The Bridges of Madison County Cast

LYDA ARMISTEAD (Carolyn) is honored to return to Arizona Broadway Theatre as Carolyn! ABT credits include A Christmas Carol (Grace Smythe/Fan), Oliver (Fagin’s Gang), A Christmas Story (Mary Beth), Shrek the Musical (Young Fiona/Tap Dancing Rat), and Carousel (Snow Child).  She has also played at Phoenix Theatre in The Wizard of Oz (Braggart/Ozian).  Youth theatre credits include Pippin (Player), Annie Jr. (Annie), Sound of Music (Maria), Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Cogsworth), and others.  Special thanks to Allison Houston, Renee Werkheiser, Melany Lange, and Mr. B!

CHAE CLEARWOOD (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her ABT debut this season!  Her favorite credits include Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Rizzo in Grease, and Dolly in One Man, Two Guvnors.  Originally a Billings, Montana, native, Chae now resides in New York City where she recently graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA).  She also holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Montana State University, Billings.  Chae would like to thank the numerous friends and family who have supported her dreams and ambitions over the years, without which none of this would be possible.

CASSANDRA KLAPHAKE (Francesca) began training for a career in the performing arts at a very early age. Her passion for theatre, combined with a flair for the dramatic, meticulous attention to detail and superior standards of excellence, would unknowingly prepare her to one day lead the artistic wing of what has become one of Arizona’s leading professional theatre organizations. A former student of Patricia Craig (renowned American soprano of the Metropolitan Opera), Cassandra holds a Master of Music Degree in Voice from the New England Conservatory. An award-winning actress and musician, Cassandra has performed with opera companies and symphonies both nationally and abroad. Credits include the title role of Tosca with Rimrock Opera; Lilli Vanessi/Katherine in Kiss Me, Kate (ariZoni nomination), Lucy Harris in Jekyll and Hyde, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Grizabella in CATS, Drowsy in The Drowsy Chaperone, Truvy in Steel Magnolias, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, The Witch in Into the Woods and Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, all with ABT. As Artistic Producer, Cassandra concentrates her efforts on current as well as future artistic goals with a specific focus on the development of new and exciting programs and events. She attributes Arizona Broadway Theatre’s success to the incredibly creative and dedicated employees that are the heart of ABT. Cassandra is also a mother of two exceptional young boys, Kieran and Tristan, her most beloved and well-played role to date.

RENÉE KATHLEEN KOHER (Chiara/Ensemble) is so excited to be a part of this amazing show! Recent ABT credits include Hair (Marjorie/Mother), A Christmas Carol (Christmas Past), Oliver! (Mrs. Sowerberry), Camelot (Nimue/Morgan LeFey), Best Little Whorehouse (Doatsy Mae), Kiss Me, Kate (Lilly/Katherine), Showboat, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and many more. Other credits include The Marvelous Wonderettes (Missy), Godspell (Peggy), 9 to 5 (Violet), Pippin (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! www.reneekathleenkoher.com

NICHOLAS KUHN (Ensemble) is beyond thrilled to be back at Arizona Broadway Theatre! Favorite ABT credits include Hair (Hubert/Steve), 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!, 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! www.nicholaskuhn.com

KAITLIN LAWRENCE (Marian/State Fair Singer) is thrilled to be making her ABT debut! Recent national tours include 42nd Street (Dorothy), California Dreaming (Mama Cass), Cirque Dreams Holidaze (Ice Queen). Favorite Regional credits include Mary Poppins (Mrs. Banks), Steel Magnolias (Shelby), and several summers at Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre in Denali, Alaska. Kaitlin has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Florida. She is a passionate yogi, teaching private and group classes in NYC and beyond. She’s also got jokes, folks!  Stop by and say hello: www.kaitlinlawrence.com

BRYANT MARTIN (Robert) is thrilled to be making his ABT debut!  Favorite credits include Gideon in the Regional Premier of Sting’s The Last Ship at Pioneer Theatre, Curly in Oklahoma at several places, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and Philippe de Chandon in Phantom at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.  TV:  Quantico, Forever, The Jack and Triumph Show.  Thanks to everyone here at ABT, The TalentHouse, Jim, Mom and Dad, the love of my life Steph, and to my savior.  www.bryant-martin.com

CAROLYN McPHEE (Marge) is crazy excited to share the stage with some of her most favorite people and the talented Danny Gorman as our fearless leader!  Since moving back to The Valley from Texas, Carolyn has been kept busy by ABT, most recently in Hands on A Hardbody (Virginia). Carolyn has been here since Season 1 in And the World Goes ‘Round.  Some favorites are A Christmas Story (Mother), Church Basement Ladies (Karin), The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Linoleum), 9 to 5 The Musical (Violet), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Woman 2), Pump Boys and Dinettes (Rhetta), and Forbidden Broadway (Liza/Barbara/Carol).  Other favorite local credits include the Broadway Palm tour of Meet Me in St. Louis (Mrs. Smith) (AZ&FL), Miss Mona in The Best Little Whorehouse… (AZ&FL), Honky Tonk Angels (Sue Ellen), Anything Goes (Reno) in AZ&FL (AriZoni Nomination), and the PEG Tour of CATS (Grizabella). Carolyn has been lucky enough to work for Jeff Kennedy & iTheatre for five Christmases at The Herberger, and Smokey Joe’s Café at Phoenix Theatre (AriZoni Nomination). Originally from Chicago, Carolyn attended NIU and appeared throughout Chicago including Drury Lane, Apollo Theatre, Apple Tree, Theatre at The Center, Light Opera Works, Borealis and Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre.  Carolyn and her husband foster kittens and help rehome found pets.  Carolyn donates her entire salary to help with spay/neuter/dental costs of cats and dogs for people who cannot afford it.

ANDY MEYERS (Bud) is happy to be back at ABT, having most recently directed South Pacific and appeared as Sancho in Man of La Mancha and Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol.  Other favorite ABT credits include Jean Shepherd (Narrator) in A Christmas Story, Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Mr. Snow in Carousel, Oscar in Sweet Charity, Uncle Max in Sound of Music and Ernst in Cabaret, as well as directing Oliver!, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Secret Garden, The King and I (winner of 9 Broadway Awards, including Best Director) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, among many others.  As an actor, he has appeared in the national tours of Annie and Bus Stop and played Dick in the 35th Anniversary Off-Broadway revival of Dames at Sea.  Andy is the artistic director of Fort Peck Summer Theatre in his home state of Montana and was previously Managing Director for Performing Arts at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, NY.  He is a graduate of Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Boston, Wagner College in NYC and holds his Masters in Music from University of Montana.

NICK MILLER (Ensemble) is thrilled to be in the cast of Arizona Broadway Theatre’s The Bridges of Madison County! A Minnesota native, Nick is currently based in New York City where he has been seen in local musical and operatic productions. Recent credits include Passion and Martha (Rizzoli and Plunkett respectively) with Utopia opera, Oklahoma! (Ike Skidmore and Jud Fry) with the Engeman Theater, Sir John in Love (George Page) with the Bronx Opera, and A Little Night Music (Count Carl-Magnus) with the Manhattan School of Music.

MELISSA MITCHELL (Ensemble) is thrilled to make her return to the ABT stage! She hails from San Diego, but now calls NYC home. Previous ABT credits include Legally Blonde (Gaelan/Elle us*perf), Whorehouse (Eloise), and Shrek (Humpty/Fiona/Dragon us*perf). Regional credits include A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theatre, Sister Act at The Palace Theatre, and several shows with Prather Entertainment. She would like to thank Cass, Kurtis, Kiel, and Rob for the opportunity, her bestie Liz for all her love, and her family for their never-wavering support and love. Jer 29:11 www.melissasmitchell.com

DEVON POLICCI (Michael) is a 17-year-old senior at Chandler Early College. He is a 5-star national honor thespian in the International Thespian Society. His latest credits included A Chorus Line as Greg and Pippin as Pippin.  He was also seen as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Dewey Finn in School of Rock. He is a two-time national qualifier for musical theatre, and he is happy to finally be working with ABT.

JOE VENTRICELLI (Ensemble) is delighted to be performing at Arizona Broadway Theatre. Credits include OFF-BROADWAY: Sleep No More (Man in Bar). NATIONAL TOUR: Joseph and the Amazing… (Pharaoh/Levi). NYC FRINGE: Saints! (co-writer, performer). REGIONAL: She Loves Me (Headwaiter); Ragtime (Houdini); Godspell (John the Baptist/Judas); Camelot (Lancelot); The Baker’s Wife (Barnaby); The Drowsy Chaperone (Robert); Fiddler on the Roof (Mordcha). Joe would like to thank his family, friends, girlfriend, and all with whom he’s worked over the years. Never forget: no one does it alone. Thank you to them all.

CALLISTA WALKER (Carolyn) is elated to be performing at ABT once again!  Previous ABT performances include A Christmas Story (Esther Jane), Shrek (Young Fiona), White Christmas (Susan Waverly), Peter Pan (Michael Darling), Oliver! (Fagin’s gang), and Annie (Molly).  Some of Callista’s favorite performances around town are The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy) at Copperwood Elementary School, The Secret Garden (Mary Lennox) with PUSD, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr (Cheshire Cat), and Narnia, the Musical (Lucy) at Spotlight Youth Theatre.  Callista would like to thank Cass and Kiel, Kurtis, Renée, Steven, Kenny, and her family and friends for their encouragement.

ROB WATSON (Charlie) is pleased as punch to be a part of this beautiful show. A University of Dayton graduate with degrees in Theatre and Religious Studies, Rob normally remains behind the scenes as ABT’s Company Manager. Previous credits include Hands on a Hardbody (Don Curtis/Dr. Stokes), Rock of Ages (Dennis), Annie Get Your Gun (Frank Butler), Sound of Music (Georg von Trapp), The Music Man (Harold Hill), Brigadoon (Jeff Douglas – AriZoni nomination), Pump Boys and Dinettes (Jim), The Secret Garden (Neville Craven), The Fantasticks (El Gallo), and City of Angels (Stone). Thanks again to Cassandra, Kiel, and Kurtis. Rob’s favorite time of day is 5:37!