Stories & Cast Interviews
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
Zach Trimmer returns as The Christmas Voyager!
Meet Sara Cline as Dolly in Annie Get Your Gun
I grew up in the suburbs of Kansas City, KS, as part of a loving family which included my dad and mom, my older sister, Laura and younger brother, David. Kansas holds a very special place in my heart, and I am proud of my Midwestern roots. I lived there from the ages of 4 to 18, when I moved out to study Musical Theatre in college. My parents have always been so supportive of my love for singing and theatre, and I am grateful to have grown up in a household that encouraged us, kids, to follow our dreams, to work hard and to be kind.
I started doing Musical Theatre when I was six years old, and I've been doing it ever since. My parents did a great job of exposing the kids to a lot of different types of music, including musicals, which encouraged my love of singing. I knew every word to the 10th Anniversary album of Les Miserables before I knew my states and capitals. After I did my first show as part of a summer program for kids, I auditioned for every show I could around the KC area. I ended up missing a lot of fourth grade because I was "working" around town. (Again, VERY supportive parents!) Of course, then, I didn't think of it as working at all! Eventually though, by the time I hit high school, I knew that I wanted theatre to be more than just a hobby; I dreamed of it being my career. My high school theatre teacher, Dan Schmidt, fostered my passion and helped me to fall in love with acting. Suddenly, I wasn't just a singer, I was a storyteller, and that was the most exciting gift anyone could give me.
'Annie Get Your Gun' was the first musical I ever saw on Broadway, actually! I was lucky enough to see the revival with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat back in 2001. It was my first trip to New York City as well. The show blew me away and further instilled my love of musical theatre. I will never forget it. Doing the show now as an adult makes me feel very lucky. Previously, at WBT I was in the Christmas Inn this past year. I am so honored to be back with all the kind, professional people who work here. From the audition room to the dressing room, this place is filled to the brim with people I love dearly, whom I hope to work with for years to come.
I have never seen the movie, believe it or not! Generally, I'm a fan of art in whatever form it comes, so I always support musicals being made into movies if it will give someone who wouldn't have had the chance, exposure to musical theatre. Hopefully, if they love it, it will inspire them to buy a ticket to see the show live the next time it plays near them!
My favorite musical of all time is Les Miserables. To me, it is perfect. I also love Sweeney Todd (or really, anything written by Stephen Sondheim). My dream roles include "Fantine" in Les Miserables, "Elphaba" in Wicked and "Cathy" in The Last Five Years.
When not on stage, I love to bake (I make a mean chocolate chip cookie!) but if I couldn't be an actor, I would be a make-up artist or some kind of beauty consultant, so I enjoy playing with cosmetic products a lot. You're likely to find me in the aisles of Sephora with eyeshadow swatches all over my arms. Also, when I'm not onstage, I make sure to enjoy the incredible friends I have in my life. Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting around with my roommates, having a glass of red wine and watching Shark Tank.
I don't often listen to musicals for recreation; typically I'll listen to shows only if I'm studying for a role. So, my favorites are Singer/Songwriters from all decades. Jim Croce, John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, Sara Bareilles and Ed Sheeran are my all-time favorites!
Meet Devon Perry, The Pistol Packin' Mama!
Growing up in Central Ohio, I was putting on performances in the living room as soon as I could walk and talk. I usually incorporated the services of my dolls and my little brother (thanks, man!), and was always clad in a pink tutu. I watched almost every movie musical and could perform them all from memory. From the age of 6, I began training in ballet and planned to become a professional ballerina, training intensely for over 10 years, until an injury prevented me from going any further. It was about that time that I turned to theatre, attending Interlochen Arts Camp in the summers. I then received a B.F.A. in musical theatre from the University of Michigan, and, well... here I am!
I watched the movie version of Annie Get Your Gun, with Betty Hutton, habitually as a child. Betty Hutton has always been an inspiration of mine - a woman that was fearless in every performance she gave and really changed the image of what it meant to be a woman in her time. I'm also a huge Judy Garland fan, and she was originally supposed to do the film version but was unable to complete it. There are still some clips available of her performing some of the songs. Even though I've never done this show before, I've known most of these songs for many years and they feel like home to me.
This is my fourth show at WBT, and I love it here! It's such a beautiful community to be a part of. Not only are the audiences engaged and supportive, but also the people behind the scenes are just extraordinary, from the box office to the stage crew and everywhere in between. Though it may sound cliche, WBT really has a family atmosphere, which, when felt so strongly backstage and onstage, I know must translate to the audience and make them feel included as well.
Some of my favorite shows include South Pacific, The Wizard of Oz, Sunday in the Park with George, and Annie Get Your Gun! Playing this role has always been a dream of mine. It still feels rather surreal, every time I hit the stage. Another dream role of mine is Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, which I've had the pleasure of playing multiple times, including at WBT!
When I'm not onstage, I also work as a professional musician, which is such a blast! I teach lessons and classes to children, as well as professionals. I also perform around town as a singer and pianist. I enjoy yoga and nature and kissing dogs.
What's on my Spotify these days... I've been listening to a lot of Vulfpeck, an incredible funk band of friends of mine from UofM. I also will always enjoy Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson, Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan and Hall & Oates.