VEER: Guys & Dolls is the Perfect Musical

Guys & Dolls is the Perfect Musical

by Jeff Maisey
Sep 18, 2019
By Jerome Langston
Veer Magazine

“He always brings me in for comedies,” says director Nicolas Minas, with a bit of a chuckle, in response to my question about how he was selected to direct Guys and Dolls, the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical that launches Virginia Stage Company’s impressive 41st season. Turns out that Nick and Tom Quaintance, VSC’s producing artistic director, go way back…just a few years back really, to when Tom was the artistic director at Cape Fear Regional Theatre. Nick directed multiple well-received musicals and comedies there, including Arsenic and Old Lace and Avenue Q. They’d agreed some time ago that Guys and Dolls would be an ideal first show for Nick to direct here at the Wells. 

“I thought Guys and Dolls would specifically look really great in here because of the old history of the theatre and the way that it is,” Nick later says. The decision for this classic, huge Prohibition era musical to launch season 41, a season that follows the historic and heavily hyped 40th season of the company, was made in large part to kick the season off with a show that would easily appeal to local theater patrons. 

“The whole subscription model is to get people to come see shows that they wouldn’t normally come see,” explains Brad Tuggle, VSC’s director of marketing, who is leaving the company soon for another opportunity. “Our goal is to get people in the door for Guys and Dolls, and have them come back and push themselves with the shows for the rest of the year.” This will be Brad’s last show with the company, and he’s leaving some really big shoes to fill. 

It’s the middle of a work week in September—a couple days before Hurricane Dorian impacts the region, and Brad has joined me inside the Wells Theatre lobby, with the aforementioned Nicolas, and two of the lead actors in the show, Casey Shuler, who plays the righteous Sarah Brown, and Sam Simahk, who occupies the iconic role of Sky Masterson. The cast and creative team are in their second full week of rehearsals, with previews beginning in just two weeks. The cast of 25, which is on the larger end of the spectrum for professional regional theater, represents a nice mix of local talent, working alongside NYC caliber actors, many of whom have appeared in Broadway shows. 

“The thoughts and dreams that you have in your mind as a director…change, when you have the people, because it brings it to life in a new way,” Nick says. “For this production, I thought it would be interesting to take it back to the original source material. Set it in the prohibition era, where it makes the most sense, because that is what is really being talked about… It’s a time when burlesque was at its height in New York City.”  

Guys and Dolls is based upon short stories written by Damon Runyon, specifically “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown,” and “Blood Pressure.” Runyon was a famous fiction writer whose short works explored the lives of gamblers, gangsters, and the like, in a Prohibition era New York City of the early 20th century. The book for Guys and Dolls was written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. The musical premiered on Broadway in November of 1950, and ran for well over a thousand performances. It would go on to win 5 Tony Awards the following year, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical, which went to George S. Kaufman. 

Since that original production, there have of course been major revivals of the classic musical, including the hugely successful 1992 Broadway revival which starred Nathan Lane as Nathan Detroit. It ran for nearly 3 years and won 4 Tony Awards. There was a film version released in 1955 which starred Marlon Brando, and the musical has been a staple of regional companies for decades now. Musical numbers like “If I Were A Bell” and “Luck Be a Lady” are standards in the musical theatre lexicon. 

The two-act musical, which is hilarious with its zingers and features some of the most impressive song and dance numbers ever performed on a Broadway stage, tells the story of Nathan Detroit, the infamous craps game organizer, and his relationship with his long suffering fiancé, Adelaide. And then there’s the unlikely relationship that develops between Save-A-Soul mission leader, Sarah Brown, and the enigmatic gambler, Sky Masterson. There’s a bet that drives the plot, and other colorful characters that feature prominently, including Nicely-Nicely Johnson. 

For VSC’s production of Guys and Dolls, Nathan Detroit is being portrayed by Brian Ray Norris, while Jessica Lee Goldyn plays Miss Adelaide. Nicely-Nicely Johnson is being portrayed by the talented James T. Lane. All of these actors are new to Virginia Stage Company, as are the aforementioned Casey Shuler and Sam Simahk. Casey tells me during our interview that she wasn’t particularly familiar with the musical growing up. 

“I didn’t really know Guys and Dolls before auditioning for this show,” Casey says. “What’s interesting about playing Sarah Brown, for me, is that it’s not something that I ever thought I’d do, because it’s not naturally the way that I sing, or classified myself as.” When she read the script though, she fell in love with the character. “She’s smart…scared, she’s a lot of women in today’s society, and she has this amazing character arc that I was so excited to jump on…”

For Sam, Sky Masterson was a dream role, but also one that he didn’t think he would get to play. “I’m Asian-American. It’s only in recent years where some of this casting has opened up to people of color,” he says. That aside, Sam and his director have really worked to find a deeper portrayal of the iconic character. “I think the difficulty that some people find in this role, is finding the sensitivity in a character like Sky Masterson, because it’s easy to default to the Dick Tracy, film noir coolness,” Sam earlier explains. 

That sensitivity is apparent in Sky’s song, “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” which speaks to his unexpected love for Sarah. “What we’re working on, is finding a journey in that song,” Nick says. “It’s the first time that he’s ever said that, and that’s not easy.” At the heart of its glitz and highly stylized dance numbers, Guys and Dolls is indeed about love. 

“Ultimately, it’s about love. It’s about people who come from opposite walks of life, who find each other and discover that they love each other, despite those differences,” says Nick. “It just gives you what you want when you go to see a musical.” 

WANT TO GO?

Guys and Dolls

September 18-October 6

Virginia Stage Company 

The Wells Theatre

757-627-1234

www.vastage.org 

GUYS AND DOLLS Cast + Creatives


CREATIVE TEAM

FRANK LOESSER

(Composer/Lyricist) One of America's great composer/lyricists, Frank Loesser began his songwriting career during the Depression as a lyricist, contributing songs to Broadway revues and nightclub acts. His work with composer Irving Actman in the 1936 revue The Illustrator's Show led to a songwriting contract in Hollywood, where he spent the next eleven years working with such composers as Burton Lane, Jule Styne, Arthur Schwartz and Hoagy Carmichael. Some of his film songs from that period include "Two Sleepy People," "Jingle Jangle Jingle" and "I Don't Want To Walk Without You." The first song for which Loesser wrote both words and music was "Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition," written during his World War II service. His Hollywood work after the war included the hit songs "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year," "A Slow Boat To China," and the 1949 Oscar-winning song "Baby, It's Cold Outside." In 1948 Loesser was approached by fledgling Broadway producers Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin to write music and lyrics to George Abbott's libretto for an adaptation of the classic Brandon Thomas play Charley's Aunt. The new musical, which starred Ray Bolger, was called Where's Charley? and was a hit. This led to Loesser's next show, the hugely influential and successful Guys And Dolls in 1950, also produced by Feuer and Martin, with a script by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling. In 1956 Loesser wrote the libretto, music and lyrics for his next show, The Most Happy Fella, adapted from Sidney Howard's play, They Knew What They Wanted. This impressive score contains over 30 musical numbers and makes extensive use of operatic techniques and forms, including recitative, arias, duets, trios and choral numbers. In 1960 he provided the score and was co-librettist for Greenwillow. In 1961, Loesser wrote the score for the Pulitzer Prize-winning How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. His last show, Pleasures And Palaces, closed in 1965 during out-of-town try-outs. For more information on Frank Loesser, please visit his official website frankloesser.com.

JO SWERLING

(Musical Book Writer) Born in Russia in 1897, Jo Swerling was a playwright, screenwriter and vaudeville sketch writer. Mr. Swerling's long career began as a reporter and feature writer in New York and Chicago.

Abe Burrows

(Musical Book Writer) After studying to be a doctor and an accountant, Abe Burrows had a career in sales before becoming a successful radio script writer and writer/performer of musical parody numbers. His first Broadway libretto was Guys and Dolls, co-written with Jo Swerling, with a score by Frank Loesser. Among the musicals for which he provided librettos are Make A Wish, Can-Can and Silk Stockings (both with scores by Cole Porter), Say, Darling, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (which he also directed; score by Frank Loesser). His non-musical plays include Cactus Flower (wrote and directed) and Forty Carats (directed).

NICOLAS MINAS

(Director) is an NYC based theater, television, and film director. In New York he has directed the world premiere of Came Tumbling After by Nathan Cann, Stand Up Tragedy by Bill Cain, his own adaptation of Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters, and the New York Musical Festival production of Chance. Regional theater credits include Arsenic and Old Lace, Avenue Q, The 39 Steps, Around the World in 80 Days. His Chicago production of Woody Guthrie’s American Song, received 5 Jeff Award nominations including Outstanding Director of a Musical. He was Assistant Director for the Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy (with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave), the Assistant Director for the off-Broadway premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Orlando, held an SDC Observership on the Live at Lincoln Center Production of Company (Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert) and he was the Assistant Director of Filming for the Emmy Award winning Live at Lincoln Center production of Sweeney Todd (with Emma Thompson and Audra McDonald). He recently directed the first two episodes of the new half hour television comedy Half Life (starring Larisa Oleynik and Finnerty Steeves). He couldn’t be happier to be working at Virginia Stage Company for the first time and is grateful to all the incredible collaborators he has had the pleasure to work with here.

DAVID SHUHY 

(Scenic Designer) is Lecturer of Scene Design at Christopher Newport University in Virginia and received his Ph.D. in Theatrical Design Aesthetics and Theory from the Union Institute. Dave has designed lights and scenery throughout the East Coast, and worked as a lighting consultant in the region. Prior to CNU, Dave taught at Regent University and worked as a designer and CAD engineer in the special events industry for clients such as NATO, the White House and Bud Light. Dave is a proud member of United Scenic Artists.

JENI SCHAEFER

(Resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager) is the Resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager at the Virginia Stage Company in her 18th season. Regional credits include: A Christmas Story at Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Hound of the Baskervilles at The Hangar and White Heron Theatre, Always...Patsy Cline PCPA Theatrefest, World premiere of Tom Jones for Florida Studio Theatre, Wit for Playmakers Repertory Theatre and over 50 VSC productions including: Matilda, Secret Garden, Fun Home, Always Patsy Cline, Crowns,The Hound of the Baskervilles, Pride and Prejudice, The Wiz, A Streetcar Named Desire, Oliver, The Tempest, Grounded, Peter and the Starcatcher, All my Sons,The Great Gatsby, The Fantasticks, Death of a Salesman, Red, Around the World in 80 days, Crowns, Billy Bishop Goes to War, Hank Williams Lost Highway. and A Christmas Carol. Jeni Schaefer holds a MAC in Theatre/Costume Design from Wichita State University. Thank you to my family Tony, Sara and Ethan for being my inspiration and for always believing in me. 

CHRISTINA WATANABE

(Lighting Designer) is a New York City based designer for theatre, dance, music, and events (she/her/hers). With Mr. Minas: A Servant of Two Masters (Sonnet Repertory Theatre). Recent: As You Like It (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), pathetic (Minor Theatre), The Wild Party (Post Theatre Company), Peer Gynt (Barnard), Heartbreak House (Gingold Theatrical Group), A Christmas Carol (FL Rep), Into the Woods (Charlottesville Opera), The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Weir, Fireflies, and Private Lives (White Heron Theatre Company), Scissoring (INTAR), Glory (Muhlenberg), Dido of Idaho (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Fairy Queen (Hofstra), Small World: a fantasia (59E59), Neighbors: A Fair Trade Agreement (INTAR), Daniel’s Husband (Primary Stages/Cherry Lane), I Will Look Forward To This Later (New Ohio). TV: Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State (CNN). Academia: NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (The Tempest, Macbeth, Violet) and Yale Dramatic Association (A Midsummer Night's Dream). Other design work includes cabaret, events, and Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue windows. Touring: Shen Wei Dance Arts, Jonah Bokaer, and So Percussion. Lincoln Center Festival (2013, 2015-2017). Visiting Professor: NYU Tisch. Guest speaker: The League of Professional Theatre Women “A Discussion: Designers and Directors”. USITT Gateway Mentor. MFA: NYU Tisch. Member USA 829. www.StarryEyedLighting.com.

Steven Allegretto

(Sound Designer) graduated from Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL), finishing with an Associate of Science Degree in Recording Arts in 2008. Steven has spent the last decade perfecting his craft in numerous recording studios and live music venues throughout the east coast, including the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts (Virginia Beach, VA), Music Theory Studios (Norfolk, VA), and 11th Street Studios (Atlanta, GA). Steven has had the pleasure of designing previous shows for the Virginia Stage Company, including Ring of Fire (2017), Always...Patsy Cline (2018), and Matilda (2019). Steven welcomes you back for yet another amazing show, with hopes that you thoroughly enjoy the sonic landscapes of VSC’s production of Guys and Dolls.  

BARTON KUEBLER

(Musical Director) Bart Kuebler’s artistic work includes music & lyrics for the Off-Broadway premiere of John Cariani’s LOVE/SICK; and book, music, and lyrics for Moonshiner, a Musical Fabulism, recently produced as part of the 2019 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. Music directing credits include the world premieres of Second to Nun, Frog Kiss, and Love, Always; a slew of work at regional theaters; and years of worldwide touring accompanying artists diverse as Bernadette Peters and Piolo Pascual. Bart is currently the Artistic Director of the Zeiders American Dream Theater in Virginia Beach, and resides in a Norfolk home overrun by fiddle players.

JORDAN DUNLAP

(Choreographer) is thrilled to be returning VSC after choreographing Pride & Prejudice and Fun Home and performing in The Wiz. Choreographic credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Return To The Forbidden Planet, Shrek Jr, A Year With Frog and Toad, The Little Mermaid, and Wizard of Oz.  Performance credits include: National Tours: Radio City Christmas Spectacular, CATS 30th Anniversary (Victoria). Regional Theatre: Spamalot, Mary Poppins (Dance Captain/Assistant Choreographer), Legally Blonde (Serena, Associate Choreographer), S’Wonderful (Leslie), CATS (Sillabub), How To Succeed..., The Producers, and Ballet Memphis Company. Thank you to Tom and Nick for this incredible opportunity. Love to my guys at home Dusty, Caleb, and Liam.

GREGG LLOYD

(Fight Choreographer) is Professor of Acting & Stage Combat at Christopher Newport University.  A Certified Teacher of Stage Combat with the Society of American Fight Directors, he holds Black Belts in Hapkido and TangSooDo.  Recent acting credits include Spamalot, Red, The Foreigner, Romeo and Juliet, Anything Goes, Comic Potential, A Little Night Music, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Communicating Doors.  Fight direction credits include Carmen, Spamalot, Of Mice and Men, Actus Fidei, Romeo and Juliet, Our Country’s Good, I Hate Hamlet, and Macbeth. He has directed Noises Off, Once Upon a Mattress, I Hate Hamlet, and When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder. 

BINDER CASTING

(NY Casting) Binder Casting, now part of RWS Entertainment Group, was founded by Jay Binder, CSA in 1984. Binder Casting has cast over 80 Broadway productions, dozens of National Tours, off-Broadway shows, full seasons for over 25 regional theatres, as well as feature films, episodic television and commercials. Binder has cast for Encores! at New York City Center since its inception in 1994. The office was also featured in the documentary, Every Little Step. Binder Casting is a twelve–time recipient of the Artios Award. www.bindercasting.com

ADRIENNE WELLS

(Stage Manager) is pleased to be joining Virginia Stage Company, this year, for her first season as Resident Stage Manager. Past VSC productions include: Native Gardens and Matilda The Musical. Ms. Wells has worked in live theater, educational tours and events, opera, jazz, fashion, television, special events, and festivals. Past work includes: 39 Steps, Baskerville, Laughter on the 23rd Floor (St. Michael’s Playhouse), Hair (Pentangle Arts), The Long Walk (Pittsburgh Opera), Sweat (Pittsburgh Public Theater), The Mask of Moriarty (Pittsburgh Irish and Classic Theater). Ms. Wells serves as the Corresponding Secretary for the Stage Managers’ Association, is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and a proud member of Actors Equity Association.

TOM QUAINTANCE

(Producing Artistic Director) is the sixth Artistic Director and the first Producing Artistic Director in Virginia Stage Company’s 41 year history. At the Wells, Tom has directed Pride and Prejudice and The Santaland Diaries, and Matilda The Musical. Previously as Artistic Director of Cape Fear Regional Theatre (CFRT), Tom produced over 35 plays and directed the World Premiere of Downrange: Voices from the Homefront, a play based on interviews with military spouses from Fort Bragg. Tom is an Associate Artist at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill where he directed An Enemy of the People, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and The Little Prince. He also directed The Little Prince at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As the founder of FreightTrain Shakespeare in Los Angeles, he earned a Drama-Logue Award for his direction of Pericles. Other Los Angeles credits range from King Lear to The Devil With Boobs. A member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Tom is a graduate of Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) with a B.A. in Theatre and Economics, and the University of California, San Diego MFA directing program, where he was the assistant director on the original production of The Who’s Tommy. Tom and his wife Wallis are the proud parents of Mireille Julia and Annika Christine.

DAVID B. BYRD

(Managing Director) Virginia Stage’s 2019/2020 Season marks David’s third season as Managing Director. Prior to landing in Norfolk, David served as Managing Director at Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, TN. He has also held leadership positions at Westport Country Playhouse, Triad Stage, Yale Repertory Theater, the Dwight/Edgewood Project, and the Guthrie Theater. David received an MFA degree in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama and a BA degree in Drama from UNC-Greensboro in his native North Carolina. During his tenure at the Clarence Brown Theatre, David also served as an Adjunct Professor in the UT-Knoxville department of theatre.  Additionally, David has held posts on the McClung Museum Academic Programs Advisory Board and the Great Schools Partnership Advisory Council. David has been a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission and United Way of Greater Knoxville. He has served on the union negotiating team and various committees for the League of Resident Theatres (LORT). David was a 2016 Knoxville Business Journal 40 Under Forty Honoree and has guest lectured at Virginia Wesleyan University and Carson Newman University, among others. He currently serves on the Board of Downtown Norfolk Council.


CAST

RYAN CLEMENS

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RYAN CLEMENS

(Lieutenant Brannigan) is proud to work with VSC on the main stage and in the Education Department's touring shows, classes, and workshops. Patrons may remember Ryan from various VSC productions: Mr. Wormwood in Matilda The Musical; Trinculo in The Tempest, Bob Cratchit, Old Joe, Charity Man or Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol; Vinnie in The Odd Couple; Mortimer in The Fantasticks; or as his famous relative Sam Clemens in his one-man show Meet Mark Twain. Originally from Wyoming, Ryan began his career in a traveling Wild West show. He has worked at theaters around the country, including several seasons locally with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and Tidewater Stage Company, and he regularly performs with Plan B Comedy at Zeider's American Dream Theatre. Ryan holds a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University and an MFA in Acting from Regent University. He also teaches at ODU. (Many thanks and a huge heap of love to his wonderful wife.)

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KATE CLEMONS

(Ensemble/Mission Band-Martha) is tickled pink to return to Virginia Stage in this rollicking tale! In addition to her work onstage at the Wells, she recently accepted the position of Interim Capital Campaign Manager at VSC. She recently relocated to the Hampton Roads area after spending the past ten years performing up and down the East Coast. Favorite local credits include A Christmas Carol (Virginia Stage Company), The Full Monty (Riverside Dinner Theatre), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Tidewater Stage) and The Lost Colony in the Outer Banks. A teaching artist, she holds an M.F.A. in Performance Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and teaches theatre at Regent University and Old Dominion University. She resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, Gabe, and their practically perfect pooch, Mr. Bingley.

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RAY DIMAANO

(Rusty Charlie/Crapshooter) is thrilled to make his Virginia Stage Company debut! National Tours: The King and I, Second National Tour (Kralahome u/s) Regional: Mary Poppins (VA Rep), Mamma Mia, Hello Dolly, Mame, Beauty and the Beast (VA Musical Theater), A Christmas Story (Riverside Theater). Thanks to my Mom(s), Hugh, friends and family for all the constant love and support! God Bless! IG: @Raydimaano

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ROBERT GARRIS

(Ensemble-Society Max/Crapshooter) is a senior exercise science major currently attending Norfolk State University. He is very excited to be returning to VSC for his second production. He was previously seen in VSC’s The Wiz as Lead Tornado which was a co-production with Norfolk State University. He was choreographer for NSU’s Theatre Company in their productions of Once on This Island, Black Nativity, and many more. Other credits include Big Blanket Beach Band with the Charleston Performing Arts Center and Ariel in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Robert Wants to give a special thanks to VSC and his support system.

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JESSICA LEE GOLDYN

(Miss Adelaide) is thrilled to be making her VSC debut!! Broadway/NY: A Chorus Line (Val/Cassie), Hello Dolly!, Finding Neverland, Tuck Everlasting, On The Town (Ivy Smith) City Center Encores!, Beetlejuice (Lab) National Tour: Fosse. Regional: Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth), Damn Yankees (Lola), South Pacific (Nelly), Crazy For You (Polly), Chicago (Velma), Legally Blonde (Brooke Windham), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Carefree (Woman 1) TV/Film: Every Little Step, Smash, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Drop Dead Diva. Training/School: New Jersey Ballet Company, Worth Tyrrell Studios, PPAS, Mary Lou Hale’s School Of Dance. Thank you to The Mine Agency for all of their incredible support & to Binder Casting for the opportunity to play such a dream role! This one’s for my fam! I love you guys.

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CHAD WILLIAM HENRIES

(Ensemble/Havana Dancer/Crapshooter) Born in Long Island, New York and grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. Chad found his passion for musical theater at a very young age. In school he studied music theory and acting. After his school years he decided to pursue a new love for dance. Chad has been training for five year at Virginia Beach Ballet Academy, under the direction of Ms. Ana Maria Martinez niece of Enrique Martinez who directed American Ballet Theatre and still known for his staging of The Classical Ballet Coppelia. Chad's goals are to continue to expand as a dancer and artist. He also aspires to have a career as a Broadway dancer!

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RONA HYMAN

(Big Jule) is honored to be making her Virginia Stage Company debut in Guys and Dolls! She has performed in various venues throughout Hampton Roads, including Zeiders American Dream Theater, The Norva, Funny Bone and Cozzy's. She has recently appeared as Ma Barker in Deadly Shootouts on the Reelz Channel and as Judge Dever in Precinct 757 on Cox Cable. Guys and Dolls is a very nostalgic show for Rona, as she had the opportunity to watch her dad play Sky Masterson in a local production when she was a child. If you are reading this, thank you! Thank you to my village!

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ALLY IVEY

(Ensemble/Hot Box Mimi/Dance Captain) Ally is leaping with joy to be back on the VSC stage! After having a blast as a Maggot in Matilda she is ready to heat things up for you at The Hot Box! Some of her favorite credits include: Kate Monster (Avenue Q/Cape Fear Regional Theatre), Big Kid Ensemble (Matilda/Virginia Stage Company), Ghost of Christmas Past (Scrooge No More/Busch Gardens Williamsburg). So much love and gratitude for Nick, Jordan, Tom, and the VSC family. Follow Ally on all her adventures on Instagram @ally.bop

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SEAN JAENICKE

(Ensemble/Liver Lips Louie/Crap Shooter) is a Raleigh, North Carolina based actor. He has a bachelors from UNC-Pembroke and an MFA from Tulane University, both in musical theatre. When not working, he can be found in the gym, running outside, or drinking copious amounts of coffee. Thanks always to Gary, his family, and friends for their constant support.
@seanicke

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GEOFFREY KLEIN

(Calvin/MC/Pal Joey/Gambler) is beyond excited to make his Virginia Stage Company debut in Guys and Dolls! Geoffrey was most recently seen as Mr. Banks in Virginia Musical Theatre’s production of Mary Poppins at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. Other regional credits: Jekyll & Hyde (Bishop of Basingstoke, VMT), Little Women the Musical (Professor Bhaer, VMT), Carousel (Enoch Snow, VMT), La Cage Aux Folles (M. Renaud, VMT), 1776 (Edward Rutledge, Kimball Theatre), Miss Saigon (Ensemble, VMT), and Children of Eden (Ensemble, VMT). He would like to thank the VSC creative team for this amazing opportunity and his family and friends for their love and support.

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JASON KYPROS

(Harry the Horse) After wrapping a 7 year contract as the "Game Guy", the brand spokesperson for the Virginia Lottery, Jason Kypros is thrilled to return to the stage in his first appearance at the Wells Theatre. The Co-Host of WHRO's Curate, Jason Kypros has years of experience performing in Film, TV, and the Stage. Jason performs both Stand Up and Improv comedy and is a graduate of the Groundlings school of improv in Los Angeles. Jason is the Co-Founder of Plan B Comedy, the resident comedy company at The Z Theater in town center VB where he is also a resident artist. Jason would like to thank his friends and family for all their continued support, and most especially for the love from Allison, Alana, and his Mom and Dad.

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JAMES T. LANE

(Nicely-Nicely Johnson) From Philadelphia. West End: The Scottsboro Boys, A Chorus Line - Revival (Palladium Theatre). Broadway: Kiss Me, Kate (Paul), King Kong the Musical, The Scottsboro Boys, Chicago, and A Chorus Line. National Tours: Jersey Boys, Cinderella, Fame the Musical. Regional Theatre: Broadway at Music Circus, The Old Globe, The Muny, A.C.T and Dallas Theatre Center. Encores/Off Center: Promenade, Grand Hotel, Don’t Bother Me... Concerts: Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops, Ottawa Symphony and many more. Mr. Lane teaches music theatre dance when and wherever anyone will let him! Instagram:
@jamestlane

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CIERA LIVERMORE

(Ensemble/Havana Dancer/Hotbox) This is Ciera’s first production with Virginia Stage Company. Ciera has been dancing and performing for over 18 years. She’s worked with different Theme Parks (Disneyland & Sea World Ent.), Musical Theater Companies, Dance studios (Choreographer & Competitive Dancer), & as a choreographer for Grammy Award Winning Producer Greg Lawson. Other Musical theater credits include Wizard of Oz, Young Frankenstein, The Boyfriend, Crazy for You, and The Music Man. She knew when she did her first musical theater show, The Music Man with Standing Room Only Prod. Inc, that performing was the life for her. She would like to thank her Mom and Husband for being so supportive, and her tap teacher Katherine Page for always pushing her to the next level with dance and musical theater. (Phillipians 4:13)

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SCHUYLER MIDGETT

(Ensemble/Hot Box Vernon) is excited to be back performing in her home state! Credits include: National Tours; R+H Cinderella the Musical, Shrek the Musical (National and International), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Musical, Off-Broadway; Love/Sick, Regional; Mamma Mia, Avenue Q, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Howl-O-Scream (Monster Stomp) and ChristmasTown (Female Vocal Swing). Love to her mom and sister for constant support, Hugh Copeland, Daniel Neiden, and to her love, Parker.

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DARIUS NELSON

(Benny Southstreet) is an alumnus of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy NY, New York. He is thrilled to return to VSC after fulfilling his dream role as the Lion in The Wiz. In his spare time he produces, writes, directs, and does photography. He has been an employee of Norfolk Public Libraries for 4 years. He has performed professionally for 7 years appearing in productions such as Ain't Misbehavin, Dreamgirls, Les Miserables, and Sister Act.

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RON NEWMAN

(Arvide Abernathy) is a Norfolk resident and is thrilled to return to the Virginia Stage Company in one of his favorite musical theatre roles. He last appeared at VSC in Pride & Prejudice as Sir Lucas & Mr. Gardner. Most recently he was seen as Monsignor O’Hara in Virginia Musical Theatre's production of Sister Act. Favorite regional credits include: The Diary of Anne Frank- Mr. Kraler (VSC); The Sound of Music- Uncle Max, Jekyll and Hyde, The Musical- Sir Danvers, Beauty and the Beast- Maurice (Virginia Musical Theatre); The Importance of Being Earnest- Algernon (The Appalachian Theatre Ensemble); Pippin- MC (Tidewater Dinner Theatre); Oliver!- Fagin; Dames at Sea- Dick; Anything Goes- Billy Crocker (The Milburn Stone Theatre). Marlo Thomas’ Free To Be…To Be You and Me (East Coast Tour). (Winner Best Supporting Actor in a Musical) - Portfolio Award. Ron has enjoyed a 40+ year career as a theatre educator, director, actor, playwright, and performing artist. He is currently an instructor with The Governor’s School for the Arts in the Theatre, Film and Musical Theatre Department. Ron makes his home in Norfolk and would like to thank his husband (John) for his continued love and suppor

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BRIAN RAY NORRIS

(Nathan Detroit) is best known for originating the role of Mr. Krabs on Broadway in SpongeBobSquarePants the Broadway Musical. Brian also recently played the role of Luther Billis in South Pacific in concert in conjunction with Theater Aspen. Brian has performed across the country and around the world and is thrilled to be making his Virginia Stage Company debut with Guys and Dolls. Other favorite roles include: Mr. Collins-Pride & Prejudice, Chef Louis-The Little Mermaid, Beadle Bamford-Sweeney Todd, Mr. Bumble-Oliver, Jean-Michel-Cinderella. Thanks to my love, my family and my reps for all you do. Proud Equity member/Ask if its Equity. Support your local theater and Arts programs. Follow him on insta @brianraynorris.

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CAROLINE ROSE

(Hot Box Allison) is beyond excited to be making her VSC debut! She has performed regionally and locally in various productions, with recent credits including La Cage Aux Folles (Anne), A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (Ms. Shingle), The Sound of Music (Leisl VonTrapp), School of Rock (Summer Hathaway), Kristin Chenoweth's recent concert at the Virginia Arts Festival, and featured as a vocalist on the Original Studio Cast album of Weird the Musical. She is a recent graduate of the Governor's School for the Arts, and would like to dedicate this show to all of those who have and continue to teach and inspire her; with special thanks and love to her sister. IG: @caroline.phil

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LOFTON RISER

(Ensemble/Mission Band-Agatha) is happy to be working with VSC again, after previously playing Mrs. Medlock in last season's concert production of The Secret Garden. Originally from Chapin, SC, she is a relatively new transplant to Hampton Roads with her husband, Christopher Barnes, who is currently stationed at the Army School of Music. In the light of day she works in the administrative offices of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Favorite previous theater work includes Return to the Forbidden Planet at Cape Fear Regional Theatre (because we had a spaceship) and the "LIT" (drunk Shakespeare) series with Sweet Tea Shakespeare Co. She holds a B.M. in Music Education from The University of South Carolina and a Musical Theatre Performance degree from AMDA NYC. Thanks and love, as always, to her family.

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CASEY SHULER

(Sarah Brown) is thrilled to be making her debut at Virginia Stage Company. Her credits include Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (The Paramount Theatre), Sheila in Hair the Musical, Kate McGowan in Titanic the Musical, Maid Marian in Robin Hood (Serenbe Playhouse), and Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (UK Opera Theatre). Casey is a proud graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in Musical Theatre and Voice. She would like to thank her beautiful, loving family and friends who have supported her in her every endeavor, for without them this wouldn't be possible.
@caseyjshuler

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SAM SIMAHK

(Sky Masterson) is thrilled to be making his VSC debut! Broadway: Carousel. Tours: The King and I (1st National), Miss Saigon (Midwest Tour). Regional: West Side Story, The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Oklahoma! (Theatre Under the Stars), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Pittsburgh CLO), A Little Night Music (Huntington Theatre Company), Miss Saigon (Ogunquit Playhouse), Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods (Lyric Stage Co. of Boston), Big Fish (SpeakEasy Stage). Born and raised in Ashburnham, MA, he is a proud graduate of Emerson College and member of AEA. Website: sam-simahk.com; IG: soapboxsam

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A. MICHAEL SINGLETON

(Angie the Ox/Crapshooter) is proud to be rolling the dice with his second production at Virginia Stage Company. Last seen on this stage during Season 31 in A Raisin in the Sun, Michael was most recently seen at the Harrison Opera House in The Elixir of Love and Street Scene during the Virginia Opera season. Meant To Be Broken - Dog/Bard Tales Productions and the 48 HR Film Project and Public Affairs - Zapruder Films, LLC are his latest two films. A national Lockheed Martin Engineering commercial with a few local celebrities and a JES Foundation Repair advertisement have given Mr. Singleton an opportunity to bounce onto your television screens multiple times during the day over the last few years Michael sends thanks and support to the cast and crew of Guys and Dolls. Thanks also go out to my friends and family for their love.

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DEL FIONN SYKES

(General Matilda Cartwright) is excited to make her Virginia Stage Company debut! Musical Theater: Mary Poppins (Mrs. Corry), Into the Woods (Granny/Mother (cover), Jane Eyre, The Musical (Grace Poole), Ragtime The Musical (black ensemble/black lawyer); Opera: Die Fledermaus (Rosalinda), I Pagliacci (Nedda), Carmen (Micaela), The Magic Flute (First Lady), Le Nozze di Figaro (La Contessa); Other: Donna Brown and the Golden Gospel Pearls- Gospel and Spirituals (throughout Europe) and numerous soprano soloist parts in oratorio and symphonic concerts. Ms. Sykes earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, University of VA; a Master’s of Ed., George Washington University and a Master’s of Music (full fellowship), Binghamton University/SUNY.

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MADISON VICKHOUSE

(Hot Box Ferguson) makes her first Virginia Stage Company debut. She is from Virginia Beach, VA and just graduated with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from Shenandoah Conservatory. She grew up dancing at Denise Wall’s Dance Energy, which allowed her to work with choreographers such as Travis Wall, Stacey Tookey, Misha Gabriel and many others. While studying abroad Madison has had the privilege of performing in Gothenburg, Sweden and Chengdu, China. She recently performed for works by Janelle Spruill, Matt Pardo, and Shylo Martinez for her thirteenth main stage performance at Shenandoah Conservatory. She is looking forward to showcasing her love of dance through performance and choreography. IG: @MVickhouse

ADDITIONAL SHOW STAFF

Stitchers | Suzie Martinez, Virginia Bird, Chelsie Cartledge Rose
Spotlight Operators | Brooke Kampney, Jesse Hanna
Flyman | Jason Lawergren
Scenic Artist | Virginia Goyena 
ASL Interpreters | Sabrina Smith, Debbie North, Sherry Parsons, Liz Uhrinec


THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT: Hampton Roads Students Experience the Arts

THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT: Hampton Roads Students Experience the Arts

Patrick Mullins stands before the Wells Theatre stage in downtown Norfolk. In front of him, a dozen or so students from all over the region await his next command…