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 recently played Dickon in The Secret Garden with Shakespeare Theatre Company and was seen in City Center's ENCORES Big River as Tom Sawyer.
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 recent Lifetime remake of Beaches as a young Idina Menzel.
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.
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 their 2015 Season and 100th Anniversary presentation and on stages around the country in the National Tours of A Chorus Line and Bring It On. 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. He is currently in the Chicago company of Hamilton.
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.
Steve Raymond, a Park Playhouse company member in 2013, 2014 and 2018 could be found delighting audiences with his spectacular comedic timing across the USA with the National Touring Company of Book of Mormon in 2015 & 2016.
Ryan P. Cyr served as Dance Captain for Singin' in the Rain in 2015, Chicago in 2017 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.
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, most recently, Cabaret (The Master of Ceremonies). Jason’s talents as not only an actor and singer, but also a puppeteer, have landed him in the New York company of Avenue Q, now playing 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.
Longtime Board Member and supporter of Park Playhouse, Benita Zahn, appeared in 1994′s Kiss Me Kate and 2014's Hands on a Hardbody in Washington Park. 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, Park Playhouse’s Annie Oakley in 2010, The Lady of the Lake in our 25th Anniversary Production of Spamalot, Heather in 2014's Hands on a Hardbody, and Matron Mama Morton in 2016's Chicago, is one of many examples of great local talent who stay busy throughout the year here in the Capital Region. Her work has been seen previously at Schenectady Civic Players, Home Made Theatre, SLOC, The Glove Performing Arts Center and others. She will be featured in 2017's Ragtime as Mother.
Frequent Playhouse performer Shawn Morgan has been featured in Home Made’s The Drowsy Chaperone. Shawn has also been seen often at SLOC, as well as at The Cohoes Music Hall (where Brendan Hoffman, Lt. Cable in 2005′s South Pacific in the Park, has been seen in Les Mis). So many other great local performers have appeared on Park Playhouse’s stage and continue to be featured at theaters throughout the area.
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 of 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!