A Bad Year for Tomatoes Cast and Crew Bios

A Bad Year for Tomatoes by John Patrick


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Michelle Robison (Myra Marlowe) – Michelle Robison is excited to be showing off her inner Gemini in her dual roles as Myra Marlowe (Myrtle Durdle) and Sister Sadie. She’s been seen on stage regularly both at The Renner and here at ZCT in such shows as “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” as Marcy Park, “A Little Night Music” as a Liebeslieder, “Cheaper By The Dozen” as Mrs Fitzgerald, “Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory” as Frau Gloop and many more. She was thrilled to be cast in our production of ” A Bad Year For Tomatoes”. Being onstage is one of her passions however she didn’t realize she would be on the stage for quite so many pages, lol. Be careful what you wish for. “To all of our cast, crew and directors, thank you for making this such a wonderful experience. Working with you all has been a pleasure and I hope to work with you all again soon. Break a Leg”

John Lowe (Tom Lamont) – Returning to the stage of the Zanesville Community Theater for the second time, John Lowe plays Tom Lamont, a Hollywood agent. When not performing onstage, John works as an independent magazine writer and as a reporter for The Daily Jeffersonian newspaper in Cambridge. Previously for ZCT, he played the role of Manolo Costazuela in the female version of The Odd Couple. Many years ago, he had a role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a community theater production in Monterey, California. As a youngster, he also played in various public school productions. He and his wife, Debbie, live west of Cambridge, with their youngest son, Sean, a rising senior at John Glenn High School who is attending Zane State College as part of the “Pathways to Engineering” program. They also have a daughter, Nicole Ackerman, a physics professor at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., and an older son, Eric, a technical writer in Columbus. When they are not working, John and Debbie enjoy gardening, reading, and ballroom dancing. While Debbie is an avid fiction reader, John favors biography, history, and philosophy.

Chelsea Miller (Cora Gump) – I took the past year off from performing while my husband and I welcomed a beautiful daughter into our family. She has truly been a blessing! I am excited to be getting back on stage! I have been in many shows over the years and I’m thrilled to be involved in this show with so many wonderful people. While they have all been great experiences, some of the most memorable of the shows I’ve been involved with in the past are Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Barnum, West Side Story, and A Little Princess. I hope to add A Bad Year for Tomatoes to my list of memorable experiences! Sit back and enjoy the show!

Val Frank Gahagan (Reba Harper) -Valerie Gahagan is a mom of 7 who was dragged to auditions 11 years ago by her eldest. He’s now busy serving in the Marine Corp but she has become addicted to the theater and has performed in several shows with and without her children including “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, “Ladies of Harmony”, “Harmony Romances” and many others. In recent years she’s taken the addiction a bit further and directed or co-directed “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, “The Little Princess”, and “Cheaper by the Dozen” and is looking forward to directing “The Ransom of Red Chief” next season. When she’s not busy at the theater she can usually be found spending time with her husband of almost 25 years, homeschooling her children, or attending their sporting and music activities. Val is excited to be a part  of “A Bad Year for Tomatoes” and hopes you enjoy the show as much as she has enjoyed portraying the part of Reba and working with such a great cast.

Rebecca Wagstaff (Willa Mae Wilcox ) – I am a fairly new resident of Zanesville, and am very impressed with the creative community here. I am a professional visual artist, but I have an affinity for all of the arts. It is great to be working with a group with as much enthusiasm and talent as this one.This is the third season for me at Zanesville Community Theatre. Earlier this season I was the behind-­‐the-­‐scenes ‘Voice’ in Agatha Christy’s ‘The Hollow.’ Last year I played the part of ‘Addie’ in the ZCT presentation of ‘Harmony Romances’ and was part of the very wild ensemble of CZT’s production of ‘Young Frankenstein.’I am happy to be again be working with a fantastic cast and crew in ‘A Bad Year for Tomatoes.’ Enjoy the performance!

Scott Robison (Piney) – Scott Robison has been frequently seen on stage here in Zanesville after his return from Las Vegas where he and his wife resided for nearly a decade. Being back on stage is a thrill and he’s glad to call ZCT part of his Theater family and home. Playing a role like Piney has been something he’s been wanting to do for a while. It’s challenging and entertaining at the same time. “Break a leg to all of the cast and a special thank you to our Directors and Stage Crew for being awesome.” “Let’s Rock This.”
Blake Nessleroad (Sheriff) – As a senior at Muskingum University, Blake has been involved with numerous shows including “Almost, Maine”, “Words, Words, Words”, and “Two OH”. Blake is also involved with the music program at Muskingum (???? I’m not sure if thats right) and is a member of the Concert Choir and Chamber Ensemble. Blake has been involved with ZCT in shows such as “Spring Awakening” and “The Diary of Anne Frank” and will also be involved with “Into the Woods”.  Enjoy the show.

Production Staff

Kelli Marsh (Co-Director) – I was first introduced to ZCT through a friend of mine who was acting in Steel Magnolia. I loved it and instantly knew that I wanted to audition for a show myself. What I didn’t know then, was that I wouldn’t just be a part in a show, but that I would become part of a community. So I embarked on a journey that has allowed me to explore my creative side, opened my life to new friends and given me a ‘to do list’ that isn’t just babies and housework. My first involvement on a set was as Stage Manager for “Noises Off.” Wow! What a start. Then it became time for my acting chops in the female version of “The Odd Couple” in which I played Sylvia. Next was “Mash.” Sometime during these years, I was invited to be on the Board of Directors for ZCT. So once again my calendar got filled. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in any capacity that I have been fortunate enough to be given. I am happily married and have had two kids during my time here at ZCT. My daughter is six – going on 13 and my little boy is two – going on TWO. I’m not saying how old my husband is.

Director’s notes:

After being involved in a few shows at ZCT, I started thinking about what it would be like to direct a show. I thought it would be fun to take a show from conception (reading a script) all the way to curtain on closing night. I knew that for my directing debut it would have to be a smaller cast, simple set and light on props. But more than anything else, IT HAD TO BE FUNNY. So I set out to find the perfect script. I perused the internet and found four that I thought looked fun including “A Bad Year for Tomatoes.” I read each, past, and thought I would continue looking. While I was looking I ended up having my little boy who joined his then 4 year older sister. Well, as you can imagine everything came to a screeching halt as I became a mother of two. After a while I needed to stretch my creative limbs and picked up the script again. This time I fell in love with it. It had everything that I wanted in a play. I don’t know why it wasn’t perfect before, but it was now. So Phil and I joined forces and our adventure began. Needless to say, it’s been terrific. The cast has been awesome, the set has been a blast and we are ready to go. Now it’s time to sit back and relax while you are being transported back to the 70’s (I know some of you are feeling rather nostalgic right now seeing all these colors and decorations). So from us ‘newbie directors’ to you…Enjoy the show!
P.S. Thank you Phil for taking this chance with me. I love co-directing with you. You are the ying to my yang. I will do this again with you any time. It’s been groovy.
P.P.S. Thanks to my husband who took up the slack at home which allowed me to do all of this. I love you babe! And thanks to my little ones who went to bed many times without being kissed by their mommy. I love you too!

Phil Palmer (Co-Director)
Director’s notes:
Welcome to Zanesville Community Theater and thank you for supporting the arts in Zanesville.  I have been involved in several different aspects of the theater and am pleased to be adding Director to the list. When Kelli and I were looking for a show, we decided on A Bad Year For Tomatoes and have agreed that is the best kind of show to have as a directing debut.  When you have the script that is intrinsically funny, paired with the quality of the cast we have, add in a great crew that has helped out and our cool 70s set, it has been really easy to enjoy the process.
In my daily life, I am married to my beautiful wife Angel, and have two adult children,Phoenix and Tony. I work as a Program Supervisor at Mount Aloysius.  I have been on the board of directors at ZCT for 4 years, serving as Vice-President for the past 2. I have been on stage most recently as Dad in Cheaper by the Dozen, and Dick in 9 to 5.  I also had the opportunity to be assistant director for Singing in the Rain and Young Frankenstein.  I hope you enjoy our production and find the humor in the mundane.
Lura Brannon (Producer) –


Call the Box Office at 740.455.6487 to reserve or order on-line
Buy Tickets Now