LIGHTS UP ON LIGHTBOX PROGRAM
Hey there, theatre lovers!
Welcome to Lightbox Productions’ 5th-anniversary celebration! I’m super excited to be here as the new president of this amazing theatre company.
As we look back at the past five years, I want to express my deep gratitude to everyone who has supported Lightbox Productions along the way. Your love and encouragement have helped us achieve this milestone, and we couldn’t have done it without you.
As the new President, I’m stoked to lead Lightbox Productions through this exciting phase of growth and creativity. I am humbled by this opportunity and grateful for the warm welcome and support I’ve received during the transition. We’re committed to producing kick-ass theatre that challenges, inspires, and entertains our audience. With our talented cast, crew, and creative team, I’m confident we’ll continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in theatre.
Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate our 5th anniversary. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
I am honoured to be able to welcome you all to the “Lights Up On Lightbox” gala, a celebration of five remarkable years of Lightbox Productions.
Over the past five years, Lightbox has put on three full-scale productions and various gala nights that have captivated and entertained audiences. Our community has grown with each performance, and I am so happy to see many past alumni returning to reprise performances for Lightbox this evening.
We have strived to bring a real sense of community to Lightbox. From the moment a performer steps onto the stage to the final bow, there is a palpable energy that brings everyone together. It is an environment that is both supportive and challenging, and it is one that has allowed us to create something truly special.
Tonight, we’ll be showcasing some of the best moments of Lightbox. Please join us in celebrating five years of memories and achievements. To me, Lightbox is more than just a theatre company – it is a place where I’ve made many lasting friendships. So buy a drink, then raise a glass to many more years of creating theatre, building friendships, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
MUSIC DIRECTOR’S WELCOME
Hi there, I’m Peter Verhagen, your friendly neighborhood music director. I know what you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, who is this guy? Did he even have time to write his own bio?” Well, the truth is, I’ve been so busy putting together this amazing show that I barely had time to grab a cup of coffee, let alone write a bio. So, I called in the big guns – ChatGPT – to help me out.
But enough about me, let’s talk about the show! I am beyond excited to welcome you all to our musical extravaganza. I’ve poured my heart and soul into creating a musical experience that will have you tapping your feet and singing along in no time. From classic hits to modern masterpieces, we’ve got it all.
As music director, it’s my job to make sure that the music is pitch-perfect and that the cast is ready to rock the stage. I can guarantee that you’ll be blown away by the talent and energy of our amazing performers.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to experience the magic of musical theatre. I can’t wait for you to hear what we’ve got in store for you. Enjoy the show!
“A New World” – Isaac Stott, Joshua Meadows, Madeline Connolly and Natalie Carden
“More Than Survive” – Dylan Mazurek and Ensemble
“The End of the Line” – Maddy Pratt and Phoebe Myring
“I’d Rather be Me” – Eleni Tsombanopoulos and Ensemble
“Smartphone Hour (Rich Set a Fire)” – Melanie Verhagen, Madeline Connolly, Kirsten Manuel and Ensemble
“Some Kinda Time” – Darcy Myring, Dylan Mazurek, Eleni Tsombanopoulos, Isaac Stott, Joshua Meadows, Toby Thornton
“Always Starting Over” – Natalie Carden
“Pitiful Children” – Dylan Mazurek, Eleni Tsombanopoulos and Ensemble
“Top Of The World” – Isaac Stott and Ruby Gleeson
“Holding Out for a Hero” – Laura Harris Rilen, Maddy Pratt, Phoebe Myring and Ruby Gleeson
“Pitiful Children” – Dylan Mazurek, Eleni Tsombanopoulos and Ensemble
“First Date/Last Night” – Madeline Connolly and Darcy Myring
“Does Your Mother Know” – Kirsten Manuel and Ensemble
“Apex Predator” – Melanie Verhagen and Phoebe Myring
“The World According to Chris” – Darcy Myring, Kirsten Manuel, Ruby Gleeson and Toby Thornton
“Nothing Without You” – Ensemble
Darcy Myring (he/him)
Lights Up on Lightbox marks Darcy’s first foray into musical theatre since 2019. In his time off, Darcy has been spending a couple of years in the corporate tech realm alongside pursuing other musical ventures (go follow @alpakamarakaband…). Darcy is thrilled to be back performing with some dear old friends and thanks the reader for their support of community theatre – you’re great!
Dylan Mazurek (he/him)
Dylan has been involved in theatrical productions all around Victoria, some of his most recent on-stage appearances include Enjolras in MDMS’ production of Les Mis, the Victorian premiere of Be More Chill as Jeremy Heere, RMIT Creative’s production of Spring Awakening as Moritz Stiefel and Jason Dean in FabNobs highly regarded production of Heathers: The Musical with FabNobs Theatre. Dylan was also lucky enough to cover multiple roles during the last two years, being called in to a role days before opening night. He has also been involved in multiple premiere/workshop productions, including Point of No Return (Play) as the character of Mac, and Decoration Day: A New Musical as the character of Thomas. Dylan has also directed, produced, and been involved behind-the-scenes in many productions around Victoria.
Eleni Tsombanopoulos (she/her)
Eleni has not acted in about 4 years because of covid so she apologised if her bio doesn’t look as impressive as everyone else’s. She has worked primarily with two companies since leaving high school, those being Lightbox and Scintilla. In 2017 she joined Scintilla in their rendition of The Importance of Being Earnest where she played Algernon Moncrieff. In 2018 she played Peter Pan in Scintilla’s production of Peter Pan, and then later that year she joined Lightbox and took to the stage as the SQUIP in their production of Be More Chill, and was invited back by the company to perform in their gala Bar One, and again now for Lights Up On Light Box.
Isaac Stott (he/him)
As a dedicated theatre professional, Isaac has built a career as a singing teacher and music director with a passion for creating memorable performances. One of his unique approaches to music direction involves creating Original Isaac Cast Recordings (OICR), which allows cast members to learn their harmonies with ease. He takes pride in fostering a collaborative and supportive creative environment, working with performers of all levels to bring out their best on stage. With a deep love for the arts and a commitment to excellence, Isaac strives to make each production a truly unforgettable experience for audiences and cast members alike.
Joshua Meadows (he/him)
A long-time fan of Lightbox, Joshua is ecstatic to be returning to the stage with so many dear friends. Joshua’s previous performance credits include SLAMS’ Heathers (2018) and All Shook Up (2019), Lightbox’s production of Dogfight (2019) and UMMTA’s Legally Blonde (2019). In his spare time, Joshua is an avid runner, and loves to spend time outdoors hiking or camping. He can often be found in a local park on a sunny day, curled up with a good book.
Kirsten Manuel (she/her)
Kirsten graduated from Kelly Aykers Fulltime Dance in 2021 finally finishing off her Diploma of Music Theatre and has been involved with Parklife Productions Little Shop Of Horrors (2021), Lightbox Productions Be More Chill (2018) and Dogfight (2019), Misfit Theatre Children of the Clock (2018) and Windmill Theatre Company Jersey Boys (2022). She is currently in CLOC’s Catch Me If You Can. She is a dance/ musical theatre teacher and children’s party entertainer.
Laura Harris Rilen (she/her)
In 2016 Laura completed a Diploma of Musical Theatre, she then continued her studies in 2017 attending the Australian Institute of Music studying a Bachelor of Musical Theatre. Laura has previously worked as a musical theatre teacher and student at CSOD, A Disney Princess entertainer performing with charities and large televised events. Laura has performed in numerous productions, including Avenue Q (Lucy, 2014), Fame (2016) and Legally Blonde (Vivienne, 2018) and also in Australian amateur premier of American Idiot (Extraordinary Girl 2019), Rent (mimi, 2019), Little shop of horrors (Audrey, 2022), back in the day (soloist, 2023).
Maddy Connolly (she/her)
Maddy is a bit of a simp for Lightbox and was very excited when asked to join the cast for tonights line up. Bringing Rehearsals back into her schedule which these days mostly consists of Elsa parties and Face painting (She can be found at @royalteapartiesmelbourne on instagram) She has previously taken the stage in performances of Legally Blonde, Margot (UMMTA), Dogfight, Librarian (Lightbox Productions), Double Bill (Kelly Aykers Full Time Dance), RAW (Kelly Aykers Full Time Dance), Lightbox Live (Lightbox Productions), Witches of Eastwick (FabNobs) and Be More Chill, Christine (Lightbox Productions). She was also set to Assitant Direct Lightbox’s production of Footloose before Covid shut the production down. Maddy is excited to get back to the theatre this year, both on stage and off.
Maddy Pratt (she/they)
Maddy is a Naarm based performer, choreographer and teacher who has worked in various avenues such as music theatre, dance, corporate events/gigs, stage, TV, commercials, modelling, voice overs, producing/writing and more. Some performance credits include; Rent (Maureen) at the Athenaeum Theatre, Heathers: The Musical (Heather Duke/Dance Captain), A Chorus Line (Val), Chicago (Velma Kelly) and Warner Bros + Network Ten’s The Masked Singer (Season 2 + 3). Some choreographic credits include her self devised/produced production Moments which has toured Victoria and Adelaide as well as Stranger Sings, Wicked, Legally Blonde: The Musical and the Australian workshop of Paper Stars with Salty Theatre’s Hatch Lab.
Melanie Verhagen (she/her)
Melanie is thrilled to be working with Lightbox once again in their 5 year anniversary gala! Most recently, She performed with SLAMs as Regina in ‘Rock of Ages!’ where she was nominated for the 2022 Lyrebird Award for Best Performer in a Supporting Female Role. Mel has also worked with SLAMs performing in their productions of ‘Shrek’ and ‘All Shook Up,’ aswell as their Cabaret ‘Bookends,’ where she was nominated for the 2019 Lyrebird Award ‘Highly Commended Performance in a Variety.’ Her other theatre credits include Schroeder in ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ (UMMTA), Sophie in ‘Mamma Mia’ (Cardinia Performing Arts Company), Caroline in ‘The Theory of Relativity’ and Jenna Rolan in ‘Be More Chill’ (Lightbox Productions). Mel has adored working with this team and hopes you have an incredible night!
Natalie Carden (she/her)
Natalie has a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theatre where she learned lots and had heaps of fun… but now works in a 9-5 office job. Musicals have still been a huge part of her life though, with performances in community productions including Pippi in The Great American Trailer Park Musical (PEP Productions), Caroline in Island Song (SLAMS), Roxie in Chicago (Phoenix Theatre Company) and Morticia in the Addams Family (also Phoenix) to name a few. Nat is thrilled to come back and celebrate with Lightbox on their 5th Anniversary.
Phoebe Myring (she/her)
Having had a passion for theatre since high school, Phoebe has been an active member of the theatre community from 2016. From pantomimes to musicals, she found her home on the stage among her peers. Some of her shows include Next to Normal (Natalie – 2017), Legally Blonde (Enid Hoopes – 2018) and Spring Awakening (Anna – 2018). She also had smaller parts in Rent (ensemble – 2019), and was behind the curtain of Mamma Mia (featured singer – 2020). Her favourite show to be involved in was Theory of Relativity (Dana – 2019), also with Lightbox, and she is thrilled to be working with them again for her first performance since 2020.
Ruby Gleeson (she/her)
Happy 5 years, Lightbox! Snaps! Ruby is always up for a night of singing, especially for Lightbox! You may have seen Ruby smiling in First Date (cactus), Legally Blonde (NOVA), The Producers (WTinc), Shrek (SLAMS), The Addams Family (Pheonix), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (WTinc) and in the wings of countless other Melbourne amateur shows. She’s a proud world-class shower singer, even a featured soloist in the Lyrebird winning production of Ensemblah 2019, where Ruby herself was also nominated. And finally, she’s most proud to share the Lightbox stage with this damn fine cast! Enjoy!
Toby Thornton (he/him)
Toby Thornton is a versatile and dynamic performer in the theatre world. He has made a name for himself through his powerful performances, captivating audiences wherever he goes. His performance credits include “We Will Rock You” with Phoenix Theatre Company and “Wizard of Oz” and “Beauty and the Beast” with Nova Music Theatre. With his second appearance for Lightbox Productions, Toby has shown that he has found a new home in this vibrant and thriving community. He has also taken an active role by joining the committee for 2022-23, further solidifying his commitment to the theatre and the community at large. With his passion, talent and drive, Toby is sure to continue making waves in the world of theatre for years to come.
Rebekah Abblitt (she/her)
Rebekah loves performing and getting the opportunity to create for the stage. She has the wonderful ability to work in a way that brings the most out of her performers that challenges them, and makes sure that they shine! Her past choreography credits include the last two productions of Moonshoes’ Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Theory of Relativity with Lightbox Productions, where she received a nomination for Best Choreography at the Victorian Guild Awards, and Hairspray and Cats with Mount Lilydale Mercy College. Her past performer credits include Romaine Patterson in The Laramie Project (Hartwell Players), Chicago (Windmill), Berthe in Pippin (Parklife Productions), Chutney in Legally Blonde (NOVA), Dusty, The Original Pop Diva, and Chasity in Anything Goes (Babirra), and Blight and Annie Cresta in Girl on Fire: A Hunger Games Musical Parody and dance captain, lead swing, Frank-n-Furter understudy in The Rocky Horror Pictures Show Shadow Cast (Moonshoes Productions).
Erin Casey (she/her)
Production Manager/Stage Manager
Erin has been involved in the theatre for well over a decade. Originally performing in plays including Twelfth Night and Noises Off, before moving into the musical theatre with The Addams Family. Eager to try out new things, Erin started production managing and working in front of house in university with shows such as Hedda Gabler, The Flick as well as The Metamorphosis. Right before the spicy lockdown, Erin joined Lightbox Productions as Company Secretary – while unable to put on any shows – she’s happy to be involved this year in upcoming shows.
Luke Martin (he/him)
Luke has a history as a performer, production team member and dedicated committee member of Lightbox for the last 5 years. Luke first graced the stage in Lightbox’s premiere production, Be More Chill as Michael Mell, as well as in Theory of Relativity as Oliver. Luke has been involved in producing Lightbox’s events, including the 2019 Launch Gala and Dogfight. His graphic design has even graced the web, print and social media platforms of Lightbox. He is truly passionate about his involvement with Lightbox and has loved every moment of his time working with this remarkable group.
Peter Verhagen (he/him)
Peter is a professional theatre technician and designer, and serves as a music director. Technical Production Credits: Cats (Santa Maria College), Robin Hood, Camp Rock (YouthARK Theatre), Anything Goes, High School Musical (MLMC), High School Musical Jr (Catchment Players), Be More Chill, Dogfight, Bar One, Lightbox Live (Lightbox Productions), Spring Awakening (RMIT Creative), American Idiot (Phoenix TC), We Will Rock You, Rock of Ages (SLAMS MTC), The Wedding Singer (David Venn Enterprises) Music Direction: Camp Rock (YouthARK Theatre), High School Musical, Matilda (MLMC), Be More Chill, Dogfight, Bar One, All Together Now (Lightbox Productions), Chicago (Phoenix TC), Heathers (GJ Productions), Jersey Boys, Windmills World of Musicals For Kids (Windmill)
P.S someone for the love of god take a new headshot for this man
Matt Di Nardo (he/him)
Matt (he/him) is a musician who has played drums in a number of productions since 2014. He is very proud and grateful to have drummed in almost every Lightbox production including Lightbox Live (2020), Bar One Gala (October 2019), Be More Chill (2018), Lightbox Season Launch Gala (2019, 2018), as well as performing on stage as Mike in Theory of Relativity (2019). Matt is thrilled to be working again with Lightbox and sharing another performance with so many beautiful friends he’s made along the way. Enjoy the show!
Cody Leggett – Guitar
Cody Leggett studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, completing a Bachelor of Music Performance specialist in Jazz and Improvisation. Since commencing his tertiary studies, Cody has become and strong feature of the east Melbourne theatre scene. He has been a part of the Lightbox family since late 2018, playing their 2019 season launch gala and being part of all of their shows since, including Theory of Relativity, Dogfight, and Bar One. Cody looks forward to the show and being part of future endeavours with Lightbox.
Dane Sorenson – Bass
Dane is a bass player and high school music teacher from the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. Dane has been teaching music for 6 years, has musically directed the college’s productions and started playing bass in musical theatre productions in 2019. The most recent shows Dane has played bass for are: Jersey Boys – Windmill Theatre Company, In the Heights – OCPAC and Urinetown – Soundworks. Dane’s first involvement with Lightbox was for the variety show Lightbox live in 2019. Dane is looking forward to joining Lightbox again for Lights Up on Lightbox.