Rocking Horse Productions
By L. Frank Baum
With Music and Lyrics
by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg
Background Music by Herbert Stothart
Dance and Vocal Arrangements by Peter Howard
Orchestration by Larry Wilcox
Adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Based upon the Classic Motion Picture owned by
Turner Entertainment Co. and distributed in all media by
Spotlight Operator Kid Wrangler Sound
Laura Rast Mary Pat Bielecki GB Audio
Chuck Ziehl / Derrik Reynolds / Chuck Both / Douglas Kern
Lighting Costumes Stage Manager
Kirkland Gilmer Elaine Heckler Deb Rennicks
Music Director Choreographer Assistant Choreographer
Sean Polen Daniel Doctor Alaina Zyhowski
Douglas H. Kern
September 7-23th, 2018
THE WIZARD OF OZ
is presented by arrangement with
TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022
Dorothy ……………….……. Sara Marioles Mitch
Aunt Em ……………………. Caroline Parzy-Sanders
Uncle Henry/ Oz Guard ……. Charles Both
Almira Gulch/ The Wicked Witch ……. Melissa Leventhal
Professor/ Wizard ………. Charles Slisz
Hunk/ Scarecrow …………. Robby Syruws
Hickory/ Tinman …………. Sean Murphy
Zeke/ Lion ……………………Joe Castiglia
Glinda ……………………….…Annessa Kujawinski
Nikko the Flying Monkey …. Derrik Reynolds
Ozonians / Ensemble
Jade Kiszewski, Isabella Ruof, Elissa Neri, Russel Holt, Oliver Ball
A Peter Snodgrass, Ciaran Krueger, Tammy Dobe, Kayla McSorely, Sara Kojm, Trevor Foster
Noah Bielecki, Joseph Bielecki, Anabelle Wessel, Aisha Ganga, Emma Rose Amodeo, Jane Marie Hereth, Isobel Bucki
Sydney Sterlace, MaryRose Saper, Caoimhe Krueger, Genevieve Fisher, Amelia Ioviero
Carter Ziolkowski, Catherine Baker, Isabella Bindemann, Briley Huwyler, Camden Sanders
Debbie Hutter……… Piano
Roger Hutter………. Trumpet
Liz Sanderson ………. Flute
Liz Staley …………. Cello
Allie Schnackel …… Clarinet
Andrea Silvestrini …. French Horn
Alan Jaenecke ………Trombone
Craig Hodnott ……… Bass
Heather Siekierski …. Oboe
Kris Banzhaf ………. Percussion
Gary Rutkowski …… Percussion
Rocking Horse Productions Staff
Artistic Director ……… Leigha Eichhorn
Run Crew………………..Milo Hanrahan, Steve Bochenski
Sewers ……Jen Zeitler, Dianne Mucha, Amanda Melissa Taylor
Assistant to the Costumer………Annabel Paradise
Props ……………. Chuck Both, Jane Navarro, Deb Rennicks, Derrik Reynolds
Scenic Painters…. Chuck Both, Derrik Reynolds
Backdrops…. “Backdrops by Charles H Stewart”; Janet Ziehl
Graphic Artist ……………………….….………………Greg Hennessey
Oz Video ……………………… Jay Wollin
Who’s Who in the Cast
Emma Amodeo (Munchkin)
Emma is new to theatre and has just begun performing in musicals. Emma belongs to the prestigious Academy of Theatre Arts (ATA) Academy Kids! Company. Her most recent musical was Willy Wonka, Jr (Matilda) and she has performed in many ensemble showcases with ATA. Outside of school, Emma takes piano lessons and swims for St. Christopher School. She is grateful for the support from all of her family and friends.
Catherine (Cate) Baker (Munchkin)
Cate is currently a 4th grader at Eggert Elementary School in Orchard Park. Cate studies musical theatre, jazz, tap, ballet, and lyrical at Walh Performing Arts Studios. During the summers at Walh, Cate has participated in several musical theatre camps, including: Alice in Wonderland Jr., Beauty and the Beast Jr., and The Lion King Jr. Cate also enjoys swimming for TWST and OPCC, writing fiction, and playing with her dog, Lola. Cate is grateful to the directors and cast of this wonderful production!
Oliver Ball (Ozian/ Ensemble)
Oliver is a junior at Lancaster High School. He is a member of the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts as well as the president of the Gay Straight Alliance. He was most recently in Talk About a Murder! (Andy) and Legally Blonde Jr. (Dewey)
Joseph Bielecki (Munchkin)
Joe is thirteen years old and in eighth grade at Queen of Heaven School. He has been performing with theatre groups in WNY for four years. With West Seneca Youth Theatre, he has performed in Carousel (ensemble), Guys and Dolls (newsboy and ensemble gambler), Willy Wonka (Augustus Gloop), Bring It On (ensemble), Little Shop of Horrors (Bernstein), and three Disney-themed fundraising shows in which he played a toy soldier (Toy Story), a Dalmatian (101 Dalmatians), Happy (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), and Simba (The Lion King). This is his third show with Rocking Horse, his first two being It’s a Wonderful Life (young George Bailey and Pete Bailey) and Charlotte’s Web (Avery Arable). He will also be in the December production of A Christmas Story as Ralphie Parker. In his spare time, he enjoys reading Stephen King, singing, and playing the piano.
Noah Bielecki (Munchkin)
Noah is ten years old and in fifth grade at Queen of Heaven School. He has been performing with theatre groups in WNY for three years. With West Seneca Youth Theatre, he has been cast as Dopey (Snow White; Disney fundraiser 2016), Tweddle Dum (Alice in Wonderland, Disney fundraiser 2017), Willy Wonka (a squirrel), Guys and Dolls (ensemble), and Little Shop of Horrors (Stanford). In October, he will be appearing with Second Generation Theatre’s production of Big Fish (young Will) at Shea’s Smith Theatre. This is Noah’s second show with Rocking Horse, his first being It’s a Wonderful Life (Tommy Bailey). In his spare time, he sings, plays the piano, and studies physics.
Isabella Bindemann (Munchkin)
Isabella is a 10 year-old 5th grader at William Street School. The Wizard of Oz is her first show with Rocking Horse Productions, but she was recently in Annie with the Lancaster Opera House as Kate. In addition to these shows, Isabella has gotten the chance to sing at three Buffalo Bisons games. When not acting, singing, and dancing, she is normally reading. She would like to thank her family, especially her mom, for supporting her through everything she has gotten to do.
Chuck Both (Uncle Henry/ Oz Guard)
This is Chuck’s 2nd performance with Rocking Horse Productions, previously appearing as Uncle Billy in It’s A Wonderful Life this last Christmas. Chuck has been performing since he was in 7th grade at Herbert Hoover Jr High in the High School’s Production of Oliver. He attempted to do some community theatre and was cast as Ying the Chinaman in Anything Goes. Chuck moved to California to seek his fame and fortune but to no avail. He’s now back in Western New York working with the West Seneca Youth Theatre as their Art Director. For the past 12 years he’s designed their sets and props. This past year, Chuck helped produce Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with great success! He has helped with the sets for Wizard of Oz as well. Keep an eye out for his Handy Work during the show!
Isobel Bucki (Munchkin)
With six years of dance under her belt and parts in plays at both school and church, this is Isobel’s first musical. She is well-versed in tap, ballet and dance through her affiliation with ZPAC (Zawadzki Performing Arts Center), where Isobel is a member of the competition team. She has performed at the Erie County Fair, Music is Art Festival, Canalside and West Seneca Parade along with competitions in New York, Ohio and New Jersey. Isobel is an excellent student who also enjoys swimming, ice skating and soccer
Joe Castiglia (Zeke/ Lion)
“Courage isn’t a brilliant dash, a daring deed in a moment’s flash; it isn’t an instantaneous thing born of despair with a sudden spring. It isn’t a creature of flickered hope or the final tug at a slipping rope; but it’s something deep in the soul of man that is working always to serve some plan. Courage isn’t the last resort in the work of life or the game of sport; it isn’t a thing that a man can call at some future time then he’s apt to fall. If he hasn’t it now, he will have it not when the strain is great and the pace is hot. For who would strive for a distant goal must always have courage within his soul. Courage isn’t a dazzling light that flashes and passes away from sight; it’s a slow, unwavering, ingrained trait with the patience to work and the strength to wait. It’s part of a man when his skies are blue; it’s part of him when he has work to do. The brave man never is freed of it. He has it when there is no need of it. Courage was never designed for show; it isn’t a thing that can come and go; it’s written in victory and defeat and every trial a man may meet. It’s part of his hours, his days and his years, back of his smiles and behind his tears. Courage is more than a daring deed: It’s the breath of life and a strong man’s creed.” (Edgar A. Guest) Keep Smiling, Keep Shining!
Tammy Dobe (Ozian/ Ensemble)
This is Tammy’s first performance with Rocking Horse. She is very excited to back on the stage after taking a 14 year hiatus from acting, having four children, and establishing her teaching career at Niagara Wheatfield HS. She most recently performed at the Lancaster Opera House in We Gotta Bingo and Harvey with the Towne Players of Tonawanda. Tammy also directs theatrical events at NWHS. She would like to thank the cast, crew, directors, and her friends and family for allowing and encouraging her to follow her passion for performing!
Genevieve Fisher (Munchkin)
Genevieve is in fourth grade at Parkdale Elementary School in East Aurora. A relative newcomer to the theater scene, she was most recently seen in Annie (Molly) at the Lancaster Opera House. Genevieve takes dance, piano, and voice lessons. She is also a Girl Scout. In her spare time, she loves to read and is a Harry Potter fanatic. She is thrilled to be in The Wizard of Oz, and would like to thank her Godparents, Matt and Kelly Walter, for introducing her to the wonderful world of theater!
Trevor Foster (Ozian/ Ensemble)
Trevor is a sixteen year old high school junior. He has been involved in musicals since he was nine. He was part of West Seneca Youth Theatre (WSYT) for six years, performs in his school’s musicals and sings in his school’s select chorus group. Some of the more recent productions he’s been part of include: Anything Goes (Billy Crocker) with West Seneca West High School; Shrek Jr. (Shrek) with Lancaster Opera House Summer Program; All Shook Up (Jim) with WSYT; and Guys and Dolls (Big Jule) also with WSYT. He is looking forward to his first musical with Rocking Horse Productions.
Aisha Gange (Munchkin)
Aisha is an 8 year-old third grader at Sheridan Hill Elementary. This is Aisha’s first show with Rocking Horse. Aisha is a girl of many talents, participating in musical theatre, guitar lessons and singing. Most recently she was in Willy Wonka Kids (Willy Wonka) at Academy of Theatre Arts. On stage is where she feels most at home.
Jane Hereth, (Munchkin)
Jane is thrilled to be spending time in Munchkinland with Rocking Horse Productions! Jane has played an ensemble role in Scrooge The Musical, was recently seen in The Music Man Kids (Marian Paroo) with South Davis Elementary, and regularly performs with the Buffalo Niagara Youth Chorus. When she’s not acting or singing, Jane enjoys spending time with her cat Max and working on crafts of all kinds. Jane wishes to thank all of her loving grandparents for their unwavering support.
Russell Holt (Ozian/ Ensemble)
Russ is an actor from Lackawanna, NY. He is a graduate of the University at Buffalo. Russell moved back from Los Angeles and returned to Buffalo in March. In May he performed in Lit401: A School Shooting in One Act (C) at the Shea’s Smith Theatre for his first professional level production in Buffalo. Russell would like to go to grad school and receive his MFA and continue his goal of being a successful working professional actor. “I would like to thank God for the opportunity to perform in this production and the support from my family and friends.”
Briley Huwyler (Munchkin)
Briley has been performing in musicals for the last few years. Recent musicals include 101 Dalmatians (Dalmatian Pup) with Pratt Elementary and Annie (Orphan) for West Side Academy. She has sung in Pratt Elementary School’s vocal choir in two winter performances and two spring concerts. Briley has taken dance classes (tap, ballet and jazz) at West Side Academy over the last six years. She currently continues to be trained in ballet, singing and clarinet, as well as participate in other extracurricular activities.
Amelia Ioviero (Munchkin)
Amelia has performed in the Maryvale Intermediate School chorus for the last two years and band for one year. This will be her first professional musical performance. Outside of school, Amelia enjoys swimming, ice skating, playing softball and soccer.
Jade Kiszewski (Ozian/Dancer/Ensemble)
Jade has been in musicals for the past ten years and dancing for thirteen. She has been included in over twenty-four musical performances. A few memorable shows include Guys and Dolls (Sara Brown), The Little Mermaid (Ariel), Seussical (Cat in the Hat) and A Midsummer Night Dream (Helena) with West Seneca Youth Theater and Godspell (Temptation) two years ago at West Seneca East High. Around Buffalo, Jade has performed at the Rivera Theater, Harbor Center as well as the Key Bank Center. She is thrilled to be back on the stage.
Sarah Kojm (Ozian /Dancer/Ensemble)
This is Sarah’s second performance with Rocking Horse Productions, and she is very excited to return to Oz. Her past credits include 9 To 5: The Musical (Ensemble/Dancer) with Rocking Horse Productions, The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy), The Sound of Music (Liesel), Fiddler on the Roof (Hodel), and The Music Man (Marian) with Cleveland Hill High School. Sarah minored in Theater & Dance at Niagara University and has taken classes at Mullen Sisters School of Dance for the past fifteen years. Outside of the theater, Sarah enjoys playing tennis, softball, and spending time with her family. Her day job is in computer programming and web design.
Caoimhe Krueger (Munchkin)
Caoimhe is 8 years old and in 3nd grade. She’s excited to be in her 2nd production with Rocking Horse Productions, after playing Zuzu Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life last December. Recent shows include 101 Dalmatians Kids (Luciana the Chihuahua), Lion King Kids (Zazu), Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr (Unpack your Adjectives soloist) at the Lancaster Opera House summer workshop; MeTube (Little Miss Broadway) and Backyard Campout (Princess Caroline) at her elementary school. She loves to dance, and has been in three productions of The Nutcracker (party scene girl, toy soldier, flower pot). Caoimhe is the oldest of 4 girls, and loves dolphins. She hopes to be on Broadway someday.
Ciaran Krueger (Ozian/ Ensemble)
Ciaran has been doing musicals for the past twenty years in the community. This is his first show with Rocking Horse, and he is delighted to be sharing the stage with his daughter Caoimhe. Favorite roles include playing opposite his wife in Brigadoon (Tommy), Yeomen of the Guard (Jack Point), and Princess Ida (Florian). Ciaran is a music teacher in the KenTon school district and resides in Clarence with his wife Lisa, and four beautiful daughters.
Annessa Kujawinski (Glinda)
Annessa is so excited to be part of this journey to Oz. She has been seen in past Rocking Horse Productions, such as 9 to 5 (Margaret), Jekyll and Hyde (Dance Captain/Ensemble), California Suite (Bunny), and Legally Blond (Elle’s Mom/Whitney). When she is not on stage, Annessa is a first and second grade teacher in Amherst. She thanks Ben, Izzy, and Meatball for supporting her love of theater.
Melissa Leventhal: (Almira Gulch/ Witch)
Melissa is delighted to be onstage with Rocking Horse once more! She was last seen with them as Mme Thenardier in RHP’s Les Miserables. Other favorite roles include: Joseph (Narrator); Anything Goes (Reno), and Steel Pier (Shelby). In addition to her work onstage, Melissa has directed for Buffalo Chrysalis Theater Company and Kaleidoscope Productions. She has been seen onstage locally at Alleyway, O’Connell & Co, Kaleidoscope, and Kavinoky. She received her BFA in Theater Studies from Niagara University and attended the Westmore Institute of Cosmetic Arts in Los Angeles., where she was also a member of the Academy for New Musical Theater. Special thanks to A, for everything.
Sara Marioles Mitch (Dorothy)
Sara is absolutely thrilled to be making her Rocking Horse Productions debut as Dorothy! She has worked on numerous productions in the Buffalo area over the past several years, but some of her most recent favorites are Mamma Mia! (Lisa) at the Kavinoky Theatre, Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! (Squirrel) and Fancy Nancy the Musical (Wanda) both with Theatre of Youth, and The Crucible (Abigail Williams) with American Reparatory Theatre. When she is not on stage, Sara enjoys playing with her sweet little boy, Arlo, and spending time with family. She would like to thank her family, especially her amazing husband, Joshua, for their endless love and support (and line running), as well as the production staff of Rocking Horse for this amazing opportunity.
Kayla McSorley (Ozian/ Dancer/ Ensemble)
Kayla is pleased to be working with Rocking Horse! Favorite Credits Include: Chicago (Velma Kelly), Julius Caesar (Brutus), The Last Five Years (Cathy), Lettres de Femmes – Femmes de Lettres (Marie de France), Guys and Dolls (Hot Box Dancer), The Grey Ghost (Pirate Pearl).
Sean Murphy (Hickory/ Tinman)
Sean is thrilled to be making his Rocking Horse Production debut in this iconic show. He recently returned from Rwanda with The Anne Frank Project, implementing a Drama-Based Education into their classrooms. Sean has worked with many theatre companies in the Buffalo area, such as: The Kavinoky Theatre, Second Generation Theatre, The New Phoenix Theatre, Artpark, Lockport Palace Theatre, O’Connell & Company, & Lancaster Opera House Productions. He also worked at Walt Disney World as a Parade/Character Performer. Sean sends a huge thank you to his friends and family for the love and support. “My love to all.”
Elissa Neri (Ozian/ Ensemble)
Elisa is thrilled to be returning to the Opera House stage in this production of Wizard of Oz! Most recently Elissa was seen as Fern in Rocking Horse Productions Charlotte’s Web. She is currently a junior at Frontier Central High School and an active participant in the music department and plans to pursue a career in Forensics Psychology in her future. She would like to give a major thank you to her family and friends for the endless amount of love and support that they have given her for so long. Special thanks to Mom (Aimee), Dad (Chris), Grandpa (Jim), and Anthony for always believing in me and helping me to live my dream! Follow @elissa_neri_theater on Instagram to follow her along on her theater journey!
Camden Parzy-Sanders (Munchkin)
Camden is excited to be in his first show with Rocking Horse Productions. He has dreamed of being a Lollypop Guild member for years and thanks the Rocking Horse team for the amazing opportunity. Camden was last seen in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Ollie Herdman) with Lancaster Regional Players. Cam is thrilled to be finally sharing the stage with his mom! Camden has a very active modeling career and competes in beauty pageants. He is six years old and will be entering second grade in the fall.
Caroline Parzy-Sanders (Aunt Em/ Ozian)
Caroline is thrilled to be joining Rocking Horse Productions for the first time. She is no stranger to the stage, having performed in numerous productions over the past 20 years. She was recently seen in the Artie nominated Desdemona; A Play About a Handkerchief (Amelia) with Brazen Faced Varlots. Other favorite performances include Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas), We Gotta Bingo (MaryEd) with Lancaster Regional Players, 6X8 with Brazen Faced Varlots, Ophelia Thinks Harder (Queen Gertrude) with BFV as well as many others. In the Spring of this year, she will be performing in The Secretary (Janine) with BFV. Caroline is currently workshopping a new musical entitled Teacher, Teacher by Mike Zak and Ellie Solo. Caroline has a vocal performance degree and keeps busy cantoring for local churches. Most importantly she is proud to be sharing the stage with her own real-life munchkin. Caroline sends lots of love out to her family, without which none of this would be possible.
Xena Parzy (Toto)
Xena is tail wagglingly happy to be starring in her first musical. She is excited to be able to showcase her acting prowess by portraying a male character. Xena is a Yorkshire Terrier who rescued her human Kim Parzy from boredom. Xena has high aspirations for her theatre career. Roles she would like to play are Sandy in “Annie”, Queen Victoria in “Three Penny Opera” and Grizabella in “Cats” (a pup can dream, right?). She currently spends her days playing with her favorite Munchkin, going on long walks and dreaming of sleeping on the bed. Xena is currently writing a musical stage adaptation of “Lassie” which she hopes direct and star in.
Derrik Reynolds (Nikko)
Derrik is a Rocking Horse veteran having done eight shows with the company. He is honored to be in The Wizard of Oz. He was last seen in Charlotte’s Web as Templeton the rat. In his spare time, Derrik is the assistant Director of the West Seneca Youth Theater.
Isabella Ruof (Ozian/Ensemble)
Isabella is thrilled to be working with Rocking Horse Productions again after previously appearing in Children on Eden (Storyteller) and Legally Blonde (ensemble). Other recent productions include 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Logainne Schwarzand Grubenniere) and Little Shop of Horrors (Chiffon) with Aurora Players.
MaryRose Saper (Munchkin)
MaryRose is a student at Ben Franklin Middle School. She has studied at Fit Physique Dance Studio since she was 3. She enjoys drawing and playing soccer. She would like to thank her mom for signing her up for this show, and her dad for introducing her to the world of theatre.
Chuck Slisz (Professor Marvel/ Wizard)
Chuck has been interested in Theater all his life, mostly as an audience member. Through the years he has appeared in productions with Aurora Players, Raiders of Niagara and, most often, Niagara Regional Theater Guild. Favorite roles include: Man in Chair (Drowsy Chaperone); King Pellinore (Camelot); Colonel Pickering (My Fair Lady); Grandpa Vanderhof (You Can’t Take It With You) and Thomas Becket (Murder in the Cathedral). His day job is Rector of St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo.
Peter Snodgrass (Ozian/Ensemble)
Peter is excited to be adding another Rocking Horse notch to his belt, appearing previously in Les Misérables (Prouvaire), Legally Blonde: The Musical (Kyle), and It’s a Wonderful Life (Harry Bailey). Most recently he reprised his role in Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding (Barry Wheeler) with Actors Anonymous and appeared in Sons & Lovers (Marq/Pierre/Giancarlo) with Buffalo United Artists. If you really like seeing him act, you should catch him trying cases as a plaintiff’s attorney or getting served asparagus at a dinner party.
Sydney Sterlace (Munchkin)
Sydney has recently become interested in musical theatre. She has participated in a musical theatre class at Wahl’s Performing Arts where she took on the role of an elf in their Christmas play. Outside of school, Sydney takes dance classes, piano and singing lessons. She is very involved with Bello Voice Studio where she has the opportunity to sing at many events such as Darien Lake, Erie County Fair, Music is Art and Taste of Orchard Park. Sydney also had the honor of singing the National Anthem for the Buffalo Bisons this year, as well as making it to the semi-finals of Buffalo’s Got Talent. She enjoys playing basketball, swimming and hanging out with her siblings.
Robby Syruws (Hunk/ Scarecrow)
Robby is thrilled to be heading down the Yellow Brick Road in his Rocking Horse debut! Favorite roles include: Mary Poppins (Bert), Seussical (Cat), Shrek (Pinocchio), Annie (Rooster), Hairspray (Wilbur), Beauty and the Beast (Lumiere), The Little Mermaid (Scuttle), and A Christmas Carol (Bob Cratchit). When not on stage, Robby performs Monday through Friday in his classroom as a first grade teacher. Robby would like to thank the Rocking Horse team and his family and friends for their endless support. “And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”
Anabelle Paige Wessel (Munchkin)
Anabelle is nine years old and entering the 4th grade at Alexander Central School. She has been in two PTA plays at Alexander (Sherlock Holmes and Anne of Green Gables). Anabelle performed as a soloist in the Otsego County Fair 2017 mini talent contest. She won second prize and advanced to the New York State Fair where she made it to the semi-finals. Anabelle also enjoys gymnastics, soccer, baseball, basketball, and Girl Scouts. She is excited about being a Munchkin for Rocking Horse Productions.
Carter Ziolkowski (Munchkin)
Carter attends Maryvale Intermediate School. Carter plays the double bass and has earned the highest achievement in fourth grade. Carter has been in the school chorus for two years. Carter sang in the talent show, Music of the Night 2017 and Somewhere Over the Rainbow 2018. Carter is taking voice and piano lessons at the Musicroom in Cheektowaga. Carter is a member of the children’s choir at Harris Hill UMC. In the summer of 2017, Carter was invited to sing at East Aurora First Presbyterian church. Carter is thrilled to be joining Rocking Horse Productions for his first appearance on the Lancaster Opera House Stage.
Daniel Doctor (Choreographer)
Director, producer, actor, dancer and choreographer, Daniel has emerged on the scene as a creative force. Daniel’s love, appreciation and respect for the arts encompasses all complex forms of expression. Founding various community theatre and school theatre companies, Daniel has consistently elevated and honed his craft, leading him to the achievement of founding his own performing arts studio, West Side Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. Dan Is thrilled to be joining the Rocking Horse Family.
Elaine Heckler (Costumer)
Elaine is an Arti-nominated costumer who has been costuming for approximately 10 years. Elaine loves all things theatre, and has acted, stage managed, produced and costumed. She especially enjoys costuming the summer camps for the Opera House. Favorite projects include “Noises Off”, “A Christmas Story”, “Peter Pan”, “The Full Monty”, and “Jesus Christ Superstar” to name a few. Elaine is proud to say she is member of the Rocking Horse Family. Elaine lives in the Village with her incredibly supportive husband, Brian, their 2 Bull Terriers, and their cat named Pretzel. “Thoughts become things. Choose the Good Ones”
Jane Navarro (Director)
Jane is pleased to be directing this creative and talented cast and crew. She has most recently directed It’s a Wonderful Life, A Few Good Men and Of Mice and Men for Rocking Horse Productions. She has had the opportunity to direct and stage mange many wonderful productions including You Can’t Take It with You, Noises Off, Chicago, Peter Pan and Wizard of Oz. She would like to thank Joe, Joey and John for their love, support, and understanding.
Sean Polen (Music Director)
Sean is an accomplished musician and has been a Music Director in the Western New York area for the past ten years. He was the music teacher and drama director at Saint Mary School Swormville for the past four years where he created a strong theatrical program. Additionally, he is a popular acting and vocal clinician as well as a pianist for several Junior and Senior High School Drama and Choral programs. He has been an actor, director, choreographer, and music director for several shows, though his favorites have been Godspell and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Currently he is the Director of Pastoral Music at Saint Christopher’s Parish in Tonawanda, where he oversees a large and diverse music program. He is a sought-after vocal coach, accompanist, and conductor. He studied vocal performance and conducting at University at Buffalo under Tony Arnold and Harold Rosenbaum. In his free time, he can be found playing the harp and attending Renaissance Faires as one half of the Celtic duo “Elemental Sprites”.
Deb Rennicks (Stage Manager)
Deb worked stage crew for St Mary’s High School then became stage manager after graduation. She stage-managed the SMH Alumni Association’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar and MTC’s production of Oliver, both at Lancaster Opera House. After many years away, Deb was bitten by the theater bug and was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be part of a wonderful team with RHP for their 2013 season. In her first show back, she ran spot light as Sister Mary Myopia in Nunsense, as well as doing Props. After doing props and run crew for three seasons, Deb stepped into the stage manager role working with her friend, Jane Navarro. Deb had fun with Jane working on Oz and is looking forward to working with Leigha on Peter Rabbit! Many thanks to her friend, Doug, for adding her to his Rocking Horse Family. Her heart belongs to RHP!
Chuck Ziehl (Set Designer / Builder)
“It’s been over twelve great years since Doug asked me to join the company. Yes, Doug it’s still fun. Some of our shows were Noises Off (biggest set we ever built), Christmas Story, Odd Couple, Joseph Technicolor Dream Coat, Les Misérables, and A Few Good Men. My favorite was 12 Angry Men as it was the most detailed. I enjoyed doing this one with the help of Doug and Phil. It was a challenge due to its size. I enjoy making the sets as real as possible. I try to bring the Director’s vision to the stage. I hope I succeeded. I would like to thank my wife Janet for being my sounding board and adding her artistic touch to the sets. I do it because I love it. I thank Doug and Jane for the opportunity to be a part of this. As always, we thank the people that come to see our plays and musicals. You make it all worthwhile. Thank You!”
Alaina Zyhowski (Assistant Choreographer)
Alaina has degrees in Environmental Science, Film, and Education from Ohio State, UB, and Canisius. This is her 2nd show with Rocking Horse Productions. She has also appeared on the Lancaster Opera House stage in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Geminae), Spamalot (Laker Girl), Singin’ in the Rain (Featured Ensemble), Twas the Night Before Christmas (Prancer), and Promises, Promises (Sylvia Gilhooley). She performed on the Historic Palace Theatre stage in Scrooge the Musical (Featured Ensemble). She enjoys dancing the lindy hop, vintage jazz, and Argentine tango.