2016-2017 Season

“Give Me Christmas!”

By Jeff Kennedy

Premiered December 2016


Presented by iTheatre Collaborative

Dec. 9-18, 2016

Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 pm and Dec. 11 and 18 at 2 pm

Before you go forgetting old acquaintances, don’t forget about iTheatre’s annual Holiday Cabaret. You remember our Cabaret: Jeff Kennedy, a grand piano, some of the Valley’s most talented singers and artists, and our signature Cabaret-style seating with plenty of cheer to go around not to mention brownies. Often duplicated but never replicated, Jeff Kennedy’s Holiday Cabaret is a tune-filled celebration of the season a year in the making and only in the style of iTheatre Collaborative.




Cast

Lisa Fogel

Lisa Fogel (Cast) has not had too much eggnog if she appears to be lit up like a Christmas tree; she is just giddy to be singing with her friends in Jeff Kennedy’s Christmas Cabaret. Some of Lisa’s favorite shows in the valley: Patsy Cline (Always, Patsy Cline); Gladys/Mama (Memphis); Fantine (Les Mis); Tessie Tura (Gypsy); Seven characters in No Way to Treat a Lady; Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Annie, et al in Forbidden Broadway; Prudy (Hairspray); Lucille Frank (Parade); Seussical and Quiltmaker’s Gift. May you find peace, laughter and lots of wagging tails in 2017.

Miguel Jackson

Miguel Jackson (Cast) truly enjoys being a warm weather convert! Fresh off of singing with In The Heights at Phoenix Theatre, Miguel is excited to be a part of THE Christmas Cabaret for another year! Continued love and thanks to Jeff and the entire cast (past and present)!! We wish you LOVE this holiday season and throughout the coming year!! Please enjoy the show! Other credits include: Stew-Passing Strange (iTheater Collaborative); Curtis Taylor Jr-Dreamgirls (Desert Foothills Theater); Tom-MurderBallad (A/C Theater Company); Gator-Memphis (Phoenix Theater); Soul of Broadway Act 2! (Fountain Hills Theater); Coalhouse Walker Jr.-Ragtime (Theaterworks); Jinx - Forever Plaid (Mesa Encore Theater).

Jeff Kennedy

Jeff Kennedy (Cast) Jeff is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Humanities, Art and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University, where he is celebrating his 16th year of teaching courses in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance. As a music theatre professional, he worked on production staffs for Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, and also has been a music director for Broadway performers that include Pamela Myers, Carol Lawrence and Jubilant Sykes. An award-winning composer, arranger and producer, he has many recordings in gospel and choral music and traveled as a pianist for the Bill Gaither Trio and Gaither Vocal Band for a number of years, also accompanying vocal artists Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris, and Michelle Pillar. While a teaching fellow getting his Ph.D. in Educational Theatre at New York University, he was the founder/producer with Dr. Lowell Swortzell of the award-winning New Plays for Young Audiences reading series at the Provincetown Playhouse, where he also designed the Playhouse’s historical gallery and has since become a recognized scholar on the Playhouse and its history. Currently finishing a book tracing the Playhouse’s history, in 2008 he launched a research website about the Playhouse, www.provincetownplayhouse.com, is the immediate past-President of the Eugene O'Neill International Society and was the chair of their 2011 international conference in New York City. As a performing artist, his recent productions include the one-man show Liberace! and End of the Rainbow at Phoenix Theatre; Words and Music by Samuel Beckett and Morton Feldman; three years as the music director of Phoenix Theatre’s Hormel New Works Festival; music director of the Phoenix Symphony/Phoenix Theatre concert productions of South Pacific, My Fair Lady and Oliver; and he received the 2016 AriZoni Award as Best Music Director for the Phoenix Theatre production of The Toxic Avenger and in 2014 for their production of Avenue Q. He has conducted for Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx in a tribute concert to Ray Charles that featured a line-up of jazz all-stars. He has directed Arizona premiere productions that include Floyd Collins and Myths and Hymns: Saturn Returns by Adam Guettel; James Joyce’s The Dead; the revue of music by John Bucchino It’s Only Life; the world premiere of Daniel Lentz’s Café Desire (also performed for the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco) and the world premiere live performance of Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration at the Orpheum Theatre. For iTheatre Collaborative, he recently directed Passing Strange and he's created, directed and performed in their Holiday Cabaret for the last thirteen years.  He was awarded in 2012 the Outstanding Teacher Award-Lecturer by ASU New College and in 2015 was given the Champion of the Arts award by the West Valley Arts Council for his work as the West campus Artistic Director.

Emily Mulligan-Ferry

Emily Mulligan-Ferry (Cast) is thrilled to be back at iTheatre Collaborative celebrating this holiday season! Most recently Emily appeared for the third time as Kate Monster/Lucy in Phoenix Theatre’s production of Avenue Q. You may have also seen her onstage as Meg in Brigadoon, Prudie in Pump Boys and Dinnette’s, Miss Shields in A Christmas Story, or Sister Robert Anne in Nunsense. When not onstage, she is always in front of an audience of students at Corona del Sol High School. Emily is also the proud mom to two of the cutest toddlers in the world! Lots of love to Jason, Connor, Charlotte, mom, and dad! Merry Christmas!

Brian E. Sweis

Brian E. Sweis (Cast) is happily still here to give you Christmas…and maybe a little love, too! Most recent stage credits include the world premiere of When You Wish: The Story of Walt Disney (Phoenix Theatre), Angry Housewives the Musical (AZ Broadway Theatre), and Les Miserables (Phoenix Theatre). Recent on-camera work includes television commercials for RC Willey and the Seattle Mariners, and Postmarked-The Movie (www.postmarkedmovie.com), raising funds for ALS research. Brian is a current and founding member of Phoenix Theatre’s Partners That Heal, working bedside with patients and families at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and other care facilities around the valley. He is also a member of Essential Theatre, a playback theatre ensemble currently working with at-risk youth and others in the community (performing @ iTheatre in May!). Represented by the Leighton Agency, he has worked on numerous commercials, industrials, and voiceovers…logging hundreds of hours in the studio for clients such as Amazon, Pearson, Royal Caribbean, and SRP. Brian dedicates his performance to the memory of “Crazy Rich,” his English “uncle” who taught him that you’re never too old to let out your inner child!

Julia Thomson

Julia Thomson (Cast) received her Masters in Vocal Performance from the University of Indiana, Bloomington. A veteran of over 40 musical productions, she has performed two dozen leading roles, including Guinevere from Camelot,  Sara Brown from Guys and Dolls, Julie Jordan from Carousel and Josephine in HMS Pinafore. She most recently appeared as Melody in Space Number Nine. This is her 10th Holiday Cabaret; thanks to Jeff for inviting her back this year. Thanks also to Gerald for all his love and support.

Adam Vargas

Adam Vargas (Cast) is once again super-excited to be putting you in that Christmas mood with Jeff Kennedy and the gang!  He wishes you everything awesome this holiday season!  Thank YOU, the audience, for supporting iTheatre Collaborative and the arts!  Many thanks to Jeff, Chris & Rosie!  Much love to Mom, Dad, Vanessa, Matt & Ron! 

Playwrights

This show has no playwrights.

Creative Team

Jeff Kennedy (Director) Jeff is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Humanities, Art and Cultural Studies at Arizona State University, where he is celebrating his 16th year of teaching courses in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance. As a music theatre professional, he worked on production staffs for Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, and also has been a music director for Broadway performers that include Pamela Myers, Carol Lawrence and Jubilant Sykes. An award-winning composer, arranger and producer, he has many recordings in gospel and choral music and traveled as a pianist for the Bill Gaither Trio and Gaither Vocal Band for a number of years, also accompanying vocal artists Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris, and Michelle Pillar. While a teaching fellow getting his Ph.D. in Educational Theatre at New York University, he was the founder/producer with Dr. Lowell Swortzell of the award-winning New Plays for Young Audiences reading series at the Provincetown Playhouse, where he also designed the Playhouse’s historical gallery and has since become a recognized scholar on the Playhouse and its history. Currently finishing a book tracing the Playhouse’s history, in 2008 he launched a research website about the Playhouse, www.provincetownplayhouse.com, is the immediate past-President of the Eugene O'Neill International Society and was the chair of their 2011 international conference in New York City. As a performing artist, his recent productions include the one-man show Liberace! and End of the Rainbow at Phoenix Theatre; Words and Music by Samuel Beckett and Morton Feldman; three years as the music director of Phoenix Theatre’s Hormel New Works Festival; music director of the Phoenix Symphony/Phoenix Theatre concert productions of South Pacific, My Fair Lady and Oliver; and he received the 2016 AriZoni Award as Best Music Director for the Phoenix Theatre production of The Toxic Avenger and in 2014 for their production of Avenue Q. He has conducted for Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx in a tribute concert to Ray Charles that featured a line-up of jazz all-stars. He has directed Arizona premiere productions that include Floyd Collins and Myths and Hymns: Saturn Returns by Adam Guettel; James Joyce’s The Dead; the revue of music by John Bucchino It’s Only Life; the world premiere of Daniel Lentz’s Café Desire (also performed for the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco) and the world premiere live performance of Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration at the Orpheum Theatre. For iTheatre Collaborative, he recently directed Passing Strange and he's created, directed and performed in their Holiday Cabaret for the last thirteen years.  He was awarded in 2012 the Outstanding Teacher Award-Lecturer by ASU New College and in 2015 was given the Champion of the Arts award by the West Valley Arts Council for his work as the West campus Artistic Director.