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The Big Bear Theatre Project – Love’s Illusions: 5 Plays in 73 Minutes

Lindsay Price (Playwright)
Beth Wheat (Director)
Maria Knisley (Can’t Get Over First Love)
Brian Adams (Chip on Shoulder)
Steve Gaghagen (Dead End Job)
Steve Cassling (Getting Over Heart Attack)
Christine Drew Benjamin (Insecure About Looks)
Jeanine Hamer (Living in the Past)
Steve Boggio (Overbearing Mom)
Dee Weston (Overbearing Mom)
Julann Warren (Well Rounded Person)
Tori Keenan-Zelt (Playwright)
Steve Cassling (Director)
Andrew Campbell (Rusty)
Stephanie Dawn Greene (Kate)
Steve Apostolina (Playwright/Director)
Beth Wheat (Jo)
Dee Weston (Anna)
Christine Drew Benjamin (Julia)
Steve Apostolina (Playwright/Director/Beans)
Steve Cassling (Frank)
Steve Gaghagen (Priest)
Christine Drew Benjamin (Playwright)
Beth Wheat (Director)
Julann Warren (Anna Pavlova)
Violet Poppe (Aurora)
Steve Gaghagen (The Witch)
Steve Boggio, Steve Cassling, Dee Weston, Brian Adams (The Bringers)
Randy Worden (Lighting and Sound Design)
Robert Colver (Sound Tech)
Jeanne and Tony Arnieri
Bob Perry
Elaina Saderup


Brian is a veteran of dozens of theatre roles and jobs, both on stage and behind the scenes. He has been the musical director for productions of Oliver!, Annie, Carousel, The Sound of Music, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He has portrayed Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Marcellus in The Music Man, and Nicely-Nicely in Guys and Dolls. Brian is a founding member of The Big Bear Theatre Project and has been involved in every production of the organization. An educator for more than 30 years, Brian is the performing arts teacher at Big Bear High School. He lives in Big Bear with his wife of 34 years, Helen.
Steve’s association with Steve Cassling goes back more than 30 years. Their two person productions of Treasure Island and Oliver were legendary in the Pacific Northwest, after which they were the only actors ever to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. As a playwright, Steve’s most recent play, Forever Bound, was an Ovation Award Nominee and had a very successful 2018 run at Atwater Village Theatre. See IMDB.com. for his acting credits. Steve is also thrilled to work with Steve Gaghagen as this production of Frank ‘n Beans marks the premiere of The 3 Steves. One statement in here is a lie. Love to Karen and Nick.
Christine is a writer and creator who specializes in new play development, community centered events, and arts education. As a playwright, her current work includes Castles in the Air (Untold Stories of Jewish Women) and Unruly Women (Stories of the Resistance). She has developed and presented scripts across the globe, including The Secret Seduction of Little Girls (John Woods Scholarship, Prague Summer Program for Writers), The Purity Play (FullStop Collective), and Carries On (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s NTI’s Playwright’s Week). Directing credits include Element 109 (Untold Stories of Jewish Women), Turquoise and Cloves (Occupy the Empty Space), and Estrellas Verdes (Foreplays). At the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where Christine served as the Literary Associate, she helped develop scripts as the Dramaturg for the Young Playwrights Festival and Natasha’s Dream. She is proud to have served as the P.A./marketing lead for Our Town and have produced Shakespeare and Beer, an evening of drinking, entertainment, and wit for the Theatre Project in 2018. Christine studied Theatre Arts (B.A.) with an emphasis in playwriting and Women’s Studies (minor) at California State University, Fullerton. She would like to thank the Big Bear community for providing the opportunity for artists to create and share new work, her parents for always encouraging her imagination, and Matt for his continuous love and support (and providing food for her when she’s working against a deadline for work/writing or simply scrolling on Instagram). www.christinedrewbenjamin.com
This production marks Steve’s 3rd production with The Big Bear Theater Project. This show in particular has really brought back the joy of getting lost in a character! The moments when the stage and the people around you are your only reality. I hope to be playing more music this summer between Friday nights in the village and the new club at the Pines with the Real Jazz Trio! Keep your ear out for me!
Andrew is thrilled to return to the Big Bear Theatre Project! Andrew studied acting at Cal State Fullerton, where he found his love for art and the human spirit. For three years after college, Andrew was writer and co-creator of The Super Scope Show on YouTube, where he and other CSUF friends and alumni collaborated on a weekly satirical news show. In between, Andrew has had the privilege to perform in a variety of productions all around the Los Angeles and Orange County area. From Lieutenant Kaffey in “A Few Good Men” to Petruchio in “The Taming of the Shrew”, but most recently Sargeant Carlino in BBTP’s production of Wait Until Dark! He promises not to con a blind woman tonight. Andrew would like to thank the casts and crew of tonight’s show. A special thanks to his acting teachers Svetlana Efremova-Reed, Maria Glaudini, and Myra Turley. Finally, he would like to thank his family for their unwavering love and support, and is thankful to be performing with his future wife on stage for the first time ever! Welcome and enjoy the show!
After studying Theatre Performance at Boston University, Steve joined the acting company of the prestigious Alley Theatre in Houston, appearing in over a dozen shows from Cyrano de Bergerac to The Sound of Music. He worked in commercials and on television shows such as General Hospital, The Young & The Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Facts of Life, Murphy Brown, and Murder She Wrote, and films including the horror classics, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Re-Animator and sang on the soundtracks for X-Men 2 and Dudley Do-Right. He voiced Anime such as Giant Robo, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Macross, Mobile Suit Gundam, Bleach, Guyver, and Love Hina. In Big Bear, Steve appeared in Carousel, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Fandance, Camelot, Almost, Maine, It’s a Wonderful Life, The 39 Steps, Love Letters, and The Last Five Years. He brought Panto to Big Bear with his versions of Robin Hood, The Wizard of Oz, and Treasure Island, which had debuted at the Pasadena Playhouse, also Captain Hook’s Revenge and A Christmas Carol… Askew. He can be seen in numerous episodes of the web series Happy Hour Sketch Comedy and High. Steve and his wife Michelle own and operate No Name Pizza and The Other Room in Big Bear City.
Big Bear audiences will be familiar with Steve from his many years performing on our local stage. Over the years he’s appeared as Harold Hill in The Music Man, Cervantes/Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Fagin in Oliver!, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. He’s also appeared in and directed memorable productions of The Miracle Worker, A Thousand Clowns, The Lion In Winter, and The Laramie Project, among others. This last summer, Steve returned to the Big Bear stage as the Stage Manager in Our Town, and he also directed the thriller Wait Until Dark. He is excited to be joining us in tonight’s innovative evening of One Acts.
Stephanie’s first acting job was on the Montreal Regional Improv Team. Since then, she has acted voiceover, film, and regional theatre in California, Canada, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, and New York City. In New York, she starred as Eppie Sue in the off-Broadway debut production of Rural Play. Other favorite roles include Frankie in Coachella Valley’s “Frankie & Johnny”, Laura in “The Glass Menagerie”, and Rita in “Educating Rita”. After college, she co-founded the Outlore Theatre Company with her professor and two other graduates. She currently passes on her love of theatre by directing youth productions and bringing theatre to over 30 schools in Long Beach, CA. She is so thrilled to be making her debut with BBTP! Especially alongside her true love and soon-to-be hubby Andrew Campbell. Thanks to Steve, Beth, Christine, and Matt for bringing me in! Thank you and enjoy the show!
*Member of AEA
Jeanine Hamer is a hairstylist at Perfect Ten hair studio. Originally from Upland, CA. Where she studied dance, piano, and drama since the age of 4. She has appeared in productions by Moonridge school of dance as well as helping Maria Knisley with choreography of the high school musical productions since 2011. She has also appeared in various projects by Big Bear Theatre project and CATS.
Originally and proudly from Pittsburgh, Tori writes curiosity-chasing plays that sniff out in-between spaces in big theatre to change the world. Many of them decide to be comedies. She has developed and presented work around the country and abroad. Recent plays include How the Baby Died (Ingram New Works, Bay Area Playwrights Fest Finalist, O’Neill Semifinalist), Seph (Araca Project, Princess Grace Finalist), Air Space (Kilroys 5 Most Recommended Plays, Ingram New Works Lab, Princess Grace Finalist), Truth/Dare (Project Y Theatre, Best Ensemble Pittsburgh Fringe, Kilroys List, Princess Grace Finalist), Egypt Play (InterAct 20/20 Finalist), Episode #121: Catfight! (Yale Cabaret), How to Be a Widow (Ellie Award), and others. Having written for Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy Award-winning PBS education series, Tori has been named an Emmy Nominee, Kilroys Lister, Jerome Finalist, Princess Grace Finalist, Playwrights of New York Nominee, and some other things. She is an affiliated writer with The Lark, The Playwrights’ Center, Ingram New Works Lab, Ensemble Studio Theatre Playwrights’ Unit, Fresh Ground Pepper, & the Dramatists Guild. Some of her short plays are published by Next Stage Press. AB, Harvard. MFA, NYU Tisch Asia (Singapore).
Maria began studying Ballet at age 4, taking her first classes in Dana Point, CA. Over the years, she studied and performed for companies and people such as Lila Zali of Ballet Pacifica, Deborah Palesch of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada and Santa Rosa Ballet, Petrus Von Moyden of the Royal Danish Ballet and Redwood Empire Ballet, Maria Veigh of Marin Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, Marcella Contessi of North Bay Performing Arts, And Mary DiLillo, Debbie-Ann Medina, Laura Brannen, and Suzan Mathies of the Santa Rosa Junior College Dance Department where she was instrumental in the development of the Dance certificate program. Throughout her training, she studied several different methods of classical ballet including R.A.D. (Royal Academy of Dance), Checcheti method, as well as the Vaganova method. Maria began her family and began to attend college where she earned her teaching certificate in dance and an AA in fine arts. She later also completed a BA in Psychology. Maria has been teaching Ballet and Jazz to children and adults for over 30 years in northern and southern California, and has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Big Bear High School drama and music departments choreographing the plays and musicals since 2010. She now teaches ballet and jazz at her own studio, Moonridge School of Dance in Big Bear Lake, CA. She specializes in comprehensive Ballet training in a safe and positive environment. She believes that through the education of dance and the arts, students learn to thrive and succeed in their personal lives as well as their scholastic and professional careers. She truly enjoys sharing her passion and joy of dance and music with all of her students.
Violet has always loved theater and the magic it holds. She is delighted to be making her debut on the Big Bear stage and is grateful to everyone in the Big Bear Theater Project family for the opportunity and for being so welcoming.
Lindsay Price is the Vice President of Theatrefolk Inc. and the co-creator of the Drama Teacher Academy. She has been a professional playwright for 24 years with over 65 published plays. She writes specifically for schools and student performers with over 900 productions a year across Canada, the US and overseas.
After 20+ years of mostly being backstage and behind the video camera…cheering on her talented children and husband, Julann is excited to return to the stage as an actor. Since moving to Big Bear in 2004, she has danced in a couple of dance recitals and CATS shows and sang in a couple of voice recitals. She earned her BA in Theater Arts from UCLA, where she met her husband Ty when they were cast in the same summer musical together back in 1985. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of writers, directors and actors in these original one-act plays. She would like to express her appreciation to Ty for all his love and support. She dedicates her performance to her mother, Jo Kanner, to whom she will ever be grateful for teaching her to be well-rounded, and for providing 8 years of ballet lessons when she was young.
Dee Weston is a wife, a proud mother of 3 +2 bonus children, 8 beautiful grandchildren and 3 amazing great-grandchildren. Her life is truly blessed. She loves performing whether it’s dancing, singing, or acting, and has spent the last sixteen years performing with C.A.T.S. This is her first show with The Big Bear Theatre Project and she’s overjoyed to be sharing the stage with such amazing talented actors.
Beth grew up in and around theatre and studied under many talented coaches and directors as well as in college before shifting focus to pursue a career in IT. After moving to Big Bear, her passion for theatre was rekindled after seeing productions at the Performing Arts Center and wishing to share her love of theatre with her young sons. They all became involved with Big Bear’s Community Arts Theater Society where Beth served for many years as a board member, press secretary, grant writer, performer, and director. She is now proud to serve on the Board of Directors for The Big Bear Theatre Project and exhilarated to be part of its vision to bring quality theatrical productions to the Big Bear stage. Over the years she has performed in commercials and short films, created stage adaptations of familiar works, directed a number of plays including last summer’s ‘Our Town’ for the Big Bear Theater Project, and has held a wide range of leading roles in a number of productions. She also works as a Vice President for Experian and is co-proprietor of Chirp Nature Centers with her husband Randy Putz. “Love’s Illusions” is illustrative of the creative fare we hope to bring for the enjoyment and enrichment of our audience as well as cast and crew members.

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