Since 2000, Weston has welcomed a non-equity company of college level actors for the summer season. The Young Company (or YoCo) are chosen via competitive auditions from the country’s top undergraduate musical theatre programs. To their credit and ours, YoCo members have gone on from Weston to secure leads in Broadway shows like Jersey Boys, Wicked, The Little Mermaid, and Les Miz, and National Tours like The Book of Mormon and Newsies.
On campus this summer, the 2016 Young Company makes up the core cast for our annual production for young audiences, this year…Schoolhouse Rock, Live! Then, they stay on throughout the summer, appearing in our famed late-night cabaret, and in August’s MainStage musical. For their work in Mamma Mia!, they’ll receive points toward Equity membership. The rest of the summer will include workshops, instruction, and discussions, plus a little time off (yes, we give them a little time off!) to explore Weston, and our corner of Vermont. We thought you would enjoy the opportunity to get to know this year’s YoCo before you see them perform on stage. And if you see them strolling through town, give a wave and say hello!
MICHAEL CANADA is a rising senior music theatre major at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, and thrilled to return to Weston this summer! His most recent professional credits include the Regional Premiere of The Theory of Relativity (Paul) at PlayhouseSquare, In The Heights (Sonny) at the Beck Center for the Arts, Guys and Dolls (Rusty Charlie) and Junie B. Jones (Herb/Camille) at Weston Playhouse, and A Chorus Line (Paul) at Baldwin Wallace University, for which he received an Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nomination by the Kennedy Center. Upon graduation next May, Michael plans on moving to New York City to kick start his acting career.
RENEE GAGNER is a recent graduate of CAP21 Conservatory. She’s excited and thankful to be a part of the 2016 Young Company at Weston Playhouse. She was seen last summer in Broadway Rising Stars at New York’s The Town Hall. Other recent credits include Grand Hotel (Jimmy #1), What the Moon Saw (Renee), We’re All Mad (Alice/Lunatic), Crimes of the Heart (Meg) and various concerts at 54 Below.
ERICA MALACHOWSKI is thrilled to make her debut with Weston Playhouse! Recent/favorite credits include Kristine & Dance Captain to Baayork Lee in A Chorus Line (The Schimmel Center), White Teenage Girl in Memphis (Weathervane Theatre), Brenda & u/s Tracy in Hairspray, and u/s Sally Simpson in The Who’s Tommy (San Diego REP), Laurey in Oklahoma!, Audrey in Little Shop… (SDSCPA), and Antigone in Alexandra Silber’s Antigone (Dutch Kills Theatre). Erica recently completed her junior year in Pace University’s BFA Musical Theatre program and enjoys doing ab workouts and eating pizza, sometimes simultaneously.
EMILY KRISTEN MORRIS is a musical theatre major at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). San Francisco Native. Emily’s regional credits include South Pacific (Nellie), Tartuffe and Emma at Summer Rep Theatre, Carmelia (Gia) and Sugar at 42nd Street Moon, Shrek (Ensemble u/s Gingy) at Berkeley Playhouse. At CCM: Lysistrata Jones (Lysistrata), 110 In The Shade, Carousel. Forever grateful student of Richard Nickol. Very excited to be making her Weston debut!
MICHAEL SELTZER returns to Weston for the second year in a row. Last year you saw him as Sheldon/ Lennie in Junie B. Jones and Harry the Horse in Guys and Dolls. Michael is entering his senior year at The Boston Conservatory pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater. He wants to thanks Malcolm, Steve, Susan, and Tim for inviting him back to his favorite company and for being wonderful, supporting, and loving leaders.
JAVIER SPIVEY is a 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a sophomore musical theater major at Carnegie Mellon University. A proud New Yorker, he is a graduate of LaGuardia High School and Alvin Ailey’s Junior Division. He most recently starred in the Public Theater’s musical adaptations of The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale as Young Prospero and Florizel respectively. He recently made his feature film debut alongside Frank Langella and Billy Crudup in the 2016 drama Youth in Oregon. Other credits include Tarell McCraney’s Romeo and Juliet in Miami and Debbie Allen’s Who Am I? at the Kennedy Center.
BEN WALKER is a sophomore at the University of Michigan, earning his BFA in Musical Theatre. At U of M, he was in MUSKET’S Big Fish as Will Bloom and The Light in the Piazza as the Latin-spitting priest/ensemble. He was a theatre finalist in Young Arts in Miami and won first place at the MTNA vocal competition. His play “Going Up” also won first place at the Delaware Young Playwright’s Festival. He is extremely excited to be a part of Weston’s Young Company this year and to be spending his summer in Vermont!
We’re OVER THE MOON to have these rising stars with us, and grateful to The Holly Schloerb Endowment Fund for making it possible! Get your tickets to see the YoCo in Schoolhouse Rock, Live! and bring the entire family. It’s a fabulously fun way to discover Broadway’s stars of tomorrow on Weston’s stage while spending time with the ones you love!