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Harmony, Kansas


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Harmony, Kansas
June 14 – July 22, 2012

With a lively, soulful score, Harmony, Kansas tells the story of Heath, a gay farmer making his way in a rural community where homogeneity rules. When his city-born partner, Julian, talks him into joining a spirited group of gay guys who meet once a week to sing, Heath discovers a love for making music and a kinship he didn’t expect. But his world is turned upside down when the group considers performing in public, threatening everything that matters to him, including the life he’s made with the man he loves.

Production Sponsor:Diversionary’s world premiere production is made possible by the generous support of California Institute for Contemporary Arts, the National Fund for New Musicals (a program of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre with funding from the ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund), Witt Matheny Fund and Gay and Lesbian Fund for San Diego.


[tab title=”About the Writer”]Anna K. Jacobs (Music) wrote the music for POP! (3 CT Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding Production of a Musical; 7 Helen Hayes Award nominations including Outstanding Resident Musical), Stella and the Moon Man (Helpmann Award for Best Presentation for Children) and Harmony, Kansas. Currently she is working on a musical adaptation of the cult horror film, Teeth. Her shows have been developed and produced by Yale Rep and the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Studio Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company and Theatre of Image, Goodspeed Musicals, the Penn State New Musical Theatre Festival, Singing On Stage Productions, and NYU (SCAN). Her music and lyrics have been featured in concert at Lincoln Center, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Cutting-Edge Composers, and many others. She was a 2010-11 Dramatists Guild Fellow and holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU-Tisch.

Bill Nelson (Book and Lyrics) recently wrote and performed in Bill Nelson’s All-Male Revue—a revue of his songs conceived and directed by Tony winner William Finn at Barrington Stage Company. He received an MFA from the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program where he wrote, with composer Daniel Lincoln, Savannah: a Musical Fable. Bill’s plays have been performed across the country and his songs have been heard at cabarets around the world, including William Finn’s Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists—presented at Joe’s Pub, Merkin Recital Hall, and Barrington Stage Co.—and New York Theatre Barn’s The Oh, So Sexy Songs of Bill Nelson. Before arriving in New York, Bill co-founded Burning Moon Productions, a gay theatre company in Kansas City, Missouri, which produced his works including Tales From Gaydom, Mishappenance, and Bob Makes a Splash: A Musical Extravaganza Starring Me, Bob. For Imagination Studio he wrote the serial, Welcome to Paradise. He’s also penned scripts for productions by the Heartland Men’s Chorus, Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus, with whom he sang for nine years. Bill is a published lyricist and 2010/11 Dramatists Guild Fellow. To learn more about Bill, visit


[tab title=”Cast”]Jacob Caltrider (Heath) Jacob is thrilled to be returning to Diversionary Theatre with Harmony, Kansas. Previously for Diversionary: Twist, Yank! and The Daddy Machine. Elsewhere: Parade, Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, A Christmas Carol and The History Boys (Cygnet); How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and The Rocky Horror Show (Old Globe Theatre); It’s Christmas and It’s LIVE (Lamb’s Players); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and A Christmas Carol (North Coast Repertory Theatre).

Dylan Hoffinger (DJ) is dazzled to be playing at Diversionary again with this powerhouse, ALL MALE ensemble under the genius guidance of James Vasquez. Favorite Credits: Horace Poore in San Diego Premiere of Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins, Diversionary Theatre (StageSceneLA “Scenie” Award, Best Performance by a Lead Actor); Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors, San Diego SCPA (National Youth Arts Award, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical); Pinball Wizard in THE WHO’s Tommy, IQ in Regional Premiere of Hairspray, San Diego REPertory Theatre; Odysseus Captain in The Odyssey: A Musical Experience, Old Globe Theatre;  Townsperson in Parade, Cygnet Theatre Company; Moritz Stiefel in Spring Awakening, American Rose Theatre; Trevor in Trevor, The Playwright’s Project;. Sophomore at San Diego School of Creative and Performin Arts as Musical Theatre and Dance double major. Old Globe Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre.

Tony Houck (Darrell) is tickled pink to be back at Diversionary. Previously for Diversionary: Brandon in Next Fall, Blair in Facts of Life: The Lost Episode, Hunter in [title of show], Charlie Bates in Twist, and Lottie Obligato in Scrooge in Rouge, for which he won a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award. Elsewhere: Helga in Cabaret, Lamar in Godspell, and ensemble in Ragtime and Aida. Tony is a graduate of AMDA.

Anthony Methvin (Kent) After nine long years in New York City, newly transplanted Anthony is elated to be making his San Diego debut with Diversionary in Harmony, Kansas. Favorite roles include Leo Frank (Parade), Prior (Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Perestroika), Sparky (Forever Plaid), Peter (Company), Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors), Dionysus (The Bacchae), Matamore (The Illusion), and Man (Laughing Wild). His play, Bleed Like Me, has been given a developmental reading at Florida State University, where he graduated with a BFA in Acting.

Bill Nolte (Fuzz) Diversionary debut. On Broadway:La Cage (2010)The ProducersAmourJane Eyre,1776, A Christmas Carol, King David, Joseph…Dreamcoat, The Secret Garden, Me and My Girl and Cats (1985 debut).  Recent: Benjamin Prick in Boston’s GOLD Dust Orphans’ The Little Pricks and Willy in the YORK THEATRE’s Collette Collage.  He has also appeared at The Papermill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera, La Jolla Playhouse, The Alley Theatre, Pittsburgh Public, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Playwright’s Horizon, Manhattan Theatre Club and with the NYC Ballet in Jerome Robbins’ Fanfare.  Bill is also an accomplished watercolorist with the Leslie/Lohman Gallery in Soho/NYC and a proud member of AEA since 1976, dedicated to the development of NEW WORKS for the American Musical Theatre.  Previous San Diego appearances: The Producers (Civic Theatre), Jane Eyre(La Jolla Playhouse) and South Pacific with Jane Powell and Howard Keel (Fox/ Symphony Hall) in 1978.

John Whitley (Wiley) was recently seen at Diversionary as Butch, the strong-minded father in Next Fall. Stage credits include roles inCarousel, She Loves Me, Cabaret, Twelfth Night, Shopping and F**kingas well as Corpus Christi, Yank! and Moscow at Diversionary. As a singer, John has been associated with choral music for over 35 years with groups including the New York Choral Society, NYC Gay Men’s Chorus, the a cappella quartet Mystery Date, SD Gay Men’s Chorus, San Diego Master Choral, Pacific Camerada and Pacific Sound, a new male ensemble he recently co-founded here in SD. John dedicates this performance to the many fellow “chorines” who have passed away. Their harmony and love lives on.

Tom Zohar (Julian)  At Diversionary: [title of show], Twist!, Yank! A New Musical recipient of Patté Award for Outstanding Performance), Torch Song Trilogy (David) and Bunbury (Hartley). Other credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Chip) at La Mirada Theatre; Sweeney Todd (Tobias), The History Boys (Posner) and The Little Foxes (Cal) at Cygnet; Zhivago (Swing) at the La Jolla Playhouse; Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Einstein), This is Our Youth (Warren) and Three Sisters (Andrey) at New Village Arts; The Light in the Piazza (Ensemble) at Lamb’s Players; Old Wicked Songs (Stephen), Romeo and Juliet (Peter), Amy’s View (Toby) and The Chosen (Reuven) at North Coast Rep; You Never Can Tell (Philip) and Room Service (Leo) at Moonlight Stage Productions.


[tab title=”Creative Team”]James Vasquez (Director) returns to Diversionary where he previously directed Next Fall, the West Coast Premieres of Fair Use, [title of show] (SD Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding Direction and Resident Musical), and Twist. James won the Craig Noel SD Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Cygnet’s Sweeny Todd which also won the Outstanding Resident Musical Award. Other recent directing/choreographing credits include:  The Rocky Horror Show, Emma (Assc. Director), Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2003-2011), Boeing-Boeing (Old Globe Theatre), Hedwig…, Little Shop of Horrors (Cygnet Theatre), and Into The Woods (New Village Arts).  In 2004, James founded Daisy 3 Pictures with Mark Holmes and Carrie Preston.  Their first two feature films, 29th and Gay (TLA Releasing, Here TV) and Ready? OK! (Wolfe Video, LOGO) have played national and international film festivals, with Ready? OK! winning the Best Feature Film award in Seattle, North Carolina, and San Diego.  Their latest film, That’s What She Said, starring Anne Heche, made its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.  As an actor, James has appeared on film, television, Off-Broadway, regional and local stages.  He is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Drama. To learn more about James, visit

Adam Wachter (Orchestrations and Music Director) Diversionary: debut! Credits include: Broadway: The Addams Family, Peter Pan; Off-Broadway: Carrie, Old Jews Telling Jokes, In Transit, Yank!, Spidermusical; National Tour: Happy Days; in Concert: Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, Melinda Doolittle, Trisha Yearwood, Karen Olivo, Felicia Finley, Caissie Levy, Stephanie Block; Web Series: “Submissions Only,” “The Battery’s Down;” Regional: O’Neill, Barrington, North Shore, Weston. Visit for more info. Thanks to James, Anna & Bill and this great group of guys!

Thomas Hodges (Associate Music Director) With Diversionary composed music for Patricia Loughrey’s Dear Harvey for which he received a Patte Award as well as an award from The Kennedy Center and Dorian (a Diversionary/Irvine Foundation commission). Other composing work: Underground: A Musical Revue, SDSU’s Vinegar Tom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His other compositions as a student at San Diego State include: Tom and Huck and Jim, The Glass Menagerie, The Jungle Book and The Good Person of Szechwan. His first album West Coast Laments is available on iTunes. He’s currently the music director for And ThenI Wrote A Song About It, which was presented at “Bound for Broadway” in New York City last year. He received his BA in Theatre Performance from SDSU.

Sean Fanning (Set Designer)The Old Globe:Plaid Tidings, KINGDOM. Cygnet Theatre: (Resident Artist) Parade, Dirty Blonde, Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, Tragedy of the Commons, The Norman Conquests,Sweeney Todd, Noises Off, Mauritius, A Christmas Carol, The Receptionist, A Little Night Music, The Matchmaker. Elsewhere: Walter Cronkite is Dead (San Diego Rep), A Raisin in the Sun (Moxie Theatre), Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Old Globe/USD); Zombie Prom (2008 Patte Award), The Grapes of Wrath (San Diego State University). He is in his fourth season as the Resident Design Assistant at the Old Globe, where he has assisted designers on over fifty productions. Sean holds an M.F.A. in Scene Design from San Diego State University.

Shirley Pierson (Costumes) Next Fall was her Diversionary debut. San Diego theatre credits include: Glass Menagerie, Little Shop of Horrors, Our Town, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, It’s a Wonderful Life (09, 10, 11), History Boys, A Christmas Carol, (Cygnet Theatre) Into the Woods, New Village Arts, Holiday Memories, (Scripps Ranch Theatre) Richard III, (Old Globe/University of San Diego). Shirley received her MFA in Theatre Design from San Diego State University.
Michelle Caron (Lighting Designer) Michelle is pleased to return to Diversionary Theatre, where her designs include Next Fall, Learn to be Latina, Edward II, Poster Boys, Dooley, Fair Use, Santa Claus is Coming Out and Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins. Her recent local work includes The Gondoliers (Lyric Opera), Malashock/ RAW and Surface Tension with Malashock Dance, and Our Town, It’s a Wonderful Life ’09 and ’10 and The Norman Conquests (Cygnet Theatre). Michelle holds a MFA in Theatrical Design from San Diego State University. See her work at

David J. Medina (Properties Design) is proud to be an Associate Artist at Diversionary:The Pride, Next Fall, Learn to be Latina, Poster Boys, Edward II, Speech & Debate, The Marriage Bed, Twist, The Little Dog Laughed, Facing East, Scrooge In Rouge, Corpus Christi, The Daddy Machine. Other Diversionary credits include: When Pigs Fly (Asst. Scenic), Busy World Is Hushed (Asst. Scenic) Bluebonnet Court (set construction); ion Theatre: Cripple of Inishman (Prop Asst.) Bang productions: Sideman; USD: Cabaret, The Saints Plays. David has worked for the Old Globe Theatre on over 70 shows as an artisan and buyer.

Kevin Anthenill (Sound) Composed the score for San Diego Repertory Theater’s Boom, and In the Next Room. He recently sound designed for San Diego Asian American Repertory Theater’s BFE, and Flower Drum Song, at the La Jolla Playhouse. As well as USD’s A Winters Tale and 12th night at The Old Globe Theater. He has worked with The Old Globe’s education department, sound designing their Summer Shakespeare Intensive, assistant sound designed The Old Globe’s Summer Shakespeare Festival, and sound designed Diversionary Theatre’s Edward II and Learn to be Latina. He Holds a B.A. In Theater Design from San Diego State University.

Traci Van Wyk (Production Stage Manager) Pocket is [totes] excited to be back for another summer musical. Also at Diversionary, Twist and [title of show]. She’s also worked in the costume departments of The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse, and as house manager for Lamb’s Players Theatre Mixtape. In between love affairs at the theatre, she keeps busy in the film industry, working on award-winners like “Ready? Ok!” and “That’s What She Said” . Pocket would like to thank JV for the continued adventures and looks forward to the [tos] cruise ship tour.

Maria Orozco (Stage Manager) Maria is thrilled to be making her debut at Diversionary. She just graduated from SDSU with a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Stage Management. Last year she interned at The Space Theatre in London where she stage managed the world premiere of Kid Arthur. Other SM/ASM credits include A Behanding in Spokane (Cygnet), Eurydice (SDSU), Little Women The Musical (SDSU), The Toughest Girl Alive (Moxie), The Labyrinth of Desire (SDSU), Les Miserables (Verge Theatre), The Clean House (SDSU), Beyond Therapy (Mesa College Theatre Company).

John E. Alexander (Executive Director) John was thrilled to return to San Diego as Diversionary’s Executive Director in June 2011. Prior to that, he was the Managing Director of Naked Angels (New York) where he produced the Tony nominated Next Fall and the critically acclaimed off-Broadway production of This Wide Night starring Edie Falco and Alison Pill. Other theatre experience includes stints at North Shore Music Theatre (Boston), The Old Globe (San Diego), San Diego Performing Arts League, as well as marketing, development and general management projects at Pasadena Playhouse (Los Angeles), Roundabout Theatre Company (New York), and Daryl Roth Productions (New York). John’s favorite experiences revolve around the 10+ years he spent as performer, production manager, tour manager and assistant to the producer for the international performing group, Up With People. He was also involved in building Mama’s Kitchen as the organization’s first Executive Director. John earned a BA in Political Science from University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University. He is a member of the New Works Committee of the National Alliance for Musical Theater and Chairs the Public Policy Committee of the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition.

Bret Young (Producing Director) Having overseen dozens of shows over the last twelve years Bret has dedicated his recent creative life to making Diversionary a welcoming home for theatre artists and their patrons. A number of these artists and productions have been propelled by Diversionary to much larger stages and audiences. Bret is thrilled to watch Diversionary grow and to be a part of its history and evolution in bringing our stories to the stage. Previous credits on and off stage include work with Utah Musical Theatre, Ballet West, North Coast Rep, Sledghammer, The Fritz and Mystery Cafe.




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Contact: John Alexander 619-220-6830
Kim Rescate

(June 12, 2012)

(June 14, 2012)



[tab title=”Reviews”]

U-T San Diego, James Hebert says:
“gently comic, one-of-a-kind,…big-hearted show”

“(the) score, operetta-like at times, delves into jazz, blues, ragtime, even some barbershop”

San Diego Reader, Jeff Smith says:
“the musical, blessed by a knockout production at Diversionary, evolves into a funny, warm-spirited, ultimately touching evening.”

“Vasquez displays his gift for bringing out the best in a musical and its performers”

“ensemble work is outstanding. The choral voices…..are also tops.”

North County Times, Anne Marie Welsh says:
“the most uplifting thing about this sweet-spirited new musical is the quality of the Diversionary Theatre’s world premiere production.”

“music ranges from beautiful a capella anthems (sometimes in six-part harmony), to romantic ballads, choral hymns, folk tunes and country-western infused lam

“bound to please future audiences around the country”

“second act has an equivalent showstopper in DJ’s song “Homo Kid From Kansas Blues,” sung with great panache and hilarious histrionics by 17-year-old Hoffinger”

SDGLN, Jean Lowerison says:
“a human story with well-written and brilliantly acted characters”

“a declaration of responsibility “I Bring The Snacks,” so hilariously performed by Houck that it brings down the house.

Stage Scene LA, Steven Stanley says:
“impeccable direction, seven sensational performances, superb musical direction, and an exquisite design package”

“succeeds on so many levels”

”Jacobs’ catchy melodies and Nelson’s clever lyrics announcing the arrival of an important new musical theater-writing team”





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