Meet the Cast of Hair!

CHANEL BRAGG (Betsy/Tribe) is no stranger to the ABT stage. She was last seen here as one of four Mary Magdalenes in Jesus Christ Superstar! Chanel is proudly an Equity Membership Candidate, and her favorite roles include Effie in Dreamgirls, Medda Larkin in Newsies, Justice in Rock of Ages, Kala in Tarzan, Joanne in Rent, Jewel in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun. When not on stage, Chanel is a teaching artist and co-creator of the Soul of Broadway Cabaret Troupe. She also lends supporting vocals to the Phoenix Afro Beat Orchestra. Chanel is also the founder of the United Colours of Arizona Theatre Inc., which endeavors to educate and network on behalf of artists of color in an effort to continue to diversify our great theatre community. Many thanks to Kurtis for his artful direction. I am blessed to create a tribe with this beautiful group of individuals telling a story that’s still relevant today. Peace. Love. Light.

CHAZ ALEXANDER COFFIN (Ronny/Tribe) is thrilled to be making his ABT debut in Hair! Some of his favorite credits include Dreamgirls (C.C. White), Shrek (Donkey), Grease (Teen Angel), Sister Act (TJ), Las Meninas (Nabo), RENT (Benny, Angel U/S), and Machinal (Helen’s Lover). Chaz is a very proud graduate of East Carolina University. He would like to thank God, his family, ECU, ABT, and everyone else who has helped him learn, grow, and reach his next level. www.chazalexandercoffin.com

RYAN CRIMMINS (Claude) is psyched to return to the ABT stage in HAIR! Previous ABT roles include Joseph (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat), Freddie (My Fair Lady), and Corny Collins (Hairspray). Tour/ Regional credits: Stacee Jaxx (Rock of Ages), Joey Primo (Rock of Ages), Link (Hairspray), Roger (RENT), Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors). Ryan lives and works in New York City, and spends as much time as possible working on his farmhouse in The Adirondack Mountains. Thanks to all the friends and family who made it out to sunny AZ! Love to Mom, Dad, and Adam.

JOSEPH DePIETRO (Woof) a native New Yorker, is excited to escape the Northeast cold and let the sun shine with this beautiful tribe here in sunny Arizona. Joseph last appeared at ABT as Young Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Favorite credits include Rutledge in 1776, Jack in Into the Woods, and Henrik in A Little Night Music. Joseph recently completed a world voyage as a Production Singer aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, where he traveled Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Thanks to the Cass, Kiel, and Kurty for this glorious experience, and all my love to the best family and friends in the world.

TRISHA HART DITSWORTH (Crissy) couldn’t be happier to be part of this show with many friends who feel like family. ABT credits: Maria (The Sound of Music), Martha (The Secret Garden), Penny (Hairspray), Pickles (Trailer Park), Rapunzel (Into the Woods), Annabel (Lucky Stiff), Enid (Legally Blonde). Phoenix Theatre credits: Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins), Sarah (The Toxic Avenger), Percy (The Spitfire Grill), Catherine (Pippin), Hope (Anything Goes), and Eden (Bullets Over Broadway). She has a BFA in Musical Theater from the University of Arizona and has lived and worked out of both New York and Chicago. Thank you to Mom, Dad, and my fiancé Matravius for your endless love and support! www.trishaditsworth.com

LYNZEE 4MAN (Jeanie) is thrilled to be back here at Arizona Broadway Theatre! Lynzee was last seen at ABT as Brooke Wyndham in Legally Blonde and also appeared recently at Phoenix Theatre as Daniela in In The Heights and June in Chicago. Some of her favorite roles include: Erma in Anything Goes (Phoenix Theatre), Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain, Pippi in The Great American Trailer Park (ABT) as well as Maureen in RENT at Nearly Naked Theatre. When not performing herself, she is blessed to work with the Valley’s best youth talent at Spotlight Youth Theatre and also find time to ride her reining horses. Thanks so much to the entire staff for being amazing! The MOST love to her fantastic family and her hubby, Mark. “This one is for you, Den.”

LEON GLOVER (Hiram/Tribe) is excited to join this tribe just in time to celebrate Hair’s 50th year anniversary! Leon teaches Broadway and Beyoncé-themed dance-fitness classes at Broadway Bodies as well as other studios around the NYC/Westchester areas. A few past credits include: RhinocerosBreaking Points (Short Film), Jesus Christ Superstar (ABT), Show Boat (ABT), Spears: The Gospel According to BritneyA Chorus Line and Kiss Me, Kate. Leon dedicates this performance to his mom, Grams. BFA New World School of the Arts

KATIE HART (Sheila) is the most excited about living out her Hair dreams at ABT. She recently moved back to NYC and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Webster Conservatory. Some credits include Annie/Camelot/Footloose (MUNY St. Louis), Pride@Prejudice (Southwest Shakespeare), Dead Mum in Billy Elliot (Phoenix Theatre), Janis Joplin in Beehive (Phoenix Theatre), and Candy in Saturday Night Fever (ABT). Thank you and love to the ABT family for making this happen, and her family and friends. This one’s for you, Pupps. PEACE!

CODY HERNANDEZ (Walter/Tribe) is thrilled to be back in sunny Arizona for another show at ABT!  Previously, he has been seen in Beauty and the Beast and Jesus Christ Superstar! Other favorite NY productions include the off-Broadway revival of Urinetown and the Drama Desk-nominated Golden Bride. Regionally, Cody has played Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Demetrius in Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sonny in Grease, to name a few!  Cody would like to thank his friends, family, and Mom, Dad, and Ileana…always.

JOHN KNISPEL (Paul/Tribe) is happy to be in his fourth ABT production this season having previously been seen in Show Boat, A Christmas Carol @ HTC and Man of La Mancha. His favorite credits include Elvis Presley in Million Dollar Quartet, Ritchie Valens in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical, Princeton in Avenue Q, as well as Music Director of the University of Montana’s 2015 production of A Chorus Line. A Billings, Montana, native, John graduated from the University of Montana with degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education. John would like to give a huge thank you to his family, Paul, Berta, Jessica, and Anica for being so supportive over the years.

RENÉE KATHLEEN KOHER (Marjorie/Mother) is so excited to be a part of this amazing show!  It is one of her favorite shows, and she can’t wait to share peace and love to the patrons of ABT! Recent ABT credits include A Christmas Carol (Christmas Past), Oliver (Mrs. Sourberry), Camelot ( Nimue/Morgan LeFey), Best Little Whorehouse ( Doatsy Mae), Kiss Me, Kate ( Lilly/Katherine), Show Boat, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, and many more. Other credits include The Marvelous Wonderettes (Missy), Godspell (Peggy), 9 to 5 (Violet) Pippen (Fastrata), Sister Act, Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, Tokyo Disney Resort and Disney Cruise Line. Huge thanks to Mom, Dad, Ryan, Cass, Kiel, Kurtis, Josh, and BUNNY for being the most supportive team a girl could ask for! reneekathleenkoher.com

NICK KUHN (Hubert/Steve) is beyond thrilled to be back at Arizona Broadway Theatre! Favorite ABT credits include A Christmas Carol (Fred), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Ensemble/Gaston cover), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ensemble/Eric Cover), Camelot (Sir Lionel), Oliver! (Ensemble). Other credits: Godspell (Artistree Music Theatre Festival), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (The Palace Theatre), My Fair Lady, South Pacific (Mac Haydn theatre), Whoopee!, and America’s Sweethearts (Musicals Tonight!). Nick would love to thank Cass, Kiel, Kurtis, Rob, and all the people who make up the ABT family for the wonderful opportunity. And, as always, a huge shout out to his family, friends, and wonderful girlfriend, Renée, for all their undying support! nicholaskuhn.com

R.J. MAGEE (Margaret Mead/Ricky) is beyond thrilled to make his Arizona Broadway Theatre debut. RJ has been fortunate to perform across the country with various professional theater companies including the Roxy Regional Theatre, Tibbits Opera House, Broward Stage Door Theatre, Cornwell’s Dinner Theatre, Broadway Palm Theatre, Musicals Tonight, Isis Productions, New City Stage Company, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the award-winning entertainment department at Dollywood, and more. RJ is a graduate of the prestigious drama programs at Interlochen Arts Academy and Temple University, respectively. He sends a heartfelt thank you to Klaphake family and Kurtis Overby for this incredible opportunity.

CLAXTON RABB III (Hud) is thrilled to be back on the ABT stage, groovin’ with this exceptional cast! His most recent credits include Three Little Birds (2nd National Tour). Regional: Show Boat (Stevedore/Ensemble), Choir Boy (David Heard), Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter), 8 by Dustin Lance Black (Spencer), Freedom Summer (James Forman). Collegiate: RENT (Angel), A Year with Frog and Toad (Toad), Spring Awakening (Otto), and The Rocky Horror Show (Phantom). Proud graduate with honors from American University, BA Musical Theatre. All the love and thanks to my family and my tribe for their endless support, as well as the entire team here at ABT! www.claxtonrabb.com Instagram: @claxtonrabb #ownyourhappiness

DAYNA RICHARDSON (Dionne) is ecstatic to join the cast and production of Hair. She is originally from Texas, receiving her BA in Communications with an emphasis in Music from Baylor University. She spent the past year on the Disney Dream portraying characters like Rafiki and Maleficent. Some of her other past productions include Smokey Joe’s Café, Caroline, or Change, and Hairspray. She was fortunate to be a part of The Original USA Gospel Singers, a five-country, European Gospel Tour. She is also currently singing with the funk/soul band, Orange Burn, around NYC.

ADRIAN RIFAT (Berger) a New York-based actor, is super-stony-switchy-ony-flippy-outy to be making his Arizona Broadway debut! Most recent credits include RagTag Theatre Company’s Cinderella (off-Broadway Alliance recipient for Best Family Show), The Gallery Player’s Marry Me a Little (Woman), and the titular character in Kit Goldstein Grant’s The Nose. He would like to thank all of the muses in his life and dedicate this performance to his late grandfather. LET’S PLAY! adrianrifat.com

CORINNE SCOTT (Mary/Tribe) is excited to make her Arizona Broadway debut with Hair! Other credits include Godspell and Man of La Mancha (WBT), In the Heights (Front Porch Theatricals), Sister Act (WPPAC), Mary Poppins (Prather), South Pacific (Fireside Theatre), and By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (The REP – Pittsburgh Playhouse). BA Point Park University 2014. Endless thanks to Mom and Dad for their love and support.

MEGGIE SIEGRIST (Suzannah/Tribe) couldn’t be happier to let the sun shine in on her favorite stage in Arizona. She was seen recently in Show Boat, South Pacific and Man of La Mancha and appeared in Oliver!Jesus Christ Superstar, and A Christmas Story in season 12.  She would like to give a huge shout out to Cass, Kiel, and Kurtis for giving her opportunities to work hard and try new things on stage. She would also like to give a huge thanks to everyone who was involved in the process and who constantly make ABT feel like home. How dare they try to change this beauty.

JORDAN YABUT (Natalie/Tribe) is a New York-based actor originally from the small town of Pelham, New Hampshire. She has been dancing for seventeen years, majoring in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, and pointe. She is a recent graduate of the  American Musical and Dramatics Academy from their integrated program. Her most recent
projects were THML Theatre Company & In Our Words production of Cagebirds, and she
made her Off-Broadway debut in Literally Alive’s production of Treasure Island. Some of Jordan’s favorite past roles were Pilar in Legally Blonde and Pocahontas in The Legend of Pocahontas. Jordan is so excited to be a part of this amazing production with such a talented group of artists and visionaries. Follow Jordan on social media to keep up with her NY work and adventures! FB: JordanMYabut, Instagram: jordanmyabut

LIANE “LU” ZIELINSKI (Linda/Tribe) is thrilled to be making her ABT debut! Recently, Liane was seen in The Theater Barn’s productions of Nunsense (Sister Mary Amnesia), Godspell (Day by Day Soloist), and Guys and Dolls (Hot Box Dancer/ Adelaide u/s). Previous credits include Jenny Wiley Theatre’s Mary Poppins (Mrs. Corry/ Mary u/s), 9 to 5 (Maria Delgato/ Co-Choreographer credit), The Velveteen Rabbit (Boat/ Wild Rabbit), the Forestburgh Playhouse’s Baskerville (Actress 1), Rocky Horror Show (Columbia), Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth Benning) and To Kill a Mockingbird (Jean Louise). Proud graduate of Marymount Manhattan College. Thank you to my incredible family for your never-ending love and support!!

Arizona Broadway Theatre is growing up – and out!

West Valley Theatre announces expansion of existing Encore Room space to advance programming, community accessibility and engagement

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT), Arizona’s Leader in Musical Theatre and the Valley of the Sun’s highest attended LIVE theatrical venue, announced plans to expand their existing 1,000 square foot multi-purpose Encore Room to a 3,500 plus square foot hi-tech multi-media performance, banquet and conference space. By doubling the existing footprint, ABT will be able to offer Valley arts enthusiasts a more diverse and varied roster of shows, concerts, guest artists and special events as well as provide much-needed banquet, conference and seminar meeting space for West Valley businesses, associations and organizations.

“As one of the Valley’s premier arts organizations and West Valley entertainment destination, it goes without saying that today is a very special day for ABT,” said Brad York, ABT’s Director of Marketing. “But perhaps most exciting for me is what this new space will mean for the variety of diverse programming we’ll soon be able to offer as part of the ever growing ‘ABT Experience.’ There’s a lot to look forward to!”

In the 12 years since opening its doors in the Phoenix market on November 5, 2005, ABT has grown to be a nationally recognized producer of Musical Theatre – drawing top talent to the Valley of The Sun from New York City and from the vast pool of exceptional talent here in Arizona. Through its Mainstage shows, Theatre for Young Audiences and Academy for Young Performers programs, as well as through special events and banquet bookings, ABT has seen over 900 thousand patrons pass through its doors.

“To be able to further diversify our existing programming beyond the big, bold, classic Broadway-style Musical Theatre productions we’ve become known for to a more eclectic and wide-ranging mix of programming is beyond exciting,” said Kiel Klaphake, ABT’s Executive Producer and co-Founder. “The expansion of our Encore Room has been a long time in the planning, and now it’s here. I couldn’t be more excited for our team, our patrons, and for the city of Peoria.”

Ground breaking is scheduled for late August 2017 with a tentative completion of construction set for early 2018.

For more information, please contact ABT’s Marketing Department at 623-776-8400 x127.

BROADWAY BALL BENEFITS ARIZONA BROADWAY THEATRE 

Fourth annual event raises awareness of and funds for the performing arts at ABT

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT), the Valley leader in musical theatre, hosted its Fourth Annual Broadway Ball on March 4, 2017, raising more than $100,000 for the nonprofit performing arts organization.

The formal event was attended by arts-minded donors and supporters and sponsored by some of the West Valley’s leading names in philanthropic support including Season 12 and “Times Square” level event sponsor Arrowhead Cadillac and “Tony Award” level sponsor TC Schuttler. Other sponsors included the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, Arrowhead Dermatology and the Honorable Cathy Carlat, Mayor of the City of Peoria.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to raise awareness about why arts funding is so crucial. Professional arts programs benefit artists, patrons, children, and everyone in the community,” said Ellen Versen, Development Director at Arizona Broadway Theatre. “We are extremely grateful to our community partners who stepped up this year to sponsor such an exquisite event in support of the arts at ABT.”

Ball guests enjoyed a cocktail hour in the theatre’s lobby followed by a three-course meal created by ABT Executive Chef Erik Angelo. Silent and live auctions, raffle opportunities and a wine pull offered friendly rivalry among guests. The live auction featured unique experiences including cooking classes in the ABT kitchen, a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast birthday party for 12 during ABT’s production of the show and a “Queen + Adam Lambert” rock ‘n’ roll experience for six. Members of the all-volunteer Broadway Ball committee, led by co-chairs Sharon Jarnagin and Michele Meewes, were on hand to welcome guests and oversee the successful event.

Kiel and Cassandra Klaphake, Producers and Co-founders of the Arizona Broadway Theatre, spoke on behalf of the organization and introduced live entertainment representative of ABT’s Mainstage and children’s programming including previews of Jesus Christ Superstar and Man of La Mancha. The evening brought attention to the impact ABT has had on residents and visitors to the Valley of the Sun for nearly 12 years as one of Arizona’s premiere performing arts destinations.

The date of the Fifth Annual Broadway Ball has been tentatively set for Saturday, March 3, 2018. For more information about ABT and The Broadway Ball, please call the ABT Development Office at (623) 707-8842 or visit azbroadway.org.

Broadway Ball Co-chairs Michele Meewes and Sharon Jarnagin

Fourth Annual Broadway Ball Committee

CEO & Executive Producer Kiel Klaphake

ABT and Herberger Theater Center Partner to Present A Christmas Carol This Holiday Season

Arizona Broadway Theatre (ABT) and Herberger Theater Center (HTC) extend their partnership, announced earlier this year, by co-presenting A Christmas Carol on Center Stage at HTC  December 10 – 24. Valley audiences will delight in the opportunity to see this classic tale set to music at their favorite downtown venue by popular West Valley theatre company ABT. Tickets go on sale to the general public on July 16, 2016, at herbergertheater.org.

Kiel Klaphake (l) and Mark Mettes (r) celebrate the partnership of ABT and HTC.

“We are excited and proud to partner with ABT to bring this spirited musical production to family audiences in downtown Phoenix during the holiday season,” says Mark Mettes, HTC’s President and CEO. “With ABT’s vast experience bringing quality musicals to life, this full-scale production made possible through our partnership is sure to delight theatergoers of all ages.”

ABT produced A Christmas Carol on stage in Peoria in 2015 and will bring this hugely successful version with an unexpected and uplifting twist to HTC for the enjoyment of Valley audiences. ABT CEO and Executive Producer Kiel Klaphake shares the excitement of Mettes, “As the leading musical theatre producer in the state, we are delighted to bring our bold approach to this premier venue. We have long sought a partnership with an arts organization that has the leadership of HTC and a respected position in the community for advancing performing arts in the Valley. We look forward to a long relationship.”