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Asolo Rep Announces Full Casting for BARNUM

Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards announces the full cast for the theatre’s upcoming production of Barnum the musical at a special Town Hall event on October 28, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. Barnum is directed by Gordon Greenberg and choreographed by Joshua Rhodes; with music direction by Helen Gregory, scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Alejo Vietti, and lighting design by Traci Klainer. Barnum is a co-production between Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, and Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. Barnum kicks off Asolo Rep’s 50th anniversary season in grand style when it opens on November 15th.

“We are very pleased to announce such a strong cast of talented performers. Barnum is filled with colorful characters, wonderful music, and fantastic scenery and costumes. We have a brilliant creative team shaping the production. With all of these things combined, I am sure this will be a truly memorable production.” – Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director, Michael Donald Edwards

CAST

P.T. Barnum  Brad Oscar

Chairy Barnum  Misty Cotton

Ringmaster  Kevin Kraft

Joyce Heith  Debra Walton

Tom Thumb  Nathaniel Braga

Jenny Lind  Renee Brna

Ensemble  Matt Baker

Ensemble  Deana Dys

Ensemble  Jessica Green

Ensemble  Freddie Kimmel

Ensemble  Alfie Parker, Jr.

Ensemble  Amy Shure

Ensemble  Emily K. Bottorff

Ensemble  Alice Eacho

Ensemble  Dean-Carlo Grant

Ensemble  William Cortez-Statham

Previews run November 12-14, 2008. Opening night is on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets to the opening night include a star-studded champagne reception following the performance. Barnum runs through December 20, 2008, with performances at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets ($11-$58) are available by calling the Box Office at 1-941-351-8000 or toll free at 1-800-361-8388. You may also purchase tickets online at www.asolo.org. For group reservations and discounts, call 941-351-9010 ext. 4810.This is an Asolo Rep production in the Mertz Theatre (5555 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, Florida).

About the show: Winner of a Theater World, a Drama Desk and three Tony Awards, this Broadway hit sparkles with a cast of singers, actors, jugglers, clowns and tumblers. In this grand production, the worlds of musical theatre and circus fuse into a vibrant and entertaining musical celebrating the colorful, creative and driven life of the World’s Greatest Showman, Phineas ‘P.T.’ Barnum. Come Follow the Band and meet the extraordinary acts that led Barnum from humble beginnings to ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’

Originally produced on the Broadway Stage by Judy Gordon, Cy Coleman, Maurice and Lois F. Rosenfeld in association with Irwin Feld and Kenneth Feld.

Barnum is presented by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc., 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022.
 

BIOGRAPHIES:

Matt Baker*- (Ensemble, Barnum) A native of Florida, he was last seen by Sarasota audiences in the national tour of Crazy for You. This will mark his third production of Barnum, and he has had two runs with Cirque du Soleil's Quidam as The Target, including on the video. New York: Christmas Carol, Funny Feet (off Broadway) New York City Opera and The Met. Regionally, Carnival! at the Kennedy Center, Goodspeed, Ford's, Alliance, Great Lakes, TUTS and the North Shore.

EMILY K. BOTTORFF- (Ensemble, Barnum) is thrilled to be working with the Asolo Theater. A recent grad of the University of Michigan Musical Theater program, Emily was seen in The Boys from Syracuse (Luciana), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hermia), and the world premier of Peter Mills & Cara Reichel’s The Pursuit of Persephone. Emily has performed on stages including The Kennedy Center and RFK Stadium. She is also the singing voice of Disney character, Ink, on Disney’s Happy Monster Band. Much love to her family, Keith, and the Krasny Agency.

NATHANIEL BRAGA*- (Tom Thumb, Barnum) Asolo debut. Previous credits: Theater Under the Stars: Hello Dolly (Stanley). Marriott Theater: The Producers, The Nutcracker (Jack in the Box), and Wizard of Oz. Drury Lane Oakbrook: Sweet Charity, King and I (Phra Alack). The MUNY St. Louis: The Pajama Game, Grease, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers (Zeke). He is a two-time state gymnastics champion and had a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. Proud Equity member.

Renee Brna*- (Jenny Lind, Barnum) Broadway: Coram Boy; National Tours: Little Women the Musical (Meg), Oklahoma!; NYC: Notes to Marianne (June, New York Stage and Film), Man in the White Suit (Beckett Theatre); Regional: Les Misérables (Cosette, North Shore Music Theatre), My Fair Lady (Eliza), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), Showboat (Magnolia), Closer Than Ever (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland). Check out her website for more info and to hear her sing like a boy soprano (from Coram Boy): www.reneebrna.com

Misty Cotton*- (Charity, Barnum) Credits: Eponine, Les Miserables. Philia, Hilda Miller, Plain & Fancy (Musical Theatre Guild). Ellen, Miss Saigon (Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) - Houston, Texas. Rosamund, The Robber Bridgeroom. Lily St. Regis, Annie (California Musical Theatre-Music Chorus). Princess Leonide, Triumph of Love (Performance Riverside). Violet, Side Show (The Colony Theatre). Percy Talbot, Spitfire Grill (Laguna Playhouse). Nurse Fay Apple, Anyone Can Whistle (Matrix Theatre). Marta, Company (Starlight Musical Theatre). Lucille Frank, Parade (Musical Theatre Guild). Missy, The Winter Wonderettes (Milwaukee Rep). Jekyll & Hyde ( Civic Light Opera- South Bay Cities). Witch, MacBeth (Utah Shakespearean Festival). Nancy, Oliver (Civic Light Opera South Bay Cities). Annie, Annie Get Your Gun (Civic Light Opera South Bay Cities). Broadway credits include: Ellen, Miss Saigon (1st National Tour).

Deanna Dys*- (Ensemble, Barnum) Broadway: LoveMusik (Assistant Choreographer), Annie Get Your Gun (Dolly Tate), Saturday Night Fever (Rosalie), Candide (Associate Choreographer), Crazy For You (Vera), Meet Me in St. Louis, Legs Diamond (featured dancer), Legs Diamond (Cigarette Girl). International Tours: Crazy For You (Director/ Choreographer), Regional: 42nd Street (Director/Choreographer), The Full Monty (Choreographer), Colorado Theatre Guild Nomination, State Fair (Choreographer). Dallas Theatre League Nomination, Chicago (Liz), Sweet Charity (Nickie). Films: The Stepford Wives, Little Children, First Wives Club. Television: Commercials for major league baseball (2004 Emmy Award), One Life to Live(choreographer,  Cashmere Mafia (associate choreographer). Trivia: Former national baton twirling champion. Deanna sends love Mom and Bink.

ALICE EACHO- (Ensemble, Barnum) is thrilled to join the cast of Barnum in her native state of Florida. She graduated from Stephens College in 2006 with a BFA and a minor in music. She performed solo with her a capella jazz ensemble at Carnegie Hall in 2004. In 2005 she played Ginger in Gilligan's Island: The Musical, with television stars Barry Williams and fellow Stephens’s alum, Dawn Wells. Some favorite roles include A Chorus Line (Cassie), The Music Man (Marian Paroo), and The Will Rogers Follies (Betty Rogers). After Barnum, she will join the ensemble of Evita at the Jupiter Maltz Theatre.

DEAN-CARLO GRANT- (Ensemble, Barnum) is excited to be a part of this cast of Barnum. He has spent the past year performing as a soloist at the Venetian Resort in Macau, China. He is a graduate of both the DeKalb School of the Arts in Atlanta and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. His past theatre credits include; Katonga (Karume), Twelfth Night (Orsino), Children Of Eden (Cain), Ragtime (Coalhouse Walker Jr.). He was most recently seen onstage in the freeFall Theatre Company’s premiere production of The Wild Party, in the role of Eddie. Dean would like to give praise and honor to my Father, ‘…who is continuing the good work He began in me…’ He would also like to thank his family and ‘Panda-Roo’ for their unwavering love and support, “I love you!”

Jessica Green*- (Ensemble, Barnum) Jessica was the petite clown in Dralion (Cirque du Soleil) in Mexico City and Clown/dancer in Le Reve (Franco Dragone, Belgium). NY credits: Revolution of Forms (Robert Wilson), 365 days/365 plays (The Public), St. Joan of the Stockyards (PS122). Co-artistic director and actor/ dancer with highly acclaimed The Flying Machine 1997-2007. Original works: Sad Since Tuesday (BEST of NY International Fringe Festival), Petruschka (Carnegie Hall), The Escapist (Galapagos, Soho Rep, Santiago, Chile), Utopians (Ohio Theater), Signals of Distress (Soho Rep, National Tour), Frankenstein (National Tour). BFA in Dance: SUNY Purchase.

FREDDIE KIMMEL*- (Ensemble, Barnum). National Tours: Chip, On The Town (Lucille Lortell). Charlie, Annie Get Your Gun (Troika Entertainment). Regional Theatre Credits: Keno, The Full Monty (Westchester Broadway Theater). Jimmy,Thoroughly Modern Millie (Gateway Playhouse). Jeter,Footloose (Kansas City Starlight Theater. Chris, Miss Saigon (Carousel Dinner Theater). Yonkers, Gypsy (Arkansas Repertory). Wayne Frake, State Fair (Sharon Playhouse, CT). Lt. Cable, South Pacific (New London Barn Playhouse). Eugene, Saturday Night (New London Barn Playhouse). Jimmy Johnson, Annie (Tarrytown Music Hall). Boy Blue/ Raggety Andy, Babes In Toyland (Stanford Center for the Arts). Television credits include: Day Player, Sopranos (HBO), Dancer, Made (MTV). Featured Actor, Fuse Network (FUSE).

Kevin Kraft*- (Ringmaster, Barnum) Kevin recently originated the role of Harry Houdini in HOUDINI in Montreal. Broadway: Hero in “….Forum”, “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (Workshop). Off-Broadway: “Johnny Guitar” & “American Dreams”. Tours: Orlando in “As You Like It” in John Houseman’s “The Acting Company”. Favorite roles: Georg in “She Loves Me” (Arena Stage), Homer in “Floyd Collins” (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Jerry in “The Full Monty”, Halle in “Master Harold and the Boys”. Songwriter: www.KevinKraft.com. Documentary Producer: www.CommonDenomination.org. Kevin and his wife Holly just co-produced a human being…Leo! Kevin is happy to return to Sarasota where his career began as a RBBB Circus Clown.

Brad Oscar*- (P.T. Barnum, Barnum) Guest actor, first season. Oscar recently completed a run of The Mystery of Irma Vep at Arena Stage in his hometown of Washington, D.C. where he was also seen as the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret and Mr. Applegate in Damn Yankees. He originated the role of Franz Liebkind in the Broadway production of The Producers (2001 Tony nomination), and later went on to play the role of Max Bialystock over 1200 times on Broadway, on tour, in London and in the Las Vegas production. Other Broadway and New York credits: Spamalot, the original casts of Jekyll & Hyde and Aspects of Love, Gerard Alessandrini’s Forbidden Broadway, the Encores! Do Re Mi, as well as Santa in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Los Angeles and Branson. Film: The Producers, Building Girl and Old Days. TV: Law and Order and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Brad is a graduate of Boston University.

ALFIE PARKER*- (Ensemble, Barnum) a graduate of Penn State University. He recently returned from Spain, having danced for Pilobolus Dance Company. Other recent credits include: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Swing, Chicago, The Wiz, and Sweet Charity. He has also performed for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

Amy Shure*- (Ensemble, Barnum) comes straight from performing in this year’s New York Musical Theatre Festival. She’s now thrilled to be here working with this creative team!  Favorite credits: Minnie Fay in Hello Dolly (Theatre Under the Stars starring Leslie Uggams, Ogunquit Playhouse starring Sally Struthers); Swing!(Maine State Music Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse); CATS (National Tour); Mikado (New York City Opera); Radio City Music Hall; Pittsburgh CLO, Kansas City Starlight, Atlanta TOTS, Casa Manana. Last year, Amy had the opportunity to be the stand-in for Elle Fanning in the upcoming movie Phoebe in Wonderland starring Felicity Huffman. Big smooches to Jack, Erin and Rex!  

WILLIAM CORTEZ-STATHAM- (Ensemble, Barnum) is thrilled to be making his Asolo debut with this production of Barnum. William holds a B.F.A. in Music Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory. Most recently he was seen in Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party at freeFall Theatre Company in Downtown St. Petersburg as Oscar. William also just completed a year and a half run in the Broadway-style show Katonga at Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, FL. Favorite roles include Daniel in Once on This Island, Munoz in City of Angels, and Antoine in The Baker's Wife. He is also a member of the Equity Membership Candidacy Program. He would like to thank all of his many family members and friends for their continued love and support!

Debra Walton*- (Joyce Heith, Barnum) Guest actor, first season. Performing in the Tony award-winning revival of The Pajama Game, Debra was seen on Broadway and nationally singing and dancing with Harry Connick, Jr. Off-Broadway: award-winning roles in Cookin' at the Cookery, the Life and Times of Alberta Hunter, earning a Drama Desk nomination and a Barrymore Award. Florida: Carbonell Award nomination for her performance of Velma in Chicago (Burt Reynolds Theatre). On tour and regional, Debra has played a wide variety of roles from Anita in West Side Story to Minnie Fae in Hello Dolly. National tours include: Annie Get Your Gun, South Pacific and Chicago, playing various roles including Mama Morton! www.Debrawalton.com

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