The Ransom of Red Chief Cast and Crew bios

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Phil Palmer (Bill) – I am blessed to be part of the Zanesville Community Theatre. I am pleased to be able to bring “Bill” to life, with the help of a great cast and crew. Most recently, I appeared as the “Dad” in the production of Cheaper by the Dozen, and at the end of last season had the opportunity to co- direct my first show A Bad Year for Tomatoes. I truly love the “family” feeling I get just being around everyone involved in this production and with everyone involved with ZCT.
In my other life, I am a Program Supervisor at Mount Aloysius, Inc. in New Lexington, Ohio. I have been on the Board of Directors of ZCT for the last 4 years and recently served as Vice-President. I am married to my lovely wife, Angel, who is the Producer and Stage Manager for this show and am blessed to have a great family. I want to thank you for supporting the arts and for coming to see Ransom of Red Chief.
Daniel Warne (Sam) – I have worked backstage in several productions including Young Frankenstein, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Cheaper by the Dozen. I have taken several years of speech and debate classes and I appeared on-stage here at ZCT as Ram Das in A Little Princess. When not working with the theater, I teach violin and manage Donald’s Donuts on Maple Avenue. I have had a great time bringing the character of Sam to life and hope you enjoy the show.
Joshua Lightle (Johnny Red) – Joshua is 10 years old and in the fourth grade at John McIntire Elementary.  He enjoys playing guitar, singing, reading and playing soccer.  He has always loved performing in church programs but is very excited to make his acting debut at ZCT.
Jerah Gahagan (Mary Alice) – Jerah is 9 years old and in 3rd grade. She has 6 brothers and sisters. When she’s not at the theater she likes to play softball, spend time with her friends, and play with her dog, Scarlet. She also plays violin. She is excited to be in the cast of “The Ransom of Red Chief” and hopes you enjoy the show.

Chelsea Miller (Mrs. Miller) – I am thrilled to be joining some amazing folks on stage in this entertaining adventure! When asked to play the role of Mrs. Miller I felt honored. I mean, who better to play Mrs. Miller than Mrs. Miller, herself? Haha!

I am married to a wonderful man and together we have a beautiful one year old daughter! I graduated from Ohio University with my Bachelor of Specialized Studies in History and Management. Right now I have the best job in the world, being a stay at home momma to my little girl! Although life is far from perfect, I am enjoying every moment of this life with which God has blessed me!

Please relax and enjoy the show!

Jan Smith (Constable Jones) – “Another opening, another show”!  In this show I play a constable: in real life I was an Investigator…what a stretch.  It’s been a long time since I have done a comedy.  I have been mostly directing and doing some walk-on parts, and I must say, I am a little nervous about it.  But what can one say.  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 up working with my lovely wife, Pam.  Enjoy the show.

Pam Smith (Miss Oliver) – As most already know, I am more comfortable “creating” from backstage, but every once in a while it’s fun to step out of your comfort zone…and the part of Flora Oliver was too good to turn down!  I also have the chance to work with my husband and some great people!  I hope you enjoy the show and…I just KNOW that sapsucker is here somewhere!

Katie Tewksbary (Miss Russell) – Katie has been an integral part of life behind the scenes at ZCT.  She can usually be found working as a stage hand or organizing props and costumes between shows.  Most recently she was assistant stage manager for “Little Mermaid, Jr.” but has decided to step out and try her hand on the other side of the stage.  She has found that she is thoroughly enjoying it.  In addition to being a mom and a grandmother, she enjoys being married to her wonderful husband Tom, who you will often find working behind the scenes with her.  She hopes you enjoy the show.
Scott Robison (Ebeneezer Dorset) – I have been involved in many theater productions here in the Zanesville area, most recently as Homer Van Fleet in “Night of January 16th” at The Renner, and as Piney in “A Bad Year for Tomatoes” here at ZCT. I like being on stage. For me, theater is about the adrenaline before a show, creating a character from the ground up, the friendships you make during rehearsals and the fun you have with your theater family. Break a leg everyone!!

Maggie Nussbaum (Mrs. Rudge) – Although many years have passed since I was introduced to O. Henry’s short story “Ransom of Red Chief” in a junior high English class, it has remained as one of my favorite short stories.  The story became one I enjoyed sharing with my fifth grade students during my teaching career.  Being a teacher allowed me to attempt comedic performances to dramatize lessons, but after retiring it was time to follow my desire to participate in a community theater.  A number of years ago I finally took my first baby step onto stage with a minor role in M*A*S*H.  I am excited to now take that second baby step onto the stage and be a part of a theater production of a story that continues to tickle my funny bone.

Constance Gahagan (Jane Chandler) –  In high school, I was very active in my drama team.  I was in The Christmas Carol, and many other musicals.  In my senior year, I co-wrote two plays and acted in one as a lead.  I moved to Zanesville after marrying my favorite guy, Caleb, and Ransom of Red Chief is my first play here at ZCT. I plan on being in as many shows as my work schedule with allow.  Besides my husband and theater, my other passions are God, photography and penguins.  I hope you enjoy the show.

Payton Van Nort (Abigail) – Hi! My name is Payton, and I am an 8th grader at Bishop Fenwick. I like to sing, dance and act. I’ve been in many plays, most recently The Little Mermaid, Into the Woods, and Alice in Wonderland. My most favorite part in being in this play is getting to experiment with different costumes. I hope you enjoy the show!

Katie Gahagan (Ellie) – Katie is 16 years old and the middle of 7 children. While she enjoys theater, her first love is art. She also enjoys playing soccer, hanging out with friends, and reading. She also plays violin. She hopes you enjoy the show as much as she has enjoyed being a part of this cast.
Reagan Whitaker (Susan) –  I am so excited to be a part of the Ransom of Red Chief! This is my 4th play; 2nd at ZCT.  Along with acting, I also enjoy cooking and volleyball.  I am in the 7th grade at Tri-Valley Middle School where my favorite subject is Reading.  I hope you enjoy the show!

Production Staff

Val Gahagan (Director) – Val Gahagan is a wife and mom to 7 children. She became addicted to the theater 12 years ago when her oldest auditioned for his first show and has had the privilege of sharing the stage with each of her children at least once. When she is not busy homeschooling, she is usually running kids to their activities. She is especially thankful for having a husband of 25 years who has been so supportive and indulges her theater hobby.

Director’s Notes:

I am delighted to have the opportunity to direct my third show here at Zanesville Community Theater, the previous two being “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Cheaper by the Dozen”. This show has a new significance for me since I not only get to work again with my wonderful producer and dear friend, Angel Palmer, but alongside my assistant director and beautiful daughter, Reanna Warne. “Ransom of Red Chief” is a favorite story for our family–who doesn’t enjoy a good O. Henry story, complete with unexpected endings? And the story has been made even better with a wonderful cast and crew that has worked hard to bring this story to life on the stage. To my cast and crew: Thank you for the laughter, tears, hugs, and encouragements. You are a cast that will hold a significant place in my heart. In true O. Henry fashion, this production is ending a whole lot differently than we all imagined when we dreamed it up a year ago. And thank you, audience and patrons, for allowing me the indulgence of escaping to the world of theater and literature. I hope you enjoy the show!

“Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.” O.Henry

Reanna Warne (Assistant Director) – Reanna has been dramatic since birth when she made it clear to the entire world that she was not impressed with being forced to join the rest of humanity for a lifetime. However, she has found opportunities to direct that drama in theater productions both here and at The Renner. She has had parts in may productions including “Oliver!”, “A Little Princess”, and “Cheaper by the Dozen”. She enjoyed working backstage on “Annie” so much that she went on to be Stage Manager for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”. This is her first stint directing and will always be her favorite because it was alongside her mother. When not at the theater or working, she can be found enjoying life with her husband, Daniel.

Angel Palmer (Producer, Stage Manager) – I have many passions in life…my faith, my family, music…and the theater.  I love being onstage and performing under the lights, but more than that…I love to be behind the scenes, quietly making sure everything is exactly where it is supposed to be so that the magic onstage can happen. Give me a headset, and I am a happy person.

Katie Boyd (Assistant Stage Manager) – I’m a Junior at West Muskingum High School, and have been a part of theater since I was very young. I recently ventured into working backstage instead of being on-stage, and LOVE it! This is by second time working backstage with ZCT, and I have been the stage manager for my school’s productions for the past three years. When I am not backstage, I can be found anywhere my camera takes me. Photography and film are passions of mine, and I hope to one day make a career out of them.

Allison Bashore (Stage Crew) – I have been involved with theater since the young age of 5 and have always loved performing. My first show with ZCT was Our Town, and I went on to act in, stage manage, and assist in many others before marrying the love of my life, Matt, and moving out of the area. We have recently moved back and I am excited to be getting involved again because I would love to make sure my two little boys have the same opportunities to be as involved as I was. Thank you to each of you for coming to see our show and for helping make the arts possible for our youth.

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