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This production is sponsored in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs

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Richard Israel (Director)

Mr. Israel is honored to be directing Gypsy and to be working with his artistic family at West Coast Ensemble.  Most recently, Richard directed the world premiere of Having It All at the NoHo Arts Center.  Directing highlights include Meet Me In St. Louis for Musical Theatre West, Bell, Book and Candle for The Colony Theatre, A Christmas Carol and A Grand Night For Singing for the Norris Theatre and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Interact Theatre Company. For the Musical Theatre Guild, he has directed One Touch of Venus, High Spirits and Violet. For The Actor’s Co-Op he directed last year’s Merrily We Roll Along as well as Big River and 1776 (L.A. Weekly Award Nomination for Direction and Outstanding Musical). For West Coast Ensemble Theatre, he has directed the critically acclaimed west coast premiere of Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, the Los Angeles premiere of Big - The Musical, Assassins (L.A. Weekly Award Nomination for Direction and Outstanding Musical, LADCC Award for Musical Ensemble) and Floyd Collins (Backstage Garland Award for Direction).  He is the recipient of the 2010 LADCC Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Directing and is pleased to serve as the Co-Artistic Director for West Coast Ensemble Theatre. He is also a proud member of SDC.

Johanna Kent (Musical Director)

Ms. Kent’s credits include Merrily We Roll Along, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Assassins (Garland Award), 1776 (LA Weekly award nomination), Floyd Collins (Garland Award), A New Brain, A Little Night Music,  Something’s Afoot. Performing credits include Big: the Musical (Mrs. Kopecki/Miss Watson/et al), Assassins (Sara Jane Moore), Into the Woods (Jack’s Mother), Cinderella (Cinderella) and Those Meddling Kids Improv. Ms. Kent is a member of both ARC at ANMT and West Coast Ensemble.

John Todd (Choreographer)

John Todd, a native of the Carolina’s, received his training at North Carolina School of the Arts and The Hungarian State Ballet, both on full scholarship.  He has danced with such companies as Houston Ballet, where he received the Michael Wasmund Award for outstanding dancer, Pacific Northwest Ballet and also as a soloist with Fort Worth Ballet and Hartford Ballet.  Mr. Todd was in the original cast of  "Movin' Out" on Broadway, and has performed in "The Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway as well as the national tour.   Television: “Bourbon Street” (series regular), “Days of Our Lives,” “As the World Turns,” “Sex and the City,” “Ronna and Beverly,” and “Law and Order.” Film: “Jack the Giant Killer,” “Gnomeo and Juliet,” “Alpha and Omega,” “Jackass Number Two,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Sironia,” and “Spells” (with John Lithgow).  Mr. Todd was the lead in the Sundance awarded play "The Studio," and has also been fortunate enough to perform in various venues in Europe and England including the role of "Peter Quince" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Sadler's Wells in London and "Romeo" in Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" for German Television.  John has also choreographed numerous commercials, industrials, musicals, and has worked as associate choreographer on many television and stage shows throughout the world. Working with such greats as Agnes DeMille, Nacho Duato, Melissa Hayden, Twyla Tharp, and Robert Zemeckis has taught John a tremendous amount on being well-versed in all forms of the Arts.

Suzanne Doss (Assistant Director)

Ms. Doss’s assistant-directing credits include West Coast Ensemble’s “Big - The Musical”, “Assassins”, “Music From a Sparkling Planet”, “And the World Goes ‘Round”, “Floyd Collins”, “Wonder of the World”, “Sunday In The Park With George”, “Epic Proportions”, “A New Brain”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “Vanishing Point” and, for TheSpyAnts, “Rudolph The Red-Hosed Reindeer”. Recent producing credits include “Zanna, Don’t!”, “A New Bain”, “Sunday in the Park With George”, “Merrily We Roll Along”.  Ms. Doss has served as a stage manager for WCE, Musical Theater Guild and the Neurotic Young Urbanites.  Her stage managing credits include “Alone at the Beach”, “Company”, “Cabaret”, “Someone’s Knocking”, “Rags”, “Floyd Collins’, and “How Now Dow Jones”. Ms. Doss is proud to serve as managing director at WCE, where she runs the Membership Division.

Brook Carlson (Producer for WCE)

Ms. Carlson is thrilled to be working with West Coast Ensemble once again!  Ms. Carlson’s WCE credits include, producer for Three Tall Women, stage manager for, Fabulation and Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins and assistant stage manager, Big! The Musical.  Other credits include, Merrily We Roll Along, Yours Isabel, Makin' Hay and Leading Ladies at Actor's Co-Op.  Ms. Carlson thanks her friends and family for all their support, and especially her  theatre family for giving her amazing unforeseen opportunities.  Enjoy the show!

DESIGN TEAM

Stephen Gifford (Set Design)

Mr. Gifford returns to WCE for Gypsy, his seventh production with the company and twelfth with Mr. Israel. His work has been seen on both coasts—from New York City, where he received his MFA in Scenic Design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, to Alaska, where he designed for Juneau’s Civic Light Opera.  In Los Angeles, Mr. Gifford has had close relationships with West Coast Ensemble, the Colony Theatre and the Road Theatre Company, where he received his first LA Weekly Award for Lady and designed their production of Sidhe. His design for the production of Celadine at the Colony Theatre recently earned him an Ovation Award nomination. Mr. Gifford holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. stephengifforddesign.com

Lisa D. Katz (Lighting Design)

Ms. Katz is very happy to be continuing her more than ten-year association with West Coast Ensemble with Gypsy. Previous designs with WCE include Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins, Big: the Musical, Assassins, Floyd Collins (2006 Garland Award for Lighting Design), and The Grapes of Wrath. Recent local designs include Caught (Zephyr Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along and Big River (Actor’s Co-op), Twelfth Night and Rabbit Hole (ULV), and Salam Shalom (Greenway Court Theatre). Ms. Katz received the 2008 Angstrom Award for Career Achievement in Lighting Design. She has also worked as an assistant lighting designer at the Los Angeles Opera and the Ahmanson Theatre. Productions there include The Black Rider, Curtains and The History Boys.

Zale Morris (Costume Design)

Mr. Morris is completely thrilled to be working with WCE again.  He wants to thank Richard Israel for giving him the opportunity to costume one of his favorite musicals.  He’s like to extend his best wishes and a long run to this talented cast. Mr. Morris has been blessed to costume hundreds of musicals and productions throughout his extensive career.

Rebecca Kessin (Sound Design)

Ms. Kessin is thrilled to be back with WCE!  Recent designs include: “The All Night Strut” (The Colony), “Aida” (Saddleback College), “Tenessee and Anna” (Co-Design with Cricket S. Myers - The Odyssey), “In Motherwords” (Associate Sound Design - The Geffen Playhouse), “Jingle Bell Rock!” (2010 National Tour), “Merrily We Roll Along” (Actors Co-op), “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” (Assistant Sound Design - Mark Taper Forum), “Fabulation!”, “Three Tall Women”, “The Graduate”, “Miss Witherspoon”, “Music From A Sparkling Planet” (West Coast Ensemble), “Chasing Monsters” (Company of Angels), “Urinetown” (Saddleback College), “I Am An Emotional Creature” (World Premiere - The Archer School), “The Miracle Worker” (Four Star Award - High Street Arts Center), “Stranger” (Garland Nomination - Bootleg Theatre), “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” (Assistant Sound Design - Kirk Douglas Theatre), “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (Garland Nomination - Havok Theatre Co), “Pope Joan” (Stella Adler Theatre), “Educating Rita” (The Colony), “She Loves Me” (Rubicon Theatre Co).  MFA - CalArts.

THE CAST

L.J. Benet (Performer Boy/Singer/Newsboy) Mr. Benet, 14, was most recently seen as Jem in The Production Company’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Other theatre credits include Young Sydney in Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin (La Jolla Playhouse), Young Pip in Great Expectations and Fleance in Macbeth (Utah Shakespeare Festival), JoJo in Seussical the Musical (South Bay Civic Light Opera), Young Josh in Big: the Musical (West Coast Ensemble), and Young Tommy in The Who’s Tommy (Flicker House). Notable film credits: You Again, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the indie short Legend of Beaver Dam. Television: Wizards of Waverly Place, Breaking In and The Mentalist. Love to Mom, Dad and Hannah; special thanks to Abrams Artists, KSR and Beverly Strong.

Kelly Jean Clair (Mazeppa/Miss Cratchitt) Ms. Clair is ecstatic to be part of Gypsy, working with such an amazing team, and once again with the incomparable Mr. Israel, who directed her in WCE’s premiere of Music from a Sparkling Planet (Tamara Tomorrow) Other WCE appearances include the title role in Miss Witherspoon and Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. Recent TV appearances: Law & Order: LA, Criminal Minds and a recurring role on The Bold and the Beautiful. Ms. Clair dedicates this show to her own Mama Rose, Margaret Clair, who once told her, “I don’t care if you have to starve, don’t ever give up your dream!”

Quintan Craig (Yonkers) "Q" is excited to return to WCE! Regional: Little Boy in Ragtime –IETL Award (MTW, PR), Oliver in Oliver! (CLOSB), JoJo in Seussical (MTWichita , PR), Nathan in The Full Monty (MTW), Chip in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (MTWichita, Plan B), Louis in The King and I (MTW, SGVMT), Winthrop in The Music Man (PR), Kurt in The Sound of Music (SGVMT), Freddy in Will Rogers’ Follies  (MTWichita, FCLO, CLOSB), Jake in Annie Get Your Gun (FCLO), Young George in George M! (FCLO), Young Junior in On Your Toes! ( Reprise!), Young Don in Singin’ in the Rain (FCLO), Young Sim in Ray Bradbury’s Frost and Fire (Bethune Productions), Voice in Charlie Brown, Disney DVDs, voice-overs, OCSDCoKid. Favorite role: Mollie’s little brother! Thanks, Richard and KSA! Q thanks God for many blessings!

Glory Curda (Balloon Girl) is thrilled to be making her professional theatre debut with West Coast Ensemble. Recent television appearances include Law & Order: SVU (NBC) and Make It or Break It (ABC Family). Most recent film credit is the lead role of Nellie in Pocketful of Posey. Love to Riley, Piper, and Major, who have always said I could do it, and to Saylor, who is the best backstage playmate ever. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Brilliant Talent, and Janine Molinari. All performances dedicated to my Daddy, who is serving in Afghanistan and to hoping all our soldiers return home safely.

Major Curda (Boy Scout/Newsboy) is making his West Coast Ensemble debut. Broadway: The Little Mermaid (Flounder), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, reading with Sam Mendes). Regional: A Christmas Carol (Servant Boy, Ignorance) at Goodman, Phantom (Young Phantom) at Theatre at the Center. His feature film The Last Kung Fu Monk will be released this year. Love to Riley and Piper, who introduced me to theatre and to Glory and Saylor, with whom I love sharing the stage. Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Brilliant Talent. All performances dedicated to my Dad, who is serving in Afghanistan, and to all our soldiers.

Saylor Curda (Twirling Girl) is making her professional theatre debut with West Coast Ensemble and could not be happier than to be performing on stage, following in the footsteps of her four older siblings. Look for her in all the new print and commercial promotions for the cruise ship the Disney Dream. Love to Riley, Piper, Major, and Glory, who make life so much fun and keep me dancing every day. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Brilliant Talent, and Janine Molinari. All performances dedicated to my Daddy, who is serving in Afghanistan but wishes he could see me now.

Amy Lawrence (Marjorie) is honored to make Gypsy her debut performance with West Coast Ensemble. Ms. Lawrence was last seen performing at the Magic Castle in A Grand Night For Singing, directed by Edward Sayegh. Off-Broadway: Christmas Rappings. Favorite roles: Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Queen Tye in Akhnaten (Philip Glass), Carrie in Carousel. As a professional ballroom dancer and teacher, she has competed extensively in the U.S. and teaches here in LA. She is also a classically trained flutist. Ms. Lawrence is a Boston Conservatory graduate and a proud member of AEA. amylawrencedance.com

Larry Lederman (George/Rose’s Father/Mr. Kringelein/Cigar) An eighteen-year member of West Coast Ensemble and a founding member of NoHo’s Actors Forum Theatre, Mr. Lederman has performed in scores of plays and musicals in New York, LA, and on tour. He’s appeared in some fifteen WCE productions, including Big: the Musical, Assassins, Floyd Collins, Wonder of the World, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Grapes of Wrath. Other local shows include the Colony Theatre’s acclaimed Grand Hotel, Actors Co-op’s 1776 (Ben Franklin), Interact’s multiple-award-winning Urinetown, the Rubicon Theatre’s landmark Fiddler on the Roof and the world premiere of Stiltz! the Musical. He also enjoyed a recurring role as the town jeweler on ABC’s Port Charles. Mr. Lederman is a proud member of AEA and AFTRA.

Michael Matthys (Herbie) Mr. Matthys is making his West Coast Ensemble debut.  Recently he appeared as Levin in Anna Karenina at Chrysalis Stage, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at CTL, David in 1951–2006 at LATC, and Fletcher in Men of Tortuga at Furious Theatre. Additional local credits include six shows with A Noise Within, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare Center LA, and an ensemble role in An Enemy of the People at the Ahmanson. Regional: Guthrie, Laguna Playhouse, Ensemble Theatre, Sierra Rep. On TV he is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Kent on Grey's Anatomy. Film: Full Blast, Nightwatch, BASEketball, Destiny Turns on the Radio.

Dan Pacheco (Angie) Mr. Pacheco last appeared with WCE as Mike in the Ovation-nominated and LADCC-winning Zanna Don't! Other favorite roles include Abraham in Altar Boyz at Musical Theatre West, Aladdin in Disney's Aladdin: a Musical Spectacular, Jim in I Love a Piano (MTW), Dopey in Disney's Snow White (original cast), Jose Mexicano in Four Guys Named Jose (International City Theatre), and Max in Chile Pod (La Jolla Playhouse). He was a starring singer in the 117th Tournament of Roses Parade, has done numerous commercial campaigns, and toured Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. He is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a proud member of AEA and SAG. Thanks, Mom!

Tony Pandolfo (Uncle Jocko/Mr. Weber/Mr. Goldstone/Pasty) Mr. Pandolfo has been a proud member of West Coast Ensemble since 1984. Among his scores of WCE credits are Salieri in Amadeus, the father in Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Doge of Venice and King of Spain in Losing Venice, and most recently, Myron Poore in Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins (L.A. Weekly Award nomination). He co-stared in Jimmy Smits' version of The Cisco Kid as Alain Vitton, and can be seen in the upcoming HBO series Luck and an episode of Jon Benjamin Has a Van for Comedy Central. His five-year stint with ComedySportz is one of the highlights of his career. Mr. Pandolfo is seeking theatrical representation.

Kaleigh Ryan (Baby June) Stage: Annie (Molly) at LA Valley College and Santa Clarita Regional Theatre, The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), Magical Journey of Hope (Young Hope).  Principal film/TV roles: Home Run Showdown (Felicia Lee), Heroes (Jennie Bowman), Funny or Die, Lopez Tonight, Nickelodeon’s Frosty Fridays, Road to the Altar. National commercials: BMW, Cellular South, Ashley Furniture. Ms. Ryan is thankful to God, her family, friends, The Savage Agency, EDB Management, coaches John D’Aquino and Candice Safstrom, and the cast, crew and creative team at WCE for helping to make the dream of performing this lively role a reality!  theryangirls.com

Zack Salas (L.A./Bourgeron) Mr. Salas is sixteen years old and has been performing across the U.S. and in Canada with Orange County Song and Dance since fourth grade. He can be seen each Christmas at Knotts Berry Farm in Snoopy's Calico Christmas Tree Lighting and in the holiday parade. He has performed in the children's choir with the national touring company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and recently appeared in The Wiz at Cypress College. Mr. Salas would like to thank his teachers from Orange County Song and Dance and his family and friends for all their support.

Katie Scarlett (Agnes/Showgirl) first joined West Coast Ensemble as Cynthia Benson in Big: the Musical. She appeared as Cinderella in the Children's Theatre Group of Southern California's productions of Into the Woods (LA Valley Theatre Guild nomination) and in Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey. Film credits include Monsters, Inc., Santa Clause 2 & 3, and My Soul to Take. TV: General Hospital, Zoey 101. Ms. Scarlett received her training from CTGSC, Cal State Fullerton, and The Upright Citizens Brigade.

Jessica Schatz (Electra/Renee/Stage Mother) Regional theatre credits include Anna in Burn This, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Elizabeth Caulder in Laundry & Bourbon, Rosannah DeLuce in Brilliant Traces, Maya in Sideways: a Musical, Sheila in A Chorus Line, Meredith in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and Woman in Bash. Recent TV appearances include Modern Family and Southland. Look for her as Francesca O’Neil (Hilary Duff’s mom, the “milf”) in the movie Stay Cool coming to theatres soon. As well as being an actor and dancer, Ms. Schatz is also a professional choreographer and a producer of two independent feature films; Little Chenier and The Things We Carry, both available on Netflix! She currently studies acting with Alice Carter and Cameron Thor.

Jan Sheldrick (Mama Rose) Ms. Sheldrick has been a member of West Coast Ensemble for over 20 years. The many roles she has had the pleasure of playing here at WCE include Anna in Old Times, Joanne in Company, Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, Gussie in Merrily We Roll Along, Edith Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Mimi Schwinn in A New Brain, Kate in Sylvia, the Old Lady in Sunday in the Park with George, Ms. Nevers in Cry Havoc, Lois Coleman in Wonder of the World, Etta Poore in Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins and, most recently, “B” in Three Tall Women. Roles elsewhere include Lillian Hellman in Judy's Scary Little Christmas and Betty in William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle.

Eric Allen Smith (Tulsa) is proud to be working with such a great cast and creative team. Originally from Indiana, Mr. Smith recently moved to Los Angeles from New York, where he attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Recent roles include Huck Finn in Big River, Mungojerrie in Cats, and Jason in High School Musical. Mr. Smith would like to give thanks to all his friends and family, Pietry, Brad, and especially his mom for being his best friend and biggest supporter.

Sara J. Stuckey (Tessie Tura) was recently seen as Darlene (u/s) in Caught (Zephyr Theatre), Gwendolyn Pigeon in The Odd Couple (Norris Center for the Performing Arts), Sleeping Beauty (Baker’s Wife/Florinda u/s), Into the Woods (Lucid by Proxy), Renee in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Interact Theatre Company), Agnes in Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins and the Receptionist/Abigail in Big: the Musical (West Coast Ensemble).  Film: Hannah & Elliot (dir. Peter Siesennop), Soundscape (dir. David Aristizabal), Sophocles and the Fall of Rhode Island and Swine! (dir. Khan Manka, Jr.) TV: Bones, CSI: Las Vegas, House, The Practice, Boston Public, Girlfriends. Ms. Stuckey hails from Montana and is a proud member of WCE and SAG. sarajstuckey.com

Kailey Swanson (Dainty June) Ms. Swanson is incredibly excited to be working with WCE again. She played Debby in Big: the Musical with WCE. Other theatre credits include Gloria in Wait Until Dark (Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities), Laura in the American Girl Revue (American Girl Place, LA), Young Estella in Great Expectations (Odyssey Theatre), Holly in Yo Ho Ho! A Pirate’s Christmas (NoHo Arts Center), and Lily in a staged reading of A Bedroom Window. Ms. Swanson has numerous TV/film credits including The Wheels on the Bus, where she was a featured soloist along with Roger Daltry; played Emily on Disney’s Special Agent Oso; appeared on The Frolic, Wreck the Halls, Lovin Lakin and, most recently, the Sundance Award–winning horror musical, The Legend of Beaver Dam. Love and gratitude to my family and friends for their continued support!

Ann Villella (Geraldine/Showgirl) is very excited to be joining West Coast Ensemble. In Los Angeles she has been seen in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive), One Touch of Venus with the Musical Theater Guild, Nunsense (Mary Leo) and Urinetown (pool/UCG). Regional credits include Hello, Dolly! (Minnie Faye); Bye, Bye, Birdie (Kim McAfee); A Funny Thing...Forum (Philia); Into The Woods (Rapunzel); Brigadoon (Fiona) and La Boheme with Opera Carolina. TV: Comedy Central's Li’l Bush (Li’l Condi & Li’l Hilary). Thank you, Richard, for this amazing opportunity!

Stephanie Wall (Rose Louise Hovick) Since graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in Theatre, Ms. Wall has sung at Hong Kong Disneyland, played Clara in The Light in the Piazza at the El Portal Theatre, and launched her TV/film career. Other favorite credits include Cindy Lou in The Marvelous Wonderettes, Luisa in The Fantasticks, Sandy in Grease, and Violet Hilton in Side Show. Ms. Wall is a proud member of SAG, AEA, AFTRA and AGVA. stephaniewall.com

Caitlin Williams (Baby Louise) Ms. Williams is delighted to be part of the Gypsy cast in her professional stage debut. Previous credits include the singing voice of Amelia in Sony/Playmobil’s film The Secret of Pirate Island, and voiceover work for Freschetta Pizza. She has performed in several musicals through YADA: as Banzai in The Lion King, as Miss Berg in Fame!, and as Jane in Peter Pan; with the Broadway Bound Players as July in Annie Jr.; and at her school as the cat in Honk Jr. Ms. Williams would like to thank her family and friends for all their love and support! Brilliant Talent Management (818) 601-0286

Petey Yarosh (Dainty June Newsboy) is a native of Bedminster, NJ. Past productions include the lead roles in John Coopers Summer Shorties Series productions of Sushi, Meeting with No Ends, and Creatures of Dreams in NYC. Mr. Yarosh is also a print model and appears in many television commercials. He loves playing ice hockey, skiing, mountain boarding, keyboards and bass guitar. This is his first production with West Coast Ensemble Theatre, and he would like to thank Richard Israel for the opportunity. Also thanks to my family, CESD, Brilliant Talent Management, DBA Talent, Lisa Picotte, Kimberly Crandall, Frantz Saint Louis, Badiene Magaziner, Bob Marks, and Trapper Felides.

  cast & creatives