Men on Boats

Men on Boats

Men on Boats
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Brett A. Robinson
April 1-4, 2021 at 8:00PM eastern

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

For tickets:

Content disclosures:
Please note that this performance includes:
Near Drowning/Death Experiences
Alcohol Use
Flashing Lights/Images

Men in Boats is presented by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service.
Playwrights Horizons, Inc. and Clubbed Thumb produced
MEN ON BOATS in New York City, 2016

Audrey Johnson - Powell
Sarah Bastian - Dunn
Rose Pell - Sumner
Christina Carelli - Hawkins
Symphony Thompson - OG
Avi Fidler - Hall
Emma Ellis - Goodman
Khenadi Christmas - Bradley
Alison Sahler - Old Shady
Madison Stephens - Seneca

Brett A. Robinson - Director
Ava Kepple - Assistant Director
Erica Sholes - Stage Manager
Teayra Bowden - Assistant Stage Manager/Video Editor
Bella Capelli - Dramaturg
Sara Outing - Visual Designer
Sophie Smyczek - Lighting Designer
Julie Padovan - Costume Designer
Kate Marvin - Sound Designer
Colin Sass - OBS technician
David Pica - Dialect coach

Kym Moore, Dean, Ira Brind School of Theater Arts
Justin Lujan, Program Director, Acting
Amy Dugas Brown, Program Director, Directing, Playwriting, and Production
Katie Donovan, Program Director, Musical Theater
Natalie Robin, Program Director, Theater Design and Technology
Nick Embree, Set Practicum Instructor
LeVonne Lindsay, Costume Practicum Instructor
Larry Fowler, Sound Practicum Instructor
Lindsay Cram, Associate Producer
David Yager, President and CEO

The cast and crew would like to extend a special thank you to the following people...

Lindsay Cram, LeVonne Lindsay, Natalie Robin, Noelani Montas, Gabby Spadaro, Arturo Espindola, John Flak, John Kolbinski, Tracy and Erick Sahler, Adam Levine, Mr. and Mrs. Stephens, Kris Johnson and John Wojtseck, Adam Lenson, Emily Betts and Amir Gad

Audrey Johnson - Powell (She/Her) Audrey is a 2022 Musical Theater major. Currently, she teaches Musical Theater at her local studio, Susan Yadamec Dance Company. Most recently, she performed in the Myths and Hymns Project, a partially devised musical directed by Billy Bustamante and presented virtually. In addition to performing the original score, Audrey also wrote and choreographed numbers for the show. Other notable roles include: Martha (Heather's), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), and May (Junie B. Jones). She thanks everyone for their virtual attendance and hopes that you enjoy the show! 

Sarah Bastian - Dunn (She/They) Sarah is a Junior Musical Theater major. Her recent roles include the Villager in The Void Theatre Collective's Villager, Leo Szilard in The Trinity Test (Equinox 2020), Kattrin in Mother Courage, and Firefighter/Ensemble in Rhinoceros. She's super pumped to be a man on a boat. 

Rose Vivian Pell - Sumner (She/Her) Rose is a junior Musical Theatre major, minoring in Business at the University of the Arts. She has been seen in many shows at UArts, including "Participation Not Included" and "MARIE IN TOMORROW LAND". Rose is so excited to be a part of this amazing online production of "Men On Boats" and is so blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a phenomenally talented cast and crew! Please enjoy the show!

Christina Carelli - Hawkins (She/Her) Christina is a senior acting major who loves to watercolor. She is grateful for her time at UArts, the people she has met, and the people she loves.

Symphony Thompson - OG/Tsauwiat (She/Her) Symphony has been involved in multiple shows at UARTS and has been looking forward to create in a new format! Some of her more recent works include Bodies and Bones, Revolt She Said Revolt Again, and Summer. Outside works include woebegone (Painted Bride) and The Rose Garden (Fringe Festival).  “Shoutout to the most incredible and fun loving cast that has made this process oh so sweet! Exploring new terrain with y’all has been the most favorite parts of my days. And a big thank you to the crew for all your hard work throughout this process. and thank you to my roomies who have also been amazing crew members to me during this time! That set could not have happened without y’all.” 

Avi Fidler - Hall (They/He) Avi  is a Philadelphia and Boston-based actor and a Braving The Bard company member. They are currently pursuing a degree in Acting from The University of the Arts. Boston-area credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Christopher Boone), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Rosencrantz), and Twelfth Night (Viola). Philadelphia credits include Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Ensemble), and King Lear (Edmund). BTB credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Nick Bottom), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Dumaine), and Julius Caesar (Mark Antony). Avi would like to thank his parents, friends and teachers for their constant support.

Emma Ellis - Goodman/Mr. Asa (She/Her) Emma is thrilled to make her UArts theater debut (and zoom theater debut too)! She is Sophomore Musical Theater major. Previous credits include “Rosalie” School of Rock and “Donna” Mamma Mia (Running to Places Theater Company). She would like to thank Brett and this incredible cast and crew for making this show happen! She would also like to thank her roommates and cat, Beans, for their emotional support! Oars up, ours out, enjoy the show! 

Khenadi Christmas - Bradley (She/Her )Khenadi is a first-year, Musical Theater major, and she is so excited to be performing in her first production with UArts! Khenadi is so grateful that Brett Robinson has trusted her with such a delicate role as Bradley. 

Alison Sahler - Old Shady (They/Them) Alison is an actor and screenwriter from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They are a junior in UArts' musical theater program with minors in business and screenwriting, and have previously been seen in Hamlet as the Gravedigger.
@alisonsahler.jpeg, @AlisonSahler

Madison Stephens - Seneca/The Bishop (She/Her) Madison, sophomore MT, has been singing, acting, and dancing for most of her life. She is honored and very excited to be part of her second UArts production, Men on Boats. Previous UArts credits include Revolt, She Said Revolt Again. Outside credits include, Ursula (Little Mermaid), Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast), Baker’s Wife (Into the Woods), Mama (Chicago) and others. She is thrilled that you're here to take this expedition with her! All the glory goes to God. 

Artistic Team:
Brett Ashley Robinson - Director (She/Her) Brett Ashley Robinson is a Barrymore award winning theatre maker in Philadelphia. She has worked with New York Theatre Workshop, The Under the Radar Festival, The Wilma, 1812 Productions, Lightning Rod Special, Pig Iron Theater Company, Ars Nova Ant Fest,The Arden Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, The Flea Theatre, Theatre Horizon, Geva Theatre, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is a company member of Applied Mechanics and a member of the HotHouse–the Wilma Theater resident company.

Ava Kepple - Assistant Director (She/Her) Ava is from Pittsburgh, PA and is currently studying at Uarts as a second year Directing, Playwriting, and Production Major. Pre Covid Ava was the Stage Manager Uarts production of New World Order. Last semester she was the dramaturg of A Public Reading of an  Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney. She is so thankful for being a part of this process and once again tackling the scary realm of online theater!

Erica Sholes - Stage Manager (She/Her) Erica is a Sophomore Directing, Playwriting, and Production major with a minor in Art History at the University of the Arts. From Bennington, Vermont, she has grown up in the world of performing and visual arts. Men on Boats is Erica's fourth production at UArts, previously stage managing Revolt. She Said. Revolt.(Assistant Stage Manager), A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney (Stage Manager), and the 2021 Equinox New Play Festival's Bodies and Bones. Erica would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support throughout this process. And to everyone, "Welcome to the Big Canyon!".

Teayra Bowden - Assistant Stage Manager/Video Editor (She/Her) Teayra is a Freshman Directing, Playwriting + Production major at the University of the Arts. Some of her past production credits include “Find Myself Here", “Almost, Maine”,“Pippin”,“ and Jane Doe; A Choreoplay”.In the future, Teayra hopes to work as a theater artist in Philadelphia, focusing on new play and musical development as well as direction. She would like to thank the entire production team for their constant support and guidance along the way during this creative process! Welcome to the Trills and Thrills of “Men On Boats”! 
@teayrabowden on FB

Isabella Capelli - Dramaturg (She/Her) Isabella is very excited for you to take your own expedition through our virtually crafted Colorado River! She’s a freshman DPP major and is very thankful for all of the opportunities her first year at UARTS has presented her with. Her previous credits include POP! (Assistant Stage Manager) and the playwright of Look Up, Canyon: one of the four plays in this year’s 2021 Equinox Festival. Upcoming credits include Listen Close, Listen Well as a member of the cast. She hopes you enjoy the ride and extends many thanks to her fellow cast and team for their endless hard work.

Sara Outing - Set Designer (She/Her) Sara is a scenic designer and fabricator with a background in dance, radical puppetry, and music. Recent digitally-produced works include a scale model in 1812's SET MODEL THEATRE project, props for PAC’s TROUBLE IN MIND, two original puppet shows developed in residency, and upcoming, A BREATH FOR US told via mail from Tiny Dynamite. Past scenic projects include THE COLOR PURPLE and 2.5 MINUTE RIDE (Theatre Horizon), MARCUS/EMMA (InterAct Theatre Company), HOW WE GOT ON (Azuka Theatre, Barrymore nominated), TILDA SWINTON ADOPT ME PLEASE and FIFTY DAYS AT ILIAM (Greenfield Collective), and projects with Tiny Dynamite, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, and the National Constitution Center. Props and puppets have been featured by The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, EgoPo Classic Theatre, Lantern Theater Company, Orbiter 3, and Act II Playhouse, Hedgerow Theatre, The Renegade Company, and the University of Pennsylvania. Sara is an alumna of the apprenticeship program at InterAct Theatre Company and of the University of Pennsylvania, where she also serves as an advisor and coordinator for the student performing arts.

Sophie Smyczek - Lighting Designer (She/Her) Sophie Smyczek is a junior DT and is so excited for you to watch Men on Boats this evening! Despite the challenge of being online, she has found a lot of joy in collaborating with the production team and cast. Everyone who worked on Men on Boats has put so much time and energy into this show and we hope you enjoy it! To get a sneak peek into Sophie’s process and see more of her work, please visit

Julie Padovan - Costume Designer (She/Her) Julie is Philadelphia and New York City based costume designer and costume technician. Julie strives to communicate a relatable, universal human experience through costume and strives to apply empathy and understanding in all of her work processes. Men on Boats is Julie's eleventh and final undergraduate production at the University of the Arts. Julie is so grateful to have worked with this talented cast and crew for making her last UArts production so incredible and such an amazing experience! Some other notable productions she has worked on at UArts includes Guys and Dolls (2018), A New Brain (2019), Hamlet (2019) and Promenade (2021). Julie is set to graduate this May with a BFA in Theater Design/Technology and looks forward to interning at Central City Opera this summer as a Wig and Makeup intern., @julie.costumes

Kate Marvin - Sound Designer (She/Her) Kate Marvin is a New York based Sound Designer and Composer working in theater, film, podcasts, and puppetry. She's thrilled to be working with this team on one of her favorite plays!

Colin J. Sass - OBS Technician (He/Him) My knowledge of Lighting and Video Design have been put to good use during the live event industry’s transition from in person experiences to virtual ones. Over the last few months, along with other members of 10th Floor Productions, I have designed the lighting and video for live streamed concerts as well as virtual productions. In the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, I was the lighting director for Villager, the video designer for We’re Here Because You Are, and the video editor for The Bodice Ripper Project. More recently, my collaborators have included Ill DOOTS, Theatre Exile and Curio Theatre Company.

David Pica - Dialect Coach (He/Him) Regional credits: Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Theatre Exile, Lantern, PAC, Azuka Theatre, Delaware Shakespeare, Inis Nua Theatre, Revolution Shakespeare, Commonwealth Classic, Quintessence Theatre Group, & Greenfield Collective. He trained at Millikin University, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and with The Factory.