The Muny announced today 27 principal cast members for its 2021
season in Forest Park. Complete company casting will be announced throughout June and July.

After what will be a 23-month intermission, The Muny’s 103rd season will open with the Muny
premiere of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, followed by the beloved classic The Sound of Music. The season
continues with a newly reimagined Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Midwest regional and
Muny premiere of On Your Feet! and closes with Broadway’s longest-running American musical
Chicago. The Telsey Office is the official casting partner for The Muny.

“This is an amazing, thrilling, heart-stopping collection of talented artists,” said Muny Artistic
Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “Our return this year in many ways has as much
significance as our 100th season. It means so much to so many. I can’t wait for these amazing
people to share their gifts.”

SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE

The Songs of Leiber and Stoller
July 26 – August 1
Words and Music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Sponsored by Ameren

CHARL BROWN (Sonny) is thrilled to be appearing on The Muny stage for the first time and at
this historic moment for theatre. He was nominated for a Tony Award for the role of Smokey
Robinson in Motown: The Musical and reprised this role opening the West End production. This
winter, he is slated to appear as Brick in Virginia Stage’s production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Other Broadway/tour: Jersey Boys, Sister Act, Hair. Select regional: The Who’s Tommy (Denver
Center, Kennedy Center), Ever After (Paper Mill Playhouse), Johnny Baseball (American
Repertory Theater), Dreamgirls, Ragtime, Six Degrees of Separation, Jesus Christ Superstar, A
Chorus Line. Select television: FBI, Evil, Madam Secretary. When not in an acting role, Charl
tours the globe with his group, The Doowop Project, including venues such as The Blue Note
Beijing, Disney Symphony Hall, Ottawa Symphony, City Winery Nashville and many others
worldwide.

MICHAEL CAMPAYNO (Rod) originated the role of Rob Camilletti in The Cher Show and also
starred as Fiyero in the hit musical Wicked on Broadway. A Pittsburgh native and graduate of
Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, he made his television debut as Rolf in the NBC live telecast
of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood and can be heard on the cast recording. His
other credits include Lancelot in Camelot starring Robert Sean Leonard and Barry Bostwick,
productions at Pittsburgh CLO, and in concert with the Phoenix Symphony and Carolina
Philharmonic. Television: The Other Two (HBOMAX), The Good Fight (CBS). Proud member of
SAG, AFTRA and AEA. Follow @michaelcampayno

MYKAL KILGORE (Little Walter) is an award-winning actor and a Grammy and NAACP Image
Award-nominated singer/songwriter. His debut album, A Man Born Black, is a gumbo of
American roots and modern feels that highlight his ability to go from Broadway showtune
storytelling to soul and jazz scatting to gospel. Mykal most recently starred in his online special,
Mykal Kilgore Live… on the Innanets! Broadway: Motown: The Musical and Hair. National tour:
The Book of Mormon. Other select credits: The Witch in Into the Woods at Barrington Stage
Company, The Who’s Tommy at The Kennedy Center, Songs for a New World at Encores! OffCenter.
TV/Film: NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, The Wiz Live! and Collateral
Beauty. Mykal has racked up 10M+ views on social media with his videos, including his viral
Reclaiming My Time video. #blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #loveoneanother
MYKALKILGORE.COM

TIFFANY MANN (Willie Mae) Broadway: Be More Chill, Waitress. Off-Broadway: Jerry Springer:
The Opera (Lucille Lortel Award), Invisible Thread, Cabin in the Sky. Other select theater:
Dreamgirls (Effie), Live from Lincoln Center: Sweeney Todd in Concert. TV: New Amsterdam and
Rise for NBC, Orange Is the New Black. @iamtiffanymann

HAYLEY PODSCHUN (Annette) Originally from Kansas, Hayley returns to The Muny after playing
Dainty June in the 2018 production of Gypsy. Broadway: Wicked (Glinda, national tour), Hello,
Dolly!; Something Rotten, Chaplin (Mildred Harris), Anything Goes, Pal Joey, Sunday in the Park
with George, Hairspray (Broadway, national tour) and The Sound of Music. Off-Broadway:
Freckleface Strawberry (Freckleface, original cast). Select regional credits: Holiday Inn (Linda
Mason, Paper Mill Playhouse), I Married an Angel (Anna Murphy, NY City Center Encores!), The
Royal Family of Broadway (Gwen, Barrington Stage, world premiere), Holiday Inn (Lila Dixon,
Goodspeed, world premiere) Crazy for You (Polly, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), Peter Pan
(Peter Pan, Artpark), Legally Blonde (Elle Woods, Arvada Center). Film/TV: Hairspray (Tammy),
The Blacklist, Louie, Isn’t It Romantic and Hail, Caesar; You can also find Hayley on QVC as a
guest host for Zodiac Shoes. IG: @hayley_podschun or www.hayleypodschun.com for more!

CHRISTOPHER SAMS (Cornelius) is ecstatic to join The Muny and Marcia Milgrom Dodge in
turning up the summer heat with Leiber and Stoller’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Broadway credits
feature Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King. National touring credits include The Lion King
(Ensemble, u/s Mufasa), The Color Purple (Ensemble/Grady/Buster), Ragtime (Coalhouse
Walker Jr.) and Rock of Ages (Ensemble/Ja’Keith). Became a proud AEA member doing Smokey
Joe’s Cafe with Ms. Dodge in 2016 and this is Chris’ third time rocking through the
neighborhood.

NASIA THOMAS (Pearl) was most recently seen as Cathy in Out of The Box Theatrics version of
The Last Five Years. In the fall, she can be seen as The Radio in the upcoming revival of Caroline,
or Change on Broadway. Most recently seen in Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the
Temptations on Broadway. Broadway: Little Eva in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. National
tour: Beautiful. Regional: Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations (Berkeley Rep,
Kennedy Center, Center Theatre Group, Mirvish Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (TUTS),
Hairspray, (Muny). BFA Musical Theatre, Elon ‘15, The Governors School for the Arts ‘11.
Member at DGRW Talent. IG: @nasiathomas.

JASON VEASEY (Doc) Jason is happy to be back in one of his favorite cities making his Muny
debut! Theatre credits include the Broadway and national touring companies of The Lion King,
the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop and a couple visits to Smokey Joe’s Cafe! He’s been at
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Denver Center and The
Public in New York. TV/Film credits include High Maintenance, Chicago Fire, Little Voice, Dash &
Lily, Flatbush Misdemeanors and I’m Not Him.


THE SOUND OF MUSIC
August 3– 9
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp
Sponsored by Edward Jones

KATE ROCKWELL (Maria Rainer) is thrilled to be back at The Muny! Previous Muny credits
include Beauty and the Beast (Belle) and Tarzan (Jane). On Broadway, she recently starred as
the original Karen Smith in Mean Girls: The Musical (Drama Desk nomination). Her previous
Broadway dumb blondes include originating the role of Skylar in Bring It On: The Musical, Rock
of Ages, Hair and Legally Blonde. She’s been seen recently as Nina Bennett on Fox’s Almost
Family, High Maintenance, Deadbeat and Sex and the City: The Movie. Upcoming: Harlem on
Amazon. She released her debut solo album, Back To My Roots, in 2018 on Broadway Records,
and has performed her solo concert by the same name at Birdland Jazz Club, City Winery and
other venues in NYC. She is a WSET-certified wine lover and has the two cutest dogs on the
planet.

MICHAEL HAYDEN (Captain Georg von Trapp) Broadway: All My Sons, Festen, Henry IV,
Judgement at Nuremberg (Tony nomination), Cabaret, Carousel. Off-Broadway: The Lady from
Dubuque, Measure for Measure, Dessa Rose, Far East. London: Cabaret, Carousel (Olivier
nomination). Regional: Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, Henry V, Richard II, Merrily
We Roll Along. Film: Patient 001, Charming Billy (American Film Institute Best Actor Award). TV:
Evil, Elementary, Chicago Fire, Law & Order and Murder One.

BRYONHA MARIE PARHAM (The Mother Abbess) is thrilled to be making her Muny debut in her
home state! Broadway: Prince of Broadway, The Book of Mormon, After Midnight, The
Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Ragtime. Off Broadway/NY: Promenade (NY City Center Encores!),
Candide (Carnegie Hall), Ragtime (Lincoln Center). National tour: Falsettos. World premieres:
Dave (Arena Stage), Prince of Broadway (Tokyo Theatre Orb). Concert: New York Philharmonic,
San Diego Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra (Bernstein’s Mass), Kansas City Symphony, 92nd
Street Y Lyrics & Lyricists series. Regional: The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess (American Repertory
Theater), Ragtime (Kennedy Center), The Civil War (NETworks), Hair (Sacramento Music Circus),
Dreamgirls (Effie, North Shore), Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group) and many
more! Television: The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!; Madam Secretary, Live from Lincoln
Center: Sweeney Todd in Concert (Beggar Woman) and Show Boat in Concert, 66th and 68th
Annual Tony Awards, The Today Show. Twitter/Instagram: @BryonhaMarie

ELIZABETH TEETER (Liesl von Trapp) is thrilled to return to the Muny stage after last being seen
off-Broadway as Lily in The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic Theatre Company). Broadway: Betty in
The Crucible, Young Elizabeth in The Audience, starring Helen Mirren; and Jane Banks in the
closing company of Mary Poppins. Other NYC credits include workshops with Kathleen
Marshall, Anne Kauffman, Leigh Silverman, Rachel Brosnahan and more. Regional: The Muny,
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Tennessee Williams Festival, Variety
Theatre. TV/Film: Leaving (short film), The Last O.G. (TBS). You can also see her this August as
Laura in The Glass Menagerie with the Tennessee Williams Festival. Eleven years ago, she
played one of the tiniest von Trapp children at The Muny and is honored for this full circle
moment. @elizabethteeterofficial

ANDREW ALSTAT (Rolf Gruber) is thrilled to be returning to The Muny for his second season!
Originally from Pomona, Illinois, Andrew is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music, where he received his BFA in Musical Theatre. He was last seen
on the Muny stage as Chuck Cranston in Footloose. Recent credits: The Rocky Horror Show
(Rocky) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Frederick) for CCM, Newsies (Albert, Wagon Wheel
Center for the Arts), Legally Blonde (Emmett) and Anything Goes (Billy Crocker) for McLeod
Summer Playhouse. @a_alstat. @andrewalstat_photography

JENNY POWERS (Elsa Schraeder) is thrilled to be back at the Muny where her credits include
1776 (Abigail Adams, 2019), Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (Monotony Singer/Hildy, 2018),
Mamma Mia! (Tanya, 2016); The Addams Family (Morticia Addams, 2014), Mary Poppins (Mary
Poppins, 2013), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Milly, 2011), Camelot (Guenevere, 2009) and
Oliver! (Nancy, 2006). Broadway: Rizzo in Grease and Meg in Little Women. Theatre highlights:
Marie Dancing Still (5th Avenue Theatre), Lois Lane in It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (NY
City Center Encores!), Donnybrook! (Irish Rep, Drama Desk nomination); Dangerous Beauty
(Pasadena Playhouse), Happiness (Lincoln Center), Secondhand Lions (5th Avenue) and Little
Dancer (Kennedy Center). TV: The Mysteries of Laura, Blue Bloods, Power, The Good Wife,
Mercy, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Nurse Jackie, All My Children. She is also the co- founder
of The Link Theatre Company thelinktheatre.org jenny-powers.com

JOHN SCHERER (Max Detweiler) has appeared at The Muny in Cinderella, Kinky Boots, Annie,
Young Frankenstein, The Buddy Holly Story, The Addams Family, Spamalot and Mame. He has
appeared on Broadway in LoveMusik, By Jeeves and Sunset Boulevard. Off-Broadway credits
include Dames at Sea, Olympus on My Mind and Preppies. Other NY credits include The Most
Happy Fella (NY City Opera) and Out of This World (NY City Center Encores!). He has toured
nationally in 42nd Street, Cats, Mame, Hello, Dolly! and White Christmas. His regional credits
include Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Kennedy Center,
Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse and many others. Television credits include Blue
Bloods, The Shield, Crossing Jordan, Law & Order (SVU and CI) and Titus. He is originally from
Buffalo, NY and is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS

August 12 – 18
Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Music by Gene de Paul
New Songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
Based on the MGM Film and
“The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet
Dance Music Arrangements by Sam Davis
Sponsored by U.S. Bank

Kendra Kassebaum

KENDRA KASSEBAUM (Milly Bradon) Muny: Guys and Dolls (Miss Adelaide, 2019). On
Broadway, Kendra originated the role of Janice in the Tony-nominated production of Come
From Away as well as Sam in Leap of Faith. She played Glinda in Wicked on Broadway, in San
Francisco and on the first national tour (Helen Hayes nomination). Other New York: The
Receptionist (Manhattan Theatre Club) and the Tony Award-winning, Grammy-nominated
production of Assassins. Kendra made her Broadway debut in Rent. For Roundabout Theatre,
she performed the role of Petra in A Little Night Music, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha
Richardson. Kassebaum’s regional appearances include Actors Theatre of Louisville, The 5th
Avenue Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Ordway, Florida Stage and her hometown St.
Louis Muny. Film: The Other Woman (with Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow).

EDWARD WATTS (Adam Pontipee) is delighted to make his post-pandemic debut at The Muny!
Broadway: Robert/David in Scandalous. Other New York: Superman (It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane…
It’s Superman), El Gallo (The Fantasticks), Joe (The Most Happy Fella) and Steve (Show Boa
Tours: The Book of Mormon, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Les Misérables and The Little
Mermaid. Selected regional: The Grinch in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Old
Globe), Harold Hill in The Music Man (Goodspeed Musicals), Joe Bradley in Roman Holiday
(Guthrie Theater), Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music (Michigan Opera Theatre), Thomas
Jefferson in 1776 (Goodspeed) and Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing… Forum (Shakespeare
Theatre Company, Helen Hayes nomination). Television: NCIS: New Orleans, Quantico, The
Sopranos, Rescue Me. Proud member of AEA. EdwardWatts.net.


ON YOUR FEET!
The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan
August 21 – 27
Featuring Music Produced and Recorded by Emilio & Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Book by Alexander Dinelaris
Sponsored by BMO Harris Bank


OMAR LOPEZ-CEPERO (Emilio) is deeply humbled to return to the Muny stage after appearing
in Paint Your Wagon (Armando) and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Prior to the pandemic
shutdown, he was seen in the off-Broadway premiere of The Unsinkable Molly Brown
(Vincenzo). Broadway: On Your Feet! and American Idiot. Off-Broadway: The Public Theater’s
Central Park concert of The Capeman. Regional/tour credits: The Flamingo Kid (Alejandro) at
Hartford Stage, Guys and Dolls (Sky Masterson) at Theatre Under The Stars, Evita as Che
(national tour, Fulton Theatre) and as Peron (Bay Street Theater). TV credits: Blue Bloods (CBS),
The Detour (TBS), Vegas (CBS). He is a graduate of The University of Miami Frost School of
Music with a degree in Vocal Performance. Alongside his performing career, he has developed
an acting and voice studio where he coaches professional artists and students to maximize their
potential. www.omarlopezcepero.com @omarlopezcepero

NATASCIA DIAZ (Gloria Fajardo) Most widely recognized for the documentary Every Little Step,
this three-time Helen Hayes Award-winner returns to The Muny after her “breathtaking” turn
as Velma Kelly in Chicago, and her award-winning turn as Anita in West Side Story. Broadway:
Seussical (Bird Girl), Man of La Mancha (Antonia, u/s Aldonza). Off-Broadway: Tick,
Tick…Boom!, Jacques Brel…; Washington DC: Petra (A Little Night Music) Rosalie (Carnival),
Aurora (Kiss of the Spider Woman). Her first Helen Hayes happened in a tie with Chita Rivera for
her transformation into Scottish rocker Monica in Rooms, and her second for her performance
in Brel. Other favorites: Jenny (The Threepenny Opera), Betty 3, Collective Rage (Woolly
Mammoth), Mariana (Measure for Measure), Savage (Savage in Limbo), Rafaella (Grand Hotel,
NY City Center Encores!) and winning her third award for her “obsessively watchable,
gorgeously sung” (Washington Post) role in a “career-defining performance” (BroadwayWorld)
as Fosca in Sondheim’s Passion. TV: FBI IG:@LadyDiaz777

ALMA CUERVO (Consuelo) Broadway: On Your Feet!; Beauty and the Beast, Cabaret, Titanic,
The Heidi Chronicles, Quilters, Is There Life After High School?; Censored Scenes from King Kong
and Bedroom Farce. She has toured nationally in Wicked, My Fair Lady, Cabaret, M. Butterfly
and Dancing at Lughnasa. Off-Broadway: Allegro (Classic Stage Company), Far From Heaven
(Playwrights Horizons) and Road Show (The Public). She received an OBIE for her performance
in Uncommon Women and Others and Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award for The Beauty Queen of
Leenane. Ms. Cuervo has worked extensively in regional theatre, most recently In the Heights at
Music Theatre Wichita and Yerma at Huntington Theatre. Film/Television: The Goldfinch, Bull,
Lisey’s Story, City on a Hill, Instinct, The Slap, and she was a regular on Norman Lear’s AKA
Pablo. She narrates many audiobooks and is a graduate of Tulane University and Yale School of
Drama.

LEE ZARRETT (Phil) Broadway: My Fair Lady, On Your Feet!; Hair, The 25th Annual Putnam
County Spelling Bee, Jane Eyre. National tours: Peter and the Starcatcher, Les Misérables. TV:
The Blacklist, High Fidelity, Gotham, Louie, Boardwalk Empire. Off-Broadway: NY City Center
Encores!, New Victory, Vineyard Theatre. Regional: Pittsburg CLO, La Jolla Playhouse.


CHICAGO
August 30 – September 5
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Foss
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Script Adaptation by David Thompson
Sponsored by Missouri Lottery

SARAH BOWDEN (Roxie Hart) Originally from Australia, Sarah most recently played Velma Kelly
in Chicago at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre with Denis Jones directing and is beyond excited to be
working with Denis again on this dream show! USA highlights include Cherry Sundae in the first
national tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, playing Cassie in A Chorus Line in 2016 at
The Hollywood Bowl opposite Mario Lopez, and her first Muny production of Jerome Robbins’
Broadway in 2018. Sarah spent many years in Germany playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Anita in
West Side Story, Doralee in 9 to 5, Gloria in Flashdance and lastly, Esmeralda in Disney’s The
Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Scott Schwartz (director) and Chase Brock (choreographer).
INSTA: @sarahbowden.de

J. HARRISON GHEE (Velma Kelly) is honored to be returning to The Muny playing Velma Kelly.
Many thanks to family, friends, and his agency Nicolosi & Co. for continued love and support.
Broadway/International tour: Kinky Boots (Lola/Swing), Mrs. Doubtfire (Andre Mayem).
Regional: The Color Purple (Ensemble), The Sting (Johnny Hooker). Television: High
Maintenance (Charles), Raising Dion (Kwame). Industrial: Tokyo Disney Sea’s Big Band Beat,
Norwegian Cruise Line. Proud graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (NY)
@jharrisonghee

EMILY SKINNER (Matron “Mama” Morton) Muny: Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Breakfast at
Tiffany’s, Billy Elliot. Broadway: Side Show (Tony nomination, Drama League Award), The Cher
Show, Prince of Broadway, Jekyll & Hyde, The Full Monty, James Joyce’s The Dead, Dinner at
Eight (Outer Critics Circle nomination), Billy Elliot (BroadwayWorld Award). Off-Broadway:
Picnic (Drama Desk nomination), Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall), Fiorello!; No Strings,
Pardon My English, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (all for NY City Center Encores!). She has sung
leading roles at Manhattan Theatre Club, WPA Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout
Theatre Company, York Theatre, Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Regional: The
Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Long Wharf, Old Globe,
Goodspeed, Bucks County Playhouse, Virginia Rep, and many others. She has sung with
symphonies around the globe and her numerous recordings may be found at Amazon.com.
www.emily-skinner.com

JAMES T. LANE (Billy Flynn) West End: The Scottsboro Boys, A Chorus Line (Palladium, revival).
Broadway: Kiss Me, Kate (Paul), King Kong, The Scottsboro Boys (Ozie Powell/Ruby Bates),
Chicago and A Chorus Line (Richie). National tours: Jersey Boys, Cinderella, Fame. Regional:
Guys and Dolls (Nicely Nicely, Virginia Stage Company), Mary Poppins (Bert, Drury Lane
Theatre), The Wiz (Tin Man), Promenade, Grand Hotel and Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (all for
NY City Center Encores!), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Sebastian, The Muny), Broadway at
Music Circus, The Old Globe, American Conservatory Theater and Dallas Theater Center.
Concerts: Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops, Ottawa Symphony and many more. James is
the creator of a one man show entitled Triple Threat: A Play That Moves and Sings. Look for
streaming information, booking, as well as performance dates at www.jamestlane.com. Mr.
Lane teaches music theatre dance when and wherever anyone will let him! Instagram:
@jamestlane www.jamestlane.com

ADAM HELLER (Amos Hart) Muny: Gypsy, 1776. Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Follies, Brighton
Beach Memoirs. Broadway: It Shoulda Been You, Elf, Baby, It’s You; Caroline, or Change; A Class
Act, Victor/Victoria; Les Misérables. National tours: Titanic, Falsettos. Off-Broadway: Popcorn
Falls (Davenport), A Letter to Harvey Milk (Theater Row), Peer Gynt (CSC), Wings (Second
Stage), Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn and The Immigrant (New World Stages),
Merrily We Roll Along (York). Regional: The Flamingo Kid (Hartford Stage), Fiddler on the Roof
(Connecticut Critics Circle Award) and Rags (Goodspeed), The Chosen (Barrington Stage), My
Name is Asher Lev (Arden), Merrily We Roll Along (Kennedy Center). TV: The Bite, FBI: Most
Wanted; Ray Donovan, The Good Fight, Elementary, Unforgettable, The Americans, The
Sopranos, Law & Order (all), Oz, Submissions Only. Graduate: NYU/Tisch.

ALI EWOLDT (Mary Sunshine) is beyond thrilled to return to The Muny. She appeared here as
Philia in Forum, Martha Jefferson in 1776 and Maria in West Side Story. Other credits include
Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Cosette in Les Misérables
(Broadway, national tour), The King and I (Broadway, tour, Lyric Opera of Chicago), Maria in
West Side Story (national tour, international tour), Luisa in The Fantasticks (off-Broadway),
Fan/Mrs. Bonds in A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre) and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls
(Sacramento Music Circus). Concert/symphony work: Alice Tully Hall, The Town Hall, NY Pops at
Carnegie Hall, Houston Symphony, American Pops Orchestra, Kaohsiung Symphony and The
Boston Pops with Maestro Keith Lockhart. Her TV/Film credits include The Michael J. Fox Show,
Yield, Mia and The Cactus. Ali has a BA in psychology from Yale University and is a proud Filipina
American and member of Actors’ Equity. @aliewoldt

Current season ticket holders for the 2021 season will receive their season tickets later this
month. New season subscriptions for the 2021 five-show season are currently available, with
single tickets becoming available July 12. Tickets can be purchased online at muny.org or by
phone by calling (314) 361-1900 ext 1550. Currently, the box office in Forest Park is closed for
walk-up service until July 5.

To stay connected virtually and to receive the latest updates, please follow The Muny on their
social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Emerson is proud to be The Muny’s 2021 Season Sponsor.

Kate Rockwell

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
A powerhouse cast makes sure we fall head-over-high-heels about “Kinky Boots,” a
flashy and fun musical that soars into the starry night at the Muny.

This regional premiere is polished to perfection. For the
first time, I understood the show’s heart and soul, and how its universality touched
people, becoming an international smash-hit and winning six Tony Awards, including
Best Musical, the Olivier Award and a Grammy for original cast recording.

The basic premise is simple yet resonates. It is inspired
by true events and a BBC documentary, which was adapted into a 2005 British feature
film with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola and Joel Edgerton as Charlie. A failing shoe
factory owner teams up with a drag queen to save his family business by
diversifying the product. That niche market in women’s footwear would be “kinky
boots” – bright, glittery sturdy stilettos made well to meet the needs of flamboyant
performers-in-drag.

Photo by Phillip Hamer

Charlie of Northampton, meet Simon of Clacton. They are
from different worlds, but share the weight of parental expectations and
self-acceptance issues. Their duet “I’m Not Your Father’s Son” is an
exclamation point on the matter. They work through this and more, all to the eclectic
beats of rockstar Cyndi Lauper’s first foray into show tunes, with new wave and
club music influences.

The unlikely pair find a common bond, as do the employees
in this relatable workplace comedy. One enlightened blue-collar bloke says: “When
you can change your mind, you can change the world!”

The message of tolerance is a fitting one for Gay Pride Month
as the musical celebrates individuality and inclusion. It’s wrapped in a
feel-good dance party with get-on-your-feet rhythms, and the cast is brimming
with vim and vigor.

Many elements make this first U.S. theatrical production
outside Broadway/national tours so special, but one factor is certain: casting
performers with experience in “Kinky Boots” was a stroke of genius. And it
shows in the brisk crisp and snappy staging.

Photo by Phillip Hamer

The theatricality of swaggering sparkplug J. Harrison Ghee
as Lola, who toured internationally in the role and was a Broadway replacement,
thrusts him into legendary diva status. Looking and sounding like Whitney
Houston in her prime, he tugs at everyone’s heartstrings in “Hold Me in Your
Heart.”

We are truly in “The Land of Lola,” as it’s obvious from Ghee’s
first entrance. During “Sex Is in the Heel,” he seizes the expansive stage,
strutting with major attitude. His moves in those high heels are a triumph over
physics.

The lithe and blithe Ghee showcases his dramatic flair and
knows how to get a laugh, tossing off book writer Harvey Fierstein’s pointed
barbs with ease.

Then there is Graham Scott Fleming as Charlie, who plays
the shoe factory heir apparent with conviction. His conflicts are genuine. However,
his vocal prowess is where he really shines.

His vocal range is well-suited for Tony-winner Lauper’s compositions,
and he interprets the heartfelt lyrics well, especially in “Step One” and “The
Soul of a Man.” He has had much success in Toronto, including nabbing a
Canadian theater award nomination for his performance as Charlie.

Tony-nominated Taylor Louderman, a native of Bourbon, Mo., who
began as a Muny Teen ten years ago, showcases her multiple talents reprising
the goofy lovestruck assembly line worker Lauren that she played on Broadway.

Photo by Phillip Hamer

In her standout number, “The History of Wrong Guys,” she demonstrates
her deft physical comedy skills and how she has come into her own. It’s a blissful
Muny moment. The crowd may not have noticed her at first for entrance applause,
but she sure earned a big ovation after that number.

The perky Louderman, with several Broadway credits and a
few key roles at the Muny – last seen as Amneris in “Aida” (the best thing
about that 2015 production), took off as Regina in “Mean Girls” to appear in
this show.

The ensemble is a tight mix, with Paul Whitty a standout as
bigoted foreman Don.

Photo by Phillip HamerJohn Scherer, a master of comic timing as evident in his
turns in “The Foreigner” and “Noises Off!” at The Repertory Theatre of St.
Louis, is hilarious as the old-school manager George.

So is Jen Perry, who reprises the role of saucy older
worker Trish she originated on Broadway.

Several cast members were in the Broadway production, which
opened April 2013 and ran for six years and 1,400 performances until April 7
this year, including Meryn Becket, Holly Davis and Maggie McDowell, and Angels Callan
Bergman, Ian Fitzgerald and Kyle Post. Angel Ricky Schroeder was in the
national tour.

Caroline Bowman, who plays Charlie’s unlikable
materialistic social-climbing fiancé Nicola, originated the role of Maggie and
then closed as Nicola in April. Ross Lekites plays Charlie’s friend Harry after
being in Broadway and national tour ensembles.

St. Louis performers are also an integral part of the
action. Omega Jones, in his debut as Simon Sr., has a tear-jerking moment at
the nursing home where Lola is entertaining. Veteran Zoe Vonder Haar is funny
as the Milan Stage Manager. Victor Landon and Khaydn M. Adams are the energetic
young Charlie and Simon characters respectively.

When the eight drag queens known as The Angels make their striking
entrance, it’s a magical Muny moment – and received an enthusiastic ovation.

Photo by Phillip HamerOther high-stepping moments include the Act One finale, “Everybody Say Yeah,” which is a marvel of movement on conveyor belts, and the rousing grand finale, “Raise You Up/Just Be,” which should empower everyone to “Feed your fire.”

Music Director Ryan Fielding Garrett, who conducted the “Kinky
Boots” national tour, skillfully drives the catchy tunes and heart-tugging
ballads.

The human connection is an important part of this show,
just as it is at the oldest and biggest outdoor theater in the country. And the
Muny connections for this show, I feel, have boosted its value and worth.
Namely, the original stylish direction and cheerful choreography of Jerry
Mitchell, one of Broadway’s most lauded artists who won a Tony Award for “Kinky
Boots” choreography. Involved in 50 Broadway shows, he earned his Equity card
at the Muny and was a Webster University student.

His work is recreated here by director DB Bonds, who played
Emmett in “Legally Blonde” eight years ago at the Muny, and choreographer Rusty
Mowery, who worked on Muny productions “Hairspray” and “Legally Blonde.”

Those special ties just boost the care you notice in this
production, a passion project for all involved.

Photo by Phillip HamerOn the technical side, the creative team’s work continues
to shine on the new stage with the upgrades, especially light, sound and video
screens.

Scenic Designer Michael Schweikardt’s grid work in the
Price and Sons Factory is efficient, functional and flows with purpose. His
glitzy touch to the Milan runway is as over the top as the boots – his ‘wow’
moment. Video Designer Shawn Duan seamlessly extended the expansive exterior
shots.

Also stepping up his game is Lighting Designer Nathan W.
Scheuer, who made sure the musical numbers glow and sparkle.

Co-sound designer John Shivers won a Tony Award for “Kinky
Boots.” He and David Patridge have been a team at the Muny since 2015.

Costume designer Gregg Barnes, two-time Tony winner for “The Drowsy Chaperone” and “Follies” revival, provides his impressive Tony-nominated “Kinky Boots” designs, and The Angels and Lola’s bold eye-popping outfits befit fashionistas. Costume coordination is by Lindsay McWilliams.

The wig work is also outstanding, with original design by Josh Marquette, and work by additional wig designer Kelley Jordan.

“Kinky Boots” finds its footing early on and grows in goodwill as people build upon their dream with helping hands. Endearing in portrayals and intent, its power is a slow build, but it’s lasting, and that is “The Most Beautiful Thing.” And you’ll walk away lifted by this new outlook.

The Muny presents “Kinky Boots” every evening at 8:15 p.m. June 17-25. For more information or for tickets, visit www.muny.org

Photo by Phillip Hamer

The Muny announced today its complete cast, design and production team for Kinky Boots, the second show of its second century, June 19 – 25. Kinky Boots is proudly sponsored by Missouri Lottery.

“We are so honored and grateful to be the first theatre in the U.S. to produce Kinky Boots,” said Muny Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “This promises to be a magical, thrilling Muny night, and this team is committed to creating a soaring production on our new stage.” Joining the previously announced Graham Scott Fleming (Charlie Price), J. Harrison Ghee (Lola) and Taylor Louderman (Lauren) are Caroline Bowman (Nicola), John Scherer (George), Paul Whitty (Don), Victor Landon (Young Charlie) and Khaydn M. Adams (Young Lola). A glittering ensemble completes this cast, including Meryn Beckett, Callan Bergmann, Holly Davis, Ian Fitzgerald, Duane Martin Foster, Todd A. Horman, Valton Jackson, Patrick Oliver Jones, Jacob Lacopo, Ross Lekites, Maggie McDowell, Michael Olaribigbe, Jen Perry, Kyle Post, Anthony Sagaria, Ricky Schroeder, Joey Taranto and Zoe Vonder Haar. The company will also be joined by the Muny Teen youth ensemble.  Kinky Boots original Broadway direction and choreography are by Jerry Mitchell, with choreography re-created by Rusty Mowery and direction re-created by DB Bonds. Music direction will be by Ryan Fielding Garrett. The design team leading this production includes scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Gregg Barnes, costume design coordination by Lindsay McWilliams, lighting design by Nathan W. Scheuer, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Shawn Duan, wig design by Kelley Jordan. Production stage manager is Nancy Pittelman. 

GRAHAM SCOTT FLEMING (Charlie Price) is ecstatic to be making his Muny debut with this brilliant show. Graham was the Canadian Charlie in Kinky Boots and nominated for a Dora for Best Male Actor in a Musical. Broadway: Miss Saigon. Papermill Playhouse: My Very Own British Invasion. Premieres (Canada):Ghost, Kinky Boots, Jukebox Hero. Film/TV: Love You Like Christmas (Hallmark),Odd Squad. Graham is also a singer/songwriter, and his latest album Young, Wild & Free can be found on Spotify. Instagraham: @grahamsfleming  J. HARRISON GHEE (Lola) is elated to make his Muny debut with the show that has changed his life. International tour: Kinky Boots (Lola/Swing). Regional: The Color Purple (Ensemble). Television: High Maintenance. Proud graduate of AMDA (NY). @jharrisonghee 

Taylor Louderman headlines “Kinky Boots” at the Muny this summer

TAYLOR LOUDERMAN (Lauren) Muny: Aida (Amneris), Grease (Sandy), Hairspray(Amber) and as a Muny Teen 10 years ago! This Tony-nominated actress from Bourbon, MO is currently starring on Broadway in Mean Girls as Regina. Taylor is reprising her role as Lauren after performing in Kinky Boots on Broadway. Her career began at Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla where she currently serves on the board and contributes to rural Missouri’s theatre education. She made her Broadway debut starring in Bring It On: The Musical produced with The Muny’s own Mike Isaacson. Favorite credits: NBC’s Peter Pan Live! (Wendy), Nickelodeon’sSunny Day (Blair), CBS’s The Good Fight, HBO’s High Maintenance, Showtime’s The Loudest Voice. @taylizlou CAROLINE BOWMAN (Nicola) is thrilled to return to The Muny after appearing inAll Shook Up (Natalie/Ed). Broadway/Tours: Kinky Boots (Nicola), Wicked(Elphaba), Evita (Eva Perón), Spamalot (Lady of the Lake), Grease (Rizzo) andFame (Carmen). BFA, Penn State. @carolinebowman5 JOHN SCHERER (George) has previously appeared at The Muny in Annie, Young Frankenstein, The Buddy Holly Story, The Addams Family, Spamalot and Mame. Broadway: LoveMusik, By Jeeves and Sunset Boulevard. Off Broadway: Dames at Sea, Olympus On My Mind. Other New York: The Most Happy Fella (New York City Opera), Out Of This World (NY City Center Encores!) and A Tribute to Comden and Green (Carnegie Hall). National tours: 42nd Street, Cats, Mame and White Christmas. He recently appeared in the critically-acclaimed revival of The Drowsy Chaperone at the Goodspeed Opera House. Other regional: Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Ahmanson Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse and many others. Film/TV: Spinning into Butter, The Shield, Crossing Jordan, Titus and Law & Order (SVU and CI). He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. PAUL WHITTY (Don) is thrilled to be making his Muny debut! Broadway: Gettin’ the Band Back Together, Amelie, Once, The Full Monty. Off-Broadway and other NYC: Once (New York Theatre Workshop), Bayonets of Angst (NYMF), Violet (NY City Center Encores!), Twelfth Night (Sonnet Repertory). Regional: Baby Doll, A Streetcar Named Desire (Le Petit Theatre), Ken Ludwig’s Robin Hood! (Old Globe), Amelie (Berkeley Rep, CTG), Peter and the Starcatcher (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Judge Jackie (Sharon Playhouse), Be More Chill (Two River Theater),Once (American Repertory Theatre), Reasons to Be Pretty, Art (Crescent Stage), Circle Mirror Transformation (PURE Theatre), Doubt (Village Rep). Film/TV: Song One, Law & Order SVU, Guiding Light. BFA Acting, UNCSA.VICTOR LANDON (Young Charlie) is delighted to join the cast of Kinky Boots. Muny: Gypsy (Newsboy) and youth ensemble for The Little Mermaid, Newsies andAn Evening with the Stars. Other St. Louis area favorite roles include JoJo inSeussical (Arts for Life Award) and Gavroche in Les Misérables. He loves performing with the Muny Kids troupe.KHAYDN M. ADAMS (Young Lola) is thrilled to make his theatrical debut at The Muny! Khaydn has a passion for musical theatre and has participated in several small productions, including Madagascar Jr. for his 6th grade class and plays at church, where Khaydn is the youngest member of the mass chorus and has been a featured soloist. Khaydn sings and dances with COCA in University City and says he ‘loves performing as much as he loves chicken’ (that’s saying a lot)! Khaydn has been trained in violin, cello, alto and tenor saxophone but is self-taught on the piano. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and making slime. Khaydn aspires to be a professional artist when he grows up and is grateful for this opportunity to perform live on stage.

Link for more information: muny.org/kinky-boots.

About the show:

Kinky Boots features a book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and is based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth.“Step into a dream where glamour is extreme” with the U.S. regional premiere of the international smash-hit-musical Kinky Boots! Winner of six Tony Awards, the Olivier Award and the Grammy, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of a struggling British shoe factory that finds a surprising way to recreate themselves! Featuring 16 Grammy Award-winning original songs penned by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this sparkling, stiletto sensation will “lift you up!”

The seven shows in the 2019 Muny season are: Guys and Dolls (June 10 – 16),Kinky Boots (June 19 – 25), 1776 (June 27 – July 3), Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (July 8 – 16), Footloose (July 18 – 24), Lerner and Loewe’s Paint Your Wagon (July 27 – August 2) and Roald Dahl’s Matilda (August 5 – 11). For more information, visit muny.org.  

Season tickets, single tickets and Muny gift cards for the 101st season are available online and at The Muny Box Office. MetroTix is the only official online point-of-purchase vendor for The Muny. For more information, visit muny.org or call (314) 361-1900.

For updates and information regarding The Muny’s Second Century Capital Campaign, please click here.