Our Artists!

 Below are the people with whom we have been privileged to work...

Jim Blair teaches theater at Northeastern Illinois University in the Department of Communication, Media, and Theatre. He has published two books of poetry--"The Blue Flame Lingers" and "Conversations with My Daughter Sigmund." Jim has also published satire and fiction and is an occasional actor on stage. Currently, he writes, performs, and directs live radio dramas with the 91.1 Players at station WGTD in Kenosha, Wisconsin and has directed the stage production of the award-winning 91.1 Players radio play "And on the Eighth Day" has directed the BrownUllstrup Production of the stage play, "And on the Eighth Day: Bryan v. Darrow."

Rene Bushelle (a.k.a., Sylvia Rene Thomas) holds  a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Maryland in Theatre Arts and Broadcasting.  She has worked in radio and television broadcasting over a 20 year period in five countries:  Hong Kong, Panama, Mexico, Jamaica, and the U.S.  Rene has appeared in the Chicago area as the interview program host of “It’s People” on WCIU-TV, and has hosted programs on WLS radio, focusing on women’s and Hispanic community issues.  In Hong Kong, she produced and narrated investigative documentaries for Radio/Television Hong Kong, an arm of the BBC.  Her Mexico experience includes news anchor positions for a CBS radio affiliate, and producer/host of a daily magazine program aired on Televisa.  In the Panama Canal Zone, she conducted live TV interviews in “Que Pasa?”, produced and acted in her own weekly children’s program, and was featured as star of the “Sylvia and Santa Show” series.  

Rene has thoroughly enjoyed her association with the 91.1 Players.  She has played a variety of roles including Blanche in “The Golden Girls”, Donna Reed in “The New Donna Reed Show”,  Grandmama  in “The Addams Show”, Catwoman in “Batman”, Shirley in “The Kane Shadow”,  Judy Jetson in ”Cartoon Families ”, and  Endora  in “Bewitched” to name a few.

Viki DuMez is a founding member of the award-winning 91.1 Radio Players at WGTD-FM in Kenosha, Wisconsin where she has voiced countless characters and directed countless episodes over the years.  Viki has been active in community theater in Racine, Kenosha, and Lake Geneva.  She has served in other roles in theater operations including stage manager, costumer, prop master, and personal assistant.  Viki participates in the Lake Lawn Murder Mysteries.  She enjoys portraying historical figures such as Lucy Ricardo, Mary Baird Bryan, Phyllis Diller, Amelia Earhart, Mrs. Santa Claus, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  She is a regular re-enactor at the annual History Walk at the Green Ridge Cemetery in Kenosha bringing local people of note back to life.  Viki is also a member of the Olio Storytelling group and performs regularly at Fusion in Kenosha.

While Viki enjoys singing and tap dancing, her heart's desire is spending time with Bob, her husband of over 33 years, their four children, their grandson, and their English bulldog, Jasper.  A  very special thanks to my beloved husband, Bob.  You’re a real humdinger.  “You’re a Botticelli.  You’re Keats.  You’re Shelley.  You’re Ovaltine.”  (Cole Porter)

  Ryan Farrell has been acting as long as he can remember. From impersonating movie characters, like James Bond, at the age of 5 in his living room, to acting in local plays, independent film, and the 91.1 Radio Theater, he has always been meticulous in the creation of a character and takes gratification in his theatricality. Ryan has been with the WGTD Radio Theater since it began in 2005 and has been involved with close to 20 shows. The credits he is most proud of include: the award-winning "And on the Eighth Day: Bryan v. Darrow (2005)," "The Return of the Kane Shadow: The Haunted Mystery of Kemper Hall (2006)," "The New George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (2007)," and "The New Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (2008)." He also co-directed and starred in the award-winning holiday show "It Could have Been a Wonderful Life (2006)," featuring two original stars of the 1946 Capra movie. In 2007, Ryan reprised his roles of a juror and John T. Scopes in the stage production of "And on the Eighth Day: Bryan v. Scopes." Recently, Ryan voiced the roles of Augie Doggie and Baba Looey for the WGTD 91.1 Radio Theaters production of "The Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Extravaganza (2009)," and directed and starred in "Highway 43: The Ray Bradbury Mystery Theater (2009)."
  Nathan Fosbinder attends La Follette High School in Madison, Wisconsin where he plays trumpet, runs track, is in show choir, and appears in school shows. Nathan was last seen in a BrownUllstrup production when he starred as Jonas of “The Giver” in 2008. Also in 2008, he was Mycroft Holmes in the WGTD Radio Theatre 91.1 Players presentation of “Young Sherlock and Mycroft: The Holmes Brother's Mystery". Nathan has appeared at The Fireside Dinner Theatre (“The Music Man” and “A Fireside Christmas”) in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and the Janesville (Wisconsin) Armory Dinner Theatre (“The Christmas Schooner”).

Nathan has been involved with numerous Madison area community theatre groups, including Oregon Straw Hat Players’ “Tom Sawyer”, “Narnia”, “The Sound of Music”, and “Oklahoma”. He has also appeared with Stoughton Village Players, Madison Theatre Guild, Four Seasons Youth Theatre, and Music Theatre of Madison.
  Jack Grassel's music career began early when his father started him on music lessons at age three. By age four, he was performing professionally with the "Bar O Ranch" a live variety show and on local television and radio. Mr. Grassel has played over 11,000 performances in every conceivable musical situation. Among his favorites are: duets with Luciano Pavarotti, concerts with Melvin Rhyne, Nancy Wilson, Tal Farlow and other name artists too numerous to mention. Jack enjoyed years of personal tutelage by his mentors, Tal Farlow, Billy Bauer and George Van Eps which helped father his unique style. In the March 2000 issue of Guitar One magazine, fans voted him as one of the "10 Best Guitarists in America." This winner of seven WAMI awards as Jazz Artist and Guitarist of the Year maintains a busy schedule of performances. In 2007 and 2009, the readers of the Milwaukee Shepherd newspaper voted Jack as Milwaukee's "Best Jazz Artist". For decades, guitarists the world over have studied his many guitar books and recordings which feature his 70 compositions. In 1996, Jack was acknowledged for excellence as a distinguished educator in “Who's Who of America's Teachers.” His ex-students are a legion of the world's finest musicians. Mr. Grassel's popular Big Ax book trilogy is the groundbreaking system for playing bass lines, melody and chords simultaneously. He can be heard playing guitar and bass at the same time on his invention, "The Superguitar". His columns have enlightened readers of Guitar Player and Just Jazz Guitar magazines.

Learn more about Jack and his work at www.jackgrassel.com.
  It's not quite true Don Jensen's first involvement with radio drama came when Marconi was still experimenting with his newfangled wireless. But Don, at age 15, and his late brother, Dick, 12, armed with a new tape recorder, created their own spoofs of popular radio shows more than 50 years ago. Since then, Don had a long career in writing, including 34 years as a reporter and editor with the Kenosha (Wisconsin) News. He also worked in radio and TV in Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee, and was a freelance contributor to international broadcasters in Canada and Switzerland, as well as writing features and columns for a number of national magazines over the years. He also has had a long interest in local history, writing many feature articles and several books on historical subjects. On the stage, he has performed with Kenosha's Lakeside Players as Orson Welles in "War of the Worlds," and in Ray Cooney's British farce, "Run for Your Wife." He is a senior staff member of WGTD's 91.1 Players, and since 2005, has appeared as actor, director, or writer in many of their live radio dramas.
  Jill Jensen's first sentence was "Where's the music?" Since then, Jill became well known for delighting audiences as a highly expressive vocalist, actress, voice talent and television spokesperson with a smile in her delivery. A fan once described her voice as "Victoria's Secret for the ears." Whether in her duo, combo or big band, she's a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Jill won the honor of "Favorite Female Vocalist" in the Journal Times Reader's poll two years in a row. Her two CD's, Seems Like Dreams and It's About The Music, have garnered rave reviews. Vocal studies include the Jazz Summit Voice Major at the National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut and The Lakeshore Conservatory of Music in Racine, Wisconsin. She has performed with Ed Thigpen, Howard Levy, Ernie Adams, Dane Richeson, Paul Wertico, Chip McNeil, Marlene Rosenberg and most notably since 1998 when she teamed up with (and eventually married!) world-renowned jazz guitarist, Jack Grassel. Dave Luhrssen of The Shepherd Express wrote, "Jensen's voice sparkles for the sheer delight of singing...she wraps around words and their emotional implications." Rick Tvedt of Rick's Cafe wrote, "Jensen's voice is clear, strong, confident and rich in tone…she is a rare vocal talent...playful, and has clearly learned to express herself from a joyful center."

Learn more about Jill and her work, visit www.jilljensen.com.
  Larry LaFontsee’s debut into the world of theatre was in 1966, terrorizing his fourth grade class’ production of “Robin Hood” as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Shivers!

A veteran of Racine, Milwaukee, and Fox Valley (Neenah / Appleton / Green Bay) theatre, Larry has credits that include industrial film, television commercials, independent film and radio. Recent productions in Wisconsin include last year’s Riverside Player’s production of “Escanaba In Da Moonlight” (Ranger Tom), “Marc Golde’s Show of Shows” (Zeegschnorgk the Alien), and The Tribute to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” (The Schoolmaster). He has also been busy with character design, puppetry, voice and ventriloquism work for The Milwaukee Public Theatre. His background includes set design, makeup, puppetry design, fabrication, performance and voice-over work in both professional and non-professional venues that has been seen or heard in many different theatrical productions in Wisconsin and the region.

A ventriloquist and ventriloquist figure designer/builder, he also collects ventriloquial memorabilia and ephemera and so has a houseful of dummies he blames the dirty dishes on.

Larry has a new werbsite coming soon for LAFONTSEE CARICATURE DESIGN. In the meantime, you can see some of the current designs and caricatures at this site...

  Christopher Leonard holds a BA in Theatrical Performance from the University of Central Florida, as well as an MA in Linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. He works as a college instructor, teaching English at Truman College and Communication at NEIU. Chris has been acting for many years, having recently portrayed “Van Helsing” in Dracula as well as the “Father” in The Giver. Other favorite acting roles include “Leonato” in Much Ado About Nothing and “Moon” in The Real Inspector Hound. In addition to acting, Chris also directs plays. Recent directing credits include The Actor’s Nightmare and The Illusion; he will also be directing A Tale of Two Cities during the Spring 2010 semester at NEIU. Chris would like to thank Steve, Mike, and Terry [Lawler] for the opportunity, as well as all of his friends and family for their love and support. 
  Teresa Meyers, better known as Terry to her friends, started her love affair with the stage at the age of three when she started dancing. Later, during elementary and high school, she became active in the dramatic arts. As an adult her performances moved to several different community theaters. A few of the many performances include, “The Crucible” at the Racine Theater Guild, “Emily” at Waukesha Civic Theater, and “Steel Magnolias” with Lakeside Players in Kenosha, WI. “Delores Dogan” was Terry’s debut performance with BrownUllstrup.

While not on stage, Terry has been employed with Coleman Tool & Mfg. Corp. since 2007 as a Customer Service Representative. Though, if you ask her boss, he’ll say she does a little of everything. Due to her wonderful job, Terry was able to purchase her own home in Racine, Wisconsin in 2009. When not working on her new abode, she enjoys cooking, waterskiing, and exploring new forms of artistic expression. The latter has led to three Downtown Racine art projects, including “Sour Puss,” “Bear Naked,” and “Oh No" -- all sponsored by her previous employer, Porters of Racine.

Terry would like to send out a special thanks to her friends, family, and Coleman Tool for their support and assistance during all her recent adventures!
  Andrew Potter is a homeschooled high school student from Racine, Wisconsin who spends much of his free time drawing, fostering animals for rescue organizations and pretending he's somebody he's not -- on the air and on stage. Andrew began taking acting classes at the suggestion of his kindergarten teacher who noticed that he spent every free period dressing up in costumes and acting out different characters in front of a mirror. He eventually progressed through various classes and acting adventures including a medieval acting summer camp and a year with Racine Theater Guild's "SPArK" (Student Performing Arts Kompany). Recently, Andrew has found a new love in voice acting with the BrownUllstrup radio productions. He has performed for the WGTD Radio Theater 91.1 Players as “Larry Scanlon” in "Andy Hardy's White Christmas", as “The Stranger” in "Highway 43: The Ray Bradbury Waukegan Mystery", and as “Chester” in "The New Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show".
  Courtney Shaughnessy is one of the four founding members of Serendipity Theatre Company in Chicago; she was their resident playwright for 6 years. She was one of the writers on board for their inaugural production of “A.D.D.,” and was a co-writer for “Chordless” which had its world premiere at the New York Fringe Festival. She is also the author of “Being 11” which was voted one of the best plays to see in 2002 by the Chicago Sun Times. “Being 11” made its debut at the Tony Award winning, Victory Gardens in 2002 and was remounted at the Athenaeum Theatre in 2004. She is the creator and writer of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s annual “Stories of Care Giving”. She has performed overseas in England at the Theatre Royal and in Edinburgh as part of the Fringe Festival in “Weekend In Rio”, for which she received a Best Actress Nomination for her performance as Tina. Her most recent Chicago credits include, Tekla in Maria Arndt with the Steppenwolf Theatre and Susie in “Wit” with the Goodman Theatre. Other Chicago theatre credits include, Patty in the world premiere of Wendy Macloed’s Schoolgirl Figure with the Goodman Theatre, and a myriad of other black box theatre shows. Ms. Shaughnessy has also been the voice of many characters on TV and radio. She is a member of AFTRA and AEA but has taken a leave of absence from the union to make beautiful babies with her best friend, Jon.

“Delores Dogan” has just recently been mounted out in LA at the Second City, Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre and The Improv Olympic. “Delores Dogan” debuted at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago in 2004 and was remounted in 2006 at the Straw Dog Theatre in Chicago. Ms. Shaughnessy stays at home with her two beautiful children Matthew and Mae and teaches acting and improv at the Improv Playhouse in Libertyville. “Thank you Jon, Terry, Mike, and Steve. I’m so excited I finally get to do this show. Thank you also to all my friends and family, my apologies if you find yourself vaguely familiar with some of Delores’ trials and tribulations-you shouldn’t talk so much! XOXO Corky.”
  Cameron Spencer is a technical education teacher in Waukegan, Illinois. Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, Cameron participated and starred in several plays and musicals from kindergarten through high school. Settling down in Kenosha, Wisconsin after serving nine years in the United States Navy, he became a member of the three-time award-winning 91.1 Players and The Lakeside Players, both of Kenosha. Cameron starred in the title role of Brown-Ullstrup’s radio production of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and in their stage production of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” as the Chief Elder. He has also played the Big Bad Wolf in Lakeside’s production of Judy Wolfman’s “ Red vs. the Wolf” and the hungry plant, Audrey, in their production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” The best part of acting for Cameron is being able to work with good people just for the fun of it.

Read an article about Cameron...
  Gary Stamm’s performance career spans more than forty years and includes theater, musical theater, barbershop harmony, emceeing, radio-theater, television commercials, narration, and a host of other media. Additionally, he is a voice impersonator having recreated the voices of: Jack Benny, FDR, Yogi Bear, and many others on WGTD radio and elsewhere. Career highlights include writing, directing and voice-over work for Hanna-Barbera Productions in Hollywood, singing as one of the Pied Pipers wtth the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra at Ravinia and touring Sweden with a vocal quartet. He also judges a cappella contests throughout the United States and Canada. Gary stars as Franklin Roosevelt in the play, “A Fireside Chat: A Conversation with FDR,” written by Steve Brown and Mike Ullstrup based on an idea from Gary. He debuted the play at its premier at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and masters degrees in both radio and television and business. Currently, he is an Association Executive for the Racine Board of Realtors. He lives in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin with his wife, Ruth. 
  Evan Zuhlke started acting in 2005 as a Bumble boy in the stage play, "Oliver". He became a member of the 91.1 Players in 2007 at WGTD-FM in Kenosha, Wisconsin and appeared in the BrownUllstrup production of "The Giver" in February 2008. He enjoys playing various radio personalities and was thrilled to be a part of the WGTD Radio Show, "Bob Hope Salutes the Troops." He has had formal training in improvisation and is ready for the next adventure that c
comes his way!

  Kathy Zuhlke’s improvisational acting career started in the mid 1980’s on the streets of Chicago...literally. Through the Ted Sarantos Improv group, she acted in Murder Mysteries on the EL. A few years later she moved to Racine, Wisconsin and was thrilled to get involved both onstage and backstage at the Racine Theatre Guild. As a mother of two and working full time in radiation physics, she finds the artistic adventures of BrownUllstrup Productions a good fit.

Kathy appeared in her first radio production in December, 2006, "It Could Have Been a Wonderful Life". Since then, she has appeared in numerous other WGTD radio dramas and comedies including playing a lead role in "Highway 43: The Ray Bradbury Waukegan Mystery." Kathy's most challenging role to date was onstage as "Mother" in Lois Lowry's "The Giver" produced by BrownUllstrup in 2008. "I enjoy the challenge of bringing life to a character whether it is on stage or radio. I am grateful to Steve Brown and Mike Ullstrup for giving me opportunities to do so."