Bill Jameson is The Policeman
Mike Wolske is Franklin McHugh
Ed Nieman is Hanley Swope
Scott Fellows is Barney Benson
Heidi Wittchen is Eloise McHugh
Bonnie Zabinski is Morgianna Kendrick
Kratia Ure is "Casey" Delevan
Featuring Authentic Preshow Vaudeville Skits by
Comedian Grandpa Willis White &
Comedienne "Little Rascal" Shirley Jean Measures
Bill’s acting credits date back to the early 1980’s, when he appeared with the Stage XIII players in Nuremburg, Germany. His roles with that Army community theater group included Billy Bibbit in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, Schroeder in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, Porter Milgrim in “Deathtrap” and a Policeman in “Arsenic and Old Lace.“ He also appeared in a number of holiday musical reviews, and devoted offstage time to set construction and other support duties. Bill, an Engineering Manager at G.E., resides in Clifton Park, is the father of 2 children, and enjoys running and reading. “I haven’t done Community Theater for twenty years, and I’m pleased to be back in it again.” We are pleased you’re back, too. too!
In Mike’s first two appearances with SPAO, his characters had no lines. It was not until “The Sunshine Boys” that he finally spoke on stage, albeit only three lines. Since then, Mike has taken on many roles for SPAO, from the young panicky lover Paul Bratter in “Barefoot in the Park” to the dastardly Krojack last spring in “Don’t Drink the Water.“ His other SPAO credits include “The Odd Couple”, “Divorce Southern Style”, “Full Moon”, “Murder By Mistake”, “All in the Timing, Among Others”, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, “Moon Over Buffalo”, “Over the River and Through the Woods”, and “The Foreigner”. Mike has also performed with other area groups, including The Nickle & Dime Players, Albany Civic Theater, Round Lake Summer Theater, and the Schenectady Civic Players, where he appeared in the co-lead as The Young Writer in Tennessee Williams’ self portrait “Vieux Carre”. Mike is a resident of Stillwater.
Ed joined SPAO in 1996, and worked behind the scenes for “Barefoot in the Park”. His first stage appearance was as Vinnie, the sun-burned poker player in “The Odd Couple”. Being one who enjoys all aspects of the performing arts, he has served in many on and off stage roles for SPAO, including backstage manager, special effects designer, sound effects designer, musical editor, sound systems operator, and website programmer. His short original piece for string quartet and 2 flutes, “Is Love an Illusion?”, was the theme song for SPAO’s “Arsenic and Old Lace”. Ed served as Producer for both “Over the River and Through the Woods” and “Lunch Hour”, and has appeared onstage in “Moon Over Buffalo”, “All in the Timing Among Others”, “Rumors”, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, and “Murder By Mistake”. His most recent acting role was as Charlie, in “The Foreigner”. In addition to designing the set for this production, Ed also designed and led construction of our “”Don’t Drink the Water” set. An estimator/project manager for Selby & Smith Sheet Metal, the shy and talented “Community Theater Ed” resides in Stillwater.
“At 19 years old, Scott is the youngest member of this cast...” Oops, sorry! That was how his bio began 2 ½ years ago, when he made his SPAO dinner theater debut playing Dr. Herman Einstein in “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Already a stage veteran by then, Scott had appeared in many productions in the Mechanicville - Stillwater area, including SPAO Youth Theater’s “Fiddler on the Roof” and the Stillwater High School Drama Society’s “My Son is Crazy.... But Promising”, “Jenny Kissed Me”, and “The Dairy of Anne Frank.” This is his fourth stage appearance with SPAO since “Arsenic...”, his wild characterizations have included Owen Musser, the Georgia red-neck member of the KKK, in “The Foreigner”, the Taxi Driver in “Lunch Hour”, and the co-lead, as the diplomat’s bumbling son Axel MaGee, in “Don’t Drink the Water.” Now 22, Scott is a member of SPAO’s Board of Directors, and resides in Clifton Park.
Heidi was very active in theater during her high school and college days, but other demands of life, including that of raising a family, put her love of the theater on hold. After a 17 year haitis, she took on the role of Francis Perkins, in the Mechanicville C.C. – Rainbow Troupe presentation of "Annie", and the stage bug re-bit her. She took the opportunity to join SPAO, and in 2000, she made her SPAO stage debut in the role of the nosey neighbor Emma in "Murder by Mistake". Since then, Heidi has jumped in with both feet. She was assistant set designer and set decorator for "Arsenic and Old Lace". She then took on set designer responsibilities, as well as the role of the shallow southern belle Catherine, for "The Foreigner", and followed as set designer for "Lunch Hour. Last spring, she was Assistant Director for "Don’t Drink the Water". Heidi lives in Mechanicville, with her husband and two children. She is active in a number of civic groups there, and currently serves as the president of the Mechanicville Area Community Services Center.
“I am thrilled to be back with ‘the players’ after a 2 ½ year absence!” She last appeared with SPAO in the fall of 2000 as Laura in “Murder By Mistake”, and was our backstage manager for “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Since then, she has appeared with Homemeade Theater twice, as Tansy McGinnis in “the Nerd”, and as a witch in “MacBeth.” She has also appeared with the blues-rock band Rhythm Method, in the role of “Bonnie Hot Rips, the Scorching Bass Player.” Bonnie started with us in “Bus Stop” in 1993. Since then she has been in many others, including "Wait Until Dark", "Poisoned Pawn", "Don't Dress for Dinner", "All in the Timing, Among Others", and "Rumors." Performances with other groups have included HMT's production of "Noises Off", and two years in the chorus of Proctors' "Christmas Show." She was also on the production staff for Proctors' Theater presentations of "A Chorus Line" and "Gypsy." A talented musician, Bonnie toured Europe with the United States Wind Band, and co-founded Arcane Music Studio, where she records and instructs on a variety of instruments. A native of Mechanicville, she now lives in Malta with husband Bob.
SPAO is proud to present Kay, a 26 year old Administrative Assistant at Albany Medical Center, as she makes her acting debut on our stage. Not a complete stranger to the stage, she has danced for 13 years (ballet, tap & jazz), and has been a choriographer for local cheerleading squads. “Singing and dancing have always been my passions, even as a very little girl. My mom has always been my biggest fan. Ever since I acted in a high school film project, she’s been urging me to go into theater. Whenever asked what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas, she would say ‘I want to see you on the stage!’ So this is for you, Mom. "Merry Christmas - I love you.”
Willis, Grandpa to many at SPAO for his role as Grandpa Vanderhof in SPAO's first production, "You Can't Take It With You" in 1989. He revived that character recently for Home Made Theater of Saratoga. On SPAO's stage, he was Dr. Bradman in "Blithe Spirit", the dancing, singing Bellomy, in "The Fantasticks", a dancer in "Dracula", the old inn keeper in "Pure as the Driven Snow", and the wonderful Willie Clark in our dinner theatre presentation of "The Sunshine Boys". Willis was Dr. Harper in "Arsenic and Old Lace". He has also worked backstage for every SPAO Summer Youth Theatre once even appearing in "Little Women". He has appeared in HMT's "Ah Wilderness" and "The Man Who Came to Dinner". He appeared in Cafe' Lena's production of "Yes My Darling Daughter" and The Schuylerville Players production of "In Memory Of". Willis loves to make people laugh . So much so that he was asked to do just that by providing the opening to SP's production of "Mornings at Seven" and each of SPAO's dinner theatre productions. He is currently vice president of SPAO's board of directors and resides in Saratoga Springs. He is married to Gloria, his wife of 55 years.
Shirley Jean debuted with SPAO as The Chef in "Don't Drink the Water" and became an instant SPAO family member. She began her career in show business at the age of 4 when she appeared in “How’s My Baby” with T. Roy Barnes and Monty Collins, the Martin & Lewis of the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. She then went to Hal Roach Studio to appear in the Our Gang/Little Rascal Comedies. She was part of the group that included Jackie Cooper. Over the next 20 plus years she worked in hundreds of movies primarily as a dancer. After dancing in “Singing In The Rain” Hollywood just plain stopped making musicals and Shirley was a dancer with a Mother and daughter to support. Big-stage burlesque was still flourishing in the US and Canada so she became a strip-tease and played all the burlesque theatres, including Minsky’s, as Gilda and Her Crowning Glory. When her mother passed away she moved to Buffalo where she was active in The Island Theatre Group as actor, stage director and director. She left the Buffalo area to move to West Springfield and not only appear in the productions with Stage/West (a regional Professional Theatre) but had the job of Group Sales Director. She now resides in Ballston Spa and is active designing and creating Wearable Quilting items. SPAO is proud to announce the new vaudeville team of Willis & Shirley Jean.