Guest Director Philip Rooney
James and the Giant Peach
Philip Rooney is no stranger to the stage. He began performing in traveling play troupes when he was 11 and got the theatre bug. He auditioned for as many plays as he could, and when that wasn’t enough, he started volunteering backstage in whatever capacity he could. He performed as a teen in 5 DreamWrights Daydreamer plays. By the time he was a senior in high school. he discovered directing. Last year, he returned to DreamWrights to direct The Giver.
He’s excited about James and the Giant Peach because Road Dahl was one of his favorite authors growing up. He’s excited for the challenge of putting a giant peach on stage for the audience without the advantage of actual magic.
When he’s not directing, Rooney is working toward his MA in German Language and Culture, after which he will be continuing his study of Russian and seeking employment in a school.
Guest Director Amanda Nowell
A Little Princess
Amanda Nowell has been involved in theater since she was in middle school. She has been a classically trained singer since I was 12 years old and loves to share her love of music with others through the theater. She has directed two shows before this, been a vocal director, assistant director, actor and more.
Amanda feels extremely passionate about this production. Not only has she fallen in love with the music, but finds the story of Sara is beautiful and encouraging to a wide range of people, child to adult. She is faced with so many challenges and overcomes each of them with grace and dignity. She also loves the juxtaposition of the show and I think it’s something DreamWrights could showcase well. She’s excited about the music, costumes and different genre of dancing that brings in Sara’s time in Africa.
When she’s not on stage or working, she loves to travel with her husband, Stephen.
Guest Director Andrea Unger
The Spitfire Grill
This will be Andrea’s 28th show at DreamWrights, her fifth as director. For half of those shows, she’s been on stage. The other half spread over a variety of crew positions including scenic design, props coordinator, scenic painting, and costumes.
Andrea was recruited into the theatre when her then pre-teen son was cast in his first acting role. She and her husband started with scenic painting, continued to help behind scenes and eventually began auditioning for shows. It was during the run of a show that the director pulled me aside and suggested she give directing a try. Her husband branched off into sound design.
Andrea is excited for The Spitfire Grill and calls it “a beautiful, sometimes haunting and other times wry musical that speaks of pain, struggle, and finally redemption.” The folk-based orchestration makes the music quite accessible and gives the show somewhat of a homespun feel. Most recently Andrea as directed large double-cast productions, so she’s excited about the challenge of working with a small group of adults. Since the show isn’t known to as many people as others she’s done (The Little Mermaid), Andrea’s looking forward to the extra freedom to produce a show with creative touches that convey deeper, and sometimes overlooked ideas and themes. To do something a little unexpected.
When she’s not directing this show, Andrea is probably still volunteering at DW. Seriously, directing a show takes months of preparation. Other than that she spends as much of my time as possible with her family.
Other 2019 Production Directors include:
Rebecca Wolf – Yours, Anne
Guest Director Crystal Ganong
Crystal Ganong started acting in the 4th grade in school plays and quickly fell in love with the art. Her passion continued through high school, and I eventually earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts, with a concentration in Theater. The first show I directed was the summer after high school, before I went off to college; it was a simple straight play, with high school aged kids playing the roles. In college, I went on to Direct many shows, including musicals, with both large casts and small.
HONK! will be her second time in a DreamWrights company, as she was just cast as Ursula in The Little Mermaid after being chosen to direct. She was attracted to the HONK! script because the storyline is one of acceptance, told in a fun way. It’s great for kids and adults alike, with plenty of roles for all ages and a variety of music styles. She’s excited about her first double-cast show as well.
When she’s not on stage (or behind it), Crystal is a wife and mother. Her 7-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son keep her busy! But when she’s got a moment to herself she enjoys reading and crafting.
Assistant Guest Director Andrea Stephenson
A Little Princess
Andrea Stephenson’s parents introduced her to the theatre, and she grew up going to shows with them. In Junior High, they became involved in the group Beech Tree Spiritual Players, where her parents directed the shows and music. That’s what first got her hooked on behind-the-scenes theatre work. Her first directing experience was in college and she’s since directed and stage managed several shows in the area. This is her first time directing at DreamWrights and she’s excited to get to learn my way around DreamWrights and the amazing community of staff, actors, crew, and production team to bring a classic story to life.
A Little Princess is one of those books that Andrea read when she was young that really stuck with her. It wasn’t until she saw it listed in the upcoming season at DreamWrights that she became familiar with the stage version. She looks forward to exploring the themes of classism, jealousy, and friendship through the musical version.
After 2 years as the Events Manager at Adams County Winery, Andrea is embarking on a new journey as the Manager of Presidential and Special Events and Board Liaison at Goucher College. She enjoys reading, singing, hiking with her husband Mike, chilling with our cats, and making references to The Office and Parks and Recreation at every opportunity.
Assistant Guest Director Gretchen Ray
This is Gretchen Ray’s first Dreamwrights show. She got into the theatre because her mother was a director for a few extracurricular shows and she would bring Ray and her younger siblings along to rehearsals. That lead to Ray to directing her own living room plays with her siblings as an unwilling cast. In college, she was able to assistant direct the musical “A New Brain” and has desired the opportunity to direct since then.
When forcing her siblings into plays, Christmas plays were Ray’s favorite. She is excited to work with Jess and Shaina and she said she knows together along with the cast they can bring something magical to the stage.
When she’s not on stage, Ray works with adults with autism full time. She also enjoys reading, listening to records and cuddling with her wonderful dog, Molly.
Guest Director Jessica Crowe
Jessica Crowe is an entrepreneur with an extraordinary love for the art of storytelling. Her first experience with live theatre was as a child when she saw a filmed version of the Broadway musical CATS on television. To this day, this remains her favorite musical of all time. Jessica has been a part of DreamWrights since she appeared as Mrs. Loomis in The Secret Garden. She is currently working on her 10th show here as Lead Assistant Stage Manager for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In 2018, she had her first opportunity in the director’s seat as she helped bring the story of Jane Eyre to life. This year she is honored to be bringing one of her favorite tales to the stage. Watching the film version of Prancer has been one of Jessica’s favorite annual holiday traditions for as long as she can remember. It is an incredible story of faith and courage, and Jessica is incredibly excited to breathe new life into this tale with her team and a new style of puppetry never before seen at DreamWrights. When not at the theatre, Jessica can be found working as the owner of the newly opened Alba Rosa Cat Parlour here in York.
Guest Director Davina Lopez
RENT, School Edition
Davina Lopez has performed in over 35 shows – including Joanne in RENT, and Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray 3 times in two years. She’s been acting since she was 7, but has gotten more serious about it in the past 5 years. This is her first time in a DreamWrights company, and her first time directing.
She was drawn to RENT because of the stories of each character. “It’s much deeper than a bunch of angry people living in NYC. It’s a story of love and friendship and the struggle to always be your true self and live with integrity. I also love RENT for its huge ensemble role. This is NOT a show where only the leads shine,” she said. Since she loves and knows this show, she thinks it’s the perfect time to be backstage for this one. She’s excited about the actors she’ll be working with. “I know it’s going to be a great group of fabulous singers and performers that will make my team’s vision come alive.”
In her spare time, Davina cares for her 10-year-old daughter, Khaira and performs in shows. She also works with the elderly as a Masters level social worker. As a member of the LGBT+ community, it is important for her to educate the teens she’ll be working with, as well as help them tell the story of RENT accurately and effectively.
Guest Director Jaci Keagy
Tuesdays with Morrie, These Shining Lives
Jaci Keagy is used to the director’s chair. She was a theatre major and taught English, drama & public speaking at Dover High School for 27 years. There, she directed the fall plays and musicals – over 60 productions. Here at DreamWrights, she directed Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life, acted in Jane Eyre and taught two workshops at summer camps. She’s been on stage at various community theatres in over 30 productions and has directed at 3 other community theatres.
She’s leading two shows in the 2019 season and Jaci immediately fell in love with both scripts. What she likes best about both of them is that they are true stories. Tuesdays with Morrie speaks to her because It is so inspirational and a tribute to all types of teachers. These Shining Lives appeals to her because of its strong female characters fighting injustice. She’s excited to bring these characters to life.
When she’s not directing, Jaci and her husband like to travel and spend time with our grandchildren. She enjoys cooking, reading and watching movies.
Assistant Guest Director Quinton Laughman
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Quinton Laughman has been in 12 shows at DreamWrights since I started acting 3 years ago; twice as production staff (PSM and SM), once in costumes and the rest on stage. He had never done acting in my life until he met DreamWrights staff who suggested he audition for The Mouse That Roared in 2015. His acting has branched out into other theatres where the directing bug bit him. This is his first time in any direction role at DreamWrights.
Having done Shakespeare for 2 years at another theatre, Quinton was interested in seeing how Shakespeare is done at DreamWrights, especially with the background and knowledge the Laurie Riffe has with Shakespeare. He is excited to work with Laurie and her approach to the Bard. It will also be nice to be part of a Shakespearean play that is not outside or in a barn.
When he is not at DreamWrights, Quinton is usually working, involved with another theatre production, or sleeping.
Assistant Guest Director Shaina Lucas
Shaina Lucas got into theater when she was 13 years old when she met Cal Weary of Weary Arts Group. She was a part of every production in high school up until her senior year musical. She started acting again in 2016, when she decided to try out for Shakespeare on the Rocks with Weary. She never saw herself as a director of any sort and said she was kind of coerced into the position to use her experience.
Prancer will be her 4th show at DreamWrights. I played Miss Miller in Jane Eyre, Lead ASM in Bridge to Terabithia, and Ensemble/Featured Tap Dancer in The Little Mermaid.
She’s excited to be working with my friends and getting to be in a director position. She never knew about Prancer until she looked up the script, and she’s excited to make her ideas a reality.
When she’s not on stage, she’s usually at the Alba Rosa Cat Parlour, working, writing my novel, writing for History Collection, acting as Scarlet Con in Game of Honor, and being seen around local comic cons since she is an amateur cosplayer.