Artistic Advisory Committee
In order to ensure Cardinal’s artistic and educational programming are more broadly representative and inclusive of diverse voices and viewpoints, the company has created an Artistic Advisory Committee to advise the Artistic Director on matters of programming and artistic staffing. This group will recommend plays and musicals for consideration, evaluate their potential for meaningful audience engagement and community partnerships, and recommend appropriate creative team members and/or actors to ensure culturally competent and relevant leadership for all productions.
Meet the Committee Members
Steve Brewer: Married to Nan Brewer, father of four, lifelong Hoosier Steve Brewer has a BA and an MA in Teaching from the English Department at Indiana University. He taught English at Edgewood High School for 36 years and works part time as a student teaching supervisor for the IU School of Education. Since their first date at the Indianapolis Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1981, Steve and Nan have attended hundreds of local productions on campus and in town, including several showings of Cardinal’s The Grapes of Wrath, in which their youngest son Philip appeared.
Monica Fleetwood Black was born and raised in Bloomington, IN. She attended Earlham College for bachelor’s degree, and IUPUI and IU Bloomington for her two Master’s degrees. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and works primarily with at-risk children and their families. In September, she will start a new adventure as the Clinical Coordinator with the Monroe County Youth Services Bureau. She enjoys gardening, kayaking, hiking and travelling with her husband Garrett, and is the mother of two cat brothers, Simi and Soji.
Morgan McMillan (she/her) currently serves as the Associate Director of Financial Wellness & Education at IU, conducting programming and supervising student peer financial educators across all IU campuses. She is passionate about college access work, professional development of her colleagues, and just being a general foodie. An Indiana native and former child actor, Morgan has been an avid theatre-goer for several years both locally and at various performances across the country. She is a dog mom of 3, Bloomington resident of 7 years, tea snob, and recently certified pastry culinarian.
Nina Yoshida Nelsen, mezzo soprano is an avid advocate for equity in the arts. She is perhaps most well known for over 150 performances of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with opera companies in NYC, Chicago Lyric Opera, London (Royal Albert Hall), Utah, Atlanta, and Winnipeg (Canada). Also well-known for her work in contemporary opera, Ms. Yoshida Nelsen has sung in five world premieres. Equally at home on the concert stage, Nina has performed in world-class halls including Carnegie, Avery Fisher, and Royal Albert. Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Nina currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana with her French Hornist husband Jeff Nelsen and their two sons, Rhys (10) and Blair (5).
Tanya Palmer is an Associate Professor at Indiana University, Bloomington. Prior to joining the faculty at IU, Tanya Palmer was the Producer and Director of New Play Development at the Goodman Theatre and led the theatre’s new play programs for 14 seasons. She served as the production dramaturg on a number of world premieres including an original adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666 written and directed by Seth Bockley and Robert Falls. From 2000-2005 she was the Director of New Play Development at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she led the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Richard Perez works nationally as an actor, director and educator with an emphasis on new play development. He is the former Artistic Director of The Bloomington Playwrights Project in Indiana, Associate Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists and Co-Artistic Director of Exit Left Theatre in Michigan. Directing credits include: The Mercy Swing (New York Fringe Festival) and Nocturnal (Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival), The Christians, Cry it Out, At The Table and Human Error. His television acting credits include: Boss, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Electric Dreams. He is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hope College in Michigan.
Chad Rabinovitz is the Producing Artistic Director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project. In addition to producing new works, Chad has directed more than 100 productions across the country, focusing primarily on new and contemporary plays and musicals. He’s got some awards and stuff, but his proudest achievement is opening a space-themed candy store in Lake George, NY called, The Candy Space (www.thecandyspace.com).
James Rose (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, genderfluid NYC-based actor most recently seen as Race in Cardinal Stage’s Newsies. Outside acting, James is a trauma-informed yoga teacher, personal trainer, and public academic who teaches workshops on Gender, Sexuality, and Eating Disorder recovery. They currently also serve on the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committees for the Sharon Playhouse & the National Eating Disorder Association. James is committed to responsible storytelling, dismantling systems of oppression, and uplifting historically excluded voices in the arts. @jamesissmiling | jamesissmiling.com
Peter Ruiz (They/Them) is a nonbinary actor, playwright, and dramaturg raised in Orlando but currently based in Bloomington, Indiana. A recent graduate of the MFA Acting Program at Indiana University, they are a self described Queer, Quirky, Multi-Racial, Multi-Ethnic, Mess. Their ethos seeks to celebrate the complexity of the fullness of artists’ identities in art making in order to create spaces of radical empathy and connection. www.peter-ruiz.com
Brenson Thomas is a theatre maker, actor, and writer. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA in Theatre program, Brenson has collaborated/performed original work with Tony Award Winner Stew, Raja Feather Kelly, and performed in Philadelphia at the Wilma Theater, the Arden Theatre, and most recently with Lightning Rod Special in The Appointment (FringeArts/Next Door at NYTW; Barrymore Nominee for Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical). Brenson is also a TV writer, most recently writing on Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe’s Twenties. When he’s not hunched over his laptop crying about blank Google docs, Brenson enjoys long walks around the city, doing bad accents, smashing patriarchal white supremacist structures, and Beyoncé.
Audrey Thomas McCluskey, IU-B, emerita professor, retired at the rank of full professor. Areas of teaching and research in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies focused on gender and race. Administratively, she served as Director of: Graduate Studies, the Black Film Center/Archive; and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Her six published books on Black cinema and culture, and women’s education. Locally, she served on the board of directors of the YMCA, the Commission on the Status of Women; the executive board of the NAACP; and as a community columnist for the Herald-Times. In retirement, she taught summer session at University of Michigan, mentored third graders at Fairview Elementary, and tried to improve her lagging swim stroke, while serving on the boards of MiddleWay House and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. She continues to write and publish reviews and occasional articles.
Daniella Wheelock is a Chicago-based theatremaker, originally from San Diego, California. She graduated magna cum laude from the Conservatory for Theatre Arts at Webster University with a degree in Directing and was an Emerging Professional Resident at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. She is a Grant Writer for Red Tape Theatre and an Institutional Giving Consultant for Artistic Fundraising Group. Recent directing credits include: Working (CATCO); Fragmented (virtual designer/assistant to dir. Spencer Diedrick, Our Perspectives: Asian American Plays); The Thinning Veil (Exhumus, editor/director of all 30 episodes); The Roommate (Cardinal Stage); The Great Leap (assistant to dir. Jesca Prudencio, Steppenwolf Theatre Company). daniellawheelock.com