Jill Sullivan (Tracy Turnblad): Jill is thrilled to be making her debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse, performing one of her most favorite roles! She was last seen in Hoboken, NJ as the gum chewing tapper, Sylvia in Stepping Out. Jill has also performed at numerous regional theaters in the Mid-West. Some of her favorite roles include; Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, Jan in Grease, Roberta in Zanna Don’t, Jennyanydots in Cats, Shirley Markowitz in The Producers, and Ernestina Money in Hello Dolly. Jill is a seasonal performer at Walt Disney World and has also been seen singing at the Duplex in NYC.
Sam Schrader (Corny Collins): Sam is elated to make his debut at Ivoryton Playhouse in Hairspray! Favorite past roles include: understudy for the Scarecrow and Tinman in The Wizard of Oz (national tour), Chip in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Audrey II / “The Plant” in Little Shop of Horrors, and Tony in West Side Story (The Bushnell, Hartford CT). http://samschrader.weebly.com/
Michael Barra* (Edna): Michael is excited to be back at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Past Ivoryton credits: Wait Until Dark, Comedy Of Errors, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood. Other Theater: Man Of La Mancha (national tour), The Awesome 80s Prom (Off Broadway), The Foreigner (Bristol Riverside Theater). Film: The Amazing Spider-Man. Television: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order. Commercial: Snickers Peanut Butter Squared shark. http://michael-barra.com
Abby Hart (Penny Pingleton): Abby is very excited to be making her debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse! Recent credits include Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Manhattan Children’s Theatre), Guys and Dolls (The Palace Theatre, NH), On the Twentieth Century (The Theatre at Monmouth), Grease (The Olney Theatre Center), Janet in The Rocky Horror Show (the Apollo Theatre, WV), Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray and the Hunyak in Chicago (Riverside Dinner Theatre).
Tara Michelle Newinsky (Velma Von Tussle): Tara is thrilled to be returning to the Ivoryton Playhouse! She was last seen at the playhouse in such productions as The Mikado, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Damn Yankees! Some of Tara’s recent roles have been Mame in Mame, Ulla in The Producers, Pattie in Smokey Joes, Catherine in Pippin, Emma Borden in Lizbeth the opera, and Mayzie in Suessical! In her free time Tara likes to partake in and teach intense bootcamp and ninja classes, and practices all forms of yoga. Tara is a newly wed, and is forever grateful for the unconditional love and support of her husband Chris and Bug (their dog).
Bethany Fitzgerald (Amber Von Tussle): Bethany is thrilled to be back at Ivoryton working with this wonderful cast and crew! Previous Ivoryton credits: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Candy Starr), The Full Monty (Joni). Regional Credits: The Happy Prince (The Child) Long Wharf Theatre, Chicago (Roxie Hart) Playhouse on Park, Hartford Children’s Theatre: Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle), Fame! The Musical (Carmen Diaz), and The Night the Music Died (Rosie Hamlin) Texas Family Musicals. Southern CT. State University Credits: Chicago (Roxie Hart), Anything Goes (Erma), and A MidSummer Night’s Dream (Titania).
Justin Gerhard (Link Larkin): Justin comes to us from Canada, now living in NYC. He is thrilled to be making his debut performance at the Ivoryton Playhouse with this amazing cast in one of his dream roles. His most recent credits include Broadway Workshop Onstage: Legally Blonde the Musical (Callahan), Sondheim Review Concert in Maplewood, NJ, Broadway Workshop Onstage: The Secret Garden (Dr. Craven), (The Prince/Villager) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Other credits: (The Cat in the Hat) Seussical the Musical, (Evelyn Oakleigh) Anything Goes, (Bernardo) West Side Story, (Padre) Man of La Mancha. www.justingerhard.ca
Gregory Lawrence Gardner (Seaweed J. Stubbs): Gregory is excited and honored to be making his debut with the Ivoryton Playhouse! He is from Bridgeport, CT, and has earned his BFA in Theatre Arts from Howard University in Washington D.C., where some of his credits include Mike in A Chorus Line, an ensemble member in Eyes, and dance showcases at local theatres. Other credits include Lt. Kenny Rutherford in One Red Flower (Kensington Theatre), Carousel (Summer Theater of New Canaan), Levi in Joseph…Dreamcoat (Downtown Cabaret Theater), Hairspray (DCT), and The Huntsman in Snow White.
Kristen N. Dowtin * (Little Inez): Kristen is delighted to be making her Ivoryton Playhouse debut! Her most recent credits are: Theatre- The Wiz, Dorothy, CENTERSTAGE Theatre, Broadway— Disney’s The Lion King, Young Nala. Film/TV—The Tested ‘Lead’ Christina; Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting, Broadway Gospel Choir. Education: AMDA; Musical Theatre; Voice; Dance. Professional/Misc.—MLK Day Musical Production (Guest Vocalist); Target Sundays Coming Home (Guest Star).
Karen L. Anderson* (Motormouth Maybelle): Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, Karen took her talents straight to the hardest audience in the world and not only did she please the crowd but also impressed the owner of The Apollo, Mr. Percy Sutton and became a Motown/Apollo recording artist. Karen co-wrote with Riley the Blackstreet classic “Don’t Leave” from the CD, Another Level. Sean Diddy Combs asked Riley to lend him two of his top writers, Karen’s name was on the top of Combs list, not only did she write for him but also toured with Combs as his background vocalist. Karen went on to write & sing background vocals with multi platinum artists such as: Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Tyrese Gibson, LSG, Faith Evans, Notorious BIG, Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Juelz Santana, Mary J Blige, Scary Spice of The Spice Girls, Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor 2 soundtrack, Spike Lee’s Million Man March. Karen has been featured in off-Broadway productions: Raisin in the Sun, role of Ruth, Life story of Mahalia Jackson, role of Mahalia Jackson, Hair.
Neal Mayer* (Wilbur Turnblad): Neal is happy to return to the Ivoryton Playhouse where he appeared as Harding in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. He just finished a run as Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Schoolhouse Theater and had previously appeared there in The Sisters Rosensweig, Biography, The Imaginary Invalid, and Laughter On The 23rd Floor. New York credits include the Broadway company of Les Miserables, and off-Broadway productions of Forbidden Broadway, Bush is Bad (CD), Plaisir D’Amour, and A Man For All Seasons. He has toured the country with Jerry Zak’s production of 101 Dalmations, starred in Greater Tuna at the Bushnell, and has worked at such regional theaters as Arena Stage, North Shore Music Theatre, Goodspeed, Weston Playhouse, and Skylight Opera. He is proud to have recently been featured in three comedy sketches on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Melissa McLean (Prudy Pingleton/Gym Teacher/Matron): Melissa was last seen in Ivoryton Playhouse’s production of Joseph….. Other Ivoryton shows include Forum, Lettuce and Lovage, Lost in Yonkers, and The Robber Bridegroom. She’s performed with Chester’s Meeting House Players in Crimes of the Heart, Earth and Sky, The Glass Menagerie. Favorite shows with Hartford’s Producing Guild are Heartbeats and Shmulnik’s Waltz. She’s been on 3 national tours ,Wizard of Oz, Babes in Toyland, A Christmas Carol, with American Family Theater. She holds a BFA from the University of Connecticut. Melissa grew up on her family’s dairy farm in East Haddam, now lives in Haddam Neck, and when not maternal multitasking, can be found pulling the weeds in her vegetable garden.
R. Bruce Connelly* (Mr. Pinky/Harriman F. Spritzer/Guard): Bruce appeared last at the Ivoryton Playhouse as Barney Cashman in Last of the Red Hot Lovers and as Max Bialystock in The Producers and as Archie in celebration of the Playhouse’s 100th anniversary. Other roles here include the title role in Barnum, Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Finian in Finian’s Rainbow, Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Willie Clark in The Sunshine Boys and Max Prince in Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Other roles elsewhere include J.M. Barrie in The Lost Boy at the Helen Hayes Theatre, Murray Burns in A Thousand Clowns and title roles in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Scapino!, Uncle Vanya, The Music Man and half the town in Greater Tuna. Since 1993, Bruce has played Barkley, Jim Henson’s Muppet dog on Sesame Street for which he has been honored fifteen times by the National Academy of Television and Radio at the Daytime Emmy Awards.
Moses Jacob Beckett (Gilbert): Moses is happy to be joining us from Middletown CT, where he works as a legal aid Attorney. He is very excited to be making his debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse, and looks forward to performing here again in the future.
Derek Johnson*(IQ/Stooie / D.C./Assistant Choreographer): Derek is thrilled to make his AEA debut at Ivoryton Playhouse. Graduate from Northern Kentucky University, Derek has been living the gypsy life appearing in productions across the country. Past credits include Me and My Girl (ensemble), Drowsy Chaperone (Gangster #2), Titanic; The Musical (Hitchens) among others.
Brett Bainer (Fender): Brett is extremely excited to be making his debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse in one of his favorite shows! Recent credits include Zanna, Don’t (Zanna), It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman! (Max Mencken). Brett is a recent graduate of AMDA in New York City.
Charles Everett Crocco (Brad): Charles is so happy to be back at Ivoryton where he has appeared in Buddy Holly, The Producers, and Barnum. Other regional: Camelot, High Button Shoes, Genesius (Goodspeed) Big the Musical (Artful Living) Story of my Life (Voice Over) Les Miserables, My Fair Lady, Aftermath (HK Players). EMC member.
Christopher Robinson (Duane): Christopher is very excited to be making his debut at Ivoryton Playhouse this summer. He is a UCONN alum and has pursued a career working with children with disabilities for the past two years. Chris has been a part of many dance and cheerleading teams, the most recent being ECB Street Elite who are proud 2011 winners of the International Hip Hop World Championships. Chris has also danced in several other shows including Reefer Madness, Texas Has a Whorehouse, and West Side Story.
Molly Garbe (Brenda/Tammy): Molly is so excited to return to the Ivoryton Playhouse where she was last seen in The Producers! Other recent credits include: Big River (Westchester Broadway Theatre), Parade (The Secret Theatre, NYC), Joseph…Dreamcoat (The Downtown Cabaret), Little Women The Musical (National Tour), and many children’s theatre productions in CT and NY. Independent Film: Local Warming (Brooklawn Productions).
Amanda Leigh Lupacchino (Lou Ann): Amanda is thrilled to be making her debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Amanda began dancing at the age of two. Her love of performing led to her picking up singing and acting at the age of eleven. National Tour:/Off-Broadway: Annie National Tour, The Night of Future Broadway. Regional Theater: Back to the 80s, Smokey Joe’s Café, The Nutcracker (Mohegan Sun). Film: Herman and Shelly, My Soul To Take, Rub. Television: VH1 Save the Music, Great White Way. www.amandalupacchino.weebly.com
Kimberly Nicole Morgan (Judine): Kimberly is honored to be making her debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Kimberly hails from Taylor, Mississippi and received her MFA in Acting Performance at the University of Southern Mississippi. She has performed in numerous productions, Ragtime, Fences by August Wilson, Smoky Joe’s Cafe, The Learned Ladies by Moliere, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball by Rebecca Gilman, and The Grapes of Wrath by Frank Galati. Kimberly is excited to work with this amazingly, talented cast and looks forward to a fabulous experience in the production of Hairspray!
Shereen Macklin (Kamilah): Shereen was born and raised in New York City. In addition to her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School, she holds a BS in Chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University. Some of Shereen’s professional credits include Mayme in Intimate Apparel (Broach Theatre), Deena in Dreamgirls (Paul Robeson Theatre), June in Chicago, Dynamite in Hairspray and Alice in Big River (Fort Peck Summer Theatre). She most recently starred in the world premiere of Rip.Tied as Viola (freeFall Theatre). www.ShereenMacklin.com
Alana Cauthen (Shayna): Alana is a working actor and hair/makeup designer for community and professional theatres in New York and Connecticut. She has a B.A in Theatre Performance from Western Connecticut State University. She has worked with NSFC/AileyCamp (a summer dance intensive) for 8 years and has been teaching Voice for Singers at Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County (NSFC) for 2 years. Some of her most recent acting credits include Big River at The Westchester Broadway Theatre, Mortormouth Maybelle in Bridgeport Theatre Company’s (BTC) production of Hairspray, Frankenstein The Panto with The Downtown Cabaret Children’s Theatre Company, and Jewel in Western Conn. Sate University’s Production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Also, Alana’s hair and makeup designs were featured at many theatres including; The Westchester Broadway Theatre, The Downtown Cabaret (with BTC), and The Berkshire Theatre. Alana is thrilled to be making her debut at the Ivoryton Playhouse, and is elated to, yet again, be a part of one of her favorite musicals.
Directed by: Jacqueline Hubbard
Assistant Director/Choreographer: JR Bruno
Musical Director: John Sebastian DeNicola
Stage Manager: Johanna K. Levai*
Assistant Stage Manager: Theresa Stark*
Set Design: Cully Long
Lighting Design: Marcus Abbott
Costume Design: Vivianna Lamb
Hair Designer: Joel Silvestro
* member of Actors Equity
John S. DeNicola – Keyboard 1 / Conductor
Anastasia Elliott – Keyboard 2
Victor Perpetuna – Keyboard 3 OR
Melanie Giverin – Keyboard 3
Doug Guidone – Electric Guitar
Danny Kraszauski – Electric Bass
Gina Marie Williams – Reeds
Mike Conlin – Drums / Percussion
PRESS RELEASE – 06/18/12
Broadway’s Big Fat Musical Comedy Hit!
Hairspray: The Broadway Musical
at The Ivoryton Playhouse
Michael Barra* plays Edna and Jill Sullivan is Tracy Turnblad in the Ivoryton Playhouse production of Hairspray - The Broadway Musical!
Ivoryton: Move over Baltimore! Ivoryton is the new home for Hairspray — the soultastic, hair hoppin’, dance-til-you-drop musical! It’s 1962 and big girl Tracy Turnblad has only one desire – to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show. When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star, but she must use her newfound power to vanquish the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin and integrate a TV network – all without denting her ‘do!
Photos courtesy of Anne Hudson
Don’t miss Hairspray, Broadway’s musical-comedy phenomenon that inspired a major motion picture and won eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. As The New York Times says, “If life were everything it should be, it would be more like Hairspray. It’s irresistible!”
Cast includes Jill Sullivan as Tracy, Michael Barra* as Edna, Neal Mayer* as Wilbur, Karen L. Anderson* as
Motormouth Maybelle and Justin Gerhard as Link Larkin.
Directed by Jacqui Hubbard, choreography by JR Bruno and musical direction by John DeNicola. The set design is by Cully Long, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, and costumes by Vivianna Lamb. Music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan.
Hairspray – The Broadway Musical opens in Ivoryton on July 4th and runs through July 29th and runs for 4 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.
Don't miss "Hairspray" at the Ivoryton Playhouse!
Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at https://www.ivorytonplayhouse.org/ (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
Members of the press are welcome at any performance. Please call ahead for tickets.
*member of Actors Equity
Generously sponsored by Pasta Vita.
Photos courtesy of Anne Hudson