Monica Van Nort (Miss Maria Minchin) – My first on-stage experience in community theatre was in 2009 playing Truvy in ZCT’s Steele Magnolias. Since then I have participated in some form or other in as many productions as time will allow. I grew up with Shirley Temple movies and to be able to be a part of this production is an honor. Playing Ms. Minchin has been fun and challenging (though my children and husband may say not too much of a stretch.) I have never suffered as some of the characters in this play, and pray that my good fortune will continue, but searching for the positive in an otherwise difficult situation to sustain a sense of well-being is something I am familiar with and think many others can relate to as well. I think we could all take a lesson from the little princess…”when you don’t fly into a rage, people learn you are stronger than them…you control your emotions and they say and do stupid things they regret later; it is best not to answer your enemies” (to paraphrase my favorite line in the play)!
Chelsea Miller (Miss Amelia Minchin) – Chelsea Miller “tied the knot” this past year. She lives in the Zanesville area with her husband, Sean. Having known each other since high school, it was only within the last few years the friendship blossomed into something more. Chelsea says of married life,”it’s truly wonderful! It’s amazing to get to spend every night with my best friend!” The newly-weds are both active in the arts community.
When not on stage, Chelsea enjoys fulfilling her artistic desires through her writing and art. She recently began painting again and while she’s admittedly no Van Gogh, she finds it an enjoyable pastime!
Chelsea graduated from Ohio University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree and is currently working on her Master of Arts at Muskingum University.
Chelsea is a long time veteran of the stage and enjoys every minute of her time at the theater. Although this isn’t her first time, it’s been a few years since she has had the opportunity to perform at the Zanesville Community Theater, and she’s excited to return!
Jay Shaffstall (Captain Crewe) –Hi I’m Jay Shaffstall. One of my favorite things is dressing up and being someone else for a little while. I love to role play, every chance I get. I’m a role playing gamer who is fairly new to theatre. I’m having a really good time, despite dying early in the play!
Mia McCarthy (Ermengarde) – I am a 6th grader at Bishop Fenwick and I love to do plays. I’ve been doing plays almost since I was born, such as many Angel Tree Benefits, The Crucible, Seussical the Musical, Annie, Oliver and many more.
Reanna Gahagan (Lavinia) – Reanna is a 17 year old homeschool student, at least for a few more months. She started doing theater when she was 7, but this has been her favorite part so far. She also enjoys photography and after she graduates this spring she plans to pursue cosmetology and make-up artistry.
Amelia Olinger-Shafftstall (Lottie) – Hi, I’m Amelia Olinger Shaffstall. I love to role play, play with dolls and make believe. I like to spend time with my family, Grandma and Grandpa, and with all our pets. This is my first play. I’m sure I’m going to love it!
For my real life, I’m a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant, and I currently work for the City of Zanesville in the Engineering Department as a construction inspector. I’ve been married for 30 years and have four children ranging in age from 26 to 16 and an 8 month old grandson.
When he isn’t on stage or in rehearsal, Steve works at the David Crist State Farm agency http://ycityinsurance.com and has enjoyed his “temporary” position there for the last 8 years. The Hendershotts are also huge believers in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program; so much that Steve facilitates classes several times a year here in Zanesville. Please check us out, we’d love to have you! SDG
Michael Murphy (Chimney Sweep) – I am 12 years old. I attend Dresden Elementary School. i am the oldest of three boys. This is my first experience on stage for theater and I am enjoying myself so far. i look forward to many more opportunities to participate in theater. I am an active member in Boy Scouts, and I also am in band where I play percussion.
Lydia Gross – My name is Lydia Gross, I am 7 years old and I am home schooled. This is my first play and I am very excited about playing a part as one of the school girls! I am also happy about being in a play with my sister Emma Gross. I also enjoy dancing, singing, playing soccer and drawing. I look forward to other plays that I will have opportunity to be in.
Jadyn Hendershott – This is Jadyn’s fourth time on the stage. She’s very excited to be part of this show. It is especially fun since she gets to do the show with her Dad, Steve and her sister, Cadence as well as her new theater friends. When she isn’t practicing for A Little Princess, she enjoys playing the trumpet, reading and all things high tech.
Lady Pitkin’s daughters
Remember: All little girls are Princesses!
One of my fondest memories as a little girl was curling up in the hammock that hung between the trees in our backyard and reading “A Little Princess”. While I knew we were poor, I also knew I was a princess…because Sara Crewe said all little girls were princesses. This was very important to my 7 year old self . When Val and I were looking at a show to direct, this is the one that was top on my list. I loved the idea of bringing the very story of perseverance and strength that gave me so much comfort in my youth, to the stage.
This cast has taken my vision and given it life. They have developed the characters, given them expression and gone beyond my expectations. I couldn’t be prouder of this amazing group and the wonderful support people who have been so instrumental in this production.
I am eternally grateful to one of my best friends in the world, Val Gahagan, who understands how to interpret what I say and is sooo good at being “good cop” and keeps me grounded. Without her…this would never have happened and I am so honored that she keeps agreeing to this craziness with me!
Val Gahagan(Co-Director) – Val Gahagan is the homeschooling mom of 7 children who found a love for the theater 10 years ago when her oldest auditioned for “Oliver!” Since then, she and each of her 7 children have spent time on stage together and she’s even found time to do a few shows without them. While he’s not willing to step out on the stage, she is very grateful to have a wonderful husband who not only tolerates the busy theater schedule his family sometimes keeps, but will help out with set design and pieces and holds down the fort while the rest of the family are off to rehearsals and performances. Thanks Jerry! This is the 2nd show she has co-directed at ZCT with one of her dearest friends, Angel.
I’m finding when it comes to theater that I really enjoy bringing classics to the stage. “A Little Princess” is no exception. What a wonderful story Frances Hodgson Burnett gave us to bring to life for you. While it is not as pretty as Hollywood has liked to make it for us, it is truly a story of rising above circumstances with the right attitude and hard work. And what a wonderful cast and crew we’ve had to work with! We hope you enjoy the show as much as we’ve enjoyed performing it for you!