Nick Albrecht (Malvolio) is extremely excited to be returning to North Dakota Shakespeare for a second season, having played Lord Capulet in last summer’s Romeo & Juliet. Originally hailing from Omaha, NE, Nick is currently the Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. Nick holds a MFA in Acting from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Musical Theatre and Vocal Music Education from Dana College. Regional Performing Credits include: Twelfth Night & Titus Andronicus (Nebraska Shakespeare), She Loves Me and Big River (Great Plains Theatre), Les Miserables (Cortland Repertory Theatre), Heathers, The Grown-Up, and Standing on Ceremony (BLUEBARN Theatre), The Sound of Music and Seussical (The Prizery Theatre), Spamalot (Omaha Playhouse), Oklahoma! and Godspell (Post Playhouse), and many more. Nick is also a director, music director, and fight choreographer – for more of his work, please visit
Sydney Berk (Olivia) is a recent graduate of the Masters program at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) where she studied Classical Acting for the Professional Theatre. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Catawba College. She is currently based in New York City where she is an Actress / Teaching Artist. Her most recent role was Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, directed by Katherine Wilkinson. Next up, she goes to Theatre Barn where she will be playing Molly in The Mousetrap. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, she has worked extensively with A Noise Within Repertory Company, Antaeus Theatre Company and The Workroom. She is also very involved with the non-profits ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty) and LEAP (Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program).
Elise Christy (Costume Apprentice/Wardrobe Head) is a junior at the University of North Dakota. She is pursuing a degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Tech and Design. She is originally from Grand Forks, ND. Elise has worked in the costume shop at UND on productions of Little Women, The Odd Couple, and Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. She worked as a dresser on UND’s production of Wizard of Oz, and as Wardrobe Head for Mr. Burns. Outside of the theatre, Elise enjoys reading, gardening, and quilting.
Carrie Colton (Director) is an actor, director, and composer haling from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an Assistant Professor of Drama at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Carrie holds a B.F.A. in Classical Acting from Southern Utah University, where she studied with the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. She also holds an MFA in directing from Florida State University where she directed Rikki Tikki Tavi, Romeo and Juliet, Some Girl(s), and in 2015, was voted by the student body to speak at commencement. Carrie performed in two international tours: My Fair Lady (Eliza) and Annie (Miss Hannigan), before discovering her love for directing at the Gyeonggi English Village in South Korea. Favorite directorial credits include Hairspray with the Fusion Academy of Hong Kong, Julius Caesar with Grassroots Tallahassee and The Tempest with the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival. Carrie has spent the last three summers directing and music directing at RMTK in Boulder, CO. Productions included Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Charlotte's Web. Carrie has studied at the Moscow Art Theatre, Regents College in London, and received her 200 hour certification at Guru Mahi's Ashrum in Dharmsala, India. She is thrilled to be directing her second show with North Dakota Shakespeare!
Amber Marisa Cook (Costume Designer/Costume Shop Manager) is a costume and scenic designer and currently Assistant Professor of Costume Design for the Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University. She is currently working on a text book focused on digital textile design for storytelling to be released in late 2018 by Focal Press. Her regional design credits include design for dance, musical theatre, theatre, and print in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, and New York Off-Broadway as well as working as an assistant on various New York productions. Her scenic design for the new musical An American Hero will appear at the New York Musical Theatre Festival Off-Broadway later this summer. A proud member of United Scenic Artists, Amber received her MFA in Production Design with a focus in Costumes and Scenic Design from Michigan State University where she received a fellowship to study historic costume in Europe. www.ambermcookdesign.com
Josh Davis (Valentine/Priest) is a native of Elkhorn, NE and entering his senior year at Doane University as a Theatre Major. Some recent credits include: Gumbo (Ponytail), Stupid Fucking Bird (Dev), One Man Two Guvs (Alfie), and Beauty and the Beast (Le Fou). In his free time Josh enjoys Improv, performing stand-up comedy, and pretty much just making people laugh. Josh is very excited to be apart of North Dakota Shakespeare and thanks his friends and family, but most especially his mother for being super duper supportive of his theatrical endeavors.
Lauren Dowell (Assistant Stage Manager/Props Coordinator/Ensemble) is a native of Odessa, MO. She is studying Fine Arts at State Fair Community College (SFCC). Some of her recent acting credits include Women Playing Hamlet (Jessica), Like You Like It (Sylvie), and Night of the Living Dead LIVE (Barbra). A few of her technical credits include stage managing for The True Story of the Three Pigs and A Year with Frog and Toad. Lauren discovered an interest in stage management while studying acting at SFCC. One of her favorite aspects of being a Stage Manager is providing an environment in which the actors and director feel safe and taken care of, so they can be creative and express themselves freely. Four of Lauren’s favorite things are giraffes, tacos, sunsets, and Jesus. She is extremely excited and humbled to be given this opportunity to be a part of Twelfth Night or What You Will.
Taran Estad (Technical Apprentice) is a junior studying Theatre Design and Technology at the University of North Dakota. Originally from Singapore, she has painted sets for Burtness Theatre’s productions for the past three years. Her favorites are Little Women and They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! She has also assisted in stage managing for Speech and Debate, assisted in the costume shop for The Wizard of Oz, and worked in the shop on Mr. Burn’s Post-Electric Play. Aside from theatre, Taran enjoys spontaneous adventures with friends and discovering new music, movies, musicals, and books.
Tommy Hoesley (Sebastian), a native of North Dakota, is currently studying at North Dakota State University pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Performance and a minor in Creative Writing. Tommy is ecstatic to perform with this company in his first professional show. Some credits from Theatre NDSU include The Odyssey (Telemachus), Devon's Hurt (Devon), Peter Pan (Nibs), and Junie B Jones (Sheldon). Tommy graduated from high school in 2015. He was homeschooled much of his life but ended up attending classes at Fargo North High and Trollwood Performing Arts School to pursue a career in theatre. Some of Tommy's favorite area high school credits include King Lear (Gloucester), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Ovington), and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Himself/Romeo/Laertes).
Lauren Hugh (Maria) is a native of Chanhassen, Minnesota. Some of her past credits include Legally Blonde: The Musical (Pilar), Spring Awakening (Thea), Tribes (Sylvia), One River, Charlotte's Web (Fern), Dogfight (Ruth Two Bears), Joseph…Dreamcoat (Narrator/Ensemble), Antigone (Ismene), Into the Woods (Lucinda) and the inaugural production of Romeo & Juliet with ND Shakespeare (Benvolia). She is a 2018 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth BFA Musical Theatre program. After Twelfth Night you can see her in Mamma Mia! at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN starting July 2018. When she’s not doing theatre you can probably find her making cupcakes and cake pops for her business, Peace of Cake Bakery. Lauren thanks her parents, sister, family and friends for their continued love and support!
Loren Liepold (Technical Director) is back for a second year, after acting as TD for Romeo and Juliet. He has worked for UND Theatre Arts since 1990, helping to mount hundreds of productions. A native of Heron Lake, Minn., he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn. He worked in theatre in Rochester, Minn., before coming to UND. At UND, Liepold has been active in University affairs, including the Staff Senate, and has assisted with numerous UND and Grand Forks events. He’s the unofficial historian of University theatre, which can be traced as far back as 1902!
Kyle Marks (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) is very excited to make his North Dakota acting debut in North Dakota Shakespeare’s company. Kyle is a recent graduate of Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he studied Theatre and English. Some of his favorite roles include Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple at Augustana and Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher at The Black Hills Playhouse. After this show, he will be moving to Minneapolis to continue to pursue a career as an actor.
Meghan McNeil (Fabian) is entering her senior year at the University of North Dakota, pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. She has recently appeared in The Wolves (#7), The Wizard of Oz (Sassy Tree), Chicago (Roxie) and Oliver/Phebe in As You Like It. In her down time she can be found playing with her cat George and her bearded dragon Atticus, or trying her hand in the kitchen. Meghan is honored and excited to share her love of Shakespeare with the greater Grand Forks community and thanks North Dakota Shakespeare for giving her this tremendous opportunity!
Luke Minske (Antonio) has just recently graduated from the University of Minnesota- Duluth with a BFA in Acting, with additional training at the University of Worcester, England. Some recent credits include These Shining Lives (Leonard Grossman), Marvin’s Room (Dr. Wally) and West Side Story (Tony). In his spare time Luke enjoys listening to new music, reading a good book, and writing plays. Luke is extremely happy to have the opportunity to be a part of North Dakota Shakespeare and thanks his family for all the support they have given him.
Matthew Murry (Feste/Company Manager) is SUPER excited to return to North Dakota Shakespeare! Matthew holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Indiana University, a B.A. in Theatre with a Minor in Music from Muskingum University, and a certificate in Commedia Dell'Arte Performance from Antonio Fava's International School of Comic Acting. A few of his favorites roles include Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet at NDS!), Prospero (The Tempest), Macbeth (Macbeth), Earl of Kent (King Lear), Garry/Roger (Noises Off), Gary (The Exonerated), George Tesman (Hedda Gabler), and The Man in Chair (The Drowsy Chaperone). While in South Korea, Matthew wrote and performed in several musicals including The Legend of Robin Hood. Favorite Directing Credits: The Wolves (UND), Humble Boy (IU Independent Project), Campout! An English Musical (South Korea). Matthew is extremely proud of his amazing wife, Stephanie Murry, for all of her work making this dream into a reality!
Ashlee Cheyenne Oliver (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be returning to NDS as Stage Manager. He is currently obtaining a BA in Theatre: Production with a concentration in Stage/Production Management at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. Credits for Theatrics in performance elements include: Pentheus from The Bacchae, Judson in Dorothy Meets Alice, and The Drunk in Guys and Dolls. He has Staged Managed many shows over his two years such as These Shining Lives, The Tempest, Shackles of Liberty, and An Enemy Of The People with JSU, and Assistant Stage Manager for Romeo and Juliet, Annie, and Guys and Dolls. He is a private contractor who has technical experience in over 115 shows ranging from concerts to musicals. He spends his free time teaching theatre to young audiences and would like to thank all those who support the arts and his friends/family who support him daily.
Timothy Pyles (Duke Orsino) is an Assistant Professor of Acting and Voice at the University of South Dakota. He is thrilled to be returning to North Dakota Shakespeare, where he played Friar Laurence in last year’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Tim has previously appeared at the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival, the Black Hills Playhouse, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He thanks his amazing wife, without whom he literally could not be here.
*Tim appears by special arrangement with Actor's Equity Association.
Brad Reissig (Scenic/Lighting Designer) is an Associate Professor of Scenic and Lighting Design at the University of North Dakota. He received his Bachelors in Theatre from Kansas State University and his M.F.A. in Theatrical Design and Production at Illinois State University. Prior to his arrival at UND, Brad taught at SUNY Oneonta and Wichita State University. He also freelance designs around the country. Some of his productions include: Angels in America Parts 1&2, Ragtime, Hamlet, South Pacific, Falsettos and The Secret Garden. Brad received meritorious achievement awards from the Kennedy Center/ American College Theatre Festival for his scenic designs for Cabaret and The Crucible and was nominated for Faculty Fellowships in design at the Kennedy Center with Ming Cho Lee and Beverly Emmons. Brad is actively involved in both KC/ACTF and USITT. This is his second year designing for North Dakota Shakespeare!
Bill Rogers (Sir Toby Belch) is pleased to make his North Dakota Shakespeare debut. A Fayetteville, AR resident, he has appeared at TheatreSquared in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Detroit, All The Way, Amadeus, The Quest for Don Quixote, Superior Donuts, Sons of the Prophet, and Sundown Town. Other regional credits include Krapp’s Last Tape (Block St. Theatre), Nice Work If You Can Get It (Tent Theatre), Unnecessary Farce (Tent Theatre), The Jefferson Bottles (Block St. Theatre), the Dupont series (Ceramic Cow Productions), Alley 38 (Artist’s Laboratory Theatre) and other productions. University of Arkansas Theatre credits include Eurydice, Twelfth Night, The Foreigner, Kin, Time Stands Still, Translations and She Stoops To Conquer. Film credits include Parker’s Anchor, Your Local News, Neapolitan and Gordon Family Tree. He received his MFA in Acting from the University of Arkansas in 2016.
Rachel Schmeling (Viola) is thrilled to be making her North Dakota Shakespeare debut as Viola. Talk about a dream role! She is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and holds her BFA in Acting from Missouri State University and her MA from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Recent credits include: MEDEA (Titan Theatre Company), YOU, ME, AND ANXIETY (Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival), NEW YORK CITY GIRLS WILL KILL YOU (New Jersey Repertory Company) and JULIUS CAESAR (The Public Theatre). Rachel also works as a yoga teacher and acting coach. More about her work and coaching business can be found on her website: .
Dr. Aili Davidson Smith (Dramaturge) is an Associate Professor of Theatre & Communication Arts at Minot State University and the MSU Executive & Creative Director of Theatre. She received her BA in Communication Arts from MSU in 1998, an MA in Theatre Arts from UND in 2000, and a PhD in Theatrical Scholarship and Directing from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI in 2009. Dr. Smith’s areas of expertise, in addition to directing, lie in stage movement, acting, dance, and musical theatre. After completing her MA, she lived in Chicago working as a professional stage manager on several productions. While attending WSU, she spent "A Month in Moscow" in 2007 and studied at the American School of the Moscow Art Theatre. Some of Dr. Smith's MSU directing credits include Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Crazy for You, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Crucible, and Much Ado About Nothing, Miss Julie, The Miss Firecrakcer Contest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and God of Carnage. Dr. Smith is excited to serve as Dramaturge for North Dakota Shakespeare’s production of Twelfth Night.