Girlfriend

Book by Todd Almond
Music and Lyrics by Matthew sweet

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Music Directed by Mason McDowell
Choreography by Harmony Malone

Sep 9 - Sep 20, 2018

Summer, 1993; small town Nebraska. College-bound, football playing Mike has everything figured out. At least until he meets Will, a quiet boy from his graduating class. This indie-pop musical based on the album "Girlfriend" by Matthew Sweet captures the thrill of first love–and how we discover each other and ourselves through the mixtapes we make.

 

Cast

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JONATHAN MELO (Will) is an actor, singer-songwriter and dancer. Jonathan is a recent graduate from Marymount Manhattan College where he received his BA in Acting with a minor in Musical Theatre. Shortly after he went on to study under renowned acting coach Anthony Abeson. His recent credits include a principle role as Shortstop in 2018 Superbowl Commercial 'Every Day Athletes', a co-star role on CBS's Blue Bloods, a supporting role as Murphy in the new hit musical Sweetie, a supporting role as Monté in the new play Alexandria by Vince Gatton, and a supporting role as Don Diego in the National Tour of the musical SkippyJon Jones: Snow What?! by Emmy Award Winner Kevin Del Aguilar. jonathanmelo.net

 
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WOODY WHITE (Mike) is an actor, singer and dancer with a deep passion for both stage and film. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BFA in Music Dance Theater and has since been seen performing in New York City's Theatre Festival in The Suicide Journals, after having just finished a contract with Disney Cruise Line. Favorite roles include Lumiere (Supporting) in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Franklin Shepard (Lead) in Merrily We Roll Along and Fernand Mondego in the U.S. Premiere of Frank Wildhorn's The Count of Monte Cristo. He'd love to thank his incredible family and friends in supporting his madness.

Creative Team

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TODD ALMOND (Book) is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. He has also collaborated with director Lear deBessonet on an adaptation of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theatre for the Public Theater’s Public Works program; Todd wrote music and lyrics, and played “Ariel” in this production, which featured a cast of 200 people, and received rave reviews. Todd’s musicals include: the book of Girlfriend (using new arrangements of Matthew Sweet’s eponymous cult album) which premiered at Berkeley Rep and subsequently at Actors Theatre of Louisville; a musical version of Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play with 13P; music and lyrics for We Have Always Lived In The Castle (adapted from the Shirley Jackson novel) with Adam Bock at Yale Repertory Theatre; On The Levee with Marcus Gardley and Lear deBessonet at LCT3; and his own musical adaptation of The Odyssey at the Old Globe under Lear deBessonet’s direction. He was the music director/arranger for Laura Benanti’s acclaimed solo show at 54 Below (NYC) and for Sherie Rene Scott’s lauded Piece of Meat also at 54 Below, and at the Hippodrome (London).

 

MATTHEW SWEET (Music & Lyrics): An artist who skillfully navigates the line between the power pop underground and the mainstream end of alternative rock, Matthew Sweet is a master of potent pop tunes and catchy melodic hooks, but he also knows how to make his songs rock, and his inspired use of incisive guitar work gives his songs an edge that is fresh and satisfying. Sweet spent much of the '80s in the background, performing with the groups Oh-OK and Buzz of Delight, playing in Lloyd Cole's backing band, and releasing a pair of overlooked solo albums (1986's Inside and 1989's Earth) as he honed his skills. With 1991's Girlfriend, Sweet enjoyed a commercial and critical breakthrough, with its near-perfect fusion of pop formalism and full-bodied rock & roll. Sweet enjoyed similar success with 1993's Altered Beast and 1995's 100% Fun, while in the 2000s he devoted much of his time to more idiosyncratic projects (2003's Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu) and collaborations (a series of duo albums with Susanna Hoffs and an LP recorded with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge as the Thorns). In 2017 he returned with Tomorrow Forever, a sprawling 17-song effort that clicked with critics and fans and re-established him as a master of contemporary power pop.

 
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M. BEVIN O'GARA (Director) is the Producing Artistic Director of the Kitchen Theatre Company. As a director, Bevin's credits include: The Who & The What by Ayad Ahktar, Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production), and Becoming Cuba by Melinda Lopez at the Huntington Theatre Company; The Bridges of Madison County, appropriate, A Future Perfect, Tribes (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for Best Production), and Clybourne Park with SpeakEasy Stage Company; Brahman/i, Chronicles of Kalki, You for Me for You, Love Person, and The Pain and the Itch with Company One Theatre; How Soft the Lining and Translations with Bad Habit Productions; Two Wives in India and Gary with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Phedre with Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Fast Company with the Lyric Stage Company; Marjorie Prime with the Nora Theatre Company;2.5 Minute Ride with New Repertory Theatre; and Melancholy Play with Holland Productions.

 
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MASON MCDOWELL (Musical Director/Pianist) is a songwriter, actor, and wearer of many hats. His most recent hat was a graduation cap from Purchase Conservatory of Music, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Composition. At Purchase, his credits include: Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Little Shop of Horrors (Musical Director/Pianist/Conductor), and Hazel Come Home (Composer/Pianist). In NYC, he has performed at Rockwood Music Hall, Arlene’s Grocery, The Shrine, and as a featured songwriter in the New York Songwriters Circle in Greenwich Village. Mason served as Pianist/Conductor for Jason Robert Brown’s 13: the Musical, and Rent at Saratoga Regional Youth Arts. Other CNY credits include The Grapes Of Wrath, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler On The Roof, all at Syracuse Stage. More recently, he was the Associate Music Director for Colgate University’s production of Spelling Bee, and released a full-length album. Mason is thrilled to be working at the Kitchen Theatre with this talented team of creative artists.

 
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MS. HARMONY (GRAVES) MALONE (Choreographer): an Ithaca College alum with a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation with specialities in dance and theatre, Ms. Harmony is a dynamic personality! She currently works for the City of Ithaca at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) and is known as an elite choreographer throughout Tompkins County. In addition, Ms. Harmony works at our local Community School of Music and Arts as the Hip - Hop Dance instructor and has her own youth performing dance group known as UNITED. She has choreographed pieces for people of all ages throughout Tompkins County since 2007, and 2018 has been her year of recognition. This will be Ms. Harmony's first production as choreographer with the Kitchen Theatre family, her sixth production professionally. As she continues to grow and be challenged as a choreographer, she encourages her fellow artists to always remember the power of their voice and its ability to confront and change systemic issues of race, inclusion and diversity at face-value. Ms Harmony is extremely honored to serve as a young leader of her community, and would like to thank her family and community for continuously supporting her.

 
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BRIDGET K. DOYLE (Lighting Designer) is thrilled to be a part of Kitchen Theatre Company for the first time! A recent MFA graduate of Boston University, her previous design credits include: Oleanna, Ideation, Brecht on Brecht, Thurgood, Good and Baltimore (New Repertory Theatre), Three Fifths: Trapped in a Minstrel Show and The Birds and the Bees (Sleeping Weazel), Albert Herring, Rosmersholm, and Labyrinth of Desire (Boston University), Beantown Tapfest (Julia on Tap), The Nutcracker (Northeast Youth Ballet), Urinetown the Musical and Don’t Ask Me (Concord Academy), Twelfth Night, The Screwtape Letters and Metamorphoses (Gordon College), A Behanding in Spokane, Dead Ringer, Speech and Debate, Betrothed, The Bald Soprano, Laughing Wild, and Neighborhood III: Requisition of Doom (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater). Bridget also designs lighting for Brookline Academy of Dance, Charles River Ballet Academy, Cambridge Youth Dance Company and Onstage Dance Company.

 
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DANIEL ZIMMERMAN (Scenic Designer): Select Off-Broadway: Fashions for Men (Drama Desk nomination; The Mint); After the Blast and Kill Floor(Lincoln Center); Friend Art (Second Stage); Suicide, Incorporated (Roundabout); You Got Older (Page 73 Productions); Be a Good Little Widow (Ars Nova); NYC: The Play Company, Clubbed Thumb, Cherry Lane, Colt Coeur, Lesser America,The Pearl. Regional: Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival of New American Plays, NYS&F, Cincinnati Playhouse, Center Stage, Playmakers Rep, Trinity Repertory Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Theatreworks Palo Alto, Portland Stage Company, People’s Light, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Daniel teaches set design at Ithaca College.

 
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SEAN WOODS (Sound Designer) is a sound designer and engineer based in NYC. He also currently works for the technical service department at Sound Associates Inc. and is a proud recent alumnus of Ithaca College. Recent credits include mixing Mamma Mia at ACT of Connecticut, and designing Cabaret at Ithaca College.

 
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MEGAN PARKER (Costume Designer) is an NYC based designer from Forest Hills, NY. She recently received her BFA in costume and scenic design from Ithaca College. Previous costume credits include costume designer for In the Red and Brown Water at Ithaca College and for Matt & Ben at the Kitchen Theatre. meganparkerdesign.com

Band

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PAULA ARZAC BAIRD (Bass) is a multi-instrumentalist and is excited to be playing bass guitar in her first Kitchen Theatre Company collaboration. She holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from McGill University on Saxophone and works by day at Cayuga Music Shop (Hickey's Music Center), repairing musical instruments. Her musical pursuits have taken her all over the world, but she loves Ithaca best - where she lives happily with her husband, David Baird and their cat, Finn.

 
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IAN CUMMINGS (Drums) is a drummer and music educator who recently relocated to Ithaca, NY. Ian currently serves as a music teacher at New Roots Charter School, and has previously taught in public schools in New York City, as well as the Ithaca City School District. As a drummer and percussionist, Ian has worked with the Hangar Theatre, Cortland Repertory Theater, Running to Places, Ithaca College, Cornell University, SUNY Cortland, as well as many local school districts. This is his first production with the Kitchen Theatre, and he is extremely excited to be starting a new chapter in Ithaca playing drums for Girlfriend!

 
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THOM DUNN (Guitar) is a writer, musician, new media artist, and utterly terrible dancer. He is currently a staff writer for the New York Times' Wirecutter and a regular contributor to Upworthy and other sites. As a playwright, his work has been read and performed in New York, Boston, Hollywood, Alaska, and more. He's also published comic books for Grayhaven Comics and Ninth Art Press; prose with Long Hidden, Quirk Books, and Tor; and poetry in Asimov's and others. You can find his songs on Spotify and iTunes as well. A graduate of Emerson College and the Clarion Writer's Workshop at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Thom enjoys mythophysics, robots and whiskey, and Oxford commas, and firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity ever committed against mankind.

Media