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Resident Acting Company

The Resident Acting Company is an essential component of the artistry and uniqueness of Milwaukee Repertory Theater. The ensemble enhances the work of the company through its ability to develop complex and ambitious productions over time; plan seasons to utilize the unique strengths of an ensemble of actors; and undertake large cast productions on a regular basis and consistently achieve inspired performances in both large and small roles.

Jonathan Gillard Daly has been a member of The Rep’s Resident Acting Company since 1998. Some of his recent roles here include: Charley in Death of a Salesman, Irvin in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; Herr Schulz in Cabaret and Nicky Giblin in The Seafarer. He is also a member of the resident company at Great River Shakespeare Festival, where he has appeared as Prospero, Shylock, Malvolio, Richard III, Bottom, and, most recently, as Falstaff in Henry IV, Part One. He is a veteran of regional theater, having worked at Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, American Players Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Court Theatre and PCPA Theaterfest. Mr. Daly lives in Milwaukee with his wife of 28 years, Gale, and their children, Sam and Emily.


Lee E. Ernst joined The Rep’s Resident Acting Company in 1993 and was most recently seen at The Rep as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Leon/Nick in Speaking in Tongues and Bob Cratchit in The Rep’s production of A Christmas Carol. Most recently in The Rep’s Quadracci Powerhouse, he appeared as The Emcee in Cabaret, Sharky in The Seafarer, Quimby in Seven Keys to Slaughter Peak and The Postman in The Government Inspector. Other roles at The Rep include Frank Lloyd Wright in Work Song, Levin in Anna Karenina, Truffaldino in Servant of Two Masters, George in Of Mice and Men, Clov in Endgame, and the title roles in Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, Richard III, The Foreigner and Tartuffe. Lee has also played leading roles with American Players Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, New American Theater, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and ACT. Lee is recipient of The AriZoni Best Actor Award, Minerva Laureate, Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee and is an Inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. Mr. Ernst received his MFA from The University of Delaware – PTTP.


Laura Gordon has been a member of The Rep’s Resident Acting Company since 1993, performing in many productions including: Death of a Salesman, The Lady With All the Answers, Pride and Prejudice, Enchanted April, Doubt, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Mary Stuart, Copenhagen and Twelfth Night. Directing projects include: Going To St. Ives for Forward Theatre; The Crucible and Old Times for American Players Theatre; Well for Milwaukee Chamber Theatre; Skin Tight for Renaissance Theaterworks and Speaking In Tongues, Laurel and Hardy, Almost, Maine and I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda here at The Rep. Laura was honored to be named a 2010 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. 


Torrey Hanson has appeared in over 75 Rep productions, most notably in The Cherry Orchard (Leonid Gayev); A Flea In Her Ear (Chandebise/Poche); Bach at Leipzig (Johann Friedrich Fasch); Yes. No. (Maybe So . . .) (Lamberto Laudisi); The Crucible (John Hale); A Doll’s House (Nils Krogstad); the title role in Inventing Van Gogh; Copenhagen (Werner Heisenberg); ‘Art’ (Yvan); Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Einstein); Ghosts (Oswald); Nixon’s Nixon (Kissinger); Twelfth Night (Sir Andrew); Hysteria (Salvador Dali) and The Baltimore Waltz (The Third Man). Torrey has worked at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, The Empty Space Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, The Resident Ensemble Players at University of Delaware, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (five seasons), Utah Shakespearean Festival, Madison Repertory Theatre, Subaru Theatre Company in Tokyo and appeared on Cheers and Wings on NBC. He received a BA with honors in History, Rhetoric and French from the University of California-Berkeley and an MFA in Acting from the Professional Theater Training Program currently located at the University of Delaware.


Gerard Neugent just completed his eighth season with Milwaukee Repertory Theater and his fourth season as a member of the Resident Acting Company. He most recently appeared as Happy in Death of a Salesman, Clown 2 in The 39 Steps, Stan Laurel in Laurel and Hardy, Lou Max in Seven Keys to Slaughter Peak, Jimmy/Lendall/Randy/Phil and Dave in Almost, Maine, Johnny in Happy Now? and Hlestakov in The Government Inspector. Previously, he was seen as Simon Panteleyevich Yepikhodov in The Cherry Orchard, Charles Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, Fabrizio in Mirandolina and in multiple roles in Greater Tuna, Rogers/Young Pedgift in the world premiere of Armadale, Antony Wilding in Enchanted April, Norman in The Norman Conquests, Rick Steadman in The Nerd, Edgar in King Lear, Ellard in The Foreigner, Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Steindorf in Back at Leipzig and Camille in A Flea in Her Ear. Gerry is a proud Marquette grad who lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Kate, and their two sons, Gerry and Peter.


James Pickering is currently on sabbatical from The Rep, for reasons linked to the ill-health of his wife, Rep actress Rose Pickering. He appeared with The Rep most recently as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 35th rendition of A Christmas Carol at the historic Pabst Theater. The previous season he was seen as Sheriff Walter Derwinski in Seven Keys to Slaughter Peak, and blind Richard Harkin in The Seafarer. Other favorite roles there include Niels Bohr in Copenhagen, Dave Moss in Glengarry Glen Ross and Charlie in Edward Albee’s Seascape. A Founding Member of Optimist Theatre Company, and a member of their Board of Directors, he played Prospero in The Tempest, their inaugural production of 'Shakespeare in the Park' last June at Alverno College. He is active as a voice talent, having narrated the Midwest Emmy Award-winning The Making of Milwaukee. In 2010’s Shepherd Express poll he was voted Critics’ Choice for Best Actor. He and his wife, actress Rose Pickering, were named Milwaukee’s Outstanding Artists a decade ago. Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture gave them the year 2000 Alumni Achievement Award, and they were granted permanent ‘Wall of Fame’ berths by Milwaukee Magazine. In November he was selected to be a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow by the Ten Chimneys Foundation. The Rep's 2011/12 season will be Jim's 39th as a member of The Rep’s Resident Acting Company.


Rose Pickering is currently on Sabbatical after 37 seasons as a member of the Rep’s Resident Acting Company. She opened The Rep’s new Powerhouse Theater space in 1987 playing the title role in The Matchmaker, and was in the opening performance of all three new Rep spaces that season including The Puppetmaster of Lodz in the Stiemke Theater and Shue Biz, a revue she helped compile from dear friend Larry Shue’s memoirs, in the Stackner Cabaret. Some of her favorite performances have been Kate Keller in All My Sons, Mag in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa and the title roles of Juno and the Paycock, Miss Lulu Bett and Mother Courage. She considers it a lifetime achievement to have performed in all four great Chekhov masterpieces, having appeared as both Olga and later Masha in Three Sisters, Sonya in Uncle Vanya, Arkadina in The Seagull, and Bobka in The Cherry Orchard.


Deborah Staples has been honored to call The Rep home for 16 seasons running. Favorites among her 50 plus Rep credits include Speaking in Tongues, Born Yesterday, Mary Stuart, Frozen, Armadale, Proof, Anna Karenina and The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. She has also enjoyed a wonderful association with American Players Theatre for seven seasons, where favorites include Elvira (Blithe Spirit), Ariel (Tempest), Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing), Gwendolyn (The Importance of Being Earnest), Roxane (Cyrano de Bergerac) and Phedre. She has played wonderful roles with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, New American Theater, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Shaw Chicago, Iowa Shakespeare Festival, Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival and Meadow Brook Theatre and loves being a commercial and voice-over talent. Deborah is the very proud wife of Next Act Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, David Cecsarini, and the proud mother of their two girls. Coming in summer of 2012, Deborah will once again play all the roles in The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead for Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, IL.

Brian Vaughn
Brian Vaughn has appeared in over 36 productions since joining The Rep’s Resident Acting Company in 1997. Recent Rep roles include William Magee in Seven Keys to Sluaghter Peak, Adam in Yankee Tavern, Miles in Happy Now?, Yasha in The Cherry Orchard, Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice and the Knight of Rippafratta in Mirandolina. In previous seasons, he has played Father Flynn in Doubt, Edward in The Voysey Inheritence, Rakitin in A Month in the Country, Lenck in Bach at Leipzig, Hal in Proof, Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace, Jim in The Glass Menagerie, Ray in The Beuty Queen of Lenane and the title roles in Amedeus and The Shaughran. Other Milwaukee credits include Bri in Joe Eggs at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Burton in Burn This at Renaissance Theaterworks and Leo Bloom in The Producers at Skylight Opera Theatre. Regionally he has been seen at the Utah Shakespearean Festival (Cyrano, Hamlet, Henry V, Benedict, Hotspur), Arizona Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Kennedy Center, PCPA Theatrefest and Theatre at the Center in Indiana.


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