Friday, December 6, 2013

Jeremy Carlson (Jean Valjean)

Jeremy is excited to play the role of Jean Valjean in IT's production of Les Miserables. He is grateful for this remarkable opportunity to perform with such a large, committed cast. No stranger to IT's stage, he has played many roles including: Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, King Arthur in Camelot, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, and Professor Bhaer in Little Women, the Musical .  He would like to thank IT! for their commitment to community theater. He is especially thankful to his wife, Tamalisa, for her undying support and dramatic coaching.  Jeremy's favorite line in the show is, "To love another person is to see the face of God."  

Dennis Murry (Javert)

Dennis says “Of all of the shows I’ve ever wanted to do, Les Miserables ranks as Number One.  Then to be cast as Inspector Javert has to be almost every actors dream role come true. I realize I have some pretty big shoes to fill but I commit to everyone that attends the production I will give it 110% every show.”

He can’t say enough about the cast and crew of the show. They are all just awesome. Dennis is a director, writer and veteran actor with lead roles in shows such as Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar, Peter Pan, Paint Your Wagon, and many more.  If you saw the IT! production of Dracula you might remember the crazed, bug eating mental patient named Renfield.  Yes, he’s now Inspector Javert.  Dennis also played the Villain at the Coloma Theater for many years which is where he first met his wife, on stage of course.  Dennis’ favorite line in the show is Javert proclaiming “I AM the Law!”

Erick Lindley (Bishop of Digne)

Erick Lindley is excited to be joining Imagination Theater for his second time.  Erick has most recently been seen onstage as Brian in “Avenue Q” and Harold Hill in "Music Man" at Sierra Stages in Nevada City, Bob Wallace in "White Christmas" at Imagination Theater, Georg Nowack in "She Loves Me" at Placer Community Theater, and Captain Brackett in "South Pacific" at the Woodland Opera House.  Erick has also produced the shows, "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know" and "Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical."  His wife Brenda, also an actress and director, provided him the inspiration and encouragement to join theater.

Tori Kientz (Eponine)

If you look at me outside of the theater you probably will find me studying, as I am a full time (very broke) college student or rolling burritos at Chipotle. Onstage you may have seen me in a couple different shows including The Little Mermaid as Ursula (alongside my little sister who played Ariel), Martha in The Secret Garden, Amelia in The Little Princess, or the ditzy, loveable showgirl Rhoda in White Christmas. 

Being cast as Eponine in Les Mis was definitely a dream come true. While getting to know her has been hard work, the end result has been so rewarding. I love a good challenge!   I hope that what you take from this show in particular is how amazing the power of God's love and redemption can be. This is best explained in the line I am privileged to sing "To love another person is to see the face of God."

Kelsi Havercroft (Young Cosette) and Kim Havercroft (Ensemble)

Kim Havercroft shares, "I have  been involved in theater my whole life from high school as Annie  to a performer at Great America in the 90's and my daughter Kelsi Havercroft has been involved with IT! for the last year and a half. Kelsi's first show with the theater was Little Princess at age 8, and now she has her first solo as Young Cosette in Les Miserables.  As her mother, I am very proud of her and all her hard work!  We have both really enjoyed  working with the theater family!  We are so happy to be apart of such a wonderful show. We thank our family and friends for supporting us in this adventure and wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nick Highberger (Marius)

I currently attend Folsom Lake College and have been involved at Imagination Theater since 2011.  I have been in numerous productions over the years including Father of the Bride, White Christmas, Camelot, and Little Mermaid.  I'm a pretty energetic kind of guy, love to have fun and perform on stage with such a great cast of actors.  

Chris Celestin (Enjolras)

Chris has been involved in theater for the last five years.  He is happy to be returning to the IT! stage after playing Stanley Gardner in IT's Run for Your Wife and receiving an Elly Award for his performance (Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy).  Chris also played Dickon in The Secret Garden and more recently, Prince Eric in Little Mermaid.  Some of his favorite roles include Lancelot in IT’s Camelot, and  Eddie Marinara in the Carsino Show.  When Chris is not on stage he enjoys pretending he is on stage and dancing wherever he sees fit.  He also enjoys pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.  Chris would like to thank his parents for their support and encouragement.

Lanny Langston (Master Thenardier)

It is a dream come true to be in the cast of Les Miserables.  This is one of my favorite shows and I am so excited that our theater company is producing this timeless musical. I am also excited to be playing the part of Thenardier and to a part of such a talented cast.

I have been acting and directing for many years and I am always amazed at the caliber of talented performers that live in our community.  A big thanks goes to my good friend, Peter Wolfe for his vision and direction in this show.  Also without saying I want to thank my family and particularly my wife, Tish for their support and encouragement over all these many years of rehearsals and shows I have been involved in at Imagination Theater. I hope everyone that sees Les Miserables will come away with as much excitement and joy as I have had in being in the show.

Karen Wolfe (Mme Thenardier)

Karen Wolfe found her calling as a foster parent figure in her breakout role last year as the Cook in IT!'s A Little Princess.  She is now considering branching into business as a beauty consultant.   

Karen owes hers acting success to years of training with her daughters, Alana and Suzanne.  Other highlights include riding 3000 miles across the United States with her husband Peter on bicycles last year. They lived to tell the tale!  Karen loves coffee, painting, and long walks on the beach.

Dale Wallerstein (Vocal Director)

Dale is delighted to have had the opportunity to be the Vocal Director for this production of Les Miserables. To have witnessed the process and progress of all members of the ensemble, those experienced, and those who haven't sung before, has been an exciting and fulfilling experience for her. 

Dale began doing musical theater in 7th grade and continued in college, where she majored in Music, French, and Medieval studies. The next 3 decades was spent singing with choruses.  She is currently a member of the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, and was blessed to have been sponsored so that she could perform with the group on their recent concert tour in Italy.

In 2003, she was cast as Yente in Imagination Theater's production of Fiddler on the Roof. Since that time, she has been Vocal Director for a dozen IT musicals, including L'il Abner, The Music Man, Wizard of Oz, Quilters, White Christmas, Camelot, and others. Most recently, she vocal directed A Little Princess, and portrayed the evil head-mistress, Miss Minchin, earning her an Elly nomination for her performance.

Even though rehearsals for Les Miserables are over and her work for this production is complete, you will see her at almost all performances smiling and so very proud of what this remarkable cast has accomplished. She hopes that you enjoy the production, and hopes,too, that you will sing (whether you think you can, or not) for the health of your heart, your soul, and your body. Peace.

Dr. Jeffrey Nelson (Music Director and Orchestral Conductor)

The musical process for theater is always both a challenge and a very rewarding process.  Some cast members have a lot of experience and some of them have never been in a musical and/or a show with an orchestra.  It's a privilege and honor to guide the musical process and see how much satisfaction all members get along the way.  

The most enjoyable part for me is usually in the last few weeks before opening night.  The orchestra, chorus and cast have worked out a lot of the individual details and then it's time for them to get stitched together so that it's seamless.  When it is, then you can really see the creativity of each person come out no matter how large or small their role is.  A true transformation!  As for the orchestra, it amazes me how many very talented people we have in our community that dedicate so much of their time to this work.  I have a job where every person I work with is truly a joy to be around...a real blessing to me!

Dr. J has had the pleasure of being involved as the conductor or musical director at IT! since 2006 with Big River, Little Women, Beauty and the Beast, Man of La Mancha and the 2010 version of Grease.

The motto he strives to live by is: "Live Wisely, Love Well and Serve Greatly."

Chrissie Addison (Acting Coach/Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis? 
I have had the privilege of working with Peter Wolfe's "Creative Team" as Acting and Movement Coach, the first time I believe this position has been chosen by a director at IT!  I've given all seventy cast members a crash course on preparing their personal back stories/motivations/objectives from their Les Miserables  lives portrayed in France in the mid 1800's.  Quick character bio sketches usually suffice, but this show required a deeper understanding of the social/political milieu and resulting desperation leading to the French Revolution.  I've received sincere journals, letters, diaries and handouts from the cast providing rich, specific details for their chosen lot in life, their chosen name and their purpose in each scene.  The exercise has provided a rich background for their characters and a network within the village which shows onstage during the revolution.  In short, the actors were required to kick it up a notch in their preparation for their roles.  I'm also enjoying being the Madame Prostitute and a beggar.  So I get to play on both sides of the stage!    In addition if I'm needed in other areas, I try to help.

How many people have you been working with?  
47 members of the cast have done the required reflection and writing I assigned and many others have met with me one on one to discuss character ideas, or staging ideas they need ironed out, or just concerns about how a section is playing to the audience.  So I've connected to almost all 70 of us closely at one time or another.  I share confidential, truthful notes to each person who asks me to be their 3rd eye and tell them what more they could add and still be believable - within the director's vision of the show.  I've had a chance to support most everyone in the cast so far and hope by closing to have worked closely with nearly everyone who is open to explore together.  I posted many of the writings backstage because they were powerful, insightful, historical stories of very believable people in our French Village.  Many written  with heart.  I see a "meeting of minds" collectively in their body of work.  The meetings with the leads have been very fruitful and productive.  It makes me wish I'd had someone like myself to talk to when younger when I got a big role or smaller role and could have used a boost to get started.  I try to be that kind of person.  Positive and helpful.  And resourceful.

What have you enjoyed the most?
I've loved being back on familiar boards in a building I'm at home in and working with gifted directors and kind, professional staff members.  And I've made some great new friends at this show; I also have 17 students from my Coaching Studio appearing with me on stage.  I don't get to act with my students often!   Les Mis is my 20th show on this stage.  I love the camaraderie and lightheartedness that doing a good show brings out in us.

What has been your greatest challenge? 
Although we've rehearsed for 6 months total by the time we open, we would all agree that if we had more time, we could make it even better before it opens.  But we need to get open and then start living in the village together and let the show modulate, change shapes and become the Les Mis at IT! that will go down in history.  We have to tighten it up and see if she's sea-worthy and go for our maiden voyage.  I think we're close to having a show...

What is your past relationship with Imagination Theater and the theater in El Dorado County? 
I have been involved acting, directing, teaching theater arts classes, etc for forty years in El Dorado County--twenty five of those as full-time high school teacher.  In former days when Theatre El Dorado occupied this space, I enjoyed many shows here and worked on many aspects in bringing up a new theater - on stage and in the Board room.  I've also enjoyed working in other civic and regional theaters in California and Alaska.    My Coaching Studio is in its 12th year now and I've enjoyed connecting hundreds of students with local productions.

Do you have a favorite show or shows? 
Sometimes when a cast works within the right team, a bond results that makes all the hard work worth while.  Some shows have that glue, that bond, that magic -  that luck.  It's impossible to predict.  Life happens in the course of the weeks and months of bringing up a show.  Some shows have casts that get tight in their network of support and nothing can rock their resolve and discipline and they put on good shows.  Such shows stay in your heart.  Coming down off a big show can be a bit sad.  It's a loss, for a while.  My favorite shows are the ones on which I'll always reflect with a smile and a tear...

What's your motto?  
You're only as good as your next show..... or ....  Don't rest on your laurels!

Terri Thomas (Costume Designer/Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis?
I have had the pleasure and monumental task of being the Costume Designer for this amazing show as well as a member of the Ensemble. You will see me with the ladies of the Factory and the men in Master of the House among other scenes and running around straightening cravats and sewing miscellaneous items.

What have you enjoyed the most?
I really enjoyed learning all of the music for the show with my family (My husband and daughter are in the show as well!) I also have enjoyed researching clothing of the time period, making new friendships and renewing older ones.

What has been your greatest challenge? 
My greatest challenge has been finding period pieces for the show, especially for the men. Thank goodness I have had some very talented seamstresses sewing for me for the women!!!

What other shows have you been in?  
I have previously performed in Lil' Abner, Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast here at Imagination Theater.
Previous Costuming Experience?
I have been making costumes for my family since the kids were little.  I officially began working on costumes during El Dorado High School's production of Les Miserables six years ago while my 6th grade daughter was in their ensemble. (I was their with her all the time, so I figured I might as well make myself useful). My first official job as Costume Designer was in Imagination Theater's production of Wizard of Oz--a job I fell into.  Since then I have worked on ten other productions including Beauty & the Beast, Dracula, and Run for your Wife at Imagination Theater and 42nd Street (307 COSTUMES!), Midsummer's Nights Dream, and Cats at El Dorado High School.  I have been nominated for seven Elly Awards and have had the honor of winning three.  I am looking forward to delighting the audience with the many costumes in Les Miserables!

Tim Chapman (Student Rebel)

What is your role in Les Miserables?
Aramis Chevalier (Student Rebel)

What have you enjoyed the most?
The friendly, professional atmosphere of the entire cast, crew, and orchestra. The people in this theater are like a second family to me, and they're some of the best friends in the world to surround yourself with.

What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge in this show was bringing my character to life on the stage. He's almost entirely my opposite when he first appears, but during the barricade, his outlook on life takes a complete turnaround. Getting that change in thought right and in a way that is noticeable to the audience was a big part of that challenge.

What other shows have you been in?
I've been in Camelot and The Secret Garden, and I've worked on the sound for The Little Princess.

What's your final thought?

This experience that I've had with Imagination Theater this past year and a half has changed my life for the better. The energy from the applause of the audience and the friendships you develop in a stage production is unlike anything in the world, and once you've been "bitten," you'll never want to stop.  

Taryn Harwell (Ensemble)

This is Taryn's 4th show at IT, and she is playing a beggar child in the ensemble in Les Mis. She enjoys helping to create the feeling and setting of the streets of France in that time period. Though her character is much more sad and dark than anything she's done before, Taryn maintains her witty sense of humor offstage. 

Taryn has also been seen in Wizard of Oz, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood, and A Little Princess at Imagination Theater. Outside of IT, she has been involved in many facets of the performing arts such as school plays, choirs, band, dance, gymnastics, commercials and print ads. She is currently taking voice and acting lessons from fellow castmate, Chrissie Addison, and looks forward to involvement in community theater in the future! 

Brenda Lindley (Ensemble)

This is Brenda’s third appearance at Imagination Theater, previously portraying Martha Watson in White Christmas and Margaret in Quilters (one of her favorite roles).  Brenda began performing in high school and majored in Radio, Television & Film in college.  Additional favorite roles include, Anne Sullivan in The Miracle Worker and Charlotte Jenkins in Toxic.  Other regional credits include Mrs. Truckle in Sly Fox and Myrtle Webb in Our Town at Sutter Street Theatre and Ruby Rae in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Runaway Stage Productions.   Brenda has enjoyed directing and producing shows in the Auburn area including She Loves MeMid-Life! The Crisis Musical and Exit the Body.  She loves performing in shows where she is on stage with her husband Erick.  Brenda will be directing IT's spring production, You Can't Take It With You.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kathleen Mini (Ensemble)

Kathleen followed in her daughter’s footsteps to their first audition together for the Imagination Theater Musical, Lil’ Abner.  Since that time, she has gone on to perform in several other IT productions. She was Glinda in the Wizard of Oz, Babette in Beauty and the the Beast,  Mrs Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, Mrs. Banks in Father of the Bride, Rita in White Christmas, and Barbara Smith in Run for your Wife.  She enjoys being a part of the IT! family.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jennifer Jackson (Ensemble)

What is your role in Les Mis?
I am a Lovely Lady at the docks, a guest at Thenardier’s Inn, a reluctant revolutionary at the ABC cafĂ© and a high society guest at the wedding.

What have you enjoyed most?
When I first saw Les Mis I never wanted it to end.  I was completely captivated by both the story and the music.  When I heard IT! was putting on a production, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  My husband is also in the show and we have had so much fun experiencing this together.  (We get to dance in a couple of scenes and even smooch at the docks!)  I have also enjoyed making so many new friends and becoming part of the IT! family.  I realized about halfway through the show that this was the theater community I have been looking for all my life.

What other shows have you been in?
This is my first IT! show, but my favorite role in another company was Irene in Crazy For You.  As a music teacher for over twenty years I have also directed countless school productions.  I am very much looking forward to being the vocal director for next year’s production of Oliver!

Any closing thoughts?

While I don’t have a single favorite line in the show, I do have two favorite parts.  When I saw Les Mis for the first time, I sobbed when the Bishop pardoned Valjean and gave him his ticket to freedom and then again when Valjean did the same for Javert.  The message of forgiveness and redemption is very strong in this show.