Tracy WhitesideTracy Whiteside
Education Manager, Teaching Artist
Performing Arts Academy at Fox Valley Repertory

Tracy has been in the entertainment industry and fashion business for over 20 years. Tracy opened Glow Talent, a Modeling and Acting School and Agency in New Jersey. During this time, Tracy was a licensed talent agent and taught workshops for ages 4 to 64 in modeling, acting, singing, make-up, fashion, image and self-improvement. Her actors and singers have been on Broadway, in films, on TV and in commercials. Her students have appeared on MTV, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street and The O.C., among others. The countless TV commercial credits include Tide, Coke and Chucky Cheese. Her students have been seen in the films "The Stepford Wives", "The Interpreter", "Loverboy", and "Hitch." In addition to actors, Tracy has trained Elite, Wilhelmina and Ford models. Print model students have been seen in Seventeen, Fitness, Teen Vogue, People, TV Guide and Cosmopolitan. Her models have walked on the runways in New York, Paris, and Milan. In the Chicago area, Tracy served on the Board of Directors for First Street Playhouse and teaches performing arts classes at Elgin Community College. At Fox Valley Repertory, Tracy teaches theatre classes to all ages as well as manages the Education Department. She has directed "Oliver!" and "Godspell" for the FVR Youth Ensemble, and is a proud member of the St. Charles Arts Council.

Tracy is also a freelance photographer

John Gawlik
Artistic Director, Director, Actor, Teaching Artist
Fox Valley Repertory

John Gawlik grew up in the western suburbs and is a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and Marquette University. An AEA actor and director, John has appeared with or helmed productions for many Chicago companies. In 2010 he complete a 14 week run of Martin McDonagh's The Lonesome West with The Gift Theatre, where is an ensemble member. Recently John directed Around the World in 80 Days and Red Herring for Fox Valley Repertory in St. Charles where he is in his sixth year as Artistic Director. Additional directing credits include The Ruby Sunrise for The Gift Theatre Company which was named one of the Top Ten shows of 2009 by TimeOut Chicago Magazine and was remounted in July, 2010 at Theater on the Lake, Dated: A Cautionary Tale for Facebook Users for Collaboraction's Sketchbook Festival (Festival Best Director) and the Jeff Award winning production of The Good Thief. As an actor, some of John favorite shows include Beauty Queen of Lennane with the Gift Theatre, A Skull in Connemara at Northlight (After Dark Award, Ensemble), The Great Society with Famous Door and The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild with Collaboraction (Jeff Award for Ensemble).


Amy Malcom
Director, Actor, Teaching Artist
Amy lives in Chicago and is thrilled to work with Fox Valley Rep this coming summer and fall! She teaches/directs anything from acting skills to Shakespeare to improv. She has taught/directed with companies like: Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, The Viola Project (a Shakespeare camp for girls), DreamBig, and Raven Theatre. She has also taught commercial acting and modeling to pre-teens and acting to teens at the Chicago Performing Arts Academy in downtown Chicago. As a performer, Amy has appeared at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Lifeline Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Quest Theatre Ensemble and First Folio. A special thanks to her fiance Dylan, her parents and Fox Valley Rep for giving her this opportunity! 


Becca Knights-McCracken
Casting Director, Teaching Artist

Becca McCraken became a permanent member of the Simon Casting Family in 2005 when hired on to assist with "Prison Break." She has worked hard to develop her career in casting and is recognized for her unique eye for talent. Becca has worked to cast shows for many theatres including Apollo, Broadway In Chicago, Fox Valley Rep, Indiana Rep, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Rep, Provision, Royal George, Silk Road, and Writers. She also works as associate for TV and Film - most recently with Warner Brother's "Contagion," ABC's "Detroit 1-8-7" and Fox's "The Chicago Code." Becca has also been a part of many television pilots and film searches as well as countless commercial casting. She is a member of the Joseph Jefferson Committee and is committed to knowing the Chicago talent pool. She takes pride in presenting opportunities for the remarkable theatre community that thrives in this city. She is thankful to have found her home with the most fabulous ladies in the city and grateful to her fearless leader Claire.   


Debra Stombres
Music Director, Teaching Artist for Voice and Piano

Debra is a bronze tablet scholar graduate of the University of Illinois with a Bachelors of Music in Applied Flute, with minors in piano and voice, after having been chosen for a full scholarship entitled, “Outstanding Young Women in Music.” She was Miss Illinois in 1978 and received a talent award in the Miss America pageant. She has been teaching private piano and flute instruction for almost 30 years. Her varied experience includes conducting several church choirs, leading worship times at conferences, playing flute and/or synth in area pit orchestras, traveling nationally as a keyboard player in a band for almost seven years, and directing vocals for numerous musicals. She has directed youth show choirs and adult flute choirs. She is a six-time winner of a seat in the National Flute Association’s annual flute choir, and currently plays principal flute for the Fox Valley Philharmonic Orchestra in Aurora. She also holds two Master’s Degrees and currently manages the Eola Road Branch of the Aurora Public Library. 


Jock L. Schloss 
Teaching Artist, Stand-up Comedian, Actor
If you've lived in Chicago in the past 25 years, you've probably seen Jock L. Schloss perform.  A well-known face in Chicago's improv & sketch comedy community,  Jock has also been seen in many venues, performing his hilarious and irreverent Stand-Up Comedy act.  Jock has performed in over 20 theatrical plays, appeared in several improv groups, and even produced, directed, and hosted a variety show! 
On-camera, Jock has been seen quite a lot lately. You might recognize him as the irritating announcer for the Americash Loans commercial, the mood-swinging dad in the Callaway Diablo commercial, and falling over the couch after screaming about shoes in the Sears Doorbuster commercial.  He's also been seen in several reenactment shows such as Animal Witness, Undercover, and When Weather Changed History.  When not performing, Jock teaches improv & comedy classes to kids, and holds workshops for adult actors, known as SASS (Serious Actors Strengthening Seminars).


John Tovar, SAFD
Fight Choreographer, Teaching Artist

John has choreographed violence for numerous productions at Fox Valley Repertory, along with choreographing for theater companies such as The Gift Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Route 66 Theatre Co., Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, and Wheaton Drama among many others. John has taught stage combat at universities around the Midwest and at the National Stage Combat Workshop in North Carolina. Currently, he is on faculty at College of DuPage where he teaches stage combat and theatrical movement.

John is a Jeff-nominated Fight Director and Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, where he is currently serving as their Vice-President. He is also the Executive Director of MACE (Movement and Combat Education), a not-for-profit organization that runs the largest stage combat workshop in the world, the Winter Wonderland Workshop.

Jonathan Stombres
Music Director, Teaching Artist for Voice and Piano

Jonathan Stombres is a senior vocal performance and choral/general music education double major at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin. The past two summers, Jonathan was selected to be one of 32 vocal company members to perform with the College Light Opera Company on Cape Cod. Previous roles include Ewart Dunlop (The Music Man), Agent of the Inquisition (Candide), Von Asterberg (The Student Prince), Lord Evelyn (Anything Goes) and Stuart Dalrymple (Brigadoon) at The College Light Opera Company, as well as Editor Daily (The Cradle Will Rock), Autumn (The Fairy Queen), and Chip Tolentino (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) at Lawrence University. He has studied piano for 11 years, voice for 8, conducting with Octavio Mas Arocas, as well as music education with Brigetta Miller, and voice performance and vocal pedagogy with Kenneth Bozeman. He has also served as music director/accompanist for multiple musical projects in the St. Charles area and in Appleton.

Katie Killacky
Casting Director, Teaching Artist

After Katie graduated from the UIUC with a degree a theatre, Katie moved to Los Angeles where she worked in TV, film, commercials, and comedy. Her experience as a stand up comic allows her to see the humor in most situations and adjust her approach in communicating with many different personalities. She is thrilled to be back in Chicago and to be working with O’Connor Casting.  



Katrina Kuntz
Actor, Teaching Artist
Fox Valley Repertory credits include Suzy in Winter Wonderettes as well as Carol in Roasting Chestnuts. Regionally, Ms. Kuntz has performed with Nebraska Shakespeare on the Green (Luciana in The Comedy of Errors), Colorado Shakespeare Festival (Juliet in Romeo and Juliet), Utah Shakespeare Festival (Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew and Olivia in Twelfth Night), and Illinois Shakespeare Festival (Miranda in The Tempest, Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Kitty in The Three Musketeers). Local credits include Light Opera Works (Maria in The Sound of Music), Theatre at the Center, Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens, Illinois Theatre Center, Circle Theatre, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Ms. Kuntz is a graduate of the CCPA at Roosevelt University.


Kimberly G. Morris      
Teaching Artist for Costume, Wigs, Makeup, Props, Puppets and Special Effects Designer

Kimberly has designed for numerous venues around the country such as the Fox Valley Repertory, Shedd Aquarium, Stage Left Theatre, The Gift, Adler Planetarium, Lifeline Theatre, The Griffin Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, American Shakespeare Center (VA), Heritage Repertory Theatre (VA), Theatre West Virginia (WV), Denison University (OH), Virginia Commonwealth University (VA), and Tecumseh! (OH). Prior teaching includes costume and makeup classes at the University of Virginia, Ball State University, and several high schools in Chicagoland and Charlottesville, VA. She also runs the prop and costumes shop for Niles West High School theatre department, where she teaches students the basics of costume and prop design, manufacture and management.


Kyle Donahue
Director, Music Director, Choreographer, Teaching Artist for Voice

Kyle Donahue has performed around the world on regional theatre, theme park and cruise ship stages, and was most recently seen performing at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook. Previous Music Directing credits include Dames at Sea, Grease, and The Secret Garden, where he also served as the Director and Choreographer. Previous Choreography credits include 42nd Street, The Sound of Music, and Oklahoma! Performance credits include Stage Left Theatre, New American Theater, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Broadway Dinner Theatre, The Barn Theatre, Cedar Point Theme Park, The Shawnee Playhouse, The Round Barn Theatre, and a lead vocalist aboard a Regent Seven Seas world cruise.

Kyle has danced professionally with the Without Shoes Modern Dance Company, studied in NYC at Alvin Ailey and the Broadway Dance Center, and teaches voice and dance locally at State Street Dance, DancEncounter, Rockford College, Rising Star, and M & M Dance. He is an accomplished vocal teacher and coach, and he is the Performing Arts Supervisor at the Fox Valley Park District in Aurora. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Rockford College.


Mary-Jo (MJ) Brown
Teaching Artist

At the age of 5, Mary-Jo went to her very first audition.  It was a theater production of the musical South Pacific. She landed the role and has been performing ever since! Theater musical credits include South Pacific, Carousel, The King and I, My Fair Lady.  MJ is a graduate of University of Missouri and earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the School of Journalism. While attending MU, she received the Director’s Award her junior year for a short she wrote and directed and wrote and produced shorts. 

She moved to the East Coast to pursue her career and was active in community theater before relocating to Chicago with her husband. She began her MBA studies at the University of Chicago before starting her own businesses. During the next 2 decades she raised a family, earned a Hall of Fame Award for her sales performance in real estate, been a keynote speaker at business conferences in 20 cities worldwide, wrote and performed sketches for business meetings and worked in front the camera for 15 major motion films and TV projects. She has been in commercials  for companies such as Walmart, GM, iShares and Cricket.  She continues to take improv and comedy workshops and classes from The Second City and The Comedy Shrine. 

MJ helped create, write and produce a web series about DuPage County, anchored the TV episodes, hosts red carpet interviews for local film festivals and performs stand up and improv throughout Chicagoland. 

As a wife, mom and longtime resident of DuPage County, MJ has donated her time and talent to important causes helping establish the permanent site for Safety Town in Naperville with Junior Women’s Club, teaching students at St. Margaret Mary’s for 14 years, mentoring women in business, helping launch an international film festival and spearheading efforts to establish the Women’s Lacrosse program at Naperville North High School. She is excited and honored to be asked to work with the talented students and staff at Fox Valley Repertory.

Matt Miller
Director, Casting Director, Teaching Artist



Melody Kuphal
Music Director, Teaching Artist
After music directing “Into the Woods” with FVR, Melody is thrilled be a part of this summer’s staff.  She has been a part of directing teams as music director, choreographer and show director with Christian Youth Theater, Westfield Community School, D300 Foundation, Cornerstone, and Light of Christ Lutheran Church in addition to FVR.  Some of her favorite directing team experiences have included “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Seussical”, “Scrooge,” “Cinderella,” and “Mulan.”

Additionally, Melody has been directing church music programs for over a decade.  This summer she can be found performing with her band LIFT as well as in the recording studio working on her solo albums  Melody graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education with a minor in vocal music and her Master’s in Educational Administration from NIU.  She spent time teaching in elementary, middle school and high school programs in the Fox Valley.  Her varied experiences maker her uniquely qualified to work with a variety of children and students in musical theater.   



Ryan Colton
Teaching Artist, Director

After receiving a double BA in Performing Arts and Secondary English Education, Ryan has taught Drama and English at St. Charles North High School during the last 11 years.  At St. Charles North, he has directed over 20 productions including My Fair Lady, Death of a Salesman, Noises Off,  and A Midsummer Night's Dream, while also sponsoring many student activities including Drama Club, Speech Team, Student Directed One-Acts, and Peer Leadership. Currently, Ryan is a member of the Fox Valley Repertory's Education Committee and is very excited to play a role in their Performing Arts Academy.


Sylvia Harder
Music Director, Teaching Artist

Sylvia is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Music, with specialized study at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She also graduated cum laude with a Master's Degree in Education from Trinity Divinity School. She has been teaching private piano lessons for nearly 25 years with students of all ages and skill levels. She has served as worship director and worship leader at several churches where she also has led children's choirs, and written and directed youth musicals. She is an experienced voice-over artist, is a regular speaker at youth and women's events, and spent over 7 years as the host of a morning radio show in Minneapolis, MN.