Ascend. created in collaboration with the cast, musicians, and creative team. Image of moon.
Meet the Cast of Ascend
Luli Gomez Teruel headshot


Luli Gomez Teruel is a third-year MFA actor at the University of Iowa. Born and raised in Salta, Argentina, she’s one of the founding members of the children’s theater company “La Autentica.” Favorite performance credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), Three Sisters (Natasha), Orlando (Sasha/Marmaduke), Seven Spots on the Sun (Monica), The Penelopiad (Penelope), Making Charlie (Charlie), and a workshop performance of Monument (4 Sisters) (Mac). Visit


Emma Gostonczik headshot


Emma Gostonczik is a third-year undergraduate student studying vocal performance, music education, and theatre arts. She has previously appeared in Iowa’s productions of Sunday in the Park with George and Le tragedie de Carmen. Emma’s most recent appearance in a non-university affiliated show was Songs for a New World with City Circle Theatre Company. This summer Emma will be moving north to St. Ansgar, Iowa, to take part in Cedar Summerstock’s 2021 season, previously scheduled for Summer of 2020.

Braxten Jones headshot


Braxten Jones is a second-year theatre arts and mathematics student, and she is very excited to perform in this production! This is her third performed show at the university after appearing in Bonnets, and S.N.O.T.B.O.M. She would like to thank her parents for all their support and her fellow castmates and creative team members for such a great experience. She hopes that you enjoy the show!

Sam Mayer headshot


Samantha Mayer is ecstatic to be making her debut performance at the University of Iowa as a cast member of Ascend! Sam is a freshman from Park Ridge, Illinois, and is double majoring in English and theatre arts. She is extremely grateful for her loving family and friends and their endless love and support, as well as everyone who is a part of this production who has made her first show so wonderful!

Virginia Muturi headshot


Virginia Wangechi Muturi is from Iowa City and she is a sophomore studying theatre arts and enterprise leadership. Virginia was previously in the University of Iowa’s 6x6: Collected Perspectives on Social Justice. Virginia would like to thank her family, friends, teachers, classmates, castmates, and stage management.

Emily Parr headshot

Ensemble | EMILY PARR

Emily Parr is a sophomore and is studying theatre arts, english, and philosophy. Her most recent show was Palanquin, spring of 2020. Emily would like to thank Margarita, Spencer, the cast and the crew for being so dedicated and uplifting through the entire process. She would also like to give a shoutout to her wonderful professors in the department and her family for being so supportive! To all, “sending love, light, and laughter.”

Kolton Stremler


Kolton Stremler is a freshman at the University of Iowa. He is majoring in theatre arts with a minor in cinema. He is from the town of Bloomfield, Iowa. Kolton has participated in numerous local productions including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and The Wedding Singer. He was also in a UI production last semester, Losing Faith. Kolton would like to thank his parents, friends, and girlfriend for their continued support and enthusiasm.

Steven Vlahakis headshot


Steven Vlahakis is currently a student in his third year at the University of Iowa. He is currently majoring in theatre arts and minoring in political science. Steven is originally from Ankeny, Iowa, but has now lived in Iowa City for the past three years. Steven would like to thank both his parents for being overwhelmingly supportive in everything he does.

Kyle Watkins headshot


Kyle Watkins is a third-year at the University of Iowa, and is excited to be able to take part in Ascend. This is his first experience with devised work, and he is enthusiastic about working with such a creative and exceptional team of artists. His notable production credits include the University of Iowa's Three Sisters (Solyony) and Laterality (Skinny).