Stories & Cast Interviews
Meet Emily Kelly as Maggie in A Chorus Line
I grew up in Sacramento, CA. There wasn't a huge theatre scene, and no one in my family is involved in it. My mom did some shows in high school and I always loved her singing voice, but other than that I came out of nowhere and forced everyone to come along for the ride! And they did; I'm so lucky to have had such a large support system from day one. I grew up very close to my grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins on my mom's side, so having them, along with my parents and little sister, at every production made for an awesome fan base (even though my guy cousin brought a pillow to most so he could take a nap)!
I can't remember the very first show I saw like most people, but I was always begging my family to go see the tours that came through town, and then listening to the soundtracks on repeat for weeks after! I did a lot of community theatre and I think the show that made me decide I wanted to do this for a living was Les Mis (I know, cheesy right?). I played Eponine and was obsessed! I'd fall asleep thinking and singing through the track in my head. I couldn't wait to go to rehearsal, it was all I wanted to do. I realized I was happiest and felt the best about myself when at rehearsal. I noticed everyone else in the cast had something to complain about, but I loved every part of doing the show, even the really hard or boring parts of the process. Then a year later I played Mrs. Lovett in a student production of Sweeny Todd and created my own "bake shop" in my kitchen so I could practice "making pies" every day and my parents realized maybe we could start taking this seriously. haha!
This is my first time doing A Chorus Line and first time at WBT. I actually saw the original Broadway revival cast in previews in San Francisco and didn't realize until years later! But I loved it!! I was singing "One" and doing a kickline in the bathroom after the show despite the strange looks from several people. Mara Davi's picture was on the wall of my dance studio because she went there for a bit and she quickly became one of my idols. I love working on the WBT stage! I think it's a challenging and rewarding show to do on a thrust stage like this one. In many ways, it's in an intimate and vulnerable show so I think it's awesome to immerse the audience in it by being so close and exposed on all sides.
I've actually never seen the movie of A Chorus Line. Although they can be difficult to get right sometimes, I'm all for musicals being made into films because it brings the content to more people! Then they can hear how much better it is on stage and want to come to live theatre even more!
I'm playing one right now and it's a dream! But Wicked has always been a dream show. I've seen it five times and it gets better every time!
I'm a huge nerd. When not on stage, I need to keep up with all the fandoms: tv, books, movies, all of it! And quality time with friends and family is the best.
Music: I listen to a whole lot of musicals, unsurprisingly! Also, pop divas Lady Gaga, Kesha, and Beyonce with some classic Jack Johnson, Beach Boys (my California is showing), Queen, and the Beatles mixed in.
Meet Erica Mansfield as Cassie in A Chorus Line
I was born overseas in France but was raised in Texas and moved to New York after high school.
I was always performing in my bedroom by myself. I always loved to sing and dance. My neighbor Maddy across the street taught me to tap dance in her kitchen when I was six. We kept it a secret and then invited parents to the big show. From then on I was put in dance lessons. She also introduced me to movie musicals like Sweet Charity and My Fair Lady. I fell in love with musicals then. I got my feet wet acting in school shows and in youth summer programs such as HITS theatre and Broadway Theatre Project. In the 8th grade, I got pulled from JR High to be in the high school musical 42nd Street. I really looked up to the older kids. They were very supportive and even came to my JR high to support me as the understudy for Nancy in Oliver. I always knew I was gonna be in show business.
My dance teacher Miss Susie would take a small group of us to NY in the summer to dance. I’ll never forget my first time in NY. The second I saw the city and felt the energy I thought, this is where I belong. This is where I’m gonna live. It’s exactly what I did. My extremely supportive parents and my dance teacher all encouraged me to go for my dream to dance on Broadway so at 18 after a summer at Galveston Summer Musicals and a children’s theatre tour I moved to a women’s residence (like Thoroughly Modern Millie) on the upper west side with 2 meals a day in the basement and a bathroom down the hall and I just started showing up. Westchester Broadway was one of the first places I showed up for ;). And here I am all of these years later revisiting this show at a theatre where my dream started to come to fruition.
My introduction to A Chorus Line was the movie. It is totally different from the Broadway material but at the time it was out I didn’t even know what Broadway was. I just knew I loved the music and dancing. I LOVED Cassie and never in my wildest dreams would I think I would end up playing that part on stage.
I got my start at Westchester! It was one of my first auditions in NY! When I first moved to NY I ran into a friend from summer stock in a Duane Reade who told me to come with her to audition for Funny Girl there and we both ended up in the show. The director at the time Tom Polum said if “I knew how young you were I wouldn’t have hired you!” Haha. I ended up assisting that director and I did 4 shows at Westchester. I did Funny Girl, Oklahoma, Grease and Hello Dolly.
What I love about the theatre is that it really is a family. They provide the tremendous opportunity for young actors. They are very loyal to the people who have worked there. I think it’s a great place to get your card AND you get to sleep at home!
Making Movie Musicals from stage Musicals...I think it’s fantastic! It’s part of the reason I’m in this business for sure. I think the more job opportunities the better for us! Also, it’s a great opportunity to reach a whole new audience.
Favorite shows: Oklahoma, A Light in the Piazza, The Last Five Years, Hamilton, Rent, Crazy for You, Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Dream roles... I’m playing one of them! Others? I have a bazillion! Haha. Millie will always be the role that got away. My dreams evolve with my age but there are many roles I’m dying to do!
I have a history with Anne Reinking and fosse work and I would LOVE to do Roxy or Velma! Lola or Gloria in Damn Yankees, Franca in Light in the Piazza, Reno in Anything Goes, Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot, Charity- Sweet Charity, Heidi in Dear Evan Hansen, Ula in The Producers, Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone, Nancy in Oliver, Queenie in The Wild Party, Mother in Ragtime, Lena or Kathy in Singin in the Rain,. Maureen in Rent, Ilona in She Loves Me, Polly and Irene in Crazy For You, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, Lois in Kiss Me Kate, Georgia in Curtains,
I was in Mamma Mia for 5 years and covered Sophie. I would love to play Donna or Tanya and come full circle. I always wanted to do Peggy but now, eventually Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street
I have an amazing dog named Rylee. She is a Pomsky and my off time is usually spent playing, walking and snuggling with her! If I’m not doing that I try to enjoy time with my friends.
I'm the worst at clearing out my phone. So there is no room for much. Mostly music from shows I’ve done for my Broadway Masterclasses.
Five Questions For Bill Stutler
We asked Owner, Bill Stutler a few questions this Jolly Holly season!
1. How does a visit to WBT get people in the mood for the holidays? :
Fully decorated with garlands, lights and a tree that nearly touches the balcony, with packages of food and toys that customers can bring and place under the tree for the needy, which we distribute just before Christmas, and an entrance also decorated for the Holidays, can't help but get one in the Holiday Mood. Of course, Christmas music adds to the feel once you enter the lobby. Topped off with a menu of Christmas favorites and an uplifting production which will leave all feeling up and good about themselves, relatives and friends.
2. Why is it such a great place to go to during the holiday season?
With a wide variety of entertainment events, WBT has something for everyone and with a served meal featuring your choice from a variety of entrees included in the low ticket price, WBT is the best deal around and the place to be this holiday season! Dinner, Show, Parking, proximity...all add up to an affordable night out!
3. Is it a place for adults AND families?
The Christmas Voyager is specially chosen for Families! It is a heartwarming Musical with a timeless message!
4. What do you want the customer to come away with after having been to your theatre this Holiday season?
Being Entertained & well fed! With an appreciation of the magic of live theatre!
5. How many Holiday seasons have you celebrated at WBT?
It is our 43th year! The County Executive has called the Westchester Broadway Theatre, "The cultural mainstay of Westchester."
Jayson Elliott returns in The Christmas Voyager!
We caught up with WBT favorite, Jayson Elliott...
I grew up In a small town in northern Indiana near Norte Dame. 130 people in my high school class. Fairly rural community. We had a day where kids could drive their tractors to school. Haha. It had a small high school, a movie theatre with 2 screens, basketball hoops in every driveway, and lemonade stands.
I played a lot of sports when I was younger but then realized there were a lot more girls in a choir room than there were in a locker room. Haha.
I really fell in love with acting in High school. I fell in love with music first and the two kind of go hand in hand for me. Certainly, high school theatre and music teachers played a huge part in my career choice. They were really good about exposing us to as many forms of live performance as possible. They took us to see many different forms of art that really opened my eyes to other things.
This is my 8th WBT show. The staff makes this theatre run and I love them for that!
Some of my favorite shows and roles are BUDDY (The Big Bopper), Wizard Of Oz (The Lion), The Full Monty (Dave), all these are very much my favorites
When not on stage, I'm playing music, watching and playing sports, and spending time with friends.
I enjoy listening to music, mostly folk, rockabilly, country and classic rock. For being a musical theatre guy...I don't really listen to a ton of it. Haha
I like to Celebrate The Holidays with family and friends. Laying low and resting. I enjoy Christmas Eve gift opening with the "adults".
as Santa in The Christmas Voyager