Artistic Director: Tim Backes
Tim Backes is a 2006 graduate of South Milwaukee High School and a 2010 graduate of the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of the SMHS faculty in the English department, teaching Freshman English, Drama I, Drama II and Media Studies.
The 2022-2023 season marks Tim’s fifth as the director of SMHS theatre. He remains thrilled to have the opportunity to direct theater for his alma mater.
Technical Director: Nick DaVia
Nick DaVia is the technical director for the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, a role he has served in for several years now. He manages the stage crew during rehearsals and performances and takes charge of set design and construction for all SMHS theater company productions.
As technical director of the PAC, Nick supervises everything behind the scenes. He is responsible for stage lighting, sound, set construction, rigging, safety, event scheduling, and theatre rental. It is his duty to make sure that all events that happen in the PAC look and sound as good as possible, and happen smoothly, stress-free, and safely for everyone involved.
Costume Designer: Amanda J. Hull
Amanda returns to SMHS Theatre for fall 2022 as the costume designer. She previously designed South Milwaukee High School’s productions of Singin’ in the Rain, A Murder is Announced and Tuck Everlasting. Amanda is a theater professional who acts, directs and designs at various theaters around Milwaukee, and until recently was the artistic director for Milwaukee Entertainment Group.
Light and Sound Technician: Rick Chojnacki
Rick Chojnacki, aka “Mr. Cho,” is starting his 25th year assisting students working on lights and sound for the South Milwaukee High School Theatre Company. Rick started doing lights and sound when his children went to South Milwaukee High School, and has continued through the years working with numerous students. Some of the students he worked with have gone on to work professionally in the industry, coming back to visit and assist him in learning the new technologies.
Rick has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication with a minor in English Literature. He performed onstage during college and has acted and directed with local community theater groups. He has also assisted in lighting and sound design at other schools in the area. In addition, Rick coaches girls’ softball with a rival school. He enjoys traveling with his wife and time with his children and grandchildren.
Choreographer: Cora Trexell
Cora Trexell graduated from Muskego High School in 2018 and is enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying vocal performance and dance. At Muskego, she performed in all aspects of the music program as a member of the 300-member marching band and wind ensemble, and multiple choral ensembles, including Chorale, Sorelle Cantanti, Chamber Choir and the student-led a cappella group, the Latte Ladies. She performed leading roles in musicals such as West Side Story (Anita) and Sister Act (Sister Mary Robert).
Cora’s additional theatre experience includes five years at the Missoula Children’s Theatre Performing Arts Camp. Most recently cora was a co-dance captain in Greendale Community Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia!
At UWM, Cora participates in choir and UWM Opera Theatre. She studies voice with Dr. Tanya Kruse-Ruck, delving deeper into both operatic literature and musical theatre. When not dancing at UWM she is a dance instructor at Anita’s Dance Center, teaching various styles such as tap, ballet, jazz and mini classes to students age 3-12.
Vocal Director: Aimee Swanson