"YOU'LL BURN OFF POUNDS JUST LAUGHING!"
- Los Angeles Times
KATHERINE S. BARNES
MICHELLE RENEE THOMPSON
KATHERINE S. BARNES (MC)
Katherine is ecstatic to be making her Chicago theatre debut with "WaistWatchers the Musical!" Originally from Sullivan, MO, she’s a proud transplant to Chicago. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Missouri State University, and is an Equity Membership Candidate. Professional credits include: Paulette, "Legally Blonde"; Rosie, "Mamma Mia"; Sister Mary Patrick, "Sister Act"; Cecily Pigeon "Odd Couple"; Emma, "Plain and Fancy"; and many more! Love to her family and friends who continue to support her!
KELSEY BURD (Carla)
Kelsey Burd grew up in the cornfields of Central Illinois and studied musical theatre at Illinois State University. There she was seen as the title role in Evita before beginning her professional career in NYC. In New York, Kelsey had the privilege to work with Emursive Theatre Company (Sleep No More) on a new project titled The Forgotten. She was also seen performing works of new composers at esteemed venues throughout the city and in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Kelsey was brought back to the Midwest when she was cast in the original production of the longest running Broadway musical in Chicago, Million Dollar Quartet. Most recently, Kelsey was seen as The Witch in Into the Woods at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. When she’s not on stage, Kelsey is passionate about her work as a personal trainer and group fitness coach. She has worked for numerous of the top fitness brands in the nation, and now trains her own clients, with the mission of feeling their best. Kelsey is blessed with the support of her man, Dan, Mom and Dad, Dr. Hollingsworth, and an amazing group of family and friends. She is thrilled to join the WaistWatchers family and combined her two favorite things- SINGING and WORKING OUT!
SARAH GODWIN (Cindy)
Sarah is from McMinnville, TN and currently calls Manhattan home. She studied music with Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, Opera Performance with Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy, and Musical Theatre Performance with AMDA in New York City. Recent stage credits include "KEVIN!!!!!" with Recent Cutbacks at The PIT NYC, "Question 1 - The Musical" at St. Luke’s Theatre NYC, and "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story" with Endstation Theatre Company in Central Virginia. When she’s not performing on stage she enjoys yoga, a good stiff martini, and being single. So, so single.
CAROLINE LYELL (Cheryl)
Caroline Lyell's Chicago Theatre debut! After completing her Masters in Musical Theatre Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Caroline decided to make Chicago her home. Favorite credits include The Witch in "Into the Woods" and Rosa Budd in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". When not performing, Caroline enjoys true crime podcasts and petting every dog that she sees. Much love and many thanks to Shirley Hamilton Talent, as well as her family, friends, and Andrew.
MICHELLE RENEE THOMPSON (Connie)
Michelle Renee Thompson (Connie) is delighted to be joining the cast of WaistWatchers The Musical. She is also excited to be returning to The Royal George. She first appeared here as Sister, in "Sunday School Cinema", just upstairs. Michelle has a BFA in Theatre Performance from Otterbein University, in Ohio. Since moving to Chicago, she’s performed stand up and improv comedy and has appeared in several independent films and commercials. As a founding member of Corn Productions, she also performed, directed, choreographed and wrote several plays, including "Floss!" the hit dance parody that lived on the Chicago Reader's Short List, for seven straight years! Some of her other Chicago stage credits include: "The Spew"- An improvised parody of The View, the titular role in "Oprah, A Comedy - Live Your Best Laugh" and the improvised comedy, "The Real Housewives of Oak Park". Michelle trained at The Second City’s Conservatory (more years ago than she cares to date herself) and has recently returned to The Second City as an acting teacher. Michelle sends hugs and sugars out to her family, and thanks them for their continued support!
ALAN JACOBSON (Creator, Book & Lyrics) is a producer, actor, director, acting coach, and with WaistWatchers The Musical, added playwright to his resume. Alan has produced more than 80 shows around the country, and two of his shows moved to New York. If You Ever Leave Me I’m Going With You starring Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna to Broadway, and Down the Garden Paths starring Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, Off-Broadway. Mr. Jacobson has written, produced and directed over 50 cabaret shows, and has a couple new ones in the works. Fu. Originally titled Food Fight, which Alan wrote in 2007 and set to existing songs, WaistWatchers The Musical premiered at The Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida in October 2007. It subsequently played in numerous cities under the original title, including Atlanta, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Birmingham, Sarasota, and on a mini-national tour in 2010. In 2013, Alan changed the title to WaistWatchers The Musical, and productions included a 6 month run at the Plaza Theatre in Manalapan Florida and 3 months in Coral Springs Florida, amongst several others. He then turned over the producing to Playhouse Productions, and WaistWatchers The Musical has since played anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks in Phoenix (twice), San Diego, Philadelphia, Walnut Creek, San Jose, Sacramento (twice), Metuchen (NJ), Palm Beach Gardens (FL), Hollywood (El Portal Theatre), Upland (CA – Grove Theatre), and Lakewood (CO), with several others in the works. Alan envisions Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York runs, as well as many more stops nationally and internationally. Alan thanks his wife, Melissa, and two sons, Noah and Eli, for their love and continued support.
VINCE DI MURA (Composer) is a composer, arranger, Jazz pianist and musical director. He has appeared on concert stages and theatres throughout North America, Canada, Europe and Latin America. He currently serves as the Resident Composer and Musical Director for the Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University. He has conducted theatre seasons at The Bethesda Nederlander Theatre, Laguna Playhouse and El Portal Theatre in California, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, the Augusta Barn Theatre in Michigan, Artpark and Company in Lewiston N.Y., Tennessee Repertory in Nashville, The Asolo Theatre Company, Florida Studio Theatre and American Stage in Florida, Passage Theatre, Act II Playhouse, The Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, The Muhlenburg Summer Theatre Festival, The American Theatre Group, and The Little Theatre in the Rockies.
Best known for his arrangements of "My Way: A Tribute to the Music of Frank Sinatra," (with over 600 productions nationally), Vince has musical directed productions at the Blowing Rock Stage Company and Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina, Western Michigan’s Cherry County Playhouse, The Barter Theatre in Virginia, and Arkansas Repertory Company in Little Rock. In 2005, Vince co-created, arranged and musical directed American Stage’s premier production of "I Left My Heart"; A Tribute to Tony Bennett: Licensed by Summerwind Productions. There has been multiple productions of "I Left My Heart" since its premier, including successful runs the Laguna Playhouse (which he musical directed), Welk Resort Theatre in Escadido CA, Merry Go Round Theatre in New York, and the Phoenix Theatre in Arizona.
Vince has fulfilled many compositional commissions from Princeton University's department of Theatre and Dance, Rutgers University, Rider University, the Pingry Foundation, the University of Colorado, The Scioto Society, Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Passage Theatre, the University of Northern Colorado, and a host of scores for People's Light and Theatre Company. As an arranger, Vince has fulfilled commissions from Summerwind Productions, Act II Playhouse, The Arden Theatre Company, MusicalFare in Buffalo NY, and Princeton Summer Theatre. Mr. di Mura is also the author and curator of "A Conversation With The Blues." A 14 part web instructional series on improvisation through the Blues. Produced by Soundfly Inc.
He holds composition and jazz fellowships from the William Goldman Foundation, Temple University, Meet the Composer, CEPAC, the Union County Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Puffin Cultural Forum and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.
MATT SILVA (Director) is the Artistic Director of Playhouse Productions and directed the national touring companies of WaistWatchers The Musical. Matt holds an MA in Theatre from Villanova University and an MFA in Directing from Florida State University. In addition to directing the successful national touring prodution of Old Jews Telling Jokes, and the national touring production of WaistWatchers, a few of Matt’s favorite directing credits include: Hotel Suite, Rounding Third, The Love of the Nightingale, Crimes of the Heart and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (he received a Barrymore nomina on for Best Director of a musical for his 14-person adaptation of Joseph).
JAX ROBINSON (Stage Manager) has been stage managing in the NJ and Philadelphia area for over 15 years. She has a BFA in Applied Theatre Arts from University of the Arts. 2004 Barrymore Award winner of: The Suzanne Roberts Theatre Alliance Scholarship Award. Favorite SM credits include: Into the Woods, Crazy For You, Of Mice and Men, Reefer Madness, Urinetown, Jeffery, Hair, Rocky Horror, Noises Off, Cabaret, Red, and Zombie Prom. A big thank you to all who support and believe in me!
DANI TUCCI-JURAGA (Choreographer) is a member of the Dance Educators of America, SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity. She has enjoyed a professional dance career as Principal Dancer for: (Broadway) Sesame Street at Madison Square Garden. Camp Broadway, (International Tours) Sesame Street Live (USA/Asia), The Magic School Bus Live and Disney Cruise Lines. (Film) "Silver Linings Playbook". Dani is a guest-teaching artist at the Bucks County Playhouse, Adjunct Professor at Rider University (Musical Theater Department) and owns/operates the Downstage Center Dance Studio in Bucks County, PA. Other work includes choreography for NBC's Hairspray Live (Kimmel Center) and is the real life choreographer to Director, Lou Volpe (NBC's 'RISE'). Beyond teaching, choreographing and performing she is a fitness expert and performs stunts for kids and voice overs.
DANA MATTHOW (Producer) is a Long Island-born native New Yorker whose theatrical career spans 35+ years of producing, general management, theatre management, advertising and promotions. His credits include Broadway, off-Broadway and Touring Productions: "Kingdoms" starring Roy Dotrice, Armand Assante and Maria Tucci, "A Jew Grows In Brooklyn", "Carnival Knowledge", a behind the scenes look at the astounding and disappearing world of the American Sideshow, "Magic Hands Freddy" starring Michael Rispoli and Ralph Macchio, "Underneath the Lintel", "Maybe Baby It’s You", "Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral", (a/k/a the longest running funeral in history) "Hysterical Blindness" starring Leslie Jordon, "My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy!", "You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!", "RESPECT - A Musical Celebration of Women", "My Son the Waiter a Jewish Tragedy", "The Calamari Sisters" and his first show "Sea Marks" by Adventures in Paradise star Gardner McKay. For 10 years, Mr. Matthow owned and operated The Soho Playhouse in New York City. For the screen he produced the feature film "Silent Prey". He is also the founder and original Publisher of City Guide Magazine, New York’s #1 weekly visitor and entertainment guide.