Vito Gioia - Company Director
Vito graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Theater. He has worked with a variety of Chicago theatres both on and off stage including, Lifeline Theatre, Transient Theatre Company, and TriArts where he was honored to be a member of the ensemble. In the role of Director, Vito has had the privilege of working with Close Call Theatre on Table Settings and Chug as well as with Child’s Play Touring Theatre on a variety of performances over the years. He has served as Artistic Director of Boundaries Theatre Company, where he directed a number of productions including Prometheus Bound, The Good Doctor, and Something I’ll Tell You Tuesday. As the Drama Instructor for the Chicago Park District, he headed the drama program at Indian Boundary Park Cultural Center, directed Boundaries Youth Theatre and the teen improvisation group. Vito has been honored by the Kathy Osterman Committee, the Superintendant of the Chicago Park District, and Mayor Richard M. Daley, for his teaching and direction. Most recently Vito can be found back at Child’s Play Touring Theatre where he has recently directed the Kids for President! show and currently directs our two national touring companies.
Emma Caywood - Teaching Artist
Emma Caywood has been working as a teaching artist with Child's Play since spring of 2008. She is a storyteller, drama teacher, creative drama leader, Theater for Young Audiences Playwright, and an occasional actress. She recently returned to her native Chicago after five years working in Hollywood as a literary manager for screenwriters and teaching drama/creative writing/environmental issues in LA. She has degrees from Northwestern University in Theater and Gender Studies, as well as a certificate in Creative Writing for the Media. Along with working at Child's Play, she teaches at the Eileen Bowers Performing Arts Workshop at Apple Tree Theatre, Room2Play, Radcliffe Productions, Dream Big, and Emerald City Children's Theater.
Ray Brazaski - Teaching Artist
Ray Brazaski landed his first role in Chicago in the late '80's within six weeks of moving here from Michigan. You can see him as the befuddled produce clerk with a mullet spraying vegetables in the independent film Greasy Lake (Google it). He previously worked with CPTT from 2002 to 2004 and is back again. Ray studied theater at Loyola's lakeshore campus in Chicago and film at Columbia College's lakeshore campus in Chicago. (Wait! There's only one Columbia campus and it's pretty much on the lake.) He is also a proud, very proud, ensemble member of Chicago's very own Factory Theater. He has been seen around Chicago in such shows as Ren Faire! A Fistful of Ducats!, MopTop Festival, Iphegenia in Taurus, Tartuffe, The Great American Cheese Sandwich, Prometheus Bound, The Good Doctor, The Stranger, The Balcony, and many other shows that begin with "The". Ray has, respectively, directed and assistant directed Big: The Musical, and Footloose for the Racine Youth Players theater company (just outside of Chicago). If you really like your pause button and can't blink, you might see him in Pirates of the Carribean III (not filmed in Chicago), and Batman: The Dark Knight, (filmed in Chicago). This marks the first time that Ray has used "Chicago" as much as possible in his bio. That last one in quotes counts. Most importantly, he's married to the best girl in the world. And guess what...they met at CPTT in 2002. In Chicago.
Jessica Fogle - Teaching Artist
Jessica Fogle has been writing songs since she was 3 years old, starting out with the hits A Nickle and a Shank and Let's Dance! She later won statewide songwriting competitions in elementary school by writing themed songs about world peace and children governing. Now she writes quirky and/or introspective and/or weird rock-folk-indie-alternative songs and non-songs ala Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, The Beatles, Ditty Bops, Rufus Wainwright, Joanna Newsom, Sesame Street and many of her other lifelong and recent idols and influences. She also has an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing, which infiltrates her style at times, and an obsession with Chopin and Beethoven. Jessica has worked with Child’s Play as a Music Director and has taught at summer camps as a Teaching Artist.
Sean Guinan - Teaching Artist
Sean is a filmmaker and composer who has worked with Child's Play on and off over the years since 1991 as an actor, musical director and teacher. He's written, directed and produced two award-winning independent features, Flipping the Whale (2000) and Teplitz: The Tyranny of Paradox(2008), as well as one featurette, The Private Pennies of His Merry Dobbs (1998). He has worked as a musician with Second City and Improv Olympic; as an actor with Alphabet Soup Productions, the Peoples Theatre and Marbleworks Theatre, as well as various radio spots and video industrials.
Samara Smith - Teaching Artist
Samara Smith is a graduate from Columbia College in Chicago. She earned her B.A. in Musical Theatre Performance. Some of her credits include Little Shop of Horrors; Working, the Musical; and Love Child & Rabbit Foot at the Chicago Theatre Company. Samara joined Child’s Play in 2002. She first toured with our acting companies and most recently has led after-school programs and summer camps as a Teaching Artist.
Andrea Welton - Teaching Artist
Andrea joined the Child’s Play staff full time in 1998 after completing a three month artistic internship program with us. She graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where she was very active in both the theatre company and the Invention Team— Calvin’s children’s theatre troupe. She started as a Development Assistant and Story Coordinator, and taught the youth in the Youth Theatre on Saturdays. She has also acted as Road Manager in our touring companies and led many residencies and summer camps.