Updated: Sep 25
Get ready to dive in and experience the magical big blue world of ‘Disney’s Finding Nemo JR.’ October 12-22, 2023 at Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts. This vibrant underwater adventure, based on the popular 2003 Pixar film, shares a story about family, friendship, and adventure. The production directed by Charlotte actor/director/theatre artist Sidney Horton, and features an all-youth cast. The list of cast members is as follows.
Allan Reyes- Nemo
Allan Reyes (Nemo) is thrilled to be in his very first musical ever! An 8th grader at Northwest School of the Arts, Allan is a National Title Holder and competitive dancer at Dance Productions and this will be his 4th year competing. When he isn’t dancing or performing, he enjoys swimming, drawing, and stationary. His previous shows include “What Are They Like?” (Dara Studio Of Acting), “The Nutcracker” (Charlotte Youth Ballet), “The Wizard of Oz” (Charlotte Youth Ballet), and Lil' Stingers Lead/Dancer with the Charlotte Hornets NBA.
Julian Starkey- Marlin
Julian Starkey (Marlin) is excited to be back at Matthews Playhouse after previously performing in “Junie B. Jones” in 2016. A junior at Northwest School of the Arts, Julian enjoys acting, playing piano, singing, and dancing. A fun fact about him is that he is related to Ringo Starr!
His other performance credits include “Matilda” (NWSA), “Oliver (Theater Charlotte), “Yellow boat” (NWSA), “Sammy Carducci’s Guide to Women” (NWSA), “Mary Poppins” (NWSA), and “Seussical Jr.” (Theater Charlotte).
Noelle Wilson- Dory
Noelle Wilson (Dory) is thrilled to be making her Matthews Playhouse debut in “Finding Nemo Jr”! A sophomore at Northwest School of the Arts, Noelle is an actress, singer, and dancer who is also fluent in guitar after being self-taught during Covid. In addition to guitar, she loves to play piano and ukulele. She also loves writing songs and poetry- which she finds to be her best form of self-expression. She adores theatre and enjoys learning about different shows (her favorite being “Jagged Little Pill”), as well as auditioning and performing. In general- she finds art to be a safe space and an exciting outlet for her to thrive. She is also a huge cat person! She has two cats who are her best friends. When she isn’t performing, playing an instrument, or writing, she can probably be found crocheting. Her previous shows include “The Prom” as Ensemble (Theatre Charlotte), “Freaky Friday” as Ellie Blake (Children's Theatre of Charlotte), “Zombie Prom” as Candy (Children's Theatre of Charlotte), “Once On This Island Jr.” as Storyteller (Northwest School of the Arts), and “Clue” as Chief of Police (Northwest School of the Arts).
Jordan Hartley- Bubbles, Sea Chorus
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! Jordan is so excited to play Bubbles and be in the Sea Chorus in “Finding Nemo Jr”!
This is her second show with Matthews Playhouse after being in the Children’s Ensemble in “Hello, Dolly!” this summer. Prior roles include Junie B. in “Junie B. Jones”, Gloria in “Madagascar Jr.”, and Pinocchio in “Shrek Jr.” at the Ballantyne Arts Center. Jordan is a 4th grader at Elon Park Elementary. She loves performing, playing with friends, and all things frog-related. She is proud of her 450-day (and counting!) Duolingo streak.
Lina Zierler- Bloat, Sea Chorus
Lina Zierler (Bloat/Sea Chorus) is super excited to be in her fourth mainstage production at Matthews Playhouse! A 7th grader at South Charlotte Middle School, Lina enjoys playing piano, fishing, ice skating, dancing, hanging out with her two bunnies named Michael Scott and Kevin Malone and playing with her grandparent's puppy, Teddy. She has been seen in past Matthews Playhouse School of Theater productions including “E-I-E-I Oops” and “Babe the Sheep Pig” and past mainstage productions including “Seussical the Musical”, “Princess Fearless” and “Scrooge! The Musical”. When she isn’t performing, she can also be found playing accordion and pickle ball for fun, and chilling by the pool!
Evan Mueller- Tad, Gurgle, Sea Chorus
Evan Mueller (Tad/Gurgle/Sea Chorus) is thrilled to be in his first performance at Matthews Playhouse! An 8th grader at Rea Farms STEAM Academy, Evan absolutely loves theatre and performing. A fun fact about Evan is that he has had the opportunity to fly a plane!
His previous shows include “The Lion King Jr” (Rea Farms STEAM Academy), “Annie Jr.” (Rea Farms STEAM Academy), and “Newsies Jr.” (Spotlight).
Carole Burke- Coral, Peach, Sea Chorus
Carole Burke (Coral/Peach/Sea Chorus) is an 8th grader at Sun Valley Middle School who loves singing and spending time with her friends and family. A fun fact about Carole is that she is fluent in Spanish.
When she isn’t performing, she enjoys aerial silks and hanging out with her dog! Her previous shows include “Legally Blonde Jr” (Sun Valley Middle School), “Aladdin Jr” (Sun Valley Middle School), “Zombie Prom” (Matthews Playhouse).
Caroline Anderson- Nigel, Sea Chorus
Caroline Anderson (Nigel/Sea Chorus) is beyond thrilled to be performing in her second mainstage production with “Finding Nemo”! She has previously been seen on the Matthews Playhouse stage in “Seussical the Musical” as well as various summer camp productions and the School of Theatre production of “Peter Rabbit”. Caroline loves all things Harry Potter and identifies as a Gryffindor. She loves acting, singing and attending the Matthews Playhouse camps and School of Theatre classes. When she isn’t performing or taking part in acting class, she can be found playing basketball, swimming, playing piano, and dancing!
Julia Vanella- Anchor, Gill, Sea Chorus
Julia Vanella (Anchor/Gill/Sea Chorus) has been in productions since she was 9 years old and has been at Matthews Playhouse since she was five years old in a Princess/Superhero summer camp.
Now a sophomore at Northwest School of the Arts, she likes to bake, cook, dance, sing, act and ride her bike. Her previous credits include “The Rainbow Fish” (Matthews Playhouse), “Cole Porter’s Anything Goes” (Charlotte Preparatory School), “Mary Poppins Jr.” (Charlotte Preparatory School), “Shrek Jr” (Charlotte Preparatory School).
Amelia Arnette- Bruce, Breeze, Sea Chorus
Amelia Arnette (Bruce/Breeze/Sea Chorus) is so excited to be making her Matthews Playhouse debut in “Finding Nemo Jr”. A homeschooled sophomore, she is the youngest child of 4. Amelia has been doing Musical Theatre for nearly 2 years now and likes singing more than pretty much anything in the whole world.
Her previous shows include “Into the Woods” (Lanti Performing Arts), “Newsies” (Lanti Performing Arts), “Legally Blonde JR” (Spotlight Performing Arts Academy), “Spongebob the Musical” (Spotlight Performing Arts Academy), “Junie B Jones JR” (Spotlight Performing Arts Academy), “Matilda JR” (Spotlight Performing Arts Academy).
Leighton Cooper- Chum, Kai, Sea Chorus
Leighton Cooper, she/her (Chum/Kai/Sea Chorus) is humbled to be back on the stage at Matthews Playhouse.
A rising 9th grade homeschooler, she is a member of the Musical Theater Company in Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s (CTC) Conservatory Program, as well as a ballet & tap student at Open Door Studios. Leighton’s recent credits include: The Prom (Theatre Charlotte), CATS: Young Actors Edition (CTC, OnStage), Shrek The Musical (CTC, Main Stage). She has also appeared in productions at The Ballantyne Arts Center.
Margot Meyers- Pearl, Sea Chorus
Margot Meyers (Pearl/Sea Chorus) is excited to be in her second mainstage musical! A fifth grader at Covenant Day School, Margot is the youngest in her family of five redheads. She loves to write plays and stories and is working on her first novel!
Margot has been in the church Christmas play since she was four years old and enjoys singing, dancing, and all things theatre. Fun Fact: Octopi have NINE brains so her character, Pearl, is really smart! She was previously seen in the Matthews Playhouse mainstage production of “Seussical the Musical”.
Bennett Thurgood- Sheldon, Vacationer, Sea Chorus
Bennett Thurgood (Sheldon/Vacationer/Sea Chorus) is thrilled to be in his first show at Matthews Playhouse! Born in Salt Lake City, Bennett is an awesome brother to his three sisters. Something interesting about Bennett is between his full name and his birthday, he has 8 double digits and/or double letters! Bennett absolutely loves being on stage. He has also participated in karate, rock climbing, tap and hip hop and enjoyed them all! When he isn’t on stage or being active, Bennett loves playing games and has a goal to master the game of Clue. His previous shows include “If life were a book” (Utah Dance Artists) and “Mecklenburg Song and Dance Competition” by Thommie Retter (Miller Street Dance Academy).
Lauren Berkley- Prof. Ray, Crush, Sea Chorus
Lauren (Crush/Professor Ray/Sea Chorus) is a Senior at Marvin Ridge High School, and they are thrilled to be a part of “Finding Nemo Jr”! They absolutely adore theatre with all their heart and plans to pursue theatre education to spread their love for theatre to future students.
Lauren would like to thank Olivia Foray and Winston Sims for supporting them throughout their theatrical career throughout high school. When not on stage, they love working behind the scenes in props, singing in choir at Marvin Ridge, and listening to music. Some of Lauren’s previous shows include “Little Shop of Horrors”, “The Addams Family”, “The Chocolate War”, and “Seussical!”.
Claire Wallace Anderson- Seagull, Sea Chorus
Claire Wallace Anderson (Seagull/Sea Chorus) is thrilled to be in another mainstage production alongside her sister, Caroline. A fourth grader at Matthews Elementary, Caroline is passionate about the color blue, bunnies, and sea turtles. She loves acting, singing, and being involved with Matthews Playhouse camps and School of Theatre. She has previously been seen in “Seussical the Musical” at Matthews Playhouse as well as the MPH School of Theatre production of “Peter Rabbit”. When she isn’t performing, she also enjoys gymnastics, art, making jewelry, reading, swimming, and anything math related.
Nolan Maggi- Squirt, Seagull, Sea Chorus
Nolan Maggi (Squirt/Sea Chorus) is thrilled to be in his second performance at Matthews Playhouse! A fourth grader at Matthews Elementary School, Nolan loves the musical “Hamilton” and it is his dream to play King George one day (a dream that came true this summer at “Hamilton” camp). He likes learning about history and architecture and also enjoys trivia and watching Jeopardy with his family. Building legos is his favorite hobby, in fact he has over 27 Lego sets! He also loves singing, dancing, ice skating, and hockey. He has had previous roles as Moses and Joseph in his church performances and has been seen in “Seussical the Musical” at Matthews Playhouse.
Scarlett Stahnke- Seagull, Sea Chorus
Scarlett Stahnke (Seagull/Sea Chorus) is excited to be in her second mainstage performance at Matthews Playhouse. Scarlett is a fifth grader at Telra Institute and enjoys reading, logic puzzles, crafting, making powerpoint presentations and creating entertainment for her little brothers.
She also enjoys baking and has been known to make a mean meringue. Her previous shows include “Seussical the Musical” at Matthews Playhouse, and “Peter Rabbit” as part of the Matthews Playhouse School of Theatre as well as “Wizard of Oz”, and “Matilda”.
Nora Williams- Seagull, Sea Chorus
Nora Williams (Seagull/Sea Chorus) is incredibly excited to make her Matthews Playhouse mainstage debut in “Finding Nemo Jr”! A fourth grader at Charlotte Lab, Nora loves performing and has been dancing for three years. When she grows up, she wants to be a paleontologist. When she isn’t performing, she also loves building legos, photography, chess, and art. Her previous shows include “The Nutcracker” (Charlotte Youth Ballet), “The Wizard of Oz” (Charlotte Youth Ballet), “The Little Mermaid Jr.” (Charlotte Children’s Theatre) and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Charlotte Children’s Theatre).
Alice Fincher- Sea Chorus
Alice Fincher (Sea Chorus) is excited to be in another mainstage performance at Matthews Playhouse! A fifth grader at Socrates Academy, Alice is proud to be a second generation Matthews Playhouse performer.
Her dad was in the very first Matthews Playhouse production! Another fun fact about Alice is that instead of living in a neighborhood, she lives on an old farm with her family. She loves to dance and do theater and has been seen on the Matthews Playhouse stage in the MPH School of Theater Production of “Peter Rabbit” and the mainstage performance of “Seussical the Musical!
Ava Byers- Sea Chorus
Ava Byers (Sea Chorus Ensemble) is a 5th grader at Hemby Bridge Elementary who loves to sing, dance, and take her puppy Minnie for long walks!
Her love of theatre began at a very early age and she is so excited for the opportunity to debut in her first main stage production of “Finding Nemo Jr.” at Matthews Playhouse! She previously played the Acrobat in “Matilda Jr.” as part of the School of Theatre at Matthews Playhouse and most recently played in the musical “Pure Imagination” at Theatre Charlotte.
Disney’s Finding Nemo JR.’ runs approximately 60-minutes with no intermission and is suitable for most children. This family-friendly musical adaptation of the Disney classic opens Thursday, October 12, 2023 with a special “Pay-What-You-Can” preview performance benefiting C.O.S.Kids, a non-profit child care organization based in Matthews. Performances will continue through Sunday, October 22, 2022. Here are some of the special events the theatre is offering in conjunction with the production:
October 12th - Pay-What-You- Can- Performance- The 7:30 p.m. performance Thursday, October 12th will be a Pay-What-You-Can performance benefiting C.O.S.Kids. Seating is general admission and there will be no advanced reservations. Patrons will be seated on a first-come-first-serve basis. The theatre suggests a $10 donation per person, but any amount will be accepted. Donations can be made with cash or credit.
October 13, 2023 - Family Pajama Night! Put on your PJs and get cozy! Any child wearing pajamas to the 7:30 p.m. performance of Disney’s Finding Nemo, Jr. gets to choose a fun prize from the Matthews Playhouse “Treasure Box”.
October 21, 2023- Sensory Friendly Performance @ 11 a.m. - The 11 a.m. performance on Saturday, October 21st will be modified to accommodate children on the autism spectrum and/or with a cognitive or developmental disability. Tickets to this performance (and all other performances) can be made by going to https://www.matthewsplayhouse.com/finding-nemo-jr .
October 21, 2023- Kids with Disabilities in the Spotlight (KiDS) Mini-Camp 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Children ages 7-16 on the autism spectrum or who have a cognitive and/or developmental disability are invited to participate in the Finding Nemo, Jr. KiDS Mini-Camp. The cost to participate is $25 and will include theatre games and activities, a back-stage-tour, an opportunity to meet cast members, and one (1) ticket for your child to attend the 11 a.m. Sensory Friendly Performance of Disney’s Finding Nemo JR.. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Weekday Performances for School Children- Matthews Playhouse is offering weekday performances of ‘Disney’s Finding Nemo, Jr.’ for school children, teachers and homeschool communities to enhance and support the classroom curriculum the week of October 16-20, 2023. Those interested in attending a weekday performance can visit https://www.matthewsplayhouse.com/plan-your-field-trip.
Performance Dates- October 12-22, 2023
Where- 100 East McDowell Street, Matthews, NC 28105
Tickets- Prices range from $10-$19 and are available for advance purchase. Tickets and show times are available at https://www.matthewsplayhouse.com/finding-nemo-jr .