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Singin' in the Rain, 2012

Music Theatre Wichita 2015: Unexpected Journeys

Music Theatre Wichita proudly creates our 44th season of Broadway-scale musicals this summer! This year our productions trace Unexpected Journeys, with bends in the road taking characters to destinations they never imagined. Family secrets, hidden talents, and surprising romances—you’ll witness all throughout the summer as you are swept away by fabulously talented singers and dancers. And you can experience it all at a fraction of Broadway prices!

June 10-14, 2015

An unscheduled detour along the Nile leads to a love story that changes the course of history. Spectacular, dramatic, and compelling, with a thrilling contemporary musical score.

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Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida
June 10-14, 2015
PG
2 hr 15 min

An unscheduled detour along the Nile leads to a dangerous meeting and a secret romance, changing the course of history. Based on the same tale of forbidden love which inspired Verdi’s opera, this sleek, modern musical was the first Disney production especially created for adult Broadway audiences, rather than being based on a pre-existing all-family film.

Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA
Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton and Robert Falls & David Henry Hwang

Originally Directed on Broadway by Robert Falls
Originally Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions

ZAKIYA YOUNG (Aida)
ZAKIYA YOUNG (Aida)

Zakiya Young is thrilled to return to Nubia, having last played the title role in Aida at Starlight Theatre in 2012. Favorite credits include: Standby for both Tracie Thoms and Condola Rashad in the Broadway play Stick Fly, Mersister in The Little Mermaid (Original Broadway Company, cast recording) and Tracy in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Off-Broadway: Sally, Clarisse, Thalia, Mrs. Dodds, Oracle in The Lightning Thief (Lucille Lortel Theater, Lortel nomination – Outstanding Musical), Nita in Tenderloin (York Theater), Tigré Savoy in Storyville (York Theater, AUDELCO Award Nomination – Outstanding Performance in a Musical - Female). Regional: Kate in Good People (George Street Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre), Betty Haynes in White Christmas (Syracuse Stage), Miss California in Little Miss Sunshine (La Jolla Playhouse), Carrie in Carousel (Depot Theatre), Pitti-Sing in The Mikado (Depot Theatre) and Lois Lane in It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (Dallas Theater Center). She is the first black actress known to have played that iconic role in any Superman project. Zakiya also gave life to the role of Sam in a workshop of The War Department at the esteemed Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and has starred in two Lyrics & Lyricists concerts at the 92nd Street Y. Television credits include “Orange is the New Black”, “The Knick”, “This American Life: One Night Only at BAM”, “Made in Jersey” and “Submissions Only.” She can also be seen in various television commercials. Jeremiah 29:11.  www.zakiyayoung.com

ANDREW SAMONSKY (Radames)
ANDREW SAMONSKY (Radames)

Andrew Samonsky recently played Captain Phoebus in the American premiere of the Disney produced The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse and La Jolla Playhouse. Broadway credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood as Neville Landless, Scandalous as Kenneth Ormisten (original cast recording), and South Pacific as Lt. Cable, where he was seen on the Live From Lincoln Center PBS broadcast. He appeared Off-Broadway in Michael John LaChiusa's Queen of the Mist as Frank Russell (Drama Desk Award nomination, original cast recording) and the City Center Encores! productions of Fiorello! and Merrily We Roll Along.  Original productions of Somewhere in Time (Richard, Portland Center Stage), Tales of the City (Beauchamp, ACT), Little Miss Sunshine (La Jolla Playhouse, Joshua), and Disney's On the Record (Original Cast Recording).  He's a soloist with symphonies across the country.  TV/Film: “Elementary,” “Guiding Light,” and upcoming “Lyric Suite.”

KATE LOPREST (Amneris)
KATE LOPREST (Amneris)

Kate Loprest is thrilled to return to MTWichita after spending half a summer here in 2004 playing Rosalia in West Side Story and the "ten yards!" lady in Beauty and the Beast. She is a Chicago native who began her professional career at 15 starring as Young Violet in the Midwest Premiere of Violet in 1999. She graduated from The University of Michigan's prestigious Musical Theatre department in 2005, moved to New York City, but was back in Chicago three months later as part of the cast of Chicago's sit down company of Wicked (Glinda/Nessarose u/s). Broadway: First Date (Allison) OBC, Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle), Xanadu, Wonderland, Drowsy Chaperone. Tour: Little House on the Prairie (Nellie Oleson) 1st Nat. Off-Broadway: Under My Skin (Victoria), Sistas (Heather). TV/Film: “Boardwalk Empire” (Corrine), “Running Wilde,” “All My Children,” “Made For Each Other.” Other regional favorite include: The Single Girls Guide (Emma) Capital Repertory, Show Boat (Ellie Mae) Washington National Opera, Sarah Plain And Tall (Estelle) Dallas Theatre Center, Swing (Woman #2) and Les Misérables (Cosette) PCLO, Legally Blonde (Vivienne) NSMT and Cape Playhouse. Last fall, Kate had the honor of originating the role of Lucy Grant in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's new musical Bright Star at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. She happily resides in Manhattan with her rescue pup, Georgie. Huge thank you's to Wayne, Mark, and the MTW staff for this inspiring opportunity. For family and friends, always. www.KateLoprest.com. GO BLUE!!!    

BRUCE WINANT (Zoser)
BRUCE WINANT (Zoser)

Bruce Winant is very happy to be returning to MTWichita for his 4th show, having previously appeared as King Arthur in Spamalot, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (Mary Jane Teall Award) and Tateh in Ragtime. On Broadway Bruce has appeared in the current hits Chicago (Amos) and The Phantom of the Opera (Firmin) as well as La Cage Aux Folles, Fiddler on the Roof, Ragtime, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables and My Favorite Year. He also appeared in The Most Happy Fella at NY City Opera and most recently in The NY Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. On TV Bruce has made guest appearances in “Blue Bloods,” “Person of Interest,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “The West Wing,” “Star Trek: TNG”, among many others. Many thanks to Wayne, Mark, Nancy and the whole MTW gang! Love to Kristin, Arden and Jayce!!

RAPHAEL NASH THOMPSON (Amonasro)
RAPHAEL NASH THOMPSON (Amonasro)

Raphael Nash Thompson: Regional credits include the Goodman Theater, Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre and the Wilma The­atre. In New York, Mr. Thompson has performed with the Lincoln Center Theatre, Red Bull Theater, La Mama E.T.C. and Ensemble Studio Theatre. His film credits include Searching for Bobby Fischer, Kiss of Death and Clockers. On tele­vision, he has appeared on “Third Watch” (NBC) and “Soul Food” (Showtime).

AVERY SMITH
AVERY SMITH

Avery Smith is a rising senior drama major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Chicago native and is very excited to be performing alongside the many talented artists of the 2015 MTWichita Company. For his first year of college he attended The Boston Conservatory where he appeared as Horse in The Full Monty. After his first year at the conservatory he decided to further his education at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU recent credits include Hello Again, The Wiz, and Babylon. Additionally, he has performed to honor alumni and Tony Award Winner Billy Porter. Also, Smith is featured on American R&B vocal group The Dells re-release of their hit "Open Up My Heart" featured on their album Open Up My Heart: The 9/11 Suite. Other credits include Damn Yankees (Applegate), A Little Night Music (Liebeslieder/u.s. Fredrik) Kiss Me, Kate (Paul). For Avery it is always a privilege and a blessing to be able to perform. He would like to thank all of his friends and family for all of their love and support! Mom, Dad, Austin, Amber, Amaris…YOU ROCK! “Live the moment, seize the day. Love every minute, because there’s only one today.”

CHRISTIANI PITTS
CHRISTIANI PITTS

Christiani Pitts began her career as a performer at the age of 8 in Montclair, NJ at Luna Stage. Working in both theatre and film in Atlanta, GA, she continued to train and perform throughout her educational career. She graduates this May from the BFA Music Theatre program at the Florida State University. Previous theatre credits include Mimi Marquez in Rent (Greenville, SC), Pilar in Legally Blonde (Valdosta, GA), Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins (Warsaw, IN), Electra in Gypsy (Warsaw, IN), Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Florida State University), Marta in Company (Florida State University), Aida in Aida (Atlanta, GA). She is so excited to perform at Music Theatre Wichita for the first time and would like to thank God, her family and this incredible company for their support and generosity of spirit.

CASSIE AUSTIN
CASSIE AUSTIN

Cassie Austin is delighted to be joining MTWichita for the first time ever!  A Libertyville, IL native and sophomore in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Brigham Young University in Utah, she is ecstatic about being back in the Midwest. Favorite Credits include Valentine de Villefort in the U.S. Premiere of Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo (BYU), Katy in the NYMTF-bound new musical Single Wide (BYU), Brooke in Legally Blonde, and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Much thanks to Mom and Dad as well as her amazing teachers, friends and family for all of their love and support, and to Music Theatre Wichita for this amazing opportunity!

KATIE BARNA
KATIE BARNA

Katie Barna is thrilled to be spending her summer performing with Music Theatre Wichita! She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University from Suwanee, Georgia. While in college, she performed annually in the Home for the Holidays and ASDC Spring Show with the American Spirit Dance Company. Professionally, Katie performed in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s Will Rogers Follies. She would like to express unending gratitude to family and friends for believing in her dreams and the Lord for His abundant blessings. 

LEXIS DANCA
LEXIS DANCA

Lexis is thrilled to be spending her summer with Music Theatre Wichita! A current student of Millikin University, she is pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater with a dance minor (2016), and has appeared on the Millikin mainstage in: And the World Goes ‘Round (Woman/Dance Captain), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Legally Blonde (Greek Chorus/Vivienne u/s), Cinderella,  Machinal (Female Swing), the collegiate premiere of the new Gwon and Hammond musical String,  and the workshop of Salzman and Cunningham’s The Legend of New York. Additional credits include: An Evening with Andrew Lippa (Featured Vocalist), The Nutcracker Ballet (Sugar Plum Fairy, Judith Svalander Dance Theater), Thodos Dance Residency, and the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Featured Float Singer/Dancer). She sends all her love and thanks to her supportive friends and family.

KAT GEERTSEN
KAT GEERTSEN

Kat Geertsen - First MTWichita season. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Kat graduates this May from Viterbo University with a BFA in Music Theatre. VU credits include: Pippin (Leading Player), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Flo), Little Women (Beth), A Chorus Line (Judy Turner, #23). Other favorites: Next to Normal (Natalie), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Belle), Ragtime (Mother), Spring Awakening (Thea), Legally Blonde (Kate). Kat also served as Assistant Music Director for Drood, and joined the entire Fine Arts Department this March in a televised celebration of Viterbo’s 125th anniversary. Many thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and MTW, and to Mom, Dad, family, friends, and teachers for their immeasurable love, support, and faith.

CAMERON HILL
CAMERON HILL

Cameron Hill is a New Jersey native and now a rising senior musical theater student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut this summer! She has most recently appeared in CCM’s productions of 110 in the Shade, Legally Blonde, Carrie the Musical, and Les Misérables. Some of her favorite credits include Sarah (Ragtime), Diana Morales (A Chorus Line), Ti Moune (Once On This Island), and Chiffon (Little Shop of Horrors). She is grateful every day for her supportive parents and all of her teachers past and present. 

CAROLYN ANNE MILLER
CAROLYN ANNE MILLER

Carolyn Anne Miller is so happy to be returning to her MTWichita family for her third summer. She graduates in May from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Some of her favorite regional credits include Les Miserablés (Eponine), Catch Me If You Can (Brenda Strong), Betty Blue Eyes (Veronica), Amadeus (Constanze), and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Mae). Carolyn would like to thank her mom, dad, and sister for all of their love and support throughout her career, and to Wayne for another wonderful summer back at MTW. 

JESSIE PELTIER
JESSIE PELTIER

Jessie Peltier is thrilled to be joining MTWichita this summer! Originally from Northern Virginia, Jessie is a rising senior Dance Performance major at Oklahoma City University. Credits include:  A Chorus Line (Diana), 9 to 5: the Musical (Margaret), and La Cage Aux Folles all at the Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, California. She has also performed in the ensemble of productions of Legally Blonde and The Producers. At school, she is a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, performing consistently in the annual Home for the Holidays Christmas shows and annual Spring shows. Special thanks to Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Chris, and Raynor for always believing in her and supporting her in pursuing her dreams. 

SARAH QUINN
SARAH QUINN

Sarah Quinn, a rising senior at the University of Oklahoma, could not be more elated to return home to MTWichita for her fifth summer season. Recent/Favorite credits include: Janet Van DeGraff, The Drowsy Chaperone; Chris Hargensen, Carrie the Musical (University Theatre), Cosette, Les Miserablés; Arista, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Lyric Theatre OKC), Greek Chorus, Legally Blonde; Ensemble, Betty Blue Eyes, 9 to 5, Finian’s Rainbow (MTWichita), Pops Chorale/Dancer, The Christmas Show (OKC Philharmonic). Endless love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh, her unbelievably encouraging friends and family, her devoted mentors and teachers who daily challenge her to push beyond limits, and her incredibly supportive fiancé, Jeff Taylor. MUTAU. 1 Peter 4:10-11

XIMONE ROSE
XIMONE ROSE

Ximone Rose, a New Orleans native, graduates this May from The University of Michigan where she just played Caroline in Caroline, Or Change. She is so thrilled to be making her MT Wichita debut this summer and is looking forward to moving to New York afterwards! Keep a look out for her name! GO BLUE.

HALLI TOLAND
HALLI TOLAND

Halli Toland is excited to return to MTW for a second summer!  She is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in musical theatre, and is originally from Toledo, Ohio. Her university credits include Helga in Cabaret and Dance Captain for The Music Man at U of M. Some of her favorite credits include Graziella in West Side Story and Dance Captain for Catch Me If You Can (both at MTW), as well as Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Toledo Repertory Theatre. She would like to thank her instructors Mark Madama and Linda Goodrich, as well as her amazing family and friends back home for their love and unending encouragement. Lastly special thanks to MTW for this wonderful opportunity. GO BLUE!

GINA WARD
GINA WARD

Gina Ward is so excited to be making her professional theatre debut at Music Theatre Wichita! She is coming all the way from Tampa, FL and will be a rising senior at Florida State University. Past credits include: How to Succeed… (Swing) and Company (Jenny). She would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and all of the artistic team for believing in her and for giving her this amazing opportunity. She would not be the performer she is today without Broadway Dreams Foundation, Kate and Gayle, MT ’16, her mom and dad, and most importantly her Sissy.

DAISY WRIGHT
DAISY WRIGHT

Daisy Wright is beyond grateful to be back here at MTWichita this year for her second summer! Originally from St. George, UT, Daisy is an upcoming senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Oklahoma. Her credits include: Music Theatre Wichita: South Pacific, West Side Story, Joseph, Catch Me If You Can, 42nd Street. OU University Theatre: On The Town (Ivy u.s.), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mrs. Tottendale u.s.). OKC Philharmonic: The Christmas Show w/Beth Leavel (Dancer). Many thanks to my loving parents, family, friends, and teachers, and a BIG thanks to everyone at MTWichita for welcoming me back into their wonderful theatrical family for another summer of incredible fun!

PATRICK GARR
PATRICK GARR

Patrick Garr is a Lexington, Kentucky native and is currently studying at University of Kentucky to receive his BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and Dance. Patrick is also receiving his double major in Communications. His previous credits include: Woof in Hair, Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Mike in A Chorus Line, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Nan Giordano of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Patrick also had the privilege of working with Steven Kennedy and Tim McDonald on the 2012 MTI and iTheatrics Broadway Choreography DVD. Patrick would like to thank Lyndy and Jeromy Smith, Peggy Stamps, Beth Arnold, Nancy Jones, Susie Thiel, and his wonderful family.

ERIK HERNANDEZ
ERIK HERNANDEZ

Erik Hernandez is currently a junior at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and he couldn't be more excited to be joining the cast and crew of Music Theatre Wichita. He will receive his BFA in Musical Theatre next spring. His credits include Quisisana, Maine: Rent (Collins), A Grand Night For Singing (Ensemble); CCM: 110 in the Shade (Noah), Legally Blonde (Padamadan/Nikos), Les Misérables (Brujon), Carrie (George), and Threepenny Opera (Walt Dreary). Erik would like to thank his entire family, especially his mother Lorraine for the years of encouragement and support, MT16, Averie, and Allie. 

WILLIE HILL
WILLIE HILL

Willie Hill is a third-year Music Theatre major from Tulsa, Oklahoma studying voice with Dr. Marilyn Govich at The University of Central Oklahoma. Willie’s favorite theatre credits include: working with a non-profit organization called “A Pocket Full Of Hope”; Jake in Side Show, Featured Vocalist in Holidays at Home, Curtis/C.C. in Dreamgirls, Richie in A Chorus Line, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of the Opera, and Scarecrow in The Wiz. He would like to thank his family and his parents for their love and support.

TREVOR McCHRISTIAN
TREVOR McCHRISTIAN

Trevor McChristian, a Wichita native, recently completed his first year at Elon University! He is ecstatic to be returning for his second full summer with the company at MTWichita after having spent several years in the Teen Choir and Interning! In 2013, Trevor was selected as the male representative from the Jester Awards to compete in New York City at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, where he made his New York debut at the Minskoff Theatre (where Lion King plays). Favorite MTW credits include: Joseph…Dreamcoat (Baker/swing—where he went on as Brother Asher), West Side Story (Anxious), Catch Me If You Can, Singin’ in the Rain, and Betty Blue Eyes (U.S. Premiere). He sends many humble thanks to the cast and crew, Wayne, Nancy, Josh, Thomas, his family and friends, and above all else Mom.

KYLE McCLELLAN
KYLE McCLELLAN

Kyle McClellan is thrilled to be making his debut with MTWichita this summer! He is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, where his credits include Les Misérables (Prouvaire) and The Tempest (Sebastian). Regional: Walnut Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse. Other credits: 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), West Side Story (Riff), and Hair (Claude). Much love and many thanks to Mom, Dad, Ty, Zo, the UMich faculty, and MTW for this incredible opportunity. Go Blue!

KEVIN NIETZEL
KEVIN NIETZEL

Kevin Nietzel is beyond thrilled to be joining the MTW family this summer! Originally from Cary, IL, he will be a rising senior at Florida State University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. Favorite credits include Maine State Music Theatre, Wagon Wheel Theatre, and Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. He would love to give a special thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and all of the production staff for such an incredible opportunity, and of course his amazing family for always being a true support system. 

TANNER PFLUEGER
TANNER PFLUEGER

Tanner Pflueger is ecstatic to be returning to Music Theatre Wichita for his second summer! A Nebraska native, Tanner is currently studying at Oklahoma City University as a dance performance major. While at school, he has performed with the American Spirit Dance Company in their annual Home for the Holidays Christmas Show and Spring Show. Credits: Broadway: Billy Elliot (Billy) West End: Billy Elliot (Billy) MTW: West Side Story (Snowboy), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Gad), and 42nd Street (Ensemble). Regional: Grease (Johnny Casino/Teen Angel) and Beauty and the Beast (Chip). Thank you to Wayne and the rest of the creative team for the opportunity! Much love and many thanks to his family, teachers, and mentors for their constant support.

JARED THOMAS ROBERTS
JARED THOMAS ROBERTS

Jared Thomas Roberts is beyond excited and humbled to be a part of the 2015 Music Theatre Wichita Summer Season. He is a rising junior pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Point Park University. At PPU, Jared has been in productions of 21, a world premiere musical (Ball Player/Reporter) and The Boyfriend (Marcel). Past productions include: A Chorus Line (Mike), Footloose (Ren), Legally Blonde (Warner), Cats (Alonzo/Macavity). He would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting his artistic endeavors and his teachers and trainers for helping him grow into the performer he is today. “When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

JON PAUL ROBY
JON PAUL ROBY

Jon Paul Roby is thrilled to be performing with MTWichita this summer! Regional credits include Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, and Reagle Music Theatre. Jon Paul will be starting his last year in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Syracuse University in the fall. He would like to thank his family for their love and endless support as well as Wayne, Nancy and the entire MTW team for this incredible opportunity. Enjoy the show!

JEREMY SEINER
JEREMY SEINER

Jeremy Seiner is extremely excited to be a part of the 2015 MTWichita company. Favorite past roles include Frank Jr. (Catch Me If You Can), Claude (Hair), and Noah (Children of Eden). Jeremy is excited to recieve his BFA from Penn State this May and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their constant love and support.

Mark Madama (Director)
Andrew Palermo (Choreograhper)
Thomas W. Douglas (Musical Director)

Aida: A History of the Musical by Wayne Bryan

  • Broadway opening: March 23, 2000, Palace Theatre; 1,852 performances
  • Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions; Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher
  • Directed by Robert Falls
  • Choreography by Wayne Cilento
  • Music Produced and Supervised by Paul Bogaev
  • Scenic and Costume Design by Bob Crowley
  • Lighting Design by Natasha Katz; Sound Design by Steve C. Kennedy; Hair Design by David Brian Brown
  • Music Arrangements by Guy Babylon, Paul Bogaev; Orchestrations by Steve Margoshes, Guy Babylon, Paul Bogaev; Dance Arrangements by Bob Gustafson, Jim Abbott, Gary Seligson
  • Musical Director Yolanda Segovia
  • Cast included: Heather Headley, Adam Pascal, Sherie René Scott
  • The original Broadway cast recording is highly recommended, as is the book, “Aida: The Making of the Broadway Musical” by Michael Lassell

In 1869 Ismail Pasha, the khedive of Egypt (viceroy to the Turkish sultan who controlled Egypt at the time) instructed his Inspector General of Monuments to commission an opera for the 1970 opening of the Suez Canal. Inspector General Auguste-Edouard Mariette was a French author and Egyptologist, whose explorations of antiquities were considered the most important ever achieved up to that time. Using his knowledge of Egypt’s ancient history, Mariette drafted a story for the libretto, then turned to fellow Frenchman Camille Du Locle for help. Du Locle, in turn, suggested as composer his frequent collaborator, 57-year-old Giuseppi Verdi (1813-1901).

At least, that’s one version of the origins of Aida.

But another Verdi opera called Nabucco has a startlingly similar libretto, written by Temistocle Solera. Verdi and Solera had worked well together - until Solera bailed out in the middle of their collaboration on the opera Attila, severing their friendship for a quarter of a century. Solera went on to have many colorful adventures, including a trip to Egypt where he was head honcho for the gala opening of – amazingly enough - the Suez Canal. It is now widely believed that Solera actually wrote the Aida story, and had Mariette put his name on it, since Solera and Verdi were not speaking at the time.

The assignment of writing the final Italian libretto went to Antonio Ghislanzoni, with Verdi himself altering the libretto substantially. Though the score was ready in 1870, the made-in-Paris sets were trapped there by the Prussian siege during the Franco-Prussian War. The premiere finally went ahead in Cairo in 1871 (a year after the opening of the Canal), and the Khedive was apparently delighted.

The basic plot of the opera is as follows: An Egyptian prince, Radames (tenor) is in love with the Ethiopian slavegirl Aida (soprano). When Aida's father Amonasro, the Ethiopian king, is captured, he persuades Aida to wheedle military secrets from Radames. The jealous Amneris (soprano) gets Radames convicted of treason. Walled alive into a tomb, Radames discovers that Aida has joined him and will die with him.
 
Metropolitan Opera diva Leontyne Price, an acclaimed interpreter of the role of Aida, wrote a children’s book based on the plot of the opera in 1990, which was purchased by the Disney Company, possibly for development as an animated film. In 1994, with the phenomenal success of the movie The Lion King, Disney executives approached the film’s songwriters, composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, to see if Aida would interest them. Elton John didn’t want to do another animated film right away, but the idea of composing his first stage show intrigued him, so Aida was developed for theatre.

The story as told in Price’s book was largely abandoned, and Beauty and the Beast screenwriter Linda Woolverton took a fresh approach. Princess Aida would no longer be from Ethiopia, but from Nubia, a culturally rich part of Africa which for centuries had been a prime target for conquering armies. Instead of having Radames already in love with Aida when the story began, Woolverton explored how the two might have met, and what qualities Radames might possess that could win over a woman whom he had enslaved. Amneris would not simply be an angry shrew, but would be a young woman of unexpected depth, who grows in stature through her genuine friendship with Aida.

After several workshops in New York (seen only by Disney staff and a few invited guests), it was decided that the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta (where Elton John has a home) would host the premiere of Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida in September, 1998. But disastrous technical problems plagued the two-month run of the show and, even discounting those, more work was clearly needed.

The creative team was dismissed (except for lighting designer Natasha Katz and musical supervisor Paul Bogaev), and the only leading actors retained were Heather Headley as Aida and Sherie René Scott as Amneris. A new cast and a new creative team were assembled, headed by director Robert Falls, who did extensive rewriting, assisted by playwright David Henry Hwang.

The newly renamed and reworked Aida opened in Chicago in December of 1999, and then, after substantial additional tinkering, opened at the Palace Theatre in New York City on March 23, 2000. The show won four Tony Awards, for outstanding score, actress, lighting, and set design, and ran until September 5, 2004.

Several MTWichita alums joined the cast during its long run, including Matt Bogart (Radames) and Darcie Roberts (Amneris). Music Theatre Wichita was selected by the Disney Company to present the regional premiere the following summer, and we are thrilled to open our 44th season with this exciting and passionate contemporary musical adventure.

June 24-28, 2015

Geppetto's longing to have a son leads him to a carnival puppet show, across the dangerous Pleasure Island, and into the belly of a whale! A lively adventure for the whole family, with wonderful new songs by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked).

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Disney's My Son Pinocchio
June 24-28, 2015
G
1 hr 45 min

Toymaker Geppetto's desire to have a son leads him to a carnival puppet show, across the dangerous Pleasure Island, and into the belly of a whale! A lively and fast-moving adventure for the whole family, My Son Pinocchio combines wonderful new songs by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) with classic tunes from Disney’s animated film (“When You Wish Upon a Star,” “I’ve Got No Strings”).

Disney's MY SON PINOCCHIO
Book by David I. Stern
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

"When You Wish Upon a Star" and "I've Got No Strings"
Music by Leigh Harline, Lyrics by Ned Washington from the
Walt Disney Motion Picture PINOCCHIO

TOPHER CUNDITH (Pinocchio)
TOPHER CUNDITH (Pinocchio)

Topher Cundith, a rising fifth grader at Hyde Elementary School in Wichita, is thrilled to be making his Music Theatre Wichita debut in the title role in Disney’s My Son Pinocchio. In past years, he’s taken the stage in numerous Music Theatre for Young People (MTYP) productions. His favorite MTYP roles include: Junior in My Son Pinocchio; Grumpy in Shrek: The Musical, and the Mayor of Munchkin City in Wizard of Oz. He would like to give a big shout out to Amy Menas and The Studio Singers, Billie Preston at Senseney Music, and everyone at Kansas Dance Academy and MTYP who have helped him become the performer he is today. He also wants to say thanks to his family and friends for their ongoing love and support.  

EMILY VARGO (The Blue Fairy)
EMILY VARGO (The Blue Fairy)

This is Emily Vargo’s first summer with MTWichita and she could not be more thrilled! She acquires her BFA in Musical Theatre from Wichita State University this May, and thanks MTWichita and Wayne Bryan for being big influences and help throughout her college career. Some of her most notable Wichita roles are Louisa in The Fantasticks, which earned her the Mary Jane Teall award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Wendla Bergmann in Spring Awakening, and Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls directed by none other than Wayne Bryan. "When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!"

STEVE HITCHCOCK (Prof. Buonragazzo)
STEVE HITCHCOCK (Prof. Buonragazzo)

Steve Hitchcock is thrilled to be joining MTWichita for a couple of shows this summer. You may have seen him last year in Catch Me If You Can, where he played several different colorful characters. He performs regularly around Wichita for Mosley Street Melodrama, where he is also the General Manager, and The Forum Theatre. Some favorite roles include: Emcee in Cabaret, Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors, and many stalwart Heroes in the melodramas at Mosley. He would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and the MTW crew for this awesome opportunity; and to Patty for always being so supportive. Also, much love to Ted, Briley, Mom, Dad, Kari, Evan, Kenny, and Kati; who continue to be so encouraging and supportive as he pursues his dreams. Lights, please!                                                                                                                                                                                          

AVERY SMITH (Ringleader)
AVERY SMITH (Ringleader)

Avery Smith is a rising senior drama major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Chicago native and is very excited to be performing alongside the many talented artists of the 2015 MTWichita Company. For his first year of college he attended The Boston Conservatory where he appeared as Horse in The Full Monty. After his first year at the conservatory he decided to further his education at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU recent credits include Hello Again, The Wiz, and Babylon. Additionally, he has performed to honor alumni and Tony Award Winner Billy Porter. Also, Smith is featured on American R&B vocal group The Dells re-release of their hit "Open Up My Heart" featured on their album Open Up My Heart: The 9/11 Suite. Other credits include Damn Yankees (Applegate), A Little Night Music (Liebeslieder/u.s. Fredrik) Kiss Me, Kate (Paul). For Avery it is always a privilege and a blessing to be able to perform. He would like to thank all of his friends and family for all of their love and support! Mom, Dad, Austin, Amber, Amaris…YOU ROCK! “Live the moment, seize the day. Love every minute, because there’s only one today.”

CASSIE AUSTIN
CASSIE AUSTIN

Cassie Austin is delighted to be joining MTWichita for the first time ever!  A Libertyville, IL native and sophomore in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Brigham Young University in Utah, she is ecstatic about being back in the Midwest. Favorite Credits include Valentine de Villefort in the U.S. Premiere of Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo (BYU), Katy in the NYMTF-bound new musical Single Wide (BYU), Brooke in Legally Blonde, and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Much thanks to Mom and Dad as well as her amazing teachers, friends and family for all of their love and support, and to Music Theatre Wichita for this amazing opportunity!

KATIE BARNA
KATIE BARNA

Katie Barna is thrilled to be spending her summer performing with Music Theatre Wichita! She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University from Suwanee, Georgia. While in college, she performed annually in the Home for the Holidays and ASDC Spring Show with the American Spirit Dance Company. Professionally, Katie performed in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s Will Rogers Follies. She would like to express unending gratitude to family and friends for believing in her dreams and the Lord for His abundant blessings. 

CAITLIN BELCIK
CAITLIN BELCIK

Caitlin Belcik is absolutely thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for her second season! She is from Edmond, OK, and this fall will be a sophomore at Penn State University in the BFA musical theatre program. Favorite credits include:  Broadway: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Annie Who - original; Little Who - revival); Regional: MTW - Last year's 5 fabulous shows!, White Christmas (Susan Waverly); Lyric Theatre - Sweet Charity, Bye Bye Birdie, Tarzan, Sound of Music, Call Me Madam (choreography assistant); ENHS - West Side Story (Maria). Much love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, Josh and the MTW team for this wonderful opportunity, and to my teachers and parents for their support!

LEXIS DANCA
LEXIS DANCA

Lexis is thrilled to be spending her summer with Music Theatre Wichita! A current student of Millikin University, she is pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater with a dance minor (2016), and has appeared on the Millikin mainstage in: And the World Goes ‘Round (Woman/Dance Captain), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Legally Blonde (Greek Chorus/Vivienne u/s), Cinderella,  Machinal (Female Swing), the collegiate premiere of the new Gwon and Hammond musical String,  and the workshop of Salzman and Cunningham’s The Legend of New York. Additional credits include: An Evening with Andrew Lippa (Featured Vocalist), The Nutcracker Ballet (Sugar Plum Fairy, Judith Svalander Dance Theater), Thodos Dance Residency, and the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Featured Float Singer/Dancer). She sends all her love and thanks to her supportive friends and family.

KAT GEERTSEN
KAT GEERTSEN

Kat Geertsen - First MTWichita season. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Kat graduates this May from Viterbo University with a BFA in Music Theatre. VU credits include: Pippin (Leading Player), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Flo), Little Women (Beth), A Chorus Line (Judy Turner, #23). Other favorites: Next to Normal (Natalie), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Belle), Ragtime (Mother), Spring Awakening (Thea), Legally Blonde (Kate). Kat also served as Assistant Music Director for Drood, and joined the entire Fine Arts Department this March in a televised celebration of Viterbo’s 125th anniversary. Many thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and MTW, and to Mom, Dad, family, friends, and teachers for their immeasurable love, support, and faith.

CAMERON HILL
CAMERON HILL

Cameron Hill is a New Jersey native and now a rising senior musical theater student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut this summer! She has most recently appeared in CCM’s productions of 110 in the Shade, Legally Blonde, Carrie the Musical, and Les Misérables. Some of her favorite credits include Sarah (Ragtime), Diana Morales (A Chorus Line), Ti Moune (Once On This Island), and Chiffon (Little Shop of Horrors). She is grateful every day for her supportive parents and all of her teachers past and present. 

CAROLYN ANNE MILLER
CAROLYN ANNE MILLER

Carolyn Anne Miller is so happy to be returning to her MTWichita family for her third summer. She graduates in May from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Some of her favorite regional credits include Les Miserablés (Eponine), Catch Me If You Can (Brenda Strong), Betty Blue Eyes (Veronica), Amadeus (Constanze), and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Mae). Carolyn would like to thank her mom, dad, and sister for all of their love and support throughout her career, and to Wayne for another wonderful summer back at MTW. 

JESSIE PELTIER
JESSIE PELTIER

Jessie Peltier is thrilled to be joining MTWichita this summer! Originally from Northern Virginia, Jessie is a rising senior Dance Performance major at Oklahoma City University. Credits include:  A Chorus Line (Diana), 9 to 5: the Musical (Margaret), and La Cage Aux Folles all at the Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, California. She has also performed in the ensemble of productions of Legally Blonde and The Producers. At school, she is a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, performing consistently in the annual Home for the Holidays Christmas shows and annual Spring shows. Special thanks to Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Chris, and Raynor for always believing in her and supporting her in pursuing her dreams. 

CHRISTIANI PITTS
CHRISTIANI PITTS

Christiani Pitts began her career as a performer at the age of 8 in Montclair, NJ at Luna Stage. Working in both theatre and film in Atlanta, GA, she continued to train and perform throughout her educational career. She graduates this May from the BFA Music Theatre program at the Florida State University. Previous theatre credits include Mimi Marquez in Rent (Greenville, SC), Pilar in Legally Blonde (Valdosta, GA), Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins (Warsaw, IN), Electra in Gypsy (Warsaw, IN), Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Florida State University), Marta in Company (Florida State University), Aida in Aida (Atlanta, GA). She is so excited to perform at Music Theatre Wichita for the first time and would like to thank God, her family and this incredible company for their support and generosity of spirit.

SARAH QUINN
SARAH QUINN

Sarah Quinn, a rising senior at the University of Oklahoma, could not be more elated to return home to MTWichita for her fifth summer season. Recent/Favorite credits include: Janet Van DeGraff, The Drowsy Chaperone; Chris Hargensen, Carrie the Musical (University Theatre), Cosette, Les Miserablés; Arista, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Lyric Theatre OKC), Greek Chorus, Legally Blonde; Ensemble, Betty Blue Eyes, 9 to 5, Finian’s Rainbow (MTWichita), Pops Chorale/Dancer, The Christmas Show (OKC Philharmonic). Endless love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh, her unbelievably encouraging friends and family, her devoted mentors and teachers who daily challenge her to push beyond limits, and her incredibly supportive fiancé, Jeff Taylor. MUTAU. 1 Peter 4:10-11

XIMONE ROSE
XIMONE ROSE

Ximone Rose, a New Orleans native, graduates this May from The University of Michigan where she just played Caroline in Caroline, Or Change. She is so thrilled to be making her MT Wichita debut this summer and is looking forward to moving to New York afterwards! Keep a look out for her name! GO BLUE.

HALLI TOLAND
HALLI TOLAND

Halli Toland is excited to return to MTW for a second summer!  She is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in musical theatre, and is originally from Toledo, Ohio. Her university credits include Helga in Cabaret and Dance Captain for The Music Man at U of M. Some of her favorite credits include Graziella in West Side Story and Dance Captain for Catch Me If You Can (both at MTW), as well as Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Toledo Repertory Theatre. She would like to thank her instructors Mark Madama and Linda Goodrich, as well as her amazing family and friends back home for their love and unending encouragement. Lastly special thanks to MTW for this wonderful opportunity. GO BLUE!

GINA WARD
GINA WARD

Gina Ward is so excited to be making her professional theatre debut at Music Theatre Wichita! She is coming all the way from Tampa, FL and will be a rising senior at Florida State University. Past credits include: How to Succeed… (Swing) and Company (Jenny). She would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and all of the artistic team for believing in her and for giving her this amazing opportunity. She would not be the performer she is today without Broadway Dreams Foundation, Kate and Gayle, MT ’16, her mom and dad, and most importantly her Sissy.

DAISY WRIGHT
DAISY WRIGHT

Daisy Wright is beyond grateful to be back here at MTWichita this year for her second summer! Originally from St. George, UT, Daisy is an upcoming senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Oklahoma. Her credits include: Music Theatre Wichita: South Pacific, West Side Story, Joseph, Catch Me If You Can, 42nd Street. OU University Theatre: On The Town (Ivy u.s.), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mrs. Tottendale u.s.). OKC Philharmonic: The Christmas Show w/Beth Leavel (Dancer). Many thanks to my loving parents, family, friends, and teachers, and a BIG thanks to everyone at MTWichita for welcoming me back into their wonderful theatrical family for another summer of incredible fun!

QUINTAN CRAIG
QUINTAN CRAIG

"Q" is Beyond Thrilled to return to MTWichita after appearing in Catch Me If You Can and 42nd Street last summer. Though based in California, Wichita has always felt like home! Regional credits include: Young Frankenstein (Sasha), 42nd Street (Oscar), White Christmas (Scooter), Chorus Line, Gypsy (Yonkers), Ragtime (Little Boy –IETLAward), Oliver! (Oliver), Full Monty (Nathan), On Your Toes (Young Junior). Q is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Heartfelt Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Mollie Rae for your unending love, support and encouragement! Much love and gratitude to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh for this Incredibly Awesome opportunity! Q thanks God for Abundant Blessings!

AARON PATRICK CRAVEN
AARON PATRICK CRAVEN

Aaron Patrick Craven is very excited to spend the summer with MTWichita! He recently earned a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Wichita State University. Favorite regional credits include A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, and White Christmas. Last year, Aaron was nominated to perform at the national conference of the American College Dance Festival of America, performing at the Kennedy Center. Aaron has also been seen as a Principal Dancer with Ballet Wichita and has toured internationally with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre. Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Alex, Katie, Wayne, Josh and Nancy! Psalms 115:1 www.aaronpatrickcraven.com

PATRICK GARR
PATRICK GARR

Patrick Garr is a Lexington, Kentucky native and is currently studying at University of Kentucky to receive his BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and Dance. Patrick is also receiving his double major in Communications. His previous credits include: Woof in Hair, Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Mike in A Chorus Line, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Nan Giordano of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Patrick also had the privilege of working with Steven Kennedy and Tim McDonald on the 2012 MTI and iTheatrics Broadway Choreography DVD. Patrick would like to thank Lyndy and Jeromy Smith, Peggy Stamps, Beth Arnold, Nancy Jones, Susie Thiel, and his wonderful family.

ERIK HERNANDEZ
ERIK HERNANDEZ

Erik Hernandez is currently a junior at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and he couldn't be more excited to be joining the cast and crew of Music Theatre Wichita. He will receive his BFA in Musical Theatre next spring. His credits include Quisisana, Maine: Rent (Collins), A Grand Night For Singing (Ensemble); CCM: 110 in the Shade (Noah), Legally Blonde (Padamadan/Nikos), Les Misérables (Brujon), Carrie (George), and Threepenny Opera (Walt Dreary). Erik would like to thank his entire family, especially his mother Lorraine for the years of encouragement and support, MT16, Averie, and Allie. 

WILLIE HILL
WILLIE HILL

Willie Hill is a third-year Music Theatre major from Tulsa, Oklahoma studying voice with Dr. Marilyn Govich at The University of Central Oklahoma. Willie’s favorite theatre credits include: working with a non-profit organization called “A Pocket Full Of Hope”; Jake in Side Show, Featured Vocalist in Holidays at Home, Curtis/C.C. in Dreamgirls, Richie in A Chorus Line, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of the Opera, and Scarecrow in The Wiz. He would like to thank his family and his parents for their love and support.

TREVOR McCHRISTIAN
TREVOR McCHRISTIAN

Trevor McChristian, a Wichita native, recently completed his first year at Elon University! He is ecstatic to be returning for his second full summer with the company at MTWichita after having spent several years in the Teen Choir and Interning! In 2013, Trevor was selected as the male representative from the Jester Awards to compete in New York City at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, where he made his New York debut at the Minskoff Theatre (where Lion King plays). Favorite MTW credits include: Joseph…Dreamcoat (Baker/swing—where he went on as Brother Asher), West Side Story (Anxious), Catch Me If You Can, Singin’ in the Rain, and Betty Blue Eyes (U.S. Premiere). He sends many humble thanks to the cast and crew, Wayne, Nancy, Josh, Thomas, his family and friends, and above all else Mom.

KYLE McCLELLAN
KYLE McCLELLAN

Kyle McClellan is thrilled to be making his debut with MTWichita this summer! He is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, where his credits include Les Misérables (Prouvaire) and The Tempest (Sebastian). Regional: Walnut Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse. Other credits: 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), West Side Story (Riff), and Hair (Claude). Much love and many thanks to Mom, Dad, Ty, Zo, the UMich faculty, and MTW for this incredible opportunity. Go Blue!

KEVIN NIETZEL
KEVIN NIETZEL

Kevin Nietzel is beyond thrilled to be joining the MTW family this summer! Originally from Cary, IL, he will be a rising senior at Florida State University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. Favorite credits include Maine State Music Theatre, Wagon Wheel Theatre, and Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. He would love to give a special thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and all of the production staff for such an incredible opportunity, and of course his amazing family for always being a true support system. 

TANNER PFLUEGER
TANNER PFLUEGER

Tanner Pflueger is ecstatic to be returning to Music Theatre Wichita for his second summer! A Nebraska native, Tanner is currently studying at Oklahoma City University as a dance performance major. While at school, he has performed with the American Spirit Dance Company in their annual Home for the Holidays Christmas Show and Spring Show. Credits: Broadway: Billy Elliot (Billy) West End: Billy Elliot (Billy) MTW: West Side Story (Snowboy), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Gad), and 42nd Street (Ensemble). Regional: Grease (Johnny Casino/Teen Angel) and Beauty and the Beast (Chip). Thank you to Wayne and the rest of the creative team for the opportunity! Much love and many thanks to his family, teachers, and mentors for their constant support.

JARED THOMAS ROBERTS
JARED THOMAS ROBERTS

Jared Thomas Roberts is beyond excited and humbled to be a part of the 2015 Music Theatre Wichita Summer Season. He is a rising junior pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Point Park University. At PPU, Jared has been in productions of 21, a world premiere musical (Ball Player/Reporter) and The Boyfriend (Marcel). Past productions include: A Chorus Line (Mike), Footloose (Ren), Legally Blonde (Warner), Cats (Alonzo/Macavity). He would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting his artistic endeavors and his teachers and trainers for helping him grow into the performer he is today. “When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

JON PAUL ROBY
JON PAUL ROBY

Jon Paul Roby is thrilled to be performing with MTWichita this summer! Regional credits include Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, and Reagle Music Theatre. Jon Paul will be starting his last year in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Syracuse University in the fall. He would like to thank his family for their love and endless support as well as Wayne, Nancy and the entire MTW team for this incredible opportunity. Enjoy the show!

JEREMY SEINER
JEREMY SEINER

Jeremy Seiner is extremely excited to be a part of the 2015 MTWichita company. Favorite past roles include Frank Jr. (Catch Me If You Can), Claude (Hair), and Noah (Children of Eden). Jeremy is excited to recieve his BFA from Penn State this May and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their constant love and support.

CAITLIN BELCIK
CAITLIN BELCIK

Caitlin Belcik is absolutely thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for her second season! She is from Edmond, OK, and this fall will be a sophomore at Penn State University in the BFA musical theatre program. Favorite credits include:  Broadway: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Annie Who - original; Little Who - revival); Regional: MTW - Last year's 5 fabulous shows!, White Christmas (Susan Waverly); Lyric Theatre - Sweet Charity, Bye Bye Birdie, Tarzan, Sound of Music, Call Me Madam (choreography assistant); ENHS - West Side Story (Maria). Much love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, Josh and the MTW team for this wonderful opportunity, and to my teachers and parents for their support!

Wayne Bryan (Director / Producing Artistic Director)
Amy Baker Schwiethale (Choreographer)
Thomas W. Douglas (Musical Director)

The classic tale of an aging toymaker and his beloved wooden puppet is given a touching finish in this Disney gem. (This new stage adaptation is based on the 2000 Disney TV film “Geppetto.”)

In Disney's My Son Pinocchio, the classic tale of toymaker Geppetto’s little wooden puppet is given new life. This new musical, which retells the classic Disney story from Geppetto’s perspective, features the beloved classic songs “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings,” alongside a host of new songs by Oscar- and Grammy Award-winner and master melodist Stephen Schwartz, tackling timely issues about what it means to be “the perfect child” – and what it means to be “a real father.”

The Blue Fairy, the puppeteer Stromboli, and a lively cast of characters are involved with Geppetto as he  journeys beyond the toy shop to discover the meaning of family. When the Blue Fairy grants Geppetto's wish to bring his beloved puppet to life, the new father quickly learns that being a parent is full of challenges. He struggles to make his son "the perfect boy" only to lose him to a gang of Roustabouts. It is only when faced with the thought of never seeing Pinocchio again that Geppetto truly learns the joys of being a father and loving your child unconditionally.

This family-friendly musical is appropriate for all audiences and is a magical mix of heartwarming fairytale and action-packed adventure. Audiences will love following Pinocchio's journey from an awkward wooden puppet to a real, live boy and will be charmed by Geppetto's transformation from demanding creator to a real, live father.

July 8-12, 2015

An accidental visit to a ballet class sets in motion a life-changing experience for a small boy in a British mining town. Based on the award-winning film, this powerful stage adaptation won 10 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical.

< Back to All Shows
Billy Elliot the Musical
July 8-12, 2015
PG-13
for strong language
2 hr 45 min

An accidental visit to a ballet class sets in motion a life-changing experience for a small boy in a British mining town. Based on the award-winning film, this powerful stage adaptation won 10 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical.

BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL

Book and Lyrics by LEE HALL    
Music by ELTON JOHN
Originally Directed by STEPHEN DALDRY

Orchestrations by MARTIN KOCH
Executive Producers (Original London Production)
ANGELA MORRISON DAVID FURNISH
Producers (Original London Production)
TIM BEVAN ERIC FELLNER JON FINN SALLY GREENE
Originally presented in London by
Universal Pictures Stage Productions,Working Title Films, Old Vic Productions
in association with Tiger Productions
Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film

CRAIG BENNETT (Dad)
CRAIG BENNETT (Dad)

Craig Bennett most recently appeared on Broadway as Billy Thompson in Sting's The Last Ship. Previously, he was Jerry Cruncher in A Tale of Two Cities, Thomas Hassinger in Lincoln Center's South Pacific, and Sgt. Schultz in Miss Saigon. Tour credits include Monsieur Firmin in The Phantom of the Opera, Signor Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza, Big Davey/Dad in Billy Elliot, Bill Austin in Mamma Mia!, Willie Conklin in Ragtime, and Combeferre/Thenardier in Les Misérables. Regionally, Fredrik in A Little Night Music, Michael in Randy Newman's Faust, Jehannot in House of Martin Guerre, all at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Dave Bukatinsky in The Full Monty at North Shore Music Theater and Wolf/Cinderella's Prince in Into The Woods at The Repertory Theater of St. Louis.

PATTI PERKINS (Grandma)
PATTI PERKINS (Grandma)

Broadway: Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, Shakespeare's Cabaret, All Over Town. Lincoln Center: A Man of No Importance.  Regional: the Guthrie, the Old Globe, The Kennedy Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Buffalo Studio Arena, Arena Stage, Goodspeed Opera House, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Walnut Street Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, Capitol Rep. Television appearances include "Law & Order" and "One Life to Live."

KEVIN NIETZEL (Tony)
KEVIN NIETZEL (Tony)

Kevin Nietzel is beyond thrilled to be joining the MTW family this summer! Originally from Cary, IL, he will be a rising senior at Florida State University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. Favorite credits include Maine State Music Theatre, Wagon Wheel Theatre, and Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. He would love to give a special thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and all of the production staff for such an incredible opportunity, and of course his amazing family for always being a true support system. 

EVAN LENNON (Michael)
EVAN LENNON (Michael)

Evan Lennon is thrilled to make his debut with MTWichita and to reprise the role of Michael alongside such an amazing company! Evan lives in Colorado where he is vice president of his high school class. When he is not performing, Evan enjoys woodworking and hiking in the mountains. Regional: Billy Elliot (Michael)—North Carolina Theatre. Favorite Colorado credits: Mary Poppins (Michael/Ensemble), The King and I (Louis), A Christmas Story—the Play (Ralphie), Les Miserables (Gavroche), Oliver! (Oliver), Lost in Yonkers, All My Sons, The Wizard of Oz, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor© Dreamcoat, Gypsy and Nine. Thank you to Nancy Carson, Martile Rowland and Dan Wood. Gratitude to Wayne, Nancy and the MTWichita staff as well as the Billy artistic team for this wonderful opportunity. Love to all my friends, family and teachers back in the Rockies especially Mom, Dad, Ryan and Kate. www.evanlennon.com.

CAROLYN ANNE MILLER (Mum)
CAROLYN ANNE MILLER (Mum)

Carolyn Anne Miller is so happy to be returning to her MTWichita family for her third summer. She graduates in May from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Some of her favorite regional credits include Les Miserablés (Eponine), Catch Me If You Can (Brenda Strong), Betty Blue Eyes (Veronica), Amadeus (Constanze), and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Mae). Carolyn would like to thank her mom, dad, and sister for all of their love and support throughout her career, and to Wayne for another wonderful summer back at MTW. 

AARON PATRICK CRAVEN (Older Billy)
AARON PATRICK CRAVEN (Older Billy)

Aaron Patrick Craven is very excited to spend the summer with MTWichita! He recently earned a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Wichita State University. Favorite regional credits include A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, and White Christmas. Last year, Aaron was nominated to perform at the national conference of the American College Dance Festival of America, performing at the Kennedy Center. Aaron has also been seen as a Principal Dancer with Ballet Wichita and has toured internationally with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre. Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Alex, Katie, Wayne, Josh and Nancy! Psalms 115:1 www.aaronpatrickcraven.com

QUINTAN CRAIG
QUINTAN CRAIG

"Q" is Beyond Thrilled to return to MTWichita after appearing in Catch Me If You Can and 42nd Street last summer. Though based in California, Wichita has always felt like home! Regional credits include: Young Frankenstein (Sasha), 42nd Street (Oscar), White Christmas (Scooter), Chorus Line, Gypsy (Yonkers), Ragtime (Little Boy –IETLAward), Oliver! (Oliver), Full Monty (Nathan), On Your Toes (Young Junior). Q is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Heartfelt Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Mollie Rae for your unending love, support and encouragement! Much love and gratitude to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh for this Incredibly Awesome opportunity! Q thanks God for Abundant Blessings!

PATRICK GARR
PATRICK GARR

Patrick Garr is a Lexington, Kentucky native and is currently studying at University of Kentucky to receive his BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and Dance. Patrick is also receiving his double major in Communications. His previous credits include: Woof in Hair, Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Mike in A Chorus Line, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Nan Giordano of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Patrick also had the privilege of working with Steven Kennedy and Tim McDonald on the 2012 MTI and iTheatrics Broadway Choreography DVD. Patrick would like to thank Lyndy and Jeromy Smith, Peggy Stamps, Beth Arnold, Nancy Jones, Susie Thiel, and his wonderful family.

ERIK HERNANDEZ
ERIK HERNANDEZ

Erik Hernandez is currently a junior at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and he couldn't be more excited to be joining the cast and crew of Music Theatre Wichita. He will receive his BFA in Musical Theatre next spring. His credits include Quisisana, Maine: Rent (Collins), A Grand Night For Singing (Ensemble); CCM: 110 in the Shade (Noah), Legally Blonde (Padamadan/Nikos), Les Misérables (Brujon), Carrie (George), and Threepenny Opera (Walt Dreary). Erik would like to thank his entire family, especially his mother Lorraine for the years of encouragement and support, MT16, Averie, and Allie. 

WILLIE HILL
WILLIE HILL

Willie Hill is a third-year Music Theatre major from Tulsa, Oklahoma studying voice with Dr. Marilyn Govich at The University of Central Oklahoma. Willie’s favorite theatre credits include: working with a non-profit organization called “A Pocket Full Of Hope”; Jake in Side Show, Featured Vocalist in Holidays at Home, Curtis/C.C. in Dreamgirls, Richie in A Chorus Line, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of the Opera, and Scarecrow in The Wiz. He would like to thank his family and his parents for their love and support.

TREVOR McCHRISTIAN
TREVOR McCHRISTIAN

Trevor McChristian, a Wichita native, recently completed his first year at Elon University! He is ecstatic to be returning for his second full summer with the company at MTWichita after having spent several years in the Teen Choir and Interning! In 2013, Trevor was selected as the male representative from the Jester Awards to compete in New York City at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, where he made his New York debut at the Minskoff Theatre (where Lion King plays). Favorite MTW credits include: Joseph…Dreamcoat (Baker/swing—where he went on as Brother Asher), West Side Story (Anxious), Catch Me If You Can, Singin’ in the Rain, and Betty Blue Eyes (U.S. Premiere). He sends many humble thanks to the cast and crew, Wayne, Nancy, Josh, Thomas, his family and friends, and above all else Mom.

KYLE McCLELLAN
KYLE McCLELLAN

Kyle McClellan is thrilled to be making his debut with MTWichita this summer! He is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, where his credits include Les Misérables (Prouvaire) and The Tempest (Sebastian). Regional: Walnut Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse. Other credits: 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), West Side Story (Riff), and Hair (Claude). Much love and many thanks to Mom, Dad, Ty, Zo, the UMich faculty, and MTW for this incredible opportunity. Go Blue!

TANNER PFLUEGER
TANNER PFLUEGER

Tanner Pflueger is ecstatic to be returning to Music Theatre Wichita for his second summer! A Nebraska native, Tanner is currently studying at Oklahoma City University as a dance performance major. While at school, he has performed with the American Spirit Dance Company in their annual Home for the Holidays Christmas Show and Spring Show. Credits: Broadway: Billy Elliot (Billy) West End: Billy Elliot (Billy) MTW: West Side Story (Snowboy), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Gad), and 42nd Street (Ensemble). Regional: Grease (Johnny Casino/Teen Angel) and Beauty and the Beast (Chip). Thank you to Wayne and the rest of the creative team for the opportunity! Much love and many thanks to his family, teachers, and mentors for their constant support.

JARED THOMAS ROBERTS
JARED THOMAS ROBERTS

Jared Thomas Roberts is beyond excited and humbled to be a part of the 2015 Music Theatre Wichita Summer Season. He is a rising junior pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Point Park University. At PPU, Jared has been in productions of 21, a world premiere musical (Ball Player/Reporter) and The Boyfriend (Marcel). Past productions include: A Chorus Line (Mike), Footloose (Ren), Legally Blonde (Warner), Cats (Alonzo/Macavity). He would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting his artistic endeavors and his teachers and trainers for helping him grow into the performer he is today. “When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

JON PAUL ROBY
JON PAUL ROBY

Jon Paul Roby is thrilled to be performing with MTWichita this summer! Regional credits include Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, and Reagle Music Theatre. Jon Paul will be starting his last year in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Syracuse University in the fall. He would like to thank his family for their love and endless support as well as Wayne, Nancy and the entire MTW team for this incredible opportunity. Enjoy the show!

JEREMY SEINER
JEREMY SEINER

Jeremy Seiner is extremely excited to be a part of the 2015 MTWichita company. Favorite past roles include Frank Jr. (Catch Me If You Can), Claude (Hair), and Noah (Children of Eden). Jeremy is excited to recieve his BFA from Penn State this May and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their constant love and support.

AVERY SMITH
AVERY SMITH

Avery Smith is a rising senior drama major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Chicago native and is very excited to be performing alongside the many talented artists of the 2015 MTWichita Company. For his first year of college he attended The Boston Conservatory where he appeared as Horse in The Full Monty. After his first year at the conservatory he decided to further his education at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU recent credits include Hello Again, The Wiz, and Babylon. Additionally, he has performed to honor alumni and Tony Award Winner Billy Porter. Also, Smith is featured on American R&B vocal group The Dells re-release of their hit "Open Up My Heart" featured on their album Open Up My Heart: The 9/11 Suite. Other credits include Damn Yankees (Applegate), A Little Night Music (Liebeslieder/u.s. Fredrik) Kiss Me, Kate (Paul). For Avery it is always a privilege and a blessing to be able to perform. He would like to thank all of his friends and family for all of their love and support! Mom, Dad, Austin, Amber, Amaris…YOU ROCK! “Live the moment, seize the day. Love every minute, because there’s only one today.”

CASSIE AUSTIN
CASSIE AUSTIN

Cassie Austin is delighted to be joining MTWichita for the first time ever!  A Libertyville, IL native and sophomore in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Brigham Young University in Utah, she is ecstatic about being back in the Midwest. Favorite Credits include Valentine de Villefort in the U.S. Premiere of Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo (BYU), Katy in the NYMTF-bound new musical Single Wide (BYU), Brooke in Legally Blonde, and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Much thanks to Mom and Dad as well as her amazing teachers, friends and family for all of their love and support, and to Music Theatre Wichita for this amazing opportunity!

KATIE BARNA
KATIE BARNA

Katie Barna is thrilled to be spending her summer performing with Music Theatre Wichita! She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University from Suwanee, Georgia. While in college, she performed annually in the Home for the Holidays and ASDC Spring Show with the American Spirit Dance Company. Professionally, Katie performed in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s Will Rogers Follies. She would like to express unending gratitude to family and friends for believing in her dreams and the Lord for His abundant blessings. 

CAITLIN BELCIK
CAITLIN BELCIK

Caitlin Belcik is absolutely thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for her second season! She is from Edmond, OK, and this fall will be a sophomore at Penn State University in the BFA musical theatre program. Favorite credits include:  Broadway: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Annie Who - original; Little Who - revival); Regional: MTW - Last year's 5 fabulous shows!, White Christmas (Susan Waverly); Lyric Theatre - Sweet Charity, Bye Bye Birdie, Tarzan, Sound of Music, Call Me Madam (choreography assistant); ENHS - West Side Story (Maria). Much love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, Josh and the MTW team for this wonderful opportunity, and to my teachers and parents for their support!

LEXIS DANCA
LEXIS DANCA

Lexis is thrilled to be spending her summer with Music Theatre Wichita! A current student of Millikin University, she is pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater with a dance minor (2016), and has appeared on the Millikin mainstage in: And the World Goes ‘Round (Woman/Dance Captain), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Legally Blonde (Greek Chorus/Vivienne u/s), Cinderella,  Machinal (Female Swing), the collegiate premiere of the new Gwon and Hammond musical String,  and the workshop of Salzman and Cunningham’s The Legend of New York. Additional credits include: An Evening with Andrew Lippa (Featured Vocalist), The Nutcracker Ballet (Sugar Plum Fairy, Judith Svalander Dance Theater), Thodos Dance Residency, and the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Featured Float Singer/Dancer). She sends all her love and thanks to her supportive friends and family.

KAT GEERTSEN
KAT GEERTSEN

Kat Geertsen - First MTWichita season. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Kat graduates this May from Viterbo University with a BFA in Music Theatre. VU credits include: Pippin (Leading Player), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Flo), Little Women (Beth), A Chorus Line (Judy Turner, #23). Other favorites: Next to Normal (Natalie), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Belle), Ragtime (Mother), Spring Awakening (Thea), Legally Blonde (Kate). Kat also served as Assistant Music Director for Drood, and joined the entire Fine Arts Department this March in a televised celebration of Viterbo’s 125th anniversary. Many thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and MTW, and to Mom, Dad, family, friends, and teachers for their immeasurable love, support, and faith.

CAMERON HILL
CAMERON HILL

Cameron Hill is a New Jersey native and now a rising senior musical theater student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut this summer! She has most recently appeared in CCM’s productions of 110 in the Shade, Legally Blonde, Carrie the Musical, and Les Misérables. Some of her favorite credits include Sarah (Ragtime), Diana Morales (A Chorus Line), Ti Moune (Once On This Island), and Chiffon (Little Shop of Horrors). She is grateful every day for her supportive parents and all of her teachers past and present. 

JESSIE PELTIER
JESSIE PELTIER

Jessie Peltier is thrilled to be joining MTWichita this summer! Originally from Northern Virginia, Jessie is a rising senior Dance Performance major at Oklahoma City University. Credits include:  A Chorus Line (Diana), 9 to 5: the Musical (Margaret), and La Cage Aux Folles all at the Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, California. She has also performed in the ensemble of productions of Legally Blonde and The Producers. At school, she is a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, performing consistently in the annual Home for the Holidays Christmas shows and annual Spring shows. Special thanks to Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Chris, and Raynor for always believing in her and supporting her in pursuing her dreams. 

CHRISTIANI PITTS
CHRISTIANI PITTS

Christiani Pitts began her career as a performer at the age of 8 in Montclair, NJ at Luna Stage. Working in both theatre and film in Atlanta, GA, she continued to train and perform throughout her educational career. She graduates this May from the BFA Music Theatre program at the Florida State University. Previous theatre credits include Mimi Marquez in Rent (Greenville, SC), Pilar in Legally Blonde (Valdosta, GA), Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins (Warsaw, IN), Electra in Gypsy (Warsaw, IN), Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Florida State University), Marta in Company (Florida State University), Aida in Aida (Atlanta, GA). She is so excited to perform at Music Theatre Wichita for the first time and would like to thank God, her family and this incredible company for their support and generosity of spirit.

SARAH QUINN
SARAH QUINN

Sarah Quinn, a rising senior at the University of Oklahoma, could not be more elated to return home to MTWichita for her fifth summer season. Recent/Favorite credits include: Janet Van DeGraff, The Drowsy Chaperone; Chris Hargensen, Carrie the Musical (University Theatre), Cosette, Les Miserablés; Arista, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Lyric Theatre OKC), Greek Chorus, Legally Blonde; Ensemble, Betty Blue Eyes, 9 to 5, Finian’s Rainbow (MTWichita), Pops Chorale/Dancer, The Christmas Show (OKC Philharmonic). Endless love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh, her unbelievably encouraging friends and family, her devoted mentors and teachers who daily challenge her to push beyond limits, and her incredibly supportive fiancé, Jeff Taylor. MUTAU. 1 Peter 4:10-11

XIMONE ROSE
XIMONE ROSE

Ximone Rose, a New Orleans native, graduates this May from The University of Michigan where she just played Caroline in Caroline, Or Change. She is so thrilled to be making her MT Wichita debut this summer and is looking forward to moving to New York afterwards! Keep a look out for her name! GO BLUE.

HALLI TOLAND
HALLI TOLAND

Halli Toland is excited to return to MTW for a second summer!  She is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in musical theatre, and is originally from Toledo, Ohio. Her university credits include Helga in Cabaret and Dance Captain for The Music Man at U of M. Some of her favorite credits include Graziella in West Side Story and Dance Captain for Catch Me If You Can (both at MTW), as well as Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Toledo Repertory Theatre. She would like to thank her instructors Mark Madama and Linda Goodrich, as well as her amazing family and friends back home for their love and unending encouragement. Lastly special thanks to MTW for this wonderful opportunity. GO BLUE!

GINA WARD
GINA WARD

Gina Ward is so excited to be making her professional theatre debut at Music Theatre Wichita! She is coming all the way from Tampa, FL and will be a rising senior at Florida State University. Past credits include: How to Succeed… (Swing) and Company (Jenny). She would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and all of the artistic team for believing in her and for giving her this amazing opportunity. She would not be the performer she is today without Broadway Dreams Foundation, Kate and Gayle, MT ’16, her mom and dad, and most importantly her Sissy.

DAISY WRIGHT
DAISY WRIGHT

Daisy Wright is beyond grateful to be back here at MTWichita this year for her second summer! Originally from St. George, UT, Daisy is an upcoming senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Oklahoma. Her credits include: Music Theatre Wichita: South Pacific, West Side Story, Joseph, Catch Me If You Can, 42nd Street. OU University Theatre: On The Town (Ivy u.s.), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mrs. Tottendale u.s.). OKC Philharmonic: The Christmas Show w/Beth Leavel (Dancer). Many thanks to my loving parents, family, friends, and teachers, and a BIG thanks to everyone at MTWichita for welcoming me back into their wonderful theatrical family for another summer of incredible fun!

Steve Minning (Director)
Alison Levenberg (Choreographer)
Thomas W. Douglas (Musical Director)

An inspiring celebration of one boy's journey who hangs up his boxing gloves for ballet shoes.

Millions of fans…Thousands of standing ovations…Ten Tony Awards including Best Musical…This is Billy Elliot The Musical: the spectacular show with the heart, humor and passion to be named Time Magazine's "Best Musical of the Decade!"

Based on the international smash-hit film and featuring a score by music legend Elton John, Billy Elliot is an astonishing theatrical experience that will stay with you forever.

Set in a northern English mining town, against the background of the 1984 miners' strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy's struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Billy's journey begins when he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and community and changes his life forever.

With a powerful storyline, rousing songs, and spectacular choreography, Billy Elliot is a unique and memorable musical theatre experience.

July 22-26, 2015

Edward Bloom has spun many colorful tales about his astonishing escapades. But are any of them true? His son, soon to be a father himself, delves into the mysteries of his father's life, with surprising and delightful results. Based on the hit film and novel.

< Back to All Shows
Big Fish
July 22-26, 2015
PG
2 hr 20 min

Edward Bloom has spun many colorful tales about his astonishing escapades. But are any of them true? His son, soon to be a father himself, delves into the mysteries of his father's life, with surprising and delightful results. Based on the hit film and novel, this brand new Broadway musical weaves fantasy and spectacle into a poignant and truthful examination of the way fathers and sons can share decades together before finally getting to know each other.

Book by JOHN AUGUST
Music and Lyrics by ANDREW LIPPA

Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace
and the Columbia Motion Picture
written by John August

Originally produced on Broadway by Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen and Stage Entertainment with Roy Furman, Broadway Across America/Rich Entertainment Group, John Domo, The Nederlander Organization and Edward Walson in association with CJ E&M, Dancing Elephant Productions, Parrothead Productions, Harvey Weinstein/Carole L. Haber, Peter May/Jim Fantaci, Ted Liebowitz/Joe Piacentile and Columbia Pictures.

VINCENT CORAZZA (Edward Bloom)
VINCENT CORAZZA (Edward Bloom)

Vincent Corazza is thrilled to be making his MTWichita debut as Edward Bloom in Big Fish, and to join the long tradition of theatrical excellence that MTW has created! Vince was last seen on stage in 2014 as part of the Original Broadway production of Rocky. Prior to that he played the role of Harry Bright on the US National Tour of Mamma Mia! A graduate of the theater program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, Vince has had a long and successful career starring in numerous film, television, and stage productions, as well as an incredibly extensive voiceover career performing in some very popular animated shows and video games. Select credits include: the feature film Owning Mahowny playing the best friend of Philip Seymour Hoffman; Jackal Johnson in Disney’s The Cheetah Girls; Ray Quinn, the last detective to join the force on the series finale of “NYPD Blue;” guest star spots on “24,” “Without a Trace,” “Entourage,” and “Bones;” voicing Tuxedo Mask in the acclaimed “Sailor Moon” Anime TV series; Alden Jones on three seasons of the award-winning “Braceface” series; and Zexion in the popular “Kingdom Hearts” video game series. Huge thanks to Wayne Bryan and the folks at MTW; my agents at BRS, DBA & DPN for their constant support and scheduling magic; my Mom & Dad for teaching me how to “Fight the Dragons” and tell my own stories; and most of all my wife Jane Cooke…”Time Stops” when I’m with you! For more info check out www.vincentcorazza.com; @vincentcorazza; facebook.com/vincentcorazzatheactor.

SKYLER ADAMS (Will Bloom)
SKYLER ADAMS (Will Bloom)

Skyler Adams is excited to be back to his second home! OU alum. Favorite credits include National Tours: Pippin u/s (Pippin) MTWichita: Frank Jr. (Catch Me If You Can) Hero (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Emmett Forrest (Legally Blonde), Not-Dead Fred / Minstrel / Prince Herbert (Monty Python's Spamalot); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre: World Premiere of Bartram and Hill’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (Pinocchio); Drury Lane in Chicago: Next to Normal (Henry), Les Misérables  (Marius); Lyric Opera of Chicago: Oklahoma! Paramount Theatre: Hair (Claude), Grease (Danny), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel); Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma: Altar Boyz (Matthew), and Riverside Theatre: Hero (Funny Thing...Forum). Big thanks to Bets, his family and Sam. Hope is real. 

CHRISTIANI PITTS (Josephine)
CHRISTIANI PITTS (Josephine)

Christiani Pitts began her career as a performer at the age of 8 in Montclair, NJ at Luna Stage. Working in both theatre and film in Atlanta, GA, she continued to train and perform throughout her educational career. She graduates this May from the BFA Music Theatre program at the Florida State University. Previous theatre credits include Mimi Marquez in Rent (Greenville, SC), Pilar in Legally Blonde (Valdosta, GA), Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins (Warsaw, IN), Electra in Gypsy (Warsaw, IN), Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Florida State University), Marta in Company (Florida State University), Aida in Aida (Atlanta, GA). She is so excited to perform at Music Theatre Wichita for the first time and would like to thank God, her family and this incredible company for their support and generosity of spirit.

CAROLYN ANNE MILLER (Jenny Hill)
CAROLYN ANNE MILLER (Jenny Hill)

Carolyn Anne Miller is so happy to be returning to her MTWichita family for her third summer. She graduates in May from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Some of her favorite regional credits include Les Miserablés (Eponine), Catch Me If You Can (Brenda Strong), Betty Blue Eyes (Veronica), Amadeus (Constanze), and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Mae). Carolyn would like to thank her mom, dad, and sister for all of their love and support throughout her career, and to Wayne for another wonderful summer back at MTW. 

XIMONE ROSE (The Witch)
XIMONE ROSE (The Witch)

Ximone Rose, a New Orleans native, graduates this May from The University of Michigan where she just played Caroline in Caroline, Or Change. She is so thrilled to be making her MT Wichita debut this summer and is looking forward to moving to New York afterwards! Keep a look out for her name! GO BLUE.

CASSIE AUSTIN
CASSIE AUSTIN

Cassie Austin is delighted to be joining MTWichita for the first time ever!  A Libertyville, IL native and sophomore in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Brigham Young University in Utah, she is ecstatic about being back in the Midwest. Favorite Credits include Valentine de Villefort in the U.S. Premiere of Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo (BYU), Katy in the NYMTF-bound new musical Single Wide (BYU), Brooke in Legally Blonde, and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Much thanks to Mom and Dad as well as her amazing teachers, friends and family for all of their love and support, and to Music Theatre Wichita for this amazing opportunity!

KATIE BARNA
KATIE BARNA

Katie Barna is thrilled to be spending her summer performing with Music Theatre Wichita! She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University from Suwanee, Georgia. While in college, she performed annually in the Home for the Holidays and ASDC Spring Show with the American Spirit Dance Company. Professionally, Katie performed in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s Will Rogers Follies. She would like to express unending gratitude to family and friends for believing in her dreams and the Lord for His abundant blessings. 

CAITLIN BELCIK
CAITLIN BELCIK

Caitlin Belcik is absolutely thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for her second season! She is from Edmond, OK, and this fall will be a sophomore at Penn State University in the BFA musical theatre program. Favorite credits include:  Broadway: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Annie Who - original; Little Who - revival); Regional: MTW - Last year's 5 fabulous shows!, White Christmas (Susan Waverly); Lyric Theatre - Sweet Charity, Bye Bye Birdie, Tarzan, Sound of Music, Call Me Madam (choreography assistant); ENHS - West Side Story (Maria). Much love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, Josh and the MTW team for this wonderful opportunity, and to my teachers and parents for their support!

LEXIS DANCA
LEXIS DANCA

Lexis is thrilled to be spending her summer with Music Theatre Wichita! A current student of Millikin University, she is pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater with a dance minor (2016), and has appeared on the Millikin mainstage in: And the World Goes ‘Round (Woman/Dance Captain), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Legally Blonde (Greek Chorus/Vivienne u/s), Cinderella,  Machinal (Female Swing), the collegiate premiere of the new Gwon and Hammond musical String,  and the workshop of Salzman and Cunningham’s The Legend of New York. Additional credits include: An Evening with Andrew Lippa (Featured Vocalist), The Nutcracker Ballet (Sugar Plum Fairy, Judith Svalander Dance Theater), Thodos Dance Residency, and the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Featured Float Singer/Dancer). She sends all her love and thanks to her supportive friends and family.

KAT GEERTSEN
KAT GEERTSEN

Kat Geertsen - First MTWichita season. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Kat graduates this May from Viterbo University with a BFA in Music Theatre. VU credits include: Pippin (Leading Player), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Flo), Little Women (Beth), A Chorus Line (Judy Turner, #23). Other favorites: Next to Normal (Natalie), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Belle), Ragtime (Mother), Spring Awakening (Thea), Legally Blonde (Kate). Kat also served as Assistant Music Director for Drood, and joined the entire Fine Arts Department this March in a televised celebration of Viterbo’s 125th anniversary. Many thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and MTW, and to Mom, Dad, family, friends, and teachers for their immeasurable love, support, and faith.

CAMERON HILL
CAMERON HILL

Cameron Hill is a New Jersey native and now a rising senior musical theater student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut this summer! She has most recently appeared in CCM’s productions of 110 in the Shade, Legally Blonde, Carrie the Musical, and Les Misérables. Some of her favorite credits include Sarah (Ragtime), Diana Morales (A Chorus Line), Ti Moune (Once On This Island), and Chiffon (Little Shop of Horrors). She is grateful every day for her supportive parents and all of her teachers past and present. 

JESSIE PELTIER
JESSIE PELTIER

Jessie Peltier is thrilled to be joining MTWichita this summer! Originally from Northern Virginia, Jessie is a rising senior Dance Performance major at Oklahoma City University. Credits include:  A Chorus Line (Diana), 9 to 5: the Musical (Margaret), and La Cage Aux Folles all at the Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, California. She has also performed in the ensemble of productions of Legally Blonde and The Producers. At school, she is a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, performing consistently in the annual Home for the Holidays Christmas shows and annual Spring shows. Special thanks to Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Chris, and Raynor for always believing in her and supporting her in pursuing her dreams. 

SARAH QUINN
SARAH QUINN

Sarah Quinn, a rising senior at the University of Oklahoma, could not be more elated to return home to MTWichita for her fifth summer season. Recent/Favorite credits include: Janet Van DeGraff, The Drowsy Chaperone; Chris Hargensen, Carrie the Musical (University Theatre), Cosette, Les Miserablés; Arista, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Lyric Theatre OKC), Greek Chorus, Legally Blonde; Ensemble, Betty Blue Eyes, 9 to 5, Finian’s Rainbow (MTWichita), Pops Chorale/Dancer, The Christmas Show (OKC Philharmonic). Endless love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh, her unbelievably encouraging friends and family, her devoted mentors and teachers who daily challenge her to push beyond limits, and her incredibly supportive fiancé, Jeff Taylor. MUTAU. 1 Peter 4:10-11

HALLI TOLAND
HALLI TOLAND

Halli Toland is excited to return to MTW for a second summer!  She is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in musical theatre, and is originally from Toledo, Ohio. Her university credits include Helga in Cabaret and Dance Captain for The Music Man at U of M. Some of her favorite credits include Graziella in West Side Story and Dance Captain for Catch Me If You Can (both at MTW), as well as Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Toledo Repertory Theatre. She would like to thank her instructors Mark Madama and Linda Goodrich, as well as her amazing family and friends back home for their love and unending encouragement. Lastly special thanks to MTW for this wonderful opportunity. GO BLUE!

EMILY VARGO
EMILY VARGO

This is Emily Vargo’s first summer with MTWichita and she could not be more thrilled! She acquires her BFA in Musical Theatre from Wichita State University this May, and thanks MTWichita and Wayne Bryan for being big influences and help throughout her college career. Some of her most notable Wichita roles are Louisa in The Fantasticks, which earned her the Mary Jane Teall award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Wendla Bergmann in Spring Awakening, and Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls directed by none other than Wayne Bryan. "When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!"

GINA WARD
GINA WARD

Gina Ward is so excited to be making her professional theatre debut at Music Theatre Wichita! She is coming all the way from Tampa, FL and will be a rising senior at Florida State University. Past credits include: How to Succeed… (Swing) and Company (Jenny). She would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and all of the artistic team for believing in her and for giving her this amazing opportunity. She would not be the performer she is today without Broadway Dreams Foundation, Kate and Gayle, MT ’16, her mom and dad, and most importantly her Sissy.

DAISY WRIGHT
DAISY WRIGHT

Daisy Wright is beyond grateful to be back here at MTWichita this year for her second summer! Originally from St. George, UT, Daisy is an upcoming senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Oklahoma. Her credits include: Music Theatre Wichita: South Pacific, West Side Story, Joseph, Catch Me If You Can, 42nd Street. OU University Theatre: On The Town (Ivy u.s.), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mrs. Tottendale u.s.). OKC Philharmonic: The Christmas Show w/Beth Leavel (Dancer). Many thanks to my loving parents, family, friends, and teachers, and a BIG thanks to everyone at MTWichita for welcoming me back into their wonderful theatrical family for another summer of incredible fun!

QUINTAN CRAIG
QUINTAN CRAIG

"Q" is Beyond Thrilled to return to MTWichita after appearing in Catch Me If You Can and 42nd Street last summer. Though based in California, Wichita has always felt like home! Regional credits include: Young Frankenstein (Sasha), 42nd Street (Oscar), White Christmas (Scooter), Chorus Line, Gypsy (Yonkers), Ragtime (Little Boy –IETLAward), Oliver! (Oliver), Full Monty (Nathan), On Your Toes (Young Junior). Q is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Heartfelt Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Mollie Rae for your unending love, support and encouragement! Much love and gratitude to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh for this Incredibly Awesome opportunity! Q thanks God for Abundant Blessings!

AARON PATRICK CRAVEN
AARON PATRICK CRAVEN

Aaron Patrick Craven is very excited to spend the summer with MTWichita! He recently earned a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Wichita State University. Favorite regional credits include A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, and White Christmas. Last year, Aaron was nominated to perform at the national conference of the American College Dance Festival of America, performing at the Kennedy Center. Aaron has also been seen as a Principal Dancer with Ballet Wichita and has toured internationally with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre. Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Alex, Katie, Wayne, Josh and Nancy! Psalms 115:1 www.aaronpatrickcraven.com

PATRICK GARR
PATRICK GARR

Patrick Garr is a Lexington, Kentucky native and is currently studying at University of Kentucky to receive his BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and Dance. Patrick is also receiving his double major in Communications. His previous credits include: Woof in Hair, Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Mike in A Chorus Line, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Nan Giordano of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Patrick also had the privilege of working with Steven Kennedy and Tim McDonald on the 2012 MTI and iTheatrics Broadway Choreography DVD. Patrick would like to thank Lyndy and Jeromy Smith, Peggy Stamps, Beth Arnold, Nancy Jones, Susie Thiel, and his wonderful family.

ERIK HERNANDEZ
ERIK HERNANDEZ

Erik Hernandez is currently a junior at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and he couldn't be more excited to be joining the cast and crew of Music Theatre Wichita. He will receive his BFA in Musical Theatre next spring. His credits include Quisisana, Maine: Rent (Collins), A Grand Night For Singing (Ensemble); CCM: 110 in the Shade (Noah), Legally Blonde (Padamadan/Nikos), Les Misérables (Brujon), Carrie (George), and Threepenny Opera (Walt Dreary). Erik would like to thank his entire family, especially his mother Lorraine for the years of encouragement and support, MT16, Averie, and Allie. 

WILLIE HILL
WILLIE HILL

Willie Hill is a third-year Music Theatre major from Tulsa, Oklahoma studying voice with Dr. Marilyn Govich at The University of Central Oklahoma. Willie’s favorite theatre credits include: working with a non-profit organization called “A Pocket Full Of Hope”; Jake in Side Show, Featured Vocalist in Holidays at Home, Curtis/C.C. in Dreamgirls, Richie in A Chorus Line, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of the Opera, and Scarecrow in The Wiz. He would like to thank his family and his parents for their love and support.

TREVOR McCHRISTIAN
TREVOR McCHRISTIAN

Trevor McChristian, a Wichita native, recently completed his first year at Elon University! He is ecstatic to be returning for his second full summer with the company at MTWichita after having spent several years in the Teen Choir and Interning! In 2013, Trevor was selected as the male representative from the Jester Awards to compete in New York City at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, where he made his New York debut at the Minskoff Theatre (where Lion King plays). Favorite MTW credits include: Joseph…Dreamcoat (Baker/swing—where he went on as Brother Asher), West Side Story (Anxious), Catch Me If You Can, Singin’ in the Rain, and Betty Blue Eyes (U.S. Premiere). He sends many humble thanks to the cast and crew, Wayne, Nancy, Josh, Thomas, his family and friends, and above all else Mom.

KYLE McCLELLAN
KYLE McCLELLAN

Kyle McClellan is thrilled to be making his debut with MTWichita this summer! He is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, where his credits include Les Misérables (Prouvaire) and The Tempest (Sebastian). Regional: Walnut Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse. Other credits: 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), West Side Story (Riff), and Hair (Claude). Much love and many thanks to Mom, Dad, Ty, Zo, the UMich faculty, and MTW for this incredible opportunity. Go Blue!

KEVIN NIETZEL
KEVIN NIETZEL

Kevin Nietzel is beyond thrilled to be joining the MTW family this summer! Originally from Cary, IL, he will be a rising senior at Florida State University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. Favorite credits include Maine State Music Theatre, Wagon Wheel Theatre, and Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. He would love to give a special thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and all of the production staff for such an incredible opportunity, and of course his amazing family for always being a true support system. 

TANNER PFLUEGER
TANNER PFLUEGER

Tanner Pflueger is ecstatic to be returning to Music Theatre Wichita for his second summer! A Nebraska native, Tanner is currently studying at Oklahoma City University as a dance performance major. While at school, he has performed with the American Spirit Dance Company in their annual Home for the Holidays Christmas Show and Spring Show. Credits: Broadway: Billy Elliot (Billy) West End: Billy Elliot (Billy) MTW: West Side Story (Snowboy), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Gad), and 42nd Street (Ensemble). Regional: Grease (Johnny Casino/Teen Angel) and Beauty and the Beast (Chip). Thank you to Wayne and the rest of the creative team for the opportunity! Much love and many thanks to his family, teachers, and mentors for their constant support.

JARED THOMAS ROBERTS
JARED THOMAS ROBERTS

Jared Thomas Roberts is beyond excited and humbled to be a part of the 2015 Music Theatre Wichita Summer Season. He is a rising junior pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Point Park University. At PPU, Jared has been in productions of 21, a world premiere musical (Ball Player/Reporter) and The Boyfriend (Marcel). Past productions include: A Chorus Line (Mike), Footloose (Ren), Legally Blonde (Warner), Cats (Alonzo/Macavity). He would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting his artistic endeavors and his teachers and trainers for helping him grow into the performer he is today. “When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

JON PAUL ROBY
JON PAUL ROBY

Jon Paul Roby is thrilled to be performing with MTWichita this summer! Regional credits include Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, and Reagle Music Theatre. Jon Paul will be starting his last year in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Syracuse University in the fall. He would like to thank his family for their love and endless support as well as Wayne, Nancy and the entire MTW team for this incredible opportunity. Enjoy the show!

JEREMY SEINER
JEREMY SEINER

Jeremy Seiner is extremely excited to be a part of the 2015 MTWichita company. Favorite past roles include Frank Jr. (Catch Me If You Can), Claude (Hair), and Noah (Children of Eden). Jeremy is excited to recieve his BFA from Penn State this May and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their constant love and support.

AVERY SMITH
AVERY SMITH

Avery Smith is a rising senior drama major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Chicago native and is very excited to be performing alongside the many talented artists of the 2015 MTWichita Company. For his first year of college he attended The Boston Conservatory where he appeared as Horse in The Full Monty. After his first year at the conservatory he decided to further his education at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU recent credits include Hello Again, The Wiz, and Babylon. Additionally, he has performed to honor alumni and Tony Award Winner Billy Porter. Also, Smith is featured on American R&B vocal group The Dells re-release of their hit "Open Up My Heart" featured on their album Open Up My Heart: The 9/11 Suite. Other credits include Damn Yankees (Applegate), A Little Night Music (Liebeslieder/u.s. Fredrik) Kiss Me, Kate (Paul). For Avery it is always a privilege and a blessing to be able to perform. He would like to thank all of his friends and family for all of their love and support! Mom, Dad, Austin, Amber, Amaris…YOU ROCK! “Live the moment, seize the day. Love every minute, because there’s only one today.”

Wayne Bryan (Director / Producing Artistic Director)
Linda Goodrich (Choreographer)
Thomas W. Douglas (Musical Director)

Fathers, Sons, and fantastic Tall Tales come alive in Big Fish.

Big Fish is a new Broadway musical featuring music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by esteemed screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Based on the celebrated 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed 2003 film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward's incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales.

Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, Big Fish is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that's richer, funnier and bigger than life itself.

"Remarkable! A show for everyone who loves musicals. Don’t dare miss this!" - Variety
"4 stars! A gorgeous, charming, dream musical! Ravishing and enchanting, with one knockout dance number after another…” - Bloomberg News
"A heartfelt, powerful, and movingly scored new American musical, full of quality writing by John August.” - Chicago Tribune

Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, Big Fish had an out-of-town tryout in Chicago in April of 2013, then premiered on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre on September 5, 2013 in previews, officially opening on October 6, 2013. The musical closed on December 29, 2013 after 34 previews and 98 regular performances.

August 5-9, 2015

In the early 1900s, a single day's trip into New York City brings unpredictable complications, farcical humor, and poignant romance for Yonkers' most famous Matchmaker, Dolly Levi, and for all those in her sphere of influence. One of the most beloved of all the great Broadway musical classics.

< Back to All Shows
Hello, Dolly!
August 5-9, 2015
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In the early 1900s, two timid clerks risk a one-day escape to New York City, where they encounter unpredictable complications, farcical situations, and poignant romance engineered by Yonkers' most famous Matchmaker, Dolly Levi. One of the most beloved of Broadway’s classic musical comedies, this spectacular production will feature lavish new sets and costumes and a sparkling cast.

HELLO, DOLLY!
Book by Michael Stewart   
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
 
Based on the play "The Matchmaker" by Thornton Wilder
 
Original Production Directed and Choreographed by Gower Champion
 
Produced for the Broadway Stage by David Merrick and Champion-Five, Inc.

KATHRYN KENDALL (Dolly Gallagher Levi)
KATHRYN KENDALL (Dolly Gallagher Levi)

Kathryn Kendall is thrilled to return to MTWichita where she previously appeared in Gypsy. New York/National Tours include 42nd Street revival (Dorothy/Maggie), Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (Hildy, Mazeppa, Mr. Monotony Singer), White Christmas, Nunsense - 25th Anniversary Tour (Robert Anne) co-starring with Sally Struthers, Merman: Who Could Ask For Anything More (Lincoln Center), George White Scandals (Town Hall), Broadway Applauds Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall), Forbidden Hollywood, Lyrics and Lyricist series at the 92nd Street Y (soloist for Irving Berlin on Broadway and An Evening of Kurt Weill), Fiorello! (Mitzi), Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney), Kiss Me Kate (Bianca) and Shenandoah (Jenny), both w/ John Raitt, and Show Boat (Ellie) with Eddie Bracken for several opera companies, as well as the St. Louis MUNY. Numerous regional credits span the country at prestigious theatres such as the Kennedy Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Ms. Kendall had the great honor and privilege of working with Jerry Herman, the composer of Hello, Dolly!, when he supervised the Barrington Stage production of Mack and Mabel (Lottie). A few years later she had the great fortune to play Dolly Levi for the first time, fell in love with her and the show, and cannot wait to bring her to life again here at MTW! A true “Jerry’s Girl,” she has also played Mame. Other Regional/Stock favorites include Gypsy (Rose), Dirty Blonde (Jo/Mae), Moon Over Buffalo (Charlotte Hay), RSC Wizard Of Oz (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch), Threepenny Opera (Jenny), Urinetown (Pennywise),The Little Mermaid (Ursula), and the critically acclaimed White Christmas (Martha) at the John W. Engeman. Ms. Kendall has performed in concert with orchestras across the country and was featured in By Strouse, a celebration of the music of Charles Strouse, which was performed for Mr. Strouse as a tribute at his acceptance of a Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts & Culture. Soap fans may recognize her from recurring roles on “The Edge of Night” and “Loving.” Ms. Kendall is a busy voiceover recording artist and a graduate of the Boston Conservatory.  

STEVE HITCHCOCK (Cornelius Hackl)
STEVE HITCHCOCK (Cornelius Hackl)

Steve Hitchcock is thrilled to be joining MTWichita for a couple of shows this summer. You may have seen him last year in Catch Me If You Can, where he played several different colorful characters. He performs regularly around Wichita for Mosley Street Melodrama, where he is also the General Manager, and The Forum Theatre. Some favorite roles include: Emcee in Cabaret, Francis Henshall in One Man, Two Guvnors, and many stalwart Heroes in the melodramas at Mosley. He would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and the MTW crew for this awesome opportunity; and to Patty for always being so supportive. Also, much love to Ted, Briley, Mom, Dad, Kari, Evan, Kenny, and Kati; who continue to be so encouraging and supportive as he pursues his dreams. Lights, please!                                                                                                                                                                                          

KERRY CONTE (Irene Molloy)
KERRY CONTE (Irene Molloy)

National Tour: Mary Poppins (Winifred Banks and U/S Mary). Broadway Concert: Brigadoon (Jane Ashton), Camelot (Lady Anne). Off-Broadway: Lady, Be Good (City Center Encores!), The Irish and How They Got That Way, Meet Me In St. Louis, Ernest in Love (Irish Rep), A World To Win, Housewives’ Cantata (York Theatre). Regional: Mary Poppins (Mary: Theatre By The Sea), Oliver!, Singin in the Rain, Beauty and the Beast (MUNY), A Tale of Cinderella, A Wonderful Life (NYS Theatre Institute), Camelot (White Plains PAC), Sisters of Swing (Surflight). Recordings: “Lost Kern” and “The Body Beautiful.”  www.kerryconte.com

PATRICK GARR (Barnaby Tucker)
PATRICK GARR (Barnaby Tucker)

Patrick Garr is a Lexington, Kentucky native and is currently studying at University of Kentucky to receive his BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre and Dance. Patrick is also receiving his double major in Communications. His previous credits include: Woof in Hair, Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Mike in A Chorus Line, and “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Nan Giordano of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Patrick also had the privilege of working with Steven Kennedy and Tim McDonald on the 2012 MTI and iTheatrics Broadway Choreography DVD. Patrick would like to thank Lyndy and Jeromy Smith, Peggy Stamps, Beth Arnold, Nancy Jones, Susie Thiel, and his wonderful family.

DAISY WRIGHT (Minnie Fay)
DAISY WRIGHT (Minnie Fay)

Daisy Wright is beyond grateful to be back here at MTWichita this year for her second summer! Originally from St. George, UT, Daisy is an upcoming senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Oklahoma. Her credits include: Music Theatre Wichita: South Pacific, West Side Story, Joseph, Catch Me If You Can, 42nd Street. OU University Theatre: On The Town (Ivy u.s.), The Drowsy Chaperone (Mrs. Tottendale u.s.). OKC Philharmonic: The Christmas Show w/Beth Leavel (Dancer). Many thanks to my loving parents, family, friends, and teachers, and a BIG thanks to everyone at MTWichita for welcoming me back into their wonderful theatrical family for another summer of incredible fun!

EMILY VARGO (Ermengarde)
EMILY VARGO (Ermengarde)

This is Emily Vargo’s first summer with MTWichita and she could not be more thrilled! She acquires her BFA in Musical Theatre from Wichita State University this May, and thanks MTWichita and Wayne Bryan for being big influences and help throughout her college career. Some of her most notable Wichita roles are Louisa in The Fantasticks, which earned her the Mary Jane Teall award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, Wendla Bergmann in Spring Awakening, and Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls directed by none other than Wayne Bryan. "When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!"

TREVOR McCHRISTIAN (Ambrose Kemper)
TREVOR McCHRISTIAN (Ambrose Kemper)

Trevor McChristian, a Wichita native, recently completed his first year at Elon University! He is ecstatic to be returning for his second full summer with the company at MTWichita after having spent several years in the Teen Choir and Interning! In 2013, Trevor was selected as the male representative from the Jester Awards to compete in New York City at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, where he made his New York debut at the Minskoff Theatre (where Lion King plays). Favorite MTW credits include: Joseph…Dreamcoat (Baker/swing—where he went on as Brother Asher), West Side Story (Anxious), Catch Me If You Can, Singin’ in the Rain, and Betty Blue Eyes (U.S. Premiere). He sends many humble thanks to the cast and crew, Wayne, Nancy, Josh, Thomas, his family and friends, and above all else Mom.

CASSIE AUSTIN
CASSIE AUSTIN

Cassie Austin is delighted to be joining MTWichita for the first time ever!  A Libertyville, IL native and sophomore in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Brigham Young University in Utah, she is ecstatic about being back in the Midwest. Favorite Credits include Valentine de Villefort in the U.S. Premiere of Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo (BYU), Katy in the NYMTF-bound new musical Single Wide (BYU), Brooke in Legally Blonde, and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Much thanks to Mom and Dad as well as her amazing teachers, friends and family for all of their love and support, and to Music Theatre Wichita for this amazing opportunity!

KATIE BARNA
KATIE BARNA

Katie Barna is thrilled to be spending her summer performing with Music Theatre Wichita! She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University from Suwanee, Georgia. While in college, she performed annually in the Home for the Holidays and ASDC Spring Show with the American Spirit Dance Company. Professionally, Katie performed in Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s Will Rogers Follies. She would like to express unending gratitude to family and friends for believing in her dreams and the Lord for His abundant blessings. 

CAITLIN BELCIK
CAITLIN BELCIK

Caitlin Belcik is absolutely thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for her second season! She is from Edmond, OK, and this fall will be a sophomore at Penn State University in the BFA musical theatre program. Favorite credits include:  Broadway: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Annie Who - original; Little Who - revival); Regional: MTW - Last year's 5 fabulous shows!, White Christmas (Susan Waverly); Lyric Theatre - Sweet Charity, Bye Bye Birdie, Tarzan, Sound of Music, Call Me Madam (choreography assistant); ENHS - West Side Story (Maria). Much love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, Josh and the MTW team for this wonderful opportunity, and to my teachers and parents for their support!

LEXIS DANCA
LEXIS DANCA

Lexis is thrilled to be spending her summer with Music Theatre Wichita! A current student of Millikin University, she is pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater with a dance minor (2016), and has appeared on the Millikin mainstage in: And the World Goes ‘Round (Woman/Dance Captain), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Legally Blonde (Greek Chorus/Vivienne u/s), Cinderella,  Machinal (Female Swing), the collegiate premiere of the new Gwon and Hammond musical String,  and the workshop of Salzman and Cunningham’s The Legend of New York. Additional credits include: An Evening with Andrew Lippa (Featured Vocalist), The Nutcracker Ballet (Sugar Plum Fairy, Judith Svalander Dance Theater), Thodos Dance Residency, and the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Featured Float Singer/Dancer). She sends all her love and thanks to her supportive friends and family.

HANNAH FERNANDES
HANNAH FERNANDES

Hannah Fernandes is absolutely elated to be a part of MTWichita this summer. Hannah is about to enter her junior year at Wichita State University as a Musical Theatre major. Her recent roles include Percy in The Spitfire Grill (dir. Wayne Bryan at WSU) and Cinderella in Into the Woods (dir. Linda Starkey at WSU). Hannah is so grateful for this marvelous opportunity and would like to send an enormous thank you to Wayne, Josh, Nancy, and the whole MTWichita team. All my love to Pina, Amy, Linda, Marie, and my amazing Mom and Dad! www.hannahlfernandes.com

KAT GEERTSEN
KAT GEERTSEN

Kat Geertsen - First MTWichita season. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Kat graduates this May from Viterbo University with a BFA in Music Theatre. VU credits include: Pippin (Leading Player), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Flo), Little Women (Beth), A Chorus Line (Judy Turner, #23). Other favorites: Next to Normal (Natalie), Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Belle), Ragtime (Mother), Spring Awakening (Thea), Legally Blonde (Kate). Kat also served as Assistant Music Director for Drood, and joined the entire Fine Arts Department this March in a televised celebration of Viterbo’s 125th anniversary. Many thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and MTW, and to Mom, Dad, family, friends, and teachers for their immeasurable love, support, and faith.

CAMERON HILL
CAMERON HILL

Cameron Hill is a New Jersey native and now a rising senior musical theater student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut this summer! She has most recently appeared in CCM’s productions of 110 in the Shade, Legally Blonde, Carrie the Musical, and Les Misérables. Some of her favorite credits include Sarah (Ragtime), Diana Morales (A Chorus Line), Ti Moune (Once On This Island), and Chiffon (Little Shop of Horrors). She is grateful every day for her supportive parents and all of her teachers past and present. 

LIZ JARMER
LIZ JARMER

Liz Jarmer is so happy and so grateful to be a part of MTWichita this summer! Liz is about to enter her senior year at Wichita State University as a music theatre major. Past roles include Shelby in The Spitfire Grill (dir. Wayne Bryan at WSU) and Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (WSU). A huge thank you to Wayne, Josh, Nancy, and the entire MTWichita team for this incredible opportunity, as well as Pina, Amy, Linda, Marie, and Mom & Dad.

LILY KAUFMANN
LILY KAUFMANN

Lily Kaufmann is overjoyed to be returning to MTW this year after a truly unforgettable experience last summer. Hailing from up the river in Kansas City, she is happy to spend some of her summer just a few hours from home! There, she did shows with MTYP, KC Starlight and New Theatre Restaurant. Lily is a rising junior BFA Musical Theatre major at Florida State University, where she has been fortunate enough to be involved in many main stage musicals. Endless thanks to the encouragement of Wayne, Nancy and the MTW staff, along with Lily's wonderful friends and infinitely supportive family for being there through it all. Go Noles!

CAROLYN ANNE MILLER
CAROLYN ANNE MILLER

Carolyn Anne Miller is so happy to be returning to her MTWichita family for her third summer. She graduates in May from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Some of her favorite regional credits include Les Miserablés (Eponine), Catch Me If You Can (Brenda Strong), Betty Blue Eyes (Veronica), Amadeus (Constanze), and Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Mae). Carolyn would like to thank her mom, dad, and sister for all of their love and support throughout her career, and to Wayne for another wonderful summer back at MTW. 

JESSIE PELTIER
JESSIE PELTIER

Jessie Peltier is thrilled to be joining MTWichita this summer! Originally from Northern Virginia, Jessie is a rising senior Dance Performance major at Oklahoma City University. Credits include:  A Chorus Line (Diana), 9 to 5: the Musical (Margaret), and La Cage Aux Folles all at the Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa, California. She has also performed in the ensemble of productions of Legally Blonde and The Producers. At school, she is a member of the American Spirit Dance Company, performing consistently in the annual Home for the Holidays Christmas shows and annual Spring shows. Special thanks to Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Chris, and Raynor for always believing in her and supporting her in pursuing her dreams. 

CHRISTIANI PITTS
CHRISTIANI PITTS

Christiani Pitts began her career as a performer at the age of 8 in Montclair, NJ at Luna Stage. Working in both theatre and film in Atlanta, GA, she continued to train and perform throughout her educational career. She graduates this May from the BFA Music Theatre program at the Florida State University. Previous theatre credits include Mimi Marquez in Rent (Greenville, SC), Pilar in Legally Blonde (Valdosta, GA), Mrs. Corry in Mary Poppins (Warsaw, IN), Electra in Gypsy (Warsaw, IN), Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Florida State University), Marta in Company (Florida State University), Aida in Aida (Atlanta, GA). She is so excited to perform at Music Theatre Wichita for the first time and would like to thank God, her family and this incredible company for their support and generosity of spirit.

SARAH QUINN
SARAH QUINN

Sarah Quinn, a rising senior at the University of Oklahoma, could not be more elated to return home to MTWichita for her fifth summer season. Recent/Favorite credits include: Janet Van DeGraff, The Drowsy Chaperone; Chris Hargensen, Carrie the Musical (University Theatre), Cosette, Les Miserablés; Arista, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Lyric Theatre OKC), Greek Chorus, Legally Blonde; Ensemble, Betty Blue Eyes, 9 to 5, Finian’s Rainbow (MTWichita), Pops Chorale/Dancer, The Christmas Show (OKC Philharmonic). Endless love and thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh, her unbelievably encouraging friends and family, her devoted mentors and teachers who daily challenge her to push beyond limits, and her incredibly supportive fiancé, Jeff Taylor. MUTAU. 1 Peter 4:10-11

XIMONE ROSE
XIMONE ROSE

Ximone Rose, a New Orleans native, graduates this May from The University of Michigan where she just played Caroline in Caroline, Or Change. She is so thrilled to be making her MT Wichita debut this summer and is looking forward to moving to New York afterwards! Keep a look out for her name! GO BLUE.

HALLI TOLAND
HALLI TOLAND

Halli Toland is excited to return to MTW for a second summer!  She is a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in musical theatre, and is originally from Toledo, Ohio. Her university credits include Helga in Cabaret and Dance Captain for The Music Man at U of M. Some of her favorite credits include Graziella in West Side Story and Dance Captain for Catch Me If You Can (both at MTW), as well as Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone at Toledo Repertory Theatre. She would like to thank her instructors Mark Madama and Linda Goodrich, as well as her amazing family and friends back home for their love and unending encouragement. Lastly special thanks to MTW for this wonderful opportunity. GO BLUE!

GINA WARD
GINA WARD

Gina Ward is so excited to be making her professional theatre debut at Music Theatre Wichita! She is coming all the way from Tampa, FL and will be a rising senior at Florida State University. Past credits include: How to Succeed… (Swing) and Company (Jenny). She would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, and all of the artistic team for believing in her and for giving her this amazing opportunity. She would not be the performer she is today without Broadway Dreams Foundation, Kate and Gayle, MT ’16, her mom and dad, and most importantly her Sissy.

MATTHEW BORCHERS
MATTHEW BORCHERS

Matthew Borchers is beyond stoked to be returning to MTWichita this summer! A St. Louis native, he graduates this May from the Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre at The University of Oklahoma, and plans to move to the Big Apple this fall! Credits: 54 Below: Theory of Relativity. St. Louis MUNY: Holiday Inn. OKC Philharmonic: The Christmas Show (Featured Dancer). MTWichita: West Side Story (Baby John), Joseph...(Benjamin), 42nd Street (Soldier, Shadow Boy). Lyric OKC: Bye Bye Birdie (Harvey Johnson). Endless thanks to Wayne, Nancy and the MTW family for sharing your wisdom, love and kindness; so much gratitude and love to the Big Man Upstairs, family, friends and teachers for their constant support and guidance. BOOMER!

QUINTAN CRAIG
QUINTAN CRAIG

"Q" is Beyond Thrilled to return to MTWichita after appearing in Catch Me If You Can and 42nd Street last summer. Though based in California, Wichita has always felt like home! Regional credits include: Young Frankenstein (Sasha), 42nd Street (Oscar), White Christmas (Scooter), Chorus Line, Gypsy (Yonkers), Ragtime (Little Boy –IETLAward), Oliver! (Oliver), Full Monty (Nathan), On Your Toes (Young Junior). Q is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Musical Theatre at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Heartfelt Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Mollie Rae for your unending love, support and encouragement! Much love and gratitude to Wayne, Nancy, and Josh for this Incredibly Awesome opportunity! Q thanks God for Abundant Blessings!

AARON PATRICK CRAVEN
AARON PATRICK CRAVEN

Aaron Patrick Craven is very excited to spend the summer with MTWichita! He recently earned a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Wichita State University. Favorite regional credits include A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, and White Christmas. Last year, Aaron was nominated to perform at the national conference of the American College Dance Festival of America, performing at the Kennedy Center. Aaron has also been seen as a Principal Dancer with Ballet Wichita and has toured internationally with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre. Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Alex, Katie, Wayne, Josh and Nancy! Psalms 115:1 www.aaronpatrickcraven.com

ERIK HERNANDEZ
ERIK HERNANDEZ

Erik Hernandez is currently a junior at the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and he couldn't be more excited to be joining the cast and crew of Music Theatre Wichita. He will receive his BFA in Musical Theatre next spring. His credits include Quisisana, Maine: Rent (Collins), A Grand Night For Singing (Ensemble); CCM: 110 in the Shade (Noah), Legally Blonde (Padamadan/Nikos), Les Misérables (Brujon), Carrie (George), and Threepenny Opera (Walt Dreary). Erik would like to thank his entire family, especially his mother Lorraine for the years of encouragement and support, MT16, Averie, and Allie. 

WILLIE HILL
WILLIE HILL

Willie Hill is a third-year Music Theatre major from Tulsa, Oklahoma studying voice with Dr. Marilyn Govich at The University of Central Oklahoma. Willie’s favorite theatre credits include: working with a non-profit organization called “A Pocket Full Of Hope”; Jake in Side Show, Featured Vocalist in Holidays at Home, Curtis/C.C. in Dreamgirls, Richie in A Chorus Line, Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of the Opera, and Scarecrow in The Wiz. He would like to thank his family and his parents for their love and support.

KYLE McCLELLAN
KYLE McCLELLAN

Kyle McClellan is thrilled to be making his debut with MTWichita this summer! He is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, where his credits include Les Misérables (Prouvaire) and The Tempest (Sebastian). Regional: Walnut Street Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse. Other credits: 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor), West Side Story (Riff), and Hair (Claude). Much love and many thanks to Mom, Dad, Ty, Zo, the UMich faculty, and MTW for this incredible opportunity. Go Blue!

KEVIN NIETZEL
KEVIN NIETZEL

Kevin Nietzel is beyond thrilled to be joining the MTW family this summer! Originally from Cary, IL, he will be a rising senior at Florida State University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. Favorite credits include Maine State Music Theatre, Wagon Wheel Theatre, and Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. He would love to give a special thanks to Wayne, Nancy, and all of the production staff for such an incredible opportunity, and of course his amazing family for always being a true support system. 

JARED THOMAS ROBERTS
JARED THOMAS ROBERTS

Jared Thomas Roberts is beyond excited and humbled to be a part of the 2015 Music Theatre Wichita Summer Season. He is a rising junior pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Point Park University. At PPU, Jared has been in productions of 21, a world premiere musical (Ball Player/Reporter) and The Boyfriend (Marcel). Past productions include: A Chorus Line (Mike), Footloose (Ren), Legally Blonde (Warner), Cats (Alonzo/Macavity). He would like to thank his family and friends for always supporting his artistic endeavors and his teachers and trainers for helping him grow into the performer he is today. “When you become the image of your own imagination, it's the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

JON PAUL ROBY
JON PAUL ROBY

Jon Paul Roby is thrilled to be performing with MTWichita this summer! Regional credits include Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, and Reagle Music Theatre. Jon Paul will be starting his last year in the BFA Musical Theatre program at Syracuse University in the fall. He would like to thank his family for their love and endless support as well as Wayne, Nancy and the entire MTW team for this incredible opportunity. Enjoy the show!

JEREMY SEINER
JEREMY SEINER

Jeremy Seiner is extremely excited to be a part of the 2015 MTWichita company. Favorite past roles include Frank Jr. (Catch Me If You Can), Claude (Hair), and Noah (Children of Eden). Jeremy is excited to recieve his BFA from Penn State this May and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their constant love and support.

AVERY SMITH
AVERY SMITH

Avery Smith is a rising senior drama major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Chicago native and is very excited to be performing alongside the many talented artists of the 2015 MTWichita Company. For his first year of college he attended The Boston Conservatory where he appeared as Horse in The Full Monty. After his first year at the conservatory he decided to further his education at Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU recent credits include Hello Again, The Wiz, and Babylon. Additionally, he has performed to honor alumni and Tony Award Winner Billy Porter. Also, Smith is featured on American R&B vocal group The Dells re-release of their hit "Open Up My Heart" featured on their album Open Up My Heart: The 9/11 Suite. Other credits include Damn Yankees (Applegate), A Little Night Music (Liebeslieder/u.s. Fredrik) Kiss Me, Kate (Paul). For Avery it is always a privilege and a blessing to be able to perform. He would like to thank all of his friends and family for all of their love and support! Mom, Dad, Austin, Amber, Amaris…YOU ROCK! “Live the moment, seize the day. Love every minute, because there’s only one today.”

Mark Madama (Director)
Brian J. Marcum (Choreographer)
Thomas W. Douglas (Musical Director)

Hello, Dolly!: A History of the Musical by Wayne Bryan

  • Broadway opening: January 16, 1964, St. James Theatre; 2,844 performances
  • Produced by David Merrick
  • Directed and Choreographed by Gower Champion
  • Settings Designed by Oliver Smith; Costumes by Freddy Wittop; Lighting by Jean Rosenthal
  • Musical Direction and Vocal Arrangements by Shepard Coleman
  • Orchestrations by Philip J. Lang; Dance and Incidental Music Arranged by Peter Howard
  • Original Cast featured Carol Channing, David Burns, Charles Nelson Reilly, Eileen Brennan, Jerry Dodge, Sondra Lee
  • Film Version (20th Century Fox, 1969), directed by Gene Kelly, Choreographed by Michael Kidd, screenplay by Ernest Lehman; featured Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, Michael Crawford, Marianne McAndrew, Danny Lockin, E.J. Peaker, Tommy Tune, Louis Armstrong
  • The original Broadway cast recording is a classic. Other fine recordings include stage casts with Pearl Bailey and Mary Martin, as well as the film soundtrack. The movie is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and the non-musical film “The Matchmaker” is quite fun on DVD. A delightful website devoted to the show is www.callondolly.com.

Hello, Dolly! is an amazingly charming show, with an amazingly convoluted history!

The basic story (a clever matchmaker traps her wealthiest client for herself) was first told by British playwright John Oxenford in his 1835 farce A Day Well Spent. Seven years later, a Viennese comedian-playwright named Johan Nestroy turned Oxenford’s romp into a German-language version called Eiene Jux will er sich machen (“He’ll Have Himself a Spree”), which continued to be produced in German-speaking companies for the next 90 years or so.

In the mid-1930s, the famous Austro-German theatre impresario Max Reinhardt, while visiting in America, brought the German comedy to the attention of playwright Thornton Wilder (Our Town), who enthusiastically turned it into an American farce called The Merchant of Yonkers. Starring Jane Cowl, it was produced in New York in 1938, and was a mighty flop. But Wilder rewrote it, and under the title The Matchmaker it opened in London in 1951, starring Sophie Stewart. Another flop.

Undeterred, Wilder kept revising, and persuaded the esteemed director Tyrone Guthrie to stage it for the International Drama Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1954, with Ruth Gordon as Dolly Levi. Finally, a smash! From there it enjoyed a year in London, then a successful 1955 engagement on Broadway, and a 1957 American tour. In 1957 a film version was produced, starring Shirley Booth as Dolly, Paul Ford as Horace, Anthony Perkins as Cornelius, Shirley MacLaine as Irene, and Bobby Morse (in his Broadway role) as Barnaby.

In 1963, producer David Merrick thought of musicalizing The Matchmaker (which he had co-produced with the Theatre Guild) as a new project for his team of director-choreographer Gower Champion and librettist Michael Stewart, who had collaborated on Bye Bye Birdie and Carnival. Upcoming songwriter Jerry Herman had written the score for the hit Milk and Honey (set in Israel), but Merrick had to be convinced that Herman could write “Americana.” Herman took a draft of the script home for a weekend, then came back with several songs with which he successfully auditioned for Merrick.

From the beginning, Ethel Merman was the star the creators had in mind, but after her long run in Gypsy Merman wasn’t interested, and returned the script without even reading it. A number of stars were considered (most of whom later played the role somewhere or other), but Gower Champion’s favorite was Carol Channing, who was eventually selected to create the musical version of Dolly.

The show (originally called Dolly: A Damned Exasperating Woman) underwent an unusually stormy pre-Broadway tryout tour, with additional writers and composers called in to help. Four songs were dropped, three new ones were added (including “Before the Parade Passes By”), and actor Jerry Dodge replaced another actor as Barnaby.

But director-choreographer Champion triumphantly guided the show to victory. Wild enthusiasm greeted its Broadway debut in January of 1964, and the American public (who had for several weeks been grieving over the assassination of JFK) seemed grateful to laugh again. The title song, ebulliently recorded by Louis Armstrong, became an international sensation – one of the last Broadway songs to do so.

Mary Martin headed the London company, and then took the show on a memorable tour of military bases in Vietnam, brining hope and encouragement to homesick Americans. Other leading ladies on Broadway and on tour included Betty Grable, Ginger Rogers, Dorothy Lamour, Eve Arden, Martha Raye, and Phyllis Diller.

When the Broadway box office eventually showed signs of slipping, David Merrick closed the show down briefly, and brilliantly reopened it with Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway leading a sparkling new African-American cast.

Finally, Ethel Merman led the show through its last happy days on Broadway, while Ms. Bailey took an ethnically diverse company on tour. For over ten months the show held Broadway’s long run record, until it was overtaken by Fiddler on the Roof.

Many musical theatre lovers consider Hello, Dolly! to be one of the last great American musical comedies, and we are excited to offer this spectacular new production as our 2015 season finale.