a multi-function set framed by a massive, beautiful blueprint of the Goodman house (created with dynamite help from scenic painter Erin Ohland and her crew – Topaz Cooks and Colleen Smith). Jon Brophy and Andy Bennett teamed up to bring the light design out into the audience with bare lightbulbs representing the misfiring synapses of Diana Goodman’s mind, as well as saturating the stage with color and intelligent fixtures to amp up the chaos. Nicholas Gosen join us for the first time and made musical theater in the Teatro sound better than it ever has before. Adam Sippola created the incredible projections that brought us inside Diana’s mind. Erin Ohland also handled props on this show, working with everything from unbreakable table settings to medical equipment with ease and somehow finding dozens of pill bottles (we didn’t ask how, she didn’t tell how) It was also her final show with Renegade (cue the tears).






Evan Kelly built a gross, disgusting, cubicle filled office chock-full of secret surprises. It was awesome. Michael Cochrane gave the Rx set the harsh white feel of fluorescents, while incorporating isolated light and pops of color for the dramatic shifts in mood and setting. Andy Bennett and Blake Thomas worked together to provide live music transitions, as well as some truly freaky fantasy sequences. Mary Fox did double duty as the lead and the costume designer, finding just the right clothes to mirror the characters’ moods. And Robert Lee created the fun, funny projections.






Evan Kelly was given the task to transform the bare Teatro stage into Mark Rothko’s studio, something he accomplished without walls or doors, but with an insane eye for detail and set dressing. Andy Bennett attempted to replicate the lighting in Mark Rothko’s actual studio for Red and researched Rothko’s actual musical tastes to develop the sound design. Tonya Porter did one of the toughest jobs in the theater world: Serve as props designer on a period-specific show on a budget, yet she somehow managed to cram our version of Rothko’s studio with things that felt like they had lived there for years. Anika Thompson not only directed this beautiful show, she also found period clothing perfect for the characters.





For Things To Ruin, the designers were given the challenge to turn the Teatro into a nightclub. Evan covered the space in spray paint, rock show posters and custom  stencils. The front rows of seats became table seating. Jon Brophy amped up the color and effects providing real nightclub / cabaret style lighting in our space. Nick Gosen found incredible levels of quality and balance in the sound in our Teatro.






Evan Kelly laid carpet in the Teatro and turned our stage into a Florida condo complete with sunny wall color and rummage sale wicker furniture. Jon Brophy found inventive, inspired ways to light the same space in two unique ways and helped tell the story through the use of transitions and dramatic shifts in design. Tonya Porter further cemented herself as one of our very favorite people, turning in yet another props design on a tight budget that felt full, accurate and effective. Andy Bennett closed out a season of design by working with Julie Ahasay to create the perfect mixtape for the show’s transitions.




That’s just 2014. Just one season. Over the past 6 years we’ve worked with incredible people doing incredible work and there’s no way we could ever repay them for all they’ve done for Renegade. But saying thank you is a good start.


Thank you designers. We wouldn’t be Renegade without you.




If you want to have a part in making sure the great local talent has a reason to stay local, donate now and help us pay local artists better! We’re just four days away from the end of our donation drive, Rene’Giving 2014. Donate today and know that every single dollar you give will go right toward paying the local artists who fuel our productions with their time and talent.


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We are beyond proud and excited to announce auditions for the fourth show in our 2015 season (we know, already!). This new musical premiered in 2012 at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. It was hailed as “emotionally powerful” by the Chicago Tribune, a “transcendent work of theatre” that is “fiercely original and wholly transfixing” by the Chicago Sun Times, and “remarkable” by Time Magazine.


The first production of this incredible new musical was at the 2011 Tony Award winner for Excellence in Regional Theatre. It’s second production? That’ll be right here at Renegade. We can hardly handle our excitement. We’ve lined up a fantastic production team – Director Peter Froehlingsdorf and Music Director Tyler Pimm – and now it’s time to give you the chance to be a part of this wonderful production and a part of the work of Renegade Theater Company.





Book by Andrew White
Music & Lyrics by Ben Sussman and Andre Pluess


Directed by Peter Froehlingsdorf

Performance Dates:

August 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 2015


WHEN: Tuesday, December 16th 7pm-9pm (5 min time slot)
CALLBACKS: Wednesday, December 17th 7pm-9pm (by Director’s invitation only) You may be cast in the show without needing to attend callbacks.
WHERE:Teatro Zuccone in downtown Duluth
PREPARE: Monologue for your gender/age, found below. 1 song selection from the show found below. Accompaniment will be provided as will sheet music provided. Adult men and women should use the finale of the show, “Only The River Remains” (download below).

Announcing The Cast of MURDER BALLAD



This past weekend we held auditions for the first shows of our 2015 season. We saw a lot of crazy talented local artists (as per usual) and we had some difficult decisions to make. But, we are beyond proud to announce the cast for the first show of our 2015 season, the regional premiere of the dynamite new rock musical, MURDER BALLAD!



Narrator - Maria DePesa

Sarah - Sara Wabrowetz

Tom: Pascal Pastrana

Michael: Abe Curran


We can’t wait to get started rehearsing this show, and are even more excited to introduce it to the Northland. Things are about to get very steamy and very bloody in the Teatro Zuccone!


If you’re excited about this cast, this production, our 2015 season and the work our local artists create each and every year, take a few minutes to pledge your donation for GIVE TO THE MAX DAY. Every dollar donated in the month of November goes directly to paying the local artists who fuel our productions with their time and talent.


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Rene’Giving 2014 – Our Directors





The goodness that was our 2014 season began with the ideas, talent, creativity and (let’s be honest) daycare-like-wrangling ability of our directors. This blog is our way of saying thank you to the people who took the creative reigns of the shows in our 2014 mainstage season.


BEFORE WE DO THAT: A reminder that we need your help to pay the artists who fuel our productions with their time and talent. Please DONATE today!


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Directed by Andy Bennett


Eh…he’s okay.



Directed by Katy Helbacka


One word … DIVA!



Directed by Robert Lee


Robert brought ludicrous levels of creativity to this production, adding live music, hilarious projections, and a never-to-be-forgotten surreal dream sequence complete with oversized masks of the show’s star, Mary Fox and a 90′s medley.


He also carefully crafted his version of this smart comedy about big love, big dreams and Big Pharma. He found the right balance between satire and romance and walked the line between the humor and the heart found in Kate Fodor’s fantastic script.



Directed by Anika Thompson


Anika has, over the years, proven to be about as vital to our company as possible. She has developed a well-deserved reputation for being a true actor’s director. She digs deep into the text and works with her casts to create three-dimensional performances that are consistently among the community’s best. She also brings a strong eye to design and makes sure that every aspect of her production adds to or accentuates her vision.


And that’s all beyond the work she’s done as a costume, set and props designer, fundraiser, passionate advocate and current board president. We’re one of her biggest fans.



Directed by Amber Burns and Evan Kelly

The cast of THINGS TO RUIN got spoiled on this show, getting two great directors for the price of one:


Evan has been with us from the very, very beginning. He’s worn many hats over the years, both behind the scenes and on stage, and he’s another one (like Anika) that has proven to be crucial to our continued success. He’s turned in great performances, helped us connect with the business community, built or designed tons of sets, and directed the hell out of a few shows, as well.


Amber, meanwhile, took a turn in the director’s chair for the first time with this show. She’s been a part of the Renegade family for years as an actress and choreographer, and is partly responsible for some of our most memorable musical moments. With THINGS TO RUIN, she took the next logical step and we think she’s going to have a lot of success in the future as a director.


Together, they tackled the killer songs of Joe Iconis and turned the Teatro into the coolest party in town.



Directed by Julie Ahasay


We love working with Julie Ahasay. She’s smart, passionate, creative and a wonderful person to boot. She’s game for anything, and has helped us tackle some monster shows.  With GRACE, she helped turn a potentially divisive script into a powerful, heartbreaking and thought-provoking tour-de-force.


She always gets great performances from her cast, but people may not see or realize the wonderful way she works with designers and crew to develop a complete production from start to finish. We love working with Julie and can’t wait to do it again.




We’ve been fortunate to work with an impressive roster of directors since 2008, and we want to take another second here to acknowledge each of them. Every single name on this list below has had a hand in making Renegade what it is today.


Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you guys.


Julie Ahasay:

Stones In His Pockets, The Woman In Black, Circle Mirror Transformation, Ghost Light and Grace


Andy Bennett:

A New Brain, The Who’s Tommy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Spring Awakening, All New People


Amber Burns:

Things To Ruin


Nate Carlblom:

The Beauty Queen of Leenane


Peter Froehlingsdorf:

The Burnt Part Boys


Lee Gundersheimer:



Katy Helbacka:

The Search for Vainomoinen, Wonder of the World, The Sparrow, Parade, The Nutcracker, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Next To Normal


Joshua Hinke:

Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Matt & Ben


Evan Kelly:

Reefer Madness, Company, William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, Things To Ruin


Jenna Kelly:

The Wild Party


Kelli Latuska:

Sex Change


Robert Lee:



Molly O’Neill:

Summer and Smoke


Nikki Swoboda:

Reasons To Be Pretty


Anika Thompson:

The Pillowman (both times!), The Crane Wife, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Bug, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, In the Next Room, Or the Vibrator Play, Red


Nick Violante:

A Steady Rain

Rene’Giving 2014





We’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year. 2014 was a great season – 6 mainstage shows, over 150 improv performances, thousands of people coming through our doors and the work of dozens of local artists on display on our stage. We’re going to be spending the month of November posting on this blog about all the wonderful people we worked with this past season, and how their contributions have made our theater company and the Northland’s theater community better, stronger and more vibrant. Be sure to stay tuned.


But, we’ve also got a favor to ask. As great as 2014 was, we want 2015 to be even better. Even bigger and bolder. More importantly, we want to pay those wonderful people better.  The local artists who fuel our productions with their time and talent do so for a stipend that doesn’t even come close to the true value of their work. And we want to take steps towards changing that.


We’re setting a goal of $5,000. That goal starts today and ends on Thanksgiving. AND EVERY DOLLAR DONATED BETWEEN TODAY AND NOVEMBER 27TH WILL BE USED TO PAY OUR ARTISTS.


We mean it. Every. Single. Dollar.


You can donate through PAYPAL, through CAUSES, through NETWORK FOR GOOD, even through the MAIL. Or, you can visit the GIVEMN site and pledge your donation for “Give To The Max Day.” Or just do it below. Couldn’t be easier. Hell, you can find us on the street and hand us the change in your pockets.


We say it again: EVERY DOLLAR DONATED BETWEEN NOW AND THANKSGIVING GOES DIRECTLY TO LOCAL ARTISTS. Please help us show the talented people who live and work in our community just how special they are.