"Why Must He Die?" 2014 Cast
Adam Mazza (Jesus) a native son of Houston, PA is excited to be returning for his second year with "Why Must He Die?". Last year he portrayed the role of the apostle, John. Adam is active with a variety of community theaters in the Pittsburgh area. Most recently he performed with Carnegie's Stage 62 in "The Wedding Singer" as Shane, Hickory's Old Schoolhouse Players in "Nunsense: AMEN" as Sister Mary Leo, and Elizabeth's The Grand Theater as Jack from "Into The Woods." He wants to thank his friends and family for their love and support, Linda Wallace for giving him this opportunity, and to thank everyone for joining the cast in this beautiful ministry.
Bill Davis (Pilate) has been involved with TriCounty Choir Institute since the 1995. He has played many of the roles, including 1st Accuser and is again reviving the role of Pilate. Bill attended Point Park University for Musical Theater. He would like to thank his wonderful family as well as the dedicated cast and crew.
Carol Dundes (Mother Mary) Canadian born but a Pittsburgher by choice, Carol has been involved with music and theater all her life. Her first appearance onstage came when she was four years old, in a church production of Amahl and the Night Visitors and she has loved performing ever since! Her most recent stage role was in 2007 as adult Cosette in her high school's production of Les Miserables. This is her first year participating in Why Must He Die? Carol wishes to thank her husband and family for always being her number one fans and the Village Singers for filling this year with joy and music.
Karie Weber (Samaritan Woman) has been a part of TriCounty Choir Institute since 1994 and has participated in this passion play in the Teen Chorale from 1995-2000. Between 2001 and 2009, she has participated as a fill-in. For the past 4 years she has played: Mark's Mother, Veronica, Mary Mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Accuser and Salome. Karie is a graduate of Moon HS(2000), Alderson-Broaddus College (2004 and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (2008). Karie teaches music at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, and is the Director of Music for Riverdale Presbyterian Church and has helped teaching parts for the Village Singers. Karie met her finace, Kurtis Charlton in the Village Singers and they will be wed this June. Karie would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support. She especially thanks Linda Wallace for inspiring her music and ministry.
Kurtis Charlton (Peter) is from Moon Township. As a veteran cast member from 2001, he has also played John and Judas. He has also performed in "the Wizard of Oz", "Grease", "Will Rogers Follies" and "Anything Goes". Charlton studied Television Production and Marketing at Edinboro university and is currently working on his MBA at Point Park University. He is a Project Manager by day and a music enthusiast by night. As owner of Elite Focus Entertainment, he has performed over 300 events since 2006 as the companies' premier DJ. His proudest achievement of late is his current involvement in Amateur Boxing and MMA events. He is also a member of the Village Singers. As a Pittsburgh native he loves all Pittsburgh Sports teams. Kurtis wishes to thank his fiance, Karie for loving and supporting him and allowing him to chase his dreams. The couple plans to wed in June. He credits his success to the Lord and wishes to continue with his ministry by helping to develop a youth group at Riverdale Presbyterian Church.
Terri Lynn Cheponis (Mary Madgalene) is returning for her thirteenth consecutive season of the Passion Play, "Why Must He Die?". From an early age, Terri Lynn knew that she wanted to be involved in this moving and inspirational production. Not only does each performance deepen her faith relationship, it strengthens her Lenten journey. While involved in the Passion Play, Terri Lynn has portrayed several roles, including Mark's Mother, Veronica, Mother of Zebadee's Sons, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and her most cherished role, Mary Magdalene. Terri Lynn has been involved in music and theater since joining the Tri-County Choir Institute in 1993. Some of Terri Lynn's most memorable theater moments include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Narrator), Seussical the Musical (Mayzie la Bird), and Anything Goes (Erma). Outside of music and theater, Terri Lynn enjoys spending her days as an Elementary school substitute teacher for North Allegheny School District, and a sales associate for the Learning Express in Bakery Square. Terri Lynn would like to thank her parents, extended fam[ily], and friends for their unconditional love and support. Also, Terri Lynn would like to thank the past and present cast of "Why Must He Die?" for their lasting friendships and their ability to make this ministry more memorable and fulfilling each year.
Karen Galehan (Accuser) Karen from Imperial has had a love of music since she was able to talk and has been involved in some form of music her entire life including chorus and band in school to Greek sing in college. she has participated in many community choirs in Pennsylvania and Ohio over the years and has sung in her church choirs since she was five years old. Karen's only "onstage" work has been as a costumer during HS. This is Karen's 3rd year participating in "Why Must He Die?" as an accuser. The ministry that takes place each time this play is performed is what made Karen want to join the cast. Karen wants to thank her fianace Bob, who she will marry this April 26th, her family for their love and support and the Village Singers, who brought who God brought into her life at the right time!
Amanda Leight (Elizabeth) is delighted to return to the cast of "Why Must He Die?" She previously sang with the Teen Chorale and participated in the show during that time as the Samaritan Woman. She is proud to be a part of this finale season and is grateful to be a part of the ministry that this show has brought to so many. Amanda has loved music and theater her entire life and has been singing with choirs and acting since she was four years old. Featured credits include: Joseph (ensemble), Working (Kate Rushton), Pippin (Leading Player), Godspell (Disciple), Fiddler on the Roof (Golde), Jerry's Girls (Ensemble) and the Pittsburgh premier of The Spitfire Grill (Shelby Thorpe). Amanda would like to extend her heartfelt thanks to her husband and her family for their love and support.
Leslie Romano-Toppetta (Woman with Children) Leslie is grateful to be a part of this final season of "Why Must He Die?" and also to be able to perform alongside her daughter and brother. This is her 3rd year performing; she returns as Woman with Children and has also performed as Peter's Mother-in-law. Currently Leslie is involved with Linda Wallace's Village Singers, and is a member of the Ohio Valley Community Band. She lives in Moon Township, has 4 children (thank you to their Dad and Grandma for helping to care for them). She is trying to reserve her remaining brain cells for Horticulture Technology studies at the Bidwell Training Center.
Leah Saloio (Salome) Leah, originally from Enfield CT recently moved to Wexford PA and feels blessed to be able to take part in "Why Must He Die?" Leah studied her craft at the American Musical Dramatic Academy in Nes York City and has participated in many shows and musicals throughout MA, CT and NY. including the lead vocalist as Mary for the soundtrack of the off Broadway Musical "The Birth" and a soloist for The Dan Kane Singers. Leah wants to thank her family and friends for all their support, as well as the Village Singers for welcoming her into their group.
Rachelle O'Connell (Woman in Crowd) has lived in the Pittsburgh area most of her life. She has been involved with theater and music since she was 12 years old. In previous years she has been part of "Into The Woods, "Catch Me If You Can" and has been a part of a choir from middle school through colelge. This is her first year being a part of "Why Must He Die?". Rachelle wants to thank the Village Singers for bringing her love for music back into her life and her friends and parents for their love and support.
Kim Householder (Canaanite Woman) is very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the final year of "Why Must He Die?" She hasn't participated in stage performances in almost 15 years, her last was as Dorothy in her HS's performance of "The Wizard of Oz". Kim is married and resides in Leetsdale with her husband, 3 children (consisting of 2 dogs and 1 cat) and brother. She would like to say thank you to her family for supporting her and understanding the time away from home to work on the passion play.
Jimmy Manganaro III (Mark) was born in Texas. Being from a military family, he moved several times before settling in Pittsburgh at age 5. Jimmy's first interest was TSD. He was three when he started lessons and has achieved his Second Degree Black Belt. However, since he comes from a household of non-stop singing, it was inevitable that eventually he would join the church choir. He found that music is a true passion. he is the only boy of eight children and joined the Village Singers with his sisters last year. This is his first appearance in the Passion Play.
Regina Manganaro (Mary) is a California girl. She was born into a growing military family. Regina's first stage appearance was at age five in a production of "A Christmas Carol". she moved about the country and finally settled in Pittsburgh. After HS, she studied to be a paralegal and worked hard to earn her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She has been in the church choir for several years. She joined TriCounty Choir Institute in the fall of 2013 and feels privileged to work with such dedicated people. She would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Linda Wallace for all of her hard work and dedication.
Matt Brind'Amour (John) is a designer with an architecture degree from Penn State. He first joined the TriCounty Teen Chorale as a junior in HS playing the role of John in 2000 and 2001 seasons. He performed in plays and musicals in HS including "Working" and "Anything Goes" at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and in college directed "Deathtrap". There he did everything from acting and stage crew to stage managing and assistant directing on nearly a dozen productions with Penn State's No Refund Theatre and the Penn State Thespians. He is excited and proud to be a part of this final season of "Why Must He Die?" reprising his original role as John. He has missed the music and the ministry very much in the several seasons he has been gone, but not the fake beards that we used in HS!
Gabi Romano-Toppetta (Jarius' daughter/Liturgical Dancer) Gabi is an 8th grade dance major at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School from Moon Township. She is happy to be back for her 2nd performance of "Why Must He Die?" She has been performing since the age of 7, when she first appeared in Father Ryan Arts Center's "A Christmas Carol" (Want, towns girl) 2 years in a row and in FRAC's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Oompa-loompa). She was also featured in "Our Town" (Rebecca). She has been in the Choraleers of TriCounty Choir Institute since the 2nd grade.
Brianna Spilsbury (Veronica) Brianna joined TriCounty Choir Institute in 8th grade and has continued singing in the choirs for the past 4 years. She has always loved to sing, but found her true passion for music once she joined TCCI. Brianna also performs in her HS musical, which this year was "All Shook Up". Brianna wants to thank her family for supporting her and TCCI for teaching her the art of music.
Bekah (Bride of Cana) hails from Boise, Idaho. She has made Pittsburgh her home since the age of two. She has participated in her church choir for several years. Bekah is the seventh of eight children. Like her older brother she trains in martial arts, but she has an abiding interest in nursing and homecare, stemming from the attention and care she provided for her grandmother over a two year span. The 2014 production of "Why Must He Die?" is her first performance with the Village Singers.
Dale Turner (Accuser) of New Castle has been performing with Linda Wallace and TriCounty for the past 23 years. Turner sings lead 2nd Tenor with the Village Singers, Village Quartet and Village Octet and joined the Passion play three seasons ago as the intimidating male accuser. the Hopewell native started on stage as a child and has never left. After singing at Hopewell High School, Dale attended penn State where he performed with both the Beaver Chorale and the prestigious Penn State Glee Club. Since college, he has been a cantor, choir member and worship leader with numerous churches in the Pittsburgh area. His musical accomplishments include HS and college Honors choir and most recently the 2011 Eastern Division ACDA Men's Honor Choir. Dale works as a vice president for PNC Bank in Lawrence County. He is married to Mary Turner and has two wonderful children Vanessa and Jacob.
Catherine Wheatley - Woman of Blood of North Fayette is in her freshman year in high school and is participating in the passion play for her second year. She is involved in her school's marching band, playing the clarinet. She is also a part of the National Speech and Debate League, placing first at districts and going to states in her first year.
She wants to thank Linda Wallace for giving her this wonderful opportunity, and also her parents for all their love and support, and for driving her to all the rehearsals and performances.
Taylor Modro (Joanna/Accuser)
Michael Goessler (Judas) from the North Hills began portraying different parts in 2000 while in High School. He has also played Joseph of Aramathea, and John. Michael was also involved in High School musicals and is now back revisiting his role as Judas.
Rachel Mitchell (Accuser) has been involved in plays, musicals and chorus from first grade on. In 2000, she became involved with Teen Chorale's Passion Play. Over the last 14 years, she has played besides the Accuser, Veronica, Salome, Woman in the Crowd, Woman of Blood and Joanna. Rachel would like to thank her parents Rockwell and Stephanie Lewis. She thanks her dad for if it were not for him, she would never have known or auditioned for "Why Must He Die? or other musicals. Rachel thanks him for taking the time to practice with her, driving her no matter how far to every show. His devotion has inspired her and taught her how to live her life. She thanks her mother for being supportive and tolerant and helping her rehearse lines as "loaves and fishes". Rachel thanks them for pushing her to be the best she can me and to always follow her heart. She thanks Mrs. Cheponis for all of her time in being there for us and the "bobby pins". Rachel thanks Mr. Wallace for being the man behind the scenes and always keeping Mrs. Wallace in check and lastly thanks and loves Mrs. Wallace for her love of music and passion and inspiration to spread the word of the Lord through all of us. Because of this great experience, I have made new friends and can say she is a part of my family!
Emily Semich (Pilate's Wife) has been a part of the Choraleers of TriCounty Choir Institute since 4th grade and then started this passion play her freshman year of HS in 2003 and has been a part of its ministry ever since then. While Emily has performed many roles including Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, she is currently reprising her favorite role as Pilate's wife. Emily has also played parts in multiple operas while studying Opera at Youngstown State University. She is currently a nurse in PCU at West Penn Hospital. She would like to thank her mom, dad and sister for being there for all the rehearsals and shows. Emily also thanks her boyfriend, Kevin for putting up with her when she comes home tired and cranky. And last but not least Linda Wallace for teaching her to let her voice out and being the best mentor/teacher a singer could have.
Lexi Manganero (Child with Mother) is a native of Pittsburgh, born in 2003, the youngest of her family of eight children. When she was a week old, someone asked, "Is she humming"? She was indeed and has not stopped singing since then! She sings throughout the day while doing chores or homework and love to turn everything into a song. Besides her love of music, Lexi is fascinated with animals, and has managed to tame and become friends with everything from dogs and cats to birds and groundhogs. The Passion Play is her first stage performance with the Village Singers.
Jason Vogel (Guard)
Elizabeth Manganaro (Martha) was born in California and being a military kid lived in five states before settling with her family in Pittsburgh in 2000. She graduated from Chatham university in 2010 with a B.S. in Biology. She had the honor of singing the National Anthem at her graduation ceremony. Always an avid lover of music and singing, she has been in her church choir since she was 13. She joined the Village Singers in the fall of 2013 and is excited to participate in this final season of "Why Must He Die?" She is humbled to be among such amazing talent, and is honored to live her faith through this production.
Angel Palladini (Child with Woman) is playing this role and singing a duet for her 2nd year appearance in this passion play. She is a 6th grader at Quaker Valley Middle School in Sewickley. She has studied with the Choraleers of TriCounty Choir Institute and Linda Wallace since 2nd grade. Angel is also involved in her school chorus, drama club and plays the violin with the school orchestra. Her parents began her in music classes as a baby and she started learning guitar at age 3. Angel hopes one day to attend Julliard School of Music in NY and aspires to be a famous singer and music teacher.