Onward and Upward
Online Program & Artist Profiles
Charlie Romano (Music & Book) is a Latino/Italian-American Composer from the Chicago area. As a member of a large family, he is used to sharing everything and spending time with many different kinds of people. As a result, Charlie is passionate about telling untold stories. Beyond Onward and Upward, his work includes Call Me From the Grave (2021 O’Neill Finalist), the story of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson and his infamous deal with the devil; Word Nerd, a larger-than-life comedy set behind the scenes of a crossword-themed game show; and Video Rental Store, a short exploration of human connection in the face of disaster. He is also currently working on TITA, a musical about his Panamanian-immigrant grandmother (a hyper-energetic polyglot whose life touched countless people across the world). Before the pandemic, Charlie enjoyed a part-time writing residency at NYCSongSpace. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the BMI Advanced Workshop. Visit charlieromano.com for more information.
Will Wegner (Lyrics & Book) is a lyricist-librettist-linguist from Appleton, Wisconsin. During his time at Yale, where he’s pursuing a double major in Theater and Performance Studies and Linguistics, he has enjoyed opportunities in performance, design, and formal semantics research. Beyond Onward and Upward, Word Nerd, and Video Rental Store, he has written lyrics for Unscheduled Maintenance, a nominee at the 2021 Marvin Hamlisch International Music Awards; So, Betsy!, a metatheatrical portrait of seamstress Betsy Ross; and AlakaZoom!, a satirical take on Yale’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is recognized professionally as a member of the Dramatists Guild. Learn more at wegner.world.
Karen Veaner (Director) was a part of the Katrina workshop from the beginning, and performed in the original staged reading and world premiere with WoW in 2019. She was seen most recently as Cynthia in The Real Inspector Hound at Homer Center for the Arts, and Hucklebee in WoW’s production of The Fantasticks. Other roles include Cora in The Rimers of Eldritch and the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet for Theatre Incognita. Roles at The Kitchen Theatre include Ella in Emmitt and Hambone, Mrs. Cratchet, Ghost of Christmas Past and The Char Woman in A Christmas Carol, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance, Helga Vain in Stage Blood, and the title role in Mother Hicks. At The Hangar Theatre, Karen worked with Robert Moss, Davis Esbjornsen, Michael Mayer and Kevin Moriarty. Shows include: Arms and the Man (Catherine), Ten Little Indians (Mrs. Rogers), Carousel (Mrs. Mullen), Candida, (Prossy), Damn Yankees (Sister), Man and Superman (Mrs. Whitefield), The Rose Tattoo (Bessie), The Sound of Music (Frau Schmidt) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Egeus), as well as understudy for Shirley Valentine. In Minneapolis, Karen was a company member of CLIMB Theatre, and performed for Role Over Theatre. She created and chaired the Lansing Harbor Festival for six years, and directed Is He Dead?, A Thurber Carnival, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Real Inspector Hound, The Actor’s Nightmare, Dracula’s Daughters, and You Can’t Take it With You at Lansing High School, as well as Rudigore for the Cornell Savoyards. She recently celebrated her 33rd Anniversary with her wonderful husband, Dan. Their Children, Benjamin and Allison, are their finest productions.
Benjamin Stevens (Music Director / Philippe Petit) has been a part of WoW since its inception, having been the music director for all seven previous shows, as well as performing in their inaugural production of Godspell as Judas and in various pieces in their 2020 Virtual Cabaret. Benjamin graduated from Ithaca College in 2015 with a degree in vocal performance and most of a minor in theatre; afterward, he studied at the National Music Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and the vocal performance graduate program at Oakland University.
Daniel Trippett (Walter) is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in Theater and Musical Theater. He spent 10 years in Los Angeles as a SAG actor, appearing in film, television, and voiceover work. His film work includes, “Addams Family Values”, “Clueless” and “Sirens”, and he has television credits in “Las Vegas”, “The Entertainer”, and “Romeo and Juliet : Sealed with a kiss.” Daniel has performed in and directed several projects nationwide. Theatrical credits include Walter DeCourcey in ‘Chess’, Ben Kingsley in the tour of “City of Angels”, and Gilligan in “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical”. He has started his own company in the Finger Lakes, “Crime Solvers”, an interactive murder mystery company, specializing in bringing mystery parties to corporate and private events. This is Daniel’s 2nd collaboration with WoW, and he thanks the cast and production team for their faith in his work.
Grace Traore (Helen) made her musical theater debut in the 2019 Walking on Water production, Katrina. She has since sang in WoW’s 2020 Virtual Cabaret. Grace has been performing since the age of seven. In elementary and middle school, she learned to play the xylophone, violin, trumpet, piano, clarinet, and steelpan. While in middle school, she discovered her love for dance, studying jazz, modern, and African dance styles. In high school, Grace was classically trained and starred in the LaGuardia Arts High School rendition of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. Grace has performed with the Mama Foundation’s Gospel for Teens Choir and at Carnegie Hall with conductor Jefferson Johnson. While in college, Grace choreographed for the African Dance Repertoire dance group and sang with the Key Elements a Capella group, the Cornell University Chorus, and the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers. She is delighted to continue collaborating with WoW for the WoW's NoW Festival.
Aidan Maloney (Mikey), a Sophomore in high school, is excited to be in his first WoW production. He has performed in the Lansing School production for the past several years, playing such roles as Hugo Peabody in Bye Bye Birdie, The Baker in Into the Woods, Jr, Lefou in Beauty and the Beast, Jr., and Wadsworth in the Drama, Clue. Outside of acting and singing, Aidan also enjoys playing percussion and tennis. He is also involved in his high school band, jazz band, chorus, and show choir.
Grayson Rosenberg (Maria) is thrilled to be playing the sass-tastic Maria in this staged reading of Onward and Upward. She is a current senior at Cornell University studying performing arts. This is her first role with Walking on Water Productions and her first professional role, and she has performed many amateur theater roles during her education. Grayson wants to thank the wonderful cast, crew, and all of the people it took to put this show together, and to thank all of her family and friends for coming out to support her. She hopes you enjoy the performance!
Elizabeth Seldin (Aunt Chris / Choreographer) was previously seen in WoW’s production of Now. Here. This. (Person 2) at the Kitchen Theater this summer. She is the Artistic Director of Clockmaker Arts, a lead theater teacher at the Hangar Theatre, and a professional choreographer, playwright and fight choreographer. Proud graduate of Ithaca College’s Drama BA program. Other training includes St. Petersburg Theater Academy (Russia), Circle In The Square Musical Theatre Program (NYC) and The Eugene O’Neil National Theater Institute in CT. Recent original Clockmaker Arts Productions include: In Case You Forgot (The State Theatre), The Hope Project (collaboration with GIAC to promote Social Justice), Et Le Lion (Off-Broadway Theatre Row) and What Haunts You (Kitchen Sink). Recipient of multiple grants as well as teaching awards for her work with children in theater you can learn more about Elizabeth’s work and how to collaborate by visiting Clockmakerarts.com. Deep gratitude as always to WoW!
Barbara Saroka (Collaborative Pianist) is excited to be playing piano in this her first production with WoW. She feels privileged being included in this performance. She has enjoyed stretching herself through the rehearsal process and meeting new people. She has been involved in all of Groton’s High School musicals for the past 12 years fulfilling various roles such as rehearsal pianist, vocal director, pit director, and many other roles. She has taught at Groton Elementary school for 25 years and counting. When she is not working or playing the piano, Barbara enjoys visiting and playing with her five grandchildren. She also loves to knit. Happy performance to one and all.
Alexandria Joaseus (Stage Manager), a First Year Writing Major at Ithaca College, is excited to work on WoW Now’s production of Onward and Upward. Native to Florida, her past experience includes being a Production Manager for her high school theatre at Oxbridge Academy. She has previously stage managed their production of Firebirds, Anything Goes, Everyman, Mamma Mia, Oxbridge on Broadway, and Annie Junior. Alexandria has extended her love for theatre to high school stage managers, whom she mentors in Florida while acting as an editor to Stillwater, the Ithaca College Literary Magazine. Big thank you to WoW, the writers, the production team, and the cast for the experience of Onward and Upward.