Festival Artists

Andy Kust

Andy is an award-winning music director, vocal coach and pianist, currently serving as the Resident Music Director at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

Andy is an award-winning music director, vocal coach and pianist, currently serving as the Resident Music Director at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Previously, Andy was the Resident Music Director at the Duluth Playhouse, was on the musical theater faculty at the University of Minnesota Duluth and was a Teaching Associate for the Lyric Opera Theater at Arizona State University. Andy keeps a busy schedule as a coach and accompanist, with clients appearing on Broadway and across the country. He is a regular keyboard substitute for national tours and is the Associate Music Director for the Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Program. Training: B.A. from Luther College and M.M. from Arizona State University. andykustmusic.com

Bailey Aaland

Bailey “Rae” Aaland has been working as a mosaic artist since 2007.

Bailey “Rae” Aaland has been working as a mosaic artist since 2007. She began working with mosaics as a teenager, using broken plates to create art and teaching herself the process through books. In 2008, Bailey worked as an apprentice artist under Sharra Frank through the program COMPAS/Artswork. Bailey has created works for Bank of America in cohort with the Hennepin Theater Trust, Art Partners Group, and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others.

Brittney Johnson

Brittney Johnson is currently the Glinda standby in Wicked the musical on Broadway.

Brittney Johnson is currently the Glinda standby in Wicked the musical on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include: Eponine in Les Miserables, Little Eva in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Diana Ross u/s in Motown the Musical, Sunset Boulevard, and Kristen Chenoweth's "For The Girls". It is her hope and goal to inspire joy and help cultivate empathy through artistic expression. Be Kind. Pay it forward.

Cat Brindisi

Cat Brindisi is a Brooklyn based artist originally from Minnesota!

Cat Brindisi is a Brooklyn based artist originally from Minnesota! Some theatre credits: The Guthrie (Stage Kiss, South Pacific, The Parchman Hour, My Fair Lady, Sunday in the Park, Cocoanuts) Theatre LatteDa (Spring Awakening, AIDA, Spelling Bee, Gypsy) Alabama Shakespeare, St. Louis Rep, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, The Ordway, Mixed Blood, Illusion. In New York she has performed in NAMT, and NYMF concert series and was City Pages MSP 2013 Best Emerging Actress. She is currently writing her first musical with a reading scheduled at Everwood Farmstead this August.

Chloe Hart

Chloe Hart graduated from Simley High School in 2019, where she was heavily involved in student council, was German Club President, played volleyball, and participated in the theatre and choir programs.

Chloe Hart graduated from Simley High School in 2019, where she was heavily involved in student council, was German Club President, played volleyball, and participated in the theatre and choir programs. Simley participated in the Spotlight Showcase every summer, and Chloe was a five time recipient of the highest ranking, Outstanding in a Leading Role. Some of their favorite roles include Amber Von Tussle (Hairspray), Cinderella (Into The Woods), Hope Harcourt (Anything Goes), Tin Man (Wizard of Oz), Sandy (Grease), Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family), and Tony (West Side Story). After auditioning, Chloe was chosen to be a Triple Threat finalist in 2018, and was a Triple Threat Winner in 2019!

Dan & Claudia Zanes

Grammy award winning children’s performer Dan Zanes and Haitian-American music therapist / jazz vocalist Claudia Zanes have been making music with each other since the day they met in the fall of 2016.

Grammy award winning children’s performer Dan Zanes and Haitian-American music therapist / jazz vocalist Claudia Zanes have been making music with each other since the day they met in the fall of 2016.
The two decided while sitting at Dan’s kitchen table that afternoon that they would continue singing together and, in the spirit of inclusion and good times, would work with presenters to try and make all of their concerts sensory friendly.
Inspired by their artful modern-day all-ages folk music and their commitment to accessibility, the Kennedy Center commissioned Claudia and Dan to create a theater piece for young audiences. Night Train 57: A Sensory Friendly Comic Folk Opera premiered in October 2017 and has been performed several times since.
Their love of songs and communal music-making lead to a publishing deal with the Quarto Group USA and the result, a songbook entitled Dan Zanes’ House Party: A Family Roots Music Treasury, was released in late 2018. This has opened the doors to many new conversations with parents, educators, music therapists, and fellow musicians about how to work together to create a healthier, more musical (and ultimately, more festive), society.
While taking on these projects, Claudia and Dan have continued to bring their music to family shows, school workshops, community singalongs, and folk festivals throughout the U.S. and into Canada. They take their commitment to accessibility and inclusion with them wherever they go.
And – the icing on the cake – in the midst of it all they were married!

David Darrow

David Darrow is a Brooklyn-based actor, composer, and playwright.

David Darrow is a Brooklyn-based actor, composer, and playwright. He has performed Off-Broadway and around the country at American Conservatory Theater, The Guthrie, Baltimore Center Stage, Theatre Latte Da, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida Repertory Theater, Project Y Theater (Innovative Theater Award: Best Featured Actor), and others. David has also written and co-written several musicals (The Passage, Jonah and the Whale, The Great Work, The Boy and Robin Hood) which have been produced or developed at The NAMT Festival, Village Theater, Greater Boston Stage Company, Trademark Theater, and 7th House Theater. His latest work, Time Travelers, is a mind-bending new musical about growing up and growing old. It is currently in development.

DJ Digie

Roosevelt Mansfield Aka DJ Digie has been in the Twin Cities Hip Hop Music Scene since the ’90s, Djing since 2005.

Roosevelt Mansfield Aka DJ Digie has been in the Twin Cities Hip Hop Music Scene since the ’90s, Djing since 2005. Digie is a versatile DJ that goes from House parties, Clubs, Dance Battles, School Dances, performing at the Ordway Theater to being featured on Martha Stewart's website for wedding work and mentioned in “The Best 50 Weddings across all 50 states” For Minnesota by “The Knot”. DJ Digie has played 100’s of venues across Minnesota and has been the DJ for the Flint Hill Family Festival for 5 years! Digie prides himself on learning the crowd and playing for the people!

Douglas Lyons

Douglas Lyons is a composer-lyricist and actor who has originated roles on Broadway in The Book of Mormon and Beautiful.

Douglas Lyons is a composer-lyricist and actor who has originated roles on Broadway in The Book of Mormon and Beautiful. As a writer Douglas was awarded the Bully Free Communities Spotlight Award and the ‘Best Family Show’ Off Broadway Alliance Award for Polkadots, which arrived Off-Broadway at The Atlantic Theater Company. World premieres: Five Points at Theater Latte Da and Peter, Darling at Casa Mañana Theatre. With composer Ethan Pakchar his lyrics have played Prospect Theater Co. (The Funeral), Lincoln Center, The Old Globe, Seattle Rep and more. Residencies: The Directors Company and The Sheen Center. Commissions: Seattle’s 5th Ave Theatre

Emma Schuld

Emma Schuld is thrilled to be making her Ordway debut! She is a recent graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall high school, where she performed in her first show at age 9.

Emma Schuld is thrilled to be making her Ordway debut! She is a recent graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall high school, where she performed in her first show at age 9. She has continued to perform ever since, some of her favorite credits include: Linda Mason (Holiday Inn), Judas (Jesus Christ Superstar), Yonah (Children of Eden), and Anytime Annie (42nd Street). Next fall, Emma will begin her first year at the University of Minnesota-Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program. She sends a heartfelt thank you to her family and friends, Spotlight Education, and the CDH Theater Department for years of support and guidance. @emmahschuld

Grace Renstrom

Grace Renstrom is currently a freshman at North Central University and is an Intercultural Studies Major.

Grace Renstrom is currently a freshman at North Central University and is an Intercultural Studies Major. Grace has a special place in her heart for theatre. It has given her a sense of purpose when she thought she had none. Some of her favorite credits include: The Witch (Into the Woods),Lead Dynamite(Hairspray), Teen Angel (Grease), and Elmer (Newsies). She would love to thank Ashland Productions, SpotlightEducation, Kim kokx, and Kelli Foster Warder for growing and teaching her to be the best she can be!

Greg Borowsky

Greg Borowsky is a songwriter and producer from South Africa, signed to Sony ATV.

Greg Borowsky is a songwriter and producer from South Africa, signed to Sony ATV. He is the creative producer and writer behind some of South Africa’s biggest SAMA (SA Grammy) winning artists. His debut album, signed to Universal Music SA, was nominated for a Metro FM Best RnB Award and his single Chocolate Vanilla was nominated for a Best RnB Channel O Africa Award. After co-writing and producing the official “20 Years of Freedom” song for the South African Government, Greg moved to New York to complete his next producer album, “The Greg Dean Project” featuring soul and Broadway artists, which reached #1 on the UK Soul Chart and remained on the USA Billboard RnB chart for 6 weeks in 2016, as well as being nominated for a SoulTracks Album of the year Award. His show ‘Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’ won the Off Broadway Aliiance Award for Best Family Show in 2018.

Jack Strub

Jack Strub is currently finishing up his junior year at Simpson College in Indianola Iowa with a Music and Theatre Arts double major and a minor in Arts Management.

Jack Strub is currently finishing up his junior year at Simpson College in Indianola Iowa with a Music and Theatre Arts double major and a minor in Arts Management. Some of his favorite onstage credits include: Dr. Thomas Stockmann (An Enemy of the People), Edward Bloom (Big Fish), Shrek (Shrek the Musical), Modern Major General (The Pirates of Penzance), and Cornelius Hackl (Hello Dolly). Last summer he was the director-in-residence with a community theatre in Leon, IA for their production of Into the Woods where he was the director, music director, and set & projections designer of the show. This past semester, he was the set designer for Simpson College's production of Doubt: A Parable.
Native Pride Dancers

Larry Yazzie

The Native Pride Dancers offer a variety of performance types from solo (and duo, trio, troupe) to large ensemble theatrical productions.

Native Pride's performances incorporate information about the dances, the regalia (dress), and the meaning and importance of the dances presented and utilize traditional and contemporary music to engage audience members. Founder, CEO and Artistic Director, Larry Yazzie of the Meskwaki Nation, has created a platform for Indigenous Performing Artists to share their talent with the world. He leads a dynamic talent roster of cultural educators, musicians, dancers, and singers who are members of numerous tribal nations including: Meskwaki, Navajo, Dakota, Lakota, Ojibwe, Lumbee, Cree, Pueblo, Choctaw, and Chickasaw, to name a few. Native Pride also collaborates with many established and up and coming artists throughout Indian country and from the mainstream stage. Native Pride Productions provides impactful and customized National and International Welcoming Ceremonies in collaboration with International and National Production companies [e.g. KOJO (Australia) and NALU Creative Events (Hawaii)].

Magic Justin

Justin Alan (aka Magic Justin) has been entertaining families with his own style of magic for over 30 years.

Justin Alan (aka Magic Justin) has been entertaining families with his own style of magic for over 30 years. 2020 is his 10th year performing for the Flint Hills Family Festival.

You’ll be amazed as a regular pen does weird things or money turns inside out, he’ll even teach you a couple of tricks that you can do.

Melvin Tunstall III

Melvin Tunstall, III began his writing career while still a student at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music as a founding member of the AMP Theatre Company.

Melvin Tunstall, III began his writing career while still a student at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music as a founding member of the AMP Theatre Company. A proud participant in the Yale Institute for Musical Theater, Melvin took a small break from writing to make his Broadway debut in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical after originating the role of “Ja’Keith” in the Toronto Company of the Broadway smash Rock of Ages. The acting bug now quenched, Melvin returned to writing with commissioned adaptations of the Broadway musicals Wonderland and The Wiz. His original musical BLooM! was a finalist in the renowned NAMT Festival in New York City. Peter, darling…, his highly anticipated new musical version of the classic Peter Pan, was commissioned by and will premiere at Casa Mañana Theatre in TX, Spring 2018. His show Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical won the Off Broadway Aliiance Award for Best Family Show in 2018. Melvin currently resides in New York City where he is hard at work writing the book, melodies and lyrics to Senior Class: a new musical Pygmalion.
The Spread Sunshine Gang

Nickie Kromminga Hill

Nickie Kromminga Hill is a musical theatre performer and educator with numerous credits under her belt.

Nickie started The Spread Sunshine Gang in February 2013 as a way to deal with her depression and anxiety and as a way for she and her friends to beat the Minnesota Winter Blues. (Nickie promises that she is much more fun than this bio is starting out!) Throughout the years she has realized more and more her community needs a way to creatively give back to others and here we are!
In addition to heading up the Gang, Nickie likes to do and be many other things. Nickie holds a K-12 Theatre/Dance license and loves sharing the joy of performing arts with her "kids." She is also a freelance performer and loves being on-stage, singing and dancing her heart out. Nickie has been seen on many Twin Cities stages, most notably at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre where she has been in 18 productions. In addition she loves learning new things and is currently studying happiness and kindness.

Renee Guittar

Renee Guittar is a Twin Cities based dancer, actor, choreographer, and dance educator originally from Lincoln, Nebraska.

RENEE GUITTAR ORDWAY: Ordway Cabaret: Gotta Dance!, In The Heights, A Chorus Line. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres: Disney's Beauty & The Beast, Camelot, Grease, Newsies, Holiday Inn, Mamma Mia!. Guthrie: The Music Man. The Old Log Theater: The Wedding Singer. Collide Theatrical Dance Company: Lot of Livin’ To Do, The Belmont Hotel, Class of ‘85, Zoot Suit Riots, C.L.U., Dracula, Romeo & Juliet. The Magic of Jared Sherlock: National Tour. Teaching: Ashley Ballet Arts Academy, Cowles Center Teaching Artist. Training: Gustavus Adolphus College. Member of Actor’s Equity.

Robin Hickman-Winfield

Robin Hickman-Winfield is the CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions.

Robin Hickman-Winfield is the CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions. She’s since 2005, worked with the Ordway as an Organizational Strategist, and directs the Ordway/SoulTouch partnership initiative, Taking Our Place Centerstage.
One of Robin's greatest passions is her divinely inspired artistry and collection of multi-ethnic fashion dolls. In 1995, she launched RealTouch: A Celebration of Soulful Dolls, which presented her original re-styled fashion dolls, handcrafted furnishings and accessories (hats), stationary, and photography of the lifestyle scenes. Over the past 25 years Robin has used the RealTouch “community” in motivational presentations to promote the "power of play" and creativity, nurture positive self-esteem, and inspire the appreciation of ethnically diverse images and life-styles.

Rush Benson

Rush Benson is an actor, dancer, teacher, musician, and choreographer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rush Benson is an actor, dancer, teacher, musician, and choreographer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2013, Benson graduated from Gustavus Adolphus and received degrees in Theater and Dance. Most recently seen in Mamma Mia at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, past projects have taken him to venues such as the Guthrie, the Ordway, Park Square Theatre, Artistry, Cowles Center, Southwest Theater Company, The Red Eye, and across the globe. He also works as a dance teacher for the Guthrie’s Education Program, Cowles Center, Zenon Dance Company, and directs and choreographs for many schools in the Twin Cities area. His teaching style is focused on unlocking your own sense of internal rhythm and finding ways to be as expressive as humanly possible. Additionally, he is an avid fun lover and adventure enthusiast. Obligatory Social Media References (Instagram/twitter: @shutuprush)
Lastly, a thank you to my wonderfully supportive family and Renee Guittar. I truly couldn’t do it without you.

Siama

Back in Africa, Siama Matuzungidi (see-AHH-maw) recorded hundreds of songs and toured the world with popular artists.

Back in Africa, Siama Matuzungidi (see-AHH-maw) recorded hundreds of songs and toured the world with popular artists. Now based in Minneapolis, he's known for intricate guitar, catchy songs, spirited singing and traditional African instruments like mbira (thumb piano), balafon (marimba) and lokole (tone drum). In addition to performing, Siama and his wife Dallas Johnson love teaching at libraries and schools for COMPAS, the Schubert Club & Classical MPR's Class Notes Artists.

Suchitra Sairam

Suchitra Sairam is a highly committed Bharatanatyam artist with nearly 35 years in the field, and received foundational training in the Kalakshetra style from Smt. Padmini Chari (Nritya School of Bharatanatyam).

Suchitra Sairam is a highly committed Bharatanatyam artist with nearly 35 years in the field, and received foundational training in the Kalakshetra style from Smt. Padmini Chari (Nritya School of Bharatanatyam). Suchitra continued advanced training under legendary artists Sri V.P. and Smt. Shanta Dhananjayan, and Sri M.V. Narasimhachari (late) and Smt. M. Vasanthalakshmi. All of these artists continue to be great guides and inspirations to her as an artist, teacher, and arts presenter.
Suchitra is the recipient of a 2015 Knight Arts Challenge award from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a 2016 “Next Step” grant from the McKnight Foundation, and 2017 and 2018 “Folk and Traditional Arts” grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Suchitra founded Kala Vandanam in 2002 in St. Paul, MN with the vision of creating and presenting Bharatanatyam works that celebrate the tradition while embracing the aesthetics of our changing world. Through Kala Vandanam, she is committed to education, performance, and outreach to share the beauty of Bharatanatyam through Kala Vandanam’s work and presenting high caliber touring artists.
Suchitra holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas. After an extensive career in several industries, she co-founded a start-up toy company, Enlivenze LLC, in 2012. In addition to her passion for the arts and business interests, she volunteers her time support leadership development, and science and math education for girls.

Tony Vierling

Tony Vierling is a beloved musical theater actor based in the Twin Cities.

THEATER – Ordway: Singin’ in the Rain, A Christmas Story. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres: Mamma Mia!, Holiday Inn, Newsies, Grease, Cats, Crazy For You, Oklahoma!, Anything Goes, Brigadoon, 42nd Street, Camelot. Guthrie: Midsummer Night’s Dream, My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday, 1776, She Loves Me, Pirates of Penzance, Merrily We Roll Along, Babes in Arms. Papermill Playhouse: Little House on the Prairie. MN Actor’s Theater: How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. TUTS-Houston: White Christmas. Fitzgerald: Wild Party. Pantages Theater: Hair. NATIONAL – We the People (assistant choreographer), Little House on the Prairie (ensemble/dance captain), A Chorus Line. OPERA – MN Opera: Rusalka, Street Scene, Showboat, Mikado. New Orleans Opera: Romeo and Juliet.

Trần Thị Minh Phước

As the first Vietnamese librarian, a published author, and a respected storyteller in Minnesota, Trần Thị Minh Phước has shared her experiences and knowledge of Vietnamese culture at various events, storytelling programs, libraries, and schools throughout the state.

As the first Vietnamese librarian, a published author, and a respected storyteller in Minnesota, Trần Thị Minh Phước has shared her experiences and knowledge of Vietnamese culture at various events, storytelling programs, libraries, and schools throughout the state. In addition, she had dedicated her time to helping new immigrants transition into life in America. Within the Asian community, she is involved in various organizations.
Trần Thị Minh Phước has been recognized for her work bridging cultures and introducing the culture of Vietnam to the mainstream community. She is very proud to have her first book “Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Folktales” published in 2015 by Tuttle Publishing.

Tyler Michaels King

Tyler Michaels King is a performer, director, and improviser living in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Tyler Michaels King is a performer, director, and improviser living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He received 2014's Emerging Artist Ivey Award and has been named "Artist of the Year" by City Pages, "Best Actor" by Minnesota Monthly, and Minneapolis' "Best Actor in a Musical" by Broadwayworld.com. He also holds the "Mark Twain Comedic Performance Award" from the Kennedy Center.
Tyler was born and raised in Bloomington, Minnesota and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts. In 2011, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, California.
Since 2011, Tyler has worked and played with the Guthrie Theater, The Ordway, Children's Theater Company, Hennepin Theater Trust, Theatre Latte Da, History Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, Illusion Theater, Flying Foot Forum, 7th House Theater, Actors Theater of Minnesota, Circa Productions, Newton Theater, Minneapolis Musical Theatre, HUGE Theater, Got It Made Productions, Studio206, and Artistry (Bloomington Civic Theatre).
In 2016, Tyler launched Trademark Theater, a Twin Cities based company devoted to the creation, development, and production of new theatrical productions.
Tyler is also a founding member of Bearded Men Improv, a long-form experimental improv troupe that performs weekly at HUGE Improv Theater as well as all over the country during various comedy festivals and tours.
Tyler is an on-camera and voice over talent for NUTS, ltd. a Twin Cites based talent agency. He is also a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association.

Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti

Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti is a talented music performer, folk dancer, sound technician, and community activist, living in the Twins Cities since 2005.

Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti is a talented music performer, folk dancer, sound technician, and community activist, living in the Twins Cities since 2005. He produces, engineers, and directs musical projects and studio recordings as well as live sound events and multicultural festivals. Vladimir was born in Arica-Chile and came to live to the United States when he was 18 years old. Folk music from the Andes Mountains and "La Nueva Canción from Latin America” influenced Vladimir's first musical creations back in his home land and still shape the music he creates now days. Vladimir currently directs the Latina band Alma Andina, mother and son singing duet Ina-Yukka, and participates as a folk dancer on the dance group Chile Sin Fronteras.

William Dusek

Will Dusek is humbled and excited to be making his Ordway debut!

Will Dusek is humbled and excited to be making his Ordway debut! He has been involved in theatrical productions since he was in seventh grade at Nativity of Our Lord grade school, through high school at Cretin-Derham Hall, and now continuing into his education at Illinois Welseyan University. Some of his past credits include Jesus ( Jesus Christ Superstar) , Billy Lawlor ( 42nd Street), originating the role of Jack Hart ( Aces in a City of Gold by Travis Ulrich), and originating the role of Evan (Devil’s Advocate by Sam Hulsizer) . Will is currently a rising sophmore at Illinois Wesleyan and pursuing his BFA in Music Theatre. He sends all of his love and gratitude to his family, the CDH Theatre Department, his friends at home in Minnesota, and all of his friends and professors at IWU!