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John Tartaglia, Marcia Milgrom Dodge & More Set to Direct The Muny's 2014 Season

John Tartaglia, Marcia Milgrom Dodge & More Set to Direct The Muny's 2014 Season

Muny Executive Producer Mike Isaacson announced today the directors, choreographers and music directors for the Muny's 2014 Season, which opens on June 16 with Billy Elliot The Musical. "We're so happy these exciting artists are creating our 2014 season," said Isaacson. "This is a challenging season, one with incredible variety and power. We're fortunate that such extraordinary talents will be creating our 'Muny Magic.'"

Billy Elliot:

Steven Minning (Director) is originally from Washington, Missouri. He comes to The Muny from New York where he has worked as a director, associate director, resident director and choreographer for Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Show Boat, The Will Rogers Follies, and Cirque du Soleil's Dralion. As a special events director, Steven directed the 1996 Coca-Cola Ceremonies honoring the International Olympic Council and The World Cup Opening Ceremonies produced by Radio City Music Hall. Co-founder of New York's "Curtain Line For Kids," providing master classes and workshop opportunities for young actors, Steven is currently the drama director at Menlo School in Atherton, California.

Alison Levenberg (Choreographer) makes her Muny debut with Billy Elliot. She was most recently the resident choreographer and then subsequent associate choreographer/dance supervisor for the national tour of Billy Elliot. Alison is originally from England where she trained professionally at the Doreen Bird College of performing arts (now Bird College) in London, graduating with distinction. Performance credits include: Broadway: Billy Elliot (dance captain/swing), 42nd Street revival (ensemble). New York: Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rockette). Regional: 3 seasons at Pittsburgh CLO (dance captain); Gershwin's An American in Paris (Janelle); Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. Film: The Producers (Tapping Brown Shirt, Pearl Girl, Little Old Lady), Macy's Day Parade, Regis and Kelly, Martha Stewart Show, E!, All My Children, Dancing With the Stars.

Colin Welford (Music Director) studied at Oxford University, Royal College of Music, University of Miami and Columbia College, in conducting and film composition. Music supervisor: The Lion King (13 companies worldwide), The Who's Tommy (Europe and UK). Music Director: Wicked, Billy Elliot, The English National Ballet. A familiar musical presence in London's West End and on Broadway, Colin also orchestrates for the New York and Boston Pops orchestras, and has recorded extensively as a conductor; from Mahler and Stravinsky with BBC Symphony Orchestra to pop and big-band albums. His original musical Strings Attached plays summer-long at American Folklore Theatre in Wisconsin.


John Tartaglia (Director) returns to The Muny after making his directorial debut with Shrek (2013). He also starred as the Genie in The Muny's Aladdin (2012). He recently directed the world premiere of Because of Winn Dixie, featuring a book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and music by Duncan Sheik. John is known as "Johnny" from Disney's Johnny and the Sprites (nomination, Daytime Emmy award, Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series) on Disney Junior World-wide. John made his Tony® award-nominated Broadway debut in Avenue Q, creating the roles of Princeton and Rod. Broadway credits include Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, and Pinocchio in Shrek the Musical, a role which he originated. John joined PBS's Sesame Street as a puppeteer when 16 years old, where he performed for more than 10 seasons. John is the creative talent behind ImaginOcean, which has enjoyed national and international tours. While off-Broadway at New World Stages, ImaginOcean was nominated for Unique Theatrical Experience by the Drama Desk Awards. It's being developed with the Jim Henson Company for television, utilizing their revolutionary Digital Puppetry Studios system. John is currently resident director for Avenue Q, playing off-Broadway. His Production Company, Gables Grove Productions, is an up-and-coming multi-media family entertainment producer.

Chris Bailey (Choreographer) returns to The Muny after choreographing The Muny's production of West Side Story (2013) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (2012). Chris also choreographed the historic opening number of the 2013 Tony® Awards, and served as assistant choreographer for the 2013 Academy Awards. Chris was the associate choreographer for the Broadway revival of Evita; the Broadway productions of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Promises, Promises and Cry-Baby. In London's West End, Chris was the associate choreographer for Guys and Dolls, Evita, Once in a Lifetime and Candide. Tour credits include Evita, The Wedding Singer (US), Guys and Dolls (UK, Australia) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK).

RICK BERTONE (Music Director) returns to The Muny after music directing Shrek The Musical in 2013. He is currently the music director of Avenue Q at New World Stages in New York City. Broadway/first national tour keyboard and/or conductor credits: Porgy and Bess, Next To Normal, Spamalot, Avenue Q, Chicago, Mamma Mia, Disney's On The Record. Off-Broadway: Avenue Q, Newsical The Musical, Romantic Poetry (Manhattan Theatre Club) and Naked Boys Singing. The Muny: Chicago (Keyboard 1). Select others: The Last Five Years (Berkshire Theatre Festival) and The Midtown Men. Rick is originally from the Chicagoland area and holds a Bachelor of Music from NYU.


Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Director) makes her Muny debut. A highly acclaimed director & choreographer, Marcia was the first woman to direct & choreograph a musical produced by the Kennedy Center and her celebrated 2009 revival of Ragtime moved to Broadway after its sold-out run in Washington, DC (Tony® Award Nomination for Best Director of a Musical, two Drama Desk Award nominations, an Astaire Award nomination and she won the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Resident Musical.) Her concert staging of My Fair Lady starring Jonathan Pryce & Laura Michelle Kelly was presented at the Kennedy Center and at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. Also for the Kennedy Center, Dodge will direct Brian Stokes Mitchell in Camelot In Concert this spring. Regionally, she has directed and choreographed at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Cabaret), Bucks County Playhouse (Really Rosie), Denver Center Theatre Company (Sense & Sensibility The Musical, world-premiere production 2013 and Colorado New Play Summit 2012), Pasadena Playhouse (Under My Skin, world-premiere), Glimmerglass Festival (The Music Man), Bay Street Theatre (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum starring Peter Scolari, Ain't Misbehavin', The Who's Tommy, Once On This Island, Hair, Fit To Print and Sherlock Holmes & The West End Horror, co-written with her husband Anthony Dodge/Edgar Award nomination for Best Play), Reprise Theatre Company (Cabaret, How To Succeed...), Maltz Jupiter Theatre (Hello, Dolly!/Carbonell Award for Direction, Anything Goes/Carbonell Award for Choreography and Master Class). Dodge's off-Broadway credits include Venus Flytrap (The Active Theater), Seussical The Musical (Theatreworks USA/Lortel Award nomination), Cookin', Radio Gals, Maltby & Shire's Closer Than Ever (choreographed original production) and William Finn's Romance In Hard Times (The Public Theater). She has directed many other regional productions, and numerous productions abroad.

Vince Pesce (Choreographer) returns after choreographing The Muny's Shrek The Musical (2013). He currently serves as the director for education for Stages St. Louis. Vince won a TINA Award for his choreography for the off-Broadway production of Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party (Acorn Theatre). He served as Kathleen Marshall's associate choreographer on the Broadway productions of Anything Goes (2011 Tony® Award for Choreography), The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick, Jr. (2006 Tony® Award for Choreography), Wonderful Town (2004 Tony® Award for Choreography), and Little Shop of Horrors. Vince directed and choreographed a tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat, the Mexico City company of Victor/Victoria and choreographed the national and international tours of 'S Wonderful (world premiere), Cinderella starring Lea Salonga, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, andOliver!, as well as Dancing With Abandon for the New York Fringe Festival and the pre-Broadway workshop ofLucky Break directed by John Caird. His television choreography credits include: the HBO special Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed starring Tracey Ullman, Clash of the Choirs starring Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey and Michael Bolton (NBC/Series Choreographer), Grease: You're The One That I Want (NBC/Series Choreographer), Holiday Splendorstarring John Davidson (Disney Channel), The Music Man (Associate Choreographer) starring Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth (ABC/Disney), and Once Upon a Mattress (Associate Choreographer) starring Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman. Other choreography credits include A Funny Thing...Forum and Little Shop of Horrors for Paper Mill Playhouse, as well as Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Carousel Theatre), Grease (Stages St. Louis), Guys and Dolls (American Musical Theatre of San Jose), West Side Story starring Diana DeGarmo (AMTSJ), Flower Drum Song (AMTSJ), and The King & I starring Debby Boone (AMTSJ).

Ben Whiteley (Music Director) music directed The Muny's Spamalot (2013) after serving as music director forPirates! in 2012. Also at The Muny, Ben has music directed Kiss Me, Kate; Beauty and the Beast (twice); Sound of Music (twice); South Pacific; Music Man; Oklahoma! and Meet Me in St. Louis. His Broadway and National Tours include The Addams Family, Spamalot, Cats, The Full Monty, Grand Hotel, Falsettos and Big. Ben's Carnegie Hall credits include Sail Away (with Elaine Stritch), Carnegie Hall Salutes Comden and Green and A Tribute to Alan Jay Lerner. He conducted Damn Yankees for Paper Mill Playhouse and 5th Avenue Theatre. Ben prepared and conducted the chorus for the Sony Classics recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Allegro. For City Center Encores! Series, Ben was the associate conductor and did the choral preparation for more than 20 shows, includingMerrily We Roll Along, Finian's Rainbow and Where's Charley?. Recent concerts include The Three Irish Tenors and Space Philharmonic. TV credits include Boardwalk Empire. Whitely is a frequent guest conductor for the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Program. Ben's most recent work includes the 2013 Madison Square Gardens production of A Christmas Story.


Dan Knechtges (Director/Choreographer) Dan's Broadway credits include Lysistrata Jones (Direction & Choreography), Xanadu (directed by Chris Ashley, Tony® nomination, Drama Desk nomination), Sondheim on Sondheim, 110 in The Shade (starring Audra McDonald) and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee (directed by James Lapine.) His off-Broadway credits also include Lysistrata Jones for the Transport Group, Merrily We Roll Along for Encores!, Vanities and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee at Second Stage, which earned him a Lucille Lortel Award nomination. Other credits include Give It Up! (Dallas Theatre Center), Vanities (Theatreworks Palo Alto), Girl In The Frame (Goodspeed), Guys and Dolls (Playhouse Square Center), Elf (Pioneer Theatre), Boys From Syracuse (Centerstage Baltimore), Godspell (Papermill Playhouse), Oklahoma!, The Wiz, Cats, My Fair Lady, Chalk Circle, Sound of Music, Joseph (Hangar Theatre), Mame, Angel Street, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Surflight Theatre), Don Giovanni (Indianapolis Opera), Carousel, The Merry Widow, West Side Story (Opera Illinois). He also has had the pleasure of working on almost every Gilbert & Sullivan operetta including The Grand Duke, Iolanthe, Ruddigore, The Mikado, Patience, The Gondoliers, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Sorcerer, all with the Blue Hill Troupe in NYC. Dan's film & TV choreography can be seen in the Todd Solondz's movies Dark Horse & Palindromes, Fatboy Slim's music video It's a Wonderful Night, which reached #1 in the U.K., White Collar, and the 2011 TVLand Awards starring Liza Minnelli. Dan holds a BFA in musical theatre from Otterbein College in Westerville, OH and hails from Cleveland, OH. He is also a member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab.


Denis Jones (Director/Choreographer) returns to The Muny after directing the 2013 production of Spamalot, directing and choreographing the 2012 production of Chicago, and choreographing the premiere of Pirates!. He recently choreographed Fifth Avenue's production of Elf. Denis is currently choreographing the new musical Nerds. Other credits include directing Jane Krakowski in The Laziest Gal in Town (Town Hall, NYC), Damn Yankees (Paper Mill Playhouse and 5th Ave theatres), ...Forum and She Loves Me (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Piece of My Heart (NY Stage and Film), Disaster! (Triad, NYC), and LiberTy Smith (Ford's Theatre). Denis was the associate choreographer for Broadway's Legally Blonde and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Other recent projects include Legally Blonde at the North Carolina Theatre and the Broadway-bound Honeymoon in Vegas.

Michael Horsley (Musical Director) music directed the Muny's 2013 production of Mary Poppins, and the 2012 productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He recently finished music directing the national tour of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, which he also music directed in 2012 for the Kennedy Center. In his 20 years with The Muny, some of the shows he has conducted include 42nd Street (1996, 2009), Godspell, White Christmas (2000, 2006), Damn Yankees (1998, 2010), Sleeping Beauty, Singin' in the Rain and many more. National tours include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, Cinderella, Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Among his other regional theatre credits are Roman Holiday at the Guthrie Theatre, White Christmas at Boston's Wang Theatre, Detroit's Fox and Toronto's Sony Center; On A Clear Day You Can See Forever at the Music Theatre of Wichita; Fiddler on the Roof at AMT San Jose; A Chorus Line at the Pioneer Theatre and The Full Monty at North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh.


Rob Ruggiero (Director) returns to The Muny after directing South Pacific (2013) and The King and I (2012). He was recently appointed the artistic director for TheaterWorks in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2012, Rob is currently directing The Other Place for the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, his seventh show for them. He also directed the Rep's acclaimed production of Sunday in the Park with George. His Broadway credits include High (starring Kathleen Turner) and Looped (starring Valerie Harper in a Tony®-nominated performance). Other New York credits include conceiving and directing the original musical revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn (Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award nominations). Regionally, Rob has earned national recognition for his work on both plays and musicals, having received numerous awards including five Connecticut Critics Circle Awards, a Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago, and has the distinction of being the only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards. He conceived and directed the world premiere musical portrait of Ella Fitzgerald entitledElla. He recently directed a production of Carousel at Goodspeed Musicals in CT, where he has also directed productions of 1776, Big River, Camelot, Annie Get Your Gun and Show Boat.

Brad Haak (Music Director) returns to The Muny after music directing the 2013 production of South Pacific, The King and I (2012) and Gypsy (2006). Brad's credits include music director and conductor for Mary Poppins on Broadway, music direction and arrangements for Elton John's Lestat, music direction for Chance and Chemistry - 100 Years of Frank Loesser (featuring Sir Paul McCartney) and orchestrations for Children and Art - A 75th Birthday Celebration of Stephen Sondheim. Brad was the pianist for Broadway's The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He also served as assistant conductor for the first national tour of Disney's The Lion King. He was the music supervisor and orchestrator for composer Paul Gordon's Jane Eyre in Tokyo, Daddy Long Legs (15 US productions as well as Manitoba, Canada, London and Tokyo); Jane Austen's Emma (Old Globe in San Diego, and Arizona Theatre Company) and Little Miss Scrooge, which premiered at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, CA. Other international credits include Honk! in Singapore and Manila, the Philippines. Recent regional credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's acclaimed productions of Follies (Jefferson Award for Music Direction) and Sunday in the Park With George. Brad is a graduate of Northwestern University, and a native of Chicago.


The Muny will be presenting the national tour of The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess(July 7-13), directed by Diane Paulus, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, and music directed by Dale Rieling.

Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy

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