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World-Class Performers Star in September Premiere of ‘Daniel and The Kings’

CRBJ Biz Wire //August 21, 2023//

World-Class Performers Star in September Premiere of ‘Daniel and The Kings’

CRBJ Biz Wire //August 21, 2023//

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Chuck and Karen Smith

Charleston native and Broadway performer Matt Shingledecker will play the lead role of Daniel in a new musical drama debuting at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in September.

Written by Summerville couple Chuck and Karen Smith, “Daniel and The Kings” is based on the biblical story of Daniel, a young Hebrew boy who was ripped from the arms of his parents, marched more than 500 miles across a desert to Babylon, armed only with faith and trust in God. “Daniel and The Kings” premieres Sept. 21-24 for five shows only.

Growing up in Charleston, Shingledecker performed at Porter-Gaud, Charleston Youth Co., South of Broadway Theater Co., Footlight Players, Spoleto, and Charleston Stage Company. While studying music theater at Elon University, Shingledecker played the role of Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” before joining the Broadway and First National Touring Company of “Spring Awakening” as Georg.

He also performed on Broadway as Fiyero in “Wicked” and as Tony in “West Side Story.” Shingledecker has been in several Off-Broadway productions and in multiple TV shows and films. He is currently performing as Disney’s Broadway Guest Artist playing both King Triton (“The Little Mermaid”) and Jafar (“Aladdin”).

The cast of “Daniel and The Kings” is stacked with world-class performers from across the United States as well as local professionals with impressive stage and theater backgrounds.

Doug Carpenter will play the roles of King Nebuchadnezzar, King Belshazzar, and King Darius. As a talented classical crossover performer, Carpenter has won both the American Traditions Competition (2011) and the Lotte Lenya Competition (2013). He has performed principal contracts on Equity National Tours, the Broadway Stage, and numerous regional equity theaters around the country.

Tiffany Parker will play the Queen in “Daniel and The Kings.” Growing up in Charleston, Parker performed in several local theater productions. She went on to New York City before spending five years singing on cruise lines. Parker has performed at the Dock Street Theatre and is a regular performer in Moranz Entertainment productions.

Caitlin Finnie will play the role of Princess Nitocris. Performing since age 12, Finnie has a music degree from Northwestern University. Her career highlights include the World Broadway Tour of “Phantom of the Opera,” the North American Broadway Tour of “Les Misérables,” and “Man of La Mancha.” Finnie currently lives in New York City where she teaches voice, acting, and audition prep.

Charleston native and College of Charleston graduate Manny Houston will play the role of Ashpenaz. Houston was on a Broadway tour in Las Vegas (Lin Manuel’s “Freestyle Love Supreme”) and in Off-Broadway performances of “Forbidden Broadway: Next Generation” and “Kinky Boots.” He’s a regular in Moranz Entertainment shows, at the Forte Jazz Lounge and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra.

A performer since age 4, Matthew Billman plays the role of Arioch in “Daniel and The Kings.” He studied voice at Stanford University and musical improv at OperaWorks LA. Billman has performed in such Off-Broadway productions as “The Imbible,” “Island Song,” and “Ragtime on Ellis.” He currently tours globally with the Jersey Tenors, and lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

Playing the role of Jeremiah is Damon McToy, who started his performing career at age 6. Some of McToy’s favorite roles include Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls” and Jekyll/Hyde in “Jekyll and Hyde the Musical,” and Benny in “RENT.” McToy was part of the international tour of “Sister Act the Musical” and he has worked for several cruise lines and multiple symphonies.

Summerville resident Michael Minor will take on the role of Daniel’s father. Minor started his career in community theater before landing an original role at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Minor was lead vocalist and emcee in musical revues around the country. Currently, Minor headlines his own One-Man Variety Show on Luxury Cruise Lines and Resorts. He is a regular cast member in Moranz Entertainment productions.

For the Smiths, bringing their vision to life on stage is a testament to the power of faith and perseverance. In 2021, the couple went through the most challenging season of their 40-plus year marriage. Severely injured in a car wreck near her home in Summerville, Karen spent months recovering and learning to walk again. It was a miracle she survived the crash. From that ordeal, the Smiths were reminded of just how precious life is and how important it is to fulfill your dreams and passions before it’s too late.

“We’d spent years writing a musical about the life of Daniel. The accident was the push we needed to put our show out into the world in a big way,” Karen Smith said. “We hope everyone who attends the show will walk away inspired by Daniel’s timeless story of conviction and faith in the face of persecution. You can have hope regardless of your circumstances.”

Director Brad Moranz, well known to Charleston for his Christmas specials and variety shows, has been working with the Smiths for the past year to bring this vision to life in a way that is fun and entertaining, yet maintains scriptural integrity.

Music Director Abdiel Iriarte, originally from Venezuela, is both a classical and jazz trained pianist and composer. He has worked with the Smiths for the past year adding his magic to this original orchestral score. He has arranged countless shows for artists around the Lowcountry. Iriarte will be conducting the live 20-piece orchestra, featuring members of North Charleston Pops!

“Daniel and The Kings” showtimes are:
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22
2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23
3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24

All performances are at the Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Tickets start at $45. Learn more about the show and purchase tickets at