2004 Season - “Swingtime Canteen”

215 South Country Road • Bellport, NY 11713 • 631.286.1133
Long Island's Only Professional Musical Theatre.

Book by Linda Thorsen Bond, William Repicci, and Charles Busch
Orchestrations and Vocal Arrangements by Bob Mc Dowell
Special Material by Dick Gallagher


Good morning Mr. and Mrs. America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press. Flash! Dateline, Bellport. Gateway Playhouse presents the off-Broadway smash, Swingtime Canteen, packed with Broadway veterans including Cabaret's Leenya Rideout as Lily, Les Miserables' Alice Vienneau as Marian, and Beverly Durand of Swing! It's London, 1944, and dancing dames and an all-girl band are performing their hearts out to entertain our fighting fellows overseas in the Eighth U.S. Air Force. The gals come from every walk of American life, from Hollywood glamour puss to the sweet little girl next door. But when the top brass learn they are an all-female unit, their first show could be their last!

Despite the air raids, the threat of cancellation, and other setbacks, USO Swingtime Canteen Corps Unit 319 sings and swings through all the Forties Favorites. You'll hear "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree", "Sentimental Journey", "Sing, Sing, Sing", "I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time" and many more! Directed by Barry McNabb, the original off-Broadway choreographer, musical directed by Phyllis Gessler - who plays Topeka Abotelli as well as a mean piano - and with a set designed by Mike Boyer, the show is a real sentimental journey back to a time when good and evil seemed more easily defined, and everyone pulled together for a greater cause.

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, come to Bellport, and we'll strike up the band!

Read Some Reviews:


Associate Producer
General Manager
Artistic Director
Company Manager
Production Stage Manager
Set Designer
Costume Coordinator
Lighting Design
Costume Design
Musical Direction by
Directed by

(in order of appearance) 
Marian Ames
Lilly McBain
Jo Sterling
Topeka Abotelli
Katie Gammersflugel
Swing Dancers
String Bass

Cast Biographies

ANNE-MARIE BRULÉ (Swing Dancer) began dancing at age 4. After Miss Donna’s School of Dance she attended and graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy as a dance major. She went on to receive her BFA in performance and choreography from S.U.N.Y. at Purchase College. Regional credits include Carousel, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Easter Parade and Nunsense II. Anne-Marie is also a Lindy Hopper. She has won several competitions including the American Lindy Hop Championships in 1999. She has toured the country with Swing Dance America and continues to teach Lindy Hop at Dance Manhattan in NYC.

BEVERLY DURAND (Swing Dancer) Credits include Swing! (Broadway/ Original Cast/Asst. Dance Captain), Swing! First National Tour (Asst. Choreographer), Forever Tango (Broadway/World Tour), Saturday Night Fever, The Netherlands (Asst. Choreographer/Latin Feature), Tango Magic (PBS), 2000 Tony Awards (Featured Dancer), Swango (Helen Hayes Theatre, Nyack), Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC Today Show, Tango Vivo! Beverly was most recently seen on PBS as a featured swing dancer with Mark Eckstein in The National Memorial Day Concert. Originally trained in ballet, tap, and modern, she has focused on partner dancing for over ten years and especially enjoys being tossed and spun around! “A special thanks to all my amazing partners!”

MARK STUART ECKSTEIN (Swing Dancer) is thrilled to be joining the cast of Swingtime Canteen! He has appeared on Broadway in Gypsy of the Year as well as in the National Tour of Swing! Regional credits include Swango..the Fusion (Malibu), Swing! (Dance Captain), Vanaver Caravan, and An Evening with Dudley Moore at Carnegie Hall. Mark is a two-time American Lindy Hop Champion. Much love to friends and family for all their support.

PHYLLIS GESSLER (Topeka Abotelli/ Musical Director) did her first show at Gateway in 1988 and has been back almost every year since. However, most audiences will not recognize her face. Instead, she’s known for her head conducting (the hair really flies in a fast number) and her gloves. Twice before you may have seen her on stage. The first was as Sister Mary Steinway in Nunsense, and secondly, as Vi Petty in Buddy. She has musical directed thirty shows for Gateway, including last season’s Kiss Me Kate. When at home in St. Petersburg, Florida she teaches voice and musical directs at its Arts High School, and freelances at various theatres. She is a cancer survivor who enjoys cats and turtles.

JEREMY LEINER (Swing Dancer) University of Michigan Musical Theatre, Class of 2003. Off-Broadway: Primrose. Regionally has performed with Music Theatre of Wichita, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, West Virginia Public Theatre, and with the Disney Cruise Line. Favorite roles include: Houdini in Ragtime, Mendel in Fiddler on the Roof. Back at Michigan: Noah in Children of Eden,Ali Hakim in Oklahoma! With love to my incredibly supportive family and wonderful friends.

MICHELLE MARMOLEJO (Swing Dancer) Ms. Marmolejo joins us shortly after completing the National Tour of Saturday Night Fever. She is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where she received her BFA in Modern Dance Performance. Other recent credits include: The National and Japanese Tours of Swing, West Side Story (Anita), and Latin Heat. She thanks God, family, and friends for their undying love and support.

DORRELL AYQUINN MARTIN (Swing Dancer) A native Houstonian, Dorrell recently moved to New York City. He has trained professionally in New York and Los Angeles. He has toured with dance companies and singing artists. Dorrell just finished the National Tour of A Few Good Men…Dancin’.

CATHERINE O’MALLEY (String Bass) is making her professional debut! Catherine has studied at the Manhattan School of Music for two years. Favorite credits include the pit orchestras of Carousel, Pirates of Penzance, How to Succeed…. She has toured in several jazz ensembles as a bass player and is a teacher of private lessons.

TRUDI POSEY (Jo Sterling) is happy to be playing Jo Sterling again. Previously she’s done the role at the Cape Playhouse and at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Her regional credits include Agnes in I Do! I Do!, Lizzie in 110 in the Shade, Rennabelle in Radio Gals, and Jenny in Company. In N.Y.C. she’s been seen in Seven Ages at The Hudson Guild and most recently at the Vital Theatre on Theatre Row in Shakespeare’s Revenge for the Manhattan Playwrights. On TV she’s been on Law and Order and Ed. Thanks to Boby and family, and my drum mentor, Richard Zaluud.

ROB REYNOLDS (Swing Dancer) is happy to be here at Gateway Playhouse. Recent shows include Kiss Me Kate, Crazy For You, and Guys and Dolls. Rob has also toured Europe and the U.S. in such shows as West Side Story, A Chorus Line, and last fall acted as stand-in for Rich Little for the national tour of The Presidents. Love and thanks to his family for their support, and especially to Val.

LEENYA RIDEOUT (Lilly) Broadway: Cabaret, 1998 revival (original cast), Fred Astaire Award for Best Ensemble. Off-Broadway: Yiddle with a Fiddle at American Jewish Theatre, The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show at the Melting Pot Theatre, and Cowgirls at the Minetta Lane Theatre. Regional: Dorothy in Summer of 42 at Mill Mountain Theater, The Canterbury Tales at the Guthrie Theater, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls at North Carolina Theatre, Avenue X at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park & Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Honky Tonk Highway at Florida Studio Theatre, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Julie in Carousel. International Tour: Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Concert: My Favorite Broadway (PBS), Bringing Broadway Back Home (Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra). Film: Mona Lisa Smile (Columbia Pictures), Loser (Columbia Pictures). Leenya is also a singer/songwriter. Her first album, Phoenix, is available at www.leenya.com. And Ted, thank God for you…

MIKKI RYAN (Reeds) Mikki was in the original cast of Swingtime Canteen. She received her Masters degree in woodwind performance from the New England Conservatory of Music. This is Mikki’s tenth season playing at Gateway Playhouse. She also did their Far East tours of The Sound of Music, South Pacific, and A Chorus Line. When not at Gateway, she substitutes in the orchestra of the Broadway productions of The Lion King, and Phantom, performs with her chamber ensemble Metamorphic Winds, writes and performs original music as the minstrel in Bard and Minstrel Storytellers, and performs with various orchestras and ensembles in the New York area. Currently, she lives across the street from Faye Ray in New Jersey with her husband, Jon. She’s thankful to Gateway for the opportunity to work with Barry and Phyllis again.

ALISON SOLOMON (Swing Dancer) a native Long Islander, is thrilled to be performing so close to home at Gateway Playhouse. Alison was recently featured as the Lindy dancer on the National Tour of Swing! Recent credits include Swing! (Westchester Broadway Theatre), Disney Cruise Line, Hudson Theatre Academy Awards, MTV’s Direct Effect, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Long Island Ballet Theatre. Thanks to her family and friends for always believing.

SARAH STILES (Katie) is very excited to be working at Gateway this summer, so close to the beach! Some of her credits include: National Tour: Kate Mullins in Titanic. Regional: Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Northshore Music Theatre and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma), Frenchy in Grease (Papermill Playhouse), Ester in Meet Me in St. Louis (Virginia Music Theatre) and, the world premiere of Memphis (Northshore Music Theatre). However, Sarah’s most recent role has been her favorite—newlywed bride to her very own soldier Jon Paul!

MARIA VASSALLO (Trumpet) Graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. National tours of Grease starring Cindy Williams and Eddie Mekka from Laverne and Shirley, and Cabaret (Lulu/trumpet). She is also a singer with a jazz trio in the Long Island/New York City area. Maria is excited to be a part of Gateway’s production of Swingtime Canteen. Love to Dad, Mom, Tanya, Sunny, family and friends. Swing on!

ALICE VIENNEAU (Marian) returns to Gateway where she played Evita and Aldonza in Man of La Mancha. Alice was most recently seen at the New York State Theatre Institute as Thea in Fiorello! She spent last autumn playing Charlotte in A Little Night Music at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, CA where she was nominated for a San Francisco area Critics Circle Award, then came home to New York City’s Duke Theatre as Kate in the Off-Broadway production of The Taming of the Shrew. Her other New York credits include Broadway’s Les Miserables, and the world premieres of Leaving Queens and The Last Session. She has toured nationally with Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Aspects of Love and was a soloist in his concert tour. Regional credits include Mother in Ragtime at both the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, and at TheatreWorks in CA, Company at Missouri Rep and Eliot Ness at both Denver Center and Cleveland Playhouse. She has played Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, as well as Olivia in Twelfth Night and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

PAUL ALLAN (Producer) For more than 20 years, Paul has produced successful shows from the East End to the Far East. Born into the theatrical family that started Gateway, Paul became involved in the theatre at an early age. In addition to his career as a producer, Paul co-founded a successful touring company, which mounted dozens of productions across the US and as far away as Taiwan and Singapore. Serving as technical director, sound engineer and master electrician for numerous productions when he first began working in the industry provided Paul with invaluable knowledge and hands-on experience. His expertise allowed him to act as consultant and advisor on the restoration and renovation of Patchogue Theatre, which under Gateway’s management, reopened in 1998 with Nutcracker On Ice. Gateway still stages shows there several times each year, with Cats and Fosse being this season’s productions.

BARRY McNABB (Director) is pleased to make his debut here at the Gateway Playhouse. Credits: Off-Broadway: Irish Repertory (12 productions, including the current hit Finian’s Rainbow), York Theatre, Playhouse 91, CSC, AMAS, Circle Rep and others. Regional: Westport Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public, Bay Street, GEVA, Asolo, Michigan Ensemble, Westchester Broadway, Seattle 5th Avenue, Houston TUTS, The Alley, Tropicana Casino, and many others. Broadway: Annual Easter Bonnet Competitions (also author/producer, raising over $500,000 for Broadway Cares). International: Multi award-winning productions of Chicago, West Side Story, When Harry Met Sally in Madrid, Barcelona and throughout Spain, Grease in Southeast Asia and others. Independent film work includes: The Next Step and Whiskey River. Television: Saturday Night Live, Late Nite with Conan O’Brien, and Howard Stern Show. Barry is a graduate of University of Oregon and currently the chairman of the Callaway Award Committee, an annual peer award for direction and choreography in New York City through the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation.

WILLIAM B. HUBERT II (Choreographer) returns to Gateway after having performed here in Swing! Directing and choreographing credits include: Joseph…, The Music Man, Phantom, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Bunicula. He is originally from Buffalo, NY where he began performing at the age of nine. Performance credits include: Swing!, 1776, Oh, Coward!, Cinderella, Kiss Me Kate, Footloose, Titanic, and Anything Goes. Thanks to Gateway, Barry McNabb, the talented cast of Swingtime Canteen, and his fiancé Nicole.

ROBIN JOY ALLAN (Casting and Artistic Director) is grateful to have lived and breathed the arts all her life, beginning with performance as child actress here at Gateway as well as on the road, to traveling with a rock band as vocalist and keyboardist. Her background running the family business, included running the summer teen workshops, musical directing, writing, directing, choreographing and eventually, producing. After moving to NYC, she began a career in casting that took her to the West Coast. She was the Associate Casting Director on the feature films; Parenthood, When Harry Met Sally, Lord of the Flies, Side Out and Ghost. She also cast several television series, pilots and MOW’s. Along with her Artistic and Casting Director duties here, she is also the force behind Gateway’s Acting School Division. Her appreciation is for her family, her devotion is for her second family of students, her joy is in her daughter, Hayley Lynn, named after Harry and Libby, her maternal grandparents, who are her constant source of inspiration and a true example of eternal love.

MARCIA MADEIRA (Lighting Designer) is pleased to design her 13th production for Gateway Playhouse. Her favorites are: On The Town, Swing, Jesus Christ Superstar, Forbidden Broadway, West Side Story, The Will Rogers Follies, and The Wizard of Oz. She received a Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award for Nine directed by Tommy Tune with Raul Julia. Other Broadway designs include My One and Only with Tommy Tune and Twiggy; Marilyn, An American Fable with Allison Reed and Scott Bakula; and The Music Man with Dick van Dyke. Off-Broadway designs include: Side by Side by Sondheim at the Dicapo Opera Theatre; Cloud 9 directed by Tommy Tune; Privates On Parade with Jim Dale and Simon Jones directed by Larry Carpenter, choreography by Daniel Pelzig; and The Transposed Heads at Lincoln Center, written and directed by Julie Taymor. Ms. Madeira has designed La Boheme for The Oklahoma City Philharmonic; Don Carlos for The Seattle Opera Association; La Cenerentola with Frederika von Stade for the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Company, and six tours for The National Lyric Opera Company. She has designed numerous regional theatre productions for The Huntington Theatre, Boston; The Walnut Theatre, Philadelphia; Studio Arena Theatre, Buffalo; and The Alliance, Atlanta. Photos of Ms. Madeira’s work may be seen at http://www.geocities.com/mmadeira2000.

ALLEN WILSON (Costume Designer) graduated with a Degree in Theater from the University of St. Louis. Among his many theatrical accomplishments he has directed, produced and designed over 200 stage productions. Formally the resident costume designer for The Mark Two Dinner Theater, Allen moved to COSTUME WORLD in 2001, one of the country’s largest costume rental houses based in south Florida. He has since designed many new shows for professional theatres such as the Orlando Broadway Theatre, Light Opera Works and Art Park, and the tours of State Fair, Singin’ in the Rain and Titanic for Candlewood Productions. Allen is very pleased to once again be working with the Gateway Playhouse where last summer, his designs were seen in On the Town.

ERIN KRAUS (Production Stage Manager) is thrilled to be back at the Gateway Playhouse for her fifth season. She recently returned from the National Tour of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Some of her favorite credits include The Will Rogers Follies, West Side Story, and Forbidden Broadway. Erin would like to thank everyone at the Gateway Playhouse, especially Paul and Stanley, for all their support. She would also like to thank Mom, Dad, and Brigid for their love and inspiration. Erin would like to dedicate these performances to her Aunt Helen.

MICHAEL BOYER (Set Designer) He has designed over 250 sets which have been seen from Stockholm to Diamond Head and from Key West to Hong Kong. Last year he designed Fiddler On The Roof, Forbidden Broadway, and Swing. This season he designed On The Town. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and United Scenic Artists, Local 829. For the past fifteen years whenever Mike has not been at Gateway, he has worked as set designer/technical director for the Tennessee Williams Theatre in Key West, Florida. A special thanks to the crew for all their hard work.

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