More Than 40 Performers to Fill the
DeWitt Stage for Musical "Steel Pier"

Posted November 8, 2000

HOLLAND -- Hope College Theatre will feature more than 40 performers in the musical "Steel Pier," which opens on Friday, Nov. 10, for a six-performance run in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

The opening performance on Friday, Nov. 10, will be at 9 p.m. in order to accommodate other activity scheduled in conjunction with the college's Parents' Weekend. All other performances, which include Saturday, Nov. 11, and Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 15-18, will be at 8 p.m.

Set in the honky tonk world of marathon dancing during the Great Depression in the 1930s, "Steel Pier" brings together an assortment of people eager to dance their way into fame and prizes. They gather on the famous Steel Pier in Atlantic City, where the stage throbs with the dancing rhythms of the era as the night wears away. Disillusionment, even life and death, hanging in the balance.

When the play opened on Broadway, the "New York Post" called it "Spectacular." The "New York Daily News" declared the play has "beautiful songs... skillfully interwoven with the plot." And, according to the "New York Times," the play is "steeped in wistfulness."

Music and lyrics for "Steel Pier" were created by John Kander and Fred Ebb, well known for their other successful musicals like "Chicago" and "Cabaret." Daina Robins, chair of the college's department of theatre, is directing the production. Linda Strouf of the college's department of music is serving as musical director, while John Dayger, instructor in dance and assistant costume manager, is making his debut as a choreographer with Hope College Theatre. Other theatre faculty involved as designers include Richard Smith for scenery and properties, Michelle Bombe for costumes and makeup, and Perry Landes for lighting and sound.

The production involves a cast of 32 actors and nine musicians, one of the largest ensembles to appear on the Hope stage in several years.

The cast includes: sophomore Peter J. Beck of Manila, the Philippines; junior Hanah Bira of Flushing; sophomore Matthew T. Bondy of Petoskey; sophomore Brenna Bosma of Orland Park, Ill.; sophomore Joshua Brandenburg of Mt. Vernon, Ohio; sophomore Katie Carlston of Des Moines, Iowa; sophomore Rachel Carrozziere of Rochester, N.Y.; junior Joshua M. Carstens of Double Oak, Texas; junior Diana Castanon of Holland; junior Blaine M. Cook of Niles; sophomore Noelle Davids of Big Rapids; junior Zachary Deater of Shelby; freshman Dan Ebeling of Ann Arbor; freshman Matthew Farmer of Bangor; freshman Timothy C. Heck of Libertyville, Ill.; and senior Jennifer J. Kaufmann of Okemos.

Also: sophomore Patrick Kearney of Clinton Township; freshman Daniel Kwiatkowski of Cheboygan; junior Jeremy M. Lydic of Eldridge, Iowa; freshman Micah Maatman of Kalamazoo; freshman Melanie Marod of Fruitport; junior Quincy T. Marr of Gridley, Ill.; senior Sarah Clare Meyer of Ypsilanti; freshman Rebekah L. Oegema of Lawton; sophomore David Ovies of Royal Oak; freshman Carmen M. Rabbitt of Muskegon; senior David Armando Romero of Comstock Park; senior Michelle Rynbrandt of Clio; senior Danny Taylor of Story City, Iowa; sophomore Lauren Toner of Libertyville, Ill.; freshman Jill M. Van De Water of Ramsey, N.J.; and sophomore Melissa Wilde of Pendleton, Ore.

The on-stage orchestra, dubbed "The Sea Notes" in the production, include: Linda Strouf, piano/conductor; junior Matt Cook of Delmar, N.Y., trumpet; sophomore Jeremy Davis of Egan, Ill., clarinet and saxophone; sophomore Ben Fedak of Albany, N.Y., drums; 1998 graduate Ryan Janus of Mt. Prospect, Ill., and junior Sabrina Johnson of Three Rivers, flute, clarinet and saxophone; senior Doug Mulder of Holland, trombone; sophomore Noel Snyder of Flushing, keyboard; and freshman Jeff Wheeler of Traverse City, string bass.

Tickets are $7 for regular adult admission and $4 for senior citizens and students, and are available in the theatre lobby ticket office in the DeWitt Center. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., and until curtain time on all performance nights. Reservations may be made by calling the office at (616) 395-7890.

The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.


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