ABOUT THE CAST
Jim had an annual senior membership to the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District. A special mailing to all senior members announced a Theater Arts class at the Elsie Stuhr Senior Center would be starting in January 2012. Jim got interested enough to sign up. He told all the folks at the first class that he came to occupy free time on Thursday afternoons.
Jim thought the class would be about appreciation of the theater arts and perhaps looking behind the scenes. Jim also told the people in the first class that he had not been on stage since about the third grade. There were three others who were newbies like himself. The group proceeded to read aloud parts auditioning for a melodrama. That evening, Jim received the news that he would be “Otto” in “A Grave Situation”. The group gave two performances at the end of the class.
Since the first play, Jim has been in every production. “Lucas” in “The Doctor in Spite of Himself” by Moliere, “Billy Carewe” in “Play On”, “Keith” in “The Committee”, “Devon” in “The Day They Kidnapped Blanche”, “Manolo” in “Odd Couple” (female version) by Neil Simon, “Duane Wilson” in Harvey”.
The type of roles Jim has enjoyed the most are those with some physical comedy.
Judy Haas Montague started acting in Encore Senior Players in 2012. Most recently, she starred as Florence in the female version of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. She, also, played in three prior plays with this group, which, for her, started as a class offered at the Elsie Stuhr Center. Currently, she plays Nurse Kelly, who is ﬂirty and frivolous in the play "Harvey". She enjoys being involved in the publicity, set design, and enjoys the camaraderie amongst the actors, plus, the opportunity to play in comedies. In addition to acting, Judy is an on-call Manager/Kitchen Coordinator for Meals on Wheels. She lives in Beaverton with her husband, Mark, and cat, Olive.
Julie Cooper has been in the group since 2006. Her plays are Heaven Can Wait, A Grave Situation, Kiss Me Quick, I'm Double-parked, Auntie Maime, Play On, The Doctor inSpite of Himself, and she did the props in The Odd Couple.
Valerie Brooks:Valerie is the new director for the ESP family but no stranger to theater. She moved to Portland in 1970 and was involved with several theater companies including Lighthouse Theater Company and Liberation Stage Company. She taught theater at Lincoln High School in the 80's and Robert Gray Middle School before she retired from teaching in 2006. Valerie has directed over 60 productions and appeared in 30 productions in the Portland area. Her favorite roles include Abby in Arsenic and Old Lace, and My'Lynn in Steel Magnolias at Sandy Actors Theater and Margie in Christmas at Juniper Tavern with Eclectic Theater Company. She presently is a seamstress for area costumers Jessica Bobillot and Sara Ludiman. She look forward to playing with ESP and performing for their wonderful audiences.
Sandy Baker :" I was a shy child. I found a perfect solution by playing someone else in plays in high school and college. I was active in Toastmasters, which increased my self confidence in front of audiences. I joined Encore Senior Players after playing myself for 45 years, and I love being outrageous characters on stage.My favorite was Cassandra EZ. Its fun
shopping for the perfect costume.
Its a great job for anyone with an inner DIVA!."
Pete Cooper joined the group as a photographer and then as an actor in 2005. His plays have been Heaven Can Wait, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, Kiss Me Quick, I'm Double-parked, Schmulnik's Waltz, The Odd Couple, A Grave Situation, The Importance of Being Earnest and Auntie Maime.
Rhona Klein: After retiring as a research librarian, Rhona Klein took an acting class at Portland Actors Conservatory, then another, and another. In the last few years she’s been cast in several plays around town, recently playing Dottie in the Hood River production of Good People. She is thrilled to have joined the talented troupe of Encore Senior Players, and looks forward to having a blast with them – on stage and off.
Elliott Trommald joined around 2007. He hasn't had a part he didn't enjoy. Particularly enjoyable was Lost in Yonkers and trying to get Don to play more roughly -- once Elliott whapped him too hard. Playing teenagers was a profound gas. Servant was his first play and of course has special meaning for him. Pathos, humor, and the unexpected made Moliere's Doctor memorable, especially when Bonnie slid out of his life! On so many levels that play was an unforgettable experience.
Verna Russell was in her first play called: "Look What You've Done" with her mother. She was probably about eight years old .After that it was non-stop through grade school, high school and college. She went onto Community Theater in Portland in the 60's and 70's with gigs at the Civic Theater, Mark Allen's Theater, Lake Oswego, and various experimental coffee house productions. After a long hiatus, she is glad to be back doing"reader's theater"-no memorizing!
Helena de Crespo comes from England, but has been a resident in the Portland area for some time. She loves theatre and is delighted to be part of this production of the classic : Tom Jones. She knows that the special audiences will enjoy it as much as she has enjoyed being in it. She thanks Valerie Brooks for giving her this opportunity.
Bonnie Leiser is currently a "mild mannered" Financial Advisor by day and has been known to be a "Gypsy Queen by night. She has danced and performed with the Gypsy Caravan Troupes, doing tribal-style belly dance for 15 years, starting at age 50.She has danced on stages all over Portland' ,in Washington, California, and Mexico.Today she spends as much time as possible in Zumba and cardio bootcamp classes.She was also a visual artist for many years. Bonnie has two beautiful granddaughters and wants them to remember her like she remembers her own grandmother. Now at age 69, she is very excited to be joining the Encore Senior Player cast as Charity Haze in "The Butler Did It".Even though she has not acted before, she does come from along line of stage actors, dating back to the old Vaudeville days. May the force be with her !
John Dougherty joined the ESP family in 2015, ending a 50-year hiatus in his acting career. Before ESP, his most recent role was that of a pirate in a junior high school production of the Pirates of Penzance; he left acting at that time to focus on his studies and ‘spend more time with his family.’ In the interim, he made pink plastic flamingos, was a copy boy for a metropolitan daily, did medical research and teaching, practiced psychology, and worked in public health. In the 1980s he was a member of Syncopated Inc., an innovative dance company in Kentucky. Of Irish descent, he anticipates enjoying a wide variety of roles in ESP productions that allow the expression of his inner blarney.
Trish Smith is appearing in her first production with ESP: Tom Jones. Before retiring and moving to Portland she appeared in amateur productions in Arkansas including: The Crucible, Julius Caesar, Glass Menagerie, Tale of Two Cities, and House of Blue Leaves. She has enjoyed being part of SSI's weekly play reading for the past five years.
Retired Troupe Members
Rich Early :Rich came to Encore Senior Players after watching an Elsie Stuhr Center performance of the
"Odd Couple " in January 2014.
Watching the performance inspired him to become a member.Having discovered a group of people who enjoyed taking written words from a script and bringing it to life on
stage, he audtioned for a role in their next production. They welcomed and encouraged him
in this new adventure of stage performance. Performances include : Dr.Chumley in "Harvey", Senator Savage in The Curious Savage" and Monty Dare in The Case of The Lost Pearls".
With encouragement from Don Barney, who directed the group for several seasons, Rich has recently taken on the responsibilites of Artistic Direcor for the Spring Season 2016. He brings great enthusiasm to this new role and looks forward to working with his fellow actors.Rich is currently not active in ESP due to health issues.
Roy Metcalf acted in many plays in High school, sang in Portland Opera Chorus in the 50's, began play acting and production support in 1990, at Meyer & Franks/Macy's(Oasis Org.), Beaverton Elsie Stuhr Sr. Center, Coho Theater, Artist Rep Theater, Sherwood Sr. Center and back in Beaverton with ESP in 2012.
Roy coordinates and produces music intro and scene background sound, various sound effects, lighting operations, set sourcing and preparation, prop construction and production, and costume support from own wardrobe.
Supports moving the production/sets from site to site for performances and rehearsals.
Mary Kelley is one of the newest member to the group. She became inspired to audition for a role when she attended the performance, "The Odd Couple", December 2013. Mary laughed so hard and was in awe of the senior actors. At the age of 60 she has landed her first role in the play, "Harvey" playing Mrs. Betty Chumley, a psychiatrist's wife. Although Mary has limited acting experience she spent ten years entertaining and competing as a semi-professional ballroom dancer. After thirty years of teaching college students and practicing mental health therapy, Mary is moving forward in other directions. Acting is a fun way of giving back to the community in the spirit of laughter and entertainment. Mary is in our inactive list, but a great supporter!
Leslie Nobbe, a retired RN,began acting for the first time in a wonderfully fun Elsie Stuhr Theater class taught by Don Barney, back in 2011, along with working on programs, and props. She has stayed with the group as The Encore Senior Players was set up with 12 other actors, which have become a close extended family. .Leslie moved to NM in fall of 2017 but helps from afar with fund raising and their web site.
Bonna Smith retired from teaching in 2000 and joined a park and rec theater class for seniors, directed by Bill Whitney. With no acting background at all, she welcomed the class description of “script in hand and no experience necessary”. Bonna quickly discovered the joy of acting! Beginning with day one, this hobby has been filled with fun, laughter, comaradarie and learning. Over time, locations have changed, and cast and crew members have come and gone. She counts herself as one of the “nearly originals” still with the group today. Bonna has played many characters of all ages, and even a man a time or two. Her two favorite roles were Mary Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life and Bella in Lost in Yonkers. She feels priveleged that Don has asked her to assist with directing, along with continuing acting. All aspects of senior theater continue to truly enrich her life.Bonna is now in our inactive list, but a loyal supporter!
Michelle Reed joined Encore Senior Players in 2007 when it was still The Bill Whitney Senior Players. Her first performance was in Dancing at Luchnasa. She went on to act in several other performances over the past seven years, her favorite part being Vera in Auntie Mame. She also functioned as stage manager and assistant director in other productions. Her latest performance was in the Odd Couple Female Version when she played the part of Olive (Oscar in the original production). She treasures the friendships she has made in this group and considers herself blessed to be part of this group of self-designated actors! Michelle is now in our inactive list, but a loyal fan!
Don J. Barney Jan.23,1935-June 26th, 2019 One time director of the Encore Senior Players, passed away at home after a long illness. He had retired from acting but stepped into it the after nearly ten years of acting in senior theater in the Portland metro area with the Bill Whitney Players. Before all that, Don was on the boards only once, in high school, when he was laid out on the kitchen table as the drowned son of a family of Irish fishermen in John Millington Synge's "Riders to the Sea", not a major speaking role.Don is a native New Yorker, transplanted to Oregon in the early 1970's, with day jobs in journalism, public service and management consulting before retiring in 2000."Senior theater has been the joy of my retirement years," Don says. "I gained the confidence to perform under Bill Whitney's approach of script-in-hand. Memorizing the role isn't required, but getting into the role as much as possible with the help of costumes, sets, music, lights and full-on interaction with your fellow characters feels like the real thing, and is fun, fun, fun."Best of all, Don adds, is the ensemble of actors, many of them who have been performing together for five years or more, "who are always ready to put on a show with energy, enthusiasm and excellence. And then there are the audiences who make our day (and hopefully theirs as well) every time the lights go up." We all miss Don, and the ESP
theater would not have gotten started without his skill and organization. Thanks to Don!
Diane DiBella Has been with the group for 12 plus years playing many parts. These included sometimes filling a male role. She has had a lead part in many productions including the mother in Lost in Yonkers and more recently the part of Florence the Odd Couple. Diane has moved out of state but we all keep in touch!
Donna Manning was a member of the Encore Senior Players for nearly three years. She passed away early this year (2014) and we sorely miss her.
Donna was one of the great discoveries of Encore Senior Players, stepping out of a small role in our production of "A Grave Situation" on five minutes notice into the leading lady's part midway through performance after our lead literally flew off the stage into the audience. Donna changed costume and hair style during that five minutes and came on stage on cue looking radiant and performing the major role as if she had been doing it for weeks!
So went Donna's introduction to ESP audiences. She later performed 2012 and 2013 in our productions of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple", "Play On" and Moliere's "The Doctor in Spite of Himself".
In addition to her acting, Donna served as the troupe's first business manager and was very instrumental in backstage activities including props, costumes and sets. Through her contacts at the Beaverton Elks Club, she arranged for us to rehearse our plays at the Elks facility for more than a year, a great boon in helping ESP thrive during its formative years.