2019-2020 Season


Performed Jan. 10-26, 2020.

Music & Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort

About This Production

The hauntingly beautiful musical, Dogfight, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (the songwriting team behind Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman) and Peter Duchan, was praised by countless critics and nominated for numerous awards, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical. Based on the 1991 Warner Brothers film, Dogfight takes audiences on a romantic and heartbreaking theatrical journey that stays with you long after the performance.

It’s November 21, 1963. On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But, when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress whom he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.

Winner of Spotlight Youth Theatre Pick-a-Season contest for 2019-2020.

Director’s Note

From the playbill:

Bob Comfort, screenwriter of the original Dogfight, was inspired by his own experiences as a teenage Marine recruit in the late 1950s. So, his characters wear their sexism and racism on their sleeves as readily as their stripes. Social norms have changed a great deal in 60 years. How do we empathize with a character like Eddie Birdlace?

The answer is not to soften or excuse the bad behavior of Eddie and his buddies, but rather to follow Eddie’s experiences from his own point of view. His memories of 1963, just before the assassination of President Kennedy, are nostalgic, warm, even silly at times. The mere sight of his military baggage inspires acts of kindness from strangers. Upon his return from war in 1967, home has become hostile and alien. A protester’s sign that reads “Make love, not war” might as well, in Eddie’s eyes, say “How many babies did you kill?” (a line spoken in the film version). Meanwhile, his horrors overseas won’t hold to their own time and place in between. They “repeat and replay.”

Rose Fenny, the victim of cruel jokes as a teenage girl, becomes the story’s champion. Unlike Eddie, her experience of growing up is to watch the world change into a place where she not only fits in, but shines in her talents. In a reversal of roles, her love and strength form the bridge that Eddie seeks, which will allow him to finally come home again.

For me, this story nails two priceless messages. Foremost, it’s a reminder that sometimes, a veteran’s service to their country may be a price they pay for their whole lives. Whatever the era, we will always owe our respect for this fact. Secondly, I truly hope that all young people who carry unfair burdens such as loneliness or feeling unable to fit in, can realize that Rose Fenny’s example of “grow up and move on” is a realistic one. Where there’s love and strength, the world tends to catch up with us. You may not see it now, but things really do get better.

Bobby Sample, Director


  • Eddie Birdlace Dean Kelldorf
  • Rose Fenny Sabrina Kiepke
  • Bernstein Jack Yampolsky
  • Boland Jack Taylor
  • Marcy Josie Wright
  • Fector Owen Donsker
  • Stevens Kyler Tunnell
  • Gibbs Josh Pike
  • Pete / Lounge Singer / Big Tony Alec Pursell
  • Mama Zoey Waller
  • Sergeant Joshua Allred
  • Ruth Two Bears Jazlynn Damasco
  • Peggy Allison Watson
  • Librarian / Gibbs’ Date Katelyn Karcher
  • Suzette Phoenix Sage
  • Chippy Alyssa Armstrong
  • Waiter Noah Lanouette
  • Stevens’ Date Ryley Grace Youngs
  • Ensemble Roles Joshua Allred, Alyssa Armstrong, Phoenix Sage, Jazlynn Damasco, Katelyn Karcher, Noah Lanouette, Zoey Waller, Allison Watson, Ryley Grace Youngs

Production Team

  • Director & Scenic/Media Design Bobby Sample
  • Musical Director Tristan Peterson-Steinart
  • Choreographer Marley DeGroodt
  • Stage Manager Maria Cruz
  • Costume Design Naomi Jordon & Andi Marie Jordon
  • Lighting & Sound Design Josh Hontz
  • Hair & Makeup Design Charlie Rabago
  • Properties Design Kenny Grossman & Vicki Grossman
  • Guitar Instruction Katie Sample
  • Assistant Stage Manager Hannah Wiegand
  • Tech Crew Learl Clah, Kacey Dodson, Noah Manumaleuga

Photo Gallery

Awards & Recognitions for This Production

National Youth Arts Awards 2019-2020

  • Outstanding Production (Won)
  • Artist of the Year: (Won for multiple performances including Dogfight) Jack Yampolsky
  • Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical: (Won) Dean Kelldorf
  • Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical: (Won) Sabrina Kiepke
  • Outstanding Lead Performance (College Division): (Won) Jack Taylor
  • Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical: (Won) Josie Wright
  • Outstanding Ensemble (Won)
  • Outstanding Choreography: (Won) Marley DeGroodt
  • Outstanding Sound Design: (Won) Josh Hontz
  • Outstanding Musical Direction: (Won) Tristan Peterson-Steinart
  • Outstanding Direction: (Won) Bobby Sample
  • Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical: (Nominated) Alec Pursell
  • Outstanding Set Design: (Nominated) Bobby Sample
  • Outstanding Hair/Makeup Design: (Nominated) Charlie Rabago

ariZoni Awards of Theatre Excellence 2019-2020

  • Best Overall Production – Youth Musical (Won)
  • Actor in a Major Role – Youth Musical: (Won) Dean Kelldorf
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Youth Musical: (Won) Alec Pursell
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Youth Musical: (Won) Jack Taylor
  • Musical Direction – Youth Theatre: (Won) Tristan Peterson-Steinart
  • Choreography – Youth Theatre: (Won) Marley DeGroodt
  • Fight Choreography – Youth Theatre: (Won) Maria Cruz and Bobby Sample
  • Sound Design – Youth Theatre: (Won) Josh Hontz
  • Media Design – Youth Theatre: (Won) Josh Hontz and Bobby Sample
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Youth Musical: (Nominated) Josie Wright
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Youth Musical: (Nominated) Jack Yampolsky
  • Director – Youth Musical: (Nominated) Bobby Sample
  • Costume Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) ANJ INC. (Andi Jordon and Naomi Jordon)
  • Hair and Makeup Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Charlie Rabago
  • Property Design – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Vicki Grossman and Kenny Grossman
  • Artistic Specialization – Youth Theatre: (Nominated) Guitar Instruction – Katie Sample