Laura McMillan
Laura McMillan
Producer

Laura is excited to make her producing debut with CTM! She is a proud Black/Lebanese Queer Womxn, with a B.A in Theatre Performance and Theatre Studies from Edgewood College! She currently works as CTM’s Education Manager and has been seen on/off stage within the theatre community for over 20yrs. Some of her most notable credits include: The Revolutionists as Marianne (Bartell), Little Shop of Horrors as Ronnette (Edgewood College), Broadway at Paliku as Rafiki (Hawaii), Twelve Angry Jurors as Juror #11 (Florida), and The Crucible as Judge Danforth (Arizona). Laura is so excited to be able to share this project with her community and showcase the talents of her fellow BBIPOC artists!

Christopher D. Sims
Christopher D. Sims
Marketing Manager

Christopher is a nationally known marketing and communications specialist, as well as a creative writer. Hailing from Rockford, Illinois, Christopher is a community driven professional who uses captivating writing and communication techniques to educate, inform, and drive diverse communities into action. An African American male, Christopher’s heart is embedded deeply in the rich stories of the African diaspora. He is a 2019 fellow of the Intercultural Leadership Institute.

Jessalyn Mailoa
Jessalyn Mailoa
Graphic Designer

As a Chinese Indonesian born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jessalyn moved to Madison, Wisconsin for her studies. She is currently completing her BFA in art at UW-Madison, focusing on graphic design, glass working, and a second major psychology.

Jo Chalhoub
Jo Chalhoub
Stage Manager

Jo is a proud Middle Eastern, Queer, Milwaukee native that has lived and worked in the Madison area since 2010. She holds a minor in Theatre Arts from UW-Milwaukee and has worked on/off-stage on over 60 productions with local community and professional companies, UW-Madison, and the Overture Center. CTM credits include being on the stage management teams for Anne of Green Gables, Too Many Frogs!, and A Christmas Carol in 2013. When not actively stage managing, Jo is a member of Forward Theater Company’s Advisory Company, works as an independent fight choreographer, actor, and full time social worker.

Dana Pellebon
Dana Pellebon
Director of “The Water Gun Song”

Dana has acted, directed, written, and produced for a variety of community and professional theatrical troupes in the Madison area since 2001. She directed previously for CTM’s Young Playwright’s Festival. In 2018, she directed “Columbinus” for Madison Area Technical College and in 2019 she directed “Small Mouth Sounds” for Madison Theater Guild and “Cabaret” for StageQ/OutCast! She performs in/produces the Madison-based Caburlesque troupe, Foxy Veronica’s Peach Pies. She also produced three shows for the New York International Fringe Festival and is a co-founder of the Loud ‘N Unchained Black Theater Festival.

Shasparay Irvin
Shasparay Irvin
Director of “Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth”

Shasparay is a Black, queer, performing artist from Austin, Texas, with a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2018 they were the 10th Ranked Poet in the World. Shasparay is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Black Arts Matter Festival that they created to uplift Black artists. Shasparay has been a finalist in national and regional slam competitions such as Women of the World Poetry Slam, IWPS, Texas Grand Slam, and is the two-time Lip Stick Wars Poetry Slam Champion. Shasparay has been featured on Button Poetry, Youth Speaks, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post.

James McClure
James McClure
Pete in “Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth”

James is a 12-year-old 6th grader attending IDEA Health Professions School in Austin, TX. He made his acting debut playing Peter Pan in a showcase for Zach Theatre’s educational summer camp which he attended in 2019. He has been featured several times in the Bill Summers Safe Concert series and loves dancing, basketball, and video games. His intended profession is anesthesiology. James studies Soryu Karate and is currently an orange belt.

Maia Pearson
Maia Pearson
Jules in “The Water Gun Song”

Maia, who is making her CTM debut, is the proud Black Creole mother of Maxwell (her co-star) and his 2 sisters. She is the artist and creator of Sweet Sorrel, an online business that provides culturally relevant greeting cards and art. Maia, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earned her degree in International Relations. She is a community activist from Madison’s Southside, who enjoys learning about different cultures and is familiar with 6 languages. In her spare time, Maia enjoys painting, reading, and listening to Bangtan Sonyeondan (BTS).

Maxwell Pearson
Maxwell Pearson
Sam in “The Water Gun Song”

Maxwell is a 10 year old actor, making his CTM debut. Maxwell is a student at Lincoln Elementary and is an avid brick and minifig builder, artist, and animal lover. In his spare time, when he is not at school and creating, Maxwell enjoys playing Pokemon, Minecraft, the piano, and reading books.

Karim Darwish
Karim Darwish
Video Editor

Karim is an actor, teaching artist, and content creator from Cairo, Egypt. Karim holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Towson University where he also studied filmmaking. He has performed on stage, on camera, and taught performance classes to youth, teens, and adults. Through performing arts and digital storytelling, Karim aims to bring awareness to social and global challenges facing our current and future generations through work that crosses language and culture barriers to inspire and empower people regardless who they are, where they come from, or what they believe in, to be part of the solution.

Scott Lewis
Scott Lewis
Sound/Lighting Consultant

Equipped with twelve years of theater experience both on and off stage, Scott is elated at the opportunity to work with CTM on this production. As a Hawaii born Filipino American, Scott is pleasantly perplexed that he finds himself in the tundra that is Madison, WI. He was last seen playing Audrey II in Edgewood College’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. Having worked on several independent projects, Scott prides himself as an experienced photographer and videographer. Scott has also worked as a soundboard operator for multiple organizations.

Charles Payne
Charles Payne, M. Ed
Educational Content Team Member

Charles is a Black, self-taught spoken word artist and Educator from Michigan. His work explores personal narrative and social commentary. He has recorded a TEDx talk with St. Edward’s University; he has performed in the 3rd annual Madison Moth Grandslam, the National Poetry Slam, and Individual World Poetry Slam and in showcases throughout the Midwest and Southwest regions, in Poetry Slam, Story Slam, and Standup Comedy.

PF’anique Hill
PF’anique Hill
Educational Content Team Member

PF’anique is a Black Womyn hailing from the Northside of Milwaukee, WI. She teaches 6th grade Literacy & Social Studies, while also being a UW-Madison Instructor. She is also a spoken word artist, who was a 2013 OMAI First Wave Recipient, which is an Urban Arts Scholarship. Her artistic portfolio includes play performances, being a published spoken word artist, and a multitude of poetry performances.

Jasmeene Francois
Jasmeene Francois
Educational Content Team Member

Jasmeene is a Haitian-American theatre artist, storyteller, Applied Theatre Practitioner, and writer from Riverside, California. She is an instructor with the Moth Community and Education program and CTM. She teaches at Brooklyn College as a Graduate Center Teaching Fellow and is pursuing her PhD in Theatre and Performance at CUNY Graduate Center. She’s worked as a Teaching Artist Americorps Fellow with ArtistYear in NYC. She obtained her B.A in Drama and History from Ithaca College. After graduating, she taught English in Japan for three years and then rejoined the theatre-making world after graduating with a master’s degree in applied theatre from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Kailea Saplan
Kailea Saplan, M.S. Ed.
Educational Content Team Member

Kailea is a third generation Filipina-American, born and raised on the Island of Hawai’i like her father before her. She graduated from Pacific University (Forest Grove, OR) with bachelor’s degrees in Theatre and Philosophy, and earned her master’s at UW Madison. Currently, she attends UW Madison as a Ph.D. student studying educational justice and arts integration. When not doing research, Kailea is a teaching artist for CTM, Whoopensocker, and Madison Public Library, and she continues to act professionally when possible.

Ione Priest
Ione Priest
Document Remediator

Ione has worked for the past 15 years in accessibility with a focus on ensuring various forms of media can be accessed by all. A Queer Filipino-American with a deep love and passion for performing arts, she is elated to be a part of this amazing production!