The Production Team

Staging a community theater production, like raising a child, takes a village. The on-stage cast is the visible part of the show, but there are many, many other people — the people off-stage — whose contributions are just as necessary to the success of the show.

Months before the curtain goes up, the director and assistant director in collaboration with the music director and choreographer create the vision for the production, make casting decisions, guide the performers in the interpretation of their characters, assemble musicians, and train and rehearse vocalists and dancers. Sets must be designed, built, and painted. Costumes have to be created, sewn, repaired, and cleaned. Unusual props must be found or borrowed (“we need a small outboard motor in Act 1 and a set of bag-pipes in Act 2”). Stage lighting has to be designed and arranged. Sound effects must be assembled, body-mics readied, publicity and advertising must be written and distributed, audition and rehearsal space and schedules have to be organized. Playbills and websites must be created.

That work takes place before an audience ever arrives, but during every performance, another cadre of the off-stage team perform a carefully-choreographed “dance” in support of the on-stage performers — the stage manager is in charge of the actual performance, setting its pace and tone, the backstage crew helps performers with costume and prop changes, while the musicians and conductor, the lighting and sound operators all carefully set the mood of each scene.

These are the people off-stage. There would be no show without them. This list will grow appreciably as the production develops.

The People Off-Stage:

DavidLauria DAVID LAURIA (Director): David has been in theater since he was 8 years old when he played Davy Crockett at the Chambersburg Community Center in Trenton, NJ. He received his BA in Theatre Arts from California State University, Fullerton and an MBA from the University of Colorado. Since coming to Florence, he has acted in many productions including Proof, Fiddler on the Roof, Li’l Abner, Dead in the Sled, You Dirty Rat, and others. David is a company member of local murder mystery troupe Poison Pen Players. He has also directed many productions here in town including Last Resort Players’ Cabaret, The Sound of Music, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Chicago.
MelanieHeard MELANIE HEARD (Choreographer): Melanie’s professional arts training stems from the genre of classical ballet. She studied dance with the Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet School in DC, and Ballet West in Utah. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Ms. Heard has directed and/or choreographed 60+ full length shows, and is the Artistic Director and Founder of C.R.O.W. (Children's Repertory of OR Workshops) and co-owner of Poison Pen Players. Melanie has played many onstage roles — from a tap dancing chorus girl, to “Sally Bowles” in Cabaret to the title role in Evita. Choreographing Mamma Mia! has been a blast, and Melanie is grateful for this opportunity to work with the Last Resort Players.
RosemaryLauria ROSEMARY LAURIA (Assistant Director): Rosemary’s first stage experience in Florence was when Wendy Krause talked her into joining the cast of Li’l Abner as one of the singing -dancing housewives, which was coincidentally being directed by her then-future-husband, David Lauria. In 2005 it was something to fill the time, but has since come to be a way of life without a year passing that she was not either acting or somehow assisting in a local production. She’s had parts in Sugar, Angry Housewives, Steele Magnolias, Sylvia, You Dirty Rat, Love Letters, Playhouse Melodramas, and Holly Jolly Follies. In addition to stage work she looks forward to finding out what retirement life is like, doing some traveling, gardening, painting and maybe even learn to cook.
PaulaBurnette PAULA BURNETTE (Producer): Paula has been active in the theatre community for several years, helping backstage, with make-up and production, and playing Frau Schmidt in The Sound of Music. She participated in two productions of A Christmas Memory and accompanying Radio Show, was an extra in Our Town, played Twink Futrelle in Dearly Beloved and Kate in Sylvia. She and her husband Dave produced The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Chicago for LRP.
DaveHansen DAVE HANSEN (Producer): Dave enjoyed theatre from the vantage of the audience for years, but was slowly pulled into the role of producer by his wife Paula Burnette. In addition to producing for LRP, Dave has helped with lights, sound, playbills, and webpages on many productions at Class Act Theatre. He applauds everyone in the production company for the work, energy, and love they've put into their preparations.
SheriSusee SHERI SUSEE (Stage Manager): Sheri moved to Florence two years ago and dove into the theater community upon arrival. She has been involved in numerous productions both on stage and back stage, as well as assisting with lighting, sound and stage managing. Sheri is happy to call Florence her home and loves being involved in performances with her theater family!
KathleenWenzel KATHLEEN WENZEL (Assistant Stage Manager): Kathleen has worked backstage in many productions, most recently as the assistant director of Grey Gardens. She recently acted in the dinner theatre production of Murder at the Tony Lou Awards. She volunteers with C.R.O.W. working on sound, and as a photographer for other events in Florence. Prior to moving to Florence she worked in the Los Angeles area as among other things, a food stylist. She loves photography and beading and is a member of Backstreet Gallery.
JenniferChaney JENNIFER CHANEY (Dramaturg, Costume Design): Since 5 years old, Jennifer has appeared in over 50 productions as an Actor, Producer, Director, Dancer, Costumer, Choreographer, and as Stage Manager. Her most memorable performances were sharing the stage with family members and dear friends. At age 11 she played in Annie and 25 years later she directed it – a particularly rewarding experience. She played Elsa in The Sound of Music, and last December directed A Christmas Story. She currently attends the University of Oregon, studying Dramaturgy in the Theatre Arts Department. She is also Vice President of LRP.
MargaretMcDiarmid MARGARET McDIARMID (Lighting): Margaret got her adult start in stage craft here at the Florence Playhouse eleven years ago! Stage crew, props, set construction or general gofer ... but when the opportunity to learn lighting came along, she found her niche. She now spends her time doing lighting and anything else fun that comes along. We know she’s well into triple-digits when it comes to lighting stage performances but you may not be aware she’s traveled-to and lived-in nearly that many foreign countries as well.
MarkJones MARK JONES (Sound Design): Mark and wife Teri have been in Florence less than a year. Previously he was a school principal, after a career as a broadcaster in the military. He describes himself as a guy “who likes to push people’s buttons.” He declined to offer a photo, saying his wife has always insisted he has a face made for radio. Nonetheless, we’re extremely grateful he volunteered to help with this show (and we doubt that Teri ever said anything like that).