Come and Meet: Patrick Chounet

Patrick Chounet will be playing Father in our upcoming production of Ragtime. Last season Patrick appeared in all three of MPT's productions. Learn more about Patrick’s favorite part of the rehearsal process and what he does for his day job.

Are you a Madison native?

I am originally from right outside of Cleveland, OH (Euclid). I moved here in 2012 to work at Epic, and I’ve been here ever since!

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

Last season was my first. I was a company member, so I did Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunday in the Park with George, and Seussical.

What do you enjoy about Father? Are there any challenging aspects of his character to portray?

Father is an interesting character to play. I think he really loves and cares about his family, as well as others, but he equally cares about the status quo and how others perceive him, which leads to a lot of internal struggle and conflict throughout the show.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

Definitely the people. Theatre brings people together very quickly, and it’s how most of my friendships come about. Getting to work with new people and ride the roller coaster of a show together is always exciting!

What do you do when you're not performing/working in the theatre?

I work out at Epic as an Ambulatory Technical Services Representative. When I’m not at work or in rehearsal, I spend a lot of time over at MadPower Training doing yoga and HIIT workouts.

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

It’s intense. Definitely not a feel-good show you leave humming along happily … well, maybe still humming along, just without a different set of feelings.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

Probably my first trip to NYC. It was right after I graduated college, and we went to do a workshop with the revival cast of Godspell. As this was my first show, it already had a lot of sentimental value, but being able to go see it as my first Broadway show was pretty awesome as well! Also went to Ella’s Stardust Diner for dinner, and then saw Wicked that evening before getting on a bus and heading back home.

What is your favorite Broadway musical?

It’s Dear Evan Hansen currently ... though if you ask me a “favorite” question, it is likely to change day to day.

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

I feel like there is no wrong answer to this. If it is a song I know, I am ready to belt it out. Doesn’t matter if I can sing the part or not: challenge accepted!

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself.

I have an obsession with pigs. In my office at work, there are probably close to 30 pigs scattered around. My apartment has even more!

Dont miss your chance to come see Patrick in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Ashton Siewert

Ashton Siewert will be portraying Mother in our upcoming production of Ragtime. We asked Ashton, a longtime Middleton Players Theatre participant, to share a little more about herself, such as why this show is important to her, what she loves about the rehearsal process, and what musical made an impression on her.

Are you a Madison native?

Yes and no. I was born in Florida and spent two years in Arena (not quite Spring Green), but most of my life has been happily spent in Madison.

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

Oh yes, I have been involved with Middleton Players since 2006. I worked backstage until 2011, when I made my stage debut as Jack’s Mom in Into the Woods. Since then, I have been onstage for almost every production. I have also served on the Board of Directors for about ten years.

What do you enjoy about Mother? Are there any challenging aspects of her character to portray?

Mother is such a powerful character. She’s an upperclass woman of the 1900s, and I love having the opportunity to portray someone so dignified who also awakens to her ability to be independent. It is challenging to accept and convey the limitations placed upon her by her era.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

There are too many to choose from! I love the first read-through, when everyone comes in with a prototype vision of how they’re going to portray their character. Sitzprobe is another favorite point of the rehearsal process; hearing the orchestra for the first time is so exciting! Finally, I love opening night. The way an audience changes the energy of a performance is such a great feeling, and I always look forward to that “this is it” moment.

What do you do when you're not performing/working in the theatre?

I work at CapTel in Human Resources, and also host trivia at the Nitty Gritty.

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

The themes of this show are so relevant and insightful, with a beautiful and heartbreaking score to augment. We are so glad that you are interested in sharing this experience with us.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

I saw The Lion King in Chicago and at the end of the opening number there is a drum beat that just blasts through the audience and reverberates through the entire house. I can’t adequately express the feeling in words; there was a moment of complete stillness and then the audience erupted into applause. It was such a simple thing, but that feeling was so amazing.

What is your favorite Broadway musical?

Ragtime. It’s such a blessing to be able to partake in my favorite musical for the second time!

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

In His Eyes” from Jekyll and Hyde. It’s a duet, so it’s double the fun!

What do you eat/drink before/after doing a show?

I drink lots and lots and lots of water before a show. I don’t like to eat before going onstage, so I normally just have a small snack. After the performance, I’ll eat just about anything.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself.

I have studied three languages in addition to English: German, French, and Japanese. (I’ve also studied Spanish and Italian, but for only one semester each.)

Dont miss your chance to come see Ashton in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Trevor Bass

Madison native and Middleton Players Theatre veteran Trevor Bass will be playing Tateh in our upcoming production of Ragtime. We asked him to answer a few questions about what it’s like to bring Tateh to life on stage, what some of his favorite theatre memories are, and what show he loves to marathon.

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

Yes, this is my 10th show with Middleton. The strong sense of community, friendships, and great production value are what keep me coming back.

What do you enjoy about Tateh? Are there any challenging aspects of his character to portray?

I enjoy Tateh’s passion, his belief in himself, and his conscience. He is a very good person. His emotional journey in this show is drastic and cathartic, and it is a challenge to put myself in the shoes of a struggling immigrant. Portraying his struggles and triumphs in the face of absolute adversity has been one of my greatest acting challenges, and I look forward to bringing that to our audiences!

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

I love the creative environment. Being given the opportunity to experiment, and being told clearly what works well and what doesn’t is very fun to me. Rehearsals are also great because I love spending time with other people who are passionate about musical theatre.

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

This show has stunning relevance to our current climate, and incredibly powerful subject matter. Our cast feels these things deeply, and will tell the story beautifully. This show gives a glimpse into the past, reminding us where America has been, and that we should learn from that.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

My return to theatre in the form of Middleton Player Theatre’s Les Miserables. It was my first show since before going to college, and the friendships I formed in that show have lasted and grown ever since.

What is your favorite Broadway musical?

The answer is different depending on the day, but currently I’d say Falsettos.

What do you eat/drink before/after doing a show?

Before a show I tend to eat lightly and mildly—with the exception of that one time I ate Taco Bell (REGRET)—so that usually means a sandwich and plenty of water. It’s only water during, and then a drink with my castmates after!

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

My brother and I do a mean duet of Defying Gravity.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself!

Fun fact: I watch The Office almost every day. My wife Mari and I are fully addicted. We’ve watched the entire series more times than I can remember. The day they take it off of Netflix will be a sad day in the Bass household.

Dont miss your chance to come see Trevor in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Gregory Brumfield

We are so excited to welcome Gregory Brumfield back to Middleton to play Booker T. Washington in Ragtime! A professional opera singer by day, Gregory tells us about how he approaches playing Booker T, his strangest theatre experience, and what kind of books he likes to collect.

Are you a Madison native?

No, but I’ve lived and worked here for many years, in addition to attending and graduating from UW Madison with a BA in Theater. 

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

Yes. My first show was Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey II, followed by a walk-on role in The Producers, and I played Javert in Les Miserables in 2014.

What is your favorite theatrical work?

I’m on the Hamilton bandwagon, I like Evita, and Ragtime has been a favorite.  As a professional opera singer, I also do enjoy “Salome” by Strauss, and “Rigoletto” by Verdi.

What do you enjoy about Booker T. Washington? Are there any challenging aspects of his character to portray?

Booker T is very conflicted.  He is furious that Coalhouse has upset the social fabric, and was afraid of the repercussions that might ensue for the African American community.  At the same time, he is sympathetic to what drove Coalhouse to do his dangerous deeds.

What do you do when you're not performing/working in the theatre? Do you have a day job?

Opera singing is my professional job, which I balance with teaching when I don’t have a gig.

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

That it depicts early 20th century America in vivid detail.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

This is hard to determine.  Perhaps singing the role of Jim in CTM’s Big River was a particular treat.  The story of a young white boy and his runaway slave, that so many were familiar with through the written word,  always moved audiences in special ways.

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

When I was performing in Mother Courage and Her Children at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Indiana for a school matinee. The audience had to leave because it ran too long so we finished the performance to a totally empty house.

What is your favorite Broadway musical?

Les Miserables and West Side Story.

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

“Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera.

What do you eat/drink before/after doing a show?

Tea with lemon and honey is my ritual. I eat something light beforehand, because no matter how many times I’m on stage, I’m always nervous.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself.

I’m a Marvel comic book collector and movie watcher.  I have the complete Luke Cage Hero for Hire comic book series from the 1970s.

Don’t miss your chance to come see Gregory in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Kate Mann

Kate Mann will be portraying Emma Goldman in our upcoming production of Ragtime. This will be Kate’s 10th show with MPT! Find out the challenges Kate faced in bringing Emma to life and what she recommends you bring to the show.

Are you a Madison native?

Nope! I grew up in a little town called Suamico, Wisconsin, near Green Bay. I moved here for school.

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

Oh, yes! This is my 10th show. Others were RENT, A Chorus Line, Carousel, Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunday in the Park With George, Seussical, The Full Monty, and 42nd Street.

What is your favorite theatrical work?

THIS IS TOO CHALLENGING! But, I’d probably say Angels in America (yes, both parts!).

What do you enjoy about Emma Goldman? Are there any challenging aspects of her character to portray?

Emma Goldman is a fierce, strong, passionate woman. I relate to her in that she feels things very intensely, and is very passionate about her beliefs. She’s also a total feminist, so, same. My biggest challenge with Emma is that she has moments of real warmth and softness, followed by fire and a more rigid strength, so I’m working hard to differentiate the two.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

I’m a nerd with a theatre degree so I LOVE the nitty gritty “book” work as I call it. I thoroughly enjoy the process of reading a script, researching everything I can about it, the character, the time, etc. I take pages and pages of notes and read the script an (almost) embarrassing amount of times.

What do you do when you're not performing/working in the theatre? Do you have a day job?

I manage the Pure Barre fitness studio in Hilldale and am currently getting certified to teach classes there as well!

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

BYOT (bring your own tissues).

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

I lit my hand on fire by accident doing an Irish play once. That was pretty weird.

What is your favorite Broadway musical?

Falsettos!

What do you eat/drink before/after doing a show?

Before a show I usually stick to tea and something easy to digest like a banana. Which means after the show I’m super hungry and eat exclusively fried, delicious food.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself.

This will be my fun fact for all intents and purposes for the rest of forever, but I danced backup for Weird Al last year on a stop of his world tour. Yes, THE Weird Al.

Don’t miss your chance to come see Kate in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

 

Come and Meet: Shawn Holmes

Shawn Holmes will play Coalhouse Walker Jr. in our upcoming production of Ragtime. This will be Shawn’s first show with us! Find out which show he previously auditioned for, what part of Coalhouse he loves to portray, and what MTV show he participated in.

Are you a Madison native?

No, I'm not. I was born and raised in Milwaukee. When I come to Madison/Middleton, it's usually for sports, my band, or friends.

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

No, this is my first show. I actually was contacted about Full Monty, but it didn't work out. But Ragtime was mentioned and I was more than willing to audition.

What is your favorite kind of theatrical work?

Musicals, but I do appreciate operas.

What do you enjoy about portraying Coalhouse Walker Jr? Are there any aspects of Coalhouse that are particularly challenging to portray?

His passion for music (which is very easy for me to do since I share the same feelings). It's clear that Coalhouse loves Sarah and their child, but people forget he loves music, especially the piano, as well. I like the fact that the first time the audience encounters Coalhouse in this production is him playing the piano at the top of the show.

What do you do when you're not performing/working in the theatre? Do you have a day job?

SLEEP!!! Besides that, I'm an EMT in an ER at a hospital in downtown Milwaukee. I am also one of the lead singers for the band North Coast Orchestra.

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

This show was relevant when it made its debut. This show is relevant now. If you take the three main leads of the show and see what they want, it's pretty much the same: A fair opportunity to live a successful life with loved ones. Whether it's coming out of the shadows from a spouse, traveling to a new country to start a better life for your family, or beating oppression based on the color of your skin, I think the storyline still rings true today.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

I would say when I had the chance to play Jacob in La Cage aux Folles at Skylight Theatre in Milwaukee last winter. It was a VERY fun role for to me play. I was surrounded by my theatre friends and got to share the stage with an actor I look up to, my unofficial theatre mentor, Skylight’s artistic director Ray Jivoff. From that show, I was nominated for the first ever Footlights Performing Arts Awards for the greater Milwaukee and Waukesha area, and won Best Supporting Performance by a Male in a Musical.

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

I did the musical Hair a few years back. At the end of Act 1, the shows calls for the cast to get naked on stage. I didn't know that going into it and it wasn't forced upon any of the actors to get naked. I think the idea of being nude on stage with 15 of your friends was weird for me.  BUT, the production team made us all comfortable by showing how the lighting and stage was going to be … by getting naked themselves on stage! Needless to say, we were all on board after that experience.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself.

Here’s a few: I’ve been playing piano for over 25 years, I am 100% Jamaican, I appeared on the MTV show Fear Factor, and I have never broken a bone but have ruptured my right achilles tendon.

Don’t miss your chance to come see Shawn in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Jim Chiolino

Jim Chiolino will be playing famed banker and financier JP Morgan in our upcoming production of Ragtime. Below he shares a little about himself, his history in the theatre, and why he's excited to be a part of this show.

Are you a Madison native?

I'm originally from Minocqua, in northern Wisconsin. I came to Madison for school, then work, and loved it so much I stayed!

Have you done a show with Middleton Players Theatre before?

This is my first Middleton Players show! I auditioned last year for Sunday in the Park with George, but ended up not being able to do the show. I think Ragtime is one of the smartest pieces of musical theater out there. I love the music and the novel upon which it is based. Great stuff!

What do you do when you’re not performing or working in the theatre?

I'm Deputy Administrator of the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division - enforcing wage and hour laws and laws that prohibit discrimination.

What is your favorite theatrical work?

This varies with the season. I'm President of the Madison Theatre Guild and read a LOT of plays. Currently, I'm all about Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams. I'll be appearing in Albee's A Delicate Balance in September with Strollers Theatre. Then, I'll be directing Suddenly Last Summer - one of Williams' oddest plays - for StageQ in March 2018.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

It is a pleasure to sing and learn this amazing music. Also - what a great group of people with tons of energy!!

What would you like the audience to know about Ragtime?

This is such a well-crafted show. Just like Doctorow's book, it captures the spirit of the age through its music. It is so wonderful that it includes these iconic characters: Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, Evelyn Nesbitt, and Harry Houdini. Such fun to learn a little bit of history in this way.

What do you enjoy about playing J.P. Morgan? Are there any aspects of the character you are finding challenging to portray?

Morgan is such a confident character. He's rich and does whatever he wants. It is certainly a challenge to play someone so indifferent to human suffering. It doesn't really cross his mind…

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

There are too many to remember. I was in a production in the late 1980s of a Lithuanian rock opera version of Romeo and Juliet called Love and Death in Verona. Wow. Just, wow.

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

Oddly, songs from Into the Woods. I did "There are Giants in the Sky" a few years ago for Music Theatre of Madison's Miscast. I think I'm perfectly cast as Jack, so I sing that song a lot…

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself!

I'm an identical twin who grew up next door to his Sicilian grandmother (who came here as a 20-something with a child in tow). That I get to sing with the Italian immigrants in this show is amazing!

Don’t miss your chance to come see Jim in our upcoming production of Ragtime! Performances are August 10-13 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Sara Bartlett

Sara Bartlett is serving double-duty as our choreographer and a member of the cast! In this blog post Sara talks about her character, Andy Lee, her favorite part of the rehearsal process, and why 42nd Street is important to her.

Are you a Madison native?

Yes, I was born and raised in Verona.

Have you done any shows with Middleton Players Theatre before?

I first performed with Middleton Players Theatre in 1997's Crazy for You. Since then, I have choreographed eight MPT shows, performed briefly in two, and joined the Board of Directors as Executive Choreographer.

What do you do when you’re not performing or working in the theatre?

I work part-time at my family's construction company, and keep busy with my two kids Paige (7) and Guy (4). I also teach Pilates and the occasional dance class.

What do you enjoy about playing Andy Lee? Are there any challenging aspects to portray?

First of all, Andy Lee is a male character…and I am not! Aside from that, we have a lot in common in that we are both choreographers who work with the dancers to get a show performance ready. I'm essentially playing myself on stage. The biggest difference between Andy and myself, however, is his demeanor; it has definitely been a challenge being "mean" to my dancers and not smiling all the time!

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

When all of the choreography is done. That sounds terrible! But once the choreography is taught and solidified, that is when the real magic happens. I am always amazed by–and so proud of–how my dancers are able to elevate my choreography into something beyond what I could ever imagine.

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

42nd Street holds a very special place in my heart. Not only did I meet my husband during Verona Area High School's 1996 production of the show, but it was also my first taste of being a choreographer. It is truly an honor to be able to revisit this musical. And I hope I am able to somehow recreate and pass along the inspiring experience I had with 42nd Street–to both this incredible cast and our audiences.

BONUS: What's one thing most people wouldn't know about you?

Nerd alert: I was captain of my high school's math team.

Don’t miss your chance to come see Sara this weekend in 42nd Street! Performances are June 29-July 2 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Nathan Lucas

Nathan Lucas is our Billy Lawlor in 42nd Street. A recent high school graduate, Nathan tells us about his favorite musical, what he enjoys about his character, and his strangest experience in the theatre.

Are you a Madison native?

I'm a born Wisconsinite that spent most of my early childhood in Florida, and I moved back to Madison when I was eight. I've been here ever since.

Have you done any shows with Middleton Players Theatre before? What made you audition for us this season?

This is my first production with MPT, and I was dying to get my tap shoes back on my feet.

What is your favorite Broadway musical?

Dear Evan Hansen. No more words.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

My first ever sitzprobe. I was ten years old, having never done a production of any kind, and I walk into a huge room with a 32-piece orchestra bellowing "Buenos Aires" from Evita. It was magical.

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

I was in a production of Into the Woods, and during one performance my friend scattered pictures of David Hasselhoff throughout the stage in places only I could see them. It was a tough night.

What do you enjoy the most about the role of Billy Lawlor?

Billy is such a fun character. There's a lot about him on the surface that is easy to portray, but I've had a fun time searching for who Billy really is underneath all his confidence and poise.

What would you like the audience to get out of 42nd Street?

To look past some of the stereotypes portrayed in the show. The point of this show is to honor the style of productions they put on almost 100 years ago, and to show how ensembles make musicals what they are.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself!

I got a callback for the role of Michael in Billy Elliot in Chicago, but didn't make the cut because I was two inches too tall.

Don’t miss your chance to come see Nathan in our upcoming production of 42nd Street! Performances are June 29-July 2 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Gina Jorgenson

Gina Jorgenson will be portraying Maggie Jones, one of the co-writers of Pretty Lady, the show-within- a show of 42nd Street. A music and theater teacher, this is her first acting role in twelve years! Learn a little bit more about Gina below, including her most embarrassing memory in the theatre.

Are you a Madison native?

I'm originally from Deerfield, WI, and currently live in Sun Prairie. I decided to do the show in Middleton because the Sun Prairie summer shows were only for kids!

Have you done any shows with Middleton Players Theatre before?

This is my first show acting with Middleton Players Theatre, and the first show I've acted in since 2005. I was Assistant Director for last season's production of Sunday in the Park with George. I wanted to audition because having three kids (Melanie-10, Daniel-7, and Charlotte-2) and a full-time teaching job makes it difficult for me to be in shows during the school year!

What do you do when you’re not performing or working in the theatre?

I teach music and theater at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic School in Sun Prairie, WI. I am in charge of teaching K-5 general music and 6-8 choir. I started an after school theater and improv group for students in grades K-4 called Rising Stars, and I direct/produce a full musical every other year for grades 5-8. This year, we just got done with Bye Bye Birdie!

What is your favorite theatrical work?

My favorite shows are anything by Jason Robert Brown because the music is so complex. If I can't play or sing the chord progression on first listen, I am truly intrigued by the music. My all-time favorite is The Last 5 Years because the character Cathy is so tragic!

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

I'll talk about my most embarrassing performance moment…I was in the Kids from Wisconsin for five summers. My third year, we did a country medley that required a quick change (I can't remember if it was before or after the number). At any rate, our tops were held together with Velcro. My partner at one show looks at me, looks, down, looks at me with wide eyes and mouths "your shirt." Yup, it was open for the whole world to see.

What do you enjoy the most about Maggie Jones? Are there any challenging aspects to portray?

I like the character of Maggie because she's not too serious, she gets to be a little gaudy, and she has some funny jokes in the show. The challenge is that I have to go against all of my vocal teachings and be as much like Ethel Merman (my idol) as possible.

What do you eat/drink before and after doing a show?

I haven't been in a show in twelve years… I anticipate I will be eating fruits and veggies and avoiding dairy. Or I may be so nervous that I won't eat anything…

What would you like audiences to know about this show?

I feel this show exemplifies the spirit of the Broadway musical because it's a show about making music in the Great Depression; even though everyone was sad, poor, and down on their luck, there was still music and dancing and singing that could help people escape those feelings. In these uncertain times, we still come back to art and music because it makes us feel something!

BONUS: If you didn't have to worry about money, what would you do?

If I didn't have to worry about money, I'd be a baby cuddler at the hospital and go visit prisoners in jail who had no family.

Don’t miss your chance to come see Gina's return to the stage in our upcoming production of 42nd Street! Performances are June 29-July 2 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Amy Ruth

Amy Ruth will be Annie Reilly (also known as "Anytime Annie") in our upcoming production of 42nd Street. A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Amy fell in love with Madison while attending her sister's wedding, and has been here for nine years. We asked Amy to answer a few questions about her strangest theatrical experience, her dance history, and what she likes the most about her character.

Have you done any shows with Middleton Players Theatre before?

I played Cassie in A Chorus Line in 2014.

What do you do when you’re not performing or working in the theatre?

I work at lululemon athletica in Hilldale Mall, and I'm also training to be an instructor at The Barre Code.

What is your favorite theatrical work?

I'm a dancer first, so anything with dance in it I love.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

Definitely performing on the Great Stage at Radio City Music Hall! There's nothing else like it.

What is your strangest experience in theatre?

While performing in Atlanta with the Rockettes, we had to enter from the audience for our ragdoll number. The only way for us to get from backstage to the lobby was a path that led us through the men's restroom. Imagine eighteen women in puffy dresses and giant orange wigs traipsing past the urinals. I think we actually surprised a guy once. It was pretty funny and very strange.

How long have you been dancing?

My whole life, but professionally I danced for fifteen years.

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

"Gimme Gimme" from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

What do you enjoy the most about Annie Reilly?

I love her spunk and sass! I also love that she's the one who kind of pulls everyone together to fight for the show to go on. She's got a lot of moxie!

What would you like audiences to know about the show?

That we are having a blast and hope they do too!

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself!

I am an excellent baker!

 

Don’t miss your chance to come see Amy in our upcoming production of 42nd Street! Performances are June 29-July 2 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

Come and Meet: Gavin Waid

Gavin Waid will be playing Bert Barry in our upcoming production of 42nd Street. Last month, he played Malcolm in our production of The Full Monty, and will also be appearing as Henry Ford in Ragtime.

Are you a Madison native?

No, I moved to the Madison area from Orlando, Florida in 2014 to pursue my master's degree in vocal performance. After graduation, I ended up sticking around.

What do you do when you’re not performing or working in the theatre?

I work as a catty receptionist for a law firm downtown.

What is your favorite theatrical work?

Opera: Così fan Tutte by Mozart. The vocal ensembles never fail to give me goosebumps. The music is absolutely perfect, even if the plot is problematic.

Musical Theatre: I have a lot of wonderful memories of watching Gigi on TV with my grandfather and listening to him sing along, so that's what I'd have to say.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

I'm not sure if this technically counts, but I worked retail for Cirque du Soleil for three years in Orlando. While working there, I was able to participate in a staff cabaret and a Michael Jackson flash mob. You can catch glimpses of me (very quick ones) in the Michael Jackson flash mob supercut on Cirque du Soleil's YouTube account. It's definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

The sitzprobe! It’s so much fun to finally sit down with the orchestra and sing through the entire show. It’s the most exciting part of the process, for sure.

What would you like the audience to know about 42nd Street?

It's really everything you want in a musical! There's dancing, catchy songs, a show-within-a-show…really, what more could you ask for?

What do you enjoy about playing Bert Barry? Are there any aspects of the character you are finding challenging to portray?

Bert is an interesting character. He doesn’t say much in the scope of the show, but when he does, you can tell that he has a lot of love for Pretty Lady, and all of the actors involved with it. The most challenging part of playing this role, though, is making him a real character with the little bit of dialogue given.

BONUS: Give us a fun fact about yourself!

I am double-jointed in my right shoulder, both of my elbows, and almost all of my knuckles! Does that count?

 

Don’t miss your chance to come see Gavin in our upcoming production of 42nd Street! Performances are June 29-July 2 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2895782.

Come and Meet: Meghan Hilker

Our Dorothy Brock will be portrayed by Meghan Hilker. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Meghan moved to Madison in 2014 to earn a master's degree in voice performance at the University of Wisconsin.  A self-described Middleton Players Theatre “rookie,” Meghan took the time to answer some questions about her character, her favorite shows, and what our audience should expect from the production.

What do you do when you’re not performing or working in the theatre?

I teach voice and piano lessons.

What is your favorite theatrical work?

Opera: Little Women by Mark Adamo. Musical Theatre: It’s super cheesy, but I really enjoy Spamalot

What musical theatre song do you shamelessly belt out?

“Red and Black” from Les Mis.

What is your favorite theatre memory?

When I was in high school, we did Seussical. I was only in the chorus as a Jungle Citizen, but it was probably the most fun I ever had on stage.

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal process?

Observing. I really enjoy watching a show come together - seeing the actors make new choices and then finally just having a lot of fun with it.

What would you like the audience to know about 42nd Street?

It is going to be fabulous and you simply must come. ;)

What do you enjoy about playing Dorothy? Are there any aspects of the character you are finding challenging to portray?

I love playing characters like Dorothy. She’s got the confidence of a hundred divas, but with maybe half of their talent. The challenging part of becoming Dorothy is that she is much more complex than she appears. She takes up a lot of space, and a lot of hot air, but we catch glimpses of her that suggest she wasn’t always that way. That’s what makes her interesting to play. The overbearing diva is certainly fun to play, but she’s gotta have a heart.

BONUS: What’s your favorite animal?

The cheetah.

 

Don’t miss your chance to come see Meghan in our upcoming production of 42nd Street! Performances are June 29-July 2 at the Middleton Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2895782.