By Lee Cataluna
Directed by Christian Anderson

The concept of home can mean a lot to different people: it can be a person, or family, it can be a house or location; and sometimes, it can feel like an unreachable desire in the heart of someone who just wants to belong somewhere.

Inspired by interviews with military children from all branches of service, Home of the Brave showcases the joys, anxieties, pride, and struggles of navigating life within a military family. Developed as a co-commission between Honolulu Theatre for Youth and La Jolla Playhouse, this play is composed of scenes and monologues that explore ideas of home, belonging, friendship and change through a collection of stories about five children’s experiences. When moving around a lot throughout childhood and not seeing one or more parents for extended periods of time, what weight do certain words and roles carry?

Join us for a talkback on Sunday, Feb. 26 directly following the performance in the Black Box Theatre.

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Performance Schedule

  • Friday, February 24, 2023, 7:00  p.m.
  • Friday, February 24, 2023, 7:00  p.m.
  • Saturday, February 25, 2023, 10:30  a.m.
  • Saturday, February 25, 2023, 2:00  p.m.
  • Sunday, February 26, 2023, 2:00  p.m.
Back to the full schedule


Christian Anderson*

Scenic Designer:
Chandler Caroccio*

Lighting Designer:
Chandler Caroccio*

Sound Designer:
Cory Kennedy*

Costume Designer:
Julia Veiga*

Props Designer:
Gabby Lawlor*

Stage Manager:
Jordan Simon*

*Theatre UCF student


JOHNELLE: Kayla Rose Ginty*
JADA: Isabella Fedele*
TY: Billy Banks III*
BRADY: Christopher Poulios*
MARCUS: Jake Perez*
MOM, ENSEMBLE, U/S BRADY: Alexandra Borsellino*
U/S JADA: Sabrina Henson-Matheny*
U/S TY, U/S MOM: Izzy Ellis*
U/S MARCUS: Talia Tumminello*

*Theatre UCF student

'Home of the Brave' cast headshots
'Home of the Brave' cast headshots
'Home of the Brave' cast headshots
'Home of the Brave' cast headshots


Assistant Stage Manager: Kaitlyn Gill*, Ayana Yokie*, Rami Amm*
Company Managers: Bethany Post*, Chandler Caroccio*
Education Coordinator: Cory Kennedy*
Community Outreach Director: Chanel Gomaa*
Dramaturg: Gabby Lawlor*
Props Manager: Jeanna Delvecchio*
Scenic Coordinator: Alexander Russell*
Paint Charge: Sophia Debora*
Assistant Production Electrician: Matthew Patterson*
Light Board Operator: Sam Sherrard*
QLab Operator: Michael O’Brien*
Sound Supervisor: Alyssa Marrero*
Deck/Wardrobe Crew: Morgan Clodfelter*, Samantha Jenkins*, Jake Haugland*, Gabriella Smith*, Haley Sweat*, Lil McKenna*, Mia Woods*
Production Assistant: Luis Williams*

Director of the School of Performing Arts: Michael Wainstein
Theatre UCF Artistic Director: Julia Listengarten
Theatre UCF Director of Production: Bert Scott
MFA TYA Coordinator: Vandy Wood
Faculty Lighting Advisor: Bert Scott
Faculty Scenic Advisor: Tim Brown
Faculty Stage Management Advisor: Claudia Lynch
Faculty Fight Advisor: David Reed
Faculty Dramaturg/Advisor: Chloe Edmonson
Production Manager: Gary Brown
Technical Director: Tramaine Berryhill
Assistant Technical Director: Thomas Taylor
Costume Shop Manager: Allison Rexrode
Costume Workroom Supervisor: Amanda Roberts
Production Electrician: Beth McAshan
Production Sound: Casey Deiter
Marketing Director: Jessica Compton
Box Office Manager: Bridget Parry
Assistant Box Office Manager: Austen Martin
Assistant Marketing Director: Morganne Flood


House Manager: Domanique Johnson*
Ushers: Valeria Miranda-Rodriguez*, Charlie Vega-Franz*, and Brandon Lopez*
Box Office: Dunstan Ashe*, Peyton DeWitt*, Victoria Carson*, Ymani Mingen*, Anastasiia Bratchenko*, Erin Greening*, Sanju Ebanks*, Antony Ojeda*, Breana Mejia*, Jaden Doig*, Haley Sweat*, Isabella Fedele*, Alyssa Vincent*, Roma Zizza*, Charles Macartney*, Chole Campbell*, Jon Curry*, Christina Neely*, Amanda Miller*, Christian Polastry*


Electrics Shop: Audrey Casteris*, Sam Cutshall*, Helen Strickland*, Kirstin Ritch*, Vivian Mele*, Sam Mustaine*, Sidnie Kikta*, Megan Nowick*, Delta Russell*, Alex Michel*, Alyssia Antrim*, Jasmine Robinson*, Alyssa Vincent*
Scene Shop: Briana Cotton*, Mackenzie Smith*, Marie Hamel*, Daphne Martinez*, Hailey Badders*, Chance Tufano*, Christopher De La Vega*, Johan Delaguila*, Dylan Ross*, Marina Deshaies*
Sound Shop: Alyssa Marrero*
Costume Shop: AJ Hued*, Taylor Stark*, Hannah Rothstein*, Caleb Jones*, Joy McCracken*, Jasmine Giles*, Nara Juarez*, Makenna Kirsch*, Airiana Latorre*, Lucas Vilela-Mendoca*, Alexa Boese*, Sabrino Rizzo*

*Theatre UCF Student

Billy Banks (Ty) is a first-year in the BFA Acting program. His previous Theatre UCF credits include As You Like It (Musician, U/S Duke Fedrick, Senior, Silvius) and Indecent (U/S Avram). Other previous credits include Once On This Island (Agwe), Footloose (Ren) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Philostrate).

Alexandra Borsellino (Mom, Ensemble, U/S Brady) is a third-year transfer student in the BFA Acting program. Past Theatre UCF credits include The Interference (Another Young Woman), The Wolves (U/S #7, #00), The Amphibians (Stage Directions, U/S Simone and Bryn), Dear Helena (Stage Directions, U/S Diana and Mia) and Scaramouch in Naxos (Bacchante Ensemble). Other UCF credits include Absolute Power (Diana) and Therapy (Director) with Project Spotlight and  #CaseyandTommyGetHitched (Viv) with Moment2Moment Productions. @alexandraborsellino

Izzy Ellis (U/S Ty, U/S Dad) is a first-year in the BFA Acting program. It is her Theatre UCF debut. Other theatre credits include As It’s Written (U/S Robin), Manor of Death (The Heiress), Cinderella (Charlotte) and Matilda: The Musical (Bruce Bogtrotter). They are involved with Alpha Psi Omega at UCF and the Orlando Fringe Festival. @izzyeellis

Isabella Fedele (Jada)  is a junior in the BFA Musical Theatre program with a minor in Dance and Health Services Administration. Theatre UCF productions include The Wolves (#13), Working: The Musical (Women #7), and The Crucible (Abigail Williams). She spent her summer working in the theme park industry as an actor at Cedar Point in Ohio. Other theatre credits include Hello Dolly! (Minnie Fay) and Godspell (Lindsay). @isa.fedele

Kayla Rose Ginty (Johnelle)  is a fourth-year in the BFA Musical Theatre program at UCF. She was most recently seen in Theatre UCF's Working the Musical (Ellen Epstein). Notable Theatre UCF credits include First Date (Casey). Kayla spent this past summer performing at Playland Park in Rye, New York as the lead band singer for 'Off the Record' as well as being the sole swing and company manager. @kaylaginty

Sabrina Henson-Matheny (U/S Jada) is a first year in the BFA Acting program. Her previous Theatre UCF credits include As You Like It (Musician, U/S LeBeau, U/S Audrey) and The Wolves (U/S #46). Other previous credits include Little Women (Beth) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck).

Madison Mintzer (Mom, The Principal, Ensemble)  is a third-year BFA Musical Theatre student. Past credits include: UCF’s Shrek (Female Swing), UCF’s Welcome to the Moon (Sally, U/S Shirley), The Henegar’s First Date (Woman 2), The Henegar’s Hello Dolly! (Ernestina), Alhambra Theatre’s The Music Man (Ensemble), and Titusville Playhouse’s The Wild Party (Mae). @madimintzer

Rachel Mertz (U/S Johnelle, U/S Mom, U/S Principal) is a freshman in the BFA Musical Theatre program. She was last seen in Theatre UCF’s production of Working (Swing). Professional theatre credits include Nunsense (U/S Sister Leo), Matilda (The Acrobat) and Urinetown (Robbie the Stockfish). Other theatre credits include Chicago (Velma) and A Chorus Line (Bebe). She also works as a freelance Assistant Stage Manager for corporate events. @rachiemertz

Jake Perez (Marcus) is a freshman theatre pending student. He was last seen in Theatre UCF’s As You Like It (William/Jake). Previous credits include Exhibits in the Zoo (Mendel), Snoopy (Woodstock), All the Great Books Abridged (Student Helper), The Crucible (Hale), and Catch Me if you Can (Hanratty).

Christopher Poulios (Brady) is a first-year student majoring in Environmental Studies. He appeared in Theatre UCF’s production of As You Like It (Adam/Martext). Other credits include Tick, Tick…Boom! (Jon), Be More Chill (Jake) and A Chorus Line (Al).

Talia Tumminello (U/S Marcus) is a freshman in the BFA Musical Theatre Program. Talia was last seen in Theatre UCF’s The Interference (U/S Karen Henshaw/Actor #1). Other theatre credits include Chicago (Roxie), Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife), and Radium Girls (Kathryn). @taliarosetum

Christian Anderson (Director) is a second-year graduate student in the Theatre for Young Audiences MFA program. His past Theatre UCF credits include As You Like It (Assistant Director) and Spells of the Sea (Assistant Producer). Christian also works as a teaching artist at Orlando Repertory Theatre and Central Florida Community Arts.

Kaitlyn Gill (Assistant Stage Manager) is a second-year transfer in the BFA Stage Management Program. Her Theatre UCF credits include The Body (Assistant Stage Manager), UCF Celebrates the Arts 2022 (Stage Management team) and Working (Production Assistant).

Lil McKenna (Wardrobe/Show Crew) is a junior in the BA Theatre Studies program. This is her first UCF show. Her favorite role has been Penelope Sycamore in You Can’t Take It With You. When not doing theatre, she can be seen writing and singing in her band, Real Men. @youlilcharmer

Alexander Russell (Technical Supervisor) is a sophomore in the BFA Design and Technology program. He has participated at Theatre UCF in Spells of the Sea (Student Lighting Designer) and Affinity Lunch Minutes (Programmer, Lighting Board Operator). He is an aspiring playwright and scenic/lighting designer.

Samantha Sherrard (Light Board Operator) is a freshman in the BFA Design & Technology program.

Jordan Simon (Stage Manager) is a senior in the BFA Stage Management program. Her Theatre UCF credits include The Amphibians (Stage Manager), Much Ado About Nothing (Assistant Stage Manager), and As You Like It (Wardrobe Supervisor). Other credits include Pirates of Penzance (Assistant Stage Manager) and Mrs. Mannerly (Assistant Stage Manager).

Gabriella Smith (Show Crew) is a first-year BA Theatre Studies student. Theatre UCF credits include As You Like It. Previous credits include Romeo and Juliet (Lord Capulet) and Beauty and the Beast (Mrs. Potts). She has also been Stage Manager and Spotlight Operator at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s Goldner Conservatory.

Mia Woods (Show Crew) is a junior in the BFA Acting program. She has been seen on the Theatre UCF stage in Indecent (Chana) and The Grumpiest Boy in the World (U/S Zachary). She has also been seen in Moment To Moment’s production of The Crucible (Betty).

Luis Williams (Production Assistant) is a first-year transfer BFA Stage Management program. Recent projects include Mamma Mia!, The Addams Family Musical, Hairspray and Shrek The Musical where he worked as Assistant Director (Panama City, Panama).

“You have to know what it means to be brave.”

First commissioned in 2018 for La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, Home of the Brave is a unique piece of theatre crafted from interviews conducted with military kids in Hawaii. Playwright (and native Hawaiian) Lee Cataluna took their words and experiences and strung them together in a heartwarming story about home, bravery, friendship, and what it means to be a kid.

As we reflect on the past 3 years and the major effects COVID-19 has had on the young people in our world, the themes in Home of the Brave are ever more prevalent. Young people lost a great deal of time. Time with their friends, time doing the things they love, and time to be a kid. For the young people in our story, how much time they will have in their new home and with the new people around them is a thought constantly racing through their minds. The question then becomes: how do they cope with it all? Each of these kids has something — an object, a hobby, a memory, a routine — that gets them through the day. It is how they hold on when they feel like things are slipping away. The young people in this story make us then think about the young people in our world. What have they clung to in order to cope with the massive changes around them since 2020?  Forms of social media have become their place to retreat, to protest, to connect, to tell their stories, to be brave. Our young people use these online platforms to remind us what resilience and possibility looks like in the face of uncertainty.

As you’re watching the stories of Johnelle, Jada, Marcus, Brady, and Ty unfold we invite you to think about the word “brave”. Being brave takes many forms and it looks different for everyone. Think about what it means to you. How are you brave in your everyday life? You have the power to create your own definition.


Gabby Lawlor


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