Matilda the Musical Bios
Kemba Shannon she/her
Eric Nordin he/him
Eric is a multiple award-winning playwright, composer, music director and pianist in Portland, Oregon. This is Eric’s eighth production with Portland Playhouse. Between projects, Eric’s dachshund Oscar continues to lavish him with so many kisses and cuddles that it’s very nearly too much to take.
Dan Meeker~ he/him
Scenic & Lighting Designer
Wanda Walden she/her
Wanda is an award winning Costume Designer for over 35 years. In 1981 Wanda created a new concept “Retro-Spect Productions ” A Theatrical Modeling Company. Stepping back into the past and reminiscing yesteryear through A Potpourri of Fashion, music and Dance. In 1985 Wanda launched an exciting career in Acting and Costuming. The rest is “LA History” Portland Playhouse: Pipeline, Crowns, How I Learned, What I Learned;Profile Theatre: The Oldest Profession, Mother Courage, Ruined, Fires in the Mirror, The Secretaries; ART: Skeleton Crew, We Are Proud to Present, It’s a Wonderful Life, An Octaroon; OCT: The Journal of Ben Uchida, In This Corner, Cassius Clay. Media Rites/Coho: Brothers Paranormal. Vanport Mosaic: Soul’d, Martha Bakes, Left Hook, Cottonwood in the Flood; Passin Art Theatre: Black Nativity, Two Trains Running, The Gospel of Loving Kindness.
Cassie Greer* she/her
Stage Manager / Dialect Coach
Cassie (@cassiegreer) began her professional career as a stage manager, and after spending the bulk of the past 20 years as an actor, director, and theatre educator, is thrilled to be returning to her roots with this incredible cast and crew! Cassie received her training in the MFA Acting program at Florida Atlantic University; the BA Theatre, History, and Music programs at Goshen College; and in the 9th Certification group of Fitzmaurice Voicework® teachers. In Oregon, she spent 11 years with Bag&Baggage Productions, working in a variety of capacities on more than 30 shows and serving as Artistic Director from 2019-2022. Find more details on all her various interests and past projects at cassiegreer.com. Huge love and thanks to the Playhouse team, and to her family and friends around the country for their continual love, support, and energy.
Hair and Wig Designer
Allison Knight- Blaine
Bei Yi Teo^
Bei is overjoyed to be back in the Portland Playhouse. She is a scenic artist and propmaker and some of her favorite projects include, Bella an American Tall Tale (Portland Playhouse), Don’t Hug Me and Loch Lomond at Broadway Rose Theater Company, The Found Dog Ribbon Dance at CoHo Theater and Amazon Prime’s Somebody I Used to Know. She thanks her husband for being the greatest support in her pursuit of art.
Keela Johnson she/her
Cultural Competency Consultant
Keela works as a Cultural Competency Consultant for Portland Playhouse. She began her work in this role during the 21/22 production season and is continuing in her role for the 22/23 season. Keela also works as a private consultant for non-profit and other organizations, as well as an educator at Portland State University. She specializes in institutional, structural, and inter/intrapersonal oppressive ideologies, frameworks, policies, and narratives with an emphasis on healing spaces for all. Her work over the past 7 years with Portland Playhouse has consisted of providing workshops and other facilitations for staff, critical dialogic spaces for the greater community and critical dialogic spaces for affinity groups. She is moving into her second production year in this role and is so happy, honored and humbled to be on this wonderful journey.
Associate Choreographer and Child Wrangler
Voni is a Portland-based actor, singer, and teaching artist. She has performed locally in Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Great Gatsby’s Daisy (Daisy Buchanan), Tinderella (Meg), Bojangles of Harlem (Shirley Temple), and God of Vengeance (Rifkele). Her original one-woman musical, “Space Girl” is available to watch on YouTube. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Hartt School and was a member of the Season 13 Acting Apprentice Company at Portland Playhouse. vonikengla.com
Asst Music Director
Dayna Lucas She/her
Asst Costume Designer
Dayna is an accomplished costume assistant and designer with a passion for bringing characters to life through clothing. She is known for her creative flair and attention to detail. A Fashion Design graduate from FIDM in Los Angeles, Dayna has worked in costume design for both film and theatre over the past nine years. Her most recent theatre collaborations include Argonautika (2019) for A Noise Within Theatre in Pasadena, CA and A Christmas Carol (2022) at the Portland Playhouse. She is excited be a part of Matilda: The Musical and very thankful for such a talented and hardworking cast and crew.
Tim Finlayson he/him
Head Carpenter & Props
Ryann St Julien they/he
Carpenter & Props
Ryann is a theatre technician based in Portland, Oregon. They recently received a B.A. in theater from Lewis and Clark College, where their credits include props master for The Secretaries, (Lewis and Clark College); and Medea (Lewis and Clark College). They were a member of the scene shop crew for Lewis and Clark productions of Medea, Passion Play, The Secretaries, Cabaret, The Christians, Stupid Fucking Bird, and Sweeney Todd. They have worked around Portland on productions such as King of the Yees (Profile Theater), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Profile Theater), Chicken and Biscuits (Portland Playhouse), and Home/Land (Hand2Mouth). Check out their website at https://www.ryannstjulien.com/
Thyra Hartshorn she/her
Asst Stage Manager & Director of Production
Thyra is a production manager, stage manager and technical director. Her training includes an MFA in production and design with a concentration in stage management from the University of California, Irvine, as well as almost two decades in ballet production. Thyra has toured and worked with companies around the world including San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet. Locally she’s also worked with Oregon Ballet Theatre, Profile Theatre, White Bird, Portland Taiko and Northwest Dance Project. Thyra has taught high school stagecraft as well as college-level stage management locally.
Abby Jacquin they/them
Asst Head Electrician
Dylan Nebeker+ they/them
Susannah Mars* she/her
Miss Agatha Trunchbull
Susannah is thrilled to return to Portland Playhouse after playing Mistress Hibbins in Scarlet and Margaret in The Light in the Piazza. She is a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre and is on the board at Portland Center Stage. Over the past thirty-five years, she’s appeared onstage worldwide. Locally, she’s played iconic roles like Mrs. Lovett in Sweeny Todd, Mother in Ragtime, and Mama Rose in Gypsy. She’s performed her holiday show Mars On Life and also played Diana in Next To Normal, among others. She was on NBC’s Grimm as Drew Wu’s psychiatrist, Dr. Richet. Ms. Mars is the proud recipient of six Portland Drama Critics awards. Lately, she finds herself in a lovely sound booth at home voicing audiobooks, audio-description, and commercials. Find out more, including updates on her short documentary film about art and grief, Symphony of Grief, by subscribing to her newsletter at susannahmars.com
Merideth Kaye Clark*
Merideth's credits include, Portland Playhouse: The Light in the Piazza (Clara) Drammy Award Winner. Other local credits: It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Winter Song (created with Brandon Woolley),The Last Five Years (Cathy), Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitl) Portland Center Stage; The Sound of Music (Maria); Kiss Me Kate (Kate) Clackamas Rep. Other selected credits: Wicked (Elphaba Standby) First National Tour; Evita (Eva Peron) Northern Stage; Oliver! (Nancy) 5th Ave Theatre; Bright Star (Alice Murphy) Arvada Center. Merideth tours internationally with her original concerts Joni Mitchell’s BLUE and Happy Days Are Here Again: The Music of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. She is also half of the acclaimed folk-Americana duo Siren Songs. Merideth is a performance coach and voice and guitar teacher and has taught masterclasses nationwide. TV credits include Portlandia and Emmy-nominated Documentary Now! Original Cast Album: Co-op. What a treat to share the stage with my kids Ever & Arden!
Michael Feldman* he/him
Mr Wormwood/ Escapologist
Michael is thrilled to be making his Portland Playhouse debut! Previous credits include Ensemble and principal cover Here Lies Love – Seattle Repertory Theatre. Johnny Cash, Million Dollar Quartet – CDA Summer Theatre. Howl, Howl's Moving Castle – Book-it Rep. Ensemble and principal cover Xanadu – Village Theatre / Arizona Theatre Co. @themichaelfeldman.
Dana Green* she/her
Dana is delighted to return to Portland Playhouse where she was last seen in Barbecue and to be acting with her daughter Madeline and her niece Finley for the first time! Portland credits include work at Portland Center Stage, Third Rail, and Profile Theatre. She has spent four seasons with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and has performed at numerous regional theaters including The DCPA, The Old Globe, South Coast Repertory, Yale Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, California Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Court Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre, and Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. Television/Film credits include Trinkets, Shrill, Significant Other, Test Screening, Girl in the Woods, The Librarians, and Grimm.
Claire Rigsby she/they
Mrs. Phelps/Big Kid
Alec Cameron Lugo
Alec is a Queer, mixed-race, Latiné performer and multi-hyphenate artist excited to be returning to Portland Playhouse in Matilda! Alec was previously seen onstage with Portland Playhouse last season understudying in the world-premiere of Great Wide Open. A 2016 graduate of Pacific University, select theatrical credits include productions with Portland Center Stage (tick, tick … BOOM!), Profile Theatre (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity), Fuse Theatre Ensemble (The Pursuit of Happiness, Our Town), and Anonymous Theatre (The Pirates of Penzance), among others. Radio and television credits include work with All Classical Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “All Science. No Fiction.”, and IFC’s Emmy- nominated Documentary Now! episode “Original Cast Recording: Co-op.” Alec serves as the Marketing & Event Manager with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus and the Portland Lesbian Choir, and his work in photography, videography, and graphic design has been featured locally and nationally. As always, thank you to Victor and Mary. And Riley. And Damon. Let’s connect! @gameboy_of_color • @_a_l_media_ alecclugo.com
Alec is also the understudy for the following roles Mr. Wormwood/Escapologist/Michael/ Rudolpho/Party Entertainer/Big Kid
Benjamin Tissell* he/him
Michael Wormwood/ Rudolpho/ Party Entertainer/ Big Kid
Austin is elated to be back at Portland Playhouse with this wonderful show! Recent Portland credits include Anselmo in Man of La Mancha (Clackamas Repertory Theater), Logan in Chicken & Biscuits (Portland Playhouse), RENT (Portland Center Stage), Buddy in Elf: The Musical (Lakewood Theatre) and The Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods (Broadway Rose Theatre). Austin spent two seasons in the Acting Company of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, appearing in the U.S. premiere of Shakespeare In Love, among others. Other work includes the Fertile Ground Festival, Oregon Fringe Festival, Lunacy Fest, and Puppeteers for Fears. He holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Southern Oregon University. IG: @austincomfort
Austin is also the understudy for the roles of: Doctor/Sergei/Cook/Big Kid
Netty McKenzie^ she/her
Netty is elated to be apart of the Matilda cast! She is a singer/actor born and raised right here in northeast Portland. Netty was last seen in Last Stop on Market Street (Oregon Children’s Theater), and Black Nativity (Passinart Theatre Company). She is a graduate of Portland State University where she received a B.S. in Theater Arts. Netty is also a former Portland Playhouse apprentice for the 2018-19 Season. When she is not performing, she manages an after school program for elementary school students called SUN (schools uniting neighborhoods).She would like to thank her friends, family and beautiful children Kahari and McKenzie for their support in her endeavors. She Hopes you all enjoy the show!
Voni Kengla^ she/her
Big Kid/ Mechanic
Voni s a Portland-based actor, singer, and teaching artist. She has performed locally in Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Great Gatsby’s Daisy (Daisy Buchanan), Tinderella (Meg), Bojangles of Harlem (Shirley Temple), and God of Vengeance (Rifkele). Her original one-woman musical, Space Girl is available to watch on YouTube. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Hartt School and was a member of the Season 13 Acting Apprentice Company at Portland Playhouse. vonikengla.com
Voni is also the understudy for the following roles: Trunchbull/Miss Honey/Mrs. Wormwood
Lily is thrilled to be making her professional theater debut in Matilda the Musical! She has studied acting and musical theater at OCT, NWCT, Bridgetown Conservatory, and Willowbrook Arts Camp. She is currently in 5th grade at Riverdale Grade School, where she appeared in Beauty and the Beast Jr. and as Young Anna in Frozen Jr. When she isn't acting or singing, Lily enjoys reading and rock climbing. Lily would like to thank her family for all of their love and support, as well as Brian, Charles, Kemba, Eric, Cassie, and the rest of the incredible team at the Portland Playhouse!
Lily is also the understudy for the roles of Nigel & Lily
Georgia Krugel she/they
Georgia is beyond excited to be joining Portland Playhouse for the first time! Georgia is currently a 4th grader at the Cottonwood School of Civics and Science and this is her second stage appearance – she previously held the role of Alice in Alice and Wonderland (New Moon Productions). When she’s not memorizing lines, you’ll find Georgia working on her ice skating at Lloyd Center, dreaming up magical games for her little sibling, playing piano, making lots of arts and craft creations, training her dachshund Dolly Pawton, and adventuring with her family. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, just like Miss Honey.
“I know you are only a tiny little girl, but there is some kind of magic in you somewhere.” – Miss Honey
Georgia is also the understudy for the roles of Nigel & Lily
Nia is very excited for her first show with Portland Playhouse! She loves Matilda the Musical and recently appeared in Journey Theater's production as a Little Kid. Nia has also participated in musical theatre classes and shows at Spotlight Musical Theatre Academy, where she began her training. Nia is in the 4th grade and loves reading, dance, cheer, singing, and hanging out with her friends and sisters. She also works professionally as a model and actor appearing in many ads campaigns and commercials. Nia is so grateful to be playing Matilda in this awesome production with amazing group of new friends. Follow Nia on Instagram @the.scottsisters!
Mia is so excited to be part of Matilda the Musical, and this is Mia's first production she has been in. Mia is in the 5th grade, she loves to ride her bike, go swimming, wrestling, playing basketball, making bracelets and hanging out with her brothers & cousins. Mia has a 14 year old Corgi name Twinkie.
Henry Tullis they/them
Chenoa Johnson she/her
Chenoa is a lover of people and all things creative. She is a soccer player, ballet novice, and aspiring theater actress. She is very competitive in all she does, which is only matched by her compassion for others. She's the 2nd oldest of 4 siblings, and she makes her parents Phillip and Ambrosia Johnson proud.
Arden Thorsell she/her
From Arden: “I am 6.5 years old and about to turn 7. I love to go swimming, skiing, acting, dancing, singing and getting dressed up for performances. I have a dog named Huckleberry. He is 14 years old and he has an infected tooth. My mom is Miss Honey and my sister is Nigel. I love being with friends and family. My favorite foods are tacos and pasta and I love eating ice cream. I love soccer and the Portland Thorns. I was Gretl in The Sound of Music at Clackamas Rep last summer with my sister and mom.”
Claire de la Cruz she/her
Claire is an elementary school student who is very excited to make her acting debut in Matilda the Musical (though she is not a stranger to the stage!). She is very grateful to Portland Playhouse for giving her the opportunity to tell this story with such talented people. When she is not on the stage or at school, she can be found reading, knitting, playing on the playground,drawing, dancing hula, or ice skating. She would like to thank some of her classmates for telling her about the show because otherwise she wouldn't have auditioned in the first place! She would also like to thank her vocal coach, Kat, for helping her rehearse the songs. Lastly, she would like to thank her parents for making time fit so she could do this!
Madeline Cromer she/her
Madeline is delighted to be doing her first play with her mom and her cousin. A few fun facts about Madeline: she loves swimming, acting and devouring candy (giant lollipops are her favorite), she just entered the third grade this fall, she wants to be an actor or a writer when she grows up (or maybe in the Olympics). And her favorite thing about Matilda is that she stands up for herself and others.
James Alexander Lovely he/they
James is a really good dancer, and a fast runner. He loves Sonic the Hedgehog and pretending to be just like him. James enjoys playing with his lovie Sonic and his toy Lamborghini, Mustang, and Lightning McQueen. James also models and is enjoying being a first grader. And he loves his mama
Ever Thorsell she/they
Estella Lindhorst she/he/they
Tucker Karsten he/him
Tucker is a 7th Grader at Rock Creek Middle School. He plays cello for his school orchestra. Aside from theater and music, Tucker loves to rollerblade and bake and has played lacrosse for 4 years. Tucker has trained at Oregon Children’s Theater and Bridgetown Conservatory of Musical Theatre. He has been a crew member for multiple high school theater shows and was a follow spot operator for the Bridgetown production of Side by Side by Sondheim. Matilda the Musical is Tucker’s first full production as a performer, and he is excited to bring his energy to the stage. He’d like to thank his parents, Sissy, family, teachers, and coaches for their support!
Morgane Hepburn she/her
Margot Penny Weaver
Margot has been acting in plays at the Playhouse since she was 5 years old, most often in A Christmas Carol, and more recently in Titus Andronicus. She has great love for stories, books, movies, plays, musicals, anything that tells a story she is ALL about! Ask her a question about a book and expect the entire detailed story to be told to you. She has a passion for soccer and baking. She saw Matilda on Broadway at the ripe young age of 4, has read the book multiple times, and is excited to be here telling this story.
Zahara Beamer she/her
Zahara is a sixth grader at Harriet Tubman Middle School (go Legends!) In her free time she enjoys knitting, playing with her Calico Critters, and lounging around listening to podcasts. She's very excited to be joining Portland Playhouse for this production of Matilda the Musical, which she likes because it's fast-paced and energetic. She hopes you enjoy it!
Mila Kashiwabara she/her/ella
Mila is thrilled to be returning to the Portland Playhouse as part of this production, Most recently you may have seen her as Pipe’s Little Sister in Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Crave Theatre, 2023) or as Dog in Dragons Love Tacos (Oregon Children’s Theatre, 2023). Her Portland Playhouse credits include A Christmas Carol (various roles 2019, 2021, 2022), Young Lucius in Titus Andronicus (2022), and the role of Oli in the filmed piece 545 (2020). When she isn’t acting, she can be found dancing (especially hip hop), researching fashion trends and drawing. She thanks Brian Weaver and the entire creative team for this opportunity, as well as the cast and crew for being so incredible to work with. She also thanks her family for their love and support.
Mila is also the understudy for the role of Alice.
Ellie is feisty and funny, and this marks her first production with the Playhouse. She has probably seen every show here since the time of her birth, mostly as an audience member and popcorn eater. She is an avid aerialist, dancer, ukulele player, and loves to set up her lemonade stand on a sunny day. Thank you for coming to see this show.
Olivia is very excited to be a part of Portland Playhouse’s production of Matilda the Musical! While this will be her first full length play, she is no stranger to the stage, having performed in dance recitals and productions since the age of three, most recently in Elite Dance Studio’s Celebrating 20 Years. Olivia is a fifth grader at Forest Park Elementary, and off stage enjoys art, books, hanging out with friends, and obsessing over Taylor Swift and Stranger Things.
Zae’lyn Chadwick she/her
Zae’lyn is a 13 year old 8th grader who attends Parkrose Middle school. She plays the flute, i
Imani is a 13 year old actress with the heart of a giant. She loves to sing, dance, and make others laugh. She was blessed to begin acting at the age of 6 with World Stage Theatre, who assisted in developing her gift through various roles in their annual stage play; Who I am, Celebrating Me, and Vanport. Imani has also been cast in the Portland Playhouse production of Fences, and this year's A Christmas Carol will be her 3rd time in that production. In addition to acting, Imani is an entrepreneur, who started her own cookie business, Synai's Sweets LLC, in May of 2020. Imani continues to be excited about the opportunities she is blessed with, and looks forward to future endeavors.
Kathryn Hasson+ she/her
U/S Mrs Phelps / Big Kid / Mechanic
Kathryn is a Bay Area-raised, Portland-based performer, writer, and artist. She has been singing and acting professionally since the age of 7 and has trained with the American Conservatory Theater and the Vassar College Drama and Music departments. She received her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College, where she also extensively studied Ancient Greek theater, history, mythology, and the work of contemporary female writers and scholars in those fields. She is a trained dramaturg, published poet, and experienced improviser. As a proud alum of Til Dawn Acapella, the Vassar Devils, and the Vassar Jazz Ensemble, she has experience as a vocalist in a range of styles including classical, jazz, musical theater, folk, blues, and soul. Notable theatrical roles include Else Kolemeier (Homefront), Ma Joad (Grapes of Wrath), Angela (Natural Shocks), Feste (Twelfth Night), Emily Webb (Our Town), Dolly (Safe Hands), and the Nurse (Sunday in the Park With George). She is incredibly honored and grateful to be a current member of the Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company.
Monic M. Milani+ she/they
U/S Nurse / Big Kid
Monika is a queer Filipino-Persian American artist from San Jose, California. Despite having a multi-year background in studying anthropology and several branches of theatre design, she ultimately chose to pursue her strongest passion and comfort in the vocal arts and acting. She is a recent Theater Arts B.A. graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also worked with the music department to develop her mezzo-soprano voice in Opera and Musical Theater performance. Outside of her professional interests, she is a new-hobby and learning “connoisseur” from both her natural, often insatiable curiosity and in her pursuit of becoming a well rounded artist and human. One could find her working on her voice acting skills and career, making cosplays, going to anime and video game conventions, and getting in touch with her cultural roots through dance, music, cooking, and research. She hopes that her freshly-unapologetic pursuit of the arts will inspire young POC kids like her to feel affirmed, empowered, and secure in their sense of belonging in the arts. Through her background in student advocacy and organization, she learned the power that a vision, community, and a single voice can have. Monika is incredibly grateful to be a part of Portland Playhouse’s 2023-2024 small but mighty cohort of apprentices where she can continue to integrate these life lessons into her art and be a part of the impactful work that Portland Playhouse produces.
Alex Janeva Osserman
U/S Bruce, Eric, Lavender, Amanda
Alex is a 4th grader at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary. She is extremely excited to be part of this performance – her very first! Alex loves reading, knitting, playing cello, baking for friends and family, and her leopard gecko Citrine. Her favorite fruit is orange and her favorite tree (and place to hang) is the dogwood in her front yard.