June 17 - 7:30 p.m.
June 18 - 7:30 p.m.
June 19 - 2:00 p.m.
June 23 - 7:30 p.m.
June 24 - 7:30 p.m.
June 25 - 7:30 p.m.
Click on a picture to read the bio. The bio will appear at the top of the right hand column.
*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
Dr. Bob Willenbrink (Producing Director and Founding Dean of the School of Fine Arts) - Ph.D., Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He began his career at Hazard (Kentucky) Community where he founded the Hazard Summer Playhouse. For years he served as Chair and Director of Theatre at the University of Central Arkansas. While there he created the Youth Theatre of Central Arkansas, was the national director of the ARC Performing Arts Institute for disabled artists, and founded ACTS, a theatre performance troupe for disabled performers. He has directed over 80 productions of various styles at numerous venues. He has served as chair of Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VI, the Kentucky Humanities Council board, a director and first vice-president of the Jenny Wiley Theatre and as the director for the Kincaid Regional Theatre. Most recently he was the Department Head and Producer/Director for Missouri State’s Tent Theatre. He received the Kennedy Center Bronze Medallion for Service and the Distinguished Creative Production Award at Morehead State University. Bob is the Founding Dean of the School of Fine Arts at Missouri Western.
Dr. Gordon Mapley (Executive Producer of Western Playhouse) is the Dean and Executive Director of the Western Institute. Along with Tee Quillin and Dallas Henry, Gordon is a co-founder of Western Playhouse and has been the administrative champion for the Playhouse since its initial conception when Tee, Dallas and Gordon envisioned Western Playhouse over a taco lunch. Gordon retired as a senior university administrator in Ohio before beginning a new career at Missouri Western. Gordon is on the board for the Allied Arts Council and the Missouri Western Arts Society. In Ohio, his contribution to the arts included oversight of the vision, design and construction of the Beecher Center for Art and Technology. During productions, you will see Gordon scooping ice cream at intermission, icing down drinks, or whatever is necessary to support Western Playhouse and enhance the experience of those who attend Playhouse productions.
Lydia is thrilled to be joining Western Playhouse for the first time. Previous experience includes Maples Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, The New Jewish Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Shakespeare, Union Avenue Opera and Winter Opera St. Louis. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. She would like to thank her friends and family for all of their love and support throughout the years. Brad, I love you more than cauliflower. Nyssia (who is also in the show!), I am so honored and elated to be taking this journey with you! Enjoy the show everyone!
Alex is excited to be working on his first show at Western Playhouse. He holds a BA in Art and Performance from UT Dallas. He currently serves as the Technical Director of Theatre at UT Dallas. In addition to his role at UTD, he is also an Artistic Company Member of Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas.
Lory Lacy holds a Master of Music in Flute Performance from San Francisco Conservatory. Her undergraduate studies were spent at Oberlin Conservatory and the Peabody Institute where she graduated with high honors and won the Britten Johnson Memorial Prize for outstanding flautist. Her jazz recording, As the Crow Flies, has been played on radio stations across the country. She has done studio work in Los Angeles for the Disney Channel and BET and has been honored as part of the Women in Jazz series at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City. In the summer of 2014 she studied opera as a dramatic coloratura soprano at AIMS in Graz, Austria and played in jazz clubs in both Austria and Paris. Lory currently plays principal flute with the St. Joseph Symphony and piccolo with the Kinnor Philharmonic. She teaches classical and jazz flute at Missouri Western State University and plays flute and alto saxophone with the Missouri Western Faulty Jazz Ensemble, sings hard rock and opera, has played in pit orchestras for Oklahoma!, Miss Saigon, Phantom, and Sweeney Todd, and recently conducted the pit band for Missouri Western’s production of Godspell.
KD Choreography is the choreography collaboration of Katie Blessing and Dasa Hayes. Since their partnership began in 2013, Katie and Dasa's work has been featured in prestigious venues from stage to film to runway in programs such as The American Entertainment Awards on PBS, The Andy Williams Christmas Show and Fall Couture Fashion Week in NYC. KD Choreography was also honored to choreograph in collaboration with several entertainment icons for Dudu Fisher's The Voice of Broadway and Jerusalem PBS Specials, which have aired nationwide. Their choreography can be seen in Branson, MO in portions of The Voices of Glory’s Ayo and in the George Dyer Show. Katie and Dasa are both performers as well, and have been seen onstage in various production shows and musicals in many places, including cruising the high seas. KD Choreography feels blessed to be a part of Western Playhouse’s creative team! Wishing our cast and crew an amazing run! L’Chaim! For more information, please visit www.kdchoreography.com.
Tara Young comes from Pocatello, Idaho where she is the head of Costume Design at Idaho State University. Tara has worked with such theatres nationally as, Theatre by the Sea, First Folio Shakespeare Festival, The Retro, Little Theatre on the Square, McLeod Summer Playhouse, Tent Theatre, Moorlyn Theatre, and Pennsylvania Centre Stage. Recent design credit include: The Glass Menagerie, Guys and Dolls, Richard the Third, Into the Woods, The ThreePenny Opera, You Can’t Take it With You, and Dr. Faustus. She is very excited to be getting back to her roots by being in the Midwest and to be working with Western Playhouse this summer.
Kelly Vogel is a scenographer living in Lawrence, Ks. This is Kelly’s fourth season with Western Playhouse. Her previous works here include costume design for The Music Man, Miss Saigon, Barefoot in the Park, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Some of Kelly’s recent works include costume design for KU Theatre’s productions of Figaro and Little Women: The Musical, lighting and costume design for Kansas Repertory Theatre’s production of Sherlock’s Last Case, and scenic design for Spinning Tree Theatre’s production of 13. Kelly is currently serving as Visiting Assistant Professor in Theatre and Scenography at the University of Kansas.
Jeff Stover comes from the Dallas area where he served as technical director for nine years and was promoted to Director of Theatre/Dance at UT-Dallas. He also worked as a lighting designer at many professional theaters in the area. He has been nominated five times, and won twice, for the Leon Rabin Award for Outstanding Lighting Design. He has worked at WaterTower Theatre, Kitchen Dog, Plano Repertory Theatre, The Turtle Creek Chorale, and Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. Jeff started his theatre career at Collin College where he participated in KCACTF and was lucky enough to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from The University of Nevada-Las Vegas and his Master of Fine Arts in Arts and Technology from The University of Texas at Dallas. Jeff also worked for several years for Vari-Lite, the company that invented robotic lighting. Jeff teaches several of the technical theatre courses including: Stagecraft, Stage Lighting, Stage Management, and Production Participation.
Fiddler on the Roof is Brenna “Bee” Keeling’s first proffesional theater experience, and she is grateful to be working with such a great cast and crew. Bee has previously been the master electrician for The Marriage of Figaro and Godspell at Missouri Western State University, and looks forward to more work in the wonderful world of lighting.
Chris been involved both on and off the stage. He has been in A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Egeus), The Producers (Chorus), and Urinetown (Senator Fipp). Off the stage he has worked in costumes for The Drowsy Chaperone and Pirates of Penzance, as a carpenter for J.B. and Annie, and has worked in sound design and mixing for Of Mice and Men, Three Days of Rain, Cabaret, Into the Woods, and Godspell. He is excited to be a part of Western Playhouse again this year and thanks his wife, Jenny and kids (Hadassah, Kaleb, Ezekiel, Mykah, and Octaviah) for all of their support.
Jee Hye graduated fro In-cheon Art High School, as a piano major. She received a Music Camp Diploma from Missouri Western State University in 2011. She is currently attending Missouri Western on a scholarship, and working on earning her bachelor’s degree.
Assistant Stage Manager
Shelby is so excited to be joining Western Playhouse this year! She is a junior Theatre and Cinema major at Missouri Western, and has stage managed The Pirates of Penzance, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and assistant stage managed The Producers, Three Days of Rain and Urinetown. Last summer, Shelby attended a stage management intensive on Broadway with Wicked and plans to pursue a career as a professional stage manager.
This is Brad’s first year working for Western Playhouse. He is now a sophomore at Missouri Western, and last year was Assistant Costume Designer for Cabaret, Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged, and The Marriage of Figaro. He is also a cosplayer in the Kansas City area, and has been making costumes for roughly three years. He is excited to contribute to the theatre community, and would like to continue to do so in the future.
Michael graduated from Missouri Western with a BA in Theatre and Cinema and was on stage crew for many shows including J.B., Annie, Private Lives, and The Drowsy Chaperone. He was the stage manager for Of Mice and Men which performed at KCACTF. This is his third year at Western Playhouse and he is very excited to have this opportunity and wants to continue to contribute to the theatre community in the future.
Sonia is the new Assistant Professor of Costume Design and Technology from Missouri Western State University. Previously, she was a freelance designer in southern California where she was designing for film and theatre. Sonia holds an MFA from San Diego State University. Her film experience ranges widely from styling Macy’s Prom 2015 videos, to building props for Whose Line Is It Anyway. She has worked at theaters around the country including New York Stage and Film, The Old Globe in San Diego, Texas Repertory Theatre, Opera East Texas, North Coast Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre, and more.
Kirsten Melkowski has been doing theatre for three short years, and in that time has done stage crew for shows at MWSU, including Sweeney Todd, Urinetown and Cabaret. Recently she began to stage manage with her first ASM experience on Godspell. This is her first year with Western Playhouse.
I have done carpentry work since high school and continued working for Missouri Western and the University’s theatre department. This is my second time working for a Western Playhouse production, and I am honored to work for such a great team.
Terrence Robinson is a theatre major at Hutchinson Community College, in Hutchinson, KS. He just finished his freshman year and is currently enrolled in the following semester. He is the president of the HutchCC chapter of the Delta Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society. This is Terrence’s first time working with Western Playhouse. Terrence is excited for all of the opportunities that will come from this experience. He would like to thank Western Playhouse for this amazing opportunity.
Makebup Designer/Costume Assitant
Sonrisa had the pleasure of being involved in theatre on stage and back stage for the last 20 years. She has received her degree in theater with a music minor from Missouri Western. Risa has had the privilege of doing hair and wigs for The Music Man, Miss Saigon, and Barefoot in the Park for Western Playhouse. She recently designed wigs for KU’s Opera production of The Marriage of Figaro, and designed make up and wigs for Missouri Western’s production of Sweeney Todd. Risa is so grateful for the support of her wonderful husband and five amazing children. She is so exited for the opportunity to be on the costume crew for this season’s Western Playhouse productions!