The Spanish Peaks Players
THE SPANISH PEAKS PLAYERS
Coral Anderson moved to Huerfano County with her husband Dick in 1985 and is now the owner of Corner Cottage Skin Care and a well-traveled trainer in the Skin Classic technique. While Coral is well-known about town from her numerous community contributions, in “real life” she is a critical care nurse at Denver’s Swedish Medical Center. Coral’s theatre credits are too lengthy to list in their entirety but include director duties in Death By Dessert, Happy Hollandaise, the 2015 production of Sylvia and the 2019 summer hit Fawlty Towers. Her acting credits cover many roles in interactive dinner theatre (e.g., “Shirley Dimple” in The Last Noel and the doomed “Ruthie Gulliandy” in Jestifiable Homicide). Also a well-known presence in FCPA stage productions, Coral has tickled audiences with her work in summer melodrama, including her turn as the ditzy French maid “Fifi” in The Shame of Tombstone and the equally confused “Paige Turner” in The Treasure of Shiver River. Apart from melodrama, she’s kept the crowd in stitches with her unforgettable portrayals of wacky “Patsy” in Oprah Made Me Do It and campaign manager “Marsha Goodhop” in Town Meeting, not to mention her hilarious take on the accidentally comic psychiatrist “Leslie” in Sylvia and, most recently, “Mrs. Richards” in Fawlty Towers. sketch. Coral served for many years on the FCPA Board of Directors, in turn its President, Treasurer and Vice President, but is currently on hiatus.
Colorado native Jeanine Anderson was born and raised in Denver but has lived in LaVeta since 1978, nearly qualifying her for LaVeta Native status, too! Back in the 1980’s, Jeanine was part of the original Spoon River Players at what was then known as the Fort Francisco Theatre, playing roles in Man of La Mancha, Spoon River Anthology and A Christmas Carol along with participation in several olios in the 1980’s and 1990’s. A born music lover, Jeanine has been singing since she was a child and was introduced to theatre by participating in several junior and senior high school productions. She especially enjoys musical theatre and the opportunity to share the experience of performing and interpreting both the story and the music, as she did as a member of the ensemble cast in the FCPA’s 2015 production of the dramatic musical Quilters. Jeanine also had a lot of fun playing the role of “Minerva Parsnip” in the melodrama Treachery At Cartilage Creek. She is a frequent participant in local holiday Cantatas and, in “real life,” enjoys the bookkeeping business she created from her home over 20 years ago. In her spare time, Jeanine loves fishing, hiking, gardening, sewing, travel and riding along as a motorcycle passenger and truly appreciates living in lovely little LaVeta!
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.
William Beverly is a well-known advocate for school children in Huerfano County. A Virginia native with a Ph.D. in Social Work, Dr. Beverly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing in the area, a domestic violence counselor and a reporter for the Huerfano World Journal. His theatre credits stretch back 40 years and include extra roles in four major motion pictures (GI Jane, The Jackal, A Woman Named Jackie, and Ms. Rose White). He’s worked on movie sets and performed on stage in a variety of roles and will no doubt be remembered locally for his entertaining portrayals of “Mandrake Mothdust” in the melodrama Here Come the Cows. . .Or Never Say Moo in the Mesa, “Philip” in Happy Hollandaise, master chef “Farron Heit” in the 2012 melodrama Someone Save My Baby, Ruth! and the hilariously over-the-top political candidate “Chad Cash” in Town Meeting. William has also appeared in dinner theatre productions as the soon-to-be- deceased “Yule Tyde” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder at The Timbers in Cuchara, the again-unfortunate “Don Carlo Conflenti” in Whack Whack at Sammie’s in LaVeta and the whacky director “Cecil B. DeMule” in The Last Noel.
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.
Pulling double duty as director and actor in the FCPA’s 2012 melodrama Someone Save My Baby, Ruth, Sher Clouse has been involved with the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts for many years and served on its Board of Directors for over a decade. Originally from Ulysses, Kansas, Sher moved to LaVeta in 1996 with husband Shane, raising four daughters and, today, a flock of grandchildren! A home health care worker in “real life,” Sher is well-known to LaVeta audiences from her many comic roles in FCPA productions such as, most recently, “Mrs. Arrad” in Fawlty Towers, “Dr. Celeste Angel” in the 2018 dinner theatre event Jestifiable Homicide and the batty “Elizabeth” in The Old People Are Revolting. Sher has also applied her directing talents to several productions, including a number of melodramas and the popular Odd Couple: The Female Version and the recent Salute to Carol Burnett, all while demonstrating her acting chops in countless plays, including her memorable (and personal favorite) portrayal of “Granny” in Foiled By An Innocent Maid and “Felina” in Galactic Amazons.
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.
Laurie Erwin hales from a local family whose roots run deep in Cuchara and LaVeta. The mother of four boys, Laurie is a well-known LaVeta volunteer who enjoys organizing and participating in community service projects and, by day, works as LaVeta’s Town Clerk. Laurie’s numerous acting credits include her starring role as “Mrs. Elroy (Karin) Engelson” in the 2018 musical Church Basement Ladies and her turn as the comical “Virginia Mayonnaise” in the 2017 melodrama Treachery at Cartilage Creek. Laurie has been a melodrama regular as, among other roles, the lovely “Miss Twink” in A Golden Fleecing, the utterly hilarious “Peachy Jamm” in The Shame of Tombstone and “Lotta Luck” in The Treasure of Shiver of River. She enjoys the improvisation needed for audience interactive dinner theatre, including her roles as “Roxy” in Double Trouble at Twin Peaks (2009), the perky “Hollie Barrie” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder, pill-popping mob wife “Sofia Conflenti” in Whack Whack, “Mona Lott” in The Last Noel, “Storm” in Midway to Murder and “Cara Webb” Jestifiable Homicide. She also entertained the audience in a variety of roles in the recent Salute to Carol Burnett.
Mark Erwin is a born and bred LaVeta Native (the real thing!) having lived here for most of his life. Married for 20 years to Laurie, Mark is an experienced mechanic who volunteers his time to announce at LaVeta sporting events, referee basketball games, and coach baseball, basketball and football. Mark’s theatre credits date back to his high school years where he first caught the acting bug playing a nurse in the school play. Local theatre-goers may recall his spirited performance as the beer-drinking mechanic in Dearly Departed, his hilarious turn as “Larry the Cat Burglar” in Happy Hollandaise, his valiant “Stanley Stoutheart” in A Golden Fleecing and his other melodrama roles as, e.g., the goofy “Sidekick” in The Shame of Tombstone and “Colonel Briggs Rancidview” in Treachery At Cartilage Creek. Dinner theatre audiences have enjoyed his antics as former FBI agent “Noel Bell” in Have Yourself A Merry Little Murder, TV reality show contestant and ‘visionary’ “Reed” in Paradise Is Murder, “Carney Barker Mountebank” in Midway to Murder and “Busy Buckley” in Jestifiable Homicide.
Jim Hoobler began his theatrical career years ago as a “Carrot Top” in Mr. Brown's garden in Peter Rabbit. As he recalls, he was in kindergarten at the time. He was probably the original "Carrot Top" but failed to make it on Broadway. Fast forward over 60 years and you find him in his second stage performance, the FCPA’s 2014 melodrama, The Treasure of Shiver River, stuttering his way through his lines and making a fool of himself as “Rusty Nail” ~ something that he does exceptionally well. In real life, Jim’s first career was that of a Kansas County Extension Agent. For the past 40 years, he’s been a Farm Humorist/Banquet speaker and, for over 22 years, husband to La Veta's own Ms. Peggy Arnold-Hoobler. Oh, by the way, just like “Rusty Nail,” he is also a real live Auctioneer and is well-known on the LaVeta stage entertaining the audience before the show with his unique comedic talents!
Haley Hake Jameson
Haley Hake Jameson, like her mother Jill, is a multi-talented musician and actress and has appeared on stage in musical, comedy and dramatic productions. A graduate of LaVeta High School, Haley is an accomplished violinist in the Pueblo Symphony. While many locals have heard Haley’s beautiful violin playing in various venues, LaVeta theatre aficionados will also remember her whacky “Crazy Clara” in the 2011 melodrama A Golden Fleecing and many enjoyed her whimsical violin playing at the start of Town Meeting and her turn as “Eleanor the Makeup Girl” in the same show. Haley starred as “Jacqueline,” the lovely French country girl who truly understands the meaning of ‘peace’ in Not On This Night and charmed the audience as “Little Victoria” in The Shame of Tombstone. More recently, Haley tickled the audience with her hilarious portrayal of “Phyllis” in Sylvia and as “Polly” in Fawlty Towers, and shared the fun during dinner theatre as “Jane Marble” in Jestifiable Homicide.
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!
Robert W. Johnson
Robert W. Johnson earned his theatre degree from Adams State College and taught speech, theatre, journalism, and art at La Veta Public Schools for 25 years. Thirty-seven years ago Robert directed The Silver Whistle, the first play ever produced at the Francisco Center for the Performing Arts. He was a founding member of the Spoon River Players where he served as an actor, director, and set designer over a 20-year period. His major acting roles included “McMurphy” in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the male lead in Plaza Suite, “Andy Hobart” in the Star Spangled Girl and the “Innkeeper/Governor” in Man of La Mancha. Local audiences will no doubt recognize Robert from his performances in the 2011 melodrama A Golden Fleecing and the 2013 melodrama The Shame of Tombstone where he played the villain “Judge Mortimer Harshly.” In addition to his many acting credits, Robert has been the director or technical director in over 50 productions in schools and community theatres. He currently resides with his wife Debbie in Rye, Colorado, where he operates his own business as a home inspector and energy auditor.
Mitzi Keairns, a true LaVeta native and one of its most recognized residents, graduated from LaVeta 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 LaVeta in 1999 to help her dad run Charlie’s, later assuming full ownership and operation of the historic LaVeta 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. LaVeta 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.
Bethany La Loge
Until recently re-locating, Bethany La Loge used to spend her day crunching numbers at Huerfano Socials Services, while moonlighting as a mild mannered "Girl Friday" on the side. Bethany moved to LaVeta in August 2011, arriving from her home town of Colorado Springs where she worked as a property manager. Bethany’s history on stage goes way back to the third grade when she first appeared as a singer in a musical theatre version of The Nutcracker. Having studied ballet for twelve years, Bethany became an accomplished ballerina, was a member of a professional ballet troupe and appeared in a number of ballets while also choreographing various dance routines. Bethany’s turn as “Ada Sourball” in Someone Save My Baby, Ruth! was her first appearance in LaVeta melodrama but she quickly followed that up with her over-the-top performance of socially uptight “Flora Courtland” in The Shame of Tombstone and her role as “Dr. Ophelia Payne” in The Treasure of Shiver River. It’s unlikely that anyone will forget her utterly hilarious, show-stopping portrayal of wacky multiple personality "Veronica/Ronnie/Debbie" in The Edge of Therapy, and she entertained the dinner theatre crowd as “Dr. Oddlike” in The Last Noel. A beautiful singer, Bethany was a member of the ensemble cast of the dramatic musical Quilters.
Minnesota native Heather Lee moved to LaVeta in January 2014. Heather began singing in high school and is now an active member of the FCPA Show Choir. Heather first developed a passion for acting when she appeared in the FCPA’s 2015 summer musical Quilters. In 2016 she ventured into comedy playing young journalist “Ashley Hardwick” in The Old People Are Revolting. Heather then took on a dual role as stage manager while playing the role of “The Nurse” in the
Labor Day 2017 FCPA production of the Senior Moments sketch “Fawlty Towers.” Heather recently wowed the audience as young “Signe Engelson” in the 2018 summer musical Church Basement Ladies and entertained the dinner theatre crowd as “Sheila Starr” in Jestifiable Homicide. By day, Heather is an Administrative Assistant at Ricky Tims, Inc. in LaVeta. In her free time she enjoys hiking, camping, hunting and an occasional dance party.
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 Peter Pan. Stephanie moved to LaVeta five years ago and is currently the LaVeta children’s librarian, where she entertains the kids with dramatic readings and storytelling on a weekly basis. Local audiences won’t soon forget Stephanie’s portrayal of the wacky “Sybil Fawlty” in the 2019 summer comedy Fawlty Towers, along with her various roles in the recent Salute to Carol Burnett.
Tony Masinton is a subject of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, but he’s also a Colorado native. That makes him an official half-Brit! Many locals will recognize Tony as the Director of the La Veta Public Library and possibly as the great-grandson of the original Tony Masinton and the great nephew of Charlie Masinton. His turn on the LaVeta stage as the language-challenged Barcelonan “Manuel” in Fawlty Towers was most definitely not Tony’s first rodeo, and he soon followed that up playing various roles in the recent Salute to Carol Burnett. Previously, he has appeared on the stage and studied at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, acted in numerous productions in York, England, was a member of the Durham (England) Dramatic Society and performed Shakespeare with the Lords of Misrule and medieval mystery plays in front of Durham Cathedral. He has also had one or two brief appearances on the BBC. Tony worked as an archaeologist on English cathedrals after earning his doctorate in medieval studies at the University of York and becoming a faculty member there.
A true LaVeta native, Elizabeth Mason started her musical career in church and has been singing since the age of five. Already a seasoned vocalist by her mid-teens, Beth spent two summers traveling the United States with The Young Continentals, a Christian music group, while acting as the student music director under Peggy Arnold-Hoobler’s supervision at LVHS. Beth won the Colorado Country Music Association Female Vocalist award in 2004 and 2005, recorded her first CD, then took a brief break to spend time with her three children. Just four months before the arrival of her fourth child in 2009, Beth returned to the stage to play (and sing) the role of “Sister Amnesia” in the FCPA production of Nunsense then wowed the crowd with her turn in the ensemble of Respect: A Musical Journey of Women. Beth again showcased her beautiful voice as a member of the ensemble cast of the dramatic musical Quilters and took a turn in melodrama playing “Crystal Clear” in Treachery At Cartilage Creek.
In “real life,” Jim Ramsey is a retired aerospace engineer (an actual rocket scientist!) and financial services programming supervisor. By education an advanced structures engineer, Jim spent most of his career working on spacecraft (orbital maneuvering modules, space telescopes) and the launch vehicles that delivered them to orbit (Atlas and Titan rockets, as well as hypersonic reusable launch vehicles). Following his aerospace career, he entered the financial services sector, eventually supervising a team of programmers dedicated to credit and debit card processing for credit unions. Jim and his wife, Eileen, recently relocated to Cuchara from California, arriving just in time to be evacuated for the Spring fire. This experience motivated Jim to become involved with efforts to reduce the chances that such an event would recur in the region and is currently serving as treasurer for the newly formed non-profit Spanish Peaks Alliance for Wildfire Protection. The FCPA’s 2019 production of Fawlty Towers was Jim’s first foray onto the stage, but it’s clear that the theatre needs a few more rocket scientists!
Kelly Sears is a Colorado gal through and through, recently landing in La Veta from the Front Range with her husband and pups, better known as the Os. She is a newbie to the world of theater, other than enjoying productions from the safety of a seat in the audience! She was delighted to join the cast for the 2019 dinner theatre production of Double Trouble at Twin Peaks. Kelly most recently sang in the FCPA Show Choir’s Seasons of Love production. On some of Kelly’s days off from running a biomedical calibration business with her husband, Kevin, she can be found at the LaVeta Mercantile acting busy. Kelly is an enthusiastic motorcyclist, enjoying both dirt and pavement, and can be found participating in other equally soul-feeding outdoor recreational pursuits regardless of month.
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.
Sam Sortore’s amazing 30+ year musical resume is too lengthy to include here but just a sampling reveals: (1) He has a M.A. degree in Conducting Performance from the University of Denver; (2) was the Musical Director for Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, The Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music, among others (Castle Rock Players); and Sweeney Todd (Parker Cultural Arts); (3) has played backup for such artists as Jerry Lewis, Joan Rivers, Ethel Merman and dozens of others; (4) was assistant musical director at Bonfils Theatre in Denver; and (5) has played in many Broadway roadshows including Annie, A Chorus Line and Singin’ in the Rain. Here in LaVeta, Sam has offered his musical chops as a member of the on-stage band in the 2016 summer musical The Marvelous Wonderettes, appeared as “Rev. Gunderson” in 2018’s Church Basement Ladies and recently tickled audiences as “The Major” in Fawlty Towers and as “Gandy Dancer” in the 2019 dinner theatre event Double Trouble At Twin Peaks.
In November 2015, Tim Tady and his wife Angie arrived in La Veta from Oklahoma under the WITSEC program after their neighbors realized they didn't support either OU or OSU football. Surprisingly, 2017’s chapter of Fawlty Towers (“The Germans”) was the first play ever for the former Miss America and Sports Illustrated swimsuit and CoverGirl model. The 2019 chapters of Fawlty Towers were Tim’s second foray in front of the footlights as the ugly American “Mr. Hamilton.” However, he claims that he actually has a lot of acting experience since he spent an entire career making people believe he actually knew what he was doing. His wife, Angie, was never fooled and occasionally reminds him, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.” [FCPA Bio Editor’s Note: You just can’t make this stuff up . . . or, at least, the Editor can’t!]
Before becoming a registered nurse, Lisa Wagner was a professional musician for some years and boasts a Master’s Degree in Music Performance. A multi-instrumentalist, Lisa played clarinet at dinner theatre events outside Richmond, Virginia, while in college (e.g., Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma ). She later played clarinet for nine years with the Littleton Symphony/Chamber Orchestra, while also performing with a professional woodwind trio called Colorado Consort that included visual art and poetry performances. In the meantime, she played upright bass with a bluegrass band. (Whew!) After getting her nursing degree, Lisa worked at Denver General and University Hospitals but decided to simplify her life and moved to Walsenburg to nurse and marry her husband. She semi-retired in 2015 in order to focus on 4H activities ~ Husband, Horses, Hot-tubbing and Hunting, that is. Her first appearance (but hopefully not her last!) on the LaVeta stage was as the very prim and proper “Miss Gatsby” in the recent Fawlty Towers.
Ellen Wyland White
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.
Tanya White’s life has been a series of distinct chapters . . . A marginalized youth, followed by an intrinsic ambition to work with troubled youth, an ambition that left room for little else, then an unexpected turn to a rock climbing addiction and, finally, in her 40’s, to love and family. Now entering her 50’s, she is looking forward to her next chapter and is open to all, even a small part in a play that might have sent her screaming in fear during her first 49 years. Tanya made her stage debut in the recent Carol Burnett Salute then followed that with a fun turn as “Shadow Stone” in the 2019 dinner theatre show Double Trouble At Twin Peaks.
California native Christopher Workmon spent most of his childhood in Fresno, graduating high school in 1970. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy he settled in Louisiana where he currently resides with his wife Arlene. Upon retirement in 2014 from a wide variety of interesting occupations, Chris and Arlene built a second home in Silver Spurs Ranch in Huerfano County. Chris has enjoyed years and years of acting in theatre productions, primarily with the St. John Theatre Group in Louisiana. Among his many acting credits are his roles as “Mitch Mahony” in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, “Juror #8” in 12 Angry Jurors, “Sir Danvers Carrouh” in Jekyll & Hyde, “Nicely Nicely Johnson” in Guys and Dolls, “Painless DDS” in M*A*S*H and “Andrew Carnes” in Oklahoma. Christopher recently joined the FCPA Show Choir and entertained dinner theatre diners as “Bob Ford” in Double Trouble At Twin Peaks (2019).
Maria Wyland was born and raised on Long Island, New York, but nearly qualifies as a LaVeta “native” after 25 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.
Mark Worgan is a Brit (a real one!) who grew up in the seaside town of Brighton on the South coast of England. Mark first appeared in an FCPA production as “The Shadow” in the 2015 dinner theatre event Midway to Murder and followed that up with his priceless performance as “Howie” in 2016’s The Old People Are Revolting. In 2019 he took on the task (once again!) of portraying the nutty, bumbling inn owner “Basil Fawlty” in Fawlty Towers, to the unmitigated delight of sold-out LaVeta audiences. (Mark also played “Basil” in the FCPA’s 2017 Fawlty Towers sketch “The Germans.”). Mark’s very impressive theatre resume begins when Mark decided that entertaining would be a far more interesting career choice than real estate so, in 1990, he became a professional entertainer, comedian and magician. For over 20 years, he ran “Magic Rabbit,” a very successful children's entertainment business. In addition to “Magic Rabbit,” Mark was a well-known adult performer working in British theatre, radio and television. After a guest spot on an award-winning TV show, he was offered his own theatre show at one of the U.K.’s leading comedy venues. In the meantime, the Magic Circle designated him an Associate Of The Inner Magic Circle, one of the highest honors awarded to magicians. Mark was also president of the Sussex Magic Circle and Sussex Magician of the Year eight times, as well as Close Up Magic champion and winner of the Mentalism Trophy on several occasions. Recognized for his comedy and magic skills, he was chosen as a guest headliner on board many of the world’s top cruise lines. During this period, he sailed around the world several times, performed to hundreds of audiences on four continents and, most notably, met his wife Cyndi (then from Texas) while he was entertaining on a cruise ship in Goa, India. Mark and Cyndi now live in Cuchara as year-round residents. In addition to lending his prodigious talents to the FCPA, he serves as a volunteer firefighter for the LVPD and on the FCPA’s Board.