Into The Woods Cast and Crew

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Kira Albright (Tree Ensemble) – Kira is going into 7th grade. She has performed at the Angel Tree Production, Powerhouse production of Suessical, ZCT production of Oliver and now for Into The Woods. She loves dogs, cats, Girls Scouts and performing musicals while her dad plays percussion in the orchestra.

Eric Blake (Cinderella’s Father) – Eric is currently employed as the Director of Operations for Shrivers Oxygen and Home Medical. He has had a love of the theatre for many years and he enjoys directing as well as being on stage. It was instilled in him at an early age the importance of working behind the scenes as well as acting. Eric currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors at Zanesville Community Theatre. Eric’s directing credits include: Proof, Spring Awakening, August, Osage County, Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, RENT, Doubt, J.B., Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and The Lion In Winter. On stage, Eric has recently appeared in The Hollow, The Diary of Anne Frank, Sweeney Todd, Death of A Salesman and The Crucible; just to name a few.Eric wishes to take this opportunity to thank his wife Janice for her 32 years of love and support and for helping him to make the time to be involved with theatre and the many other community activities they are involved with.Eric hopes that you enjoy the show and thanks you for supporting Zanesville Community Theatre as they continue to strive for excellence against a backdrop of tradition.

Lura Wallace Brannon (Giant) – Lura has been active with zct for the past 3 years. She started by portraying Jean in August: Osage County and most recently produced A Bad Year For Tomatoes. She feels honored and grateful to have been chosen to be a part of the cast of Into the Woods, for it was this show which inspired her to become a thespian.

Rob Cook (Cinderella’s Prince, Wolf) – I’ve been involved in theatre for many years now and have always enjoyed the people at ZCT. After graduate school in theatre at Illinois State University and a few years with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, I moved to Chicago where I worked with several theatre companies throughout the city. Upon moving to Philo, I was very glad to find ZCT and its tribe of like-minded theatre geeks. I currently work for the Muskingum County Library System and expect everyone reading this to join the Friends of the Library organization. Do it! Some of my favorite shows have included Assassins, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Doubt and Young Frankenstein. I encouraged anyone who has ever thought that they might possibly, sorta, kinda, maybe would like to get involved with ZCT to do so. It’s a lot of fun with some terrific people.
Olivia Earich (Snow White) – I’m a student at Muskingum University looking toward my final semester in student teaching, coincidentally in Rapunzel’s classroom! All through my childhood I’ve done shows at ZCT, Philo High School, and formally Zane Trace Players (The Renner); including Nevermore, many Angel Tree productions, Seussical the Musical, and most recently The Crucible. Into the Woods has been on my bucket list of shows since Philo High School did it 10 years ago and I’m happy to be a small part of it now. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to work with; enjoy the show!

Lydia Eno (Cinderella) – Lydia has always loved stories, especially fairy tales. She grew up in a home filled with books, but learned from a young age to enjoy stories in any form. At age nine she had her first role in a play: Cook #3 in a children’s theatre production of “Sleeping Beauty”. She started writing about the same time, mostly stories about orphans having to face terrible circumstances. She continued to act and write into her teens, enjoying roles such as step-sister Joy in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”  and Joanne in “Godspell”, and finishing her first novel, a fantasy piece à la Robin Hood, just after her sophomore year of high school. She went on to college at Taylor University, where she studied English and Creative Writing and participated in theater whenever she could, taking a turn as Mrs. Fezziwig in “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” and pulling the strings as the Good Fairy in a pantomime production of “The Frog Prince”.

Lydia is very excited to return to the ZCT stage for one of her dream roles as Cinderella. She was last seen in 2011’s production of “Annie” as Grace Farrell. She lives in Columbus with her wonderful husband, Caleb, and is currently writing a Dieselpunk version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Haley Evans (The Baker’s Wife) – Haley just finished her fourth year as the Choral Music Director and Assistant Band Director at Ridgewood Local Schools. She is a 2011 graduate of Capital University with a   degree in Dual Music Education.  This is her first return to this side of the stage in several years, as she’s spent the last few in the orchestra pit directing or playing the trumpet. Some of her favorite  past  roles  include Lucy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie  Brown and Marian Paroo  in The   Music  Man.  She is very excited to be playing the Baker’s Wife, which is a role she’s always dreamed of bringing to life.
Sarah Gantzer (Rapunzel) – Sarah is thrilled to play Rapunzel and be a part of this fun production! Playing a flower in a tower turned princess makes her heart pretty happy. She enjoys quiet evenings in her tower with her buddy Pasqual, and protecting herself from unsavories with her frying pan. Past favorite roles for Sarah include Marian the Librarian in The Music Man, Cookie Cusack in Rumors, and Gerda Christow in The Hollow. Currently,  Sarah is feeling particularly sparkly about directing The Little Mermaid Jr., with some of her favorite people,  at ZCT in September.
Sally Goins (Cinderella’s Stepmother) – Sally is excited and scared — excited to be part of this talented and dynamic cast, and scared to be continuing a love/hate relationship with Stephen Sondheim! Sally came back to theatre several years ago in “Ladies of Harmony” and she has continued in “The Music Man,” “A Little Night Music,” “9 to 5,” and “The Hollow.” As a retired English teacher, she appreciates the clever complexities of Sondheim’s lyrics, but as someone trying to memorize and sing them, she prefers Dolly Parton. Sally wishes to thank her family for their support and hopes you all enjoy the show
Ella Hartman (Tree Ensemble) – Ella will be a 7th grader at Philo Junior High School. She has appeared in the Philo High School Performances of Barnum, Wizard of
Oz, Sound of Music and Cinderella. Ella is excited to be performing in the upcoming ZCT “Little Mermaid Jr.” She also enjoys soccer, dance and cooking.
Linda Hatfield (Cinderella’s Mother) – This is my first show at ZCT and I am loving it! I have been involved in theater or performing in some way or another since I was a child. I have had the opportunity to perform in “Oliver”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, and “My Fair Lady” and last year’s Angel Tree production. I have played Rosie in “Bye Bye Birdie” and Mrs. Paroo in “Music Man”. I am very active in the family ministry monthly drama, Kidstuf, at Rolling Plains United Methodist Church, where I also sing in the choir and in a women’s ensemble, Hearts for Worship. I would like to thank everyone involved with “Into the Woods” for making it such a fun experience. I would also like to thank my family for encouraging me to get involved with something that brings me such joy! Enjoy the show!
Jadyn Hendershott (Tree Ensemble) – With six shows now under her belt, Jadyn is feeling just at home on stage as she is off. She’s very excited to be part of this show. It is especially fun since she gets to do the show with her Dad, as well as her new theater friends. When she isn’t practicing for Into the Woods or The Little Mermaid Jr., she enjoys singing, playing the trumpet, reading and all things high tech.

Steven Hendershott (The Baker) – It seems like just a short while ago that Steve found out about this wonderful theater, and in some ways that’s true. But now it just feels like home! What an awesome experience this show is; so much work and play all at once! This is a “bucket list” show for Steve and he can hardly express what a gift it has been to work with so many dedicated and talented people to bring this show to life. What a blessing it has been for Steve and he hopes that you share in that blessing in the audience.When he isn’t on stage or in rehearsal, Steve works at the David Crist State Farm agency and has enjoyed his “temporary” position there for the last 10+ years.  He is also currently working online toward a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology.   Because, you know, free time, right?

None of this would be possible without the exceptional support of his AMAZING wife Jolene, and his loving daughters, Jadyn, Cadence and Alonna who play their roles as audience participants with aplomb. Steve and Jolene celebrated 13 years of wedded bliss this Spring, and he is so grateful to her for being the real reason for anything that could be called his success! SDG

Beth Hurst (Jack’s Mother) – Now that Beth is officially an “empty nester” she is excited to re-enter the world of community theatre by playing Jack’s Mother in “Into the Woods”. Beth appeared many years ago at ZCT as Princess Winnifred in “Once Upon a Mattress”. She was also very involved in Zane Trace Players and Licking County Players, appearing in the roles of Nellie Forebush in “South Pacific”, Mrs. Anna in “The King and I”, Sister Robert Anne in “Nunsense,” Lilli/Kate in” Kiss Me Kate,” and The Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods”. A free-lance writer, Beth lives in New Concord with her wonderful husband Alan and enjoys spending her time with her five children and five grandchildren. Many, many thanks to Sheryl and her team and the cast and crew of “Woods” for making this such a wonderful experience! Enjoy the show!

Alaine Kay (Sleeping Beauty) – Upon accidentally auditioning for a middle school play, Alaine discovered a love for theater.  She has participated both on- and off-stage in many productions at New Lexington High School, Malone University, and the New Lexington Community Theater.  Her favorite roles to date have been Vi Moore in “Footloose” and Gertie in “Oklahoma!”.  She is thrilled to be a part of the cast of “Into the Woods”, which is her first ZCT production.  Alaine lives in New Lexington and works at the Crooksville Branch Library.  She is currently pursuing her Masters of Library Science at Kent State University.

Tahnee Danielle Kay (Florinda) – Tahnee Kay is excited to be playing Florinda, a wicked stepsister, in this production of Into the Woods.
Originally from Perry County, Tahnee now lives with her husband and three cats in their new home in Zanesville. She has been in productions of Grease, Guys & Dolls and Bye Bye Birdie with New Lexington High School and Community Theatre. She attended Hocking College, majoring in theatre, and went aboard to Havering College in England. There she was in a production of Oh! What a Lovely War at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the West End. This will be her seventh show with ZCT including Young Frankenstein, Spring Awakening, Rumors and Proof. Her favorite role thus far is Doralee in 9 to 5 The Musical.
Tahnee has had a lot of fun developing this character and hopes the audience enjoys this show.
Bev Marshall (Granny) – I’m SO excited to be a part of this show! I’ve loved the music from it since I bought the cd’s of the original cast recording several years ago.  I’m happily returning to the ZCT stage after a 20 year absence; my previous shows include: The Foreigner, Godspell, Pippin and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Offstage,  I live in Zanesville with my four furry feline kids: Buddy, Graham, Levi and Grace and I’m an LISW, currently working as an outpatient clinician at Six County Inc. Enjoy the show; thank you for going “Into the Woods” with us!
Tiffany Miller (Lucinda) – Tiffany is relatively new to the Zanesville area. She teaches music locally and has been active for several years with the Zanesville Civic Chorus but is making her debut with ZCT. “Into the Woods” has been one of the shows on her ‘bucket list’ since high school, and while she’s directed and played in the pit for several productions since that time, this is her first return to the stage. She’s excited to step a bit out of character as a wicked stepsister.
Blake Nessleroad (Rapunzel’s Prince) – As a senior at Muskingum University, Blake has been involved with numerous shows including “Almost, Maine” “Words, Words, Words” and “2.Oh”. Blake has also been involved with the music program at Muskingum and I a member of the Concert Choir and Chamber Ensemble. Blake has been involved with ZCT in shows such as “Spring Awakening” “Diary of Anne Frank” and most recently “A Bad Year for Tomatoes”
Cory Roush (The Steward) – Cory began acting as a student at Maysville High School, playing roles in Annie, Into the Woods, The Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun, Big, Back to the 80s, and Beauty and the Beast. He returned to the theatre in ZCT’s 51st season with roles in Spring Awakening and 9 to 5, and earlier this year he took to the stage again as Officer Welch in Rumors and as Hal in Proof. Cory is a 2012 graduate of Ohio University and has taught Elementary Language Arts, and is currently working with the school outreach program through the Muskingum County Library System.
Matt Swingle (Mysterious Man) – I hope you enjoy this show. It’s been great fun working with a cast that enjoys musical theater as much as I do. I’ve done several shows with ZCT most recently Rumors, 9 to 5, Spring Awakening and Young Frankenstein. This has been another fun experience working with a talented bunch of people. I’m thankful to have this group of people in my life.I live in Philo with my partner Rob Cook, our son and two spoiled cats.
Cary Blake Underwood (Little Red Ridinghood) – Cary 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, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, A Little Princess, The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hollow. Cary recently graduated from Bishop Rosecrans High School. There she was involved in choir and drama club. This Fall, she will be attending Ohio University-Zanesville. In addition to the performing arts, Cary is a black belt in Kenpo. We hope you enjoy the show!
Payton Van Nort (Tree) – Hi! My name is Payton Van Nort, I will be an 8th grader at Bishop Fenwick School this year. I am so excited to be involved in this production of Into the Woods; I love the music, love being on stage and am having so much fun with this cast. I have been involved in various plays at both the Renner and Zanesville Community Theatre, including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Charlotte’s Web, All Shook Up, Annie, The Fairy Tale Courtroom and most recently Alice in Wonderland Jr. I have also participated in plays at my school and with Powerhouse, Inc. I love to read, hang with friends; dance, sing and I just started learning to play the piano. Thank you for coming to the show, hope you enjoy it!
Jillian B. Von Gunten (The Witch) – Jillian has participated in local theater all of her life and currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Zanesville Community Theatre. Some of her favorite roles include: Maggie in “A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Alais in “The Lion in Winter,” Nancy in “OLIVER!” and Barbara Fordham in “August: Osage County,” all at Zanesville Community Theatre, and Stella Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and Suzy Hendrix in “Wait Until Dark,” at The Renner. Some of her favorite shows to direct were: “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” “HONK,” “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and “Rumors.” Jillian currently serves as the Coach for Powerhouse’s SPARKS!! Improv Troupe and sits on both the McIntire Terrace Association and the Southeast Ohio Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. She works in Zanesville as an attorney at Allen & Baughman, Attorneys at Law.
Brian Wagner (Narrator) – I’m looking forward to returning to the stage at Zanesville Community Theatre. It’s been several years but this has been a great deal of fun, working with this talented cast and of course, doing a show with my son is a dream come true.
I’ve been involved in shows since I was a little boy in Cincinnati. I was active in my High School drama department and continued to perform while attending Muskingum College. Seems like I’ve been in so many shows I’ve lost count.
This theatre holds a special place in my life. My wife, Christine, and I met while we were in a show here at ZCT so it’s great to continue the tradition with my son Matt.
Matt Wagner (Jack) – Matthew Wagner is a 2015 graduate of Bishop Rosecrans High School. Playing Jack is Matthew’s second role at Zanesville Community Theatre. He previously performed as Linus in ZCT’s production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”. His other credits include several school plays such as “The Wizard of Oz”, “Peter Pan”, and “Alice in Wonderland”. Matthew also made his directing debut this year, co-directing “The Calamityville Terror” at his alma mater. He has studied voice under Jim McLaughlin for nearly eight years and has received four Superior ratings at OMEA solo and ensemble competition. In his spare time Matthew is very active in his church’s choir and studies classical piano. In the future Matthew plans to attend Capital University and pursue a degree in vocal performance.

Production Staff

Sheryl Wise (Director and Music Director) – Sheryl has recently moved to a new phase of life, as she is now semi-retired after working for Franklin Local Schools for the past 35 years. During that time she served as a music teacher, technology coordinator, and directed the high school theater department. This fall, she will continue teaching theater at Philo High School but will be enjoying sleeping in a little and having more time for other pursuits. She plans to work on several projects that have been left undone at her house and hopefully read a book or two. But, she will still be quite active on church and civic boards, teaching voice and piano, and as church organist at Market Street Baptist Church. She shares her home with her Mom and lots of cats.She has been involved in numerous shows at ZCT as well as Licking County Players, Cambridge Performing Arts Center, Philo Players and Zane Trace Players. Some of her favorite onstage roles include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeny Todd, The Reverend Mother in several versions of the Nunsensations series, and many characters in The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged. Some of her favorite directing experiences have been Noises Off, The Odd Couple, Nine to Five, and Little Shop of Horrors. She is looking forward to working on several shows this next season between ZCT, Zane Trace Players, and Philo High School.

Sheryl thanks you for supporting the arts in our area.

Director’s Notes:
To quote Little Red Ridinghood, when I first decided to tackle Into The Woods I was “excited and scared”. I still am. But, this has been such an amazing journey with a fantastic group of people…and a cow. So many creative people have added their own special talents to create one of the finest ensembles I have ever had the pleasure to direct. I am also excited that you will see many new faces along with some that have been away for many years along with our stage veterans.

Each year we try to incorporate new technology and techniques as far as our time and budget will allow. For this show we have new lights that allow us to choose from thousands of colors to light the set. The set is also something new we have never done. When Rebecca Wagstaff brought in the poster design it was apparent that it could translate from paper to reality in the set design. The image transports you to a world of mystical fantasy. As you watch the show, be reminded that there is a live band playing! Sometimes because you don’t see them you forget that there are 12 wonderful musicians backstage performing. They provide the sounds that complete the mood.

I especially want to thank my assistant director Nancy, my producer Jan, my assistant musical director Tom, costumer Pam, and our technical director Carl for their support and endless hours of work. A special thanks goes to the Gantzer family who built the tower and have provided sparkle to our production.

Nancy Hynds (Co-Director) – I have been involved with area community theatre for almost 40 years. I have held many different positions, from directing to cleaning the toilets. Some of my favorite on stage roles have been Lucy in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, Rosabud in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, and Mother Superior in “Sound of Music”. I very much enjoyed directing “The Foreigner” and the pair of comedies, “Ladies of Harmony” and “Harmony Romances”. This show, “Into the Woods”, has been a joy. This cast is awesome. Wow! the voices. I hope you enjoy the production. If you are looking for something to get involved with, come talk with us. You can be on stage, back stage, on a work crew, painting or building, etc. There are many different things to do and many wonderful people to meet. (We won’t make you clean the toilets, unless you really want to volunteer for that.) Thank you for supporting Zanesville Community Theatre and other theaters in our area.
Jan Kiikka (Producer) – has been involved in one aspect of production or another at ZCT for over 20 years. Jan just retired in May 2012 from Franklin Local Schools, though she will still be the drama producer at Philo High School. Jan and her husband, Niel, live in the McIntire Terrace with their four dogs and one cat (and turtles and fish).


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