By Darren Canady
Directed by Cynthia D. Barker
A passion for helping without getting emotionally involved is the fine line that social workers walk every day. Penni and Nathan are on the front lines of Kansas City’s Department of Children and Families. Tempers flare when these co-workers find themselves at odds over the best interests of a nine year-old boy, Ontario. Beyond their relationship and careers, what’s at stake is literally life and death.
90 minutes. No intermission.
Mature Themes & Language
February 10 – March 4, 2018
Thursday–Saturday at 8:00pm
Saturday & Sunday at 2:30pm
Groups of 10+ Call: 678.226.6222 x.116 or Email: email@example.com
Sold out on 2/16 and 2/17 at 8pm
Educational Collaboration with
Reviews and Other Buzz about Aurora’s ONTARIO WAS HERE
Or call 678.226.6222 and ask about the StudioTix punchcard.
You’d be crazy not to.
Our new neighbor Boulder Creek Coffee will be hosting a new series that will allow audiences to ask questions and hear from experts relating to the work Aurora does onstage. Kicking off the series series is a post-show Q &A with the stars of Aurora’s hit show Ontario Was Here. Join us for dessert, coffee and lively conversation after the show on Friday, March 2.
Does art imitate life? Join us after the final performance on Sunday, March 4 to hear from local experts in the field of children’s services. The discussion will be moderated by Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services’ Executive Director, Ellen Gerstein. Panelists scheduled to appear include: David Routly and Gina Hutto from Viewpoint Health, Asha Moore from the Department of Family and Children Services, and social workers with Gwinnett County Public Schools, Sheron Murray and Lan Schlect.
Just Dinner? Take her to a show and watch the romance grow!
BRITTANY L. SMITH (Penni) is so excited to be making her debut at Aurora Theatre! Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Brittany received her B.A in Theatre from the University of South Florida. Her Tampa stage credits include, Moliere's The Doctor in Spite of Himself, What the Heart Remembers: The Women and Children of Darfur, The Amen Corner and Eurydice. After graduating Brittany then moved to Atlanta, Ga. She advanced her theatre training during Horizon Theatre's Acting Apprenticeship. Since completing her Apprenticeship, Brittany's stage, television and film credits include Anne Boleyn, A Leason Before Dying, "Tyler Perry's If Loving You is Wrong" and Venom. Brittany would like to thank God and her parents for their love and continued support.
SEUN SOYEMI (Nathan) is excited and grateful to be making his Aurora Stage debut! Born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in Atlanta, GA, he has performed on regional stages all over the U.S. and featured in several local film projects. Some of his recent stage and film credits include Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3, Oshoosi Size in The Brothers Size (nominated for the Broadway World Dallas Award for Best Actor), Paul in BLACKFACE (winner of Best Performance in the BWFF), Asagai in A Raisin in the Sun, Pish-Tush in Hot Mikado, Ebony in Hurt Village, Pentheus in The Bacchae, Hymen in AS YOU LIKE IT, and Khari in RED, BLACK AND BLUE. “I leave my heart on the stage to be a mirror to your soul."
JASMINE RENEE ELLIS (Penni u/s), a Mississippi Native, is grateful for another opportunity to work with the Aurora Theatre family. Her stage credits include Measure for Measure, Sweep, Ghost the Musical, and Grace for President. She sends love to her Mom and Aurora Appco Family for their support. See her perform as Kathryn in Love's Labour's Lost at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern this April. Catch her directing debut in the Aurora Appco Series June 2018. Have less. Be More.
BRANDEN CLEVELAND (Nathan u/s) is honored to be part of Aurora's AppCo18 and to be working on Ontario Was Here. A graduate of SUNY Albany, SUNY Albany credits: The Carrion (Dr. Ambrose), Spring Awakening (Hanschen Rilow), Eurydice (Big Stone), 308-B (Neil). Aurora credits: Musicals by Moontlight In The Heights (Ensemble) and Goosebumps The Musical (Zeke); also Aurora and Theatrical Outfit's co-production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gargoyle u/s). Thanks to God for His continued blessings! Thanks to Aurora for this experience, and to his mother, father, and sister for their continued love and support in all that he has and will accomplish.
Producing Artistic Director/Co-Founder
Producing Artistic Director/Co-Founder
ANTHONY P. RODRIGUEZ (Producing Artistic Director/Co-Founder) Aurora Theatre opened in the summer of 1996 and Anthony Rodriguez and Ann-Carol Pence established Aurora Theatre, Inc. as a non-profit organization in 1999. Under their leadership, the theatre grew from 120 season subscribers to the 5100 subscribers Aurora Theatre currently boasts. Aurora’s success led to an ABBY Award nomination in 2002 for Arts Professional of the Year. Mr. Rodriguez’s greatest accomplishment to date was the successful negotiation to relocate Aurora Theatre to downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia where it serves as the cornerstone for their revitalization. This nearly $7.5 million complex houses 2 theatres, rehearsal space and offices and opened in the spring of 2007. Aurora’s accomplishments include: Learning Library, an Educational Theatre Program, Aurora’s Apprenticeship for recent college graduates, Aurora Academy and Conservatory where students learn about theatre from working professionals, Aurora’s Musicals by Moonlight an annual outdoor summer concert, Cabaret and Comedy Series musical and stand-up comedy evenings between mainstage events, and Teatro Aurora, a professional Spanish-language theatre company that was created to highlight Latino cultural heritage and to help build social bridges in our community. Anthony is currently Chair of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, he is the first Latino and Arts leader to serve in that position and is past Chair of Partnership Gwinnett. Mr. Rodriguez is a member of Screen Actor’s Guild, Theatre Communications Group, Duluth Rotary Club, and the national steering committee for the Latino Theatre Commons. Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Marist High School, the University of Georgia with a BFA in theatre, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures’ Leadership Institute and Advocacy Institute. Mr. Rodriguez is a Cancer Survivor and has been cancer free for 25 years.
ANN-CAROL PENCE (Associate Producer/Co-Founder) arranged the music for Aurora’s first Christmas Canteen in 1996 and was hired full-time in September of 1998 as Resident Musical Director. An education major at James Madison University, she used her background to develop Learning Library (or L2). As a musician, she created Aurora’s Musicals by Moonlight, and Aurora’s New Musical Initiative. She has performed as pianist and/or music director both nationally (Goodspeed Opera House, Pasadena Playhouse, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Kennedy Center) and locally (The Alliance, Theatrical Outfit, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, The Horizon). As a proud citizen of Gwinnett, Ann-Carol is most proud of Aurora Theatre winning the 26 AURORA THEATRE Gwinnett’s Only Professional Theatre first ever Pinnacle Award for Large Non-Profit. This goes well with her 4 Suzi Awards for Outstanding Music Direction for Mary Poppins and Les Misérables, Aurora’s world premiere of Clyde ’n Bonnie: A Folktale, and A Catered Affair and her multiple nominations for In the Heights, Memphis, A Year with Frog & Toad, Annie Get Your Gun, Godspell, Singin’ in the Rain and A Chorus Line. She is a participant in the 2016 Atlanta Regional Leadership Institute and member of the “Best Class Ever!”
Associate Artistic Director
Associate Artistic Director
JUSTIN ANDERSON (Associate Artistic Director) has served as Aurora Theatre's Associate Artistic Director since 2014. His directorial work has earned him both popular and critical praise, along with Seven Suzi Bass Award Nominations for Best Direction (Winner for Boublil and Schönberg’s LES MISÉRABLES at Aurora Theatre in 2013). He is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia where he directs and teaches courses in acting and musical theatre. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Campbell University and an M.A. in Theatre Studies from Regent University, with additional course study at Rutgers. For a complete list of directing credits and for information about upcoming projects, please visit the website below.
CYNTHIA D. BARKER (Director) is heartily grateful to be making her directorial debut. Acting credits: Uprising (Metro Stage) Atlanta Credits: The Mountaintop (Aurora Theatre), Beyond Reasonable Doubt: The Troy Davis Project, Women+War (Synchronicity Theatre), How To Use A Knife, Uprising, Elemeno Pea, Third Country, and Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Horizon Theatre), Macbeth (Georgia Shakespeare), Flyin’ West (Theatre in the Square), A Raisin in the Sun, Lakebottom Proper, Hamlet (Springer Opera House), A Christmas Carol, Honk! The Musical (Alliance Theatre), for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Black Nativity (True Colors). Film/ TV: "Rectify" (Sundance TV), Ir/Reconcilable (short film), "Tyler Perry’s House of Payne" (TBS). Love and thanks to AC, Tony, Justin, Jaclyn, cast/crew, and to the family and friends who remind me, "I CAN."
KELLSEY HOOK (Stage Manager) is so excited to make her debut with Aurora Theatre with this world premier play. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has worked locally with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Serenbe Playhouse, 7Stages Theatre, The Seedling Project, and the Fern Theatre. She would like to thank you for supporting your local artists and keeping the tradition of theatre alive.
DANIELLA AMPUDIA (Set Designer) is a scenographer majoring in Theatre & Performance Studies at KSU, with a concentration in Design & Technology. She is excited to be back at Aurora Theatre, now as a designer. Selected production credits include: Lighting Designer for Shrek Jr., and First Hand for Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Theatrical Outfit. Assistant Scenic Designer for Split in Three at Aurora Theatre. Lighting Designer for Feathers and Teeth; Scenic and Costume Designer for In the Red and Brown Water, and Associate Lighting Designer for Heathers at KSU. Daniella is also part of the Joel A. Katz Music & Entertainment Business Program, and was recently selected to be part of the USITT's 2018 Gateway Mentorship Program. Love to MJ, KL, and DC.
ANDREW CLEVELAND (Sound Designer) is a producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist from Atlanta. After leaving the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2013, Andrew began making his own music under the name Mad Ace as well as collaborating in the studio with Athens-based bands such as Wieuca, Big Morgan, and Juan de Fuca. Since 2011, Andrew’s played bass and cello for musicals around Atlanta including Sweeney Todd, Toxic Avenger, and Urintown, and composed music for Romeo and Juliet at Ogelthorpe. He’s played cello for Sam Brown, bass for In the Heights, and designed sound for A Bicycle Country at Aurora Theatre and is thrilled to be joining them as a sound designer for Ontario Was Here.
MAXIMO GRANO DE ORO (Lighting Designer) is New Jersey based Lighting Designer and is a recent graduate of Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts from which he received a BFA in Theater Design. While pursuing his degree he took the opportunity to study abroad for a semester at Shakespeare's Globe in London. This is his first production with Aurora. Recent design credits include: La Nozze di Figaro, SVADBA, Tick, Tick...Boom!, Enterprise, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, and Dialogues of the Carmelites. Upcoming design credits include: Der Mond and for colored girls.
NICOLE CLOCKEL (Costume Designer) is a costume designer and fabricator, as well as a proud graduate of Kennesaw State University. She currently works as a design assistant for the Alliance Theatre. Her previous work with Aurora Theatre includes New Brain, Bicycle Country, and In the Heights. Nicole would like to thank her sister Danielle, Christian, and the inspirational folks at the Aurora.
CODY RUSSELL (Properties Designer) is ecstatic to be working on Ontario Was Here. Recent credits include: Aurora Theatre's Christmas Canteen, Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up and Pais de Bicicleta (Prop Design), Syncronicity Theatre's Heidi and Sense and Sensibility (Prop Design), The Weird Sisters' production of Space Girl (Prop Design and Scenic Artist) and GGC's production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Scenic Artist and Scenic Design). When not designing you may catch him on stage acting and singing his heart out (most recently in Independant Artist's Playhouse's production of 35MM) Cody is a proud alumnus of Aurora AppCo17.
KATIE PELKEY (Company Manager) is celebrating ten seasons with Aurora! In 2013 Katie transitioned to the role of Company Manager, having previously served as Resident Stage Manager. She also created the highly-successful Stage Management Apprentice Company program that operates simultaneously with Aurora’s Acting Apprentice Company program. For five seasons she worked as Aurora’s Educational Resources Associate developing educational curriculum for teachers to use in conjunction with Aurora’s TYA Learning Library offerings. And for over a decade Katie served as Production Stage Manager for New Plays for Young Audiences, a prestigious TYA summer staged reading series based at New York University. She received her BA in Educational Theatre from New York University with a minor in Dramatic Literature. Many thanks to Michael and Maxwell for their love and support!
DANIEL POPE (Production Manager) is proud to be joining the great team at Aurora Theatre as Production Manager. Daniel has been a sound designer and engineer in the Atlanta area for the past seven years. He's had the pleasure of designing sound for the Aurora Theatre on many occasions on shows such as: Into the Woods, Christmas Canteen, Sweep, and most recently The Bridges of Madison County. Additionally, he's worked on countless other productions in the Atlanta theatre community including: Evita and A Streetcar Named Desire as Sound Designer and Production Manager at Serenbe Playhouse. Daniel received a Bachelors in Marketing with a specialization in sales and a minor in Music from The University of West Georgia in 2010.
ANDREW O'NEAL (Technical Director) is excited to start his first season with Aurora Theatre. Previously, Andrew came to Georgia from Virginia where he worked at Radford University as the Assistant Technical Director. He graduated from The University of Alabama in 2014 with his MFA in technical production.
SARAH THOMSON (Scenic Painter) loves to paint and has been gracing the sets of Aurora Theatre for the last 11 seasons. A resident of Johns Creek, she brings her talents and her crew of Jack and Dylan to support her in her endeavors. Sarah designed and painted sets for many years while her daughter danced with Susan Chambers Theatre Dance. In a previous life, she was the scenic artist for Casa Mañana Theatre, Casa on the Square, Fort Worth Ballet, Dallas Shakespeare in the Park, Dallas Summer Musicals and Six Flags. She has worked with Southwest Studios and Stageworks where she served as scenic artist. Children of a Lesser God also featured Sarah’s original artwork. She is accompanied by her man of the North, Ian.