Area Stage Company in Coral Gables, known for its critically acclaimed, reimagined Mainstage productions of Broadway classics will present The Ballad of Janis Matthews and the Dodo Scouts, a world premiere of an original musical written, directed, and designed by Giancarlo Rodaz and Rachel Dean. Performed by a stellar cast of theatre actors from London, NYC and Miami, this captivating story will not be told like your typical musical, but as a series of podcast episodes released online weekly, beginning November 28th, 2020.
An all new folk-rock musical, The Ballad of Janis Matthews & The Dodo Scouts is a love letter to the 1960s and to the American family. Based on an original idea by Giancarlo Rodaz, the story follows Janis Matthews, a young girl who runs away to summer camp in order to escape her broken home. On her journey, she finds herself at the center of a mystery that forces her to question her idea of responsibility, friendship, and family. With an exciting new score from Rachel Dean, and an original book and story by Giancarlo Rodaz, this first of its kind scout musical challenges us to reassess our own relationships responsibilities within our families and communities.
ASC will release Janis Matthews as a radio play-style series of podcast episodes throughout November and December. All episodes will be released on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Listeners will, for the first time, have the entire cast album of this new musical at their fingertips along with the full book.
This production follows a series of workshops Janis Matthews has enjoyed during the past four years. The first took place at Area Stage, with the second taken on by the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, New Jersey in 2016. Most recently, the show received a full onstage production at ASC’s former home in the Riviera Theatre. Librettist Giancarlo Rodaz, who currently serves as Area Stage’s Associate Artistic Director, has continued developing the book throughout the show’s iterations. Likewise, composer Rachel Dean has enhanced her score, taking inspiration from Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, and other artists of the time.
Following the immense success, and critical acclaim, of his directorial efforts on Shrek The Musical and She Kills Monsters in 2018, and The Wizard of Oz and the blockbuster Matilda the Musical in 2019, the young visionary Giancarlo Rodaz is fast becoming one of South Florida’s most original and prolific theatrical forces. He has previously presented original works at Area Stage Company, MicroTheater Miami, and with his own company Wild Theatre. Florida Theatre On Stage has lauded his work as “imaginative” and “delightful”. The Miami Herald raved, “Rodaz…creates a magically playful world”.
Similarly, Rachel Dean has made quite the splash in the New York City theatre community. A graduate of NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, Dean currently serves as rehearsal pianist for Broadway’s Hamilton. Her work has been performed in New York, Miami, Ohio, Phoenix, and New Jersey, and she is a recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Max Dreyfus Award, created to identify up-and-coming talent and encourage the study of musical theatre as an art form.
A cast of ten talented actors will lend their voices to the project. Amanda Harford will serve as Stage Manager and Katie Duerr pulls double duty as both a cast member and the Music Director. See bios and headshots on the following pages.
What: Area Stage Company’s The Ballad of Janis Matthews and the Dodo Scouts
When: Episodes releasing November 28th, December 5th, 12th, & 19th Where: From Area Stage Company, https://www.areastage.org/janis @dodoscoutsmusical
Listen for free on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube
MEET THE CAST
Amanda Fernandez-Acosta (Sarah) is thrilled to be part of this musical project. Since quarantine has started, Amanda has gotten familiar with podcasting and is the co-host on two shows: Dungeons & Drimbus (an actual play DnD podcast) and Should I Buy It, Though? (A video game review podcast). Theatre credits include: Matilda (Mrs. Wormwood), The Polar Express, In The Heights (Daniela), and Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play (Colleen/Lisa/Itchy) for which she won ‘Best Actress in a Play’ from Broadway World Regional Awards. She hopes you enjoy the show, and thanks you for listening!
Iain Batchelor (Thomas) is an actor of over ten years’ experience in the U.K. and here in the U.S. Iain is an alumni of the world-renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and 2010 winner of the BBC Carleton Hobbs Radio Drama Award. He is known for his role as Thomas Seymour in the Emmy-nominated BBC / PBS Masterpiece series, Wold Hall (2015, dir. Peter Kosminsky), as well as his work on Allied (2016, dir. Robert Zemeckis) and the STARZ mini- series, The White Princess (2017, dir. Jamie Payne) Notable Theatre Credits include: Watson (2019; GableStage), Abyss (2015, Arcola Theatre, UK), The Rivals (2014, Arcola Theatre, UK), Edward II (2013, National Theatre, UK), Billy Budd (2013, Southwark Playhouse, UK), Richard III, King
John (2012, Royal Shakespeare Company, UK), A Solider in Every Son (2012, National Theatre of Mexico), King Lear (2011, Leeds Playhouse, UK). Iain recently made his directing debut here in the U.S., with an acclaimed student production of the hit musical, Spring Awakening (2020, Miami Stage Company).
Katie Duerr (Kimberly Magil) is an actor and musician from Miami, Florida. Katie has worked with ASC for over five years as an actor, music director, and vocal coach. She has been involved in Janis Matthews since its first workshop in 2016 and is thrilled to be a part of its first official cast recording. Her favorite credits include Matilda (Miss Honey), Cabaret (Fraulein Kost, Music Director), She Kills Monsters (Agnes), The Wizard of Oz (West Witch, Music Director), Shrek (Music Director, Pianist), and Little Mermaid (Music Director).
Marialexia Hernandez (Evita Thompson) is proud to be reprising the role of Evita in the four-part radio series. She attended Florida International University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Bachelor of Science in Communications. Previous credits: The Polar Express Train Ride (Steward/Elf), Aida (Ensemble), The Little Mermaid (Flotsam/Adella/Ensemble), The Ballad of Janis Matthews and the Dodo Scouts (Evita Thompson), A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Ensemble), Cabaret (Fritzie), and In the Heights (Ensemble).
Anjuli Kaufman (Riley) is a former ASC student who is proud to be a part of Giancarlo’s adventurous new musical. Kaufman is currently attending MDC for Philosophy. Her first role at ASC was a bird in A Year With Frog and Toad at the age of nine. Since then, she has performed in some thirty-five productions at ASC, Gulliver, MCT, and Wild Theater. Credits include: Riley (The Ballad of Janis Matthews), Lilith (She Kills Monsters), and Peter in the world premiere of (Peter x Wendy).
Alex J. Montero (Robert) is a thirteen year old seventh grader at Miami Arts Studio. Alex most recently debut in his first film as Sylvester Coddmeyer III in The Kid Who Only Hit Homers which is set to be released soon. Credits include Aladdin Jr. (Aladdin), Seussical Jr. (JoJo), The Lion King Jr. (Timon), and The Little Mermaid Jr. (King Triton).
Frank Montoto (Kenneth Walker) is a New World school of the Arts graduate and is excited to be returning to Area Stage to participate in this new project. Past credits include, The Baker (Into the Woods), Trevor Greydon (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Jonas Fogg (Sweeney Todd), Nathan Detorit (Guys and Dolls), Eurymachus (The Odyssey), and Medvedyev (The Lower Depths).
Laura Plyler (Caroline A. Long) is a Florida native from Miami and is thankful to be a member of the Florida theatre scene. She was most recently seen playing Diana Morales in the Wick Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line. She was also featured as #25 in Zoetic Stage’s The Wolves, as well as the Wick Theatre’s productions of Singin ’In the Rain and Crazy For You as Patsy.
West Rubin (Lisa Robins) is thrilled to be participating in her eleventh production with Area Stage Company! Professional credits: Peter x Wendy (Tootles), Matilda the Musical (Matilda), The Little Mermaid (Flounder), The Ballad of Janice Matthews (Lisa Robins). Other credits include: The Wizard of Oz (Wicked Witch), The Lion King, Jr. (Nala), Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Alice), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Beth), Winnie the Pooh (Piglet), and Inclusion Theatre Project’s Seussical Jr. (Whoville Citizen).
Staci Marie Stout (Janis Matthews) is stoked to step into Janis’ shoes and be a part of the Dodo Scouts family. Skating in from NYC, Stout, a serial workshopper for new musicals and plays, was last seen in her acting company’s (@tagtheatreco) Original Play Series as Casey in Brokendale, and Bea, a seventy-year-old widow, in Dragonfly. Prior to making magic with David Perlow, Ali Stroker, and the TAG gang, she was running away from home as Emily in The Giant Hoax on Theatre Row and was the Female Swing on the Grinch who Stole Christmas National Tour.