Some Biographies

Charles Abbott

Artistic Director of Maine State Music Theatre
Director of Chamberlain: A True Civil War Romance

Charles Abbott was appointed Artistic Director of Maine State Music Theatre in 1990, and has continued to produce, direct, choreograph and/or perform at MSMT as he did from 1975 to 1984 for a total of 55 productions.

Dedicated to the development of new works, he has directed world premieres of three major new musicals in the past few years: the Yeston/Kopit Phantom, first at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston, and then finessed a second production at Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theatre; the romantic musical comedy Love is Spoken Here had its first production at MSMT and is still in development; and a musical about Raoul Wallenberg entitled Another Kind of Hero drew international crowds at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Last summer he directed Lucky Guy, a new musical well on its way to New York production. He has also developed musicals by revising scripts of older classics: Cole Porter's Panama Hattie, which toured with Ann Miller, and Cabin in the Sky. Recently he stage a revised edition of Oh, Brother! for the York Theatre in NYC.

During his eleven year history with the Walnut Street Theatre, he's staged their most successful works, including Me and My Girl, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Into the Woods. His direction of Oklahoma! for Los Angeles Opera starring Jean Stapleton and Jodi Benson won him the Drama-Logue Award. His production of Follies with an all-star cast headed by Juliet Prowse and John Cullum opened Houston's Wortham Theatre Center. He has directed many plays at leading regional theatres including Noises Off (Alabama Shakespeare), A Walk in the Woods (Theatre League of Kansas City), Nuts (The Alley Theatre, Houston), and Bent, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Sly Fox (Alliance Theatre, Alabama, where he was Associate Artistic Director).

In an earlier career, he appeared on Broadway in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Blood Red Roses, and as Joel Gray's standby in The Grand Tour. He also toured in the first national companies of Marat/Sade, and as the emcee in Cabaret -- a role he has played for 1000 performances and will reprise this spring at the Walnut Street Theatre.

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, he is also a voting member of the Tony Awards.

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Doug Besterman

Additional orchestrator of Chamberlain

Among Doug's orchestration credits are:
Broadway: Damn Yankees (Drama Desk nomination), A Christmas Carol, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Off Broadway: Weird Romance, Jack's Holiday, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller, The Gifts of the Magi, Godspell; Regional: Captains Courageous, Opal, The Prince and the Pauper; Film/Television: Pocahontas, Lincoln, Kathie Lee Gifford-A Celebration of Motherhood, 1994 Tony Awards.  He recently created a string arrangement for an upcoming Toni Braxton album, produced by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds.

Other recent projects include Mandy Patinkin's album "Oscar and Steve," and "Pocahontas Suite" for Disney rental library. Current projects: the musical Big and the animated films Anastasia (Fox) and The Legend of Mulan (Disney). Upcoming projects include the musicals, King David (Alan Menken/Tim Rice) and Chamberlain (Steven M. Alper/Sarah Knapp).

Doug is a 1986 graduate of the University of Rochester/Eastman School of Music. He resides in West Orange, NJ with wife, Marty and son, Max.

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Douglas Coates

Musical Director of Chamberlain

Douglas Coates returns to Chamberlain: A Civil War Romance after musical directing the workshop at the New Harmony Project last spring. He is an internationally known conductor, best known for his baton in the pit for the European revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, and the American debut of A Leonard Bernstein Celebration. As a musical director/pianist, his work has been seen in many regional theatres, summer stocks, universities, and readings around the country. Last year, he worked on Snapshots: A Stephen Schwartz Review and was fortunate enough to work with Steven M. Alper and Sarah Knapp on the New York University production of their piece, The Library. He has performed at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and Portland Stage Company, in Portland, Maine. He has also spent two summers at both Maine State Music Theatre and Hampton Playhouse as a musical director and performer. His actor/singer credits include productions of 1940's Radio Hour, Three Postcards, and Heartstrings: An AIDS Benefit at The Corso Theatre, Zurich. His fledgling career as a composer saw its first success during the Walnut Street Theatre production of Allan Ayckborn's Henceforward. He is currently on faculty at NYU's Collaborative Arts Project 21 and is musical directing the third year studio showcase production of Nine with director Wendy Waterman.
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Larry Hochman

Orchestrator of Chamberlain

Larry Hochman has composed and arranged music for two episodes of Spielberg's Amazing Stories, the TV documentaries "Views of a Vanishing Frontier" and "Yad Vashem," as well as several feature films, including Not for Publication and The Watchman. Other films orchestrated by Hochman include Dead of Winter, On the Wing, The Ascent, Braxton, and Grand Larceny. His 18 Broadway credits include Pippin, Pacific Overtures, The Magic Show, and orchestrations for Late Nite Comic and Barry Manilow's Copacabana. His original music is broadcast daily on stations worldwide including CNN, as well as his many TV & radio commercials co-composed with Larry Gates for their company, Newfound Music. Mr. Hochman's original musicals include One Man Band, produced at Coconut Grove Playhouse and available on CD, and a new version of Phantom of the Opera, which premiered in 1990 as a national tour. His symphony, In Memoriam, which received its world premiere in Berlin, is also available on CD.

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Charles S. Kading

Set Designer of Chamberlain

Charles S. Kading has designed for MSMT six seasons. Previous credits there include Cabaret, La Cage Aux Folles, Phantom!, Love Is Spoken Here, and Lucky Guy. Local design credits include Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) and Tent Meeting for Mad Horse Theatre. Additionally, Charles has designed scenery for the Alley Theatre, the Walnut Street Theatre, Seattle Rep Second Stage, and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival

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Steven C. Peterson

Managing Director of Maine State Music Theatre

Mr. Peterson has been administrating theatres for the last 10 years. He has just completed his first year as Managing Director of Maine State Music Theatre. Previously, Steve worked as the Administrative Director at Casa Mañana Theatre in Fort Worth, Texas, one of the largest producing musical theatres in the country. His work there saw production of over 80 productions including the new works Balancing Act, Lunch, and Nunsense II.

As Executive Director of Dallas Repertory Theatre, Steve was credited with creating "Most Aggressive New Season" by D Magazine. Prior experience includes Producing Director at Garland Civic Theatre, in Garland, Texas and Artistic Director of Young People's Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As a director, Steve's productions include: Nunsense II, Pack of Lies, Run for Your Wife, Don't Dress for Dinner, and Tintypes.

Steve has acted in over 100 productions and has worked as a site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts, Treasurer for Texas Non-Profit Theatres, and he is active with the National Alliance for Musical Theatre.

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Cass Morgan

Director of The Library

Cass Morgan is an actress, a writer and a director. Pump Boys and Dinettes, which she co-wrote and starred in on Broadway, was nominated for a Tony award in 1982. She was most recently seen on Broadway as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast. Her other New York acting credits include Hair, The Human Comedy, Merrily We Roll Along, Inside Out, La Boheme, The Knife and dozens of workshops and staged readings of developing musicals.

Cass has directed many different productions of Pump Boys... around the country, as well as the original productions of King Mackerel and the Blues Are Running and Cowboys Dream. As a member of the Board of Directors of The New Harmony Project, she has worked to help playwrights develop their talents. There she directed Brimstone and The Library, the latter which she is very happy to be directing this spring at Stamford Theatre Works.

She is currently at work on an autobiographical theater piece called True Story, which she will have a chance to develop at this years New Harmony Project, and will be acting in the New York premier of Floyd Collins at Playwrights Horizons.

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Stamford Theatre Works

Producer of The Library

The growth and reputation of STW have been built on the original production of plays, chosen with great care and sensitivity to the issues of social relevance within our greater community. As a not-for-profit resident professional theatre, the process of original play production at STW is a long and labor intensive one. After a vigorous year of play research, reading scripts, seeing plays and attending plays-in-process workshops, I select four plays from among the approximately 500 that are annually considered....

The cultural and educational importance of the arts alone should be enough to justify the support of artists and arts programs. Moreover, through its work, every arts institution of quality should be an ennobler of the spirit, a regenerator of human worth and diginity, and an accessible source of great pride and inspiration to its greater-community. It is STW's mission to fulfill this responsibility.

--from Steve Karp,
Producing Director,
Stamford Theatre Works

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