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The Summer 2011 Playhouse Players and Staff

View the 2011 Summer Festival Schedule


Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker lives in Grand Haven, but enjoys the Howmet immensely. His previous plays include Inherit The Wind, The Crucible, Odd Couple, Leading Ladies, and Greater Tuna, all with the Central Park Players, and Forever Yours with the White Lake Dramatic Club. He would like to especially thank his wife, Christine, for all her support and for putting up with the characters he "brings home."

Kat Barrett

Kat Barrett is a junior at Kalamazoo College majoring in Theater Arts and Human Relations. Kat will be studying abroad in the fall in India, but is excited to spend the summer at the Playhouse as production manager. When Kat is not working at a theater she dances, spends time with family and friends, and sings in the K-Zoo College a cappella group Premium Orange. Thanks to the summer staff and everyone who supports the Playhouse throughout the year!

Chris Beaman

For Whitehall native, Christopher Beaman, his life-long love of the theatre began onstage at the Howmet Playhouse more than 30 years ago. Since then, he has been involved with more than 25 productions with Muskegon Civic Theatre including roles as a gangster in Kiss Me Kate, Buffalo Bill in Annie Get Your Gun, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and the director in Noises Off!. Chris' last performance at the Howmet was in Blithe Spirit, and his latest roles include Detective Tupolski in Muskegon Community College’s production of The Pillowman and multiple roles in Muskegon Civic Theatre’s The Dining Room.

Claire Beaman, 14, will be a freshman at Whitehall High School this fall. She has been active in the performing arts since she was in kindergarten, taking classes at Muskegon Civic Theatre. Claire first stepped onto the Howmet Playhouse stage last year during Dragonfest and Skupper Duppers where her character spoke Spanish throughout the show. This year, she appeared in Willy Wonka as Grandma Georgiana and as the Cheshire Cat in the WLYT Production of Alice in Wonderland. Claire is the daughter of Chris and Beth Beaman.

Derek Benson

Derek Benson has a B.A. in Theater from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, studying under Gary Gisselman. This is his first performance for the Howmet Playhouse. St. Olaf credits include: Twelfth Night (Fabian/Captain), The Taming of the Shrew (Grumio), Tiny Alice (Sound Design), Amicable Parting (Director). Community Theater credits include: The Dining Room (Actor), How I Became a Pirate (Director). He currently teaches for Muskegon Civic Theater and works for the State Of Michigan.

Katie Briggs

Katie Briggs recently graduated from GVSU with a B.A. in Creative Writing. She saw one of her first plays at the Howmet Playhouse and has not stopped loving this little theater since. She attended Muskegon Community College where she earned "Theater Student of the Year" in 2004. Past work includes: Delightful and Nadine in Dearly Departed, The Door Guard in The Wizard of Oz, and Nora in A Dolls House. She also directed the WLYT production of The Jungle Book, assistant directed The Fantasticks, and stage managed for both All in the Timing and The Underpants.

Joe Carmolli

Joe Carmolli is thrilled to be reunited with last season’s cast mates Mike and John from Moonlight and Magnolias. Additional Howmet credits include Star Spangled Girl (2008), and Educating Rita (2009). Most recently, he was seen as Henry Higgins in Pygmalion for Grand Haven's Central Park Players. Other notable roles include Howie in Rabbit Hole, Charles Condomine in Blithe Spirit at Muskegon Civic Theatre, and Ernst Ludwig in Cabaret. Joe has a B.A. in Theatre from University of Vermont and spends the school year as chef/instructor of Culinary Arts at Careerline Tech Center in Holland, MI. Love and thanks to my beautiful and talented wife Natalie, and daughters Anna Jane and Eileen Diane.

Robin Carpenter

Robin Carpenter Long ago, not far from Seattle, there lived a girl named Robin who dreamed of becoming an actress. She had caught the acting bug while in a play her senior year of high school. Soon after, Robin married Tom, moved to Michigan, and began the noble task of raising four children. The Carpenter kids were very involved in White Lake Youth Theatre and Robin is thrilled to be a part of Jake's Women, and to finally have the chance to perform on the same stage as her children. A resident of Whitehall, Robin is a sales associate at Jonnie's Hallmark store. She also enjoys singing, reading, movies and spending time with her favorite people, especially her three beautiful grand daughters! Robin dedicates her Howmet Playhouse debut to her beloved father, the late Lloyd Button, who passed away last fall.

Mitch Coleman

Mitch Coleman’s performance in Jake’s Women marks his first time on stage in over 12 years. Most of Mitch’s theatrical experience has been as a playwright. His award-winning plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Midland, Texas, and Great Neck, Long Island. Last summer, his comedy Forever Yours, was produced here, at the Howmet Playhouse. When he is not writing, Mitch teaches yoga at his studio, White River Yoga, in Montague.

Ross Currie

Ross Currie graduated in 2009 from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with a B.A. in Acting as well as receiving two National Certificates and a Diploma in Acting and Dance. His most recent credits include Issachar in Joseph and the Amazing Technocolor Dreamcoat for Muskegon Civic Theatre and a tour of Cymberline for the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company. As well as appearing in several plays such as Dying For It, The Ruling Class, Mother Goose and The Tempest, he has also had roles in several film and television projects including the controversial Lip Service for the BBC, Cola Dan, Meta, and Right of Vengeance. Ross has been involved in workshops led by many practitioners from around the world including Kevin Spacey, Francois Lecoq from the Lecoq School in Paris, Dennis Lawson and Robbie Coltrane. Ross is also an avid writer and enjoys writing his own plays and screenplays as well as poetry and lyrics.

Cindy Beth Davis-Dykema

Cindy Beth Davis-Dykema is returning to direct her third installment of the White Lake Youth Theatre program, Alice in Wonderland. After several years of working with the Howmet Playhouse full-time, Cindy Beth has settled into her position as Executive Director of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, managing three lighthouses along Lake Michigan’s western shoreline. Cindy Beth has worked in performing arts education in a multitude of capacities—from directing to choreographing to producing—enjoying one-on-one work with new and long-term program participants for ten years. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be given another summer to spend working with the youth of White Lake!

Chris Farrar

Chris Farrar returns for his 12th year with the Howmet Playhouse. He began by participating in the Youth Theatre program, and has since moved on to work with the lights and sound, in addition to various other things. He graduated from GVSU with a degree in German, but has decided he'd like to go on to study theatre. He spent the last school year in Austria assisting teaching English, and will be doing the same for the next school year. This year Chris is reprising his role as Playhouse Technical Director.

Debra Freeberg

Debra Freeberg teaches acting, directing, and playwriting and communication courses at Calvin College. She has lectured and conducted workshops on communication, leadership, and theatre across the U.S. and Sweden. Professor Freeberg has directed over 30 plays and musicals; favorite productions include The Syringa Tree, The Ghost Sonata, She Stoops to Conquer, A Dream Play, 1940s Radio Hour, Joan of Lorraine, Peer Gynt, and Tiger at the Gates, including a lauded staging of Mendelssohn's Elijah for the Calvin's Oratorio Society. Her research includes Scandinavian theatre, children's theatre, playwriting, and directing. Debra is a Board Member of Christians in Theatre Arts, a former member of the Governing Board of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Debra joins the Howmet as a Guest Director of Dearly Departed. This will be Debra’s second show at the Playhouse after directing last season’s Dearly Departed.

John Gray

John Gray is thrilled to be back at the Howmet, and reunited with Joe, Michael, Tom, and the crew at the Playhouse! John was David O. Selznick in last season's smash Moonlight & Magnolias. John is a Chicago actor, where he does theatre, film, television, commercial and voiceover work, as well as play Dad to two incredible kids, John and Hayley. Great love and respect to all involved with this production, and those in the surrounding communities who support the arts here. Much love and thanks to Ellie, Terrie, Kimon and Janet, and the whole Carmolli clan and Grand Haven connection! He'd like to dedicate his performance to the memory of his grandmother, Lydia Argo Snider, who was a Montague native.

Tom Harryman

Tom Harryman is a Muskegon native graduating from Muskegon High School in 1971. He holds a B.A. in theatre from Grand Valley State College's Thomas Jefferson College (1976), a Master of Arts degree in Acting from the McGregor School at Antioch University (2005) and currently teaches, designs, and directs theatre at MCC. Tom has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1978, managed the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon from 1984 through 1999 and managed the Playhouse from 2007 to 2008. He has performed in many professional productions all over the U. S. and is known locally for his performances as Edgar Allan Poe and his solo A Christmas Carol. His work on the playhouse stage includes Escanaba in da Moonlight, The Foreigner, The Fantasticks, and The Woman in Black; and directing credits include The Mystery of Irma Vep, Moonlight and Magnolias, and this season’s ‘Art’.

Andrea Mathews

Andrea Mathews is excited to be returning to the Howmet Playhouse for another summer. She appeared in last season’s Dearly Departed as well as Star Spangled Girl (2008) and Lend Me a Tenor (2007). She recently portrayed the Narrator in Muskegon Civic Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Other MCT credits include Millie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Gypsy/Louise, Gypsy; Tuptim, King and I; Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. Some of her other roles include Ado Annie, Oklahoma for Grand Rapids Civic Theatre; Percy, Spitfire Grill, Mary, Jesus Christ Superstar for Central Park Players; Audrey, Little Shop of Horrors for Dogwood Center. Andrea is an Interior Designer/Wedding Planner and teaches dance. Andrea writes “I love you to my amazing daughter Madalynn Star and trio.”

Erion Mickelson

Erin Mickelson is excited to be at the Howmet Playhouse for her first season. Erin has stage managed Glee, and performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Muskegon Civic Theatre and Ginette, Waitress, and Hope in Almost, Maine for Central Park Players. She attends Muskegon Community College where she earned the "Outstanding Theater" award for 2010-2011 and performed in The Pillowman as Little Jesus and the Little Green Pig Girl, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead as Ophelia, The Importance of Being Earnest as Cecily, Into the Woods as Little Red Riding Hood, and "The Vagina Workshop" in The Vagina Monologues. Erin thanks her friends and family for all of their encouragement and love, all of the people at the Playhouse, and all of the patrons attending shows this summer for their support!

William Rafaill

WILLIAM S. RAFAILL has been the webmaster for the Howmet Playhouse since the spring of 2007. He and his wife, Barbara, have a cottage in Stony Lake and have been enjoying the western shore of Michigan and all that it offers, including the Playhouse, since the mid 1980s. Bill is CEO, CFO, COO, and all those other "O's" for his own company, Rafaill & Associates, LLC. He specializes in website development, graphic design, and technology training. He is pleased to do all that he can to promote the Grand Old Lady, the Howmet Playhouse.

Michelle Renna, after directing middle school theater for seven years, decided it was time to return to her acting roots. This is Michelle's first experience at the Howmet Playhouse, but she has performed with both Muskegon Civic Theater and Central Park Players in the past couple years. Her favorite roles include the Second Actress in The Dining Room and Sister Mary Leo in Nuncrackers: The Musical. Michelle loves working with middle schoolers and teaching language arts at Fruitport Middle School. When she's not at work or onstage, she enjoys gardening, music festivals, reading, hula hooping and creative writing. She'd like to thank her husband, Brendan Wheat, for his love and support.

Regina Schlaff is delighted to be a part of the Boeing-Boeing cast. Regina is the Choir Director at Reeths-Puffer High School, and has enjoyed directing diverse choir concerts which have included groups such as: The MSU Spartan Dischords, Good Clean Fun, West Shore Symphony Orchestra, The Montague UMC Bell Ringers, and Camerata Singers. She was the Vocal Coach for the R-PHS Musicals, including Grease, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, Once Upon a Mattress, and Little Shop of Horrors, to name a few. Regina has performed in several Muskegon Civic Theatre productions, including Side By Side by Sondheim, Damn Yankees, and Jesus Christ Superstar. On other stages she has had roles in Guys and Dolls, Quilters, Cotton Patch Gospel, and Working. In 2000 she produced and performed her own Cabaret show with pianist Ellen Cutting. Regina is the proud mother of two sons, Brett (8) and Kyle (6), and husband to Paul (39), and enjoys going to the beach, reading, and snuggling with her boys.

Michael Sommers

Michael Sommers is thrilled to be back for his second season at the Howmet Playhouse. Mike lives in San Francisco where he has been developing his plays and theater company, Uncle Buzzy’s Hometown Theater Show!! Recent credits include the World Premieres of Hanging Georgia (O’Keeffe) and El Gundi’s The Marriage Proposal (Chekhov adaptation) and Tell It Slant-Emily Dickinson. Mike is the “Gmail Motion Guy” and voices in the games “Back To The Future”, “Star Wars” and “Monopoly”. He has appeared in over 40 Films such as Bandits, Mousehunt, and The Californians, television episodics like Trauma (NBC), The Evidence (CBS), and Nash Bridges (ABC) alongside stars such as Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Landau and Robin Williams among others. Rentable recommendations include Me and Mrs. Jones, Haiku Tunnel, and The Boogerman. Be sure to visit his website!

Katie Trzaska

Katie Trzaska took over management of the Playhouse in November 2010. Katie has a B.A. from St. Norbert College in Political Science, Communications, and Theatre Arts, and has been involved in West Michigan theatre for over ten years. She would like to give her deepest gratitude to her mom, dad, brother, boyfriend, friends and family for all their support and understanding of her hectic life, to Cindy Beth for her friendship and guidance, and to the City of Whitehall and White Lake area residents for their unending support of the Playhouse.

Diane Van Wesep

Diane Van Wesep is so grateful for the performing opportunities she has had. She has enjoyed performing dramatic roles such as Eleanor in The Lion in Winter, Helga in Deathtrap, and Thelma Cates in Night, Mother with Muskegon Civic Theatre (MCT), Central Park Players, and at Muskegon Community College respectively. Performing in musicals such as Anna in The King and I and as multiple roles in A, My Name Is Alice has allowed Diane to be a singing actress. She has also enjoyed comedic roles such as Zorah Bloch in Inspecting Carol, Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo, and Kate in Sylvia. She is thrilled to be returning to the Howmet Playhouse for a third season, this time in two plays, Anybody for Murder? and Boeing-Boeing. She thanks the City of Whitehall, the Playhouse and her wonderful husband Ed De Jong for making this “two-fer” opportunity possible.

Mike Vogas

Mike Vogas has too many credits to list them all. He has performed with Muskegon Civic Theater in The Lion in Winter, Professor Marvel/the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz, Lumiere in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the Kralahome in The King and I, Owen Musser in The Foreigner, Bill Sykes in Oliver!, and R.P McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Mike’s recent directing credits for MCT are Thoroughly Modern Millie, Brigadoon, Art, Angel Street, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Annie Get Your Gun. For Central Park Players, he appeared in The Crucible and directed both Of Mice and Men and The Fantasticks. Mike studied at the Yale School of Drama and also does sound and lighting design. Mike is happily married to Lorie and owns Benchmark Productions; he teaches oral communication and multimedia at Baker College. Mike directed Educating Rita at the Playhouse in 2009 and Always…Patsy Cline for MCT in January.

Carrie Wildfong is a Whitehall native who made her performance debut on the Howmet Playhouse stage in the fifth grade. Throughout junior high and high school Carrie appeared in several Whitehall School productions including: The Music Man, Charlotte's Web, Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and L'il Abner. Carrie spends her days working as a paralegal at a Muskegon area law firm and during her free time enjoys camping, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in ill-conceived home improvement projects. Carrie is very excited to be a part of the White Lake Dramatic Club and is looking forward to future opportunities to lend her support to the continued growth and longevity of the Howmet Playhouse.

The Playhouse is a year-round venue. Be sure to visit the EVENTS menu for our complete schedule of plays, music, movies, and more.