Chasing Rainbows Cast and Creative Team
PIPER BIRNEY (Young Virginia Gumm) is beyond excited to have the opportunity to be part of this amazing show, right here at home, in Connecticut. This is Piper’s Goodspeed debut. National Tour: How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2013 (Cindy Lou Who). Regional: North Shore Music Theatre’s Annie (Kate) and Billy Elliot (Alison Summers). Television: The Leftovers. Many thanks to Cathryn Kenzel, Cheryl Myers and Academy of Dance and Music, Joe Tinari, and Nancy Carson. Sending love and thanks to family, friends, and teachers for all of their support.
ELLA BRIGGS (Baby Frances Gumm) Ella is delighted to be returning to the beautiful Goodspeed Opera House after playing Zuzu in last season’s A Wonderful Life. Other favorite roles include The Wizard of Oz (Mayor of Munchkin City), Oliver! (Orphan), The Addams Family (Ancestor), and Beauty and the Beast (Chip). Deepest gratitude to Kate Cavenagh D’Onofrio, Anthony Pandolfe, Ya Ya, Bi Bi, YPCCA, and big sister Riley (her partner in creative adventures). Thank you to the cast, the creative team, and the entire the Goodspeed staff for this amazing opportunity.
KEVIN EARLEY* (Frank Gumm) is thrilled to be back at Goodspeed (Annie Get Your Gun) after finishing Josephine, A New Musical at ASOLO Rep. Before that, Kevin was at La Mirada Theater in EMPIRE, The Musical, another new piece. Broadway/National Tours: Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and A Tale of Two Cities. Awards: NY Drama Desk Nomination for the title role in Death Takes a Holiday, L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle Award for 1776, Joseph Jefferson Award for Assassins, and four Ovation Nominations for leading roles in Can-Can, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, It Came From Beyond, and Side Show. More at kevinearley.com
LEA MANCARELLA (Shirley Temple), 11 years old, is from Pittsford, NY. 2014 National Tour: A Christmas Story (Mary Beth). Regional: A Christmas Carol (Geva Theatre, Rochester, NY), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Geva Theatre). Feature films: The Shells, Second Story Man. Voice Over: Sesame Street. Numerous TV commercials and community theatre productions. Very grateful to Goodspeed Musicals for this wonderful opportunity. And "oh my goodness" thankful to family, teachers, and friends for the love, the support, and the arts education!
KAREN MASON* (Ma Lawlor, Kay Koverman) Broadway: Wonderland, Hairspray, Mamma Mia! (Drama Desk nomination), Sunset Boulevard (NY, LA), Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Torch Song Trilogy, Play Me A Country Song. Off-Broadway: Unfinished Business (written by Karen Mason & Barry Kleinbort); Kander and Ebb’s And the World Goes Round; Carnival (Drama Desk nomination); Karen Mason Sings Broadway, Beatles and Brian. Regional: Wonderland (Straz PAC,The Alley-Houston), White Christmas (St. Louis Muni Opera, World Premiere), Side by Side… (Coconut Grove Playhouse), Gypsy (Sundance Theatre). CDs: Right Here, Right Now (MAC 2009 CD of the Year); Sweetest of Nights; When The Sun Comes Out; Better Days (1998 Emmy Award); Not So Simply Broadway; Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!. Cabaret Awards: 12 MACs, 3 Bistros, 1 Nightlife Award. TV: Law &Order, Law & Order SVU.
MICHAEL McCORMICK* (L.B. Mayer) Goodspeed: On The Twentieth Century, The Gig. Broadway: Chaplin, Elf, Curtains, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Gypsy (Sam Mendes, director), 1776 (John Adams), Marie Christine, Kiss of the Spider Woman, La Bête, Oliver!. Off-Broadway: Himself and Nora, Fly by Night, Tin Pan Alley Rag, A Man of No Importance, among others. National Tours: La Cage aux Folles, The Producers, Les Misérables. He can be heard on 18 Broadway and Off-Broadway original cast recordings. TV: Braindead, The Good Wife, Gotham, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Elementary, all three Law & Order series. He lives in Connecticut with wife Alison and son Dylan.
GARY MILNER* (George Jessel, Roger Edens) Mary Poppins (Mr.Banks), North Carolina Theatre; Breaking 100 (Bobby), Gene Frankel Theatre; Dr. Zhivago (Kornakov), Broadway Theatre. West End: Mamma Mia (Sam), Pericles, Love Story, Bells Are Ringing (Jeff Moss), The Crucible, A Streetcar Named Desire, Imagine This (Rufus), Parade (Slaton/Britt Craig), Evita (Magaldi), Chicago (Fred Casely). TV: Elementary, Deadbeat, Peter Pan Live, Law & Order SVU, Eastenders, Dr. Who, The Bill, MI5, Murphy’s Law. Film: Time to Pay Off Debts, The Preppie Connection, Outliving Emily, Dead Europe, John Carter of Mars.
RUBY RAKOS* (Frances Gumm/Judy Garland) is thrilled to be making her Goodspeed debut with Chasing Rainbows! Broadway: Billy Elliot (Tracey Atkinson). NYC: Chasing Rainbows (New World Stages). Regional: Chasing Rainbows (Flat Rock Playhouse). Graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan. Huge thanks to Tina Marie and the creative team, NSM, Michelle, Celeste, BAA of NYC, her family, and Scout!
MICHAEL WARTELLA* (Joe Yule/Mickey Rooney) Broadway: Tuck Everlasting (original cast), Wicked (10 Year Anniversary cast). Off-Broadway: Rent (New World Stages), The Kid (The New Group), Seussical (Theaterworks/USA), Oliver Twist (co-production with TFANA, A.R.T, and Berkeley Rep). Regional: Chasing Rainbows (Flat Rock Playhouse), Tuck Everlasting (Alliance Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream and A Prayer for Owen Meany (Denver Center Theatre Company). Film: Mysteries of Laura, Blood Night, Loving Leah. So much love to my amazing family!!!
SALLY WILFERT* (Ethel Gumm) Goodspeed: LMNOP; Caraboo, Princess of Javasu. Broadway: Assassins, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, King David. National Tour: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway: See Rock City, Make Me A Song, The Mistress Cycle, The Prince & The Pauper. Regional: Cincinnati Playhouse, Barrington Stage, Maltz Jupiter, Pittsburgh CLO, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, and FLMTF, in Damn Yankees (Meg); Kiss Me, Kate (Lilli/Kate); The Light in the Piazza (Margaret); Footloose (Ethel); Les Misérables (Madame Thénardier); Amadeus (Constanze); Little Miss Sunshine (World Premiere); to name a few. Recordings: See Rock City, Sweet Little Devil, NYC Christmas, Make Me A Song, Assassins, King David, The Prince & the Pauper. Twitter/Instagram @salgalwilfert
LISSA deGUZMAN (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Goodspeed debut inChasing Rainbows.Previous credits includeFiddler on the Roof(The Muny), Maria inWest Side Story,Ensemble inWizard of Oz,Hodel inFiddler on the Roof (Studio Tenn). Lissa, originally from Wisconsin, loves cookies, fireworks, and socks. She would like to thank her wonderful family and friends for their endless support.lissadeguzman.com
COLBY DEZELICK* (Ensemble) is so excited to be making his debut at The Goodspeed! Previous credits: Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, Grease, Tarzan, West Side Story, and Spamalot (The Muny, Missouri). Colby would like to thank his friends and family and the entire faculty at Rider University for all their love and support! Enjoy the show!
JENNIFER EVANS* (Laura Gilmore, Ensemble) Goodspeed: Carousel, Where's Charley, and Very Good Eddie. Broadway: Ragtime, A Tale of Two Cities. National Tours: Cinderella (Madame), Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, Annie, My Fair Lady, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Ann-Margret, Show Boat (Magnolia). Regional: Music Man (Marion), Oklahoma! (Laurey), Mary Poppins (Winifred Banks), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Dorothy), Romance/Romance (Josefine/Monica), and The Secret Garden (Lily). A BFA from NYU and proud Equity member, Jennifer thanks her mother and Mark.
BERKLEA GOING* (Lana Turner, Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Goodspeed debut! National Tour: White Christmas (Susan Waverly). Regional: Hello, Dolly! (Ermengarde); 42nd Street; Hairspray; Beauty and the Beast; and seven other roles, The MUNY; Fiddler on the Roof, Starlight Theatre; Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), Stages St. Louis. BFA musical theatre student at Indiana University. Much thanks to Chris Bailey for this opportunity and to her family.
CLAIRE GRIFFIN (Young Mary Jane Gumm, Deanna Durbin, Ensemble) is delighted to return to Chasing Rainbows after its Flat Rock Playhouse World Premiere. Credits: National NATS Second Place (Musical Theatre), Regional NATS First Place Female (Classical Voice), youth productions of Bye Bye Birdie (Rose Alvarez) and The Wizard of Oz (Glinda). Much gratitude to her voice teacher and mentor Dr. Kathryn Gresham, Lisa K. Bryant and Dave Hart of the Flat Rock Playhouse, and the CR creative and casting teams. Love to her incredibly supportive family.
JORDANA GROLNICK* (Ensemble) is over the moon to be chasing this rainbow! National Tour: Cinderella. Regional: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Joseph...Dreamcoat, and Shrek at The Muny, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Ogunquit Playhouse. BFA, The University of Michigan. Many thanks to Chris, the Judy Boals ladies, and my ever-supportive family and family of friends. I love you all.
MICHAEL HARTUNG* (Ensemble) is psyched to be making his Goodspeed debut! Originally from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Michael is a New York City-based actor and writer. Training: The University of Michigan, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Favorite credits: NBC’s Peter Pan Live!, The Muny, Barrington Stage, MTW, Gateway Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theater, TUTS. Endless thanks and love to family, friends, CTG, Jason, and this incredible cast and company.
DAN HIGGINS* (Ensemble) World Premiere: Chasing Rainbows (Ensemble/Dance Captain) at Flat Rock Playhouse. National Tours: West Side Story (Diesel, u/s Riff) and Elf: The Musical (Ensemble). Regional Favorites: Mary Poppins (Bert), Singin’ in the Rain (Don Lockwood), and 9 to 5 (Joe). Tokyo Disney Sea: Mystic Rhythms. Dan studied Musical Theatre at Penn State University. He would like to thank the creative team for this incredible opportunity and his family for their love and support.
LUCY HORTON* (Mary Jane Gumm, Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her Goodspeed Musicals debut! Tour:The Bridges of Madison County(Dance Captain, u/s Francesca), Cats(Jellylorum, u/s Grizabella). Regional: Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins(Finger Lakes MTF), Jellylorum inCats(Theatre-By-The-Sea, Gateway Playhouse); My Fair Lady(Ogunquit Playhouse); Grace in Annie(Wagon Wheel Theatre). Thanks Judy Boals, Inc! Love and thanks to Mum, Dad, and Jo. www.lucyhorton.com. Ruti loves Teb!
BRYAN THOMAS HUNT* (Ensemble) Since performing at Goodspeed 2 years ago in Holiday Inn, Bryan has seen Hamilton (twice); traveled to Iceland, where he got a speeding ticket, tasted shark, puffin, and whale; celebrated 4 years with his beautiful girlfriend Kelly (who was in Goodspeed’s Anything Goes); and if you’ve read this far…feel free to come say hi at the stage door! Thanks to this creative team and EVERYONE at Goodspeed for this opportunity. Love ya, Team Hunt. Let’s chase some rainbows!
ANDREA LAXTON* (Virginia Gumm, Ensemble) is excited to make her Goodspeed debut and return to Chasing Rainbows! A proud graduate of Belmont University, Andrea recently opened Frozen: Live as Elsa. Favorite credits: Chasing Rainbows World Premiere (Virginia). Tours: Ghost International & US (Molly u/s), Beauty and the Beast (Belle u/s). “Over the Rainbow” for Dad. Love and thanks to family, friends, Mrs. Halbert, Tina Marie, and David always and always, and husband, Ben, my world. www.AndreaLaxton.com
DANNY LINDGREN* (Ensemble) is happy to be returning to Goodspeed! Favorite regional credits: Will Parker in Oklahoma! (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse), Smokey in Damn Yankees and Jake in The Most Happy Fella (Goodspeed), Nephew Fred in A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre), Clown 2 in The 39 Steps (Cider Mill), Corny Collins in Hairspray (HSRT). BFA Ithaca College. Huge thanks to Tyne, Chris, Tina, Marc, MOF, Michael, Bob, Donna, Paul, TKO, his family, and his beautiful wife Andrea.
JESSE SHARP* (Bill Gilmore, Ensemble) Goodspeed Debut! National and International Tours: The Addams Family (Gomez), Elf (Walter Hobbs), Grease (Vince Fontaine). Regional: Great Expectations - the Musical, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice at Utah Shakespeare Festival; Chicago (Billy Flynn), All Shook Up (Jim Haller), Driving Miss Daisy (Boolie) at Little Theatre on the Square; Lend Me a Tenor (Tito Merelli), Mame (Beau) at SRT; The Hamlet Project (Hamlet/Co-Creator) at Loose Canon Collective. MFA from UC Irvine. Love to my Lexie. JesseSharp.net
JOSEPH FIERBERG (Swing) a West Hartford native, Joseph is overjoyed to be making his Goodspeed debut! National/International tours: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Elf the Musical. Regional: Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Fulton Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse, MSMT, TBTS, Syracuse Stage, and Playhouse on Park. BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. Many thanks to the creative team, the folks at the Goodspeed, my friends, teachers, and, most of all, my family.
ELISE MESTICHELLI (Swing) was born and raised in Mantua, New Jersey and graduated from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance. Some of Elise’s credits include Oklahoma! (Dream Laurey), 42nd Street, Mary Poppins, and West Side Story (Consuelo). She would like to thank Goodspeed for this amazing opportunity and her family, friends, and teachers for their constant support and reminding her to never settle.
MARC ACITO (Book) authored the Broadway musical Allegiance, which NY Newsday recognized for its “well-structured book” and “fully-developed characters.”Acito’s comedy Birds of a Feather won the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play. He won the Ken Kesey Award for his novel How I Paid for College, then adapted it as a one-man musical. Coming up: a musical in Mandarin for Broadway Asia in Beijing; and The Secrets of the Universe (and Other Songs) about the relationship between Albert Einstein and Marian Anderson, part of a trilogy about science and ethics. Proud member of the Dramatists Guild, MENSA and Weight Watchers.
TINA MARIE CASAMENTO LIBBY (Conceiver) Conceived/wrote the treatment for Chasing Rainbows, leading to a development deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. She attended Carnegie Mellon in acting and University of Maryland, College Park as a Creative and Performing Arts scholar. A director, teacher, and actress, she has performed in National Tours and at leading regional theatres. Favorites: Kiss Me, Kate and Victor/Victoria (First National Tours); The Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods, The Witch in Into the Woods, and Trina in Falsettos (Regional). She spent four years as a National Panelist and Chair in Theatre/Musical Theatre for YoungArts. She is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program’s Teacher Recognition Award.
DAVID LIBBY (Musical Adaptations, Arrangements & Original Orchestrations) was Music Director and played the role of Smokey in the Off-Broadway production of Play it Cool, which was nominated by the Outer Critics Circle for Outstanding New Musical. He played keyboards on the National Tours of the 2001 Kiss Me Kate revival and Beauty and the Beast. He has composed music for numerous films, including Mister Green (Best Short Film, London Sci-Fi Festival) and Super Power Blues (commissioned by PBS affiliate WNET in New York), as well as online episodes of Marvel Entertainment's The Incredible Hulk and Spiderman. BA, Bowdoin College. MM Jazz Studies, Rutgers University.
TYNE RAFAELI (Director) Born in London; trained at Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Columbia University. She has directed in London and the US, including Classic Stage Company, New York Stage & Film, Atlantic Theatre, Julliard, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Playwrights Realm, Great Lakes Theatre, American Players Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and PlayPenn. Associate Director on The King and I (Lincoln Center Theatre); Fiddler on the Roof, The Bridges of Madison County, Golden Boy (Broadway); and Women on the Verge (London’s West End). Tyne was awarded the 2013/14 SDCF Sir John Gielgud Fellowship for Classical Direction. Upcoming projects: The Burdens (O’Neill Playwright’s Conference), The Lion in Winter (Two River Theatre), My Fair Lady (Playmakers Rep).
CHRIS BAILEY (Choreographer) Choreographer: The Entertainer with Kenneth Branagh (West End, upcoming), Cyrano de Bergerac (Roundabout), Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory), the Kennedy Center Honors, and the 2013 Tony Awards. Regional credits include Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Tarzan, West Side Story, and Thoroughly Modern Millie (all MUNY); and Dancing Shadows (Seoul Arts Center). Film: Ted 2, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, and A Million Ways to Die in the West. As associate choreographer: Promises, Promises; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Evita; and Cry Baby (all Broadway); and Guys and Dolls, Evita, and Once in a Lifetime (all West End).
MICHAEL O'FLAHERTY (Music Director) is in his 25th season as Goodspeed's Resident Music Director. Broadway: By Jeeves, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, A Streetcar Named Desire. Also: Paper Mill Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Ford's Theatre, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Kennedy Center, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and the Smithsonian Institution. Musical Supervisor and Cabaret Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival for 11 years. His original musical, Genesius, for which he wrote music and lyrics, was recently showcased in NYC.
KRISTEN ROBINSON (Scenic Design) is an NYC-based set designer. Her work ranges from site-specific installations to outdoor Shakespeare. Her design for Westport Country Playhouse’s Nora has been featured in Chance magazine, and her design for Rapture Blister Burn won the 2015 Barrymore Award for Best Set Design. A Princess Grace Fellow, she holds her MFA from Yale. Recent credits include: Ethel, Alliance Theater; Love’s Labour’s Lost, Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theatre; Heart of Darkness, Baryshnikov Arts Center; Minor Character, The Invisible Dog. This is her first show at Goodspeed. You can see her work at www.kristenrobinsondesign.com ELIZABETH CAITLIN WARD (Costume Design) is thrilled to be working with Tyne Rafaeli. Credits: Aerial ballet/animation design for spectacle director Danieli Zambelli, Milan-based animation studio Bonsai Ninja, BattleROYAL, Berlin; Ferrari Museum, UAE; Duo W production design concert, animation, and music video; English National Opera; Ambassador Theater Group,London West End; European Capital of Culture Initiative; Duo W, Berlin/Shanghai; Filmmaster, Abu Dhabi; Suzhou Opera, China; International Olympic Committee Eiko Ishioka's International Design Team, Zhang Yimou Opening Ceremonies Beijing Olympic Games; Lincoln Center Festival; Carnegie Hall; BAM; NYC Opera; American Players; Pioneer; Signature; TFANA; Spoleto Festival; Seattle Opera; Intiman. TV/Film: music video Ghosts & Flowers; PBS Great Performances Bill Irwin: Clown Prince; NBC Opening Ceremonies Beijing Olympic Games;Dark Matter. KEN BILLINGTON (Lighting Design) has almost 100 Broadway shows to his credit, including such theatre milestones as Sweeney Todd and the longest-running American musical in history, Chicago. Other Broadway productions include Amazing Grace, Sondheim on Sondheim, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Footloose, to name a few. Many touring productions have included Chicago (world-wide), Riverdance (Lighting Supervisor), White Christmas, and Annie. Other projects: Hugh Jackman in Concert, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (1979 to 2006), Fantasmic! at Disneyland, and New York’s Tavern on the Green. Ken’s many awards include the Tony and the Lumen for his architectural work. In 2015, Ken was inducted into The Theatre Hall of Fame. JAY HILTON (Sound Design) is pleased to continue his long association with Goodspeed Musicals. Jay has designed countless productions at both The Goodspeed and The Terris Theatre in Chester. His work has also been heard on Broadway, National Tours, and at Regional Theatres from coast to coast. In addition to being Goodspeed’s Resident Sound Designer, Jay also serves as their Audio Supervisor. He and his wife, Goodspeed Line Producer Donna Lynn Hilton, make their home (and garden) in Hadlyme, Connecticut. MARK ADAM RAMPMEYER (Hair & Wig Design) is very happy to return to Goodspeed for this production. His work has been seen here in Anything Goes, Bye Bye Birdie, and Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, to name a few. Broadway: West Side Story, Lysistrata Jones, The Farnsworth Invention. Off-Broadway: The Toxic Avenger, Horton Foote’s Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore with Olympia Dukakis, and, most recently, Talley’s Folly at Roundabout Theatre Company. Regional: Christmas on the Rocks ’14 and ‘15 for TheatreWorks and Romeo and Juliet at Hartford Stage Company. He is the recipient of a 2010 Drama Desk Award for his contributions to the creative team for Horton Foote’s Orphans’ Home Cycle at Signature Theatre Company. Mark is the Costume Rental Manager for Goodspeed Musicals and makes his home here in East Haddam. Thanks to all for their continued support on this journey. *peep*
JOHN FRICKE (Creative Consultant/Historian) has written multiple books about Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz. He's the recipient of Emmy Awards as co-producer of the PBS American Masters and A&E Biography Garland documentaries, and is a Grammy-nominee for the Capitol CD booklet, Judy: 25th Anniversary Retrospective. John has appeared as a TCM cohost and in their interstitials; on The Today Show, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and NPR; at MOMA in NYC, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, and the Deauville Film Festival in France. He delivers DVD commentary tracks on seven Garland films, including Oz.DAN DeLANGE (Orchestrator) has orchestrated for The Jim Henson Company, Julie Andrews, Rosie O'Donnell, Live Theatricals at Universal Studios, and composers Paul Williams, Jerry Herman, Harvey Schmitt, Charles Strouse, Peter Link, and Mark Hollman. His scores have been heard on Broadway, National and European tours, film, television, and at regional theaters around the world, including over 40 productions at Goodspeed Musicals. His orchestrations can also be heard in the current West End production of Show Boat at the New London Theatre. He’s a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. DanDeLangeOrchestrations.com
*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.