Isabelle McCalla, Ryan Vasquez, More Will Star in WATER FOR ELEPHANTS Musical


Isabelle McCalla and Ryan Vasquez

Dan Meyer
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March 22, 2023 11:18 AM

Casting is now complete for the world premiere of Water for Elephants at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The musical will star Isabelle McCalla, recently seen as Meg in Hercules, as Marlena, and Ryan Vasquez, currently playing Darrell in the world premiere of The Outsiders, as Jacob. Marlena and Jacob were respectively played by Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in the 2011 movie adaptation of Sara Gruen’s novel published in 2006. 

Rounding out the cast are Stan Brown as Camel, Joe De Paul as Walter, Bryan Fenkart as August, Sara Gettelfinger as Barbara, Harry Groener as Mr. Jankowski, and Wade McCollum as Wade.

In addition, the ensemble will feature Brandon Block, Antoine Boissereau, Paul Castree, Taylor Colleton, Isabella Luisa Diaz, Gabrielle Elisabeth, Keaton Hentoff-Killian, Nicolas Jelmoni, Caroline Kane, Joel Malkoff, Michael Mendez, Jo’Nathan Michael, Gabriel Olivera De Paula Costa, Samuel Renaud, Marissa Rosen, Alexandra Gaelle Royer, Sean Stack, Matthew Varvar, and Michelle West.

As previously announced, the musical will begin previews June 4 on the Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre ahead of a June 16 opening night. It is directed by Jessica Stone, who recently made her Broadway debut with Kimberly Akimbo.

Water for Elephants is a story about fragility, resilience, and love; all set amidst a depression-era traveling circus,” said Stone. “What excites me most about the production is the opportunity to, quite literally, get it off the page and into the air. We have gathered an incredible group of storytellers, from circus artists to puppeteers, to do just that.”

The musical features a book by Rick Elice and a score by PigPen Theatre Company. The story follows Jacob Jankowski, a runaway who finds himself tethered to a traveling circus. Assigned to work as an elephant trainer with the ringmaster’s wife, Jacob is forced to deal with numerous complications ranging from forbidden love to animal cruelty.

The production will feature circus design by Shana Carroll, choreography by Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by David Israel Reynoso, lighting design by Bradley King, sound design by Jessica Paz, projections by David Bengali, puppetry design by Camille Labarre, rigging design by Danny Zen, music supervision and arrangements by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Benedict Braxton-Smith, music direction by Matt Hinkley, orchestrations by Daryl Waters, associate direction by Ryan Emmons, production stage management by Timothy R. Semon, and casting in association with Tara Rubin Casting.

Tickets and more information are available at

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Dan Meyer

After 4 years in the biz, Dan swapped out theatre for sports and is now a researcher at NBC Olympics. Spectacle remains a key passion and is dedicated to building bridges between different forms of entertainment. He has worked as a writer and editor at Theatrely and Playbill, covering Broadway and beyond. In addition, he has been published in Rolling Stone, Spy, and others.

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