A Little Princess Cast and Crew

Monica Van Nort (Miss Maria Minchin)  – My first on-stage experience in community theatre was in 2009 playing Truvy in ZCT’s Steele Magnolias.  Since then I have participated in some form or other in as many productions as time will allow.  I grew up with Shirley Temple movies and to be able to be a part of this production is an honor.  Playing Ms. Minchin has been fun and challenging (though my children and husband may say not too much of a stretch.)  I have never suffered as some of the characters in this play, and pray that my good fortune will continue, but searching for the positive in an otherwise difficult situation to sustain a sense of well-being is something I am familiar with and think many others can relate to as well.  I think we could all take a lesson from the little princess…”when you don’t fly into a rage, people learn you are stronger than them…you control your emotions and they say and do stupid things they regret later; it is best not to answer your enemies” (to paraphrase my favorite line in the play)!

Chelsea Miller (Miss Amelia Minchin) – Chelsea Miller “tied the knot” this past year. She lives in the Zanesville area with her husband, Sean. Having known each other since high school, it was only within the last few years the friendship blossomed into something more. Chelsea says of married life,”it’s truly wonderful! It’s amazing to get to spend every night with my best friend!” The newly-weds are both active in the arts community.

When not on stage, Chelsea enjoys fulfilling her artistic desires through her writing and art. She recently began painting again and while she’s admittedly no Van Gogh, she finds it an enjoyable pastime!

Chelsea graduated from Ohio University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree and is currently working on her Master of Arts at Muskingum University.

Chelsea is a long time veteran of the stage and enjoys every minute of her time at the theater. Although this isn’t her first time, it’s been a few years since she has had the opportunity to perform at the Zanesville Community Theater, and she’s excited to return!

Emma Gross (Sara Crewe) – My name is Emma Gross. I am 11 years old,  home schooled and in the 6th grade. This is my fourth play and I love theater! My other plays that I have been in are Oliver Twist, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Annie.   I also love to sing, dance, write, read, do hair and take pictures. This play has been so much fun for me and I am so happy to have another chance to be in a play with my dad, Ben Gross. My sister, Lydia Gross is also playing a school girl this time. My favorite thing about theater is, playing the part of another person and I am very excited to have the opportunity to be Sara  Crewe!

Jay Shaffstall (Captain Crewe) –Hi I’m Jay Shaffstall.  One of my favorite things is dressing up and being someone else for a little while.  I love to role play, every chance I get.  I’m a role playing gamer who is fairly new to theatre.  I’m having a really good time, despite dying early in the play!

Katelyn Baughman (Becky) – Katelyn Baughman is 12 years old and attends Crooksville Schools. She’s had a love of singing and performing from the time she could walk and talk. At age 5, Katelyn had her first theatre experience at ZCT as a member of the chorus in Fiddler on the Roof. She has since participated in eight ZCT/Renner Angel Tree Benefits, played Downy in ZCT’s production of HONK, played the title role in Annie at ZCT in 2011, appeared in ZCT’s production of M*A*S*H, and at The Renner, has played The Magic Mirror in Fairy Tale Courtroom, Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, and Frederika in A Little Night Music. Katelyn has also provided solo singing performances for Genesis, Cedar Hills, the Muskingum County Library, Primrose Retirement Community, The Community Bank, Century National Bank Freedom Years, Park National Bank Freedom Years, and Bloomberg Eye Center. Katelyn is a member of Power House, where she has participated in the Junior Sparks Improv Program. She runs Cross Country, is a student of Kachido Aikijitsu, and is a student of dance at Movement on Main. Katelyn is extremely grateful to all those who have helped her learn and grow in theatre and performance and sends special thanks to Angel Palmer, Val Gahagan and Pam Smith for providing her the opportunity to play the role of Becky in A Little Princess!

Mia McCarthy (Ermengarde) – I am a 6th grader at Bishop Fenwick and I love to do plays. I’ve been doing plays almost since I was born, such as many Angel Tree Benefits, The Crucible, Seussical the Musical, Annie, Oliver and many more.

Reanna Gahagan (Lavinia) – Reanna is a 17 year old homeschool student, at least for a few more months. She started doing theater when she was 7, but this has been her favorite part so far. She also enjoys photography and after she graduates this spring she plans to pursue cosmetology and make-up artistry.

Cary Underwood (Jessie) – Cary Underwood grew up with the theater. She got her first major role when she was seven and played Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Since then, Cary has performed in several other musicals including Annie, Oliver, Singing in the Rain, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.Cary will be a junior this fall at Bishop Rosecrans High School. There she is involved in choir and drama club. In addition to the performing arts, Cary is a black belt in Kenpo. We hope you enjoy the show!

Amelia Olinger-Shafftstall (Lottie) – Hi, I’m Amelia Olinger Shaffstall. I love to role play, play with dolls and make believe. I like to spend time with my family, Grandma and Grandpa, and with all our pets. This is my first play. I’m sure I’m going to love it!

Dee McCarthy (Cook) – ZCT has provided many opportunities to be creative, have fun with family and friends, and support the arts in Zanesville. Some of the most fun characters I have portrayed include: Helga the Horrible and the Sour Kangaroo. I have enjoyed acting out my favorite childhood story with my daughter Mia. Love to my husband Kevin and daughters Maddie and Sadie for their support.
Tahnee Dorsey (Lady Pitkin) – I am very excited to be in A Little Princess, my third production with ZCT and my first scripted play that is not a musical. I studied theatre in college and studied abroad in England. Hopefully, that experience will help with my accent! I’m enjoying working with everyone and happy to be a part of another ZCT production.
Dave Kerr  (Mr. Barrow) – Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest man in Zanesville. The individual who was originally cast for this role was unable to fulfill this obligation due to the interruption of his real life. With an unfilled role and short notice, I was blessed to be asked to fill in on a show I didn’t even try-out for. Life is good! This is my fifth year performing with ZCT and I have had the privilege to perform in over a dozen shows.
For my real life, I’m a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant, and I currently work for the City of Zanesville in the Engineering Department as a construction inspector. I’ve been married for 30 years and have four children ranging in age from 26 to 16 and an 8 month old grandson.
Daniel Warne (Ram Dass) –After working stage crew for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Young Frankenstein, Daniel is trying out the stage in the part of Ram Dass. He also enjoys photography, longboarding, computer programming and working at Donald’s Donuts.
Steve Hendershott (Mr. Carrisford) – This is Steve’s first non-musical show here at ZCT and he is delighted to be sharing the stage with his older girls, Jadyn and Cadence and the rest of this wonderful cast.None of this would be possible without the exceptional support of his AMAZING wife Jolene, and his loving daughter, Alonna who play their roles as audience participants with aplomb. Steve and Jolene celebrated 11 years of wedded bliss this Spring, and he is so grateful that God blessed him with a such a stupendous wife!

When he isn’t on stage or in rehearsal, Steve works at the David Crist State Farm agency http://ycityinsurance.com and has enjoyed his “temporary” position there for the last 8 years. The Hendershotts are also huge believers in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program; so much that Steve facilitates classes several times a year here in Zanesville. Please check us out, we’d love to have you! SDG

Aaron Chase (Mr. Carmichael) – I have been in the drama field since my first year of high school. I have been with ZCT for more than 2 years. Plays I have been involved with are Seussical, MASH and The Wizard of Oz.
Ben Gross (M. DeFarge) – My name is Ben Gross married to Rachel Gross, together we have six children. I work as a correction officer for the state of Ohio and part time at The Olive Garden.  I really enjoy being a part of the theater family. I love having an opportunity to participate in a play with my daughters Emma and Lydia Gross. I also had the opportunity to be in Annie with Emma 2 years ago and it was a lot of fun!
Katie Gahagan (Anne) – Katie is a 14 year old homeschool student. She has enjoyed doing theater since age 4 when she played the part of Gretel in The Sound of Music. She is usually busy in her free time doing artwork–sculpting, painting, drawing and graphic design. She’s thankful for the opportunity to have worked on several show logos here at ZCT including “A Little Princess” and her favorite show, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Jack McLendon (Man on the Street) – Jack McLendon is an 9th grader at Tri-Valley High School. He enjoys performing and has been doing so for about three years. Jack has participated in several productions. Some of his favorites have been Sweeney Todd (School Edition), A Year With Frog and Toad, Children’s Letters To God, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. When Jack isn’t busy auditioning or rehearsing he spends his time gaming and hanging out with friends. Jack hopes to study theater after he graduates from high school.

Michael Murphy (Chimney Sweep) – I am 12 years old. I attend Dresden Elementary School. i am the oldest of three boys. This is my first experience on stage for theater and I am enjoying myself so far. i look forward to many more opportunities to participate in theater. I am an active member in Boy Scouts, and I also am in band where I play percussion.

Levi Gahagan (Monkey) – Levi is 4 years old, loves monkeys and the color orange. He enjoys being on stage, his first show being “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” when he was 4 months old. More recently he enjoyed being in “Charlotte’s Web” as a gosling. When not following his mom to the theater, he is usually being spoiled as the youngest of 7 children.


Abby Caton  – I am 10 years old. I am a 5th grader at Maysville Elementary. I like to sing, write stories, read, and hang out with my friends. This is my first time doing theater and I really like it.
Alyssa Dailey – My name is Alyssa Dailey, I am eight years old and homeschooled. I am one of four children in my family and soon to have another sibling in April. I love to sing, dance, and be creative with many varieties of art! This is my first theater experience and I am very excited to play the role of a school girl! I look forward to many other opportunities!
Charity Dueck – I am very happy to be playing in A Little Princess. This is my first production. In addition to acting, I enjoy studying and teaching violin, sewing, and reading books, including-but by no means limited to- A Little Princess. Thank you for coming to see us.

Lydia Gross – My name is Lydia Gross, I am 7 years old and I am home schooled. This is my first play and I am very excited about playing a part as one of the school girls! I am also happy about being in a play with my sister Emma Gross. I also enjoy dancing, singing, playing soccer and drawing. I look forward to other plays that I will have opportunity to be in.

Jadyn Hendershott – This is Jadyn’s fourth time on the stage. She’s very excited to be part of this show. It is especially fun since she gets to do the show with her Dad, Steve and her sister, Cadence as well as her new theater friends. When she isn’t practicing for A Little Princess, she enjoys playing the trumpet, reading and all things high tech.

Sage Murphy I am a sixth grade student at John McIntire Elementary where I spend my time playing with my best friend Jossie and playing the violin. I love horses, drawing, American Girl dolls and really like learning cool stuff in science. I have been on stage here before in Sweeney Todd and am really glad I get to be a part of another show. I hope all of you enjoy our show!

Lady Pitkin’s daughters

Jerah-Lynn Gahagan – Jerah-Lynn is excited to have a part in A Little Princess as one of Mrs. Pitkin’s daughters. She has done a few other shows at The Renner, but this is her first time to be on stage at ZCT. She is 7 years old and has 5 older siblings and one younger sibling. She enjoys playing with her dolls and sewing with her grandmother.
Cadence Hendershott – This is Cadence’s third show, and she is delighted to be part of this cast. Like her sister, Jadyn, she feels being in a show with her Dad, her sister and her theater friends is really cool. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a family tradition. Cadence is an avid reader and loves dance as well!

Street Urchins

Samuel Dailey – My name is Samuel Dailey, I am nine years old and am homeschooled. I am the first of four children and will have another sibling in April! When I grow up I want to be a herpetologist. I love reptiles of all kinds and spending time outdoors and drawing. This is my first theater experience.
Dominik Van Nort – This is Dominik’s debut on stage, at least that he will remember. He was briefly on stage for ZCT’s 2010 Angel Tree as an infant. He is quite the little thespian at home, though; re-enacting various scenes as characters from his favorite movies and television shows like Diego, Toy Story, and Open Season to name a few. He loves to play outside, play sports of any kind, and play with star wars legos and playdo.

Production Staff

Angel Palmer(Co-Director) – I love the theater: the magic, the creativity and the ability to step out of my life for a short time and be someone else. Having been backstage, on-stage and now directing the stage over the past decade…I know that I truly love it all! It is my prayer that you are able to take a breather from your day and sit back and enjoy our production.
Remember: All little girls are Princesses!

Director’s Notes:

One of my fondest memories as a little girl was curling up in the hammock that hung between the trees in our backyard and reading “A Little Princess”. While I knew we were poor, I also knew I was a princess…because Sara Crewe said all little girls were princesses. This was very important to my 7 year old self . When Val and I were looking at a show to direct, this is the one that was top on my list. I loved the idea of bringing the very story of perseverance and strength that gave me so much comfort in my youth, to the stage.

This cast has taken my vision and given it life. They have developed the characters, given them expression and gone beyond my expectations. I couldn’t be prouder of this amazing group and the wonderful support people who have been so instrumental in this production.

I am eternally grateful to one of my best friends in the world, Val Gahagan, who understands how to interpret what I say and is sooo good at being “good cop” and keeps me grounded. Without her…this would never have happened and I am so honored that she keeps agreeing to this craziness with me!

Val Gahagan(Co-Director) – Val Gahagan is the homeschooling mom of 7 children who found a love for the theater 10 years ago when her oldest auditioned for “Oliver!” Since then, she and each of her 7 children have spent time on stage together and she’s even found time to do a few shows without them. While he’s not willing to step out on the stage, she is very grateful to have a wonderful husband who not only tolerates the busy theater schedule his family sometimes keeps, but will help out with set design and pieces and holds down the fort while the rest of the family are off to rehearsals and performances. Thanks Jerry! This is the 2nd show she has co-directed at ZCT with one of her dearest friends, Angel.

Director’s Notes:

I’m finding when it comes to theater that I really enjoy bringing classics to the stage. “A Little Princess” is no exception. What a wonderful story Frances Hodgson Burnett gave us to bring to life for you. While it is not as pretty as Hollywood has liked to make it for us, it is truly a story of rising above circumstances with the right attitude and hard work. And what a wonderful cast and crew we’ve had to work with! We hope you enjoy the show as much as we’ve enjoyed performing it for you!

Phil Palmer  (Producer) – This year has been a wonderful year of theater for me. I have been able to be in the Asst. Director role, Stage Manager role, Actor role, and am now producing a really great story that has meaning for the whole family. It has been great to work with my wife and her best friend during this show…they are a great team! I am proud of this group and of ZCT for putting on such a wonderful show that is great for the whole family. Thank you for supporting the arts!