Saturday, November 30, 2013

David Thomas (Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis?  
Mens ensemble-convict, Farmer, righteous man, Thenardiers gang, wedding guest

What have you enjoyed the most?
Spending time with my wife and daughter, Challenging myself to learn the show, helping build the set, helping with the logistics of 250+ costumes, meeting and enjoying the company of 100 new friends.

What has been your greatest challenge?
Memorizing car makes and models no problem but song lyrics, music and what costume to wear and when apparently is not my strong suit.

What other shows have you been in?  
Lil Abner, Dracula

What is your motto or final thought to say?
I love to be around optimistic people, being involved in this show is an amazing opportunity to spend 6 months with friends that share a dream of a great show and to a person everyone truly believes we can make this show a memory of a lifetime for us and everyone that enjoys a seat in the audience.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Erika Maruri (Ensemble)

After a ten year performance hiatus, Erika has rediscovered her affinity towards live theatre. She has enjoyed being a part of the Les Miserables production process as well as being present to see the tremendous growth and progress of her talented fellow cast mates.  Erika has appeared in the past  IT productions of: The Secret Garden and Deathtrap. She will also appear in the forthcoming IT spring production of You Can't Take it with You. Erika has been warmly welcomed into the diverse, creative, encouraging and multi-generational community that is Imagination Theatre. As both a performer and  as an educator herself, Erika has seen the profound positive impact that community theatres  impart upon  the entire community. She encourages the community to support and become active participants in their local fine arts organizations. Since 2006, Erika has been a part of the teaching faculty at Mountain Creek Middle School located in Somerset, CA.
"...And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty..." -Khalil Gibran

Ali LaVanway (Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis?  
I am in the ensemble. I pick on Fantine in the factory, I imbibe wine at the inn, and I support the students' cause at the barricade.  

What have you enjoyed the most?
This is my first foray into theater since high school, and my first real hobby since I became a stay at home parent 8 years ago. I'm relatively new to Placerville and, after moving around the country for the last 10 years, it has been so rewarding to finally feel at home in my community. 

What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest struggle has been finding babysitters for the nights my husband isn't available to care for our three children. I've been away from home more in the last 4 months than I have in the whole of the past 8 years! 
What other shows have you been in?  
This is my first show at IT! but definitely not my last. I'll be playing the role of Essie Carmichael in IT!'s spring production, You Can't Take it With You
What is your motto or final thought to say?
One thing I love about theater is the reminder to play, not just on stage, but also in every day life. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Will Evans (Ensemble)

Will Evans is thrilled to be participating in his first IT show.  He is a 7th grader at Rolling Hills Middle School in El Dorado Hills where he can be seen weekly as the anchor/reporter for the school's webcast news.  He has also performed in several other shows including Bugsy Malone, Alice in Wonderland, and, most recently, as the Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz.  

When he's not onstage, you can find Will making movies and parodies for his youtube channel.  He loves to swim for the Broadstone Barracudas and play soccer. His soccer season was cut short by a broken foot this year and he spent much of rehearsal in a hot pink cast.  That didn't slow him down or stop him from climbing his beggar's tower.  He also found a passion for falling from Javert's Bridge.  Cast and all!

He has loved this experience and is looking forward to many more shows with his IT family!  

Trinity Harwell (Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis? 
I am in the ensemble. I'm the girl that cries a lot in the barricades.
What have you enjoyed the most?
The Barricade scenes are my favorite to perform in because there is so much energy and a variety of emotions. 
What has been your greatest challenge? 
My greatest challenge has been getting up in the morning! I am involved in a lot of extracurricular activities, so I spend most days going from one thing to the next. But I love it! 
What other shows have you been in?  At Imagination Theater I have been the Coroner of Munchkinland in Wizard of Oz, Chip in Beauty and the Beast, Goldilocks in Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood, Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, and Sara Crewe in A Little Princess.  This year I was a presenter at the Youth Elly's and nominated for my role in A Little Princess
What is your motto?
Safety Third! Just kidding--that's my motto for sports!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gigi Knochenhaur ( Ensemble)

Giguette (Gigi) Knochenhauer -- Factory Worker, Begger, Student Helper and Wedding Server.  This is Giguette's third show with IT having been in the cast of The Wizard of Oz, A Little Princess, and now Les Mis.  She has also been in the cast of CATS and A Christmas Carol with EDMT and helped usher and work back stage with other productions at IT!.
When Giguette heard IT! was going to put on Les Mis, she was excited beyond belief and is honored to be a part of this magnificent production -- thank you Peter and Lanny for making this possible.  The very first play that Giguette ever saw was Fiddler on the Roof at TED in 2000 when she was only two years old-- since that time she has been addicted to musical theater.
Giguette is a sophomore at Ponderosa High School where she enjoys singing in choir and participating in FFA.  Giguette earned her Girl Scout Silver Award last year by working with Sierra Wildlife's Baby Bird Nursery and is looking forward to working on her Gold Award.  Her other hobbies include sailing Hobie Cats, camping, skiing, fostering dogs for Golden Gate Basset Rescue, playing the violin and watching Dr. Who.
Enjoy the show!!!!  

MIchelle Harwell (Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis?  
I start as a factory worker in Montreuil, and then I transform into the old woman who buys Fantine's necklace at the docks. Then I become a beggar in Paris, and finally a mother who helps the students at the barricades. 

What have you enjoyed the most?
I love singing with this ensemble full of musically gifted people.  Especially because two of them are my daughters!

What has been your greatest challenge?
With such a large cast, I was dreading the crowding and foot traffic that seemed inevitable backstage. But it's actually quite roomy back there. For a cast of 70, plus crew and orchestra, it is surprisingly easy to get around for scene changes. Peter put a lot of thought into the set design behind what the audience sees, and we have a beyond-excellent stage crew who run a tight ship.

What other shows have you been in?  
I have been cast in Imagination Theater productions as a crabby apple tree in Wizard of Oz, an operatic armoire in Beauty and the Beast, an obsessively organized secretary in Father of the Bride, a mischievous magical queen in Camelot, and a melodious apparition in The Secret Garden. Performing on stage, especially musicals, is something that my family did together while I growing up, and now I am able to share it with my children. It is a lot of work but very rewarding.  

What is your motto or final thought to say?
There are no small parts. The amount of lines you have in the script, or the amount of time you have onstage, does not define how important your character is.  You get out of it what you put into it. Put your heart and soul into your character, and it will come to life and be noticed. My youngest daughter was cast as a butterfly in a show with about 15 seconds of stage time, and no lines. But she put everything she had into that butterfly, including creating her own makeup design, and her own interpretation of what a butterfly would be. She moved so beautifully, so gracefully, and then died so tragically. It was very moving. It was just a child's play. But she created something that no one else has ever done nor will ever do again the same way.  That is the art of performing. 

Katherine Okey (Ensemble)

“Hi!  I’m glad, at 34, to have the chance to appear in Les Miserables, because I know what a rare and epic show it is, and that it will be awhile before the performance rights to the show are once again available!  I portray three separate Ensemble characters (A saleswoman named Lisette, a factory worker named Rochelle, and a student helper named Chandelle in our production of Les Miserables.

I have truly enjoyed making new friends at Imagination Theater; I’ll never forget the new friends that I now know via my involvement with the show.  I’ve also had fun creating, naming, and developing all three of the characters that I play...and applying the famous “stage dirt” that makes the Les Mis makeup routine somewhat unique!

I have to admit that creating that internal Les Miserables snowstorm of anger, fear, and sorrow is a true challenge, which can easily test one mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Of course, I also believe that if an actor successfully invests as close to 100% of themselves as possible onstage, they can grow as an actor, and the audience can enjoy the results of their efforts.

Les Miserables is the first Imagination Theater production that I’ve ever been involved with, but I already know that I’ll never forget my experience with this world-famous show, or with the theater staff that gave me the opportunity to appear in the show!”

Hanna Bush (Beggars' Chorus)

I love being a part of Les Mis. The cast and crew are so amazing.  I enjoyed having to have a chance to build up my character and her backstory.  My role in Les Mis is that of a beggar who gets the opportunity to fight for what she believes is right.  I really have enjoyed all of the different costumes and sets.  This is my second show at IT.  My first was Little Mermaid, and I have been in numerous Christmas at Federated Church.  I hope that you enjoy the show!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ben Kiekhaefer (Beggars' Chorus)

I'm very happy to be in Les Mis for my first on-stage performance.  My character, Jacque Pierre is the one of two unknown brothers of Gavroche, and sings in the Beggars' Chorus. I have learned a lot about music, singing, acting, and how to work with such a large cast to make an incredible show. My favorite song  is Empty Chairs at Empty Tables - it really makes me feel sad for all the French people who died fighting for their rights in 1800s.  I really like singing, science, art, playing 'Master of the House' on my trombone,  acting out different Les Mis scenes with my siblings, and building Lego creations!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meg Dockter (Beggars' Chorus)

Meg says "I love being a part of IT! Getting to meet new people and try new things is so much fun. I have been in two past shows, Little Princess and Little Mermaid and loved it. Besides Imagination Theater, I take horseback riding lessons, play volleyball, write stories and read. But that is second to IT! and Les Miserables. I love Imagination Theater!"

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jeff Jackson (Ensemble)

Jeff Jackson is loving his first community theater experience. He's in the men's Ensemble for Les Mis, singing and dancing, moving tables and barricades, catching "bodies" and changing costumes (lots of those!) He's very grateful to Peter, Lanny, Dale, and Dr. Jeff for giving him the opportunity and leading this monumental undertaking so expertly; the entire cast and crew and orchestra for selflessly contributing so much time and talent; and especially his wife Jennifer for getting him into this (and for letting him smooch her on stage.) 

Brenden Carlson (Beggars' Chorus)

This is Brenden's first performance at Imagination Theater. He performed in a lead role in "One Quiet Night" a Christmas Cantata in Placerville last year. He also performed in "Jungle Book, Jr" at Runaway Stage productions in Sacramento. He has enjoyed the experience at IT! and now considers himself to be a professional pick-pocket.

Kathryn Carlson (Beggars' Chorus)

This is Kathryn's second performance at Imagination Theater. She had fun learning to squawk and dance with flipper feet as a seagull in The Little Mermaid, Jr. Now she enjoys getting dirty and ragged in the beggars' chorus. She loves singing Les Miz songs at the top of her lungs and is seriously considering understudying for the role of Jean Valjean. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adeline Penn (Ensemble/Chorus)

Adeline has had a life long love affair with theater starting with organizing neighborhood shows as a child, participating in high school plays, earning a BA degree majoring in theater, working professionally as a stage manager, veering sideways into a spot as an on air radio personality, orchestrating family life, and finally joining the IT family in several capacities behind the curtain along with a turn out front as a Nosferatu in Dracula

Adeline is enjoying the Les Mis experience immensely working props as well as several characters on stage.  Watch out for those scissors! She thanks her family for their continued love and support.

Kate Barba (Factory Girl, Bar Dancer, and Reluctant Revolutionary)

Kate is thrilled to be a part of Les Miserables.  She portrays Factory Girl (Queen Mean Girl), a bar "dancer," and a reluctant revolutionary.  This is Kate's sixth appearance on the Imagination Theater stage; her favorite roles include Meg in Little Women and Rose in The Secret Garden.  She is also active behind the scenes at the theater, notably as AD for Beauty and the Beast and as a CAST committee member.  

Outside the theater Kate enjoys travel, yoga, wine, and outdoor adventures with her family.  She thanks her husband Pete and their three year old twins, Gwyn and Drew, for giving her the "me-time" and support to follow her bliss.  

Ned Heaney (Ensemble)

Ned says, "At this time I will be a fill-in in a few scenes due to the fact I had to leave the show due to health in mid summer.  My biggest challenge has not been anything with the show, but I have had the challenge of living with cancer for now and wanting to continue with the show. I was excited that I was able to return to the show in a small way.  I played Rufus in Lil' Abner and Uncle Henry in the Wizard of Oz at Imagination Theater.    I love doing theater and very proud to be associated with the Imagination Theater family."

Bob Steele (Ensemble)

Bob's favorite role is one of the revolutionaries on the barricade, "Professor "Jean Prouvaire, who has joined his students to oppose the monarchy of King Louis-Phillipe.  Previously, he has performed in IT productions of The Diary of Anne Frank as Mr. Kraler, Camelot as Sir Sagramore, and The Little Princess as Ram Dass.  His favorite line in the musical score is "Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?"

Bob thanks all the members of the IT family for their creative passion, team-spirit, and commitment to nurturing each cast member's musical/dramatic development and his dear wife, Diana , for her inspirational support and understanding.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cindy Nelson (Ensemble/Chorus)

Cindy says "It’s been roughly 20 years since I’ve had the opportunity to be in a musical or opera. So when one of vocal students told me about the auditions for this show, I thought why not…I’ve missed it!   I love to challenge myself  and to continually grow as a musician. In the  last 25 years I have been able to teach in my own studio voice and piano, record a CD in Nashville TN, perform in various bands, as well as acquire  a music publishing deal.  Although I have found working on this show to be daunting at times, it has been well worth it. The cast and crew have been fantastic, kind, and extremely helpful. I’ve meant so many new people, and have learned more about myself. I am so very thankful the opportunity to be apart of this creative process!"  Cindy's many roles in Les Mis include a Factory Worker, Drinker, Chorus, and Ensemble.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Susan Felton (Ensemble/Chorus)

Susan is delighted to be a part of her third show with Imagination Theater.  She loves being in the ensemble/chorus because of the variety of parts.  She is the innkeeper's wife, Factory worker, Old Beggar Woman and a Turning Woman.  Susan also assisted with costumes.  Her previous shows at IT! include Annie and Big River.  Susan has the distinction of being one of the oldest, if not the oldest, cast members.  This goes to show that one is never too old to 'dream the dream'.  She is thankful to Peter Wolfe, Lanny Langston and the entire cast and crew for all the help and good times.  

Tamalisa Carlson (Lovely Ladies, Ensemble)

This is Tamalisa's fourth production at Imagination Theater. She first appeared as Marmee in Little Women, the Musical, then the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, and most recently as Queen Guenevere in Camelot.  For Les Miserables, she is cast as one of the lovely ladies and ensemble. This is the first time the Carlson family has shared the stage together. Tamalisa has enjoyed sharing her passion for theater with her husband and children.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sarah Jessica Bennett (Beggar, Factory Worker, Student Helper)

"My favorite part of the Les Miserables experience is the amazing cast and crew. The costumes are phenomenal, they help so much with the development of my characters, and bring the show to life!"

Sarah has been in several shows at El Dorado High School (42nd Street, Chicago, and The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan) and Imagination Theater--including The Secret Garden, Grease, and Wizard of Oz.