About The Show

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel is a scripted podcast for middle grade kids, performed by middle grade kids. It is a fun, high-quality, serial mystery that can be described as Goonies meets Spy Kids meets Stranger Things for 8-12 year olds. It was voted as one of the top 50 podcasts of 2016 by The Guardian, and was recently honored as a Peabody award winner.

Mars Patel is also a 2017 Webby Award nominee for Best Audio Drama & Best Sound Design/Original Music Score. The show is enjoyed around the world by kids and adults alike.

You can listen and subscribe by clicking any of the links below, or by typing “Mars Patel” into the search engine of your favorite podcast app.

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SEASON TWO(Beware of spoilers!)

The Cast and Crew

JAIYA CHETRAM (Mars Patel) – Jaiya studies martial arts and loves to perform at different venues playing the keyboard and singing with his three 11 year old band members. Jaiya is a singer/pianist and a talented actor who has done work with such shows as Sesame Street, CBS’s Madam Secretary and a commercial for Lunchables. He takes pride at helping with charity events with foster care kids, 911 Foundations, and churches. Jaiya hopes to one day become a successful actor, singer/musician then use that success to build a fashion company which supports children with cancer.

NATALIE MEHL (Caddie Patchet) – Natalie Mehl is a sophomore in High School where she participates in Show Choir and Drama Club. She was cast as a young Betsey Johnson on Celebrity Ghost stories, has done numerous commercials including Xfinity, Cra Z Art and Zing Toys. She has done voice over work for English as a Second Language, Hasbro’s Littlest Pet Shop, and was a part of Bohdi and Friends where she sings for Chloe on iTunes.

KATE WOLFSON (JP McGowan) – Kate, an 8th grader who lives at home with her parents, has been performing in a variety of local theater productions on Long Island since the age of 7, where her enormous stage presence and strong comedy skills has made her a hometown favorite playing some of the greatest character roles on stage.

WYATT RALFF (Toothpick Lee) – Wyatt was handpicked by Wes Anderson to play a Bishop brother at the young age of 5. He has done numerous national commercials, voice overs and print ads since he was 8 months old. Wyatt is a sports junkie and has never met a sport he didn’t like to watch or play. When he’s not at school you can find Wyatt with either a script or a ball in hand. He loves to read.

CARTER MINOR (Jonas Hopkins) – Carter is excited to make his inaugural podcast debut in “Mars Patel”! He has studied dance at Alvin Ailey for five years, and acting, scene study, and acting for film at Acting With Emily! He has commercial and print ad, and modeling credits, including Melissa Sweet’s “Something Blue” and JC’s Closet. Most recently he had a lead role (Louie) in his school’s musical production of Captain Louie. When he’s not acting, he loves playing baseball, clarinet, and XBox and enjoys his reign as school President.

FIONA KREIZMAN (Epica) – Fiona is entering the 6th Grade at Maplewood Middle School in New Jersey.  She’s a voracious reader, an aspiring director and a graduate of the New Jersey Film School kids program.  She has a twin brother, Dash and a little brother, Oliver.

MICHAEL PERILSTEIN (Oliver Pruitt) – Michael has been acting professionally on Broadway, television, film, and radio since the age of eight. He’s an ADR voice over artist with credits that include: The Adjustment Bureau, Taking Woodstock, Away We Go, Doubt, Hachiko, Damages (FX), Mildred Pierce, Bored To Death (HBO), Blue Bloods (CBS), The American Experience series on PBS, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Fifth Estate, and Limitless. Michael holds an MFA in performance from The University of Virginia. Michael is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.  He is co-author of The Complete Professional Audition: A Commonsense Guide to Auditioning for Musicals and Plays (Random House Books). 

Season two cast 

SHANE EPSTEIN-PETRULLO (Axel) – Shane was born in 2002 in New York City.  He is an actor, comedian, student, magician, and athlete.  Shane is, by nature, a conversationalist.  If you want to talk about it, he’s there.  Shane has appeared on the TV series, Taxi Brooklyn, as the guest star, Vanity Fair’s 100 Year web celebration as former President George Bush, Kids Choice Awards, several TV commercials, and narrated the upcoming feature film, Hot Summer Nights.  Shane also appeared on the Seth Meyers show.

MAIRÉAD O’NEILL (Aurora Gershewitz) – Mairéad was recently featured in the award winning short film The Renovation  and played “Young Mary Anning” in an AEA staged reading of Curious & Rare produced by Manhattan Musical Theatre Lab in NYC.  Mairéad is featured in the music videos Rise, directed by Skipp Sudduth and Free World directed by Sekiya Dorset.  Mairéad is currently in rehearsals for 1776 (as Thomas Jefferson!) at her school where she has also performed in Once Upon A Mattress, As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew.  Mairéad would like to thank her parents who are really very cool people.

RILEIGH MCDONALD (Julia Morrell-Cole) – Rileigh is an actor, singer, dancer and middle schooler who lives in New York City. She is known for playing the role of Matilda in Broadway’s Matilda the Musical, not to mention various commercial, television and film roles. When she’s not performing, she is obsessing over the Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen cast albums,  making slime (and slime videos) and hanging out with her retired-racer Greyhound, Bjorn. 

COURTNEY CHU (Daisy Zheng) – Courtney is a 6th grader who loves God, animals, scooters, books and, of course, acting! She has done numerous voice-overs for feature film, tv and radio including Miss Hokusai, Superwings and Magic Adventures. She also enjoys the thrill of the live performance on stage, with her favorite roles being Jane Banks in Mary Poppins and Ngana in South Pacific. She has released two singles and is a proud member of Broadway Kids Against Bullying, raising money and awareness with the release of the single, “I have a Voice”.  She enjoys modeling and has done numerous print and internet work. She is beyond thrilled and honored to join such a talented cast and creative team for her first pod-cast series!


Michelle Tattenbaum (director, season two) – is a two-time Drama League Directing Fellow, with deep theater roots, having directed plays and musicals at the Old Globe (San Diego Theatre Critics Circle nomination: Best Director) and the NY premiere at Second Stage. Tattenbaum worked for Manhattan Theatre Club for three years, producing and developing new plays, musicals, and webseries.

Alan Friedman (editor/sound design) – Alan is an audio provider and artist of more than thirty-years in music and agency post-production. His work includes multi-platinum records as well as advertising for some of the worlds biggest brands.

Shawn Pierce (composer) – Shawn is one of the busiest film composers in L.A. He has worked on over 200 albums, composed music for many television shows (CTV, ABC, FX) and has earned a Grammy nomination, 5 Juno awards, 22 Juno nominations plus 2 WCMA’s and 12 WCMA nominations.

Chris Sulit (recording engineer) – Chris is a musician, songwriter and sound engineer who has been involved in the NYC area music industry for over a decade. His recent acknowledgements include a Recording Academy Grammy Award for Engineer on Best Latin Pop Album, and a Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Grammy Award for Engineer on Best Tango Album.

Creative Team

Benjamin Strouse is a writer, composer and producer who recruited the talented Mars Patel team and serves as Executive Producer of the project. He is currently the CEO of Gen-Z Media (www.gen-z.fm), one of the leading podcast production companies for kids and family programming.  

David Kreizman is an Emmy award-winning showrunner, writer and producer.   He began his career as an associate producer and staff writer for the long-running soap opera, Guiding Light, eventually becoming the youngest head writer in the history of daytime drama. David led his writing team to both an Emmy and Writers Guild Award before moving on to be co-headwriter of All My Children and As the World Turns, where he earned another Writers’ Guild Award. During this time, David’s teen themed primetime telenovela, Summers End, was purchased and developed by the CBS Network. David served as head writer/executive story producer for World Wrestling Entertainment in Stamford, CT. He has developed, written and produced television and digital content for AMC, Sony, Discovery, Bravo and TruTv and recently completed his debut novel for young adults.  He is the head writer of “Mars Patel”, and the executive in charge of original content at Gen-Z Media (www.gen-z.fm), overseeing the writing and production of dozens of original projects. David’s greatest inspirations and frequent writing partners are his wife, Natasha, and their three kids, ages eleven, eleven and seven.

Chris Tarry is a Juno award-winning musician, writer, and producer. As an author, his book, How To Carry Bigfoot Home (Red Hen Press, March 2015), won the IndieFab book of the year for short fiction, and has been widely praised as one of the best short story collections of 2015. His writing has appeared in publications such as MAD Magazine, Funny or Die, The Literary Review, On Spec, The GW Review, and PANK. As a musician, Chris is a five-time Juno Award winner (the Canadian Grammy), and one of New York’s most in-demand bass players. He has produced countless award-winning albums, developed short films, and is the co-creator and sound architect behind “Mars Patel.” Chris also heads up the music and post-production departments at Gen-Z Media (www.gen-z.fm), setting the sound standard for scripted audio programming, but his favorite job is being a parent to his two awesome kids, Chloe and Lucas, and laughing about all of it with his amazing wife, Michelle in the very Brooklyn-like town of Maplewood, NJ.

Jenny Turner Hall (jennyturnerhall.com) is an Executive Producer, Writer, and Director of The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars PatelThe Guardian cited the episode she co-wrote, “The Gift,” as “Episode of the Year” in its list of top fifty podcasts. Her children are 9 and 11, and they love Mars Patel. They are her inspiration for the characters Caddie and Toothpick. Jenny also creates and produces podcasts for her organization Studio B, including The B Word and Milkwood (both available on iTunes). Outside the podcasting world, Jenny writes films and scripted television shows, with several of these projects currently in development. She has a weakness for comedy, Dungeons & Dragons, science fiction, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.