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About the Artists


 

TAYLOR LOUDERMAN (Dr. Luv/QPiDis a 2018 Leading Actress Tony Nominee for originating the role of Regina George in Tina Fey’s Broadway Musical Mean Girls. Other Broadway credits include: Lauren in Kinky Boots, Campbell in Bring It On (and National Tour). Television credits: Showtime’s The Loudest Voice (Carrie), CBS’s EVIL (Malindaz), NBC’s Peter Pan Live! (Wendy), Nickelodeon’s Sunny Day (Blair), CBS’s The Good Fight, HBO’s High Maintenance and upcoming KENAN (NBC). Regional credits include: Aida (Amneris), Grease (Sandy), Hairspray (Amber). She started a song-writing competition for young artists called Write Out Loud and wrote a children’s musical, PITCH IN, which has been adapted for Zoom. Insta: @taylizlou

DIANA DEGARMO (Princess Leia) is a singer, songwriter, and actress from stage to screen, Diana DeGarmo has conquered it all and then some. This Southern belle always cooks up something special in blending together her country roots and love for fun and the dramatics.  Diana’s powerhouse vocals shot her to fame on American Idol and opened doors to her numerous Broadway shows, National & International Tours, a recurring role on The Young & The Restless, and much more. Diana has decades of entertainment experience that make her a force to be reckoned with no matter where she performs. Don’t let her sweetness fool you, she is power packed with lots of spice.

ACE YOUNG (Han Solo)  Offical bio coming soon!  Ace is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He gained national recognition while appearing on the fifth season of American Idol.  

JONATHAN BUTLER-DUPLESSIS (Sweeney Todd; previously Mr. Fezziwig) - Music Man (Goodman); Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure (Chicago Shakespeare), Something Rotten, Ragtime, Sister Act (Marriott Theatre); Parade (Jeff Award - Actor in a Supporting Role, Writers Theatre); The Little Mermaid, In the Heights, The Who’s Tommy (Paramount Theatre); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Theatre). REGIONAL: Big River (Theatre at the Center); The Merchant of Venice, As you Like It (Riverside Theatre); Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Actor's Theatre of Louisville); Dreamgirls, The Color Purple (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre); From My Hometown (Molloy Theatre) TELEVISION: Empire (Fox); Chicago Med (NBC).

KATHLEEN BUTLER-DUPLESSIS (Mrs. Lovett; previously Mrs. Fezziwig) is a Chicago-based composer and actress.  She is the composer and lyricist of Chicago's new hit holiday musical, "Eleanor's Very Merry Christmas Wish."  Other work includes a song featured in the musical "Girlhood," with CPA theatricals; her song “None of My Business," which premiered at the Chicago Humanities Festival; and and the viral internet hit “Gimme That Fat Cat,” which appeared in People magazine, Buzzfeed, Vice, and more.  She is music director for The Second City, an improviser, and AEA actress whose favorite theatres include Peninsula Players, TimeLine, and Theatre At The Center.  

ALEXANDER FERGUSON (Prince Alex) is an AMDA NY graduate and Florida native. He was most recently seen in Hamilton (1st National Tour) as a Standby for Hamilton, Burr, Laurens and King George III. Alexander works as an actor, director, writer, voiceover actor, dancer, animator and vocalist and is the founder of @Civil Ants and @String of Consciousness Productions. Other credits include (Regional) How to Succeed…,The Drowsy Chaperone. (National Tour) A Christmas Carol, The Lightning Thief. NY Workshops: Hef, The Magic School Bus.

RYAN FOGLER (Frankie Valentine) is a singer, actor, director, musician, screenwriter and student at Ithaca College. Ryan has performed in over 23 theater productions in the tri- state area. He was seen as Young Patrick in Mame with Loretta Switt. Recently, he appeared at The Barn Theater in Montville, NJ as Eugene in Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Arpad in She Loves Me. Ryan was also in the Addams Family in the role of Lucas at the Creative Muddy Waters Theater in Monroe, NY and played the role of Frankie Epps in Parade which was performed at The Library Theater in Fairlawn, NJ.  Ryan is a Film Production major at Ithaca College with a music minor.

LUCY GODÍNEZ (Daisy a Hilton Sistershe/her) Regional: AMERICAN MARIACHI (Dallas Theater Center), Nancy in OLIVER! (Jeff Award Nomination, Marriott Theatre), Ariel in FOOTLOOSE (Marriott Theatre), Little Red in INTO THE WOODS (Writers Theater), Serena in LEGALLY BLONDE (Paramount Theatre), Nina in IN THE HEIGHTS (Porchlight Music Theatre), and Jeannie in HAIR (Mercury Theatre Chicago). A graduate of Northwestern University, she is represented by Stewart Talent. 

HANNAH KLOEPFER (Carrie T. Letterly, A Romantic Postal Worker) is an NYC-based writer, actor, and producer, thrilled to be connecting with so many artists, valentines, and galentines near and far. She is currently working as a writer's assistant and lending her voice(s) to various animated characters and commercials. Hannah is the co-writer of Pitch In the Musical (and Zoomical!) with Taylor Louderman and Nat Zegree. She also co-produces the annual Write Out Loud Contest. A graduate of Columbia University, Hannah has been active in the development of numerous projects from documentary and new media pilots to concert series. She’s a co-producer on My Cricket And Me, a docu-style comedy featuring Willie Nelson, award-winning short film Objects, and co-creator of cabaret series Swipe Right/Swipe Left. IG: @hannahkloepfer www.hannahkloepfer.com

MICHELLE LAUTO (Violet a Hilton Sister; previously Corny Christmas Heroine) is a Chicago Actor and Teaching Artist. She is a previous Jeff Award Recipient for her work in Spamilton: An American Parody. She has also been seen on stage in shows like In The HeightsSunset Boulevard (Porchlight Music Theatre), GreaseOklahoma!Ragtime (Marriott Theatre), and HAIR (Mercury Theatre). Michelle is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA and is represented by Stewart Talent. 

SAWYER SMITH (Jessica Rabbit; previously The First Noel: Santa's Ex-Wife, they/them/theirs) is thrilled to spread some holiday magic!  Most recently Sawyer was seen on stage at The Steppenwolf Theater in the world premier of Ms.Blakk For President. Other credits: Something Rotten, Madagascar (Marriott Theater); The Producers, CATSRENTA Chorus Line (Paramount Theater);  Pippin,The Bardy Bunch, The Producers, The Addams Family (Mercury Theater); An American In Paris, Mary PoppinsRock Of AgesHairspray (Drury Lane Theater); First Date (Royal George).  Sawyer is a Graduate of The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Thanks to my family, Ben, and friends for their support!

CHERRY TORRES (Princess Cherry; previously Jackie Frost) is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cherry Torres has been performing professionally since the age of 10. After graduating Berklee College of Music, she went on to travel the world singing and acting in multiple shows aboard various  cruise lines including Disney Cruise lines and Celebrity Cruises. Following her time at sea, she went on to star in multiple regional productions. Some of her favorite credits include "Smokey Joe’s Cafe" (Brenda), "Rock of Ages" in Chicago's Drury Lane theater where she played Sherri, and "In the Heights" at the John W. Engeman Theater where she portrayed the role of Nina and was nominated for a BroadwayWorld Regional Award. She has toured the country with the 1st national tour of Hamilton as a cover for Angelica, Eliza....and Peggy. www.cherrytorres.com

 

WINTER WONDERGRAM ALUMNI:

Elyse Bell (Comet The Reindeer), Bri Sudia (Trudy Garland), Rachel Wong (Vacationing Elf),  Nellie Shuford (Grandma That Got Run Over By A Reindeer), Rachel Carreras (Magical Musical Toy), Alex Bender (Magical Musical Toy), Quinn Kelch (Larry The Lanky Elf), Patrick Scott McDermott (Kevin The Home Alone Kid), Annie Jo Fischer (Peppermint Penguin), Brandon Patterson (Christmas Crank), Zachary Miller of WeFlip Entertainment (Acrobatic Elf), Martha Shuford (Costume Consultant), Matt Zalinski (Scenic Design), Big Noise Theatre

See Our Retired Characters

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PRODUCTION TEAM:

SCOTT WEINSTEIN (Director) is a Joseph Jefferson Award winning Director currently based in New York and Chicago. Recently his newly conceived "chamber version" of Ragtime was nominated for 10 Joseph Jefferson Awards, winning 4 - including Best Director and Best Production.  Favorite directing credits include Rock of Ages (Drury Lane Theatre); Rent at Theo Ubique (Jeff Award - Best Director, Best Musical); Violet (Jeff Nom - Best Director, Best Musical), Bat Boy (Jeff nom-Best Director), Titanic (Jeff Nom - Best Director, Best Musical) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Griffin Theatre); She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Theatre); Seussical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Princess & The Pea (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre); the world premieres of Baristas (New York International Fringe Festival), Ampersand (Bloomington Playwrights Project) & Knights of The Sales Office (Adirondack Theatre Festival); as well as the first full productions of Murder For Two (Adirondack Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, 42nd Street Moon). Scott is the recipient of a Berkshire Theatre Festival Directing Fellowship and a Stage Directors and Choreographers Observership. He was the Associate director for the Equity National Tour, Las Vegas and Chicago productions of Million Dollar Quartet. He directs the resident production on Norwegian Cruise Lines and directed the first regional production currently running at the Lawrence Welk Theatre, as well as regional productions across the country. He has developed new work at Pittsburgh CLO, The American Music Theatre Project, The Marriott Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, Porchlight Theatre and others. He has assistant or associate directed at The Goodman Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse and many more. Proud graduate of Northwestern University and member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. www.ScottGWeinstein.com

HOLLY WEIS (Creator, Executive Producer) is delighted to spread some holiday cheer and raise money for the arts and artists!  Holly is on the Board of Directors of the Highland Park Players and is passionate about the performing arts.  Holly most recently created and produced the Broadway Cares fundraiser "Cabaret Games," a unique competition musical theater series that featured Chicagoland's brightest talent and Broadway celebrities as hosts and judges.  Holly has produced two Theater For Young Audiences shows with the Highland Park Players and has been a cast member in various productions across the North Shore.  By day, Holly is an Ophthalmologist.  She is grateful to her friends and family for supporting this project!

AARON KAPLAN (Music Director) enjoys a multifaceted musical career as a conductor, musical director, cellist, music educator, and arranger. He earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Donald Schleicher, as well as his bachelor’s degree in cello performance and bachelor’s degree in music education with high honors also from the University of Illinois. A passionate advocate of the American musical theatre, Aaron has been the music director/conductor for over 65 musicals (with complete orchestration) including West Side Story, On the Town, Les Misérables, RENT, Chess, Guys & Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Producers. He was invited to conduct the orchestra for the Illinois High School Theatre Festival All-State Production twice; in 2013 for Memphis (premiere amateur production) and in 2017 for Sweeney Todd. Aaron is currently the assistant orchestra director at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools in Northbrook and Glenview, IL, is on the conducting faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestras, is the assistant director of the Chicago Suzuki Institute, and recently appeared on 98.7 WFMT’s Introductions conducting the Music Institute Cello Choir. He has continued his conducting studies at workshops in the United States and Europe with Gustav Meier and Larry Rachleff, and has conducted the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic) and the New Symphony of Bulgaria. Aaron began studying cello at the age of 5 with Holly Compton, and then continued with Blake Brasch, Ani Aznavoorian, and Brandon Vamos, and chamber music with Stefan Milenkovich and the Pacifica Quartet. His conducting mentors include Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, and his teacher, Donald Schleicher. 

JACOB COHEN (Public Relations) brings a multitude of years of experience to the table, and is ecstatic to be bring Winter Wondergrams to the forefront for all to enjoy! Being a board member of the Highland Park Players, where he is the PR & Marketing Director, he has been able to bring a lot of their shows into the limelight within the media. Having worked in the non-profit, tech, entertainment, and food industries, Jacob has been able to secure placements in local, national, collegiate, and international publications. By trade, Jacob is a performer and has been seen on numerous north suburban stages! By day, Jacob is a Studio Manager for an Orangetheory Fitness studio on the North Shore and does freelance PR. If you're interested in obtaining PR for you or your business, please reach out to me at jacobcohenm@gmail.com.

HEATHER BENVENISTE  (Producer) is honored to join the Winter Wondergram team to bring some Joy this Holiday Season.  A native of Northbrook, Illinois, Heather practices Law along with husband Eric, and lives with her fabulous children Scarlett (10) and Garrett (7).   Heather was most recently seen as "Aunt Sponge" in Big Noise Theatre's "James and the Giant Peach" and "Gloria the Hippo" in Highland Park Player's TYA Madagascar.  Heather's Producer credits include this summer's acclaimed "Cabaret Games" and she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Big Noise Theatre in Des Plaines, IL.  

HENRY GESSNER (Media Consultant) is a member of the Highland Park Players Board of Directors, has appeared in six of their recent productions including Pinkalicious, Madagascar, and Mamma Mia!, and was a media consultant for the Cabaret Games this summer. In addition to his onstage work, Henry is the host and producer of Typical Hollywood: The Podcast! - a movie review series you can find on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to them. He has also done some freelance video editing work for his former a cappella group, and has hung out with most of the Avengers. Love to my friends and family - hope I get to see you soon! Happy holidays!

ROYEN KENT (Wig Styling, he/him) is honored to  design a wig for the gorgeous, talented Sawyer Smith. He performs in drag and designs wigs as Jenn Der Fach (Instagram: @jennderfach), winner of Chicago drag pageant Crash Landing in October 2018. Royen’s recent work as an actor includes Shaun in Hundred Days and The Full Monty (Kokandy Productions); Hello Again and The Full Monty (Theo Ubique); The Fly Honey Show (The Inconvenience), Emma (Lifeline Theatre); and Hatfield & McCoy (House Theatre of Chicago). He also performed with Griffin Theatre, Writers Theatre, The Hypocrites, First Folio Theatre, and Theater at the Center. 


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