Merrily We Roll Along Bios 2024-01-06T01:34:52+00:00

A Note From The Director

In 1964 Stephen Sondheim’s ANYONE CAN WHISTLE made its Broadway debut – and closed after 9 performances!  And yet, Sondheim went on to conquer Broadway with – among others – COMPANY and SWEENEY TODD.  Then, in 1981, came MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG.  The first Broadway production was, at 16 performances, another major flop.   It has taken over 40 years of rewriting, reworking, trying, failing and trying again to bring the show back to Broadway as – finally – a hit.  And MERRILY certainly deserves to be a hit.  It is brilliant, funny, sad and ruthlessly honest, but it is also difficult, confusing and challenging.  Based on and following the structure of a 1934 Kaufman and Hart play of the same name, MERRILY rolls along in reverse chronological order.  Each scene takes place earlier than the last, in some cases three or four years earlier.  The characters, Franklin Shepard, Charley Kringas and Mary Flynn, who we first meet as angry, jaded, and disillusioned, grow younger before our eyes and reveal the moments along the way when choices were made like pieces of a puzzle that gradually drop into place.  The audience is challenged to find the pieces, to catch the moments and to come to understand and perhaps even forgive these flawed but brilliant people.  It doesn’t hurt that all this is set to the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim at the top of his game.  In this simply staged “In Concert” production, the emphasis is on the music and the characters who perform it.  It’s a bumpy ride, but one well worth taking.

Jean Hardie, Director

Bee Aaron (Dory, Ensemble)  is a classically and theatrically trained vocalist and a Hawaiian Hula Dancer. Her recent roles include Alice Beineke in The Addams Family (Civic) Ensemble/Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, Phantom in The Rocky Horror Show (both with Stage Left) and Tina in Sister Act (Spokane Valley Summer Theater). Bee also spend her time as the General Manager of Stage Left Theater.

Jessii Arp (K.T., Ensemble) earned a BA in Theatre Arts and Music from Western Washington University and currently works in Spokane Public Schools. Favorite credits include directing James and the Giant Peach Jr. (Civic Academy), Alice in You Can’t Take It With You (Civic), Tansey McGinnis in The Nerd (Lake City Playhouse) and Susan in Company (Mt. Baker Theater). Offstage Jessii enjoys reading books with her cat.

Joshua Baig (Jerome, Mr. Spencer, Ensemble) is a graduate of the Eastern Washington University Theatre department and Spokane Falls Community College Theatre. In Civic’s 2019-2020 season, he had the honor to play the iconic roles of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life and Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret. Other favorite credits include Paul Roms in Important Hats of the Twentieth Century (Upstart Players), Maurice Wilkins in Photograph 51, Ensemble in Young Frankenstein (Civic) and Sebastian in The Tempest (EWU Theatre).

Andy-Lee Collings (Terry, Ensemble) was Mt.Spokane High School’s first-ever STO (State Thespian Officer), serving the 2022-2023 term. Recently he’s been on stage as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Clarence Oddbody in It’s A Wonderful Life-A Live Radio Play, Lord Aste/Mr.Grin puppeteer in Peter And The Starcatcher (all with Mt. Spokane High School) and Zeke in The Wizard of Oz (Spokane Children’s Theater).

Amber Denise Copeland (Gussie Carnegie) spends her time as a self-help author writing the book ‘Self Love for Trainwrecks’ and a guided journal called ‘Soul Messages.’ Her favorite stage credit is the role of Miss Watson in Big River.

Joel Cummings (Franklin Shepard) A recent transplant to Spokane, Mr. Cummings is thrilled to be making his Civic debut in this exciting production. He lives in Spokane Valley with his wife and two daughters after receiving a masters degree in voice performance from the New England conservatory of music. Locally he played Max Detwelier in The Sound of Music (Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater) and George in Sunday in the Park with George (Aspire Community Theater).

Amy D’Orazi (Beth Spencer) is excited to be a part of this special production and join the Civic Theatre Family! Her favorite credits include Dot in Sunday in the Park with George (Aspire Community Theater), Tanya in Mamma Mia!, Jane Benner in Pride and Prejudice and Laurey in Oklahoma (all with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater). Recently Amy received the Coeur d’Alene Mayors Award Excellence in the Arts 2023.

Amy Dawson (News Anchor, Ensemble) is happy to be on Civic’s Main Stage again after performing as Katie Nana/Ensemble in Mary Poppins. Other favorite roles include Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense (Pend Oreille Players Association), Lucy Brown in Threepenny Opera (Stage Left) and Alice Beineke in The Addams Family (POPA). When not on stage, she uses her artistic skills to make people’s hands and feet look pretty in her nail room. She thanks all her family and friends for supporting her love of performing.

David Hardie (Charley Kringas) is no stranger to the Civic stage as an alumni of the Box ‘n’ Hat Players. His favorite roles include Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd (Stage Left), George in The Drowsy Chaperone (Civic), Rosencrantz in Rozencranz and Guildenstern are Dead (Spokane Shakespeare Society) and Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Show (Bainbridge Performing Arts). “I love you Teddy Bear!”

Jude Hood (Frank Jr.) is thankful of this opportunity to be back on stage at Civic! He was recently onstage as Mayor of Munchkin City in The Wizard of Oz and Winthrop Paroo in The Music Man (both with Spokane Children’s Theater), Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island (North Star School) and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol (Civic). In addition to being onstage, Jude also takes voice lessons from Dennis Craig, dances with Storyline Dance Company at Jubilee Dance and takes classes at the Civic Academy.

Liam Lundberg (Chorus Boy, Makeup Artist, Ensemble) keeps busy with voice, dance and acting lessons for over 10 years. His favorite credits include Duchess/Dodgy in Alice by Heart, Lucas Beinekie in The Addams Family (both with Civic), Tommy Djilas in The Music Man and Fred in A Christmas Carol (both with The Oaks Theater). Liam also modeled for MOB Magazine in addition to other publications based in Seattle and LA. He enjoys reading novels every second of free time he gets.

Hannah Matchell (Mrs. Spencer, Ensemble) studied theatre performance at the University of Idaho. Her recent credits with Civic include Countess in Murder on the Orient Express, backstage crew for The 39 Steps and various roles during The Playwrights’ Forum Festival. “I am so thankful for the constant encouragement and support from my husband and family as I continue to pursue what I love!”

Nicholas Roy Morgan III (Joe Josephson) is happy to be back on the Civic stage after performing in the ensemble in the Studio Theatre’s She Loves Me. Other favorite credits include directing Important Hats of the Twentieth Century (The Upstart Players), Dr. Seward in Dracula (Civic) and The Baker in Into The Woods (TAC at the Lake).

Kalla Mort (Mary Flynn) studied musical theatre performance at The International College of Musical Theatre in New York City. Her recent stage credits include Kiki in Significant Other, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, Martha in Spring Awakening (all with Civic) Ensemble in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Aspire Community Theatre) and Vivianne Kensington in Legally Blonde (Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre). She would like to give a huge thanks to her partner, cast mates and artistic team.

Nicole Ostlie (Meg Kincaid, Ensemble) is excited to be back onstage at Civic while taking a gap year, auditioning for universities all over the country to obtain her B.F.A. in Musical Theater. Recently she was onstage as Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Civic Academy), Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins (CYT Spokane) and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Civic). She would like to thank her voice teacher and her family for their endless support.

Koa Otis (Tyler, News Anchor, Ensemble) dearest reader, please understand that these events are fictional, Tyler didn’t invent the answering machine! It was invented by like a John or whatever OR one of two Williams 20 years before John Whatever… who’s to really say. Maybe the true magic of theatre is inventing an answer to who invented the answering machine. Perhaps it is you who invented the answering machine!

Lily Savage (Ru, Ensemble) is happy to be back at Civic on stage after stage managing last season’s special event National Pastime. Recently she played Denise in Wild Dust (The Upstart Players) and Angel/Ensemble in Jersey Boys (Civic). She would like to thank her family and friends for their love, support, and inspiration through this process!

Kaylie Scott (Evelyn, Ensemble) is excited and grateful to be a part of another Civic production! After performing in shows for a year at Civic, the theater has become like a second home and family. Recently she performed in the Studio Theater as Marilla in Dracula and as part of the ensemble in the Main Stage’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Shout out to the people who support me and lots of love to my biggest supporter, my Angel in the sky, my brother Kairan “

Travis Villines (Bunker, Ensemble) is excited for his first production at Civic! Favorite credits include Burger Palace Boy in Grease (Spokane Valley Summer Theater), Rolf Gruber in The Sound of Music (Spokane Children’s Theater), Chad in All Shook Up and Narrator in Boise, Idaho (both with Mead High School). In addition to furthering his craft under the guide of Angela Pierson and Steve Mortier, Travis enjoys playing bass guitar and hanging out with his best friend, Jacob.

Ryan Wasson (Scotty, Ensemble, Projections Design) welcomes you to Season 76! He’s made a home at Spokane Civic Theatre over the past 5 years. His recents credits include Waiter/Ensemble in She Loves Me, an Ancestor in The Addams Family, Vice Principal Douglas Panch in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Civic Academy), James Watson in Photograph 51, and Ensemble in The Wizard of Oz (all at Civic). Ryan also works in the area as an actor, director, and photographer in addition to working as the Communications Assistant at Civic. He’s excited for this show to be his first Sondheim show, and he thanks Jean and all involved for their dedication and love. And he thanks his friends and family for their love and support. @rgwassonofficial

Josh White (Photographer, Ensemble) is excited to be back on stage at Civic after performing as Zacky Price in Big Fish with  Lewis and Clark High School. Favorite roles at Civic include Joe Pesci in Jersey Boys, Young Ebenezer in A Christmas Carol and Leaf Coneybear in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Civic Academy). Josh has been taking voice lessons from Steve Mortier for over a year. He would like to thank Stephen Sondheim for being a cool guy.

Jean Hardie (Director and Choreographer) is excited and a bit terrified to be directing this challenging Sondheim musical! Jean has been actively involved at Spokane Civic Theatre since moving here in 1981. She has acted in, directed and choreographed many, many shows over the years, but is probably best known as Mother Superior in Nunsense I and II and Nuncrackers. She was the director of the Box ‘N’ Hat Players for 20 years, directed the Civic Summer Program for 14 years and has had several plays accepted for Civic’s annual Playwrights’ Forum Festival. Most recently she appeared in the Playwrights’ Forum Festival production of Boxes, directed The Play That Goes Wrong, co-directed Jersey Boys and even filled in as the Light Board Operator for The Wizard of Oz! Best of all, she is the proud mom of three wonderful children to whom she dedicates everything she does on stage and off.

Henry McNulty (Music Director and Conductor) has served as Music Director of Spokane Civic Theatre since 2017. A vocalist and self-taught pianist, he earned his degree in Music Composition from Eastern Washington University. As an actor, he spent five seasons performing with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, including Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet and Smudge in Forever Plaid. His most recent appearance on the Civic stage was playing Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein. Henry is proud to call Civic his “home theatre,” having started here at a young age, performing in various summer camps, Main Stage shows, and as a member of the Box ‘n’ Hat Players.

Kim Roberts (Stage Manager) began her longtime association with Spokane Civic Theatre in 1971, as a dancer in Hello, Dolly! In the years since, she’s been an actor, a director, a lighting designer, a choreographer, a producer and a board operator. She’s served on the Civic Board of Directors and the Civic Endowment Board, and was chair of the Play Reading Committee for years. This, however, is the first time she’s ever stage managed. She’s happy to have had the opportunity to work with Jean Hardie and such a marvelous cast and crew.

Janice Abramson (Producer) has been involved with Spokane Civic Theatre family since the summer of 1975. Since then she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at Civic and the Individual Arts Contribution Award from the Spokane Arts Commission. Janice also works full-time for Spokane Public Schools and part-time for Spokane Chiefs Hockey Club. She is very excited to be back at the theatre. “I want to thank my family and friends for being there for me.”

Denny Pham (Scenic Design) is a local actor and the Technical Director for Spokane Civic Theatre. He holds a BA in Theatre from Eastern Washington University in Acting (Stanislavsky, Michael Chekhov and Shakespeare), and Technical Theatre with focus in Scenic Design and Lighting. He was awarded a Merit of Acting from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for his role as Doctor Nemur in Flowers for Algernon. He is a technical theatre veteran with 10 years of experience working professionally and locally in over 115 productions both on and off stage. Favorite credits Acting: Dennis Ziegler in This Is Our Youth, Caliban in The Tempest, Trekkie Monster in Avenue Q; Scenic Design: Cabaret, The Play That Goes Wrong, Murder on the Orient Express; Lighting Design: Chicago. He is thrilled and proud to be part of a company of artists that pushes for all degrees of creativity. @Dennydpham

Jamie L. Suter (Costume Design) holds a BA in Theater Design and Technical Production with concentrations in Costume Design and Directing from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, studying under Broadway professionals Gail Brassard, Liz Covey, and Bob Anton. Her favorite credits include Costume Design for The Wonder!: A Woman Keeps a Secret (T. Schreiber Studio), Assistant to the Costume Designer for Sweeney Todd (Avery Fisher Hall), Assistant Costume Designer for The Lucky Chance (Theresa Lang Theater), Director/Costume Designer for Seven Femmes (Rathskeller Studios), and Costume Designer for The Lost Cabaret (NYC Fringe Festival). Jamie loves being part of the fun and frivolity of live theater, and is incredibly happy to do that at her home away from home, Spokane Civic Theatre.

Bryan D. Durbin (Lighting Design) has a BA in theatre and is very excited to be back as Civic’s master electrician and lighting designer following the long hiatus. “I want to thank my family Heather, Evie, and Abby for all of their support.”

Angelina Jobe Cuba (Sound Engineer and Board Operator) is thrilled to be back at Spokane Civic Theatre for their production of Jersey Boys. She has worked alongside the theater since 2018 guiding and designing the live audio experience for musicals and plays alike. Some of her favorite productions include Songs for a New World, Bug, Follies, Elf, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Cabaret. Angelina grew up around the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA and fell in love with watching her favorite stories come to life. She now enjoys her role in supporting the creation of theater experiences in Spokane.

Shirley Williams (Props) is excited to be back behind the scenes at Civic after working on props for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Plaza Suite (both with Civic), Rocky Horror Picture Show and Sweeny Todd (both with Stage Left). “I want to thank the theater  for welcoming me into their amazing family!”

Alexei Snow (Light Board Operator) is excited to support Civic and local theatres. Recently he worked as the light board operator for A Sherlock Carol, Fly Coordinator for The Addams Family, Light Board Operator for Alice by Heart, Deck Chief for Jersey Boys (all with Civic) and Crew for Red (Stage Left). “I would like to thank my life partner Aly Snow and dear friend Sarah Dahmen for showing me the delight of collaboration and teamwork that is theatre.”

Aly Snow (Backstage Crew) enjoys making the magic happen from the wings. Their favorite backstage work at Civic includes properties for Significant Other, deck chief for Jersey Boys and The Addams Family, and stage manager for Alice by Heart and A Sherlock Carol. When not at Civic, Aly can be found collaborating in finance, as well as petting their cats and adventuring with partner Alexei.