Summer Place News

Event date: 7/21/2023 7:30 PM - 8/6/2023 3:00 PM Export event
Don Gingold
/ Categories: Past Shows


Weekends July 21 - August 6, 2023, Naperville Central HS Auditorium

Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Jack Feldman
Book by Harvey Fierstein

Based on the Disney Film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White

Originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions

It's time to carry the banner on our stage with Disney's Newsies! Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged "newsies." When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what's right!

Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of HorrorsSister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies is packed with non-stop thrills and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family and every audience.


Nicholas Baumgartner (Mike) Nick is so excited to be working with this wonderful cast! You may have seen Nick last year in Summer Place's production of The Sound of Music, plating the character of Friedrich Von Trapp. He would like to thank his parents, siblings, friends, and fiancee Katie for their neverending love and support. Enjoy the show!

Gabriel Bell (Ike)  Newsies is one of Gabriel's favorite productions. It's a dream for him to be able to perform it with such an amazing cast filled with incredible people. He'd like thank Summer Place Theatre for having in their production of Newsies.  He'd also like to thank his family and friends who are always there for him and supporting him.

John Benischek (Wiesel/Ensemble): John Benischek started his Show-Biz career at the age of 6, appearing on the ABC Radio Show, “Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club”. Since that time, John has performed as an actor in dozens of theaters and as a singer/songwriter at hundreds of Nightclubs, Coffeehouses, Colleges, Festivals, Radio, & TV shows all over the country. He has performed such roles as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”, Captain Hook in “Peter Pan”, and Fagin in “Oliver!”. He recently wrote a musical about the Kennedy assassination called “November 22nd”, which was produced by Westmont Performing Arts in 2022.

John B Boss (Joseph Pulitzer)  Boss makes his debut with Summer Place. Suburban audiences may remember him as Man in Chair in Drowsy Chaperone at Cutting Hall and Theatre on the Hill, Sylvia in Ruthless at Steel Beam and Uncle Max in The Sound of Music at Brightside Theatre. He has appeared nationally, in Canada and the UK in touring productions of Persuasion and Mel Brooks’ The Producers as well as Barnaby in Babes in Toyland and Genie in Aladdin. You may see him in commercials and many independent films. He would like to thank Reed, his understudy for his hard work and dedication.

Henry Cartaya (Henry) is currently a rising Senior at Illinois Wesleyan University pursuing a BFA in Music Theatre. This is Henry’s first production with Summer Place Theatre and is super excited to be apart of such a lively cast doing a show he loves. Special thanks to Mom, Dad, and Harry. Enjoy the show!

Preetish Chakraborthy (Davey) Preetish is super excited to be making his Summer Place debut! Credits include: John Bechdel in Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater), Olaf in Frozen (Center Stage Players), Mr. Green in Clue: On Stage (Metea Valley High School). Preetish wants to thank his mom for always being there and his brother for being the best critic he could ask for.

Salem Channell (Jack Kelly) Salem Channell is super excited to be in Summer Place’s production of Newsies! They are currently studying Theatre Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. He’s previously performed as Peter in Company, Mandrew in the Performers, and Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. Follow them on Instagram at @thesalemchannell to follow their journey! 

Miranda Colin (Mush) Miranda is ecstatic to make her Summer Place Theatre debut! Miranda is a freelance choreographer and performer as well as a dance instructor at Naperville Park District and Innovation Arts Connection. She has been seen dancing for Walt Disney World and Six Flags Great America, and her most recent performing credits include A Christmas Carol The Musical (BrightSide Theatre) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (BrightSide Theatre). Miranda would like to thank her family and friends for all of their love and support!

Claire Correll (Hannah/Ensemble)  Claire is so excited to be a part of the cast of Newsies! She recently graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in Mathematics, Theater, and Education. She currently teaches 7th grade math and sponsors the drama club at A. Vito Martinez Middle School. She thanks you for coming and hopes you enjoy the show!

Jill Danklefsen (Specs)  Jill is excited to make her Summer Place debut! She has her B.A. in Musical Theatre from North Central College with most recent productions being Something Rotten! (Featured Dancer), Seussical Jr. (Co-Director/Choreographer), and All Shook Up (Featured Dancer). Jill would like to thank her friends and family, but most importantly her mother– a journalist/communications extraordinaire who has been published in “the papes” and beyond. She not only taught her how to write and sing, but is Jill’s biggest fan who will probably see this production at least thrice– Love you!

Justin Davis (Crutchie)  Justin Davis is so happy to be on stage again and working with Summer Place Theatre in his role as Crutchie. His recent credits include; Benny in In the Heights, Eddie in Sister Act and Dennis in All Shook Up! Acting is truly his life-long passion and he would like to thank all of his friends and family for their continued love and support. In Justin’s free time he like to spend time with his friends and faimily. He also loves to play tennis and video games. Newsies is one of his favorite shows and he is beyond thrilled to be cast in his dream role.

Joey Fatigante (Albert)  Joseph is a recent graduate from Illinois State University with a bachelors in middle level education with endorsements in math and science. He is super excited to get a second chance at Newsies and to make his Summer Place Theatre debut. Some of Joseph’s previous credits include THE ADDAMS FAMILY (William Street Rep), HAIRSPRAY (Brightside Theatre), GREASE (Small Town Theatrics), and ELF (Community Players Theatre). “I would like to thank my family and for supporting me in everything I do and never failing to have my back!"

Courtney Gaither (Buttons)   Courtney is going into her senior year at Neuqua Valley High School. She has participated in numerous community and school productions. Previous productions she has been in include, Tinkerbell (Michael) , Alice @ Wonderland (Tiny Door), and Love Letters (Melissa). Courtney thanks her friends and family for all of their love and support they never fail to give.

Joe Gomez (Tommy Boy/Spot Conlon)  Joe studied acting at Acting Studio Chicago with Adrianne Cury, and Charles Andrew Gardner. His most recent credits include Glengarry Glen Ross (John Williamson), Love And Tear Gas (Walter Arbogast), Twelfth Night (Sebastian), Eurydice (The Lord of The Underworld).    

Luke Hafkey (Les 7/21, 7/23, 7/28, 7/29, 8/4)   Luke is an incoming freshman at Wheaton North High School and is thrilled to be joining the cast of Newsies. Some of his past favorite roles include Sebastian in The Little Mermaid Jr., Michael Banks in Mary Poppins Jr. (Carol Stream Park District), and Ensembles in both Beauty and the Beast and A Christmas Carol the Musical (Wheaton Drama). He thanks his friends and family for their never ending encouragement.  


Devin Koshay (Morris Delancey)  Devin, who is going to a Junior at Naperville Central H.S., has been doing theatre for 8 years. He just performed in Summer Place Theater’s production of The Pajama Game and is very excited to return to the stage. In addition to that, Devin has performed in The Lion King (Scar), Aladdin (Jafar), Les Miserables (Montparnasse), and The Little Mermaid (King Triton) and more. He hopes that you enjoy this performance. 

Justin Lessentine (Elmer)  After 6 years away, Justin is proud to make his return to the theater and what better show than Newsies! He loves to tap and was quick to jump at the opportunity to do it in a show! A couple of his past roles are Ren McCormack in Footloose and the understudy for Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors! Justin would like to thank his family for always supporting him and especially his wife Meghan, for pushing him to start performing again!

Charlie Long (Les 7/22, 7/30, 8/5, 8/6)  Summer Place Theatre debut! Most recently, Charlie could be seen on the Paramount Theatre stage in The Sound of Music (Kurt) and School of Rock (Ensemble, Billy u/s). Other favorite roles include Winthrop in The Music Man (Little Mountain Community Theater) and Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka Jr. Many thanks to the cast and crew...let's Seize the Day!

Sean Lynch (Snyder)  Sean Lynch is very excited to be making his Summerplace debut with Newsies. Although this is his first show with Summerplace this is Sean’s second time performing Newsies. When not performing in shows, Sean works as an activity aide at a nursing home in Naperville.

Jordan McCully (Finch)   Jordan is thrilled to be portraying the role of Finch in Summer Place Theatre's production of Newsies! She is a current college student at Olivet Nazarene University; recent credits from her university include: Singin’ in the Rain (Miss Dinsmore), Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Mrs. Beaver), and a school original musical Hook (Never Fairy). Jordan would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support and for always believing in her, as well as her cast, crew, and directors for their hard work and dedication that they put into making this show possible. She wants you to remember that courage cannot erase our fear, courage is when we face our fear, and there’s a change coming once and for all. IG- @jordannmccullyy

 Lia Mulcahy (Splasher)   Lia is so excited to Seize the Day with the Newsies cast! This is her Suburban Chicago theatre debut. When she is not on stage she can be found teaching 5th grade. Many thanks to her family, friends, the cast and crew for all of their support! 

Colin Nacion (Romeo)  Colin is entering his senior year at Ithaca College, NY where he is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree as a double major in Theatre Studies and English Literature, and plans to continue at IC for his Master’s degree in Adolescent Education. Some of his recent credits at IC include The Trail to Oregon!, Twelfth Night: The Musical, and Until the End of Time, and next in line is (interestingly enough) Assistant Directing Newsies this upcoming fall. He would like to thank his family, friends, and the incredible people he’s met at Summer Place for their support. @colin.nacion   

Julie Nelson (Medda)   Having previously played nuns (Maria in The Sound of Music and Sister Amnesia in Nunsense) as well as chorines (Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Sally Bowles in Cabaret), Julie is thrilled to do both in her Summer Place Theatre debut! Some of Julie's other favorite roles include the Narrator in Joseph..., Anytime Annie in 42nd Street and Gloria Thorpe in Damn Yankees. When she's not on stage, you can find her at high schools and college fairs all over Chicagoland in her real-life role as Assistant Dean of Admission at Xavier University. Julie will happily be on your trivia team, crochet you a darling hat, and/or join you for a craft beer (or two). 

Marcelo Nylund (Oscar Delancey, Jack u/s)  Is elated to be apart of one of his dream shows! A graduate of Syracuse University's Department of Drama, and a former driver of the Oscar-Mayer Wienermobile, Marcelo is looking forward to embracing theatre and performance professionally, and thanks Summer Place Theatre for the opportunity. Former roles include Young Frankenstein (Ziggy/Igor U/S), Theory of Relativity (Anthony), Rent (Waiter/Featured Dancer/Roger U/S) and Grease (Sonny). He send all his love to the his friends and family who inspired him to 'take the leap' and pursue his passion. Enjoy the Show!

Katie Paulsen (Bunsen/Ensemble)   Katie is thrilled to be returning to Summer Place after first appearing in last year's The Sound of Music (Fraulein Schweiger, Ensemble, u/s Sisters)! She hails from Wheaton, and graduated from Wheaton College with a B.A. in Communications/Theatre Arts and a minor in Spanish Language. Favorite past roles include The Little Mermaid (Arista), Shrek (Tap Rat, Doc), A Comedy of Errors (Emilia), The Tempest (Sebastian), Seussical (Wickersham Brother), and many more. Currently when not onstage, she is a preschool teacher. Special thanks to her amazing fiance Nick Baumgartner for doing this show with her! 

Reed Pence (Nunzio/Ensemble, Pulitzer u/s)  Reed played Max Detweiler in our 2022 production of The Sound of Music, and is happy to find himself in the Newsies world—in real life, he was a news reporter for more than 40 years. He first appeared in the Summer Place tent in the ensemble of 1973’s My Fair Lady, and more recently has sung in the ensembles of Main Street Opera and New Philharmonic/ DuPage Opera Theatre. Favorite roles include Bardolfo in Verdi’s Falstaff, and Jean Valjean (Les Miserables) and Phantom of the Opera with the West Suburban Symphony Fusion series.

Amanda Rissman (Jo Jo, Katherine u/s)  Amanda is very excited for everyone to see this show! This will be her 25th show. She wants to give a big shoutout to her sister for being her biggest inspiration and supporter. Enjoy the show!

Courtney San Pedro (Katherine Plummer) Courtney is THRILLED to be playing Katherine with such a wonderful cast by her side! She has been obsessed with Newsies since she first discovered it in middle school and Katherine has been her dream role since that moment. Recently, you may have seen Courtney in Rent as Mimi Marquez, Little Women as Amy March, The Spongebob Musical as Sandy Cheeks, and The Addams Family as Morticia Addams! Doing this show has been a dream come true for her and she hopes that you all enjoy the show!!!! :)

Maddie Shelton (Bowery Beauty/Ensemble)  Maddie is a Mechanical Engineer in themed entertainment with a passion for dance. She started dancing when she was two years old and was most recently the president of Higher Ground Dance Company at Purdue University. She has award winning competition choreography in both tap and ballet. Maddie wants to thank her family and friends for teaching her all her sick moves.    

Michael Vasilevich (Race)  Michael is excited to be making his Summer Place debut as Race! Previous credits include A Chorus Line (Mark), Pippin (Ensemble), On the Town (Ensemble) Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Delaney, Marisa, and Mikayla! Western Michigan Musical Theatre ‘26 @michaelvasileviich

CeCi Wynne (Seitz/Ensemble)  CeCi Wynne is thrilled to return to SPT after appearing in last year’s production of The Sound of Music as a Nun/Party Guest/New Postulant! She just finished her Sophomore year at Plainfield East High School, where this past year she appeared in the Ensemble of James and the Giant Peach and as Queen Lilian/Fairytale Character/Dragon Operator in Shrek the Musical. CeCi also sings in Head Table for PEHS Madrigals and with Young Naperville Singers, with whom she has sung at Carnegie Hall, and in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. She cannot wait to Seize the Day with her cast mates as they perform Newsies!



Performances will be held over 3 weekends - July 21 through August 6, 2023 - at the Naperville Central HS Auditorium.

Tickets are on sale now!  Buy a season or VIP ticket for both The Pajama Game and Newsies and save some money - you KNOW you're going to want to see both!

Ticket Information

NEWSIES is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre Intermational (MTI).  All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.


Mike Frale (Director) Mike is thrilled to be making his Summer Place Theatre debut directing "Newsies." He is a graduate of Lewis University with a B.A. in Theatre and is currently working towards his Master's in Organizational Leadership. Select directing credits include the Lou Award Recommended, 12-time BroadwayWorld Award-nominated production of "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" (Theatre 121), "The Guys", "A Night in the Theatre" and "Constellations" (all with Heritage Theatre Company) and "Deathtrap" (Theatre 121). He has also served as the Production Manager for Schaumburg Summer Theatre, where he has assistant directed multiple shows including this summer's "The SpongeBob Musical". Some acting credits include Ted in "Peter and the Starcatcher" and Peter in "Company" (both with Wheaton Drama), Bobby Strong in "Urinetown" (Philip Lynch Theatre), and Paul/General Howell in "Kiss Me, Kate" (ECC). Mike is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and also serves as the Board Secretary for the Lou Awards. He can't wait to get started carrying the banner on this incredible production!

Taylor Wiesz (Producer) Taylor has been with Summer Place since 2022 when she took on the role of Stage Manager for The Sound of Music. Taylor moved to Naperville just at the start of the pandemic from her hometown of Peoria. She was last seen in Tarzan the Musical (Terk) and Addams Family (Wednesday). As much as she can't wait to get back on the stage, she is enjoying being behind the scenes again.

Matt Whalen (Producer)  Matt is a native of Naperville and grew up seeing Summer Place shows. You could say was "bitten by the bug" as an audience member seeing musicals both in the Pavillion and at NCHS. His stage debut was in Summer Place's production of Heidi in 1994. After graduating from Neuqua Valley High School, he appeared in Summer Place's productions of Into the Woods and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He received his BA in Musical Theatre from North Central College, and has performed with many professional and community theatres in the area. Other Summer Place credits include Jekyll and Hyde, Kiss Me Kate (Fred/Pertruchio), Mamma Mia (Bill Austin), The Sound of Music (Captain von Trapp). He has directed Summer Place productions of Grease, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown  He's very excited about collaborating with the board on another great season of theatre in Naperville. He lives in Naperville with his fiance, Lauren and dog, Finn.

Sam Dempsey (Technical Director/Master Carpenter) Sam has served as Technical Director for Summer Place's productions of The Sound of Music and The Pajama Game. Sam has been involved in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years. He received his BA in theater from North Central College, and his MFA in technical direction from SIU. After receiving his masters, he was the technical director for Pfeiffer Hall and the North Central College Theater department. He was promoted to Production Manager for the Fine Arts department as the Wentz Concert Hall was being constructed. After leaving the college Sam has involved himself in various community events such as the Naperville Jaycees Last Fling. Sam has worked on more shows and concerts that he can list. 

Kitty Karn (Music Director) is a singer/actor and voice teacher who has musically and/or vocally directed over 30 shows at the community, college and professional level since 2002. She moved to the area in 2019 after 15 years as Professor of Musical Theatre/Voice at Western Illinois University. Currently, Kitty is an Adjunct Professor of Voice the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as the Music Director for Unity of Fox Valley in Batavia. Kitty maintains a private voice studio with students of all ages and skill levels. As a performer, some of her favorite roles include Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, Chaperone in ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’, Marmee in ‘Little Women’, Florence Foster Jenkins in ‘Souvenir’ and Phoebe in ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’.

Jeanne O'Connell (Choreographer)  Jeanne is a professional choreographer, performer, and dance instructor. With over thirty years experience, she has performed in Broadway shows such as 42nd Street, appeared multiple times at Disneyland/Disney Television, and assisted world renowned magicians, Ms. O'Connell has taught, choreographed for, or performed with celebrities such as Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Donna McKechnie and more! Jeanne is delighted to be working on her first production with Summer Place Theatre.

Ali Kordelewski (Vocal Director) Ali is excited to be joining the Summer Place team for their production of Newsies! This is her Summer Place debut, though she is not new to Naperville community theatre. She music directed at North Central College for many summer productions including Disney's The Little Mermaid, The Music Man, and Peter Pan. Ali is a graduate from North Central College with a BA in Music Education and a Theatre Endorsement. She also earned her Masters in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. Ali teaches choir at Plainfield East High School and directs the madrigals and the spring musicals, most recently Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. She also teaches classes for the Children's Theatre of Western Springs. Ali loves spending time with her family and friends, and she cannot wait to "seize the day" this summer.

Nick Torres (Scenic Designer) Nick is thrilled to be making his Scenic Design debut with Summer Place Theatre His has designed for Blue Ink Production of Really by Jackie Sibblies. His theatre credentials also extend to Production Stage Management at RIT/NTID’s for their Hispanic, Deaf, and Hearing inclusive production of In The Heights Spring of 2022. Nick is excited to start working Summer Place Theatre!

Deb Holmen-Madden (Lighting Designer). Deb spends most of her time behind a few glowing screens, teaching students computers. She is thrilled when the time comes to enter a dark theater and paint the stage with light. Deb has been saturating stages with light for almost two decades, and is thrilled to be part of this adventurous team.

Bill Ryden (Sound Designer) This is Bill's second season with Summer Place and is excited to be back behind the soundboard for this summer’s productions of The Pajama Game and Newsies. His involvement in theater began when his children got involved with CYT Chicago almost 15 years ago. He started doing sound for them 10 years ago and have worked on about 20 shows. He loves working with actors and directors to make their vision come to life and making the shows sound awesome. He is thankful to his wife, Kim, and four children for their love and support.

Patty Meier (Properties Designer)  Patty is excited to be making her continuing debut with Summer Place. You may have seen her work recently in The Pajama Game. Other recent credits include stage manager for The Creators and Boeing Boeing (3 Brothers theatre). She thanks her family and friends for their love, support, and spare newspapers. Enjoy the show!    

Bre Sakalis (Assistant Stage Manager) Bre is excited to return to Summer Place Theatre for her second year. She helped out last year as construction crew for Sound of Music. Bre is a graduate of Western Illinois University where she got her BA in Technical Theatre, focusing on Stage Management and Audio. She has been working in theatre for 10 years now, in various positions, including run crew, lighting crew, costume construction, set construction, Audio Engineer, Audio Designer, Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, Sound Mentor, Stage Management Mentor, Assistant Technical Director, and Video Designer. When she's not working in theatre, Bre works as a prep cook, and in her free time, can be found working on some sort of craft project.

RJ Cecott (RJ Cecott) RJ is an award-winning actor, and graduate of Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Acting. Though he is new to choreographing fights himself, he's no stranger to performing fights onstage, including fighting his own hand as Ash in Evil Dead: The Musical (you can see that madness at! Recent fight choreography includes Clue at The Drama Group (where he also portrayed Mr. Green). You can see more at

Kristina Bonn (Rehearsal Accompanist)  Kristi plays the piano at musical rehearsals and in pit orchestras for colleges, high schools, and the community. Most recent shows were Shrek at Plainfield East HS, Disney's The Little Mermaid at North Central College, and The Wizard of Oz at Westmont HS. She sends thanks to her family for their support, and thanks Ali for once again being her musical partner in crime.



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