Heartland Festival actors preparing for new season

May 14, 2014
Center for the Arts

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Audiences can look forward to seeing both familiar faces and new performers at this year’s 13th annual University of Wisconsin-Platteville Heartland Festival. In addition to the actors from the Platteville community, the core group of out-of-town artists features some returning veterans as well as a few newcomers.

Vasiliki Fafalios who appeared as Sister Hubert in “Nunsense,” Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and Scarlett in “Frankly Scarlett,” will return to the Heartland Festival to play Diana in “next to normal.” She will also play a variety of roles, including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Gingy, in “Shrek the Musical.” Fafalios is a recent graduate of Viterbo University with a B.F.A. in music theatre. 

John Dobbratz returns to take on the roles of Dan in “next to normal” and Shrek in “Shrek the Musical.” As a company member in the 2011 Heartland Festival, he was seen in “Grease” (Kenickie), “The Music Man” (Olin Britt) and “Murder Rides Again” (Marshall Duke). He received his B.F.A. in music theatre from Viterbo University in 2012. After graduation, he was a resident company member at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Tennessee. 

Another familiar face from the 2010 Heartland Festival is also returning. Allison Scheer, who was seen in “A Prom to Die For” (Mrs. Noftslinger), “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Rona) and “Beauty and the Beast” (Babette), will be back to play Natalie in “next to normal” and Princess Fiona in “Shrek the Musical.” Since she was last seen performing in Platteville, she graduated with a B.F.A. in musical theatre from Western Illinois University and began her endeavors as a working actress. She completed five seasons touring with Minnesota’s Prairie Fire Children's Theatre where she also served as the associate director of the company. She recently finished a contract with The Old Creamery Theatre Company in Iowa before returning to Wisconsin.

Joining the returning actors are three new faces. All six of the core Heartland company actors will also perform in the cabaret show, “Give My Regards to Broadway!”  

Caleb Baze holds a B.M. in music theatre from the University of Central Oklahoma where he studied voice with Dr. Marilyn Govich. His regional credits include “Godspell” (All Good Gifts), “Great American Trailer Park Musical” (Duke u/s), “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Peter), “The Sound of Music” (Rolf), “RWS & Associates, Inc., TEXAS!: The Musical Drama” (Ensemble/Fire Stunt) and “All Shook Up (Dennis).”  He will be playing the roles of Gabe in “next to normal” and Pinocchio in “Shrek the Musical.” 

Brian Charles has been leading an active national and international career on the operatic, musical, concert and recital stages. Recent roles include Marius in “Les Misérables,” Papageno in “The Magic Flute,” Anthony in “Sweeney Todd,” Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly” and Paquillo in “La Périchole.” Immediately prior to the festival, Charles will be performing in China for the inaugural Liederfest in Suzhou at Soochow University, near Shanghai. He is a native of Michigan, where he earned his M.M. in vocal performance from Oakland University. He earned his B.M. in vocal performance from Loyola University in New Orleans. Charles will be playing Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine in “next to normal” and Lord Farquaad in “Shrek the Musical.”

Ellis Dawson, a sophomore musical theatre major at Baldwin Wallace University, is originally from Virginia Beach, Va. Favorite credits include, Adrian (“Smokey Joe’s Café”), Henry (“next to normal”), Emmett (“Legally Blonde”), and Seaweed (“Hairspray”). Dawson will be playing Henry in “next to normal” and Donkey in “Shrek the Musical.”

Returning favorites from the Platteville area who will play multiple roles in “Shrek the Musical” include Susan Cramer, Susan Savage Day, Cathy Goodman, Bill Haskins, Marcy Russell, Brent Schwert, Sheri Schwert and Tyler Tollefson.  Current UW-Platteville students in the cast of “Shrek the Musical” include Sunshine Balch, Arianna Day, Rachael Lester and Emma Wilson. Quinn Collins, Lizzy Haag, Ellie Hemming, Kale Johnson, Dylan Prestegard, Shaena Prestegard, Isabelle Sander, Miranda Sexton and Kaelyn Weigel make up the youth ensemble for “Shrek the Musical.”

“Give My Regards to Broadway!” opens Friday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. and runs until Saturday, July 19. “Next to normal” opens Friday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. and runs until Sunday, June 29. “Shrek the Musical” opens Thursday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Sunday, July 20. Tickets are currently on sale. For more information, visit www.theheartlandfestival.com.


Contact: Dr. Ann Dillon Farrelly, associate professor of theatre, (608) 342-6045, farrellya@uwplatt.edu

Formatted by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, wackersd@uwplatt.edu



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Heartland Festival Presents: Next To Normal - June 13-29, 2014

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