June 24-28, 2015
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
Nicholas F. Saverine is thrilled to return to MTWichita! He is the first recipient of the Elizabeth B. Koch Young Artist Fellowship Grant, and a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and Wichita State University, where he studied voice with Dr. George Gibson and Dr. Dorothy Crum. Audiences may remember Nick from his numerous MTWichita roles including Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (twice), Max in Sunset Boulevard, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Rev. Moore in Footloose, Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, Father in The Children of Eden, Tony in The Most Happy Fella, Carriere in Phantom, Gus/ Growltiger/ Bustopher Jones in Cats, and his favorite as Wayneʼs dad Clem Rogers in The Will Rogers Follies (also twice)! Nick is also very proud to have performed locally with the Mosley Street Melodrama, Cabaret Oldtown, Crown Uptown, Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita Community Theater, Opera Kansas, Wichita Symphony, and the WSU Opera Theater. Nick performed numerous Words and Music editions with Stage One and has directed and designed sets for Music Theatre for Young People. Nick is a regular performer at the Media Theater in Media, PA, most recently seen in Sunset Boulevard, The Addams Family, The Miracle Worker, Ghost the Musical, and Hello, Dolly! Other credits include Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables; Tours: Joseph / Dreamcoat, Caroline, or Change, Les Misérables; European: The Phantom of the Opera (Vienna/ Hamburg), Les Misérables, Dance of the Vampires (Vienna); Regional: Light Opera Works, American Music Theatre of San Jose, Peopleʼs Light and Theater, Arden Theater, Hal Prince Theater, Walnut Street Theater, Louisiana Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Skylight Theater and West Virginia Public. Nick is currently Adjunct Professor of Voice and Musical Director for the mainstage musicals at Rowan University in New Jersey. Nick would like to thank Wayne, Thomas, Nancy and the entire MTWichita family, not only for yet another incredible experience, but for the love, support and encouragement they have given decades of performers. So many are so proud to be alumni of MTWichita and carry this experience to theaters throughout the United States and beyond!
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.
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 Luisa 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!”
Shaun-Michael Morse is a multi-talented artist whose credits include all aspects of theater and music, including work as a performer, director, and designer. As an actor he has appeared in more than seventy regional and stock productions in both his hometown of Wichita, Kansas, and the San Francisco Bay Area where he lived for eleven years. Bay Area credits include Sir Toby Belch (Twelfth Night), Jasper (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Nathan (Guys and Dolls), and George (Sunday in the Park with George). Wichita credits include Vittorio (Sweet Charity), the Minstrel (Once Upon a Mattress), The Bishop / Enjolras (Les Miserables), Lun Tha (The King and I – opposite Kristin Chenoweth) at MTWichita, Rothko (RED) and Shylock (Merchant of Venice) at the Wichita Center for the Arts, and Tito (Lend Me a Tenor) at Stage One. He is the recipient of eight local-area Mary Jane Teall Theatre awards for acting, directing and set design, and his productions of Inventing Van Gogh, The Grapes of Wrath, Picnic and Moon Over Buffalo have been honored as Best City-Wide Drama/ Comedy in their respective seasons. Mr. Morse holds a Theatre degree from Wichita State University.
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 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 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 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 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 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 – 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 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 is so happy to be returning to her MTWichita family for her third summer. She graduated 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 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 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, 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 husband, Jeff Taylor. MUTAU. 1 Peter 4:10-11
Ximone Rose, a New Orleans native, graduated this May from the University of Michigan where she just played Caroline in Caroline, Or Change. She is so thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut this summer and is looking forward to moving to New York afterwards! Keep a look out for her name! GO BLUE.
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 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 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!
“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 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 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. www.patrickgarr.com
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 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 recently recieved his BFA from Penn State, and would like to thank his friends and family for all of their constant love and support.
Wayne Bryan begins his 28th season as Producing Artistic Director of Music Theatre Wichita, where he has now produced 135 Broadway-scale musicals, including dozens for which he has also served as director or performer. Raised in southern California, Wayne began his professional career as both actor and director at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, while stationed as a Navy officer in Coronado. Wayne’s performing credits include Good News!, Rodgers and Hart, and Tintypes on Broadway, the First National Tour of Joseph / Dreamcoat, and TV appearances on such shows as “M*A*S*H” (CBS), “American History” (PBS), and “Keystone” (A&E). His directing credits include award-winning productions on both coasts, including Festival at New York City Center. Wayne is co-author with Mark Madama of a revised version of the collegiate musical Good News!, whose 1993 Wichita premiere has been followed by over 300 subsequent productions around the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, plus an internationally acclaimed cast album. Wayne was a 2002 recipient of the Kansas Governor’s Arts Award as an Individual Artist, and received the NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award, recognizing individuals who fight discrimination and encourage diversity. Thanks to all our supporters and patrons; to the performers, artistic teams, and crew members; to the musicians; to the box office staff; to the Guild and the Board of Directors; and to the wonderful year-round staff, all of whom make this job so joyful and fulfilling.
Amy Baker Schwiethale is thrilled to be a part of the professional premiere of My Son Pinocchio. Amy was last seen in MTWichita’s 42nd Street as Anytime Annie. Other performing highlights include: Phyllis Dale in the First National Broadway Tour of 42nd Street, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Singin’ in the Rain at the Westchester Broadway Tehatre, five seasons with the MTWichita resident company, and Hello, Dolly! at the Fireside. As a choreographer Amy has worked on Camelot, Gypsy, and Honk! for MTWichita. Her choreography has been showcased in NYC at the New York Jazz Choreography Project (Alvin Ailey Studios) and Traditions in Tap, with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, Opera Kansas, and across Northern Italy. Amy is the Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at Wichita State University where she directs, choreographs, and teaches some of the talented performers you will see on stage. She also teaches master classes and offers workshops regionally, nationally, and internationally. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from WSU, a MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University, and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. Special thanks to Associate Choreographer Casey Bagnall.
Thomas W. Douglas is back for his 15th season in Wichita! He has performed more than 200 opera, oratorio, orchestral, and musical theater productions nationally and internationally. Highlights include conducting Webber’s Phantom of the Opera in Basel, Switzerland and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the Anchorage Opera, and directing Ain’t Misbehavin’ in Malaysia. Thomas is currently the Music Director for the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, and the Artistic Director of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, which is regularly receiving accolades for innovative, creative, and dramatically provocative productions. His MTWichita history includes ShowBoat with Kelli O’Hara, Ragtime, Smokey Joe’s Café, 9 to 5, Ragtime with Darcie Roberts, Hairspray, The Full Monty, Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, and Les Misérables, among many others. Thomas is the founder and Artistic Director of the Neighborhood Opera Company, having recently produced Mozart’s Don Giovanni with an African American cast. With the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, he has conducted jazz legend Nathan Davis’ opera Just Above My Head, Carmen Jones, and Porgy and Bess. Thomas has been the recipient of the Mary Jane Teall Award and the Robert Frankle awards for his contribution to theatre in Wichita, KS and Pittsburgh, PA. Thomas has enjoyed the stage roles of Amonasro in Elton John’s Aida, Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Recently named the Director of Opera Studies in the School of Music in addition to his position as Director of Choral Activities and Professor in the School of Drama, this is Thomas’ 25th year on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University.
For over twenty years, J Branson has been a Chicago-based designer. He is proud to have begun his theatrical career as an Apprentice at Music Theatre Wichita more than 30 years ago. J’s national-tour credits include The Music Man, Beauty and the Beast and Brigadoon. Recent and upcoming regional work includes Violet and Cold Sassy Tree for Wichita State University, Nunsense and Always Patsy Cline for Peninsula Players, Damn Yankees and A Christmas Story at The Ordway in St Paul MN. J will have the pleasure of repeating A Christmas Story this fall with director James Rocco and choreographer Linda Goodrich for the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Past regional work includes Smokey Joe’s Café, Jekyll and Hyde, Chess, The Wizard of Oz (for which J received an After Dark award), Children of Eden, Rags, Assassins, Guys and Dolls and The Pajama Game. J has an array of industrial design credits and has been honored with three National Addy Awards. J’s many designs at MTWichita have included the 2013 production of Mary Poppins (which J & Wayne Bryan repeated in Philadelphia in 2014!) as well as Hairspray, Legally Blonde, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Beauty and the Beast, HONK!, Children of Eden, West Side Story, The Drowsy Chaperone, 1776, Curtains, Sunset Boulevard and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Many thanks and much much love to the many wonderful people who have touched my life here at MTW. I wouldn’t be half the man I am without you guys!!
Tiia Torchia is honored to be back designing at Music Theatre Wichita, where she has designed Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Café, and Xanadu. Recently she moved to Pittsburgh, PA from New York City, where she ran the costume shops of several prominent Off-Broadway theaters. In Pittsburgh she spends her days working as the Assistant Costumer at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and this summer will be costuming a show for Pittsburgh CLO.
Casey Bagnall is an Iowa native, and just recently graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in Music Theatre and Dance. At WSU he was featured as Arpad in She Loves Me, Billy in Assassins, Jimmy in Crazy For You, and many other productions. He was also a member of the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre where he toured Italy and Mexico as a company member and soloist. His regional credits include Hairspray (Sketch) at the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, Gypsy (Newsboy) and A Funny Thing….Forum (Protean III) at LOOK Music Theatre, and The Merry Widow (Dance Ensemble) at Wichita Grand Opera. He would love to thank Mom, Dad, Grandma, and his beautiful sisters for their endless love and support. A huge thank you to Amy, Wayne, and Linda for their love, guidance, and this amazing opportunity! Enjoy the show!
David Neville is thrilled to return for his 32nd season of “Camp MTW.” In addition to many productions at MTWichita, David has designed lighting for North Shore Music Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, Omaha Symphony, the United States Air Force, Stage One, Ordway Music Theatre, Papermill Playhouse, the University of Michigan, Penn State University, Portland Center Stage, North Carolina Theatre, Musical Theatre West, Arkansas Rep, Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, George Street Playhouse, the 5th Avenue Theatre, and Off-Broadway. David’s favorite designs at MTWichita include Big River, Cats, Ragtime, Once On This Island, Children of Eden, and Jesus Christ Superstar. David also teaches lighting and scenic design at Wichita State University. He makes his home in Wichita with his wife Robin.
David Muehl continues his 10th season as MTWichita’s sound designer, having also served as the sound assistant previously for a season. During MTWichita’s off season, David is the audio producer for WSU’s College of Fine Arts where he oversees audito recording and live sound for fine arts and other performances. He also serves as sound designer for WSU’s Opera and Musical Theatre programs and is the sound advisor to student musical theatre and opera sound designers and engineers. Some of his favorite sound designs have been Children of Eden, Into the Woods, Les Misérables, and the Wizard of Oz. David has also done sound design for Wichita Center for the Arts and Cabaret Oldtown. Special thanks to Josh and Matt with Event Systems for their continued support of MTWichita.
Taylor Malott is extremely excited to spend her first summer with Music Theatre Wichita. She is a Cincinnati native who recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati (CCM) with a BFA in Theatre Production and Design with an emphasis in Wig and Makeup Design. She has been a licensed cosmetologist for more than five years. Taylor has been a part of the wig build crew at Utah Shakespeare Festival and was the department head at Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh for their 2014 season. Taylor could not be more grateful for this opportunity to work for MTW.
Maria is a recent graduate from the University Of Arizona. There she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre production and design, with emphasis in scenic and prop design. Her past credits include Assistant Scenic Design for Arizona Repertory Theatre’s production of The Man Who Came to Dinner. Maria is very excited to start her third season with Music Theatre Wichita. She would like to thank everyone at MTW for the opportunity and enjoyable summers. Maria would like to give a very special thanks to her mom, Carmen Leon and her boyfriend, Brandon Kahler for their constant support. Without it she wouldn’t be here today.
Debbie Roberts has designed costumes for many shows here, including 42nd Street, White Christmas, Thoroughly Modern Millie, High School Musical, State Fair, Funny Girl, The Most Happy Fella, On the Town, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun, Man of La Mancha, Crazy for You, The Sound of Music, My One and Only, and various Festival of Broadway shows. A graduate of Friends University, Debbie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Ballet. “I am so proud of the work that Music Theatre Wichita does, it is always a pleasure to work each season. While California remains my home, for over 25 years Wichita has been my summer home. I look forward to meeting new people and learning new skills each time. Enjoy the shows!”
Megan is extremely grateful to be spending her sixth season working with MTWichita helping them bring these wonderful stories to life. She has found great mentors and friends working with this wonderful company. Most recently she worked at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida. She is a graduate from Sterling College with a B.A. in Theatre and Art with an emphasis in Illustration. Credits include 42nd Street, Catch Me If You Can, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Disney’s and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins and Singin’ in the Rain (MTWichita).
This is Haley’s first summer at MTW, and she is thrilled to be here. She just finished her first year of grad school at The University of Virginia, getting her MFA in costume design and technology. She has worked for Porthouse Theatre and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. She is grateful for the opportunity and is looking forward to the summer ahead!
Katrina Miller is excited to be spending her first summer with Music Theatre Wichita. A freelance scenic artist and designer, Katrina comes to Wichita from the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in theatre design and production from Purdue University and a BFA in theatre design and technology from Northern Illinois University. Her adventures in theatre have taken her all over, from the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, to the Texas Shakespeare Festival, to the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, with many other stops in between. She would like to thank her amazing husband Phil for being so supportive of all her endeavors.
Charles Koslowske has been music director/keyboardist for many productions with Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, Oklahoma City University’s Opera and Music Theatre Company, OCU Performing Arts Academy High School Music Theatre Program, University of Colorado Department of Theatre and Dance, CU Opera in the Summer, Boulder Broadway Company, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre, and Lyric Artists of the West, among others. He made his New York debut in 2002 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and he was the official pianist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Rocky Mountain Region Auditions and Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition for several years. Charles has taught at Colorado State University and the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Salzburg program. He has earned three degrees from University of Colorado-Boulder: Master of Music degrees in collaborative piano and in vocal performance and pedagogy, and Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. He has participated in master classes taught by artists including William Bolcom and Joan Morris, Helen Donath, Shirlee Emmons, Thomas Hampson, Marilyn Horne, Martin Isepp, Martin Katz, Frederica von Stade, Kristin Chenoweth, and Kelli O’Hara. Charles is currently a member of the vocal coaching faculty at Oklahoma City University.
AJ is happy to return to MTWichita for his 10th season. Most recently AJ was the Master Carpenter at Childsplay in Phoenix, Arizona. AJ is very grateful for all the help he has received from the Wichita theatre community and would like to include a special thanks to Local 190 for all the hard work they do during the summer and throughout the year.
Jeff Taylor is extremely honored to be back with this excellent cast and crew for his 15th summer at MTWichita. Throughout the years since 2000, he’s had the chance to apprentice, build, design, and even act for MTWichita, and has now become the year-round Production Manager, working closely with the awesome MTW staff. A loyal Kansan, Jeff graduated from Wichita High School East, earned his BA in Musical Theatre from Friends University, and his MFA in Design and Technology from UMKC. Jeff thanks Wayne for his continual guidance throughout the many years together and his wife Sarah, for the many wonderful years to come.
Mitch is very excited to be spending his second season with Music Theatre Wichita. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Mitch has been fortunate to spend the last year in Chicago working in production management at the Goodman Theatre while also freelancing at the Steppenwolf and Paramount theatres. Mitch’s previous credits include two summer with the Santa Fe Opera, technical direction and carpentry work at the University of Oklahoma, and leadership of the University of Oklahoma chapter of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). Mitch would like to express his gratitude to Jeff and Wayne for having him back for another summer!
Amanda Bowman is thrilled to be home for her 11th summer at MTWichita and honored to be stepping into this new role. She spent the last two seasons at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and has also worked for The Palace Theater in the Dells, Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Crown Uptown, IATSE #190, Walt Disney World, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Ms. Bowman is a graduate of Wichita State University. Thanks and love to Wayne, Nancy, her family, and KBEAT. Proud member of AEA. For Grandpa.
Originally from Oklahoma, Tiffany is returning for her sixth MTWichita season. She spends the other 9 months of the year in the Twin Cities where she works as a freelance stage manager in addition to being the production stage manager for Theater Latte Da. While in the Twin Cities, she has the pleasure to work with companies including the Pillsbury House Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, Park Square Theatre, and the Guthrie. Prior to her move to the Twin Cities she worked on more than a dozen productions as part of the stage management team at Phoenix Theatre, in Phoenix, AZ. This summer marks 10 years as a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. Missing you, Em!
Steve Landes is proud to return for his 22nd summer as the Apprentice Program Director. A Wichita resident for twenty two years, Steve worked for Friends University, the Wichita Center for the Arts, Music Theatre for Young People, and Shakespeare in the Park. He has just finished his 37th year as a high school theatre teacher. He has been inducted into the Kansas Thespians Teacher Hall of Fame, and is currently co-state director of Kansas Thespians. Steve moved to the Kansas City area fourteen years ago for a teaching position. As an educator, Steve continues to be very excited about working with the apprentices in this unique training program (and MTW is deeply grateful for Steve’s creative dedication to our young people!).
WOW! 40 seasons! Who would have thought that back in 1976, a summer job would turn into such a career!! Being one of the oldest members of the production staff, this will mark summer productions numbering 197 to 201. In the off season, I still keep my hand in stage managing for Ballet Wichita Orchestra (19 years) and enjoying a fabulous working relationship with Wichita State University, all the while keeping our ever growing rental business running. I seem to get around a lot but only inside Century II. My life remains happily engaged in larger and more complex tasks working for my favorite employer. My thanks to WB…..I offer my deepest love and respect to all who work in this fabulous building and for our organization.
Joshua Larson has choreographed for Wichita State University, Friends University, and at various high schools, studios, organizations, and theatres in and around the Wichita area, with his choreography earning him four Jester Awards. His choreographic and directing talents have been used at MTWichita as the staging director for the Teen Choir (2006-present); director/choreographer of Festival of Broadway (2008-2010, 2014, 2015) and Curtain Up! (2013-present); and choreographer/adjudicator for the dance portion of MTWichita’s national audition tour (2013-present). Joshua received his undergraduate degree in dance performance from Oklahoma City University and his Master of Liberal Arts (with a Theatre Concentration) from Baker University. He has traveled the country evaluating national dance competitions including Starbound and The Elite Dance Cup. Performing credits include shows at Carnegie Hall, on the Holland America Line, and with the following groups: MTWichita, Stiletto Entertainment, Tuacahn, Silver Tree Productions, Oklahoma City University, Windwood Theatricals, and The American Spirit Dance Company.
Linda Starkey continues her relationship with MTWichita, having performed in My Fair Lady, Oliver!, Cabaret, and The Sound of Music, and having conducted the Teen Choir and assisted with MTWichita’s apprentice program. Currently serving as the Director of the School of Performing Arts at Wichita State University, Linda has also served as Associate Director of the Opera and Music Theatre program there, and taught voice for more than 30 years. She has directed for Opera Kansas, WSU Opera Theatre, WSU Theatre, Wichita Community Theatre, Wichita Children’s Theatre, and the Center for the Arts. In 2005, her production of Pippin was chosen to be an alternate for the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Jennifer Fisher is so excited for her seventh season at MTWichita. She would like to thank Wayne and all the amazing, talented people at Music Theatre Wichita for including her in the magic! During the year Jennifer is an educational interpreter for Sedgwick County Co-op, and leads the deaf ministry at Central Community Church, where she interprets services, concerts, conferences, classes, and support groups. Jennifer has been signing for more than 10 years and is focused on musical performance interpreting, having trained in Nashville, TN under Gate Communications. Her goal is to create a performance that’s as impactful for the deaf as it is for the hearing. Jennifer thanks her girls Kara and Stephanie and her husband for their support. Most importantly, thanks to God for the blessings He’s given and the opportunity to work in such a remarkable place. 2 Cor. 4:16-18
Nancy Reeves joined MTWichita in 1988 as a bookkeeper and soon took on other responsibilities. She first took over the position of Company Manager and more recently added Producing Associate to her job description. As Company Manager Nancy’s duties include coordinating auditions, handling thousands of submissions each season. Other duties include handling the travel and housing accommodation arrangements for guest artists, and maintaining active communications with all department and department heads throughout the season. As Producing Associate Nancy attends auditions and participates in casting decisions, works with agents, and participates in contract negotiations. Her long tenure at MTWichita and close personal connections to people throughout Wichita allow her to be an outstanding resource for MTWichita and for artists working in Wichita during the summer season. She can quickly connect a need to a resource, whether that is a qualified rehearsal pianist, an appropriate caterer for a donor appreciation event, or a convenient hotel room for a guest artist.
The original story of “Pinocchio” was by Carlo Collodi, which was the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini (1826-90). The son of a cook and a servant, Carlo was born and raised in Florence, Italy, and became a writer for newspapers, and later for both fiction and non-fiction books. After translating some French fairytales, he decided to write his own.
In 1881, he sent to a friend a short episode in the life of a wooden puppet. The friend worked for a newspaper, and Carlo asked if his editor would consider publishing this “bit of foolishness” in his children’s section. The editor did, and the children loved it. The adventures of Pinocchio were serialized in the paper in 1881-2, and then published in 1883 with huge success. The first English-language version proved just as popular on its publication in 1892.
The overwhelming success of Walt Disney’s first feature length animated film, the 1938 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, inspired Disney to pour even more resources into his follow-up film, Pinocchio. Although it lost money on its initial release, it is now regarded by critics as one of the most beautiful feature length cartoons ever created, and Disney’s retelling of Collodi’s story is probably the most internationally familiar version of the tale.
The story’s appeal was not lost on songwriter Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell, Wicked, Children of Eden). “I was working with David Stern on another project and he mentioned he had the idea of doing a show based on looking at the Pinocchio story from the father’s point of view. I found the idea compelling, so together we approached Disney. David and I were interested in exploring the idea of fatherhood and what it means to be father.”
Disney’s Geppetto was produced as a made-for-TV film, airing in 2000 and starring Drew Carey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Several years later, the idea for a stage musical adaptation came up of during discussions with Stephen Schwartz and representatives from Music Theatre International (MTI). Schwartz says, “In a meeting with MTI, they said it would be good for us to have something with a minimal number of adults and an infinite number of children.” Immediately he thought of adapting Disney’s Geppetto to stage.
Book writer David Stern discovered a child-appropriate way to make the show stageworthy. Stern begins with Geppetto confronting the Blue Fairy with the accusation she has created an imperfect child. The rest of the story unfolds as Geppetto realizes Pinocchio’s value, and what it means to be a parent. As with the film, when Pinocchio runs away to become a star in a traveling show, Geppetto must negotiate through maze of adventures and comic encounters to find him.
In this stage adaptation, the co-creators have kept the callous puppeteer Stromboli (from the first film), giving him a virtuoso operatic tenor aria, and have also invented Professor Buonragazzo who “designs” perfect, made-to-order offspring, as well as a sinister Ringleader who turns children into donkeys. The show includes two new songs not heard in the “Geppetto” film, and also features “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings” from the original Disney “Pinocchio” movie.
We are thrilled that MTWichita has the privilege of creating a brand new production of this unique and charming show, since we believe it represents the best kind of all-family entertainment, with delightful songs, memorable characters, smart dialog, and insights about parent-child relationships that can resonate with audiences of all ages.