Meet the Artists

I Left My Heart Cast

(click image to see artist bio)

I Left My Heart Creative Team


DAVID GRAPES II (Co-Creator) is currently a Professor of Theatre and the Director of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Here he administers one of the country’s largest undergraduate theatre programs (340 majors) and serves as the Producer for UNC’s 72 year-old professional summer stock company the Little Theatre of the Rockies. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, David served for six years as the Producing Artistic Director of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre a LORT C&D regional theatre located in Nashville, TN. There he produced 36 productions including three world premieres, established an “off-Broadway season” of contemporary plays, worked with numerous guest stars, expanded the Rep’s education department, forged new relationships with local academic and cultural institutions, initiated two co-productions with sister theatre Arkansas Rep and was the recipient of 8 “Tennie Awards” for Best Direction. David’s 2001 production of West Side Story featuring the late Kenneth Schermerhorn and the Nashville Symphony was recorded for Naxos International and has received numerous national and inter-national awards for excellence. An award-winning director, actor and playwright, David has provided administrative, financial, and artistic leadership for a wide variety of theatrical institutions including two professional regional theatres, 3D productions - a commercial bus & truck touring company, two nationally recognized university theatre departments, a variety of summer stock companies, and a number of large professional not-for-profit regional and civic theatres. During his 29-year career in the theatre, David has produced over 800 major productions that span nearly every genre of dramatic literature. His work as a director (150+ productions) has been seen from coast to coast. David is the creator/co-author (with Todd Olson) of four musical revues; My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Christmas My Way – A Sinatra Holiday Bash, Moon River – Johnny Mercer’s American Songbook, and I Left My Heart – A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, which have been performed at over 200 theatres worldwide. His most recent play Dracula: The Case of the Silver Scream (with Robert Neblett) had its world premiere at Tennessee Repertory Theatre and has received six additional productions since 2003. Born and raised in Parkersburg West Virginia, David is a graduate of the MFA Theatre Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is an active member of the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, the Dramatists Guild of America and Actors' Equity Association. David’s recent directorial credits include productions for Denver Theatre Center Attractions, Muhlenburg Summer Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Seven Angels Theatre, Little Theatre of the Rockies and Dollywood. For UNC David’s directorial credits include: Candida, Dracula: The Case of the Silver Scream, Bleacher Bums, Rounding Third, The Tempest, Tuesday’s With Morrie, The Drawer Boy, and Titanic – The Musical. David’s recent guest directorial credits include productions for Denver Theatre Center Attractions, Asolo Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Seven Angels Theatre, American Stage Company, Barter Theatre, Flatrock Playhouse, Little Theatre on the Square, Muhlenburg Summer Theatre and Dollywood.

TODD OLSON (Co-Creator, Book) is currently the Producing Artistic Director for American Stage Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, Prior to that he spent three seasons as the Associate Artistic Director at Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville. While at the Rep, he directed critically-acclaimed productions of Wit, Cyrano de Bergerac, An Ideal Husband, How I Learned to Drive, Dinner with Friends, The Miracle Worker, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and Francis of Guernica, winning a dozen annual Nashville "Tennie" Awards for Best Production and Best Director. He received his M.F.A. from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is a graduate from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard where he took classes with David Mamet, Peter Sellars, Andrei Serban, Robert Scanlan, Robert Woodruff, Anna Deveare Smith, and Robert Brustein, among others. He has taught theatre at Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Boston University, among others. Mr. Olson has directed over 100 plays, musicals, and operas, including Hamlet (Boston Theatre Works), The Winter's Tale, The Seagull, Marie and Bruce, Betrayal, and Coriolanus (A.R.T. Institute/Harvard), and the Hungarian premiere of Sam Shepard's Buried Child. His opera credits include work on Vanessa (Des Moines Metro Opera), Tosca (Opera Southwest), Seven Deadly Sins (Huntington Studio), The Elixir of Love (Harvard), and an upcoming Carmen (Opera Southwest). Mr. Grapes and Mr. Olson will premiere their latest musical revue - I Left My Heart – A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett in February of 2005 at American Stage. Todd lives in Seminole, Florida with his wife Charlotte and their children Jonas, Corinna and May.

VINCE DI MURA (Pianist/Composer/Arranger) is a veteran Jazz musician and musical director; appearing on concert stages and theatres throughout North America, Canada, and Latin America. He has conducted Musical Theatre seasons at The Nederlander Bethesda Theatre, Laguna Playhouse in Claifornia, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre the Augusta Barn Theatre in Michigan, Bucks County Playhouse, Artpark and Company in Lewiston N.Y., Tennessee Repertory Company in Nashville, The Asolo Theatre Company, Florida Studio Theatre and American Stage in Florida, Passage Theatre, Act II Playhouse, The Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, The Muhlenburg Summer Theatre Festival and The Little Theatre in the Rockies. He holds fellowships from the William Goldman Foundation, Temple University, Meet the Composer, CEPAC, the Union County Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. Vince has fulfilled compositional commissions for Rutgers and Princeton Universities, Rider University, the Pingry Foundation, the University of Colorado, The Scioto Society, Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and a host of scores for People's Light and Theatre Company including his 1999 Barrymore Award nominated score for More Grimm's Tales, as well as three comic pantos in the British Style. In 2008, Vince rewrote the famous Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance. This new version was commissioned by American Stage Company in St. Petersburg Florida and its musical styles ran from Iron Maiden to the Allmann Brothers. The critics hated him for it, but the audiences had a blast. The production will have a second incarnation in 2010 at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre where Vince will create a new score for Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew in 2009. Best known for his arrangements of My Way: A Sinatra Cabaret, (with over 250 productions nationally), Vince has musical directed a slew of productions of the show included runs at the Blowing Rock Stage Company and Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina, Western Michigan’s Cherry County Playhouse, The Barter Theatre in Virginia, and Arkansas Repertory Company in Little Rock. In 2005, Vince created full arrangements for American Stage’s production of I Left My Heart: A Tribute to Tony Bennett licensed by Summerwind Productions; and musical directed the premier production at American Stage in St. Petersburg Florida. There has been 13 productions of I Left My Heart since its premier in 2005, including successful runs the Welk Resort Theatre in San Diego CA, and Phoenix Theatre in Arizona. In February 2004, Vince premiered a concert version of his first spoken word/jazz opera, A Poet In Harlem with text by Nuyorican poet, Willie Perdomo. Performances at the Puffin Cultural Forum, The Arts Guild of Rahway, 12 Miles West Theatre and The Bowery Poetry Club followed. On March 4th, 2007, Vince premiered For Lost Words; a second spoken word/jazz rock opera based on the Vietnam poetry of Yusef Komunyakaa at the Passage Theatre in Trenton; with an encore hearing on March 24th. Since then, the music has had hearings in colleges and cultural centers throughout the tri-state area. The New York premiere and CD release party took place on September 29th, at the Cornelia Street Cafe' in the west village. The CD, on the BackGarden Label, is now available on the internet at CDBaby.com. and Digstation.com; as well as iTunes and any number of internet music outlets. No stranger to the recording studio, Vince di Mura and the George Street Project have two early CDs out: the 2000 release, Imperfect Balance can be purchased from any number of internet outlets. The 2007 release, A Darker Shade of Romance is available at CDBABY.COM.

KEVIN BELLIE (Director) Recent Credits include - Director/Choreographer Damn Yankees (Light Opera Works), Choreographer Avenue Q (Jeff Recommended) and Director/Choreographer Grand Night for Singing (Mercury Theater Chicago, Jeff nominations - Best Direction/Best Revue), Direction/Choreography at Circle Theatre, Urinetown (Jeff Award - Outstanding Choreography), The Baker’s Wife (Jeff Recommended), Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jeff nomination), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Jeff nomination), Can-Can (Jeff nomination), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Jeff nomination), Mack & Mabel (Jeff nomination), Sweet Smell of Success (Jeff nomination), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Jeff Nominated), Nine (Jeff Award), The Life (Jeff Award), and Grand Hotel (Jeff Award).  Kevin has directed/choreographed A Chorus Line (McLeod Summer Playhouse), Let's Fall in Love, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Tafettas, Roasting Chestnuts and Drood (Fox Valley Rep), choreographed The Music Man (Light Opera Works), choreographed Anyone Can Whistle (Pegasus Players), A New Brain (Porchlight, Jeff nomination), Closer Than Ever, Gypsy (Porchlight Music Theatre, Jeff Recommended and After Dark Award).

LINDA MADONIA (Music Director) is thrilled to be conducting I Left My Heart for Mercury Theater Chicago. As a Music Director and Conductor in the Chicago area for the past 30 years, credits include the UK tour of Persuasion for Chamber Opera Chicago. The Man That Murdered Sherlock Holmes at Mercury Theater Chicago. In the Heights, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Double Trouble at Porchlight Music Theatre where she also serves as an Artistic Associate. Hollywood’s Greatest Hits, The Fantasticks, Cabaret and Man of La Mancha for Light Opera Works. For the past ten years, Linda has been the music director for Chicago’s Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards. During the day, Linda owns American Eagle Productions, a touring theatre company that takes shows and workshops directly into schools. American Eagle has been doing shows for twenty-four years and presents 250 shows a year to Chicago area schools.

RACHEL BOYLAN (Costume Design) is thrilled to be back designing at Mercury Theater Chicago where she previously designed costumes for Avenue Q. Some of her other design credits include: Leavings (Polarity Ensemble Theater), All Girl Dracula (The Mammals), Who Too, (The Right Brian Project), Der Kaiser Von Atlantis (New Millennium Orchestra), Antigone and Henry Moore is Melting (Cold Basement Dramatics). Upcoming projects include costume designing Mary Poppins at the Mercury. In addition to working as a costume designer, Rachel has worked for the past five years as wardrobe supervisor at the Mercury. Love always to her family and especially her husband Brian! www.rachelboylan.com

JULIE MACK (Lighting Design) is the Resident Lighting Designer for The Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University. Julie has designed the lighting for productions at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Victory Gardens Theater, the Clarence Brown Theatre, Minetta Lane Theatre (Off-Broadway), the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and eight seasons with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Julie is a co-founder of the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre in Fairbanks, Alaska.

CARL WAHLSTROM (Sound Engineer) is proud to design and mix I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett as his 8th show at Mercury Theater Chicago. A Maine native, Carl got his start working at Penobscot Theatre Company. He also worked at Production Services of Maine, assisting large touring acts on the Bangor Waterfront. Carl graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Audio and Acoustics from Columbia College Chicago in 2015. He's happy to be the resident sound engineer at Mercury Theater Chicago and enjoys occasional gigs at Schubas Tavern and the Riviera Theatre. 

KRISTI MARTENS, A.E.A. (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be back at Mercury Theater Chicago after being the replacement Production Stage Manager for The Bardy Bunch. Kristi was, also, the PSM at the Mercury for The Producers, The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, The Addams Family (Joseph Jefferson Award Winner – Best Musical Mid-Sized Theater), Avenue Q and The Color Purple.  Some other theaters that she has worked at: Drury Lane Theater (Oakbrook Terrace), Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Goodman Theatre,  The Royal George Theater, Drury Lane Evergreen Park, Drury Lane Water Tower, Fox Valley Repertory, Oak Park Festival Theater, Fulton Opera House (Lancaster, PA), Maine State Music Theater (Brunswick, ME), Theater At the Center (Munster, IN), WYO Theater (Sheridan, WY), Carousel Dinner Playhouse (Akron, OH), Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX). A proud Equity member for over 27 years, Kristi started stage managing with children’s theater. Enjoy!