Shonica Gooden, Matt Bogart, Jenni Barber Announced for Music Theatre Wichita's 2018 Season

By: May. 29, 2018
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Shonica Gooden, Matt Bogart, Jenni Barber Announced for Music Theatre Wichita's 2018 Season

Casting is announced today for Music Theatre Wichita's 47th Season, which includes including Sister Act, Guys and Dolls, Disney's Freaky Friday, Pippin, and Disney's The Little Mermaid.

Broadway personalities Shonica Gooden, Matt Bogart, Jenni Barber, Kim Huber, Debra M. Walton, Kristine Reese, Nicholas F. Saverine, Elliott Mattox, Edward Watts, and Katie Banks-Todd are featured throughout the season, guided by artistic teams including Mark Madama, Robert Hartwell, Mara Newbery Greer, Brian J. Marcum, Al Blackstone, Linda Goodrich, and producing artistic director Wayne Bryan, in his 31st year at the helm of the organization.

With large casts and full orchestras, the five-show season runs from June 13 through August 18 in the 2100-seat Century II Concert Hall, with the first four productions each playing 7 performances, and the season finale The Little Mermaid running 10 performances. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, visit

Musical director Thomas W. Douglas returns for all five productions, along with associate Chuck Koslowske. Other key artistic personnel include scenic designers J Branson and Adam Koch, costume designers Leon Dobkowski and Dixon Reynolds, lighting designer David Neville, sound designer David Muehl, production manager Mitchell Southerland, and producing associate Nancy Reeves.

Season opener Sister Act, based on the hit Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith comedy film, stars Shonica Gooden (Hamilton, Cats, Cinderella, Bring It On) as Deloris Van Cartier, squaring off against Katie Banks-Todd (Phantom of the Opera) as Mother Superior. Also featured are Kolby Kindle (Book of Mormon First National Tour) as Curtis Jackson, Lawrence Cummings (Camelot, Jesus Christ Superstar National Tours) as Eddie Souther, and Nicholas F. Saverine (Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera) as Monsignor O'Hara. The show runs June 13-17, directed by Mark Madama (University of Michigan) and choreographed by Robert Hartwell (Hello, Dolly!¸ The Broadway Collective).

The classic musical Guys and Dolls returns June 27-July 1, directed by Mark Madama and choreographed by Mara Newbery Greer (A Christmas Story). Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys, Aida) stars as Sky Masterson, opposite leading lady Kerry Conte (White Christmas National Tour, MTWichita's Carousel in Concert) as Sister Sarah Brown, with co-stars Jenni Barber (Wicked, Sunday in the Park with George) as Miss Adelaide, and Monte Riegel Wheeler (The "It" Girl) as Nathan Detroit. Renowned Broadway caricaturist Justin "Squigs" Robertson plays Nicely-Nicely Johnson, alongside Nicholas F. Saverine as Arvide and Betti O. as General Cartwright.

Disney's new musical version of Freaky Friday (July 11-15) features Kim Huber (Beauty and the Beast, Sunset Boulevard) and Chelsea Lynn Alfredo (Annie National tour) as the mother/daughter pair who switch bodies for one crazy day. This Wichita premiere is directed by Wayne Bryan and choreographed by Brian J. Marcum (Broadway's Elf, MTWichita's Newsies, Mamma Mia!), and features an innovative multimedia theatrical environment, including scenic design by J Branson, digital imagery by Michael Commendatore, and costumes by Dixon Reynolds.

Pippin (July 25-29) was previously presented at MTWichita in 1978, in a faithful reproduction of the original staging by director-choreographer Bob Fosse. This new production reflects changes made by composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz for the 2013 Tony winning Broadway revival, including a highly athletic cirque-themed approach, with sets, costumes, and two performers from the National Tour, Skyler Adams (National Tour of Waitress, MTWichita's Hunchback of Notre Dame, Catch Me If You Can) as Pippin, and Kristine Reese (Les Misérables) as Catherine. Also starring are Debra M. Walton (The Pajama Game) as Leading Player, Kimberly Fauré (Cats, Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Fastrada, Jeffrey Coon as Charlemagne, and Karen L. Robu as Berthe. Al Blackstone ("So You Think You Can Dance," The View from Upstairs, MTWichita's Oklahoma!, Hairspray) is creating all-new choreography, and co-directs the show with Wayne Bryan.

Disney's The Little Mermaid concludes the season August 8-18, directed and choreographed by Linda Goodrich (MTWichita's Singin' in the Rain, Seussical), featuring scenic design by J Branson and costumes by Leon Dobkowski. Two resident company members take leading roles in their debut season with MTWichita: Tatum Ludlam (University of Oklahoma) as Ariel and Jake Smith (Elon University) as Prince Eric. Returning to roles they previously portrayed at MTWichita are Lawrence Cummings as Sebastian, Karen L. Robu as Ursula, and Timothy W. Robu as Grimsby. Completing the principals are Broadway veterans Edward Watts (Scandalous, Finian's Rainbow) as King Triton and Elliot Mattox (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Scuttle.

Single tickets for all shows are on sale now. Additional information can be found at or by calling 316.265.3107. Music Theatre Wichita offices and Concert Hall are located at Century II Performing Arts Center, 225 W. Douglas, Wichita, KS, 67202.

About Music Theatre Wichita - Founded in 1972, MTWichita is internationally recognized for self-producing five high-quality Broadway-scale productions each summer during an intense 10-week period, while providing unparalleled learning experiences for young up-and-coming artists. It has been the site for the world premiere of the revised Good News!, the U.S. premiere of Betty Blue Eyes, and the regional premieres of such Disney titles as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, and High School Musical. MTWichita has also created cast albums for Honk! and Good News!

Notable artists who began their theatrical careers in Wichita include performers Kelli O'Hara, Kristin Chenoweth, Matt Bogart, Jenni Barber, Christiani Pitts, Chris Mann, and 2018 Tony nominee Ashley Park, as well as choreographers Andrew Palermo, Josh Rhodes, Josh Prince, Sara Edwards, Dontee Kiehn and Nicholas Palmquist. MTWichita alumni performing on Broadway this season include Caesar Samayoa, Shina Ann Morris, Jeremy Davis, Riza Takahashi, Cory Lingner, Sasha Hutchings, Halli Toland, Max Clayton, Erin Clemons, Ryan Vasquez, Molly Rushing, Jacob Gutierrez, Cameron Hill, Michael Hartung, Becca Petersen, Wes Hart, Lauralyn Mcclelland, Gilbert L. Bailey II, Alex Finke, Kevin Munhall, Kathryn Boswell, Alex Michael Stoll, Kaleigh Cronin, Benjamin Rivera, Kimberly Elayne Sprawl, Max Kumangai, Ximone Rose, and many more.