Meet the Cast of NextStop’s “Kiss Me Kate”

Meet the Cast of “Kiss Me Kate” at NextStop

Daring 11 Person Production Directed by Michael J. Bobbitt Opens August 20



Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack

Directed by Michael J. Bobbitt

August 20 – September 13, 2015

NextStop Theatre Herndon

269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon VA 20170

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Hasani Allen (Paul) This is Hasani’s professional regional debut!  He is very excited to be a part of this wonderful cast.  Hasani is a senior musical theater major at the Catholic University of America.  Some favorite roles include Billy Bigelow in Carousel and Enjolras in Les Miserables.

Daphne Epps (Hattie) DC AREA:  Elmer Gantry, Dreamgirls, Defying Gravity, Revenge of The Understudies, Summer Hummer (Signature Theatre); Once On This Island, Shakespeare Sings (Creative Cauldron); theatreWashington; If This Hat Could Talk, Everyman Street Theatre (Lincoln Theatre); Dreamgirls, Annie (Ellington Theatre); Going the Distance (Discovery Theater); A Mighty Day (Cramton Auditorium); New Cotton Club Review, Drop Me Off In Harlem, Comin’ Uptown (DC Art Works). NEW YORK: Biv Ten Records: Recording Artist, Promo Tour Vocalist; Character Music: Vocalist, Writer, Vocal Arranger.

Hannah Jennens (Dance Captain/Waiter) This is Hannah’s debut with NextStop Theatre Company and she couldn’t be more excited.  She has spent the past year training at the Steps on Broadway Conservatory in New York City.  She also has traveled internationally to perform in Greece and Spain.  Her recent credits include Beauty and the Beast, Guys and Dolls, and Curtains the Musical.  She would like to thank her mom and dad for all their love and support.

Emily Levey (Lois Lane/Bianca) NEXTSTOP: The 39 Steps. Adventure Theatre: You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, Go Dog, Go! Capital Fringe Festival: Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Dizzy Miss Lizzy Presents The Orestia; Imagination Stage: Busytown; Keegan Theatre: Rent, Dancing at Lughnasa, Hair; Kennedy Center Family Theater: Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred), Cautionary Tales for Children; Signature Theatre: Chess, The Happy Time, Merrily We Roll Along; Studio Theatre 2nd Stage: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Reefer Madness; Washington Savoyards: A Grand Night for Singing, Kiss Me Kate. Education: NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. 

Bobby Libby (Baptista/Harrison Howell) NEXTSTOP: The Secret Garden (Dr. Neville Craven).  DC AREA: The Addams Family (Gomez, WATCH Award nomination), Parade (Leo Frank), Spring Awakening, Ragtime (KAT); Sweeney Todd: Prog-Metal Version (LTC).  BALTIMORE: Sweeney Todd (Sweeney), Hair (Claude), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Stillpointe Theatre).  REGIONAL: Joe Tracz’s Song For A Future Generation (Lights Out Theatre Company, Chicago).  Special thanks to Abbie and all of Robert’s friends and family for their support. 

Shaina Murphy (Cab Driver/Innkeeper/Gregory) NEXTSTOP/ESP: America’s Composers: An Evening with Gershwin, Porter, and Berlin; Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Gingy’s Mother, Holly, Lynn, Eve, and Lisa); Caroline, or Change (Rose Stopnick Gelman).  RCP: Beauty and The Beast (Silly Girl).  Shaina spent 10 years in NYC performing in everything from children’s theatre to operetta.  A native of Northern, VA, Shaina is thrilled to be back at NextStop and part of this great production!

Stephen Russell Murray (Bill Calhoun/Lucentio) NEXTSTOP: Debut.  DC AREA: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Folger Theatre); Sunday in the Park with George, Spin, Revenge of the Understudies (Signature Theatre); Spring Awakening (Helen Hayes nomination) (Keegan Theatre); Never the Sinner (Helen Hayes Award Nomination) (1st Stage); House of Glass, The Glass Menagerie Project, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls (Arena Stage); Astro Boy and the God of Comics (Studio Theater); boom (Artists’ Initiative). TELEVISION: Evil Kin; American Titans. EDUCATION: MFA, Classical Acting, The Shakespeare Theatre Company. 

Kevin Place (Hortensio/Gangster #1) is an actor, director, teaching artist, and DC-area native.  He is excited for his first production with NextStop, and happy to return to the area after spending time at McCarter Theatre in New Jersey and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut.  At McCarter, Kevin served as an assistant director to Emily Mann on Antony and Cleopatra, Amanda Dehnert on Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville (also at Arena Stage), and John Kani on Sizwe Banzi is Dead (also at the Market Theatre and Syracuse Stage).  Kevin is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and the National Theatre Institute’s Theatermakers Intensive. 

Paul Scanlan (Fred Graham/Petruchio) NEXTSTOP/ESP: Debut.  DC AREA: Signature Theatre: Simply Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George, Elmer Gantry, The Threepenny Opera, Company, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Really Really (Signature Theatre); The Laramie Project (Ford’s Theatre); Orphie & The Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center); The Rocky Horror Show (Studio Theatre); Hair, Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination), Spring Awakening (Helen Hayes nomination) (Keegan Theatre); Fahrenheit 451 (Round House Theatre); By Jeeves (1st Stage); Who’s Your Baghdaddy? (Capital Fringe Festival).  REGIONAL: My Fair Lady (the Muny).  EDUCATION: CUA.

Drew Stairs (Gremio/Gangster #2) is thrilled to make his NextStop debut in Kiss Me, Kate.  He is pursuing his degree in Musical Theatre at The Catholic University of America, spending his most recent semester at the London Dramatic Academy.  Past credits include Motel Rasdell (Lowell Memorial Auditorium), Les Miserables (Cortland Repertory Theatre), The Pajama Game (Montgomery College Summer Dinner Theatre), Carousel, Sweet Charity, The Drowsy Chaperone, and The Merry Widow (CUA).  Drew was also a featured soloist for An Evening With Frank Loesser at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Millennium Stage. 

Karen Vincent (Lilli Vanessi/Kate) is thrilled to be making her NextStop debut! Trained at The Eastman School of Music and The New England Conservatory, Karen performed in opera and musical theater in the Boston area before moving to Ithaca, NY, to study jazz, which she performed extensively in the Central NY/PA area.  A member of The Ithaca Shakespeare Company, she performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It.  Locally, she has appeared in Adventure Theater’s Petite Rouge, and is a founding member of Play’s The Thing, a performance company that uses improvisational theater as an educational tool for kids and professionals.


Production Team

Emily Levey and Stephen Russell Murray in Kiss Me Kate at NextStop Theatre 3

Emily Levey and Stephen Russell Murray in Kiss Me Kate at NextStop Theatre (Photo by Traci J Brooks Studios)


Michael J. Bobbitt (Director) is the Producing Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre MTC and has directed, choreographed, and performed locally at Arena, Signature, Woolly Mammoth, Studio, Roundhouse, Shakespeare Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Opera, among others.  Credits elsewhere include the NY Musical Theatre Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, and the 1996 Olympics.  He studied at Susquehanna University, The Washington Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  Michael has also taught theater and dance at George Washington, Catholic, and Howard Universities, Montgomery College, and the Washington Ballet.

Rachel Leigh Dolan (Choreographer) DC AREA: Oliver! The Musical (Adventure Theatre); Hair, Cabaret (Helen Hayes Award Nomination, Outstanding Choreography) (Keegan Theatre); Seussical (Montgomery College STD); Encore Theatrical Arts Project (Assistant Director and Choreographer, 2007-2012).  NYC: Some Like it Cool, The Hot Box (Director and Choreographer, Splinted Theatre Group). Dance Faculty at the Academy at the Metropolitan School of the Arts, Guest Faculty at Joy of Motion YDE, Catholic University and American University. Upcoming: Avenue Q at Constellation Theatre Company and American Idiot at Keegan Theatre. 

Max Doolittle (Lighting Designer) has collaborated with Ars Nova, Access Theatre NYC, The Juilliard School, The Kennedy Center, Three-Legged Dog, Adventure Theatre MTC, Unity Stage Company, Cornell University Dance, Shakespeare Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Folger Theatre, Minnesota Opera, and the PA Shakespeare Festival, among others.  He served as lighting director for television broadcasts including Anderson Cooper 360 and Piers Morgan Tonight, and lit Wine Lovers the Musical aboard several international cruise ships.  BFA: Ithaca College. MFA Candidate: University of Maryland. Member: United Scenic Artists Web: 

Stan Harris (Sound Designer) A regular at NextStop/ESP, Stan has worked as sound designer at many area theater companies and other venues for over 25 years, including VTC, SCT, MCP, DS, TAP, PWLT, PCP, 2nd Flight Productions, Hexagon, Alexandria Harmonizers, Washington Savoyards, Vienna Falls Chorus, Leesburg’s Acoustic on the Green, Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theater, and British Embassy Players.  Stan is a nine-time WATCH nominee and has received the award three times. 

Kristina Martin (Costume Designer) NEXTSTOP: A Man For All Seasons, The Secret Garden, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Gutenberg!, Charlie Brown Christmas, Sylvia, Miss Electricity (Costume Designer).  DC/MD AREA: Baby (Wardrobe Super.), Venus in Fur (Costume Designer), Ring of Fire (Wardrobe Super.), Passion Play (Costume Design Assist.), 33 Variations (Costume Designer), Dunsinane, As You Like It (Shakespeare Theatre Company).  WILLIAMSBURG AREA: Cosi fan tutte, Lucia, Illyria, Julius Caesar, Don Pasquale, Clybourne Park, The Coast of Utopia, La Cage Aux Folles, Evening of Dance, Dancing at Lughnasa, Merry Wives of Windsor

Elizabeth Jenkins McFadden (Scenic Designer) is pleased to be working with NextStop and director Michael Bobbitt, with whom she collaborated on Adventure Theatre/MTC’s Big, the Musical. Elizabeth is the Designer-in-Residence for the theatre department at Montgomery College and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.  A 2006 recipient of the Theatre Lobby’s Mary Goldwater Award, she was a 2014 Helen Hayes nominee for her work on The House of the Spirits at Gala Theatre.  She has also designed for Source Theatre, The Kennedy Center Theatre for Young People, Round House, Imagination Stage, and others. Thanks and love to her husband, Neil McFadden.

Laura Moody (Stage Manager) NEXTSTOP/ESP: The 39 Steps, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Richard III (ASM), Into The Woods (ASM), Summer Cabaret Series, Gidion’s Knot (ASM), Miss Electricity, Sylvia (ASM), Gutenberg!, The Secret Garden, Frozen, The Frog Princess, Fairytales In Training, Many Moons, Caroline, or Change (ASM), Tomfoolery (ASM), Metamorphoses (Hunger/Midas’s Daughter/Lucina/Q). DC AREA: Play It Again, Sam (Little Theatre of Alexandria), House Of Blue Leaves (Dominion Stage), The Foreigner and Glengarry Glen Ross (Taking Flight Theatre Company), Medea (Port City Players). DC AREA IMPROV: Last Ham Standing

Kristen Pilgrim (Fight Director) is excited to be back at NextStop where she was Assistant Director and a Fight Choreographer for Into the Woods.  Other local fight credits include The Great Lt. Sprinkle Didn’t Save Me (Field Trip Theatre), Dog Sees God (George Washington University), Senior Showcase (American University), Macbeth (The Weekday Players), The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Providence Players), On the Waterfront (TACT).  Asst. Fight Direction: Caesar and Dada, (WSC Avants Bard), Flying V Fights: Heroes and Monsters (Flying V Theatre).  Kristen is an actor combatant with the SAFD and a member of Live Action Theatre. 

Steve Przybylski (Music Director/Keyboards) NEXTSTOP: The Secret Garden, Gutenberg!  DC: You, Or Whatever I Can Get (Flying V/Disco Jesus Productions; Best Musical, 2014 Capital Fringe Festival), Disco Jesus and the Apostles of Funk (Disco Jesus Productions; Director’s Award, 2013 Capital Fringe Festival), 1st Stage, American Century, Annapolis Summer Garden, Arlington Players.  REGIONAL: Wayside Theatre, Totem Pole Playhouse, Circa ’21, Rocky Mountain Rep, Barter Theatre, Gallery Players, Surflight Theatre.  Writer/composer of Shadow of the Raven: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe and co-creator (with Warner Crocker) of Southern Crossroads.  Company Member, Flying V Theatre; associated artist, Disco Jesus Productions; member of Actors Equity Association since 2005. 

Christine Ruthenberg-Marshall (Properties Designer) is pleased to be returning to NextStop after stage managing Sylvia last season. Other credits include Studio Theatre: Jumpers for Goalposts (ASM), Laugh (PA/Wardrobe), Choir Boy (PA); Virginia Shakespeare Festival: Antony & Cleopatra (PSM), All’s Well… (PSM), Illyria (PSM), Julius Caesar (PSM); The In Series: Fatal Song (SM). She holds a B.A. in Theatre and Sociology from the College of William & Mary. 

Brian Stefaniak (Master Electrician) Brian is happy to be back working with the good people of NextStop, where he has been the Master Electrician for Richard III, Into the Woods, The Secret Garden, and several other shows.  He was also the Lighting Designer for NextStop’s production of A Charlie Brown Christmas.



“Kiss Me Kate” is produced by special arrangement with TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC., 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022