Stories & Cast Interviews

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meet Peyton Ella

Posted by: Elizabeth Jankovic on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 1:00:00 pm Comments (2)

 Peyton Ella will be playing the title role of "Annie" in our next mainstage show.

Peyton Ella, age 11, is a Westchester County native and thrilled to be making her WBT debut!  Peyton began on her path to performing at age 7, waiting in line at an open call for NBC's Sound of Music LIVE w/ Carrie Underwood.  Four callbacks later, she won the role of the littlest Von Trapp daughter, Gretl.  From there, Peyton went on to play the role of young Kim in the NY Philharmonic's concert version of Show Boat with Vanessa Williams, which also aired on PBS.  Last summer, Peyton was thrilled to be cast in the role of young Lee Bouvier in the Los Angeles production of Grey Gardens at the Ahmenson Theater with Betty Buckley and Rachel York.  Peyton's other TV credits include a musical performance with Stephen Colbert and Mathew Broderick on CBS's Late Show, and the pilot of "Weight: The Series", filmed in LA.  Her regional theater credits include the KOTA productions of A Little Princess (Lottie), School of Rock (Summer), Annie (Annie), & the Random Farms productions of Cinderella (Cinderella), Shrek (young Shrek), and Beauty and the Beast (Lefou).  Look for Peyton in an episode of the new, upcoming Netflix series "Gypsy". 

Peyton as "Annie"(KOTA Productions.)

Peyton enjoys singing for her favorite charity events, especially KOTA's "Lyrics for Life" which benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

When she isn't performing, Peyton loves ice skating locally with friends at the Westchester Skating Academy. 

Show business seems to run in the family blood.  Peyton is proud to be following in the footsteps of her mother who played the roles of Kate and Annie in the original production of Annie on Broadway, and her little brother Elliot was recently traveling with the 1st National Tour of the Broadway musical Kinky Boots.  Her grandmother was a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. 

Peyton is the 4th child out of 5 children and wants to thank her sisters Alexis, Madison, & Taylor, and her brother Elliot for supporting her love of performing. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Meet Sunny and Animal Director and Trainer, Bill Berloni!

Posted by: pia on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Sunny plays Sandy in Annie

Sunny will be playing Sandy in WBT’s production of Annie. Sunny was adopted in the spring of 2012 for the revival of Annie on Broadway from the Houston TX Animal Control the day before she was to be put to sleep. She stayed with the show on Broadway until 2014 and has been out with the national tour ever since. Sunny is a Terrier Mix who is about 7 years old. Sunny loves toys that squeak and all children, especially red-headed little girls.

Like the other great Sandy dogs, Sunny was rescued and trained by Bill Berloni, who is known for his training of rescue animals for stage, film, and television. Sunny is the 23rd Sandy dog of Bill Berloni’s career. Under Bill’s training, the original dog that portrayed Sandy in the 1977 Original Broadway Production of Annie, became the “longest running dog on Broadway,” never missing a performance.

In addition to being a trainer, Bill is the Director of Animal Behavior at the Humane Society of New York and he is also the 2011 Tony Honoree for Excellence in Theatre. Bill Berloni is the only Animal trainer that has been honored with a Tony. He also received the 2017 Drama League’s Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award and the 2014 Outer Critics Circle Award for Special Achievement.

When talking about Annie, Bill said, “being part of a show that has become part of the national consciousness is something that I am very proud of.” Throughout his career, Bill feels like he has “taken these dogs, saved their lives, and given them a purpose.” 

Annie runs at the Westchester Broadway Theatre from June 29th-September 10th.

Bill Berloni and Sunny

 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Meet Stacia Fernandez

Posted by: Matthew Orlander on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 11:15:00 am Comments (0)

We Welcome Stacia Fernandez to the Cast of Mamma Mia as Tanya!

 

 Stacia

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where I was the youngest of 4 girls. Being the youngest, I was always the loudest as I was trying to get people to hear me. I guess that's why I am an actor now!

I spent 5 years doing Mamma Mia on Broadway in the ensemble and playing both roles of Rosie and Tanya. So, you would think this was an easy transition for me. Joyful yes! Easy no! All new blocking and choreography make it necessary to erase some pretty old hard drives. That makes it quite a challenge, but a fun one!

I've worked up here at the WBT many times before, but it's been several years and I'm thrilled to be back. It's like coming home. 

As far as musical movies go, I surely do appreciate the idea. I think it promotes a love of the art form to a lot of people who never appreciated a good musical before. I look forward to seeing the prequel of Mamma Mia!  

I loved playing Grizabella in CATS up here, and playing Mrs. Anna in The King and I. I would play Mrs. Anna again in a minute. I would also love to revisit Diana in Next to Normal, one of my all-time favorite shows that I've done. Also, I can't wait to play Mrs. Lovett, the Witch in Into the Woods, and Mama Rose in Gypsy somewhere soon. In addition, I just did Night of the Iguana with James Earl Jones. Let me tell you, that was a dream come true!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Meet Kilty Reidy

Posted by: Elizabeth Jankovic on Friday, May 12, 2017 at 12:15:00 pm Comments (0)

Kilty Reidy plays Harry Bright in Mamma Mia!

 Harry and Donna (Michelle Dawson) in "Our Last Summer"

I was born in Charlotte, NC.  I was raised in North Carolina by Midwestern parents (Chicago).  So the rules that applied in my home didn’t always apply outside.  For instance, when responding to an adult in Southern culture, it is polite to reply with a Ma’am or a Sir.  When I would respond to my mother with a "yes, ma’am”, she would tell me not to take that “tone” with her.  Ah, cultural differences.

My mother is a huge fan of theatre.  I was raised listening to Leonard Stallman’s New Faces of 1952.  What do you mean you don’t know it?  Later on Annie and A Chorus Line were thrown into the mix.  My mother also put together Vaudeville Shows for the Church Fall Festival.  And we always had a piano player at the house when my parents threw big parties.  Clearly, there was no hope for me.

I took class with a Meisner teacher who taught out of the old Carnegie Hall Studios.  His name was Fred Kareman.  He made a lasting impression on me.

My father always joked when I started working professionally, “It’s about time that loud mouth made you some money!”  He was right.

I've done several shows at WBT; Carousel, West Side Story, Funny Girl (twice), And The World Goes ‘Round, Happy Days.  I love that I can work and live at home (that is the dream).  Also, after many years and many shows, WBT feels like a family to me.  They gave me one of my first jobs as a new Equity member and have always been kind enough to let me return.  

I first heard of Mamma Mia! the musical in about 2000 when the show was being mounted in New York.  This is my first time doing Mamma Mia!.  I have never seen the movie, though I do love Meryl Streep.  When stage musicals are made into films, as long as they are done well, I have no issues.  I believe they help cultivate a new audience for musical theatre.

Some of my favorite shows include The Most Happy Fella, Once on This Island, The Scottsboro Boys, Light in the Piazza, Fiddler on the Roof, Drowsy Chaperone.. just off the top of my head!

My dream role is Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and I want another shot at Alfie Byrne in A Man of No Importance.

I listen to tons of musical theatre.  I love podcasts…“This American Life”, “The Moth”, “Ronna and Beverly”, and many more.