Atlanta native Bruce S. Johnson spent nearly every summer of his life in Cuchara until moving here permanently several years ago. Bruce is best (and, most likely, will be forever) known for his memorable portrayal of “Greg” in 2015’s summer comedy Sylvia. A soccer coach and 30-year veteran of both elementary and middle school education (mostly teaching science), Bruce made his Cuchara stage debut as "Monroe" in 2013’s dinner theatre event Paradise Is Murder and his LaVeta stage debut as hero “Marshall Marshall Law” in 2014’s The Treasure of Shiver River, following that with “Johnny Onthespot” in 2017’s Treachery At Cartilage Creek. He again entertained dinner theatre audiences as “Gabby Cartwright” in The Last Noel, “Bonkers” the clown in Midway to Murder and “Burt Alvord” in Double Trouble At Twin Peaks (2019). In addition, 2019 saw Bruce playing a variety of roles in the FCPA’s Carol Burnett Salute. In his spare time, Bruce enjoys birding, photography and all manner of sports while also serving as Cuchara’s chief security officer, Wednesday night bingo~caller and President of the FCPA Board of Directors!
Di Sortore has been active in music and theater for a really, really, really long time. More recent theater offerings include the role of “Yente” in Fiddler on the Roof, stage managing productions of Greater Tuna and playing keyboards for The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. Prior to her current job, Di was Director of Worship and Music for a large Presbyterian church in Castle Rock where she organized over 70 musicians and worship support groups for multiple weekly services and all special services. Di’s hilarious portrayal of “Gail Nail” in The Treasure of Shiver River was Di’s second appearance on the LaVeta stage. Her first was in the December 2013 Christmas production of Ho, Ho, Ho, Radio but local LaVeta theatre-goers will recognize her as one-half of the carnival act “Kit & Kat” in the dinner theatre event Midway to Murder, followed by “Roxie” in the 2019 dinner theatre production of Double Trouble At Twin Peaks. On the comedy stage, Di portrayed “Patricia,” the only (somewhat) sane retirement home resident in The Old People Are Revolting and “Mrs. Johnstone” in the recent Fawlty Towers. With her many musical talents, Di sang the roles of kooky “Betty Jean” in The Marvelous Wonderettes and “Mrs. Snustad (Vivian)” in Church Basement Ladies.
Peggy Arnold-Hoobler, a seasoned veteran of the stage, possesses theatre credits far too numerous to list on this page! In addition to being the founder and an active member of the FCPA Show Choir, Peggy is well-known locally from her utterly unforgettable turn as “Louise Seger” in the June 2014 sell-out musical Always. . .Patsy Cline, which she also directed. In 2013 she directed the smash summer hit Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, while also serving as “The Narrator” and member of the ensemble cast. Peggy also directed the FCPA’s 2015 dramatic musical Quilters, the 2016 musical The Marvelous Wonderettes and 2018’s Church Basement Ladies. In addition to her extensive work in musical theatre, Peggy has also directed a number of the FCPA’s summer melodramas including 2017’s Treachery At Cartilage Creek, where she also played the role of “Widder Plunkett,” and 2014’s The Treasure of Shiver River Retired from thirty-three years in education, Peggy now spends her time participating in numerous clubs and organizations including the FCPA’s Board of Directors, where she currently serves as its Treasurer.
Maria Wyland was born and raised on Long Island, New York, but nearly qualifies as a LaVeta “native” after 36 years in town. Local theatre audiences may remember her starring role as the recently deceased (but hard to forget) “Maria Rosetti” in Death by Dessert, “Louise the Cat Burglar” in Happy Hollandaise, the hapless “Monica” in the spring 2011 production of Oprah Made Me Do It and the cash-strapped bistro owner "Maria Mangiate" in the FCPA's dinner theatre production of Whack Whack . . . Or Say Goodbye, Mob Style! at Sammie's in LaVeta. Maria also appeared as game show contestant “Peyton” in the dinner theatre show Paradise Is Murder at The Timbers. A former title examiner (with the erstwhile Stewart Title) by day, Maria gives back to the community in her spare time, whether it’s leading a girl scout troop, teaching Sunday school, or fighting fires as a former member of the volunteer LaVeta Fire Department. In recent years she has been an enthusiastic participant in the FCPA, lending her time and considerable talent to the theatre’s productions and serving for many years as its Secretary on the FCPA Board of Directors.
Shane Clouse first became involved in the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts shortly after he and wife Sher moved to LaVeta in 1996 and has been on the theatre’s Board of Directors for an impressive 21 years! While local audiences will recognize Shane from his many acting roles in FCPA productions over the years, many locals also admire his mastery of the theatre’s sound and light board where he worked his magic coordinating sound, lights and a slide show in 2013’s Respect: A Musical Journey of Women and again in 2015’s Sylvia. A natural comedian, Shane has entertained melodrama crowds as, e.g., “Wing Tip” in The Shame of Tombstone, and pirate “Orin Gold” in The Treasure of Shiver River. He has also entertained dinner theatre-goers as the ‘pharmaceutically challenged’ “Tony Conflenti” in Whack Whack, the erstwhile rock star “Stung” in 2014’s The Last Noel and sycophantic conniver “Hasty Dasher” in Jestifiable Homicide. Shane also played the chronically hapless explosives enthusiast “Doug” in 2016’s The Old People Are Revolting, “Charlie” in the 2017 Senior Moments sketches “The Code” and “Growing Old” and hapless chef “Terry” in 2019’s Fawlty Towers. Most recently, Shane and wife Sher directed a Salute to Carol Burnett, where he also played a variety of roles.
The FCPA’s favorite “mop lady” Rae Drury became involved with the theatre in 2011 after moving “home” to LaVeta that year. She has now served on the FCPA board of directors for a number of years. Among the many things Rae does for the theatre, she has especially enjoyed being theatre manager for the 2015 musical Quilters and the 2016 musical The Marvelous Wonderettes. She’s also loved her melodrama roles as the crusty “Pecos Fergunson” in 2017’s Treachery at Cartilage Creek and the pirate “Burlap Bonnie” in 2014’s The Treasurer of Shiver River, as well as olio roles in the 2011 and 2013 melodramas. Her murder mystery roles have been equally fun, playing the neurotic “Margo Chastain” in Paradise Is Murder and the trashy “Lana Desmond” in The Last Noel. Rae serves as the theatre lobby manager, provides and serves refreshments during performances, decorates the lobby for events, welcomes guests and cleans the theatre. In her spare time, she exhibits and sells copper enamel paintings from her home studio.
Mitzi Keairns, a true La Veta native and one of its most recognized residents, graduated from La Veta High School and from the University of Northern Colorado then departed Colorado for points east. Having lived in Rhode Island and New Jersey for a number of years, Mitzi and her husband Don returned to La Veta in 1999 to help her dad run Charlie’s, later assuming full ownership and operation of the historic La Veta store until selling it in the spring of 2012. Don and Mitzi are the parents of two daughters and two sons and grandparents to a few grandchildren. In her spare time, what little there’s been of it in recent years, Mitzi has been a tireless participant in various local organizations including Rotary Club, Hermosa Club, PEO, Friends of the Francisco Fort and the Chamber of Commerce, to mention a few. As if that’s not enough to keep her busy, Mitzi is also a member of the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts’ Board of Directors while enjoying (in her free –? – time) reading, cooking, writing, traveling and various outdoor activities. La Veta theatre aficionados will recognize Mitzi as the ditzy waitress “Frankie” in Death by Dessert, as TV moderator “Jane Lemur” in Town Meeting (a role that clearly demonstrated that Mitzi belongs in the spotlight!) and as “The Woman” in The Shame of Tombstone.
Salida native Stephanie Masinton began acting in high school with the Salida High Country Fine Arts Association where she enjoyed performing in Hello, Dolly and Give My Regards to Broadway and participating in her high school drama club. During 12 years in England, she was a member of the Durham Dramatic Society, took part in the Durham medieval mystery play cycle, performed in front of Durham Cathedral and performed and directed Shakespeare and medieval plays with the Lords of Misrule in York. She returned to Salida briefly in 2006 where she coached the drama club and directed the school’s spring production of Peter Pan. Her FCPA performances include: “Sybil Fawlty” in the 2019 summer comedy, Fawlty Towers, various memorable roles in the 2019 Salute to Carol Burnett, and most recently as “Audrey” in Little Shop of Horrors. Stephanie works as a librarian for both the school and the public library, where she entertains the kids with dramatic readings and storytelling on a weekly basis.
Ashley Proctor-Vandagriff comes to FCPA with decades of experience in the dance industry. Ashley has numerous Teacher Excellence, National Championship Titles, Technique and Choreography accolades to her name, and her students have even more. In her 20+ years of her expert involvement in the dance industry she has served in all aspects of studios and companies, including master teacher, choreographer, assistant director and director. Ashley has also consulted with professional productions and direction. Her quirky and enthusiastic approach to the arts bring to life her passionate teaching techniques which reflect in her work. She has volunteered as choreographer for FCPA since 2019, joined the board in Fall of 2021 and made her FCPA debut in March of 2022 playing Sheila Gree in “The Vile Veterinarian”. Ashley takes on various roles such as Assistant Director, Stage Manager and Critiquer.
Ellen Wyland White is yet another local resident who can legitimately claim LaVeta Native status. A talented fabric artist who works for well-known local quilters Ricky Tims and Justin Shults, Ellen is perhaps best known for her American tribal belly-dancing artistry, an activity she’s been enjoying for years. Her local acting credits include the comedy Death by Dessert, the melodrama How Much Is the Doggy In the Window and “Mrs. Abbott” in Happy Hollandaise. Well-known for her dinner theatre improvisations, Ellen was the murderously ambitious “Eve Holiday” in Paradise Is Murder, the hapless retirement home activities director “Carole Holliday” in The Last Noel and belly-dancer “Zara” in Midway To Murder. But perhaps her most memorable role in LaVeta was as the all-too-human canine “Sylvia” in Sylvia. Ellen is the proud parent of two adorable children, Alexander and Emma. When she’s not exercising her artistic talents at the Tims Studio or chasing after her children, Ellen enjoys live music and, of course, art and theatre.