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Cast Announced for RIDE THE CYCLONE DC Premiere at Arena Stage

Cast Announced for RIDE THE CYCLONE DC Premiere at Arena Stage

This quirky, edgy cult musical by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell delivers surprises at every turn as it follows six teen chamber choir singers.

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announced the cast for the D.C. premiere of Ride the Cyclone. Arena Stage's Kreeger Theater will be transformed into somewhere between earth and-well, not earth-when Ride the Cyclone plays from January 13 - February 19, 2023. For information and tickets, please visit arenastage.org/cyclone.

This quirky, edgy cult musical by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell delivers surprises at every turn as it follows six teen chamber choir singers, whose lives are cut short in a freak roller coaster accident. Stuck in the afterlife, a mechanical fortuneteller gives them a chance to sing their way back to earth. Part comedy, part tragedy, and wholly enchanting, Ride the Cyclone shines a light on the resilience of the human spirit, and reminds us of how great it is to be alive.

The Arena Stage production is in partnership with Princeton University's McCarter Theatre Center, where it played to critical and audience acclaim in spring 2022. Ride the Cyclone had its world premiere in Victoria, B.C. in 2008, followed by its U.S. premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in 2015 and a hit Off-Broadway production by MCC Theatre in 2016. The Washington, D.C., premiere will see several of the McCarter run's cast and creative team return, including McCarter's artistic director, Sarah Rasmussen, who will reprise her role as director.

"I am extremely excited to collaborate with Arena on Ride the Cyclone," said Rasmussen. "As with any piece of theater, the team continues to make new discoveries, and I can't wait to see them brought to life for Arena Stage patrons by this wildly imaginative creative team."

"Ride the Cyclone starts with tragic loss but ends with the audience feeling alive," said Smith. "Already a cult hit, people are addicted to the music and originality of the story. The piece has continued to grow over the years, and with every production, something new has been learned. We look forward to bringing the most current iteration to Arena, and I know Sarah's direction will keep us glued to the roller coaster as we sing along."

This will be Rasmussen's second time in Arena's Kreeger Theater, having served as associate director on the pre-Broadway world premiere of A Time to Kill during Arena's 2010/2011 Season-the first after the opening of the Mead Center for American Theater.

"Ride the Cyclone feels really relevant in this time," said Rasmussen. "At its heart it asks: 'When life goes off the rails, what really matters?' The last few years have been very difficult, and our collective grief and loss is real. I hope this project honors our own agency in also seeing the good around us, what we might be grateful for, and how that might shift how we see ourselves and each other."

"This was written in 2008 and we are thrilled that in 2023 a younger generation is attracted to this musical," said playwright Jacob Richmond. "We have been interested in exploring changes that continue its journey as a theatre piece, and look forward to the production."

"In some ways, Ride the Cyclone reminds me of my favorite play Our Town," mused Rasmussen, "asking if we really realize life while we are living it. Musicals invite us to feel more alive, giving us a little more energy and magic to take back into the world. This is a full circle moment for me; to not just return as director to a place that inspired me so much, but to bring my own kids there as well!"

Joining from the McCarter staging and making their Arena Stage debuts are Ashlyn Maddox (New York City Center's Parade), Nick Martinez (Kennedy Center's The Who's Tommy), Eli Mayer (The Muny's Footloose), and Matthew Boyd Snyder (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory National Tour). Also making their Arena Stage debuts are Gabrielle Dominique (Jungle Theater's Ride the Cyclone), Marc Geller (Hanover Theatre's A Christmas Carol), Shinah Hey (Guthrie's The Music Man), Ashley D. Nguyen (Olney Theatre's Dance Nation), and Wood Van Meter (Shakespeare Theatre's Kiss Me, Kate).

The creative team also includes Music Supervisor Mark Christine, Music Director Nick Wilders, Set Designer Scott Davis, Costume Designer Trevor Bowen, Lighting Designer Jiyoun Chang, Sound Designer André Pluess, Projection Designer Katherine Freer, Hair, Wig and Makeup Designer J. Jared Janas, Associate Director Tiger Brown, Casting Director Stewart/Whitley, Stage Manager Rachael Danielle Albert, and Assistant Stage Manager Alison Cote.

CAST BIOGRAPHIES (In alphabetical order)

Gabrielle Dominique

(Constance Blackwood) is thrilled to be making her Arena debut! A South Minneapolis native, Gabrielle graduated from St. Olaf College where she earned her B.A. in Dance & Theatre. She has worked with the Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, and the Children's Theatre Company, among others. When she isn't kicking up her heels onstage, she enjoys choreographing and teaching dance.

Marc Geller

(The Amazing Karnak) is very happy to be making his Arena Stage debut. He can currently be seen as Kier Eagan in the Apple TV+ series Severance and as Ragged Man in the upcoming A24 film A Different Man with Sebastian Stan. Stage credits include: Herr Schultz in Cabaret, The Ghost of Marley in A Christmas Carol (for seven years), 13 characters in Baskerville, Ned Weeks in The Normal Heart, Ira in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Joshua/Cathy in Cloud 9, Isaac in Disgraced, Nicodemus/Lady Enid in The Mystery of Irma Vep, Roberto Miranda in Death and the Maiden, and Doc in West Side Story. Other recent television appearances include: Katy Keene, Russian Doll, The Onion, The Knick, and The Eric André Show.

Shinah Hey

(Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg) is making her Arena Stage debut. She was last seen as Ocean at the Jungle Theater. Some other credits include The Kennedy Center: Me... Jane national tour (Jane Goodall), Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play national tour (Piggie); Guthrie Theater: The Music Man (Zaneeta Shinn); Chanhassen Dinner Theater: Footloose (Rusty), Grease (Frenchy, Sandy u/s), Holiday Inn (Ensemble / Lila Dixon u/s); Theater Latté Da: Assassins (Squeaky Fromme), Gypsy (Dainty June and Agnes), Into the Woods (Little Red and Lucinda); Artistry: Little Women (Amy / Jo u/s). Sending all of her love to Andy and Jane. IG: @ShinahHey

Ashlyn Maddox

(Jane Doe) is so thrilled to be riding The Cyclone again and making her Arena Stage debut. Most recently, she performed in New York City Center's Parade as a Factory Girl. Regional credits include Ride the Cyclone (McCarter) and Jerome Robbins' Broadway (Theatre Under the Stars). She would like to thank her family, friends, MT20, Kaitlin and Jim, Stewart/Whitley, and Rochel Saks for their unwavering love and support. Ashlyn received her BFA in Musical Theatre at TXST - eat 'em up! Proverbs 16:9. IG: @shlynmaddox

Nick Martinez

(Noel Gruber) is so excited to be making his Arena debut as he returns to this production of Ride the Cyclone, seen at McCarter last spring. Past credits include Anne of Green Gables at Goodspeed Opera House (Moody Macpherson), The Who's Tommy at The Kennedy Center (Pinball Lad 1 / Ensemble), Grease at The REV (Doody), Bat Out of Hell at NY City Center (Swing, Tink u/s), Newsies at John W. Engeman Theater (Crutchie). Elon University BFA. Thank you to my incredible team at DGRW and all my love to my family: Mom, Dad, Sofia, Aamir, and baby Kiyan. Follow @neeneemartin!

Eli Mayer

(Mischa Bachinski / Dance Captain) is so excited to be returning to Ride the Cyclone! His previous credits include Mischa in Ride the Cyclone (McCarter Theatre), Footloose (Muny), Indian Summer (Bay Street), and The Royal Family of Broadway (Barrington Stage). He is originally from Acton, MA. He would like to extend his affections to his family, friends, Stewart/Whitley, and his wonderful manager, Rochel Saks. He holds a BFA from CCM. IG: @elimayermaynot. Слава Украинe. героям слава.

Ashley D. Nguyen

(Swing) is ecstatic to be making her Arena Stage debut. Previous credits include: Olney Theatre Center: Dance Nation (Zuzu); The Kennedy Center TYA: The Day You Begin (Min, world premiere); Keegan Theatre: Shakespeare in Love (Viola de Lesseps); Creative Cauldron: Into the Woods (Little Red); Studio Theatre: White Pearl (Ruki Minami u/s - U.S. premiere); Catholic University: A Little Night Music (Fredrika Armfeldt), The Wolves (#8). EDUCATION: BM in Musical Theatre from Catholic University. IG: @ashley.d.nguyen

Matthew Boyd Snyder

(Ricky Potts) is thrilled for his debut at Arena Stage for Ride the Cyclone. He most recently served as Understudy/Swing for the same title at Princeton University's McCarter Theatre. Earlier in 2022, he concluded his role as Mike Teavee (2019-2022) with the North American tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Regional credits include Saturday Night Fever (Bobby), In the Heights (Sonny), Rock of Ages (Franz), and Sister Act (Pablo). He is immensely grateful to the RTC creative team and Stewart/Whitley for this wonderful opportunity. Deep love to the audience as well as his family, friends, and mentors. IG: @matthewsnyder101

Wood Van Meter

(Swing) is thrilled to be making his Arena Stage debut with Cyclone! D.C. credits include West Side Story, Shear Madness (Kennedy Center); Kiss Me, Kate (STC); Silence! The Musical (Studio); Singin' in the Rain (NextStop Theatre); Joseph...Dreamcoat (Helen Hayes nomination, Toby's Dinner Theatre); The Whale (Rep Stage); and other performances at Signature Theatre, MetroStage, Imagination Stage, Olney Theatre, and Washington Stage Guild. Regional favorites include Forever Plaid (Pittsburgh CLO), Ragtime, Rent (Nashville Rep), Gypsy (Hangar Theatre), and Camelot (TheatreZone). Thankful for his incredible support system-especially his fiancé Bruce. Enjoy the ride! @WoodVanMeter

For full company biographies, please visit arenastage.org/cyclone.



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