Cast&Crew Spotlight #2: Angela Cesena, Jessica Ellithorpe, and Ben Hatch

Come watch this trio in Sunnyvale Community Players’ Urinetown: The Musical!

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Angela Cesena (Penelope Pennywise)

Angela is returning to the SCP stage for the first time since playing Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other past roles include Marie in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Roz in 9 to 5, The Wardrobe in Beauty and The Beast, Fruma Sarah in Fiddler on the Roof, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Mother Abbess in Sound of Music. By day Angela enjoys helping people as a Speech-Language Pathologist. She is eternally grateful to the rest of this amazing cast and to her friends and family for their support!

How did you get started in Theater?
My family all participate in community theater.

In what ways do you relate to your character?
Every character has a human characteristic that I can relate to so I search for that and then I build from there!

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I used to live in Spain.

Why do you think this Urinetown is relevant today?
It reflects a complex and sometimes daunting hierarchy and political landscape that is difficult to navigate and may not be as easy to fix as we think it is upon first glance.

Why should people come see Urinetown?
It’s hilarious, thrilling, relevant, and has great music!


Do you have any special skills that you are proud of?
Knitting, playing guitar and cello, and cooking.

What is your dream role or show?
Literally any part in Come From Away!

What sound do you love?
I love the sound of my cats purring.

If you had the world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?
I would ask people to remember that all people deserve love, safety, health, and basic needs like food and shelter no matter whether they share our skin color, faith, sexual orientation, gender, or any other characteristic. We have to look beyond our own needs and those of our loved ones if we want to make a better world.

What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again?

Escargot – yuck!

Jessica Ellithorpe (Hope Cladwell)

Jessica is excited to return to the SCP stage after her performance of Sally Bowles in last season’s Cabaret. Some her favorite past roles include Silly Girl #1 in Beauty and the Beast (CMTSJ), Alice Beineke in The Addams Family (Cabrillo Stage), Nina in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (PAP), Niki Harris in Curtains (SBMT), Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 (WVLO), and Sugar in Sugar (WVLO). She thanks the staff for the opportunity to play this incredible role in this fantastic show, and her family and friends for their constant love and support. “I hope you enjoy this show!”

How did you get started in Theater?
I’ve always loved performing. I fell in love with musical theater in eighth grade when I auditioned for my first school musical, Anything Goes. I was lucky to get to play Reno Sweeney and it completely changed my life. Since then, I’ve been hooked!

In what ways do you relate to your character?
I try to be optimistic and I’m a bit of a dreamer. I also believe in standing up for others.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m obsessed with Minnie Mouse headbands from Disney parks. I have a large collection up on my bedroom wall and it grows almost every time I go to one of the parks.

Why do you think this Urinetown is relevant today?
One thing I really like about this show is that it makes you question yourself and what you thought you knew about the world created on the stage. People always need the reminder to question what they are told.

Why should people come see Urinetown?
Because it is a funny, well written show that surprises you at every turn.

Do you have any special skills that you are proud of?
I’ve very good at carrying many, many bags all at one time, haha.

What is your dream role or show?
Phoebe in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

What sound do you love?
Wind chimes on a spring or summer day

If you had the world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?
Can we please just play nice now?

What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again?
Hot Cheetos

Ben Hatch (Caldwell B. Cladwell)

Ben Hatch (Cladwell) is excited to be back for his third production with the Sunnyvale Community Players, where he previously played Mordcha in Fiddler on the Roof and Ensemble in Drowsy Chaperone. He was most recently seen as Huck in SBMT’s Big River. By day Ben is an HR nerd, but by night he’s thrilled to be able to bring hilarious villains like Caldwell B. Cladwell to life on stage. A San Jose native, Ben recently returned to the Bay Area and also made a return to theater after a 10-year hiatus. His wife, Brittany has also appeared on stage with him with SCP, and their son Luke has not yet reached his first birthday but is already showing signs of being a performer.

How did you get started in Theater?
At seven years old I played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. And I did at least some theater throughout elementary, middle, high school, and college. But then I took a ten-year break and only jumped back into theater in 2017 with Drowsy Chaperone at SCP. And I’ve loved being back on stage.

In what ways do you relate to your character?
Like many of the most memorable villains in fiction(and history), Cladwell strongly believes what he is doing is for the greater good. And if you take the time to listen to him, you might just start to believe it yourself. I would hope I would never reach the same level of villainy, but I think all of us can sometimes be stubbornly committed to our opinions and beliefs, often to the detriment of those around us.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I don’t like lemon flavoring in my food. But I really like lemonade. I know, it makes no sense.

Why do you think this Urinetown is relevant today?
Corporate greed; irresponsible use of natural resources with no regard for the future; political corruption; and a sharp ideological, seemingly irreconcilable divide between those in power and the people they have power over. This show is a comedy, but it’s also a satire. So be prepared for it to hit you where it hurts.

Why should people come see Urinetown?
It’s everything I love about theater. An outlandish plot, over the top characters, all wrapped with music and dance that make for a lot of fun. But it’s also self-aware musical satire that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. And although it’s a hilarious comedy, you can’t help but think by the end…is Urinetown that implausible after all? I guess you’ll just have to come and find out for yourself.

Do you have any special skills that you are proud of?
I can do the bottle dance from Fiddler. It took months to get it right without the bottle falling off, but I can still do it today.

What is your dream role or show?
Elwood P. Dowd from Harvey, and Tevye from Fiddler.


What sound do you love?
My son’s laugh

If you had the world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?
Alright, everyone, I’ve only got 30 seconds to tell you something really important. I’m not sure why it’s only 30, but they’re telling me that’s the time I have. And I want you all to listen because I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. I think the most important thing that all of us can…wait how much time do I have left? 5 seconds!?! How can that be I’ve just started?! Ok, they’re telling me I’m out of time now. Thank you.

What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again?
I tried one those centrifuge spinning rides at an amusement park. Once was enough.

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