“Carousel” Production Team

JOHNNY HEBDA (Director) Johnny has performed as an actor on stage and in film in more than 70 productions since a young child. He attended the Florida School of the Arts Acting Conservatory where he received an AA and AS in Musical Theatre and Acting. He also received a BFA from Brigham Young University in Music Dance Theatre and is currently completing an Independent Study Master’s Degree in Directing from Roosevelt University. Johnny is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has acted in a number of films, commercials, and a pilot TV Series. Additionally, he has performed on stage in 17 different states ranging from touring shows, regional theaters (including the Lost Colony, American Family Theatre and Roxy Regional Theatre), college and local productions. He had the opportunity to work under Director Terrence Mann at The Lost Colony in Roanoke, N.C., for a summer. Some favorite roles Johnny has played include: Mozart in “Amadeus,” Matt in “The Fantasticks,” Edward Lyons in “Blood Brothers,” Romeo in Terrence Mann’s musical adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls,” and Stephan in “Hollywood Hills.” Johnny has directed many productions, including “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls,” “The Sound of Music,” “The Bald Soprano,” “Oliver!,” “Peter Pan,” “A Voice from the Dust,” as well as founded the Clarksville Children’s Theatre in Tennessee. He is actively involved in the Utah theater community as a producer, director, actor, and reviewer. While at BYU, he received the Student Directing Award for his direction of the musical “Parade” by Jason Robert Brown and directed the annual fundraiser for the department, the Music Dance Theatre Showcase, entitled “Stages of Love,” which starred Jenny Jordan-Frogley. Johnny had the opportunity to perform in the first regional production of “Side Show” after it closed on Broadway. Johnny has found his true love and passion which is producing and directing and is excited for the Utah Repertory Theater Company’s premiere season.

MELISSA THORNE (Music Director) Melissa received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Brigham Young University in 2006 and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington in 2012. She has been the Director of Choirs at Timpanogos High School, Alta High School, and this fall she will be opening the choral program at the new Corner Canyon High School. Melissa began accompanying for theater as a sophomore in high school with “West Side Story” and hasn’t stopped since. She has worked as music director and/or accompanist for many theaters in Utah and Montana, including several local high schools, Hale Center Theater Orem, Provo Theater Company, Sundance Summer Theater, and the Playmill Theater. Some of her favorites include “The Fantasticks,” “The Secret Garden,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and “Aida.” Many thanks to Mom for the piano lessons, to Syd for taking a chance and getting me started, and to family, friends, and especially Drew for all the love and support.

WILLIAM COOPER HOWELL (Choreographer) Cooper is originally from Santa Monica, Calif. He is a junior in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Musical Theater program at the University of Utah. He also was a student at Utah Valley University in its Acting Department for two and one-half years. Cooper has danced in one form or another all of his life and is a major passion of his, next to his love for singing and music and acting. He has been trained in hip-hop, jazz, ballet, and modern dance. As an actor, he has recently been seen in the regional premiere of “In the Heights” at Pioneer Theatre Company as a member of the ensemble. Some of his theater credits include Coalhouse Walker Jr. in “Ragtime,” Malcolm X in “The Meeting,” Jim Conley in “Parade,” Michael Cassio in “Othello,” Gregory Lunn in “Overruled,” the lead Wickersham Brother in “Seussical,” Little Harp in “The Robber Bridegroom,” and many others. He completed a directing internship with Jerry Rapier of Plan-B Theater Company as assistant director and choreographer of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at the Egyptian Theatre. He was most recently seen in the lead role of Hänschen in the University of Utah production of “Spring Awakening,” directed by Denny Berry, and as Che in the Egyptian Theatre production of “Evita.”

ADAM CANNON (Assistant Director) Adam has been involved in theater since his high school days, appearing in many community and BYU productions. Some of his most memorable roles are King Sextimus in “Once Upon a Mattress,” the voice of a walrus puppet in “Carnival,” The Ghost of Christmas Present in “A Christmas Carol,” an assassin in “The Assassin’s New Friend,” the world’s largest Chinaman (Cheng Da Du) in “The Little Shop of Horrors,” and a production of “Lil’ Abner,” in which he played the town mayor, a U.S. Army general, and radio announcers from three different countries. For the past several years, he has found his passion as a director, heading such shows as “A Wonderful Life,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and “The Marriage-Go-Round.” He’s directed several shows for Spanish Fork Community Theater (“Oklahoma!,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “The Music Man,” “Hairspray,” and most recently, “My Fair Lady”). He has also worked backstage as a stage manager, flying rig supervisor, and stage hand for several shows up and down the Wasatch Front.  He loves helping keep live theater alive in Utah and enjoyed being a part of the Utah premiere of “Side Show.” Thanks to Johnny for letting me be a part of this, and to my wife and family for their support.

CHRISTY HODDER (Assistant Choreographer) Christy is a CanFit Pro-certified personal trainer, Stott Pilates instructor, and nutrition specialist for the Professional Dance program at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Christy has studied dance teacher training courses in Cecchetti Method ballet and Canadian Dance Teachers Association jazz. She just finished choreographing “42nd Street” and “Anne of Green Gables,” as well as the “Stonecutters Cut It on Stone” and “Blow High, Blow Low” dance sequence in this production of “Carousel.” She is the director and founder of the Nova Scotia Suzuki String Ensemble, where she teaches Suzuki violin to more than 100 2- to 15-year-olds. She is thrilled to be in Murray this summer with her daughter Elsa and Utah Repertory Theater Company, and would like to return to Utah again!

MICHELE RIDEOUT (Stage Manager) This is Michele’s first time working with Utah Repertory Theater Company.  She has been actively involved in local theater for 11 years and has worked in several capacities, including not only acting, designing, and directing, but she also served as the executive producer for a local community theater before stepping down to pursue other opportunities. She is the founder and artistic director of Silver Summit Theatre Company and recently directed and produced “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.”  Other interests include film work, writing, and community activism. She is also a member of the South Valley Theatre Association and an avid lover of theater.

JANINE SOBECK (Dramaturg) Janine is the creator of Utah Repertory Theater Company’s behind-the-scenes blog. She is also the dramaturgy specialist at Brigham Young University and a freelance dramaturg. Previously, Janine worked as the artistic associate: literary at Arena Stage in Washington D.C., where she was the head dramaturg, literary manager, and producer of new work. Janine is currently the vice president communications for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, as well as a writer and critic for the Utah Theater Bloggers Association. She has been a judge for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Helen Hayes Awards and in 2009 she was awarded the Dramaturgy Debut Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Janine has an Master’s of Art in Theatre History Theory and Criticism from Brigham Young University.

ALLEN STOUT (Set and Design) Allen is very excited to be working on his second production for Utah Repertory Theater Company, after serving as costume designer for i love you because. His other credits include costume design for The Mikado, Elephant’s Graveyard, Honk Jr., and many others. His work can be viewed online at astoutdesigns.net.

JOHN MIDDLETOWN (Assistant Costume Design) Jon is a student at Utah Valley University where he is studying design. Jon designed costumes for Utah Valley University’s productions of “Androcles and the Lion” and “Short Attention Span Theater” as well as the upcoming show “Jackfrost.”

MICHAEL GRAY (Lighting Designer)

ASHLEY RAMSEY (Hair and Make-up Designer) Ashley began her acting career in San Diego and recently completed her Bachelors in Theatrical Arts at Utah Valley University in April. She was previously seen as Ms. Krumholtz (“How to Succeed in Business…”), Salome (“The Robber Bridegroom”), and Jean (“Tons of Money”). She recently had her first performance as a circus aerial artist this summer and looks forward to more performance opportunities with that. She is grateful for her sweet husband Chad and the rest of her family for their love and support.

RACHEL SUMMERHALDER (Props) Rachel is thrilled to be onstage in her second show with Utah Repertory Theater Company, after being seen as Armless Girl in “Side Show.” She has also appeared onstage in a few shows, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Joseph…Dreamcoat” (Payson Community Theatre), “Hairspray,” and “My Fair Lady “(Spanish Fork Community Theatre). Rachel is excited to be sharing the stage with her amazing daughter, Ilizibith, for the third time. When she isn’t spending all of her time working on things with Utah Rep, she can be found at Utah Valley University, where she is majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Theater Arts. Rachel sends a heartfelt thank you to her family, especially her son, who so willingly becomes an orphan while mom and big sis spend their time trekking to rehearsals.