Bradford Little Theatre is proud to announce their cast for the upcoming show “JAWS: The Musical.”

May 19, 2014

It is unusual for an actor to be killed off twice in the same show, but Bridgette Martin of Olean, NY will do just that. During the opening scene of Bradford Little Theatre’s “JAWS The Musical” Martin plays tipsy Chrissie Watkins who goes out for an evening swim and within minutes becomes a tasty midnight snack. Two scenes later, Martin’s character Alexis Kintner gets eaten by the shark as she plays in the water. Martin has been in several community theater performances in Olean including “Annie,” “Funny Girl” and “Ladies Shorts” and she is also the choreographer for this show.

What would “JAWS The Musical” be without a singing shark? Playing the famous great white will be Chris Borland of Bradford. “We couldn’t have found a better fit for the role of the shark than Chris Borland,” musical director, Shane Oschman mentioned. “Chris has a tall, agile body accompanied with a You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch type of booming, bass voice. If your show is going to have a singing shark, it’s got to have Chris to pull it off.” Borland may be most recently remembered as the Tin Man in Bradford Area High School’s “Wizard of Oz.”

David Merwine will portray Amity Island’s new Chief of Police Martin Brody who wants to do the right thing by closing the beaches in order to keep the residents and tourists safe. Brody’s supportive wife Ellen will be played by Chelsea Place. Place will also have a part as one of the mayor’s main supporters, a mayorette. Chris Lathrop will also have two roles. He will play both Pauley the Reporter and Chief Brody’s son Michael. All three actors are from Bradford and were last seen in March with BLT’s “The Music Man.” Merwine sang as lead tenor Ewart Dunlop, Place was memorable “Pick-A-Little Lady” Alma Hix and Lathrop played the lofty Mayor Shinn.
Warren resident Adam Yurchisin will play the Amity Island Deputy who finds Chrissie Watkins’s grisly remains on the beach. This will be Yurchisin’s second show with BLT, as he was Constable Locke in “The Music Man.” Jessica Ann Persons has primarily worked backstage for shows beginning in high school and is currently doing the same with BLT and St. Bonaventure University. She will be making her debut performance with BLT as Alice, an Amity Island business owner and Chief Brody’s daughter Jean. Kristin Asinger, the show’s director will be playing Mrs. Kintner, the grieving mother who blames Chief Brody for the tragic loss of her daughter Alexis. Asinger and Persons are both from Bradford.

Olean resident Al Bernstein has been in local productions of “The Fantasticks,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Les Miserables,” and “Annie.” Bernstein is a great character actor who will play Larry Vaughn, the town mayor whose goal is to keep the beaches open so those “summer dollars” continue to roll in.

Cole Vecchio of Bradford has the role of shark scientist Matt Hooper, and is no stranger to the stage. He has performed for Slippery Rock University, BLT, Bradford Area High School, Kiwanis Kapers and BCPAC’s Missoula Children’s Theatre. “The underwater scene with Hooper and the shark will be challenging for Vecchio and Borland, but I know that they will do a great job with it. As they are singing, they will also be fighting, spinning and doing lifts throughout the scene” explains choreographer Bridgette Martin.

Rounding out the cast is Jake Riggs from Cuba, NY who will be Quint, the gutsy and unusual shark fisherman who prefers to fish alone. Riggs has over 30 years of acting under his belt and last summer he played Thenardier, the memorable Master of the House in Olean Theatre Workshop’s “Les Miserables.” Along with Bernstein, Martin, Borland and Persons, Riggs is also making his debut performance with BLT.

“This is a talented, hard-working cast,” Oschman adds. “One that is as committed to a proper singing technique as to the zaniness that comes along with this show.” Although “JAWS” is a horror story, the songs in this musical poke fun at the ridiculousness of the situation and turn it into a comedy. Due to adult humor and shark attacks, this show is not suitable for small children. BLT is expecting this show to be very popular and encourage people to get their tickets early. The venue only holds 215 people, so seating will be limited.

Performances for this one act musical will be June 19 at 9pm and two shows nightly on June 20 and 21 at 7pm and 9pm. It will be held at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in the Frame-Westerberg Commons Building, doors will open 30 minutes before each show.

Tickets go on sale this Thursday and will be available in advance for $5 each from cast members and BLT ticket outlets: Graham Florist, Ott & McHenry Pharmacy and Northwest Savings Bank on East Main St. Tickets will be $7 at the door (if available). For more information, go to http://www.bradfordlittletheatre.org/.

Now celebrating its 17th season, BLT is a non-profit organization that promotes, encourages, and produces community-based theatre in the Bradford area. By making theatre available and accessible to the public, BLT provides opportunities for community participation, appreciation and education, thus enriching the community and increasing interest in the arts. An award-winning theatre company, BLT is a member of the American Association of Community Theatres and a founding member of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Theatres.