CHESS

Cast & Team

BEN BAKKEN

FREDERICK - THE AMERICAN

 

BEN BAKKEN is the theatre teacher/director at Hill-Murray School in Maplewood. Credits include: Zoser in Theater Latté Da’s Aida; Ivey Award for his portrayal of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres; Troy Bolton in the world premiere of Disney’s High School  Musical at Children’s Theatre Company; Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts; and Link in Hairspray, Ren in Footloose, Dean in All Shook Up, and Will Parker in Oklahoma! at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. In the fall, you can see him as Del Shannon in Teen Idol: The Bobby Vee Story at the History Theatre

 

 

JOHN BRINK

ANTOLY - THE RUSSIAN

 

John is making his Second Fiddle debut with Chess.  Recently he was seen in the Broadway Songbook at the Ordway. He attended the Hartt School of Music at Univ. of Hartford before moving to NYC. Broadway & National Tour: Les Miserables (25th Anniversary), Regional: Life on the Mississippi at Goodspeed, Music Man at The Bushnell, West Side Story at Bushnell.  Member of Actors Equity.

 

 

RUTHIE BAKER

FLORENCE 

Ruthie is so excited to be pursuing one of her dream roles with Second Fiddle Productions. A Minnesota native, Ruthie moved to NYC in 2005 where she was involved in various readings with B-Side Productions,  NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, Manhattan Theatre Club and the Manhattan JCC where she performed with Tony Nominees Christiane Noll and Alison Fraser.  She is delighted to be back in the Twin Cities and hopes to help other artists connect with their potential and possiblity through Second Fiddle!  Favorite shows include Music Man at the Guthrie, Glensheen at the History Theatre, Violet at Yellow Tree Theatre and Sisters of Swing at Riverside Theatre & Totem Pole Playhouse. Ruthie has loved musical theatre since she was 3 and saw her first musical "Peter Pan" at the Hopkins Community Center. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of Second Fiddle Productions. Proudly AEA.

 

What inspires me: Simple & honest storytelling, exploring without fear, sillyness, creativity, possibility and fun-loving people! 

 

JAMES RODRÍGUEZ

WALTER 

 

James Rodríguez is a Minneapolis based actor. He was most recently seen in Dark & Stormy Productions production of Extremities. Twin Cities theater credits include work with Children's Theater Company, Theater Latte Da, Park Square Theater, Pillsbury House Theater, Mixed Blood Theater, Yellow Tree Theater, Frank Theater, Workhaus Collective, among others. James is extremely excited to be making his Second Fiddle debut. James is inspired when working with a room full of dedicated artists to mine out the moments in a show that touch audiences' hearts and minds. 

 

 

JIM RAMLET

MOLOKOV 

 

A SecondFiddle newcomer,  Jim Ramlet has appeared at the Guthrie Theater, Theatre Latté Da, American Repertory Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, History Theatre, Frank Theatre, Illusion Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Nautilus Music-Theater, and VocalEssence. Also an accomplished operatic performer, he has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Vienna State Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

 

MICHAEL GRUBER

THE ARBITER 

 

Broadway: original companies of Miss Saigon, Swing!, Stairway to Paradise, Jackie Mason’s Laughing Room Only, and My Favorite Year,  both Bill and Hortensio in Kiss Me, Kate!, the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz, Munkustrap in Cats, Mike in the final cast of  A Chorus Line as well as Greg and Zach in the 2008 revival.  Mr. Gruber also performed the role of Munkustrap in the movie of Cats, filmed at the Adephi Theater in London.  Over the past 23 years, he has starred in over 50 regional productions. Notable roles include: Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and Gould in Grey Gardens (Ordway Center) Don Hewes in the world premier of Easter Parade (Chanhassen) both Phil Davis (Wang Center, Boston) and Bob Wallace (5th Ave. Theater, Seattle) in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Young Ben in the highly acclaimed production of Follies (Paper Mill Playhouse) Stanley Donan in the world premier of What  A Glorious Feeling (Mason Street Warehouse) Harold Hill in The Music Man (Seattle Opera-conducted by Marvin Hamlisch) Wizzer in Falsettos (Alliance Theater, Atlanta) Joseph in Joseph...Dreamcoat (Alaska Opera) and both Riff and Tony in national and European tours of West Side Story.  He also created the role of Tom Marlowe in the revival version of Good News (Music Theater of Wichita)  Cast recording include:  42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain, Wonderful Town, Good News, Swing!, Follies, The Most Happy Fella, My Favorite Year and The Music Man..

ZOE PAPPAS

SVETLANA

 

ZOE PAPPAS Second Fiddle: Little Women. Ordway: Broadway Songbook: Kander and Ebb, Beauty and the Beast, Grey Gardens. Theater Latte Da: Evita, Floyd Collins, A Man of No Importance. Chanhassen Theatre: Les Miserables, Grease, The Producers, Footloose, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Pantages Theatre: Hair, Grease. Eye of the Storm: The Play about the Baby, The Shape of Things, Slither. Hennepin Stages: Awesome 80’s Prom. Illusion Theatre Company: The Human Comedy. Jon Hassler Theater: The Fantasticks, My Way, Honk!, The Spitfire Grill. Buffalo Gal Productions: The Spitfire Grill, Legendary Ladies. Children’s Theatre Company: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Cinderella, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Madeline’s Rescue. Awards: 2010 Best Actress in a Musical (Evita) – Lavender Magazine, 2008 Outstanding Actress in a Musical (The Producers) – Star Tribune. Member of Actor’s Equity.           

 

 

MATHIAS ANDERSON

ENSEMBLE 

 

Currently in South Pacific at the Guthrie. Second Fiddle: Blood Brothers.  

National Tour: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes. 

New York: The Public Sings! (The Public Theater), Empire (Broadway Workshop/Stamford Center), 

Seth’s Broadway 101 (Actors Fund) 

Little House on the Prairie/Music Man (The Guthrie), Carousel (Minnesota Orchestra), Hello Dolly/Fiddler on the Roof/The Little Mermaid, Sister Act (CDT), Cats/Hot Mikado (Marriott Theater, Lincolnshire Chicago), Beauty & the Beast (North Carolina Theatre), Pippin (Denver Center), Guys & Dolls (Stages St. Louis) Encore! (Tokyo Disney), Chicago (Pioneer Theatre Company), & Best Little Whorehouse… (Arvada Center), Full Monty (Weston Playhouse), Little Shop of Horrors (Minnesota Repertory Theater), Cabaret (BCT). Member of Actors Equity.

 

 

BEN SCHRADE

ENSEMBLE 

 

Ben is excited to be making his debut at Second Fiddle! Previous theatre credits include: Motel, Fiddler on the Roof, Hutchinson Theatre Company - Peel, Three Penny Christmas, Centennial Showboat - Guitar/New Year's Host, Striking 12!, Artistry. "What inspires me is the artistry of storytelling. Whether musically, verbally, through sound, or movement; storytelling is the way we can effectively make a difference."

 

 

DANIEL GRECO

ENSEMBLE

 

Daniel Greco is thrilled to be a first time fiddler! Daniel has sung and soloed with numerous professional ensembles in Minnesota and New York, sung back-up for Ben Folds with Minnesota Orchestra, recorded the title role on the concept album Van Winkle: A Folk Musical, and has four productions under his belt with Minnesota Opera including the Pulitzer Prize winning Silent Night. He is excited to play Harry in Shoot the Glass Theater’s upcoming production of Company and will be playing at Icehouse with his band on Oct 16th. He holds a master’s degree in musical theatre performance with an adv certificate in vocal pedagogy from NYU and a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from St. Olaf College. He is most inspired by folks who are able to love their enemies.

 

ELENA GLASS

ENSEMBLE

 

Elena Glass has recently moved back to the Twin Cities after living in New York City and couldn't be happier to share this production with you!  Ordway Center: "The Sound of Music" (Ensemble/ Maria Understudy)/ "Broadway Songbook: Comden and Green"//  Off Broadway: "Closer Than You Think" (Riley) //Theatreworks, USA: "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and other Storybooks" (Martha)// The History Theatre: "The Christmas Schooner" (Mary Claire)/ "Orphan Train" (Katrin)// Graduate of New York University. Chess is her Second Fiddle Debut. Member of Actors Equity.

MOLLY JO HALL

ENSEMBLE 

 

Molly Jo is overjoyed to be making her Second Fiddle Production debut! She was last seen at Artistry in Phantom as Ensemble/Bella Dova u.s. Local Credits include: Les Miserables, Striking 12 (Artistry); Footloose, Rent, Young Frankenstein, Into The Woods (Lyric Arts); The Wizard of Oz (RVTC); Into The Woods, The Fantasticks, Godspell (North Central University). Molly has is a freelance artistic instructor, choreographer, and director working with preschool and elementary students. "What inspires me is seeing the first time trill of performing in children! As exciting as performing is for me, it is that much more fulfilling to see the same excitement in children." Special thanks to her handsome husband, Ben! 

MOLLIE FISCHER

ENSEMBLE 

Mollie is delighted to be making her Second Fiddle debut!  She can be seen jamming out as “Dyanne” in Million Dollar Quartet at the Old Log Theatre.  New to the Twin Cities, Mollie spent four years on the high seas performing all over the world as a lead singer with Norwegian Cruise Line and has performed in many productions across the U.S., some of her favorite roles include "Laurey" in Oklahoma, "Olive" in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, "Jeanie" in Hair, "Jennifer" in I love you, You're Perfect, Now Change" and "JoAnne" in Godspell.  Mollie graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University and is eternally grateful to her friends and family for their continuous love and support.

 

What inspires me:  Watching people do what they love. 

ROB GOUDY

DIRECTOR

 

As a freelance director, dramaturg, and stage manager, Rob has worked with the Guthrie, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, the Children’s Theatre, Bloomington Civic Theatre, Gremlin Theatre, Theatre in the Round, and the Minnesota Fringe. Recent projects include Other Desert Cities at Bloomington Civic Theatre.  Chess marks Robs 4th show with Second Fiddle.  Previously he directed Little Women, Baby and The Most Happy Fella.

 

 Inspiration: The great imagination pioneers like J.M. Barrie, Roald Dahl, and Madeleine L’Engle and current theater visionaries who tend the flame like John Doyle, Emma Rice and Edward Hall.

KYLE PICHA

MUSIC DIRECTOR 

 

Kyle is thrilled to be in his third Second Fiddle show.  Recently he played Gordon in A New Brain and was in the ensemble of The Most Happy Fella. He attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. Favorite roles include Thenardier in Les Miserables, Benjy Stone in My Favorite Year and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors.  When Kyle isn't onstage he can be found playing piano all over the Twin Cites: notably music directing Violet and Next to Normal at Yellow Tree Theatre.  Currently Kyle is Music Directing Million Dollar Quartet at Old Log.

 

What inspires me: Committed Artists.

MATT NIELSEN

DRUMS 

 

Matt was previously seen in the Second Fiddle Orchestra in The Most Happy Fella and Blood Brothers . Matt is new to the Twin Cities theatre scene, but he has been an avid performer for the last 22 years. At 13 years old, he discovered the joy of the orchestra pit, and has passionately combined his love of theatre with his percussion, trombone, and conducting skills ever since. Favorite orchestra pits include Once On This Island, Beauty and The Beast, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, and Aida.  Matt holds a Bachelor of Music in Media Music from Brigham Young University, where he toured the U.S., Australia, and China with The Young Ambassadors musical theatre revue as assistant music director and drummer. In 2009, Matt came to Minnesota to begin his professional career performing at Valleyfair. You may have seen him playing keytar with The Squiggles, singing and beatboxing with The Acafellas and the Skele-tones, drumming with StreetBeat, dancing with The Peanuts Gang, or hosting various events as DJ UpBeat (and his spooky counterpart, DJ DeadBeat).  In 2005, Matt began his most important gig when he married the love of his life, Melissa, and started a family, which has grown to 4 kids (Brody, Charlotte, Lainee, and Adelaide) and a cat (Elsa). Matt is thrilled to be back working with artists who love theatre as much as he does!

KYLE BAKER

GUITAR 

 

Kyle is currently in Million Dollar Quartet at Old Log.

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