Puffs, Or; Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic
A college theatre department is the ultimate place to experiment, take risks, fall flat on your face and then get up and try again. And GOOD THING because Puffs, as a farcical show developed through sketch comedy and improv, requires its actors to go well beyond their comfort zone, into their growth zone and possibly into a panic zone. That’s because comedy is incredibly hard to get right. “You fail. A lot. You fail and fail. You fail over here. You fail over there. And then you fail a lot more. But failure is just another form of practice. As long as you never stop trying. So…try again.” Comedy and failure. Failure and comedy. Two things that will always go hand in hand. The reward, though, is that when we finally break through we can find comedic possibilities that we didn’t even know were there at the start of the process
College is also a time of self discovery and charting a path for yourself that is all your own. The folx who created this show were simply not satisfied with the Puffs being relegated to side characters in the world of a certain “boy who lived”. Puffs reminds us of the importance of finding our own story and not letting our story be defined by others.
Now putting up a show in Covid times is a risk in itself that presents many challenges. That may or may not be the understatement of the year. However, there was a lot of care, patience, and problem solving that went into navigating the many issues and barriers presented by this special situation. And in true Puff form, the cast and crew were incredibly resilient, positive and dedicated to the work through it all.
Welcome to the outrageously funny world of Puffs. If you’re a Potter nerd you will LAUGH like Bellatrix Lestrange breaking out of Azkaban. And if you’re not a Potter nerd you’ll laugh anyway. Maybe you’ll HEEHAW like a cowboy at a rodeo. Or CHORTLE like a pig in a trough on a Tuesday. And isn’t that what we all need right now more than ever? Laughter?
Get yourself SORTED and ENJOY!
Director and Gryffindor with Slytherin Tendencies
Narrator, Nick Talion
Narrator, Ace Gutchall
Wayne, Noah Rawson
Oliver, Ben Pollizi
Megan, Taylor Richardson
J. Finch, Gavin Buurma
Sally Perks, Bri Clark
Hannah, Ashtyn Wolph
Leanne, Hannah Schoen
Suzie Bones, Elise Hill
Ernie Mac, James Ogle
Cedric, Isaac Hulbert
Director, Amanda Bruton & Stephen Svoboda
Assistant Director, Jasmine Ridler
Stage Manager, Allison Gonzales
Assistant Stage Manager, Chantress DeWitt
Fight Choreographer, Caira Goldstein
Lighting Designer, Daisy Long
Master Electrician, Ben Pollizi
Light Board Operator, Kamryn Mohney
Sound Designer, Chris Sgalla
Costume Designer, Hannah Schoen
Wardrobe, Rebecca Helt
Scenic Designer, Theron Wineinger
Scenic Charge, Bri Clark
Deck Hand, Jordan Kline
Props Master, Tristan Goerk
A Note from the Director
Meet the Cast
Gavin Buurma is a Junior Musical Theatre major, with a minor in Business Administration and Theatre Education from Willard, Ohio. He has performed in various productions at Heidelberg including Mamma Mia!, The Music Man, The Penguin Tango, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Cabaret, Fun Home, Freaky Friday, and Elf. Gavin is a member of the Hei-Notes and a Student Ambassador. He would like to thank his friends and family, especially his mom, for all of their support. The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard amidst the pandemic and he is very excited for everyone to see the show!
Bri Clark is a sophomore Musical Theater major and is on track to get her MBA. She has participated in theatrical shows pretty much her whole life. Bri has been in multiple shows here at Heidelberg including Cabaret, Oedipus, She Kills Monsters, Freaky Friday, and Elf. She has also been scenic charge and scenic assistant for some of the shows and is grateful for the experience she has gained. Bri is excited for her future here at Heidelberg as well as what will follow once she graduates.
Elise Hill is no stranger to the theatre as she has been involved in more than 20 productions both on and off stage. Elise is currently a freshman here at Heidelberg majoring in Musical Theatre. Her favorite role she has played is Sherrie Christian in Rock of Ages, directed by Stephen Svoboda and David Cotter. While her most memorable role is Oaken in Frozen Jr, directed by Floyd Collins. Both productions took place at Fremont Community Theatre. She is extremely excited to be working with such wonderful people this semester. You can follow her @eamh_drama on any social media platform. “I just want to lie on the beach and eat hot dogs. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.” – Kevin Malone, The Office.
Isaac Hulbert has always loved doing work behind the scenes making costumes and props. I have always loved cosplay comic books, movies, and especially plays and musicals. So being in a Harry Potter inspired play is a dream come true. I am very excited to be the assistant costume designer for this show. I am also very excited and honored to be playing Cedric and Mr. Voldy, these are two very different characters that are very fun to play.
James Ogle is a senior at Heidelberg University studying Musical Theatre. James is not only a performer but also designs wigs/makeup. He has worked as an intern for the Des Moines Metro Opera summer 2019 festival and will return as the wig/makeup artisan staff member for the summer 2021 festival. Heidelberg has become home to James and while his time is coming to an end, he has fallen in love with Heidelberg!
Ben Pollizi is so excited to be a part of Puffs playing Oliver! Earlier this semester he was a part of Dog Sees God, in which he played Beethoven. Some other shows Ben has been a part of include She Kills Monsters where he played Steve, and Freaky Friday where he played Grandpa Gordon/Mr Blumen/Señor O’Brien /Parker’s Dad. Ben also serves as the current master electrician for the theatre department. He would like to thank everyone involved with the show for making it such an incredible process and he hopes you enjoy the show!
Ace Gutchall is a junior theatre major and creative writing minor at Heidelberg University. They have been in the productions of The Music Man, Lysistrata, and Mamma Mia!, as well as having helped run the light board for the Scotland-bound production of Stephen Svboda's The Penguin Tango and Elf: The Musical. In their spare time, they can be found overanalyzing horror movies and telling people facts about dinosaurs that nobody asked for. Ace would like to thank their family for the support, especially their cat Selina aka Noodle, and hopes you all enjoy the show!
Noah Rawson is super excited to play the role of Wayne in this production of Puffs. He is a sophomore at Heidelberg University and is studying theatre with a concentration in acting. He'd like to thank the amazing cast and crew for everything they do! He'd also like to thank his older sister for all the help!
Taylor Richardson is a Junior Acting and English Writing Major and Theatre Education Minor from Dayton, OH. Puffs is her 8th onstage production and 2nd as hair and makeup designer. She is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to do this show and grateful for the support and love from the cast, crew, and her family.
Hannah Schoen is a Junior musical theatre major at Heidelberg. Since coming to Heidelberg she has done The Music Man, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Penguin Tango, Lysistrata, Oedipus, and She Kills Monsters, Elf and now Puffs. She is working double duty on this show, in addition to being an actor, she is also the costume designer. She has also been involved in Hei-notes, has worked wardrobe and designing in previous shows, and is a member Alpha Psi Omega. She hopes to continue to learn more about acting and costume design in the future here at Heidelberg.Thank you and enjoy the show!
Nick Talion is a sophomore at Heidelberg and is so excited to return to Gundach for yet another production! He has been in previous productions here at Gundlach such as Cabaret (Ernst), Lysistrata (Cinesias), She Kills Monsters (Miles), and Dog Sees God (CB). He would like to thank his friends and family for all the support and for helping him make it this far, as well as the entire cast and the directors for making this show a memorable one!
Ashtyn Wolph is a freshman music performance major at Heidelberg University. Along with Puffs, she performed in Heidelberg’s production of Elf last semester as a member of the ensemble. Outside of the theatre, she participates in the marching band and choir. She hopes you all enjoy the show!
Meet the Production Team
Amanda Bruton is thrilled to be working with this amazing group of Puffs! Although to be clear she herself is a Gryffindor with Slytherin tendencies. Amanda is an NYC based performer and teaching artist. She has worked as a teaching artist with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Stages on the Sound, and Manhattan’s Spence School teaching Shakespeare, playwriting, and filmmaking. A highlight has been teaching at West Point Military Academy, coaching cadets in Shakespeare and leading faculty in improv workshops. As an actor Amanda is best known for her performance as Grandma Addams in the International Tour of The Addams Family Musical directed by Jerry Zaks. Recently you may have seen her saying some words in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon), Orange is the New Black (Netflix), and Billions (Showtime) among others. Look for her on the upcoming season of NBC’s Manifest. Amanda is the creator of sketch character Connie “Big Ballz” Bumbaloni. You can find Connie on YouTube in Confessions by Connie, Connie in Quarantine, and the brand new monthly advice-column series Questions with Connie. Amanda also wrote/produced/directed the award winning comedic short Nevertheless, She Auditioned, which premiered at HBO's Women in Comedy Festival. Amanda holds a BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor's Equity. @amanda_bruton www.amandabruton.com
Chantress DeWitt is a freshman Musical Theatre and History double major. Chantress is from Cardington, OH and attended Cardington-Lincoln High School. This is her second production here at Heidelberg, but her first as part of the production team. Chantress would like to thank her cast and crew members for making this production so special. She would also like to thank her family and friends for their support.
Caira Goldstein is a Senior at Heidelberg University. She is a Musical Theatre major. She was previously in Elf, Fun Home, Lysistrata, Oedipus Rex, Macbeth, The Music Man, Cabaret, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, and A Grand Night for Singing. She was also the assistant director for Freaky Friday. She also performed in the masterclasses of Tom Cippulo and Jeff Blumenkrantz here at Heidelberg. Caira thanks you for supporting our program and hopes you enjoy the show!
Allison Gonzales is a junior studying theatre with a concentration in production. She is the Stage Manager for Puffs, and she will also be Stage Manager for Heathers in the upcoming season. She also helped throughout the set building and painting process for this show. Allison would like to thank her amazing director, cast, and crew for working so hard on this production and also her family for always supporting her.
Kamryn Mohney is an accounting and musical theater double major at Heidelberg University. Kamryn is a second year student and debuted on the Gundlach Theatre stage as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret as a freshman. Kamryn recently played the role of Ellie Blake in Freaky Friday. However, she is excited to be working on the production team again: this time as light board operator!
Jasmine Ridler is a junior Theatre and History double major with Business and Theatre Education minors. She is thrilled and joyed to be the Assistant Director and Dramaturg of Puffs. Previously, she had an exciting directorial debut with the Charlie Brown rework play Dog Sees God. She has also recently been noted for her acting work as Deb in Elf the Musical and her production work as Assistant Music Director and understudy for Ellie in Freaky Friday. She will be returning to the stage as Ms. Fleming in Heathers and Roz in 9 to 5. Outside of theatre, Jasmine is the President of Berg Allies, the Founder and President of the Body Positivity Club, Game Master of Make-A-Scene Improv Comedy Troupe, a Euglossian Society Corollary member, Member of the theatre honorary Alpha Psi Omega, and a proud member of her sorority Kappa Psi Omega. She would like to thank Stephen Svoboda and David Cotter for their belief in her and passion for helping her grow. And she would like to thank her partner Em Swain for their love and support.
Stephen Svoboda is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Heidelberg University, where he teaches coursework in acting, script analysis, musical theatre direction, play direction, theatre history and criticism. He is responsible for curriculum and course development in The School of Music & Theatre as well as being responsible for the artistic and programmatic development of Gundlach Theatre. He served as the Executive Artistic Director of the Redhouse Arts Center from 2011-2016. Previously, he served as the Executive Artistic Director of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. While at the Redhouse Arts Center, Stephen developed unique partnerships with a variety of organizations throughout the state, including a multi-million-dollar contract with the Syracuse City Schools that made The Redhouse the regional leader in arts education and integration. In addition, while at the Redhouse he created a repertory company of artists, designers and community members that enabled him to produce, in a typical year, over 16 productions, 300 classes and cultivate relationships with communities typically underserved by arts including urban youth and families and adults with disabilities. Prior to working in regional arts centers, Stephen taught at the University of Miami, where his students and colleagues ranked him as one of the best teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences. He created a BFA in Playwriting and Directing track that focused on developing young dramatists through devising, growing, and staging new works, while celebrating the great diversity of student voices.
His play, Odysseus Died from AIDS, was developed in Miami and received its world premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival, where the production was awarded “Best Ensemble.“ Odysseus Died from AIDS was published in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2005, by the New York Theatre Experience, and received its international premiere in 2007 in Athens, Greece with a subsequent production in Seoul, South Korea in 2008. In March 2011, the Red House production of Odysseus DOA had a limited engagement run at Theatre Row Studios in NYC. Odysseus DOA had its regional premiere in 2012 at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, where the production was awarded “Best Play in Connecticut” by Broadway World. The Penguin Tango, premiered at the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival in The Actor’s Playhouse. The production was awarded “Best of the Festival” and extended as part of the Fringe Encore Series in the Lion Theater at Theatre Row. It was recently revived and revised on the Redhouse stage as part of the 2014-2015 season. Reconstructing Mama, a new musical written with N. David Williams, premiered Off Broadway at The Theatre Row Studios in August 2006. Stephen works internationally with The Harambe Project to help do HIV/AIDS education and prevention and orphan care throughout Africa.
Theron Wineinger is a New York City-based scenic designer. He is delighted to serve as the guest set designer for Heidelberg University’s 2020-21 Season. Recent Designs: Freaky Friday, Elf: The Musical (Heidelberg University), Sylvia, The 39 Steps (Summer Repertory Theatre, CA), The Giant Hoax (Theatre Row, NYC), Aida, Billy Elliot (Weathervane Playhouse, OH), A Man’s World (Williamstown Theatre Festival, MA), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Carnegie, KY). Assistant Scenic Designer for The Rose Tattoo (Broadway, 2019). Proud Member, USA 829. BFA in Scenic Design from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Winner, USITT’s Oren Parker Undergraduate Scene Design Award. Instagram: @theron._ and Website: www.TheronWineinger.com