Community Theatre Thrives

Thank you all so much for watching and donating. The telethon raised over $22,000! The link to donate will be available until the end of the week.

“We need theatre in our communities, and right now, community theatre needs us.”  Jolene Vettese, President of Reston Community Players

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, community theatre companies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area will come together July 17-18 to raise crucial funds via a live-streamed telethon.  Fourteen community theatres from around the greater DC region will participate in the telethon, sharing performances and messages from their members with viewers.

Most community theatres operate on shoestring budgets as nonprofit entities with artistic and social mission statements. Without the ability to produce live theatre for audiences, critical revenue from ticket sales has dried up for many companies, even as their volunteers stand by, ready to share their talents with the communities they love.

The telethon seeks to raise awareness of the incredible passion, talent, generosity, and dedication of the volunteers who make community theatre in the DC Metro region possible and will feature the voices of prominent members of the theatre industry, as well as garner donations to help keep these theatres alive to open their curtains again in the future.

Kensington Arts Theatre will be performing during the 7:00pm – 8:00pm hour on Saturday, July 18.

Ryan Burke has been an actor in the DMV area for the past 11 years, most recently being seen in Into the Woods, A Christmas Carol and Ragtime (Helen Hayes Award-Best Ensemble) with Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. His previous KAT credits include Dan in Next to Normal (WATCH Award-Best Supporting Actor in a Musical), George in Sunday in the Park with George, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Jamie The Last 5 Years, and many others. He is so honored to be a part of this telethon. Support local theatre in the DMV!

Cole Edelstein is a rising senior at B-CC HS. Past shows include Matilda the Musical on Broadway (Bruce/Tommy swing), King Kong (Young Jack, pre-Broadway workshop), Peter Pan in Concert (Lost Boy, Transport Group NYC), A Christmas Carol (Turkey Boy, Ford’s Theatre), Marie Antoinette (The Dauphin, Woolly Mammoth Theatre), Appropriate (Jesse, Woolly Mammoth), and Spin workshop (Signature Theatre). Cole is thrilled to appear in his fourth KAT production, having previously performed in Ragtime (Little Boy), Les Miserables (Gavroche), and Oliver! (The Artful Dodger). In his free time Cole loves to read, ski, and run track for his school. A huge thanks to mom, dad, Garrett and Max for their love and support.

Elizabeth Hester is excited to be a part of this virtual telethon! She has been a part of KAT for the last few years and has performed in The Bridges of Madison County (Francesca), Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett-WATCH winner), and most recently Guys & Dolls (Adelaide). However, her main role is playing “Mom” to her two little girls who were all too thrilled to help make this video with me! Education: The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, The American Academy of Dramatic and The Juilliard School (final callback master classes-Drama Dept).

Michael Nansel With over 75 roles to his credit, Mr. Nansel is as comfortable with the Classical Stage as with Musical Theatre and has sung in Opera houses across North America in various roles including Otello, The Barber of Seville and Rigoletto. Musical Theatre roles include Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, Assassins, Sweeney Todd, and possibly his most unique show Jerry Springer: The Opera. Earlier this year he sang the Elder Germont in La Traviata with Teatro Lirico D’Europa and last year Caspar in Bronx Opera’s production of Der Freischütz. In 2016 he made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the Cantor in the Ernest Bloch; Sacred Service and in 2017 he made his Lincoln Center debut in Handel’s: Messiah. He is represented by Randsman Artists Management and studies with Andrea DelGiudice.

Brad Oscar is a Washington, DC native who has been seen on Broadway in Mrs. Doubtfire (3 previews and holding…), Something Rotten! (Tony Award nomination), Big Fish, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Addams Family, Spamalot, The Producers (Tony nomination), Jekyll & Hyde, and Aspects of Love. His national tour credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Young Frankenstein, and Jekyll & Hyde, and he has appeared on the West End as Max Bialystock in The Producers. Off Broadway credits include Broadway Bounty Hunter, Nassim, Annie Get Your Gun (New York City Center), Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street Theatre), Forbidden Broadway, and Bells Are Ringing and Do Re Mi (City Center Encores!). Mr. Oscar’s regional credits include The Gods of Comedy (McCarter and The Old Globe), Hairspray (KC Starlight), The Squirrels (La Jolla Playhouse), Fiddler on the Roof (Barrington Stage Company), Barnum (Asolo Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Carbonell Award for Best Actor, Musical),The Mystery of Irma Vep, Cabaret, and Damn Yankees (Arena Stage), and The First Wives Club (The Old Globe). His film and television credits include Ghost Town, The Producers, “Madam Secretary,” “Smash,” “The Good Wife,” and three “Law & Orders.”

Farrell Parker is a DC-based performer whose work includes appearances at the Kennedy Center (Shear Madness; The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to America), Arena Stage (Fiddler on the Roof), Olney Theatre Center (Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain), Woolly Mammoth Theatre (She the People), Constellation Theatre Company (Queenie in the Wild Party), 1st Stage, Adventure Theatre MTC, Keegan Theatre, and Flying V Theatre – among others. Farrell appeared as Dot in KAT’s production of Sunday in the Park with George, for which she was nominated for a WATCH Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical.

Diego Prieto is thrilled to be a part of such a great cause for an amazing community he loves. DC credits include Brand New Kid and Barrio Grrrl! at the Kennedy Center, the American premiere of The Witches of Eastwick and the world premiere of Saving Aimee at Signature Theatre. At Arena Stage he appeared in Cabaret, Damn Yankees and Señor Discretion, Himself and the location of his wedding in 2012. Proud KAT productions include Assassins, Company, Rocky Horror, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods and Side Show, KATs very first musical. Diego lives in Hell’s Kitchen with his husband Brad. He is a member of the acting company of Only Make Believe, going on 10 years.

Jesse D. Saywell is a playwright, actor, and director who is currently an M.F.A. Candidate in Theatre (Dramatic Writing) at Arizona State University. His playwriting credits include The Mall (Now & Then Creative Co.-2020), All Hell: The Trial of William Tecumseh Sherman (ASU TheatreLab 2019), Pawns (Binary Theatre Co. 2019), Mom (AU Players 2015), and Floodlines (American University 2015). A proud graduate of American University with a B.A. in Musical Theatre, Jesse’s performance credits include Big River (Actors Rep. Theatre of Simi), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Costa Mesa Playhouse), Sweeney Todd (Red Branch Theatre Co.), Enchanted April: A New Musical (Arena Stage, Original Workshop Cast), and Young Frankenstein (Westchester Playhouse).

Harrison Smith is thrilled to be back supporting one of his first theatrical homes. He performed 5 shows between 2013-2015 at KAT including Next to Normal and Les Miserables. Since that time, he received his degree in Musical Theater Performance at CUA in DC and has performed professionally with The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Round House Theatre, The Keegan Theatre, and many more in the DC area. Thanks for Craig for all he does for young artists. Support KAT.

Matt Yinger recently appeared in his first KAT production as Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls. A veteran of GWU student theater, his notable productions include American Idiot (St. Jimmy, lead guitar), The Wedding Singer (Glen Guglia), Bonnie & Clyde (Preacher), Bare: A Pop Opera (Lucas), Pippin (Lewis, featured guitar), and Reefer Madness (Jack Stone, Jesus).

Emily Zickler KAT: Next to Normal (Diana), Parade (Lucille), Spring Awakening (Director). DC AREA: Studio Theatre 2ndStage Carrie: The Musical (Carrie White); Olney Theatre Center: Godspell (Ensemble); Constellation Theatre Company: Avenue Q (Lucy the Slut/Ensemble: Helen Hayes Award); Imagination Stage: The Little Mermaid (Coral/Puppeteer); Adventure Theatre: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical (Mom), Garfield: The Musical with Catitude (Arelene), James and the Giant Peach (Ladybug); Signature: Midwestern Gothic (Swing – Stina, LuAnn, Mama), Midwestern Gothic (workshop – Stina), Huntington Theatre Company (Boston) Assassins, Merrily we Roll Along. EDUCATION: Boston University College of Fine Arts, 2012; Signature Theatre Overtures 2013.