Steve Isom, Maria Knasel & More to Lead COCA's SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS

COCA recently announced the cast and production team for its upcoming production of Swallows and Amazons. The cast includes professional St. Louis actors Steve Isom (AEA), Maria Knasel (AEA), Taylor Pietz and Pete Winfrey, as well as members of the COCA Theatre Company (CTC).

Isom is a well-known St. Louis actor, seen recently as Paul in the world premiere of Day of the Dog at the St. Louis Actors' Studio. He has also performed numerous roles at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, STAGES St. Louis, Upstream Theater, The Temporary Theatre, HotCity Theatre and The Muny.

Knasel recently performed the role of Angela Robson in the Broadway National Tour of Billy Elliot and the role of Susan Waverly in the National Tour of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. She has also been seen onstage at The Muny, the Fox Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and The Sheldon Concert Hall.

Pietz is a St. Louis native who has worked with numerous professional companies in the area including STAGES St. Louis and New Line Theatre, where she played the role of CarilAnn Fugate in the world premiere of the rock musical Love Kills, for which she was named "Best Actress in a Musical" by the RFT in 2010.

Winfrey was most recently seen as Leo Frank in Parade with R-S Theatrics and as Curio in Twelfth Night with the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. He has also performed with the Encore! Theatre Group and the St. Louis Black Rep.

"Swallows and Amazons had a long and successful run at the National Theatre of London and really is a tribute to the imagination and creativity of children. COCA's production, for which we've secured a phenomenal cast along with an outstanding artistic team, promises to bring to life the playwright's creative vision beautifully," said Shawna Flanigan, who curated the COCA Presents season and serves as the Director of Arts Education at COCA.

Additional cast members include Reagan Austin, Michael Harp, Sarah Koo, Braden Phillips, Julia Schweizer and Shannon Walsh.

Swallows and Amazons is directed by Alec Wild (SDC) and Shanara Gabrielle (AEA, SAG-AFTRA), with musical direction by NeAl Richardson. The production also features musical arrangements by Steve Neale, movement direction by Jef Awada, set design by Robert Mark Morgan, lighting design by Maureen Berry, costume design by Garth Dunbar, stage management by Sarah Luedloff and casting by Carrie Houk (CSA).

The show, based on the novel by Arthur Ransome and adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson with songs by Neil Hannon, is part of both the COCA Presents and the COCA Theatre Company (CTC) 2013-2014 seasons.

An action-packed musical adventure for the whole family, Swallows and Amazons recalls an idyllic era of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination. The story follows the Walker and Blackett children as they "set sail" on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies - all before their summer vacation ends. Swallows and Amazons is recommended for ages 5 and up.

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