Meet Our Staff Meet the 2022 Staff for all of our theatre productions. Our current positions are filled for 2022. But, please stay in touch and learn more about our apprentice program here. We begin accepting those applications in January of each year for the season. Brendan Ragotzy Producer Barn Producer/Director Brendan Ragotzy. Brendan literally grew up in the business, from his walk-on debut in 1966's OLIVER! to his work as a stagehand, spot operator, stage manager, actor, director, assistant producer, and now Producer/Director. Combining his parents' attributes with his own practical expertise, the Barn has an ideal leader for its second generation of Ragotzy ownership. In 1989 he made his directorial debut with HAIR, followed by our all-time hit THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, PHANTOM, A FEW GOOD MEN, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, TOMMY, BIG RIVER, FOOTLOOSE, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (also playing Pontius Pilate), ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT, THE WIZARD OF OZ, SHENANDOAH, THE CIVIL WAR (one of his favorites), CINDERELLA, MAN OF LA MANCHA, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, MOVE OVER, MRS. MARKHAM, AMERICAN IDIOT, and ROCK OF AGES. Read more about Brendan Expand He also staged his original musicals BILLY THE KID and OLD TIMER, the latter of which received a highly successful New York reading featuring several Barnies and a title role performed by Tom Wopat. RAUNCH AND ROLL is Brendan’s latest original, and in addition to workshop productions here at the Barn RAUNCH AND ROLL, co-produced with Friel Films and co-starring Barn actress and wife Penelope Alex with Michael Pare, is currently wrapping up post-production. Brendan’s first feature, Fish Mich, got pre-festival screenings right here at the Barn in 2009. Brendan and Penelope are parents to children Luke, Calli, Jacob, and Melina. Penelope Alex School Dean, Marketing, Equity/Staff/Apprentice Coordinator In her 36th season, Penelope has more than established herself as the Barn’s quintessential leading lady. Her resume here is highlighted by a series of compelling performances. Mrs. Lovett in SWEENEY TODD, Donna in MAMMA MIA! Golde in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Aldonza in MAN OF LA MANCHA, Mona in THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, (all opposite Robert Newman), and opposite Tom Wopat as Annie in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Read more about Penelope Expand Penelope has appeared in several feature films including RAUNCH AND ROLL, a vehicle written for her by husband Brendan Ragotzy, which recently had its national release in June of ‘21. She will be filming her latest feature BONE HILL this fall. You may have heard her on the radio as she has voiced over 125 jingles and commercials. She will once again, direct the annual Barn Christmas Cabaret. Her longest-running roles are her dearest- wife and mother to Brendan and their children Luke, Calli, Jacob, and Melina. Along with her on-stage work, Penelope serves the Barn as School Dean and Publicist and coordinates the hiring and departmental placement of each season’s apprentice company. She’s a native of San Jose, CA, and is a proud alum of San Jose State University. Patrick Hunter Managing Director/Box Office Manager Patrick returns this summer for his eleventh season on the Barn stage. Favorite Barn roles include Beadle Bamford in SWEENEY TODD, Judah Ben Hur (and many others) in BEN HUR, The Preacher in BONNIE AND CLYDE, Warner Purcell in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, and Nicely Nicely in GUYS AND DOLLS, for which he won the Wilde Award. Patrick's directing credits include two productions of DISASTER!, 9 to 5 and 2019's BIG THE MUSICAL, for which he was recognized as outstanding director at the Wilde Awards. Read more about Patrick Expand Patrick's original farces, IN HOT WATER and A SLIPPERY SLOPE received world premiere productions on the Barn stage in 2020 and 2021. Patrick holds an MFA in Theatre Performance from The University of New Orleans, and a BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College. In addition to his onstage work, Patrick holds the position of Managing Director of The Barn Theatre School. Patrick and his wife, Barn favorite Melissa Cotton Hunter, have two children, Christopher (7) and Cotton (5). Patrick would like to thank Brendan and his friend Penelope for the opportunity to join them in continuing the magical tradition and the vital cultural institution that is the Barn Theatre. Troy Benton Staff This is Troy’s 21st season at the Barn Theatre. Though he can primarily be found in the orchestra pit he does come up for food, water, and to make guest appearances in the Rehearsal Shed Lounge. As a composer, he has penned music and songs for Barn Productions, such as OLD TIMER, RAUNCH AND ROLL, IN HOT WATER, and more. Emily Boomer Assistant Stage Manager Emily is excited to be joining the Barn this summer for her first full season! She is not a stranger though, as she has been the Assistant Stage Manager for the ROCKY HORROR SHOW in 2019 and 2021. Emily majored in Stage Management at Western Michigan University... Read more about Emily Expand and some of her more recent shows before Covid hit were THE WOLVES (2019 SM) and AMADEUS (2019 SM). Emily would like to thank all of her friends and family for all of their positive support throughout the years, her Barn family for giving her an amazing opportunity with open arms, and to all of the patrons for their continued support. Brett Burradell Technical Director After many years away working as a musician, audio engineer, video/projection mapping designer, screen printer, technical director, and music venue manager in Chicago, IL and New Orleans, LA, Brett has returned to his home state of Michigan and excitedly joins the Barn's staff for his first season in 2022. Steven Lee Burright Scenic Designer/Painting Artist Sixteen seasons and still going strong and loving it at The Barn Theatre. Steven’s thirty-four-year career has reached a lifelong high following his nomination and subsequent installation into The Barn Theatre Wall of Fame! This is an honor that fills him with immense pride and Joy. Eternal thanks to the Ragotzy Family for the Honor and the overall mentorship of those Barnies who came before. Special thanks to Dusty Reeds/Associate Producer Emeritus, for her unwavering support and Mentorship. “ I owe my friend Dusty, my Career”. Read more about Steven Lee Expand A career that has also allowed Steven to act as well. He’s been featured in many shows, such as THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, IN HOT WATER, and LEND ME A TENOR to name a few. The future looks bright for both The Barn and for Steven Lee. Happy Days! John Jay Espino Rehearsal Shed Bar Show Musical Director This is John’s 12th season here since ’92! Barn audiences will remember him from many roles including Plankton in SpongeBob Squarepants, Cogsworth in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Julian Marx in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, Herod in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, the Narrator in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW and Sancho in MAN OF LA MANCHA. John has also served as the Barn’s musical director for SUNSET BLVD, MAN OF LA MANCHA, BLOOD BROTHERS, SOUTH PACIFIC, BIG RIVER, CHICAGO, and SPAMALOT. He will once again be musical directing our very popular nightly Rehearsal Shed bar show. Read more about John Expand John’s Conducting/ Music Directing credits around the country include BILLY ELLIOT, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL, CURTAINS, THE KING AND I, CATS, INTO THE WOODS, THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, ZORBA, HOT MIKADO and three productions of LES MISERABLES. As an actor, John has appeared as Archibald: SECRET GARDEN, Pseudolus: A FUNNY THING...FORUM, Madam: PACIFIC OVERTURES, Maj. General: THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Sancho: MAN OF LA MANCHA, L.M.: PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES, and GREATER TUNA. John studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Jeannette Fischer Costume Coordinator Nettie (as she is known at the Barn) is an energetic, indispensable member of our team. As manager of our costume shop and storage, Nettie has kept that department running smoothly for over twenty years. Her favorite show was CAUGHT IN THE NET, which she designed and built herself. Read more about Jeannette Expand Often at theatres like the Barn, costumes (like scenery and well, actors) are "pulled" from a stored stock. Nettie oversees that process, conducts fittings, builds costumes, and is always there to aid those little costume emergencies that befall actors during performances. She is the Barn's angel. Nettie resides in Battle Creek with her husband Gary. She has two grown daughters and four granddaughters (Regan,17 years old; Krista, 14 years old; and Amara,10 years old; and Laura, 9 years old!) Chris Gray Musical Director Chris started at the Barn Theatre with our outdoor Bar Show in 2020, joined the staff last summer and we’re pleased that he has joined us for Seven Brides and Rock of Ages as Musical Director once again. An eclectic musician in the Midwest region, Chris had music-directed musicals, opera, symphony orchestra, choral ensembles, and cabarets to name a few. Read more about Chris Expand As a choral accompanist and vocalist, he has toured and performed in over 35 states. Before completing his master’s degree in Piano Performance at Western Michigan University in 2019, Chris earned a degree in Music Theory Composition from Ohio Northern University. He has also studied voice, vocal coaching, harpsichord, organ, as well as choral, orchestral, and band conducting. Chris served as Music Director at Western Michigan University Musical Theatre program, where he recently music directed the 25TH PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE Melissa Cotton Hunter Choreographer Melissa is celebrating her eleven-year Barniversary this year and thrilled to be spending it back on the Main Stage as actor and choreographer! Barn audiences will undoubtedly remember her recent roles as Julia in THE WEDDING SINGER, Sophie in MAMMA MIA!, Shelby in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and the first three-time Janet in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (2012, 2019, and 2021). Read more about Melissa Expand Melissa also took home a Wilde Award in 2019 for her portrayal as the Beggar Woman in SWEENEY TODD. Past Barn favorites include Bonnie in BONNIE AND CLYDE, Olive Neal in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, Elle Woods in LEGALLY BLONDE, Ariel in Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID, Lina Lamont in SINGING IN THE RAIN, and Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut in AVENUE Q. While living in New Orleans, Louisiana, Melissa was featured in many productions with the Jefferson Performing Arts Society. You can also find her in upcoming feature films including Raunch and Roll-now streaming! Melissa holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Kent State University and is a Michigan State Licensed Realtor. Melissa can be found offstage hanging with her children, Christopher and Cotton, and her Barnie hubby Patrick Hunter. As always, deepest thanks go to the Ragotzy Family for their support, love, and determination to keep the arts alive and thriving! Karsen Costume Designer This is Karsen’s first summer at The Barn Theatre. She has designed and constructed costumes throughout her career for both professional and academic theaters, including Theatre West Virginia and Utah Shakespeare Festival. Read more about Karsen Expand Karsen just completed her MFA in Drama-Design with a concentration in costumes at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, with some of her favorite works being her thesis design, Peter and the Starcatcher, and As You Like It: The Musical. During her time at UNCG, she also taught several semesters of costume construction courses, and is looking forward to continuing her teaching and design career through her role as Costume Fellow at Shenandoah University this upcoming academic year. Jerry McAllistar Stage Manager This is Jerry’s 9th season at the Barn, and we are ecstatic to have him back with us! Jerry has served as stage manager at 3 Below Theatre and The Retro Dome in San Jose, CA as well as production managing. He has also stage managed at the Brava Theatre in San Francisco, CA, Theatreworks USA and Kraine Theatre, in New York City. Read more about Jerry Expand He is a founding member of the Hope Theatre with siblings Heather and Kelly (a Barnie from season ’90), where they produced the American professional premiere of Shakespeare’s EDWARD III. Jerry served as stage manager for 6 years at the NY International Fringe Festival. He is also a director. Some of his favorite shows include MISHKIN’S PARADISE (New York, NY), LAST CALL (New York International Fringe Festival), and MACBETH (Shakespeare in the Park[ing Lot], NY). Acting roles include Cesar Rodney in 1776 here at The Barn Theatre, Henry in The Fantasticks! at The Retrodome in San Jose, CA, and Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park(ing Lot) in NYC. Garrylee McCormick Hair/Wig/Make-up Master Garrylee has served as the hair and wig master for the Barn Theatre since 1961. In addition, he is the hair and wig master for Western Michigan University’s Theatre Department and is a freelance wig master for national tours playing at Miller Auditorium and DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids. Read more about Garrylee Expand He is a member IATSE Local 26, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. In his free time, Garrylee writes icons, is a printmaker, and photographer. He also serves on numerous city and county volunteer boards, which has included the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Central County Transportation Authority, Friends of the Library Board, and the Kalamazoo Russian Cultural Association. Joe Pehrson Back 40 Pizza Staff Joe was an apprentice at the Barn Theatre from 1994-1996. He appeared in many productions, his favorites being HAIR, LA CAGE…, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, and the world premiere of BILLY THE KID. Read more about Joe Expand Joe is a native of Battle Creek and also a lifelong fan of the Barn Theatre. He is thrilled to be back at the Barn to help launch “Back Forty Pizza”. Bon Appetite! Matt Pierce Properties Manager Matt is a senior Theatre Arts major at Taylor University. Matt has spent his past three years working on several production staffs as Master Electrician and Properties Master. Matt is passionate about props artistry and scenic design; he is grateful to strengthen his skills working at the Barn Theatre this summer. Calli Ragotzy Assistant Calli is in her third and final year of Western Michigan’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program and is set to graduate in April 2023. Even though she is not going down the traditional route of theatre or film like her siblings and family, she still is able to incorporate her creative side into her future profession through interventions and unique, individualized care. Read more about Calli Expand Her life was so impacted by the theatre profession, she is even integrating theatre-based interventions into her final Capstone project for individuals with neurodegenerative diagnoses. Calli and her now-husband, Logan Hudson, tied the knot last October 9, 2021, and they married in her childhood church with their closest friends and family present. Since then, they have celebrated their marriage with a “mini-moon” at the most magical place on Earth-- Disney World. Now, they are enjoying their not-so-busy lives with their 2-year-old black lab pup named Bert, and they cannot wait to see how the future unfolds. Jake Ragotzy Sound Designer Jake is ready to get whipped back into shape here at the Barn! He is the sound designer for the main stage shows and functions as the landscaping manager. He has recently graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Film Studies and a Minor in Fiction Filmmaking. Read more about Jake Expand In the minor, he acted as the casting director and music supervisor for the crime thriller short film “The Broken Diamond,” a story about a young janitor who stumbles upon a money-laundering scheme at a minor-league baseball stadium and searches for who is responsible. When he’s not at the Barn, he enjoys writing, guitar, drums, and practically anything that’s creative and exciting! Luke Ragotzy The Rehearsal Shed & Miss Penelope's Bar Manager, and Bar Show Director Luke is so excited to see you all this summer! Along with being a member of the Equity company, Luke is the Bar manager of the Rehearsal Shed, Miss Penelope’s Saloon and will be directing Bar Shows this summer. Luke has appeared on stage many times here at the Barn - most recently as Rocky in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW... Read more about Luke Expand Agent Willcall in Double “O” 69, Jan in A SLIPPERY SLOPE, and Pepper in MAMMA MIA! Luke is a Graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in Theatre Studies with an emphasis in Directing. He wishes to thank his amazing family and his loyal friends for all of their love and support. Thank you all for coming this evening!! We hope to see you throughout the summer 🙂 Matt Shabala Musical Director Matt is beyond thrilled to return to The Barn for the 76th season! Matt spent the last three years in the Denver area teaching kids and adults to play the piano and sing at Globalsound Studio in Broomfield, CO. Read more about Matt Expand He also kept his music direction chops fresh at the Colorado School of Mines' Little Theater Company with their productions of Michael Friedman's Love's Labor's Lost, and Spring Awakening. Past credits as music director at the Barn include American Idiot, Disney's Newsies, and Peter Pan to name a few. "My undying love and thanks to Mom, Dad, and Lesley." Sammy Verdino Lighting Designer Sammy Verdino is a freelance lighting designer, programmer, and electrician who is bursting with joy at the opportunity to join the Barn Theatre for their 2022 summer season. Previously, Sammy worked as the Lighting Designer and Assistant Executive Director of the Showboat Theatre in Iowa but has had the opportunity to work at a number of theatres in a number of states around the country. Read more about Sammy Expand Some credits include being the Lighting Director for the Plays with Fire Festival in New Orleans, as well as the Lighting Designer for Dutchman, Savage in Limbo, James and the Giant Peach, Mud, Pinkalicious and many more! He looks forward to the collaborative storytelling we do this summer.