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The Bridges of Madison County

*This show contains Adult Themes and Situations*

Director’s Note

Thank you for joining us for The Bridges of Madison County.

I have to say, it has been my absolute honor to direct a musical centered on a woman who is incredibly complex and deeply human. Francesca is a rarity in our literature, and I wish that more writers would take note of how much better a musical is when women characters are well fleshed out, have agency, and are deeply complicated. I turned forty last Fall, right at the time we were casting Bridges and am currently the age of Francesca in much of our story. I’ve always been told that this age – around the turn to forty – is when life gets real. The choices are harder, actions always have a cost, and we go from seeing everything in black and white to the world in a million shades of gray. Forty is also the age where I feel that I truly understand the different kinds of love in the world. The Greeks had multiple words for types of love: eros for “sexual passion”, philia for “deep friendship”, ludus for “playful love”, agape for “love for everyone”, pragma for “longstanding love”, and philautia as “love for the self”. English has just one word: love. How unimaginative and unsatisfying. It’s in shades of gray that we find Francesca and Robert’s story, and throughout Bridges each of the words for love can be found inside of the different relationships. As that word love comes up again and again, I hope you’ll be able to tell which kind of love our characters are referencing. I also hope you will try to understand why Francesca makes each of the choices she does along the journey.

Another theme we’ve explored heavily in this production is that of community. How community can surround and support a person, but also keep a watchful eye on them as we are truly “never alone”. This idea of community helps lift and carry our musical along, to define and expand the ensemble beyond their more limited use in the script. In support of this community theme, I have adapted numerous community-based dances in Bridges: a medieval French dance called the Farandole, an Italian folk dance called the Tarantella, a mid western square dance and even a popular line dance of the 1960s called the Madison. See if you can spot these dances and understand how we’ve used them to tell the story of our community.

This musical has been a deeply personal project for me, one that has caught me by surprise at every turn. Instead of forcing my vision upon Bridges, I’ve allowed it to unfurl before me. To show me what it wanted to become. That has led to a joyous and immensely creative rehearsal experience, the most deeply satisfying artistic experience I’ve had in many years. They say that you should do things that scare you, and whoever “they” are, they were correct. I am so very thankful to my designers, creative team and cast for supporting this vision, and engaging in this process with such enthusiasm, collaboration and trust. It means more than you know.

To my own landscape photographer, my husband and partner Jason, thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement. You represent the best of both Bud and Robert, and you are there on stage with us in so many ways tonight.

Finally, I wish to dedicate this project to the memory of three men, giants in my life, who have recently passed but whose memories live on in this musical. Darcy, Nik and Joe – you are loved, you are deeply missed, and you are never forgotten.

– Erin Farrell Speer, Director and Choreographer

Cast

FrancescaAbigayle Harnum
Robert KincaidBrooks Andrew
RIchard “Bud” JohnsonTristan Altobelli
Carolyn JohnsonMarina Jansen
Michael JohnsonAidan Levinson
MargeElsa Keefe
CharlieZeth Dixon
Marian, State Fair Singer, EnsembleMallorie Sievert
Waitress, Carolyn u/s, EnsembleSammy Azua
Announcer, Charlie u/s, EnsembleCharlie Castro
Paolo, Bud u/s, EnsembleDerick Donato
Jeff, Michael u/s, EnsembleCollin Flanagan
Marian u/s, Chiara u/s, EnsembleMalia Horst
Radio DJ, Robert u/s, EnsembleErik Houck
Young Francesca, Ginny, Francesca u/s, EnsembleSitare Sadeghi
Chiara, Marge u/s, EnsembleGabriella Scarpace

Creative Team

Director/ChoreographerErin Farrell Speer
Associate DirectorJakov Schwartzberg
Music DirectorChris Rayis
Co-Associate Music DirectorKaylee Hayden
Candace Rhodes
Intimacy ChoreographerMya Brown
Intimacy CaptainDerick Donato
Scenic DesignerCharles Johnson
Costume DesignerKayla Higbee
Sound DesignerMike Smith
Audio EngineerKate Rivera
Audio 2Casey Spielman
Lighting DesignerBill Webb
Asst. Lighting DesignerSophia Walper

Production Team

Technical DirectorJosh Bothwell
Asst. Technical DirectorMargo Buchanan
Stage ManagerJessica Valente
Asst. Stage ManagerKayla Jordan
Talia Scheckman
Production ManagerBill Webb
Costume Shop ManagerHeidi Jo Schiemer
Props SupervisorNatalie Hart
Props CoordinatorJeff A.R. Jones
Props ArtisansMae Bischoff
Corinne Brager
Sarah Cadol
Graham Cole
Conrad Hall
Zoë Healey
Brynn Lackey
Caity Ladda
Sean Mikesh
Jack Morrill
Brett Turnbull
Scenic ArtistsBalazs David
Sivan Propper
Light Board OpBecca Wycoff
Sound Board OpEmily Moxon
Fly OpMargo Buchanan
WardrobeAbigail Lynch
Ilana Meissner
Brooke Gustafson
Spot OpJonathan Jensen
Gabe Tobierre
Front-of-House SupervisorDavid J. McGraw
House ManagerKeri Anderson
Ella Huestis
Laura McGuire
Jack Morrill
Poster DesignSydney Dye
Photo ConsultantJason Speer

Musical Numbers

Act 1

To Build A Home ……….Francesca, Ensemble

Home Before You Know It ……….Bud, Francesca, Michael, Carolyn

Temporarily Lost ……….Robert

What Do You Call a Man Like That? ……….Francesca

You’re Never Alone ……….Company

Another Life ……….Marian

Wondering ……….Robert

Look at Me ……….Company

The World Inside a Frame ……….Robert

Something from a Dream ……….Bud

Get Closer / Falling into You ……….Marge, Robert, Francesca, Ensemble

Act 2

State Road 21 / The Real World / Who We Are ……….Company

Almost Real ……….Francesca, Young Francesca, Chiara, Paolo and Company

Before and After You / A Million Miles ……….Robert, Francesca

When I’m Gone ……….Charlie, Bud, Company

It All Fades Away ……….Robert

Always Better ……….Francesca, Robert, Company

The Band

Piano/Conductor: Chris Rayis

Violin I: Ueli Schweizer

Violin II: Sierra Sims-Smith

Viola/Violin III: Jennifer Lane

Viola/Violin III: Theresa Fox

Cello: Josie Greenwald

Bass: Rebecca Marland

Guitar 1: Allan Beck

Guitar 2: Wesley Rose

Percussion: Erik Schmidt

Auxiliary Percussion: Kaylee Hayden & Candace Rhodes

Contractor: Kate Hopper

Bios

Chris Rayis

Chris Rayis

Joshua Bothwell

Joshua Bothwell

Natalie Taylor Hart

Natalie Taylor Hart

Tristan Altobelli

Tristan Altobelli

Brooks Andrew

Brooks Andrew

Charlie Castro

Charlie Castro

Graham Cole

Graham Cole

Zeth Dixon

Zeth Dixon

Derick Donato

Derick Donato

Collin Flanagan

Collin Flanagan

Abigayle Harnum

Abigayle Harnum

Kaylee Hayden

Kaylee Hayden

Erik Houck

Erik Houck

Marina Jansen

Marina Jansen

Aidan Levinson

Aidan Levinson

Elsa Oates Keefe

Elsa Oates Keefe

Kayla Jordan

Kayla Jordan

Sivan Propper

Sivan Propper

Sitare Sadeghi

Sitare Sadeghi

Mallorie Sievert

Mallorie Sievert

Jessica Valente

Jessica Valente

Sophia Walper

Sophia Walper

Malia Horst

Malia Horst

Gabriella Scarpace

Gabriella Scarpace

Tyler Wakelin

Tyler Wakelin

Talia Scheckman

Talia Scheckman

Mya Brown

Mya Brown

Erin Farrell Speer

Erin Farrell Speer

Sammy Azua

Sammy Azua

Margo Buchanan

Margo Buchanan

Kayla Higbee

Kayla Higbee

Chris Rayis

Chris Rayis (Composer, Lyricist, Pianist) thanks you for attending this workshop of Deep Water Ballad the long-stewing grand vision of his collaboration with Douglas Waterbury-Tieman. Broadway: Frozen. National Tours: Hamilton, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Elf, Man of La Mancha. Off-Broadway: Far From Heaven, Cruel Intentions. Film: The Last 5 Years. The music and lyrics of this production exist only because of three extraordinary teachers: Ricky Ian Gordon, Dr. Ann Elisa Haertling-Lint, and Dr. W. Daniel Landes. Thank you to Elon University, Elon Music Theatre, Transcriber of Dreams, and R2E2 Productions for making this performance possible. Proud alumnus of Belmont, that "one little clearing on a mountainside," and Penn State, that valley where "the storm is lifting." Thank you to Alexandra Joye Warren for your infinite flexibility, Peyton Otis for your herculean work ethic, and Mallorie Sievert for your extraordinary insight. Thank you to Bill and Eileen DeWood, truly the greatest patrons an artist could ever "dream" of. This performance is dedicated to Big Walt Adeler and Todd Garlock... the real Mountain Men.

Joshua Bothwell

Interim Technical Director and alum of the TDT department. Happy to be back at Elon, and to be putting on this show.

Natalie Taylor Hart

Natalie Taylor Hart is a Scenic Designer and the Associate Chair of Performing Arts at Elon University. Selected Scenic Designs: New York: Tech Support (59E59TH, Off-Broadway); Tartuffe (Queens Theatre, Off-Off-Broadway); Slave Shack (Algonquin Theatre); Associate Designer for The Wiz (The Netherlands). Regional: Life in the Fat Lane (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); Having Our Say, Our Town {Scenic Consultant}, Fences {Finalist in World Stage Design 2017 Taipei}, White Lightning (Triad Stage). Exhibitions: USITT Design Expo, Prague Quadrennial, World Stage Design Finalist 2017, Lincoln Center Portfolio Review. MFA, Ohio University. Proud member of IATSE USA Local 829. natalietaylorhart.com

Tristan Altobelli

Tristan Altobelli (Don, U/S Zach) is excited to be taking his final bows on the Elon MainStage. His Elon credits include: Spring Awakening (Hanschen), The Bridges of Madison County (Bud), Antigone (Haemon), and Movin' On. Tristan will graduate with the class of 2024 with his BFA in Music Theater, but not before serving as Assistant Director on Elon's Spring MainStage: Myths & Hymns. Thanks to Friends, Family, & the Chorus Line Team!

Brooks Andrew

Brooks is currently a Senior Music Theatre major at Elon and is looking forward to graduation and moving to NYC. His past favorite roles include Prince Topher (Cinderella, Wagon Wheel Center For The Arts), Robert Kincaid (The Bridges of Madison County, Elon University). Brooks looks forward to returning to Wagon Wheel Center For The Arts this summer to play the role of Prince Eric in Disney's The Little Mermaid. Brooks would like to extend a special thanks to his family, his Music Theatre Class of '23, and his Vizsla puppy "Rugby". Find him on Instagram @brooks_andrew

Charlie Castro

Charles "Charlie" Castro is a junior musical theatre major at Elon University. He is a Miami, Florida native. Some of his past favorite roles include Javert in Les Miserables, Harry Houdini in Side Show, Hot Blades Harry in Urinetown, and Jimmy Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It. He wants to thank his family for their constant support in all of his artistic endeavors. A Chorus Line is a dream show come true for Charlie. He hopes you enjoy our singular sensation!

Graham Cole

Graham Cole is a sophomore Acting major from McLean, Virginia. His work at Elon include Concord Floral (7 / Couch), Sense and Sensibility (Mrs. Jennings U/S, Sir John U/S), and improv with Instant Laughter.

Zeth Dixon

Zeth Dixon is a Senior Music Theatre major from Nashville, TN. Previous credits include: Flatrock Playhouse - A Chorus Line, Cinderella, Elon University - Spring Awakening, Bridges of Madison County, 42nd Street. He is thrilled to be apart of this years Black History Month Dance Concert as it will also be his last Elon MainStage performance.

Derick Donato

Derick is so excited to be back on the McCrary Stage performing in A Chorus Line. Favorite credits include The Little Mermaid (Prince Eric), On Your Feet! (Swing), & The Bridges of Madison County (Ensemble). Special thanks and shoutout to the cast and creatives, as well as my friends and family!! @derickgdonato

Collin Flanagan

Collin is ecstatic to be a part of the cast of Grand Night! Recently at Elon, Collin has performed in Movin’ On, Collage, Grand Night, and Elon Cares. He would like to thank the entire company for their perseverance, and a special shout-out to his parents for being the best people in the whole world. Enjoy the show!

Abigayle Harnum

Abby Harnum is a current senior and proud member of Elon’s Music Theatre class of 2023. She is absolutely thrilled to be portraying such a dream role and is incredibly grateful for such a rewarding experience working on this show. Most recently, Abby was seen in North Carolina Theatre’s production of On Your Feet! and Peach State Summer Theatre’s productions of Cinderella and Sister Act. Abby would like to thank her loving family, friends and the entire Elon Performing Arts community for their support.

Kaylee Hayden

Kaylee Hayden is a Senior Music Theatre major with a minor in Music Technology. Previously at Elon, she played Mopsa in Head Over Heels and Lucinda in Into The Woods. Kaylee also is a proud member of Vital Signs A Cappella. She is so grateful for her four years at Elon, and sends all of her love and gratitude to her family and friends!

Erik Houck

Erik is super excited to be performing here at Elon alongside his peers! Previous roles Erik has played include Tom of Warwick in the Broadway tour of Camelot and Roger in ITS’s Rent.

Marina Jansen

Marina Jansen is a sophomore Music Theatre major from Maryland. They have been working in the professional industry both onstage and onscreen since they were 13. In addition to performing, Marina loves choreographing, playing the piano and guitar, and writing music. They'd like to thank all their friends and fellow MT majors for their amazing hard work and talent. Enjoy the show!

Aidan Levinson

Aidan Levinson is a senior BFA Acting and Music in the Liberal Arts major from Massachusetts. He is thrilled to be performing the role of Michael in this production. Recent credits include Head Over Heels (Dametas), La Traviata (Servant), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chip Tolentino), and Sense and Sensibility (Edward/Robert Ferrars).

Elsa Oates Keefe

Elsa is a senior Music Theatre major, from Lowell, MA. Recent; A Man of No Importance (Cape Rep Theatre), Fun Home (Paramount Theatre Aurora), Sister Act (Geva Theatre Center), Bridges of Madison County (Elon University), Head Over Heels (Elon University), 42nd Street (Elon University), Bubbly Black Girl.. (Elon University), The Who’s Tommy (Seacoast Rep). Many thanks to her mentors, friends, and family for their unwavering support. Extra love to her voice teacher Ken Lee! (She/They) @elsakeefe

Kayla Jordan

Kayla Jordan is a junior DTS and TDT major from Nashville, Tennessee. Recent Elon credits include The Bridges of Madison County (Assistant Stage Manager) and Spring Awakening (Props Artisan). Other credits include Steel Magnolias (Stage Manager) and Murder on the Orient Express (Stage Manager) at Weathervane Playhouse. Kayla is thrilled to now be a dramaturg for The Antipodes! She’d like to give special thanks to both Dr. Shawyer and Scott Proudfit for their support.

Sivan Propper

Sivan is a Senior B.F.A Acting Major from Los Angeles, California. She is so grateful for the support, opportunities, and education she has gained from her professors at Elon University. After graduation, she plans on movie back to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Television and Film.

Sitare Sadeghi

Sitare Sadeghi is a sophomore Music Theatre major with a minor in Piano Pedagogy. Previous roles include Ensemble in Movin’ On, Sheila in Hair, Sally in Cabaret, Cinderella in Into The Woods, and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Sitare has also participated in Collage, Elon Cares, and Grand Night as a Music Director. Sitare is excited to continue her journey performing on the Elon stage and is thankful for all of the opportunities her family has provided her. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Mallorie Sievert

Mallorie is a senior Music Theatre major with a math minor in the Honors Fellows program. She was a 2020 National YoungArts Finalist and 2020 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and she could most recently be seen as Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the Dragon in Shrek the Musical, and Marian in The Bridges of Madison County. She’s so excited for everything her senior year has to bring, and she hopes you enjoy the show!

Jessica Valente

Jessica Valente is a Senior Theatrical Design and Technology major from Wyckoff, New Jersey. She is very proud that The Bridges of Madison County will be her final stage managing experience at Elon. Jessica’s past Elon credits include Fall Dance Concert '22 (Lighting Designer), Movin On (Stage Manager), Fall Dance Concert '21 (Lighting Designer), Heart of Shrapnel (Asst. Lighting Designer), Fugitive Songs (Asst. Stage Manager), Beast Mode Champion (Asst. Stage Manager) and The Wolves(Asst. Stage Manager). Jessica has enjoyed working on this production and would like to thank her family and friends for all their love and support.

Sophia Walper

Sophia Walper is a junior with majors in Theatrical Design and Technology, and Psychology. This academic year Sophia will work as a lighting designer on John Proctor Is The Villain, Fall Dance 2023, and Myths and Hymns. Recent credits include: Clue, Black History Month Dance Concert, and Bridges of Madison County.  

Malia Horst

Malia Horst is a Sophomore Music Theatre major and welcomes you to Collage 2023! Her past credits include Marian U/S, Chiara U/S, and Ensemble in Elon’s Bridges of Madison County, Cinderella in Into the Woods, Inga in Young Frankenstein, and Marty in Grease. Most recently, she worked as a Summer Resident Artist (roles including Snow White, Wendy, Various) at The Palace Theatre. She is thrilled to perform in such an inspiring student run showcase. Thank you to everyone (specifically Courtney Liu and Jane Lanier) for their dedication to making this such a rewarding process. Enjoy the show!

Gabriella Scarpace

Gabriella is a current sophomore and is so excited for A Chorus Line! This past summer, she had the opportunity to work at Grandstreet Theatre as Atina/Dance Captain in their production of The Little Mermaid. Last winter at Elon, Gabriella was in her first Elon show, The Bridges of Madison County as Chiara/Ensemble/Marge US. She wants to thank the faculty for helping her grow and making her who she is today. Gabriella cannot wait for what comes in the future! Let's make it the best!

Tyler Wakelin

Tyler has worked on costumes for regional productions of Chicago and sets for Mamma Mia and is excited to get even more experience as deck crew for Bridges of Madison County.

Talia Scheckman

Talia Scheckman is a Sophomore Theatrical Design and Technology major from Livingston, New Jersey. Talia’s previous Elon credits include She Loves Me (Stage Manager), The Bridges of Madison County (Asst. Stage Manager), and Fall Dance Concert (Asst. Stage Manager). Talia has had the best time working on this production and would like to thank everyone involved, her family, and her friends for their love and support. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Mya Brown

Mya Brown (AEA, SDC) is an Assistant Professor and Co-Coordinator of the BFA in Acting at UNC-Greensboro. She is Assistant Faculty with Theatrical Intimacy Education, one of the nation's leading organizations in theatrical intimacy practices. She is excited to make her directorial debut at Elon University with Kimberly Belflower’s beautiful and provocative play. Some of her favorite directing projects include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sweat, Skeleton Crew and The Mountaintop. She hopes you enjoy the show and leave motivated to dance your troubles away. Follow her on Instagram and TikTok @myasturnnow.

Erin Farrell Speer

Originally from Los Angeles, Erin is an Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at UNC Greensboro where she founded and co-coordinates the BFA musical theatre program. Erin has also taught in the musical theatre programs at Penn State and Florida Southern. Erin earned her MFA at Penn State, and her BFA from the University of Michigan. Broadway and Tour: Escape to Margaritaville. Off-Broadway: Stardust Road (York Theatre Company). Regional companies: Center Theatre Group/the Mark Taper Forum, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Sarasota Opera House, Heritage Rep, Sierra Rep, CLOC Cape Cod. Favorite directing credits: Pippin, The Spongebob Musical, American Idiot, Sweet Charity, Company, The Wild Party, All Shook Up, The Scarlet Pimpernell. Upcoming: Rock of Ages.

Sammy Azua

Sammy is loving every second of being a first year in the Music Theatre BFA program! She was recently seen making her Elon MainStage debut in Bridges of Madison County; she was also seen earlier this year in Antigone as Creon. Sammy would like to thank each of her Grand Night directors for the opportunity they gave her and every single student and faculty member in the Music Theatre department for making this show and this year so wonderful. Most importantly, she would like to thank her mom, dad and little brother DJ, whom she wouldn’t be here without. Enjoy! @sammyazua

Margo Buchanan

Margo Buchanan (she/her) is a junior at Elon double majoring in political science and theatrical design and technology with a concentration in technical direction. She’s very excited to be the assistant technical director for Spring Awakening! Most recently, she worked at the Santa Fe Opera as a stage crew apprentice for the 2023 season. Previous Elon credits include Clue (asst. props manager), Bridges of Madison County (asst. technical director), and Head Over Heels (deck lead).

Kayla Higbee

Kayla Higbee (she/her) is a Costume Designer and Assistant Faculty Member of Performing Arts at Elon University. Selected Costume Designs: Men on Boats (Tantrum Theatre), Tall Girls (SEY Independent Productions), Twelfth Night (Centre College), Superior Donuts (AthensWest Theatre Company), Assassins (Centre College), Objects in the Mirror (Tantrum Theatre), Stitched with a Sickle and a Hammer (Ohio University), The Wolves (Ohio University). Other: Assistant to the Costume Designers, Texas Shakespeare Festival (2022), Wardrobe Supervisor, Berkshire Theatre Group (2015-2019), Resident Costume Designer, Centre College (2014-2018). MFA, Ohio University.