Laffing Matterz - Serious Dining - Hilarious Satire Party Packages

Meet The Cast

Want to know who's making you laugh so hard ? Well, meet our cast !

Mark and Rita Wells
Producers
Mark and Rita Wells have "knocked around the entertainment business" for a combined 40 years. Between the two of them, they have performed from "Cruise Ships to Shakespeare - and everything in between." Mark and Rita proudly opened Laffing Matterz in August of 2005, on Andrews Avenue in downtown Fort Lauderdale. In October of 2009, they relocated and launched their partnership with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, becoming the Center’s first theatre in residence. Mark trained...many moons ago...at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Rita graduated Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Fredonia with a BFA in Musical Theatre. They met in the late 1980s when they were both performing at the Crystal Palace in Aspen, Colorado. The Crystal Palace was the launching pad for Laffing Matterz. They are extremely thankful to work with their incredibly talented cast and crew. Spread the laughter!

Jamie Cooper
Production Goddess
Jamie has been actively working as a production manager in South Florida for over fifteen years. Originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, she came to Florida to attend the University of Miami where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Education. Jamie has stage managed and served as technical director for numerous musicals and revues for corporate events including Motorola, Hewlett Packard, The Florida Sterling Awards, and The Nevada Governor’s Council. Some of her musical theatre credits include La Cage Aux Folles, Zero Hour, The Life, Perfect Harmony, Jim Bailey as Barbra Streisand, The Kid From Brooklyn, and Groucho starring Gabe Kaplan. Jamie has also served as tour director / company manager for over 30 Florida touring productions. In addition to stage managing, Jamie has also worked extensively as a choreographer and lighting designer all over the world. Her International credits include production shows at The Theatre Variete, Palais Montcalm, and The Shawinigan Theatre in Canada, Minakami, Dogashima, and Inatori Resorts in Japan, and most recently The Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Phil Hinton
Production Musical Director
Phil is a British pianist, arranger and conductor. He has worked in those capacities for the BBC and many of the independent broadcasting production companies. He has also arranged, played on and conducted numerous albums for artists such as Anthony Newley, Shirley Bassey, Howard Keel, Vince Hill, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Paul McCartney, to name just a few. He was Vince Hill’s personal music director for ten years and Shirley Bassey’s for three. Since emigrating to the USA in 1994 he has given many classical and jazz piano recitals around the USA and on several cruise ships. He has directed countless theatre shows all over the USA as well as having toured with Aretha Franklin and Jim Baily. Phil was also conductor of the Florida Pops Concert orchestra for three years. He has just completed a tour of Australia and New Zealand (June/July 2013) as musical director for singing legend Engelbert Humperdink.
Phil’s musical services continue to be in demand throughout the USA as a vocal coach, arranger, music director and pianist. He also works with celebrity vocal coaches, Sally Mayes and Marilyn Maye.

Rusty Allison
Cast Member
Rusty Allison is thrilled to return to Laffing Matterz for a second season at the Broward Center with some of his dear friends. He also is thrilled to add a few new faces to the Six Degrees of Rusty Allison game. A graduate of AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in New York City, Rusty has worked all over South Florida since relocating here in 2000. He was most recently seen in 1776, at the Actor's Playhouse, and two seasons of summer Shakespeare at New Theatre in Coral Gables (The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest). Among his favorite roles are the title role in Sweeney Todd and Morris in No Way to Treat a Lady. Special thanks to Mark, Rita, Kevin, Jaime, and Phil for the chance to be your server, as well as his old friends at the Broward Center, where he has been seen in several runs of Tony & Tina's Wedding and Grandma Sylvia's Funeral (which he also co-directed). Rusty sends his love to Robin, Jake, and his brother Jay. And by the way, would you like to try Chef’s Balls?

Steven Kennedy
Cast Member
Having moved to Florida to finish his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Florida Atlantic University, Steven has been occupied with his studies mainly. However, Steven Is overly thrilled to have been given this opportunity for his debut performance in Florida. He couldn't be more overjoyed to be joining this season of "Laffing Matterz." Some favorite previous credits include The title character in "Pippin," Mark in "A Chorus Line," Mowgli in "The Jungle Book," and George Hay in "Moon Over Buffalo." Besides acting, he has also taken a hand at directing a decent amount. Not only has he directed several one acts, and assistant directed Spring Awakening at his last school, he is Directing "Laughing Stock," (His first try at a full length play), and is the Music Director of his own A Capella group at FAU. It's a lot of stuff but you know, I always say, "If you believe, you can achieve," so....here's to believing.

Alexa Baray
Cast Member
A newly minted alumna of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, Alexa Baray is thrilled to be joining Laffing Matterz this season. Having earned a double major in the incredibly useful fields of Musical Theatre and English Literature she is grateful and surprised to have an opportunity to utilize both (it’s spelled Lahfing btw). Some of her favorite credits include Louise in Gypsy, Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Little Mary in Stage Door, Gertrude Lindsay in Smash and her recent stint as herself in the Fabulous 50s and 60s revue at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre. Thank you to all involved with the show and thank you, thank you, thank you to the loving and unbelievably supportive friends and family that consistently push her to follow whatever dreams may call.

Kimberley Martins
Cast Member
After a brief hiatus from the stage to pursue a real life, Kimberley Xavier Martins is really excited to get back to waiting tables… yet again. Although you may know her primarily as the “95” girl, she has appeared on many stages across North America and South Florida. Kimberley has also received a Carbonell nomination for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Desiree in A Little Night Music at the Broward Stage Door Theatre. Other favorite acting credits include the National Tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! (Mrs. Sowerberry/Old Sally), The Taffetas (Peggy), I love a Piano (Sadie), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Princess Puffer), A Chorus Line (Val), Nunsense II (Sr. Leo) as well as a big, loser contestant on The Price is Right. Special thanks to Duane for being my very special “gay”, Babe for always being there, and Rita and Mark for hiring my ‘drink spilling butt’ back. Yes folks, be warned, I was not hired for my table waiting skills!

Jessica Rahrig
Cast Member
Jessica Rahrig is tickled pink to be joining the Laffing Matterz cast for a second season! Favorite credits include Dainty June in Gypsy, Olive Ostrovsky in Spelling Bee (Nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Musical), Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical, just to name a few. Jessica has been seen dancing on Good Morning America and the stages of Hershey Park in PA. Although she graduated college with a business degree (snooze fest), Jessica has spent most of her spare time engulfed in dance classes, workshops, and master classes all through New England and South Florida. She would like to extend a thank you to the beautiful Broward Center and every hand involved in making this show such a success! Love and gratitude to my two best friends: Jodie & Alex who support me in every aspect. This is for you guys! (and grandma, of course!)

Jim Skiba
Cast Member
It was all fun and nonsense til I put my.... Oh wait.. What? James is thrilled to be back for another fun filled season of Laffing Matterz. A transplant to Florida and formerly a Wisconsin Architect by "edumacation", he is a corn fed cheesehead, and a theater and band geek at heart. He has appeared in many professional theaters throughout the midwest including the Skylight Theater, Broadway Baby Dinner Theater and Oscar’s Dinner Theater. Favorite roles include Francis and Smudge in “FOREVER PLAID”, Harold Hill several times in “THE MUSIC MAN”, Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's “COMPANY”, Albert Peterson in “BYE, BYE BIRDIE”, the Scarecrow in “WIZARD OF OZ”, Mayer Rothschild, in “THE ROTHSCHILDS”, Lieutenant Cable in “SOUTH PACIFIC”, Charles Dalrymple in “BRIGADOON” and Prince Orsino in Shakespeare’s “TWELFTH NIGHT”. Jim has also created and enjoys performing in his own 50's & 60's doo wop performance group he created called “4 EVER 50's”. Jim thanks his family and friends who have pushed him to dream big and follow his passion!

Blake Simons
Cast Member
Blake is beyond excited to be joining the cast of Laffing Matterz. Originally from Oklahoma, Blake has been in Florida for the past five years working at destinations like The Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios in entertainment. Before moving to Florida, Blake was a musical theatre major at the University of Central Oklahoma. His favorite credits include Hero in “A Funny Thing…Forum,” Joey in “Zombie Prom,” Gordon in “RENT,” and Mayor Shinn in “The Music Man.” Currently he is completing his PR/Marketing degree and working in that field. With that said, he can’t wait to continue “the dark side” of his career dreams and get back onstage. Many, many thanks to his family for supporting all of his endeavors and to DJ, for encouraging him to take a “leap of faith” in moving to South Florida. It has been an incredible journey!

Angela Thomas
Cast Member
Angela was discovered at the age of 4 singing and dancing on tables for money at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Decatur Illinois. Immediately after, her mother used her earnings to enroll her in Tap lessons. Angela continued to perform and received her BA in theatre from Eastern Illinois University. It was her MFA in Acting and Directing from Florida Atlantic University that brought her to Florida. Angela was the Artistic Director of the Florida Playwright’s Theatre in Hollywood from 1993-2000. She was named Best Actress in a Comedy by the New Times “Best of” issue for her portrayal of Doris in The Loman Family Picnic and received a Supporting Actress Carbonell nomination for the role of Holly in Uncommon Women and Others. Angela teaches theatre as an adjunct professor at Broward College and is a theatre teacher in the Broward County schools. She received a Broward County Teacher of the Year nomination in 2008. Angela is so thrilled to be a part of Laffing Matterz for 4 seasons and would like to thank Mark, and Rita for the incredible opportunity, the amazing Phil Hinton for getting her back into the biz, and her 9 year old daughter Frances aka “Frances Harvard” for the insight, direction, and constant motivation.

Hayley Wells
Cast Member
Freshly transplanted from New York City, Hayley Wells has retired to Fort Lauderdale to ferment and get a tan. She is out of her mind excited to be part of the Laffing Matterz cast. Some of her credits include: Mayor Maggie/Ron in Bat Boy, Gertie from Oklahoma!, 6 Ensemble characters in David Lindsey Abbaire's Wonder of the World, Flash Mob Dancer in the film Friends With Benefits, Stand Up Comic featuring Jim Gaffigan and Jerry Seinfeld at Gotham Comedy Club, Stand Up Comic in Girls Gone Funny featuring Mary Dimino, and Improv Comedy Performer at The Upright Citizens Brigade NYC. And for one night only: Fuzzy (singing, tap-dancing vagina) in Charles Goonan's Splatter Variety Show at Broadway Comedy Club NYC.

Hayley would like to thank Mark and Rita for this opportunity as well as their love and support. Long live laughter!

 

   

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