2020/2021

SEASON

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Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig

Directed by Laura Downing-Lee

October 16, 17, 23, 24 at 7:30 PM 

Streaming Live on YouTube

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ABOUT THE SHOW

All aboard!  With a burst of steam, the luxurious Orient Express departs Istanbul for Paris filled with an eccentric ensemble of international travelers ready to be pampered.  Yet, by morning, the train is trapped in a snowdrift, a passenger is found brutally stabbed to death, and the brilliant detective Hercule Poirot must employ all his “little grey cells” to solve the crime.  Adapted by one of today’s foremost comedic playwrights, this sparkling retelling of Christie’s world-famous mystery is sure to delight.  Staged as a 1934 radio play and broadcast live online, audiences are in for a suspenseful, thrilling ride!

“Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com

AUTHOR BIOS

AGATHA CHRISTIE (Author) published her first book one hundred years ago, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” introducing a Belgian detective named Hercule Poirot.  Inspired by Belgian refugees escaping German forces during WWI, Poirot would become one of Christie’s two most beloved characters (the other being Miss Marple).  By the time of her death in 1976, she would be the most successful author in history, outselling all but the Bible and Shakespeare.  Through her many detective novels, plays, and short stories, her contributions to the shaping of an entire literary and entertainment genre – the “murder mystery” – have been immeasurable. 

 

KEN LUDWIG (Playwright) is a leading American playwright of popular comedies. While Agatha Christie did write several successful plays during her career (including “The Mousetrap,” “Witness to the Prosecution,” “And Then There Were None”), our play was adapted from one of her novels.  Conceived by Ludwig, this new stage script joins a long tradition of adapting her mysteries to film, television, and the stage.  With “Orient Express,” Christie’s novel might seem an odd project for this famed comedic dramatist, known for delightful farces such as “Lend Me a Tenor” and “Shakespeare in Hollywood.”  However, among the trademark features of Christie’s work are her (often quirky) characterizations, her crisp dialogue, and the ironic humor she weaves into her serious plots.  Although Ludwig may take a leaner, more light-hearted approach to “Murder on the Orient Express” than other adaptors, he captures the essence of her original novel while deftly adding his own unique touches. 

RUNNING TIME

Approximately 2 hours 15-minutes with one 10-minute intermission

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Director................................................

Digital Director.....................................

Costume/Animation Designer...............

Makeup/Hair Designer..........................

Props/Foley Designer............................

Dialect Coach.......................................

Sound Coordinator................................

Stage Manager.....................................

Asst. Stage Manager/Asst. Director..............

Assistant Makeup/Hair Designer.......... 

Scenic Design Mentor..........................

Costume Design Mentor.......................

Makeup/Hair Design Mentor.................

Directing Apprentice............................

 

 

 

Laura Downing-Lee 

Emily Hansen

Amber MacLean 

Nathan Haimson

Luca Catanzaro 

Kimily Conkle 

Justin Smith 

Maggie Davis 

Kaellie Clein-Cunningham 

Alondra Moya  

Peter Crompton 

Maryanne Scozzari 

Roxie Johnson 

Freyja Kremer 

ARTISTIC

TEAM

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FROM THE DIRECTOR

“Readers seek not only relief from the traumas and anxieties of their everyday lives, but an affirmation in their belief that we live in a moral, rational and comprehensible universe and that even death is a mystery that can be solved.” 

P.D. James, The Strange Case of Hercule Poirot

 

Like many of Agatha Christie’s greatest works, Murder on the Orient Express was written during an incredibly tumultuous period in modern history.  Between 1915 and 1945, the world around her would experience devastating economic crises, an influenza pandemic, natural disasters, social and political revolutions, the rise of fascism, the horror of the Holocaust, and the unfathomable impact of two world wars.  Against that backdrop, Christie sets her novel on a world-famous luxury train, roaring obliviously across the heart of that turmoil from Turkey to the English Channel.  She fills her train with an eclectic group of international passengers, places Poirot on the train as a last-minute addition, and then, in true Christie fashion, traps them in a snowdrift just as a gruesome murder is discovered.  Thus, Poirot must solve the crime before time runs out, but in doing so, ultimately rocks the core of his own values.

 

Considering all that has been unfolding in our world this year, this murder mystery may seem an incongruous choice to open our season.  In truth, at the time, we selected it more for its entertainment value and ability to be produced within the confines of our current “Zoom reality” than any social relevance.  Yet, as we’ve worked on the piece in the months since, we have all been struck by the timeliness of the moral questions at the heart of this story. 

 

While I don’t think Christie was intentionally writing a metaphor, she has created an intriguing counterpoint between the actions of individuals and the events on the world stage.  For us today – passengers on our own trains hurdling across the landscape in October 2020 – the play’s conclusion does give us food for thought:  How do our own actions, values, and beliefs in what is just, right and moral relate to what is going on in the larger world?  Please be assured, this production is first and foremost an entertainment.  Yet, along with the train’s passengers, Christie and Ludwig take us on a ride that collides with complex questions surrounding justice and morality, leaving us to continue grappling with those questions as we disembark and return to our own lives.

Laura Downing-Lee

Director

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CAST

 

 

Allison Paine  

Riley Craig 

Mark Ferrando 

Lukas De Bel 

Sky Hernandez-Simard  

Sierra Downey 

Jack Gadberry 

Claire Grodrian 

Jaclyn Rosas 

Lorelei Voegels  

Eric Cameron 

Kevin Bordi 

 

Christopher Shayota  

Chris Cota 

Lisa Doyle 

 
Lily Sandra-Dearmore 

 

 

Agatha Christie.................................

Hercule Poirot...................................

Monsieur Bouc.................................

Michel (& Head Waiter)....................

Helen Hubbard................................. 

Countess Andrenyi...........................

Colonel Arbuthnot.............................

Mary Debenham...............................

Princess Dragomiroff........................

Greta Ohlsson...................................

Hector MacQueen.............................

Samuel Ratchett................................

 

Foley Artist 1.....................................

Foley Artist 2......................................

Violin Soloist......................................

 
The Child’s Voice...............................

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CAST BIOS

KEVIN BORDI (Samuel Ratchett) received his BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. There he worked with Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Book-It Repertory, ACT Theater, and many others. Recent roles include Ivan in “The Seafarer,” Starns in “Heathen Valley” and Doc in “The Night Alive” (SFBATCC Nomination) all at Main Stage West. 

 

ERIC CAMERON (Hector MacQueen) has helped in various Sonoma Academy productions as assistant stage manager, light board operator, sound board operator, costumer, hair and makeup, and scenic painter. He has performed in many of Sonoma Academy’s choral productions and "Evening of the Arts.” He played Audrey II in Sonoma Academy’s “Little Shop of Horrors.” 

 

RILEY CRAIG (Hercule Poirot) was born and raised in Santa Rosa and has gone to local schools all his life. He most recently appeared in the SRJC production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan” directed by Leslie McCauley, making this his fifth production with the SRJC Theatre Arts department.  

 

LUKAS DE BEL (Michel/ Head Waiter) attended Petaluma High School. His first year at SRJC was spent studying kinesiology. After discovering his love for acting, he promptly changed his major to Theatre Arts. Lukas has earned his Associates degree in Theatre Arts at SRJC and is currently applying for B.F.A. programs. He was recently cast in SRJC’s “The Wedding Singer” before performances were canceled due to the Coronavirus. 

 

SIERRA DOWNEY (Countess Andrenyi) was born and raised in Petaluma and is delighted to be making her debut in the local theatre community with her first SRJC production.  A growing voice actor and storyteller, she has a degree in Multimedia Journalism with a minor in History from CSU Fresno.  

 

LISA DOYLE (Music Director/Violin & Viola) has performed with orchestras, chamber groups and as a pit musician in venues across the North Bay and was most recently heard in the SRJC production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” She also plays traditional fiddle, and last summer performed in Prague with the Scottish Country Dance trio Flindriken. She teaches private lessons in Sebastopol, and on Zoom. 

MARK FERRANDO (Monsieur Bouc) attended Rancho Cotate High School, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Sonoma State University; while attending the JC he performed in the one-act play “The Princess and the Bear.” He is glad to be back performing at the JC and looks forward to doing more audio dramas in the future. 

 

JACK GADBERRY (Colonel Arbuthnot) is relatively new to acting because he did not grow up with theatre in his life, but he is becoming infatuated after he took his first acting class at the SRJC in 2017. His goal is to one day become a renowned film and voice actor. 

 

CLAIRE GRODRIAN (Mary Debenham) attended Maria Carrillo High School, where she had the privilege of performing in several productions. It’s her third year at the SRJC, majoring in English/Theatre Arts. “Murder on the Orient Express” is one of her favorite novels; it’s a dream come true to be in this production.  

 

SKY HERNANDEZ-SIMARD (Helen Hubbard) recent theatre credits include Cunegonde in Sonoma State's production of Bernstein's “Candide” and The Bird Seller in Sonoma State's production of Sondheim's “Sweeney Todd.” Having graduated from their opera program in 2018, she is also a singer-songwriter. When she's not doing something stagey, she is also a barista. 

 

ALLISON PAINE (Agatha Christie) is delighted to be performing once again at SRJC. Currently residing in Sebastopol, she enjoys bringing art and entertainment to her surrounding community. Health, family, and compassion are the values she hopes to represent in all she does. Recent credits include “Jesus Christ Superstar” at SRJC and “Gypsy” at 6th Street Playhouse. 

 

JACKIE ROSAS (Princess Dragomiroff) lives in Rohnert Park. Raised partly in Omaha, Nebraska, Jackie’s first role was in the playKill Me Deadly” at Omaha Central High School. Since then she has taken several acting courses at the University of San Francisco, where she received a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing.    

 

LORELEI VOEGELS (Greta Olhsson) graduated from Maria Carrillo High School in 2019. She now attends SRJC, and has since performed in “The Good Doctor” and “The Sound of Music.” She hopes to pursue a BFA in Theatre Arts. 

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PRODUCTION CREW

 

 

 

 

Running Crew.....................................

Costume and Scenic Construction.....

                                                          

                                                            

                                                          

                                                           

Costume Assistant/Wardrobe.............

                                                             

                                                            

Makeup/Hair Crew..............................
                                                            

                                                             

                                                             
 

 

 

 

 

Rachel Calos

Dianne Harrison 

Nitza Morales 

Christopher Osborne  

Laurie Osborne 

Jeaninne Raaberg

Claire Grodrian

Yesi Martinez 

Alondra Moya

Aaronne Louis-Charles
Yesi Martinez 

Alondra Moya 

Lilly Sigrist 
 

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LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

In the past three years, Theatre Arts has faced many challenges: cancellations due to fires, performing in swing spaces, move-in delays to the remodeled Burbank, and now Covid-19 closures. Thank you for standing by and with our students. We are still here! The show will go on! 

 

We are adapting to our remote world and we are thrilled to welcome you back with inventive online performances for the fall and spring. These remote productions are challenging our staff, student designers and actors to explore bold, new ways of creating our live art form. Some of the shows will be performed completely live online, some will also include prerecorded footage. But rest assured that all of our shows will feature the outstanding production values and fine acting that you have come to expect from SRJC Theatre Arts.  

 

In these astonishing times, the faculty, staff and students raise our voices to join the swelling chorus of solidarity with those crying out their truth and with all those sounding the clarion call that Black Lives Matter and major social change is needed.  

 

With heartfelt appreciation for your support, 

 

Leslie McCauley 
Chair/Artistic Director 

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PRODUCTION STAFF

 

 

 

 

 

Artistic Director........................................

Business Manager...................................

Production Manager................................

Technical Director....................................

Production Crew Instructors....................

                                                                

                                                                

Graphic Artist...........................................

Box Office Manager.................................

Publicity and Production Photographer....

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie McCauley 

Angela Hunter  

Justin Smith 

Ari Poppers 

Justin Smith

Maryanne Scozzari

Roxie Johnson

Jesse Hilsenrad 

Sarah Martin 

Thomas Chown 

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PRODUCTION TEAM BIOS

LUCA CATANZARO (Properties/Foley Sound Designer) is in his second year with SRJC Theatre Arts and his first time as a designer. He is thrilled to be learning the classic art of Foley sound and is happy to be a part of the “Orient Express” team. Previous SRJC credits include Assistant Lighting Designer on “The Sound of Music” and Assistant Stage Manager for “The Wedding Singer.” 

 

KAELLIE CLEIN-CUNNINGHAM (Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager) is proud to be working with SRJC Theatre Arts again in this exciting new format. Last year she was Assistant to the Director for “The Cripple of Inishmaan” and Assistant Director on “The Sound of Music.” She has also been the Director of the Scum street entertainment cast for The Great Dicken's Christmas Fair since 2006. 

 

KIMILY CONKLE (Dialect Coach) has coached extensively for TheatreWorks, including the world premiere of “Memphis.” Other theatres include Marin Theatre Company, San Jose Stage, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Broadway by the Bay, and Mountain Play. Kimily is a former Theatre Arts faculty member at Foothill College and received her training from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, ACT, and PCPA.  

 

CHRIS COTA (Foley Artist) is in his fifth year at SRJC majoring in Engineering and has been studying in Theatre Arts for the past three years. This is his first time taking part in an SRJC live show and he feels privileged to be a part of such a unique production. 

 

PETER CROMPTON (Scenic Design Mentor) teaches design at SSU and SRJC.  He works as a freelance set and projection designer and has won San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, Shellies, and other awards. Peter also makes monumental sculpture with his wife. Their sculpture installations can be seen in Cotati, Paradise Ridge, and October in ARTrails.  

 

MAGGIE DAVIS (Stage Manager) is on her third year at the JC and has enjoyed every second working for Theatre Arts. She started last year as an assistant stage manager for “The Good Doctor” then as a stage manager for “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” She is currently working towards an Associate’s degree in Theatre Arts for transfer with a certificate in Stage Management.    

 

LAURA DOWNING-LEE (Director) has been a Theatre Arts faculty member for 22 years, teaching acting and theatre history, as well as directing (“The Sound of Music,” “Shrek the Musical,” “Into the Woods,” “Leaving Home”). In her “spare” time, she enjoys performing for local theatres, serving as a fight director, and participating in new play development. 

 

NATHAN HAIMSON (Makeup/Hair Designer) is a third-year SRJC Theatre Arts student with a focus on Makeup and Designing. This is his sixth show with the JC and his first for designing. 

 

EMILY HANSEN (Digital Director) began creating online for the 1995 cybersoap Ferndale. She has rotoscoped for films and commercials, created training videos for the USCG, and taught at SRJC. Emily has a BA in Theatre from UC Davis, is working on her Masters in Film Studies, and is a member of SAG. 

 

ANGELA HUNTER (Business Manager) is a jack-of-all-trades. She holds AA degrees in Culinary Arts from LA Trade Tech and Merchandise Marketing from FIDM.  Most recently she completed her BA in Graphic Design & Media Arts.  She is also a mom to two wonderful boys. 

 

ROXIE JOHNSON (Makeup/Hair Design Mentor) graduated from Sonoma State with a BA in Technical Theatre. She joined Santa Rosa Junior College this past year to teach Theatrical Makeup Design for Stage and Screen, as well as Special Effects Makeup, Wigs and Masks. She is proud to be an alumna of SRJC. 

 

FREYJA KREMER (Directing Apprentice) currently attends Sonoma Academy as a sophomore. She’s participated in many theater productions, including SRJC’s Mary Poppins as Michael Banks and The Music Man as Amaryllis. In order to learn more about the inner workings of theatre productions and directing, she is shadowing director Laura Downing-Lee this semester. 

 

AMBER L. MACLEAN (Costumes/Animation Designer) is a native Bay Area multidisciplinary artist/designer who has worked professionally for various cartoon studios throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Amber is an active returning student to Theatre Arts in Costume and Makeup design and hopes to complete her certifications in 2021.  

 
LESLIE MCCAULEY (Department Chair/Artistic Director) teaches theatre history and acting, with a focus on Shakespeare. Her most recent SRJC directing credit is “The Cripple of Inishmaan." Leslie holds an MFA in Acting from UC Davis and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. She is also an avid Argentine Tango dancer. 

 

ALONDRA MOYA (Makeup/Hair Assistant Designer) is in her third year with SRJC Theatre Arts. She is an Art Major and completing her Makeup Design certificate this semester. She is excited to be assistant designing hair and makeup on "Its a Wonderful Life" and "Murder on Orient Express" this semester. 

 

ARI POPPERS (Technical Director/Designer) received his B.A. in Technical Production/Design from San Francisco State University. This is Ari’s 13th year with the SRJC Theatre Arts Department. Ari’s 25-year career consists of working at many of the performing arts companies around the SF Bay Area and beyond. 

 

MARYANNE SCOZZARI (Costume Design Mentor) recently retired after teaching full time for SRJC Theatre and Fashion Department for 32 years. She has designed costumes, makeup & hair, puppets and masks for countless shows. She is thrilled to return this semester as Adjunct Faculty in Technical Theatre! 

 

CHRISTOPHER SHAYOTA (Foley Artist) is a student of Theatre Arts and Music at SRJC. He has appeared on the JC stage in the ensembles of “Into the Woods” and “Shrek the Musical” and as the Professor in “All the Great Books [abridged]”. This is his first time working behind the scenes.  

 

JUSTIN J SMITH (Production Manager/Production Lab Instructor) is new to Sonoma County and is excited to join the fabulous production team here at Theatre Arts. Justin received his MFA from University of Virginia and has worked in several regional theatres across the country including Tony Award-winning Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island and ZaCH theatre in Austin, Texas.  For the last 7 years he has worked as the Technical Director for Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.   

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Karl Forsyth 

Kristina Hoffman and Dianne Harrison

(for their invaluable help on our first Zoom audition!) 

Kerry Loewen 

Matthew “Q” McQuaig and Media Services  

Brett Moore 

James Newman 

Khalid Shayota at Kal & Sons Auto Glass 

Janis Dunson Wilson 

Foreign Language Dialogue Assistance:

Gizem Alper 
Haluk Alper 
Laura Jane Bailey  

Anthony Da Costa  

Sara Dean  

Judy Harper  

Julie Kertesz-Venosa 

Tanya Marie 

T Erra Nice  

Efsun Alper Sweet 

THEATRE ARTS

FACULTY & STAFF 2020-2021

Theo Bridant
Peter Crompton
Elizabeth Dale
Laura Downing-Lee
Eliot Fintushel
Alyce Finwall
Casandra Hillman
Angela Hunter
Shannon Jaeger
Roxie Johnson
Julia Kwitchoff
Reed Martin
Leslie McCauley
Tina Lloyd Meals
Vince Mothersbaugh
James Newman
Sarah Martin
Ari Poppers
Maryanne Scozzari
John Shillington

Justin Smith
Tanya Tolmasoff
Myriah van de Kraats
Janis Dunson Wilson
Wendy Wisely

 

Instructor/Stagecraft
Instructor/Designer
Instructor/Acting
Instructor/Director
Instructor/Phys Theatre
DanceFaculty/Choreographer
Dance Faculty/Dance Concert
Theatre Arts Business Manager
SRT Business Manager
Instructor/Makeup and Hair
Instructor/Designer
Instructor/Director
Dept. Chair/Instructor/Director
Vocal Director
Instructor/Lighting
SRT Artistic Director
Box Office Manager
Theatre Arts Production Specialist
Instructor/Designer, retired Spring 2020
Instructor/Director

Faculty Technical Theatre/Production Mgr
Dance Faculty/Dance Concert
Instructor/Costumes
Instructor/Music Director
Instructor/Director

 

DISTRICT

ADMINISTRATION

 

Frank Chong, Ed.D.

Superintendent/President 

Jane Saldana-Talley

Vice President,
Academic Affairs/
Assistant Superintendent 

Kerry Loewen

Dean of Arts & Humanities 

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Now that we are remote for Spring 2021, we will be adjusting our spring season titles.

Please check back with us soon for updates!

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

A Musical, Filmed & Streaming Live on You Tube

Composed and Music Direction by Janis Dunson Wilson

Adapted for the Stage and Directed by John Shillington

Choreographed by Alyce Finwall

Vocal Direction by Tina Lloyd Meals

November 27, 28, December 4, 5 at 7:30 PM

Inspired by the beloved 1946 Frank Capra film, this home-grown musical brings the heartwarming holiday tale to life in a unique online theatrical production.  Despite years of hard work and self-sacrifice, George Bailey is faced with financial ruin.  That fateful night, as he stands on a bridge contemplating suicide, he wishes he had never been born.  When Clarence (guardian angel in training) overhears George’s bitter cry, he grants the wish, and opens his eyes to all that would have been lost…both large and small…in a life without him.  Featuring an original score by the award-winning local artist Janis Dunson Wilson, this charming show is a ray of hope in our tumultuous times.