Michael Gruber* (Jim) is delighted to be back performing at CDT. He has also worked at the Guthrie, History Theatre, Theater Latté Da, Ordway and Artistry. Before moving to Minneapolis, Michael lived in New York, appearing in nine Broadway shows over a 23-year period. He also works as a choreographer, director, musical director, composer and vocal coach. He is grateful for all the diverse opportunities that the Twin Cities theater community provides to local artists.
Ann Michels* (Linda) CDT: Disney’s Mary Poppins; Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Bye Bye Birdie, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seven Brides…, Easter Parade, Joseph…Dreamcoat, Anything Goes. Ordway: Mamma Mia!, Annie, White Christmas, Paint Your Wagon. History Theatre: Sweet Land, These Shining Lives. Guthrie: Sunday in the Park With George, The Cocoanuts, My Fair Lady, A Streetcar Named Desire, Christmas Carol, She Loves Me. Theater Latté Da: Five Points, Parade. Jungle: Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Nautilus Music Theater: Man of La Mancha, The Last Five Years. Other Theaters: Children’s Theatre Company, Torch, Illusion, Theatre de la Jeune Lune.
Tony Vierling* (Ted) has appeared in over 40 productions at CDT, as well as 20 productions at the Guthrie and Ordway. Regional credits include Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey, TUTS in Houston, Minnesota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Louisiana Opera, as well as dancing at Disneyland, Holland America Cruise Line and the national tours of A Chorus Line and Little House on the Prairie. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association for 32 years.
Maureen Sherman-Mendez* (Lila) is overjoyed to return to the Chanhassen stage and to spend the holidays with you. This is Maureen’s 13th production at CDT. Favorites include Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, 42nd Street and Footloose. Other Credits include Ordway: Mamma Mia!, In The Heights; Guthrie: West Side Story. Maureen is a teaching artist for professional arts organizations and directs and choreographs for high schools. Proud member of AEA.
Michelle Barber* (Louise) has appeared in over 60 CDT productions. Favorites include: Fiddler on the Roof (Golde), Hello, Dolly! (Dolly, Mrs. Molloy) and Anything Goes (Reno Sweeney). Other credits: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Martha), Hamlet (Gertrude) at Jungle Theater; Caroline or Change (Grandma Gellman), Pen (Helen Bayer), Roman Holiday (The Countess), Other Desert Cities (Silda) at the Guthrie; Henry IV, Part I (King Henry), Electra (Clytemnestra) at Ten Thousand Things; and Mama Rose in Gypsy at Theater Latté Da. She loves her family more than the world.
Scott Blackburn* (Danny) happily returns to the CDT Main Stage. Scott has appeared in dozens of Chanhassen Dinner Theatres productions over the past two decades including: Disney’s Newsies, Camelot, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Cogsworth), Hairspray (Harriman Spitzer), The Producers (Franz Liebkind), Crazy For You (Lank Hawkins), Oklahoma! (Ali Hakim) and Can-Can (Boris). He also appeared in the regional premiere of The Big Bang and in the 18-month run of Mid-life!: The Crisis Musical. Scott is a native of Anoka, MN – Halloween Capital of the World.
Will Spangrud (Charlie Winslow) is excited to make his debut at CDT! He has enjoyed roles in Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children’s Theatre Company, Magic Treehouse, Disney’s Mulan Jr., Disney’s Aladdin Jr., Willy Wonka Jr., Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., and The Wizard of Oz. Will is a member of the Lundstrum Performing Arts Musical Theater Conservatory. He studies circus arts and does print and commercial work. Big thanks to his family and friends for their ongoing support!
Kai Hirata (Charlie Winslow) is excited to make his Chanhassen Dinner Theatres debut. Kai currently attends Anthony Middle School in SW Minneapolis as an 8th grade student where he has performed in Shrek Jr. (Pinocchio) and Annie Jr. (Dog Catcher). He loves performing self-written skits with his younger sister at school functions, and his passions include music, piano, board games, Rainbow Loom, reading books of any genre, writing his own stories, hiking, camping and spending time with his family and friends.
Renee Guittar* (Ensemble) is overjoyed to be back at CDT after appearing in Disney’s Newsies, Grease, Camelot and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! Past credits include: Guthrie: The Music Man. Ordway: In The Heights, A Chorus Line. Old Log: The Wedding Singer. Company Member of Collide Theatrical Dance Company. National tour: The Magic of Jared Sherlock. Current Teaching: Cowles Center Teaching Artist, Ashley Ballet Arts Academy. Training: Gustavus Adolphus College. “Love to family, friends and Rush!”
Mark King* (Ensemble) was last seen on Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ Main Stage in Disney’s Newsies. His Main Stage roles have included: Lumiére in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Bert in Disney’s Mary Poppins, Chef Louis in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Cosmo in Singin’ in the Rain and Carmen Ghia in The Producers. Other favorites are: Nachum in Fiddler on the Roof, Sir Evelyn in Anything Goes, Xanadu and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Maura White* (Ensemble) is from New York City where she had been a working actress and dancer since 1989. After graduating from Point Park University in Pittsburgh she got her first national tour of 42nd Street followed by tours of A Chorus Line, Oklahoma!, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, and The Goodbye Girl. Regional: Hal Prince’s Show Boat with the Chicago Company, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater and Actors Theatre Louisville. Maura is happy to be back at “The Chanhassen."
Kasano Mwanza* (Ensemble) is excited to be back at CDT where he was recently seen in Disney’s Newsies as Mush, Sister Act as TJ and Grease as Teen Angel! He has previously worked with Contempo Physical Dance, Theater Latté Da, Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, History Theatre and Children’s Theatre Company among others! For more info on Kasano and his band (KASANO & THE VYBES), go to KASANOMUSIC.com. “To family and friends, I love you!” Member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Rush Benson* (Ensemble) is thrilled to be back on this stage with the cast of Holiday Inn, hot on the heels of his debut in Disney’s Newsies! Ordway: In The Heights, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, A Chorus Line. Guthrie: The Music Man. Old Log: The Wedding Singer. Collide Theatrical: Dracula, Romeo & Juliet. Park Square, Artistry, Company Member of Flying Foot Forum. Choreography: Guthrie, Ordway, SteppingStone Theatre, MN Fringe Festival. Teaching: Guthrie Education Classes. Training: Gustavus Adolphus College. Love to my family and Renee. Proud AEA member. rushbenson.com for more info.
Nicole Renée Chapman* (Ensemble) Chanhassen Dinner Theatres credits include Grease (Patty Simcox) and Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle). Other favorite shows: West Coast Premiere of That Lovin’ Feelin’ (Joy Ciro Hatfield) The Group Rep, Los Angeles, 42nd Street Moon’s DuBarry Was a Lady (Alice Barton) alongside Bruce Vilanch, San Francisco, and Pinkalicious The Musical (Pinkalicious) El Portal Theatre, Los Angeles. Nicole is a graduate of AMDA in NYC and holds her B.A. in English Writing from Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame. AEA.
Joey Miller*(Ensemble) is excited to be back at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres where he has been seeing productions since he was seven years old! Local credits include: Disney’s Newsies, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (CDT); West Side Story, A Chorus Line as Mark and Paul understudy, Pirates of Penzance and Damn Yankees (Ordway). Joey holds a BFA in music theatre from Viterbo University and is a resident choreographer at the La Crosse Dance Centre. “Love and gratitude to my dear ones – family, friends, mentors.” Member AEA.
Alyssa Seifert*(Ensemble) is overjoyed to be a part of CDT’s 50th Anniversary Season! She was last seen at CDT in Sister Act, preceded by Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s Mary Poppins and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Other local credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Jolene), A Charlie Brown Christmas (Lucy, Marcie) at Old Log; Shrek the Musical (Swing, Dance Captain) at Children’s Theatre Company; On the Town (Ivy Smith), Singin’ in the Rain (Zelda Zanders) and 42nd Street at Artistry; and Into the Woods (Cinderella) at Lyric Arts. She thanks her Mom and Dad for their unending support and encouragement. Proud Member of AEA.
Adam Moen* (Ensemble) is thrilled to be a part of the 50th Anniversary at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres! His acting credits include CDT: Hello, Dolly! (Barnaby), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Jetsam), Fiddler on the Roof, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Bye Bye Birdie, Joseph...Dreamcoat, Grease; Ordway: Mamma Mia!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Annie; Guthrie: The Music Man, Roman Holiday; and 7th House Theater: The Great Work. Adam holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Proud member of AEA.
Angela Steele (Ensemble) is so excited to be making her Chanhassen Dinner Theatres debut! Credits include: Artistry: Legally Blonde (Elle Woods), Joseph....Dreamcoat, Drowsy Chaperone (Janet Van De Graff), Hairspray (Amber), Guys and Dolls. History Theatre: Orphan Train. Theater Latté Da: Oliver! (Charlotte). TV credits include Coca Cola Christmas in the Park and Top of The Class (TVNZ). Love to Mum and Dad.
Mathias Anderson* (Ensemble) has played at CDT in Sister Act (Joey), Camelot, Good News, Can-Can, Hello Dolly!, Oklahoma!, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Other credits include Ordway (Mamma Mia!), Guthrie (Little House on the Prairie, South Pacific, The Music Man), National Tour (The Radio City Christmas Spectacular), Broadway Workshop (Empire, the Musical), Minnesota Orchestra (Carousel), Denver Center/Arvada (Pippin), Off Broadway (Seth’s Broadway 101), and Stages St. Louis (Guys & Dolls). He received his BFA in Acting at UMD. Proud Member of AEA.
Tod Petersen* (Ensemble) has played at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Disney’s Newsies, Joseph...Dreamcoat, Bye Bye Birdie, Footloose, Married Alive!, Mid-life!: The Crisis Musical, Anything Goes, Annie and The Music Man. He has also been seen at Ordway, Children’s Theatre Company, History Theatre, Illusion Theater, Artistry, Duluth Playhouse and many productions at Theater Latté Da, where his autobiographical holiday show, A Christmas Carole Petersen, has played for eleven seasons.
Aleks Knezevich* (Ensemble) is excited to be a part of this Regional Premiere. Past CDT credits include Disney’s Newsies (Jack), Grease (Danny), Camelot (Lancelot), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Gaston) and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Other credits include H.M.S. Pinafore (Guthrie and PBS National Broadcast), the title role in the Jekyll and Hyde National Tour, The Light in the Piazza with Theater Latté Da and Artistry and other performances in New York and Minnesota. Many thanks always to the CDT team, Jess, family and God.
Thomas Schumacher* (Ensemble) is thrilled to be part of CDT’s 50th Anniversary Year, a veteran of 44 productions on all four stages, having played many lead roles. Favorites include: Les Misérables (Valjean); Phantom (Phantom); Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Beast) and Disney’s Newsies (Joseph Pulitzer). Credits at the Ordway include I Love a Piano and A Grand Night for Singing, and many productions for Minnesota Opera. Career highlights include: Phantom of the Opera (National Tour) and Hello, Dolly! (National Tour with Carol Channing). Thomas holds a B.A. from Yale and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Janet Hayes Trow* (Ensemble) most recently played Hannah in Disney’s Newsies. Other CDT favorites include Lena Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain, Marian in The Music Man, Lizzie Curry in The Rainmaker, Polly in Crazy For You, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street, Mrs. Banks in Disney’s Mary Poppins and Babette in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She has also worked at the Guthrie, Ordway and History Theatre. She sends big love to her family, especially Danny and Peter!
Graydon Royce (Ensemble) is thrilled to make his debut on the Chanhassen stage after watching from the audience for nearly 20 years as a critic for the Star Tribune. Past theatrical credits include Dames at Sea, Bye Bye Birdie, Liliom with Chimera Theatre, Cricket and Variety Hall theaters. Winner of the 2016 Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement as a theater critic. Love to my entire family.
Nickie Kromminga Hill* (Ensemble) is excited to share Holiday Inn with you! This is Nickie’s 17th production at CDT. She holds a K-12 theatre and dance license and loves teaching around the Twin Cities area. Nickie also sings with the holiday a cappella group “Chick Cheer” and is Executive Director of The Spread Sunshine Gang, a non-profit that finds creative ways to give back to the community. She is thrilled to be sharing the stage with her percussionist hubby, Paul, and is a proud dog mom to Trooper. AEA.
Laura Rudolph* (Ensemble) is thrilled to be on stage at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres! Favorite CDT credits include: Grease (Sandy), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ariel), Hello, Dolly! (Irene), All Shook Up (Natalie), Joseph...Dreamcoat (Ensemble/Narrator U/S), Nunset Boulevard (Sr. Leo), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s Mary Poppins and Sister Act. First National Tour: Nunset Boulevard (Sr. Leo). Guthrie: South Pacific, Roman Holiday, H.M.S. Pinafore. Old Log: Million Dollar Quartet (Dyanne). Member AEA.
Tommy Benson* (Ensemble) is thrilled to be a part of CDT’s 50th Anniversary production of Holiday Inn! He holds a BFA in Musical Theater and a BA in Music from the U of MN Duluth. He has performed in Turkey, China and across the Twin Cities, most recently in Disney’s Newsies here at CDT. Favorite roles include David DiNotello in Spandex the Musical, Oscar D’Armano in The Wild Party, Cowboy Bob in Footloose, Neville Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Frog in A Year with Frog & Toad. Proud member AEA.
Brian Saice (Ensemble) is excited for his second production at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. He was last seen as Buttons in Disney’s Newsies! He has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the U of MN Duluth where he was last seen in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Flounder). Other favorite roles include Arpad in She Loves Me and Peter in Bare: A Pop Opera. Love to Alex! briansaice.com
Michael Brindisi (Artistic Director) will happily celebrate his 30th year as Resident Artistic Director for Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in 2018; however, he has been affiliated with CDT since 1971 when he first appeared on stage here in The Matchmaker. In addition, Mr. Brindisi is proud to serve on the CDT ownership team (established in 2010). While he continues at the artistic helm, he adds the title of president to his “credits,” seeing and responding to daily operations. (On your visit, you might see him walking through the dining room, holding a door for a guest, taste-testing a new menu item or assisting where an extra pair of hands is needed.) He directed his first CDT production, Private Lives, in ‘88. Since then, Mr. Brindisi has well over 100 Chanhassen productions to his credit. He previously spent several years in freelance directing, overseeing 40 productions in seven consecutive seasons of summer stock; three as Artistic Director of Bemidji’s Paul Bunyan Playhouse and four with Minnesota Festival Theatre. He directed The Two-Character Play and Translations for Actors Theatre of St. Paul and Once in a Lifetime for Theatre in the Round. Other directing credits include The Beauty Part, The Robber Bridegroom, and Twigs for Chimera Theatre and a Minnesota Music Theatre summer stock series with Winona St. Mary’s. Prior to directing, Mr. Brindisi enjoyed a successful acting career. CDT productions include: Annie Get Your Gun, What the Butler Saw, Loot, The Robber Bridegroom, My Fair Lady and his favorite production, Fiddler on the Roof (appearing in 1978, 1987 and 2013 productions). He performed the role of Kenickie in the national tour of Grease and appeared in the Broadway revival of Once in a Lifetime with John Lithgow and Treat Williams. In 2002, he was a guest artist in the Ordway’s production of Anything Goes with Sandy Duncan and in Singin’ in the Rain. He was honored by the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization to co-develop and direct the World Premiere of Irving Berlin’s Easter Parade, which debuted on CDT’s Main Stage in 2007. When able, he takes time to guest direct locally and around the country. Some credits include: You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and A Grand Night for Singing at the Ordway; and Grease and Hair at the Historic Pantages Theatre. He had the unique pleasure of directing Elmo, Big Bird and friends in the Sesame Street Live national tour of Can’t Stop Singing. On a personal note, life in the theatre is a family affair. Michael is married to actor Michelle Barber, seen on stage here and across the Twin Cities. Their daughter Cat, also a professional actor, is married to actor and director, David Darrow and they reside in New York.
Tamara Kangas Erickson* (Choreographer) is Vice President at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, as well as its resident choreographer since 2004. She has proudly choreographed 30 CDT Main Stage productions. Tamara became part of the CDT family in 1981 when she appeared as Marta Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Also, she has choreographed and directed in the other CDT theatres – Fireside: Respect (director/choreographer), Altar Boyz (choreographer); Playhouse: The Musical of Musicals: The Musical (director/choreographer). Other credits include Off-Broadway: This One’s for the Girls (director/choreographer) and the national tour of Sesame Street Live: Can’t Stop Singing (choreographer). Tamara was named “Outstanding Choreographer” (2005, 2006 and 2008) by the Star Tribune for Singin’ in the Rain, West Side Story and 42nd Street and received an Ivey Award in 2008 for her choreography in 42nd Street.
Andy Kust (Music Director) CDT: Grease (Sub-Conductor). Regional Theater: Mamma Mia!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Billy Elliot, Joseph…Dreamcoat, Disney’s Mary Poppins, The Music Man, Bare (Duluth Playhouse); Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Phoenix Theatre); Next to Normal, Spring Awakening (Mesa Encore Theatre); American Idiot (Stray Cat Theater). Andy is an award-winning music director, vocal coach and pianist, having just served five years on the musical theater faculty of the University of Minnesota Duluth where he taught musical theater singing, musicianship for the actor, repertoire and audition techniques. Now teaching in a studio in Minneapolis, Andy’s students have appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in national and international tours, and regionally at theaters including the Guthrie, Ordway, Papermill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, The MUNY and Asolo Repertory Theater. Additionally, his students have been admitted into leading musical theater programs including the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of Michigan, Baldwin Wallace, and Ithaca College. He received a B.A. in Music from Luther College, and an M.M. in Theater Music Direction and Performance from The Lyric Opera Theater at Arizona State University. andykustmusic.com
Scenic Designer - Nayna Ramey
Costume Designer - Rich Hamson
Lighting Designer - Sue Ellen Berger
Sound Designer - Russ Haynes
Hair/Makeup Designer - Paul Bigot
Production Stage Manager - Dan Foss*
*Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association.