THE ROAD TO FOREVER
Steven Ray Watkins (Vaska)
Steven Ray Watkins has been playing the piano for 52 years, and has been a working musician for 48 years. He attended Shenandoah Conservatory of Music with a focus on Musical Theater and Piano. In the 80’s, Watkins was the lead singer of the techno-pop band Ampersand, who had a top 20 Billboard single with the song “Traction.” After their disbandment, Watkins returned to musical theater performance, performing in the national tours of “big,” “Singin’ In the Rain,” and “Showboat.” Regionally he performed in “Falsettos,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “42nd Street,” “Evita,” “They’re Playing Our Song,” “The Last Session,” and “Witness For the Prosecution,” among others. In 2000, Watkins turned his attention back to music, and quickly became one of the most sought after musical directors and pianists in NYC. As a theater MD, he has worked on “A Chorus Line,” “Funny Girl,” “The Last Five Years,” “Once On This Island,” etc. As a musical consultant and vocal coach he has worked with a myriad of different performers, including Patti LuPone, Hugh Jackman, Beyonce, Anne Hathaway, Cynthia Nixon, Bonnie Franklin, Amanda McBroom, Louise Pitre, and Karen Mason. He consulted on the 2009 Oscars, has musical directed the MAC Awards 3 times, and has been involved in many benefits and concerts in NYC and around the country, including performances at Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. As a composer, he has written specialty material for many cabaret acts, the MAC Awards, and his song “Give Me A Voice” appears on Lennie Watts’ CD “I Want….You Want.” Currently, Watkins teaches a cabaret performance class at Marymount College of Manhattan plus many private classes, all with Lennie Watts.
Kelsey Marshall (Luka)
Kelsey recently graduated from Shaler Area High School where she lived in the performing arts department. Some of her favorite roled while at Shaler include Fiona in Shrek the Musical, Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes, and Grace Fryer in Radium Girls. She has performed as an Emerging Artist numerous times in Mariposa’s Cabaret Series and is thrilled to be back performing in this new context! Kelsey studies Voice with Sari Gruber and Acting with Scott Logsdon and will be pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater this fall at Shenandoah Conservatory. Kelsey is represented commercially by The Talent Group.
Laura Karner (Bogdana, a witch)
Laura is a Pittsburgh-based actor, producer, and director. She has been lucky enough to appear in three of Mariposa's cabarets. Other local theatres she has performed with include City Theatre, MTAP, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Paragon Studios, and MRA. As a producer, Laura helmed The Confidential Musical Theatre Project in Pittsburgh. She also produced and directed the local premiere of 35mm. She's a graduate of Randolph College for the Performing Arts.
Connor Butler (Ilya)
Connor Butler, who plays the role of Ilya, is honored to be a part of this great cast and crew. His previous roles include Miles in "The Innocents," Dr. Jason Posner in "W;t," and John Wheeler in "Nightwatch." He would like to thank everyone involved especially Caren Hearne for her continued guidance, Sam Cooper for writing a tremendously fun play, and Julie Sowers for always catching me when I fall.
Anthony Williams (Kostya)
A triple threat performer residing in West Virginia, Anthony is a recent graduate of Vancouver Films School’s ‘Acting for Film & Television’ program. He is honored to be performing with Mariposa Theater under the direction of Caren Hearne once again. Williams' past roles range from ‘Jim’ in Big River and ‘Richie’ in Chorus Line to ‘Jafar’ in Aladdin and Coricopat in CATs. During the Fall and Winter seasons you can sometimes find him singing and dancing in Virginia at Kings Dominion Theme Park in their LIVE shows. When not performing he is busy building his company Felt Top Media and playing guitar.
Sabra Michele(Joker and the Mole)
Sabra is known for a long career in musical theatre as a dancing leading lady. She started in the DC area (where she met Caren) and went on tour performing for several years. Sabra Michelle has been a Teaching Artist in Wisconsin for the past 5 years, choreographing for Children's Theatre of Madison, Disney Musicals in Schools, Capital City Theatre, and many more. As an actor, she has an extensive musical theatre resume from NYC, DC/VA/MD, PA, and around the world. Favorite credits include: Roxie (CHICAGO), Cassie (A CHORUS LINE), Lola (DAMN YANKEES), and Morticia (ADDAMS FAMILY). Check the archives of your old kid videos to see her in "BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE LIVE!" and check out www.Sabra Michelle.com for more information.
Anna Jackson (Frozen Lady)
Anna is a NY-based actor and graduate of the Stella Adler Studio 3-year conservatory, where she performed in “As You Like It,” “Escape from Happiness,” “Top Girls,” and “Love’s Labours Lost.” Prior to NY, she worked in the DC area with Studio Theatre, NextStop, Landless, and Workhouse Arts Center. She has performed numerous children’s shows with Studio 3 Children’s Theatre (where she met Caren!), including “Rapunzel,” “Miss Electricity,” “Home,” and “Schoolhouse Rock Live,” as well as with Imagination Stage in “Wake Up, Brother Bear” and “The BFG” at National Theatre. She taught for years with InterAct Story Theater and Wolftrap Center for Early Childhood Education to bring arts integration into classrooms, and is so excited to be a part of this project! Anna hold a Bachelor of Music from UNC School of the Arts.
Diana Lee Arnold (Cold)
Diana Lee Arnold is delighted to join Mariposa Theatre for The Road to Forever. She has performed with Young Playwrights’ Theater, Building Better People Productions, TBD Immersive, Laugh Index Theatre, and the Florida State Flying High Circus where she braved dizzying heights in the acts “Five on a Bike” and the “Spanish Web.” She is a graduate of the Honors Acting Conservatory at The Theatre Lab School for the Dramatic Arts in Washington, D.C. In addition to live performance, she enjoys acting in films, and has earned awards and nominations for lead roles. Film aside, Diana cherishes live theatre and relishes in the experience of connecting to people in real time, especially the little ones! Along with her teaching degree, she enjoys using her craft to inspire others to tell their own stories. dianaleearnold.com
Cody Sweet (Dorofei/Feodor)
Cody is pleased to join Mariposa (even if it’s just virtually) once more. Cody has been performing with Mariposa since they arrived in the Pittsburgh area, costarring in their first show (Schoolhouse Rock) and appearing in countless other productions and cabarets since then. (Ok, technically it’s seven, but that’s practically countless). Cody's favorite acting credits include John Hinckley Jr. (Assassins), Neville Craven (The Secret Garden), Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors), and Jesus (Godspell). An accomplished actor and singer, Cody has performed at the Byham Theater, Heinz Hall, and Carnegie Hall (NYC) and with Marvin Hamlisch, Jodie Benson, & Jonathan Lithgow.
Sam Cooper (PLAYWRIGHT)
Sam wrote this play ten years ago while pursuing a BFA in Acting from Old Dominion University. After earning his degree, moving to NYC, and pursuing a career in the arts he found himself drawn to bread baking. A different creative outlet for sure that eventually led him to become a professional bread baker. Sam is now unemployed and hiding from the coronavirus in Northern Virginia, where he continues to bake bread and grow his beard.
MEET THE ACTORS
Julie Bermea (Production Stage Manager)
Julie is happy to be returning to Mariposa for their fourth season! She’s excited to continue stage managing for an exciting season of virtual imagination and magic. Thanks to Caren for the opportunity to continue working for a company that brings joy to so many local children and families!
THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES