Stories & Cast Interviews

Monday, April 29, 2019

Meet Mary Beth Donahoe as Katherine Plumber in Newsies!

Posted by: Serena Samzeemoi on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

  I grew up the oldest of five siblings in Lakewood, Ohio, right outside of Cleveland! I was so lucky in that the Lakewood City Schools have incredible arts programming, so I was able to do multiple stage shows each year, choreograph and perform on the dance line for the marching band, and participate in extracurricular bands and choirs. All those activities fueled my love for performing and provided me with an incredible fundamental education in the performing arts.

I grew up seeing shows at PlayhouseSquare, the largest performing arts center outside of NYC, so I was introduced to and fell in love with theatre at a young age. When I was in high school, I volunteered there as a STAR Reporter, attending all the touring productions that came through Cleveland and reviewing each show, which feels suddenly very appropriate character study for my role as Katherine!

This is my first time doing Newsies, but I took tap, jazz, and ballet classes growing up did 'King of New York' for a dance recital once! I also saw the musical on Broadway a few years back and Katherine has been a dream role since.

The movie is a classic. I love that the stage musical explores more of the relationships between individual characters, which I think helps to give more of a glimpse into how the strike affected not only the newsboys, but their families and communities, as well. 

 

I'm a big tapper, so I have quite an affinity for tap shows! Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes is the ultimate dream role someday.

When I'm not on stage, I love to sew (I've been sewing since I was 10 and have two machines with me in my New York apartment), read (I love libraries), and do yoga (taking care of my body, especially while I'm performing, has to be a top priority)! 

My current favorite band is Lake Street Dive. Their music is upbeat, funky, clever, and is so energizing for me while I'm riding the subway or running around NYC!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Stuart Marland as Pulitzer in Newsies.

Posted by: Pia Haas on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Stuart Marland began his professional career in 1979 as one of Disneyland’s “All American College Singers.” This summer marks the 40th Anniversary of that life-changing experience where he performed with 14 singer/dancers, a stage band and a marching band - all auditioned from across the USA.  

Stuart's professional affiliation with Disney continued when he was asked to join the Disney mascot group, “The Kids of the Kingdom,” performing for another 3 years on the stages of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. 

Many years later, he would return to his Disney roots, playing ‘Lumiere’ in “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway. His Disney affiliation came full circle in 2012 when Stuart was asked to participate in the developmental workshop production of “Disney’s Newsies” in New York City. That presentation was followed by the full original production at Paper Mill Playhouse, where he created the role of ‘Snyder.’ A Broadway transfer followed, where the show won Tony Awards for Best Original Score (Music and Lyrics) and Best Choreography. 

Stuart also understudied and performed the role of ‘Joseph Pulitzer’ during both the entire two-and-a-half-year Broadway production and for a 2-month contract during the record-breaking First National Tour.

Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production marks Stuart’s 6th “Newsies," including Arts Center of Coastal Carolina (directed by this production’s director, Mark Martino and choreographed by Shea Sullivan) and Broadway at Music Circus-Sacramento, where he played Nunzio, Snyder and Jacobi.

In addition to performing, Stuart has been an active fund-raiser with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, and a guest teacher with “Broadway Classroom” in New York City, where he teaches acting, singing, comedy for the stage and theatrical history workshops to young performers from around the World. Those workshops often include specialized sessions focusing on  “Newsies” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

 

'79 Disneyland’s “All American College Singers            “Beauty and the Beast” Marquee on Bway

  

“Newsies” Fundraising for Bway Cares/Equity Fights Aids         Closing performance of “Newsies” on Broadway 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Meet Daniel Scott Walton as Jack in Newsies!

Posted by: Pia Haas on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

I Grew up in Upstate New York, Rochester area with my Mom, Dad, and brother, Michael. I went to school in Brockport, just outside of Rochester. I Have always been heavily involved in music and theatre, performing in many plays/musicals 

Theatre was always in my bones. Loved playing different characters, dancing and singing around the house like a lunatic. All of my teachers over the years have been great mentors to me, but I particularly owe my college voice teacher, Kerry Deal, a tremendous amount of gratitude. Over the course of my 4 years at school, she patiently helped me find the voice that I am very proud of today.  She helped me break down the walls that I never thought possible.  

Funny story. Newsies was the very first musical that I performed in as a 12-year-old. A local community theatre put on a kids version of the movie, and I played Davey. I completely fell in love with the musical, I think I sang the songs around the house for the next 2 years non-stop. I then got to be in the show again 2 years ago at Tuacahn Center of the Arts in St. George, Utah. I played Davey and understudied Jack Kelly. So. this is my third official time in the show and it still doesn't get old. I feel very fortunate that I have gotten the chance to play both Davey and Jack. 

I performed as Frank Schultz in Show Boat at WBT 3 years ago here at WBT, as well as two of the previous Christmas shows.  I love working here, the WBT family have been very great to me, we tease each other constantly and it always feels like home. 

I did know the movie. I performed a staged version of the movie over a decade ago and that is when I first saw the movie. I loved what they did when they finally made it into a full stage version. 

I have many favorite shows and dream roles, but a few that pop out are Miss Saigon, Come From Away, and recently Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

A few dream roles are Finch in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and Mark in Rent.

I am the Finance Manager of a Broadway driving company which I very much enjoy doing when I am not acting. It fuels the finance side of my brain that I definitely got from my family. I also love playing card games/board games with friends, exercise, and catching up on my guilty pleasure tv shows. 

I listen to a wide variety of music, but a few friends recently labeled my taste in music as "Underwater music". Artists like Maggie Rogers, Sara Bareilles, Troye Sivan Khalid, and Yebba are some of my favorites. 

  

 In Showboat                       In  Cristmas Inn                                  In  The Christmas Voyager

 

 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Anita Welch is keepin ' out of mischief in Ain't Misbehavin'

Posted by: Pia Haas on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

I’m a California girl born and raised.

I fell in love with theatre when I was a young girl. My father introduced me to musicals and he and I would rent musicals on tape from the public library. My all time favorite was the 1999 film version of Annie

As for singing- music always had a huge presence in my household growing up. I had Chronic Asthma as a child and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. My parents put me in voice lessons to help me learn breath support and to strengthen my lungs. Anytime I was afraid my mother would ask me to sing a song. Music helped shape who I am. 

I learned about Ain’t Misbehavin' while I was  studying at AMDA. I worked in the school library and went through a stage where I would watch the 1978 recorded performance they had on copy over and over. 

Ain’t Misbehavin' also happened to be my first equity show. I had the pleasure of doing this show about nine years ago. And get this! I was along side my current co-star Tony Perry! I’m thankful to be doing this show again. This time directed by the creator Richard Maltby Jr! Also working with assistant director A. Curtis Farrow, and Music director Billy McDaniels.  DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON MY LOVE FOR THIS CAST! 

I love the show Dear Evan Hansen. When my friend Charley and I went to see it we were enthralled. But, I can’t really choose a favorite. I also love The Color Purple, Porgy and Bess, and of course Ain’t Misbehavin'. 

As for my dream role, I don’t think it exists yet. It is my dream to originate a role on Broadway. To play a character that touches the lives of those who see it; One that is three dimensional and dynamic. I’ve been fortunate enough to originate some wonderful women in new works. 

When not on stage, I spend time with my dog. I have a beautiful chocolate Labrador named Chance. He makes life fun and reminds me to smile and live in the moment.

My partner and I just made a playlist on Spotify for our game nights titled “The Everything”.  Lately pre-show, I’ve been listening to music that nourishes my soul like India Arie’s "Songversations."