Where Are They Now?
Park Playhouse is proud of the many talented actors, musicians, directors, designers and other staff members who have worked with us in Washington Park and then gone on to work on other exciting projects. Here’s a look at just a few members of the Park Playhouse family who have gone to great things in the world of arts & entertainment…
Charles Franklin, who played Link in our 2012 production of Hairspray and was a student of Park Playhouse II, was featured in the Broadway company of The Bridges of Madison County and the Broadway cast of Book of Mormon. He also appeared in the 2015 Concert of Parade, and received rave reviews. "The newcomer [...] is, easily, one of the best undiscovered voices in musical theatre." - Michael Gioia at Playbill.com. He played Dickon in The Secret Garden with Shakespeare Theatre Company and was seen in City Center's ENCORES Big River as Tom Sawyer. Currently on Broadway as Rodger Davies in Tina.
Mariah Lyttle blew audiences away with her performance as Sarah in 2016’s Ragtime. Now a graduate of Ithaca College, she joins the cast of the National Tour of The Color Purple starring as Celie.
Gabriella Pizzolo, a stand-out as Tinkerbell in 2013's Shrek, has starred as the title role of Matilda in Broadway’s Matilda: The Musical and in the Tony Award Winning musical Fun Home as Young Alison. She is featured in the Lifetime remake of Beaches as a young Idina Menzel and appeared on Stranger Things as Suzie.
Donnell James Foreman was a student with Park Playhouse II. He has gone on to perform professionally across the country, most recently in the National Tours of The Book of Mormon, Mamma Mia!, and Hairspray as Seaweed J. Stubbs.
Giuliana Bruno as a Park Playhouse II student played notable roles in Washington Park: Oliver (Widow Corney), The Pajama Game (Mae), Shrek (Witch). She translated the theatrical skills she learned with Park Playhouse to become a journalist. After attending Emmerson College in Boston, she returned to the Capital Region and is a general assignment reporter with WTEN.
Sharrod Y. Williams, a dynamic dancer in our 2012 Season in the productions of Cabaret and Hairspray, has been seen on stage at the MUNY in St. Louis in numerous productions and on stages around the country in the National Tours of A Chorus Line and Bring It On, and in the Chicago company of Hamilton. He made is Broadway debut in Tuck Everlasting, was featured as Pouncival in the Broadway revival of Cats, and in New York City Center's ENCORES’ Grand Hotel and Tommy.
Spencer Clark was a standout ensemble dancer in Spamalot the summer of 2013. He has gone on to perform as a company member of In Your Arms at The Old Globe and made his Broadway debut in 2016 as a member of Cirque de Soleil Paramour. Additional credits include Cats Broadway revival and FROZEN on Broadway.
Ryan P. Cyr served as Dance Captain for Singin' in the Rain and Chicago and Associate Choreographer of Damn Yankees in 2018. He also served as the Assistant Choreographer for Park II productions of The Pajama Game, The Little Mermaid, and How to Succeed those summers. He played A-Rab in the International Tour of West Side Story from 2016-2018 and will be touring with Bandstand in 2019.
Mike Cefalo wowed audiences as Cosmo Brown in 2015’s Singin’ in the Rain. He has performed regionally in stand out roles including Newsies (Davey), Next to Normal (Henry), The Addams Family (Lucas) and is a member of the 1st National Tour of The Band’s Visit.
Steve Raymond, a Park Playhouse company member in Spamalot (Historian & others), Hands on a Hardbody (Greg), and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Leaf Coneybear) delighted audiences with his spectacular comedic timing across the USA with the National Touring Company of Book of Mormon in 2015 & 2016.
Jacob A. Ware appeared on the Park Playhouse stage during our 2012 production of Cabaret in the role of Clifford Bradshaw. He has been seen on Boardwalk Empire in the recurring role of Agent Selby. Jacob’s turn marks the second Playhouse alum to appear on this award-winning HBO Drama, with Heather Lind, a graduate of our Park Playhouse II program, appearing in 14 episodes between 2011-2012 in the role of Katy.
Jason Jacoby has been featured in many Park Playhouse productions, including Beauty & The Beast (Lumiere), The Producers (Leo Bloom) and Cabaret (The Master of Ceremonies), as well as the title role of Sweeney Todd in our 32nd Season. Jason’s talents as not only an actor and singer, but also a puppeteer, landed him in the New York company of Avenue Q off-Broadway at New World Stages. Jason also recently appeared opposite Bruce Vilanch in Rubble at NYCFringe 2013.
Vincent DiPeri has cracked up audiences in Washington Park in 2011-2013 and again in 2015, having appeared at Park Playhouse as Roger DeBris in The Producers, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Sir Bedevere in Spamalot, and an assortment of vibrant character roles in Singin' in the Rain. Vincent has spent past holiday seasons bringing his great, comedic work to the national stage as Papa Who in the National Tour of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He currently performing with Disney Theatricals.
Longtime Board Member and supporter of Park Playhouse, Benita Zahn, appeared in Park Playhouse’s Kiss Me Kate and Hands on a Hardbody in Washington Park and starred as Louise Playhouse Stage Company’s productions of Always, Patsy Cline. Benita is, of course, seen nightly on WNYT Channel 13′s NBC newscasts. Amidst her work on air, as well as involvement in many local charities and events, Benita continues to perform frequently in theatre locally, including appearances with The Singing Anchors.
Molly McGrath, a Capital Region native, has performed with Park Playhouse for over a decade as a leading lady. Credits include Annie Get Your Gun (Annie Oakley), Spamalot (Lady of the Lake), Hands on a Hardbody (Heather), Chicago (Mama Morton), Ragtime (Mother), Always, Patsy Cline (Patsy), Avenue Q (Kate Monster), Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett).
More than just actors, Park Playhouse is proud of the many members of our creative and production staffs who have their hands in other interesting projects throughout the year. Perennial Park Playhouse Director Michael LoPorto is continuing his collaboration with playwright Stephen Gracia in New York City, directing the monthly Dialogue With Three Chords series, featuring short plays, poetry & music. 2011′s Costume Designer Olga Mill is another Playhouse alum to lend their work to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, while former Playhouse Lighting Designer Vincent Vigilante was the Production Manager for Performance Space 122 and currently the Production Manager at Jacob's Pillow. Playhouse Musical Director Brian Axford was seen in early 2013 playing with Martin Goyette at The Montreal Jazz Festival, and can be heard playing on the album Sweet Warm Jelly.
Many Park Playhouse performers and staff spend the majority of their year working as educators, and many of our students have gone on to successful careers as teachers. Tim Nelson, longtime Director of Park Playhouse II and Musical Director and performer in dozens of productions in Washington Park, is a great example to his colleagues and students. Tim, who has taught at California’s Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts for over 15 years, has recently been honored as the Teacher of the Year by the Arts Schools Network.
Keep an eye on this page for new announcements about upcoming projects and accomplishments by Park Playhouse company members and students!