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Magical Music for Life Foundation

The Cast


Vann Strasen (Russell) is a 6th grader from Pound Ridge, NY. His theatre experience ranges from playing Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors with Eastern Festival Opera and Symphony Orchestra to playing Michael in Fox Lane Players' production of Peter Pan. Van has performed for Lighthouse Youth Theater in The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow), Cats (Munkustrap) and Joseph... (Joseph) as well as Random Farms Kids' Theater productions of Willy Wonka (Willy Wonka), The Sound of Music (Kurt), Snow White (Prince Robert), Pinnochio, Beauty and the Beast and Babes in Toyland. He played Albert in Bye Bye Birdie at the Studio in New Canaan where he studies voice with Robert Sussuma.   Vann Strasen


Jordan Kulick
  Jordan Kulick(Elizabeth),a 10 year old student at King Low Heywood Thomas School, has performed with Curtain Call Theater in Stamford, CT and the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, CT, playing such roles as Doc in Snow White, Rafiki in The Lion King, Smee in Peter Pan and Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She presently studies at The Studio: A School for the Performing Arts in New Canaan, taking acting with Ethan Matthews and voice with Jeremy Leirner.



Sadie Seelert (Elizabeth),10 years old, is thrilled to be joining the Russell cast as Elizabeth. At age 9, Sadie debuted on Broadway as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins. Sadie started at Random Farms Kids Theatre playing Chip in Beauty and the Beast and is now in RFKT's educational musical, The New Kid production playing Maddie. She has also played Maiden Melody in Musicville at Children's Musical Theater Festival and JoJo in Seussical at STONC. Sadie enjoys singing with the Magical Music Mini Singers and learning tap and ballet. Thanks to my family, everyone at The Studio and Magical Music for this opportunity.   Sadie Seelert



Elliot Kleinburd   Elliot Kleinburd (Lobster/Gus) Elliot graduated with a BFA in Music Theatre at the University at Buffalo. He has performed in many regional theatres across the country and toured nationally with the National Theatre for Children, Milestone Productions and the Jack Tale Players. Favorite roles include Motel in Fiddler on the Roof, Jon Arbuckle in Garfield's Christmas Surprise and of course, the Lobster and Gus, the Octopus in Russell, the Hermit Crab.   Elliot Kleinburd



Russell Pinto

  Russell Pinto (Lobster/Gus) is thrilled to be a part of this production. Some of his favorite past theatre credits include: The Producers, Side Show, Footloose, Aida, Once Upon a Mattress, Rocky Horror, Once On This Island, Pippin, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Candide and Man of La Mancha, along with many others. Television: Law & Order; Law & Order: CI. Music Video: "When You Believe" featuring Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston.   Russell Pinto



Shana Lin












Shana Lin (Shrimp/Angel) has a Bachelor's Degree from the Hartt School of Music in Musical Theatre and Education, as well as a Masters from Lehman College in Special Education. She has performed all over the northeast and originated the roles of Shrimp/Angel! For work, she teaches at a preschool in Westchester and helps run a theatre program for young people with special needs. Performing, however, has always been and always will be her first love!   Shana Lin



Jennifer Lauren Brown

  Jennifer Lauren Brown (Shrimp/Angel) When she is not singing as a shrimp, Jennifer has performed in venues all over the country including the Ivoryton Playhouse, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Bristol Valley Theatre, NYC Fringe Festival, and in several ASCAP and BMI workshops. Favorite past credits include: [title of show] (Susan), Pope! An Epic Musical (Sister Mary Francis), A Grand Night for Singing (Lynne), Some Enchanted Evening (Julie), and the workshop-readings of a fabulous new musical: Fantasy Football: The Musical? (Becky). Jennifer is a graduate of Harvard University.   Jennifer Lauren Brown



Jason Summers

Jason Summers


Jason Summers (Crab/Seahorse) has worked extensively as a director, choreographer, teacher and performer regionally and throughout New York. He received his BFA in Drama at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he graduated with honors and was presented with two outstanding achievement awards, one from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and the other, the Seidman Award, for his work as a performer and a scholar.

As a director and choreographer, his work has been seen off-Broadway in New York (most recently as writer and director of the new musical Growing Up 70's, starring TV's "Greg Brady," Barry Williams) and in countless regional and college theaters throughout the country. His productions have been favorably reviewed in many national publications, including The New York Times.

In addition, his work as a coach for the Iona Prep Forensics Team has brought the school numerous nationally-ranked finalists, including two national champions. Mr. Summers is also the co-founder and Vice President of the Hope for Change Foundation, a Westchester-based not-for-profit organization that raises money for breast cancer research through theatrical programming, as well as the Artistic Director of the Westchester Sandbox Theatre. He has been a member of Actors' Equity Association since 2002 and a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers since 2005.



Nicholas DiMichele (Crab/Seahorse) is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and is an actor/musician working in New York. He is the front-man for his band, The Kobolds, and has appeared in 30 Rock, performed at Classic Stage Company, and starred in Windjammers, a 2011 independent film from the Bahamas, among other work.

Nicholas DiMichele

  Nicholas DiMichele



Don Rickenback

Don Rickenback


Don Rickenback (Sea Turtle/Dad), Artistic Director of the Magical Music for Life Foundation, is a key member of the creative team that created the stage productions and composed the music for The Adventures of Zak and Russell, the Hermit Crab. He also directed and musical directed both shows. Don has enjoyed over thirty-five years' experience as director, musical director and performer in Fairfield County, CT schools, churches and community theatres. He has worked professionally directing and musical directing for CT's Renaissance Players and the Actor's Theatre and Island Stage theatre companies of Nantucket, MA.

With a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice/Music Education from Ithaca College and an MA in Educational Musical Theatre from NYU, Don was a public school vocal music teacher for 20 years. In that capacity, he also directed, musical directed, and often wrote original songs for the annual spring musical, a tradition he started, which featured over 100 middle school students on stage each year.

As an actor, Don's roles include two USO tours of Germany and Iceland (Don & Cynthia, a Ragtime Duo and as Paul Berthalet in Carnival), Fred Graham in Kiss Me Kate (Off-Off Broadway), Harold Hill in The Music Man, and Cole Porter in A Swell Party, a Musical Celebration of Cole Porter, (Long Wharf Theatre) for which he was nominated for the 1995 Outstanding Actor in a Musical Award by the CT Critics Circle.