Archive for April 2015

Meet the cast of Hairspray #3: Anthony and April

It’s time for another pair of “blog-erviews” with our HAIRSPRAY cast and crew members. Meet Anthony Stephens and April Valenzuela! We move into the theatre this weekend … so don’t forget to order your tickets at

Anthony Stephens – Sketch

Anthony Stephens

Anthony Stephens

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Although I’ve performed in many musicals, dance is still something that I am not entirely well-versed in. The intricate dance numbers in this show are very challenging to me and sometimes out of my element. Having to remember harmonies while dancing all around the stage is challenging, but incredibly valuable. The show is really pushing me physically and vocally and taking me out of my comfort zone. As an actor, I want to stretch myself as much as I can and gain knowledge during every show I’m in, and I’m certainly learning a lot from Hairspray! And of course, the music for this show is just wonderful to listen to and I think it’s a real crowd pleaser.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

I think it’s a common misconception that this show is full of fluff with no real substance. While it’s a fun and silly show with a lot of hilarious moments, there are some strong themes and messages in it that resonate with the world today. A lot of parallels can be drawn between 1962 and 2015. That being said, it isn’t a show that you should have to think too much about either! It’s really a fun night of theatre where you can relax and enjoy what you’re seeing.

Why do you perform in community theater?

My passion is theatre and I just can’t imagine doing anything else. I always want to be in a show or be involved in a production in some way. I’ve met so many terrific people and established a lot of strong friendships through performing. I am transferring to university in a couple years and majoring in theatre and I think the skills I am currently learning in community theatre here in the area will follow me for the rest of my life. I hope to do theatre for a living.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962” most to you?

The hip swivels.

Anthony is thrilled to be in his first show at SBMT. He performed in various productions in high school, with memorable roles such as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats and Eddie in Love Awkwardly. He was recently in “Kimberly Akimbo” at The Pear Avenue Theatre and understudied in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of Sunday in the Park With George. He is a student at Foothill College and is majoring in theatre. Enjoy the show!

April Valenzuela – Assistant Choreographer


April Valenzuela

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Hairspray is all about dance–you don’t have time to sit, eat, drink , breathe…so what’s not to love!  This is my first time working behind the scenes with our choreographer Lee Ann and I love the fun and joy in her pieces.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Tracy is a strong female lead who isn’t in her role because of her legs, chest, or ability to look like arm candy next to a more important male lead. She stands out of her own accord and you can’t stop the beat when she’s onstage. She earns our respect for her belief in love, justice and equality.

Why do you perform in community theater?

Dance is better than therapy!  And where else can you find community exercise and adult-dress up in one place?

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962” most to you?

Mod-fashion: those hats (oh how I love hats), long leather boots, color-blocking dresses…it was so much fun.  The revolution in the fabric of society splashed across the everyday threads of American garb.

April Valenzuela is ecstatic to participate as one of the dancing staff at SBMT.  She debuted with SBMT in 42nd Street, followed by Funny Girl, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and most recently in Kiss Me Kate.  April teaches dance to little ballerinas in Santa Clara and gross motor skills at a Spanish Immersion preschool  in Campbell.


Meet the cast of Hairspray #2: Matt and Jennifer

Here’s round two of our posts about the cast and staff of HAIRSPRAY. Meet Matt Busbee (IQ) and Jennifer Medeiros (Pit Singer)! And don’t forget to buy tickets at

Matt Busbee: IQ


Matt Busbee

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Hairspray has been on my “must do” list of shows since I started doing theatre, and now that the time has come, I couldn’t be more ecstatic! I have loved the music since the moment I heard it, and I’m so excited to be a part of such a joyful musical! Also, the dancing is a great workout! 😉

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Although I know that our audience will be delighted by the catchy songs and super crazy dance numbers, sometimes we have to stop and think about what this show is really about. I have always loved Hairspray’s overall message of accepting others and embracing what makes us special. I hope audiences will leave the theater feeling better about themselves and the world around us!

Why do you perform in community theater?

I have met some of the best friends I could ever ask for through doing shows. The sense of connection that I feel with my cast mates is what makes community theater so addicting. Also, after months of hard work and rehearsal, the feeling when I finally get to see an audience having a good time is the best feeling ever!

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962” most to you?

The choreography, of course! The dances that Lee Ann has worked incredibly hard to put together paint a picture that I think beautifully represents this time of change and progress in the United States. Also, the hairdos help tremendously!

Matt Busbee is very excited to cross this amazing show off his bucket list! This is Matt’s first show with SBMT, and he is very proud to be a part of such a phenomenal cast. Favorite roles include A-Rab in West Side Story (Stage 1), Boy in Headband in “A Chorus Line” (PCRT), and one of the Three Pigs in “Shrek” (TVRT). Shoutout to Arrah Ibale for being a wonderful, supportive friend and always seeing his shows! Enjoy the show, and “Welcome to the 60s!”

Jennifer Medeiros: Pit Singer


Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I am excited to get to sing this music every night. The harmonies are awesome. The music is GREAT! I have really enjoyed our vocal rehearsals and working on this music.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

This show has some important messages about acceptance in it. We should all love ourselves for who we are and what we have been given and accept other people’s differences.

Why do you perform in community theater?

For the GLORY… and it’s good for my social life. Doing theatre is a great way to meet people and make new friends. I have many amazing friends I have met while doing community theatre, people that are now life-long friends.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962” most to you?

Helmet hair.

Jennifer Noel Medeiros is excited that all she has to do is sing for this show. This is Jennifer’s second show with SBMT, she last appeared with SBMT as part of the Greek Chorus in Promises, Promises. Favorite roles include: Delilah Strict (Zombie Prom), Joy (Cinderella), Scent-of-Lilies (The Rose of Persia), Phoebe (The Quaker Girl), Celia (Iolanthe), Vittoria (The Gondoliers), Edith (Pirates of Penzance), Susan (Company), Marie Dindon (La Cage aux folles), Cousin Hebe (H.M.S. Pinafore), Annina (La Traviata), and a Pick-A-Little Lady (Music Man).

Meet the cast of Hairspray, #1: Kevin and Rachelle

For the next few weeks, as we prepare HAIRPSRAY for our May 23 opening night, our SBMT blog will introduce members of the cast, staff, or crew. Up first: Kevin Cornelius, playing Edna Turnblad, and Rachelle Abbey, playing Penny Pingleton. (Buy Hairspray tickets at!)

Kevin Cornelius: Edna Turnblad

Kevin Cornelius tries on one of Edna's housedresses

Kevin Cornelius tries on one of Edna’s housedresses

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I’m excited to have the chance to play such a wonderful role, Edna Turnblad, in a show that I love. I’ve been a fan of Hairspray since the original John Waters film, and when it was adapted into a musical, I fell in love all over again. I think “Welcome to the 60’s” is one of my all-time favorite musical theatre moments. I feel so happy to have such a wonderful opportunity to play a dream role in a production with a fantastic group of people.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Come ready to join the party and have a fabulous time!

Why do you perform in community theater?

I’m impressed by all of the amazingly talented people who participate in South Bay Musical Theatre. I enjoy getting the chance to act, sing, and dance in high-quality productions of classic and new musicals. I love our audiences, and I enjoy the connection we all share at the Saratoga Civic Theatre. There is nothing like live theatre, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962” most to you?

The music and dancing. “Hairspray” has such a delightful score, and the dances in this show will take you back in time and lift your spirits to the stars.

SBMT audiences may remember Kevin as Albin in “La Cage aux Folles,” Gus in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Eddie in “Funny Girl,” Father in “Ragtime,” and Cornelius Hackl in “Hello, Dolly!” He directed our “Kiss Me, Kate,” “42nd Street,” and “The Will Rogers Follies,” and has served on our Board of Directors for over eight years. A San Jose native, Kevin has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University. For the last fourteen years, Kevin has worked as the Director of Roberta Jones Junior Theatre in Santa Clara.

Rachelle Abbey: Penny Pingleton

Rachelle Abbey

Rachelle Abbey

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I am excited about being in Hairspray because it is one of my favorite musicals! I have wanted to be in this show since I first saw it 10 years ago. The music is so much fun you can’t help but dance and sing along.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

The most important thing audiences should know about Hairspray is that even though it is a super fun dance and high-energy show, the more subtle and poignant plot points are really important and make us appreciate the past and how far we have come.

Why do you perform in community theater?

Because it allows me to meet the most amazing people and it fulfills my passion to be on stage.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962” most to you?

The thing that says “1962” most to me is the hairstyles since they are so iconic.

Rachelle Abbey is thrilled to be making her debut at SBMT in a dream role! Favorite roles include “Maisie” in The Boyfriend (WVLO), “Val” in A Chorus Line (SCP), “Angel City 4” in City of Angels (SVCT) and “Audrey” in Little Shop of Horrors (SCP). When not on stage she enjoys forms of social dancing such as lindy hop and ballroom as well as tennis, choir and soaking up the sun. She currently works in the Wyss-Coray lab at Stanford investigating rejuvenation in the brain.

Auditions for “Fiorello”

Auditions!South Bay Musical Theatre is excited to announce auditions for our fall musical “Fiorello!” The show runs Sept. 19 to Oct. 10, 2015—and we’re hoping you might want to be a part of it!

Click here to sign up for an audition time slot:

This dynamic, Tony-winning show about New York’s colorful Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia has a Pulitzer prize-winning book and wonderful songs like “When Did I Fall in Love?” It also boasts great featured roles for men and women, plus lots of fun character roles, a set of feisty female tap dancers, and an ensemble of all types (including non-dancers).

We’ll need as many talented men and women as one stage can hold in order to put this show together—and that’s where YOU come in! Join us for auditions at the Saratoga Civic Theater (13777 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga 95070) on Sunday, May 24, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m., scheduled by appointment (see link above). Callbacks will be held May 25 and 26 (by invitation only). A full list of role description appears below.

Can’t make those dates? Please contact us! We may be able to find an alternate time or date for you.

Please prepare a short (16-32 bars), up-tempo audition song excerpt that shows off your singing abilities and vocal range, and bring sheet music in your key (no recordings or a cappella, please). An accompanist will be provided. South Bay Musical Theatre encourages actors of all ethnicities to audition for our productions. You are welcome to bring a head shot and/or resume if you have them (not required).

Our staff includes Director C. Michael Traw, Vocal Director Anita Hsiung Carey, Musical Director Jean Narunsky, and Producer Jay Steele. Rehearsals will begin in mid-July. South Bay Musical Theatre is a non-profit community theatre committed to presenting high-quality musical productions. All roles are open, and all are unpaid and non-AEA.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at

We hope to see you at auditions!

Jay Steele, Producer



BEN MARINO. Republican leader of the 14th district who makes a deal with Fiorello to gain political notoriety.  Experienced, wise, and good-hearted underneath his political crust. Male, 40-60 yrs old. Range: B2 – G4

BEN’S POKER BUDDIES/HACKS (6 total). Six street-hardened political operatives who help and advise Ben. As a group, they sing three of the show’s main songs. Males, 30 – 65 yrs old. Range: various (tenor 1 & 2, bass 1 & 2)

DORA. A political activist and loyal gopher for her leader. Finds love unexpectedly and is launched into a wealthier lifestyle. Female, 25-35 yrs old. Range: C4 – F5

FIORELLO LAGUARDIA. An upstanding, proactive politician, philanthropist and lawyer. He is the future mayor of New York. Dynamic, motivated, and principled. Must have the “spark” to be a believable hero. Ideally, he is short and round (but we may be flexible on physical type). Male, 35-50 yrs old. Range: C3 – G4

FLOYD. An uptight, strict, no-nonsense police officer who shows a softer, loveable side when he falls in love. Male, 30-45 yrs old. Range: D3 – D4

MARIE FISCHER. Fiorello’s hard-working and passionate secretary who aspires to create laws. She carries a torch for Fiorello and is always there for him. Female, 30-40 yrs old. Range: G3 – E5

MITZI TRAVERS. An impressive showgirl, talented vocalist, and celebrated musical comedy star who performs at the political rally. Female, 21-35 yrs old. Range: G3 – C5

MITZI’S DANCERS. Four “showgirl” type women who dance in Mitzi’s big number. Female, 18-30 yrs old

MORRIS COHEN. A doleful, pessimistic office manager and dedicated supporter to Fiorello. Good comic timing. Male, 25 – 50 yrs old. Range: A#2 – E4

MR. LOPEZ. A recent immigrant, who seeks assistance in adjusting to the new country’s customs. Male, 25-45 yrs old. Range: C3 – D4

MR. ZAPATELLA. An elderly Italian who has a daughter that he raises strictly and forcefully, yet with the best of intentions. Male, 50-65 yrs old. Range: C3 – E4

MRS. POMERANTZ . A plump matron who is honest and to-the-point in her actions and words. Female, 50-60 yrs old. Range: C4 – D5

NEIL. A faithful law clerk and passionately active member of Fiorello’s committee. Male, 20-35 yrs old. Range: Db3 – E4

THE SENATOR. An old-school Washington conservative politician, ponderous and benign. 40 – 65 yrs old. (speaking role; will also be in ensemble)

THEA. A strongly opinionated community member and leading political activist from Trieste, Italy. She has the magnetism to make Fiorello fall instantly in love with her. Female, 25-40 yrs old. Range: Bb3 – G5

ENSEMBLE OF LADY STRIKERS; SOLDIERS; NEWSIES; HECKLERS; REPORTERS; THUGS; PARTY GUESTS; VOTERS. There are many speaking roles to be cast from the ensemble.