The Bridges of Madison County
A New Musical

November 3-19, 2017

Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall at North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth Avenue in Naperville

Book by Marsha Norman | Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Based on the novel by Robert James Waller
Directed by Artistic Director Jeffrey Cass | Musically Directed by Jon Neuhoff
Vocal Direction by Sarah Giordano

Tickets $25-$30

One of the most unforgettable romantic stories ever written that first captured the nation’s attention as a best-selling novel, then became an award winning film, is now an irresistible, two-time Tony Award® winning Broadway musical.  Francesca Johnson, a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee war-torn Italy, looks forward to a few days alone on her Iowa farm when her family heads to the 1965 State Fair. When ruggedly handsome National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid pulls into her driveway seeking directions, a chance encounter becomes a four-day whirlwind romance caught between decision and desire – offering a second chance at so much more.  This sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross will leave audiences breathless.


Laura Brennan (Marian/Chiara) is delighted to be working with BrightSide Theatre. A recent BFA Acting graduate of Ithaca College, she originally hails from Pittsburgh, PA. Past credits include: 2016 Young Playwrights Festival (City Theatre), A Prayer for the Sandinistas (Subtext Theater Company), Farewell My Friend ((re)discover theatre), The 39 Steps, and You Can’t Take It With You (Cider Mill Playhouse), and Othello (Ithaca Shakespeare Company). All my love to Mom, Dad, and Luke.

Morgan Dietkus (State Fair Singer/Ginny/Waitress) is thrilled to be in her first BrightSide Theatre Production. She was last seen as Marian in The Music Man with The Fox Valley Park District. Past roles include Christmas Eve (Ave Q), Rona (Spelling Bee), Philia (A Funny Thing Happened…) for which she won a Broadway World Award for Best Actress. She is a proud alum of Illinois State and The Boston Conservatory. Much love to Jason, Magnolia and Domenic.

Julie Ann Kornak (Francesca) is excited to return to the BrightSide Theatre stage after previously appearing as Belinda in Noises Off!  Other BST roles include: Mariette (The Dinner Party), Sarah (Company), Annette (God of Carnage) and Chris Gorman (Rumors). Other favorite roles include: Christine (Phantom -Yeston & Kopit) and Jean Perkins  (Funny Money) at JPAC, Jacqueline (Don’t Dress for Dinner) and Diana (Lend Me a Tenor) with Summer Place Theatre, and Elvira (Blithe Spirit) and both Marlo & Patsy in the original interactive comedy Patsy’ Bridal Shower with Theatre Eclectic. Thanks to Adam, Ryan, Aidan, Amanda and Mom for their love and support, to Jeff for the role of a lifetime and much thanks to all the staff at BST for their constant dedication!

Justin Miller (Robert) recently received his BA in Music from Western Kentucky University. He was last seen in The Stephen Foster Story in Bardstown, KY. Other Regional credits include: Billy Flynn (Chicago), Jafar (Aladdin Jr.), Joey (Sister Act!), and Georg Nowack (She Loves Me). Justin is beyond thrilled to join BrightSide Theatre on such a beautiful show! He sends all of the thanks to his wonderful family and friends for their continuous love and support!

David Moreland (Ensemble) is a newcomer to Chicago. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, he studied acting, and scenic design for the theatre. As an actor, he’s performed in shows such as Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, and Heathers: The Musical. Most recently, he’s been seen in Theo Ubique’s production of Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night, and just before that in Big Fish with Big Noise Theatre. He thanks you all for coming, and hopes you enjoy the show!

Brandon Pisano (Michael) This is Brandon’s first time aboard a BrightSide Theatre production! After 11 plays and musicals at Elmhurst College, including The Addams Family, Godspell, No Exit and She Loves Me, he has officially graduated with a BA in Musical Theatre. Being a member of the Elmhurst College Concert Choir and vocal jazz ensemble “Late Night Blues” led him to opportunities such as singing behind Andrea Bocelli, working with The New York Voices, and performing at Carnegie Hall. Following The Bridges of Madison County, Brandon will be performing in The Polar Express Train Ride at Chicago Union Station this December.

Christine Ronna (Marge) is delighted to be back at BrightSide, where she was recently seen as General Matilda B. Cartwright in Guys and Dolls. Her other credits include Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music (BrightSide), Hattie in Kiss Me Kate (Circle Theatre), Nurse/Harriet in Sunday in the Park with George (Village Theatre), and The Dresser in Enter the Guardsman, Dolly Tate in Annie Get Your Gun, Martha in The Secret Garden (Illinois Theatre Center). Christine would like to thank her husband, Jim and her vocal coach, Anne Perillo.

Scott Kelley (Charlie) is thrilled to return to the BrightSide Theatre stage after playing Patsy in Monty Python’s Spamalot. Favorite past productions include Mary Poppins (Mr. Banks) The King and I (The King), The Beard of Avon (Will Shakespeare), The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow), The Music Man (Harold Hill), My Fair Lady (Henry Higgins), Peter Pan (Capt. Hook), The Taming of the Shrew (Petruchio), and Private Lives (Elyot Chase). Love to leading lady Staci, and his favorite production, Carson.

Shaina Summerville (Carolyn) is thrilled to be returning to BrightSide Theatre after having appeared in Beauty and the Beast last November! Shaina was most recently seen as Logainne Schwartzandgrubinierre in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with Encore Theatre Productions in Elgin. Regional Credits: Jean’s Playhouse (New Hampshire). Chicagoland credits: Williams Street Repertory Theatre, Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, MCL, Improv Playhouse, Under the Gun Theatre, Spectralia Theatre, Theatre Nebula, among others. Enjoy the show!

Matt Whalen (Bud) is excited to make his BST debut! Recently credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Jasper), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel), and Parade (Hugh Dorsey-BWW Chicago Award-Best Revival of a Musical), as well as shows with Light Opera Works, Metropolis, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, and Jedlicka. A proud graduate of North Central College’s Musical Theatre program, Matt thanks Jill, Millie, family, friends, and everyone at BST for making this a great experience.


Jeffrey Cass (Director/Artistic Director) a Joseph Jefferson Award Nominee most recently directed BightSide Theatre’s: Guys and Dolls, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play, Cabaret, RENT, Company, BrightSide Theatre’s inaugural production – Run For Your Wife and also for BrightSide Theatre’s Youth Project inaugural production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr., Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr., Disney’s Aladdin, Jr., Legally Blonde the Musical Jr.,  and Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.  He holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theater Performance from Roosevelt University where he also studied lighting design and stage management. He previously served as the Producing Director for Circle Theatre where he directed The Who’s Tommy (6 Joseph Jefferson Nominations including Best Musical and Best Director) Neil LaBute’s Bash and The Distance From Here (Midwest Premier), Burning Blue (Midwest Premier), Crazy for You, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Urinetown, Peter Pan and for their New Plays Festivals.

Jon Neuhoff (Music Director/Keys 1/Rehearsal Accompanist) is proud to be working with BrightSide Theatre!  Recent musical keyboard activities include Guys and Dolls, Beauty and the Beast (also music directed), and Spamalot with BrightSide Theatre; Cats with Elmhurst Children’s Theater; Legally Blonde and Oklahoma with Summer Place Theatre; and selections from Annie, Oliver, Matilda, The Wiz, Hairspray, Rent, and Frozen with Broadway in Naperville.  He is also the accompanist for “Cellissimo” (a Suzuki cello ensemble), ballet classes for the Naperville School of Performing Arts, and various choirs/solos/auditions/competitions.

Sarah Giordano (Vocal Director/Music Director) earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education from Eastern Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Choral Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. She teaches general music, directs the choirs and the musical at Jackson Middle School in Villa Park and she serves as an adjunct professor of graduate studies at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. Sarah consistently serves as a choral clinician, adjudicator, and music director. Recent BrightSide Theatre credits include Monty Python’s Spamalot, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Thoroughly Modern Millie JR (BrightSide Youth Project), and Guys and Dolls.