Much Ado About Nothing, May 2010                                                                    Click to see Slideshow

  Meet the Cast:

  Leonato - Ron Dauphinee
This is the first time Ron has performed with the Park Players, and he is both grateful to Hannah Wilkerson for casting him - and - for being a part of such an outstanding cast.  Ron's last role in a Shakespeare production was way back in 1997 at the ACTA theatre in Trussville, when he played Thesues, in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Since then Ron has been active not only in other shows at ACTA, but, also at South City Theatre in Alabaster, at Birmingham Children's Theatre, and, most often, in Birmingham, at Theatre Downtown.  His last role was as Juror #10, in the TDT production of 12 Angry Men.  Theatre has been an avocation for Ron most of his life  and he is enjoying being able to be more active at it since he retired from his insurance underwriter "day (and "pay") job" a year ago.  He hopes that you will enjoy the play today, and, that you will tell your friends, so they can (hopefully) plan to come and enjoy it too.

Hero - Emily Lunsford
Emily makes her Park Players debut in Much Ado. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform Shakespeare for the first time with such a great group of friends and the lovely Hannah W. as director. In the past year, Emily has appeared as “Ann Deever” in All My Sons, “Vera Claythorne” in And Then There Were None, (both at ACTA) “Emily Webb” in Our Town and “Mary Bennet” in Pride and Prejudice (at South City Theatre). She would like to dedicate her performance to all those ‘on quest’ for the true, deeper meanings behind the Bard and his great works- particularly Theater of the Word, Inc. and Joseph Pearce.  

Beatrice - Susan Cook
Susan has wanted to play this role since she first read the show, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to do so under the excellent direction of Hannah Wilkerson. In April, Susan appeared as "Eliza Doolittle" in My Fair Lady, and other favorite roles include: The Spitfire  Grill (Percy Talbott), The Crucible (Abigail Williams), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennett), Noises Off (Belinda Blair), The Taming of the Shrew (Katherine Minola), Steel Magnolias (Shelby), and Cinderella (Cinderella). A newcomer to Park Players, Susan is excited to be a part of such a great cast of old friends and new.


Don Pedro -
Clay Boyce
Clay is thrilled to be working on the show he missed the first time park players presented it due to a leg injury!  He is the president of the Birmingham Area Theatre Alliance (BATA) and the Community Theatre Chair for the Alabama Conference of Theatre (ACT).  He just finished directing Driving Miss Daisy for South City Theatre in March and is looking forward to directing Noises Off for Park Players in July.  Some of his favorite roles have been George in Of Mice and Men, Hamlet and the Beast in the Leeds Arts Council's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  He would like to thank his wife, Vicki and his daughter, Victoria, for all the love and support they give him!

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 Don John - Cliff Keen
Cliff is happy to return to the Park Players this year after a successful run as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew. He has been keeping busy being on stage and from the director's chair, having appeared as George in All My Sons at ACTA in Trussville, directed A South City Christmas at SCT, and directed & starred in Let's Murder Marsha at the Leeds Arts Council. He is currently directing My Fair Lady which opens in April. He will be directing Oliver in the summer for LAC and Agnes of God for SCT in September. Cliff is the Director of Operations at Pizza Hut, when not doing theatre. He would like to thank Mark for his friendship and his family for all their love. Thanks to Hannah for allowing me to come back and play with Clay and the Park Players! 

Benedick - Kenny Morris
Kenny is delighted for the opportunity to portray one of his favorite characters  from Shakespeare’s works.  Most recently he was seen as Henry Higgins in LAC’s production of My Fair Lady.  In October and January he performed as John Proctor and then as Chris Keller in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and All My Sons.  This past summer he directed Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at South City Theatre.  He is currently writing an adaptation of Wuthering Heights which he will direct in October 2010 at Theatre Downtown.  Personally, he shares many characteristics with Benedick -- including his quick wit, loyalty, honorable nature, and his periodic but persistent lack of self-knowledge!

Claudio - Cris Morriss
Cris is excited to be working with Park Players for the first time. A graduate of Homewood High School in 1998, Cris went on to get his BA in Theatre from Jacksonville State University (2004). Recent credits include The Wizard in Wizard of Oz, Colonel in Play to Win: A Jackie Robinson Musical, and Professor/Aslan/Father Christmas in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, all at Birmingham Children’s Theatre. Other local credits include Pa Joad/Jim Casey in Of Grapes and Nuts and Boyd Graham in The Big Bang, both at Terrific New Theatre. Cris would like to thank his family for all of their support, and would like to dedicate all of his performances to his daughter, Madeleine.

Margaret - Jill Casey  
Jill is excited to be part of her first production with Park Players. She received her BA in Theatre from Union University; therefore, she is a coffee Barista by day and an actor by night. Her Birmingham credits include, The Laramie Project (Ensemble), The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lucy) and Disney’s Beauty and The Beast (Babette). She is so very grateful to Hannah for letting her be a part of her directorial debut; I hope we do you proud.


Borachio - Tanner McCracken
Tanner is reprising his role as Borachio, having portrayed him during his first season with Park Players back in 2003. Other Park Players shows include A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Shadowlands, and The Taming of the Shrew. Outside of Park Players, he has appeared in Take Me Out and Screwups @ BFT, as well as Project Codename: Vulcan's Underpants and Thanksgiving on Trailer Park Avenue with Extemporaneous Theatre Company. 



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Dogberry - Casey Camp
Casey comes from Calhoun Theatre. This is his first show with Park Players. Some of his favorite roles include Antonio in The Merchant Of Venice, Capulet in Romeo And Juliet, Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream, and Skelly Mannor in The Rimers Of Eldrich. Casey would like to thank B&B at Calhoun for giving him the opportunity to learn and develop the craft. Thanks to the CT company: you are family. Thanks to Hannah for casting me and to the rest of the Park Players Company for making me feel at home.



Antonia - Martha Crotty 
Martha is most appreciative for this first opportunity to do the Bard with Park Players .She has performed as Madame Arcati in Blythe Spirit and as Lady Catherine DeBourgh in Pride and Prejudice. Martha is currently employed as a counselor with Birmingham City Schools and lives in Hoover with her husband and five animals.



Ursula - Amy Harlan
Amy is excited to make her Park Players debut with Much Ado About Nothing.  Amy has been appearing in shows around Birmingham beginning with The Little Princess with ACTA as Marie. She has also been seen in Noises Off as Dotty Otley/ Mrs. Clackett and The Christmas Carol as Mrs. Cratchit, also with ACTA. She has also worked with LJCC and Leeds Arts Council as Stage Manager. Amy loves to Stage Manage and Assistant Direct any chance she gets.  Amy wants to send her many thanks to Hannah for this opportunity, as well as the tip to get her started doing shows in town. It's all thanks to you!



Balthasar - Bates Redwine
This is Bates Redwine’s first Park Players production and second Shakespeare play since college, when he portrayed Touchstone in As You Like It.   After a twenty year absence, he returned to the stage last year at Theatre LJCC as Dr. Hyman in Broken Glass, and as an ensemble member of The Who’s Tommy.  Bates also recently played Patrick O’Reilly in BFT’s The Musical ,Comedy Murders of 1940. Some favorite past roles include Moon in The Real Inspector Hound, Baylor in A Lie of the Mind, and Parris in The Crucible.  Bates is a member of Alpha Psi Omega, national honorary theatre society.  He is proud to be part of Birmingham’s incredibly vibrant theatre community!

Girl - Victoria Boyce
Victoria thrilled to be back with Park Players.  Other shows she has done with Park Players are Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, and  A Midsummer’s Night Dream.  Other theaters she has acted with are The Leeds Art Counsel (Beauty and the Beast), The LJCC (The Pajama Game and High School Musical), and Center Stage (Music Man). She has also done some tech work for MCAT (Pippin), Center Stage (Thoroughly Modern Mille, Guys and Dolls), and BFT (Over the River).  She would like to thank her mom for teaching her, her dad for introducing her to theater, her best friends Aaron, Spenser, and Noelle for supporting her, and her drama teachers Francie Gardner and Sandy Dittmer. 

Townsperson, Ursula Understudy - Yvonne Gauntt 
first appeared with Park Players in last summer's production of Taming of the Shrew. She had so much fun that she decided to do it again. She is once again appearing with her husband and eldest daughter, and would like to thank her two middle daughters for babysitting their sometimes irrational little sister again so she could do this.




The Watch - Craig Sanderson
This is Craig's first production with Park Players. He began acting at age 54, because memorizing lines is a great way to find out whether or not you have Alzheimer's. His only experience to date is with the Lakeside Baptist drama group. Some of his roles include The Professor/Wise Man in The Full Cup, The apostle Thomas in Twelve Ordinary Men, a Revolutionary War father in The Inheritance, and Judge Potter in Miracle on Every Street. He appreciates this opportunity for a shot at the big time. Finally Craig wishes to state that the fact that he is employed by the Federal Government and serves as an Irondale City Councilman, has absolutely nothing to do with his being selected to portray a pompous and incompetent public official. 

Verges - Todd Ponder
Todd is thrilled to be performing in his second production of Much Ado About Nothing, having previously played the role of Don Pedro in a production at Jefferson State Jr. College, where he has also played Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Todd was last seen as Peter in *romeo/juliet* and Nym in Henry V for MUSE of Fire at Sloss Furnace. He played Boolie in the highly successful and critically acclaimed production of Driving Miss Daisy at South City Theatre. For Park Players, he has played Antonio in Twelfth Night, Lord Capulet in Romeo & Juliet and Duke Solinus/Balthasar in Comedy of Errors. Todd would like to thank Hannah and the cast & crew for making this a FANTASTIC production. He would also like to thank Park Players for introducing him to his future sweetheart, the incredibly talented Lisa Weaver!! Can't imagine where I'd be without you, sweetie!! Love you so much!
Todd would like to dedicate his performance to his beloved father, Aaron Ponder, who passed away on April 10, 2010 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Watch - Steven Ross 
Steven is a fixture of Park Players since the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of Park Players. A Birmingham Native Steven fell in love with theatre in high School. After a fifteen-year absence in theatre Steven returned to the stage with the Canterbury players, playing Tito Mereli in "Lend me a Tenor" in 1997. Since then he has been part of several Canterbury productions and has also been seen on stage with LJCC, Garden Variety Shakespeare, South City and four Park Player Productions. Steven favorite role was Nick in Birmingham Festival’s production of  “Over the River and Through the Woods”. Steven made his directorial debut with Park Players’ "A Midsummer Nights Dream" in 2004, and directed Comedy of Errors in 2007. He has worked as Assistant Director in Park Players “The Complete Work of William Shakespeare (abridged), South City’s “Driving Miss Daisy” and Leeds Arts Council "The Odd Couple (female version). When not on stage he can be seen running lights, sound and more often behind a camera taking scene shots and headshots. On the board of Park Players Steven has worked as Location Manager, Publicity, Box Office, Actor, Grip, Sound tech, Lighting and all around Gofer. 

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Townsperson/Watch - Melody Ann Taylor
Melody Ann is so excited to perform (if not speak) her first Shakespeare with Park Players! Melody is new to Birmingham and it's theater world, but you may have seen her as Dorothy in Alys Stephens Center's Down the Yellow Brick Road. Melody holds a BM in Musical Theater from Ouachita Baptist University where her credits included Brigitta-Sound of Music, Snake/dancer-Children of Eden and various other animal and children characters (the specialty of the vertically challenged). She has performed as a Featured Dancer in Stephen Foster the Musical in the historical Bardstown, KY, and was honored to be a part of the World Premier and Educational Tour of the new play One Ninth in cooperation with The Arkansas Rep. She is so thankful to have landed in the B-ham, and looks forward to diving into the arts here! Soli Deo Gloria. 

Cinder - Beth Ashton
Beth is a working actor, and therefore recognizes her good fortune. (Albeit tongue in cheek!) She studied a BA/MA at The University of Winchester, and has worked with some of the world's most dynamic practitioners, including The Living Theatre and Augusto Boal. Besides the Theatre, she has many other frivolous passions. Some of which include her joy for music and travelling, good food, books, and being politically incorrect at every moment possible. Beth believes Theatre is a tool for education as well as entertainment, and has enjoyed working with Alabama's youth through various programs - including MCAT's Summer Workshops.  Some of her accolades include roles in Steel MagnoliasRomeo & Juliet, Machinal, Under Milk Wood, Top Girls, Mother Courage, and most recently in MCAT's The Laramie Project at The Virginia Samford Theatre. Beth would like to thank her beautiful sister, Uzume. The wisest sage there is. Also Willy Shakes himself, for the legacy she has enjoyed since childhood sitting on Gran's knee. She also wishes he were still here today, so she could take him for a beer and talk about weather.

"For we, which now behold these present daysHave eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise." Sonnet 106

Friar Francis -Terry Hermes
This is Terry's eighth--yes--eighth--time in a Park Players production.  His first was back in 2003, when he played Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor.  His second, in that same summer, was in--tada!--Much Ado About Nothing.  That time he played Antonio, a character who, in this version, has had a sex change, and no doubt for the better.  Favorite roles down the years in the park have included Claude in Headset, Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, and Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.  He has been seen on many other stages besides the great outdoors.  Highlights include George in Theatre Downtown's production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Aaronov in Glengarry Glen Ross (also Theatre Downtown), Dolan in BFT's production of Line, three different stints as Ralph the Storyteller in different productions of A Christmas Story, various Shakespearean roles for Muse of Fire, and most recently, Juror number 4 in Twelve Angry Men.  Lovely to be back in the park helping to bring to life the words of the greatest writer the English language has ever known.

Watch - Elizabeth Gauntt
Elizabeth is a full time high school student. Her most recent role with the Park Players was as a servant in Taming of the Shrew. She has appeared in only one other Players production, Twelfth Night, as a Surfer Girl. Her roles outside of Park Players have included Miss Tenny in High School Musical, Nanny in 101 Dalmatians, a chorus member in Grease, and First Officer Murdock in Titanic. She appears in this show with both her parents and leaves her three sisters, one dog, one cat, and ten hamsters (at last count) behind because none of them bothered to audition.


Sexton/Townsperson - David Gauntt 
performed as Baptista Minola in Park Players' production of Taming of the Shrew, and as Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night. He has also appeared as The Notary in Opera Birmingham's The Barber of Seville, a role suspiciously close to The Sexton.  When not appearing onstage with his wife and daughter, he helps raise three more daughters, designs x-ray machines, and teaches middle school students how to design and build robots.



 Townsperson - Noelle Gunn 
Noelle is a senior in high school, and her passion is theatre. She is thrilled to be joining  Hannah in her first Shakespearean endeavor, Much Ado About Nothing .She has been seen in Beauty and The Beast, A Christmas Carol, The Pirates of Penzance, Anne of Green Gables ,Fiddler on the Roof ,Grease and most recently in My Fair Lady. Noelle would like to thank Hannah for giving her the opportunity to be a member of this amazing cast, her parents and siblings for their love and encouragement, and to her best friends, Hannah and Alex, for being a constant source of support.



Messenger - Carter Sanderson

Carter is excited to be taking part in his first production with Park Players.  A 2004 graduate of Shades Valley High School, Carter is currently a senior at UAB majoring in accounting and an alumnus of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. He began his theatre career as a child with ACTA, where he portrayed the role of Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  However, his acting career there was cut tragically short when the theatre switched primarily to musicals and they heard him sing for the first time.  More recent roles include several minor parts in The Grapes of Wrath at UAB and multiple roles at Lakeside Baptist Church including the Waiter/Shepherd in The Full Cup, the apostle Phillip in Twelve Ordinary Men, a WWII soldier in The Inheritance and Jesus in Miracle on Every Street (playing against type, of course).  Carter is currently youth drama director at Lakeside.  He would like to thank Hannah for this opportunity and remind her that one should not kill the Messenger. 


Director/Choreographer - Hannah Wilkerson  
Hannah is delighted to make her Birmingham directorial debut with Much Ado About Nothing.  She feels blessed to work with an extraordinary cast and crew and is grateful to Park Players for trusting her with this production.  Normally, Hannah is seen onstage, most recently appearing in The Laramie Project. Other favorite roles around Birmingham include Claire in Proof, Maria in The Sound of Music, Poppy in Noises Off,  Bianca in Taming of the Shrew, Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice and Mrs. Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Hannah holds a BFA in Theatre from William Carey University.  During her school days, she played a few of Shakespeare's ladies:  Beatrice, Portia, Titania - and one of his men: Dogberry (her favorite role to date).  Hannah would like to thank her family for their loving support, Bill Provin and Bubba Godsey for their mentorship and her sweetheart Drew, for putting up with her schedule!

 Stage Manager - Mike Oakes Mike is one of the founding members of Park Players. Unlike the rest of his fellow board members he has no desire to be on stage and act. Although he can be persuaded to act like a Klingon now and again. He is much happier being behind the set in his role as the 'strong back - weak mind' of the group. He has Staged Managed for Garden Variety Shakespeare in "King Lear" and "Hamlet". For Park Players in "Romeo and Juliet", "The Merry Wives of Windsor" "Othello" and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" and the recent production of "Driving Miss Daisy" for the South City Theatre. When not being the roadie for Park Players he works at UAB as a network administrator. 


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Set Designer - Stephen French
Stephen landed in Birmingham where he set about acting in and directing the kind of theatre he loved. Basically anything twisted (Hiding Behind Comets at B'ham Festival Theatre), seedy (The Little Dog Laughed at BFT), deviant (Quills at BFT), and goofy (well, this...). In rare forays into the relatively normal, Stephen has also been seen onstage with Muse of Fire (Henry V, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream), Red Mountain Theatre (Chicago), and The Birmingham Children's Theatre (Peter and the Wolf, A Christmas Carol, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever).






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