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Friday, May 18, 2017 | 7 PM | The Brink Lounge | Madison, WI

2017 UpStage Stigma Showcase


2017 Artists

The Left Field Quartet

Left Field Quartet is a collaborative group of Midwest-raised musicians specializing in eclectic, original music. Our broad range of experience includes performance for plays, civil rights benefits, educational seminars, and venues all over Madison, all consisting of original scores and tunes.  What makes us work so cohesively together is our adventurous desire for creativity in all of its multifaceted forms. We are comprised of Alex Charland on saxophone, Josh Agterberg on piano, Cooper Schlegel on bass, and Jacob Bicknase on drums.


Haywood Simmons: Emcee

Haywood Simmons, affectionately known by many as "Coach Wood," has been recognized for his work in community health and wellness both locally and throughout the nation. Simmons is a native of Macon, Georgia and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he received a bachelor's degree in Political Science and served as the keynote speaker for The Minority Engineering Commencement Exercise, and has since spoken on stages nationwide. Coach Wood is also a member of the 1994 Rose Bowl Champion Wisconsin Badgers Football Team. In their August 28th, 2006 edition, The Cap Times referred to Simmons as "the former Badger that strives for empathy and gratitude." Simmons has overcome his share of challenges, including early onset hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Haywood Simmons is the founder and President of pHitness Plus. Simmons has assisted the Madison area in having relevant sensitive conversations countless times, and has participated wholeheartedly in Zion City and Sustain Dane Community Visioning. As a founding member of the Step Up: Equity Matters Team, Simmons participated in planning and facilitating conversations around diversity inclusion in the workplace. His other recent activities include facilitating the Badger Rock Community Conversation following the officer-involved shooting, planning and facilitating United We Stand Madison: Immigration reform and Activism, and being Lead Anchor and Facilitator of the online live Front Porch.


Angela Willits, LCSW: Welcome from the School of Social Work

Angela Willits is a clinical assistant professor at the UW-Madison School of Social Work in the Mental Health focus area. She teaches courses on the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. She is a licensed clinical social worker with a emphasis in trauma and PTSD treatment.


Joey Broyles: “Freak:” Piano, Vocals and Visual

Madison-based indie musician, Joey Broyles began making music in a sandbox somewhere in suburbia of Wisconsin. Otherworldly, this warrior challenges the status quo of Pop music commanding a self-made generation of artists who believe in freedom and glitter. A David Bowie for the millennial, Joey’s sultry voice fused with his provocative lyrics will challenge the human race to strive for a better tomorrow and for YOU to be yourself in the face of adversity.

Nick Becker: Spoken Word

Nick Becker is a 24 year-old who lives in Madison, WI. He has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and OCD. Mental Illness runs in his family, and his grandpa and father had Bipolar Disorder. Nick graduated from Monona Grove Liberal Arts Charter School is 2011 and joined PACT (the Program of Assertive Community Treatment) in 2010. This year, he received the 2017 Youth Voice Award. He started his journey with Spoken Word Poetry about a year ago and now has his own YouTube Channel called “BeckTrek Poetry.”


Marie Deaconu-Baylon: Reading From her Novella, North for Sun

Marie Deaconu-Baylon was born in Manila, Philippines. She studied Philosophy at Stanford University and earned an MSW from University of Chicago.  Marie lives in Chicago with her Romanian-American husband and manic depression. Her self-published debut novel, North for Sun, is about a Filipino-American woman with mental illness who travels in time.


Kassy Coleman: “So Anyway” from the musical Next to Normal

Kassy L. Coleman is a graduate of UW LaCrosse with a bachelor’s degree and UW Madison with a master’s degree, both in vocal performance.  Currently Ms Coleman is co-owner and executive director of the Soul’s Song LLC, a home-based fine arts studio where she teaches singers in all styles of music. Kassy is also a 200-hour E-RYT (registered yoga teacher) and 500 hour RYT and teaches various yoga classes in the Madison area.  She has developed a method of teaching yoga to singers called The Voice of Yoga which embraces the singer as a whole person, not just a vocal instrument.  Ms Coleman enjoys performing throughout the Madison area in various genres and groups such as Music Theatre of Madison and Fresco Opera Theatre.


Akshat Sharma: “Equilibrium,” a Monologue

Akshat Sharma is an immunologist at UW-Madison, and when he isn't presiding over high T-cell drama, he presides over other high drama within the Madison theatre community. His most recent credits include Strollers' "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," and Stage Q's "Perfect Arrangement." His monologue for UpStage Stigma comes from his own experiences with that heady combination of anxiety, depression and dating. He is eternally grateful to Ms. Erwin-Frank for not only putting together this vital event, but also for giving him this opportunity to share in it.


Megan Miller: Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude: Piano

I am a Master of Social Work student at UW-Madison hoping to become an elementary school social worker after graduation. This school year, I have worked with children with disabilities and mental illness and hope to bring what I have learned at that internship with me into a school. Music has always been an important part of my life and one of the ways I take care of my mind. I am excited to share in this night of performances for mental health awareness!


Melody Waring: “Gravity” Poetry Reading

Melody Waring is a PhD student in Social Welfare at UW-Madison. She holds a masters from University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and many lifecycles ago was a bachelor of music student at Lawrence.


Emily Erwin-Frank: “Defying Gravity” from the Musical Wicked

Emily is a social work student, aspiring singer and writer in Madison, WI. She is grateful to the PACT program for what they do for our community here in Madison. Specifically, she would like to thank Alice Schmidt, Christine Ahrens and Ashley Kaseroff for showing her what it means to work for a Community Support Program. She is also grateful to School of Social Work role models David LeCount, Tally Moses and Angela Willits for believing in her. Finally, for Mom, Dad, Alby, Jon, Joyce and her friends, she’ll paraphrase what Harriet Lerner said in the Dance of Connection: There’s an image of discovering oneself on a mountaintop while saying “om,” but it is through our relationships that we discover ourselves.


Sage Buie: Dances

Sage has been dancing by participating in battles and performances, as well as teaching classes, since 2009. His view on dance: Be one with the music and express yourself in your own unique way, while also staying true to the core of the style.

Christine Ahrens, Ph.D: The Program of Assertive Community Treatment

Dr. Christine Ahrens is a psychologist with the Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT). She is passionate about her work with clients in the program and about promoting the overall service delivery model, Assertive Community Treatment, which was developed at PACT. Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) has received national and international acclaim for its effectiveness.  Dr. Ahrens loves working as a member of an interdisciplinary team to support recovery and community integration for people with mental illness. She also appreciates the opportunity to train students and professionals in this well-researched, important treatment approach.

Simone LaPierre: True Colors Interactive Dance Performance and Hallelujah Finale

Simone LaPierre

Simone LaPierre, called a local, Theatrical Polymath has graced stages all around the midwest with her vocal, dramatic and performative talents, as well as participated in a few independent films. She can do it all and she'd argue about doing it all well and you can be the judge of that.  Tonight's performance is dedicated to all those on the struggle bus of life especially to Leah who in making the decision to end her own pain became a guardian angel to so many. I only wish to all those now struggling know that they are not a burden and that they are loved all ways, always. Simone dances a story for the families also affected by mental illness, as well as other disorders and diseases their loved ones are going through. She recognizes we all must look past the stigma and judgments and love all for who they are along with their True Colors.


Cooper Schlegel: “Masks” Theatre/Jazz Collaborative with Christopher William Wolter

Cooper Schlegel is a Madison area bassist studying under the mighty Richard Davis.  Originally from Madison, he has played with Bert Wilson, Jeff Coffin, Freddie Cole, Ingrid Jensen, John Raymond, Bob Sheppard, and Caili O'Doherty, among others.  He composes for most anything, (big band, small jazz and classical groups, weddings, performance art, Kafka, Shakespeare), but most of his writing is focused on the cooperative Left Field Quartet.

Christopher William Wolter: “Masks” Theatre/Jazz Collaborative with Cooper Schlegel

Christopher Wolter is a poet, playwright, director and theatre theorist recently graduated from UW Madison's Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies Program. As an academic and artist his work involves the connections between love, sexuality, emancipatory politics, history, identity, and the use of theatre as critique of ideology. In June, Christopher will continue his education with the Division of Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thinking at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee Switzerland.


Lizzie Galoff: “Winding Through Recovery” Speech

Elizabeth Galoff (19) is a student advocate for mental health. This fall will be her second semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is pursuing a degree in mathematics. During high school Elizabeth gave presentations for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Fox Valley's Ending the Silence program. She has been featured in multiple articles advocating for mental illness, including the Kids in Crisis series. By sharing her story, Elizabeth hopes the stigma surrounding mental illness will be broken down to allow open, honest conversation about mental illness, and the various ways to seek help, in the community.


Shruti Rajan: Speech: NAMI Stigma-Stomping and Resources

Shruti Rajan recently started her job at NAMI briefly after finishing up her internship with the organization. Now, as the education and outreach coordinator, she helps coordinates membership and volunteer engagement activities as well as providing program support and implementing various awareness activities in the community. This past year, she's had a chance to re-frame the domestic view of mental health and learn more about how to be a proper ally and advocate for individuals who are living with a mental illness. She hopes to advance her passion in increasing community awareness surrounding mental health and access to healthcare by pursuing a career in medicine!

Jus Tme: Mindful Hip Hop

JusTme, ​Timothy Scott, Jr., is a mindfulness and Hip-Hop instructor from Fairfield, Ca. JusTme began his career in mindfulness-based education in 2012 and has been spreading self-love and care through mindfulness and Hip-Hop ever since. JusTme's style of tutelage, along with the creation and introduction of his "Mindful Hip-Hop", has helped bring mindfulness-based stress reduction practices to thousands of underserved students and families worldwide. JusTme has also collaborated with Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D and his Center for Healthy Minds (CHM) team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He assisted in furthering the research around mindfulness and its roles in education, social emotional learning, and its beneficial effects on the brain through neuroplasticity. JusTme wants to expose more communities to the benefits and cross-cultural therapeutic qualities of mindfulness practices and Mindful Hip-Hop. Through his organization, JusTmindfulness, he continues to support educators with his curriculum and music to re-calibrate individual classrooms and overall school climates throughout the world. Learn more at


Alyssa Grams: Poetry Reading

Alyssa Grams is a graduate student in the UW-Madison School of Social Work and works as a Peer Educator for violence prevention, contributing to campus efforts to prevent sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and harassment. With a background in health and wellness, Alyssa is passionate about issues of social justice and mental health; she is dedicated to service and empowerment in all of her communities.


Andrew Archer, LCSW: Reading from Pleading Insanity

Andrew James Archer is a licensed clinical social worker practicing psychotherapy. He is the author of the memoir, Pleading Insanity, which details a genuine, moment-to-moment portrait of his own dramatic devastations through mania and depression. Andrew is an Associate Instructor for University of Minnesota and Assistant Faculty Associate at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Andrew writes as a Topic Expert for and works at Midwest Center for Human Services in Madison, Wisconsin.

Lucy Williams: “Heaven” Dance Performance

Lucy identifies as an artist, an empath, an activist, and a neuro-atypical individual who has lived with depression and anxiety for a majority of her young life. She has been choreographing dances for herself, her studio, and various performance groups since she was 16. She is currently working as a choreographer for a youth dance company called Raw Inspirations, where she creates contemporary pieces for the dancers to perform at local events and competitions. Last year, her piece “Stay Alive” won the title of best choreography at a competition in Madison. Lucy is incredibly thankful for this opportunity to create in a space where her experiences with mental health and her love for dance can intersect.


Dan Mifflin: Hallelujah Finale

Hello! Hope you are all doing well! My name is Dan Mifflin, I am a Master of Social Work student at UW-Madison with a passion for working with individuals with disabilities.  I am so very happy to be a part of Upstage Stigma and to be with you all as we address the inevitable challenges and intersectionality of mental illness and stigma through beautiful song, dance, spoken words, and various other performances.


Annie Drabant: Hallelujah Finale

Annie is a social work student interested in mental health. She has been in choirs most of her life. Most recently, she performed with the Wisconsin Chamber Choir. Ultimately, Annie would like to work with adolescents as a clinical social worker.


The Samba Novistas

The Samba Novistas are a six-piece Samba rock ensemble that’ll knock your socks off! Let’s make room for some dancing, folks!

Ana Paula Venancio Strader - Vocals & Percussion

Jeff Alexander - Guitar & Percussion

Brennan Connors- Saxophone & Percussion

Jacob Bicknase - Percussion

Kevin Knapp - Bass

Chris Desinger - cavaquinho

2017 Sponsors

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