The Lisbon Traviata

The Lisbon Traviata

by Terrence McNally
directed by Alan Piotrowicz

featuring the talents of Joshua Biatch, Cory J. O'Donnell, Bryan Quinn, and Deshawn A. Thomas
with scenic design by Maggie Marks and costume design by Nikki Heiniger

The Lisbon Traviata, a sharply funny - yet deeply tragic - story, centers on a revealing conversation between Stephen, a depressed literary editor and opera fanatic, and Mendy, a flamboyant opera queen. The two dish late into the night, distracting Stephen from his failing relationship with hilarious riffs on records, divas, and more. But when Stephen returns home to confront his boyfriend, a tragedy unfolds on the scale of the grand opera he loves so much.

The performance is in two acts and runs approximately 2.5 hours, including a 15-minute intermission.
Content warning: contains adult themes, language, and brief nudity.

Originally Produced by Theatre Off Park, Sherwin M. Goldman and Westport Productions at Theatre Off Park in New York City, 1985. THE LISBON TRAVIATA is presented by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing, LLC, servicing the Dramatists Play Service collection.

September 9th, 10th, 14th, 16th, & 17th, 2022 @ 7:00pm
September 18th, 2022 @ 2:00pm
September 19th, 22nd, 23rd, & 24th 2022 @ 7:00pm - Pay-What-You-Wish


Bryan Quinn (Mendy)

Hailing from Watertown, Bryan is pleased to open Sunstone’s second season as Mendy. He has appeared on Milwaukee stages as the Narrator in Liz Shipe’s The Incredible Adventure of Alvin Tatlock, Owen Fawcett in Angela Ianone’s The Seeds of Banquo, and most recently as Stan Zbornak in Purse String Productions’ Golden Girls Drag Christmas Parody.

Cory J. O'Donnell (Stephen)

Cory J. O’Donnell is an actor, singer, and dancer based in Wisconsin in his first production with Sunstone Studios. He trained at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and earned degrees in Musical Theatre and Dance. Cory J. recently worked with Minot State Summer Theatre while playing roles such as Nigel Bottom (Something Rotten), Paul Singer (Moon Over Buffalo) and Max Detweiler (The Sound of Music). He was also invited to the Open Jar Institute in New York.

Joshua Biatch (Mike)

Josh is excited to be working again with Sunstone Studios. Josh studied theatre at Kenyon College, and furthered his work as an Apprentice Actor at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. When not acting, Josh can be found teaching with Milwaukee Youth Theatre or choreographing stage combat. Previous credits include Richard Gloucester (Margaret, Voices Found Rep), CB (Dog Sees God, StageQ), and Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing, The Crow's Nest). Shalom!

Deshawn A. Thomas (Paul)

Deshawn (he/him/they/them) is a new Milwaukee-based actor. His most recent credits are: Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park), and Sociable Companions (Sweet Tea Shakespeare). He has also had the superb opportunity to work as an Emerging Professional Resident in Acting with The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. When Deshawn isn’t onstage, he can be found either in front of the television binging anime or with his nose on a cookbook dreaming up recipes.

Production Staff

Alan Piotrowicz (Director)

Alan Piotrowicz has worked as a freelance director and designer in the greater Milwaukee area for the past fifteen seasons, including directing credits with and Cooperative Performance (ALL IN THE EYE), Falls Patio Players (SOME ENCHANTED EVENING, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE), the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center (SISTER MARY IGNATIUS EXPLAINS IT ALL FOR YOU, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES), Pink Banana Theatre Co. (GUESS WHO DIED, DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, THINGS THAT GO BUMP, THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE PRIMORDIAL OOZE), Soulstice Theatre (ROCKET MAN), Village Playhouse (A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, PRESUMED GUILTY), and The World’s Stage Theater Co. (THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS). He also led a readers series as a joint project between Falls Patio Players and Pink Banana Theatre Co. for two seasons, for which he directed readings of DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE, ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT, Neil Haven’s STUCK, and THE BALTIMORE WALTZ. His work as a designer includes shows with All In Productions, Brief Cameo Productions (Ivoryton, CT), Cooperative Performance, Danceworks, Falls Patio Players, First Stage Children’s Theatre, Four Seasons Theatre (Madison, WI), Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (Holland, MI), In Tandem Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Next Act Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Theatre Gigante, Theater RED, TITAN Theater (NYC), and Windfall Theatre.

The director wishes to dedicate his work on this production to the memory of L. Joe Dahl (1961-2011).

Maggie Marks (Scenic Designer)

Maggie Marks is an Actor and Mom from the Milwaukee area, and has been acting, training, and working in the theater world for 20 plus years. After graduating from Skidmore College with a double major in Spanish and Theater, she traveled and trained around the world  She has trained with Saratoga International Theater Institute (SITI), the British American Drama Academy (BADA) in Oxford, England, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Beverly HIlls Playhouse, and the Audition Studio (Chicago). She has lived in Spain, Peru, England, Chicago, L.A, Cleveland, and upstate New York, and traveled to several countries. While living in Cleveland, she worked with Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, Fourth Wall Productions, Karamu Theater, Weathervane Playhouse, Charenton Theater Company, Theater Ninjas, Cleveland Public Theater, and toured an taught with the Illusion Factory (Children's Theater). After three years in Cleveland she returned to Milwaukee and acted for Milwaukee Shakespeare Theater Co. and Waukesha Civic Theater and a few others before starting a family and taking a 10 year theater hiatus. In that time she still did commercial work with Jennifer’s Talent and Lori Linns Agency, and acted occasionally as a Standardized patient for Froedert. During her hiatus, she also served as a Board member for the Shorewood Library, and was the head of the hiring committee for the current Library Director. In the Milwaukee area, she has worked with several theaters, such as: First Stage Children's Theater, Renaissance Theaterworks (House Manager and Actor), Mad Rogues (Actor and Board committee member) Sunset Playhouse, Milwaukee Entertainment Group, Voices Found Repertory, Schmitz and Giggles, and Sunstone Studios (Facilities Manager, Director, and Actor).

Nikki Heiniger (Costume Designer)

Nikki is thrilled to be designing The Lisbon Traviata for Sunstone Studios. Her most recent design credit was Moana Jr for Dare to Dream Theatre. Other design credits include Milwaukee Youth Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Quasimondo Physical Theatre, Waukesha Civic Theatre, Bad Example Productions, Village Playhouse,  Evergreen Productions, and Green Bay Community Theatre. Nikki is the recipient of the 2019 Footlights Awards for Outstanding Costume Design in a Professional Production. She is a proud alumnus of UWM’s Professional Theatre Training Program. Much love to her Goofball and parents.

Kara Penrose (Fight Director)

Victoria Hudziak (Intimacy Director)

Victoria Hudziak is a Milwaukee native and BA graduate of UW Milwaukee, and has received training from Intimacy Directors and Coordinators (IDC). She is pleased to bring Intimacy Direction to The Lisbon Traviata. Many thanks to Alan Piotrowicz, Amber Regan, Emily Szymanski, and the cast for their trust and openness to consent-centered practices. Special thanks to Christopher Elst.

Emily Szymanski (Stage Manager)

Emily Szymanski is a Milwaukee native, and recent graduate of UW Eau Claire with a Bachelors of Arts in Comprehensive Theatre. She is thrilled to be at Sunstone Studios, and Stage Managing for the first time! Working on The Lisbon Traviata with Alan, the cast, and crew has been such an honor, and she is so proud of everyone involved for putting on an amazing show. She has a wide variety of credits across all production roles, but has been an actress at heart since she was young. Some of her university production credits include Director of Murder By Midnight for the UWEC One Act Festival, Assistant Stage Manager for Medea, and Producer for Failure: A Love Story. Acting credits include Henrietta Leavitt in Silent Sky, Philoclea in Head Over Heels, Little Nun in The House of Blue Leaves, and Jessica in Hand to God. Professionally, Emily has worked as an Assistant Director and Drama teacher for the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, and currently works at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater as a House Manager and Ticket Office Representative. Emily would like to thank her friends and family for their constant support! Whether on or off stage, she is grateful that they continue to attend her performances, be it four hours away or twenty minutes. Enjoy The Lisbon Traviata!

Special Thanks

The director also wishes to thank the table read team from January 2011, including Angela Iannone, T Stacy Hicks, David Flores, and Rich Gillard.

An opening night reception was held at Tonic Tavern, the official opening night sponsor for our 2022-2023 season.