Taylor Novak (Hal Carter) is absolutely thrilled to be making his Circle Players and Nashville stage debut. He is extremely humbled and overjoyed to be working with such an incredible and supportive cast and crew. He studied Acting and Musical Theatre at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he performed in several plays and musicals, as well as one man shows. Some favorite theatre credits include: Eddie in Fool for Love, Gabe in Pretty Hurts: The Musical, David Barker in Surviving the Dream, and Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman. Many thanks to his family, friends and everyone involved in Picnic. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Gina D’Arco (Madge Owens) was last seen at Springhouse Theatre Company as Mary Hatch in It's a Wonderful Life and as Sabrina Fairchild in Sabrina Fair. Other favorite credits include Wendy Darling in Peter Pan, Tillie in The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, and Lydia in Charles Mee's Big Love. Gina also served as producing director for Little Stone Productions (LSP), the theatre company she founded while in her sophomore year of college. With LSP, Gina produced, designed, stage managed, and starred in two full length productions: the Nashville premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries and an original stage adaptation of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone. A 2013 First Night Most Promising Actor, she earned her B.F.A. in Performance from Belmont University. Gina would like to thank Jef Ellis for giving her this opportunity to work with such an incredible cast and crew on this very special production. www.ginadarco.com.
Kaul Williams Bluestone (Flo Owens) is delighted to return to the Circle stage. Kaul has appeared with Circle in lead roles such as Eliza in My Fair Lady, Nancy in Oliver, Charlotte in A Little Night Music, Paquette in Candide, Martha in The Children’s Hour, the Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Boo in The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Her portrayal of Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa earned her best actress honors for both Circle Players and The First Night Awards in 1996. During her professional career, Bluestone has worked as the resident drama teacher at Meigs Magnet School, an artist-in-residence for the Tennessee Arts Commission, and director of speech and drama at Columbia State Community College. She is currently working with the Nashville Talking Library as a vocal artist, recording for the visual impaired.
McKenna Harrington (Millie Owens) is a junior at University School of Nashville where she has most recently performed in her school's production of The Adding Machine (Daisy) and Pippin (Berthe). Favorite roles include Emily Webb in Our Town (USN), Cobweb in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Nashville Shakespeare Festival), and Laurie Morton in her Circle Players debut, Brighton Beach Memoirs. She is represented by AMAX Talent of Nashville and is so excited to once again be working with Circle Players and the amazing Picnic cast. Special thanks to her friends and family for supporting her through everything!
Austin Olive (Alan Seymour) is a newcomer to the Nashville theatre scene. He is a native of Jefferson City and a recent graduate of Carson-Newman University. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform in his second Circle Players' production. Previously in Nashville, Austin has appeared in Circle Players' Ragtime (as Harry Houdini) and ACT 1's Fifth of July (Jed Jenkins). Other past credits include Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Tom Sawyer in Big River, Don Browning in Leaving Iowa, Tony Kirby in You Can't Take It with You, and the Wolf in Into the Woods. He would like to thank his families (both biological and theatrical), his non-thespian friends for still supporting him, the Nashville community for welcoming him so warmly, and Jef Ellis for giving him the opportunity to work on this wonderful show.
Tammy Sutherland (Mrs. Potts) This is Tammy’s first appearance with Circle Players. She was most recently seen onstage in Anna in the Tropics and Sordid Lives with Act 1 and in A Southern Belle Primer for Ted Swindley Productions. She would like to thank Jeff Ellis for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of this amazing show.
Cat Arnold (Rosemary) - Cat was most recently on stage as Elle's mom in Boiler Room's Legally Blonde and as Mrs. Tottendale in Pull-Tight Players’ Drowsy Chaperone, but has also performed around the Nashville area with the Larry Keeton Theatre, Circle Players, and Towne Centre Theatre, and recently traveled to Morristown to perform in and costume Encore Theatrical's Shrek. You may have seen her as Alice in any of the three productions of Titanic: The Musical, Domina in Forum, Gooch in Mame, Chris in Rumors, or Puck in Almost a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Some of her other favorite roles have been the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Philia in Forum, and Bianca in Taming of the Shrew. While living in LA, Cat performed as a ballroom dancer in the Disney film Haunted Mansion. Cat also worked for Walt Disney World as a character performer and laser/pyrotechnics specialist for various attractions. ILUDEA.
Tom Clouse (Howard Bevans) is making his Circle Players debut in Picnic. He is a member of sketch comedy group Sketchy Nashville, appeared in multiple roles in original short drama pieces from 2004 to 2010 as part of the Beijing Actor's Workshop, and has performed as part of the Millennium Repertory Company in Manchester. He works as a freelance writer and is a student of the Stanford Continuing Studies' Online Certificate Program in Novel Writing.
Connor Hall (Bomber) A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Hall has been blessed to perform on stages across the bluegrass. After his recent portrayal of Hamlet (Murfreesboro Little Theatre), he is very excited to now make his Circle Players debut. Some of his favorite roles include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (J. Pierpont Finch), Once Upon a Mattress (Jester), The Christmas Presence (DeVon), Footloose (Garvin), Beauty and the Beast (Lefou), and The Merchant of Venice (Antonio), to name a few. While in high school, Connor was selected to the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts for musical theatre. He loves God, making new friends, Italian food, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and of course Kentucky Basketball. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Judy Jackson (Irma Kronkite) A lover of all things theatrical, Judy is thrilled to be back on a Circle stage. She has been active in Nashville theater for 25 years, including serving on the Circle board with Jeff. Some favorite roles have been Aida in Over the River and Clairee in Steel Magnolias. She has performed at many local theaters including Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater, ACT I, Pull-Tight Theater, and Town Centre Theatre. Last fall, she was in the Spirit play at the Bell Witch Festival. In the local film community she is currently in a new Web Series called Bounty Momma and won Best Supporting Actress in the 48 hour Film Festival and Best Sasquatch in the 2014 Festival. Thanks to Jef for including her in this production and as always, thanks to husband, Ken, and son, Davis, for their support.
Rebekah Stogner (Christine Schoenwalder) Rebekah is a freshman at Lipscomb University double majoring in journalism and acting. This is her first show with Circle Players and she is absolutely thrilled to be a part of this wonderful cast of Picnic. Some of her previous credits include Legally Blonde: The Musical (Paulette), The Happiest Millionaire (Mrs. Duke), and Time Stands Still (Sarah). She would like to thank Jeffrey for being an incredible director, her amazing family and friends for supporting her, and God for blessing her with the opportunities she has. She hopes you enjoy the Picnic!
Laura Rader(Helen’s mother/Alvah Jackson) grew up in Atlanta, Puerto Rico and Mt. Pleasant. Laura is an MTSU graduate, a former children’s book editor and author, and has worked for the Tennessee House of Representatives as a proofreader. Though she comes to the theatre relatively late in life, she has always wanted to be an actress, and hopes this production of Picnic will finally steer her in the right direction. “My new role model is Estelle Getty. My life’s ambition is to someday play the role of Sandy in my nursing home’s production of Grease.”
Jeffrey Ellis (director) is senior contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic. He has covered the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. For Circle Players, Ellis (a former president of the company’s board of directors) directed the Nashville premieres of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Gypsy and The Rocky HorrorShow. Ellis directed Company for ACT 1, and was honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror in the same year. He is a 2013 First Night Honoree.
Emily Faith (production stage manager) is thrilled to be a part of the production team for William Inge's Picnic. Since graduation from Lipscomb University in 2013 with a BFA in Acting and Directing, Emily has stage managed multiple productions around Nashville for companies such as Blackbird Theatre, Actors Bridge Ensemble, and the National Association for Music Education Conference's production of Tarzan, which starred Broadway's very own Eden Espinosa. Emily has also been seen on stage most recently in Actors Bridge Ensemble's production of 100 Saints You Should Know and Circle Player's production of Rabbit Hole. She is currently a teaching artist for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's "Disney Musicals in Schools" where she will direct The Lion King later on this spring. Emily would like to thank Jef Ellis for his hard work and dedication as a director, Jacob Street for his inspiring designs as well as the cast and crew who have brought this beautiful show to life.
Jacob Street (design director) is honored to serve as Design Director for Circle Players' production of Picnic. After graduating with a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology from Lipscomb University in 2014, Jacob has worked with multiple theatre companies across Nashville. Even though his passion lies in design, he recently served as stage manager for Circle's production of Ragtime. Jacob's design credits include: Set Designer for Street Theatre's production of Carrie the Musical, Assistant Set Designer for Disney Theatrical's Tarzan and Vanderbilt Opera's Into The Woods and Die Fledermaus, Set Designer for Circle Player's production of Next to Normal, and Scenic Paint Charge for Blackbird Theater's Man and Superman and Lipscomb's productions of Shrek the Musical, Les Miserables, and many more. Jacob would like to thank Jef for this wonderful opportunity, his parents for their support of his dreams, and Emily Faith for her endless encouragement. Enjoy the show!
Vickie Bailey (producer) has been involved in theatre since she became the resident "Mom" character in two plays presented in her fifth grade class. Her involvement in theater continued through high school and college at Murray State. After receiving her teaching degree, she continued her love of theatre by directing high school students in forensics and play production. Moving to Nashville in 1990, she continued producing and directing both school and community theatre productions. Vickie's 10-year association with Lakewood Theatre allowed her to act, produce and direct, as well as serve on their Board of Directors. Her favorite productions include A Few Good Men, Crimes of the Heart and Juvie. She is now a retired teacher.