June 12-16, 2013
Book and Lyrics by ERIC IDLE. Music by JOHN DU PREZ & ERIC IDLE. A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
From the original screenplay by: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Original Broadway Production produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, The Shubert Organization, Arielle Tepper Madover, Stephanie McClelland/Lawrence Horowitz, Elan V McAllister/Allan S. Gordon, Independent Producers Network, Roy Furman, GRS Associates, Jam Theatricals, TGA Entertainment, Live Nation
BRUCE WINANT (Arthur) is thrilled to return to MTWichita, having been seen in 2002 as Tateh in Ragtime, and then as Tevye in last summer’s Fiddler on The Roof, for which he was honored with the Mary Jane Teall Award. Bruce recently co-starred opposite George Hamilton in the national tour of La Cage Aux Folles and will be “heard” as several odd machines in Disney’s upcoming animated feature Planes. On Broadway, Bruce has appeared in: La Cage, Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon and My Favorite Year, as well as the original L.A. production of Les Misérables, and with the NY City Opera in The Most Happy Fella. On television Bruce has made guest appearances on “Boardwalk Empire,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Mildred Pierce,” “Law and Order,” “The West Wing,” “Andersonville,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “General Hospital,” and was a regular on the short-lived NBC series “First Years.” As always, many thanks to Wayne and the whole MTW crew and love to Kristin, Arden and Jayce! www.brucewinant.com
LARRY RABEN (Sir Robin) has been seen here as Lt. Frank Cioffi in Curtains and as Leo Bloom in The Producers, a role he also played on Broadway, in Las Vegas, and around the country. Other New York credits include the Off-Broadway hits I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Man # 1), Forever Plaid (Sparky/original company) which he also performed on London’s West End and at L.A.’s Canon Theatre (Ovation and L.A. Drama Critics Awards), Chess in Concert (New Amsterdam Theatre), and two performances at Carnegie Hall. Regional favorites: Robert in Boeing, Boeing (Norris Theatre), Patrick in The Andrews Brothers (Musical Theatre West – Ovation Award), Johnny Angel in SUDS (Coyote StageWorks), Jerry/ Daphne in Sugar (Gateway Playhouse), Ens. Pulver in Mister Roberts (Old Globe), Ross in Bright Ideas (Laguna Playhouse), Hysterium in A Funny Thing … Forum (Reprise!), Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! (Pittsburgh CLO), Felix in The Odd Couple (Norris), and Forbidden Broadway (MTWest – Ovation nomination). Film and television include: Lost and Found, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, “General Hospital,” “Party of Five,” “Caroline in the City,” and “Genetically Challenged” (pilot) among others. Larry is also an award winning director who received the L.A. Ovation Award for Best Direction of Singin’ in the Rain, and directed a recent new Off-Broadway musical, Falling For Eve, written by Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro. He re-created his original role in Forever Plaid – The Movie which is available on DVD. He is also a newly published children’s book author of Ibby Makes A Wish available at amazon.com. He is delighted to re-join Billy Sprague, with whom he collaborated last year when he first played Sir Robin at Musical Theatre West. Thanks Wayne for bringing me back to delightful Wichita!
DAMON KIRSCHE (Galahad) happily returns to MTWichita, where he has been seen as The Scarlet Pimpernel, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, King Arthur in Camelot, Franklin Hart, Jr. in 9 to 5, and in concert with Kelli O’Hara. Last fall, Damon starred as Julian Marsh in 4nd Street at California’s Carpenter Center and as Rick Anderson in the new Harold Arlen musical One For My Baby at the New 42nd St. Studios. Favorite roles include Kodaly in She Loves Me and Granite in On the 20th Century (Reprise!), Logos in Eric Whitacre’s Paradise Lost: Shadows & Wings (Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall), Curly in Oklahoma! (CLOSBC), Carl Magnus in A Little Night Music (South Coast Repertory), the Dentist (and others) in Little Shop of Horrors (Cabrillo Music Theatre), and numerous appearances with NY’s Encores Series and L.A.’s Musical Theatre Guild. Recent concerts: the “American Showstoppers” series with the Fred Barton Orchestra at NY’s Schimmel Center, Bruce Kimmel’s “Kritzerland” cabaret series in LA, and with vintage swing orchestra Dean Mora and his “Modern Rhythmists,” with whom he’ll appear July 4th for the 25th Anniversary of Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing series. Damon can be heard on various recordings with Dean Mora and His Orchestra and on the recently released “Lyrics and Music by Charles Bloom: In Here.” He appears as Harry McCarthy in the Civil War film Gods and Generals and as the first “Nuu’bari” on the “Star Trek: Voyager” TV series. Training: Juilliard. DamonKirsche.com.
BRAD BRADLEY (Patsy) is an original Broadway cast member of Monty Python’s Spamalot, and is thrilled to be returning to the show here in Wichita as Patsy, the role he understudied on Broadway. Brad subsequently took over the role and starred as Patsy opposite Gary Beach’s and Richard Chamberlain’s King Arthur on the 1st National Tour of Spamalot. Other Broadway credits include the original cast of People in the Picture, Annie Get Your Gun (with both Bernadette Peters and Reba McEntire), Thou Shalt Not, Steel Pier, and the closing Broadway cast of Billy Elliot. NY/ Off Broadway credits include Ernest in Love, A Christmas Carol (Madison Square Garden), Cocoanuts, Tin Pan Alley. Encores: Strike up the Band and Bye Bye Birdie. Other recent roles include Marcellus opposite Peter Scolari’s Harold Hill in The Music Man and Sohovik in Damn Yankees. Up next will be Spats in Sugar (Some Like It Hot) at Sacramento Music Circus. This past year Brad made his Carnegie Hall debut, tap danced in a Temple to secure insurance weeks, and canvassed Columbus, Ohio, during the 2012 election. At age 12, Brad was a backup dancer for Michael Jackson in the famous Pepsi commercial.
MONTE RIEGEL WHEELER (Lancelot) has enjoyed a rich and varied career in the arts. He is a familiar face to Wichita audiences, having performed at Cabaret Oldtown, Mosley Street Melodrama, Stage One, The Crown Uptown, and The Forum. For MTWichita Monte’s performances include Sir Harry in Once Upon a Mattress and Harold Nichols in The Full Monty. Other regional credits include Mr.Sowerberry in Oliver!, Mr.MacAffee in Bye Bye Birdie and Lady Enid/ Nicodemos in The Mystery of Irma Vep for Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, and Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music, and Dr.Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show for The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St.Paul, MN. His performance in Rocky Horror received raves, and he was named Best Actor in a Musical, 2007 by The Twin Cities Star Tribune. While in New York, Monte performed in the original Off-Broadway casts of two new musicals, Streakin’ Through The 70′s and The “IT” Girl (Original Cast Album). He is also a published visual artist, and serves as resident set and costume designer at Cabaret Oldtown. He is overjoyed to be a part of the Summer Season with MTWichita.
SKYLER ADAMS (Historian / Not-Dead-Fred) is thrilled to return to MTWichita where he spent two summers in the resident company, most notably playing Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and then returned last year to guest star as Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde. Originally from Oklahoma City, OK, and an alum of University of Oklahoma, his other credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theatre: World Premiere of Bartram and Hill’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (Pinocchio); Lyric Opera of Chicago: Oklahoma! (Swing); Paramount Theatre: Hair (Claude), Grease (Danny), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel); Marriott Theatre: Seussical (Wickersham); Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma: Altar Boyz (Matthew), High School Musical (Troy); and Riverside Theatre: Forum…(Hero). Skyler’s other MTWichita shows include My Fair Lady, Big River, All Shook Up, Les Misérables (Enjolras u/s), Gypsy (Yonkers), Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Crazy For You, Annie (Rooster u/s), and Curtains (Aaron u/s). Big thanks to Wayne, his incredible family and God for His great gifts.
JENNIE GREENBERRY (The Lady of the Lake) is delighted not only to make her Music Theatre of Wichita debut, but to do so in one of her dream roles! A native of St. Louis, MO, Jennie is currently based in Kansas City, where she has appeared in numerous theatrical productions and commercials. Off Broadway: Lucky Duck (New Victory Theatre); Regional: Pippin, Little Shop of Horrors, A Christmas Story – The Musical, A Christmas Carol (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Hairspray (New Theatre), Shipwrecked! (Spinning Tree Theatre), Nuncrackers, Murder by the Book (American Heartland Theatre), Lucky Duck, Seussical, One on this Island, The Wiz, U Bug Me, Atypical Boy, Frindle (Coterie Theatre), and Footloose (Allenberry Playhouse). Much love and many thanks to Mom, Victor, Jill, and John. I am indebted to you all for the gift of your relentless encouragement, support, and of course, your ridiculous humor – it certainly paid off! http://www.jenniegreenberry.com
TIMOTHY W. ROBU (Bedevere) is delighted to be a part of this year’s MTWichita season, as well as many previous ones. Audiences may remember Tim in past roles such as John Hancock in 1776, Billis in South Pacific, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Amos Hart in Chicago, Oscar Shapiro in Curtains, Mr. Feldzeig in The Drowsy Chaperone, Herbie in Gypsy, and Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof. Tim also performs at several other venues in the Wichita area, including Mosley Street Melodrama and the Crown Uptown Theatre. Tim served as Technical Director at the Crown Theatre and Artistic Director of the children’s program for over twenty years there. He now works as an Exhibit Technician for Exploration Place. When not working at Wichita’s fine theatres, Tim has plenty to keep him busy as father to his two daughters, Katie and Francie. An added bonus to this year’s season is the chance to perform with his talented wife Karen in three of the season’s shows. Thanks to Wayne and all the folks in Wichita who produce theatre, perform theatre, and enjoy theatre. They make the Wichita area a great place to work, live, and bring up kids in.
JACK FOCHT (Sir Not Appearing), a local lawyer is appearing in his first MTWichita production. He has frequently acted in the courtroom over the years, but this is his first stage appearance since his college days at Southwestern College where, as a Campus Player, he played Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew and Earnest in The Importance of Being Earnest. That was, however, more than 50 years ago. Jack who always sings with gusto, as any good Methodist should, is happy that his role is a speaking one, since it is a challenge for him to carry a tune.
DANIEL BEVINS is ecstatic to be joining the MTWichita family for his first summer! Originally from Atlanta, GA, Daniel is a rising Junior at Elon University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. He has worked professionally at Artpark (Cinderella) and The Muny (Thoroughly Modern Millie and Aladdin!). Favorite past shows include: Hair, A Man of No Importance, The Wild Party, Into the Woods, and Les Misérables. So much love and gratitude to his outstanding family, friends, teachers, and to Wayne, Nancy, and the entire MTWichita family for making this wonderful opportunity possible!
JACOB CHANCELLOR is more than ecstatic to be back at MTWichita! Originally from Edmond, OK, he is going into his senior year at The University of Oklahoma! Credits: OU University: On The Town (Chip), …Forum (Protean). Lyric Theatre OKC: Xanadu, 42nd Street, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Broadway Rose (Oregon): The Drowsy Chaperone (George). MTWichita: The Music Man, Finian’s Rainbow, Sunset Boulevard, Xanadu, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Thanks and love to family and friends for all the love and support. So thankful for another hot and sunny Wichita summer!
CALEB DICKE is excited to be returning to Wichita for his second summer. He performed last summer in Fiddler on the Roof (Russian), 9 to 5, Honk! (Barnacles), Singin’ in the Rain, and Legally Blonde. He will be a senior dance performance major this fall at Oklahoma City University. While at OCU, he has performed in the American Spirit Dance Company’s Home for the Holidays Christmas Show and Spring Show, as well as Legally Blonde (Kiki) and The Wedding Singer (Billy Idol).
MICHAEL HARTUNG is thrilled to be making his Wichita debut this summer. A native of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Michael is a rising senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Michigan. Michael also trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. Some favorite credits include The King and I, Thoroughly Modern Millie (The MUNY) Oliver!, Cats (West Virginia Public Theatre) All’s Well That Ends Well, The Last Tempest (RADA), Chicago, Brigadoon, The Full Monty, Crazy for You (U of M). So much love to family and friends. Go Blue!
EMILY KELLY is looking forward to her debut season with MTWichita, and is excited to join the MTW family this summer! She is from Sacramento, California, and will be entering her sophomore year as a BFA Musical Theatre student at Indiana University. Favorite roles include Thea in Spring Awakening (IU Theatre), the Witch in Into the Woods, Mayzie La Bird in Seussical, and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd. Emily would like to thank her family and friends back home and at IU for their endless support, and the entire MTW team for this amazing opportunity!
BROOKE LACY, an upcoming senior Musical Theatre major at the University of Oklahoma, is thrilled to return to MTWichita for another fantastic summer season! Favorite credits include: On the Town (Dance Captain/Ensemble), Avenue Q (Mrs. T/Bad Idea Bear U/S), Seussical (Bird Girl), The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (Soloist), and OKC Philharmonic’s A Very Merry Pops (Mistletoe). Tremendous amounts of love and thanks to her wonderful family for their support, to Cary and Julie Danielson for inspiring her to do what she loves, and to Wayne, Nancy, Josh, and all of MTW for this amazing opportunity!
NICHOLAS PALMQUIST is a 2013 graduate of Oklahoma City University, with a Bachelor of Performing Arts, and can’t believe it’s already his third season here at Music Theatre of Wichita. Nicholas will have performed in fifteen shows at MTW, with some of his favorites including Legally Blonde (UPS man Kyle), 9 to 5, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Music Man, and of course, Singin’ in the Rain. Nicholas has been overwhelmed with opportunity and support from Wayne, Thomas and Nancy and is so incredibly thankful for all they have done for him. Nicholas sends love to his friends, his family, and his outrageously beautiful fiancée.
BECCA PETERSEN is so excited to spend her summer with MTWichita! She is originally from Carmel, Indiana and will be a senior in the fall studying musical theatre at Brigham Young University. Favorite credits: Thoroughly Modern Millie at The Muny (Lucille/ensemble), Dreamgirls at The MUNY (Sweetheart/ensemble), Oklahoma! (Laurey), and Beauty and the Beast (Belle). She recently returned from China performing with the BYU Young Ambassadors. This coming fall she will play the role of Clara in The Light in the Piazza at BYU. Becca would like to thank everyone at MTWichita for this wonderful experience. Also a big thank you to her family and friends for their endless support!
SARAH QUINN, a Wichita native, could not feel more blessed to spend her fourth summer with MTWichita. Some of her favorite shows here include Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ariel u/s), 9 to 5, and Legally Blonde (Greek Chorus). She recently completed her freshman year at the University of Oklahoma (BFA Musical Theatre) where she made her University Theatre debut in On the Town. Abounding thanks to Wayne and the entire MTWichita family for their continued support and guidance. Love to family, friends, and Jeff for their constant love and encouragement. 1 Peter 4:10-11
BENJAMIN RIVERA feels blessed to be returning to his MTW family for the second time this summer! He recently finished his junior year at Oklahoma City University as a dance performance major. Some favorite past shows include: 7 Brides for 7 Brothers (Benjamin) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Simeon). His favorite shows at MTW include: Legally Blonde (Nikos), Singin’ in the Rain, and 9 to 5. He would like to thank his friends and family for all their unconditional love. Jeremiah 29:11
RIZA TAKAHASHI is thrilled to be a part of MTWichita’s company this summer! Education: BFA in Musical Theatre at The Hartt School. Recent credits include: MUNY: Little Eva/Fan Dancer (King and I), Ensemble (Thoroughly Modern Millie). Woodstock Playhouse: Connie Wong (A Chorus Line), Crissy (HAIR), Charity (Anything Goes). Love and thanks to my family, friends, and the Hartt family, and also to MTWichita for this amazing opportunity!
KATIE WESLER is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut. She is a senior at CCM majoring in Musical Theatre and is a 2013 winner of the Kurt Weill Foundation of Music Emerging Talent Award. At CCM she has played Sally Slaton in Parade, The Arbiter’s Assistant in Chess, and danced in Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Professional roles include Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (Tent Theatre), Shelby Thorpe in The Spitfire Grill and Maggie Pelletier in Red Herring (Timber Lake Playhouse), and Hunyak in Chicago (Red Mountain Theatre Company). Katie thanks Wayne and Nancy for this wonderful opportunity and her family for their support.
HANNAH FREEMAN (Dance Captain, Swing) is thrilled to return to MTWichita for a second summer! Hannah is a senior musical theatre major at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Favorite CCM credits include Jenny (The Threepenny Opera), Dream Laurey (Oklahoma!) and Fredrika (A Little Night Music). Other credits: Solo Dancer in Oklahoma! with Ashley Brown at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (dir. Gary Griffin). Many thanks to Wayne, Nancy and MTW, and much love to family and DB.
DAN HORN (Dance Captain, Swing) is beyond thrilled to be joining the MTWichita Company for his third season! He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma class of 2013. Some of his favorite roles at the university are Ozzie in On The Town, Wickersham Brother #2 in Seussical the Musical, and The Puppet Master in The Adventures of Pinocchio. He has also loved playing featured roles along with being a company member in all of the MTW productions! He would like to thank Wayne and Nancy for giving him such an amazing opportunity and his family for their endless love and support.
BILLY SPRAGUE, JR. (Director/Choreographer) is proud to be returning to Music Theatre of Wichita after receiving his professional theater start here over 20 years ago. As a choreographer he has helmed several productions of Spamalot, beginning with the first regional production at Sacramento Music Circus in California and Musical Theatre West in Long Beach last year. He has served as Associate Choreographer on Beauty and The Beast, Guys and Dolls, The Little Mermaid, and most recently A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theatre. Billy is an accomplished performer who has worked on Broadway in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Lumiere u/s), Cats (Munkustrap/Rum Tum Tugger u/s), Spamalot and The Merry Widow at NYC Opera. Other noteworthy accomplishments include touring and regional productions of Footloose, Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Mame, My Fair Lady, Good News!, Pirates of Penzance and Assassins. Billy is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma where he received his Bachelors of Music. He is currently working on the development of several aviation-themed productions for television. When not busy working as a theatrical artist, Billy is an avid exotic plant collector and licensed pilot.
CAROL BENTLEY (Assistant Choreographer) has worked on Broadway, in films, in commercials, videos, and print. Credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot (Assistant Dance Captain), Wonderful Town, Follies (Astaire Award nom. For Best Female Dancer), Swing! (principal, original cast), On The Town (Dance Captain), Jesus Christ Superstar (Dance Captain), Beauty and the Beast, West Side Story (Velma), A Christmas Carol (Ghost of Future u/s), and the Radio City Music Hall Spectaculars. Regional roles have in included Louise in Carousel (North Carolina Theater) and the Hair Hag in Les Misérables (Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera). Film credits include Disney’s Enchanted and a featured cameo in the Vanessa Williams film Dance With Me. Carol’s television credits include “Guiding Light,” “The Today Show,” “Star Search,” and appearances as a New York Knicks City Dancer; commercials have included Intel, Listerine, and Toyota. Carol is an active dance judge, master class teacher, and creative team assistant, and is pleased to be assisting the talented Billy Sprague here in Spamalot.
THOMAS W. DOUGLAS (Musical Director / Conductor) is thrilled to begin his 14th season with his wonderful artistic family at MTWichita, having led 45 productions with this remarkable company. Thomas has done more than 200 musical theatre, opera, orchestral and oratorio productions, including conducting Webber’s Phantom of the Opera in Switzerland. Highlights include Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Bizet’s Carmen Jones, Master Class and Mondo Mangia with the late Jillene Ringle. As the Artistic Director of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, he is receiving acclaim for adventurous, innovative debuts and premier programs, including Carmina Burana Africana, Messiah in Space, and a concert of standard choral masterpieces with a fusion rock band and string orchestra accompaniment, plus a presentation of Charlie Chaplin shorts with an all Bach soundtrack. On stage he has enjoyed the roles of Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Amonasro in Aida, and Fats Waller in Ain’t Misbehavin’, both in the U.S. and in Malaysia. Thomas is on the faculty of both the Drama and the Music schools at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is the proud recipient of the Mary Jane Teall Award, and is the Musical Director of the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra. He is now developing his one man show entitled “Under the Influence” based on his eclectic group of musical experiences.
TIM HATLEY (Scenic and Costume Designer) is a British production designer, winner of 2002 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Private Lives on Broadway, winner of the 2002 Olivier Award for Humble Boy and Private Lives in the West End, and a 1997 Olivier Award for Stanley at the Royal National Theatre. Broadway credits: Spamalot (Drama Desk Award for costumes, Tony nominations for set and costumes), Shrek (Tony Award, two Drama Desk Awards), The Country Girl, Vincent in Brixton, The Crucible, Stanley. Film credits: Stage Beauty (Costume Designer), Closer and Notes on a Scandal (Production Designer). Previous theater work includes working with Theatre de Complicite, Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, English National Opera, and London’s West End. Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art, London. www.TimHatley.com
DAVID NEVILLE (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to begin his 30th 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, Paper Mill Playhouse, The University of Michigan, Penn State University, Portland Center Stage, North Carolina Theatre, Music Theatre West, Arkansas Rep, Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, George Street Playhouse, California Music Circus, The 5th Avenue Theatre and Off-Broadway. David’s favorite designs at MTW include Les Misérables, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Cats, Ragtime, Once on this Island, and Jesus Christ Superstar. David also teaches lighting and scenic design at Wichita State University.
DAVID MUEHL (Sound Designer) begins his eighth 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 audio 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 & opera sound designers and engineers. Some of his favorite sound designs have been Children of Eden, Into the Woods, Les Misérables and Wizard of Oz. David has twice been sound designer for invited productions to the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. David has also done sound design for Wichita Center for the Arts and Cabaret Oldtown. Special thanks to Dave, Jeff and the rest of the crew of Clearwing Productions in Phoenix and Josh with Sound Kingdom and for their continued support of MTWichita.
ALENA SELLERS (Wig and Makeup Designer) is very excited to be returning for the fourth season as wig and makeup designer, having been assistant the first year. For her work with MTWichita, Alena is the recipient of a Mary Jane Teall Merit Award for the hair and makeup department. She lives in Wichita and spends most of the year working at Allure Salon. She has been doing hair for fifteen years, has spent six years as an Aveda Color Educator, and is grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented people. A special thanks to Sandy, Joy and Jocelyn for all your hard work.
MICHELLE A. BISBEE (Property Master) is excited to be joining the MTWichita for the British Invasion! She is a MFA Scenic Design Graduate from the University of Arizona. At the University she scenic designed Nine and Hay Fever, prop mastered four main stage shows, and managed the properties shop. Other credits include Assistant Head of Props for Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE, Properties and Puppets Technician for Cirque du Soleil’s KA, and Scenic Artist for the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Michelle would like to thank her family, friends and new family at the Music Theatre of Wichita for all of their support.
JEFF TAYLOR (Production Manager) is extremely honored to be back with this excellent cast and crew for his 12th summer at MTWichita. Throughout the years since 2000, he’s had the chance to apprentice, build, design, and even act for MTWichita, and now become the year round Production Manager, working closely with the awesome MTW staff. A loyal Kansan, Jeff graduated from East High and earned his BA in Musical Theatre from Friends University in 2006. In 2011, he earned an MFA in Design & Technology from UMKC. Jeff would like to thank the staff of MTWichita for their support and guidance, and thanks to his wonderful family for their love.
AJ KELLISON (Asst. Technical Director) started with Music Theatre of Wichita in 2006 and loves working with the excellent people of MTW. AJ also recently spent a year on the road with the gang of Sesame Street Live. Much love to Mom Dad, and sister Laura.
AMY LARINK (Scene Shop Charge Artist) is excited to be back for her second season. She holds a Bachelors in Theatre from Grand Valley in Michigan and completed the two-year scenic program at Cobalt Studios in New York. She currently lives in Chicago and works full time as the charge artist for the Paramount Theatre.
TYLER LESSIN (Assistant Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for his 6th season. A native Wichitan, Tyler has worked with theatre companies all over town. Favorite design credits include: Urinetown (WSU), Chicago, Sweeney Todd, and Annie Get Your Gun (Crown Uptown), The Mystery of Irma Vep and The Full Monty (Forum Theatre), and Le Nozze di Figaro and Il Trovatore (WGO). Tyler would like to thank Wayne, Nancy, Jeff, David, and the MTW staff for this amazing opportunity, the fantastic electrics crew & IATSE Local 190 for their hard work & dedication, and his family and Kyle for their love and support.
DEBBIE ROBERTS (Costumer / Shop Manager) has designed costumes for many shows here, including Curtains, Fiddler on the Roof, Les Misérables, White Christmas, Thoroughly Modern Millie, High School Musical, State Fair, Funny Girl, The Most Happy Fella, On the Town and West Side Story, plus special costumes for Aida, My Fair Lady (all of Eliza’s gowns), 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 of Wichita does, it is always a pleasure to work each season. While California is home, for over 20 years Wichita has been my summer home, and I look forward to meeting new people and learning new skills each time. Enjoy the shows!”
EMILY F. McMULLEN (Stage Manager) is back for her 14th summer with MTWichita. Previous productions here include Legally Blonde, Singin’ in the Rain, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, Sunset Boulevard, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Curtains, Gypsy, Crazy for You, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Producers, Les Misérables, Big River, …Forum, Seven Brides…, Sweet Charity, Phantom!, Seussical, A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Chicago, Good News!, and ShowBoat. Throughout the year, she is the Production Stage Manager at Merrimack Repertory Theatre outside of Boston and also teaches stage management at Tufts University. She has stage managed for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, North Shore Music Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Capital Repertory Theater, Musical Theatre Guild, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Broadway Texas, Theatre Emory, and The Shadowland Theatre. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
TIFFANY K. ORR (Production Stage Manager) is originally from Oklahoma. She currently lives in Minneapolis / Saint Paul where she is the production manager for Theater Latte Da. While in the twin cities, she has also stage managed for companies including the Pillsbury House Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, Theatre Latte Da, Park Square Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, The Director’s, and the Guthrie. Previously she has worked on more than a dozen productions as part of the stage management team at the Phoenix Theatre, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Women, You Can’t Take It With You, Smokey Joe’s Café and The Will Rogers Follies.
AMANDA BOWMAN (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be returning home for her 9th summer at MTWichita, after having graduated from WSU in December. She has also worked for Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Crown Uptown, IATSE #190, Walt Disney World, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Next, she will be heading to Ohio to be a Stage Management Intern at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
STEVE LANDES (Director of the Apprentice Program / Shopper-Buyer) is proud to return for his nineteenth summer as the Apprentice Program Director. A Wichita resident for twenty two years, Steve worked for Friends University, the Wichita Center for the Arts, and Shakespeare in the Park. Steve moved to the Kansas City area eight 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!).
JENNIFER FISHER (Signing Interpreter) I’m thrilled and honored to be back for my fourth season at MTWichita. Interpreting music theatre is my dream job and I can’t thank Wayne and his staff enough for letting me return. Music is my passion and bringing that form of entertainment to the Deaf Community has been very rewarding. I keep busy with my two wonderful girls, Kara and Stephanie, and lead the Deaf Ministry at Central Community Church. Sporadically I interpret other theatrical productions in Wichita such as Wicked (2009) and Music Theatre for Young People’s production of No Small Feat (2011). My other interpreting passion (besides MTWichita), is concerts. I’ve worked with: Castin Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp, and Clay Aiken. I would like to thank my husband for his support and most importantly God for the blessings He’s given me and the opportunity to work in such an amazing place.
JESSE WARKENTIN (Assistant Musical Director / Keyboards) is amazed to find himself in his 10th consecutive season with MTWichita! He conducted the Festival of Broadway orchestra for five years, and enjoyed music directing High School Musical 2 in 2009. This year he made his debut with the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony as piano soloist, performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue with Maestro Douglas. Throughout the year, Jesse can be found at the new Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, conducting exciting shows such as this fall’s CATS. “My deepest gratitude to Wayne and Thomas for these special months of rich musical fulfillment at MTWichita, and to my incredible family for their laughter and love.
As explained at the very funny Spamalot website, “Neither man nor beast Monty Python was in fact a very famous comedy troupe made up of six British comics and an elk that, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, had a very popular TV show called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Well actually I made the elk bit up. They were John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle.”
The show, which was broadcast on BBC in Britain and PBS in the States, consisted of comedy sketches, very much like Mad TV or Saturday Night Live is today. The show was hugely popular, and Monty Python grew from being a cult hit to attaining major celebrity status. Monty Python became so popular that they began to create joke filled books, games, movies and all sorts of eccentric memorabilia.
In their first feature-length film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) they turned their hands to a Mock Arthurian legend. The film depicts how King Arthur gathered together his Knights of the Round Table and set off on a quest to find the Holy Grail. The movie was quickly filmed during the brief hiatus between creating the third and fourth seasons of the TV show.
Thirty years later, long after the split-up of the comedy troupe and the death of member Graham Chapman, Eric Idle tried to interest his surviving former colleagues in collaborating on a musical stage version of the property. He got little support, but did obtain their grudging permission to go ahead with the project. Idle wrote the book and lyrics, and collaborated with frequent Python composer John Du Prez to create the music.
This team wrote all the songs in the stage play, with the exceptions of “”Knights of the Round Table” and “Brave Sir Robin,” which were composed by Neil Innes for the original film, and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” which was originally written by Idle for the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Idle explained how he chose the title for the stage version.
‘I like the title Spamalot a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent US tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: “we eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot.”
Idle also talks very amusingly about the difficulty of turning the original film into a stage play, since the movie was pretty much one long “shaggy dog” joke with no real plot. For the stage play, the creators decided that Arthur and his Knights would discover that their true calling was to journey to (as yet undiscovered) America and put on a Broadway show. This allowed them to affectionately spoof classic shows like Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and the entire creative output of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, was nominated for a phenomenal 14 Tony Awards, winning three, including the big prize for Best Musical of the 2004-2005 season. Its other Tony wins were for director Mike Nichols and featured actress Sara Ramirez. During the show’s initial run it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million.
The show has also been seen in successful national touring productions, as well as London, Las Vegas, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, and Norway.
We are pleased that our 2013 season at MTWichita begins with this hilarious and lavish romp, guided so ably by Billy Sprague Jr. (veteran of the Broadway and Vegas productions, and a former MTWichita company member), with expert assistance from Carol Bentley, of the Las Vegas production.
ERIC IDLE (Book, Music and Lyrics) has multi-hyphenated his way through life, from being a writer and actor in the legendary Monty Python TV series and movies, to the creator and director of The Rutles. He has appeared on stage singing rude songs with John Du Prez at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, as well as performing in two highly successful tours, Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python (2000) and The Greedy Bastard Tour (2003), for which they journeyed 15,000 miles across North America in a bus. His Greedy Bastard Diary of that tour is available from Harper Collins. Their subsequent collaboration, a comic oratorio called Not The Messiah, premiered in Toronto and has been seen around the world. His play Pass The Butler ran for five months in London’s West End; he has written two novels, Hello Sailor and The Road to Mars; a children’s book The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat; and a bedside companion, The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book. Spamalot won him a Tony, a Grammy, and the respect of his wife and children.
JOHN DU PREZ (Composer) A Trevelyan Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, and Associate of the Royal College of Music, he entered the film industry in 1978, composing additional music for Monty Python’s Life of Brian. This began a long association with Eric Idle, leading eventually to their current writing partnership. He has scored more than 20 feature films, including The Meaning of Life, A Private Function, A Fish Called Wanda, Once Bitten, UHF, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I, II and III. Other Python projects include the Contractual Obligation Album, Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl, and The Fairly Incomplete & Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book. He was musical director for Eric Idle’s two North American stage tours, Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python (2000) and The Greedy Bastard Tour (2003). Spamalot marked his Broadway debut.
CASEY NICHOLAW (Original Choreography) made his Broadway choreographic debut with Spamalot (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nomiations), followed by his Broadway directorial debut with The Drowsy Chaperone (Tony, Drama Desk, and OCC nominations for direction and choreography). Subsequent Broadway credits: Elf: The Musical and the current smash hit The Book of Mormon, for which he received Tony and Drama Desk Awards as Co-Director with Trey Parker. Additional NY credits: Anyone Can Whistle and Follies (direction and choreography), Bye Bye Birdie (choreography) and Can-Can (musical staging) all for City Center Encores!; Candide starring Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth for NY Philharmonic (also on PBS Great Performances); and Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way at Radio City Music Hall directed by Des McAnuff and starring the world famous Rockettes. He directed and choreographed the world premieres of Minsky’s at Center Theater Group and Robin and the 7 Hoods at the Old Globe. Other original musicals Mr. Nicholaw has choreographed include Lucky Duck (The Old Globe) directed by John Rando; The Road to Hollywood (Goodspeed Opera House) directed by Walter Bobbie; and The Prince and the Pauper (5th Avenue Theater/ The Ordway).