Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXES

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXES

Helen Olaketi Mariah Shute-Pettaway, a 2011 First Night Honoree and one of Nashville's most revered actresses, will take on the iconic role of Regina Giddens in the ACT 1 production of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes. Directed by 2014 First Night Honoree Jeffrey Ellis, senior contributing editor for, The Little Foxes runs at Darkhorse Theatre May 4-19.

Starring opposite Shute-Pettaway in the role of Regina's beleaguered and deathly ill husband Horace Giddens is television presenter Rob Wilds, perhaps best known for his appearances on Nashville PBS affiliate WNPT's long-running Tennessee Crossroads series.

Shute-Pettaway and Wilds head a company comprised of local stage veterans and newcomers to bring Hellman's play to life. Most recently seen on Broadway in the 2016-17 season in a production starring Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon and Nashville's own David Alford (as "the gentleman from Chicago," Mr. Marshall), The Little Foxes is considered by many to be one of the best plays of the 20th century.

Set in a small Alabama town in 1900, some 35 years after the end of the Civil War, The Little Foxes weaves a tale of avarice and greed among a decaying Southern family, battling society and one another for their continued control of the town's economy and a place of prominence among the town's better families amid changing times and the oncoming rush of the 20th century. Legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead created the role of Regina Giddens in the original Broadway production in 1939 and subsequently the play was made into a much beloved film starring Bette Davis is 1941.

In what is perhaps known as the play's most memorable and spine-tingling scene, Regina and Horace battle over control of their family money, ending with Regina's pronouncement to a dying Horace that "I hope you die. I hope you die soon. I will be waiting for you to die."

Joining Shute-Pettaway and Wilds onstage for The Little Foxes are Rachel Woods as Alexandra Giddens; Gregory Williams Welch as Ben Hubbard; Craig Hartline as Oscar Hubbard; Caroline Davis as Birdie Hubbard; Austin Jeffrey Smith as Leo Hubbard; Brooke Leigh Davis as Addie; Giovanni Galeano as Cal; and Josh Kiev as Mr. Marshall.

Ellis leads a creative team that includes Andie Sanders and Harrison Williams as producers. Sara Kistner is production stage manager, with Jeremy Stemen as scenic designer, Lisa Casteel McLaurin as costume designer and Emily Daigneault as properties designer.

About the cast

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESHelen Olaketi Mariah Shute-Pettaway (Regina Giddens) is thrilled to return to the boards; having missed sharing life stories alongside her theatre family. Bitten by the bug as a child, her training began at the renowned Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her professional training at Carnegie- Mellon University. Teaching, acting and directing experiences in New York, Pittsburgh, California and Nashville has fueled her passion. Some representative roles include Seductress in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at La Mama ETC, Sojourner Truth in A Woman Called Truth at Nashville Children's Theatre, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Lady Macbeth and Titania in Midsummer Night's Dream, with Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Calpurnia in To Kill a Mockingbird with Nashville Repertory Theatre (known then as Tennessee Repertory Theatre). A lovely piece holding a special place in her heart is a two woman show entitled We Say of Ourselves, a poetic work of beauty with Helen and Denice Hicks. Taking this journey with this lovely ensemble is a blessing indeed...grateful, loving, light filled, Aseoooooo! Thank you!

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESRob Wilds (Horace Giddens) is an actor, producer, performer and director who has appeared in more than 50 stage productions, and in numerous films and commercials during his career. He has been fortunate to work with many wonderful actors, directors and technical craftspeople, including the ones who have brought The Little Foxes to life. Rob is also a college teacher and a television producer/reporter who appears regularly on the PBS program Tennessee Crossroads.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESRachel Woods (Alexandra Giddens) is thrilled to be a part of this formidable cast and crew! Favorite credits include: Thyona (Big Love), Eileen (Uncanny) and Tamara (The Royal Society of Antarctica; Midwinter). She holds a B.S. in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville and has also trained at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, the American Theatre Wing and Shakespeare's Globe. She would like to thank her family for being absolutely nothing like the Giddens.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESGregory Williams Welch (Ben Hubbard) has had the pleasure of working with ACT 1, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Dharma Road, Groundworks Theater, and at the cutting-edge Actors' Playhouse, where he was a board member and a supervising producer/director from 1991-1995. He also starred in Y&K Productions' one-man show American Borders. Most recently, Greg played Ol' Cap'n Cotchipee in the Manna Dinner Theater production of Purlie. He has appeared on screen in Still the King and the feature films Chasing Ghosts with Tim Meadows and Little Chenier working with Clifton Collins, Jr., Jonathan Schaech and Chris Mulkey among others.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESCraig Hartline (Oscar Hubbard) is very happy to be working with Jeffery Ellis again, after his direction of South Pacific at The Keeton Theatre. Craig's past roles includes Uncle Billy in A Wonderful Life at Chaffin's Barn; Captain Bracket in South Pacific at The Larry Keeton Theatre; Captain Moore in A Soldiers Play and many more. Craig wishes to thank his family and friends for their support in his pursuit of his love of theatre.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESCaroline Davis (Birdie Hubbard) has performed with various local theatre groups, on occasion as an ice skater, a monkey, a geisha, a Marx Brother, a shepherdess (twice) and a dead person (thrice). Favorite roles include Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst; Amanda in Private Lives; Rose in Enchanted April; Olivia in Mr. Pim Passes By; and the title roles of Sylvia and Lady Frederick. She has also sung in three Nashville Opera productions. An alumna of Leadership Music, she is co-coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America's Middle Tennessee Region.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESAustin Jeffrey Smith (Leo Hubbard) is a 2016 college graduate from Cumberland University with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance. Since graduation he has appeared in; Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cabaret, Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Big River and South Pacific at The Larry Keeton Theatre. He would like to thank his family for their never-ending support, and you the audience for supporting local theater and the arts!

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESBrooke Leigh Davis (Addie) As a performer whose first love is opera, Brooke is a member of the Nashville Opera Chorus and has appeared in productions of La Boheme, Turandot, The Difficulty of Crossing A Field and Maria de Buenos Aires. After a short break, Brooke returned to the stage for appearances in Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, Godspell and Nunsense. Some of her favorite roles include Bloody Mary (South Pacific) and Caroline (Caroline, or Change).

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESGiovanni Galeano (Cal) began theatre in 2013 by taking classes at El Camino College in Torrance, California, where he grew up. While at El Camino, he participated in a few of their productions, with his first being a one-act entitled H.R. Other productions he was involved include Six Characters in Search of an Author, Electricidad, Shakespeare's As You Like It, The Laramie Project and several one act plays. He was assistant state manager for the production of Bye Bye Birdie and has had some experience in directing.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESJosh Kiev (Mr. Marshall) is currently pursuing a BFA in Performance from Belmont University. He recently appeared in the Belmont production of Sense and Sensibility as Sir John Middleton. His other credits include the Belmont/Actor's Bridge production of The Amish Project, where he received a KCACTF 2017 Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nomination in the show for his performance as (Aaron Yoder). He has also worked with local company, Woven Theatre, doing voice over work for their inaugural show, Giant Squid, and as (Paul Paton) in Uncanny. Some of his other credits at Belmont include A Streetcar Named Desire (Mitch), Our Town (Doc Gibbs) and as Vershinin with Belmont/Verge Theater in their production of Three Sisters, a translation by Sarah Ruhl. He also holds a Psychology degree from Brown University, as well as a culinary degree from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. He is very excited to be working with ACT1.

Shute-Pettaway, Wilds Head Cast of ACT 1's Upcoming Production of THE LITTLE FOXESJeffrey Ellis (director) is senior contributing editor for and is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic. He has covered the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 40 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. For Circle Players, Ellis (a former president of the company's board of directors) directed the Nashville premieres of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show and William Inge's Picnic. Ellis directed Company for ACT 1 and was honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror in the same year. In 2015, Ellis directed Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals at The Darkhorse Theater. For The Larry Keeton Theatre in Donelson, Ellis has directed The Miss Firecracker Contest, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Daddy's Dyin'...Who's Got the Will?, South Pacific and The Winter Wonderettes.

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