The Development Cast

Every big musical you have ever seen started with actors you probably never knew about.

In the development stage, you hire actors to read through the lines, sing the songs, and work together to put on early versions of that show. This is how you make adjustments to the script, discover blocking errors, weed out things that don’t work, and replace them with things that do. These actors are, for me, every bit as important as the rest of the development team, and I believe they deserve recognition for their time and dedication to a play they may never be in. They are the first ones ever to play those roles, not the ones you see on opening night.

It is, therefore, my honor to introduce the first, though unseen, cast for “In The Tent Of Stars.”

Poster for the first Zoom reading with songs, for Ken Davenport’s Theatermakers Studio in July 2021

Leland Parker McGuire as Lincoln

Leland has performed in several regional theater productions in roles like Jason in Falsettos, Benji in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert at the Aronoff in Cincinnati, Charly Bucket in Willy Wonka, Jojo in Seussical the Musical, and Billy in Christmas with Anton. He is well-loved by everyone he works with, including national advertising groups and film productions. None of this is surprising if you ever meet him. You just have to catch his smile. He’s also a real knockout with gymnastics and dancing and will apparently challenge anyone to a backflip competition!

Leland Parker Mcguire sings “Theater Kid.”

Ethan Mathias as Alex

Having completed a three-month run in School of Rock at the Tuacahn Apatheater in UT, Ethan went back to Off-Broadway in, “The Last Boy,” which concluded in Ethan’s first on-Broadway appearance with that show in April. Ethan recently appeared on Amazon Prime in Miracle On Christmas ( as Caleb ) and has also featured in Fargo, Evil Lives Here (#609), Next, and played Crutchie in the national virtual production of Newsies with Actors Technique NY. Amongst his regional theater roles have been John Bechdel in Fun Home with the Circle Theatre, and he has danced with the Grand Rapids Ballet in The Nutcracker and the West Michigan Youth Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty. He is now living in Manhattan, doing film, television, and theatre while attending the Joffrey Ballet School.

Ethan Matias singing “The Inside Me.”

Ashley Knaack as Margery

Ashley has appeared in Romeo and Juliet and Cymbeline with the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, My Fair Lady, The Pirates of Penzance, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street with Shenandoah Summer MT, and six productions with the Shenandoah Conservatory.

She has the beautiful singing voice that Margery needs to make her character of a 1920 broadway classical singer real. She quite literally swooped in at the last minute and snagged the part. I couldn’t picture a better person to play Lincoln’s mother.

Ashley Knaack sings “The Hope Carol.”

Philip Trossarello as Charley

Philip comes with a long pedigree of shows like RENT, Peter and the Starcatcher, Jesus Christ Superstar, Harvey, The Great Gatsby, Titus Andronicus, King Lear, Les Misérables. He is also the second cast member to star in an episode of Evil lives Here. Should I be concerned with that trend?

Philip Trossarello sings an excerpt from “I Don’t Know.”

Michele Quintero as Roberta

Michele is a dynamic actor/ vocalist who has appeared in Our Lady of 121st Street with the N.Y. Heights Players, Sistas on Fire at the East Village Playhouse, And Afterburn at the NYC Fringe Festival. She will make magic with this.

Michele Quintero sings Silly Me.

Julie Lyn Barber as Heloise

Juliet in Romeo and Juliet: Lord Strange Players, London, ON, the Witch in Into the Woods: Nettle Creek Players, Hagerstown, IN, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Canterbury Theatre, Michigan City, IN, The Blue Fairy in Pinocchio Northwest Children’s Theater, Portland, OR, Lady Larkin in Once Upon A Mattress: Broadway Rose Theatre, Tigard OR and on and on. Now she plays Heloise for us!

Julie Lyn Barber sings “We’re All Okay, OK?”

Rusty Reagan as George

If you were a child of the 70s, you grew up with Rusty selling you Kool-Aid, Skippy peanut butter, Honeycombs, and more. He was even a Gerber Baby. He has toured Europe, given Jungle cruises, robbed trains, done Improve, Headlined the Branson Murder Mystery, and is now filming as a lead in a new cable sitcom “Minding the Family.”

Rusty Reagan, Leland Parker McGuire, and Ethan Mathias sing “Broken”

Cedric Gegel as Peter

Cedric seems equally at home on stage and in film with roles like The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Hamlet’s Claudius, and Link Larkin in Hairspray in the former and roles such as James Rigby in The Coroner’s Assistant, and the title role in Sullivan in the latter case. What’s more, he is the writer, director, and co-executive producer of Cadia: The World Within, which features Corbin Bernsen, James Phelps, and John Wells!

Cedric Gegel sings an excerpt from Sousa is So USA