Cast / Creative


Kayla Catan (Lizzie/Dr. Griz/Gran) is an NYC-based actor, thrilled to be touring with her fellow bears! She recently originated the role of Mickey in Vital Theatre Company's Fashion Academy the Musical. Prior to that, she toured New York puppeteering in Shadow Box Theatre Company's African Drum. Kayla can often be found performing/creating political pieces with Brooklyn-based company Theater in Asylum, most recently in their devised piece, The Debates. She's a proud graduate of Muhlenberg College and Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Huge shout out to her overwhelmingly fabulous and supportive family and friends. Thanks a million to Holly and the Matt Murphy Productions team!

Samantha Cho Grossman (Sister Bear) is excited to be touring with the Berenstain Bears! She was most recently seen as Connie in Riverside Theatre’s A Chorus Line. Other past credits include: Poodleful (Pansy), Hello Dolly (Ensemble), Our Time: A Graduation Mixtape (54 Below), The Pajama Game (Ann), Great Wall (Michelle), Little Miss Fix It (Neptune), West Side Story (Maria), and Hatched: New Works in New York (Joe's Pub). Love and thanks to Mom, Dad, and Ethan for all their unwavering support!

Ricky Marchese (Papa Bear) is thrilled to be joining the cast of The Berenstain Bears Live! Favorite credits include: Winnie the Pooh (Tigger), In the Heights (Unsavi), and performing as a cabaret singer at the Carousel Music Theater. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University at Buffalo. Many thanks to Holly, the creative team, & Matt Murphy Productions for this opportunity. And a big thank you to my family, especially my Mom and Dad for always being my number one fans!

Ryan Mooney (Freddy Bear) is so excited to be joining the touring cast of The Berenstain Bears LIVE! Favorite credits include: Batboy, Bye Bye Birdie, bare: A Pop Opera and Company. Ryan is a recent graduate of Hofstra University with a B.F.A. in Drama and minor in Musical Theater. Thanks to the amazing creative team, cast and my family for all the love and support.

Rebecca Muller (Mama Bear) is a recent graduate of the University of Miami with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Favorite past roles include Rona (...Spelling Bee), Adelaide (Guys & Dolls), and Anna (Burn This). She is so excited to join the cast of Bears and would like to thank her parents for their love and support!

Eric Willingham (Brother Bear) is an upcoming American actor, singer and commercial model. He is an alumna from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy where he majored in musical theatre. His stage credits include an Off-Broadway production of LINE (Stephen) and an East Coast tour of The Wiz (Scarecrow). Tv and film credits include The Young, Black and Gifted (Remy), featured on HBO's new series, The Deuce , starring James Franco, and FOX's hit show Empire, cousin of Wallace Sampson in the feature film, DEADLINE, starring Academy Award nominee, Eric Roberts. Eric has also been featured on the covers of Homelife and Bible Express Magazine as well as commercials for Chase Bank, Viacom, and short films with Freewoods Films. He is thankful to God, his family and friends for the many blessings and looks forward to what the future has in store!

Sara Mallen DeNatalie (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be on her first tour with the Berenstain Bears! She has recently worked with Drunk Shakespeare, Stable Cable Lab Co (Terminalia, Because Me, Live from the Surface of the Moon) and The New Group (Mercury Fur, Rasheeda Speaking, Sticks and Bones). Sara would like to thank her parents and brother for everything they’ve done to make it all possible!  


Michael Borton (Book, Music & Lyrics) is thrilled that this production will entertain children this summer in NYC. Michael lives in the Philadelphia area and works as a composer, performer, music director, and private instructor. He’s composed for AFTY and the Walnut Street Theatre; including several of their outreach shows and annual A Christmas Carol. He has music directed at the Walnut Street Theatre, La Salle University, Theater Horizon and is currently the Director of Music at Waldron Mercy Academy.

Michael Slade (Additional Book Material) Playwright, librettist, Emmy-nominated television writer. Work for family audiences includes: Ten Theatreworks/USA musicals (Superfudge, Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, The Three Pigs). Pokemon Live! (Radio City Music Hall, national, international tours). Several shows for TADA! And A Child Shall Lead, (PlayScripts) inspiring play about a group of child concentration camp prisoners (opened to rave reviews in Chicago, November 2010). Children’s novel The Horses Of Central Park (Scholastic Hardcover/Apple Paperback) won ISAR Award for Children’s Literature.

Devanand Janki (Director and Choreographer) New York credits: Zanna, Don’t! (Lortel, Callaway & GLAAD awards), Junie B. Jones (Lortel nom.), Cupid & Psyche, Henry & Mudge (Lortel nom.), Romantic Poetry, This One Girls Story. Broadway concerts: Funny Girl, Hair, Dreamgirls, Seth’s Broadway 101. Lincoln Center: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland, Anything Goes in concert (assoc.). Regional: RENT, Aladdin, Man of La Mancha, The Full Monty, The Scarlet Pimpernel, How Can You Run With a Shell on Your Back?, Asphalt Beach, One Man’s Dream II (Tokyo Disney). Broadway Bares (9 years). Performance: Miss Saigon, Cats, The King & I, Side Show (Broadway), A Chorus Line, West Side Story (tour). www.devanandjanki.com

Lora LaVon (Costume Design) Credits include Junie B. Jones and Click Clack Moo with Theaterworks USA, A Child’s Christmas in Wales for the National Theater of the Deaf, The Time of Your Life and King John at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, Lonesome West, Three Days of Rain and Proof at Hartford’s Theaterworks, ART and M. Butterfly at Syracuse Stage, South Pacific and Suddenly Last Summer for Barrington Stage, and Measure for Measure at Yale Rep. Lora earned her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Luke Hegel-Cantarella (Scenic Design) NY: Make Me a Song (New World Stages), Human Error (Atlantic), Cam Jansen (Lambs), Junie B. Jones (Lortel); Regional: Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, Two Rivers Theater Company, Berkshire Theater Festival, Barrington Stage, Pittsburgh Public, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Adirondack Theater Festival, TheatreWorks, Prince Music Theater, Yale Rep. International: Woody Sez (West End/London), Blue Shade (Amsterdam). Opera/Dance: The Wooden Floor, Peabody, Curtis, Wolftrap Opera Company, New England Conservatory, Eastern Connecticut Ballet, Hartford Ballet. Film/TV: Julie & Julia, Damages, Pink Panther 2, State of Play, Synecdoche, NY. Luke is the Head of the Set Design program at the UCIrvine.

R. MacKenzie Lewis (Orchestrations) has music directed, composed, orchestrated and performed for theatres, bands, and orchestras all over the country including the world premier musical with Ben Vereen, Soaring on Black Wings and the upcoming Wings at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. He is also the Co-Executive Director for 8th Wonder Productions and full-time composer/MD for Eastern Michigan University.

Nancy Renee Braun - (Associate Director/Choreographer) NY Choreography: Fantasy Football: The Musical? (NYMF Best of Fest Runner-Up), Godspell Times Square Flash Mob (over 40,000 YouTube hits!), Henri Gabler (Theatre 54), I’m Gonna Love You Forever (The Gene Frankel Theatre), A Night With Northwestern (Hudson Theatre). NY Associate Choreography: Fat Camp (NYMF Outstanding Choreography Award), Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout Theatre workshop), Perez Hilton Saves The Universe! (Joe’s Pub), Babes In Toyland (Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center), Funny Girl (Revision Theatre), If You Give A Pig A Pancake (Theatreworks), and three years as an assistant for Broadway Bares. NY acting credits: Broadway revival of Patti LuPone’s Gypsy, and the upcoming Off-Broadway show Fat Camp.Northwestern University graduate.

Alex James (Associate Director) is a New York City based director and stage manager, and is proud to have worked in multiple positions with The Berenstain Bears Live! since 2012. Off-Broadway credits include: Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas with Vital Theatre Company, Jay Allan Zimmerman’s Incredibly Deaf Musical. Other favorite NYC and regional credits include: The Uncanny Valley (The Brick Theater), Infallibility (Fringe NYC 2013), SoundBites (Theater Now New York), The Untitled Ginsberg Project, Betrayal, Spring Awakening, and Floyd Collins. Graduate of Pace University.

Matt Murphy (Producer) most recently produced the critically-acclaimed musical Side Show on Broadway; with other recent productions including the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis; Thurgood, starring Laurence Fishburne; Impressionism, starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons; and the Off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz. Matt is also currently producing New York’s longest, currently-running off-Broadway comedy in New York City, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man and Virtually Me!, which was recently profiled on Fox News and My9 News for its efforts to educate students about the increasingly challenging issue of cyber-bullying. www.mattmurphyproductions.com


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