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Casting Announced For Family Favorite 'MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS' At TUTS, Runs 9/29 - 10/11

Theatre Under The Stars' debut production of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS brings a brilliantly talented cast to the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts September 29 - October 11, 2009. Based on the beloved movie musical, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS features such time-honored favorites as "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door," and the classic "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Travel back to turn of the century St. Louis, where the streets buzz with trolley cars, and the people hum with anticipation for the 1904 World's Fair. Follow the Smith family through a year of trials and triumphs. This nostalgically romantic production captures the exuberance and innocence of the time in an utterly entertaining experience the whole family will enjoy.

New to the TUTS stage, Anneliese van der Pol fills the leading role of Esther Smith, the second eldest Smith sister made famous by Judy Garland in the MGM classic film. Van der Pol is known for her character Chelsea Daniels in the Disney Channel Original Series That's So Raven, a role that developed a large fan base among young audiences. Van der Pol has recorded several songs for The Walt Disney Company and was most recently seen on Broadway as "Belle" in Beauty and The Beast. Opposite van der Pol is Barrymore Award winning actor Brian Hissong in the role of John Truitt, the "boy next door."

Completing the cast of Smith sisters are 8-year old Houston local, Jacqueline Touchet as Tootie and 11-year old Houston local, Abigail Moorhead as Agnes. Both Moorhead and Touchet are Academy Students at the TUTS Humphreys School of Musical Theatre. Julia Osborne appears as the eldest Smith sister, Rose, a role she has also performed with the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Appearing as Mrs. Smith is gifted soprano Lynne Wintersteller who graced the TUTS stage in 110 In The Shade, and starred as "Kate" in TUTS production of Kiss Me, Kate. Wintersteller appeared in the original production of Maltby and Shire's hit Off-Broadway musical Closer Than Ever, earning a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Joseph Kolinski takes the stage as Mr. Smith alongside Broadway veteran J.B. Adams, as Grandpa, Zach Frank as Lon, Colin Israel as Warren and Patti Mariano who appears as Katie.

Rounding out the cast are Houston natives Kristin Warren, Sydney Crofton and Tomball resident Monica Bradley, Sam Houston students Monica Brown and Kristina Kee, as well as New York resident and native Houstonian Barry Busby, who is a former Tommy Tune Awards participant. Also in the ensemble are Ashley Arcement, Tommy Berklund, Elliott Bradley, Monica Bradley, Alicia Charles, Dana Domenick, Tony Neidenbach, Dennis O'Bannion, Ed Romanoff, Dani Spieler, Kristin Warren, and Dru Peacock Wiser.

The set of Meet Me In St. Louis includes a life-sized electric Trolley constructed at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, where show Director, Mark Hoebee, serves as Artistic Director. On Broadway, Hoebee directed the Actors Fund Benefit concert of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas which starred Emily Skinner, Terrence Mann and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson. He has directed National Tours of Victor/Victoria starring Grammy winner Toni Tennille, Dreamgirls starring Frenchie Davis, Almost Like Being in Love: An Evening of Lerner and Lowe starring Diahann Carroll and Company. Hoebee made his Network television debut as choreographer for the highly rated CBS show Touched by an Angel. Acting as Choreographer for the TUTS production of Meet Me In St. Louis is Denis Jones, whose credits include Broadway concerts of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, On the Twentieth Century and A Wonderful Life as well as choreographing The Kennedy Center Honors (CBS), Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Bravo), and Rosie Live (NBC). Also among the creative team are Music Director; Jeff Rizzo, Lighting Designer; Richard Winkler, Sound Designer; Kit Bond and Costume Designer; Thom Heyer.

Tickets (starting at $24) are available on-line at, by phone at (713) 558-8887, outside the Houston area at (888) 558-3882, or in person at the Theatre Under The Stars Box Office, (800 Bagby at Walker, Mon-Fri 10a.m.-6p.m, Sat-Sun 11a.m.-4p.m.) An audio described performance is available Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 2 p.m.; open captioning Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 7:30p.m. The Hobby Center is wheelchair accessible. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more and may be purchased by calling (713) 558-8888 or via email at

Meet Me in St. Louis is sponsored by Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, LLP. For all of Theatre Under The Stars' 2009-2010 shows, air transportation is provided by Continental Airlines, the official airline of Theatre Under The Stars. Additional support is provided by St. Luke's Episcopal Health System, the official Healthcare Partner of Theatre Under The Stars. Media sponsors include ABC-13 and Houston Chronicle. Season support is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Theater District Association and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Founded in 1968, Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston's acclaimed non-profit musical theatre company and is currently under the direction of President and CEO John C. Breckenridge. TUTS was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public in 1968 at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, and is the only Houston arts organization that has performed there free to the public every year since the building opened. Since its founding by Frank M. Young, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premieres such as Kopit and Yeston's Phantom, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde, and Irving Berlin's White Christmas. TUTS has also produced international tours including Debbie Reynolds in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Juliet Prowse in Mame, Robert Goulet in Man of La Mancha, as well as critically acclaimed local re-inventions of classics such as Cabaret and Les Miserables. As a way to continue the tradition of musical theatre, TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre provides instruction and stage experience for more than 1,700 students annually through both The Academy and The Studio, which allow students to flourish in a year-round schedule of classes. Housed in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.

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