Hay Fever Cast Bios

Director’s Notes- Hay Fever introduces you to the Bliss family; a retired actress mother, the novelist father, and their two adult children for whom all the world, literally is a stage. The plot was inspired by Noel Coward’s weekends spent at the country manor of Laurette Taylor and her family. Russian playwright Anton Chekhov considered Taylor one of America’s greatest actresses and commented that her flair for drama did not stop at the stage door. Weekends at their estate were spent playing ridiculous games where there were often outrageous arguments about the rules and abrupt disapproval of any guest who turned out to be self-conscious or unable to act out an adverb properly. The Taylors were eccentric, bohemian, and loved to engage in theatrical games which dismayed and distressed their guests. Noel Coward remarked that Hay Fever was a play with no plot and remarkably little action. The play reminds me quite a bit of TV’s Seinfield…eccentric characters put in farcical situations that result in laughs for all. 

Sheryl Wise

Sarah Gantzer (Sorel Bliss) –  Sarah is a very active member of the arts community in our area. Sarah currently serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors for Zanesville Community Theatre, a board member for the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Drama Club Advisor for Zanesville High School, Elementary Robotics Coach, and is a Jazz and Ballet Instructor at Movement on Main Center for Dance. She is also Language Arts teacher and Literacy Coach for Zanesville City Schools. Since arriving in Zanesville in January 2007, Sarah has been involved in so many wonderful productions!  She has had great fun directing Oklahoma and Puzzle Pieces at ZHS, Alice in Wonderland Jr.  at The Renner, and The Little Mermaid Jr and 13 alongside her best friend, Jillian, here at ZCT, Sarah is blessed to direct many wonderful children’s shows in the area. Some of her favorites have been: Aristocats Kids at ZCT, Frozen Kids at ZCT, and Mulan Jr. at Secrest Auditorium.  Sarah also loves being onstage, and has had the immense pleasure to enjoy many fabulously fun roles onstage, including: Nancy Lee in The Night of January 16th,  Rapunzel in Into the Woods,  Cookie Cusack in Rumors, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man, Gerda Christow in The Hollow,  Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Rosa Bud in The Mystery of Edwin Drood,  Hermia, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ulla in The Producers, Laura in The Glass Menagerie, Fiona in Shrek the Musical, and Helen in Fun Home. She thanks you so much for supporting the arts in our community!

Jared Gantzer (Simon Bliss) Jared is excited to portray Simon Bliss in ZCT’s Production of Hay Fever. Jared has been lucky enough to have performed in several shows at both of the Community Theatres in town. Some of his favorite roles at the Renner Theatre include Juror No. 8 in 12 Angry Men. The Gentleman Caller in The Glass Menagerie, The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical and Lawrence “Guts” Regan in Night of January Sixteenth. Some of his favorite roles at ZCT include Jesus in Godspell. Charles Condomine in Blithe Spirit, Carmen Ghia in The Producers, Billy Flynn in Chicago and Paul Singer in Moon Over Buffalo. Jared lives in Zanesville with his wife Sarah and their five children and wants to thank you for supporting the arts in our community!!!

Nancy Cain (Clara, Producer) After 40+ years of participation in community theater and taking time away, Nancy occasionally gets the itch to get involved again. Hay Fever is scratching that itch with much camaraderie and laughter. She hopes you enjoy the show as much as she has enjoyed this cast, crew, and production.

Lura Wallace Brannon (Judith Bliss) Lura is thrilled to have a lead role as the matriarch of this ‘Bliss’fully theatrical family. She has been in several productions at ZCT, and this is her biggest role to date. You may have seen her in her first show here, August: Osage County, or in Godspell two years ago, or in numerous plays and musicals in between. When not in the theater, she spends her time teaching and coaching, doing various arts and crafts, and spending time with her friends and family.

Steve Hendershott (David Bliss) You may have seen Steve on this stage in various roles over the last few years ranging from the murderous Sweeney Todd to the mild-mannered Leo Bloom, a somewhat disturbed Juan Peron, a moody novelist, and the psychopathic title character in Shakespeare’s Scottish play. We now return to another novelist of questionable moral fiber. Hmmm…there’s a disturbing pattern there…This show is simply a laugh riot waiting to happen, and Steve is completely delighted to be back on stage with this exceptional cast to bring laughter back to us all as we return to a more social world. He hopes you’ll relax, enjoy, and laugh yourselves silly. When he isn’t on stage or in rehearsal, Steve works at the David Crist State Farm agency www.ycityinsurance.com and has enjoyed his “temporary” position there for the last 16+ years.

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. Jolene has put up with Steve for over 19 years now, and he is so grateful to her for being the real reason for anything that could be called his success!

Phil Sakal (Sandy Tyrell) Phil’s love of theatre began while he was in his High School’s Drama Club. Some of his favorite shows to be a part of were Les Miserable, Murder on the Nile, Bye Bye Birdie, and Chicago to name a few! Phil is very excited to be a part of the crazy and talented cast of Hay Fever as Sandy Tyrell. It has been some time since he has gotten to be on stage, and this show is the perfect way to get back into the fun of theatre! When not on stage, you can find him playing guitar, on the golf course, spending time with his fiancée Alaine and friends or on WHIZ-TV as the weekday morning and noon meteorologist. Thank you for supporting the local arts and Enjoy the Show!

Jillian B. Von Gunten (Myra Arundel)  Jillian has been involved in local theater for her entire life, she currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Zanesville Community Theatre. Jillian also sits on the Board of Directors for the Southeast Ohio Symphony Orchestra. Some of her favorite roles include: Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (twice!), Alais in The Lion in Winter, Nancy in Oliver!, Barbara Fordham in August: Osage County, Henrietta in The Hollow, Ruth Condomine in Blithe Spirit, the Witch in Into the Woods, Eva Peron in EVITA, and Regina in The Little Foxes, all at ZCT, and Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Suzy in Wait Until Dark, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Sr. Robert Anne in Nunsense 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, Macbeth, The Producers, and 13, the Musical. A graduate of Rosecrans High School, Muskingum University, and Capital University Law School, she is an attorney at Allen & Baughman, Attorneys at Law.

Scott Robinson (Richard Greatham) Scott has been performing at ZCT and The Renner since moving back to his hometown of Zanesville with his wife Michelle. While he likes playing the character of Richard, it is a bit different from his usual roles. Normally he plays the villain or at the very least the jerk everyone wants to boo! He promises not to be a jerk to our lovely patrons. He hopes you enjoy the show as much as he has enjoyed being part of the cast and crew. Break a leg all!

Becca Wilson (Jackie Coryton) Becca is so excited for you all to join her on this adventure, Becca is 20 years old. She has been seen in Little Women (Hannah), Quilters (Daughter #6), City of Angels (Mallory), High School Musical (Martha), and Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins). She loves being on the stage and hopes you enjoy the show!

Sheryl Wise (Director) Sheryl is so happy to be a part of this talented cast and crew that is bringing Hay Fever to our ZCT stage. She is most often behind the scenes as a musical director but has also enjoyed time on stage as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Rev. Mother in several productions of the Nunsense series, M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias, and Alice in You Can’t Take it With You. This fall will begin her 42nd year with Franklin Local Schools where she is currently teaching theater at Philo High School. Sheryl serves as Office Assistant and Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newark and when not doing one of those jobs she also has several piano, voice, drum, saxophone, or guitar students. Sheryl and her wife Jillian share their home with a menagerie of dogs and cats.