In Wichita, talent is displayed in a number of ways from the showcasing of urban art to the flourishing music theater program. Music Theatre Wichita was founded in 1972, and is currently the largest subscribed not-for-profit arts organization in the state of Kansas. It has attained a national reputation for excellence, with many performers having made the journey from Wichita to Broadway. In 2017, there were at least 42 former MTW members on Broadway. Many of them have returned to ICT as guest artists for many popular musicals.
Here are just 10 of the multitude of local stars who have stood in the spotlight as some of the industry’s biggest performers:
Shina Ann Morris
This graduate of East High School was the first Jester Award-winner to make it on Broadway. Shina Ann Morris has many shows under her belt including: West Side Story, Annie and Cinderella. She played “Anita” in West Side Story when she was part of the MTW Company.
With a number of starring roles on Broadway, Matt Bogart has appeared in musicals like Miss Saigon, Aida and Jersey Boys. He was also part of the national tour of Camelot and the world premiere of Zhivago. During his stint in Wichita, Bogart held roles in West Side Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Phantom of the Opera.
Wichita State University graduate, Taureen Everett performed with Music Theatre Wichita for three years before making his way to Broadway. He appeared in shows like Mamma Mia! and Miss Saigon.
Former MTW Company member, Kaleigh Cronin, has been performing in musicals since the age of 8. She has been on tour with Jersey Boys, and has performed on Broadway in Cabaret and A Bronx Tale.
Gilbert L. Bailey II
Not only did Gilbert L. Bailey II play “Chad” in High School Musical with Music Theatre Wichita, he is an up-and-coming Broadway star. He was a swing performer for The Book of Mormon and has been part of the main cast in A Bronx Tale.
Skilled in choreography, Kimber Sprawl is credited with creating several dances for Music Theatre Wichita’s Full Monty, as well as Shrek on Broadway. She also performed in Saturday Night Fever and Little Me.
Ali Ewoldt has been a guest actor with MTW, and starred as Maria in West Side Story. On Broadway, she held the starring role as “Christine” in Phantom of the Opera.
This former MTW star played “Gabrielle” in High School Musical before moving on to her big Broadway career. After performing in popular musicals like Annie and Wicked, her talents led her back to ICT as a guest actor, in The Little Mermaid, playing “Ariel.”
Nathan Peck was part of the MTW Company in the mid-90s, and has made a name for himself on Broadway. He has held roles in The Boys From Oz, Taboo, Dance of the Vampires, Wicked, and most recently, Kinky Boots.
This WSU graduate and former Music Theatre Wichita teen started in Wichita before a brief stint as part of the cast of The Book of Mormon.
Learn more about Wichita’s prestigious performing arts programs here.