June 10-14, 2015
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 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 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 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 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,” “Happyish,” “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!! Check out www.brucewinant.com.
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 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.”
Having just completed his umpteenth year on the Friends University faculty, C.P. is blessed with his umpteenth opportunity to work with that wonderful group of professionals who serve MTWichita and the surrounding communities. Teaching is now replaced with the honor of performing with some of the best and for the best of audiences. Parker is blessed again with an opportunity to play some great roles. His past favorites include Biggley in How to Succeed…, Pickering in My Fair Lady, Ziegfeld in Funny Girl, Herr Schultz in Cabaret, Parchester in Me and My Girl, General Waverly in White Christmas, Capt. Brackett in South Pacific, FDR in Annie, and R.F. Simpson in Singin’ in the Rain. Thanks to Wayne for the gracious invitation and opportunity. Thanks to the company of performers, technicians, and assistants who always make the summers a delight. Thanks to Patty for her encouragement and love. Thanks to God for all blessings.
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 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!
“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
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.
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
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.
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.
Cameron Hill is a New Jersey native and now a rising senior musical theatre 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
Mark Madama has directed productions on both coasts, and as far away as Ireland, Poland, and Czechoslovakia, and yet he happily celebrates his 27th consecutive MTWichita season, with Aida being his 43rd production as director. Favorite shows here include The Full Monty, 9 to 5, Sunset Boulevard, The King and I, The Music Man, Curtains, Big River, Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma!, Damn Yankees, Cinderella, How to Succeed…, Funny Girl, Fiddler on the Roof (2001 and 2012), The Pajama Game, Evita, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, State Fair, Meet Me in St. Louis, Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, The Secret Garden, Tintypes, Sweet Charity, Gigi, Cabaret, Into the Woods, They’re Playing Our Song, Good News!, and three editions of West Side Story, plus his performance as Zach in MTWichita’s first A Chorus Line. Other credits include The Producers, Aida, Cinderella, and Footloose at Kansas City Starlight, Hello, Dolly! at the New London Barn Playhouse, and two engagements teaching at Music Theatre Italy near Venice. Mark Madama and Wayne Bryan are the co-authors of the revised version of Good News!, which has received more than 300 productions in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. Mark is an Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at the University of Michigan, where he has directed Caroline, Or Change, Ragtime, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, The Full Monty, Rent, Big River, City of Angels, The Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls, Assassins, Good News!, Nine, Children of Eden, Company and Horton Foote’s 1918.
Andrew Palermo’s first trips to Wichita were as a performer in the ’94-’95 MTWichita seasons. The 2005 Century II production of Aida (directed by Mark Madama) marked his theatrical choreographic debut. In addition, Andrew has directed and choreographed musicals and concert dance at WSU. He is THRILLED and thankful to return to Wichita to work with Wayne, Mark, and the MTW family. Following this Aida, Andrew moves on to choreograph the Broadway production of Allegiance, starring George Takei, Lea Salonga, and Telly Leung (Longacre Theatre, October ’15). Andrew provided choreography for award-winning productions of The Other Josh Cohen (Soho and Papermill Playhouse), Allegiance (The Old Globe), Ace (The Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theater of St. Louis), Nickel Mines (Conceiver/Director/Choreographer, UCI) and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Director/Choreographer, UC/CCM). Select work includes Kristin Chenoweth (Carnegie Hall), The Frank Loesser Songbook/New York Philharmonic (Lincoln Center), The Mikado (Carnegie Hall), Miss Julie (Geffen Playhouse), Lyrics and Lyricists (92nd St. Y), Bright Lights, Big City (Prince Music Theater), Vices (Theatre Aspen), The Aluminum Show (international tour), For the Record/Paul Thomas Anderson (Rockwell, LA), 125th Teachers College Gala (The Apollo Theatre), Man of La Mancha (Sacramento Music Circus). Andrew (along with Taye Diggs) is the co-founding Artistic Director of dre.dance, a contemporary dance company. An Assistant Professor of Drama at UC Irvine, Andrew also specializes in movement classes for children on the autism spectrum (first developed locally at Heartspring) and speaks nationally on the integration of the arts and special needs issues.
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.
Credits include: Radio City Rockettes (“America’s Got Talent” featuring Pitbull, “Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting,” “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” “The Today Show,” “Wendy Williams Show”); Seth MacFarlane’s Ted 2; MAC Cosmetics; Toyota; Theatre Aspen, and dre.dance. Fitness: NIKE Trainer; fitness videos for Livestrong.com, Denise Austin, and Beach Body 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Samantha graduated as the valedictorian from Towson University with degrees in Dance Performance and Sociology/Anthropology. In an effort to inspire people to get physically, nutritionally, and emotionally fit, Samantha created her personal training, online coaching, and fitness company SOMATIX: The Real Deal www.somatixtherealdeal.com.
Dixon Reynolds is thrilled to be back at Music Theatre Wichita after designing costumes for last summer’s Catch Me If You Can and 2013’s Betty Blue Eyes! He is an Associate Professor of Costume Design at State University of New York at Fredonia and a freelance designer. His designs are seen in a broad range of styles from Theatre, Dance, Opera, Film and his favorite: new and experimental theatrical works, including musicals! Dixon is the resident costume designer at the Kavinoky Theatre in Buffalo, NY. Some of his designs have been seen at The Irish Classical Theatre, ART Park, Summer Repertory Theatre, Buffalo United Artists, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, The Hartt School of Music, Triad Stage, and American Dance Festival. He has also worked in the costume departments at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Playmakers Repertory Company, Roanoke Festival Park, HBO Productions and CBS Productions.
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.
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 has 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!
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.
Madelynn Nevins is excited to be back on the MTWichita team for her 2nd year as Assistant Lighting Designer and her 9th Summer Camp experience. She spent this last year as the Production Manager for Music Theatre for Young People producing art and teaching youth about the craft. She also spent the year in many different design capacities for various companies such as Laughing Feet Performers, Mosley Street Melodrama, Wichita State University, and Prairie Pines Dinner Theatre. Madelynn would like to thank everyone at MTWichita, along with her family, and fur babies for their support.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.