Message from Director Beth Lopes
The last phase is the most glorious.
Not to insinuate that any of the women in our cast are in their “last phase,” but I do love Tim Firth’s sentiment that as women get older, they edge ever closer to glory. In a world culture that largely ties women’s worth to youth, Calendar Girls argues that women can be powerful, sexy and make a difference at any age.
This play centers around a group of women from different walks of life that have found each other at the local Women’s Institute. They may have not been friends in the outside world, but within the walls of their WI, they find a community that grants them the courage to exist as they really are.
One of my favorite aspects of this script is the synchronicity of spirit between the characters in Calendar Girls and the actors who play them. The brave, triumphant act of disrobing that the ladies commit in the play is the same one that we’ll be witnessing the ladies of our company perform. There is incredible courage in that. How lucky are we that, as an audience, we can be there to support members of this community as they embark on this nerve-wracking and hopefully liberating endeavor?
Calendar Girls, at its core, is about female friendship and what can be accomplished when women hold each other up. In the state of our current world, I find it incredibly important to tell a story about women seizing ownership of their bodies and, in the process, finding their voices. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with this funny, thoughtful and fearless cast and crew of women and men. I hope you find it as moving to watch as I have been moved while working on it.
Ashlyn Kelley (Elaine)
first appeared on the SCT stage last winter as Winnifred Banks in Mary Poppins. She earned stage credits at SSU in Hamlet, Hummingbird Wars, and She Kills Monsters. Previous credits were earned at Lincoln High School in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Little Shop of Horrors. Ashlyn is currently a swim instructor at Syd Mardon’s but Calendar Girls could be the start of her nude career.
Bill Yee (John)
is an oncology pharmacist who graduated from University of the Pacific. His first appearance on the SCT stage started with Teahouse of the August Moon in 1989. Bill has won the Willie Award for Best Lead Actor in Caught in the Net and Best Supporting Actor in Spamalot and Are You Being Served. You may have also seen Bill in Damn Yankees, And The Soul Shall Dance, and The Producers as well as Honk! The Musical at Community Theatre of Linden and An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein at Tracy Performing Arts. This is Bill’s 30th year of acting since performing in The King and I at SDJC in 1987.
Christina Chavez Nelson (Ruth)
was 12-years old when she first appeared on the SCT stage in Toad of Toad Hall in 1978. More recently, she was nominated for a Willie Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Odd Couple and Red Velvet Cake War. She earned both Elly and Willie nominations for her role in Amadeus, and assistant directed Gypsy. Christina has also performed with Community Theatre of Linden, Kiley’s Dinner eatre and Rising Phoenix.
Cindy Braden (Annie)
is an elementary school teacher who was first seen on the SCT stage last September in Sister Act. You may have also seen her at Community Theatre of Linden as Rhetta in Pump Boys & Dinettes and Felicia in Class Act.
Grady Taylor (Lawrence)
is a graduate from University of Hawaii with a BFA in Theatre who was last seen on the SCT stage in Funny Money. He has earned 2 Willie Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor for his roles in The 39 Steps and Doubt, as well as Best Supporting Actor in a Musical award for his role in Anything Goes. Other SCT stage credits include Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, and Grease. Grady has also performed and directed at Showbiz Theatre Company, including his role as Clifford Anderson in Deathtrap last February.
Jeanine Michael Kiley (Lady Cravenshire)
has worked backstage on many shows at SCT in recent years, but this is her rst time onstage in more than 3 decades! Jeanine has done many shows at Kiley’s Dinner Theatre and Showbiz Theatre Company with recent roles including Ouiser in Steel Magnolias and Ruth Buzzi in A Tribute to Laugh-In. Jeanine feels blessed to be married to the funniest man on the planet, Mike Kiley!
Judy Caruso Williamson (Jessie)
has been a part of SCT since the age of 15, performing in productions like Steel Magnolias, Sylvia, The Wizard of Oz, and Driving Miss Daisy. She has also directed Damn Yankees and Kiss Me Kate. Judy works on the Board of Directors and is one of the Chairs for the Footlighters Association. She loves being included in SCT’s exceptional past and looks forward to its bright future. Judy would like to thank her supportive and loving husband, Marvin!
Karie Nelson (Cora)
has appeared on the SCT stage 3 times before Calendar Girls, including Red Velvet Cake War, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off and Dearly Beloved. She has also been in the Community Theatre of Linden’s productions of Honk! The Bridge is Out, and Southern Hospitality as well as Steel Magnloias at Showbiz Theatre Company. A teacher by day, Karie earned her BA in liberal studies at CSU Stanislaus and a Masters in multilangual education.
Laura Hagler (Celia)
is joining the SCT family with Calendar Girls. During the day, Laura is a buyer in the wine industry and is also the founder and President of Tracy Repertory Theatre where she performed in The Odd Couple and Laundry & Bourbon. She was also a part of Born Yesterday at Showcase Theatre in Chicago.
Michael Gadeke (Rod)
first appeared on the SCT stage in Sweeney Todd. He has also been seen as Mr. Woods in Legally Blonde, the ensemble of Young Frankenstein, and as Joseph Hewes in 1776. Michael owns a growing collection of over 230 pairs of novelty socks, with no plans to curb his addiction!
Nina Thiel (Chris)
is a dancer, actor and an award-winning choreographer, taking home Elly Awards for Les Miserables and Anything Goes for St. Mary’s High School eatre. For the last 16 years, she has traveled to college campuses all over the country with her original show Always the Women: A Solo Performance of Jesus’ Encounters with Women in the Gospels, which debuted at SCT in May 2000. You may have seen Nina in Death of a Salesman at Delta College and in the cast of Sweeney Todd and 42nd Street at SCT. She is always grateful for the opportunity to jump into a great play with a terrific ensemble!
Patricia Jannay (Brenda Hulse)
is a Special Education Teacher at Stagg High School who has been active in the Stockton Choral Community since 1977. Her first show at SCT was Sister Act earlier this season. She enjoys singing jazz, volunteering with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and is thankful for her husband’s supportive attitude!
Peggy Coleman (Marie)
has many wonderful memories at SCT since her first performance in 1986, Plaza Suite. She continued to perform in shows such as All My Sons, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, 42nd Street, and White Christmas as well as productions in San Jose, Manteca, and Pleasanton. Peggy wants to thank her family and friends for all their support, especially Wayne. You are the love of my life. You are my star.
Ricky Vasquez (Liam)
has been seen on the SCT stage in Young Frankenstein and Mary Poppins. You may have also seen Ricky at Showbiz Theatre Company in the annual Rocky Horror Show in 2015 & 2016. He would like to someday become a theatre arts professor. Ricky sends love and thanks to his friends and family for their support!