Production Bios & Headshots
BURGUNDO / SULTAN / LAMP GENIE
Al Shpeller joins the cast of “ALADDIN” for his third appearance with Merlyn Productions, and his first in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival!
Al made his live theatre début playing multiple roles in “Wind of a Thousand Tales” in 2017, and was most recently seen as the King in the November 2018 run of “Puss in Boots”.
His theatre background consists of local acting classes over the past 3 years — including the Adult Acting class at the Winnipeg Theatre School, with which he appeared in Drama Showcase 2018.
Al really enjoys how the theatre gives him an opportunity to challenge himself, explore the creative side of life, and get out of the house (just kidding!).
In his “other life”, Al plies his trade as the Director of Operations at Canada's oldest community health centre. He greatly appreciates the fabulous support and amazing encouragement from his wife and two daughters (and dog Max) — as well as the free time to try to memorise his lines!
CORDOVA / MOTHER / RING GENIE
Sandy Marie is making her sixth appearance with Merlyn Productions. She was most recently seen as Grindella in “The Beggar and the Wolf” during Winter Break, and made her Winnipeg Fringe Festival début in “Puss in Boots” last Summer!
Sandy has studied as an Adult Acting student at the Winnipeg Theatre School for the past four years. Her other mainstage roles include Delores Biggs (“the actress”) in “And Then There Was One” for ChristieFest 2017, and as Princess Anna in “Wind of a Thousand Tales”.
As a child, Sandy was always ready to put on a show with extravagant self-made costumes, starring her siblings and friends.
Sandy has a passion for musical theatre, and in addition to her acting classes, is also taking vocal and piano lessons. Her other skills include gymnastics, Irish tap dancing, and skating.
Coming from a family of musicians, Sandy's dad calls her his “little globe-trotter”, as she is always ready to pack and go on a new adventure.
DAHLIA / PRINCESS
Jordan Hrynkiw is making her ninth appearance with Merlyn Productions. She most recently returned to the title role of 2014 Winnipeg Fringe Festival hit “Puss in Boots” for a 2nd and 3rd run in 2018.
Previously, Jordan appeared in “Sleeping Beauty” (2015), and played Alice in “Through the Looking-Glass” (2014). Other productions include “Ming Lee and The Magic Tree” at the 2013 Fringe, Kimberly-Kay in “Wind of a Thousand Tales” (2012), and “The World of The Brothers Grimm” at the 2012 Fringe.
Jordan studied acting at the Winnipeg Theatre School for five years. She previously took two years of acting classes at Fantasy Theatre for Children and The Theatre School, and two years of musical theatre classes at Manitoba Theatre for Young People.
While at Fantasy Theatre for Children, Jordan's mainstage appearances included “The Stolen Prince” (2011), and “Max and The Grinch” (2010).
Jordan is currently pursuing a career in a Medical Laboratory.
DOMINO / ALADDIN
Miloš Simkulet is making his first appearance with Merlyn Productions, having recently moved to Manitoba from Prince Edward Island. Since January, he has studied as a Teen Acting student at the Winnipeg Theatre School, with which he appeared in Drama Showcase 2019.
Miloš' career has been short but bright. Only fifteen, he was a member of Spotlight Theatre Company's winning improv team in the 2018 Island Improv Invitational, won a performance award from the National Theatre School of Canada's 2018 Atlantic Drama Fest, and produced, directed and performed in Tom Stoppard's “15-Minute Hamlet” in 2017 for the Spotlight Community Players. He also took the lead in “Great Scot!” for the College of Piping in PEI.
Miloš is thrilled to be part of “ALADDIN” for his Winnipeg Fringe Festival début.
ZAMPANO / EVIL MAGICIAN
Brad Simkulet is making his Winnipeg theatre début with Merlyn Productions, having recently relocated from Prince Edward Island with his family.
Brad has been involved in theatre for decades. He was lucky enough to play wonderful roles in the US premières of two major works: as Algernon in Oscar Wilde's four-act “The Importance of Being Earnest”, and as Mr. Darcy in Christine Calvert's “Pride and Prejudice”. He has also served as the Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Company in Calgary, and the Corbomite Players in Jacksonville, Florida.
Brad has written many plays and screenplays, and even worked backstage for a number of talented directors. He is excited to take part in his first Winnipeg Fringe Festival!
Isaiah Sudlow is appearing for a second time with Merlyn Productions, and made his community theatre début as Fermin in “The Beggar and the Wolf” during Winter Break!
Isaiah previously acted in high school with his drama class, and has also taken 4 years of dance.
Being used to working with children from his family's business as special event planners, Isaiah clowns around professionally: doing magic tricks and making balloon animals. He can also fire spin.
Theatre goers may recognise him from previous Winnipeg Fringe Festivals, where he has been part of the live entertainment for 8 years.
Margaret Keast recently became the Company Stage Manager at Merlyn Productions, and is stage managing for a sixth time since joining the company on “Wind of a Thousand Tales” in December 2017.
Margaret previously served as Stage Manager for a complex-cued outdoor act at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, and assisted on an under-a-tent-in-a-park rendition of “Romeo and Juliet”, during which her skills as a teen-wrangler became evident and valued.
She also assisted stage management for the one-act play “Kreskinned”, which went on to win best play at the Saskatchewan one act festival, and managed stage for a production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe”.
Outside of the theatre, Margaret enjoys gardening, crafts, and spending time with her pets and husband.
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
Brontë Simkulet joins Merlyn Productions as Assistant Stage Manager for “ALADDIN”, and recently appeared in Drama Showcase 2019 with the Winnipeg Theatre School.
Brontë is passionate about theatre. She kicked off her love of the stage by playing multiple roles in Tom Stoppard's “15-Minute Hamlet” in 2017 for the Spotlight Community Players, before going on to win the 2018 Island Improv Invitational as a member of Spotlight School of Arts improv team. She won a Silver Medal at the West Prince Music Festival for her performance of Grease's “There are Worse Things I Could Do”, and performed in a number of roles for Spotlight Theatre.
After her recent move to Manitoba from Prince Edward Island, she joined the Winnipeg Theatre School and Merlyn Productions, where she continues to gain experience in all aspects of her beloved calling.
John Chase is the Artistic Director of Merlyn Productions, and the current Chief Instructor at the Winnipeg Theatre School. As an actor, director, producer, and stage manager, he has worked on more than 130 local productions to date.
John is a veteran of theatre for young audiences, having produced classic children's titles for the past ten years, and worked extensively with Fantasy Theatre for Children for twenty seasons (1991-2011).
An alumnus of The Theatre School, John studied acting and directing in the 1990s under founder Tony Frost, from whom he inherits his methods today. While at FTC, he also directed multiple shows for its adult arm, G.D. Productions.
John began producing local theatre independently in 1997, and has staged a full season of plays with Merlyn Productions each year since 2009.
He is delighted to be reviving this Fantasy Theatre for Children favourite version of “ALADDIN” at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, where it has not been presented since 2001!