About - Hits! The Musical

About

ABOUT THE SHOW AND NATIONAL TOUR...

The Show

The national tour of approximately 50 cities has been booked from March 1-May 8, 2023.

HITS! THE MUSICAL IS A HIGH ENERGY
MUSICAL PRODUCTION
FEATURING AMERICA’S BEST
YOUNG SUPERSTARS.

The cast of 30 members will consist of the country's most talented singers and dancers, ages 10-22. The show will take audiences on a musical journey through the decades; highlighting the biggest hits of all time in Pop, Rock and Broadway and the most iconic songs from the 1960's to present day. It will incorporate fast-paced production medleys, dazzling costumes, and is sure to thrill audiences young and old!

Hits! is the brainchild of the longtime director of the Tampa based, “Entertainment Revue,” which has produced many successful recording artists, Broadway stars and professional actors.

The show is being produced by Robert Gries, owner of RGJ Productions. Mr. Gries is a highly successful private equity executive and philanthropist. Mr. Gries' family were also minority owners of the Cleveland Browns for 60 years. He has a passion for helping young people and has generously decided to donate 100% of profits to support the arts.

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Executive Producer

Bob Gries

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Robert Gries is CEO and founder of the Gries Investment Funds. Mr. Gries has over twenty-five years of investment experience. This experience ranges from being a mezzanine lender to real estate to acquiring companies.

The Gries Investment Funds are most recognized for its investment in and growth of Public Power, a deregulated electricity supplier in Connecticut. The company was acquired in 2009 for $13 million, taken public and sold to Vistra Energy in 2019 for $486 million.

In addition to his business interests, Mr. Gries’s family has a longstanding history with professional sports. Mr. Gries’s grandfather was a founding member and owner of the Cleveland Rams in 1936 and the Cleveland Browns in 1946. The family’s minority ownership ended sixty years later in 1996 when Mr. Gries’s father refused to be part of moving the Browns to Baltimore and sold the family’s ownership interest. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, Mr. Gries served on the board of the Cleveland Browns with his father. Mr. Gries also owned Arena Football teams in Tampa and Orlando and was owner of the Tampa Bay Storm teams when they won championships in 1991 and 1993.

Philanthropy and helping young people are passions in Mr. Gries’ life today. In addition to being an active philanthropist, Mr. Gries has assisted many charitable organizations, including serving as Co-Chair of the Tampa Boys & Girls Club annual fundraising drive in 2018 and 2019 which raised record amounts each year. He has served on many non-profit and civic boards including the University of Tampa, Berkeley Preparatory School and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. He also founded a charitable program in Tampa, called Heart of a Champion, which provides 70 college scholarships a year to student-athletes in the Tampa Bay area.

Mr. Gries is the owner of OTVA, one of the largest youth volleyball clubs in the country. OTVA currently has approximately 700 young women, ages 10-18, and is ranked #1 in the state of Florida and #3 in the country.

Director

Cynthia Nekvasil

Cynthia Nekvasil is the founder of Entertainment Revue, and served as its artistic director and choreographer for 26 years until retiring in 2015.

Cynthia was a sophomore studying political science at the University of Tampa when she was offered a position as an “after school” music instructor at a small local elementary school. That opportunity led to a summer music camp, which she directed, and Entertainment Revue was born in 1989.

During those final years in college, Cynthia developed a presence in the community by becoming active in the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Visitors Association, and successfully secured a corporate sponsorship from the Pepin Distributing Company.

Entertainment Revue became a well-known group in the Tampa Bay area and began building a repertoire to fulfill the demands of their new corporate clients.
In 1992, Cynthia formed a non-profit organization and set up an educational scholarship fund. Cynthia’s intention was to provide “need-based” tuition grants, as well as establish a college scholarship fund for cast members. To date, Entertainment Revue has awarded over $500,000 in educational scholarships, which have been paid out to girls in universities all over the country.

Over the years, Cynthia has used her talents to develop television and music projects. In 1997, Cynthia wrote and directed a pilot for a childrens’ television show “DIVAS.” The show was optioned by the FOX network for development and Cynthia worked alongside the network developing scripts. When the show wasn’t picked up, the plan was to resubmit it to other networks, but the Teen Pop music scene had taken over and Cynthia instead focused her attention on developing music projects. Her first act “PYT” was picked up by Epic Records, and within months the quartet were touring as an opening act for N’SYNC and Britney Spears. Cynthia followed up with the development of 12 year old singing sensation Chloe Lowery, who was signed by RCA records. In those three short years, eight of the ER girls signed major record deals and Cynthia split her time traveling with her musical artists and directing the Entertainment Revue back home.

In December of 1999, Cynthia and her husband Bob adopted Zoe from China. That next year, Cynthia made the decision to end her traveling and activities in the music industry to spend more time with Zoe and refocus on her first love – Entertainment Revue.

Over the years, the group has grown in size and popularity, and has been honored to have performed for three Presidents, at national conventions, charity events, professional sporting events, and maintained a strong presence in the community. ER girls have been featured on shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and The Voice. 2013 was an exciting year as three of our ER girls landed leading roles in Broadway productions.

2014 marked the 25th Anniversary of Entertainment Revue. Holding her Final Curtain performance in May 2015 featuring notable ER alumni and current casts, Cynthia took her final bow as Director. She remains connected to the group and spearheads the alumni network of former ER girls.

Cynthia is now remarried and enjoying new adventures in her retirement. She loves her life in St. Pete/Cape Cod and enjoys a rich network of friends, boating, entertaining, and spending time with her lifelong friends made through ER.

Musical Arranger / Composer

Tony Bruno

For the last 12 years, Tony has worked with Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, K’naan, Karmin, Delta Goodrem to name a few. Tony is responsible for all facets of live shows, awards shows and TV shows, working closely with the artist, Audio and Visual people as a team. “We try never to repeat ourselves on TV shows. Its important, especially with YouTube out there. You’re basically giving your audience a small collection of videos.”

His TV credits include The Grammys, Americas Got Talent, La Voz Kids, X-Factor, the AMAs, Jay Leno, Top Of The Pops, MTV Music Awards and TRL, and Wetten Das, and countless others. Tony has written and produced songs for top artists including Mandy Moore, Donna Summer, INXS, Colin Hay and Enrique Iglesias. His song Daylight in Your Eyes for German artists No Angels was the 2nd best selling German single of all time.

He currently lives in Brooklyn and has a studio there and is writing for TV and Film.

TV and Film writing Credits

“The Loud House” -Nickelodeon (2015)
NBC Sports
“Suicide Party” – Feature Film (release date TBD)
Game of Arms (AMC)
“A Walk to Remember” – Feature Film (2001)
Mobil 1
“13 Million Voices” – Documentary (2015)
ESPN
“Catwoman” – Feature Film (2004)
CBS Sports
“Brando” – Indie Film (2008)
Sochi Olympics
Gucci – Rihanna Tattoo Heart Documentary

TV Credits (Music Director/Producer)

NBA All-Star Game Halftime
La Voz Kids season 1
Grammys 2009, 2010, 2011
X-Factor season 3
American Music Awards
Radio Music Awards
MTV Music Awards
Video Music Awards
Fashionably Loud (MTV)
Howard Stern
Jay Leno (Tonight Show)
David Letterman
Carson Daily Show
The Star Academy
Wetten Das
Good Morning America
Today Show
Ellen Degeneres
The View
Rosie O’Donnell
TRL (MTV)
Wetten Dass
A Tribute To Heroes Telethon 9/11
Top Of The Pops
Latin Grammy’s
Good Morning America
A Home For The Holidays (NBC Special)
Echo Awards
Men Strike Back (VH1, Diva Special)
NFL Kickoff

Tours (Lead Guitarist / Music Director / Programmer)

Rihanna “Good Girl Gone Bad” 2007 (non-performing-MD)
Rihanna “Rated R” 2009 (non performing-MD)
Rihanna “LOUD” tour (in preparation)
Enrique Iglesias “Enrique” tour 2009
Enrique Iglesias “Insomniac” 2007
Donny Osmond Live in Vegas 2009 and 2011
Anastacia ‘Encore Tour’, Europe 2005
Enrique Iglesias, “7” World Tour. 2004
Enrique Iglesias, ‘Escape’ World Tour, 2002
Enrique Iglesias World Tour, 2000
Enrique Iglesias, ‘Cosas Del Amor’ World Tour, 1998
Colin Hay (Men At Work), U.S. & Brazil, 2004
Nena, ‘Nena Live’ Germany Tour, 1998
Nena, ‘Jamma Nich’ Germany Tour, 1997
Joan Jett 1992 – 1996
Mitch Malloy 1991
Michael Bolton 1990

Studio Performances:

Brendan James, Capitol
Mandy Moore, Sony
Enrique Iglesias, Universal
Cherie, Lava
Hadas, Sony
Radio Music Awards
MTV Music Awards
No Angels, Polydor
Xandy Barry, BMG
Nena, Polydor
Rosenstolz, Polydor
New Life Crisis, Tommy Boy
David Charvet, Universal
Joan Jett, Warner Brothers
Cathy Lee Gifford, Sony
Faithless, Cheeky Records
Becky Bealing, Universal
Joe Lynn Turner, Epic
Danger Danger, Sony
Taylor Dayne, Epic
Aldo Nova, Portait
Movies, Videos, Live DVD’s, etc.
Anastacia ‘Live At Last’ DVD
Enrique Iglesias
‘Escape’ Video
Enrique Iglesias
‘Maybe’ Video
Enrique Iglesias
‘Don’t Turn Off The Lights’ Videos
Enrique Iglesias
‘Diary’, MTV
Nena ‘Nena Live’, CD & Video
Joan Jett ‘Boogie Boy’V

Broadway:

Rock Of Ages (guitar)
Rocktopia (co-creator)

Choreographer

Grady Bowman

Grady’s work has been seen across many different genres including Broadway, off-Broadway, television, circus, dance companies & numerous universities. Most recently, he was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for his choreography of Singin’ in the Rain at the Olney Theatre Center (DC). Select choreography credits include The Cher Show (Broadway; Finale Co-choreographer), Big Apple Circus (Lincoln Center), World’s Got Talent (Fremantle Media/Hunan TV; China), The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show (Off-Bway), Joseph…Dreamcoat (Drury Lane – Chicago), My Fair Lady (Olney Theatre Center – DC), and A Night with Janis Joplin (Capital Rep/Barter Theatre/Laguna Playhouse/NC Theatre/Ivoryton Playhouse). Grady has also created 4 original dance pieces commissioned by NC School of the Arts. Associate Director credits include Big Apple Circus (Lincoln Center), A Night with Janis Joplin (Regional Tour), and The Great American Mousical (Goodspeed Opera House; Dir. Julie Andrews). Associate Choreographer credits include Dogfight (Off-Bway; Choreo. Chris Gattelli), In Your Arms (The Old Globe/NY Stage & Film), and Top Hat (NY developmental lab). In his previous life as a performer, Grady was in the original Broadway companies of Billy Elliot, South Pacific (2008 Lincoln Center revival), Honeymoon in Vegas, Wonderland, and The Pirate Queen. He toured internationally with Fosse and Pilobolus Dance Theatre and also appeared in the films Forrest Gump and The Last Five Years.

Musical Director

Camille Trust

To know Camille Trust is to love her soul-baring, unapologetic music. The New York City-based singer/songwriter released her debut EP No Other Way in May 2018 and has quickly established herself as a strong female force in the music scene, garnering praise from the likes of Billboard, Nylon, DuJour, Popdust and more. Her singles “Scandalous” and “Lavender” were each named one of TIME Magazine’s ‘5 Songs You Need To Listen To This Week.’

Her YouTube channel has over 500k views on music videos she has single-handedly directed and choreographed as well as over 2 million streams on Spotify as an independent artist. She released her debut full-length album, NY to FL in September of 2021. Camille is a proud member of the Resistance Revival Chorus and is one of the founders of Brooklyn’s all-female led jam session called “Femme Jam.”

She also sings back-up for various artists including Shawn Mendes (SNL & VMAs), Jim James (Spotify Sessions) Fleet Foxes (Colbert), Chelsea Cutler (Colbert) and Nathaniel Rateliff (SNL).

Assistant Director

Courtney Lopez

Courtney Lopez grew up on the stage! She was a 13 year cast member of Tampa’s prestigious performance ensemble “Entertainment Revue.” In addition to performing in song and dance Courtney has appeared as a commercial actor in numerous national commercials for Disney, Universal, Seaworld  Busch Gardens and Amtrak, just to name a few. Courtney expanded her creative talents by experiencing the other side of the camera in the capacity of Assistant Director of “Entertainment Revue” for 4 years, under the direction of Cynthia Nekvasil. During her role as Assistant Director Courtney also put her love for teaching into motion by instructing “Music Box”, a young girls song and dance class specifically designed to prepare young talent for the professional group “Entertainment Revue.”

Courtney has a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Animal Biology from the University of South Florida and has worked as a veterinary technician for 4 years. She has taken a hiatus to reconnect to her creative roots and true passion for song and dance. Courtney is beyond excited to be back on stage and to once again join forces with Cynthia Nekvasil as Assistant Director of “Hits! The Musical.”

 Set and Lighting Designer

Barry Lather

Barry Lather, award winning career, has 35 years of experience with both small and large-scale entertainment, from television, video, film to arena spectaculars. His knowledge, creativity and easy going personality are a true asset to productions of all sizes and budgets. Barry started his choreography career working with superstars Janet jackson, Prince & Michael Jackson….winning several awards and receiving a prestigious Emmy nomination.

Barry has conceived, directed, or choreographed world tours for such artists as: Usher, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Miguel, John Fogerty, Ciara and the Pussycat Dolls. He has also served as a creative director for TV performances with Justin Bieber, P Diddy, Usher, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Pharrell Williams, Demi Lovato, Trey Songz and Blake Shelton on the Grammys, American Music Awards, the VMA’s, Billboard Awards, BET Awards, and CMA’s. In addition, Barry has lent his talents to the top reality competition series: So You Think You Can Dance, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, and Dancing With The Stars. Barry worked with John Legend, Robin Thicke, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Nettles on the series “Duets” producing multiple staged performances. He also directed & choreographed the arena tour Nuclear Cowboyz, featuring high flying freestyle motocross riders, stilt walkers, parkour and fire performers in an elaborate spectacle show for Feld Entertainment. The Superbowl Halftime Show, the Academy Awards, theme parks, ice skating and cruise ship shows are also among Barry’s prestigious credits in dealing with global large-scale productions…as well as the ground breaking event of “Qiddiya” in Saudi Arabia in 2018 & “diriyah” in 2019, both major productions for the king and crowned prince.

Barry launched the las vegas residency show for worldwide pop sensation robbie williams, along with his hyde park summer show in 2019. also recently, barry directed carrie underwood’s in the round massive production, “the cry pretty tour 360” and “reflection” the new residency show in las vegas at resortsworld, and just finished Hans Zimmer’s European tour as part of the creative team. Barry’s current show “Rockumentary”, for celebrity cruise lines, just won a magellan award for best entertainment show in the cruise industry for 2021.

Costume Designer

Cynthia Nordstrom

A blend of fashion and costume, Cynthia’s wide range of designs, and characters have beenseen worldwide on stage, tour, ice, and theme parks to Broadway.
Based in the NYC area, Cynthia designed One the Musical in Amsterdam and was an Opening designer for Universal Studios Beijing resort.

Current tours include: Blippi the Musical, Cocomelon Live, Marvel Universe Live Arena tour, Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary tour, Cocomelon Live.
Off-Broadway credits: current Sistas, Evil Dead the Musical, Silent Laughter, Jewtopia, This Property called Garland, That Championship Season.
Broadway: Rocktopia. @cynthianordstromdesigner.