Admin Office: (315) 255-1305
Box Office: (315) 255-1785 / 1-800-457-8897
17 William Street, Suite 304
Auburn, NY 13021
Alternatively, you can call the box office at 315‑255‑1785 or toll free at 1‑800‑457‑8897.
Suitable for teenagers and up.
What’s cookin’, good lookin’? This musical biography tells the story of the famous singer-songwriter himself. Overflowing with the music you know and love, Lost Highway paints a vivid picture of the legend’s life that will leave you “hank”ering for more. We promise that “son of a gun, you’ll have big fun on the bayou.”
|Week 1||September - October|
|George Wendt (Pap): Chicago native George Wendt, known universally as Cheers barfly Norm, famously got his big break pushing a broom at Second City comedy club. In the years since, he's become synonymous with Chicago comedy, with a resume that includes movies and television. Wendt was born on October 17, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois, graduated from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, a Jesuit-run boarding school for boys. He moved on to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, but after two years there, was kicked out with a GPA of 00.0. He made a successful switch to another Jesuit school, Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, and earned a BA in Economics, then took a few years off, traveling through Europe and North Africa, eventually coming back home to Chicago, his roots. After watching the talented comedians in The Second City, Wendt asked to join, and was told to be there at 11:30 the next morning. When he showed up at the improvisational comedy troupe that morning, he was handed a broom, and told, "Welcome to the theater, Kid." Wendt persevered, and eventually joined the performing end of the company, from 1974 to 1980, and met his wife, Bernadette Birkett, who was also a performer. He was in a pilot for NBC, Nothing But Comedy, and this was his ticket to Hollywood. Wendt's first movie role was in the film My Bodyguard, starring Matt Dillon and Chris Makepeace. After a few other minor roles in movies, as well as television shows such as Soap, Taxi, and Alice, he appeared in M*A*S*Has a Marine with a pool ball stuck in his mouth, being helped by David Ogden Stiers' character. After appearances in the films Airplane II: The Sequel and Jekyll and Hyde ...Together Again, Wendt got his first big break since he started pushing the broom.
Auditioning for the role of constant bar patron and accountant Norm Peterson on the sitcom Cheers, Wendt beat out future fellow regular, John Ratzenberger. The character became so successful and iconic, that he became known for his entrances into the bar with a greeting of, "Norm!" followed by one of his famous one-line quips. Birkett played the voice of Norm's wife, Vera, heard on the phone, but never seen. The series ran from 1982 to 1993, and by the time the last show aired, only Wendt, Ted Danson, and Rhea Perlman, had appeared in every one of the 273 episodes.
Wendt also brought his famous character to five other shows, Cheers spin-offs Frasier and The Tortellis, The Simpsons, St. Elsewhere, and Wings. He and Ratzenberger settled out of court on a lawsuit with airport lounges that were using the Cheers bar design with animatronic patrons that resembled Norm and Ratzenberger's character, Cliff Clavin. Finding yet another iconic character on Saturday Night Live, Chicago native Wendt, joined series regulars, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, and Robert Smigel, in creating the Superfans, sports fans dedicated to Chicago sports teams, specifically the Bears, but the Bulls as well. They would draw on Chicago accents, food choices such as beer and sausage, and make outlandish claims for victory. Wendt also hosted Saturday Night Live once, sharing the job with legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, who more or less was on the show just in a few cameos.
Other than the characters of Norm and the Superfan, Wendt has kept busy with a number of different opportunities. He has appeared in film Fletch along with Chevy Chase, and in the film Gung Ho with Michael Keaton, and appeared in several guest starring roles in television shows such as Spin City and Tales From the Crypt. In 1995, he starred in his own show, The George Wendt Show, but it was ill-fated and didn't last. He went on to a recurring role on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, and hosted a reality show, House of Dreams. In May 2006, Wendt was seen yet again on television. He made several appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien where he performed short skits. He starred in a 2006 episode of Masters of Horror entitled "Family", directed by John Landis and played Santa Claus in the ABC Family original movie Santa Baby. Wendt performed alongside Richard Thomas in Twelve Angry Men in October 2006 in the Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. After the show opened, Wendt was interviewed by local movie critic Arch Campbell for a piece on the NBC Washington affiliate WRC. Wendt was asked, "What should people do when they see you around town?" After hesitating for a moment, Wendt held his thumbs up and replied, "If their impulse is to buy me a beer, then by all means, follow that impulse." In spring 2007, Wendt performed in 12 Angry Men in Los Angeles. Wendt appeared as an American GI in the 2007 Christmas Special episode of British sitcom The Green Green Grass.George starred in the Broadway play Hairspray as the character of Edna Turnblad and did an eight week run on Broadway as Santa Claus in the musical ELF. Most recently, he appeared in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as Joe Bell.
|Katie Bruestle (Waitress) is thrilled to be making her MGR debut with Hank Williams! Some previous credits include Nicole in Band Geeks! (Goodspeed), Eliza in My Fair Lady, Paulette in Legally Blonde (New London Barn), Mrs. Patrick in A Man of No Importance (Gallery Players), as well as many concerts in NYC. Most recently, Katie played Tirzah Miller in the first staged reading of Oneida, a new musical. Ohio born, NYC based, Hartt School grad, Katie sends love and thanks to her family, friends, and especially Brent.|
|Tim Cain (Tee-Tot) The Parchman Hour – Cape Fear Regional Theater, Headstrong - Ensemble Studio Theater, Fabulous Darshan - Workshop Theater, Godspell (2000 Revival) – Third Eye/York Theater. Audiobooks for authors Caroline Kennedy, James Patterson and Elmore Leonard. Live events with jazz pianist Eric Reed, singer Patti Austin and as narrator with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Much love to my family, friends and special thanks to Ed and Brett for making my MGR return possible.|
|LilyAnn Carlson (Audrey Williams) is so, so excited to return to the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse! She was last seen in MGR's production of The Great American Trailer Parker Musical as “Pickles”. Other previous roles include Tintinabula in A Funny Thing...Forum (Weston Playhouse), Narrator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Weston Playhouse), Sally Harper in Little Women (Syracuse Stage), and in the ensembles of 9 to 5 (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse), RENT and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, both at Syracuse Stage. Thank you to Hans, Eric, Ed, and Brett! Syracuse University BFA-Musical Theatre, 2012.|
|Reed Chronis (Young Hank) is the proud son of Fonda and Jerri-Lynn Chronis. It was very obvious to them he was a natural born performer. He has had several roles Auburn Players including Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Willy Wonka, and Songs of Broadway. He is currently with BMG Models NYC, which led to a role in an Actors Guild Short film Space Cadet. He is an honor student at Auburn High School and is committed to lacrosse and hockey. He would like to dedicate his performances to Marilyn and James Smith, Kyriakos Chronis and Frank DeJoy. Also, a shout out to Anne Adessa and Bob Piorun for always believing in me. <3 you YiaYia|
|Rasheem Ford (u/s Tee-Tot) is delighted to be joining the MGR family with this amazingly talented cast of Lost Highway! He is a recent graduate from SUNY Cortland with his B.A in Musical Theatre. Some favorite credits include: Sunfish: A New Musical (International tour), Spring Awakening (Melchior), Violet (Flick), and (Paul) in Kiss Me Kate (The Mac-Haydn Theatre Company). He would like to give a special thanks to Ed, Brett, and Hans for giving him this wonderful opportunity, and much love to his family and friends for their never-ending love and support.|
|Christopher Kent (Jimmy (Burrhead) is thrilled to be here! Atlanta Lyric Theatre(GA) - The Producers (Leo) Actors Playhouse (FL)- Aida (Radames), Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), Last Five Years (Jamie w Janet Dacal), Charlie Brown (Snoopy), Forbidden Planet (Captain Tempest) and more. Caldwell Theatre -Next Fall (Brandon), Promethean Theatre-Song of The Living Dead (Matt), Blowing Rock Stage Company (NC)- Bye Bye Birdie(Albert), Hank Williams Lost Highway(Jimmy-dir by Randal Myler), Orchestra - Atlanta Lyric - Beehive, Arizona Theatre Company - Hair (Chris McGovern), Actors Playhouse – Breakin’ Up is Hard To Do (Tom Kitt) Arsht Center - Dirty Little Secrets (Jai Rodriguez) Multiple Carbonell award nominee. Thank you to all at MGR. Love to Lisa. For Dad.|
|Elliot Lane (u/s Leon) a Kentucky native, is thrilled to be at the Merry-Go-Round to wrap up a wonderful season with an even more wonderful show! Regional credits include Shrek (Shrek the Musical), Patrick (The Andrews Brothers), Dean (All Shook Up), MC (Chicago). Other credits include Raoul (Phantom of the Opera), Georg (Spring Awakening), Frederic (Pirates of Penzance), Rapunzel's Prince (Into the Woods), among others. A big thanks to the MGR family for this fantastic opportunity!|
|Kent M. Lewis (Hoss) MGR debut! 1st National Tours: Billy Elliot (Swing), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Caractacus Potts U.S.). Regional: White Christmas (Bob Wallace) at Circa 21, Dames at Sea (Hennesey/Captain) at Totem Pole Playhouse. As Director (+) and/or Choreographer(*): The Music Man+*, H.M.S. Pinafore+*, Joseph+*, Pirates...+*, Anything Goes*, Fiddler on the Roof+*, Camelot*, The King and I*, Rodgers and Hart+*..., Plain and Fancy*, Meet Me in St. Louis+*, West Side Story*, Oklahoma*. Co-author of the new musical "It Was Always You". KentMLewis.com|
|Lisa Myers (u/s The Waitress) originally hails from Minneapolis, MN. Most recently she was seen in the Merry-Go-Round Administrative offices playing the role of Associate Producer, overseeing the Youth Theatre wing of the Playhouse. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Infinite thanks to Ed and her MGR family for making this the best place to work in the world.|
|Peter Oyloe (Hank Williams) Recent credits include See What I Wanna See (Balliwick Chicago/ Steppenwolf) as well as a sold out run as Hank Williams in Hank Williams: Lost Highway at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (LCT Award Best Lead Actor, Musical). Other acting credits include Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Filament Theatre Ensemble - Jeff Award Best Lead Actor, Musical); Eurydice (Filament Theatre Ensemble); Elling (Redtwist Theatre, Jeff Award Nomination, Best Actor); The Pillowman (Jeff Award, Best Supporting Actor), Equus (Jeff Award, Best Actor), The Phantom in Phantom (Porchlight Musical Theatre); Ragtime (Porchlight); The Secret Garden (Light Opera Works); Cherry Smoke (the side project); Baal (TUTA), as well as the New Zealand National Production of Les Misérables. He has also appeared in numerous short films and commercials. Peter is an acclaimed composer and folk musician, having composed the scores to the film In Love with the Nun (Cannes Film Festival showcase), Equus (Jeff Nomination - Best Original Music), and Eurydice. Peter is a proud member of Redtwist Theatre and Filament Theatre Ensemble. For further information about Peter and his work, visit PeterOyloe.com.
|Keith Potts (Leon (Loudmouth), u/s Hoss) is making his MGR debut! Favorite credits include Not Wanted on the Voyage, Waiting for Godot, and Smoke on the Mountain. Thanks and love to Mom and Dad, the family, the babies, Mrs. M., HP, and Dr. D. Appreciation for the entire MGR team. BFA Boston Conservatory. @kthpotts|
|Russ Wever (Shag) plays the Steel Guitar, the instrument that puts the 'cry and moan' into Hank’s music, and is glad to be performing for you at Merry-Go Round-Playhouse. Russ is no stranger to Hank Williams Lost Highway, having performed in its first National Tour in 2000 and since has played in well over one thousand performances including an award-winning Off-Broadway extended run. Celebrating his twentieth year of performing in musical theatre, Russ began performing on the steel guitar at age twenty-one and has since traveled and performed with various Country Music Artists and many Broadway Musical productions. When not on the musical theatre stage, Russ enjoys performing at various Steel Guitar concerts and shows around the country. Russ, a native Chicagoan, now resides in Kansas City with his lovely wife, Carla, and their two adorable Yorkies.|
|Kristine Zbornik (Mama Lilly) High paying jobs: A Catered Affair, Broadway; Mamma Mia – Rosie, Las Vegas; 9 to 5 – Roz 1st national tour; Low paying jobs: Into The Woods, Shakespeare in the Park/Delecort Theatre, NYC, Jack’s Mother; Roadshow, the Public Theater; Shlemiel The First- Skirball Center Off-Bway; Forbidden Broadway: Cleans Up Its Act (Original Cast) and 20th Anniversary (Original Cast); OKLAHOMA! – Aunt Eller, Berkshire Theater Festival; Splendora-Sue Ella Lightfoot, Chelsea Playhouse; An Evening with Joan Crawford - Ethel Merman; Man of La Mancha – Housekeeper, Goodspeed Opera House- Nine. I’m paying jobs: All the one person shows and cabaret that I ever did by myself over the last 35 years. They tell me I’m running out of words so let me just close with this inappropriate, personal thought: The love of my life is Jesus; he’s a really great kisser.|