top of page

About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

Facebook header file_edited.jpg

Artistic Director Message


Welcome to Stage Left Theatre’s production of “Open” by Crystal Skillman. We open our 40th season in the midst of difficult times. Even as the pandemic wanes and many theatres are opening to in-person performances. We felt the commitment to challenging works that fulfilled our mission was the most important decision in planning our new season. Certainly, many patrons have expressed that they are comfortable going to live performances and many have expressed that they are not. Opening with “Open” allows us to make this powerful show available to all audiences. We hope you enjoy “Open” and will continue to support the mission of Stage Left Theatre. We continue to exist because of your support. - Bobbi Masters





WARNING: “Open” contains explicit references to physical violence that may be disturbing to some audiences.

“Open” was written by Crystal Skillman and features: 


Delysa Richards as "The Magician"


Directed by Bobbi Masters*

Assistant Direction by Kyle Aschbrenner*

Assistant Direction by Jazmine Mazique*

Magic Design by T Daniel & Laurie Willets

Sound Design by Willow James

Costume Design by Nicole Clockel

Lighting Design by Eric Cope

Streaming Design by David Heimann

Casting by Caleb Jenkins and Christopher Wayland

Understudy: Samie Jo Johnson


*Indicates Ensemble Member


Open is presented through a special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service and streamed through Broadway On Demand. 





Delysa Richards (The Magician) Delysa Richards is an actress and director and member of The Agency Collective. She has performed in various stage plays and has a number of recognition and accolades for her work. She wrote and directed a one-woman scene entitled Street Wise for The Agency Basement Series and has performed in Hellcab with the Agency Theatre. Delysa has guest starred for the OFF The Cuff Improv Radio Play podcast and REA Radio.  She is ecstatic about her debut with Stage Left Theatre and can't wait to "make magic" in Open. 


Samie Jo Johnson (Understudy) Samie Jo is a multi-hyphenate artist who is always eager to embrace an opportunity to play.  Prior to landing in Chicago, Samie Jo lived and worked in Seattle, Denver, England, Southern Indiana, and the many highways in between. Performance highlights include being ready to perform any character in Hamlet (and checking the box for a few dream roles in the process) in Mercury Hamlet with Quicksilver Shakespeare in Chicago, dancing through the streets of Italy (literally) for a site-specific production of In. Sight. Out. with La Mama Umbria, and touring the midwest as a cowboy version of the good-guy, Lucentio, in Taming of the Shrew with Stone Soup Shakespeare. Samie Jo has trained in various theatre making techniques domestically & internationally and has a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville. 


Bobbi Masters* (Director, Artistic Director) this is Bobbi’s first time directing at Stage Left since being named Artistic Director. Bobbi’s passion for new works brought her to Stage Left as Literary Manager. Throughout her career, she has worked in various roles in the development of countless new works. As a director, her work has been seen regionally at theatres such as Kitchen Dog Theatre (where she served as artistic associate) to Off-Off Broadway at Theatre for the New City. She previously served as Resident Director at Coffee Black Productions and an Artistic Associate at Milk Can Theatre. Bobbi currently teaches Theatre and Speech at City Colleges of Chicago. She earned her MFA in directing at Southern Illinois University- Go Salukis! For more information, please visit her website:


Kyle Aschbrenner* (Assistant Director)  moved to Chicago in 2019 after graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to the pandemic, he stage managed a couple professional shows at The Miracle Center and University of Illinois at Chicago while teaching teens Technical Theatre through After School Matters.


Jazmine Mazique* (Assistant Director) graduated from Harold Washington City College with an Associates in Science. She is currently majoring in Biology and Sociology at Roosevelt University. Her favorite performing experience was being a character performer at Walt Disney World. She loves animals and spending time with her family.


T Daniel & Laurie Willets (Mime Design) T. Daniel and Laurie are writers, creators, directors, choreographers and performers of Mime. Both attended Illinois State University as undergraduates and for the Master’s Degree: Laurie in French Theatre, T. Daniel worked toward his Master of Arts in Theatre. Both studied Mime with Marcel Marceau and with Etienne Decroux, Father of Modern Mime. 

            T. Daniel, and partner Laurie Willets, have toured the World (3 times) with original full-stage productions: A World of Mime; FANTASMIA; Merlin & The Color of Magic; and others. T. Daniel and Laurie Willets re-interpreted Jean Cocteau’s pantomime farce Le Boeuf sur le Toit (1920), with Darius Milhaud’s four-hand piano music version; the first time the work was performed by a Mime company.

            T. Daniel and Laurie Willets wrote and choreographed a new pantomime for the American Premiere of Kurt Weill’s Zaubernacht for the Ravinia Festival with Maestro James Conlon conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. They have performed with over 25 orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (15 times). They were invited to The White House as an honored American Artists. 


Willow James (Sound Design) Willow James is a theatre artist, photographer, and podcast host/producer from the Chicagoland area. Passionate about new works and amplifying historically underserved communities, he is thrilled to make his Stage Left debut. Recent sound design credits include: A Recipe For Disaster (Windy City Playhouse), and The Humans (Redtwist Theatre). Recent directing credits include Colorblind Casting (Perceptions Theatre) and Aftermath (Artemisia Theatre). He is proudly the resident sound designer and photographer at Artemisia Theatre. Connect with Willow at


Nicole Clockel (Costume Design) Nicole is a costume designer and fabricator originally from Atlanta. This is her first design since moving to Chicago and she is excited to meet everybody in town! Nicole is also scurrying around backstage on Chicago Shakespeare's wardrobe crew. Previous design credits include Small Mouth Sounds (Alliance Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Penobscot Theatre and puppetry by The Object Group), 45 Plays for 45 Presidents (Kennesaw State University), Ontario Was Here, and País de Bicicleta (Aurora Theatre). Many thanks to Conrad the tiny panther.


Eric Cope (Lighting Design) is a lighting designer for theatre, dance, and corporate events.  His theatre work has been seen in New York, Florida, Texas, and Indiana.  Currently, he designs and manages a team of corporate lighting designers providing lighting for special events, trade shows, and specialty exhibits across the country.  He earned an MFA in Stage Design from Southern Methodist University.


David Heimann (Streaming Design, Managing Director) enjoys working in every aspect of theatrical production from performance, to direction, to producing. His last performance with Stage Left Theatre was in The Secret of the Old Queen. Over 20 years of performing and directing in Chicago has privileged David with working with numerous theatre companies including Pegasus Players, Chicago Kids Company, Theo Ubique Theatre, and Porchlight Theater. David directed the shows for the World Scout Jamboree. AMDG.




New Membership Program

Stage Left fans and supporters can help Stage Left through these challenging times for live performance, get access to all our public programming for the 2021-22 Season, and receive invitations to special VIP-only events, by taking advantage of our new Membership program. Annual Memberships are $100 and replace our traditional subscription programs. Memberships can be purchased on our website.


About Stage Left

Founded in 1982, Stage Left Theatre is committed to developing and producing plays that raise the level of debate and challenge perspectives on political and social issues. Through a full mainstage season and our new play development program Downstage Left, Stage Left strives to ask provocative social and political questions by producing a mix of new works, regional premieres and timeless classics.


Board of Directors

President: Angelique Sallas, Ph.D.

Melissa Lindberg, Ph.D.

Carl Nyberg

Ron Schofield


Stage Left Staff

Managing Director: David Heimann

Artistic Director: Bobbi Masters

Artistic Ensemble: 

Kyle Aschbrenner

Ben Bishop

Caleb Jenkins

Darren Jones

Hannah Kfoury

Jazmine Mazique

Robert Mosby Jr.

Stephanie Murphy

Rachel Van

Deana Velandra

Christopher Wayland

Seth Wilson

Brenda Winstead

Emeritus Ensemble 

Leigh Barrett

Kate Black-Spence

Larry Dahlke

Cat Dean

Melanie Derleth

Christine Gatto

Marguerite Hammersley

Kevin Heckman

Lisa Herceg

Jessi D. Hill

John Kohn III

Cory Krebsbach

M.E.H. Lewis

Melissa Lindberg

Mia McCullough

Brian Plocharczyk

David Rush

John Sanders

David Schmitz

Jack Short

Jacki Singleton

Vance Smith

Don Tieri

Jack Tippett

Sandra Verthein


Coming soon to a screen near you- Stage Left’s new monthly virtual play reading series starting in January!



by Rachel Lynett (Stage Left Resident 2017/18)

Our Clients

bottom of page