Friday, February 28, 2014

Who's who in ANATOLE?

by Amanda Corazzi 

While First Stage’s production of ANATOLE might be a world premiere musical, many members of the cast are no strangers to First Stage or the Milwaukee theater scene! Let's meet the cast! 

DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER- Molly Rhode
Molly has been a part of First Stage since starting academy classes as a child. She went on to perform in five productions as a young performer, seven productions as an adult and directed MISS NELSON IS MISSING. She has performed and directed shows all over the country, last show directing Skylight’s LES MISERABLES. She is honored to be back working at First Stage.

ANATOLE- Gerry Neugent
After playing two cats, Gerry is thrilled to be able to play the lead mouse hero. He returns to First Stage after appearing previously as Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT, The Cat in the Hat in SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL and Chester the Cat in BUNNICULA. He is also a regular performer at the Milwaukee Rep.


Neugent and Pendzich as "Anatole" and  "Gaston"
Photo by Paul Ruffolo
GASTON- Rick Pendzich
Rick was last seen at First Stage in JUNIE B. JONES AND A LITTLE MONKEY BUSINESS as The Boss of the School, and SEUSSICAL as Horton. Rick has worked with many of Milwaukee’s theaters including Skylight Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, In Tandem Theatre and American Players Theatre. 


Drew Drhel as "Duval"
Photo by Paul Ruffolo
DUVAL- Drew Brhel
Karen Estrada as "Charlemange"
Photo by Paul Ruffolo
Drew returns to First Stage playing the owner of the cheese factory. He has appeared with First Stage last season as Yukon Cornelius in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. No stranger to Milwaukee audiences, Drew has appeared over the past thirty years with just about every theatre in town.

DOUCETTE/CHARLEMANGE- Karen Estrada
Karen is very excited to be performing in ANATOLE as Anatole’s wife and the cat. She was last seen on the Todd Wehr Stage in PINKALICIOUS, RUDOLPH and SEUSSICAL and previous to that in AESOP'S FABLES and GIGGLE, GIGGLE, QUACK with First Stage's First Steps series at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.  

NEWBIES- Zach Thomas (Francois) and Kaylee Annable (Bouvier) may be making their First Stage debut in ANATOLE, but they are not new to the Milwaukee Stage. They were both most recently in the Skylight Music Theatre’s production of LES MISERABLES with some of their ANATOLE cast mates.
Swiss Cast Young Performers with Neugent
Photo by Paul Ruffolo 

The adult cast are not the only ones returning back to First Stage!

Returning Young Performers:

Anna Fitzsimmons (Cheddar Cast)
First Stage show: Five Little Monkey
Claire Holtebeck (Cheddar Cast)
First Stage show: Gathering Blue
Henry Lynch (Cheddar Cast)
First Stage show: Jackie and Me
Riley Halpern (Swiss Cast)
            First Stage Show: Five Little Monkeys
Luke Brotherhood (Swiss Cast)
           First Stage shows: Jackie and Me; The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (2009)
Lindsay Nelsen (Swiss Cast)
First Stage show: Mole Hills Stories
Thomas Mazza (Swiss Cast)
First Stage shows: Neverending Story; Diary of a Worm; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Grace Becker (Swiss Cast)
First Stage show: Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day
Casey Kitzmann (Swiss Cast)
First Stage shows: Big the Musical; Shrek the Musical

Cheddar Cast- Young Performers
Photo by Paul Ruffolo

Congrats to the young performers who are making their First Stage Debut! 

Cheddar Cast- Benjamin Usatinsky, Sydney Johnson, Nathan Desing, Harry Frey, Noa Rubnitz, George Marn
Swiss Cast- Jack Trettin, Harper Navin, Jack Burns 

See the cast in ANATOLE running through March 16 at the Todd Wehr Theater. 

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