Milwaukee Theater Events, in an Intimate Victorian Setting...


Death by Design

Written by Rob Urbinati | Directed by Zach Thomas Woods

Sophisticated English playwright Edward Bennett and his glamorous actress/wife Sorel have retreated to their country estate, after their latest play is panned by the London critics. Amid much licking of wounds and hurling of barbed bon mots comes a steady stream of guests, some invited, some not. One of them, shockingly, lies lifeless on a sofa — and not by accident. To make matters worse, someone has snipped the phone lines.

So who's the killer? There are suspects aplenty in this plush corner of English countryside: The bohemian artist. The stiff conservative politician. The fiery radical. The maid. The chauffeur. One of the Bennetts themselves. Or could it be the shy, sweet visitor?

  • Melody Lopac as BRIDGIT
  • Cory Jefferson Hagen as JACK
  • Zach Thomas Woods as EDWARD BENNETT
  • Alicia Rice as SOREL BENNETT
  • Marcus Beyer as WALTER PEARCE
  • Hugh Blewett as ERIC
  • Keighley Sadler as VICTORIA VAN ROTH
  • Liz Shipe as ALICE
Cast photos © and courtesy Tom Carr and Ross Zentner.

Click or tap on a cast member's picture for their mini-bio.


Melody is very happy to be performing for the second time at the Brumder Mansion in DEATH BY DESIGN. Most recently, she appeared as Carnelle in the Musical Masquer's production of THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST, also under the direction of Zach Thomas Woods. Other favorite roles include Mrs. Sowerberry in OLIVER and Peter Cornelius Hoof in National Geographic’s REAL PIRATES. Melody is a graduate of Peck School of the Arts with a BA in Theatre Studies. She sends love to any family or friends who came to see the show.

Melody Lopac
as Bridgit

Cory is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre performance. His stage credits include Romeo in ROMEO & JULIET, Dracula in DRACULA, Will Scarlet in A LADY IN WAITING, Lawrence Barrett in THE SEEDS OF BANQUO, and Jack in DEATH BY DESIGN (both this year and last) Mr. Hagen has also interned with Door Shakespeare where he played ensemble roles and ukulele in AS YOU LIKE IT and understudied THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED). He is excited to be headed back to Cookham for another murderous romp.

Cory Jefferson Hagen
as Jack

Zach holds a BFA in acting from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Recent professional acting credits include HOLES, SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN, BIG FISH and ANATOLE at First Stage and LES MISERABLES and HAIR! at the Skylight Music Theatre. When not onstage, Woods works behind the scenes as a director and writer. He currently serves as a resident playwright for the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives in Honolulu, Hawaii. In addition to DEATH BY DESIGN, his recent local directing credits include EVITA, THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST, and MOON OVER BUFFALO.

Zach Thomas Woods
as Edward Bennett

Alicia graduated with a BFA in theater from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since her return to the stage she has most recently been seen in Theatre Red’s DRACULA (Mina), Summer Stage’s MOON OVER BUFFALO (Charlotte), First Stage’s HAMLET (Gertrude), and Soulstice’s UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR (Crampus). Ali has enjoyed combining her two passions, theatre and dance, as choreographer for Windfall Theatre’s CITY OF ANGELS, Theatre on Main’s I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, and University School of Milwaukee’s THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.

Alicia Rice
as Sorel Bennett

Marcus is excited to bring this show back to life. He has appeared this past year with Giant Spider Productions, Umbrella Group, and All In Productions. Many thanks go to the production staff and especially to his lovely and talented girlfriend.

Marcus Beyer
as Walter Pearce

Hugh has performed in community/semi-professional theatre in Milwaukee, and has worked on many films in the Milwaukee area including the feature horror film THE HOMECOMING QUEEN. He has recently graduated from Cardinal Stritch University. Some of his favorite roles include Professor Moriarty, Much the Miller’s Son, and Rumpelstiltskin. Hugh has just started his own film company, Lost Star Films, LLC and is starring in a web series whose working title is LUCKY SHOT.

Hugh Blewett
as Eric

Keighley is delighted to be returning to play Victoria. She has enjoyed revisiting the character, and working once again at the Brumder Mansion. She has most recently appeared onstage as Lucy in DRACULA with Theatre Red and Musical Masquers. She would like to thank the lovely cast and crew, as well as her family and friends. Enjoy the show; Art is nigh!

Keighley Sadler
as Victoria Van Roth

Liz is a playwright, actor and costumer. Most recently she was seen in UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR as GWEN. Shipe has had six of her original works performed in the Milwaukee Area including: “The Baker Street Trilogy” at the Old World Wisconsin, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS at the Historic Brumder Mansion, and A LADY IN WAITING with TheaterRed. While working on DEATH BY DESIGN as an actor, she has also enjoyed collaborating with Umbrella Group for THE VIEW FROM HERE and as a promotional consultant for TheaterRed's BACHELORETTE.

Liz Shipe
as Alice

Death by Design — Performance Schedule

Day Date Notes Doors Open Curtain
Friday Feb 12 Opening Night 7:00pm 7:30pm → 2 seats left
Saturday Feb 13 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → 10 seats left
Sunday Feb 14 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → 12 seats left
Friday Feb 19 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → ~ 14 seats left
Saturday Feb 20 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → SOLD OUT
Friday Feb 26 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → SOLD OUT
Saturday Feb 27 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → SOLD OUT
Sunday Feb 28 Matinee 1:30pm 2:00pm → SOLD OUT
Friday March 4 Performance 7:00pm 7:30pm → 8 seats left
Saturday March 5 Closing Night 7:00pm 7:30pm → 8 seats left

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For more information on this show,
or for other Live Entertainment events at the
Brumder Mansion, call Tom Marks at (414) 388-9104


The street and mailing address of the Brumder Mansion is:

3046 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53208

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