Firehouse world premiere FIRST RESPONSES Festival

By | March 12, 2023
Firehouse Theatre is pleased to announce the performance schedule and creative team for its upcoming FIRST RESPONSES Festival of four world premiere one-acts by first responders Anthony Jackson (police), Kathryn Kahlson (firefighter), Betty Migliaccio (firefighter), and Ben Toderico (police).

The FIRST RESPONSES Festival begins performances on Wednesday, March 22 and runs for 15 performances through April 16, 2023 at Firehouse Theatre in Richmond, VA.

The four one-acts are based on true stories that the writers personally experienced. Anthony Jackson takes us to a fresh crime scene that opens a portal to the past, present, and future in SOMETHING SO SMALL; Kathryn Kahlson navigates the parallel lives of two mothers — a first responder and the woman she meets on an emergency call in MOTHER AT WORK; Betty Migliaccio’s EIGHT BUTTONS is a flashback journey of memories triggered by the death of a colleague; and Ben Toderico gives us a front row perch to a suicide intervention in PILLAR.

Firehouse’s partners on FIRST RESPONSES Festival are Richmond Professional Firefighters Association IAFF Local 995 and Virginia First Responder Support Services. The scripts were written in David Robbins’ Frontline Writers class ( The festival is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.

The FIRST RESPONSES Festival creative team includes performers Briana Creque, Dwyane Daniels II, Keydron Dunn, Enrique J. Gonzalez, Lindsey June, Jimmy Mello, Lorin Mello, David Rogozenski, Amanda Spellman; directors Amy Berlin, Andrew Gall, Mark J. Lerman, Lian-Marie Holmes Munro; dramaturg David Robbins; Festival coordinator Emily Vial; production designer Todd LaBelle; composer Kate Statelman; lighting designer Andrew Bonniwell; costume designer Anna Bialkowski; costume assistant Colin Lowrey II; assistant director Jake Buccella; and stage managers Jae Austin, Dennis Bowe, Aleta Findlay, and Emily Vial.
(l to r – FIRST RESPONSES playwrights Anthony Jackson, Kathryn Kahlson, Betty Migliaccio, Ben Toderico)

Anthony Jackson is a Captain with the Richmond Police Department and is currently assigned as the Commander of First Precinct. He’s spent the majority of his 15 year career supervising or working in various investigative units including Homicide, Youth & Family Crimes, and Property Crimes. Prior to his current position, he was a Lieutenant assigned to the Major Crimes Division. In that role, he supervised the Aggravated Assault & Sex Crimes Unit, Fire Investigations Unit, and Fugitive Task Force. In addition to working with the Richmond Police Department, Anthony is an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. 
Kathryn Kahlson is a retired Fire Captain from Chesterfield Fire & Emergency Services (CFMES). Kathy became the first woman hired as a firefighter in Chesterfield. She served 25 years in the Virginia Air National Guard (VaANG). She began her military career in the enlisted ranks, was commissioned, and became the first woman in the history of VaANG to achieve the rank of Colonel. 
Betty Migliaccio has been a firefighter for the City of Richmond for 9 years. She has a prior career of 16 years in Corrections as an officer, a substance abuse treatment provider, and probation/parole officer. She also worked for Child Protective Services. 
Ben Toderico is a retired Richmond Police officer, where he was assigned to patrol, SWAT, Crime Stoppers, and as a detective investigating property crimes, robberies, aggravated assault, sex crimes, and crimes against children. During his tenure with the department he earned many commendations including Department and Unit Citations, Excellent Police Duty, and Meritorious Police Duty.

For further information about FIRST RESPONSES Festival and Firehouse Theatre go to

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