Thank You, Places is PHIT’s premiere musical improv team. Every 1st and 3rd Friday they create an hour-long musical on the spot that you’ll never be able to see again. Thank You, Places was cast in the Fall of 2016 by their director Dave Sucharski. Each show, Music Director, Kevin Mucchetti accompanies the cast on the keyboard bringing their songs to life.
We wanted to know more about the cast of Thank You, Places. So we asked them a few questions to get to know more about this multi-talented team.
What have you guys liked about playing with each other so far?
“It’s so fun to collaborate and write songs together on the spot. Everyone is super talented, so it’s so fun to be in scenes and also to watch and listen from the sidelines.” Steve Holland
“Everyone brings a unique angle! Some people have more background in improv while others are musical theater experts. We have trained opera singers, dancers, and word-slingers. Every rehearsal is full of surprising, hilarious and dramatic moments!” Claire Halberstadt
“The team is a force of fresh, positive energy which makes practice and shows incredibly fun.” Scott Hinners
“Holy cats, these folks are talented! Each member has multiple skills, like Angelina who is both a beautifully poetic lyricist and can sing like a bird or Rob who has a bass voice that sounds like butter and creates so many hilarious characters. Together we make one hell of a well-rounded team.” Sue Taney
“Not only is everyone an extremely kind, funny, and gifted improviser, but I adore how our shared love of music, musicals, and the accompanying tropes makes it super easy for us to just read each other’s minds. I was first super intimidated by the idea of doing a 45-minute improvised show with multiple musical numbers, but with my teammates, it feels so easy and seamless.” Angelina Meehan
“Is everything a valid answer? Everything. This group never ceases to amaze me with their talent and wit.” Rob Alesiani
What is your background in musical theater or music?
“I was briefly in the Philadelphia Boys Choir at the same time Rob Alesiani was in ’95, but we didn’t find that out until we met at PHIT a few years ago. Other than that I sang in a punk-ska band in college. This will be the first musical I’ve ever been in!” Steve Holland
“I have been a life-long musical theatre nerd from age ten on. I saw my first musical (Titanic) on Broadway when I was 7, and was sold. For most of my high school career I was involved in a wonderful children’s theatre in Wilmington, DE, where I had the chance to play a lot of chickens and plates and turtles. Today I’m happy when I’m doing anything related to music or musicals- whether it’s improv, being part of an a cappella troupe, or rage tweeting during an NBC Live musical.” Alanna Shaffer
“Let’s just say that I didn’t listen to “normal music” until I left for college and learned to branch out from strictly original broadway cast albums… I was a typical musical theater child- tap shoes, jazz squares, gay boyfriends, the whole package. I spent every summer doing musicals at Upper Darby Summer Stage (where we do, in fact, have magic up our sleeve). There’s no bad day that a musical-theater-power-ballads-playlist can’t turn around.” Claire Halberstadt
“My mom was a punk rock musician in the 80s and I was singing with her both on stage and off as long as I can remember. I also loved performing in the musicals and chorus in high school and got my bachelor’s degree in theatre. Music is something that has always brought me great joy.” Sue Taney
“I went to my first Broadway show when I was 3 (Phantom of the Opera!) and stayed obsessed with musical theater ever since (theater camps, school plays, college theater, the whole nine). I play a few instruments, have sung in a cappella groups, arranged and written music, directed, choreographed, and co-written musicals. Before coming to Philadelphia I worked in theater professionally and was in the Broadway tour of Wicked as the standby to Elphaba. Now I have an online business where I teach singing.” Felicia Ricci
“I did a lot of theater throughout middle school, high school, and college, on top with being an excruciating musical theater nerd on top of it. I also play the French horn, badly.” Angelina Meehan
“Member of high school chorus and did a few musicals as well, typically one-line characters (but very important lines!).” Scott Hinners
“I started singing in the Philadelphia Boys Choir when I was in 5th grade. Since then I’ve never really stopped singing. In college I was a classical vocal major at Mason Gross School of Music at Rutgers University.” Rob Alesiani
What is a musical or musical soundtrack you can’t live without?
“I love The Book of Mormon and sing it with my fiancé in the car all of the time! I sang the beginning of ‘All-American Prophet’ at my audition.” Steve Holland
“Pretty much all of them. But if I have to pick one, I will say that one the most important shows to me is Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. I don’t even think that it is necessarily the best musical or even my favorite, but it was one of the first shows I fell in love with as I discovered everything that musical theatre could be. No matter where I’ve been in my life, since I discovered it at age 12, there has been a line or a moment that spoke to me. When I made my boyfriend watch the 1987 taped production and he didn’t like it, I nearly ended the relationship. That show will always be a huge part of my life.” Alanna Shaffer
“I’m pretty into Hamilton. Whenever the Bruce Springsteen jukebox musical comes out I’ll probably be really into that too.” Rob Alesiani
“I hate to be basic but Les Misérables is 💯🔥(fire emoji)” Sue Taney
“Les Miserables. It is so epic and every song makes me cry.” Felicia Ricci
What would you like to hear someone say after seeing a Thank You, Places show?
“I can’t wait to get my old buddy Stephen Sondheim down here to see this show! I think he’d like it!” Angelina Meehan
“The first time I saw musical improv, I thought it must be something close to magic. Now, of course, I know all of the mechanics and techniques that we practice to pull it off, but I hope that each time we perform there are a few people who still walk out saying “how did they do that?!” I want it to feel magical.” Alanna Shaffer
“I forgot they were making it up on the spot!” Felicia Ricci
“Thank You Thank You, Places. Really it’s great to hear anytime someone really enjoyed themselves.” Scott Hinners
“Hot Damn!” Claire Halberstadt