Thunder Bay Theatre welcomes 2019 summer core company

Wesley Hodges

Ten new performers will join the Thunder Bay Theatre core company for the summer 2019 season, which begins with “Into The Woods” opening June 19.

Thunder Bay Theatre welcomes the following new performers: Annika Andersson, Raymond Cronley, Tafadzwa Deiner, J. Garner, Caprice Green, Wesley Hodges, Sarah Matlow, Charity Means, Karis Mitchell, and Desi Rodriguez.

The summer core company joins TBT’s three seasoned performers Emily Ahrens, Jordan Hand and Lucas Moquin for the season.

“We are so excited about this year’s summer company,” said Thunder Bay Theatre Producing Artistic Director Jeffrey Mindock. “In addition to the brand-new lobby, which hopefully is going to excite and ignite a whole new level of patron coming through the doors,” he said our community is very fortunate to have such wonderful young talent at TBT.

“The fact that Alpena is a town of 10,000, so far away from any other metropolis area, and the fact that we have a professional theatre, that we are able to bring this young talent to consistently, is an under-appreciated privilege that exists in Alpena,” he said. “I’m excited to continue to pursue the sharing of that with everyone.”

Tafadzwa Deiner

“They are a great diverse group,” Mindock added. “For the first time in my career here, we have got a core company that actually has more actors of color than it does white actors. And it’s something that we’re pursuing, and it’s something that we want. We are so excited about what that means.”

He said racial equity is not present in the art industry nationally.

“We are making very conscious choices to make sure that our community is exposed to fair and authentic representations of stories of individuals of color, but also to provide opportunities for these actors that they may not have elsewhere,” Mindock explained.

An introduction to the new core company follows.

Annika Andersson

Sarah Matlow

Andersson is positively thrilled to be a part of Thunder Bay Theatre this summer. She is an incoming senior at Oakland University in Rochester. At Oakland, she has performed as Mae Jones in “Street Scene,” Cassio in “Othello,” and as the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods” (a role she is ecstatic to revisit at Thunder Bay). She has also performed as Kaye in “A Taffeta Christmas” at Stones Throw Theatre in Lapeer. Outside of performing, Andersson loves playwriting. This fall, Oakland will be hosting a public reading of her most recent play, “The Trial of Mira Vance.” She is incredibly grateful for her friends, family, and everyone who supports the arts.

Raymond Cronley

Cronley is absolutely jazzed to be working with Thunder Bay Theatre this summer for his first-ever professional appearance. He is a rising junior BFA musical theatre major at Ohio Northern University where he’s played such roles as Burrs the Clown in “The Wild Party,” Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in “Young Frankenstein the Musical,” as well as various others. Raymond appreciates everyone at TBT for the wonderful opportunity they have given him, as well as his family and friends for their never ending love and support.

Tafadzwa Deiner

Diener is so excited to be making her Thunder Bay Theatre debut. She is originally from Urbana, Ill. and is a senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign pursuing a BFA in acting. Some of her favorite musical theatre credits include; Philia (“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”), Effie White (“Dreamgirls”), Narrator (“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”) and Erma (“Anything Goes”). She is absolutely thrilled to be spending her summer in Alpena.

Raymond Cronley

J. Garner

Garner is a junior music theater major at Illinois Wesleyan University. He has been in countless productions, including “Violet” as Flick, “Mary Poppins” as Bert, ‘Curtains” as Harv, and many more. He is so excited to be working for Thunder Bay Theatre. This is his first professional job, and he is grateful that he gets to be a part of their season. He also appreciates his parents and friends for being so supportive of him.

Caprice Green

Green resides in Troy and has lived in the state since birth. She has been performing since the young age of five, getting her start in dance and also discovering her love for theatre along the way. She just graduated from Oakland University in April 2019, receiving a BFA in dance and musical theatre. This will be her first time doing summer stock theatre and she is very excited for the experience and opportunity to play in multiple shows with the Thunder Bay Theatre family. She wants to send love to her Mom and Dad because she would not be pursuing what she loved without their endless support.

Wesley Hodges

Lucas Moquin

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Hodges is a senior double major in vocal performance and Spanish at the University of Southern Mississippi. Active in both musical theatre and opera, his recent musical credits include “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Ching-Ho), “The Drowsy Chaperone” (Gangster #1), “The Rocky Horror Show” (Rocky Horror), and “Evita” (Augustin Magaldi). His recent opera credits include the Mississippi Opera productions of “Turandot,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” and Rigoletto and Natchez Music Festival productions of “Faust” and “The Barber of Seville.” Hodges is grateful and excited to be in Alpena working with this wonderful cast and crew.

Sarah Matlow

Matlow is thrilled to be returning to Thunder Bay Theatre this summer. Matlow is a rising senior BFA musical theatre major at Ohio Northern University, where she has had the opportunity to perform in “Carrie The Musical,” Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party,” and various other productions. She is grateful to Jeffrey and Paige Mindock for giving her the opportunity to learn and grow as both a performer and technician, as well as her parents for always supporting her.

Charity Means

Means is excited to make her Thunder Bay Theatre debut as Julie Jordan (“Carousel”), Cinderella (“Into the Woods”), and Ensemble (“Mamma Mia!”). She has previously been seen on stages across the south and midwest with Cleveland Playhouse, StageOne Family Theatre, Derby Dinner Playhouse and Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in addition to teaching theatre workshops in hundreds of schools in the midwest and south. You can keep up with her latest adventures on her website: www.charityameans.com or on Instagram: @andasteppivot.

Karis Mitchell

Karis Mitchell

Mitchell is incredibly grateful to be spending the summer with Thunder Bay Theatre. She is from Athens, Tennessee and is an uprising sophomore in Belmont University’s Musical Theatre Program in Nashville, Tenn. She is elated to be calling Thunder Bay her first professional theatre debut. She loves dogs, Disney, nutrition, Jesus and a million more things. She is forever indebted to her family, friends and professors that have helped her grow as both a performer and a person, to Thunder Bay Theatre for this unique opportunity, and to every audience who has let her be part of their story.

Desi Rodriguez

Rodriguez is a recent graduate of James Madison University (BA musical theatre). Her roles include Eve’s Understudy (“Children of Eden”), Swing and Dance Captain (“Guys and Dolls”), Essie (“Parade”), Cinderella (“Into the Woods”) and Whatsername’s Understudy (“American Idiot”). She spent last summer at Idlewild & Soakzone (RWS Entertainment Group) as a soloist and dance captain. She is a native of Chesapeake, Va., and grew up performing with The Hurrah Players. Rodriguez is overjoyed and honored to be joining the Thunder Bay Theatre family. She appreciates her mentors Hugh Copeland, Lisa Wallace, and Kate Arecchi for helping her chase her dreams, and the loving support of her family and friends.

Emily Ahrens

Ahrens is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin — Green Bay. Recent credits include: Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”), Luisa (“The Fantasticks”), Ballet Girl (“Elephant’s Graveyard”), Elle Woods (“Legally Blonde”), Cecily Cardew (“Importance of Being Earnest”). She is unbelievably grateful to be on the Thunder Bay crew. She enjoys traveling, outdoor recreation (especially hiking and paddleboarding), training for half marathons, working with children, and all things Disney. Learn more about Ahrens at www.emilynahrens.com. Psalm 104:33.

Jordan Hand

Hand is returning this summer as a performer and administrative apprentice at TBT. Hand recently graduated from SUNY Binghamton University with a degree in acting/directing. He is excited to be back after performing in TBT’s Fall 2018 Season as Jim in “I Love a Piano” and Benvolio in “Romeo and Juliet.” This is his first big step into the world of professional theater administration and performance, and he’s excited to learn and evolve here in Alpena.

Lucas Moquin

Moquin is a Michigan-born theatre maker and a repeat artist at Thunder Bay Theatre, and he is very excited to be an administrative apprentice for 2019.

“I would like to express my immense gratitude for being able to apply my skills for this company and share my talents with this community for as long as I have,” Moquin said. “I very much look forward to the challenges and successes I will find with the help of my friends and colleagues at Thunder Bay Theatre, and I look forward to what the future has in store.”

Jordan Hand

J. Garner

Emily Ahrens

Desi Rodriguez

Charity Means

Caprice Green

Annika Andersson