Scottsdale Musical Theater Company, in keeping with its tradition of “bringing Broadway’s favorites back to life,” has completed casting for its June 27–29 production of Kander and Ebb’s classic “Cabaret,” to be presented at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, Ariz.
According to Hector Coris, associate producer, “Several members of the cast come with major national tour credits and are award-winning Valley favorites.” He also said the show has a “cracker-jack creative team,” many of whom are working with SMTC for the first time.
In addition to serving as associate producer, Coris will appear as Ernst Ludwig. For SMTC, he has previously played Pseudolus in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Sancho in “Man of La Mancha,” Nicely Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls,” Marcellus Washburn in “The Music Man” and the never-to-be forgotten Mrs. Meers in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Last year Coris made his Arizona directorial debut at Gilbert’s Hale Centre Theatre with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Coris is from New York, where he won the 2010 Outstanding Vocalist of the Year Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs.
Four-time AriZoni Award winner Matt Newhard returns to SMTC in the role of emcee at Berlin’s seedy Kit Kat Club. Newhard has been cast in every SMTC show to date. He last appeared at SMTC in November 2013 as Harold Hill in “The Music Man.” Some of his credits include Jimmy Smith in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Sky Masterson in “Guys & Dolls,” the padre in “Man of La Mancha,” Motel the tailor in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Hysterium in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and Fagin in “Oliver!”
Bringing her New York and international tour experience back to SMTC is Michele Kahn as English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. In 2013 Kahn starred as Millie in SMTC’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Other credits include “Pirates of Penzance,” “Evita,” “The Robber Bridegroom” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Kahn has also performed at the Vienna Opera House and throughout England, Wales and Scotland. She currently teaches musical theater at the Conservatory of Dance in Phoenix.
Rounding out the cast are Petey Swartz as Fraulein Schneider, Ron Jennings as Herr Schultz, Matthew Earnest as Cliff Bradshaw and Lauren Berkley as Fraulein Kost.
The Kit Kat Girls will be played by CJ Carvelli, Devra Hock, Nicole Kalani, Kelsey Metz, Ashley Nebeker, Jessica Nelson and Madison Ottinger, with Jordan Canning, Todd Corbeil, Kimi Cunningham, Addam Donada, Sky Christian Donovan, Alexus Poulette, Thom Radke, Roy Thielen and Sandra Foster Williams performing in the ensemble.
Handling choreography is Manhattan Dance Project founder and artistic director Bill Hotaling. Hotaling’s “extensive experience in Fosse-style choreography will give our production the authentic feel of the original musical that opened on Broadway in 1966, nearly 50 years ago,” said Coris. Hotaling, who is from New York, danced and taught at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. He has choreographed “Chicago,” “Pippin” and numerous other productions and has also worked extensively with Chet Walker, the Bob Fosse protégé who conceived and choreographed the 1999 Tony Award-winning production of “Fosse.”
Executive producer and founder of SMTC David Hock is directing “Cabaret.” Hock has more than 30 years of theater experience. Since starting SMTC in 2010, he has directed and choreographed “Thoroughly Modern Millie, “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Carousel,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Guys & Dolls” and “Man of La Mancha.” He lauds the “incredible group of talented designers, creative staff and performers” coming together for “Cabaret” and “can’t wait to sit back on opening night and enjoy every minute of this production.”
Bringing more than two decades of music and conducting experience to “Cabaret” is conductor Kevin Hayward. A member of the faculty at Camelback High School since 1993, Hayward formerly chaired the performing arts department. He is also an active composer and arranger, performs with the Rhythm Is Life Steel Band and the Valley Big Band and is the conductor for the Phoenix Trombones. He is a member of the AMEA board of directors as state chair for the music honor society and has served the Arizona Music Educators Association as governor of the Central Region.
Responsible for musical direction is Christie McKibben, who began working with SMTC in 2012. McKibben is a long-time veteran of the Valley’s theater community. A founding member of Theater Works in Peoria, she worked with David Wo to develop a children’s theater program and music directed many of their productions. After 2007, she began music directing and playing for Fountain Hills Theater, Desert Foothills Theater and Greasepaint productions. She also volunteers at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
Lighting designer Bret G. Reese has worked professionally in the Valley since 2001. A graduate of ASU’s theater design program, Reese has designed for Theater Works, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Celebrity Theater, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Center Dance Ensemble, Mesa Encore Theatre, and many others.
Sound designer Ken Olash brings 45 years of professional experience, having worked shows, concerts and tours with some of the country’s topline entertainers. Olash served as vice president of the former Tempe Little Theater and also did sound there. In addition, he has been the sound designer and operator on shows at MCC Theatre and the Southwest Shakespeare Company.
Scenic designer Rachel Gordon Smallwood currently teaches scenic painting at Arizona State University and also works as a freelance scenic artist. Smallwood built architectural models for five years while designing shows and teaching at CUNY Brooklyn College in New York City. She has worked in regional houses all over the country.
Also on the “Cabaret” creative team is Paul Snatic of Scottsdale’s Mardi Gras Costume Shop, who will design and provide costumes.
Tickets to “Cabaret” range from $28 to $39 and are currently available online or by calling SMTC’s box office at (602) 909-4215.
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