Jonny Stax, BigTop JoJo/Executive Producer
Jonny Stax is founder of Jonny Stax Presents, Inc., a Chicago-based entertainment company that develops and produces creative ventures and learning opportunities that progress imaginative understanding through an innovative blend of media, participants, and content. Jonny Stax Presents is executive producer of BigTop JoJo and His Towering Show of Wonder, a touring caravan of fantastical creatures and virtuosic performers that transforms unconventional performance venues into mystical midways. Jonny Stax is also executive producer of The Scooty & JoJo Show, which is the collaborative, creative team of Stax and performance artist Scott Bradley. In 2007, Stax developed and produced Scooty & JoJo’s first original musical Carpenters Halloween, which continues to play to sold-out houses in limited runs every fall in Chicago. Other popular and critically acclaimed Scooty & JoJo ventures include the original musicals Mollywood (Best of the Fringe 2008 – Chicago Tribune) and Tran: The Atari Musical, and their cabaret/variety shows The Scooty & JoJo Variety Hour and Diva Brunch. Stax is an accomplished musical director, puppet master, video designer, musician, and entertainer.
Cheryl Snodgrass, Director/Story Designer
Cheryl Snodgrass has directed and/or produced premier works by Jeff Goode, Rebecca Gilman, Brett Nevue, and Todd Ristau. Latest directing credits include Die! Mommie, Die! and Haywire! with Hell in a Handbag Productions, readings of Goode’s Love Loves a Pornographer as a guest of Hollins University and Mill Mountain Theatre, and The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill at The Spot. As a writer, Snodgrass collaborated with playwright David Cerda on 2009′s Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical for productions in Chicago, Cincinnati, and San Diego, and on his most recent play Lady X. She is slated to direct an upcoming parody of Mildred Pierce in Chicago and two new plays for Studio Roanoke in VA. Snodgrass has been a guest artist at Lawrence University and a guest speaker at Hollins University and Washington & Lee University. She is a founding member of No Shame Theatre, The Unusual Cabaret, Les Enfants du Mais, and C’est Destine.
Scott Bradley, Scooty/Enviroment Designer
As co-founder of The Scooty & JoJo Show, Bradley has developed (with co-creator Jonny Stax), directed, performed with, and scenic designed Chicago’s critically-acclaimed hit musical productions Carpenters Halloween, Mollywood, Tran: The Atari Musical, and The Scooty & JoJo Variety Hour. He is co-creator and frequent host of Chicago’s Diva Brunch. Either as performer, director, and/or designer, he has worked with Chicago’s About Face Theatre, The Hypocrites, Hell in a Handbag Productions; DC’s Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, Washington Shakespeare Company; with Seattle’s Open Circle Theatre, Bald Faced Lie; NY’s adobe theatre company, BACA Downtown.
Sam Brown, Boss Clown/Assistant Director
Sam Brown began touring with the circus at age fourteen. He has worked with and toured internationally with circus and entertainment companies including Chicago’s Midnight Circus, Stand Up Eight with Aerial Angels, Frosted Showman with Worldwide Entertainment Services, and Circus Smirkus. As a Chicago-based actor, he appeared in Next Stop, Spinsterland, and in Hell in a Handbag’s The Birds and Haywire! He is a clown and circus instructor, having consulted at Chicago’s Columbia College and taught with Circus Smirkus, Camp Vanlodsotov’s Family Circus, and Simply Circus.
Brandon Campbell, Lead Puppet Designer
Puppet design credits include Aqua Kittie, The Cay, Joe’s Garage, and Beowulf Vs. Grendel. As a puppeteer, he has performed with The NeoFuturists and in Laika’s Coffin (Frank Maugeri and Seth Bockley). Brandon is also a musician, playing saxophone with Seeking Wonderland, 2nd Story, and The Projects.
Lacy Katherine Campbell, Puppet Designer
Lacy Katherine Campbell is a designer, actor, writer and director. She is a proud company member of Barrel of Monkeys and has worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, and Redmoon Theatre. She most recently wrote, designed, and built Beowulf vs. Grendel, a 25-minute toy theater spectacle adaptation of Beowulf.
Katie Jones, Puppet Designer
Katie Jones is a puppeteer, director, teacher, and improviser in Chicago. Her work has been seen at Northlight Theatre, Citadel Theatre, the Around the Coyote Festival, and the International Centre for Women Playwrights. She is a founder of Wishbone Theatre Collective, a member of Directors Lab (Chicago and NYC branches), and a puppeteer with Von Orthal Puppets.
Lolly Extract, Shadow Puppetry
Lolly Extract (Master Puppeteer, Artistic Actor and Puppet Designer) is Founder and Artistic Director of JABBerwocky Marionettes, a touring puppet theater combining shadow puppets, hand puppets, rod puppets, Bunraku puppets, body puppets, and marionettes in complex, unique and mesmerizing performances. Extract designs and creates custom puppets and puppet performances of all types for theater companies, museums, festivals and venues of all types. Recent puppet projects and performances: ‘Old Fridge’ a stop motion animation commercial with The Odd Machine, The John G Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Walter E Smithe Furniture Commercial, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hystopolis Puppet Theater, Hell In A Handbag Productions, The Seldoms Dance Company, Columbia College Dance Department, Navy Pier, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Chicago Public Libraries, Chicago Schools, Co-Author of ‘Julie Taymor, Art on Stage and Screen’, Links Hall Shadow Puppet Festivals, Winter Bike Art Show – The Flat Irons Building, Loft Aloft, Loft 3A, The Solarium, Benefit for The Phillippines, Bookamania – Harold Washington Library Center, 2nd Annual Chicago Art Parade, Run for the Cheetah and Haiti Benefit Performances. More.
Nick Forristall, Sound Designer/Engineer
Nick Forristall is a Chicago-based sound artist and engineer. He spends his time recording and creating sound pieces which attempt to challenge the senses and question perception. Nick has worked with many bands and artists including Jim Baker, Frank Black, Robin Hitchcock, and Buddy Guy. While Live Sound is his background and career interest, art and humanism are just as important. He is excited about music and sound as an art-form and believes in technology, hard work, and getting dirty.
Chris Zonada, Songwriter/Composer
Chris Zonada worked with The Scooty and Jojo Show in the 2008 production of Mollywood, for which he served as both musical director and cast member. He has served as music director for Strawdog Theatre’s The Game Show Show…and Stuff! while continuing major developments in creating and leading his vivacious, multi-genre, live musical group Black Umbrella Brigade, an infectiously entertaining rock band with a vaudeville-style stage show for the modern era. Chris Zonada is also a songwriter performing with his much quieter ensemble Del Segno as well as a freelance session musician on woodwinds, keyboards, and guitars.
Andrew Scott Foust, Musical Arrangements
Andrew Scott Foust is an Asheville, NC-based composer with a focus on film music, advertising, music licensing, and theater. He has worked with clients such as Miller, JCPenney, NatureMade, Lilly and is part of YouTube’s AudioSwap library. Andrew’s music may be licensed through Rumblefish, Pump Audio, AudioSocket, TuneTree, Music Dealers, and Audio Micro. Andrew won best score in the 2009 London 48 Hour Film Festival. More.
Bill Bartolotta, Writer/Composer
Bill Bartolotta provides creative and execution skills for the integration of visual, audio, edible, touchable, aromatic and intergalactic talent into the environment of an event. He creates budgets; procures animals, minerals, vegetables, and humans; manages the process and the people for a wide array of projects; dedicating himself to dissolving existing and imagined barriers between guests, hosts and entertainment… all in the persistent pursuit of one-of-a-kind experiences.
Erin Lane, Head Writer
Erin Lane moved to Chicago five years ago from Northern California, where she was performing with small theatre companies, improvising professionally and living in a two bedroom apartment with nine other people. She received a B.A. in Theater Arts from Columbia College Chicago, and has also graduated from the Second City Conservatory, iO and Annoyance Productions. She is the Artistic Director and Head Writer for Red Ink Theatre and has written and directed several shows for them including America For Dummies, ObamaNation and iAlone. She has been performing professionally for over ten years, and has performed for several companies in Chicago including Bailiwick Theatre, Ludicrous Theatre, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, and 20th Century Players.
Mark Bazant, Costume Designer
The human form has always been Mark’s most inspiring subject. From paintings and drawings as a child, to his studies in Multimedia Art at San Francisco State University, to his current work in photography, Mark has been motivated by costume and the story it tells. Bazant has collaborated with many in his native Chicago: Feast of Fools cabaret, Redmoon Theater, modern dance troupe The Humans, among others. He has also been his own costume experiment, as the persona Silky Jumbo. Mark’s collaboration with Scooty&JoJo started last fall with the Halloween extravaganza BeastFeast and continues with BigTop JoJo.
Tiffany Puterbaugh, Costume Designer
Tiffany Puterbaugh was raised by a band of traveling circus gypsies. It wasn’t until the sword swallower ripped his costume and threaded his sword saying “Fix this!” that she began to sew for the circus. She was the first person who said rainbow wigs would look great on clowns. Tiffany is very happy to be sewing sequins and ruffles onto BigTop JoJo and his freaks, and would like to thank everyone involved for being wonderful.
Jenn Dollface, Costume Designer
dollface is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. she knows how to put the fun in funeral, she’ll stick a smile on your face whether you like it or not, and she gives you the same pleasure you get when you wake up from a nightmare. she’s the deadliest woman in chicago, but sweet as pumpkin pie. if transformation is the essence of evolution, then dollface must give god a hard on. Shop.
Ellie SoRokin, Costume Designer
Ellie SoRokin: From Russia, with pArty. My main mission in this universe is to re-arrange the everyday into the out-of-this-world. and SET THINGS WRONG. It can be wearable, dance-able or gaze-able, but whatever it is, it is sUre to be laughable, unbelieveable, potentially flammable and So VERY Rokin’. I am the Professional Badass, for your ridiculous pleasure. Watch.
Lynn Arevalo, Choreographer & Artistic Director/b.i.s.i. dancer of Chicago
Lynn Arevalo, the founder and creator of bisi-dancer.com and the Chicago bisi Dance Company, a Chicago based professional dance agency that showcases some of the city’s most talented dancers and choreographers. As a choreographer and performer, Lynn’s artistic and unique style has been with various dance companies along with American Entertainment Productions, Chicago Wolves Hockey, Chicago Honey Bear Dancers, MTV Productions, Aloha Chicago Entertainment, the Chicago Blaze and Bortz Entertainment. Lynn has also choreographed for many modeling & talent agencies along with coordinating fashion shows for runway models, especially with JRP and Geddes Modeling & Talent Agency. Along with choreography, Lynn and her Chicago bisi artists specialize in theatrical stage make-up, hair, and costuming, for all venues of film, stage, and television productions.
Stephanie Sersen, Choreographer/b.i.s.i. dancer of Chicago
Choreographer and teacher for Chicago’s bisi-dancer.com and helps manage the Chicago bisi Dance Company. Stephanie currently performs and trains with May I Have This Dance studios in ballroom and Latin dance and she is an award winning competitor in American Smooth and Latin dances. Stephanie’s professional credits include performing and choreographing for competitive local dance companies, the Chicago music group The Fez, the Chicago Blaze and performing with Aloha Chicago Entertainment in Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samba, and Belly dance. She was privileged to perform at Oprah Winfrey’s cast party for the musical, The Color Purple as well as throughout the Midwest sharing the Hawaiian culture with her audiences.
Sarah Harjung, Choreographer & Beauty Artist/b.i.s.i. dancer of Chicago
Choreographer, teacher and make-up artist/designer for Chicago’s bisi-dancer.com. Sarah has a passion for contemporary dance and has performed with the Bal-Chi Dance Company of Chicago and has also trained with well-known choreographers such as Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, Melissa Thodos, Kirby Reed and others. Sarah was President of the Harper College Dance Company for 2 years in Palatine, Illinois and has received numerous awards for her unique, dramatic style placing 1st gold titles with competitions in multiple categories and for performance and choreography. Sarah has performed professionally and choreographed for Pen Fifteen, the Chicago Blaze and the Chicago bisi Dance Company. She also specializes in costume design as well as hair and make-up for all performers in the entertainment field.
Michael Callaway, Art Director
Michael Callaway is a Chicago-based artist/designer/3D animator. For the past 25 years, Michael has made his career in the commercial arts, starting out as an illustrator and currently serving as owner/lead artist for Bending Light, Inc., a Chicago 3D animation studio. Callaway also teaches at the Illinois Institute of Art and Design.
Casey Gradischnig, Web Designer/Manager of Online Presence
Casey Gradischnig is a freelance designer/editor/marketing professional who also serves as the Communications Director for StageWest Theatre Co. where he has designed sets, sound and video. As former Associate Director of Marketing of Drake University Gradischnig has received numerous design, writing and project planning awards for leading the University’s strategic marketing efforts. He’s an awarding-winning video producer who worked for Saks Incorporated where his productions featured fashion designers including Tommy Hilfger. His theatrical/multimedia design has been honored with a Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) award, and his fine art has been featured in one-man-shows and at numerous Midwest galleries. Yikes!Art.
Shamilia McBean, Assistant Producer
Shamilia McBean is Assistant Producer with Jonny Stax Presents and BigTop JoJo’s Towering Show of Wonder. She comes to the circus wielding a love for performance and a passion for social justice in hopes of discovering the magical balance of the two. A grassroots organizer, non-profit professional and former student of English Literature, she is excited to use her community and business savvy, along with her wordsmith expertise, in service of this exhilarating spectacle!