Tag Archives: kelcie dugger

‘Shrek the Musical’ to feature 68 adults, teens, kids

Page-7 of 2015 BrochureSixty-eight children, teens and adults have been cast in Shrek the Musical, the first production ever to be staged in Near West Theatre’s new performance center in the Gordon Square Arts District. The show runs April 24 through May 17 in the new theater, still being completed at 6702 Detroit Ave. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office, 216-961-6391, weekdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. A cast list appears below.

A remarkable 134 people auditioned — 128 of them Jan. 20-22, plus six more by special arrangement during Jan. 24 call-backs. That left Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr., who will direct the show, Assistant Director Kelcie Dugger, and Executive Director Stephanie Morrison Hrbek, choreographer, with an abundance of choices. It also left them with the always-difficult task of sending “regrets” notices Jan. 29 to dozens of those who auditioned, including some who have been in past shows but won’t be in this one.

“We want everyone to know how grateful we are that they turned out,” Navis said. “Our auditions are events unto themselves. Having such diverse groups of participants engaged on on all three nights was important to the process. We hope everyone got something out of it, whether or not they were chosen for this cast.”

A Jan. 30 view of the new theater still under construction. Photo by Hans Holznagel

A Jan. 30 view of the new theater, still under construction. Photo by Hans Holznagel

Rehearsals start Feb. 15, but not yet in the space where the show will be performed. Near West Theatre expects to receive its Certificate of Occupancy for the new theater in early February and to begin moving its offices and theatrical equipment into the building the same week that rehearsals start off site. The public is invited to get a first look at the space during a free Community Open House on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 28. Shrek rehearsals will move there sometime in March. — Hans Holznagel

Cast of Shrek The Musical, Near West Theatre, Spring 2015

Specific roles cast so far — Patrick Ciamacco (Shrek), Cassandra Mears (Princess Fiona), Justin Woody (Donkey), Kevin Joseph Kelly (Lord Farquaad), Gus Mahoney (Pinocchio). Ensemble — Charles Adams, Felix Albino, Neha Arjunji, Connie Becker, Angie Bendahan, Sara Danielle Chapman, William Crosby, Delaney Cunningham, Sharron DeCosta, Cole Emerine, Nadia Evans, Micah Evans, Sydney Fieseler, Warren Franklin, Venchise Glenn, Lindsay Hajostek, Corinne Howery, Sophie Hull, Angelise Irizarry, Bethy Jarus, Rachel Johanek, Louis Johnson II, Meg Kilbane, Bryen Kilbane, Richard Knight, Mike Knobloch, Madeline Krucek, Britt Lamoureux, Christine Larson, Giovanna Layne, Elliot Lockshine, Cory Markowitz, Maureen Martin, Amaya Moore, Kevin Myers, Cara Myers, Yumi Ndhlovu, Sophie O’Leary, Finn O’Malia, Dawon Owens, Sam Pantalone, Christene Pantalone, Jacob Pantalone, Phil Pantalone, Jocelyn Perkins, Aaron Phillips, Statia Rankin, Yousef Raslan, Eric Reising, Lucia Robbins, Angel Svacool, Erich Schnack, Michael Stolar, Cole Tarantowski, David Turner, Kyanie Vazquez, Rafael Velez III, Colin Wheeler, Jennifer White, Anthony Williams, Morgan Williams, Calista Zajac, Bob Zombar.


Shrek the Musical

Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire

Music by Jeanine Tesori

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig

Shrek the Musical is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th St., New York, NY 10019. Phone: 212-541-4684. Fax: 212-397-4684. http://www.MTIShows.com


Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences. A version of this article was also featured in the January 2015 edition of Near West Theatre’s monthly e-newsletter, The Near West Circle.


‘Superstar’ artwork’s ready. Now we need you!

JCS publicity imageIt’s exciting every year: Fall auditions are almost here. You know things are getting real when the production staff starts meeting and the first artwork appears. Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr. and staff designer Laura Carlson Tarantowski have come up with an evocative, beautifully designed publicity image for our coming production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s an electric-blue version of Da Vinci’s Vetruvian man overlaid with ominous crosshairs and crowned with a line from the show, “To conquer death, you only have to die.” Together with the style of lettering, the image suggests a kind of ancient-medieval-contemporary continuum, as well as the tension inherent in the story as Jesus of Nazareth is celebrated one moment and targeted the next.

Now we need you! As noted at the show’s web page and in an earlier blog post, we’re planning an unusual production of this king of rock operas, taking full advantage of the 160-year-old West Side United Church of Christ sanctuary where it will be staged. We need a large, diverse cast of people of all ages, 7 and up, and all levels of acting experience, including no experience at all! Auditions are on the evenings of Sept. 2, 3 and 4. All are encouraged to give it a try; no advance registration is necessary. Consider joining our audition event page on Facebook and inviting other Facebook friends.

If the stage isn’t calling you but you want to get involved, there are plenty of opportunities. We’ll need backstage and tech volunteers who can commit to the last couple of weeks of rehearsal in November and then to every performance, Nov. 21 through Dec. 7. Call Kelcie Dugger at 216-961-9750 if you’re interested. We’ll also need the usual army of volunteers in the box office, concession stand, gift shop, and house, and people to bake goodies and pop popcorn. For those jobs, you can volunteer one night, several times, or for the whole run of the show. To express interest in that, chime in at our Near West Theatre Volunteers Facebook page or send an e-mail to volunteer coordinator Kim Flaherty at volunteers.NWT@gmail.com. And don’t forget about tickets! They’re available online anytime or by calling 216-961-6391 weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. –– Hans Holznagel


Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


Near West Theatre’s community theater production of


Lyrics by Tim Rice       Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

‘pARTy’ with NWT @ Gordon Square, Sat., June 14

pARTYlogoThe Near West Theatre outdoor stage returns this Saturday, just a few feet from the steel rising above the site of our new theater in the Gordon Square Arts District. Our stage on Detroit Avenue at West 67th Street will be among the featured music venues during the annual pARTy in Gordon Square festival on Saturday, June 14. Brief performances every half hour, from 2 p.m. until shortly before 6 p.m., will include a kids’ ensemble singing selections from Once On This Island Jr. and a half-dozen familiar NWT soloists sharing Broadway and other popular and original tunes, accompanied by pianist Jordan Cooper. In the past, when our site was not yet excavated, we had room under the NWT tent for a DJ, dancing and various activities, ranging from games to a cookout to kids’ crafts. This year — because we’re FINALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION — we’ve got less space. But it’ll still be fun: a stage, a tent, some chairs, lots of great music, and a constant stream of “pARTy”-ers going by the space that will soon become a plaza in front of our new buidling. (Sorry, no Broadway karaoke with Bob Navis Jr. this year: we all have to get over to St. Pat’s for a 7:30 p.m. show!)

Singer Mariah Burks and accompanist Jordan Cooper, seen here in 2012, are among the performers returning to the NWT outdoor stage on June 14.

Singer Mariah Burks and accompanist Jordan Cooper, seen here in 2012, are among the performers returning to the NWT outdoor stage on June 14.

The fun throughout the Gordon Square Arts District starts in the morning in and around the Capitol Theatre, with cartoons, face painting aand shuttle rides to Cleveland’s East Side for Parade the Circle. It continues throughout the afternoon and evening with music, vendors and activities in several Gordon Square locations, especially at the main stage in Cleveland Public Theatre’s parking lot. Of course, you’re also encouraged to make your way over to Bridge Avenue and West 38th Street for Near West Theatre’s 7:30 performance of Move On!, as our farewell to the St. Patrick’s Club Building continues. Below is the Near West Theatre Stage lineup. Stop by and see us! — Hans Holznagel

 Near West Theatre Stage Schedule, Sat., June 14, 2014:

Song from Broadway and the great American songbook!

Time Performer(s)
2:00 to 2:15 Once On This Island Jr. ensemble
2:30 to 2:45 Mariah Burks
3:00 to 3:15 Once On This Island Jr. ensemble (repeat)
3:30 to 3:45 Eric Fancher
4:00 to 4:15 Trinidad Snider
4:30 to 4:45 Kevin Joseph Kelly
5:00 to 5:15 CoCo Smith
5:30 to 5:45 Mo Eutazia and Kelcie Dugger

City, suburban kids prepare April show about crossing cultural lines

Boys and girls in Near West Theatre’s “Kids Loud and Musical Organic Revue” program are rehearsing a lively, mystical musical about two young people who cross lines of class, culture and race and how the communities around them reaOOTI Jr imagect.

Caribbean-themed song and dance are featured in Once On This Island Jr., on stage Thursday, April 10, Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 13, at 3 p.m. Performances will be at the theater’s longtime home in the St. Patrick’s Club Building, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland. It will be the next-to-last production in that location before Near West makes a transition to its new home, now under construction in the Gordon Square Arts District.

Like the original Once On This Island, which received nine 1991 Tony nominations on Broadway, this “junior” version — shortened and modified for young actors — follows the orphan girl Ti Moune and the wealthy boy Daniel through journeys of beauty and struggle as they challenge boundaries that separate two cultures on a Caribbean island. The cast includes 17 girls and 14 boys, ages 9 to 15. They are directed of Kelcie Nicole Dugger, who grew up on the Near West Theatre stage and now directs NWT’s KLAMOR program, which concentrates on building ensemble and self-esteem among its diverse particpants. Cast members are African American, Euro-American, Hispanic American, and of multiracial heritage. Seventeen are from Cleveland; the rest are from the nearby communities of Avon, Avon Lake, Berea, Euclid, Lakewood, Mayfield Heights, Olmsted Township, Sheffield and Westlake. Rehearsals, conducted off site since March 2, will move to the St. Pat’s performance space next week.

Tickets can be purchased at www.nearwesttheatre.org, or by calling the box office at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Reserved Star Seats with special benefits are $20 and give special support to the theater’s art and mission; general admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under.

Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, Greater Cleveland Community Shares and the Ohio Arts Council. — Hans Holznagel

Cast of Once On This Island Jr.

Felix Albino (Papa Ge), Tatiana Ally, Kylie Colvin, Cole Emerine, Abby Golden, Lindsay Hajostek, Mary Halm, Corinne Howery (Asaka), Rakim Huff, Rachel Johanek, Louis Johnson II (Tonton Julian), Bryen Kilbane, Sabrina Kim, Jonas Kukelhan, Christine Larson, Elliot Lockshine, Madelyn Lockshine, Finn O’Malia, Phil Pantalone, Joceyln Perkins (Ti Moune), Diana Popa, Stellina Scacco (Mama Euralie), Grace Schumann, Cole Tarantowski (Daniel), Christian Toth, Nora Van Lier, Rafael Velez III, Colin Wheeler (Agwe), Elijah Whitt, Morgan Williams (Erzulie), Allison Yellets (Andrea).

Production Staff

Director: Kelcie Nicole Dugger. Musical Director: Evie Morris. Assistant Director: Anthony Williams. Choreographer: Andrea Belser. Technical Director and Production Manager: Josh Padgett. Assistant Technical Director: Perren Hedderson. Scenic, Properties and Costume Designer: Laura Carlson Tarantowski. Stage Manager and Assistant Production Manager: Ryan Wolf. Assistant Stage Manager: Anthony Williams. Lighting Designer: Tobias Peltier. Sound Designer: Joshua Caraballo. Properties Master: Jessica Rosenlieb. Artistic Director, NWT: Bob Navis Jr. Executive Director, NWT: Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek.

Once On This Island Jr.

Book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Based upon the novel “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy

Originally directed and choreographed on Broadway by Graciela Daniele

Playwrights Horizons, Inc. produced “Once On This Island” Off-Broadway in 1990

 Originally produced on Broadway by The Schubert Organization, Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., Suntory International Corporation and James Walsh, in association with Playwrights Horizons

KLAMOR: Startin’ Somethin’

Fun, friends, and acting! These three words describe the experience school kids are having during Near West Theatre’s six-week children’s program, Kids Loud and Musical Organic Revue. The participants are learning new skills they’ll have a chance to show off when they conclude their summer program with three public performances of Startin’ Somethinon July 25, 27 and 28.  It’s a show they’ve devised with the help of their young-adult instructors, about lousy situations in life — and starting something to change them instead of just complaining about them.

The 18 kids — one from Berea, the rest from within the city limits of Cleveland — are having fun and learning important lessons. Rachel Johanek, Corinne Howery and Jocelyn Perkins, enjoying their four-mornings-a-week experience in KLAMOR, agreed that team building and working as a group are among the most important things they’ve learned. Exercises involving singing and music have helped them hone these skills through listening to one another in order to harmonize and recognize when an adjustment is needed. Each day ends by having the entire group come together, rehearsing for the show, bringing what they’ve learned to the whole group. Jocelyn said this experience has taught her that “everyone is equal and important; even if you’re not front and center stage you are just as important … it takes everyone to make a show.”

The cast of KLAMOR looks on as one member shares her talents

The cast of KLAMOR looks on as a member shares her talents.

The lessons apply directly to theater, but also to their daily lives. On most days the group has a “show and tell” time where a few participants are able to share their talents and interests. For many it’s a favorite time because, as Rachel puts it, “You may learn something new about someone that you didn’t know. It may bring up a common interest and bring you closer together.”  The kids’ energy, combined with their sense of community and individuality, is the recipe for a great performance.

KLAMOR’s performances of Startin’ Somethin’  are July 25 at 7:30 p.m., July 27 at 3 p.m., and July 28 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission or $20 for a reserved Star Seat. Tickets can be ordered online anytime or by phone at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Any remaining tickets will be sold one hour before each performance at the theater. — Devin Sweeney


The cast of KLAMOR circle around Program Director Kelcie Dugger before a July 2013 rehearsal. Photos by Devin Sweeney

Near West Theatre is grateful for regular program support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Ohio Arts Council and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

Kids, teens: we’ve still got room this summer

Looking for ways to fill summer days? Near West Theatre has ’em for kids 9 to 13, and youths 14 to 21, described blow.  Auditions and application deadlines have passed, but don’t worry: spaces are still available. If you’re interested, contact us!

Our summer youth tech workshop runs June 10 through July 17 at the theater, 3606 Bridge Ave. You’ll learn basic principles of stagecraft, including set building, construction of props, scenic painting and lighting, and the safe operation of various hand and power tools as they relate to the technical side of theater. You’ll help construct the set for our summer youth production of Side Show. The tech workshop is free; we only ask that you join the production crew of one or more of our productions between this summer and June 2014 in any of a variety of jobs (set crew, spotlight operator, props crew, costume crew or sound technician). Participants, ages 14 to 21, meet Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but flexibility can be arranged. To apply, contact the Near West Theatre office, 216-961-9750. Questions? Contact Technical Director Josh Padgett (440-915-5484; padgett_josh at hotmail dot com).

KLAMOR, our free theater workshop for 9- to 13-year-olds, runs Monday through Thursday mornings, June 19 through July 25, concluding with “showcase” performances on July 25, 27 and 28. This year’s theme is, “You Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’!” Click here for info. Interested? Contact Program Director Kelcie Dugger (216-961-9750; kdugger at nearwesttheatre dot org).

Sanding and painting are just two of the skills you'll put to work in our teen summer theater tech workshop.

Sanding and painting, as these 2012 participants did, are just two of the skills you’ll put to work in our youth theater tech workshop. Photo by Sarah Burdette

Meet new friends and lMeet new friends and learn teamwork at KLAMOR. Our 2012 kids did! Photo by Christian Flaherty

Meet new friends and learn teamwork at KLAMOR. Our 2012 kids did! Photo by Christian Flaherty

‘pARTy’ in our tent, Sat., June 8

Performances by Near West Theatre kids who are no longer kids — plus your chance at live Broadway karaoke — will be among the featured attractions on our stage at the pARTy in Gordon Square street festival Saturday, June 8, from 2 to 8 p.m.  Join us under the tent at West 67th Street and Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, for performances on the half-hour from 2 to 6 p.m. Then, from 6 to 8 p.m., have fun on stage (or just listening ) during Broadway Open Mike, led and accompanied by Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr.  Popcorn and NWT balloons will be available.  It’s all free!  (We’ll have a donation jar on hand to help cover the snacks and balloons.)

Our stage is part of a wider neighborhood bash that brings thousands of people to the Gordon Square Arts District the first Saturday each June for live entertainment, art exhibits, vendors, food trucks, a beer garden and the built-in fun that already exists: restaurants, pubs, the Capitol Theatre at West 65th and Detroit (for movies) and Cleveland Public Theatre, on Detroit just east of West 65th, where there’ll be another whole outdoor stage of fun.  pARTy in Gordon Square is deliberately held the same day as University Circle’s annual “Parade the Circle” on the East Side; shuttle transportation is available between the two.

Featured in the afternoon are performers who were children or teens when they first joined casts at Near West Theatre and have remained connected as adult volunteers, staff, supporters, etc.: Mariah Burks, Trinidad Snider, Mo Eutazia, Kelcie Dugger, Sarah Hess, Shekinah (CoCo) Smith, and Patrick Ciamacco, who will bring actors from his own Blank Canvas Theatre. Also joining us are Kevin Marr, who helped choreograph our recent production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, and Ryann Angelotti, seen in our 2012 productions of Ragtime and Children of Eden. Jordan Cooper will accompany many of the acts on the keyboard. The NWT Stage schedule is below. Hope to see you there! — Hans Holznagel

Time segment Near West Theatre Stage Schedule, 6/8/13
2:00 to 2:20 Kevin Marr – Movement & dance. Watch or join in!
2:20 to 2:30 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
2:30 to 2:50 Mariah Burks – Broadway/popular songbook (Jordan Cooper, accompanist)
2:50 to 3:00 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
3:00 to 3:20 Trinidad Snider – Broadway/popular songbook (Jordan Cooper, accompanist)
3:20 to 3:30 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
3:30 to 3:50 Blank Canvas Theatre – Selections from recent Blank Canvas Theatre productions
3:50 to 4:00 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
4:00 to 4:20 Mo Eutazia and Kelcie Dugger – Guitar & vocals
4:20 to 4:30 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
4:30 to 4:50 Ryann Angelotti – Broadway/popular songbook (Jordan Cooper, accompanist)
4:50 to 5:00 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
5:00 to 5:20 Sarah Hess – Music and fun (Jordan Cooper, accompanist)
5:20 to 5:30 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
5:30 to 5:50 Shekinah (CoCo) SmithBroadway/popular songbook (Jordan Cooper, accompanist)
5:50 to 6:00 Dance break with DJ Karluis / stage transition
6:00 to 8:00 “Broadway Open Mike” with Bob Navis Jr. at the keyboard. Pick a song!
Stop by or stay a long time, as people did variously for our 2012 performances.

Stop by or stay a long time, as people did variously for our 2012 performances.

Our corner is near the center of street-festival action along Detroit Ave.

Our corner is near the center of street-festival action along Detroit Ave.

"Get up, stand up" during  DJ dance breaks between acts.

“Get up, stand up” during DJ dance breaks between acts.