Sunday, August 24, 2008

Variety Showcase: Tonight's Performers

Chattanooga Theatre Centre – Cast of “Disney’s High School Musical”
Performing Get’cha Head in the Game - one of the big numbers from Disney's High School Musical - are the Jocks: Rudy Foster, John Clevenger, Carl Ellis, Killian Allgood, Willie Derrick, Cody Keown, John Marshall, and Philip Sofo, with special guest, WRCB’s own Greg Glover as Coach Bolton. The show is choreographed by Lindsay Fussell and directed by David Wood with musical direction by Mike Lees. The Chattanooga Theatre Centre presents “Disney's High School Musical” Live Onstage September 5 - October 5. Experience all the excitement of the phenomenal Disney film performed by 45 talented local singers, dancers, and actors. Call the Chattanooga Theatre Centre box office for ticket information or visit

Chattanooga Ballet
Bob Willie - General Director, Frank Hay - Ballet Master, Summertime - Choreographer: Dawn Hudson, Music: Sam Cooke, Dancers:  Amanda Walker-Gray, Cortney Mild, Christine Mashburn, Shanelle Newton, Kirsten Hawkins, Sarah Evatt, Rebekah Hildebrandt, Jennifer Kent, Celeste Payne, Ashley Tibbs, Katie Torner. Founded in 1973, Chattanooga Ballet is composed of professional dancers and advanced level students. The Company performs both classical and contemporary works and seeks to enhance the quality of dance in our region through the commissioning of new works in ballet, jazz, and modern dance idioms. The Company presents an annual production of The Nutcracker with The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Orchestra, The Choreographer's Jewel Box Concert, classical ballets, lecture demonstrations, and school performances. Chattanooga Ballet is funded by the Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, The Tennessee Arts Commission, corporate grants, and individual contributions.

Center For Creative Arts - Choo Choo Kids
Give Our Regards to Broadway: A Song and Dance Tribute to One Hundred Years of Broadway!
The Choo Choo Kids are a musical theater troupe from Hamilton County’s Performing Arts Magnet School, The Center for Creative Arts, which has been recognized as: International NETWORK for Advancement of the Arts STAR School; Sole recipient of the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Art School’s 2000 New and Emerging School’s Award; Sole secondary school recipient of Tennessee Alliance for Arts Education’s Creative Ticket Award in 2006; One of five Kennedy Center National Schools of Distinction in 2006; Magnet Schools of America School of Distinction in 2007. The “Kids” are under the Direction of Steven Malone and Choreographer Lindsay Fussell.

Cody Keown & Melissa Maddox
Cody Keown recently graduated from The Center for Creative Arts as a music theatre major. He was last seen there as Bobby Child in Crazy For You. This year he will be attending Chattanooga State's Professional Actors Training Program. He has been thrilled to be taught by Lindsey for the past 7 years and even more thrilled to help her out with her dream. Cody says, “Lindsay has been such a great teacher and choreographer; she is truly an inspiration.” Melissa Maddox is also a recent graduate of CCA, where she was featured in the musicals Crazy For You, Seussical the Musical, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and, along with Cody, has performed in Italy and Germany with the Choo Choo Kids.

Michael A. Smith
Praised for his versatility, Michael is equally at home on the Big Band stage, crooning standards in the style of Frank Sinatra and Michael BublĂ© with Chattanooga’s UpTown Big Band, Swingtime Orchestra, Ralph Miller Quartet, and Chattanooga Jazz Quartet at events including: SWINGFEST, RIVERBEND, RHYTHM & NOON, and CHATTANOOGA MARKET. He has been a featured vocalist at benefits such as “PINK!,” a gala benefiting the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Cancer Center and “BELLA SERA,” a benefit for Chattanooga Endeavors

Nisha Boyington
Nisha, born of Indian roots, has been performing Indian dance in various forms since she was 3 years old.  She has performed Indian and other dance at Chattanooga Theater Centre, Ballet Tennessee, Culture Fest, Chattanooga Market - East Meets West, Chattanooga State and was most recently selected for the prestigious GPS Terpsichore Modern Dance Company.  She has been a devoted student of Lindsay Fussell's for 8 years and is pleased to be able to perform on her behalf.

Shikoh & Phillips
Emerging artist Alan Shikoh is recognized as an outstanding performer, having been featured in 2004 on New England Conservatory's From The Top, a national radio showcase hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O'Riley. Alan is considered the first product of the McCallie School guitar program directed by Charles Evans. As musical influences, Alan credits guitarists Julian Bream and Ralph Towner, as well as the musical pioneers who created the ECM jazz sound. Steve Phillips shares Alan's fascination with the ECM sound, because as a teenager he was hearing these great artists firsthand. "It's very cool," says Steve, "to re-experience that mind-expanding music with Alan as he hears it for the first time." With conspicuous talents in several arenas, Steve holds a bachelors degree in organ performance, a masters in choral music, and he has done "a bunch of work" in conducting, producing, arranging, classical piano, and jazz improvisation.

Terrance Wright
Terrance Wright is a graduate from Center for Creative Arts and Chattanooga State's 2-year Professional Actor Trainning Program. He is currently touring with Theatre IV's professional children’s theatre based in Richmond, VA where he has been in “Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad,” and will be touring two additional shows this fall, and The Jungle Book this upcoming spring.

Lumbar Five
It begins with Kathy Veazey, a powerful, soulful vocalist who writes interesting, catchy songs, and who also plays a mean keyboard, guitar, and slide. Add singer and songwriter John Rawlston, whose innovative guitar playing complements the wide emotional range of the music. Blend in an eclectic group of veteran musicians: founding member Nick Honerkamp on bass and vocals, Kofi Mawuko and his West African percussion magic, and Jo Whitaker, a rock-solid drummer with jazz and progressive rock roots. Their band is called Lumbar Five, playing concerts, clubs and festivals since 2001 in the Chattanooga area and around the region. Kathy and John also play semi-acoustic shows, sometimes adding Nick and/or Kofi. The first Lumbar Five CD, titled Ask Your Doctor If It's Right For You, was released in the fall of 2004. Recorded in Nashville with the help of Michael St. Leon, the album features 14 original songs that stake out the band's own particular vision of the musical landscape. The Lumbar Five has returned to their favorite studio and expect to release their new CD, Second Opinion, in 2008.

The Magic of Scott & Co. and Skwalking Heads
Scott Fillers has been performing magic for over 30 years. After graduating with a BA in theater from UTC he performed magic at Opryland for 2 seasons. Returning to Chattanooga, he met Lindsay Fussell and enrolled at the Dance Theater Workshop. During this time he performed in Lindsay's Jazz Plus productions and developed The Magic of Scott & Co. Lindsay choreographed and helped stage the "tongue-and-cheek” MTV styled illusion act that won 1st place in the International Brotherhood of Magicians stage competition. This led to performances in Las Vegas & New York as well as working with David Copperfield on his road tour. Locally, he has appeared in theatrical productions and is an original member of Chattanoodle improv group. In recent years, Scott has been teaming up with Jerry Bowman, Jessica Laliberte & the Skwalking Heads team. Skwalking Heads Productions (SHP) is an artistic partnership created to produce innovative artistic projects, which foster community building through collaborations resulting in quality arts experiences. This family production team includes Colleen Laliberte, Ray Laliberte, Zachary Laliberte, Jessica Laliberte-Bowman and Jerry Bowman. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach this artistic team has written, directed, designed and performed new and exciting works of art for audiences of all ages. SHP has produced Magic, Madness & Mayhem, The Classic Mime Show, Imagination Celebration, Food Fight, The Adventures of Plip and Groog, Farm Days Fest (04, 06), Winterfest, IMPROVSTOCK (04 – 08), Godspell, Secret But Real, Best Christmas Pageant Ever and numerous children’s and community theatre events. SHP Guest artists include Keith Johnstone, Dennis Cayhill, and Shawn Kinley (Loose Moose Theatre, Calgary), Kelly Jean (Chicago Physical Theatre Institute), Kirk Mason (Improv Olympic, Chicago), Tonkawa Theatre Tribe of Chicago, Cecile Dyer and Megan Holmes, and The Magic of Scott Fillers and Co. among others. Their outreach projects include artist residencies and performances in schools, community centers, festivals and conferences for educators. SHP collaborators work in genres including dance, music, mime, improvisational acting, film and video, mask work and puppetry.

Neshawn Calloway
Neshawn Calloway is the Director of Vocal Music at Center for Creative Arts and the worship leader at Temple of Faith Church of God in Christ.  Neshawn and her husband, Ron are frequent performers of jazz and blues.  Their shows include a special tribute to the Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith.  She is also the founder and director of the Chattanooga Youth Chorale, a component of the Nehemiah Project, which focuses on the performance and preservation of African American music.

Contrapasso is not only Chattanooga's newest theater, it is also a dance company. Contrapasso Modern Dance started in May 2007 and performs across the southeast. Tonight's performance will feature dancers Cayce Gearrin, Katie Kasch, and Camille Loftin, who combine the techniques of several modern dance styles and infuse their movement with acting.

Dan Landrum & Stephen Humphries
Dan's hammered dulcimer playing has taken him from street performing in Chattanooga, TN to Olympic Ceremonies, Presidential Inaugurations, multiple festivals around the country and major stages in hundreds of cities from the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles to New York's famed Madison Square Gardens.  Since 2003, he's been a soloist in the Yanni Live tour. In 2006, Dan and his wife, Angie, took over publication of the internationally distributed Dulcimer Players News magazine.  Dan lives in Signal Mountain, TN, and does his best to balance a schedule of touring, teaching, writing and occasionally finding enough time to street perform at the Tennessee Aquarium. Stephen Humphries is current national hammered dulcimer champion.  Steve and Dan have one CD together, Landrum and Humphries.  Steve is currently working on his Masters degree at Lee University.

Mia Hansford
Mia Hansford is an artist, poet, arts educator and organizer. Half country mouse half city mouse she grew up in Kentucky and New York. She has performed her work at Lincoln Center's Serious Fun Festival with Butch Morris and A Chorus of Poets, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Joseph Papp's Public Theater, The Knitting Factory, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Her poetry is included in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and other publications, including various issues of A Gathering of the Tribes. She has lived in Chattanooga with her son Clyde for three years, loving the city and its support of all kinds of art.

Kofi & Rebekah Mawuko
Kofi Mawuko, a native of Ghana, West Africa, began learning traditional African drums and dance at age 10.  He possesses a natural talent for singing, dancing and playing various musical instruments.   By the time he was 12 years old, Mawuko was performing as lead dancer and master drummer for the Kyirem Cultural Troupe, a West Africa based international touring company. At the age of 27, settled in London where he taught Ghanaian dance and drums at local preparatory schools, as well as workshops for the general public.  Now living in the US, he and his wife, Rebekah are members of Sankofa Cultural Dance Co. Rebekah Mawuko performed in the '96 Olympics and she writes, choreographs, and teaches African and modern dance.  In addition, he is employed as an education assistant at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga.

Jerry Bowman is tonight’s master of ceremonies.

Support Local Artist Lindsay Fussell!

MuzArDanZ features musicians, singers, dancers, and artists in a format that allows the audience to sample a wide range of styles of music and art and dance. The Chattanooga area has such wonderful variety and depth of personal expression, and this is an opportunity to see a glimpse! Enjoy our Variety Showcase. And your donations at the event or on the web site help support local artist Lindsay Fussell.

Lindsay teaches dance classes at Chattanooga Theatre Centre and also serves as adjunct faculty in dance at Center for Creative Arts and Chattanooga State Professional Actor's Training Program. She has been a guest faculty member in Columbia, MO and has taught master classes at Chattanooga Ballet, Cleveland City Ballet, University of Amazonas (Brazil), Southeastern Theatre Conference, Tennessee Theatre Conference, American Association of Community Theatre Conference, Tennessee Association of Dance, SHAPE (Mons, Belgium), and at the US Army base in Stuttgart, Germany.

As a choreographer Lindsay has done over 40 musicals for Chattanooga Theatre Centre including the upcoming High School Musical. Other choreographic credits include Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts, Choo Choo Kids, Chattanooga State Repertory Theatre, Chattanooga Ballet, Lake Winnepesaukah, Stagedoor Manor (NY), Theatre Memphis, Southern Appalachian Regional Theatre, Stephens College, Molly Brown Theatre (Hannibal, MO). She has served as choreographer for the Chattanooga Boys Choir for many years and has worked with magician Scott Fillers on numerous shows, including the New York Magic Symposium and the International Brotherhood of Magicians, in which Fillers' act won first place. She cowrote, with Allan Ledford, and choreographed the musical revue, "Spirit of the Rivers" for the grand opening of the Tennessee Aquarium.

Internationally, she set a piece she co-choreographed with Ron DeVane, "Blues for the Night Owls" for the Lisbon (Portugal) Dance Company. The Choo Choo Kids have performed her work in Germany, Italy and South Korea.

Lindsay trained extensively at The Dance Theatre Workshop, under the artistic direction of Nancy Lane Wright. There, she studied ballet, jazz, modern, tap, theatre dance, acting, voice and diction, mime, choreography and directing. Her mentor, Ms. Wright, provided the opportunity to study under many nationally known dancers/choreographers/directors, whose numbers include: Donlin Foreman, Mark Dendy, Billy Siegenfeld, David Leong, Michael Mauldin and Tommy Sutton. She has studied in NYC at the Martha Graham School, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (where she received a summer scholarship to study with the company during their Atlanta residency), Broadway Dance Center and Steps on 74th. Her Improv Comedy training began at the DTW with Sherry Landrum and Rex Knowles (directors of
Chattanoodle Improv Comedy Troupe) and continued in Calgary, Alberta at the Loose Moose School with Keith Johnstone and Dennis Cahill. She has been a member of Chattanoodle for over 18 years.

Some of Lindsay's favorite acting/dancing roles include Mrs. Robinson in THE GRADUATE, Cassie (A CHORUS LINE), Tessie Tura (GYPSY), Sylvia (SYLVIA), Emcee (CABARET), Velma Kelly (CHICAGO), Maggie (DANCING AT LUGHNASA), Spirit of Turpentine (A NUTCRACKER CHRISTMAS CAROL) and, of course, Mama Knob in THAT OTHER WOMAN'S CHILD, the upcoming NYC production that brings us all here today!

Lindsay has numerous voiceover credits, including the Smithsonian Institute, Olan Mills, Hamilton Place, Sears, Shaw Carpet Industries, Dalton Utilities, Rock City and if you go to the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theatre you will hear Lindsay's voice welcoming you to the theatre.

Lindsay has appeared in several films, including ISLAND GIRL, RUTHIE and LAST BREATH. She recently shot a pilot for the sitcom, NSOONA.

Her professional memberships are with the Southeastern Theatre Conference, Tennessee Association of Dance and Tennessee Theatre Association.

Lindsay has also worked as a casting director for the films, THE ADVENTURES OF OCIEE NASH and STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS (winner, Best Production Design, Milan International Film Festival). She was one of three adjudicators for the US Armed Forces (Europe) Play Competition in 2002 and served as Entertainment Coordinator for the Ocoee Olympic Village during the 2006 Olympics.

Lindsay says, "Thanks to the generosity of you, the audience; Contrapasso and all the artists involved in MuzArDanZ; the kind donations of food and Silent Auctions items from so many local businesses and individuals; and the tireless efforts of Philip Luckey, Sandy Smith, Terri Bucher and Trish Wileman, The New York Musical Theatre Festival is my next stop. I will be reprising my role of "Mama Knob" in the bluegrass musical THAT OTHER WOMAN'S CHILD, written by Chattanooga's own Sherry Landrum and Chattanooga native, George S. Clinton. The show was originally produced by the Chattanooga Repertory Theatre in 2004 and a demo of that show was sent to the NY Festival Committee and accepted as one of this year's musicals. Most of the roles for the production were cast in New York; however, a number of Chattanoogans will be going up as cast and crew members: Allan Ledford, Bridgett Bryant, Tom Goddard, Apryl Hughes, Jessie Knowles, Maria Sager, Brenda Schwab, author Sherry Landrum and producers Rex Knowles and Will Sturtevant. Since bringing a show to the festival is really a chance to showcase new work for producers, casting directors, agents and the New York theatre audience, the pay is merely a small stipend. The opportunity to be a part of the NYMF, often referred to as "the musical theatre equivalent of getting a film in the Sundance Festival," is the fulfillment of my lifetime dream and I am so humbly grateful to all of you for helping to make this a possibility for me. And, hey! I'll be less than two degrees separated from Kevin Bacon; I'm told that one of the NY cast members is his nephew!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

List of Performers

(not yet in order of performance)

The Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the event is Jerry Bowman. The artists include Dan Landrum, Kofi Mawuko, Contrapasso, Shikoh & Phillps, John Rawlston & Kathy Veazy (from Lumbar Five), Chattanooga Ballet, Cody Keown & Melissa Maddux, Neshawn Calloway, the Choo Choo Kids, the Magic of Scott Fillers, African dancers, Jeff Germ, Skwalking Heads, Nisha Boyington, Christie Burns, Terrence Wright, Joe Helseth, and an excerpt from the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's upcoming production of "High School Musical." This edition of MuzArDanz (music+art+dance) covers jazz, blues, rock, tap, ballet, modern dance, Indian dance, Broadway, improv, sculpture, folk music, and more.

Check back here soon for more information about each artist!