Stories & Cast Interviews

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Meet Alec Cohen as Davey in Newsies!

Posted by: Serena Samzeemoi on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

I grew up in New Jersey about 35 minutes away from New York City. My whole family is from Westchester though! I was always traveling into the city as a kid, one to escape the suburbs and two to get great training.

I think community drew me to become an actor. I always felt most comfortable with people in the arts. From an early age, conversation was easier and I always enjoyed the passion that creatives share. I decided pretty early on that I was going to be an actor and haven’t really stopped training since.

I believe I first found out about Newsies when I heard they were doing it at Papermill. I remember being a not so great dancer at 16 but skipping school to go to the open dancer call and getting cut first round. My mom took my headshot in the backyard. It was humbling!! I got my equity card with the show at Music theater Wichita in Kansas, the summer of 2017.  

I like really irreverent shows. Ones with irony and a lot of heart. I love the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It is not pretending to be anything it’s not and it’s such a celebration of individuality and weirdness. I love that simplicity. On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, I think Cabaret is expertly written and so impactful. It shocks me and touches me every time I see it.

When I’m not performing, I’m doing a lot. I teach dance for students auditioning to be in college programs for musical theater, I do a lot of yoga, see a lot of drag shows and try to get to as many comedy shows as I can. I love living in New York City and really try to take advantage of as much as possible.

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Meet Bruce Crilly as Nunzio/Roosevelt in Newsies!

Posted by: Serena Samzeemoi on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 I grew up in northern NJ in a family of 11 children. My oldest brother (now a priest) was a very talented young actor who had a fascination for old movies - particularly the silent film comedians. When I was VERY young, he would pull me into skits that mimicked classic old comedy routines. My first time on stage was as a River City kid in a production of The Music Man that he was per morning in.

My fist exposure to ‘Newsies’ was running the sound board for a production at Curtain Call Theater in Stamford, CT - but this will be my first time performing in a production of the show.

 I am familiar with the movie and like most, I consider the stage musical an improvement. Assuming all such cross-overs were handled as well, I am all for the movie to stage transition. 

 I love Sondheim and my favorite Sondheim musical is Sweeney Todd. I have played the Beadle but I have always wanted to play Sweeney - though I am not the right type for the role. Another role I played when I was much younger was Tevye in Fiddler. Would love to play him again now that I am the right age!

When not on stage I enjoy singing, cartoon illustration, sampling great craft beer and spending time with my wife, friends and family.

This is my first production at WBT, and I hope I get to do one again.

 

 

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