Actors Theatre

The Off-Broadway of Grandrapids

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[title of show] - book by Hunter Bell , music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen

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March 28 – April 6, 2013*
Jeff and Hunter decided to enter a new musical theater festival.  The problem?  With the deadline only a few weeks away, they have no idea what their musical should be about. With a severe case of writers’ block and the clock ticking, the duo decides to go all out and create something entirely new, with the help of their friends Susan, Heidi and Larry.  What do they write about?  Why, writing about what to write about, of course!  [title of show] is a hilarious new musical about two guys writing a musical - about two guys writing a musical.

"warm, smart, wry, creative!"
- Chicago Tribune
"[title of show] captures the spirit of daring to home you can actually get paid to do what you love."
- L.A. Times

*All currently scheduled performances begin at 8PM

 

Meet the Cast

Ellie Frances (Heidi)
Ellie Frances PhotoEllie was most recently seen on the Actors' Stage in Next Fall. Her past Actors' credits include: The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, Distracted, Mr. Marmalade, A New Brain and Side Show. Her Circle Theatre credits include: Hair, Rumors, Aint' Misbehavin', RENT, Annie, TOMMY, Oliver! (Lead Actress Grand Award winner) and Moby Dick! as well as performing with Civic Theatre in The Producer's. In addition to her theatrical performances Ellie can be seen regularly as a vocalist at The SpeakEZ Lounge.
Jolene Frankey (Susan)
Jolene Frankey PhotoJolene is thrilled to be back on the Actors’ Theatre stage after most recently being seen as Dana in 2011's The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, as she is also currently starring in the sold-out and infinitely-running “Overworked Mom.” The latter show boasts a myriad of award-winning supporting characters including Mike Frankey as The Dutiful Husband, Kathy Huffman as The Doting Nana, and Hudson Michael as The Center of the Universe. Jolene also moonlights as a Casting Director, an acting teacher, and the lone lady in the local band Sex Coffee. She has worked in front of/behind the curtain/camera in NYC/Grand Rapids/Pittsburgh/Paris/Chicago/[insert city here].
Rob Karel (Hunter)
Rob Karel PhotoRob is thrilled to finally get to do this show after he and Ellie have been following it since they were in Side Show together.  He has performed at a few places around town, including Circle, Civic, Jewish, Heritage, Aquinas College, Mason Street Warehouse and Opera Grand Rapids.  He won Grand Awards for wearing a dress and blonde wig in both Forbidden Broadway and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  He lost a Grand Award to his more talented partner, Dylan, for Mr. Marmalade (should have worn the wig).  He will also admit to being in the following shows:  Moby Dick!, The Full Monty, Assassins, Sunday…George, The 25th…Spelling Bee, Honk!,  and Next Fall.  He most recently finished directing Based on a Totally True Story for GRCC Players and will begin rehearsals soon for The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns at Circle Theatre.
Michael Shansky (Larry/Music Director)
Michael Shansky PhotoMichael has music directed many shows for Grand Rapids’ theatres in the past 23 years, as well as composed incidental music for over 40 productions and a full length dance for the West Bank Dance Ensemble.  His music directing credits for Actors’ Theatre include (but are not limited to) Floyd Collins, Urinetown, A New Brain, Assassins, A Man of No Importance, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and Tick Tick Boom just to name a few!  In 2010, he gave a solo piano concert as part of the Ferris Festival of the Arts, including classical, jazz and Gershwin’s American in Paris. 
George Toles (Jeff)
George Toles photoGeorge was most recently seen in the 2011 Actors' production of Spring Awakening and at Circle Theatre in last summer's production of Hair. George has also appeared at Mason Street Warehouse as Mary Sunshine in Chicago. A few others of George’s favorite roles he has played include Candide in Candide, The Mysterious Man in Into the Woods, Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Troy Bolton in High School Musical, Lt. Joseph Cable in South Pacific, and Schroeder in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. George is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University where he studied vocal perfromance under Dr. Kathryn Stieler.

Behind the Scenes

Jeff Bowen, Playwright, Musical Composer and Lyricist
Jeff Bowen PhotoJeff Bowen wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical [title of show], as well as he was an original co-star with Hunter Bell. Jeff Bowen is known for several other composed music works such as Avant Garde a Rama in Sparklesvision, Hello my name is Avant Garde a Rama, Sparklefest 2000, and The a Train Plays. He is has also been seen onstage in The Who’s Tommy, The Diviners, The Doctor In Spite of Himself, Of Thee I Sing, The Sandbox, and On the Twentieth Century. Bowen won an Obie Award in 2006 for [title of show], was nominated for the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding New York Theatre: Broadway and Off-Broadway for [title of show], and was nominated for the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance by an Ensemble Cast for [title of show].
Hunter Bell, Playwright and Book Author
Hunter Bell PhotoHunter Bell wrote the book for the Broadway musical [title of show] and was an original co-star with Jeff Bowen. Hunter has published several other writing credits including Silence! The Musical, Stuck by Epcot, and A Train Plays. He also has appeared on the stage in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Taming of the Shrew, Anything Goes, Godspell, Little Me, The Tempest, Side Show, Romeo and Juliet, The Boys from Syracuse, South Pacific, and Me and My Girl. Hunter won an Obie Award in 2006, received GLAAD Media and Drama League Award nominations, and in 2009 was nominated for Best Book of a Musical for the Tony Awards.
Michelle Urbane, Director
Michelle Urbane Photo[title of show] now marks Michelle's third mainstage directing project for Actors' Theatre, most recently having directed Actors' 2011 production of The Sweetest Swing in Baseball and the 2010 production of Mr. Marmalade. "Shelly", as her friends know her, has also directed for GRCC Players and Circle Theatre as well as for Actors' Living on the Edge series. Michelle's acting credits for Actors' include the 2007 production of Neil Labute's Fat Pig and 2004's The Rocky Horror Show, among many others. She is also the manager of Spectrum Theater.
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