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Who's Who in "Around the World in 80 Days" at Matthews Playhouse!

Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is proud to present "Around the World in 80 Days," a timeless tale of adventure and exploration based on Jules Verne's classic novel. Get ready to be transported to various exotic locations in this epic adventure story!

The talented cast, under the direction of Rasheem Shabazz, bring Verne's iconic characters to life with wit and charm as they portray 39 characters! The cast is as follows (listed in alphabetical order)!

Hanna Atilano 

Hanna Atilano (Newspaper person/ Server/ Narrator/ Speedy/ Young Parsi/ Conductor) is excited to perform her first ever production with Matthews Playhouse. Hanna is currently a Junior in South Mecklenburg High School. One place you can catch Hanna is Children’s Theater of Charlotte where she has performed in multiple Onstage shows and “Shrek the Musical” and honestly has spent most of her life in. She would lastly like to thank her Friends, Family, and Teachers for all of the support they have given her.

Matthew Diem

Matthew Diem (Gauthier Ralph/ Director of Police/ OysterPuff/ Ship Clerk/ Sir Francis/ Engineer) here makes his return to the stage after nearly a decade away. His last acting credits came in 2014-2015 at the University of Virginia, where he appeared in Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus" and John Fletcher's "The Wild Goose Chase" (both put on by Shakespeare on the Lawn, a student-run group dedicated to Renaissance drama), and in high school his stage roles had included Jack in "The Importance of Being Earnest," Scrooge's Nephew in "A Christmas Carol," and Captain Keller in "The Miracle Worker." A lover of old books and quiet living, Matt holds a PhD in medieval literature from UNC Chapel Hill, teaches Latin and English at Covenant Day School (less than a mile from Matthews Playhouse!), and is often to be seen pedaling around downtown Matthews on his bicycle.

Aadee Chheda

Aadee (Passepartout) has been acting, dancing, and singing on stage for over 10 years and is well-recognized as a young performing artist. His other credits in the Charlotte theatre scene include the lead role of Laurie in "Little Women", the lead role of Leon in "Fools", the lead role of Orhan in "Where Words Once Were", the comedic role of Rudolpho in "Matilda", and much more. When he is not on the stage or pursuing his YouTube channel, Aadee pursues his other passion of engineering. He would like to thank his family, friends, and most of all his father for all of their support. @aadee.chheda

Jim Greenwood

Jim Greenwood (Andrew Stuart/ British Consul/ Judge Obadiah/ Proctor/ Narrator) As I begin my half-century of participation in community theaters in the Charlotte area, I reflect with great pleasure on these times that have brought me. From the classics to comedy and drama to musicals, I have been rewarded with the opportunity to step outside my life and into the lives and times of other people, real and imaginary. Oliver Cromwell in "A Man for All Seasons," Friar Lawrence in "Romeo and Juliet," Alfred P. Doolittle in "My Fair Lady," Charlie in "Death of a Salesman," and Tom Ewell in "To Kill a Mockingbird" are a favorite few. This is what led me to acting in the first place.

Andrew Pippin

Andrew Pippin (James Forster/ Detective Fix/ Elephant Owner/John Sullivan) is excited to bring to life another madcap comedy of the many-characters-few-actors variety, having previously performed in similar shows like "The 39 Steps" and "Shakespeare Abridged". A few of his other favorite Charlotte theater credits include "Noises Off", "Clue", "Hello, Dolly!" and "The Mousetrap". And since community theater doesn't pay the bills (weird...), he is a software engineer in his professional life. When not on stage, his other hobbies include playing music, writing and performing comedy, improv, playing disc golf, and spending time with his wife and dog, Khaleesi. He would like to thank his friends and family for their enduring support!

Charlotte Pollack

Charlotte Pollack (Aouda) is very excited to join her second production with Matthews Playhouse! Some past productions she's been involved with include "Miracle on 34th Street", "Sister Act", and "Little Shop of Horrors". She is currently studying musical theatre as a senior at Northwest School of the Arts where she will be performing in the spring play "Love/Sick". Outside of school and performances, Charlotte loves to tinker around with her guitar or piano, as well as make fun of terrible movies with her family. She is incredibly grateful for all of the love and support she has received from all of her amazing friends and family and can't wait to see what's in store for her after graduation!

Xavier Stinson

Xavier Stinson (Oliver Smith/ Conductor/ Broker/ Mudge/ Narrator) is eagerly waiting to make his debut at the Matthew Playhouse. He starred as Romare Bearden in Jermaine Nakia Lee's “For the Love of Harlem” with BNS Productions recently, which was his first musical. He obtained his bachelor's degree in Theatre Performance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, after transferring from CPCC. Most of his acting credits were earned at both campuses. One of Xavier's memorable performances was as Sylvester in Detroit ‘67. He has also participated in multiple workshops within the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which helped him improve his skills and bring characters to life. Apart from acting on stage, he has been seen in some short film projects. During his break from theatre, he is primarily focusing on growing his modeling career. He would like to thank the cast, crew, and viewers for supporting him in his journey to bring Around the World in 80 Days to life. @zuavedadon

Tristan Whaley

Tristan Whaley (Phileas Fogg) is excited to make his Matthews Playhouse debut with "Around the World in 80 Days"!  His recent credits include "The Wizard of Oz" (Theatre Charlotte) and "A Christmas Carol" (Theatre Charlotte). When he is not performing, Tristan enjoys watching movies, playing board games, or exploring the outdoors. He would like to thank the creative team for this opportunity and the cast for helping bring this wild adventure to life! A special shoutout goes to his wife Hayle for her unwavering love and support each time he steps onto the stage. Instagram: @tristanwhaley_ 

Emily White

Emily White (Newspaper person/ Bartender/ Narrator/ Conductor/ Bunsby/ Reverend Wilson's Servant/ Ship Engineer/ Train Clerk) is super excited to be doing her second show in recent years and her debut show at Matthews Playhouse with 80 Days! She grew up doing small parts in shows with the Wilkes Playmakers and thinks it feels somewhat like coming home to be stepping out on a stage again! Other hobbies of hers include things like fashion design, language learning, and martial arts, so she can have quite varied interests

Production Team

Director - Rahsheem Shabazz

Assistant Director - Salim Muhammad

Stage Manager - Elisaveta Alekumova

Scenic Designer - Dani Vanasse

Costume Designer - Chelsea Retalic

Lighting Designer - Alexandra Corbett

Props Designer - Ginny Hull  

Projection Designer - Sigmon Theatrical

Special Effects Designer - Roy Schumacher

Deck Stage Manager - Jessie Hull

Scenic Charge Artist - Zack Distel 

Sound Designer/Engineer - Neifert Enrique

Head Carpenter - Alec Westmoreland

Scenic Shop Staff = Will Elliott

Head Wardrobe/Wig Designer - Bo Mills

Backstage Crew - Jordan Hull, Ellamay Ulman  

Front of House Managers - Lakeetha Blakeney, Marissa Hertzfeld

Don't miss the adventure February 22 - March 3, 2024! Tickets range from $10-$19 and are available for  purchase. Tickets and show times are available at

Special Performances: 

  • Pay-What-You-Can-Night Thursday, February 22, 2024 @ 7:30 p.m. - General admission, donations can be made at the door and most of the proceeds will benefit a local non-profit organization. 

  • Sensory-Friendly Performance Saturday, March 2, 2024 @ 11:00am​ - This performance will be modified to accommodate children on the autism spectrum and/or with a cognitive or developmental disability. All questions about this performance can be directed to

  • Weekday Performances for School Children February 26-March 1, 2024- Matthews Playhouse is offering weekday performances of “Around the World in 80 Days”  for school children, teachers and homeschool communities to enhance and support the classroom curriculum. Those interested in attending a weekday performance can visit

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