MEET THE MUSICAL THEATRE INCOMING CLASS OF 2018!

It was a year of record-breaking audition numbers for the Musical Theatre Program. Fourteen were selected to embark on four years of intensive training. From all corners of the country, it's a very exciting crew to welcome to the Penn State Musical Theatre family!

FRESHMEN BIOS

Allisun Omalley

Allsun O’Malley hails from the Boston suburb of Winchester, Massachusetts. She studies opera and was a member of her high school’s Women’s Chorale. Allsun’s favorite roles include Amy in Little Women, Cosette in Les Mis, and Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden, for which she received an Independent Reviewers of New England nomination for Best Young Actor. This summer, she performed in Reagle Music Theatre’s South Pacific, Me and My Girl, and Singin’ in the Rain. In 2013, Allsun was the winner of the Boston-area National Association of Teachers of Singing Musical Theatre Competition. She also had the honor of being the first runner-up in the English Speaking Union’s 2013 Massachusetts High School Shakespeare Competition.

Benjamin Nissan

Benjamin Nissen grew up in Howell, New Jersey, and graduated from Howell High School’s Fine and Performing Arts Academy in 2013. From there he continued his training at Brookdale Community College. Recent credits include Featured Dancer in both Legally Blonde and White Christmas, Danny Zuko in Grease, Oberon in Ken Ludwig’s Midsummer/Jersey, and Bailey in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. Also passionate about directing, he directed Jonathan Elliot’s Forward Motion and Kim Levin’s Just One Night.

Jonathan Savage

Jonathan Savage grew up in Davie, Florida, but was born in Pittsburgh. He has performed in numerous productions, including a professional production of A Christmas Story at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and a production of Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Outside of theatre, Jonathan claims the proud title of co-founder and former co-president of the Harry Potter Alumni (HPA) at his high school, where he and the club members, along with other classmates, successfully played a Quidditch match.

Joseph Allen

Joseph Allen, born and raised in Salem, Oregon, was homeschooled until he started to take music in the public schools in middle school. He went on to join top choral groups in Oregon, advancing to the state championships for solo voice, and winning the state championships for choir. He was choral department president and student body president at his high school. Joseph has been actively involved in theatre both at school and through community productions.  

Maria Wirries

Maria Wirries, a 16-year-old freshman who was born in Haiti but raised in the United States, is a singer, actress, ballet dancer, musician, composer, and rated competitive figure skater. She has performed with the Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Orchestra Jazz Ensemble and at the Sarasota and Manatee Players. She sings with Gloria Musicae, Sarasota’s professional chorus. She received rave reviews for her featured solos with Gloria Musicae on the chorus’ recent Italian tour during the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival.

Kevin Dort

Kevin Dort was born and raised in Las Vegas, and graduated as valedictorian of Coronado High School. Past roles include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan in Nevada Thespians’ 2014 All-State Production, Chip Tolentino in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Kevin is also very involved in choral music and opera, and sang in the All-State Choir for four years, including serving as Tenor I Section Leader (2012–14).

Samantha “Sam” Littleford

Samantha “Sam” Littleford, from San Diego, was recently named a 2014 National YoungArts Winner for Theatre and won the Old Globe Honors Award for Spoken Theatre in 2013. Her professional credits include Cissy Franks in the West Coast premiere of Punk Rock (Ion Theatre), Mary Phagan in Parade (Cygnet Theatre), and a Who in both the 2007 and 2010 productions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the renowned Old Globe Theatre. She has also been involved in community theatre around San Diego and has participated in theatre intensives at Interlochen Arts Academy and OpenJar Broadway Institute.

Johnathan Teeling

Johnathan Teeling graduated from the Freehold Performing Arts Center in New Jersey, where he performed as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain, a role that earned him a Best Actor Award from the Count Basie Theatre Association. He was a featured performer at Six Flags Great Adventure in the theme park’s premiere Halloween shows Dead Man’s Party and Dead Man’s Party: The Guest List. Classically trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballroom, modern, musical theatre, and especially hip-hop, his commercial dance recognitions include two-time Pulse Protégé, two-time national title holder for Dancers Inc., and currently an A.T.A. award recipient winner with Co. Dance. 

talia

Talia Suskauer was born and raised in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a performer. Talia attended a middle school for the arts, and graduated from Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in May 2014, where she was a theatre major. She has appeared in countless educational theatre productions, as well as several professional shows. Some of her favorite roles include Mother in Ragtime, Ilse in Spring Awakening, and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. Talia had the unique opportunity to create the roles of Viola and Kate in the workshop of a new musical titled Another Happy Ending, which combines the plot lines and characters of all fourteen of Shakespeare’s comedies.

Julia Hemp

Julia Hemp, from Louisville, Colorado, is a recent theatre major graduate of Denver School of the Arts. Credits include Beauty and the Beast (Belle), 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer), and Medea (Messenger). This past year she was president of her high school’s

Thespian Society and for the past two years, a Colorado State Thespian Officer. In spring 2013, she was one of four students selected to represent the Educational Theatre Association at National Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. This summer, Julia interned as an assistant teacher at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ music theatre camp. Also a dancer, her self-choreographed pieces have been showcased at both her school and the International Thespian Convention.

Justin Bergson

Justin Bergson, from Syosset, New York, always dreamed about going to Penn State to study musical theatre. He has trained at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway, and has taken vocal and acting lessons for the past eight years. Justin says Penn State will offer him the opportunity to gain a well-rounded musical theatre education and teach him the skills he needs for his dreams to flourish.

Morgan Hecker

Morgan Hecker grew up in New Jersey, near New York City, and was bitten by the theatre bug at the young age of 9, when she was cast in the American Girl Show as the Colonial doll, Felicity. She performed in the first tour of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which also featured Penn State alumna Carly Hughes. Her favorite roles in high school were Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Hope in Urinetown; and Doralee in 9 to 5. Morgan was a member of her high school’s field hockey team. She has a twin sister, Katie, who is attending Syracuse University.

Caitlin Belcik

Caitlin Belcik is from Edmond, Oklahoma, where she graduated as salutatorian of Edmond North High School. Caitlin originated the role of Annie Who in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Musical on Broadway in 2006, and was fortunate to return for its second Broadway production the following year. She has performed in numerous local and regional shows, including many productions at Oklahoma City's Lyric Theatre. She recently played the role of Maria in West Side Story at her high school. She was a member of the summer 2014 resident company at Music Theatre Wichita. Active in fundraising, last year she helped her school raise a record $300,000 for a local charity.

Andrew Heddleson

Andrew Heddleson, a proud Pennsylvanian, hails from Carlisle. For his senior year he transferred to the Capital Area School for the Arts Charter School in Harrisburg, where he studied theatre and was a member of its first graduating class. He has appeared in many productions, playing such roles as Andrew Jackson in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Roger in Rent, the Phantom in Yeston’s Phantom, and Tony in West Side Story. Andrew is also very passionate about choral music and attended the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-Eastern Conference in 2013, where he sang under the direction of accomplished composer Z. Randall Stroope.

We also welcome transfer sophomore Aidan Wharton:

Aidan Wharton

Aidan Wharton is a transfer sophomore from Pace University. He grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii before leaving for New York City last year. His recent credits include Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, numerous concerts in Hawaii, and his freshman cabaret at 54 Below.

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