Critics' Choice Cast

Daniel O'Brien (Calvin Strong, Private Detective)
Daniel is a Waupaca High School Alumni and during his time there, performed in the musicals "South Pacific," "The Sound of Music," and "The Pajama Game." He also acted in the plays "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," "Alice in Wonderland," "The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch," and "The Boys Next Door." He and his husband have recently returned to Waupaca after living in Michigan. He can’t wait to dive back into the world of theater with "Critics’ Choice."
Lori Bauer (Samantha Duvall, Private Detective)
This is the second play written by Pat Phair that Lori has performed in, the first being "Two Flags for Marco." Lori is a Waupaca resident and is very active in Waupaca Community Theatre. Having started as a late bloomer, after her boys were through with sports, she walked on stage and knew she was 'home'. When not on stage, you may find her on the lakes, on a golf course, or biking or skiing through the countryside. She is very appreciative of the continued support from her friends and family.
Amy Holterman (Nancy Edmons, Agency Secretary)
Amy, a Waupaca native, received her B.A. in Theatre from UW-Green Bay and went on to study at The National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City. In addition to directing Waupaca Community Theatre's recent production of "The Drowsy Chaperone," Amy has performed in "I Dated Mr. Potatohead," the national tours of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Cyrano de Bergerac," and the Off-Broadway shows "The Improvables" and "The Ensemble Studio Theatre’s One-Act Festival." She also performed in and directed WCT’s production of "Murder's In The Heir." She is thrilled to be working with this talented cast, crew & playwright.
Neil Nusz (Bart O'Conner, Police Lieutenant)
Neil is a certified farrier and life time resident of Waupaca. He has been involved with the Waupaca Community Theatre’s productions of "The Little Mermaid" and "The Drowsy Chaperone." Inspired by his children, he is enjoying working with WCT.
Dave Larson (Henry Poleanski, Newspaper Critic)
A retired teacher, Dave has been involved with the Waupaca Community Theatre for over twenty years. Often behind the scenes building sets and props, he eventually began taking parts in shows as a member of the chorus as well as a few bit parts in "Annie," "Into the Woods," "Grease" and "The Music Man," among others. He is pleased to be part of another production written by Pat Phair, having been a cast member in "Two Flags for Marco." Dave enjoys working with his Community Theatre 'family' no matter what the project is.
Brad Leonhardt (Sheldon Broom, Newspaper Critic)
Brad has performed in films and theatre throughout Wisconsin and is elated to be performing with Waupaca Community Theatre. Some of his previous productions include "Cabaret," "Spamalot," "The Addam’s Family" and "A Lyrical Christmas Carol." He also performs for "Dinner Detective" in Green Bay. Brad can be seen in the films "Through Eyes of Grace," "Stalked by Shadows," and "Room 108." He is currently filming in a mini-series called "Union House Hotel." When not performing, he enjoys restoring old buildings. His current projects are his 1870’s brick Italianate house and a 1904 Bank in Weyauwega.
Dennis Sutliff (Elroy Hardin, Newspaper Critic)
Dennis is founder of Sweet Lips Theater where he worked as an actor for 35 years. This is his second consecutive show with the Waupaca Community Theatre, having performed as Underling in last summer's "The Drowsy Chaperone." Dennis studied acting under Paul Mann. He worked as an actor at the Cricket Theater in Minneapolis and toured with The New Shakespeare Company of San Francisco. Highlighting his early years was an audition for the Broadway production of "Of Mice and Men" with James Earl Jones. He didn’t get the part. Dennis lives with his dog “Fred.” Fred is, of course, a girl.
Tyler Higginson (Marvin Russo, Mob Member)
Although this is Tyler’s first dramatic play with the Waupaca Community Theatre, he performed as Aldolpho in last summer's musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone." Tyler returned to the stage for the first time since high school in the 2022 WCT production of "The Little Mermaid," where he was able to perform alongside his daughter. He appreciates the friends and memories that he has created with the Waupaca Community Theatre!
Tyler Smidt (Felix Hammer, Asst. Private Detective)
Tyler is an active performer at Waupaca High School, having been featured in "The Sound Of Music," "Little Women," and the recent play, "These Shining Lives." He was seen onstage as George in Waupaca Community Theatre's 2023 production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" and is hoping to attend college as a Musical Theatre major.
Kay Ellingson (Emily Ann Bemis, Agency Client)
Kay has been an actor, singer, and dancer with Waupaca Community Theatre since 2018. With more than ten productions under her belt, Kay is excited to once again be working with an ensemble cast of remarkable local talent in "Critics’ Choice." Her favorite performances with WCT include the plays "Luna Gale," "Love Letters," and the musical "Willy Wonka." Kay has also performed in several productions with Wolf River Theatrical Troupe including "Steel Magnolias." She is a member of Waupaca Community Choir and St. Mary Magdalene Choir.
Deb Ostrander (Pearl Larson, HS English Teacher)
Deb has been in several Waupaca Community Theatre productions including onstage in "Our Town" (1988), "Steel Magnolias" (1991) and as the stage manager for "Oliver" (2004). Deb had the opportunity to once again be in the cast of "Steel Magnolias" with the Wolf River Theatre Troupe in 2021, this time playing the role of M’Lynn opposite her daughter Lindsey as Shelby. Deb also performed in "Just Desserts" and "P.S. Merry Christmas" (both in 2022). After a hiatus from WCT, she returned in 2022 in "The Little Mermaid."
Andrea Aurigue (Sharon Meeks, Student Teacher)
After an eight-year hiatus, Andrea returns to the stage, infused with a renewed passion for the theatrical arts. Among her repertoire, she's portrayed various supporting roles, most notably, Hippolyta in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." While she loves the warmth under the stage lights, Andrea's most proud of her work behind the curtains, where she's left her mark as Set Designer for productions including "Young Frankenstein" and "Into the Woods," and Theatre Technician for "Les Misérables," "South Pacific," and "Guys and Dolls." Based in Oshkosh, she is grateful for the support of her husband, Emmanuel, and cherished fur babies, Lola and Bandito. Andrea's thrilled to reconnect with the stage and experience its transformative power once again.
Monica Reeves (Alana Knowcandowski, HS Principal)
Monica has taught theatre arts and English at Waupaca High School for over 30 years, as well as having directed over 50 productions, including one-acts, full-length plays, and musicals. She had the lead role of Mavis in the 1996 WCT production of "The Murder Room," and played Baroness Frankenstein in WCT’s radio show, "Frankenstein." However, since acting has taken a back seat to directing, it is time for Monica to have light shown on her talents. She is happy to take part in her former collegue's original play.
Carmen Riebel (Miss Ponch, HS Secretary)
Carmen, a Waupaca native, has been involved in twenty Waupaca Community Theatre productions including directing "Vanities: The Musical" in 2023. Carmen sings and performs with the local groups Shepherds’ Quarter and Hijinx. She feels blessed to be involved with another original play written by her former English teacher, Pat Phair, alongside other outstanding and talented area actors.