Bright Star Cast
Glenn Abramowitz (Community)
Glenn is back for his 29th fall production in a row with RFCT, and is excited to be part of this LI Premiere. Favorite RFCT roles include Vernon Heinze in The Pajama Game, Pat Denning in 42nd Street, Mitch Miller/Ben Casey/tailor in Catch Me If You Can, Mickey in Damn Yankees and Dick/Zach in 9 to 5. Over at the NFCT, his favorite roles include Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly!, Indio in West Side Story (YOS), Payne in Mr. Roberts, Hilltop in Young Frankenstein and Dr. Grimwig in Oliver! At Springs Community Theater he played Roger in Grease, Noodler in Peter Pan and Ching/Sailor#1 in Anything Goes. Looking forward to his 30th next year, he's glad to be sharing the stage with so many new actors to the organization, in this production of Bright Star!
Corinne Araneo (Spirits Trio/Community)
Corinne is so excited to be a part of the Long Island premiere of Bright Star! Her most recent performances include 42nd Street and The Drowsy Chaperone. Other favorite appearances include Hello Dolly-Ermengarde, Footloose- Eleanor Dunbar, Oklahoma, and 9 to 5. She would like to thank the production team for the opportunity to appear in this show. She thanks her parents and JM-- being your fiancée is her life’s greatest accomplishment--her whole heart is yours! She would also like to thank HU and MD for being her sanity two shows in a row. B, G, and J--thank you for being her go to pals. S—she owes you gas money for all the shows you drive miles to see her in! To everyone who comes out to support this show that she and her friends worked so hard on THANK YOU, the love is real for you all and this one is for you! Enjoy the telling of our story!
Charlotte Arnzen (Musician, cello)
Charlotte is in 7th grade at Southampton Intermediate School. She began playing cello at the age of 8 and has participated in various music festivals, including the Long Island Strings Festival Association, Suffolk County Music Educators' Association, and the Hamptons Music Educators' Association. Charlotte has participated in the Southampton Strings Festival since 2015 and was a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in 2017/2018. She receives cello instruction from Tomoko Fujita and Miho Weber. Besides her love for the cello, she is studying piano with Steve Skoldberg. Currently, Charlotte is a member of her school’s orchestra and the high school symphony orchestra.
Tessa Arnzen (Musician, fiddle)
Tessa is in 9th grade at Southampton High School. She began playing the violin in the elementary school's strings program in 2012 . Since then, Tessa has participated in various music festivals, including the Long Island Strings Festival Association, Suffolk County Music Educators' Association, and the Hamptons Music Educators' Association. She has been a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra for 3 years and the violist for the East End Youth Quartet since 2017. The quartet has performed all over the east end of Long Island for local events, opening for Richard Pryor Jr. in the spring of 2019 and winners of News 12’s Sounds of the Season in 2018. She receives violin instruction from Song-A Cho and viola instruction from the quartet's coach, Chris Shaughnessy. Currently Tessa is participating in her school’s orchestra, symphony orchestra, and chamber group.
Douglas Baldwin (Musician: banjo, mandolin, guitar)
Douglas is a professional guitarist and fretted stringed instrumentalist with a career spanning almost fifty years. He is a first-call player for Long Island’s top theaters, and he performs regularly on the concert stage. He is musical director and guitarist for the legendary Coasters, and works with numerous other classic R’n’R and R’n’B groups. Recent accomplishments include developing the guitar and banjo parts for Annie Get Your Gun at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, and a solo performance of ambient guitar soundscapes with his fractal artwork at the William Cullen Bryant home in Roslyn. Douglas is a proud and active member of Musicians’ Local 802, and offers private music instruction at Coyote Music in Setauket.
Shelley Bennett (Community)
Shelley is happy to be doing her third show with RFCT; her first was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and last March, she played Emily in Love/Sick. She has done many shows with the Springs Community Theater; her favorite role there was Clairee in Steel Magnolias. Shelley has been the administrative assistant at the First Presbyterian Church in Southampton for the past 20 years, where she is also the moderator of the Board of Deacons, in the Chancel and Handbell Choirs, and serves on the Fellowship and Membership committees.
Corrina Bollerman (Musician, violin, viola)
Corrina is currently employed as a Suzuki violin, viola and cello instructor. For 19 years she has been fortunate to work with students in pre-K through fourth grade in the Southampton school district. For the past few years, volunteering to chair the SCMEA Division 2 East Orchestra and the HMEA High School Orchestra has created rewarding opportunities for giving back and sharing in such honorable events with students from all over Suffolk County and especially the East End. After a long performing hiatus due to time spent with her husband and raising two boys, she is excited to be back out there and playing again! For the past year and a half she has been performing with pit orchestras for various shows with the North Fork Community theater and RFCT. She looks forward to sharing another memorable experience performing with the cast and pit members of Bright Star.
John Bradley (Billy Cane)
Bright Star is John’s first show with the RFCT, and he is very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this company. Some of his favorite past roles have included Duke Vincentio in Measure for Measure with Northeast Stage, Chad in All Shook Up with the NFCT, and Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Mattituck High School.
John DeRicco (Musician: guitar)
has performed in numerous local community theater productions over the last decade. John is pleased to be joining RFCT again for the show Bright Star. Past RFCT theatre credits include Hello, Dolly!, Godspell, 13, Catch Me If You Can, Legally Blonde, School of Rock and Bring It On.
Ashley Domenech (Florence/Spirits Trio/Community)
Ashley is ecstatic to be making her debut with RFCT and to have the opportunity to tell this beautiful story. While receiving her bachelor’s degree in Spanish at SUNY Oswego, theatre has always been such an important part of her life. Past credits include Elizabeth Benning in Young Frankenstein, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, along with ensemble performances in productions with the Gilbert and Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera, Oswego Opera and Syracuse Opera companies. She is incredibly grateful to the entire company at RFCT for making her feel so welcome, and she is especially thankful for all of the continuous love and support she has received from her amazing family and friends.
Jason Donohue (Adult Jimmy Ray)
Jason is thrilled to be making his RFCT debut in Bright Star. Recent credits include Harry Bright in Mamma Mia, Brian in Avenue Q, and Gargoyle in The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Cultural Arts Playhouse in Syosset. Jason is also the artistic director of Phoenix Rising Theatre Arts Initiative and loves working on all aspects of the arts. He is endlessly grateful for the warm welcome of this incredible cast and creative team who have made room for him in this beautiful story. As always, special thanks to the loves of his life, his wife, Megan and their beautiful children, Liam and Madison--without their support, none of this would be possible. Thank you to all my cherished family and friends for your constant and overwhelming support.
Michael Drozd (Community)
Mike is super excited to be back with the RFCT for the Long Island Premiere of Bright Star. He studied at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. His past RFCT credits are Annie, Mame, and The Music Man. Favorite roles include Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid, Adolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone, George in The Wedding Singer, Kyle P. O’Boyle in Legally Blonde and ensemble in South Pacific. Michael would like to thank the cast and crew for making this such a wonderful experience. He sends love and energy to his new friends in the cast, and a special shout out to Corie and Haley for always staying by his side and keeping him in check – to many more shows together! Thank you so much for coming to see the show and supporting this wonderful group, he hopes you enjoy it!
Jennifer Eager (Government Clerk/Community)
Jen is thrilled to be part of Bright Star's community, both as part of the creative team and as part of the cast. Favorite roles include Electra in Gypsy, Fraulein Kost in Cabaret, Mrs. Mullin in Carousel, Sandy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sarah/Woman in Love/Sick. "Theatre doesn't last. Only in people's memories and in their hearts. And that's the beauty and the sadness of it. But that's life--beauty and sadness. And that's why theatre is life."
Aydin Fideli (Community)
Aydin is excited to be joining the cast of Bright Star in what will be his third performance with RFCT. Recently, he was in the Youth Program's production of Sister Act as Joey and last year, a part of the Truman Squad in Bring It On. You may have also seen him at NFCT, where he portrayed Theo in Pippin, or as a member of Fagin's gang in Oliver! Aydin is a student at Riverhead High School and a part of Blue Masques. In The Heights was their spring production and he was a featured dancer. In addition to theater, he worked for Warner Brothers Rail Events/North Fork Trolley as a Hero Kid in Polar Express and will be returning again this holiday season. He would like to thank his family for being so supportive of his busy schedule and can't wait for everyone to see the show!
Tammy Flanell (Mama Murphy)
Tammy is fairly new to musicals and thrilled to be part of Bright Star! Recently she appeared as stripper Tessie Tura in RFCT’s Gypsy, and as a Kit Kat girl in NFCT’s Cabaret. Favorite past leading roles in Long Island theatre include Bella in Lost in Yonkers, Nurse Stephanie in Cactus Flower, Lizzy in The Rainmaker, Louise in Always...Patsy Cline and six different characters in Almost,Maine. Tammy previously studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan. Offstage, she is passionate about animals. She cares for raptors at a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center and also does education programs with the birds. She sends love to husband Dave, all the critters at home, and her best buddy Joey.
Lana Fusco (Musician, upright bass)
Lana began her musical endeavors at age five on percussion and guitar. At the age of eight, she began her study of the upright bass. She’s earned first chair in every music festival she’s attended and has performed in countless RFCT, NFCT, and RHS Blue Masque productions. Lana doubles on electric bass, sings, plays guitar, writes music, and studies jazz improvisation.
Nicole Gebler (Adult Alice)
Nicole is so honored to join the RFCT family and to bring this gorgeous story to the stage with this amazing cast and crew. Nicole received her master’s degree through the Program in Educational Theatre from NYU, with certification in grades K-12. She has been serving as artistic director and lead drama teacher for Riverhead Charter School, where she is working with students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Some of Nicole's previous roles include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Ginger in In Real Time, Dolly in Brief Encounter and Diana in Next to Normal. She would like to thank Justin, Jennifer and Peter for this incredible opportunity, all of her family and friends for their unconditional support, and especially Adam and Daniel, who she loves very much. “Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.” – Augusto Boal
Will Green (Musician, drums)
(Musician, drums) Will is a junior at Riverhead High School. He enjoys hanging out with friends, going to the movies, and playing the drums. Will participates in the RHS Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Chamber Choir. He also plays in the Principal Orchestra for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and has played in many pit bands over the years. Will is looking forward to playing in the All-State Symphonic Band this December. Will loves playing in shows and hopes to someday play on Broadway.
Theresia Hand (Community)
Theresia is excited to be part of RFCT's Long Island premiere of Bright Star. She was introduced to RFCT while playing viola (or was it violin?) for Once Upon a Mattress in 1985 and has since been in the ensemble of 12 musicals. Her most recent performance was as Millie in 42nd Street in 2015. Theresia is a native of Riverhead and is employed by L'Arche Long Island, where the Core Members keep her busy. When not rehearsing or working, Theresia can be found singing with Long Island Beatles Jam at restaurants throughout Suffolk County. Theresia would to thank her family and friends for their support, and Gail and Richie for their help!
Huck Hirsch (Stanford/Community)
Huck was recently introduced to RFCT when he serendipitously crossed paths with the choreographer of Anything Goes, in which he was a tap dancing sailor 40 years ago! Since then, Huck has performed in two national tours of A Chorus Line, a European tour of 42nd Street and countless industrials from Hawaii to Boston. When he heard RFCT was doing Bright Star (his only car CD for the last 3 years), he figured it would be fun to sing this great music with actual people on a stage instead of by himself behind a steering wheel. Thanks to Justin and everyone involved for proving him right! You never know what life will bring…
Anika Hochstedler (Margo)
Anika is thrilled to be making her debut on stage after a 7-year hiatus from theatre. She loves long walks on the beach, butterflies, birthdays, dance offs, and ALL the adventures. As she gears up for an extended journey to New Zealand in January, she is SO stoked to bring this brilliant show to life alongside an incredible cast & crew! Keep on shining!
Michael Horn (Daddy Murphy)
Michael is so excited to be part of the Long Island premiere of Bright Star! He is happy to be sharing the stage once again with old friends, and is even more excited that the show brought so many new people to the Riverhead Faculty & Community Theater. He is thrilled to be working with Justin in his RFCT directorial debut. Recently, he played Putterman T. Ratt in Cinderella: The Tale of the Glass Slipper at Springs Community Theater, and also appeared in Love/Sick earlier this year with RFCT. Some of his favorite roles have been Prologues in A Funny Thing Happened…, the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz, Froggy LeSur in Foreigner, John Hancock in 1776, Guy Protolo in The Ritz, and Scotty Templeton in Tribute. He has also directed several productions for RFCT and Springs Community Theater. As always, he thanks his family for all their love and support, because without it none of this would be possible.
Paige Hudson (Community)
Paige is overjoyed to be returning to community theater after a four year hiatus, during which she dearly missed performing. She has been in a couple of RFCT shows, including the Music Man, Hello Dolly, Hooray for Hollywood, and most recently, Love/Sick. Some of her other show credits include the King and I, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and High School Musical. Adding Bright Star to the list is just one perk of being a part of this fantastic cast and show!
Chrissy Faith Jacobs (Edna/Community)
Chrissy is absolutely overjoyed to be making her RFCT debut in her favorite musical! A childcare provider by day, she received her associate’s degree in theatre from Suffolk County Community College, and was seen onstage earlier this year at the Cultural Arts Playhouse in the ensemble of Annie. She sends many thanks to Justin, Jennifer, and the rest of the team for trusting her to help tell this beautiful story, and to her family and friends (especially Cort & SLC pals) for their unwavering love and support. This one’s for Hannah (look what you started!) and for Dad. “I gotta believe in myself, don’t I?”
Bill Kitzerow (Mayor Josiah Dobbs)
This is Bill’s second production with RFCT; he was last seen as Harry the Horse in Guys & Dolls. He has been active in community theater for over 15 years, but is also very interested in film work. There is a very small scene in the movie Marjorie Prime (currently available on Amazon Prime) where Bill can be seen with actorsTim Robbins and Geena Davis--but don’t blink or you’ll miss it! He has also played Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire, Manningham in Angel Street, Deputy Bard in Desperate Hours, Trotter and Mr Paravicini in Mousetrap, Jigger in Carousel, Pharaoh in Joseph, Charlie in On Golden Pond, the Kralahome in The King and I, Melvin P Thorpe in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Mel in The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue. Bill would like to thank everyone for taking time out of their busy lives to attend our performance of Bright Star!
Stephanie Meier (Well-Dressed Woman/Community)
Stephanie is ecstatic to be making her return to the theater in Bright Star after a ten year hiatus. Stephanie has performed in shows such as The Wizard of Oz, Once Upon a Mattress, Evita, and The Man Who Came to Dinner, and danced competitively and at the collegiate level on the Stony Brook University Dance Team. She would like to thank her friends and family for giving her the courage to step back on the stage, and the Bright Star cast and team for their spirit, talent, and warm hearts.
Emily Rose Nelson (Community)
Emily is excited to be making their acting debut in Bright Star. They are excited to experience life on stage after many years of technical theater experience, including lighting design, set construction, stage management, technical directing and more. Emily would like to thank Justin for putting together such a charismatic show and granting this opportunity to perform for you all!
Colin Palmer (Daryl)
Colin is thrilled to be working with this talented cast and production team. He last performed with RFCT in their 2003 youth production of Alice in Wonderland as the White Rabbit. Favorite past roles include Richard of Gloucester in Richard III, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, Charles Guiteau in Assassins, and Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler. He was most recently seen onstage as Professor Bhaer in Little Women at NFCT.
Jocelyn Podlas (Community)
Jocelyn is a senior at Riverhead High School. You may have seen her in RFCT’s productions of 42nd Street, Seussical, School of Rock, Bring it On, and Sister Act; NFCT’s productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oliver!, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Pippin; and Riverhead Blue Masques’ productions of Rent, The Little Mermaid, and In the Heights. When Jocelyn is not performing, you may find her participating in events with the N.J.R.O.T.C. or jamming out to her idols, Queen and MJ. She wishes the cast and crew the best of luck!
Joseph Podlas (Max/Community)
Joseph is a sophomore at Riverhead High School. You may have seen him in RFCT’s 13 the Musical, School of Rock, Bring it On, and Sister Act, NFCT’s productions of Oliver! and Pippin, Riverhead Blue Masques’ productions of The Little Mermaid and In the Heights, and Theatre Three’s production of Oliver! He is so excited to be a part of the show and he wishes the cast and crew the best of luck.
Abigail Rentas (Community)
Abigail is a new addition to the Long Island theatre scene. Her past shows include Pippin and Little Shop of Horrors, where she played Ronnette. She’s also worked in producing and participating in a number of variety shows, showcases, and concerts throughout her high school and college career.
Johnny Rios (Trainmaster/Community)
Johnny is reviving his theater presence after a year, since his debut in RFCT’s Guys & Dolls. Johnny’s motto is, “Go ahead and do it! Young, old, shy or not, just live and have fun doing it!” Inspired by his son Jason, he hopes to bring happiness and laughter to his family, friends, and of course, you—the audience—as he has so proudly watched Jason do throughout the years. Special thanks to the entire cast for their support that has given him courage to perform. Enjoy the show!
Mitch Robin (Dr. Norquist/Community)
Mitch is delighted to be part of the Long Island premiere of Bright Star. He is no stranger to local community theater. He was last seen as Abner Dillon in RFCT’s production of 42nd Street. Other credits include the bartender in Destry Rides Again and General Bullmoose in Li'l Abner with LTV Community Theater; and Father of the Bride in Center Stage's production of Mom, it's my Wedding. He recently appeared in a short film, Opening Windows and Other Mistakes, as Amos Skinner. When he's between gigs Dr. Mitch can be found at his day job in either Manhattan or Hampton Bays, where he "performs" as a licensed NYS psychologist.
Rita Sarli (Young Alice Murphy)
Rita is thrilled to be making her RFCT debut in Bright Star! Some of her favorite roles include Natalie in Next to Normal, Cinderella in Disenchanted!, Gloria in Madagascar Live!, Louise/Eve in Ruthless, CB’s sister in Dog Sees God, Woman 1 in Songs for a New World and Little Sally in Urinetown. Rita would like to thank her mom and dad for their endless love and support. Check Rita out on Youtube at Rita Sarli for some fun theater based videos! For updates on Rita, follow her on Instagram @ritasarli.
Jacob Schiavone (Community)
Jacob is a sophomore at Riverhead High School and works at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead and for Warner Brother Rail Event/North Fork Trolley as a porter in the Polar Express. He is excited to be joining RFCT for the first time! He recently played Sweaty Eddie in Sister Act with the RFCT Youth Program. Jacob made his debut performance with the Blue Masques last year playing Sonny in In The Heights and Tevin in 21 Chump Street. You may have seen him in past RFCT Youth productions, including Legally Blonde, School of Rock and as Cameron in Bring It On. He has also played a Who and a Military Cadet in Seussical as well as Noah Claypole and was part of Fagin’s Gang in Oliver! with NFCT. He starred as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Daniel in Once on this Island with the Middle Masques. Jacob currently is part of Chamber Choir, JV golf team and plays the trombone with the RHS band. Jacob would like to thank the cast and crew for welcoming him and wishes everyone a great show
Lon Shomer (Daddy Cane)
Lon is proud to be back with RFCT to help tell this wonderful story, having last appeared in Love/Sick as Ken and The Singing Telegram Man. Favorite past roles include Walter Flood in Becky's New Car, Dr. Dreyfuss in Promises, Promises, Fester in Addam's Family, Victor in Young Frankenstein and Albert Donat in The Dinner Party. Lon thanks wife Sha and daughter Jamie for their patience, love and inspiration. And finally, Lon dedicates his performance to the loving memory of Mark Brower; Fairways, Greens and Bullseyes, my friend.
Lily Beatrice Trudden (Community)
Lily is so excited to be making her RFCT and stage debut! Lily is a very kind and caring girl who just celebrated her seventh birthday. Her favorite foods are pizza and pasta. Lily loves anything having to do with science and wants to become a marine biologist. She loves traveling on the Cross Sound ferry, and went to Terrificon at Mohegan Sun last summer to cosplay as a kitty. She loves to sing and dance; at 2 years old Lily and her Papa choreographed the song Let It Go and practiced every night for Mommy, Daddy and Nana., and she loves listening to the Beatles with her Gaga and making little videos of herself singing and dancing. Lily is very thankful for this opportunity and the chance to work with her "Big Girl Corie," aka Corinne Araneo. She wants to thank her family for always loving her and taking care of her, her dog Stymie for always snuggling with her and giving her kisses every morning, her fish Alfalfa and her two birdies Sapphire and Waldo for being such great pets!
Catherine Torlentino (Spirits Trio/Dance Duet/Community)
Catherine couldn’t be more thrilled to be making her way back to the stage after five long years, for her debut with the RFCT cast of Bright Star! She was last seen singing and dancing alongside her Bright Star cast mate, Ashley, as Thea in Spring Awakening during her senior year at SUNY Oswego--it’s one of her favorite memories. Musical theater has always been Catherine’s passion, but until she can make it her day job she’ll continue listening to show tunes at her desk as the new account coordinator for Cintas’ Long Island location. She would like to give special thanks to her boyfriend Rob, for always telling her she can do whatever she puts her mind to, her friends Ashley and Jenna for giving her that little push she needed to perform again, and her family and friends for their love and support.
Haley Unger (Lucy Grant)
Haley is a 22 year old theatre enthusiast who couldn’t be more excited to be featured in the Long Island premiere of Bright Star! You may have seen her recently in North Fork Community Theatre’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone as the wise-cracking Gangster #2. She couldn’t be happier to get to play the sultry, sassy, and seductive character this time around. She would like to thank her director Justin for giving her the opportunity to shine in this role, as well as the rest of the production team for all their hard work. She’d also like to thank her two castmates, Mike Drozd and Corinne Araneo, for keeping her sane during rehearsals (and life in general.) Lastly, Haley would like to thank YOU (that’s right, you!) for coming out to support RFCT and keeping theatre alive on the North Fork.
John Yaiullo (Young Jimmy Ray)
John is incredibly excited to be a part of the Long Island premiere of Bright Star! Past roles include featured dancer in Pippin at NFCT; Dewey Finn in School of Rock and Warner in Legally Blonde with RFCT; and King Triton in The Little Mermaid, Link in Hairspray! and Roger in Rent at Riverhead High School. John is currently figuring himself out at Suffolk County Community College, and he loves to play the drums and the guitar. John would like to thank his family for being such amazing and supportive people. Enjoy the show!
Brandon Zuniga (Community)
Brandon is currently a senior at RHS, and this so happens to be his 3rd RFCT production. Previous roles include Pablo in Sister Act and Goth Boy in Bring It On for RFCT youth productions, Piragua Guy in In The Heights, Tod in A Night of One Acts, Grimsby in The Little Mermaid, Restaurant Man in Rent, Thad in Hairspray as well as being part of the stage crew for The Crucible in Blue Masques. Besides taking part in theatre, Brandon is a member of the RHS Chamber Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and Key Club. During any free time, he likes to play the guitar, write songs and hang out with his dogs. Brandon would like to thank his parents and all his friends for their continuous support, and hopes that you enjoy the show!