Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Some Familiar, Some New: A Lively Mix of Cast Members For The Light in the Piazza

THE CAST:  top row, Martin Kildare, Patti Cohenour, Christopher Newell; bottom row, Joseph Almohaya, Erin Mackey, Madison Mitchell, Julie Garnyé, Mary Gutzi, Melina Kalmoas, Perry Ojeda, Louis Pardo, John-David Keller and David Burnham.
The cast for South Coast Repertory’s production of The Light in the Piazza is as dazzling as the musical itself. David Burnham and Pattie Cohenour, from Piazza’s Broadway, national tour are part of SCR’s cast, along several SCR veterans, and some new faces and voices. The actors bring a range of experience from stage, television film and more. Meet the cast for The Light in the Piazza.

Joseph Almohaya (Ensemble) makes his SCR debut in The Light in the Piazza. Recently he was seen at Welk Resorts Theatre in San Diego alongside Ava Barber, Arthur Duncan and Mary Lou Metzger of “The Lawrence Welk Show” in A Welk Family Christmas directed by Cheryl Baxter. His other notable credits include In the Heights (San Diego Repertory), South Pacific (Moonlight Amphitheatre), Man of La Mancha (Welk Resorts Theatre), The Who’s Tommy (San Diego Repertory), Kiss Me, Kate, (Reprise!), The Producers (Cabrillo Music Theatre), Rent in New York (Westchester Broadway Theatre) and Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neeley (North American tour). In addition to performing in Los Angeles, New York and around the country.

David Burnham (Fabrizio Naccarelli) was last seen at SCR as Jason in Ordinary Days, and most recently received an Ovation Award nomination for his portrayal of Joe Gillis in Musical Theater West’s Sunset Boulevard. He was last seen on Broadway in Wicked, playing Fiyero, a role that he originated in the workshops of the show. He was in the original Broadway cast of The Light In the Piazza, performing both on the Tony Awards and the PBS telecast “Live From Lincoln Center.” Burnham is the recipient of the Helen Hayes Award as well as the Garland Award for his portrayal of Fabrizio in the national tour of Piazza. He replaced Donny Osmond as Joseph in the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Drama-Logue Award), and also toured as Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar. In New York City, he starred in the off-Broadway musical The Best Is Yet to Come—The Music of Cy Coleman.

Patti Cohenour (Margaret Johnson) is reprising the role she portrayed as the alternate in the Lincoln Center production of The Light in the Piazza. She has originated numerous roles on Broadway including Signora Naccarelli in Piazza, Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music revival, Christine in Phantom of the Opera (also Canada), Rosabud in Drood (also London), and Mary Jane in Big River. Additional credits include Adeline in Sweet Adeline for NYC Encores!, Magnolia in Hal Prince’s Showboat, Mimi in La Boheme and Isabel/Mabel in Pirates of Penzance for the New York Shakespeare Festival, and Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir for Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) and San Jose Repertory Theatre. She recently won a Gregory Award for her portrayals of Edith and Little Edie in Seattle’s 5th Avenue/ACT Theatre co-production of Grey Gardens, and will be portraying Charlotte in the upcoming 5th Avenue production of A Room with a View. Cohenour is a recipient of a Tony nomination, two Drama Desk nominations, a Jeff Award nomination, the Clarence Derwent Award, and a Theatre World Award.

Julie Garnye (Ensemble) makes her SCR debut in The Light in the Piazza. Her recent credits include the 2013 Academy Awards telecast (in the Les Misérables segment), both Les Misérables and Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl, Lorna Luft’s Pink Party (with Liza Minnelli) and Open All Night: The Music of Lance Horne. She is the only person who performed in Chess in Concert and An Evening with Stephen Schwartz on both coasts. Her Broadway credits include Hair (Actor’s Fund), Chess (Actor’s Fund), Children of Eden and Broadway by the Year 1978. She toured nationally in Cats (Jennyanydots, Grizabella) and appeared in the London West End production of First Things Last (Garrick Theatre). On regional stages, she has performed in Bat Boy, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof and Bye Bye Birdie. Her film and television credits include Disney’s Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (Lyria), “The Closer” and The Little Richard Story.

Mary Gutzi (Signora Naccarelli) makes her SCR debut in a role that she also performed at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. She has a career as an actor/singer/director and educator that spans more than 40 years and has taken her to 49 of the 50 states, as well as Canada and Europe. She has been seen on Broadway and regional theatres in such productions as Les Misérables, Ragtime, Sunset Boulevard and Cats. Gutzi had a recurring role as Dodds in the ABC television series “Last Resort” and was recently seen in a pivotal role in “Hawaii 5-O.” She has taught musical theatre for three years at American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles and continues to provide performance coaching to her many students all over the U.S. including the Hawaiian Islands.

Melina Kalomas (Franca Naccarelli) is thrilled to make her SCR debut. Her theatre credits include the first national tour of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein; national tours of Les Misérables (as Madeleine) and Camelot (as Nimue); Mary Zimmerman’s Arabian Nights (Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Kansas City Repertory); A Man of No Importance (Lillian Theater, with Good People Theatre Company); The Light in the Piazza (South Bay Civic Light Opera); Zhivago (La Jolla Playhouse, directed by Des McAnuff); The Melody Lingers On, opposite Kathryn Crosby (El Portal Theatre); La Boheme (Opera Pacific); Shenandoah (West Virginia Public Theatre); Gypsy and Oklahoma (Moonlight Amphitheatre); and Desert Song (Fullerton Civic Light Opera, where she won a Drama-Logue Award for Best Supporting Actress). Her television credits include “As the World Turns” and NBC’s “Grimm.”

John-David Keller (Priest) is a member of SCR’s resident acting company. He has been with the company since 1973 as both an actor and director. He has directed A Christmas Carol for its entire 34-year history. Among his other SCR directing credits are Godspell, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, In Fashion, The Real Inspector Hound (SCR’s first Equity show), Peg O’ My Heart and Tomfoolery. He has also acted in more than 100 productions at SCR. He recently appeared in the production of Anton Chekov’s Ivanov at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles and in Mrs. Warren’s Profession at the The Antaeus Company. Keller is the concert host for the Orange County Philharmonic Society’s fifth grade concerts. He is a member of Actors’ Equity, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and The Antaeus Company.

Martin Kildare (Roy Johnson) previously appeared at SCR as Max in The Real Thing. He has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King, A Raisin in the Sun, Timon of Athens, The Government Inspector and The Herbal Bed; off-Broadway in Pride’s Crossing (Lincoln Center Theater), Honor and the River (Theatre Row), Candida (Pearl Theatre Company) and Labor Day (Manhattan Theatre Club); and as Bill Austin in the national tour of Mamma Mia!. Regionally he acted with more than 20 companies including the Mark Taper Forum, Dallas Theater Center, Portland Center Stage, Folger Theatre, Indiana Repertory, Nevada Conservatory Theatre, Studio Arena, and the California, Alabama and Utah Shakespeare festivals. His television credits include “Desperate Housewives,” “Enlightened,” “Big Love,” “Without a Trace,” “Law & Order,” “Las Vegas,” “Numb3rs,” “CSI: New York,” “Hit the Floor,” “Ed,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Journeyman,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Deadline” and others.

Erin Mackey (Clara Johnson) is originally from Fullerton and makes her SCR debut in The Light in the Piazza. She was last seen on Broadway as Oona O’Neill in Chaplin: The Musical. Her other Broadway credits include Anything Goes (Hope), Sondheim on Sondheim and Wicked (Glinda). She also performed as Glinda in the Chicago and Los Angeles companies of Wicked. She recently appeared as Christine in Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera’s production of Phantom. Her film and television credits include “Blue Bloods,” “Gossip Girl,” “Family Affair,” “Do Over” and The Parent Trap. She has had the pleasure of performing with the Long Beach Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Pops and Florida Orchestra and can be heard on the original cast albums of Chaplin and Sondheim on Sondheim.

Madison Mitchell (Ensemble) makes her SCR debut in this production. Her theatre credits include the national tours of Cats (30th anniversary, Demeter) and regional productions of Oklahoma!, Monty Python’s Spamalot! (Musical Theatre West), Legally Blonde (3-D Theatricals), Jo March in Little Women and Luisa in The Fantasticks. Mitchell recently originated the role of Celeste in the world premiere of Higher Education, created by Tony Award-winning producers Tim and Pamela Kashani. She also had the pleasure of performing alongside Patrick Cassidy in the 29th annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E. LA) and with The Vixens at the 64th Annual Emmy’s Creative/Governor’s Ball.

Christopher Newell (Giuseppe Naccarelli) is honored to make his debut at SCR and explore his Italian heritage. His Los Angeles theatre credits include Part of the Plan (aka The Dan Fogelberg Musical), Oklahoma (Musical Theatre West) and 1940s Radio Hour (Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities). His New York credits include Moonlight and Magnolias (42nd Street, Studio), For Christ’s Sake (Dodger Stages), Henry V and The Tempest (American Globe) and Matthew Passion (St. John Theatre). Regional credits include Les Misérables (Arkansas Repertory), Biloxi Blues and The Pirates of Penzance (St. Michaels Playhouse) and Meet Me In St Louis (Westchester Broadway Theatre). He was in the Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Minskoff Theatre) and the first national tour of Oklahoma! His television and film credits include “All My Children,” “Guiding Light,” “A Girls Guide to Depravity,” Kill on Sight, War Bride and Vena Amoris.

Perry Ojeda (Signor Naccarelli) made his SCR debut last season in The Fantasticks. He has appeared on Broadway in On the Town, Blood Brothers and Imaginary Friends; in London’s West End in Dolly West’s Kitchen; and off-Broadway in Die, Mommie, Die! and Babes in Arms (New York City Center ENCORES!). He has performed at hundreds of regional theatres across the country including The Old Globe, Goodspeed Opera House, San Jose Repertory, Cleveland Play House, CenterTheatre Group, Arena Stage, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, St. Louis’ The Muny, GeVa Theatre Center and The Blank Theatre as well as in several national tours. On television and in film, Ojeda has been featured on“Imagination Movers,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Eli Stone,” “Days of our Lives,” “One Life to Live,” “All My Children,” “Guiding Light,” The Day Lincoln Was Shot and the award-winning short, Pride.

Louis Pardo (Ensemble) most recently was seen portraying animation icon Ub Iwerks in When You Wish: The Story of Walt Disney. His other stage credits include West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony (A-Rab) and the national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar (understudy for Simon and Judas). His other regional work includes the Southern California regional premiere of Avenue Q (Princeton, Rod); Pippin (Pippin), The Full Monty (Jerry); The Who’s Tommy (Cousin Kevin) and Evita (Che). He has also been in readings for Chess (Freddie), Bells are Ringing (Dr. Kitchell) and City of Angels (Munoz). Pardo also performs with the educational touring company of The Imagination Machine and in the spring will portray Iago in Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular at Disney’s California Adventure.

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