Asolo Rep Theatre, 2014


Brian Sears | Hero

Brian Sears headshot

BRIAN SEARS is thrilled to make his Asolo Rep debut with this beautiful show. Broadway: The Book of Mormon (original cast member), Lend Me a Tenor (dir. Stanley Tucci), Finian’s Rainbow, Grease, All Shook Up. 1st Nat’l Tour: All Shook Up (Dean). Regional: H2$ (Finch) at Goodspeed, Oklahoma! (Will Parker) and Hello Dolly! (Barnaby) at Paper Mill, The Bowery Boys (Dick) at Marriott Lincolnshire (Jeff Nomination). CCM Alum. Many thanks to this astounding creative team. Love to Leading Artists, Jeff, my Jenny, and newborn Nora. I dedicate this show to my parents; it’s their love that shapes me as a father.

Laurie Veldheer | Jane

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LAURIE VELDHEER is so excited to be working with this incredible company of Hero Asolo Rep debut. Broadway: Mamma Mia! (Sophie), Newsies (Hannah/Smalls, Understudy Katherine, OBC). National tours: Hairspray. Regional: Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hannah/Smalls in Newsies, and Brenda in Hairspray (Paper Mill Playhouse), Natalie in Next to Normal (Milwaukee Rep), Maltz Jupiter Theater, Goodspeed, MTW. Originally from Grand Rapids, MI. BFA in musical theater from Penn State University. I give all glory and praise to God, and endless thanks to my loving and supportive family, friends, teachers, CESD, and Tara Rubin. Do what you love and love what you do!

Don Forston | Al

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DON FORSTON makes his Asolo Rep debut with Hero. He originated the role of Al in the world premiere of Hero at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. Don’s most recent credits are with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merry Wives of Windsor, Comedy of Errors, and the world premieres of The Adventures of Pinnochio as Gepetto and the Emperor in The Emperors New Clothes. Don recently appeared on NBC’s hit television series, Chicago PD, as Phil Rodiger. His film credits include Rookie of the Year and Blink.

Matt Mueller | Kirk

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MATT MUELLER’s regional credits include: Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar, Short Shakespeare!, The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Assassins (Chicago Humanities Festival). Peter and the Starcatcher, Love’s Labours Lost, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Utah Shakespeare Festival); The Seagull, Boeing Boeing (Theatreworks, Colorado Springs); Woody Guthrie’s American Song (Marin Theatre Company); American Buffalo (Palm Beach Dramaworks); A Christmas Carol the Musical! (Arvada Center); Morisot Reclining, The Glass Menagerie, Savage in Limbo (Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company); and numerous productions at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Dara Cameron | Susan

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DARA CAMERON is pleased to make her Asolo Rep debut. She originated the role of Susan at the Marriott Theatre and received a Joseph Jefferson nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Dara appeared off-Broadway in Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre) and opened the Chicago production at the Royal George Theatre. Other Chicago credits include Sunset Boulevard, Seussical, and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Fiddler on the Roof, Little Women, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, South Pacific, and The Wizard of Oz (Marriott Theatre); and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre at the Center). She is a Northwestern University graduate.

Owen Taegue | Nate

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OWEN TEAGUE appeared previously at Asolo Rep in The Life of Galileo (Young Andrea), The Winter’s Tale (Mamillius), and A Tale of Two Cities (Little Gaspard); at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in Macbeth (Macduff’s Son, Fleance); and at the 3rd St. Theatre, L.A. in The Full Monty (Nathan). Forthcoming film credits include Cell (Jordan) and lead roles in Walt Before Mickey (Young Walt) and A Relative Stranger (Sam Riley). TV credits include NCIS: L.A. (Alex Fryman, Purity).

Norm Boucher | Kyle/Ensemble

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NORM BOUCHER is happy to return to Asolo Rep, where he played Flo Ziegfeld in Fanny Brice: America’s Funny Girl. He has played Nathan Detroit, Max Bialystock, and Oscar Madison. He was in Shrek at Chicago Shakespeare, played Columbo in Columbo Takes The Rap (written by Columbo’s co-creator William Link), and has been in The Comedy of Errors, Wait Until Dark, West Side Story, Urinetown, and Dirty Blonde. His TV credits include Early Edition, Chicago Fire, and numerous commercials, including two Super Bowl spots. He is grateful for his wife and best friend Nancy Jane Nelson.

Ian Paul Custer | Ted/Ensemble

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IAN PAUL CUSTER calls Chicago, Illinois his home, recently performing in To Master the Art (Broadway Playhouse/TimeLine Theatre), Annie Bosh is Missing (Steppenwolf Theatre), High Holidays (Goodman Theatre), 33 Variations (TimeLine Theatre, Jeff Award– Best Production, Midsize), and Fiddler on the Roof (Paramount Theatre). Other regional credits include Cymbeline (Notre Dame Shakespeare), Romeo and Juliet (Cardinal Stage), and a yearlong national tour of 360 Entertainment’s production of Peter Pan from London, England. TV credits include Chicago PD on NBC guest starring opposite Jason Beghe and Jon Seda.

Jameson Cooper | John Timmons

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JAMESON COOPER makes his home in Chicago, but his work has been seen on many stages including The Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, and Pittsburgh CLO. Favorite roles include: Hero in Hero, Ernst in Cabaret, Eddie Ryan in Funny Girl, and the Pharaoh in Joseph… He is a proud University of Michigan graduate and AEA member. When not onstage, he is in the outdoors fly fishing, hiking, biking, or playing folk music. Love to his wife, Melissa, and their puppy, Watson.

Samantha Eggers | Ensemble

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SAMANTHA EGGERS recent credits include Laura (Understudy) in the American Repertory Theater’s productions of The Glass Menagerie directed by John Tiffany and The Lily’s Revenge. She also appeared as Lisa (Sophie cover) in the Broadway, National Tour, and Las Vegas companies of Mamma Mia!. Internationally, Samantha has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in The Druid Tree and the Moscow Art Theater in The Imaginary Invalid. Film and television credits include: Get Happy, Deadly Sins, and The Today Show. Training: M.F.A., American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Love to family and Ped.

Chelsea Lovett | Ensemble

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CHELSEA LOVETT is a newly engaged Florida State Alumni and thrilled to join the cast of Hero at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Some of her favorite credits include: Legally Blonde (Serena) at Cape Playhouse; Rent (Maureen) at Surflight Theatre; Hair (Sheila) at Weathervane Playhouse; Buddy Holly: The Musical (Maria Elena) at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse; Les Misérables (Cosette) at Seaside Music Theatre; Children of Eden (Eve) at CPCC. She was seen on TBS in Are We There Yet? Thank you AEA & Bret Adams Ltd.

Sean Martin | Ensemble

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SEAN MARTIN is thrilled to be making his Asolo Repertory Theatre debut. Sean made his professional debut with freeFall Theatre Company’s production of A Christmas Carol (Boy Scrooge and Peter Cratchit). Love and thanks to his supportive family, friends, and teachers.

Brad Weinstock | Ensemble

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BRAD WEINSTOCK spent the past two years playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys (2nd National Tour). He was also a part of the Las Vegas Company. Before that, Brad played Boq in the 1st National Tour of Wicked and Chip in Broadway in Chicago’s production of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Regional favorites include Toby in Sweeney Todd (Geva) and Shenandoah (Marriott Lincolnshire). He is a proud Northwestern graduate and a recent contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Movie Week.” Thanks to his Mom and Dad for the endless “kvelling,” and his other “Hero”: Bug.

Creative Team

Aaron Thielen | Book & Concept

is the Artistic Director for the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire IL. Most recently he and Marc Robin co-created the world premiere of Now And Forever: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Michael Mahler and Aaron are currently working on an exciting new project with Universal, slated to premiere at the Marriott Theatre in 2015. He also adapted the Twentieth Century Fox film For The Boys into a stage musical, which had its world premiere in the fall of 2011. He was also one of the creative forces in the 2008 world premiere musical The Bowery Boys, written by David Bell and Jeremy Cohen. He also co-authored the award-winning All Night Strut, A Fascinatin’ Rhythm with Marc Robin.

Michael Mahler | Music & Lyrics, Co-Orchestrator, Conductor

Other credits include How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? (co-book, music, and lyrics by Alan Schmuckler); Knute Rockne: All-American (co-lyrics by David H. Bell, book by Buddy Farmer); Painted Alice (book by William Donnelly); The Main Street Kids Club (book and lyrics by Scott Ferguson); and others. His songs have been featured in various concerts and showcases around the world, including an evening at the Kennedy Center. Michael is currently working with Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil on new lyrics for Cameron Mackintosh’s West End revival of Miss Saigon. His lyrics can also be found on Russell Watson’s new album, Only One Man. Visit

David H. Bell | Director, Choreographer

DAVID BELL returns to Asolo Rep after directing his musical, Fanny Brice: America’s Funny Girl. David originally directed Hero at Chicago’s Marriott Theatre. Other Chicago work has garnered him 44 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations (winning 11 times). His musical Hot Mikado has played all over the world (winning numerous awards including London’s Laurence Olivier Award). His work with Matador, and the Jimmy Buffett/Herman Wouk musical Don’t Stop the Carnival resulted in 5 Florida Carbonall Nominations. Upcoming: On the Town (Chicago), a world premiere of the Turkish best seller The Forty Rules of Love for Healy Theatricals, Pericles and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). David is currently the Donald G. Robertson chair of Music Theatre at Northwestern University, and the Artistic Director of the American Music Theatre Program (AMTP)

Ryan T. Nelson | Music Direction, Co-Orchestrator

RYAN T. NELSON is the Music Director in Residence for the School of Communication at Northwestern University where he teaches in the Music Theatre Certificate Program and music directs all productions, including AMTP workshops and the famed WAA-MU show. He is the Resident Music Director at Chicago’s Marriott Theatre, he has music directed dozens of productions, including the world premieres of Hero, Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now and Forever, and For The Boys. His work on A Chorus Line and The Light in the Piazza at the Marriott has been recognized with Jeff Award nominations for excellence in Chicago theatre. Most recently, Ryan conducted Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, which won the Jeff Award for Best Musical (2013).

Jesse Klug | Lighting Designer

Previous Asolo credits: Fannie Brice: America’s Funny Girl. Off Broadway: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Lortel, Hewes Nomination), The Screwtape Letters (Off Broadway and National Tour), Romulus, and The Hourglass. Regional: Goodman Theatre, Drury Lane, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Shakespeare, Marriott Theatre, Victory Gardens, Lookingglass Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Court Theatre, The Old Globe, Arizona Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory, Geffen Playhouse, Fulton Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Indiana Repertory, American Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre, First Stage Milwaukee, Timeline Theatre Company. He is a Jeff and After Dark Award recipient.

Scott Davis | Scenic Designer

Regional credits include productions with: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Drury Lane Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, American Theater Company, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Rep Stage and Dallas Theatre Center. International credits include productions at: Shakespeare’s Globe, Unicorn Theater (London), The Market Theater (Johannesburg), Neuss (Germany). Mr. Davis serves as adjunct faculty at Columbia College.

Anna Kuzmanic | Costume Designer

Broadway credits include August: Osage County (Tony Award winning play, Drama Desk nomination for outstanding costume design), Desire Under the Elms, Superior Donuts. Chicago: Goodman Theatre (Smokefall, Measure for Measure, Camino Real, Seagull, King Lear), Steppenwolf Theatre (Russian Transport, The Wheel, Penelope, HotL Baltimore, Dublin Carol); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors (Jeff Award for outstanding costume design); Lookingglass (North China Lover, Big Lake Big City, Argonautika, Manuscript Found in Saragossa). Regional: The Berkeley Rep, The Court Theatre, The Geffen Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, McCarter Theatre Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Washington Shakespeare Theater. Ms. Kuzmanic is associate professor of costume design at Northwestern University, Artistic Partner of The Goodman Theatre and a company member of the House Theatre of Chicago.

Aaron Rhyne | Projection and Video Designer

Designs include ASOLO REP: My Brilliant Divorce, Bonnie & Clyde, Fanny Brice: America’s Funny Girl, Working, The Last Five Years. BROADWAY: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bonnie & Clyde. OPERA: La Traviata (Wolftrap), Florencia en el Amazonas (Opera Colorado, Utah Opera), Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House). OFF BROADWAY: Wild With Happy (The Public, Drama Desk Nomination); Water By the Spoonful; Lonely, I’m Not; The Blue Flower; All New People (Second Stage), Appropriate (Signature); Graceland (Lincoln Center); Spirit Control (MTC). REGIONAL: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Hartford Stage, Old Globe), Bonnie & Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse), The Power of Duff (Huntington), Strange Interlude (Shakespeare Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show, Welcome to Arroyo’s, Whisper House, Working (The Old Globe), Violet, The Civil War (Ford’s Theatre).

Kevin Kennedy | Sound Designer

Recent credits include Darwin in Malibu, Glengarry Glen Ross, Deathtrap, 1776, Noah Racey’s Pulse, and Bonnie & Clyde (Pre-Broadway) at Asolo Rep; This Wonderful Life at Asolo Rep, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, and Laguna Playhouse; Nilo Cruz’s Hurricane for the Ringling International Arts Festival; Tales of The City and 1776 at ACT; The Rocky Horror Show at The Old Globe; Hugh Jackman In Performance, The Nutty Professor, and Kinky Boots Pre-Broadway; and Sister Act, Bonnie & Clyde, Leap of Faith, Soul Doctor, and Kinky Boots (2013 Tony for Sound) on Broadway. Kevin is also the Assistant Designer with the North American Tour of Mamma Mia!, and toured as the Sound Engineer with the Alan Parsons Project.