Murder on the Nile Cast and Crew

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Shirley Perry (First Beadseller) – Shirley has had a long association with ZCT starting with The Octette Bridge Club back in 2000. Her last role with ZCT was Bernedette in Flaming Idiots. Aside from performing, she also enjoys writing and stage managing.
She has held nearly every job imaginable and a few that are unimaginable. She welcomes new experiences, especially if they are interesting and will soon be looking for her next adventure.
Shirley enjoys spending time with her 3 dogs, 5 cats, 4 chickens and 16 nieces and nephews. She finds the chickens oddly calming.
When not involved in theater she enjoys genealogy, bike riding, gardening and preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.Shirley is excited to be involved with this production of Murder on the Nile and has greatly enjoyed making new acquaintances as well as rejoining old friends during the rehearsal process.
Enjoy the show.
Jared Gantzer (Second Beadseller) – Jared is happy to be on stage for his 3rd show at ZCT. Previous roles include Ernie Cusack in Rumors at ZCT, Sergeant Penny in The Hollow at ZCT, and Sam Hendrix in Wait Until Dark at The Renner. When Jared is not on stage, he juggles for the fire and light group Pyrotechnika. He lives in Zanesville with his wife Sarah, and their three children: Julia, Madeline and Grayson.
Lew Woodward (Steward) – I am blessed once again to be part of a Zanesville Community Theatre dramatic presentation. I am, as always, in awe of the talent of my fellow actors and actresses. I am proud to serve them in this production of “Murder on the Nile” as the Egyptian Steward aboard The Lotus. I truly love the “family” feeling I get just being around everyone involved in this production and with everyone involved with ZCT. I was proud to be a part of “The Hollow” last year at this time and “Young Frankenstein” the year before. I love this group and this production. I hope you will too. As they say in Egypt… Ah Salaam Aelaykum… Peace be with you.
Sally Goins (Helen ffoliot – ffoulkes) – Sally is so happy that you’ve chosen to join us on this trip down the mysterious Nile. She has been thrilled to be part of several productions at ZCT, including last year’s Agatha Christie offering, “The Hollow.” She has also played the evil step-mother in “Into the Woods,” the grouchy grandmother in “A Little Night Music” at the Renner, and the drunken secretary in “9 to 5.” She wishes to thank her wonderful husband and family for indulging her retirement hobby, and especially to thank her theatre family for allowing her to play. Enjoy the show!!
Cary Underwood (Christina Grant) – 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, The Hollow, and Into the Woods. Cary recently graduated from Bishop Rosecrans High School. There she was involved in choir and drama club. This Fall, she is attending Ohio University-Zanesville. In addition to the performing arts, Cary is a black belt in Kenpo. We hope you enjoy the show!
Cory Roush (William Smith) – Cory began acting as a student at Maysville High School, playing roles in The Music Man, 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 went on to play Officer Welch in Rumors and Hal in Proof. This past summer he served the royal family as Steward in one of his favorite musicals, Into the Woods. The character of William Smith uses almost as much sarcasm and wit as the actor, but only one of them is a communist. 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.
Mollie Earich (Louise) – It is great to be back on stage with this particular cast! In my real life, I teach Language Arts for grades 9-12, at the Franklin Local Community School in Roseville, Ohio. I am proud to say that I am a Zanesville Community Theatre and Zane Trace Players veteran actress and have had the opportunity, (for over 30 years!), to portray a wide range of leading roles. However, I LOVE roles such as Louise, because I get to act mysteriously! Enjoy the show! “Bonsoir…and welcome aboard the Lotus! Check your luggage with the Steward and enjoy the mysterious cruise down the Nile.”
Amy Underwood (Dr. Bessner) – I have long been a fan of murder mysteries in all of the variety of ways they are presented. The Agatha Christie plays are a particular favorite because they feature such eccentric characters, distinctive locations and neatly presented solutions. Because of this, the emphasis is on the creation of the characters rather than on the murder itself. Murder on the Nile has been, for many years, one of the most produced of Christie’s plays, and I think, one of the most fun. I enjoy creating a variety of characters and some of my recent favorite roles at ZCT have been in August: Osage County; Doubt; Next Fall; Noises Off; The Diary of Anne Frank; The Lion in Winter; and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Sarah Gantzer (Kay Mostyn) – Sarah is a mother of 3, and wife to Jared, her high school sweetheart. She is a 1st grade teacher for Zanesville City Schools, and volunteers for The East Central Ohio Dance Theatre Group, Movement on Main Center for Dance, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, and R.O.S.A. soccer. Theater holds a very special place in Sarah’s heart, and she loves being a part of this beautiful theater family. Sarah is thrilled to portray the prissy and selfish Kay Ridgeway Mostyn, and has enjoyed diving into a character who is so confident and self-assured. Most recently, Sarah directed The Little Mermaid Jr., here at ZCT, alongside her best friend. Previously she directed Alice in Wonderland the Home of the Zane Trace Players, The Renner Theatre, in downtown Zanesville. Sarah will also be directing the play “Puzzle Pieces” at Zanesville High School in December. She has had the immense pleasure to enjoy many fabulously fun roles onstage, including Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Cookie Cusack in Rumors, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man, Gerda Christow in The Hollow, and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. Coming up, Sarah and her family will be involved in The 25th Annual Angel Tree production, which will benefit Zanesville children, at The Renner. She thanks you so much for supporting the arts in our community!

Phil Sakal (Simon Mostyn) – Phil Sakal was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. What brought him to Zanesville, you might ask? Well, you can see him each weekday morning on Sunrise or each weekday afternoon during Live at Noon on WHIZ-TV.

Phil may be new to Zanesville Community Theatre, but he is no stranger to the stage. He was very involved in his high school’s drama club. While in high school he performed in Les Miserables, Ragtime, Miracle on 34th Street, and played guitar in Godspell. Phil was also involved back stage and helped build sets for It’s a Wonderful Life, M*A*S*H, and Little Shop of Horrors. He was the Audio Manager for M*A*S*H.

Phil is very excited to be performing and returning to the stage in Murder on the Nile. He has enjoyed all of the practices, and of course all of the shenanigans with his fellow cast members. Thank you for supporting the local arts and enjoy the show! It promises to be a “killer” show!

Eric Blake (Canon Pennefather) – 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 Into the Woods, The Hollow, The Diary of Anne Frank, Sweeney Todd, Death of A Salesman and The Crucible; just to name a few. Eric is also looking forward to directing the musical Chicago this Spring at Zanesville Community Theatre.

Eric wishes to take this opportunity to thank his wife Janice for her 33 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.

Jillian Von Gunten (Jacqueline de Severac) – Jillian has participated in local Theatre 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,” Barbara Fordham in “August: Osage County,” and The Witch in “Into the Woods” 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,” “Rumors,” and “The Little Mermaid, Jr.” 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.
Jan Smith (Captain McNaught, Friday, October 30, Saturday, November 7) – “Another opening, another show”! In Murder on the Nile, I play the role of the Captain of the Lotus. When the opportunity came to fill-in for a couple of performances, I jumped at the chance. After all, there are no small parts, only small actors. It’s a great script and an outstanding cast. And to have the chance to work with some of my favorite people on and off stage – I could not pass that up. And to you, who are reading this, half-way through the play, ask yourself, “Who did it?” But, don’t expect an easy answer. Good luck!
Kelly Miller (Captain McNaught, remaining performances) – is now retired as the Chief Probation Officer at the Licking County Common Pleas Court in Newark, Ohio and studied History and Political Science at Ashland College. He was in the Ashland College Choir performing musical theater, such as Godspell and touring the Midwest in 1983. Kelly received his Master of Science from the University of Cincinnati and has been a probation officer since 1983. He also teaches at Central Ohio Technical College and officiates in high school sports. A baritone/bass with the St. James Episcopal Church in Zanesville, Kelly has appeared as General Bullmoose in Little Abner and in chorus parts in Godspell and Camelot as a student. He is married and has a daughter and is a native of Licking County where he lives. Kelly was last seen in Zanesville Community Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd.

Production Staff

Melanie Von Gunten (Director) – Melanie and her long suffering husband Dan are part of the “old guard” at Zanesville Community Theatre, having been involved since 1977. In fact, daughter Jillian grew up in the Theatre and thought for a long time that the building was the west wing of her home. Now Jillian has been serving as the president of ZCT. Talk about feeling old! Melanie has served in nearly every capacity backstage for productions, except choreography (that’s why Jillian took dancing) and lighting (again, something to do with coordination). Occasionally, she may be found on stage. Most often, she can be found at the hair station backstage doing “hair magic”.

This is Melanie’s ninth journey into directing at ZCT, having previously directed Steel Magnolias, The Mousetrap, Ten Little Indians, Blithe Spirit, Ladies of the Sacred South, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, A Murder is Announced, and The Hollow. The Director of Religious Education at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, theatre provides relaxation and a creative outlet for Melanie, and she is most grateful for the continued support of the patrons and community members that support Zanesville Community Theatre and allow her the privilege of feeding her fantasies and theirs.

Director’s Notes:
I am delighted to be in the Director’s Chair once again, with Murder on the Nile being my ninth journey into directing at ZCT, having previously directed Steel Magnolias, The Mousetrap, Ten Little Indians, Blithe Spirit, Ladies of the Sacred South, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, A Murder is Announced, and The Hollow. I am very pleased that you all have joined us for this voyage on the Nile. I must express my deepest gratitude and affection to the tireless cast and crew of this production for their dedicated efforts to bring Dame Agatha Christie’s work to life during this one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary year of her birth. They have all brought their talents and abilities forth to provide you with the entertainment that only live theatre affords. I am extremely grateful to our patrons of Zanesville Community Theatre, the Muskingum County Library System, and all of the community members that support the arts and our own Theatre. It allows me the great privilege of feeding my fantasies and yours. The Lotus will be boarding soon. We hope for fair weather and smooth sailing, as we travel the waters of the Nile. Unfortunately, I have been warned that there may be storm clouds on the horizon. Enjoy the journey!


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