51stbanner

kirk player biographies

basso dominick

Dominick Basso came to the Kirk Players as a guest performer in our 2006 production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest which earned him a “Leslie” Best Actor award for his role as Randle P. McMurphy. 'Dom' has worked behind the scenes on many productions as well as on stage, including his role as Leo in Leading Ladies, earning a “Leslie” Best Actor nomination. When not working or performing, Dom can be found at home with his wife, Kathryn, and his children, Isabella and Maximilian.

Basso Kat

Kat Basso first worked with us as Assistant Director for Over the River and Through the Woods. She has been seen on stage in many roles including Bella Manningham in Angel Street, Liza/Damion in Sherlock’s Last Case and Maria in Lend Me a Tenor. She has proudly directed several productions as well as teaches during our children’s summer workshop. She is honored to be a member of Kirk Players, a humanitarian organization which gives so much back to the community, both charitably and culturally.

basso max 283x374

Max Basso  became interested in Kirk Players at a young age through his parents, who are members. He participated in the summer workshop when he was 7 and landed his first onstage role as a cat in Snow White. Since that time, he has been onstage in every children's show since in some capacity. Yet his all time favorite role was playing the Little Prince opposite his mentor, Jon Matousek. He was thrilled to become a member In March, 2014, which he considers an honor and a privilege.

 Blake Emily 185x231

Emily Blake  an honor roll student at Libertyville High School, has been acting with Kirk Players since she was six years old. Her first role was in Winnie the Pooh, one of the annual children’s shows. Emily has been a part of over nine different plays and musicals with Kirk Players and her school, doing everything from acting roles, assisting choir and work behind the scenes. Because of her dad Patrick Blake, who has been with Kirk Players for 20 million years (ish), she has participated in the summer workshops and assisted House for about 10 years. Emily loves to sing and hopes we do another musical soon.

Blake Patrick

Patrick Blake  a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, was also active in their theatre group. He started with the Kirk Players as a guest performer in But Why Bump Off Barnaby?, which earned him a “Leslie” Best Supporting Actor award. Patrick has appeared in shows for over 20 years now! He received our “Leslie” Best Actor award for his performance in The Nerd and a “Leslie” Best Actor nomination for his role as Inspector Rough in Angel Street. He also worked backstage for many of our shows as well as assisted with our children's summer workshop. He would like to thank his wife, Kathy, for her love and support throughout the years.

fitzhugh chuck

Chuck Fitz-Hugh began working with us in 1996, appearing in The Lark and won our "O.D." Best Actor Award for a scene from The Solid Gold Cadillac. He made his main stage debut in Done to Death, was the attendant in Dracula, understudy of Frank Gianelli in Over the River and Through the Woods, and was nominated for a "Leslie" Best Actor award for his role as Grandpa in You Can't Take It With You. Chuck has done it all but his main concentration has always been selling advertising and designing lighting. He is a Master Player and recipient of our 2003 and 2013 "Hazen" Most Valuable Player award. Chuck and his wife Carlene have three daughters, nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

franklin sara

Sara Franklin got the theatre bug for the first time after seeing Wind And The Willows performed at the Orpheum theatre at age nine.She became involved with Kirk Players by participating in our Summer Workshop and helping with set builds for Angel StreetBrighton Beach, and Leading Ladies. She was very excited when asked to help out back stage with costumes for Leading Ladies and was Costume Mistress for Up the Down Staircase and Sherlock’s Last Case. Sara was also an actor in our production of Voices of Mundelein. Sara is looking forward to growing on and off stage through her experience with Kirk Players.  

grassl gretchen

Gretchen Grassl  has performed in many plays and musicals beginning at a young age. She has directed a youth theatre program since 1993 with the Mt. Prospect Park District.   Since joining the Kirk Players, Gretchen has performed in “The Glass Slipper”, “Enchanted April”, “David & Lisa” and “The Hollow”. She has assistant directed “The Happiest Millionaire”, “Velveteen Rabbit”, “Jack and the Magic Beans”, “The Mousetrap” and “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up.” She is proud to be part of such a great community arts organization.

Grassl Peter

Peter Grassl has been involved with theatre since high school.  He met his wife Gretchen in a community production of  Tartuffe. Their son Dylan has been in theatre since he was four.  Peter has enjoyed being involved with the Kirk Players since 2010.  He served as Stage Manager for Dial M for Murder and Christmas Belles.  Over the past several years he has appeared in Woody Allen's Don't Drink the Water, as well as Controlling InterestsThe Glass SlipperandEnchanted April.  He is thrilled to be appearing as Walter in this year’s production of Becky’s New Car.

gunther gary

Gary Gunther is very active in the Kirk Players organization. In the past he has served on the Kirk Player Board. His expertise with lighting and special effects has resulted in assignments in 62 shows. In addition he has acted in 25 shows. He is only the second person to win both the Kirk Players “Hazen” Most Valuable Player and “Carter” Golden Hammer awards in a single season.

gunther sara

Sara Gunther is the resident lighting & set designer for Mundelein High School.  While with Kirk Players she has Directed, Assistant Directed, Designed lighting and acted. For the past two seasons she appeared as the Velveteen Rabbit in The Velveteen Rabbit. She also was Barbara in David and Lisa, Brunhilda in The Glass Slipper and Myrtle May in Harvey. She received Kirk Players “Carter” Golden Hammer award in 1997 and 2006, when she also received our “Hazen” Most Valuable Player award.

hansen fran 127x190

Fran Hansen's  only line in high school was "Duh, what's up doc?", her love for the theatre developed in college. Her first Kirk Players' Summer Workshop in 1999, and in 2000 won the "Mary Pearson" award; in 2002 and 2004 she earned the O.D. Award for directing in Workshops.  Her favorite technical assignment developed in props. She earned our "Carter" Golden Hammer award for her work as Property Mistress for Blithe Spirit. She has artfully provided props for many of our productions. She also appeared on main stage as Ida in The Cemetery Club for which she received a "Leslie" Best Actress nomination, and as Elizabeth in Angel Street earning her a "Leslie" Best supporting actress nomination. She earned her status of A.C.T. in 2011.

harding jeff

Jeff Harding is excited about playing Felix in Kirk Players first full blown musical, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up.  He has most recently been seen playing Saunders in Lend Me A Tenor, Max in Dial M For Murder, and George in The Philadelphia Story. He has also performed in the musicals The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Once Upon A Mattress, and The Producers. Jeff would also like to thank the great love and support shown by his wife and his four daughters.

hill martin 125x179

Martin Hill dabbled in many aspects of theatre throughout high school and college, including pit orchestra, lights, sound and set construction. He began his association with Kirk Players on lights crew during The Mousetrap and is looking forward to many great shows in the future.

hill susie

Susie Hill was born and raised in central Pennsylvania. During her high school years she worked backstage and in the house for several shows. She continued her work in the theatre at Susquehanna University where she studied voice, movement and diction with Pamela Chabora.  While living in a small Illinois town she found herself cast in The Sound of Music with Forreston High School. Susie found Kirk Players during the Mundelein Arts Festival in 2012 and since then she has worked stage crew for Mousetrap and as the female understudy and Production Assistant for Do Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?

huebner nick 127x190

Nick Huebner began acting in 8th grade, when he played Lenny in Up the Down Staircase. He fell in love with the art and continued to act throughout his four years at Barrington High School. His favorite roles include Lenny in Rumors, Henry in The Skin of our Teeth, and Tony in You Can't Take It With You.  With Kirk Players he has performed in David and Lisa, The Happiest Millionaire, and Lend Me A Tenor, for which he was nominated for a Best Actor "Leslie" Award.  Nick loves working with Kirk Players. When not in a show Nick can be found reading or working at Learning Express Toys.

johnson bev

Bev Johnson was introduced to the Kirk Players at our 1997 Summer Workshop. She worked on props for The Spell Of Sleeping BeautyThe Odd Couple (Female Version), and Pack of Lies and was Props Mistress for The Nerd. She has taken on many technical assignments. Bev has also performed on our stage in Exit the Body, Little Old Ladies In Tennis ShoesThe DivinersRumorsTributeBlithe SpiritComedy TonightThe Curious SavageDon’t Dress For DinnerNoises Off and HATS!  She also served six years on our Board as our Publicity Director. 

karnes bev 125x162

Bev Karns was involved in theatre in high school and it was always her quiet passion. She took acting classes at Harper College and at College of Lake County, appearing in Picnic and Diary of Anne Frank. Bev became involved with Kirk Players during the 2011 and 2012 summer workshops and fell in love again! Bev was on the props crew for The Happiest Millionaire  and helped out at house for The Mousetrap earning membership. She is currently on stage in Tom Sawyer as the delightful Widow Douglas.

labelle bobbi

Bobbi LaBelle’s main stage debut in Steel Magnolias won her a “Leslie” Best Supporting Actress award. Her 1997 double “Leslie” awards for The Foreigner and Social Security was the first for any of our actresses. In addition Bobbi is a talented Costumer and earned a “Carter” Golden Hammer award for technical excellence in Costume Design for The Phantom Tollbooth. Kirk Players have renewed her dreams of becoming an actress while allowing her to serve her community, for which she is very grateful.

lane meghan 128x192

Meghan Lane thought about becoming involved with Kirk Players for years, looking at the website, etc., but it wasn't the right time. After she joined the adult acting workshop the summer of 2012, she knew it was now or never.  Meghan has been on stage in various productions throughout her life, and enjoys being both on and off stage in different capacities.  She has performed with Kirk Players in The Velveteen Rabbit (Train) and in Agatha Christie's The Hollow (Veronica Craye). Meghan has also stage managed a few of the children's productions of Tom Sawyer and Alice in Wonderland.  She believes by being a member of Kirk Players, in some small way, allows her to give back to our community while having a grand time doing it.  Meghan thanks her family for their love and support in endeavors.

Lieberman Anna

Anna Lieberman became involved with Kirk Players when her husband Mike was cast and took the assignment of Assistant Props Mistress. By then she was hooked! Summer Workshop was her next adventure, taking on director responsibilities for scenes. Back on the main stage she was Assistant Props Mistress for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Property Mistress for Whose Life Is It Anyway? and Sherlock’s Last Case, and many other shows. She also has taken on the role of Assistant Stage Manager. She prefers the technical aspects of theatre and loves the hustle and bustle behind the scenes. 

marsh paula2

Paula Marsh’s guest performance in Playroom brought her a “Leslie” Best Supporting Actress award when she was only 11. Since then, she has easily become our most decorated Player. In 1985 she was honored as our “Hazen” Most Valuable Player. Paula received back-to-back “Leslie” Best Actress awards for her performances in Jake’s Women and Whose Life Is It Anyway? Paula also takes on many assignments backstage such as Stage Manager for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

motyka jessica Jessica Motyka graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance. Jess started hanging around with the Kirk Players when she became Props Mistress for A Nice Family Gathering and she hasn't quit since. She’s been a part of the Stage Management team for a multitude of shows but her on stage performances include: The Little Prince ensemble, innocent Gina Jo in Christmas Belles, femme fatale Diana in Lend me a TenorTom Sawyer ensemble, and the duplicitous Gerda in The Hollow (this performance was dedicated to her Dad, who never tired in supporting her acting dreams and passed before he could see Gerda come to life). Not to mention, the cookies she makes for rehearsals are “kind of a big deal.”  Jess is looking forward to more Kirk Player shenanigans in the future! 
pollack f

Franny Pollack has been interested in theatre since she was a young girl after seeing a number of movie stars on a visit to California! She has fond memories of singing and dancing with her Dad. She came to the Kirk Players after working with the Vernon Hills Park District and appearing in the female version of the Odd Couple in the 1990's. She has worked on props and has been involved in our summer workshops appearing in Who's the Tomato in 2012. Franny thanks her husband Michael, her daughter Julie and her son Scott for their support.

rice randy

Randy Rice  is excited to re-join Kirk Players after a hiatus. He was last seen playing Deputy Buntner in Christmas Belles and Chief Inspector Hubbard in Dial M for Murder in our last show at the Cuneo Museum.  Over eight years Randy has been doing shows with us, he has appeared in a variety of memorable roles in such plays as DraculaDeathtrapUp the Down StaircaseLeading Ladies, The Wizard of OzSnow WhiteA Nice Family Gathering, and Comedy Tonight. During his time with the Players, Randy has won a Leslie award for best actor and two for best supporting actor in a show

soare lisa

Lisa Soare discovered Kirk Players in 2010, when she assisted with costumes for The Philadelphia Story. She had never been involved with theatre before then, but she was immediately hooked. Next, she participated in Summer Workshop where she played Bethany in the one-act Controlling Interest. Lisa went on to serve on the props team for Dial M For Murder and as costume mistress for Christmas Belles. She is so excited to be performing with her daughter Ellie in The Glass Slipper. She is having a wonderful time working with Kirk Players and is looking forward to participating in many more shows, on or off the stage. 

stebbins mandy 188x235

Mandy Stebbins joined us in May 2003 after being active with us in many shows. She has been in several shows as well as helped behind the scenes with props. Most recently Mandy has appeared as Ellen, Sylvia Barrett’s best friend, in Kirk Players production of Up The Down Staircase, as Lucy in The Happiest Millionaire, and the Cook in the children's production of Jack and the Magic Beans. After a brief hiatus Mandy has reactivated her membership status with us and we’re glad she’s back.

stebbins mike 187x234

Mike Stebbins was introduced to Kirk Players back in 2009 by his now wife, Mandy.  He attended nearly every rehearsal and performance of Up The Down Staircase and has been interested in theatre ever since.  He has worked House on several shows, including Up The Down Staircase, Sherlock's Last Case, Lend Me a Tenor, Jack and the Magic Beans, and The Happiest Millionaire.  He has also participated in several set builds and strikes.  Mousetrap was his first experience as part of the tech crew where he worked as Assistant Lights Designer.  Mike is very excited to be on stage for his first time as Avery in 37 Postcards.

tomlin jenny

Jenny Tomlin is a veteran of our Summer Workshops and has won an “O.D.” award for Best Director twice. A guest performance as the Wall of Thorns in The Spell Of Sleeping Beauty and as Property Mistress for the Odd Couple (Female Version) earned her membership with the Players. Since then she has been Property Mistress for several shows which won her our “Carter” Golden Hammer award in 1999 and was our 2007-08 “Hazen” Most Valuable Player.  She has Stage Managed many of our shows and has been on stage in just as many. Jenny served two terms as our Membership Director. 

tomlin john

John Tomlin first came to Kirk Players through his wife, Jenny. After coming to several shows, he finally got his feet wet with Street Scenes; Pledge Drive The Musical, Fractured Fairy Tales And Fables, Dude, Columbus Was An Alien and History’s Greatest Lovers.  In between those performances he managed to squeeze in some main stage shows. He has worked on sound and lights and back on the stage he was seen as Wankle the Winkie in The Wizard Of Oz. In addition, John was our 2008 “Helen” award recipient. 

torbeck dave

James Torbeck is a native to Mundelein. James got his start in theatre at Mundelein High School under the direction John Leslie Lynn, the third of three brothers to do so. He got his start with Kirk Players working sound on Christmas Belle's and has primarily worked behind the scenes. He made his first Kirk stage appearance in The Happiest Millionaire as Joe, a delivery driver who was accepted into this eccentric family and never left.

vansickel rebecca

Rebecca Van Sickel has been participating in Kirk Player's children’s shows since she was five years old. After having been in many children’s shows through the years, she recently has been seen as the Desert Flower in The Little Prince, Dinah in Philadelphia Story and as Cinderella in The Glass Slipper for which she received a Best Actress Leslie nomination. Rebecca has also participated in our Adult Summer Workshop. She is thrilled to join her grandmother, sister, aunt and cousins as a Kirk Player. 

wald marilee

Marilee C.C. Wald has appeared on stage as Mrs. Harper in Tom Sawyer, Velveteen Rabbit in The Velveteen Rabbit, Lady Caroline Bramble in Enchanted April and Fox in The Little Prince. Her performance as Stacy in A Nice Family Gathering earned her The Best Supporting Actress “Leslie”. Best Actress nominations include: Mother in David and Lisa and Honey Raye Futrell in Christmas Belles. Best Supporting Actress Nominations also include her role as Frances Egan in Up the Down Staircase. Backstage credits include Sound Design, Assistant Stage Manager, and Makeup Design. 

players at large

 ahlstrand nicholas Nicholas Ahlstrand follows after his great aunt Bobbie LaBelle and mother Kari, in theater. He first made an appearance in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in the '95 season. His passion for stage led him to an Associates degree in theatre at CLC. It was not until 2014 when Nick returned for the Summer Workshop. He has since helped with set construction and house as well as acting.
   
 griffith jeff Jeff Churchill Griffith always enjoyed performing in school productions up through Junior High, but didn't consider pursuing it further. It was upon his mother's recommendation that he auditioned for his first community theatre production at the age of 20. Looks like mom IS always right!  A lifetime love of theatre was born and just nine years later he is still involved!  He met Les Lynn by chance and ended up helping build the set for Becky's New Car in the Fall of 2014.  Next, he came back as stage crew for Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Jersey Lily in early 2015. Charlotte's Web marks his first performing role with us as well as his first foray back on stage in nearly ten years. Jeff was awarded the Superior Civilian Service Medal by the US Army for his volunteer work and is excited to be part of a theatre group that puts community service at its forefront!
   
marsh jayme

Jayme Marsh's first role with Kirk Players was at the age of five in the Pied Piper of Hamlin. She followed that with nine more children's shows, including playing one of Cinderella's stepsisters, Cleopatra, in The Glass Slipper.  She has been on stage in Jake's Women and Brighton Beach Memoirs and has participated in our Adult Summer Workshop. Jayme frequently teaches the Children's Summer Workshop with her mom, Paula, and is excited to follow her mom, brother, sister and several aunts, uncles and cousins in becoming a member!

sanchack justin

Justin Sanchack graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Production Design for Theatre.  He proved his expertise on our productions of The Hollow and Becky's New Car. "How we work with, and around the surprises is ultimately why we perform and watch live theatre."

Scharer Amy

Guest stage manager Amy Sharer rejoined the world of the Theatre stage managing KP's production of Velveteen Rabbit. After spending ages 4 to 37 acting in more than 40 shows and directing 20, she took nearly two decades off to be Sports Mom for her son Mitch who is a sophomore at MHS. Favorite roles from the distant past include Kitty Verdun in Charley's Aunt for Lakeland Players, Norma Henshaw in The Diviners at NIU Theatre Guild and Eve in The Apple Tree for NRTF. Favorite shows directed include Blithe Spirit and You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. She is excited to continue her role as a Kirk Player by stage managing this production. Thanks to Paddy and the cast for making it a delight.

villarreal a

Amanda Villarreal was bit by the theatre bug the her freshman year of high school and hasn't been able to shake it since. Not that she would want to of course! At Warren Township H.S., not only did she perform in several shows, she also developed a love for costume work. At the University of Illinois with the student-run theatre group, the Penny Dreadful Players, she continued acting costuming, and even directing. Favorite roles include Susan in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Betty in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and Mrs. Bergman/Mrs. Gabor in Spring Awakening. Many thanks to my family (especially my parents) and friends for their unending support and to the wonderful Kirk Players for inviting me into the family!

   

honoraryplayers

An Honorary Player is a special membership status bestowed on Kirk Players who have given outstanding service but are unable to continue active participation. This status is our sincere expression of love and appreciation for their past contributions.

Floyd Baker

Scott Hanks

Barbara McGreevy

Sarah Slade

Rick Bergmann

Andi Kichinko

Byron Nilsson

Linda Snyder

Sheila Bourque

Krissy Kichinko

Fred O'Donnell

Megan Stevenart

Kendra Bresley

Pat Kichinko

Donna Rae Pearlman

Bob Thomas

Frank Callahan

Angela Koch

Cynthia Petersen

Suzanne Tosen

Nancy Callahan

Thom Koch, Jr.

Karen Peterson

Janet Walker

Hill Carter

June Larsen

Bill Phillips

Holly Weber

Phyllis Carter

Kyle Larsen

Wally Rish

Marjunice Weingandt

Maureen Cook-Slade

Carol Loucks

Kathy Russ

Rae West

Matt Erickson

Angela Lynn

Steve Sapp

Lisa Wilson

Carol Marie Fishchesser

Donna Lynn

Terry Sapp

Kari Whittington

Connie Greene

Jeff Lynn

Tom Schrimpf

 

Janis Greene

Jesse Lynn

Tom Schwartz

 

Michael Gunther

Melanie Lynn

R. C. Slade

 

 Joseph Haas

Veronica Lynn

Russ Slade

 

Proud Members

kirk players are proud members of the following organizations:

proudmembers