WHO'S WHO IN THE CAST
JERRY LEIBER & MIKE STOLLER (Words & Music) began their songwriting partnership in 1950 upon discovering that they had the same passion for Boogie Woogie and the Blues. If they had written no other song but Hound Dog, the names of Leiber and Stoller would still have been indelibly written in the history of popular music. However, as Smokey Joe's Cafe - The Songs of Leiber and Stoller makes abundantly clear, they didn't start or stop there. In fact, Leiber and Stoller's contributions as songwriters and record producers have been so monumental that it is impossible to envision what American popular music would be like today without them. Their songs have been recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, The Coasters, Jimmy Witherspoon, Little Esther, Amos Milburn, Charles Brown, Little Willie Littlefield, Bull Moose Jackson, Linda Hopkins, Ray Charles, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thorton, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, James Brown, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Bill Haley and the Comets, Barbra Streisand, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Johnny Mathis, Count Basie, John Mellencamp, Lou Rawls, Tom Jones, Edith Piaf, Bobby Darin, Peggy Lee, Chet Atkins, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, B.B. King, Otis Redding and literally hundreds more.
STEPHANIE POPE LOFGREN (Director & Choreographer) is thrilled to be making her North Shore Music Theatre directorial debut with Smokey Joe’s Cafe. She starred as Brenda in the Original London Production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe and is a Broadway musical theater veteran who has appeared in 10 Broadway shows including the revival of Pippin, Jelly’s Last Jam and the longest running American musical, Chicago, as Velma Kelly. Stephanie was chosen by legendary director/choreographer, Bob Fosse for her first two Broadway shows and is sanctioned to teach Fosse Master Classes on behalf of The Verdon Fosse Legacy, LLC. She has several projects in development including Grin and Bare It, which she conceived and will present at the Montclair State University New Works Initiative in the fall with her collaborator, Drama Desk Award winner, Chesney Snow. Other directing credits include Forever Plaid (Theatre Raleigh) and the upcoming Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Playhouse on Park). Her production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe for ACT of CT was named one of the best musicals of 2021 by the Connecticut Critics Circle. She sends love to her husband, Aarne Lofgren and daughter, Mari. Proud member: AEA, SAG-AFTRA, SDC www.stephaniepope.com
MILTON GRANGER (Music Director) returns to North Shore Music Theatre having previously music directed A Christmas Carol (’14 – ’18, ‘21), Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys, Hairspray, Jekyll & Hyde, Mame, 42nd Street, Young Frankenstein, The Music Man, West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, Saturday Night Fever, Anything Goes, Cats and Swing!. As pianist/conductor: Broadway: Mary Poppins, The Woman in White, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cyrano the musical, and Camelot (with Robert Goulet). National Tours: Phantom of the Opera, Big, Sunset Boulevard, Camelot. International: West Side Story. Over 100 regional productions at North Shore Music Theatre, Baltimore CenterStage, Westchester Broadway Theatre and others. Work as composer/lyricist: Two First Prizes in National Opera Association new chamber opera competition;nine chamber operas, performed regularly throughout U.S. and Canada. Several produced musical plays, including Castle Walk (NYMF Next Link Selection), and Peter Rabbit and the Garden of Doom (winner, Actors’ Playhouse competition). miltongranger.com
KYLE DIXON (Scenic Design). Kyle’s scenic artwork may be seen across the United States, from NYC to Las Vegas. Recent scenic designs include: Mamma Mia! (’18, ‘21), The Bodyguard, Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys, Freaky Friday, Oklahoma!, Hairspray! Peter Pan,Mame, 42nd Street, Young Frankenstein, The Music Man, West Side Story (North Shore Music Theatre), White Christmas, Rock of Ages, and A Bronx Tale (John W. Engeman Theatre), Camelot (Westchester Broadway Theatre), The Broadway Classic Music Dance Review (Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, Beijing, China), Million Dollar Quartet, Saturday Night Fever, Newsies, Singin’ in the Rain, Love and Other Fables, Chicago, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mamma Mia!(BroadwayWorld Regional Award), Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Producers, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Music Man, Beehive, Buddy, West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, Sister Act, and Young Frankenstein (Theatre By The Sea, BroadwayWorld Regional Award), Growing up 70’s starring Barry Williams (Off Broadway), Angelina Ballerina, The Musical (NYC, Toronto, National Tour), Fancy Nancy, the Musical(NYC, National Tour), StinkyKids (Off Broadway Alliance Award), It Shoulda Been You (starring Kim Zimmer) and The Wizard of Oz (Gretna Theatre, BroadwayWorld Regional Award), Xanadu, Doubt, The Secret Garden and The Merchant of Venice (Williams Center for the Arts), and many more. Kyle has designed concert events for Faith Prince, Tommy Tune, Pam Tillis, and the NC Gubernatorial Inauguration Gala (Telly Award). In addition to theatre, Kyle accepts fine art commissions and is the designer of North Carolina’s historic Elizabethan Gardens’ Winter Lights. KyleDixonDesigns.com Instagram: @kyle_dixon_designs
KELLY BAKER (Costume Design) is so happy to back for another season! Previous NSMT Costume Design/Coordinator credits include: Mamma Mia! ('21, '18), The Bodyguard, Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys, Freaky Friday, Oklahoma!, A Christmas Carol, Hairspray, Jekyll & Hyde, Peter Pan, as well as TYA shows A Year With Frog and Toad and Curious George and the Golden Meatball. Other companies she has worked for include: The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, New England Conservatory, Greater Boston Stage Company, Odyssey Opera, The Cape Playhouse, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Theatre By The Sea, and OIV’s Ouroboros Trilogy. Thank you to Kevin, Karen, Matthew and the amazing NSMT Wardrobe Crew for all that they do! Hi Mama!
JACK MEHLER (Lighting Design). Previous work with NSMT includes Scenery & Lighting for Jekyll & Hyde (2018, IRNE nomination), Singin’ in the Rain (2016), Billy Elliot The Musical (2015), Miss Saigon (2013), Scenery for West Side Story (2003), and Lighting for Oklahoma!, A Christmas Carol ('02-'19, ’21); 2012 IRNE nomination), Annie, Camelot (IRNE nomination), Children of Eden, 42nd Street, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Hairspray, High School Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, The King and I, A Little Night Music, My Fair Lady, Nine (IRNE nomination), Ragtime, The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie, West Side Story (2016), Wizard of Oz, and Young Frankenstein. He received the 2012 (Elisabeth) and 2013 (Rebecca) Korean Musical Theatre Awards (Korean Tony) for Lighting Design of the Year. Other Theatre design credits include Walnut Street Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, Manhattan Theatre Club, Riverside Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Seattle Rep, Syracuse Stage, Weston Playhouse, The Working Theatre and WPA among many others. Dance: Joffrey Ballet, Lar Lubovitch, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Donald Byrd/Spectrum Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Jose Limon, Ballet Memphis and others. Jack also provides owner's design representation for organizations building or renovating performance and rehearsal spaces and is on the Board of ACT of Connecticut where he received Broadway World Connecticut awards for both scenery and lighting design for Evita.
DON HANNA (Sound Design) is happy to be returning to NSMT for Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Don is a freelance sound designer and engineer whose work can be seen (well, heard) in national tours, regional theaters, and concert productions alike. Touring Highlights: An American In Paris (Sound Design, Big League Productions), The Wizard of Oz National/International Tour (Sound Design, Apex Touring) Pippin National Tour (Associate Sound Design/Head Audio, Apex Touring), Fame The Musical (Sound Design). Regional Highlights: Regional Premier of Rock of Ages (Sound Design, Gateway Playhouse), the world premier of Heartbreak Hotel (Sound Design, Ogunquit Playhouse), Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein (Sound Design, North Shore Music Theatre, Gateway Playhouse, Ogunquit Playhouse), In The Heights (Sound Design, John W Engeman Theatre), among many more. A special thank you to my friends, family and Bethany for their continual love and support.
RACHEL PADULA-SHUFELT (Hair and Wig Design) Broadway credits include: Glass Menagerie, Waitress. Regional: Macbeth in Stride, Moby Dick Elliot Norton Award winner- Best Design), Black Clown, Waitress, Fingersmith(Elliot Norton Award winner- Best Design), Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (Elliot Norton award winner- Best Design), Marie Antoinette, and Crossing with American Repertory Theatre. The Colored Museum at Huntington Theatre Company. Rachel is the hair and makeup supervisor for Boston Ballet.
ALBERT GUERZON (Associate Choreographer) is feeling blessed to revisit the cafe! Broadway credits: Mamma Mia!, Ghost, Honeymoon In Vegas, Escape to Margaritaville and the upcoming Broadway production of Into The Woods starting the end of June. Off Broadway: The Visitor (Public Theater), The Life (Encores) directed by Billy Porter and more recently Into the Woods (Encores). Nat'l tours: Mamma Mia!, Escape to Margaritaville. Some other favs: Twyla Tharp's The Times They Are A-Changin (World Premier), The Wiz (La Jolla Playhouse), Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (LJP). Thank you Steph and team North Shore for having me. Love you Es!
STEPHEN MacDONALD (Production Stage Manager) is excited to be working on another production with North Shore Music Theatre after stage managing A Christmas Carol (‘21) and Mamma Mia! (‘21). Other recent credits include The Inheritance, People, Places and Things and Admissions with Speakeasy Stage Company of Boston, Mamma Mia! ('21) at Theatre by The Sea, and A Year with Frog and Toad TYA at North Shore Music Theatre. When not working professionally as a stage manager, Stephen spends his time directing and designing educational productions, teaching future generations of performing and technical theatre artists.
DAKOTAH WILEY HORAN (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be back having worked as the Assistant Stage Manager on A Christmas Carol ’16 – ’19, ‘21, Mamma Mia! (‘18, ‘21), The Bodyguard, Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys, Freaky Friday, Oklahoma!, Hairspray, Jekyll & Hyde, Peter Pan, Mame, 42nd Street, Evita, Young Frankenstein, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Music Man, West Side Story, Spamalot and Singin' In The Rain, and as the Production Assistant for Mary Poppins and Funny Girl. Some of her previous Stage Management credits include: Capital Repertory Theatre: Betrayal, Marvelous Wonderettes, Cactus Flower, 33 Variations, Leslie Uggams in Uptown Downtown, Man of La Mancha, and Single Girls Guide. Pendragon Theatre: Clean House, and Twelve Angry Men. She would like to thank her parents for instilling and encouraging her love of theatre, and to her friends and her North Shore family for always supporting her.
ROBERT L. RUCINSKI (Assistant Music Director/Rehearsal Pianist) is thrilled to be returning for another season at NSMT. Past NSMT Music Director is thrilled to be returning for another season at NSMT. Past NSMT Music Director credits include A Christmas Carol (‘19), A Year with Frog & Toad, School House Rock Live Jr. Past Assistant Music Director credits include A Christmas Carol (‘04 – ‘07, ‘10 – ‘18, ’21), Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys, Freaky Friday, Oklahoma!, Hairspray, Jekyll & Hyde, Peter Pan, 42nd Street, West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain ('06 & '16), Les Misérables, The Little Mermaid, The King and I, Forever Plaid, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Crazy for You, Cinderella ('05-'06), Ain't Misbehavin', Damn Yankees, Camelot, Fame. Robert has been music director at many theaters throughout New England and teaches at several high school and university theater programs in the local area. A native of Jersey City, NJ, he now lives in Arlington, MA. More info at RucinskiMusic.com.
BILL HANNEY (Owner/Producer) is honored and proud to have been responsible for both the 2007 purchase and re-opening of Theatre By The Sea (theatrebythesea.com), the landmark 500 seat professional summer theatre and restaurant in Wakefield, RI and the 2010 purchase and re-opening of North Shore Music Theatre (nsmt.org), the 1,500 seat nationally renowned regional theatre in Beverly, MA.. He began his career in show business at age 19, leasing and developing movie theaters, including his first multiplex in Quincy, Massachusetts. Before long, he was booking rock shows (Jefferson Starship, Rush) and other types of live entertainment, which eventually led to the presenting and producing of Broadway productions. One such show was an appearance by the legendary mime artist, Marcel Marceau. As president of Broadway Productions, Bill presented national tours such as Annie, Amadeus, Dancin', Peter Pan, The Rocky Horror Show and Mark Twain starring Hal Holbrook, throughout New England including Worcester, Springfield, Portland, Maine and Boston. Throughout his career, Bill has stayed focused on his movie theatre chain having bought, built, owned, operated and sold more than 30 cinemas. His company, Entertainment Cinemas, currently operates seven movie complexes in four states. In 2009, Bill was elected President of the Theatre Owners of New England. Bill's ongoing work with NSMT inspires him to consider acquiring additional performance venues at which he plans to someday share his productions between his theatres. Bill has been named to the North Shore Top 100 by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, he was recognized by both the Beverly Chamber of Commerce and Salem Chamber of Commerce as Business Person of the Year. He is the recipient of the 2015 Leslie S. Ray Hall of Fame Award, presented by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. Bill is a member of the League of Broadway Producers and was involved with the recent revival of Pippin, as well as developing several new musicals. Bill also produces Cape Live!, a summer entertainment series at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center in Hyannis.
KEVIN P. HILL (Additional Staging, Producing Artistic Director). Born and raised in Waltham, Massachusetts, Kevin began his theatrical career as dancer and actor. He appeared in National Touring companies of Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing, Leslie Uggams and Michele Lee, Anything Goes and the International Touring Company of A Chorus Line. New York audiences have seen him in the Off-Broadway production of Party. Regional credits as a performer include: West Side Story, Good News! A Chorus Line, My Fair Lady and Marvin in Falsettoland. Kevin has directed and choreographed over 100 productions across America. He has had the privilege of working with such stars as Marin Mazzie, Joanne Worley, Kathleen Turner, Josh Groban, Jonathan Groff and Tony Award winner, Cady Huffman. In New York, he was the assistant to the director of On the Twentieth Century at the New Amsterdam Theatre and assistant to the choreographer on the revival of Guys and Dolls. He directed and choreographed Mamma Mia!, Sunset Boulevard, Jersey Boys, A Christmas Carol, Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, and Sister Act here at NSMT and Mamma Mia!, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Sister Act, Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, and Grease at Bill Hanney's Theatre By The Sea in Rhode Island, where he is also Producing Artistic Director. Kevin has been nominated as Best Director/Choreographer for his work on Smokey Joe's Cafe, Rent, The Full Monty, Chicago, and Edwin Drood, and was awarded the NH Theatre Award for Best Choreography for West Side Story at the Papermill Theatre. Kevin has also been awarded Six Broadway World awards and two Motif awards for his productions of Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins and Young Frankenstein. Future projects include an original danced play called Standing Still. As a Professor of Dance, Kevin has been on faculty at Pennsylvania State University, Kansas State University and most recently The Boston Conservatory of Music. Kevin is a proud member of SDC, AEA and Dance Masters of New England, Chapter 5.
MATTHEW CHAPPELL (Casting Director) is honored to continue working with this remarkable creative team as resident Casting Director and Associate Producer for Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre and resident Casting Director for Theatre By The Sea. An accomplished performer, he is fortunate to have worked all over the world in more than 30 productions, including several shows at NSMT, as lead vocalist in Stephen Schwartz’s Magic To Do for Princess Cruise Lines, and appearances at Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Duplex, Carnegie Hall, and The Metropolitan Room. For many years, Matthew worked as a talent agent, casting associate, and photographer for Heyman Talent Agency, specializing in TV/film, commercials, runway, print and voiceovers. He is a former Associate Producer for Encore International, casting and producing shows for theme parks, cruise ships, and corporate events.
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA), founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence. www.actorsequity.org
NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE (NSMT) Since 1955, NSMT has become one of the most attended theatres in New England, with approximately 250,000 patrons annually. With a national and regional reputation for artistic achievement, NSMT has received numerous industry awards including Elliot Norton Awards, IRNE Awards, the Rosetta Le Noire Award from Actors' Equity, and the Moss Hart Award. NSMT produced the World Premiere of Memphis in 2003, the show went on to win four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Under the new ownership of Bill Hanney in 2010, NSMT continues to annually produce a musical subscription series and an annual production of A Christmas Carol along with celebrity concerts, children's programming, and year-round education programs for all ages.